Coping With Change: The Great Paper Towel Quest

No matter how much or how little your late spouse did around the house, if you were together more than 5 years chances are good you are now coping with at least one task that has left you doubting your own capability.

In my case, my husband had retired in 2000 and taken over responsibility for most household tasks.  For 10 years I effectively had a ‘wife’ to run my personal life.  It worked well for us since I generally logged 55-60 hours per week at a demanding job.  His professional life had been spent working in various aspects of materials management and he quickly applied some of those principles to our home.  One habit was to buy in quantity.  So during the three months before he died, although he was in a pronounced decline, the supply chain worked as reliably as ever.

About six weeks after he died though, I went to the shelf for a roll of paper towels and realized it was the next to last roll.  No big deal, right?  Wrong.Paper towels

Thus began the Great Paper Towel Quest that would continue for two months.

I could find single rolls, I could find double rolls, but despite running hither, thither and yon to every single store I could ever remember him mentioning, I could not find the magical 8-pack whose empty wrapper now mocked me on the shelf.  Never mind that I could buy 8 single rolls of the same paper towel or an equal brand in an 8-pack, I wanted the SAME paper towels in the SAME 8-pack I had been using when Jerry was alive.  Believe me, I know it sounds utterly ridiculous!  But those paper towels represented yet another unwanted change that was being thrust on me and I just wanted to win even a single battle.

In time, I surrendered and bought another brand’s 8-pack and am now a confirmed paper towel brand agnostic.  But  The Great Paper Towel Quest helped me develop a little mantra to repeat during the changes and challenges I’ve faced since:

Everything important is in my heart and in my head

But that didn’t stop me from getting a lump in my throat when the magical 8-pack unicorn finally appeared in the aisle of my local big box.

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