Losing a spouse is never easy, at any age, or in any circumstance. But I suspect the sorrows and worries and concerns can vary. A sudden death provides no time to prepare, emotionally or otherwise. Death after a prolonged illness provides lots of time, but lots of sorrow and the agony of watching your loved one suffer. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose my husband later in life after decades together, and suddenly to be alone, with the children all grown and gone. Suddenly becoming a single mom to a 10 year old boy comes with its own worries and logistical nightmares.
I'm slowly adjusting to my new identity. Single mom. Widow. Our house feels really quite big these days, and I'm more happy than ever when our grown son comes to visit.
Meals are weird. Not only do I no longer have to plan around my husband's schedule and preferences, but given how little Boo eats, I'm pretty much cooking for one again. Which I haven't done in 16 years. I can feel us slipping into bad habits, like eating dinner at the coffee table in front of the TV. Or making plain pasta for Boo (the only thing he ever seems to want to eat) and skipping my own meal. I don't seem to be losing any weight though. Likely because what I am eating is mostly crap.
Related - grocery shopping has become very emotional. I wouldn't have predicted that. I find myself reaching for Jim's favourites, then realising I will likely never buy them again. There are things I bought only for him, you see. Skim milk, full sour dill pickles, Pop Tarts. 250g of shaved black forest ham and a loaf of sourdough bread. I cried the first time I visited the Superstore and found myself automatically searching the shelves for his favourite Pop Tart variety.
I now have two spare rooms, since Boo has taken to sleeping with me every night. We've always been bed hoppers over here, so it's not terribly unusual, and it is comforting to both of us. But I think I want my own room again soon. I think.
Perhaps the hardest is how much I want to talk to Jim, and to share the daily happenings with him. I have grabbed my phone to text or call him so many times. Or even just thought to myself, "Jim would get a kick out of this. I'll have to remember to tell him when he gets home from work." Then it hits me. It was really difficult when I was home in St, John's. My dad ended up in hospital, and I was scared. I so desperately wanted to call my husband. But I reached out to my best girlfriends instead. (Dad is ok, by the way. It was a bad case of pneumonia, but they kicked it out of him.)
We're working through it all. Finding our new normal. And we're trying to take it slow and let ourselves be sad when we need to be. As many friends and family have reminded me, everyone must mourn in their own way and at their own pace. And the first year, with all the "firsts" Jim will be missing, is sure to be the hardest.
Meanwhile, I need to find a reliable, affordable, local babysitter so I can leave the house outside of school hours again. That is another, very practical life change I need to get used to!