Author Topic: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox  (Read 3638 times)


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Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« on: March 19, 2015, 03:25:45 AM »
Forgive me all for what may be a rambling middle of the night post.  My insomnia has been bad lately, it dates back prewidowhood so can't blame it all on that.  But I had a grief trigger that I wanted to share because who else would understand that a bald tire could cause tears?

My DH was a control freak, type A, man.  He stayed on top of all of the traditional masculine duties around the house and I let him.  When it became obvious that his cancer was terminal and we were looking at weeks, not months or years, he made a "To Do" list as was his nature.  Ridiculous things to be worrying about on your deathbed but I knew he needed control so I let it go.  Get the pool covered and patio furniture put away (a month earlier than normal), talk to HR at work about death benefits leaving blank only the date of death for me to fill in, blowing out the sprinkler lines a month early (they showed up at the same time the funeral home was carrying him out if the house), go to son #2's first varsity football game (6 days before he died) and one last Giants game with the boys and I (4 days before he died) and get new tires on my car and his truck (2 weeks before he died because he knew I would pick out cheaper tires if it was left to me).

The day his dad was taking him to get my tires put on I went to see my therapist for the first time.  Tim: "why are you going to a therapist?!"   Me: " Because, not sure if you've heard, but my husband is dying"  Tim: shoulder shrug thinking new tires are way more important. 

I turned my phone off that hour for the first time since he was diagnosed.  When I came out, eyes blurry from crying, there were several voicemails and texts from him, very upset.  They were on the way to the tire shop and his ileostomy bag started to leak. He was a very proud man and had to ask his dad to help him which was awful,for them both.  All they did was make a bigger mess.  By the time I got home he was beside himself.  I got him cleaned up and a whole new appliance and bag put on.  I felt terrible that I left him for that 1 hour and he felt terrible he couldn't manage without me.  But off they went for the tires, it was on the list and he needed to cross it off.

Now 18 months later, and 40,000 miles, my tires are bald and my car is shaking like crazy.  I know exactly when they were bought and that they have a 65,000 mile warranty on them. Of course I can't find the damn warranty because my super organized husband was dying  and didn't file it away properly.  I did find the receipt and the tire shop guy knew DH so I will call him in a few hours when he opens.  But dammit, he wanted me to have 2 years before I would have to deal with buying tires by myself for the first time and it only 18 months.  Poor New Guy was trying to advise me but had no idea that a set of tires was a grief trigger.  DH was so helpless in this 4 months he battled cancer  and being able to "act like a man" and take care of his wife by getting her new tires on his death bed was the only control he could grab onto.  It was his gift to me but more importantly my gift to allow him to do that.

The mailbox is a lesser trigger but it was an expensive overly nice mailbox we fought about when we built this house 15 years ago.  He won. Well this winter the snow plow did it in for good.  Do you think I can get that damn fancy metal pole out of the frozen ground to replace it? Not a chance! So I have a fancy metal pole sticking up and next to it is a fancy mail box perched on top of a snow bank.  And me cursing him that I'm stuck here alone dealing with his ridiculous mailbox!

This is what goes on in the mind of an insomniac widow at 4:00 am.
You will forever be my always.


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Re: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2015, 08:53:48 AM »
I'm sorry. These are the types of things that I feel like only other widows can understand, especially the tires.

But I have to tell you this, because it's kind of crazy. Right after I read your post I was walking down the street and I looked up and noticed a mailbox. All the other mailboxes have addresses on them but this one read HOPE. Now, there's a church across the street and I think it might be called hope and that is their mailbox. But I walk down that street almost every day and I never noticed that mailbox before. But today I looked up and there it was "HOPE". Maybe it's a message for you.
You are the Bear of my heart dear,
And nothing can take that away.


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Re: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2015, 08:54:33 AM »
Old colleague of mine,

Isn't it interesting that in our careers, we make lots of decisions that impact the health and wellness of the hundreds of patients we have treated, yet we struggle so much over decisions that impact our own lives?  So many decisions and things we have to do are such triggers that we end up paralyzed, unable to stand on our own two feet because of the weight of the emotional toll that death has over us.  If we only could have daily therapy sessions to coax us through what seems impossible...a strong therapist to pull us to our feet while we grasp parallel bars, a therapist so confident that we will be able to achieve our goals that the therapist lightens up the support and proves to us that we can stand with less support than we realize. 

If only it was that easy. It isn't.  Grief leaves us so vulnerable that a broken mailbox and bald tires overwhelm us.  Soon, the snow will melt and the ground will soften and replacing the mailbox won't be quite as difficult, but you might need a back brace to get things like this done for awhile longer.  I know I need one, and sometimes, I need someone with a belt around my waist, holding onto me, just in case my legs give out and I burst into tears.

Hugs, D.  I'm sorry you are having to cope with all of this pain.

Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

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Re: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2015, 10:53:49 AM »
I was the one who always took the cars to get the tires but only after my husband checked them out first. Since he worked more I would go on my days off to take the cars to the shop for him. Checking the mail everyday was his job too. Here it is 16 months later I am reading your post going "Aww 'F' when was the last time I checked the mail?" I just can't seem to remember to check it more than once a week. I find all these things that were HIS jobs and I really resent doing them because I know how much HE enjoyed these jobs. He loved taking care of my daughter and me. I miss seeing his joyful face.


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Re: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2015, 12:19:58 PM »
Today I'm sitting at home waiting on a plumber. I hate it. I don't like to call people, I have anxiety attacks when I know someone is coming into my house, and I'm really pissed at my husband right now. This is *his* job. He was the one who arranged service calls and took care of stuff like this. He dealt with people. I need to call Comcast--ever since we moved and transferred service, I can't log onto their website, so I can't pay my bill-- I've been having to drive to their brick-and-mortar customer service center, because I opted for online billing, but I can't get onto the site to change it! AIGH!

Anyway... long story short (too late), I have at least an inkling of how you're feeling, and I'm so sorry. (((((((HUGS)))))))

I miss being taken care of... Jim was so good at it, even after be became disabled. Just because I *can* do all these things (if I buckle down and make myself) doesn't mean I *want* to. :(
I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other. ~Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

"Dying is easy. Living is hard. ~George Washington, Hamilton


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Re: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2015, 12:54:09 PM »
I *can* do all these things (if I buckle down and make myself) doesn't mean I *want* to. :(

So true.

I have cried over tires too, being widowed makes even some of the most mundane things in life so hard.


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Re: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2015, 01:34:33 PM »
In the 17 years we were married, my vehicle was NEVER in the shop. He did it all. He was a aircraft/jet engine mechanic so there wasn't anything on a vehicle he couldn't do :(  Ive had the worst luck with cars since he died.  I feel your pain.
I can't look at the stars they make me wonder where you are. 
Stars.... up on heaven's boulevard
And if I know you at all
I know you've gone too far
 So I .... I can't look at the stars --Grace Potter


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Re: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2015, 01:44:37 PM »
Everytime our cars had issues my husband would deal with them and that scares me so much.. I wouldn't even know what to do if I get a flat tire.  But ever since my husband died 8 months ago I have had to deal with something that has broken in the house from outside to inside big and small.  Today I will be meeting a roofer because when it rains water leaks into my room and the leak is right on top of my bed! This will be a 2nd opinion because the 1st one wants to charge me $2500 to move my AC (which is on top of the roof) because according to him that's my problem.  I hope he is not trying to rip me off!
Rigo, quiero cerrar mis ojos y sentir que estas conmigo.
Love you then, now & always.


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Re: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2015, 03:22:30 PM »
So sorry you're having to deal with all this alone.

Just a thought regarding tires:
I had mine replaced & the store keeps the invoice on their computer so even if I lose my copy they have one.
Since you know which store they were purchased at.. Have you tried contacting them to check their records?
It's likely they have all the sales info from your orig. purchase (including mileage & warranty info) stored on their system.

Good luck...
« Last Edit: March 19, 2015, 03:35:04 PM by Questions »


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Re: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2015, 03:24:47 PM »
I can so relate to this, this week.  From having to do yard work, to car issues, to home repairs (all of which I have had to deal with this week), I am really missing him and missing being a wife.  I miss having a man around to take care of at least a few things and to share some of the responsibilities.  Having to do it all has me really worn down, and I can completely understand bald tires and mail boxes being triggers.
"The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude." - Thornton Wilder

Thank you, my dearest Kenneth, for loving me and for giving me the best 13 years of my life.

Captains wife

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Re: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2015, 03:39:51 PM »
I was talking to my grief therapist today and I told her I wanted to stop losing it emotionally over what I perceived as "little things" in my life. The littlest things these days can put me in a flood of tears and the thought of coping with these things seem overwhelming. But she explained to me that I (us as widows/widowers) were still dealing with tons of grief and because a lot of society doesn't want to deal with death/our grief over losing a loved one, then we can bottle it up and we carry around with us while trying to appear that all is just fine. And these events in our life, these reminders can be triggers that cause a release of emotions.


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Re: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2015, 03:46:57 PM »
I called he place we got the tires from and told him I had a receipt with the mileage on but not the warranty info.  He said no problem, bring it in tomorrow and he will have me all set in an hour.  Oldest son and 2 friends took care of the mailbox for me this afternoon.  In the light of day it seems so ridiculous to get so upset, and like Jen said, I know I can do these things I JUST DON'T WANT TO!!

Maureen I love your analogy, but it's so much easier being the therapist!  Maybe I need a life coach who is available 24 hours a day.  Or I could just keep coming here to all of you for free and get all of the compassion and encouragement I need! You are all awesome.

Hopefully sleep will come tonight.
You will forever be my always.


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Re: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« Reply #12 on: March 19, 2015, 03:57:19 PM »
I recently had one of those dark nights that really brought me back to day one. Involving frozen pipes and toilets, flooding basement and being alone, cold and miserable. In the morning when I was able to get a plumber to answer his phone and agree to come out on Saturday morning, things looked remarkably better, but that feeling of aloneness, that it is just ALL up to you is just devastating, no matter how you look at it.

I really feel your pain. Glad you were able to work it out, but sorry we just keep having these meltdowns.
If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.      ~ A. Einstein


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Re: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2015, 04:17:28 PM »
Captainswife and Hachi you're right.  It's the feeling of aloneness, the burden of making every decision.  And in the case of the tires, it was one of the final things that Tim did to take care of me.  He knew I would buy cheaper tires, he wanted me to have good tires for the winter and to not have to deal with one more thing by myself. He wanted to feel like the protector and provider one last time as everything was being stripped away from him.  At the time I knew it was important to him but now with distance and time I am so incredibly touched by his love. He was never one to buy me roses for no reason but he would drag himself out, literally from his death bed, to get tires on my car.  That is love.  He may not have always showed it the way I would've liked but he did show it in a million ways.
You will forever be my always.


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Re: Insomnia, bald tires and a broken mailbox
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2015, 02:46:04 PM »
Huge hugs trying. I get that this is all overwhelming.  Take a breath. It will be OK.
Gone but not Squish.

Miss you forever baby girl, my Pru!