Leaves are falling from trees. This isn’t news to anyone, but to me it signifies a change in seasons and another season my husband is not here for. It’s another milestone in the grief process, and it means holidays are coming. More things he’ll miss. More times we’ll miss him.

Today at church my anxiety was at a fever pitch. I couldn’t relax. I scanned the doorways the whole time. I breathed and inhaler’d my way through a panic attack to keep from having to walk out. My whole body hurt. I begged God to take away my anxiety and my pain. I found comfort in the sermon and comfort in familiar songs. I found comfort in my church family. My best friend’s son, arguably one of my favorite humans, saw me struggling and gave me the biggest hug. I’m surrounded by good people. The best of the best, even the young ones.

After church my anxiety got worse, not better. That unsettled, uneasy feeling couldn’t be shaken. I promised my daughter we would go to our favorite after church lunch place and we did, but I couldn’t enjoy it. Dread set in and would not leave. We sat where my back was against the wall so I could see all entrances and exits. I picked at my food, but couldn’t finish it. She helped.

Grief feels different on different days, but today it feels like I’m free falling and grasping for anything to bring me comfort. Today it feels like I’ll never be happy again, that I’ll be alone forever, and that this feeling will never go away. It feels like I don’t know how to be happy again because I’ve lived in survival mode for so long that I’m just doing the bare minimum to get by. I see people happy and smiling and I’m angry that my happiness is gone. I’m angry that my daughter has to see me on edge, unable to relax on what is usually our favorite day of the week. I’m angry at the narcissistic asshole I dated after my husband died that took so much from us and then walked away like nothing happened. I’m angry that I have to suffer the consequences of his actions. I’m angry that, in the lowest time of my entire life, he came along and hurt me more.

After lunch we went to Target and that was a mistake. I have been ordering everything I need online to avoid stores but I couldn’t get a Shipt delivery today so I sucked it up and we went in. I started feeling that all over heat feeling I feel when I’m close to panic. I breathed through it, but with a mask on that’s hard. By the time I got to the register I was completely done with socializing for the day. The only solace I have is that Sam Adam’s Octoberfest is out and beer is my love language.

I am taking the advice of my therapist and other mentors in my life and hiring someone to help unpack our house, organize, purge what we don’t need and don’t have room for, and help us make it into a livable space to heal and grow together. I don’t know how long we’ll be in this space, but we need it to be a calm space that suits our needs. Moving out of the home that I shared with my husband was more traumatic than I ever could’ve imagined and I have felt stuck in the new house, unable to function and find room for the things we need daily. Grief makes everything unbelievably hard, even things that should be fun.

I don’t know how long this feeling will last, but I don’t like it. I don’t like not feeling in control of my life. I don’t like waiting for what’s next. I don’t like knowing that lawyers are in control of my future and my financial well-being. I know this is part of life in the widowhood, but it’s a part I would like to fast forward through. My therapist’s words ring in my ears daily, sometimes multiple times per day- “Cyndi, you can’t go around it. You can’t run away from it. You have to go through it.”

Right now it feels like I’m falling through hell, unable to find comfort in anything. Right now, I feel more alone than I ever have. Right now I want to take my child and get in my car and drive until I don’t see familiar places anymore, because everywhere holds a memory of a time when I was happy. I wonder if I’ll ever be happy again, or if dread and fear of my happiness dying will continue to take over my days and nights. I wonder if God will hear my prayers and offer me the peace and comfort I so desperately need from every situation that has broken me. I wonder if God forgot about us.

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