Angel in the clouds
D.G. Kaye,  Emotions,  grief and loss,  Grocery Shopping,  Heartache,  Life and Loss,  Observations,  Status report,  THOUGHTS,  Writing to Release

Shopping for One – Life, Love and Loss – #Grief

 

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.

 

sad face

 

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.

 

©DGKaye2021

Life Love Loss

 

 

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

66 Comments

  • Darlene Foster

    This must be so hard. Although I can’t imagine what it feels like, my heart goes out to you. Sending love and hugs.
    “When you lose someone who is part of who you are, time will heal the wound but not erase the scar.”

  • Jan Sikes

    Oh my dear Debby, I SO relate to this post. I remember my first venture out after Rick had passed away. I drove to Abilene, 52 miles away. That was where we always went to do our shopping because we lived in such a small town. I wanted new sheets for the bed. All of my sheets were stained from the ordeal we’d been through with the wound on his leg. Buying new sheets – easy peasy. Wrong! I found myself sitting down on the floor in the aisle in J.C. Penney crying my heart out. The poor store clerk didn’t know what to do for me and I didn’t know what to do for myself. I finally managed to get up and run out of the store back to the car. I did eventually get the sheets, but it was just such a moment of profound pain, loss, and grief. My heart is with you, dear friend. It will get easier, I promise. Sending love, light, and virtual hugs to you.

    • dgkaye

      Jan, your words always first, open the floodgates, but always sounds so familiar to what I’m living. I know only one who has lived this nightmare can understand these moments where we are stricken, caught off-guard by a moment of remembrance. I can only imagine how that venture out for sheets would have stabbed you with grieving memories of why you needed the new sheets. I’m living it daily – hourly, and minute-ly. The lump in my chest never seems to get lighter. I so appreciate your visits, words of commraderie and your kind heart. <3

    • dgkaye

      Stevie, the only thing that would help me now is to get the hell out of this Covid Capital of the world. I’m stuck til I can EVER get the 2nd vax and until this unorganized country gets flights the hell out of here. x

  • JQ Rose

    Hi Debby, I discovered you via your blog at the Smorgasbord Cafe. My heart goes out to you as you live through this tough time in your life. You are brave to write about your grieving. I am sure your feelings will resonate with many who have faced the loss of a beloved spouse. You are a writer, and like me, writing about what is in your heart and mind gives comfort. I cannot know your situation, but I know you hurt. I pray your memories and your family and friends will help you find peace in your upside-down world.

    • dgkaye

      Thank you so much for your kind words, and for visiting here. I think as a writer who always writes about life and situations, I’m compelled to share my words. Like you said, yes, it’s my pain, but it’s sadly, a familiar pain for many others. 🙂

  • Pete Springer

    Though I’ve never been through the loss of a spouse, this all sounds like normal grieving to me, Debby. I never considered that the grocery store would be such an obvious place to trigger those memories. I know everyone has already given you advice as to let yourself grieve (as if there was some other choice), and that is a much-needed part of the process.

    I can’t remember if I’ve ever seen you over there before, but this is one of the blogs I occasionally engage with. Its whole purpose is to give people a place to share their stories and grieve through their writing. https://thegriefreality.blog/

    • dgkaye

      Thank you Pete for your always kind words. Yes, it’s seems to be the simplest of moments that bring on the water works. I never seem to stop. Thank you for the link to that blog that I will surely visit. I may have been there before, but will definitely revisit. Hugs 🙂

  • sally cronin

    A very heartbreaking and poignant post Debby and another one of the firsts you have talked about that trigger even more grief for not just the love lost but the small everyday actions, thoughts and grocery items that were part of the fabric of your relationship.. The roses probably being the most difficult to see…as always sending love ♥♥

  • Janet Gogerty

    I hadn’t been to the shops for months when Cyberspouse died. We had been isolating during his palliative care because of Covid and having food delivered. Luckily my daughter was staying and came on my first outing to our local shops. We went in our lovely greengrocers where they know us well ( they had been delivering a veg box every week ) and I had to tell them the news. Wearing a mask was a comfort at the shops – something to hide behind.

    • dgkaye

      Oh Janet, I’m so sorry you too have been down this road. There must be a club for us people who become nursemaids with palliative care for loved ones. I’ve been told that many can’t take on the task. For me, it became organic. I’m finding that journey is the hard part for me to get out of my head. 🙁

  • Olga Núñez Miret

    Dear Debby, after a life lived together, I can imagine every little thing brings memories, and this post is heartwrenching. Nobody could have expressed it better. I hope that, eventually, some of the memories will bring some comfort to you, rather than pain. I wish I could help you carry the boulder. Stay safe and take it slowly. Thinking of you and sending you hugs.

  • Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Debby – I can only imagine your suffering and loss … I know when my mother was near her end, I was standing in the supermarket queue having a little bit of ‘quiet’ for my brain … just nothing to think about – except putting my few bits of shopping through. I was interrupted – did I want to move somewhere to get through more quickly … no: I also didn’t want to be interrupted! She was being helpful … and usually of course that’d be normally what I’d want …

    I do so feel for you … it’s just so so challenging in these early days … you had such a love … with so many thoughts – Hilary xo

    • dgkaye

      Hi Hilary. Thanks for sharing some of your own painful moments. There seems to be no way around it but to live it and endure. One day, one hour at a time. <3

  • Alex Craigie

    The writer in you is able to express these feelings so clearly and so poignantly. I’m sure these words will provide solace to others – a kinship with someone who can put into words the pain that the ordinary things in life can bring searing to the surface. Thinking of you and sending love over the ether. <3

    • dgkaye

      Thanks for your always encouragement Trish. At this time I feel I must get some of the pain out through words. One day, I’m sure I’ll have a book from this all, and yes, I hope my words will be able to relate to and maybe even offer a comfort to someone else. <3 xx

  • Marian Beaman

    My heart aches for you, Debby. But I’m reassured you are doing small things, moving slowly, putting one foot in front of the other, painful as it is. The etching is so poignant as is the Gary Roe quote. I’m glad his book is giving you comfort.

    Know that you are loved during this tenuous time. ((( )))

    • dgkaye

      Thank you so much Marian, for your kindness and always support. That’s the only way I can function right now, one step, one day at a time. <3

  • Sarah Brentyn

    This: “Triggers are everywhere and in everything.” 💔 It’s going to be that way for a bit. Perhaps longer than a bit. Thinking of you and sending hugs. ❤❤❤

  • Chuck Jackson

    Hi Debbie,
    I’m one that knows the pain you are suffering. I can identify with feeling lost in the world. “How dare the world go on when mine came to a crashing stop.” Remember the hilarious movie “What about Bob”? Bill Murray kept saying “Baby Steps.” Well, my friend, you just took your first “Baby Steps.” Each hour, each day, and then each week you make progress. Write about those hours, days, and weeks in your journal. You will then look back and realize the progress you have made and how much stronger you have become. You have so many fans and friends here in the blog world and I’m one of them. We are all pulling for you. God’s Blessing HUGS, Chuck

    • dgkaye

      Thank you soooooooooooooo much Chuck for your wise words and kind heart. Oh yes, you know this path so well, so I will heed your words. The journaling has been going on for sometime. No doubts there will one day be a book.
      Thanks for your love and support my friend <3

  • Diana Peach

    I’m so glad you have Roe’s book, Debby. It will help normalize the awful feelings that are triggered by the most mundane things, like oatmeal and grapes. Some you’ll expect and others will come at you out of nowhere. It’s okay. Feel, breathe, heal. It takes so much time and so much of your heart. Just walking through the grocery store with you made me need a tissue. Hugs, my friend.

    • dgkaye

      Thank you my lovely friend. I’m sorry if I made you cry, I don’t stop. Hard enough to write, so no doubt hard to read. Thank you for enduring <3

  • Joy Lennick

    Hi Debby, You poor, hurting, dear. woman…Let the tears fall. It is only natural after all. How can you expect to love someone so dearly for so many years and then just switch off when they are no longer here to love?! It’s impossible. But know one thing, Debs. George is in your heart and you will keep him there for ever. That, eventually, will be your solace. Until that is enough, take good care. Love and hugs. Joy xxx

  • J Bordimen

    I can’t imagine anything Gary Roe has to say being any more poignant than what you just shared. I am sure your words are comforting to others who are feeling grief from the loss of a loved one. I could just picture you going up and down the aisles and being reminded of all of George’s favorite things. I hope things get easier over time, and I wish you the best…

    • dgkaye

      Thank you so much Jim. Just as Gary Roe and others have written to try and share and ease the transition of grief, I hope to add a book someday myself. Someday. 🙂

  • Pamela

    So many things that rub the grieve raw, but I admit I hadn’t thought about how going to the grocery store opens the wound even further. You describe it so viscerally, I can feel the pain. Maybe next time you can order your groceries? You need your veggies – and definitely your chocolate. Soft hugs surrounding you from here, Debby.

  • Robbie Cheadle

    Hi Debby, my husband and I assisted his grandmother to clear out her home after his grandfather past 10 years ago. It is very hard. Maybe you could get someone to help you as we helped Una. Hugs.

  • Hugh W. Roberts

    Debby, this may sound strange to say, but I felt I was reading a snippet from your next book. I really felt this post belongs in a book. It gives those of us who have not lost a partner, husband, wife a glimpse into a future world many take for granted.

    I’m guessing that everything is going to be difficult to try the first time. I hope that the rocky road you’re on soon starts to show signs of becoming a little less hard and difficult to travel along.

    Take care.
    Bug hugs,
    xx

    • dgkaye

      You made me smile Hugh. How many times have I mentioned to you about things you publish that need to be in a book? Great minds! You better believe I’m already documenting, writing and journaling this painful journey. There will absolutely be a book! <3

  • Vashti Quiroz-Vega

    I can only imagine how painful this must be. My heart goes out to you, my friend. You’re such a strong woman. I hope things get easier soon, and I wish you peace of mind.🤍🕊

  • Carol Taylor

    Oh, Debs…my heart breaks for you and how brave you are…baby steps is all you need to take and as you have already found out that something and nothing can trigger the grief and loss you feel…it won’t get easier you will just cope better and be able to smile at the things which made you both smile and laugh but its early days and you are doing great so be kind to yourself…Love and hugs …Carol xx

  • Ellie Marrandette

    Powerful and heartbreaking my dear friend. May all those who have sufferered loss be moved by your emotional and identifiable words. May time ease your pain and leave a gentle spot of rememberance on your heart for the time God gave you together. <3 Blessings back for strength as you endure this sorrowful experience DG

  • Deborah Jay

    I’ve not lost a spouse, so I can only imagine the depth of pain you are going through, but having nursed my mum for several years before she passed, I know only too well what ridiculously small things can trigger the tears and the grief: I found her glasses, where she’d last set them, a couple of days after she’d gone, and that had me howling like a baby.
    Gradually there will be less, and you’ll feel like clearing out the cupboards, and the triggers will thin out. They never vanish completely, but you are strong, you will grow through this, just give it as long as you need. That’s all you can really do.
    <3

    • dgkaye

      Deb, thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I know well what you mean about finding things. Things are everywhere here, reminders everywhere I turn. I remember that poignant mention of finding your mum’s glasses. Everything hurts. <3

  • Tina Frisco

    The grief roller coaster is one for which we can never be prepared. No matter how many times we ride it, there’s always something that catches us off guard and catapults us to a foreign place that feels obligatory and fatal. Venturing out, Deb ~ regardless of how you felt ~ was the next right step for you to take. Telling you it’ll get easier might feel like a backhanded blessing, but it is truth. And, as they say, truth will set you free. Remember to move into higher consciousness between periods of unconsolable grief. The infinite perspective you’ll find there will assuage the heartbreak and help you move through the process. Even though experiencing every fiber of an emotion can help us grow, there’s nothing wrong with grabbing a lifesaver now and then along the way. Spirit is telling me to mention Carol P. Christ’s book, Diving Deep and Surfacing. Perhaps you’ve read it? I sense there’s something in it that will help you now. Feel the love and support, Deb. We’re all here for you ❤️❤️

    • dgkaye

      Tina you are a gem. You always know what I need. No, I hadn’t heard of Diving Deep, but you can be sure it will be in my next book order. Thank you for your heart and your sage advice. I will try to remember in my darkest moments. <3 xox

  • Colleen Chesebro

    My dear Sis, I can’t imagine how terrible all of this is right now. Just take “baby steps” as Pete said. Keep writing your feelings and know we are all there with you. Hugs and love to you. <3

  • Carol Balawyder

    Debby, grief shows up everwhere and your authentic and candid post illustrates this so very well. Even the simplest activity as grocery shopping brings up heartbreaking memories of a loved one. Your post is filled with such an accurate description of your experience grocery shopping and also so well written. <3

    • dgkaye

      Thanks so much Carol for your kind words. I haven’t stopped writing (my heart out), so undoubtedly, my grieving scribblings will become a book. Eventually. <3

  • Liesbet

    Oh Debby! I’m so sorry to read about all the emotions and memories on your shopping trip. Maybe it was too early? But, whenever you would have first set foot in that store, this would have happened. I think it’s totally normal. I do hope you have a good friend around in Toronto, who can join you on some of these required “excursions”. Last night, I heard the beautiful and true quote “Memories is what keeps people alive.” Keep cherishing them!

    On a different note, Mark and I pretty much eat the same things and use the same toiletries (except for the tooth and hair brushes), which makes shopping easy. We have to do this in our “restricted” living spaces.

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