Well, the clock has just turned over to Christmas Eve here, which means it’s officially past Zack’s 6-month deathiversary.
I’m writing this, so you can presume I survived thus far.
I don’t think I was wrong, though, in assuming I’d meet the criteria for complicated grief at 6 months. It doesn’t magically get better; this time was the blink of an eye. I don’t know how that’s even an expectation that any sort of “recovery” would be possible by now. I’m less impaired than I was, less constantly in utter distress, so I’ll take it.
I lit a scented candle tonight, briefly, that someone gave me after Zack died. I guess as a sort of “let’s take a moment so I can reflect on being proud I’m surviving and very slightly improved at functioning on average” thing.
It felt weird because I have in the back of my head still that we don’t touch candles in the house, after Zack came home from the hospital on oxygen in January. I haven’t lit one in 6 months except my kid’s birthday candles. It felt bad to do it, as if it’s an admission that he’s not here, that my house is no longer filled with compressors and tanks, that I don’t have to remember those safety concerns on a daily basis. But I guess it’s time to light a candle if I want to light a candle. Time to admit that I can find some tiny moments of restoration-focused activity in between all the loss-focused time.
Let’s take score.
Foxhole conversions: 0
Obituaries written: 1
Days I didn’t want to have to live through this: 184
Days actively suicidal: 0
Intentional injuries: 0 unless you count self-sabotage in the form of serious procrastination, overdoing it when I do get up to move furniture etc., spitefully staying up too late, a vicious cycle of avoidance and failing to concentrate on work and then feeling incompetent, and punching a wooden urn. I suppose these count as maladaptive grief coping strategies and not really injuries.
Unintentional injuries: 1 fingertip sliced with a bagel knife and about 100 head bumps, stubbed toes and other minor clumsiness but that’s not a vastly increased rate for me
Photos looked through: 23,847
Giant bins of things to donate or give away: about 8
Things actually donated: 0
KVM switches successfully set up: 1
Pieces of home network and homelab equipment that I understand enough to fix when they break: 0
Times I thought I cracked my phone screen but it was actually just the screen protector: 2
Times I’ve used Zack’s kitchen stove: 0
Hours spent assembling a toy kitchen: 6
Times I regretted taking my toddler out in public: Really only the time I had him with me when I went to pick up his birthday cake and he cried “I want cake!” for an hour straight and would not eat his other snacks
Interstate trips survived: 2
Parties held with the help of Zack’s fraternity brothers: 2
Weight lost/gained: negligible overall
Days where the largest chunk of my calories come from cheese, donuts, or other junk: ~125
Cases of scurvy: 0
Hangovers: a lot fewer than you would think
Times I vomited: 1
Times I was vomited on: 2
Pairs of glasses scratched: 1
Times email/text reminders saved me from forgetting to pay an important bill: at least 10
Times internet, electric, gas, web hosting, or other important services were cut off: 0 (not sure how I achieved that)
Other Death Chores and accounts I still need to deal with: don’t want to count. 15 lists full of cards in my Trello board.
Seasons of Star Trek Voyager watched: 2.5
Days where I noticed myself being able to handle daily life for several hours: maybe 10
Weeks I was able to work a full 40 hours: 0
Weeks I at least worked my full scheduled hours: 4?
Nights of enough sleep: Ha