People ask if I’m doing okay. I’m getting by.

Getting up and getting dressed has become habitual again, rather than the mental whip and chair routine with which I forced myself up for the first four months after William passed away. This doesn’t mean I have been able to put away the whip and chair, but being able to get up and get dressed without them is progress.

The five o’clock blues isn’t as bad as it used to be, but it still hits me from time to time, when I’m tired, look at the clock and think I should be starting his supper. The feeling that I forgot to kiss and wave him goodbye each morning is almost gone and resurfaces only in an occasional “I know I’ve forgotten something” moment on my way down the stone walk to feed the ponies. It helped to move his car to the front driveway, out of sight. The little mind tricks help. When you begin and end your day with the same rituals for almost two decades, they can be hard to let go, but I get by. I’m seeking new rituals.

Weekends are pretty bad still, just because they’re now no different than Mondays or Thursdays, so I need to work on making them different. Maybe it’ll be easier to do this when I get the patio finished and can invite people over on weekends, but I know that too is a trap. I can’t wait until something is done to make things different or I might never make things different. I need to find affordable weekend activities, old things that used to make me happy before William or new things that captivate my spirit now.

I still have to haul out the whip and chair to motivate myself to do simple things, but I’m getting by. I know that keeping my brain and hands busy helps, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to motivate myself to keep my hands and brain busy. Sometimes, finding things I want to do, rather than need to do, is what will get me up and motivated. Before the momentum slows, I do the things I need to do. The only problem with that technique is that there is so little that I want to do right now, or so little that I can afford to do any more, that getting started by dangling a want to do carrot in front of my cart horse is pretty low on the list of successful motivations. Most of the time, it’s just the whip and chair force of will. Sort of like shoving a manual transmission car along until it can be popped into gear and started.

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