Last week’s entry could be today’s entry. Only the details change.
The cats have been to the vet, that’s always an adventure. Gemma needs medicine for an upper respiratory infection. It’s in dropper form, and she’s leery of me in the kitchen when I pick up a towel. However, she still cuddles and purrs, so we’re good.
Had to get a new shower wand, the old one was cracked and full of minerals. The new one is missing a gasket, so I had to order a packet of them. I am quite sure Larry has some in the garage. alrighty then.
I am painting a new Loki, this one is an Amethyst version. So far I am pleased. I don’t feel the creative tingle, but I am working through it. A variety of purple enamel paints, and color change versions, and some metallic lavenders are coming together nicely.
I have been watching shows downstairs in the family room. It is clean enough and tidy enough to be pleasant. Feels much lonelier down there, but that is something else to power through.
I made a nice little steak for lunch. While I have the noodle board off, I will make mac and cheese for supper, use up some of the milk. I tried a glass of wine, not into it. Figures.
Got a lovely thank you card from one of the ladies I sent porcelain figurines to. That was nice.
I’m getting the hang of this ride, perhaps. Two days of up will always be followed by a day or so of down. Now this isn’t a huge dip, but I am cold and hungry and restless. The nonsense on the news didn’t help. I have snacked far too much, things I shouldn’t even bring into the house, ice cream and caramel corn. I need to do up a package and send some stuff off to Jeremy and family. Remove some of the graze-ables.
I’ve been thinking about how I fill my days, frittering away the minutes, ticking away the hours in an offhand way. There’s what I always do, look after the cats, self-care, dishes, trash, tidy up this or that. Sweep. Once a week there’s mopping, laundry, or dink around in the yard. Futz around online on and off. Watch TV in the morning. Sometimes I watch the Star trek reruns on BBC, and make tea in the afternoon. Listen to music, and now and then, read. Reading is difficult, but I have a Kindle and books, and graphic novels on my phone. Hard on the eyes and my concentration is shot. I try to watch something on my subscription services daily. Sometimes that is in the morning, when I am most wakeful. I nap more than I should, but I like napping. I dream, I always dream. I enjoy The Dream.
There’s so much I could do. Take a walk springs to mind, but it’s winter, no sidewalks, and my lower back and hips are burning from going up and down the stairs. The dreaded High Pressure is rolling in, that means inversion and Bad Air Days. Those have a nasty effect on my lungs. I would walk more if I could walk where I could take breaks and sit. My suburban neighborhood has a dearth of such places. I’m terrified of going out and not being able to go home. The canes only help so much and I usually forget them anyway.
I haven’t touched the Wii, I don’t want to see Larry’s avatar. I know I am getting closer now that I am using the family room, but it will be a trauma day without doubt. I need to wrangle the Gazelle so I can get new batteries in it. With my sore hips, it is unappealing. I have some weights too, light ones. I could do these things. I even want to do these things. Working up to the things.
I could clean more, repair things, there’s always house stuff. I am unenthused, but I also don’t want to be the hoarder, or the mad cat lady in the house falling down around her ears. Daily chores help, and I add on bits and pieces of other To Do items. The big things… gah. I need a handyman, and of course that brings on the depression wham bam right now. So things like the dryer vent and the ceiling get neglected. Another thing to be sorted.
Art and craft, there’s so much. However, finding that creative spark has been a struggle. I do a little of this and that, and finish a project on occasion. There’s painting, collage sewing, mending, beading, the Loopy Loom, miniatures, even some leatherwork I can do. Glass painting. Gardening, in a way, but not in winter. Getting started doesn’t mean I get inspired or bring things to fruition. The ennui settles in and it can be hard to see the point. This is where one questions whether or not it’s depression. I know I get the seasonal stuff, and have a lightbox to help with that, but the light is by the table where the art stuff is. No art, no light. So simple. So close yet so far sort of things. Tress and forests. Grief, yes, a type of depression, and I’m entering complicated grief territory. I care, but I don’t. No confidence in my PCM, and going to therapy is … I have a history with that. Comes of having a psych degree and taking course to become a therapist, and some other stuff with psychologists/psychiatrists. I’m picky. The very thought annoys me. I got some herbal mood boosting gummies; I have little faith but it can’t hurt. I hope.
And so, here I am, tip tapping away. It fills a space. A cosmic To Do List, if you will.
Here is what I posted on Reddit in r/widowers, and did not feel like writing it all out again. A reflection on doing what I have not done in years, watch TV downstairs.
Our house has a fully finished basement, a normal feature in this area. That’s where our family room is, with a gas fireplace, the main TV, and the double recliner. A few years back I had surgery which made getting in and out of the tall bed difficult, and sleeping lying down nearly impossible. We replaced the couch with a double recliner. It came in a box and he assembled it in place. That’s where we’d watch our recorded shows, he often was on the road and would catch up when he got back. I’d invariably sleep through most of what he watched. He’d make dinner, carry it down on a tray and we’d eat down there. That’s where he worked on the solar lights, made candles, did his leatherwork. My beading stuff was down there too, and my exercise equipment.
After he died, I spent as little time as possible down there. I gave away his candle and leather crafting things. I watched TV upstairs in the bedroom, or on my laptop in the little sitting room. The waterline break meant I had to have repairs done, and even though I was using the basement guest room, I couldn’t use the family room. It was done months ago, I moved back into our bedroom, but I still avoided the family room. Before the flood, there were cobwebs descending from the ceiling. Now there are new rugs, I got rid of the giant bean bag chair, I thinned out the shot glass collection. I can feel his look of disapproval for not keeping everything.
Today I turned on the TV and watched two stupid movies. I got some figurines packed to ship out, and I have begun cleaning the cabinet with my UV glass collection. Two years of dust on that. I am melancholy, I kept looking at his side of the recliners, but I didn’t cry. I was just sad. Mellow sad. The waves of despair didn’t come in like a high tide, they’re still out there in the grief ocean, but today was a good day to paddle in the shallow waters.
I have a small bin of ceramic and porcelain animal figurines we rescued from a neighbor yardsale. I am giving the sets away a few at at time, to internet strangers. I’d been dragging my feet about packing more up because they’re in the basement. Time to get it done. While I was down there, the dust on the UV glass got to me, I took pieces up and washed them. Still have a shelf to go, well, two if you count the top, and them clean the wood. It’s an old Japanese tea cabinet, open faced. Uranium glass feels really weird, slick and oily, so under dust it was repulsive to touch. So shiny and beautiful when it is clean.
The Spode is still up, but everything else is done. The outdoor decor made it to the patio. Sometimes my progress is literally a few steps at a time. Getting there, slowly.
In Japan, you cleaned your house before the new year. Supposedly a deep cleaning, like our Western spring cleaning. I do a modified version, as deep cleaning this entire house would take weeks and far more stamina than I can whistle up.
Today is laundry, including folding and putting away. I want to mend my gray Loki t-shirt and make a decision about my favorite falling apart flannel nightgown. I will put away some of the Christmas decor, mostly the bows and beads and fripperies which go in that tote, some of the silk flower things which go in the big tote. Maybe not all the cubby flowers, as the replacements for those are in the shed. I will see. Also, bills and finances get a lookover. If it can be paid, it shall. Because I am washing rugs, I should mop the kitchen and sweep the stairs.
Tomorrow is wash my hair, empty all the trash, refresh every litter box, toss the Christmas bouquet and put away the holiday vase. Vacuuming is the plan, but I know how I am about that. Dust something. Tidy the kitchen, front room, bathroom, and bedroom. Downstairs can suck it if need be. Put the big outdoor bells tote back in the shed, which makes me think I might grab the rose tote for the kitchen while I am out there. We shall see. Hang the small Loki print.
Stuff I want to do, but probably won’t includes scrub the tub and all the dusting. Tidy up the art studio table (aka the kitchen table). Decide if the golden porthos plant is dead enough to toss out. Put a clean tablecloth on the sewing machine table where the cat autofeeder resides. Clean the plastic cover.
The Spode gets put away much later. I think I will get the blue teapots and such out for winter. I need to get thin wood cut to fit the baker’s rack shelves, or long skinny trays.
If all goes well, I will bake either the turkey breast or the tiny ham on New Years Day. Yum. Stuffing and yams for sure! Maybe bake a mince pie. Seems reasonable to start new traditions given I won’t be rolling around with Larry.
Desi took me to the grocery store. I needed cat food immediately and forgot to tell Amazon I needed it before my Amazon Day. Of course I picked up bread, milk, juice, and flowers. And a case of chicken broth, they’re on sale. That’s the best Larry memorial, enough canned goods to last two years.
Got home, stashed the food and began re-arranging the flowers. Anything wilted or dry or droopy get trashed, but some flowers will hang in there for a couple weeks. I sorted the old, cut the fresh. I had bought one bouquet too many, green daisies as filler, and they ended up in their own vase in the kitchen. Nice. However, right afterward, the backs of my hands began to itch, turned red, and started swelling. Something in the flowers aggravated the snot out of my skin. I started itching all over, but that might have been my imagination. I took the flowers out of the bedroom, took a benadryl, and drank a lot of fluids. Slept the afternoon away.
The Solstice slump turned into a couple Very Bad Days over Christmas and the day after. In a huge slump, emotions on edge, and I knew it. Could not break it in the usual ways. Just rolled with it, snacked, slept, hot showers. Oh, I am okay, but there’s a rough stretch of road between okay and fine. Ugh.
A delivery of a pound of Lindt truffles helped immensely.
Usually, the holiday decor stays up until near my birthday in January. Not this year. I have brought up the tote for the throw pillows and soft things, they go first. Then I will start on the kitchen bows and cubbies. Then the silk flowers. The outdoor hanging stars never made it out of their bin on the patio. The outdoor flowers stay out the longest, but perhaps not this year. This does mean I need to get the February roses and hearts down. Another way to be depressed, between our anniversary and Valentine’s Day, but screw it, they’re pretty and I like them.
For some unknown reason, I feel incredibly down today. Winter Solstice, I mean to clean a bit, cook a bit, make neighbor gifts, and perhaps light a small fire outside. So far I cleaned in the bathroom, although I think some vacuuming and dusting is in order. Sweep out the old. Tomorrow is Trash Day, so empty every trash can in the house and set the bins out. I thawed chicken to cook for supper. I have assembled everything for the gifts, that will only take a few minutes. Wrap the two gifts which arrived today. Water the plants.
One of the bulbs in my bedroom light fixture is blinking, so I need to go downstairs and find the replacement. I think I have one. They’re an odd shorty CF. Not uncommon, but not something where I could toss in a different bulb for a bit. My tiny bedside lamp is insufficient for the task, so I have a drape open. Oh my, natural light. Fun times.
I did fold the laundry, I did wrap the other presents. Scooped the catboxes, but that’s daily. Finished a Kindle book, and read some more in the hardback I am working on. Watched some recorded shows. Installed the new smoke alarm/CO detector.
What I don’t understand is this horrible weepy feeling. My chest feels soupy again, but my oxygen is fine. I am not as exhausted or in as much achey pain as usual, I just feel that all is wrong with the world and I am the puzzle piece from another box. I just want to cry without a specific reason. Oh, I could think of many reasons, but nothing new. This will pass, of course, but it is unpleasant in the extreme.
Maybe I can see the Star tonight. That would be a bite of bliss.
Sometimes I feel okay. I didn’t do a lot today, watched the finale of the Mandalorian to dodge spoilers, checked my financials which I do time to time. Dishes. Tended the floral arrangements. Refreshed Loki’s candle. Dressed up the Loose Loki with the tiny sweater out of the flowers. Disassembled a flocked cardinal for the tiny Santa hat. Read on both my Kindle and the hardback I had set aside. Tidied, scooped a cat box. Brought up chicken and such to thaw. Ate fudge. Watched a recording on my DVR online, I pay for cable, I should watch the shows. I had planned on wrapping gifts, I have a few to do. Didn’t do it. Have laundry to fold, did not fold it.
Sat in the front room and asked Alexa to play my likes. Dead Can Dance came on, so I asked Alexa to play belly dance music. It is very soothing. I felt very, very calm, centered. I am in my nest, my grotto, my place. I felt more myself than I have for a long while. I thought about all I could do, if I chose. A supreme being of a microcosm. The crone goddess of this house, my grotto, my nest, my sacred place.
It sure is dusty in here.
I was feeling alright this morning, even a bit motivated. I’d had interesting dreams, including being held by strong warm arms, whispered to by a low lovely voice. Odd dreams because I dreamt I was sleeping, so I couldn’t see or hear the other person. Later, I hit the dip, the self-doubt, the inkling that even the simplest plans for next week will fall through. I could ask, I should ask, but I would rather wait and see if my optimism is rewarded. I’m just skeptical enough to fear it will not. Ah, communication and expectations, the twins which are the basis for every rom-com, sit-com, and tragedy.
Chipping away at the holiday decor gives me a lot of time to think. Perhaps too much. I have the kitchen beads and bows up above the cabinets, and the silk flowers in place. The living room silks look nice, and while I have the stockings out, I didn’t dig for the heavy holders. There’s a ton of stuff like nutcrackers and stuffed animals and gewgaws and trinkets in the teabox. In the kitchen here is a high shelf which has vases and pitchers, there’s a bag of specific sprigs and stems for those. Sparkly sprigs are all still sitting in their bag on the table. I might not bother. Anything not already displayed might go right back in the bin. The Why Bother is strong this season.
While Why Bother is not universal to all widows and widowers, it certainly is a hot topic of discussion on the subReddit. We have lost our other half, our reason for being. Who we were is no longer who we are. Sure, many people say you are more than half a couple, but those people are not usually the ones who have lost a partner. Yes, those with more friends and outside connections tend to fare better than the insular types. That said, death often leaves a widow adrift, as what is lost is not just love and companionship, but a certain level of purpose, a daily routine built for the consideration and comfort of a unit, and all the potential futures. It is a loss of identity.
For me, part of the identity was doing it up for the holidays. I love trees, I have three in boxes in the shed, and enough ornaments for four. Beautiful blown glass, vintage pieces from mom, Hallmark figures, tiny teapots, rocking horses, valuable Swarovski collector pieces, robots and rocketships. My trees were amazing. This year, I put the little kitchen tabletop tree in the front room. I did have a topper handy, but otherwise it’s a few fake cardinals and a bow. Not even all the tiny red bows it usually has, just a bow off a past present. I just don’t care, but I care that I don’t care.
Why Bother. To an external listener, this sounds alarming. It is a sure sign of depression and “call me anytime, talk to me, we care”. Yeah, I know who cares. Actions and words thing. I understand. However, for a lot of widowers, the Why Bother is simply the underlying thread of the new life. It is not a call to action for the most part.
So, I try to meditate almost every night. I have a Loki altar and the ritual of lighting a candle, telling the beads, having the chat and the shot is my form of meditation. The beads are summing up the day, at the first pass. Creativity, cunning, body health, secrecy, rage, fearlessness, courage, justice, nurture, joy, and the end piece is clarity. The second and third pass look deeper. I have been looking deep into Why Bother.
Here’s the thing, I do not believe in an Afterlife. This life is it. Sure, there may be some residue from strong personalities, but that’s more like an electrical discharge than anything sentient. No family reunions, no eternal rest or torment, no past or future lives. One and done. This life is finite, so I feel like I should not even consider stepping out early, not unless I cannot care for myself or am in severe physical pain. I am stubborn, I am going to fucking do this.
One Why is I still want to travel, to see new things, to listen to tales and tell them, to eat wonderful food. So many museums, so little time. I just fear my ability to travel solo is so very limited.
My Why includes my obligations. Keep a roof over my head, pay my bills, keep up the yard. Stay out of a nursing home. Care for my cats. They won’t be loved by anyone else, I am obliged to outlive them. Do not cause pain for loved ones who make an effort for me. Keep the memories, curate the stuff. That all stops with me for the most part, so it behooves me to get certain things into the right hands. I tried with mom’s stuff, it’s thankless and in the long run, futile. My estate sale shall be legendary. People will post the cool things they got in groups on Facebook.
Last of all is my Art. While I am uncertain what I will do with all my art, I have so many supplies, I feel obligated to try and work through as much as possible. That said, I just ordered a new loose Loki action figure to make into a Christmas Loki. The details are nebulous in my mind, but he shall be glorious.
Ant that is sufficient. Not the original plan by all means, but I am making do with what I got.
Ah. Doing the things. The rugs went down yesterday, along with a good deal of cleaning of floors and cabinet fronts. And laundry. Ordered holiday fridge door covers and a festive bowtie clip for Lucky Barry.
Today I humped the step-stool downstairs and began the Great Shift. There’s Spode teapots and a cookie jar, and ornaments, and teacups and candle holders for the baking rack, all up high on the shelves in the laundry room. I left the plates, bowls, and mugs in their boxes on the shelf though. The mugs make me far too sad; I used to make hot cocoa with whipped cream in them for when Larry was working in the yard. We’d take little breaks out back by the firepit. All the Spode is the Christmas tree pattern, and most of it came from clearance sales at Dillard’s, and a few from Macy’s. This meant Larry and I would be out shopping together, something we did a lot. The Spode carries a lot of memories. The Christmas breakfast in bed, waffles and strawberries. We never did get to use the bowls, they were the latest acquisition from when we used to go out to Layton for our massages near the mall.
I also got the tote with the holiday throws and decorative cushions up the stairs, and swapped out the front room. I brought up the kitchen bows and beads tote, put the gold bow on the front door. The rest of the kitchen can be done tomorrow. This leaves five distinct chores: the tree in the shed, the front room silk flowers, the bells and ornaments under the eaves, lights in the front window because I cannot do roof lights, and then cards. Maybe neighbor gifts. I have some lights for the window, but not THE lights. This bothers me.
Having a bad day, it’s been a bit down hill for the past week or so anyway. I want to do all this, but the “why bother” is coming on strong. My nest must be cozy, I love my stuff. I think Larry liked it, but he may have been indifferent too; perhaps he liked that I liked it so much. I know he was proud of his roof lights. I set out the pillows which have joy and merry and happy on them. I am not joyous or merry nor happy. I don’t know exactly what I am. I am not suicidal or end it all, but I spend too much time in bed, too much time picking away at nothing. It’s a weird mix of getting on with it and not caring but enjoying the small things. That may be the problem, it is all so small when it is not shared. My world has collapsed in on itself and some days it feels like I’m just surviving in an air pocket. Then again, some days are okay. Nothing dire, just nothing wonderful.
I gave an internet stranger in my discord cadre a gift of money to buy shoes. She did, good ones for cold weather yet light enough for work. I’m glad I could help, life is miserable with bad footwear.