I’ve always been an avid reader. Before Reg died, I read at the gym, while lounging around, and to fall asleep. In fact, unless I was extremely tired, I always read to fall asleep. After Reg died, I couldn’t read. It felt to me that I couldn’t just continue my life as if nothing had happened. Because reading was part of my old life, I couldn’t just move forward with it as though nothing had changed. I did still read at the gym, as I liked the distraction while exercising. But beyond that, I could not read. Instead, I watched TV to fall asleep. I needed the distraction and not only could I not read as if nothing had happened, but I needed something to hold my attention; a book couldn’t do that. The “old me” read; the “new me” watched TV.
I know I’m not the only one who had this experience. Gina and Tara also stopped reading after their husbands passed away. Both had been avid readers before but were unable to read after the deaths. Tara didn’t pick up a book for at least a year, and I believe it was almost two years for Gina. I asked my grief counselor about this. She said it’s common for people to be unable to read books because reading takes concentration. When you’re in the midst of grief, it’s often impossible to concentrate. Jessica had watched TV before her husband died. But after he died, she stopped watching TV except for sports. She could not concentrate long enough to watch anything besides sports.
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