I've been wanting to express what I have been experiencing lately especially last night. It was last year on January 22, 2010 that my husband passed away. Last year it was on a Friday so last night I have been going through the feelings I should have gone through that night when all his family were here. Four of his sisters, his nephew, our older son was here when Danny breathed his last, our son's wife came a few hours later, and our other son and his fiance was here earlier with their son who was 7 at the time and their 7 day old baby, who our younger son picked her up for his Dad to see her and Danny kept looking at our precious newborn granddaughter, her older brother, our son and our son's fiance, Dan's head turning to look at them again. There were here, but left to go back to where they live about 25 or 30 miles away. During the early morning I called our younger son, to let him know as I told everyone else when I called them that the Hospice nurse said it could be tomorrow or it could be 11 days. In my mind I remembered her saying another time that it could be another 3 months, so of course I thought he'll be here for that much longer. But the inevitable happened while everyone was here, except for our younger son and his family, Danny was breathing steadily and stopped and started again. He breathed evenly, he stopped and his lips parted and he wouldn't start breathing again like I thought he would. Just about 3 feet away, with pen in hand, while I was writing the schedule of medications I would be orally administering to him, as he wasn't taking all 10 meds any more, I really thought I would be continuing to give him these last 3 meds, as I Had been for the past 3 or 4 weeks, taking care of him, feeding him cream of wheat, or orange sherbet, holding his hand, looking into his eyes, telling him I loved him, but when he had his last breath last year on January 22, 2010, early Friday morning at 3:30 a.m. in actual time, but 5:40 a.m. was the time the nurse arrived to check his pulse which was their official time for the certificate.
Weeks before this, Danny as I thought of it as chiding me, when he was able to talk and get around and when he used to sit on the couch leaning on pillows to get comfortable, and said, "Now, if anything happens to me, do like the nurse said and don't be hysterical, just call Hospice." (sort of like Archie Bunder would say to Edith) I just laughed. Danny always had humor in him. I remembered that I was somewhat annoyed when his time came that I wasn't holding his hand or even lying with him, embracing him like others I've heard about had done, I just stared and one of Dan's sisters had to tell me to call the Hospice Nurse, and I said "What for?" Even then, I still couldn't believe. I stood very still, everyone was silent, being in the moment, while each of his sisters were quietly wiping their tear-stained cheeks, but not a whimper from me. I just wouldn't leave his side, all I could think of doing was stroking his hair. Later, while waiting for the funeral director, I called our younger son to tell him, and I tried to comfort him. Two of my sisters came very early, an hour before the man from the funeral home came and my sisters stayed with me while Dan's sisters all left one by one. From the moment the doctor told us on December 18th of 09' that the second round of treatments didn't get the reoccurance of cancer, he didn't know where the cancer would go next, nor did he know how long Danny had and fast forward to about a month after the wake, church service, interment, and family get-together my brain was in a fog. I couldn't have been hysterical as my body was protecting me from all that, by relaxing my brain to think only in cognitive terms.
But last night, I was somewhat hysterical, crying the way I would have if I was here alone with Danny because it was a Friday night last year that he passed, and I feel the need for only those who would understand to know my experience of last night. It was during the final episode of "Medium" when I had burst into tears during the show and especially at the end. It was as if Allison was me, and her Joe was my Danny, telling me he'd always love me and when she became an elderly woman they were joined together as when they were young at heart again. I just couldn't stop weeping and sobbing and saying to no one in particular, "How could this happen?", "It's not true." "I don't want to live without you to be an old woman" although during this past year I have already said these words dozens of times. But last night I was able to mourn him in the same place where he died last year for the last time.
After July 1st, when a 1 bedroom becomes available I have to move from the only safe and secure haven I have known with all his memories I had while living here with Danny and our 2 sons who grew up in this 2 bedroom apartment for 30 years. I obtained a letter from my therapist, my primary doctor and I myself wrote a 3-page letter of why it would be a harm to me and it would cause anxiety for me to move from this apartment.
The girl who works in the office here in our apartment complex came across my name when she happened to discover I was 'overhoused,' and later that week I gave her the verification papers and my letter to fax to the corporate office for them to determine my tenancy all to no avail. Two days before Christmas I received the letter in my mailbox, It stated in the letter that they would allow me to live here for 6 months, but on July 1st as soon as a 1 bedroom is availabale I have to get all the stuff we accumulated during our 30 year stay and stuff it into a 1 bedroom apartment. Now, I fully realize that thousands, millions of others have gone through worse devastation and upheaval and anguish. I just have this need to own my pain, in which my therapist told me that my anger is understandable because one of the basic emotional needs humans have is to be in control. She understands, but there are others who don't get it. I kind of knew that all of you here would understand my pain.
I know I wrote about this situation before and the point I was trying to make was that this will be the last and final time I will be able to be at the place where my beloved Danny breathed his last breath because I have to move. So, it is particularly sad for me and I am overcome with the emotional loss of having to grieve over his memories where we had been living.
I don't know what it will be like next year. I'm not looking forward to all the tomorrows and certainly living without his memory of walking through the living room and kitchen and bedroom, remember him as he groomed his hair and saying, "are you coming to bed?" as we walked from the bathroom to our room. It won't be the same when I was on the computer and he would say, "Are you coming out to watch TV with me?" and I'd say, "I'll be right there. And he would be making me coffee in the kitchen because he always made the best cup of coffee and served me dessert, he just had coffee. How can I leave here? I would be doing dishes and he would all of a sudden start talking to me because I didn't hear his stocking feet walk from behind me and I'd be startled and jump, which in turn would make him jump. He'd say, "Don't do that" and I'd say "You made me jump" and we'd end up laughing with an embrace. How can I leave here?
Today I went to 2 Masses I had arranged to be said in his memory. The first was one of solitude. At the other Mass, family members came, and after the Mass, it was all of us talking to each other, saying to one another, "I didn't know you'd be here." And it was a good feeling to be surrounded by loved ones. We went out after, but I still came home alone, and I feel empty but a little peaceful inside. Well, the first anniversary is done, the year of firsts is over, but what about tomorrow? I'm not looking foward to the rest of my life. I really hope and pray I don't live to be 95 as Allison did in "Medium" and whether I remember Danny or not, how can life be good without him? Life will never be the same. I hope everyone else is having a better day.
My heart breaks for you...The first year is such a blur and then when the fog lifts and reality begins to set in, it is so hard to face. We do have to let it run its course, we have to push through our grief...there is no way around it...as stinky as that is.
Well, You can say you made it through all the firsts, but don't let anyone kid you, the seconds aren't any better. I am heading toward two years at the speed of light.
I am so sorry that you are having to leave the home you two have enjoyed for 30 years. I really am not sure what you can do to help ease the transition...do you have pics of Dan in each room? maybe you can make a collage of all the pics and place it in a special place in your new apartment where you and everyone that comes to visit can see it. I wish you the best in your move and with your new place when it happens...for now, enjoy the memories you made where you are and hold them close.
I, too, watched that Medium episode, not realizing it was the last...and boy did that hit home. I lost my husband unexpectedly at 44 years old and I cannot imagine living another 40+ years without him...and when they showed Allison 41 years later my heart just broke and of course I lost it. I DO NOT want to spend that long without my Tom...that is one thing that I said from the very beginning. The only consolation is, like when Allison met up with Joe, I intend to see Tom waiting for me when it's my turn to go. That is what I am waiting for...that will be the grand prize for surviving this time without Tom. That will be the grand prize for all of us!!!
I wish you peace as you continue on in this journey...hang on tight to all of your memories of Danny...they will carry you through.
Hugs to you as you begin this new day.
Suzanne, I can totally understand how you are feeling. It is 14 1/2 months for me and it still hurts just as much as it did then. You were at least in the room with Dan when he passed. The ICU nurse waited until my husband's heart rate was down to 34 to call me. Even though we just threw clothes on and went to the hospital which is only 10 minutes away, we were too late. The only person with him when he took his last breath was the nurse. I wanted to be with him, to hold him and tell him that I love him and would be with him soon. I didn't get that chance. Although we had a meeting scheduled for 9:30 a.m. with the doctors, I did not believe that anything would happen to him. The doctors wanted to meet with us to discuss stopping treatment. I would not have been able to do that. My family believes that he passed before I would need to make the decision because he knew how difficult it would be for me.
Suzanne, life is so difficult without them. I am staying in our house for a while anyway. I am not sure how long I will stay here. I do have pictures of him all over so that I can feel like I am talking to him. I just wait for the day that I am with him again. I am so sorry that you will have to leave your apartment. Don't give up yet Suzanne. Who knows what can happen that might change their decision to force you to move to a smaller apartment. Although your year of firsts is now over, I don't know how much easier it will be for you. Some how, some way, we are going to get through it but it is not going to be easy.
I will keep you in my prayers.
Dear Suzanne, it is hard to know what to say, except so sorry for all your losses, and every little one of them is a loss, even from missing the coffee and dessert - which I sure do to, except that my husband John would go to the local coffee place and bring it back, because it was his favorite coffee. He would always ask "do you want something hon"? This has made me realize just how much those things meant, the wonderful hugs and the laughter, the funny jokes and stories. Now who do we share these with...because you are right, no one knows the pain and the loss, except for us, who go through it daily. The lonliness is unbearable sometimes.
Just the other day I took in the car. Of course I came away with a much lighter wallet. All the questions they asked I didn't have a clue so I let them do everything they told me! I am sure hubby is looking down saying 'darling, why did you do that'! Well because what else do we do, it's kind of, here we are and these things need done. I just say that because we are all learning the dreaded phase "the new normal". Just a few simple words but they say it all I think.
I have the exact same thoughts, and in fact I wrote them down today. The fact is Suzanne I am not sure how many of us do want to be here for a long time now. I have repeated this to my counsellor and she tells me many, many people who have lost their love, say the exact same thing. I am having a hard time finding joy in my life, despite two daughters whom I love dearly, and one who is expecting. While I am thrilled to be meeting this little angel I am sad because she won't have her grandpa with her, here on earth. I do know though that he will be watching, loving and taking care of her from afar, as he does with me and the girls.
With regard to your apartment, the only suggestion I can think of (and your story reminds me of cruise ships) that charge almost double if you travel as a single because you are "under utilizing" the cabin space, is to find a roommate?? Is that possible? Would the management allow you to stay if there were 2 in the apartment? If not then Marlena has a great suggestion around the pictures. Don't forget Danny will be tagging along you know, he won't leave you alone!
Well I should seek out that Medium episode on line. I watched the promo for it then forgot. It sounds pretty emotional, but that's okay, tears are healing to our spirit.
Take good care and I am glad you are surrounded by loving family through this journey and Marlena, I love your description of seeing our loved ones again - it is the most awesome thing to think about, being rewarded that way!!!
I am so sorry for your pain. I know first hand there is nothing I can say to you to make you feel better. It is only 7 months for me and I cry everyday. My husband was only 48 and our children are young so Frank never saw a wedding or a grandchild. Please take a little comfort to know your husband got to watch your children grow up and even saw a grandchild or 2. My husband died in the hospital but I know what you mean about the memories at home and how much they mean to you. It is a shame that the people who manage your apartment are so heartless. It is probably all about the money...I guess they will charge the new tenant more rent. You know Suzanne it doesnt matter where you live...you carry your Danny with you whereever you are. A priest told me this and it has stuck with me "Grief is not forever, love is". Love never dies and the love you both shared will never leave you. No one can take your memories away. You take his things with you if you want...maybe it will be good for you to not look and say this is where he died. Remember the smiles not the tears. You have to live on for your children and your grandchildren. If it wasnt for my children I would want to be with my Frank right this very minute but we have to wait for them to call us. I belong to a bereavement group and the leader told me this week that Frank is preparing a place for us and will call me when it is ready. I hope that helps you. Please contact me if you need to talk. We have to be here for each other. Love Renee
I truely feel for you, and the pain you are living with is real to all of us here. I'm glad you have some peace now after the mass, and that others that love & miss Danny were there. Life has lost its appeal hasn't it? I was crying in my office today when a co-worker walked in. I couldn't control myself, so I went to the restroom to calm down before coming back to him. He knew Larry well, we all worked together & had breaks,... I confessed that were it not for God I would have turned to alcohol, drugs or suicide by now. Life is so hard now, but I have hope. I believe I will grow from this and be a better person- someone God can use to help others, if I stay close to him & hold on tight! I think this is what all of us here must do to stand a chance in this world. I will remember you in my prayers. Also, thank you for the birthday wish you sent me friday. HUGS, Christy
People generally have a hard time processing the fact that we don't wish to live any longer without our loved one. I am shocked that married friends expect me to be wrapping up my grieving after just 4 months, when I feel like there is no end in sight to this suffering. I wonder if these married couples really LOVE their spouses because if they did they should better understand that after years together, a few months means both nothing & everything! You know it seems like each day lasts too long without them by our side, but I half way expect him to walk through the door at any moment! My husband was a healthy 38 yr. old at the peak of his life- everything was finally going his way & in 1 split moment, someone else's neglect cost him his life. It cost me my life and forever changed the life of his 12 yr. old son. I pray for God to take me soon or restore peace & purpose soon because I feel as if I'm dying, not living at this point. I don't mean to bring you down, just meant to say I understand how you feel completely. The thought of many more years like this is overwhelming!
Pete Bronson said:
It is so strange that we are all thinking such similar thoughts about the time we might remain in this life without our partners. My closest friend and I were talking about my wife and I commented "I hoped that I did not live another 20 or 30 years without my Rose.", he was rather shocked but conceded he understood why I made the comment after all the years together and my age.
Hugs and Best Wishes,
I think it's because they haven't gone through the loss themselves so I figure I understand those who have no idea, because, I know for myself I didn't know it would be like this when Danny was still with me. Even though the writing was on the wall, I had no clue. The only reason I get out of bed every morning is because of my son and his family. I have 2 sons but with my other son I feel like I'm a burden to him, even though he has no clue I feel this way. But I live only because I believe God is getting me through each day for a reason. I still go through the feelings. I don't like it, but there's no alternative. And I honestly wouldn't want my son and his family to go through what I'm going through. You are in my thoughts and prayers, Christy. Please take care.