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My Friend’s Husband passed away at age 42.

December 28, 2015 Leave a comment

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Ack! Had I not decided to write tonight, I never would have noticed that this post has been in draft mode for over 6 months. I remember this being a very hard post to write. It ripped up my heart in ways I didn’t think was possible. I should have pushed through the pain and written this back in July. However I’m only human…

Actually this post is almost as hard as writing the one right after Mark passed away almost 3 years ago. I never met my friend’s husband but I knew a lot about him. You should also know that I have never met my friend either. We have been friends for about 4-5 years now (that’s my best guess), and we were brought together by the sad fact that both of our husbands were dialysis patients. The understanding of what life was like as the spouse of a (stubborn) dialysis patient was the basis for our friendship. Over the years, we have followed each other’s lives through email and Facebook.

When she messaged me in July to tell me that her husband had passed away, it felt like I was stabbed in the chest with a knife. I was so sad for her because I know just how difficult this is going to be for her and her young daughter.

She wrote to me during the week, and she told me that she was in a fog and she had conflicting emotions. Boy can I understand that in a way that many people experiencing the death of a love one do not understand.

I won’t attempt to guess at what she is feeling, but if it is anything like what I went through after Mark died, it’s a whole plethora of emotions that just don’t stop. My mind was a complete jumble of thoughts, fears, hopes, sadness, and sheer terror. Some of the things I felt during the first week were startling to me.

  • I felt numb. What the hell had just happened?
  • I felt sadness. I had just lost my husband who I had been with for nearly 14 years.
  • I felt anger. Why didn’t he just listen to the doctors and do what he needed to do?
  • I felt alone. When was the last time I was really alone? (other than when he was in the hospital).
  • I felt fear. What was I supposed to do without him?
  • I felt confusion. What are you supposed to do after your husband dies?
  • I felt overwhelmed. Details. Arrangements. Notifications. Phone calls.
  • I felt tired. Lack of sleep. Incessantly repeating the story over and over.

And those were just the things I felt in the first few days.

As the days became weeks, I felt a ton of new and rather startling feelings. I began to feel some relief mixed in with the sadness. As bad as it sounds, it was relieving to not have to be surrounded with doctor appointments, dialysis fatigue, short tempers due to illness, and the never ending fear of “what if”.

After the sadness, the guilt was the worst part of it all. A lot of the things I was thinking made me feel like I was a horrible person. At times, I was glad that I didn’t have to deal with the daily routine of being a caregiver. I didn’t miss being snapped at or being made to feel like I was not being supportive. I liked the freedom from the dialysis routine.

At the same time, I felt like I had failed Mark. I wondered if I could have been more understanding of his fatigue, if I could have been more supportive when he was not feeling well, if I could have tried to control my anger better when he snapped at me, and if I could have been less selfish. I’m 100% sure my friend has felt this very same things.

The hardest part is the “Year of Firsts” which is the first time you must “celebrate” a holiday without your loved one: the first Christmas, the first New Years, the first Valentine’s day, the first birthdays (his and mine), the first Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day, the first Halloween, the first Thanksgiving…

As I learned there are 365 firsts, and each one is just as painful as the previous. She must go through them and deal with them in her own way. There are no easy answers or quick solutions. It is a painful and very sad process.

My heart hurts for my friend as I know what she must go through. All I can do is be there for her to listen to her. I can’t make it easier for her nor can I take away her pain. The grieving process is a personal one, and each person must deal with it in his or her own way.

May she someday find peace and understanding. I hope that her sorrows are short but her memories last a lifetime.

Unmotivated babbling from a seasoned procrastinator!

December 28, 2015 Leave a comment

I haven’t written a long time, and again I find another year has gone by. My great talent of procrastination rears its ugly head again. As someone who loves to write,  I’m embarrassed that it’s been so long since my last post.  I have no excuses except that I’ve been lackadaisical with my writing. No excuses, only solutions.

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As we approach 2016, I realize that life changes but yet it remains very much the same in many ways.

Life is really a series of ups and downs, good and bad. 2015 was not great but it certainly was not horrible. It had its ups and it had its downs. It had its good and it had its bad.

There are a few things that I wanted to address for some time now. When Mark passed away in January of 2013, I found ways to cope and one of those ways was following a blog of a woman whose husband had passed away 6 months prior to Mark. I still read her blog today, and it makes me realize how people deal with grief differently. While I still miss Mark, and I do think about him on a regular basis, I have learned to put the past in perspective and move forward with my life. Mark always told me that should he pass away, he wanted me to go on with life, find someone to love, and to be happy. I did just that because not only did he ask me to but because I needed to.

This woman whose blog I read still seems to hold so much love for her deceased husband and every blog post tells her deep love for him. There are sometimes that I feel she can’t let go and that might not be healthy, but at the same time it makes me think that I might have let go too soon. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but I do wonder where to draw the line.

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Is it healthy to hold on so tightly to someone who passed? She seems to find comfort in writing about how much she misses him and how she has trouble coping without him. Sometimes I wonder if her way of coping is better than mine was. Is she holding on too long and too tightly? Did I let go too soon? Is her love for him impeding her ability to move forward? Did I do an injustice to Mark by moving forward with my life as he wanted me to?

I was told by many people, on many different occasions, that I was getting into a relationship too quickly. After over two and a half years George and I are still together, quite happy, and planning a future. I don’t know where I would be had I listened to all the naysayers who told me to grieve for Mark for at least 2 years before getting into a new relationship. It’s like that old saying, ” if you fall off the horse, get right back on.” I wonder if I had waited, and remained alone for that 2 year period, would I have been afraid to start over again? Would I have been too set in my ways to share my life with someone? Would my heart have hardened to the point that I liked being alone?

Life isn’t easy. Losing a spouse is probably one of the hardest things that someone must go through. Although deep inside I knew that Mark would pass away way too soon, it did not make the situation any easier.

I still think of him on a regular basis. I don’t think that this negates my love for George. It’s just a part of my life that was but is no more. The holidays seem to remind me of Mark much more than any other time of year. He loved Christmas and he loved to decorate the house. He loved to buy presents for everyone. He would often spend more than he should on presents for family, friends, and of course, me. He loved to cook large meals for his friends, and he loved to entertain at home with a large holiday party every year.

When I drive around, and I see the Christmas decorations, or when I step into a store, and I see all of the stores all decked out for the holidays, it makes me a little sad for all of the good times that we had. I haven’t put up a Christmas tree since Mark passed away. This is partially due to fact that George is not big in to the holidays, we live in a small condo that really has no room for a tree, and because Christmas decorations sometimes make me sad. I should also mention that my lack of a Christmas tree is also due to laziness.

The New Year brings hope to many including myself, but at the same time it’s that time of year that also brings me great sadness as it marks the anniversary of my mom’s passing as well as Mark’s. Do you ever really get over the death of someone you loved?

My mom passed away in January of 2000, and I still think about her nearly every day. So I guess I just answered my own question, and no, you never really get over the death of someone you loved.

I think that we simply learn to cope with the fact that our loved one is gone. We learn to move on, go forward, and live life each day.

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I’m sort of all over the place with my thoughts today. I have a general idea of what I want to say, but it seems to be all jumbled inside my head. I think when I write regularly, my thoughts are more coherent and on point. When I don’t write on a regular basis my brain has so many ideas and thoughts that it makes it difficult to put it all into one post in a way that people can understand.

I always say that I need to write regularly, but for some reason, I never take the time to sit down and write. Although it’s one of the things that I enjoy doing, there never seems to be enough time. Actually it’s not my lack of time, but my lack of motivation and enthusiasm.

Maybe 2016 needs to be the year of the writer. I must make the time, find the motivation, and get enthusiastic about sharing my thoughts again. It’s not like I don’t have the time because with Georgie back to work, I have enough quiet time to write several times a week. It’s like anything else, once you start doing it, it becomes a habit. Writing is therapeutic to me, so this would be a really good and healthy habit for me.

I’m not entirely sure that this blog post is coherent nor am I sure that it makes a point. However, it is a definite start toward a good habit for the upcoming New Year.

With that thought I wish everyone a very happy, healthy, and peaceful 2016.