Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Death Manual

So many times people have made funny little comments about the fact that babies don't come with manuals. Well, neither does widowhood! In fact, it seems as though there's more books on how to raise children, all kinds of children and all ages too, than there are books on how to make money and surely more than on dealing with death!

When I went to the funeral home a few weeks before Vinnie died and Vinnie and I decided with the funeral home and our pastor what we wanted done when Vinnie was gone, the funeral director told me that I'd need to get the deed to my house settled with the county for taxes and I'd need to do something or other with Social Services. But so much happened between that day and the day he died, and so much happened after that day that everything got so cloudy, I didn't remember what I was supposed to do or why or when, or any of that. I could have used a manual then!

And then, there's the new level of friendships - couples don't want to hang out with you anymore because three is a crowd, not a fun mix. And singles don't really consider you single. If I joined a widow group I'd probably be one of the youngest in the bunch and some might be in it to find a new spouse. Though a second income would sure help, I am not sure I want to start over again with someone. So there's this lull that lingers...where do I fit in, what am I supposed to do with myself.

Mind you, I have so much to do! It's taken me weeks to get all my tax stuff together for instance. ugh...I had a hard time figuring out where files are and remembering all the places I would find the papers I needed to get my taxes done. I hate that stuff! And Vinnie always did our taxes. I never gave them a thought except to ask when the checks were coming! So that's been another change. And as for friends...I have a lot of friends, but they are all busy with their families. Oh God, where do I fit in?

I must say, I do fit in well with my GriefShare group. I love that there are ladies in the group who have lost husbands and others who are experiencing the family fallout that hits like a tsunami after an earthquake after a significant family member dies. I am thankful for the questions that help me think through the losses I am experiencing from week to week because loss of a significant family member is not just a single loss, but layers and layers of losses. Many things can reveal those layers like the loss of a tax preparer which I didn't experience until January, or the loss of a handyman which I am experiencing now as I am trying to get tasks done in the home I am trying to sell. It is also helpful to look back and see the progress I've made since August 29. Sometimes it's easy to forget there's been more than a spinning of the wheels in one muddy pool.

I wish I could write a manual for other widows but we all travel the journey differently. One thing I could say though is to keep a journal along the way to look back and see the progress along the way. Yes, it may take a couple of years to recuperate from the loss of a spouse, but it will happen, it will. It's a tiring journey but we don't have to travel it alone. Telling others what I'm thinking, feeling, and experiencing also helps. It helps because it makes it less awkward for others to know how to relate to me and talk to me. I want people to know that they can talk about Vinnie and they haven't upset me if I cry sometimes. It's part of life on this side of Heaven, not a part I life very well, but one I think everyone will experience in one way or another in their lifetime. This being the case I cannot help but wonder why more people don't talk about it or that there isn't more teaching about it so we are a bit more prepared with what we might face if we lose a loved one. It doesn't have to be a manual but it would be nice to be a bit more prepared.

No comments: