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lesbian partner loss

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Comment by Janet Angelone on February 15, 2016 at 5:10pm

Dear Kirsten,

You must be in Alaska or maybe up north on the east coast! Spring has pretty much begun. Here in Houston, we did not have much of a winter to speak of anyway. I think it got below 30 only once or twice and not for very long. Pretty much windbreaker weather all winter! That was kind of nice since I spent the Christmas holidays with Judy's family in Washington and it was like -7 to a high of maybe 36 the whole week with snow. I happen to like snow, so that was really ok for me. Then I spent New Year's with two of my best friends in Sante Fe, NM and the same weather there. So, after 2 weeks of all that cold, I was ready for some warm weather. As for the pictures, I have them all loaded on my laptop. We also did a celebration of life for the Houston family and friends (Judy went to Washington where she is from to finish out her days with family). For that celebration, I printed off about a dozen pictures and had them framed. So, they are now every where I look in the house. I'm glad to have them around! I'm thinking I need to get that book. Before Judy passed, I had one request, for herto leave me a voice memo on my phone for me to have after she passed. Judy never got around to doing that for me. A real regret I have now. Wishing to hear her voice! Maybe Judy had more wisdom than I have at this point... maybe she knew that would be harder for me if I had the voice memo. Her sister has the ability to see people who have died. She has seen Judy twice already.  Once, she saw Judy sitting by me holding my hand! Her ability to do that  really makes me jealous!!! That is a good idea about making a memoir of Judy. I had not thought of that. I'm glad Kira and Kenzie are taking to each other and I'm glad they help fill your time. As for the baby, make Wen proud, be the Aunty for you and Wen!! How is the meal train working out for you? By the way, that profile photo is taken in Hawaii in December  late 2014 (just before Judy began to start feeling bad in January 2015). Judy is on the right.

Comment by Kirsten Helmer on February 15, 2016 at 9:34am

Wow, you can do yard work right now and trim palms! We had -15 F last night! Now it's 12F. There is no being outside. I too love yard work, once the weather gets nice. One of Wen's and my routines was to wander around our yard, looking at our flowers and other plants, how they grow and change, sitting in our matching zero-gravity chairs, sipping ice-tea, looking out into the fields...I don't even know how I'll handle that once I can do that again in the spring. It's going to be so hard not having her be with me for all that.

I love to take photos so I have tons of pics of Wen, Wen and our boys, and Wen and myself. I gave Wen a Nixplay wireless digital frame for our solstice celebration 2014 and it constantly runs showing me so many of our pics and through them the memories. I also have a couple of very short videos (lke 1 min. long) and they are so precious to me because I can see Wen move and hear her voice. The first time I called her cell phone, which I had just gotten her on Black Friday, three weeks before she died, and listened to her voice recording, I burst out in such a terrible crying spell - not just because of hearing her voice but because it already sounded strange and I felt I was forgetting it. I kept calling the phone again and again until I recognized her voice again. Now I watch the videos almost every day - I couldn't do without it, even though it is also incredibly painful. But you WILL NOT FORGET your love. I completely believe that. I do believe the connection we have with our beloved partner, our soulmate, our everything is still different from what we have with our parents. I recently read a book called "Finding my banana bread man" and the author writes about various things that he does to keep the memories and also the spirit of his husband alive. I know for me, photos/videos are so important for that. Have you thought about writing down some of your memories, maybe combining your words with the photos? I'm not ready to do that yet, but hope I'll do that at some point in the future.

Comment by Kirsten Helmer on February 15, 2016 at 9:23am

Usually I would have stayed in bed until probably noon on the holiday (why get up and prolong another nightmarish day)...but the kitty started meowing from upstairs, I decided to slowly take my new pup up there. Then we all sat on the floor for a while, Kira inching closer and closer to the doggie until she sniffed her. I even managed to feed both of them at the same time at close proximity. Now Kira is on her sunny perch looking down at Kenzie who is staring at her from the floor. Making progress. But the sadness persists that I have a new pup in the first place because Wen is not with me anymore. Plus I just learned yesterday that good friends of ours are going to have a baby in the summer (close to Wen's b'day) and she was so looking forward to becoming the baby's "aunty" (in anticipation that it would happen one day). Emotions running high for me...My heart breaking all over again...

Comment by Janet Angelone on February 15, 2016 at 8:48am

Hi there Kirsten,

I did do something nice for myself. I got out in the yard and trimmed some palms. I like doing outside yard work and the day was so pretty for being outdoors. Don't worry about the crying less part. I am also doing a lot less of crying. It will come in spurts now instead of constantly. My therapist tells me that is part of the body's way of handling high stress situations. I found myself trying not to cry and avoiding at all costs. She told me not to do that either. But, to allow the crying to come. She suggested to allow the tears to flow but to tell myself this is "OK" and to place hands on my body where I was comfortable with it such as on my shoulders in a hug position. So, while crying, think to yourself, I am being kind to myself while I grieve. Somehow I am not making sense of this like she did but it did help when I cried the other day. Mind you, it was not the hours long ordeal I had previously been experiencing before. So, I am glad for that. And, yes, I do have the deep sadness. I'm not sure yet if that ever goes away. Here is one of my fears.... My dad passed in 1990 and that was really hard for me. Now, I rarely think of him. I don't want Judy's memory to fade to that. I am so fearful of that happening. Sometimes I purposely look at pictures, talk to her, listen to music that I know will remind me of her just to keep her more in the present tense. How is that new pup and you getting along? 

Comment by Kirsten Helmer on February 15, 2016 at 7:31am

Dear Janet, I'm so sorry too hear that you were having a "fit" and no one checked in with you. With the new pup, I just kind of ignored V.day. Wen and I never celebrated it anyway because it's been so commercialized. Did you do anything good for yourself? I know that I often plan on doing something good, like going out with friends or getting a message (I still have 5 gift certificates waiting for me) but then I always back out at the last minute and just can't do it. The pain of doing anything without Wen is just too much. On the other hand, I'm almost envious of you having a crying spell. I feel like I've been crying less this past week - even though I did have my crying spells certainly - but with the new pup and all that stress, I cried less. And it feels weird, kind of wrong, do you know what I mean? It's like it's only been 8 weeks and I'm able to go long stretches without crying. How can that be? But then there's just this silent pain deep deep inside me...Have you had that?

Comment by Janet Angelone on February 13, 2016 at 7:32pm

Here it is the night before Valentine's Day. I am just having a 'fit'. No one has checked on me today on either side of the family nor any of my friends. Just got done having a crying spell and feel really angry at the world right now. So, I guess I'm supposed to feel better because I have somewhere to air out my grievances. So, to any of you who have no one to turn to tomorrow, know that I am telling you to have a nice Valentine's Day. Be nice to yourself. Go for a walk in the park, catch a movie, indulge in chocolates, or grab a starbucks. And, yes, I intend to just that for me! 

Comment by Janet Angelone on February 13, 2016 at 9:08am

Kirsten, glad to know you had a somewhat better week. I think the idea of a dog is really good. I considered getting one myself but, nixed the idea because I was Judy's caretaker for about 9 months. From the time she began to really feel sick, finally getting a diagnosis in May and up to her passing in October. I just felt like I did not want the responsibility of taking care of anything except me for awhile. Hopefully, you two will bond very well. And kudos on the meal train. That is also a really problematic area for me. 

Comment by Kirsten Helmer on February 13, 2016 at 8:56am

I'm sorry I haven't responded back this week. So much going on. So many emotions. I've been crying less this week which has made me feel really weird. It's shifted sometimes to just feeling physically sick - Monday I actually had to throw up a bit because the realization that Wen is really gone and that the magic we had is gone forever just punches me so hard in the stomach. On top of that, this week the aloneness and loneliness has really been getting to me. I do turn on the TV to hear voices, even if I'm not really watching anything. I also try to have phone conversations as often as possible - with my two sons (21,23) and friends. Starting next week, a colleague of Wen's is starting a meal train. It made me feel really weird to receive this and my first reaction was to reject it. But Rebecca said that she understands my mixed feelings around that and that people are really looking for a way to support me by actually doing something. It's so hard for them to know what to do and this feels good to them. So, I accepted. I did ask if people could actually stay with me and have dinner with me when they bring me food. (I haven't been able to cook ever since Wen passed because we ALWAYS did that together).

On top of that, call me crazy. Monday evening I started looking at shelter/rescue dogs on the internet. After talking with my sons, colleagues, my therapist and everyone telling me that they think it would be great for me to have a dog to help me with my grief, I put in the adoption application for this sweet, 7-9 year girl pup, mediums-size. A day later the adoption counselor from Big Fluffy Dog Rescue calls me back; I have my phone interview. Half an hour later I get the adoption contract, pay the fee, and tomorrow around 10.30am I'm picking up Delanie in CT. All day I've been kind of walking around in shock and very anxious that this is actually happening. And so fast. But everyone assures me having a dog, especially one who needs so much love like one rescued from a kill shelter, will be good for me.

At some point, I'll share with you Wen's and my story...

Comment by Janet Angelone on February 12, 2016 at 8:19pm

So, I am a little bit concerned that Kirsten hasn't been back in a while! 

Has anyone confronted the aloneness issue? By that, I mean, did you continue to live alone and manage to get along or did you make a decision to have someone room with you? I really can't stand the quietness of the house and no people (no Judy)! Sometimes I turn on the TV just to have noise in the house. I have a single gay brother and we have discussed joining forces either in my house or another house altogether. Any suggestions?

Comment by Janet Angelone on February 7, 2016 at 1:58pm

Kirsten, You have been on my mind all day to day. I know the pain you are feeling. I too, had to tell Judy it was time for her to go. I did this as I was taking her wedding band off and telling her that I loved her to the moon and back. Just as I told her it was time for her to go, she took her last breath. I was alone with her at the time. I'm returning the hugs you passed along to me the other day. I hope you can feel them wrap around you today and every Sunday whenever you need them! 

 

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