Coping with the death of a spouse is a terrible experience. And you don’t know “which one of us is going to have to deal with that”. Whenever me and my husband have talked about it (when we had to) during the preparation of our will, I told him “Honey, I want you to die first.” He laughed and said “Thanks a lot!!! I love you too!!” I said, “No, no…it came out wrong….I want you to die first so you don’t have to deal with the pain of losing me and being alone.” He looked at me and gave me a big hug and said “You got a deal!”.
How many times have we all heard it – “Unfortunately, death is a part of life”. But it doesn’t make it hurt any less. My Mother said that the nights and Sunday’s were the hardest after my Dad died. She said that during the day she could keep herself busy with housework, or shopping, or visiting with friends – but when dinner time rolled around it was just her – - – preparing “meals for one” and eating alone. And then the evening would come – the sun goes down – she would sit in their big living room and turn on the TV and just be incredibly lonely. So lonely that she stopped watching TV in the big living room and she started to go in her tiny office and turn on the little TV and sit at her desk and write emails, open mail, pay bills, talk on the phone, etc. She said that helped a lot to pass the time, the tiny room didn’t seem so empty, the sound of the TV (which was much closer to her) kept things lively in the background. She found herself spending almost all her time in her office whenever she was home. I think if my Mother could’ve fit her bed in that room she would’ve so she didn’t have to go into “their bedroom” and get hit with all the memories.
She had the same feelings on Sunday’s. Sunday was always a “family day” – even when they were young and all us kids were home. Church, lawn-work, Sunday dinner – all as a family. She hated Sunday’s the most. She would get up, get ready for church, and then after church she would spend her day at Target – walking around – not looking for anything – not necessarily needing anything – but just to pass the time. It became a way of life for her.
Things just became too lonely for her and that’s when she decided to move across the street from me and my family and be part of our chaos. Sometimes the best way to “not be alone” – is to just not be alone. It helped my Mom deal with the death of my Dad. And it made me and my siblings feel better that she was not all alone in another state. It’s a good thing she did move because it was 2 months later when she became very ill. But that’s another story……..