Stepping Out of the Closet

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Photo by EVG photos on

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m standing in an overcrowded closet with a broken ankle, and everything is falling down on me. I can’t move, so I put my hands over my head to try to deflect all that keeps coming. Some things, like socks or t-shirts, are more of a nuisance than anything.  Other things, like books and belt buckles, hurt when they make contact. No matter how hard I try,  the rain of objects keeps pouring down.  I know I have to move, but every time I take a step, my busted ankle shoots pain up my leg.  And so I stand there, fighting with the falling debris, making painful movements,  and crying out in pain and frustration.

This is how my life has been going. There are so many things I need to get done since Peter died. Things like yard work, the house, the insurances, the pension, the car maintenance,  the bills, groceries (or lack thereof), the garbage days, the accident which caused his death, and on and on it goes. Each of them falling on me because I am without my partner of thirty years. My friend, Laura, told me another reason why a spousal death is so different. She said when your husband or wife dies, the remaining one is left doing the work of two. Or in my case, doing the work of Peter which was everything I never did before. And I’m doing all of this with a broken, grieving heart. And it’s overwhelming. And it’s frustration. And I feel like ignoring it all but I know I can’t. And it all hurts like hell.

My children have been godsends in their support of me. They’ve taken over the bills until I can get my footing and the maintenance of my car since I have no clue about those objects on four wheels. Friends and family have offered to help.  My financial advisor has been kinder to me than I think most financial advisors are to others. Maybe it helps I adore his wife, and well, he’s not so bad either.  So many are “there” to help me deflect or grab some of these things Life is throwing at me. I just have to ask.

I have a hard time asking for help. I don’t know why.  I mean, all someone can say is yes or no.  I don’t know what I fear. Maybe it is the rejection of no. I am a sensitive person (shocker!), especially in my grief right now. Maybe it’s the pride, the admission, the ego, I can’t do it alone. I mean, isn’t that what so many of us women do most of our lives? Try to go it alone? Maybe it’s my control issues. I do have those. My anxiety can attest to it. Maybe I can’t formulate in words what I want since my mind is so jumbled in grief.  I’m good with the written word, but lately, my verbal skills suck. Maybe I expect, unrealistically, for someone to just do for me. Because I’m so exhausted and emotionally beaten down, it seems reasonable. Or maybe some things seem so intimate and gives people too much of a glimpse into me. After all, Peter was half of me and I’d be opening up that half left empty, which I don’t really understand myself right now.  Whatever it is, I struggle asking, and when I do, it takes a lot out of me.

I have started to do it though. You know, to ask or accept people’s offer for help.  It wasn’t easy, but I have. And the responses I’ve been receiving have been positive, kind and from places of love like I’ve never seen before. Even in their no’s. They don’t really own me a reason. No one owes you a reason for a no. Peter once told me, when you request a favor, receive a no as you would a yes, otherwise, you are telling, not asking.  I know. Beautiful, right?  Yet, each no is given to me with an explanation and a genuine sadness. And after I ask, regardless of the answer, I think, that was okay. That wasn’t so difficult….until another favor arises. Then, it gets hard again. I’m learning though or trying to. I know I need to keep pushing my comfort.

After a few restless nights of mulling over everything I have to get done, I decided,  I really do have to ask more.  People don’t know what to do unless asked. They can’t read minds. We’re not that evolved yet. They can’t know what’s going on in my life. Well, I mean they do, but not all of it. They can’t push me aside and step into the closet for me.  They can’t divert or snatch what life is dumping on me right now.  These are my issues. This is my grief, my hurt, my feels I need to feel. But I do have to ask for help.

There are good people in this world. I have been gifted with so many in my life. Through this experience of Peter’s death, I have been able to see so much goodness. I knew it existed, especially in the people who surround my life. They have gone to such great lengths to show me their best.  In the words they say,  the things they do and the help they offer, I am, and will forever be, awed by what I have received.  Maybe another reason for having difficulty in asking. I’ve received so much. How can I possibly ask for more?

I know. I need to stop doubting and do.  Otherwise,  my life’s burdens, the burdens left when Peter left this world,  are going to bombard me.  And if I don’t ask for help, I will be in that closet for a very, very long time.