Life Stress of Death

Separation anxiety has set in.  I miss my stuff already, and it hasn’t even been a week since it left.  I pick up my crochet project which represents yet another deadline to meet before I move.  I don’t work on it long before the doorbell rings and the four legged doorbell chimes in to welcome the landscaper.  He has arrived 15 minutes early for his appointment to freshen up the yard.  I play Candy Crush on my phone while he works.  I lost my lawn mower during Saturday’s great distribution, so I will have to rely on others to do yard work the next couple of months.  I beat level 364!  The last time someone mowed my lawn, the large heat-mirror window ended up with a long, arching crack.  It appeared quite mysteriously, and I have no proof of how it got there.  Level 365 is giving me trouble. I still need to get that fixed before I can list the house, but the glass guy has yet to return my calls.  Why can’t I get past this level? Better find a new glass guy.  Landscaper left just in time for my appointment at the car dealership.  Can’t drive and play Candy Crush.  There is no dealership near my new home, so I feel the urgency to take care of things while I am still in the lower forty-eight.  My daughter shows up to get something, so she follows me to the dealership.  We take her car and go out for breakfast while they work on the car.  She is just as stressed as I am, and it is not even 10AM.  Death brings stress!

Roses in my back yard. (c) 2015 Patricia j. Angus
Roses in my back yard. (c) 2015 Patricia j. Angus

All of us deal with stress at some level.  But loss of a spouse is at the top of the list of stressors.  I didn’t realize how stressed I was until people pointed it out to me. I have been in shear survival mode now for seven months, ripping off the band aid full force until I settle into a place where I can actually deal with my grief.  That’s what this move is really about – establishing a satisfactory place to grieve.  I contemplated my stress the other day.  Let’s see, in the last 12 months there was or will have been: death of spouse, death of parent, change in financial situation, relocation, sale of house, and other stress-causers.  I Googled a popular stress survey to find out exactly how high my stress levels were.  As I expected, my score flew off the top of the chart.   (Link to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale)

My Pixie loves walks, hikes and fun runs!  (c) 2015 Patricia J. Angus
My Pixie loves walks, hikes and fun runs! (c) 2015 Patricia J. Angus

How do I personally deal with it?  While medications work for some people, they are not yet in my repertoire.  I have always taken a more holistic approach, so why change something that works for me?  Instead, I stepped up the intensity of stress release in my life.  I journal weekly and crochet every day.  This provides opportunity to STOP the hectic pace, sit down and contemplate, meditate, and problem solve.  It helps to inhale soothing aromas of relaxing essential oils, because it is difficult to breathe when you are emotionally distraught.  I am not much into yoga, but I go to a local yoga studio every Friday for a one-hour therapeutic massage, because stress tightens the muscles and joints.  When my husband first passed away, I could not even open my jaw all the way due to stress. The long term benefits of massage far outweigh the cost, as do regular visits to the chiropractor.  I try to eat more leafy greens, drink more water, and listen to soothing music.  Until the Phoenix weather heated up, I walked the dog, went on hikes and participated in 5k Fun Runs with family members. Sigh.  It is a process. I don’t try too hard. I just do what feels good and take one stress-filled day at a time.

© 2015 to Present Patricia J. Angus

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