I have talked about “firsts” in previous posts, about how most people believe these “firsts” are confined to the things you must endure in the first year after losing a loved one. I know I explained that these “firsts” can occur for several years. Well, I had another first a few weeks ago, over 5 years after Mike died.
As some of you know, I contracted Covid last month. I am on the back side of it and still experiencing some side effects but overall, I am on the mend. When the symptoms first started and I tested positive I have to say I was really concerned. Since I live alone, I worried about what I would do if my symptoms became worse. My family is less than an hour away but, I wouldn’t want to bother them just in case I was overreacting, and I simply needed to let this run its course ( I know I’m a hypocrite). Honestly, I was so sick I really didn’t care what happened. For 4 days I was miserable and slept most of the time which didn’t leave me opportunity to worry about the state of my health. By day 5 I began to turn the corner and saw a light at the end of the tunnel.
Once I began to feel better, physically, I became a bit of an emotional wreck. I was crying at the smallest of things and not just a sad television show but even an uplifting human-interest story would bring me to tears, it was ridiculous! It was off and on all day long and I wondered what the hell was wrong with me?? I have had bad days before where I just needed a “good cry” but nothing like this for quite some time and not for multiple days in a row. I googled to see if this emotional crap was a side effect of Covid and found nothing. It wasn’t a full moon or some other astrological phenom causing this emotional overload so what was my problem?
It finally dawned on me that this was another first for me. I can only remember one other time I had been sick enough that I was concerned about my well-being, but this was the first time I had to endure something like this alone. In our house when someone was sick they received lots of doating attention and sympathy. We would wait on them with anything they wanted or anything that I felt would make them feel better. Mike and I took ownership of each other’s comfort in the same way. I could rely on him to make sure I had everything I needed or wanted, sometimes I would have to tell him to stop checking on me so often so I could rest! For the first time I had to take care of myself. When I would need to get up and fill my water glass, take my temperature or make myself something to eat (not that I could taste it) I would start to cry because I had no one here to take care of me. I was very depressed on top of feeling like ass. I was in full blow pity party mode!
I know I probably sound like a whiner right now. It’s been a while since I have had to endure a major first so between that and being sick, I feel like I’m entitled to whine a little. This was a not-so-subtle reminder that I am on my own. I have family and friends that will help me through anything they can, but I don’t have the person I thought would always be by my side. It brought me back to a place I hadn’t been in a while, and it was unnerving. I had a deep sadness that I hadn’t felt in quite some time and in all honesty, for a bit I went back to that place we all go to when we lose someone we love. The place that says, if this is something I’m not going to survive, I’m good with it because I know what is waiting for me on the other side. I wasn’t back to the place of not caring if I live or die, we all have those thoughts early in our grieving process, but I didn’t expect to have those emotions again for a long long time. It was frightening that it was so strong, but I did the only thing I knew I could do, feel it and let it take me over until I was ready to let it go. Sometimes we must let our feelings in and experience the sadness or fear in order to process them and let them move away. As hard as that may seem, for me, it’s the only way to move forward and not let emotions and memories consume me and put me in that really dark place.
So the next time you are belittling yourself for feeling down or thinking you are not being strong enough, remember there is no expiration date for your grief. It will rear its ugly head at times you never expect and remind that you ARE strong and you will get through this! Work through them in whatever way has worked for you and know that you will come through this one as well.
For those of you that are support staff, this is a reminder for you too. It can happen anytime and we will need your love and support whether it’s 5 days, 5 months or 5 years later.
My only Relief is to sleep.
When I'm sleeping
I'm not sad, I'm not angry,
I'm not lonely, I'm nothing