After two weeks of grueling paperwork, phone calls and income tax, and … grieving, I thought perhaps I should run out and pick up a few groceries – few being the operative word. I should have known by the sunny sky I’d spied when I peeked out the window before leaving, the sunshine would be short-lived as it rained down a five minute stunt of chunky snowflakes as soon as I pulled out of the garage. Maybe it wasn’t the right day to venture out into the world in my new singleness.
I had zero vegetables left – or chocolates, so that was enough to motivate me to get outside, only my second time out since my husband’s funeral. Still, I felt strange. But I thought it would also be a good idea to just get out. Sure, plenty of times while my husband wasn’t well I’d done the shopping solo, but I was still shopping for the two of us. This time I wasn’t.
I ambled into the supermarket, feeling slightly numb from the combination of half an Ativan and carrying the boulder around as added weight, which feels permanently attached to my heart. I chose what I needed for myself from the produce section and picked up a few red grapes. I stopped myself for a moment in thought. George likes green grapes. I try to explain to him, to no avail, that there are better benefits from eating red grapes – resveratrol, for one. But I’d continue to get him his green grapes, as the extra health factor in the red grapes didn’t excite, and myself the red. Today I only bought the red grapes.
As I ventured up every aisle just looking for a few things, my eyes glanced the many items I’d normally throw in the basket for my husband. Nope, don’t need the almond milk creamer, but thanks again Stupidstore for not having my soy creamer. Again! I grabbed myself a case of fizzy water, and left behind the case of gingerale, which is another staple for George. I picked up my toothpaste, not his.
As I scooted down the refrigerated aisle, I was taken aback when I passed his favorite rice pudding cups. How many years have I bought him those cups? I stood there for a few minutes just staring at the rice pudding, but in actuality, I was staring right through it, far and beyond. Then I went to the chocolate bar and candy aisle – George’s favorite aisle to roam in. I picked up my milk chocolate big bar, and left his dark chocolate one behind.
I bypassed the bread aisle. None required. The same oatmeal box caught my eye as the one I had at home, still almost full, save for that one bowl I tried to feed you again after you ate it the previous day and loved it. But that was that day, every day we’d cross a new challenge.
It was a short shop. I’d had enough. I went to stand in the Covid partroled lineup to cash out. My position in line, directly beside the flower shop. The roses took me back to the roses of two weeks ago, the ones that were placed on your coffin. Let’s go, let’s go, I kept repeating silently within as I could feel another outburst of grief brewing within. I needed to get out of that store. I just couldn’t breathe.
I think it was a bit too early for me to venture back out in the outside world, especially alone. I realized that being locked down in my Covid-free lockdown home is where I feel most comfortable at this moment. There I can be more comfortable in my unacceptance that you’re really gone, like when I’m in the living room, I pretend you’re sleeping. That’s how I’m able to function right now.
I feel the same aching inside every time I open up a cupboard or a fridge door in our home. So many of your favorite foods that I don’t eat remain resting on the shelves. I’ll throw it out someday. But right now I’m just not ready.
Triggers are everywhere and in everything. As the well of grief refills itself daily, I learn the simplest of things can set off a tidal wave of tears. Below, I’ll share a poignant passage from Gary Roe’s book – Comfort for the Grieving Spouse’s Heart, which I recently read and reviewed:
…My grief is like that. It can make a fool out of me without warning. No way to prepare for it. No way to anticipate it. Every moment, I’m at the mercy of my surroundings and my emotions. ~Gary Roe.