So it’s only noon and it’s shaping up to be another super fantastic groovy awesome great day in Griefville.
I went to the doctor this morning today to get Ativan or Xanax or anything for Chad's Afterparty ..... which is really a funeral, a fact that is finally really hitting me now that people are actually arriving for it. I had a massive panic attack when I picked up a friend from the airport yesterday, the very person to arrive from out of town for it.
Which is why I keep asking people to pick up people from the fucking airport for me because I was pretty sure that was gonna happen. And it did. So all you people who said no to me, thanks a lot. One person - a bona fide super way into adulthood married person said he couldn't pick up this first friend of mine arriving at the airport because it was Valentine's Day. Let that one sink in for a bit. Because I sure as shit did. And of course, this was a person who had just so sincerely (I thought) said to me "If there's anything we can do for you, just ask.". Yeah? I JUST ASKED AND YOU SAID NO. It was fucking Valentine's Day.
A friend is trying to help me understand this rejection in a charitable light because I'm really mad. I'm not feeling charitable at all, and most of all I feel like Chad would be disappointed in this person. The friend who is trying to chill me out over this told me that when people say "if there's anything I can do just let me know", what they really mean they want to do A Big Important Thing For You. They don't mean can I run to the airport to pick up a friend and take her to a hotel for you. They want to Do Something Very Important For You. Not run my errands. Guess what. I don't have anything Very Important To Do. I have 802 unimportant things to do. I don't need a barn raising for Christ's sake. I need someone picked up from the airport. And then after that, 801 more very unimportant things you apparently don't want to do for me.
So, Mad Widow, are you venting your spleen to publicly shaming this friend who will surely recognize himself when reading this? Probably a little, yes, if I'm being honest, which this blog is nothing but brutal honesty. So yeah. I am mad about this, and I want him to know that. But, the vast majority and real reason I am saying of all this is so that all of you who say those "if there is anything I can do" words, words that I now hate, especially when it has that extra (not) sincere flair on the "anything", because 93.2% of people don't mean them and I am almost not kidding about my precision there, to understand WHY a widow might ask you to do these seemingly random unimportant "errands" for her. And maybe next time, you will hear her request as a Very Important Thing To Do For Her Even If It Is Going To Walgreens 8 Miles From Your House When She Lives 1 Mile From Walgreens.
Back to the airport, as I was waiting for that first friend to arrive, I was nervous, but ok, watching the board for her flight to land. I was there almost an hour early. I watched and watched. Finally her flight on the board changed from "on time" to "arrived". At that exact nanosecond, I had a heart attack, I dropped to the floor, a bystander called 911 and in the meanwhile got out the cardiac paddles, saved my life, and here I am now writing from the CCU alive by a miracle.
OK, what actually happened is that I had my very first panic attack (meaning the clinical term, not the colloquial term). I was sure having a heart attack except that I knew for an absolute fact intellectually that I was having (again: my first) panic attack. My heart beat went from normal to probably 170. I started hyperventilating. I got dizzy. My chest felt like an elephant was standing on it. I could barely breathe. Thank god I was standing right in front of a chair because I abruptly sat down, leaned to the trash can to my side, fished out a pathetic used croissant bag or some damn thing from Starbucks and (tried to) breathe into it.
Eventually after about 20 minutes, things slowly calmed down a bit and 20 minutes after that, my friend arrived. First, I didn't recognize her. I know her well, have seen her many times in person and get this for irony - she uses a wheelchair. How could i miss THAT? But that's what a panic attack does. Then she called my name, I startled, made an excuse about why I didn't see her but it was like I heard her talking through a straw. It was comically tight and weird, like when you suck up a helium balloon, and I only heard about every 3rd word. Surreal. Apparently, I responded appropriately, or at least mostly, because she didn't say anything like "what is wrong with you?".
The only thing I remember next is that we got her wheelchair in and out of the car, her in and out of the car, to the hotel, luggage in and out, checked in, and then went to the bar and ordered drinks and food. All I really wanted to do was go home (my temporary home, not my real home where I can't bear to be alone) and ate. The bartender was an odd moment of clarity from the night. Perhaps it was because he was gorgeous. But also, I told him what happened and he was a true gentleman. He held my hand, sat on the couch next to us, patted my shoulder often and when I told him "every time that glass is empty, fill it up", he did. I was drinking Crown and Ginger. Chad's favorite drink.
I had four and he "might have made them a little strong" he said as he winked setting them down each time. Obviously, I did not drive home. Leaving my car there in the parking lot of the hotel, I took an Uber home and I became for the first time in my life, that girl, the drunk one, who tells her life story to the poor driver, cries, and shows him pictures he doesn't want to see and can't look at anyway because he is driving. Thankfully, at least I didn't vomit. But I did blather on and on and on and man, do I feel pretty dumb now. Oh well, I left him a tip bigger than the fare, so I highly doubt he cares that he had to hear about my sainted dead husband. A lot.
So why did I drink so much? Because I don't really "do" drunk. Because I have no calm down drugs like Ativan. None. And i simply could not cope and I needed something, anything to numb me. And for one night - hey, it worked. For a few hours.
So yeah, that’s the backstory of why I was at the doctor at 8 am this morning. Remember the first line of this entry way up there? I was at the doctor because last night at the airport, I had that lovely panic attack because I it finally and truly for real occurred to me, he is DEAD. And that I am gonna totally be a mess at this party-that-actually-is-a-fucking-funeral-no-matter-what-I-called-it. So short of getting drunk there too, I needed those magic drugs they make just for situations like this.
I got there right at 8 am, via uber - after all, my car was still at the hotel because my drunk ass was OF COURSE responsible and did not drive home drunk. At the check-in counter the clerk super cheerfully asked how I was doing this morning with a wide lovely, it was not fake at all smile. She was just plain beautiful too. But it was so jarring. Smiles, happiness, and while I’m getting a tiny tiny tiny bit used to the fact that life for others is still the same as the day before for them, my life is forever bisected. Before he died, and after he died.
When she asked how I was, what I really want to say is “I am horrible, my husband just died - oh I’m also hung over”. Of course, what I really said quietly was "I'm ok" with as much of a half fake smile as I could muster under the circumstances. As they always do, she then began to confirm all my various info. Name, date of birthday, address, phone, insurance etc. Then she brightly looked straight up at me, with a genuinely beautiful smile and said:
"Single, married, widowed or divorced?"
The word widowed reverberated in my head like a shotgun had blasted inside of it, ricocheting around, bouncing through my grey matter leaving Swiss cheese hole tracks behind.
I am widowed.
I stood there in absolute shock as my mouth began to hang open. I think it was about then that my ears started ringing. Shortly after, my world rapidly started to go dark and narrowed into a tiny dark tunnel, I started to sway and that's when the world went totally black. What I remember next is looking straight up at a crowd of faces looking down at me. I then sat up too quickly, and promptly vomited all over a poor random stranger's shoes.
So, that, my friends, is how it feels the first time you are even asked to say out loud “I am widowed”. And for the record? I never did answer the question.
Then later in the morning, yes today, this same morning, I got totally overwhelmed again meeting with some people about his party-funeral-wait-its-a-party-right? - all people who are massively supportive. It was the topic (my husband is dead as a doornail) we were talking about and probably the aforementioned passing out and barfing that led my body to think it was a good idea to do it again. My heart started racing, my chest started to constrict, and then the world started to go semi-dark again.
I slithered right out of my chair to the floor - voluntarily - before my body did it for me involuntarily. I stayed there on the floor for a long time and later of course had to be driven to my temporary home where my also a widow friend knows to just walk past me as I lay on the “yep this part sucks, in fact it all sucks, I'm really sorry”.
This. Fucking. Sucks.
I want to close my eyes and hope it just all gets better but every goddmaned fucking day has gotten worse. Not better. They lie. Time doesn’t heal. I call complete total bullshit on that. It just gets different. And fuck ridiculous grief websites that tell you to take deep breaths and exercise. Fuck that.
I'm taking Ativan and going the fuck to sleep.
Over and out I am so done with this day.