When (and I do not recommend this in any way, shape, or form to anyone) folks knock on your door in the middle of a Friday afternoon to tell you your spouse of 22 years was killed in a horrible accident, there are a number of things that kick into gear. I suppose it is different for everyone, how your body and mind sort of go into autopilot mode. For me, I guess I was lucky in a sense. My body and head must have decided to take care of me. I was relatively calm, invited the people inside, and put together a list of who to call and what to do next. I remember all of it down to the last detail.
Looking back, I think during such an awful time you can go two ways: you can crumple into a corner and never want to get out or you can grab your wits and look forward. It's a tricky thing, that shock factor. As much as a portion of my scaredshitless brain wanted to crumple, the rest of me looked around and decided the crumple thing was not going to work.
The trick to all of it, I believe, is to have those things in your life which are just yours. Yes, marriage is great and you have this best friend and partner...that is all wonderful. Times spent together as your own little family whether you have kids or not are important and hopefully happy :) However, having your own time and your own hobby or "thing" is equally important...you still have to be your own person. I was lucky to have had a partner who completely agreed and was on the same page. If, during a time of great stress and great sadness and your world is totally rocked and whipped upside-down, you can go to a place or do a thing that is no different no matter what is going on, you will find the *normalcy* you need to be able to face the next round of bad/sad stuff. Does that make sense?
I (duh) ride horses. I actually bought a new horse just 2 weeks before H's accident...had sold George The Bastard Horse in December. New Horse completely fell into my lap. I wasn't really looking and some friends said I should try a gelding that was for sale for a zillion dollars and was a 2 hour drive into Michigan. Ya, OK, I said. Of course I fell in love, made a ridiculously low offer, was laughed at by the sellers and then told they would love for me to have him. Crazy carma I tell you. Anyway, New Horse is the most gentle, sane sweetheart I could ever have found. Most of all, he is my Great Escape...you see, my riding was and is My Thing. While H was very supportive ($$$ and otherwise!), he rarely went with me to the barn and just wasn't into riding. And, he only met New Horse one time before his accident. During all of the funeral planning and visitation and dealing with H's family goo-ga, I tried to sneak away to the barn for a few hours...and believe me, THAT is what kept me going. The barn and horse are no different whether my world is torn apart or not. There are no sad memories there...only my good or bad rides, which happen no matter what.
In thinking about how I have worked through the past several weeks, it took some time to piece together how I kept my head and continue to keep my head on straight (fairly!). I finally realized it is that sense of *normal* I feel when I walk into the barn and tack up my horse. There is no death or insurance or bank business or beneficiary business to take care of...just poop and leather and sweat! Love that stuff :)
Not sure if this all makes sense, but I wanted to get it down so it can be re-visited later as I move through this whole process.