Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sink Full of Dirty Dishes

Humor me, or better said, I am humoring myself. These past few weeks my senses seem heightened in regard to widowhood. I've been having a tough time, perhaps because my new job involves so much physical strain. And I was pretty sick. Not a good combination when you're living and parenting on your own and you're the kind of person who needs a shot of support from a partner on a regular basis. Or at least a partner with whom you're snuggling next to at day's end.

The dirty dishes sat in my sink over the Easter weekend, which also included Monday. Tuesday was my day off. But now my youngest was sick. He'd been ill with similar symptoms to mine and my older son all Spring Break. But he seemed harder hit with throat ailments. My day off on Tue. was spent taking my oldest to the dermatologist and then the youngest to check out his condition. Turns out he has Mono. At 6:00 p.m. I was 12th in line at the pharmacy at Walmart and by 7:00 home and exhausted, AGAIN. The dishes were still sitting in the sink and by now I had no clean pans in which to cook dinner. Anyway, I was too tired to cook and I knew that I'd be up at 4:00 a.m. the next morning to go back to work. So it was a cheap Taco Bell dinner for us all.

Widowhood reminds me of a sink full of dirty dishes. It is ugly, gross and even starts to smell with the passage of time. It is hard to ignore because it is such a vivid reminder of what is and it sure makes its presence known, like when some fruit flies appeared.

I tried cutting myself some slack. As an only parent sometimes there is only so much that can be done. It was a Taco Bell dinner night, so be it. My oldest is not home due to his volleyball commitments and the youngest far too sick to stand at the sink doing dishes to help out. Anyway, with everyone so ill the past three weeks, I felt better doing them myself since I knew I'd do a better job.

But still, I was increasingly upset with the dishes teasing and taunting me. On Easter, I was so physically tired I couldn't stand after my shift. That has been a problem - getting off work and not even being able to tackle the chores at home - the laundry has also been piling up.

I figure in time my body will adjust to the physical work load but I'm 50, not 25 and not as chipper as I once was. The dishes sat until my next day off on Thur. and got done and the laundry was started (I started tackling them Wed. afternoon). My youngest only went back to school on Friday - he was out four days. Now I wonder if it was really Mono that I had when I was sick. I remained ill for three weeks and am still not feeling entirely up to snuff!

Some of this relates to the adjustment of going back to work and I believe only parents face their own set of issues related to balancing work and parenting on their own. There is a tremendous amount of energy spent figuring out the logistics of getting kids to and fro.

There is nothing I wouldn't do for my boys and I have always put their needs ahead of mine. But still, it felt hard and tedious being at doctor offices all day. I didn't get a chance to recover from working so hard the previous three days and the next day I was back at it. Nothing got done in terms of chores or housework.

I hate that widowhood robs me of choices - there wasn't another option for me - unless I wanted to collapse at the sink those dishes weren't going to get done. And so they continued to sit there and mock me. Now really, what positives exist in a sink full of dirty dishes? Absolutely nothing as far as I can determine. Likewise, with widowhood. What good has come out of this for my sons and I? Maybe our characters have become stronger and we are more compassionate individuals but that is it. And anyway, we were probably strong and compassionate to begin with to some extent. And there are still plenty of other ways to build up character besides tragedy.

It is becoming impossible for me to accept the limitations and realities of this life of widowhood. I am aware that until I am not widowed and living alone, I will not be content and I will continue to feel this vast void. Trouble is, I'm just too tired/lethargic to get back out there to start rebuilding social connections and there doesn't seem to be enough time either. So for now, I'll try to keep more on top of the dishes so they don't pile up in the future and become overwhelming and ready to topple over.


  1. I'm sorry it's so hard for you. Your job sounds distressing and physically depleting. I wish you had a dishwasher. I wish you could get a job in your "trained" profession. I wish you had enough money to feel more comfortable. I just wish this old world would give you a break!!! And send you a nice, strong man that would love you and let you lean on him for awhile.

  2. I am going to start looking for work in my area as soon as taxes are filed and the one storage shed is cleared out. I have three days off in the middle of week so that is when I'll be at the shed. At least I'll have a job while I'm searching!

    About the nice, strong guy - I'd love if the Universe would send one my way. I wouldn't want to lean on him too long - just a little bit until I could get my breath back! Having someone love me for who I am would be a very good thing. And I'd love to be able to return that to a good man. Universe hear these words!

    The work with the job is and of itself fine. It is the stress caused by not having enough staff and doing more than is physically possible that makes it hard.

    Thank you for thinking of me.

  3. These major transitions, such as a new job, can throw so much of life off track. It's not surprising that you and the boys got sick during this time.

    For me it is not just the time that doesn't avail itself, it's the energy needed to move when the time allows. It can be very self-defeating. Yet, you still have to acknowledge that you are in a better position than prior to finding the job.

    There is always more to do, no matter how hard we try to stay on top of things.

    I wish you well, and hope that the routine gets easier with time.


  4. Hope things get better and especially that you find a different job. Thinking of you, Thelma

  5. So, so sorry to hear about the Mono. That is a tough one to deal with, even when young and strong. Dirty dishes?!? I am sitting here shaking my head at how parallel our lives are! My sink too was overloaded with them for exactly the same reason. I just could NOT bring myself to do them. I ran out of pans too!! It wasn't until trash day when I HAD to get the trash out to the curb that I mustered the strength to tackle them only because I felt I no longer had a choice.
    Being 50 and having a job meant for a 25 yr old, another parallel. I find myself delegating a great deal at work out of necessity. I just can't do it. I am lucky to be in position where I can do this, BUT I know that it would be better for the client if I were the one providing the service.
    One day at a time, sometimes one hour. And that's ok. I just keep telling myself I will get through it and there will be enough. So far, it's working. Not sure how well, but it's working.
    Hang in there! Always thinking of you and the boys!

  6. Thank you for this- I came upon you by accident. I am not alone.

  7. wearing out our immune system happens with the stress , I too figured out I had mono, it was apparently going around, with cold,
    extreme tired, 2 nights of temp, and worse still hit the central nervous system, and it lasted 5 weeks, previously I had tried to sell my business, and it did not sell, and then a tough month of birthdays with relatives that are not coping with the loss, and taking it out on me, so emotionally it derailed me, thus the immune system went down, boosting with boost helped somewhat, but yes, the house piled up, now trying to sell business again, and house and simplyfy to apartment and get another job, transistions are touch in widowhood.