The stress of being one person trying to do enough for two took its toll on me and I could feel my energy levels dissipating on an alarming scale. To top it all off I wasn't making any headway.
One day I was telling my cousin Kaye about my dilemma, she told me to stop thinking of it as being two people's jobs, to instead think of them as being Cherie's jobs. She told me to write a list and realise Cherie would get around to them when she could. The relief of this was phenomenal! In hindsight it seems like the most logical way to work through everything that needs doing, but sometimes it's difficult to see what is right there in front of your face. Kaye pointing it out to me was 'a duh, how obvious' moment!
I think sometimes when we are going through grief we see everything as really big and huge instead of as a hurdle we can walk up to and kick over if we don't want to jump over it.
Before 2008, when things went wrong in life, I pictured them as lots of little incidents falling around my feet like scattered bricks. When we are depressed, sad or angry it can feel like the bricks don't seem to scatter anymore, they stack up creating a wall we just can't climb.
I guess part of beating the blues is to find ways of 'kicking' the wall down, like the 'Cherie To Do' list. All of a sudden I didn't feel like a slave to our home and how it used to be. If I didn't feel like rushing around madly I didn't have to. I could enjoy a quiet moment or read a book without feeling guilty.
In most relationships, the duties are divided between both partners. Butch would handle the mechanical, handyman and complaints departments and whatever duties we didn't share, were my department.
When Butch passed away, I had no idea how to organise a car service without being ripped off - hence the $5,000 for a my first routine service! I was naive, I told the head mechanic my husband had just passed away and he told me not to worry about anything he would look after me. I obviously didn't notice he was rubbing his hands together in anticipation.
I am pretty independent and maybe just a little stubborn (although I prefer to think of it as 'independent thinking'!), so I refused to ask anyone for help, believing it was time I stepped up and did all those jobs I hadn't bothered to worry about before. Big and expensive mistake!
So, my advice to you, is if you didn't do those things before your partner passed, don't sweat it now. It isn't a sign of weakness to admit you don't know everything about all things. Ask friends and family or ask if they know someone who can help you with anything you are unsure of.
If you don't do housework, either get a cleaner in, or find someone to help you until you feel confident enough to do it on your own. The same applies to cooking, gardening, repairs, etc. Don't feel 'less than' because you need help with even the most menial of jobs.
I remember getting frustrated because I couldn't change one of the light bulbs. I worked on that sucker for days on end, I refused to be beaten. I kept berating myself for being useless and stupid. It turned out there was something wrong in the fitting itself. I’d spent a week in the dark just because I didn't want anyone to think I was a failure! What a waste of energy, emotion and time!
Nowadays, I know who I need to call on for help no matter what the problem and its great to know I don't have to do a crash course in ‘stuff’ I don't really want to understand.