There is a big difference between doing things for one and for two.
Cooking for one is a perfect example. First … why bother? Sharing beautiful food is a social thing. If there’s nobody to share with, it’s hardly worth the energy. I was never much of a cook anyway. Sometimes I would make bacon and eggs or french toast for breakfast or grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and I had a few tried and true ‘all in one pot recipes’ for dinner but when I cooked, I did it as a treat for him. The boy was the real cook. When he took charge in the kitchen gourmet meals came out. I have retreated to pre-prepared meals lately, like pasta and sauce. Tonight I tried cooking steak for dinner. It was edible – but nothing like the dinner he would have produced. And as always, doing things he normally did is is such a conscious act. I can’t help making comparisons and remembering. I could feel the knot of tension growing in my stomach as I cooked. Should I even try if it’s just going to make me sad?
And then there’s grocery shopping. When you don’t care much what you eat and have nobody to cook for the groceries you bring home change, and not just in quantity. I still pick up staples like milk, juice, bread, cheese and fruit. What I don’t buy are the things you would get to make a nice meal and I’m buying everything in ones or twos now. My basket screams: shopping for one.
Entertainment is another big one. Most of the things I would normally have done are ‘couple’ things. Nobody goes to restaurants alone. I can still pick up fast food but an evening out by myself is too weird. Movies might be an option and I’ve been trying to talk myself into going for a while now but even if I make it over the hurdle of going alone, we always used to discuss the movie afterward. Driving home alone is going to be rough.
The holidays are coming and in some ways I don’t expect they will be too rough for me because we didn’t have a lot of traditions but holiday parties are out of the question. Getting dressed up and heading off to a holiday celebration alone is impossible to picture right now. And talk about a downer for everyone else.
I suppose all these things are painful for people who have gone through a break up or divorce too but it has to be harder when you’ve lost someone who has been your partner for decades.
My friends are trying but they have lives of their own. I can’t expect them to drop everything to bridge the gap. I’m going to need new friends, single friends, if I’m going to get away from evenings alone in front of the TV.