Through ten years of marriage, I became quite dependant on Barry. He was always the one I relied on, we always discussed major decisions and I probably was a bit too dependent. I know that now, and I knew that then too, but oh well, it was me! That was me for the longest time, and now I've had to forge a new me.
This new me has been FORCED to become independent. There is no one else to rely on but myself. And I hate it. I despise it. I abhor being the responsible one. I dislike having to make all the major decisions. I hate this aspect of widowhood with a passion. I have made so many decisions in the last almost 5 months that I have become overwhelmed.
To add insult to injury, many things have gone wrong too, which just adds to me having to do things on my own. Like with my van. In the last couple weeks, I've had an alignment done, the door actuators fixed, an oil change, the tires rotated, and now replaced, brakes fixed, a radiator leak fixed, and the rear bumper replaced because someone hit me. I've grown tired of seeing my friends at Midas. Today should be the last day, my tires are getting replaced as the tread on them is pretty low. But, the van has had those tires since before we bought it three years ago, so I suppose its time to do it anyway.
But you know, I CAN do it all by MYSELF. I dont like it, but I can and am doing it. I've bought a house on my own too! I've handled all the van repairs on my own. I've filled out countless forms for life insurance and death certificates. I planned the funeral and wrote the obituary (with some help I might add) and even spoke at Barry's funeral by myself.
I've also outfitted an entire house by myself. This house stuff though has been the most stressful I think. Just the simple act of purchasing furniture has had my head spinning in all different directions. On tuesday at the furniture store, I really started to shut down towards the end. I couldn't do it anymore. I was able to pick out furniture for my living room, my bedroom, and the great room. But I spent a good 4 hours in the Macy's store! That's all done though, finally. Wednesday afternoon I went to another store and picked out my book shelves and TV stand, and a clock. I could feel myself shutting down again though, so I decided enough was enough and left. Tomorrow the kids and I are going back there to pick out V and E's beds and dressers, and A's dresser, and my computer desk. After that, we will head to Sleep Country to get mine and V and E's mattresses. I still have to get minor things like dishes and some decor items, but the major stuff is done...except for a Piano. That can wait. Today I even picked out all my blinds for the new house, by MYSELF. I didn't even have my Realtor help, haha. I made all the decisions with the vendor, by MYSELF. Can I share a secret though? if I could, I would have hired an interior decorator/design person to do it all for me.
I can pack an entire house by myself. I can move into a new house by myself. I can pick out furniture and bedding and all that by myself. I can handle van repairs by myself. I can de-clutter a house by myself. I can make all the important decisions, like the kids changing schools, and where A will go to pre-school by myself. I can decide that it's not a good idea for us to go to DC/PA, but that it is a good idea for us to go to Disneyland, by myself. And I can go to a movie tonight by myself...first time for everything, right?
I have often found myself wondering what would Barry think of all this? Would he like the decisions I've made, would he like what I have picked out? But then I have to remind myself that while I value his opinion, he's dead. He's not here anymore, and I can't constantly base my decisions on what he would have done. I'm alone now, and though he's with me in my heart, and in my mind, he's not here in person for me to rely on. I can't ask him what he thinks of this piece of furniture, or that one, or what bed to get the girls, what tires I should get on the van, I've had to do it by myself. It's a bit freeing though, to be completely honest, knowing that I CAN pick and choose what I want and not worry if he would like it or not. I had all these ideas of what I wanted to buy for my new house, the colors and all that stuff too, and when I went to pick it out, I went completely opposite of what I had in mind. It's so different from what we would have picked out together, but I think that's good in a way. Most of our stuff is being replaced, but the one piece I am keeping in the house, which doesn't even match my new kitchen all that well, is the table and chairs we bought a year ago. He and M put it together, and while it doesn't match my cabinets, that doesn't matter...he put it together. His hands pieced it together with the help of our son, and it will stay in my kitchen as our family table for a very long time.
Barry would be proud of me, proud of all the decisions I've made on my own. He would say "I knew you could do it Joanna, and I am so proud of you! I always told you you could do it on your own, you never needed me to make all the decisions".
I'll tell you though, I am amazed that I have done it all by myself. I've wanted to crawl into a ball and rock myself sometimes due to all the stress, but I haven't. I will keep on keepin' on, and get through this. Things will settle down eventually, the stress will dissipate and I will continue to do things on my own. I will develop a stronger skin, I will become even more independent than I already am, and I will get through it.
One day at a time, I can do it by myself.