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The Wandering Widow

Observations, Tips and Reckless Truth Telling on the Road Through Grief

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Coping

Muscle Memory

A Grief Recovery Project Post 

I promised you the good, the bad and the ugly in the interest of shining a light on the ugly underbelly of the grief no one wants to talk about.  And this is ugly. Most of my posts show up months after the fact, giving me time to process through things. This one is in real time, and it’s messy. Sometimes you can see a grief storm headed your way and you can hunker down and wait it out.  Other times, it’s a Category 10 Hurricane, and you have to take steps to keep from being destroyed.  Brace yourself, the mother of all storms is coming.

I can feel the winds changing. I’ve been in a really good place. Really freaking good.  And happy, with my eyes on the future. There are still sad days, but those days don’t steal the light from the sky. I can be both happy and sad at the same time and still feel okay. At least I could until about a week ago.  Something was different.  Off.  Like a storm that blows in from multiple directions, I was being buffeted by multiple emotions at the same time. After a week of wondering where this PMS on steroids was coming from I looked at the calendar and realized what it was, and that it was only going to get worse. In less than a month we’ll hit the one-year deathiversary milestone.

My grief counselor describes it as muscle memory. The closer we get to THAT DATE, the more my body and emotions revert back to a year ago. Great.  I can’t  have muscle memory on leg day at the gym, but my brain sends me back in time to the worst period of my life?!?! Fanfreakingtastic. My blood pressure skyrockets and adrenaline floods my system. The nightmares have returned. I’m losing sleep because I’m back to waking up every day around 4 am to give him meds. WTF?!  I don’t have time for this. I’m back to work full time. I’m back to life full time. I’m putting on a memorial golf tournament in a week! I don’t have time for the grief monsters to come back.

Although it’s not like they ask for permission or anything. The crying never really stopped, although it did slow down. But now I’m angry, which is new. Marshawn Lynch can keep Beast Mode, right now I own Bitch Mode (or it owns me), and that’s way scarier.  And it’s more than anger, it’s rage. It feels like my skin doesn’t fit right and I’m looking for a fight in every corner. And not just a verbal smackdown, I’m ready to gorilla stomp anyone who pushes the right buttons.  Kinda scary for someone who abhors violence. (Hmm it might be a good time to get back to my kickboxing class and work some of this out safely).

So how do I control the uncontrollable?  I can’t, which appears to be the lesson the universe really wants me to get through my thick skull. How do I get through the hurricane without taking everyone with me? I have no idea. I’m doing the best I can to batten down the hatches and face the storm head on.

First, I gave myself permission to be a mess for awhile. Kinda required when you are sobbing on the floor to the point you scare the dog.  Second, I acknowledged that it was okay to feel the feelings and get through them, even when that means something as yucky and distasteful as rage. I rallied my GRP support team and stacked my calendar with massage, acupuncture, grief counseling, hypnotherapy and Reiki appointments to help me get me through it. And with my friends and family holding on to me for dear life, I’m turning to face the storm head on.

XOXO,

The Wandering Widow

BTW if you see me coming and I look like I’m in Hulk Smash mode, you may want to retreat. I promise I’m doing the best I can, and hoping July 11th dawns with sunny blue skies and this storm rapidly fading in the distance.

Table For One-The Euro Edition

In my earlier Table For One post, I discussed not waiting around for someone to invite us out.  Widowhood doesn’t mean having to hide out until you have someone to go out with. That has hangry written all over it.  I just completed our big bucket list trip in Europe and encountered a whole new table for one scenario that I couldn’t wait to share with you. Mostly because it’s so bad it’s comical. 

There are many things Europe does better than we do, but taking care of solo diners isn’t one of them. Or at least not solo female travelers who like to venture off the beaten path.  I don’t mind dining at the bar, but sometimes a W just wants to enjoy a lovely meal at an actual table. After spending three weeks across the pond, I was horrified and then amused at what would be offered. It almost became a game to see how bad it could get. My favorites include:

  • The hideous corner table where I was made to face the freaking corner like a naughty five year old.
  • The “it’s just you?” when asking for a table, followed by the big sigh.
  • The quick dragging away of the offensive “extra” chair.
  • Being ignored as soon as my food was delivered.  DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT must be part of the training manual.

Sadly, one downside of traveling solo means there was no one to capture the many WTF faces I tried very hard to control.  

As if this weren’t appetizing enough, this is where a table for one is a punishment. As a courtesy to the restaurant I won’t name them here.

There were some notable exceptions to the rule, my favorite being Hams Hame Pub and Grill just outside of St. Andrews Old Course. This lovely pub was clean and spacious and the staff was lovely.  It was all “Madam” this and “Madam” that.  Madam could sit anywhere she damn well wanted and received lots of smiles and attention by the staff.  Madam left feeling like a princess and not an outcast to be hidden away.  Madam likey. Check out Hams Hame if you are ever in St. Andrews.  Excellent food, great whisky options and a beautiful staff with amazing service.

So, my Dear W’s, keep trying until you find a place you like that makes you feel like Madam and not an embarrassment.  And remember-nobody puts baby in the corner.  Not even in Europe.

Cheers!

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