My roommate is moving out. I am filled with anxiety and pain about being alone and hurting him but I know that this is the best thing for me to continue my grieving process. My roommate is Jeff's brother.
I knew when Jeff's brother moved in that it probably wasn't the best idea. I never mentioned that "this much needed roommate" from a previous blog was Jeff's brother, most likely because I knew him moving in wasn't going to be the best idea.
I feel like I've been doing something that I call transferring. I transferred my emotions from Jeff to his parents when they lived with me the first two months after Jeff died and then to his brother when he moved in with me before his parents moved out. I have never been alone since Jeff died. I have always had one of his immediate family members living with me.
I have been holding on to Jeff by taking pieces from his family and using them as substitutes for Jeff. I know it's not healthy but it's what I felt I needed at the time.
Now I know that all it is doing is prolonging the inevitable painful loneliness and grief of truly mourning Jeff and getting used to being alone. What we should have done was set boundaries but we didn't. So he moved in and I started treating him just like I treated Jeff. I cooked for him and helped him with whatever he needed. He drives Jeff's truck and is wearing a bunch of Jeff's clothes. I put his needs and priorities over my own and did whatever I could to make him happy. I transferred my caretaking abilities from Jeff to his brother. I was desperately trying to create that emotional connection that I had with Jeff.
But of course none of that was reciprocated as it shouldn't have been. But my feelings were hurt because I expected it to be reciprocated and I know now that was irrational. Because of my hurt feelings and my realization that this is not healthy, I've finally had enough. I have to set boundaries.
We never set a date for how long he would live with me. We said it was because he was moving from Texas and he didn't have a job so how could he know when he would be able to move out without knowing when he would be able to afford to move out. Now I realize that wasn't a good reason. So I set a date. I told him he had five more months living with me.
He is very angry and feels like he quit is life and his job in Texas to move here and help me and since it took him 6 months to find a part time job, he doesn't think that he will be able to move out on his own in five months. He feels betrayed and I completely understand why. I made promises before he moved here that he could live with me for at least a year and most likely two years but we always left it open in case he wouldn't be financially ready to move out in two years.
Five months from now will be a year. He feels he needs more time and that family shouldn't do this to each other. He's so angry that he is planning to move out immediately, most likely back to Texas. I feel terrible and it is so tense in the house. But I am "sticking to my guns." I am not giving in. I need to set boundaries.
I feel absolutely horrible, but when I made those promises to him, I didn't realize how I would feel once he was here. There is a reason why everybody says to not make any big decisions the first year or two of becoming a widow. I shouldn't have made those promises to him but I just couldn't stand to be alone and I really wanted him here. I needed him here. He is so much like Jeff and I just want to hold on to Jeff so badly. But now I know how unhealthy that is for me. Unfortunately, I am hurting him in the process. I am devastated by how much I have hurt him.
I am having such severe anxiety throughout these last few days. I can't eat, I can't sleep, I feel anxious and tense and nauseous. I cry all the time. It feels just like when we found out Jeff had terminal lung cancer. This idea of being alone without any piece of Jeff around is killing me. The idea of how terribly I am hurting his brother, who I care so much about and who now hates me and vows to never speak to me again, is horrible. But I know it's what I need to be able to become strong and independent. I cannot rely on him any more for emotional support. I need to be able to rely on myself.
This is the hardest decision I've ever had to make. I've been told that some of the best decisions are the most heart wrenching to make. I know that this is the best decision for me, but I feel it is just as hard as losing Jeff because his brother helped me cope with his loss in the beginning and now I've lost Jeff and I am losing his brother too.