Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Even Though I'm Mostly Happy ......

...... I'm not magically "all better".
By a long shot.

I bought a Groupon a couple of months ago.  It was for sending in VHS tapes to be converted into DVDs.
A few weeks ago I loaded up a box with about 24 cassettes of our "home movies" and sent them off.
And then promptly forgot about them.
No big surprise there.  I promptly forget almost everything.
Yes, I know that causes much concern and angst for those of you who are behind me on this path and are hoping that your memory returns to normal one day.
But worry not.
I think mine still sucks because I'm old.
But outside of this blog ...... I will continue to blame it on grief ...... and deny with all of the strength I possess, that I said otherwise.
Forever and always, Amen.

But I, as usual, digress.
Where was I?
Oh, yes ...... VHS tapes magically being turned into DVDs.

Yesterday I came home to find a box sitting on my front porch.
And inside it were all of my VHS tapes ...... and 24 DVDs.
(See above picture.  And then you'll definitely know that I'm old.  Stop snickering.  You may be old one day, too).

I took the DVDs out of the box, closed the box back up and set it aside to put it somewhere safe.  Yes, even though I had them converted I'm still not going to throw them out.
Even though I no longer own a VHS player.
Don't judge ...... even though that might classify me as a hoarder.

Today I put the DVDs into a cabinet (after I took the above picture).
And shut the door.
And ...... did not promptly forget about them.
Although I'd like to.
But my mind keeps drifting back to that cabinet.

You see ...... I have not watched any of those recordings in over 5 years.
And aside from buying the Groupon and sending them in, I haven't really thought about them in all of that time, either.
That's probably because I firmly shoved them out of my mind.
Or at least to some unoccupied corner of it.

In the beginning, a friend asked if I had watched any of our tapes.  Specifically the ones that included Jim.
I said no, with firmness and without hesitation.
Indicating that watching those was NOT going to happen any time soon.
She asked "why?"
And all I could come up with was, "Because.  I don't want to."  And though she may have asked "why?" again, that was the end of that.
I have no "Whys" that most un-widowed people would accept.
But I know that you ...... almost all of you ...... get it.
Without asking "Why?"
Thank you for that.

I still don't want to watch them.
I can't watch them.
I can't watch Jim, alive, having fun, laughing,  and loving our children
Not at this time.
Not yet.

I have no doubt that I will one day pop those suckers into a DVD player and watch them.
One at a time.
But today is not that day.
Although, unlike 5 years ago, I can now say that it might be next week.  Or next month.
I don't know exactly when that day will arrive, but it will.
And I'm ok with that.

I'm just not OK with watching them before then.

Or with playing my piano.
Yes, still.
But that story is right over here, if you're interested in reading more about my crazy.  And how it hasn't seemed to go away.

So yes, I really am mostly happy.  But I still have my moments of wave attacks.
And I still have a few, ummmm, insane items, errrrr mentally unbalanced episodes ...... oh, Whatever!!  Yes, I'm happy.  Definitely almost always happy.   But no, I'm not "all better" and I'll take a chance and say that I don't think I will ever again be "ALL BETTER".  But that's not a bad thing.

A little crazy can be a lot of fun.
Or so I've heard.   :)

And a lotta crazy? Well, ...... who knows what can happen when there's a lotta crazy around?!
You tell me.
After you read the Piano Story.
Again ...... don't judge.

And keep breathing.


  1. I am right there with you Janine, well maybe a little behind. My movies are still on DVD and I haven't watched a single one. The kids gave me a gift certificate to have them switched over to CD and they are still in the box waiting (like me sort of). I feel so much better knowing that I am not alone. All those Hollywood movies show the widow sitting on the couch sobbing at family movies, and I always thought maybe there was something wrong with me that I didn't want to do that? So thanks for letting me know I am ok (or crazy). I will take that too!

    1. Hi Nancy,
      Thanks for your comments. You made me smile with you're being "still in the box waiting". That was a good analogy.
      And you are perfectly ok. Even if you are crazy ...... but you're not. Or ...... if you are, you're in great company!

  2. No judgement here.
    You tried. And it's only natural that we avoid things that cause us pain.
    We've been through so much.

    I too have some old VHS & compact VHS tapes that I've considered transferring over to DVD. But like you I'm not anxious to watch them so I haven't done anything with them yet. (No VHS player here either.) Although I'd like to see moving images of Dave, I think seeing the life we had before will tear me up inside. Also our son is now an angry, unhappy twenty something that's throwing his life away. Seeing him as a happy, carefree child would also be painful.

    1. Thanks, Valerie.
      You're right. We've been through so very much.
      I'm so sorry about your son, and I, too, understand that. I hope that he's able to learn how to deal with his grief and his emotions before too much longer. Helping my sons to learn this has been one of the hardest things in my grieving. We all grieve so uniquely and sometimes privately that it's difficult to help our children when they can't/won't tell us how they feel. Though they certainly can show us how angry they are sometimes.
      Keep breathing.

  3. Janine, thanks for affirming what I have been feeling. At almost 3 years I still can't watch the home movies. Like Valerie said it is too painful and I am very much trying to repair my heart not open up another gapping wound.

    I have learned to never judge whatever another widow or widower may or may not do. I only wish the rest of the world would understand and stop the criticism.

    Thanks again for sending the message..."it is okay.."

    1. Anon,
      You're so welcome and I'm thankful that you could relate to my words and feelings.
      You will always get an "it's okay" from me when it comes to grief. Always.
      And I think all of us have learned how horrible it is to be judged ...... and to judge.
      Here ...... you have permission to grieve just the way you grieve.
      Thanks for commenting.

  4. My piano sits, too, unplayed, as well as hundreds of records, cd's, dvd's, tapes (we used to have a music store). Occasionally I will put music on, only to have to walk away from it. Maybe someday...

    I did watch a snippet of a home movie I recently found, he was behind the camera, so only heard his voice. It was good to hear him, don't think I could have handled seeing him too. Baby steps.

    1. Anon,
      Thank you so much for commenting and letting me know that my piano isn't the only one that sits unplayed.
      I, too, have heard my husband's voice, but on those mini cassette tapes that he used for dictation. It was easier to listen to him that way because ...... although I love hearing his voice, the topics were hugely boring to me. :)
      Guess I'll never be a CPA.

  5. HiJanine! Im the new Friday writer in here, just to introduce myself lol ... anyway, I cant watch our wedding video or even THINK about watching it for the same reasons, and I also cant listen to music, because my husband played guitar ALL THE TIMe and all music just makes me incredibly sad and want to hear him playing. I think these feelings shift over time, but it does take a long time, and it takes as long as it takes.

    1. Hi Kelley! It's nice to meet you. :)
      I've watched some of your videos and have loved them (as well as your posts here). I'm glad that you've joined us.
      We got married "back in the day", meaning, in prehistoric times. No easy-to-use-video cameras back then. I can NOT imagine watching that if we had one, though. Not yet.
      Yes, your feelings will shift. Time does help with that, but it's difficult to know how much time. As you said, it takes as long as it takes.
      And for everyone, it's a different amount of time.
      Hang in there.
      I look forward to meeting you I.R.L. in April.

  6. Hi... What hit me was the thing about the memory lapses... still not getting better. I was hoping it would get better. Read somewhere calling the memory effect of grief, a swiss cheese effect on the brain. Fits. Never know what I will "lose", that I knew before or forgot and then re-remembered.

    Jo (New widow, 4 months.)

    1. Jo,
      You're only at 4 months?! And yet you're here and commenting. You're ahead of where I was at 4 months. And don't worry, the memory thing does get better. I remember feeling so relieved when I first found out that I wasn't crazy and that it's a normal part of such intense grief. And I didn't find that out until a year or so!
      Keep breathing, Jo.
      One breath at a time.

  7. Janine, I so look forward to hopefully meeting you at Camp Widow East. I've followed your blog for several months and you always seem to know exactly what I'm feeling... My husband and I had a passion for music.. I can't listen to music anymore without breaking down in tears. I'm finding that everything my husband and I had in common is difficult for me to enjoy which is making the grieving unbearable. Someone please tell me this will pass...

    Betty (New widow, 10 mos.)

    1. Betty,
      I look forward to meeting you, too. :)
      Thank you for your kind words. I'm sorry that you have a reason to follow me, but since you do, I'm glad you found us.
      And yes, music has been the absolute most difficult thing for me. And it still can hit me like nothing else.
      But yes, this, too, shall pass.
      I promise.
      Keep breathing.

  8. I am so glad to read that others can't play their piano either. Just sometimes, when I have been drinking, I can enjoy it, but end up crying too much to continue. Something about the emotional connection that music has with my brain just makes it too much to handle. Then I feel guilty for not playing as I used to be sort of talented. Singing doesn't have the same effect, as I joined a choir soon after the death and that was very helpful as the rehearsals totally occupied my thoughts and I could escape the grief during that time. What a blessing that was at the beginning.

    1. Anon,
      I found that others' remarks led me to feel guilty about not playing, but no longer. I don't discuss it much at all and so very people even know. But now I know that it's ok and that it really will pass before long. I'm can feel myself getting closer and closer to sitting down and playing it. Probably not well, but still .....
      Thanks for commenting and letting me know I'm not the only one.