I am a new widower. I have to keep telling myself that. Why? Because I want to be the old married guy that I was. I want to be the experienced, focused manager I’m supposed to be at work. I want to be the “super-smart, super-handy” dad to help my kids out with their needs. I want to be the loyal, dedicated son to my mom; that guy who showed up every morning with coffee in hand, and some conversation before we each started our days. To be the happy, doting grandfather… I want to be who I was. I want what I had. I guess as I have always told my kids: it’s good to want. Wanting drives ambition and achievement.
But I’m a new widower. Being a new widower has changed me so fundamentally in so little time. I still get things done – sometimes enthusiastically; sometimes like an automaton. Sometimes it takes a while to get to things, but they’re getting done. But I don’t like to leave the house, for instance. I was always a bit of a homebody, but I literally do not want to go anywhere. Is this a vestige of “Caregiver Pat,” who really couldn’t leave the house very often, particularly at the end? Or is this part of my grief? I know there’s a bit that COVID has to do with this – I mean, who looks forward to going somewhere where you need to wear a mask and stay away from everyone else? And I don’t get anxious when I’m out; I don’t feel like I have to rush back home – it’s just that first step that’s difficult: going through the door.
And my interests seem to have changed a bit drastically as well. Instead of my usual forays into things like 3D printing, Python, Arduino, and RPi or ever-engrossing home improvement projects, I find myself constantly searching for information on what I’m going through, poring over whatever I find. Without that, outside of work, and when I’m not needed to help one of the kids? I feel at sea. I don’t know what I want to do. That’s when I find myself plopping down here and either looking for more information on how others have dealt with this – or I write a blog post on where I am. Like this one.
And I’m terrified of being alone. That, too. Probably because I’m new at this.
In other news, I had the follow-up testing for the balance issues I’ve been experiencing, and it appears to be nothing more threatening than the damage done by not seeking medical treatment when I first noticed balance issues in late October. The ol’ noggin’ is already “relearning” this balance thing from the differing data coming from the right and left ear, and some “vestibular therapy” should accelerate the progress, eliminating the dizziness. That will be good – I have a few projects that were placed on hold that I need to be “ladder steady” for. Plus, the ENT ordered up some antibiotics to knock out this sinus infection that has been tearing me up for the past few days. Just in time, too – I seem to have developed conjunctivitis in the right eye as I was driving to this appointment. I think all of this lends credence to the point that grief may wreak havoc on your immune system. Make sure, if nothing else, you’re eating right and, particularly, you’re getting enough sleep.
Speaking of which, I should wrap operations up and follow my own advice.