What Happened to My Brain?

Shortly after Greg’s death, I found myself stopping my van in the middle of the road. I still don’t know why I did it. I looked up, and realized that I was about to get hit. If I were the person in the other car, I would have been annoyed with me and wondered what I was thinking! I don’t think I was thinking anything. My brain was full past its capacity, and it just wasn’t functioning right. I remember thinking about how important it is to not judge people when they do dumb things like that. You really don’t know what they’re dealing with.

My brain and memory has been very affected by Greg’s death. This phenomenon actually has a name. It’s called widow’s fog, and it happens to most people who have lost someone very close to them. It can last days to years, and it is a very real thing. There is so much to process, and your brain can’t handle it all. Just this past week, I logged onto the computer to sign my kids up for a summer camp. I realized that all of their info was already in the system. I called and asked the people how they already had all my kids’ info. They told me that I must have inputted it myself. I don’t remember that. I am usually quite sharp, but I find myself forgetting things that were just said to me, appointments, and all kinds of things all the time. Sometimes I don’t remember big chunks of time. I struggle to focus. It’s difficult for me to read or listen to books. I was in graduate school before Greg’s death, and I worry about my ability to continue anytime soon. 

My best explanation for how this fog feels is a sense of profound disorientation. Greg and I were the center of each other’s lives for 19 years, and then suddenly he was gone. I not only lost my husband and best friend, but I lost my identity as a wife. We lost our family traditions and some of our family culture. There isn’t an aspect of my life that hasn’t changed in one way or another because of his absence.  In the first month after Greg’s death, I found myself asking what our family even does. What are our traditions and routines? The nights were the hardest because they were the times that Greg would have been home. What do we do with ourselves after dinner? None of us seemed to know. It felt so chaotic and confusing. Losing him changed everything for us. It’s no wonder I am disoriented. 

It has now been three months, and I still feel quite foggy, but it has gotten better. I really hope my brain comes back and can function in the same way it used to. However, after losing someone so central in my life, I’m not sure if it will ever be exactly the same. Nothing else is.

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