I remember reading about how the bereaved are expected by some of those close to them to "go back to normal" after a few months and thought in my head that NONE of my close friends and family would ever expect this of me. I thought they understood that I have been irrevocably changed, that I will never be the same.
Now is about the time where people are not being as careful of my feelings. They are starting to express their own feelings. One of the things I'm hearing is that I am isolating, that I am avoiding, and that this is hurting people's feelings. I am not engaging in the same activities as I did when Jeff was still alive. I have been told I am "making time" for some people but not for others and this is hurting people's feelings. I think they want me to "go back to normal."
I already have recognized that I have been avoiding certain TV shows that Jeff and I watched together. I have been avoiding restaurants that we frequented often. I don't even really read the same magazines or books I read while Jeff was alive. They just keep piling up and I keep thinking I will get to them eventually but I know that it's because I had a routine of reading either at night while waiting for him to come upstairs to tuck me in and kiss me goodnight, or I read them while sitting on the couch with him while he was watching TV. I can't even manage to commit to a book, and I've always been an avid reader. The only books I've been opening are all grief related and a lot of them I don't finish and I ALWAYS had a compulsion to finish a book, even if I hated it. I am aware of what my actions have been at home.
Now it has been brought to my attention what I have been doing outside of my home. I was told that, essentially, I have been avoiding specific places that I frequented with Jeff and that I have been avoiding specific people with whom Jeff and I socialized with outside of my home. I have also been told that I have been going to places I didn't frequent
before with people I wasn't particularly close with before.
It's true that I have been gravitating towards people, places, and activities that I did not engage in with Jeff because they do not bring up memories of Jeff. These tend to be activities I did and people I saw while Jeff was still alive but he did not participate in with me. Jeff and I were not attached at the hip and allowed each other the freedom to engage in activities that were just our own so I have been able to go on continuing certain activities with certain people and have not engaged in others that Jeff was directly involved in. When I go places and spend time with people that I usually saw with Jeff, it just reminds me that Jeff is gone.
I know this is hurting people. I know it, but I just don't care enough right now to do anything about it. I feel I'm focused on self-preservation. I have realized that I was unconsciously protecting myself. I ache at home all the time, I do not want to ache when I go out. So I'm avoiding. I was avoiding unconsciously, now I'm conscious of it, and I will still avoid it for now because I feel I need to in order to preserve myself.
Maybe one day, I will go back to those people and places I shared with Jeff, but maybe I will not. I refuse to make promises I might not be able to keep.