It could be that we just delay servicing or replacing everyday things like appliances while we struggle with a serious illness in our family. That’s probably the logical explanation why they often fail shortly after your spouse dies. Already on shaky ground coping in whatever way you can to handle grief, the “death” of a washing machine or a refrigerator or even some minor appliance, can be too much.
Lot’s of research supports the fact that losing your spouse weakens your physical immune system. What might less obvious is how the death of a spouse can also wear thin your emotional immune system – You can feel picked upon by even minor issues.
Something as simple as washing machine conking out can be the last straw! Just when you want your life to stop spinning out of control this stupid old appliance decides to add to your grief. You know that the appliance is an inanimate object. You know it’s not personal. But really – does it have to conk out now?
Suddenly you are the one forced to go through the process of replacing something your spouse probably would have had a bigger say in doing.
The delivery people take the old machine out, exposing not only the dust and lint behind the machine, but low and behold, an old gym sock. You and your spouse had always wondered (maybe even argued about) where it had disappeared. As they take away the old machine you think of all the times her hands had turned the dials and opened the lid. The history of clothes cleaned, and T shirts shrunk. The conversations you had together as you folded everything from pillow sheets to undies. It had, in its own utilitarian way, been a part of the family.
The new machine has been installed. It’s shiny and impressive with lots of new features many of which you will probably never learn to use. It’s in the same old place but it’s just not the same.
As the delivery truck rolls out of the driveway your heart skips a beat. Not just an old washing machine, but another piece of you, is going down the road with it. Something else has left your life.
It’s only a stupid washing machine. It’s just not logical, that it opens a wound you thought was healing. You say to yourself…. Please God don’t let another appliance break until I’m a bit stronger.
I’ll let you know when I’m ready…..