When I had to go to the grocery store for the first time after Bryan died, I sat in the Kroger parking lot, trying desperately to will myself to walk inside. It was such a simple thing – get bread, eggs, milk, strawberries, some cereal. However, it was one of the hardest things I had to do. I was unable to picture myself walking down the aisles and having to bypass all the things that Bryan would normally have bought. Granted, I never bought most of the stuff he bought before we got married (he was a junk food junkie), but there’s something about going to the grocery store when shopping for two. I always had Bryan in mind. What would he like? Was he out of snacks? Was he getting low on his cereal? Ooh, would he like this new gooey yummy pastry they just put out in the bakery?
Yet there I was, in the store, trying to walk past all of the Bryan food, and pick out my new single person food. That first time was one of the longest twenty minutes of my life.
Fast forward to today. It’s been twelve weeks. I’m now going to a different grocery store since I’m at a new address. I waited until it was almost bedtime before I went, trying to put off the inevitable. It was a little bit easier this time. I was able to hold the tears back until I was almost back home.
I’ve had friends tell me to have someone get my groceries for me. Use that service where they shop for you, they said. Why don’t I do that? Because I have to go to the grocery store. If I don’t, then that one little act of burying my head in the sand will mushroom into a nuclear cloud of general avoidance, blanketing my whole being, making me glow with the toxic radiation of someone who cannot deal with life.
I can’t say I’m entirely successful at pushing through the wall of grief. There are days when I just simply can’t face the grocery aisles and either go out to eat, break out the Uber Eats app, or grab a bowl of cereal and call it a night. It’s not necessarily the most cost efficient style of therapy, but it works for me. I have plenty of chances to try again.