The days after his death, his official death were at the very least hard. No one in their twenties should have to go through picking out what their significant other is going to wear, to decide what would best represent him, what would look best in his casket.Then there was trying to figure out what next. I couldn’t afford our house on my own. I was in such a haze, I just did what I had to do to survive. I gave away all of our belongings and moved into with my mom and dad. I would be living in a small bedroom with no storage so I packed a small bag of personal stuff from us both and left. Not where I wanted to live. My parents wouldn’t allow me to bring my pets that I had owned for years, my last source of comfort, so I had to find homes for our cats and dogs. Another loss. I lost more than just the love of my life that day, I lost my home, my belongings, my safety net, my pets, everything was gone. The day before the funeral was Christmas, my family saw a happy grandson opening his presents, a yummy dinner to share with everyone. All I saw was an empty chair, where he had set last year when we came over for the holiday.
The next few months were hell for me. And maybe I shouldn’t be the one complaining but regardless I was miserable. Waking up and going to bed was the hardest parts of my day, he had always been there to hold me at night and would be snuggled up to me in the mornings. The nightmares were horrendous. I couldn’t nap without having them. Sleep had always been my shelter to run to when I was have a bad day mentally, now it was an abyss that I dared not to go into until I was exhausted. Every time someone acted out of character, acted sick or said they had a headache my whole body would tense up, the butterflies in my stomach made me sick. I would break down in tears, I just knew they were gonna die too. It wasn’t true but that was my thought every single time. Then there was the numerous people asking what happened causing me to relive day over and over, as if I didn’t do that enough. I live in an area where gossip is whats for breakfast. People don’t usually ask how you are doing because they care but rather to have the next best topic of conversation. Don’t get me wrong I had a lot of support in the beginning but the leeches were definitely there. And indeed the news spread like wildfire, I couldn’t go to the doctor or shop without someone stopping me to ask about it, giving a look of pity as if I were some stray begging for scraps. I didn’t get out much other than the biweekly OBGYN visits. My days were filled with fighting back tears and praying to God that I didn’t go crazy. That my child wouldn’t have to have an unstable mother. Crying is honestly the best healer, it’s as if you are allowing toxins to flow out of your body.
At about the 2 months after his death I went to the OBGYN and found out that my daughter hadn’t gained any weight from my last visit. They decided to make my appointments weekly from then on. Jesus, I’m already a bad mother, starving my child before she even gets here. I started eating a little better but not much. I laid in bed for days at a time, my tears falling like and overfilled dam. My face was raw from it. That day my father came in to see me. My father is the kind of man that shows no emotion and was a very blunt individual. I guess growing up during the depression will do that to you.Anyway he came into my room, he looked at me and he said “I know you are sad,but it’s not your daughters fault, she shouldn’t have to grow up without either parent-take care of yourself” Honestly it opened my eyes and I tried harder to swallow down the bolus food in my mouth, to stop my gag reflex. Nothing tasted good any more, what was the point I thought. But I did eat, for the sake of my child I knew I had to get better and quick because she would be making her appearance soon.
It’s funny, once the new wore off, once my news was no longer new, the calls to check on me stopped, the random visits by friends sparse at the least. I was no longer the topic of conversation, I was old news and now I needed to get over it. I decided going back to work the month of his death. I had to do something to get him off my mind. It didn’t work, I still thought about him, about that day but it did help. My coworkers were pretty nice to me and my boss was extremely supportive. I felt like I had somewhat of a purpose. I still had frequent outbursts of breaking down crying, but my work family understood and worked around it. They knew I needed to be there.
I tried to get better. I researched coping skills-something I’ve never had an abundance of. I tried coloring, journaling, drawing, soul searching, nothing seemed to take away the sting of living. By this time my OBGYN was concerned and because I was in my last trimester put me back on my antidepressants, a lower dose than normal so I couldn’t even tell they helped. He was happy to see that I was eating again and that the baby had went back to growing as normal but he knew I needed help. He suggested a local community center where I lived. I tried it two or three times but the place was a joke. The first time I set down with my counselor and told her my story she started crying too, she told me that she felt sorry for me and that it was an awful thing to happen. I just wanted help coping. She told me I was doing everything that I was supposed to, that I could come talk anytime but there wasn’t much else she could do. Great, just great. My community is lacking on the mental health services which is sad because we have large percentage of mental illnesses in my state.
I fought to get better. I made myself reply to texts and calls, I made myself get out of the house, tried to be social. One particular evening I met a girl friend of mine around 9pm to go eat dinner and catch up. When I got back the door was locked to my mom and dads house. No answer. I slept in the car that night and when I finally got in the house my dad drunkenly told me he locked the door because I had stayed out late. When I got upset, he kicked me out of the house. Another set back. I stayed with my sister for a few days until my father decided to forgive me and allow me back in the house. We didn’t speak for the remainder of my pregnancy.