Crazy Without Her

Dear Marie:

I'm 62 and a widower. My wife died last year. We were married 30 years. We never had kids. My wife got cancer and died six weeks after the diagnosis. She was a good wife and we had lots of fun together. I miss her terribly. Everyone I talked with in the beginning said it would take a long time for me to get over it. Well, they were right, I still miss her. I miss her smile and her love. I even miss her cajoling me.

I have done my best to keep going. I also have had to do a lot of the things she used to do. She was very organized and kept the house on track. She organized all the trips, paid the bills and made it easy for me to do my work without having to worry. The problem is, on top of my grief, I'm not organized. Sometimes I forget where I place things. I have never had this problem before, am I going crazy?

-- Going Crazy in New Mexico


Dear Going Crazy:

What you're going through is a common complaint of people who are under a tremendous amount of stress. You have been through a lot over the past year and this is probably the reason you're misplacing things. Losing your wife and having to pick up the pieces of your life, along with taking charge of the household, is more than most people can handle with ease on their own. You're prone to misplacing items and feeling as though you're going crazy because of your loss. This will pass as the healing process progresses. You'll find that the fog will begin to lift and you'll begin to focus again.

In the meantime, you could call in some support ‐‐ at least for a while. Hire someone to come in and do some of the things your wife used to do if you can. If you're not in a position to hire someone, see if you can get a family member to come over a couple of times a week to help out. This will help to alleviate the pressure. You will then be able to focus again.

It is also a good idea to begin having a special spot or general area for everything, now. This doesn’t mean that you get fanatical about it, but it does help to have a plan. This way, if you're absent minded you hopefully will put the item in that spot without having to think about it.