Sunday, 4 July 2021

Still Complaining

Hello again, my bloggy friends.

One of the things I have been learning about grief is that it does not follow a neat path to recovery.

I'd read about that, and thought it made sense, but I hadn't really understood it. I still thought I'd progress in a relatively orderly way from feeling terrible to feeling like I was ready to live again.

Instead, it's been a meandering path, sometimes forging ahead, sometimes looping back to find myself repeating part of the path over and over, sometimes returning to the early days of numbness and disbelief, or the later days of feeling physically weighed down with sadness and emptiness.

Some days I feel like writing here of normal things, and just as quickly I am back under a cloud again.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't think there will ever be a good time to start posting again, because my mood is so variable. So I'm just going to post anyway, with the hope that you will understand if my writing goes back and forth between okay and not okay.

*****

My husband and I did a lot of jigsaw puzzles in 2020 after everything shut down because of Covid. It was a comforting distraction from the world's problems in general and our problems in particular.

Usually the process started with him doing the outside frame, then both of us doing segments of the interior, until we were completely done. I'd then take a photo of the finished puzzle, break it up into the box, wipe down the table, and set out a new puzzle for him to start. As my husband became more and more ill, he was less and less able to concentrate on anything for long. He had a lot of back pain which was caused - although we didn't know it at the time - from a metastasized tumour in his liver which was pressing on a nerve in his back. Still, between us we managed to finish a large stack of puzzles.

The last one we did started out the same. My husband picked out the pieces of the frame and started to put them together. And then, just like that, he stopped. I finished the rest, hoping every day that he would be able to do a few pieces, but he couldn't. I was glad when it was done and broken down and put away. I still have two uncompleted puzzles in the closet and cannot bear to start them. I saw one at the store yesterday and thought, maybe - just maybe - a new puzzle wouldn't have the same emotions attached as the ones I chose when my husband was still alive. I picked it up. And was flooded by sadness and regret and all the other difficult feelings and had to set it back down.

Maybe some day. But not yet.

*****

The reason I was in that store was to buy a sink plug. I had carefully measured the old plug and written it down in both inches and millimeters, because we are still using both systems in Canada and I wanted to be prepared for anything. I bought one with the same measurement and took it home. Imagine my dismay when the new plug was much larger than the old one. It turns out, for those of you who are as unknowledgable about these things as I am, that you have to measure the bottom of the plug, not the top. Why, people, why? Is life not already complicated enough that you cannot measure a simple plug in the most logical way and require only one trip to the store to replace it? (Note: I realize now that my idea of logical is obviously wrong. The bottom of the plug, not the top, goes in the sink drain. You don't want the width when you're looking down at the plug; you want the width you'd see if you were in the sink drain and were looking up. Of course.)

The day I bought the plug, the cashier had to swipe it on a machine to deactivate the anti-theft mechanism in the package. Which didn't work - it still beeped as I went out through the anti-theft gates - but she waved me on my way. Who steals a $1.99 sink plug? It must be an actual issue for the store if they've gone to that much trouble to thwart all the plug-thieves out there. I just hope when I take this one back that it doesn't beep when I'm going in to return it. I should probably just put it in the donation box but now I kind of wonder what will happen.

*****

I am back to collecting lolcat pictures, so I will leave you with a few that I hope are new to you.

 

How I felt about the sink plug fiasco.


















*****

Have a good week if at all possible, and tell me ... have you ever bought the wrong size sink plug using the same reasoning I did???




54 comments:

  1. Writing about a loss is helpful in trying to recover some kind of normality. so yes, blog and don't worry that some things may wander.

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    1. I was hoping to not make loss my focus when I returned to blogging, but I don't think that's going to happen. I appreciate your supportive comment, Red.

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  2. Dear Jenny, post anything you want and need to post here, in any mood at all. Let this be a safe space where you can process the feelings that ebb and flow and flood and ebb again. You are so loved here. However you show up, whatever you choose to share is welcomed. Sending love to you.

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    1. I think I'm too worried about boring people, but I think also that I've now accepted that's not what I should be worrying about. If that makes sense. Thanks for the love, 37p. Sending you the same.

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    2. We can never be bored by you sharing your heart. Hugs, birthday mate.

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  3. I bought a bathtub plug a couple of months ago because I realized I should fill the tub when we expect a hurricane. I bought a plug that said it would fit all drains. I haven't tried it out yet so I don't know if it works. We have Elsa headed toward Florida so now is the time. I'm glad you are posting because I'm selfish. I missed you and I want you in my life. Grieving is kind of like the writing process. We plan, we write, we revise, and we edit. Then we realize something is not quite right, so we write some more and then we might edit but then go back to plan some more and revise, and so on. It's recursive. You wrote so beautifully about the puzzles. I love the memes.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I hope your plug works in the manner intended and that Elsa doesn't bring crummy gifts when she visits. I hadn't thought of the parallels between grieving and writing, but you're right. Give those pups of yours a hug from me, won't you?

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    2. I'll also give each of them a dog cookie from you.

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    3. Oh, good - I get the credit without any of the hard work! I still think those cookies look good enough for a person. Maybe throw in some extra butter to soften them up for our senior teeth :)

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  4. Grief has its own agenda. And sadly it often includes the one step forward, two steps back dance. Years after the event it sometimes fangs me. Viciously.
    Post when and if you are ready.
    Thank you for the smiles.
    And huge (and perpetual) hugs are flowing your way.

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    1. Hugs gratefully received, EC - and sent to you as well. One step forward, two steps back is exactly what I was thinking a couple of days ago. It makes for slow progress.

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  5. When you took metric and imperial measurements for the plug you were on the right track, you just didn't know you needed top and bottom!
    I'm laughing at all the memes but especially the bull terrier on his kennel. Dogs are so delightfully silly.

    I hope that one day you will be able to look back on your pandemic puzzle sharing days with joy and sweet nostalgia but for now, please, please, say or don't say, whatever you need.
    xo

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    1. Actually, all I needed was the bottom measurement - that probably wasn't clear from all my rambling on. Next time I'll know! I love that dog on his house, too. He has such a lovely goofy face. Thanks for your kind support, kylie.

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  6. I usually take the old plug with me when buying a new one, the other method is to measure the width of the sink opening to get the right size. Love the funnies :)
    Grief is a funny thing, it comes, it goes, sometimes it hangs around, sometimes it pops up out of nowhere, like two days ago when I found myself crying again about my Angel (cat) who disappeared four years ago.

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    1. Yes, I should have just measured the sink drain. But I had a ruler in my hand, and it wouldn't bend to the angle I needed ... I should have made the trip downstairs to get the tape measure.
      It's hard to believe it's been four years since Angel disappeared. It's also hard to deal with grief that holds so many unanswered questions as his disappearance did. If only you could know for sure where he went and what happened.

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  7. You are not complaining. You are sharing your thoughts and feelings and in doing so hopefully helping yourself through the long and meandering path that is grief. Although there are basics stages of grief, I would expect that each of us go through it in our own way. I'm not surprised you are repeating some parts over more than once. It takes time and it hasn't been all that long yet. Be patient with yourself and take the time you need. And tell us all about it, if it helps you to get it out. Besides, you never know who you might be helping by sharing.

    Yes, I have bought the wrong size plug before! It happens to all of us. I love the lolcat pictures. Those two little guys in the patty cake competition are adorable!

    Be kind and gentle with yourself. You have many friends that care. Love and hugs!

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    1. Sometimes when I don't feel like writing something personal, part of what makes me do it anyway is remembering how other people's writings have helped me and thinking that perhaps what I write might help someone else. If no one shared their private thoughts, I would think I'm weird in a lot of my feelings.
      I am grateful for the good friends - like you - whom I have met through blogging, Bonnie.

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  8. Yay! Jenny posted again!
    Take your time and do what feels right, and when nothing feels right, just do what you can and try to be as good to yourself as you can manage. That's my advice, for whatever it's worth.
    I'll be happy to read whatever you manage to post, and have best wishes that you'll be feeling better soon.
    As a former machinist, I've measured the wrong thing in the wrong units so many times that when buying stock or supplies, I took to asking the salesperson what I was likely to be doing wrong. Didn't always help, as the poor salesperson doesn't know what I'm up to, but it did save a couple of obvious embarrassing mistakes.
    We went to a potluck at the neighbor's house tonight and found out that the cat has been terrorizing one of the neighbors up the hill from us, so he's in lockdown after dark for a while.

    Your friend,
    -Doug in Sugar Pine

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    1. That sounds like excellent advice to me, Doug. My tendency to perfectionism is a bad thing a lot of the time. I'm trying to learn to just do the best I can and not overthink or overworry about things. It's a work in progress.
      Some salespeople are knowledgeable and you never know which ones they are just by looking, so I'll have to remember that tip. If, that is, I can find a salesperson when I need one. They are scarce in our stores.
      Uh-oh, kitty, you're in the dog house :)

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  9. PLugs ... been there, done that? ... I ended up bringing the old plug with me ;)
    Please keep on writing, it's good to hear from you again.
    Hugs and prayers from Denmark

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    1. Oh, good, it's not just me :) I should have taken the old plug. Lesson learned.
      Thanks for your kind thoughts, Charlotte.

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  10. Very nicely written and as you are a writing person, I expect it is better for your mental health to write, semi-anonymously.
    No, I haven't bought the wrong sized plugs for that reason. The top of the plug is relevant if it is one that relies more on the weight of the water to seal rather than fitting the plug hole. Really though, wouldn't just two plug sizes, large and small, be enough.
    I'd forgotten you used to post lol cat photos.
    The octopus one is a little subtle and very funny once you understand. It amuses me muchly.

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    1. My work here is done :) I like subtle humour a lot.
      Yes, I think I need to write, even though I tend to be a fairly private person. I process most of my feelings inside my head, but there's still value to setting it down in words, too. Thanks, Andrew.

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  11. Keep writing..and no, progress won't be a straight line and little things will catch you unawares.
    Thanks for sharing the smiles xx

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    1. There are so many little things. It feels like my life is full of land mines. I hope that gets better in time. I'm glad you enjoyed the memes, gz, and thanks for understanding what I'm saying.

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  12. I learned over time that grief comes in waves, with the period between the waves being unpredictable. I hope with time, the period lengthens for you, Jenny. Take care.

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    1. The unpredictability is a hard thing. I can be having a good day when for some little reason - or no reason at all - I'm miserable again. It's hard to adjust to that, but I'm trying. Thanks, Marie.

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  13. Think we always look for analogies for grief. For me, an endless roller coaster ride is fairly apropos--the ups, the downs, the swerves, the view from the peaks sometimes delicious, only to be followed by the stomach-wrenching plunges as you shoot downhill. You think you can anticipate and react appropriately to each move or event, but then suddenly find yourself screaming or crying. Whatever simile works for you, know that even though at a distance, we are along for the ride. Knowing we can't lift the burden, but we can share it. Write away. We love to hear from you.

    And, yes, I have various plugs in my house that do not work...you can guess why. :)

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    1. It's good to know there are other un-plug-savvy people out there :)
      I'm never been on a roller coaster but I can imagine that's an apt comparison. And I am very grateful that I have friends in blog land who are willing to read my writing and be a solid support - it helps. Thanks for your kind comments, Mary.

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  14. Processing grief is not complaining. It's a way to help you heal. It's doing the best you can each day and the day after and the day after that. And some days you feel like you're right back at the starting line. Share what you want in this space and we'll all be right here to read it and support you in any way you need. Sending you lots of hugs. xo

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    1. Thank you, Martha - I think if I feel it's okay to share both the good feelings and the bad, it's easier to feel like I'm not so much complaining as explaining, which is different. I hope you are doing okay with your own grief journey - you have had several losses recently, all tangled up in each other, and each loss brings its own grief no matter what it is or how it has happened. Hugs to you too.

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  15. I bought a pitch fork instead of a garden fork once, felt pretty stupid returning that because I still don't how I muddled it up. Adding my hugs to the queue here, no judgement on grieving or erroneous purchases xx

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    1. I can easily see doing that, actually, so it doesn't sound stupid at all :) Thanks for your support, Lisa.

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  16. Grief is proof that you loved, Jenny! Deep love engenders deep grief. Grieving follows no pattern. Just know that my heart is with you still! (And you are not complaining--you are expressing your feelings to your besties.)
    Sorry, but I laughed at your plug dilemma. Measuring and me are not friends. (You should see me try to hang a straight picture...)

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only handy-challenged person in the room, Diane :) Maybe someday I'll try to hang a picture, but it won't be anytime soon. And thank you for your caring support, my friend.

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  17. Yes, but I can't remember the details.
    I'm so happy to see you again. Keep on collecting our funnies.

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  18. It's so good to have you post. It does not matter if it's about funny things or sad things or serious things.

    Thank you for the funnies, and know i am thinking of and praying for you.

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    1. Thank you, Mimi. Glad you liked the funnies.

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  19. Sorry about the sink plug. Been there, done that unfortunately. I thought I had it squared away and then realized I measured the wrong side. So frustrating. Also, sorry about the up and downs of the grieving process. I know it is cliche but some days are better than others but just be kind to yourself, jenny_o. Everyone grieves differently so take it one day at a time. Take care and thanks for the memes. The octopus and cat one made me LOL.

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    1. I'm finding "one day at a time" is really good advice and it's something I'll keep in mind to pass on to others as well. I'm glad you liked the memes, especially that one :) Thanks, Mr. S.

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    2. Time pushes us forward and it can be as simple as that but there is nothing simple about the grieving process. Take care and always good to hear from you.

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  20. the part of this post about puzzle unfinished will have me for a while dear Jenny !
    your spiritual strength and wisdom is truly Inspiring my friend!
    it is such a joy to have you back believe me .i really wished meanwhile if i had wings and flew away to Canada to meet you once .thank you for joining back .

    i enjoyed the sink plug story and i never gave thought when passed through Mall or shops gate they beeped ,i always had in mind that they were for metal detection .

    i used to be in measurements long ago when my two later sons were little and i would sew their shirts with various designs just to please mama's heart .
    Hubby does all the measurements when it has to be done for particular work and he is so extra careful that we get bit irritate with his deeper careful attitude so in result no chance for mistake and ever can you believe it .
    hugs and blessings to you and loved ones!

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    1. Your husband is wise to measure carefully and as you say it has resulted in not making mistakes!
      Thanks you, as always, baili. Hugs to you.

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  21. I did lots of jigsaws too during lockdown alone. I have piles in the garage now waiting to go to charity shops. I bought two new ones this week funnily enough ready just in case I want to start again but for the time being I have weaned myself off them. I have been grieving a loss for four years now, an abandonment. I have been told I am grieving. It was good to see you writing a blog post again. I enjoy your blog company Jenny.

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    1. I'm so sorry, Rachel - I didn't know about your loss. I think being abandoned would be harder in many ways - perhaps a lack of finality to it. Too many what-ifs. Grieving without closure. Some or all of these, and probably aspects I haven't even thought of.
      Thanks for reading and for your kind words, Rachel.

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  22. I always have a jigsaw on the go and then pass it on to friends and family, then when I get them back I do them again and sell them on ebay. I'm so sorry that for you they are connected to sad memories of your husband, maybe eventually you'll remember them as good times together and they may even bring you some comfort?

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    1. You have a good system going for your jigsaws. I don't know what the future will bring, but right now all I can think of about jigsaw puzzles is how my husband's illness got worse and worse starting from just before we did the first puzzle during lockdown. The association with his health issues is very strong. I WANT to want to do puzzles on my own and maybe one day I will. I'll ponder what you have suggested and hope it may work out that way.
      I hope your eye issues are not worsening, Joey. Vision problems are my worst nightmare as I use my eyes for so many of the things important to me. I really feel for you.

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  23. So sorry to hear about your loss. Keep writing; it's good to externalise your feelings. I also think you should continue with your Jigsaws, you may feel they bring you more comfort than pain. Cro x

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    1. Thanks for reading and for your comment, Cro.

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  24. Dear Jenny, over the years I have popped in and out of your blog but have been out for so long that I had no idea about your sad news. I’m so sorry you both had to suffer this journey, it becomes more than bereavement but trauma long side.
    I joined you on this bereavement journey 9 weeks ago and it is not lost on me that the Universe had its own reasons for me reading you again after all this time.
    You write so elegantly and coherently about your loss and your words have had real resonance with me.
    Take care, thoughts are with you.
    JC

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    1. Oh Julie, I am so, so sorry to hear you are suffering a similar loss. You're right, it's more than bereavement, it's trauma. That's the word that I've been using inside my head the last while, as I wonder why I am not really doing a whole lot better after six months. It sounds right when you use it also.
      I do not see a blog linked to your name but if you have one, please let me know. Or if you want someone to talk to, feel free to email me at newjennyo@gmail.com.
      Thank you for leaving a comment today and I wish you well.

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  25. Mostly been away from blogging, but just reading through your last posts. Heartbreaking. Feeling selfish I wasn't here for you in some small way during your heartbreaking journey. I'm so sorry.

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    1. It's nice to hear from you, dbs. We can't read everything everybody writes, no matter how much we want to or plan to. I haven't been getting around to blogs lately the way I wish I could either. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a note. I hope life is treating you well.

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