Friday, June 20, 2014

What Was My Point?

I am the Friday writer here at Widow's Voice. That means, that every single Friday, a blog post written by me goes up. Technically, I write the post late Thursday night, so as to have it finished by the deadline of midnight West Coast time, which is 3 a.m. my time. So, you would think that because I have been writing in here for quite awhile now, and because it is the same part of my weekly routine in life, and because I have it in my head that every Thursday night before bed, I write here - AND I have a giant desk calendar that reads in big letters "Write Widow's Voice" in the little Thursday boxes - that I wouldn't regularly forget to write in here. Well, you would be all kinds of wrong.

I would say that a good 87% of the time, I somehow still forget, and end up going to bed on Thursday night without writing my piece. Then, somewhere around 4 a.m. in the morning, at some completely random time, something in my mind goes off like an alarm, and I sit up in my bed with a quickness and panic, and I yell: "SHIT!!!" And now, here I sit, at 11 a.m. on the Friday, piecing together something last minute, and late.

Is it that thing we all call "Widow Brain", that turns our minds into oatmeal? Yeah. Maybe. I dunno. At this point, I think this is just my new brain now. I think that on July 13, 2011, when my husband died, I got a new brain forcibly implanted into my skull, and so now, this is what I have to work with. This new brain doesn't work at all like my old one. I'm still a very creative person and still have the same sense of humor, except maybe even darker than before, but my ideas take so much longer in this brain to formulate and come to fruition. Getting even the tiniest thing done always seems extremely difficult for me now. And it's not just with Widow's Voice blogs. No. It is with everything. I sit down to grade my students Acting projects, and I might get through 3 of them before my mind suddenly and randomly takes me elsewhere. I try to write a chapter in my book, and then, wait a minute ... how did I end up on Facebook or Twitter? Why am I in my kitchen eating cookies over the sink and staring blankly at the wall? At what point did I open up an old photo album and sit on my couch looking through pictures of me and my husband and our old life? Who moved me from my desk into my bedroom and put on yet another mindless episode of Restaurant Impossible for me to watch? What the hell happened here???

Yeah. That is my how my new brain works, and so you can see how it makes it almost impossible to accomplish anything. I never used to be this way. Focusing was never an issue for me. Now? My mind wanders, then wanders again, then wanders from the things it wandered toward. This is a problem. I cannot work this way. And yet, I have to. I have to adjust to this new brain and this new life, and somehow figure out how to stop fighting against it's existence and conquer it. And I need to figure this out fast, because this summer, as in right this very minute, I am finishing the writing of my book. My goal is to have it written and ready for editing and all that, hopefully by the end of the summer or so. But I have several pieces still left to write of the story, and every time I sit down and start a piece, I get distracted. My own new mind distracts me. This new panic and anxiety that comes with sudden death and my new life - it attacks me most when Im trying to work. The other day I was sitting here at my desk in my home office, like I am now, and attempting to write up a piece for the book, when the following thought process went through my brain:

Wow it is so hot today. That ceiling fan above me feels really good right now. Is that on the highest speed? It looks like it's going a bit fast. Too fast. Is that safe? What if the fan fell off the ceiling and smashed into me and I died while writing this piece about my husband dying for a book about my husband's death? That would be truly ironic. Alanis Morrisette might enjoy that one for her silly song "Ironic", in which nothing she talks about is actually ironic. Maybe learn the definition of the word ironic before you write an entire song about it. Rain on your wedding day is not ironic. Just sayin'. Shit. I gotta get this done. I'm thirsty. But do I want ice water or iced tea? What kind of beverage mood am I in? Oh man, this carpet is dirty. I really need to clean. Screw that. I hate cleaning. What was that noise my heart just made? It sounded like it skipped a beat or something. What if I have a heart-attack like he did, and I just die? What if I die the same way he did? I dont want to be all alone and collapse somewhere. I need to get healthy. But he was healthy and he died anyway. This sucks. Okay, focus. Back to the chapter ... 

And it goes on and on like that, for quite some time. It is no wonder I am so damn tired all the time. Thinking that much is extremely exhausting. All of this is to say that I am sorry if my Friday pieces are sometimes not completely on time. Sometimes I suck at this "after-Don" life thing. I don't know what the hell I'm doing, but I keep trying. I guess that counts for something. And I had a really great topic idea in mind to write about today in here - if I could only remember what the hell it was.

What was my point again?


  1. Yup....that pretty much sums up my "after" brain too. My thought processes are just as rambling and convoluted. Grading my students' papers this "first year after" was quite difficult. Thank you for always putting it out there Kelley. I hope I get to see your presentationat CWW in July.

  2. Totally relate...where's my charger, where are my shoes, what was I doing?....aedforever (wv)

  3. The group facilitator for my young widow support group used to remind us that "grief is a cognitive disorder". Of course, most of the time when I tried to remember that, I wouldn't be able to come up with those words, so I'd tell myself "Grief is a, what is that word again? something about the brain?..."
    We all grieve differently, but there are definitely similarities and widow brain is one of them!

  4. Thank you! I get that whole brain thing. My mind was always rather full and filled with odd connections. But now my mind meanders even off the twisting paths of pre-widowdom, and it strolls, so agonizingly slow at times. I understand having those moments of why am I in here? Where did that thought come from? So thank you for confirming that I'm not alone in this. ~Sabrina

  5. Oh my gosh Kelley I so relate and so "ironic" that I wrote about this myself the day before...ha. But It's not really funny at all is it. The only solace is we are not alone in experiencing this...I so enjoy reading your posts, no matter when they were written!!

  6. Remember when sitting still was something I didn't do because it seemed to be such a waste of time….now I sit and stare a lot of any given day because doing anything takes such effort let alone getting to the point of doing anything. Staring off into space, starting a project that took weeks to get into only to walk away from it five minutes later…thank you for reminding me yet again that I am not alone is this awful journey we are all on!!!

  7. I feel like my IQ got cut in half. And then I start worrying - do I have Alzheimer's, it's too soon for me to have that, will my brain ever work again, and on and on... I start to write in my journal and drift on in the middle. Everything, basic things, take so much more time. And so tired all the time. Sad any of us have to go through this, grateful to not be alone. Thank you! xoxo

  8. Hello, just read all Me toooo.. Oh my forgetting ?? What is that? Like one said I'm to young for that right??? Brain Fogggg is real when u have trama.., I forget what part takes over into survival mode, but it does.. I've had some counseling..and it comes down to trama..almost like PTSD.. But it's WTSD.. has given me a new outlook on that, just thinkn of a soldier that has seen many die before his eyes and can do nothing.. Or hv to take a life or many to save his own and deal w aftermath once he gets home.. Just horrific.. Death comes many ways..but confusion it leaves behind is enormous...