It takes a lot of getting used to – finding out just how much there is to do, just getting by after the death of a long term partner. In most marriages there are many things that are shared but also many things that are left for the other person to deal with. When that person is no longer there, then there are so many questions – how did he do that? Where did he keep that? What do I do to fix this? And so on….
It can be daunting – it is daunting! It’s also very easy to get snowed under with piles of paper waiting to be dealt with, a to do list that gets longer in spite of crossing some things off.
How to get through all the unfamiliar tasks, how to stay calm, how to cope? Life is full of questions after a death. One thing at a time – take time out to meet friends, don’t hide away, go for walks, spend time in the garden, don’t be overpwered by the feeling that everything needs to be done now. Take time to adjust, take time to focus on what you have to get used to as being the new ‘normal’.
I’ve realised that it is still possible to be happy when still grieving – strange as that might seem. There are still beautiful sunsets and sunrises, friends and family are like a comfort blanket, life goes on, we still have happy memories. I can look back on our time together – better to reflect on that than feel resentment about not having more years together.
There are times when just looking at a photograph will bring tears, listening to a piece of music will bring a lump to the throat and be painful. That’s not unusual – just normal. Sorting out clothes and other belongings is hard – one of the hardest things. I’m finding that having those around for a while does help, but not everyone does.
For me, taking one thing at a time, not trying to cope with everything at once is the way to stay sane, to stay on an even keel and keep positive. Life after a death is like climbing a mountain – we have to take it slowly, not rush, not be daunted by the steep climb of the unknown that looms ahead.