I've started my laundry, done my Morning Pages (I journal EVERY morning about whatever is racing around in my mind), had breakfast, tried on the new pants I bought a couple of days ago at Kohl's (one needs to go back - same brand, style and size as the other 3 - don't know why one would be smaller than the others but it is) and now I'm on the computer blogging .
I've been checking out the widow support boards online. I won't join any of them, but lurking is useful. One thing I've figured out is the reason the pros don't really understand the process of grief I'm going though is because they don't get to see people like me. The reason they don't recognize anticipatory grief, is that they don't get to see it. When they get down to the nitty gritty of exactly what the widows they do see are stressing over, it turns out to be something I did 2 and 3 years ago.
I have no need to stress over not having Joe at home because he hasn't been living with me for well over 2 years. I stressed over that during the Summer of 2010. I am not stressing over losing the couple life. That was gone in 2009, and in part even earlier than that. I doubt if I'll stress over Thanksgiving, Christmas or my anniversary. I "did" the 50th year starting in 2010 when Joe was still home. We met on Memorial Day weekend. I didn't place him until July 1st. I remember how sad I was that he was clueless that the weekend was a special weekend. I was ALONE for my 50th anniversary the following February because Joe had a major crisis the previous November and was bed ridden, and didn't have a clue as to who I was although he was still glad to see me when I visited. His birthday two days later was almost as bad. And my 70th birthday in April would have been really bad if my daughter hadn't taken over the weekend. I've started the new traditions already for all of those things. I'm aware I need to figure out what I need and arrange for me to have what I need.
The funny thing is that Andy, my counselor, does "get" it. She has watched me go through grief, come out of what I called The Tunnel one year after I placed Joe, and start putting my life back together again.
I've been dealing with a new wave of grief now that Joe has died, but it isn't as intense as it would have been if I had not done some of the grief work when the issues first came up. I'm having some sleeping issues, some problems with my mind going round and round in the early morning (hence the Morning Pages), some general sadness, a lot of being aware that Joe now has died and that I miss him, the him that used to be, and quite a bit of trying to figure out when I actually lost him using scrapbooks and journaling.
One other thing I noticed is that the people on the support boards hate the terms "getting over it" and "moving on." I'm not going to be getting over losing Joe. I was married to him for 51 years. But I will be "moving on" because if you don't make a beginning on putting a new life together, you get stuck in the grief the way my mother did. She was still complaining about losing her couple friends a decade or two after my father died. She had failed to make other friends until I was in high school and then only one that I was aware of. She had stopped living.
I think one reason I have been doing the work of grief for so long is that I had an awful example of what happens if you don't do it. I am not doing that. Instead I'm trying to remember the Joe that was.