I’m a cook. It’s in my blood at this point… it’s part of “who” I am. We are not “Home Chefs” or tell people that, “I just love to cook!”… we are a different breed and unless you are one… you just don’t understand… like being a widower/widow. You may get a glimpse of what/who we are… but you never get the full story… there are too many details. Now, I do believe that that goes for any personal experience we humans go through. I may know that you are hurting, or are faced with the challenge of losing a loved one, or that you are an accountant and have to face Tax Season!… but I don’t know what that feels like for you… I don’t know what you need to do to get through your challenges. Nor, do I need to know. I just need to know that there are challenges in your world.
Work is a huge part of a cook’s life… it’s a huge part of my life. Kateri and I were a cook and a flower farmer. We were worker bees… the drones… like so many in our circle. We rely on work out of necessity for survival… it’s paycheck to paycheck. Now, I’ve made it no secret that I’m kinda over being in kitchens… 24 years is a long time to do anything and I just wanna try something new… but the comfort I found just sitting on a stainless steel table, talking with my chef… with my friend, on a day when I was seeing my co-workers… some for the first time after losing Kateri, was the perfect place for me to be. I found warmth surrounded by the hum of refrigeration, sitting on a cold metal table, and having someone listen to me as I tried to explain what I was going through.
I am forever grateful to my place of employment and co-workers for one reason (there are other accolades I can give, but this is the big one)… they gave me time to be with my wife when she got sick… they gave me time to be with her when she went into Palliative Care… they gave me time to be home in our schoolhouse after she passed. It is because of that time that I am able to look back on this horrendous experience and recognize that there are good parts imbedded in those memories. It is because of the time given, that I have the memory of holding Kateri’s hand and arm… when she took her last breath. To have the memory that I was with Kateri at the very end of her life… at the very end of our life… is something I will always cherish… no matter how hard it is to think about. That is what the gift of time can give someone… when time is running out.
For the past couple of weeks I have been humming and hawing over if I should be revisiting these notes right now, but that is one reason I think I started writing this blog. It has sorta guided me through this process. It has given me some insight to what it is I’m doing and what got me to this point. It has forced me to reassess decisions and to adapt so that I can keep moving forward… so that I can keep waking up each morning and keep putting on my big boy pants (Dr. Phil moments). In the last week and a half, it has shown me that I need to take the next two weeks… and mourn the death of Kateri. I need to put everything else aside, I need to focus on myself, I need to stop worrying about all the things that life has thrown at me, I need to stop trying to figure “everything” out, and I need to simply slow down… and mourn my wife… because I want to.
I have tried to be overly positive throughout this process because I needed to… to survive… literally. In no way have I ever had thoughts of suicide, but to this day… I still don’t want to live a day without Kateri… and that is a hard thing to come to terms with when I know I will never have another day at the beach with her. There won’t be another afternoon of working in the yard or in the gardens. She will never again be laying in bed next to me… drinking coffee… on a Sunday morning. As I’ve been faced with that reality, I had to overcompensate with “The Good” in the world… I’ve relied on it. But now… I just want to remember my wife… how much I love her… and how much I simply miss Kateri.
Thirty Days of Mo(u)rning
Day 16… First day of going back to work… first day of the rest of my life. Woke up @ 7:35ish
Couldn’t really jump out of bed. It was nice to have to get motivated to go to work, but I wasn’t in a hurry. It took a little longer to get out of the house as well… hesitant.
Eric texted if I wanted to go to A-Street first, so I drove there.
a. I like that I went to A-St. first… it was a nice warm up… a toe in the water.
b. He mentioned working in a day of rest in the middle of the work week for now… which I think is a great idea. It helps relieve that stress of making it through a work week. I’ll probably work Tues/Wed, off Thurs, work Fri/Sat. Who CAN’T work 16 hours without freaking out?! Of course, I may have a moment of freak out.
Went to Camelot.
a. Jason was there. We chatted both in the kitchen and up at my desk. Work shit.
b. Talked with Diane… I love my desk neighbor. She’s just a pretty cool lady.
c. Brock was working on the dodec and came over and gave his condolences. I like that dude, too. Just seems like a nice guy. Don’t know if we would have ANYTHING in common, but I would have a burger with that guy.
a. I’m trying to figure out who I want to maybe spend more time with or not while trying to figure out how to interact with people at the same time.
d. I had a bowl of chicken salad.
Went back to A-St. to chat with Eric and to see if there was anything I could do to help. Portioned chicken salad, turkey, roast beef… then pretty much left.
Chatted with Eric for a bit after everyone left.
Came home, swept the breezeway, cleaned bathroom/bedroom screens, got chicken water, cleaned the grill, replaced a burner cover (I thought there would be four in the case… nope, just one). Cleaned up the kitchen, dishes, and called Consolidated Communication and paid off bill.
Drove to Bradford to get some smokes.
a. I need to stop… still. At this point, I am also thinking of how she would deal with stuff.
Ate some spaghetti and meatballs
Watched some Kitchen Nightmares (which I don’t really care for), but it’s noise. Looked for lawnmower baffle and new cook shoes… couldn’t do either, but that’s OK.
My folks rented the Airbnb on Bloodbrook. I think that will be better for everyone.
I simply can’t do this anymore… I gotta sleep. All in all, it was a nice first “back to work” day. I’m feeling OK, but still know the challenges ahead me… there will be some new things/new emotions coming down the pike (?).
Going to sleep at 1:00am on the dot.
Widower Notes n Thoughts:
- Yup, crying is a pretty normal occurrence these last few days. Usually starts when I get close to home… and then throughout the evening with moments of reprieve. It’s strange to cry so hard… but to feel “ok”.
- I’ve been writing mostly about my “widower” stuff. I’m kinda hoping that when I get to the 1 year mark I can start writing about some of the things that made Kateri’s and my life so wonderful… the things that made Kateri… well… Kateri.
- I love Saturdays (my Fridays). Going into my weekends are the only days where I don’t feel rushed to try and get everything done.
- Ann stopped by last night. I met her when she knocked on my window looking for help with moving a log out of the road during a storm one night a couple of months back. She wanted to introduce me to her husband… Frank. They were fantastic!
- Another random dude also stopped by last night looking for a road… because he was supposed to pick up his daughter from a birthday party… but was lost. It was quite the social evening at the schoolhouse last night!… which wasn’t anticipated.
- It’s always fun as a widower… who likes to self medicate with certain weeds… to have random people just stop by. After going through notes and having a few “moments”… I’m pretty sure I looked like a crack addict that lives in the woods… in a cute little schoolhouse.
- I think I said, “first day of the rest of my life” because of the insertion of work back into the day to day activities instead of just focusing on the ol’ private life. It was the start of me having to live in this new reality… of having to balance things.
- Yup, I’ve stopped going through Kateri’s emails… should probably do something about that!
ps… Go ahead, don’t be scared, you can follow the blog through email… there’s a button somewhere on here! It just feels good. I guess another reason for the blog… positive reinforcement. (You don’t even need to read them!… just delete them right away!)
7 thoughts on “Widower Day 350… Remembering 16… The First Day Back to Work.”
My heart breaks for you yet I know you will get through this. And we will be here with you – along with all your friends.
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Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I check in every day. I’m 2 years into widowhood. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. It helps to read your blog and see how someone else is coping with everything.
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I’m glad it is helping! One hope is that someone would be able to take something away from my experience. The “alone” factor was just so crushing for me I had to do something! So sorry for your loss and thank you for making it through day after day!
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You write in such an enlightened view. You are so correct that we never fully understand what others are going through and don’t need to. The same for good experiences. Unless you have been through them it is difficult to explain. I applaud your strength and real emotions. It’s been three years and I haven’t gotten rid of the email. I did delete the Fakebook account after informing others I was doing so.
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The emails!… and I know 98% of them are nothing! I really just don’t wanna have to “unsubscribe” to however many websites about politicians, concert venues, or women’s underwear!
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God Darren, this post spoke volumes to me… Your Quote;… “I need to stop worrying about all the things that life has thrown at me, I need to stop trying to figure “everything” out, and I need to simply slow down… and mourn my wife… ”
Thank You Daren for putting things into perspective for me….
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I’m glad you were able to take something away from it! Overwhelmed… I think that is a big one to overcome in times of loss… at least for me. Thank you for being here!
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