They say that grieving is a very physical thing. I don't know if I've said this before. I've discovered quite a long list of the effects it has on the body. I struggle with my breathing when I am under stress, and I have had difficulty with this over recent months. I had heartburn a while ago too, and am told that grief can do this to you, and it can also mess with your digestive system. Your gut. So there you go you see. It rips your guts out, breaks your heart and you can hardly breathe.
I found in earlier months I often felt as though my legs were going to collapse underneath me. I have spoken with two women over the last couple of weeks who have lost their greatest love/closest companion. It has been good to talk. Huge, actually. But hugely hard. Saying aloud some of the stuff that has only ever been inside my head is very significant. And both times it has left me afterwards with those collapsing legs. Weak for the rest of the day.
Then there is the brain fog. Sleep deprived mothers of small children are used to this, but one of the women I met with recently is struggling with it, and I believe my grief is contributing to it. Sometimes I wonder what has happened to my intelligence. The little guy has often been known to finish my sentences for me. Oh well, as long as I can get food on the table three times a day, who cares if I can make intelligent conversation. Though sometimes a clear thought process is kinda useful. And then there was the day I came home after a visit to the cemetery and shut the car door on my face. Even the most basic level of functioning can disappear in times like these. The ultimate end of the line being the on-your-knees-on-the-floor-stuff.
Actually, the ultimate is more than that. I read it somewhere but haven't been able to find it again, so I'm very vague on the details. It's not uncommon for an elderly person to die very soon after their loved one has died. "Died of a broken heart" we say. But in fact they have died because (I think, something like,) their immune system has caved in, stopped producing what it needs in order to fight properly, as grief has taken over. In younger people, their bodies are working flat out to produce what is needed, fortunately still strong enough to continue producing, despite the grief. So my system has been fighting hard lately. Very hard. It's winning of course. And that's a good thing of course. Despite everything.