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Confusion, Indecision, Insomnia, And Stress

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I am so confused and conflicted about everything right now. I don't even know where to start. I just lost my husband 2 1/2 weeks ago, so I don't even know what this grief will do to me or how I will react to it tomorrow. At times, I feel I am handling my grief better than I ever thought I could. I do feel like my husband prepared me for his death and helped me learn to be strong, optimistic, and filled with faith. I am so grateful to him for that. But it seems like there is a massive weight bearing down on me a little harder each day.

I have so many decisions to make and tasks to complete, but do not feel mentally capable of doing any of it right now. Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of choices. When I lost my soul mate, I lost my partner in EVERYTHING including business. We spent the last year and a half traveling out of state to seek treatment for my husband's cancer - because there was no treatment available anywhere closer. This devastated us financially and left our home and business neglected during that time. The nation's economic crisis had a big impact on our business also. So, now I am faced with mounting bills, a failing business, neglected personal and business properties, and a myriad of decisions to make all by myself. Not to mention it is tax time now and I do all of the accounting for our business and another business in which I am a partner (that business is also suffering financially.) So even though my world stopped, employees still want paid, payroll and sales tax reports still have to be filed, bill collectors still want their money, supplies still have to be ordered, the IRS must have its forms, etc, etc.... AND I have to decide what changes to make to get income flowing back into my businesses.

On top of all this, I have trouble falling asleep at night, when I finally do fall asleep, I don't stay asleep, yet I still can't hardly drag myself out of bed in the mornings. I can't concentrate on reading or television. If I try to watch a movie, I will be drifting off to sleep, yet if I turn it off and try to sleep, I find myself wide awake.

I just feel like I am going to explode. How do we get back to a "normal" life? How do we make all of these decisions alone? I know some good sleep is also necessary to help with decision making and surviving the day. I do not want to take sleep meds or anxiety meds. As I said TV and reading no longer work (those used to be my sure fire methods to make me fall asleep). Have any of you found successful methods to sleep without the aid of medication?

Too many questions and not enough answers. Any input would be greatly appreciated.



P.S. I also posted last week about conflicting emotions I was having about my grown son and his family staying with me right now. I am still dealing with that and having the grand kids around constantly. That can be a wonderful thing and also a stressful thing. I am working through that and although we haven't reached any concrete guidelines in that area, I feel we will get there.

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I know that feeling of being completely overwhelmed. What helped me cope in the first weeks was a one thing at a time mentality. I lost my job, lost my Mom, had a panic attack, and the grief was swallowing me whole. I could focus on single things and not much more. Keeping a list of things to do helped; otherwise important things escaped my attention. I'd postpone important personal business, and then feel dread for not getting it done. Talking to family helped some, journaling helped too, but eventually I had to force myself to do some things, against my strong inclination to do nothing. Your situation is certainly more demanding than mine was; you have a business to run. All I can think of is "divide and conquer". Once you split off single tasks and do them, you won't be intimidated by trying to do everything at once.

About sleep, are you getting exercise? I started swimming, and that helped me avoid the staying awake until dawn experience. Had to limit coffee to one cup in the morning. Sometimes my mind races, and that's the time I need to focus on something, anything else besides my own thoughts. Posting here can suck up some of that energy, going for walks or bike-rides helped me; if you've got any hobby or interest that holds your attention, go for it. There have been previous posts about sleep and insomnia issues; perhaps you can search through archived posts for more advice.

About getting back to a 'normal life', only in this 3rd month after losing my Mom did some of the black clouds lift. I am definitely more functional now than in the first two months. Just think and feel your way forward one day at a time.

Ron B.

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Let me first say that I am very glad you are addressing the situation with your son's family - from the sounds of it, a step in the right direction.

In regards to your extremely challenging situation, my situation was quite a bit different, but I will let you know what seemed to work for me.

In terms of sleep, for the first month, I am not sure if I really slept at all. But then, one night, I did. And I found that getting into a nightly routine helped greatly. I would watch certain shows, get onto this forum, and then write a nightly letter to Scott. By that time, I was so pooped that sleep usually came. My biggest pitfall, and it still is, is to start replaying the guilt, the woulda shoulda couldas. Sorting through all of that cannot be avoided, but in the middle of the night, night after night, is not conducive to sleep. Also, I always sleep with a teddy bear Scott gave me; if I cannot touch him, I can use the bear for my security blanket (and I quite frankly don't care if this sounds silly). I also read somewhere on this forum, that sleeping on his side of the bed can help. I personally don't do this, but it doesn't hurt to give any suggestion a try. Also, the previous suggestion of exercise I feel is very important, as you need to care for your body, and even a bit of exercise can help sleep patterns (though I don't think you are supposed to exercise close to bed time, as this can just rev you up).

As for your workload, I cannot give you any earthshattering tips, as I was actually on Maternity Leave when Scott died, so I did not have to face those work responsibilities for another 6 months. The only thing I can think of is it possibly hiring someone part time for maybe a month to at least help you organize your bills, tax forms, do some simple data entry / accting to at least give you a bit of support and a place to start, rather than facing a mountain on your own. I know finances are an issue, but perhaps you know someone who you trust, or a temp agency could provide someone, and if it is just for a month, the cost might be worth it.

My thoughts are with you,


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Angie - First, I am very sorry for the loss of your husband. I know it must feel like you're in total shutdown right now. My husband also died of cancer, after 4 short months from diagnosis to death, 20 months ago. We ran a business together, one we started almost 10 years ago. What I did in the very beginning was use my accountant, my lawyer, my purveyors, my employees, all to plug the hole of knowledge that Joe had. We each knew what the other did, but of course duties get divvied up, and tended to stay that way. There was a big learning curve. I dealt with the most immediate things first. Everything else that could wait, did. All I could do was take it a day at a time, and a problem at a time. There were some things I couldn't do - so I bartered with food (!) If you have friends that want to chip in and help in any way possible, accept their help. They're offering because they want to. I hope this helps a little; I know how difficult and overwhelming it seems. Don't look at the future - just do what you can, when you can, and things will slowly fall into place. Peace & hugs, Marsha

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