Jeff and I kept our expenses to a minimum by stocking up on things when they went on sale, and really loading up on items that had been deeply discounted. I don’t see those kinds of sales any more, which is good because I no longer like keeping a lot of things on hand. Having to get rid of cases of food and paper goods when I packed up after he died was just one more stab in the heart, especially since I couldn’t find a place to donate them. The churches didn’t even want them. I don’t remember what I ended up doing — I think an older woman found me crying and said she’d find a way to distribute the items. (She also understood my tears since she’d been widowed three times and admitted that she still cried for all of her husbands.)
The wheel of time turns, and now here I am, once again stocking up on certain items like paper towels — not because paper towels are on sale for twenty-five cents a package (the sale price Jeff and I paid), but because large packages of paper goods are the only sizes available to me right now.
I’m still not stocking up on food. I prefer to eat fresh vegetables and those don’t stay fresh for very long. I don’t use many canned goods or frozen foods. And the last time I looked for meat, I walked away without buying any because the prices were more than I wanted to pay — double what they had been a couple weeks ago. Luckily, proteins like tuna and eggs and cheese continue to be within my budget. I’m grateful I can still make it to the local grocery store once a week, and things I can’t get around here, I’ve been able to get online. I might continue shopping this way even when I feel more comfortable going to a bigger town to visit bigger stores — when shipping is free, it makes more sense to order online than to pay for gas, even when I have to stock up to get the free shipping.
I’m sure there will be other changes to my life — or maybe what I mean is I’m sure I will keep the changes I have made to accommodate these times. I will have to become sociable again, of course, at least to a small extent, but I doubt I’ll ever go back to having a full calendar. I’ve become so used to being by myself that it will take more energy than I have to get myself out of the house. (Though it will be nice seeing friends again.)
For all I know, even when the library reopens, I might keep rereading The Wheel of Time series as I did once before when there wasn’t a library available to me. It’s not that the work is so great, it’s that it is so vast. By the time I reach the end of what is essentially a 4,000,000-word novel, I’ve forgotten many of the connections and relationships that led to the final confrontation, so I need to reread the books to see what I missed. And by the end of the second read through, I’ve forgotten other connections.
And so it goes, the wheel of time. Around and around and around.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.