My husband died suddenly…in front of me…right after eating dinner.
He liked to be a caregiver, a caretaker of safety.
Life has handed me a lot of lemons this year and I haven’t made lemonade…I really don’t like lemonade.
The weekend before he died he had been pruning bushes in our yard. The Sunday before he died he had ripped apart our kitchen…he had my kitchen down to two by fours. It was a normal weekend for him. He was a workhorse, he was a beast. He just put so much into everything he did.
I have a fabulous step-daughter who promised her father she would take care of me and she does.
They did every procedure they possibly could to remove the clot.
We were so much in love and it showed. When you put your best foot forward you get noticed. We got noticed because of the love story.
I prayed a lot. I was alone. I was alone for weeks. It wasn’t easy for everybody to drop things and come and be with me. I understand that.
I had to do so much physical work. I was really surprised I had the inner strength to do some of this work because eighteen months prior I had torn my rotator cuff.
The amount of work I had to do I don’t know if I could do it again. I was running on adrenaline, obviously. It was a lot.
I didn’t listen to people who told me I was supposed to wait a year because that’s a guideline. I am in bereavement counseling and my counselor said I’ll know when you’re ready.
Suddenly, I had to pay a lot of bills on my own. I lost over one thousand dollars a month and I had bills to pay. The house was too much for me to take care of and to continually have to pay people.
I took a trip to New Mexico. I went to an experiential spa that is set up for family therapy, group therapy, and single therapy. It was there a family therapist told me I had PTSD.
Cooking is a big deal. For us, food and wine was a date night every night. I couldn’t cook anymore. First of all, my kitchen was torn apart so now I was existing on frozen dinners and I existed on those for six weeks and lost quite a bit of weight because I chose the diet-friendly ones.
When I go into stress I can sleep but I can’t eat. I get a really high metabolism when I’m stressed. I’m still not able to really cook. I still can’t do that. It’s just something that was so much a part of him and I that I can’t bring myself to do it the way I used to do that.
I didn’t really it that when Larry died I died too, or parts of me died. I was no longer Mrs.Sanek. I was no longer a wife. There were things he and I were going to do that were no longer going to happen. The dreams died. You had to think about that and you had to start working through all this. I kept thinking, “I can’t believe this is happening to me?”
For the longest time, I used to get two wine glasses out of the cupboard at 5:00 when we used to have a glass of wine together. I used to get two coffee cups out in the morning. It took a while to not do that anymore. I was so used to it. It was a habit.
Cooking and eating still remain a tough thing for me.
When I come home and I’m excited there’s nobody here for me to talk to. It’s just me and Willie the dog.
I learned that I can do a lot more than I thought I could. I learned that I have super friends and a great tribe. I didn’t realize how many people were going to absolutely step up to the plate and always lend an ear and always help me. I learned that people like me.
Out of all that writing I was doing I had a writing coach reach out to me. For anyone going through grief, journaling is a wonderful way to help you heal.
I learned to accept the fact that if I don’t want to work I don’t have to work.
I’m bringing my own podcast adventure back to life this spring. I stay busy. Staying busy really helps but what really doesn’t sit well with me is weekends. Weekends are tough.
My social life has been sliced and diced and has basically disappeared.
I learned Larry gave me great gifts. When I met him, he was the first man I’d ever met in my life that didn’t need fixing (in my opinion). He came to me as somebody who was a gentleman. Somebody who loves taking care of his partner…his mother and father raised him so well. He was just such a great caregiver or women, of his wife.
Life with Larry was super love.
You have to put yourself out there. You can’t sit back and wait for invitations.
A lot of times as a widow I feel left out because they’re married and I’m no longer married.
Put yourself out there.
Get therapy, get grief counseling. It’s life-saving.
Grief is a lif-long commitment to you now. Grief is love that is stored up in your heart with nowhere to go.
When someone says Larry’s name he is being remembered and that makes my heart full.
Don’t allow people to treat you badly and get rid of stuff.
You can love again. I know some people are not ready to hear that but we’re social people and we can love again. When you’re not looking is when you usually find.