When I was studying psychology, I learned about Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ 5 Stages of Grieving, which included denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Her work suggested that people grieve in chronological order. As I have been going through my grief, I find myself experiencing many of these stages in no particular order on a daily basis. With all these feelings flying rampant, most people need to proceed with caution when interacting with me. I am a little CRAZY right now – be kind don’t judge!)
By far the hardest emotional task to date has been going through Robin’s clothing and belongings. If I can offer advice to anyone out there, PURGE and only keep the stuff you really care about because this is an agonizing exercise figuring out what to keep and what to donate. Luckily Robin’s mom took care of his closet as I could not bear to empty out his drawers in our bedroom. I took a few sweatshirts and hats and kept them for Isabelle and me. It was shocking to see how much clothes he had acquired over the years. I always loved buying him cute outfits but they rarely saw the light of day. His favorite designers included Cubs, Bears and Indiana University attire. The tier two players in his closet were Ralph, Tommy and Joe , who never made his fashion cut and now are at Salvation Army.
The one room I did take on was his office on our main floor. This was Robin’s place and it broke my heart to see it empty without him in it. Ok if I am really being honest, I did have an alterative motive, it is also a prime location in our house. It was my hope to turn it into a space where Isabelle and I could work in but yet honor Robin’s memory.
Robin’s office was always a major tension point in our marriage. He consistently promised to keep it clean and never did. He always had too big of furniture, too much paper and boxes of purchases he never opened which remained all over the floor. It aggravated me to no end especially being next to the front door of our house. He would get so mad at me when I would decide to surprise him with an impromptu cleaning when he was out. Robin would declare that I liked the house to look sterile and not homey. I would fire back that he was a hoarder and it was embarrassing . This banter drove me nuts but now I must admit … I miss his messy ways.. just a little bit.
As I stated, my emotions have been all over the place. On a daily basis, there are triggers that set me off at a moments notice. For example, the other day I was at the doctor’s office and filling out all those annoying redundant medical forms that seems like a prerequisite at each visit. As I quickly move through the personal information section, I came across the question: Marital Status – oh crap! In a busy waiting room, my lip began quivering and tears streamed down my face as I marked an “X” next to Widow. Another time, I was driving to work and listening to Howard Stern when he mentioned Beetle Juice. Normally in the past, I would have changed the channel cause I don’t like Howard’s Wack Packers (another major disagreement in our house) but this time I began to bawl knowing Robin would have been cracking up at the show. Funny how things change.
If Robin knew I was in constant water works mode all the time, he would get mad and tell me to move on. The problem is that I want him to be here with me and I feel that he got cheated out of a long life and I am still stuck. He deserved more and it saddens me that he won’t be here to see Isabelle grow up and enjoy the great things that life was expected to offer us together. So I cry and accept that I am just going to have a rough year. I guess one good thing has happened… his office has a nice makeover and is clean now. Small wins.. but would much prefer my hubby the pack-rat!