I didn't anticipate the weekends being so hard in grief.
During the first year after Greg's death, each weekend felt like a marathon of grief that I wasn't sure I could survive.
It started off with the crushing exhaustion that came from getting through another week without him. Friday nights, which used to be a time to relax together after our son went to bed, were terribly lonely. I started a new tradition of pizza and a movie with my son and the only movie he would watch was the one he'd watched last with his dad. Sitting there in the dark without my husband and with tears streaming down my face, I felt so very low. It was a struggle to choke down my food.
Then came Saturday with all of its loneliness. Gone were the days of family time on the weekend. Being home used to feel relaxing but now it felt so terribly quiet. My son wanted to be home and I just wanted to leave. I used any excuse to get away from the house that no longer held my beloved.
My loneliness was compounded by the feeling of being forgotten. During the weekdays, I might hear from friends and extended family or see coworkers (when I went back to work)., but the weekends were eerily silent. People were preoccupied by their families and their weekend activities. Previously, I too had avoided plans away from my family on the weekend, and now I just craved someone to remember us and invite us into whatever they were doing. We found ways to fill the silence: trips to the library for reading with therapy dogs, walks at the botanical garden, running errands just to get away from the house. It all felt lonely, but being lonely and occupied was much easier to take than being lonely at home.
Just when I'd survived Saturday, Sunday arrived. I didn't go back to church until after we had Greg's memorial service - which was delayed by 8 months because of COVID-19. We watched church at home, but some days I couldn't even handle that because we had watched church at home with Greg for 9 months before he died. He wasn't crowded around the laptop with us and his absence stung. When we finally did return to church, it was hard, painful and lonely. I didn't want to be alone but had no one to sit with. When I summoned the courage to reach out to someone ahead of time and ask if I could sit with them, I felt like the third wheel. At church, couples and families are everywhere. A mother without a husband sticks out, even when she isn't weeping (which I often was).
I would get through church only to have to face Sunday afternoon. No more naps beside Greg while our son rested in his room. No more leftover Chinese takeout from an at-home date the night before. No more board games, family walks, or talking about the week to come. Just me and my son, struggling to make sense of our new world.
It was a relief when Monday came around again. As hard as the weekdays were, the weekends held a double portion of pain.
Weekends are hard in grief.
I'm at the beginning of year 3 without my husband and weekends are still hard. They are still quiet and lonely. The weekends have forced me to reevaluate life in unique ways. Weekdays have forced decisions about work, school, activities for my son, groceries, etc. Weekends have forced me to figure out what I enjoy when I can't enjoy it with Greg. What do I want to fill our time with when the things we used to do with Greg hurt too much to do without him? Weekends have also forced me to navigate how faith communities handle grief and where I feel like I can enter in as a widowed mother.
I've learned a lot from the painful weekends I've walked through. I'm still learning. They don't feel as devastating as they used to, but I still feel relieved when I make it to Monday.