Thursday, 7 May 2009

Decisions, decisions

Sometimes I am able to stand back and look with detachment and interest at the way that grief has played with my head.

In the first couple of weeks, when all I wanted to do was focus on R and try and make some sort of sense of the situation internally, there was the white noise. It filled my head, leaving little room for anything else. Light, music or other loud noise was an almost physically painful intrusion. I closed in on myself and allowed other people to lead me around, try to feed me and put me to bed like a small child.

Then came the fog. The blessed mind-numbing, anaesthetising fog. It allowed me to get through the funeral without shedding a single tear all day. It helped me to sort through all R's paperwork and talk to solicitors about intestacy without collapsing in a heap. I was a strange third person with the fog in my head. I could have perfectly jolly conversations with people when I should have been crying, and ran around maniacally doing rather odd things.

I miss the fog.
As it dissipated, the real pain began. Not the initial shocked pain, but the "this really is happening" pain. I imagine that anyone reading this will know all about that, so I don't need to describe it here.

Along with the pain came uncertainty, forgetfulness and dithering.
I have always been blessed with a good memory. Before, I never bothered much with diaries or lists. Now I tell everyone to make sure that I write dates or phone numbers or anything else I need to remember in my diary. If I don't write it down, I will forget it. It really is that simple.

Every morning and afternoon I check the diary. If it isn't ticked off that day, then it gets moved to the next. Otherwise forget it - because I do.
It took a while to get to this into my head, but I so hate the out-of-control feelings that go along with forgetting stuff that it is worth going against my natural inclinations.

So I now have remembering in the bag - the diary does it for me. The big thing that is now driving me mad is indecision.

Again, I used to have no problems deciding. If I want it, do it. If I don't, then don't do it. Simple.

Well, you would think so.
But I am finding it so difficult right now. My BIL keeps asking questions about the renovations. What sort of skirting board, radiator or varnish do I want? Hell, I don't know. Just go with what you think will be best. And I never knew just how many different types of light switch there were. Plain white, square edges, chamfered edges, brushed aluminium, white with coloured infill, nickel-plated, wood effect and pretend Bakelite.
I just want a bloody light switch.
Then there are the light fittings, paint colours, curtain fabrics. And this will soon be followed by carpet swatches and wood flooring samples. My head is full of choices. And I can't choose between them.

Then I need to sort out the cars. Yes cars. Why do I still have two? When you live 5 miles from the nearest garage, the logistics of servicing and MOTs are so complicated. Yet there are good reasons for having two cars - I need the 4x4 to pull the stock trailer, drive in snow, carry heavy things. On the other hand, I don't need a large estate car as well. But that means selling the one I have and buying a smaller car, and I have no interest in cars whatsoever. I don't want to think about them, and even if I do, I won't be able to decide.

R had no interest in cars either, so when we needed to buy a new one, we would goad each other into thinking about them for long enough to make a decision. Then we would go for one, possibly two test drives and that would be it. Done deal.

Without him, I can't summon up the enthusiasm. I just want the clouds to part, a large hand to come down from the clouds and point to a particular vehicle at a particular showroom, and a booming voice to say, "Buy this one".

But that isn't going to happen, is it?


  1. I hate to make decisions now. In the five years my husband has been gone, I've had to make so many on my own I'm suffering from decision-making overload. I just want someone to take the pressure off of me once in a while, even a little bit. For instance, if I'm going out to dinner with a friend, I'll ask that they decide where to go. If I'm making a medical appointment and there are a couple openings available, I'll ask the scheduling clerk to choose one for me. It is so nice to have a break from constantly having to decide everything all the time!

    I should probably use this same idea at the hardware store. I've put off painting the interior of my home because I can't decide on what colors to buy. I'll just ask the paint clerk what the most popular colors are and go with them!

  2. Yes, decision-making overload is exactly what it is. It is the same as having to drive all the time now. These days, I absolutely love being driven by someone else for a change.

    I do like your idea of asking random people to make your decisions for you. I shall have to try it out for myself.

  3. You reminded me about the driving! I too, love to have a break from being the one at the wheel. I really appreciate that there is someone out there so far away in distance, yet so close in how I actually feel. Even living in different countries doesn't alter these basic, shared emotions/thoughts.