New Normal? Or, Just Plain Abnormal?

At the start of the ‘Pandemic times’ the news constantly spoke about adjusting to a “new normal.” Other than my kids being home from school and being unable to go out socially, I really didn’t notice much of a difference. I had been a stay-at-home mom for years. We had put in a pool the spring before. We had scooters, workout equipment, bikes, and other things to keep us occupied. We bought a trampoline, too. We had time to spend together as a family. Sure, I missed seeing my friends and going out but I also liked using the pandemic as a way to avoid socializing if I didn’t want to.

Admittedly, after a year it was nice to see things begin to open up again. It wasn’t exactly back to pre-pandemic times but still nice. We went to theme parks again. I could socialize in public with my friends. We went on vacation. I was excited to do things. I still had my depressive moments but was looking forward to things. 

It all changed the moment my husband died. This is the “new normal”. There is no going back. There is no semblance of normalcy to be had. Everything I knew from 2002 to 2021 just disappeared. Everything I had grown use to just… POOF! Gone. Vanished.

My kids are fatherless. Every moment of their life has been impacted in ways I cannot fathom. My father is still alive. Their father didn’t just up and leave; he was taken. I am a widowed single parent. I am all they have. 

It’s hard. Many times throughout the day I get so bogged down with my thoughts I cannot function. I mindlessly scroll on my phone because I cannot focus. I am active on social media because I am lonely. I have friends. I have family. I don’t have the connection I had with my husband. I don’t have someone I can call and just complain to about something that’s bothering me, no matter how small. There are days where I don’t utter a single word to an adult. I live in my head. I have conversations with myself about how I feel because I don’t have him to talk to. 

I still have a really hard time answering, “how are you doing?” I don’t want to trauma dump on my friends or strangers. It’s easier to give a nonspecific, “I’m okay.” I mean, I guess I am okay(ish). However, I don’t feel okay. I feel lonely. Widow lonely. 

Last June, I bought a house in the area I’ve wanted to live in for the past several years. It needed renovations. It took a lot longer than anticipated. We’ve been living in it for about 6 weeks. I thought I would feel differently. Everyone said, “oh it’ll be good to have a fresh start.” I don’t feel very fresh. I feel stale. I still feel disconnected. 

I have tried dating. I have tried being more social with friends. I still feel off. I am teetering on the edge of chaos. I can’t seem to connect, not just to other people, but to myself. I honestly feel like a piece of me died that day. Who I was before, she no longer exists. 

I miss parts of me that no longer exist. Are they completely gone? Or, are they just lying dormant in a land far away? Like the part of me that loved ice cream. Where did that part go? I have eaten ice cream only one time since he died. On my birthday last year, I bought a pint of cookies n’ cream. I ate maybe one serving of it. I threw it away just before I moved. 

I want to move forward with my life but I am reminded nearly everyday part of me is missing. We had a huge impact and influence on each other’s lives and personalities.  Nearly all the memories I have from the age of 20 to 40 involve him in some way.

I am no longer part of a family of four. My kids outnumber me. I try to do fun things with my kids but I am keenly aware someone is missing. I am certain they are, too. 

I had to take a 45 minute pause while writing this because my 11-year-old son had a meltdown (he has a diagnosed mood disorder and is in therapy). He lied about taking a shower. I knew he lied, his hair was dry as was his towel. After 45 minutes of screaming, he is now in the shower. Varying versions of these meltdowns happen nearly everyday. Sometimes they are 10 minutes. Other times they are an hour or longer. When his father was alive we would tag-team. When it got to a point where one of us was about to “lose our shit” the other would step in. I have no one to step in. I lost my shit tonight. Just a little, but enough that I hate myself. My husband is dead and I can’t talk to him about how upset  I am with myself right now. I can’t talk to anyone about it. I just have to swallow it. I have to deal with the negative feelings. I have unhealthy coping mechanisms when I feel this way. I’m trying not to do them. It was easier to deal with when Gregg was alive. I didn’t feel so fucking alone. 

I don’t even know where I was going with this, I suppose it’ll be a fitting ending either way. 

**I probably should have proofread it again. This meltdown took it out of me. Fuck it.**

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