I stopped counting the months after the one year mark. The 28th of every month no longer had its grip on my heart. I didn’t feel the need to count thirteen, fourteen, fifteen months…. But lately I’ve been thinking about Kris. Mexico was six months ago.
And a year and a half feels significant, it’s like my soul has been craving another tsunami of grief. I find myself sitting or lying on the floor in odds places in my house – the end of the bed, the middle of the kitchen, on the stairs, the cold bathroom tile. It’s sudden, the ability to walk or stand, even sit, leaves me. I give in to it at home when it’s just me. My fur babies always come check on me, ask why I’m on their level. Don’t worry, it really doesn’t happen very often, and I keep it together in public. You won’t ever see the heavy sigh and slow collapse.
When Kris first died, I sat on the floor all the time, all over the house. Usually because a memory or wave of grief would wash over me, literally like a physical blow, leaving me doubled over, and the only thing I could do was sit down wherever I was. And then I’d usually end up lying down on the floor. It’s funny how different rooms and furniture look when you’re eye level with the floor. You notice how must dust is under that one chair you never move, all the little pieces of food that have fallen down between the stove and counter, dog and cat footprints everywhere, the patterns in the hand-textured walls and ceilings, patterns that I made, patterns that Kris made, Kris’s dirty fingerprints around one of the lights in the kitchen.
This time of year, though, it’s hard. The evenings and mornings are cooler. We’re nearing the end of summer. It’ll be my birthday and then what would have been my sixth wedding anniversary and nine years of being with Kris. I think of those weekends we spent in Ketchum, our last rafting adventure, the Europe trip we took with my parents, even football…..
I had to take one of my cats, Gilbert, to the vet a few weeks ago because he got in a cat fight and got beat up real bad. Kris’s name is still on the account at the vet. The other cat, Figs, got a chunk of her cat butt bitten off and needed surgery, back to the vet. Kris’s name is still on the account. I got in a fender bender, totally my fault. Kris’s name is still on the car insurance account.
I feel distracted, my mind constantly wanders. I’m restless. Some days I don’t think the world around me ever fully comes into focus. I just go through the motions. But I also don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way. Any major life stress or work burnout can trigger the same emotions or feelings of detachment. Just have to make it to the next vacation. Is that how most people live?
I still stress about money, even with life insurance money and working full-time. I didn’t work very much last year, didn’t make very much. Still made more than the poverty level, more than someone working full-time getting paid minimum wage. Plenty to pay my bills and buy groceries. I finally met with a financial advisor, felt like a very adult thing to do.
One of the hardest adjustments has been working full-time and relying on myself for money. It’s hard to get away from the two income household mindset (i.e. buying whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted without much thought, yeah, I was spoiled), especially when Kris made all the money. Working full-time sucks. But it’s fine. Last year all I wanted was to work full-time and now here I am. I like my paychecks but desperately miss my down time. And honestly, I don’t think I could’ve worked full-time last year anyway, I lacked the emotionally capacity. It would have been too much. I work with sick patients in the hospital. Sometimes it’s a struggle to find empathy. Or my mind goes to dark places, wondering how and why some patients’ lives are saved when Kris’s body stopped working.
I haven’t figured out what I’m doing with this blog. But I have found myself thinking more about food and new recipes lately…. I still occasionally get a check from GoogleAds for $100, so there are some people out there somewhere coming to the site. The website stuff overwhelms me and I literally have meltdowns when something is wrong. I haven’t taken the time to learn WordPress like I should. All the food blog money is in those cute, little recipe videos that I don’t know how to make. But I could figure it out. I can figure it out. Do I want to?
All that to say that I am the person I am because of Kris. He changed me, challenged me, questioned me, pushed me, drove me crazy, annoyed me, supported me, made me laugh, loved me. I have become who I am because of his death. The heart doesn’t stop loving him or missing him, it just makes room for more love. The last year and a half has been rough, to put it mildly, I don’t think I would have made it without all the support from family and friends.