Just cry. Let it out. And cry again. Keep the tissues handy.
I am sure there is no hard and fast rule about how long it takes to grieve. Its been almost 3 months now and I am still surprised when I feel the need to cry. I now have mostly good days but the void is still there. I don’t feel whole.
Initially I was consumed by the grief, I was drowning in it. I was taken by surprise by my husbands’ betrayal, it was like I was hit by a tsunami. I had no coping mechanisms and was totally unprepared for what was happening to me.
The first couple of weeks was like an out of body experience. I know I existed but didn’t feel anything besides the pain and loss. I couldn’t function at all, everything was a blur. I didn’t eat or sleep. I had a fear of going to bed as I didn’t want to wake up alone, to be reminded that he had left me, to be reminded that our future no longer existed. I couldn’t leave the house and face the outside world even though I hated being in the house surrounded by remnants of our life together.
I had no answers or understanding of what and why this was happening to me which made it difficult to start the healing process or even to be able to put things into prospective. I was completely disorientated with no ability to figure out how to function by myself. I had no understanding of what would be normal activities for me as my life for the last 12 years had been ‘us’. I was feeling so abandoned and empty.
I reached out to friends and family throughout the day. A huge telephone bill the first month was a shock but I put it down to therapy and quickly changed my old phone plan! I talked to people who cared about me. I found the mornings and afternoons the hardest times where the mornings represented a day of emptiness and the afternoons were the gaps where there was no one coming home. I would stare at the front door feeling utterly saddened that he would not be walking through it. I suspect that I drove a few friends crazy with listening to me crying and I am so thankful that they still take my calls. To those friends I say – ‘I love you and thank you for being an important part of my life’.
I definitely suffered anxiety with regards to driving, my lack of concentration was dangerous. Even making and keeping appointments was a challenge – weekly trips to see doctors and counsellors felt overwhelming and complicated. I suffered a panic attack when I tried to go to the local markets one weekend. It felt like I was a ghost and people were all around me but I wasn’t connecting to my environment. I went back to the safety of my car and cried. Another time I forced myself out in public. I had to go to Bunnings Hardware. This was something that we did together almost every weekend. It was almost my hobby and a ritual that included the sausage sizzle as my prize. I was walking down an aisle and suddenly burst into tears. Yes, crazy lady crying in Bunnings. It had hit me that ‘we’ would never be doing this activity together again.
I started making major decisions regarding properties and employment. Thankfully friends intervened to help me realise that I needed to wait so that I was not making decisions prematurely. My initial instinct was to remove myself from the house, suburb, shops or anywhere that was familiar and ‘shared’. I thought it would be too painful to be constantly reminded of my loss. Now, with time, I am glad my friends intervened. I take solace in the familiar.
I have lost my love, my support, my companion, my hopes, my dreams, my future plans. I don’t understand why he has done this to someone he was supposed to ‘love forever’. I know that I am a hopeless romantic and am working on a mantra that ‘Only I can make myself happy’.