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Some of you are familiar with my story from last July 6, when my husband died suddenly. He was very happy that he had made it to 75. Little did we know that he would die a couple weeks later. It's been almost a year and I'm doing okay. Having my kids at home has helped a lot. I've been busy emptying the house of things, all the while feeling guilty about it.

My husband was a hoarder, but not of the most extreme variety. He mostly bought things on sale, saved things he thought might be useful, and collected movies, books, CDs and records he thought he would get to some day. I can't bring myself to get rid of the records and CDs yet, but we did manage to go through all the books, saving a couple bookcases full and taking the other 70 grocery bags of books to the Library Book Sale.

I guess in a way it's been good that I've had a lot of stuff to go through, as it's kept me busy. Anyone who has come over to visit winds up taking home a pair of gloves, a canvas bag, a bar of soap, or dental floss. Although we've pretty much finally finished eating "cereal mountain," we still haven't had to buy any paper products (paper towels, toilet paper, facial tissues) and probably won't for some time.

Welcome, fellow travelers on the grief journey
and a special welcome to anyone new to The Grieving Room.
We meet every Monday evening.
Whether your loss is recent, or many years ago;
whether you've lost a person, or a pet;
or even if the person you're "mourning" is still alive,
("pre-grief" can be a very lonely and confusing time),
you can come to this diary and say whatever you need to say.
We can't solve each other's problems,
but we can be a sounding board and a place of connection.

Unlike a private journal
here, you know: your words are read by people who
have been through their own hell.

There's no need to pretty it up or tone it down..

It just is.

We all have our own ways of grieving, and I don't know how common my method might be, but I found that I really did better if I didn't dwell on it, but instead let it in naturally here and there. I think of him every day, all during the day, things I'd like to show him, things I'd like to tell him, and things that remind me of him. But I don't want to let it consume me, and I don't think he would want me to do that either.

He used to tell me whenever I was stirring something in a pot and then clanked the spoon on the side to knock whatever was still left in the spoon back into the pot that he could still hear his mother telling him not to do that. So now when I knock the spoon on the pot, I can still hear him telling me about his mother telling him not to do that. I guess that's what you could call passing down the legacy.

There are many things I miss, and, I suppose, a few I don't. After almost 40 years of marriage, it's strange to decide things by myself. He was the one who picked the colors when we painted the house. I am truly at a loss as far as house decoration goes. I learned how to wash the clothes because he was the one who did the clothes, and I had to figure out how to use the washing machine.

In general, I've been able to hold myself together most of the time. The first time I had trouble in public was when I had to go to the Social Security office to give them the application form for the death benefit in person. Of course I had to wait a while until my number was called, and it wasn't until the call for D113 was long past that I realized it was really B113, and I had to go get another number. Then I was called over to the one window, and then sent back to wait to see someone. Of course, when the next person called me over to his desk it wound up being the exact same desk that my husband and I had sat in a couple years earlier when I filled out forms after I retired. I felt lucky to get out of the office without falling apart.

I probably never would have gone to Netroots Nation if I hadn't been actively working on trying to be a little more sociable. It's a joke in my family that the social gene must have skipped a generation because my mother was very good at giving parties and maintaining friendships, and one of my sons has definitely picked it up as well. But it apparently skipped me.

Since my husband died, I've been trying to make sure I don't retreat into the house. I was called for jury duty a few weeks ago, and the judge made sure we understood that the trial in question might take four weeks. I calculated the time and realized the last week we had to have free was the week of NN13. I dutifully filled out the questionnaire explaining I had plans to attend a convention and had already bought a ticket and was hoping that it would be sufficient for me to get excused. Before the judge could look at the papers, however, there was a fire drill, and it took an hour for them to clear the building and let us back in. By then I really had had time to dwell on the problem, and I started thinking about how I was trying to keep myself active and I started thinking about my husband. By the time the judge called me up and asked me what kind of convention and where it was, I could hardly choke out an answer and then I burst into tears explaining that my husband had died the previous year. I wanted to explain that I had planned the trip for a while and that it was an attempt to keep myself active, but I didn't have a chance as he just waved me off and said I was excused.

So you can see that the big grief creeps up now and then, and the little parts are always there, but things are really going okay for me. I hope the rest of you are managing your grief in whatever ways you find helpful. Since we are all different, all our ways will be different too.

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