Friday, July 22, 2011

return of the numbness

Photo from here...

Written four months after Jeff's death....

I don't know if it's normal to have the vague fuzzy feeling like thinking through a pillow re-emerge four months after a death happens. But it has. I feel as if I'm trying to catch glimpses of things as I spin in circles. I can see that things are there but the edges blur and smudge together. I'm late for things all the time...okay, even later than I was before. I can't keep my bloody mind 'on task' and forget where/what I was doing or going.
It was getting better. Maybe it was the large whiteboard that I stationed in the living room to help remind me of the obligations that need attending to. Maybe I was beginning to heal a minute amount (this is what I was hoping).
But whatever reprieve I had from the chaos and confusion of a muddled mind has ended. Fuck. It makes me crabby. I always think I am forgetting something (which I am) and I can't rest or let my mind cease the constant flurry of thought. It's a numb, yet intense feeling. Like walking barefoot through really deep, COLD mud. Slow but sharp.
My only reasoning for this is that grief is not a steady road upward. There are twists, setbacks and road-blocks. I've hit a big-ass speed bump.


  1. Today is 10 months ... and it feels I've taken some big steps backward. I hit a "big-ass speed bump" yesterday, but I survived. I'm counting on Camp Widow to help me get back on track.

    And a white board has been my savior for quite awhile now. I used it to keep track of all of the caregiving duties during my husband's cancer battle ... appointments, meds, BP checks, input/output, phone numbers, reminders. I took it down right after he died but it went back up the next day. It's somehow comforting for it to still be there - kind of a memorial to that past life. And it's proven to be a really good treatment for my widow brain.

  2. this was SO good!after 17 months,I am just now paying attention to what day of the week it is,and the date. baby steps!I feel as if I've been in a fog,dark hole.starting to have more up days,then plunge down again.some days I wonder if my heart bleeds tears it aches so gets better,and joy moments come.slowly.

  3. @A Myeloma Widow - Try not to get discouraged. Not that I'm an expert at this or anything but what I've experienced is that it's like an onion. You peel one layer back and something else is there. Maybe that's not a great analogy but I can definitely say that there are cycles or road bumps or layers. I'll be fine for a while then suddenly I'm hurting, angry or sad all over again. Usually, however, the pain isn't as sharp this time around and it's about different things or in different ways, although the differences can be very subtle. Those differences, if you can spot them, are signs of healing, that you're stronger.

  4. This is exactly how I feel this week - 9 months out.
    This strange combination of everything is brighter, louder, stronger, visually and viscerally. Like my mind can't take it all in. As if since Jims death every sense I have is tuned up high.
    Yet emotionally I feel numb. Like I can't let it all in. All the beauty. The sky and startling sunsets and the perfect smell of long summer days. I can see it.
    I can see it in ways I have never thought possible. The magic and wonder of nature. But if I feel, or try to what comes to me is the sweet clean smell of my husbands neck, the softness of his hair, the sound of his laughter and the weight of his body inside my arms. It all comes back. Sometimes that knowing is so perfect i can barely breathe. At other times it is like a javelin to the heart.

    Thank you for mentioning the short term memory. I thought I was losing my mind. I can't remember the most trivial things lately and I know lack of sleep is making this worse.

    AND being late!!! It takes me so long to get going in the morning that i often stare at my watch in shock! Where did two hours go! It wasn't like this before. Now I no longer have my husband to take care of in his illness, I have hours and hours but they go somewhere. Wasted. Wandering. Not sure how.

    Thank you Jackie for this older post it brings to life where I am now and I don't feel so crazy.

  5. I have certainly experienced all of the above. Especially short term memory and losing time. My struggle now (at 21 months) is this: I don't know what to do with myself when I come home from work, or in the evenings. I'm at a point where I'm starting to care about things again, but don't really want to go out much (always was kind of a homebody) but having no grown children (out of the house) and no one to tend to after years of being a wife and mother, I'm lost. Although I'm comfortable in my home, I have lost that "nesting" feeling and feel out of sorts. Can someone address this? What do all of you do, finding yourself without the previous spouse/and or parent jobs? Help is appreciated!

  6. Correction...I'm the anon at 21 months...I did not mean to write "no grown children" I meant to write "grown children." Sorry. Anyway, would love some suggestions.

  7. SOOO good 2 read this! I'm at 9 1/2 months and suddenly feel like I'm losing my mind! I've done so well, even helping other widows & now this? All the things in this blog r what I've been feeling! I have "head knowledge" of what's happening, but can't seem to get my heart 2 understand. Nice to see I'm not going crazy!

  8. I am 4 years out--been there and done that!
    I am just coming out of that fog. Damn it takes a long time. I felt like the rest of the world was whirrling at one speed and I was in slow motion. It took all my energy to make a small amout of progress with stuff that used to take no energy at all.

  9. I am almost 18 months out and it hit me last month. I told my grief therapist that I felt as if I had been hit by a huge wave and I was going down for the 3rd time and I had taken 500 steps backward. I fake it everyday at work and now it feels as if I fake that I am alright so much that I don't even know who I am anymore. My mind is so foggy-I can't remember anything; I don't care about anything; all I want to do is to stay in bed (obviously can't do that as I would lose my house and car); I don't have enough money to pay my bills; can't sleep because I can't turn my mind off. Though it does make me feel a little bit better seeing that I am not the only one who feels this way.

  10. It was so good to read this post.
    I am at the 4 month stage myself and had seemed to be doing okay - but this last week it has been just awful. The pain has gotten so much worse - the overwhelming sadness, the tears - and I am having full, technicolour mind pictures of my husband - especially related to him wearing favourite items of clothing that I see around the house. And the dreams - some awful dreams where my husband is around but doesn't really want to engage with me anymore - or that he has left home and doesn't want to come back - one widow I know calls them 'detatchment' dreams - a process wherein we are gradually getting it into our spirits that they are no longer a part of us. Whatever. It is painful.