10 Months and Counting

I realize I haven’t posted for some time.  I’ve been struggling, but in a new way.  It seems I have battle after battle to fight, whether they are legal or tax challenges that relate to my husband’s death.  I’m just so tired.  I am doing tax returns this year and all the clients that come to see me want to talk about John.  It is not easy to tell the story over and over again.  I never want to cry in front of them.  Everyone makes a comment like “you are an inspiration to all of us”, or “you are so strong” or the one I hate most “you look great” (because I have lost weight).  I am not an inspiration, not strong and I feel like shit.  They don’t realize that as soon as everyone is gone that I cry.  I wake up crying, go to sleep crying.  I feel like crap.

This week has been one of the worst I’ve had in a long time.  I don’t want to rehash everything but my company is being audited by CRA (this is a non-issue but just frustrating right now), I had to file the estate tax return for my husband for the IRS because we held property in the US and had issues with my new car.  On top of all that it is tax season and I have had so many clients here this week and employee who barely shows up.  There are no excuses during tax season not to be at work! So I’ve had even a rougher go the last little while.  On top of that I’m having heart tests done.  I’m not trying to be a doctor but I know there is a problem.  I’ve always had a weird thing with my heart where it races and sometimes I get light headed and feel faint.  But now I’m getting worried.  It happens more and more lately.  I hope it is just that I need a pacemaker to regulate the heartbeat or medication.  I have always said I don’t want open heart surgery and now … well even more so now.  If my heart is physically broken it can match my emotional heart.

Now I feel like I need to wrap things up.  Get things organized.  Make sure my son can take care of himself (he actually finishes college today).  I need to train him and my daughter on taking over the business or simply close it down.  I have a “to do” list.

If I’m to move forward I need to change that attitude.  Find something to live for.  My kids are all self sufficient so once my list is done I don’t need to “live” for them.

My next blog I will begin telling stories from my past.  How I met John, how we fell in love, how our life was together.  I’ll tell stories from my childhood and leave an online legacy.  Gives me something to do.

Forever and all ways … I will love you John.

REBOOT

I have decided on my word for 2017.  My focus word is REBOOT.  
Verb (used with object)
1.  to restart (a computer) by loading the operating system; boot again.
2.  to produce a distinctly new version of

3.  to make a change in (something) in order to establish a new beginning:
4.  (of a computer) to be restarted.
Noun
5.  an act or instance of restarting a computer.
6.  an act or instance of making a change in order to establish a new beginning:

a reboot of our product line.
7.  a distinctly new version of something
This is the perfect word for me for 2017!!  I am going to REBOOT my life, my health and my finances.
Come on this journey with me as I restart my entire life!

Four Months and Counting

Four months have passed.  It doesn’t get any easier but it is different.  I don’t sob as much anymore.  I tear up but everything stays inside.  Once in awhile (like when I was at the doctor’s office) I break down and cry but generally I am able to contain it.

It is not that it hurts less.  It is just different.  I feel sad and empty inside.  I can’t even listen to music right now because it brings emotions to close to the surface.  It is easier for me to just stay numb and then I can deal with the day. I am trying to figure out a play list to walk to that makes me happy instead of upsetting me all over again.

In a week I leave for Florida.  I’m glad to be going because I need a change of scenery.  I’m tired of working on bookkeeping and year ends and I’m tired of working on the house.  I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle.  I get one job done and another one appears.  I need some time for me.  I need to start taking care of myself.  I need to eat right, learn to relax and start walking again.  I spend too much time sitting at my desk working.  Time to stretch those legs!

Today, when I was having my tea, I could picture those last few moments with my husband.  I had heard a noise and came into the family room where his bed was located.  I took his hand, he opened his eyes and looked at me.  And he took his last breath.  I closed his eyes and held on to him for as long as I could before I called the nurse to come pronounce his death.

When the funeral home came they made the family go to the back yard.  They didn’t want us to see them take John out of the house.  I came back in after they transferred him to the guerney and watched silently while they wheeled him down the driveway to the hearse.  John was leaving the house for the last time. I still can picture this in my head so perfectly.

Now he is here in the house … in spirit .. with me.  I have decided that I want to live in the house until I die and I want to die in the same exact spot he did and I want to take that final journey out of the house the way he did.  And I know, that when I make that trip, he will be beside me holding my hand.

I love you John.  I miss you so much.  Words can’t even express how much.  Forever and all ways.

P.S.  After I wrote this I decided I needed to go out for some air.  I was standing near where John died when there was two distinct thuds from closeby.  My son’s girlfriend and I looked at each other thinking we both did something but we hadn’t.  This happened at exactly the time John passed away 4 months ago.  Proves to me he is still here with me.

Lost

I hate it when people tell me they are sorry I lost my husband.  I didn’t lose him; he died.  He is gone.  It is not like I can find him under a cushion or in a closet somewhere.  He is not lost.  I am lost.  Not him.

I have been very busy this past month.  The main floor renovations are almost complete.  The rooms have been painted, the hardwood is laid, new furniture is in and it is looking good.  They will replace the gas fireplace this week and I have someone coming to hang the light fixture in my dining room.  We filled two dumpsters and a third one is almost full.  I think by Sunday the main floor of my house will be finished with the exception of the new windows.

A friend of mine hired me to help at his office while his bookkeeper was on vacation.  I worked for two weeks and really enjoyed it.  I bought some new “work” clothes and it felt good going out.  I really don’t think I was “needed” there but they certainly made me feel welcome.  It was a nice change of pace and for those hours I mostly concentrated on work and not John.  I could feel him with me in a very supportive way.

I still don’t sleep well.  I sleep on a tiny edge of my bed (on my husband’s side) and the rest of the bed is covered in clothes.  I’m going through his clothes and mine and donating bags and bags to Value Village.  Most of my clothes are dated and I have so many of them that I will never need to buy new ones again. But I can’t bear to get rid of John’s Hawaiian shirts and his Jimmy Buffet ones.  They are John.  I’ve been doing laundry and every dirty shirt of his that I find I cry into and try and smell him just one more time. I hold his shirts and try and feel him.  I miss him so very much.

I finally broke down and called my doctor on Friday to ask him for sleeping pills.  Surprise … surprise he is on holidays until the middle of October.  Is this a sign from John that I shouldn’t use sleeping pills?  I need more sleep though because when I’m tired I’m more emotional.  I went out today and bought some over the counter sleeping medication and I hope that it will help me get at least 7 hours sleep tonight.  With sleep I’ll heal.  I’ll get stronger every day.

Over the past three months I have thought a great deal about death.  I feel guilty that I am alive and John isn’t.  He should be here enjoying his retirement.  If there was any way we could have traded places I would have gladly done it for him.  He worked so hard his entire life that he deserved to spend some golden years.  He took such good care of me and the rest of the family that he truly deserved to be the one that lived.

I also understand how people can die of a broken heart.  I think of dying all the time now.  I  admit I thought of suicide.  I feel so alone and broken that death would be welcome but I have to wait until it is my time.  I never believed in an afterlife until John got ill.  One day in the hospital John was looking off into the distance.  I asked him what he was looking at and he looked at me with genuine surprise.  He answered that my dad was there.  I could see him smiling.  He nodded and then said my dad was leaving (to walk down the lane way) and he’d be back.  John didn’t remember telling my daughter and I this but we had many talks over the next weeks.  He told me that he knew there was something beyond the life that we have here.  He promised he would always be near me.  He told me that he would be the wind blowing past me, that I would feel him if I could quiet my mind.  I see him when I dream (which is very rare now).  Now I have to be strong and rebuild my life.  I need to be good so that when it is my time to die that I will be reunited with John.  We will spend eternity together.  I believe this with my whole heart.

So I have decided I’m going to start new tomorrow.  I’m going to eat better, sleep better, move more, listen to happy music and be productive.  I’m going to try and heal my heart, never forgetting John but working towards being a person that he would be proud of.  Then someday we will be together again and spend forever united.

Forever and all ways.

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Grief

Grief is a very strange emotion.  One moment I can be going about my daily business and then suddenly I feel as though all the life has been sucked out of me.  I sob.  I have never sobbed before in my life.  In that moment I feel … totally broken.  I remember how depressed I was after my dad died but it doesn’t even touch this grief.  I still am struggling to go look to the future. All I want to do is get my affairs in order so that I can die.  I know I probably have 20 more years left in me but I’m counting them down in my heart.

I had a hard time sleeping last night as I kept thinking about my husband.  Then today my son, grandson and I started to clean out the garage.  I was still having a hard time keeping my emotions in check so my grandson didn’t notice that I was upset.  Everything I touched in the garage reminded me of my husband, how we were going to renovate our house together this year.  I was on the edge of tears all day.  Then I opened a box and found a card from my husband.  It was like getting a hug from my husband.

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Shattered Happiness – Part One

I haven’t written in three years.  In those years I truly found my happiness.  Over the past three years my husband John and I left a toxic business relationship (earlier I mentioned my husband sold his accounting practice to another chartered professional accountant but we remained to help her transition into the business) and we concentrated on ourselves and our family.  My husband continued to work part time (because he truly loved what he did) and I took on other projects.  John and I began to enjoy our “semi-retirement”.  We travelled to Hawaii in October 2013 and were there when our daughter Amanda became engaged to her “sun and stars” Brandon.  Over the next 10 months I planned a beach wedding in Florida for the happy couple.  John and I started spending more time together at our condo in Florida, sprinkling in cruises, a trip to the Dominician Repulic and one to Cuba and just enjoying each other.  Another daughter, Laura, was married September 2015.  We were happier than we have ever been together.  Then things changed.

In September my husband had surgery to remove his ascending colon.  In a colonoscopy they discovered a flat polyp that the specialist felt should be removed.  The kids always were amazed at my husband’s healing powers but this time was different.  He didn’t bounce back quite as fast.  We saw the surgeon late October and he suggested we go south and get some sunshine.  We took a cruise to Grand Caymen and Cozumel but mostly sat on our balcony on the ship and enjoyed the sunshine.  But John still wasn’t recovering.

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We came back home and told the surgeon that John continued to lose weight and was passing blood in his stool.  We were assured this is normal after bowel surgery.

We came home for Christmas but everyone could see John was still ill.  He was cold all the time and tired.  Not like him at all.  We saw the doctor again who assured us John would be fine.  We headed back down to Florida for more rest and relaxation hoping that John would get stronger.

By New Years John was weak and in pain.  He had lost about 25 pounds since his surgery.  On January 10 John had to fly back home.  He was near death from loss of blood.  The incision where his bowels had been rejoined was leaking at he had lost almost half the blood in his body.  No wonder he was weak.  They operated on January 11, 2016.  We thought the worst was over.

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John started to get stronger.  The surgeon mentioned there was a “shadow” on the pancreas and felt John also suffered from pancreatitis.  We asked .. “Is it cancer?” But we were assured it was just the leaking intestine and pancreatitis.  After 6 weeks John and I went back to Florida with the surgeons blessing.  We felt more sun and seafood would put the meat back on my hubby and he would get strong again.

John had to fly home again in March to work on some client files.  I stayed behind because my grandson and his dad were visiting me in Florida.  John was still complaining about pain in his belly but the doctors felt it was a combination of things but no one considered cancer.

John had to have a CT Scan done of his kidneys because he routinely passed kidney stones. While having the scan he asked the technician to go higher because his pain was across the top of his belly.  She complied.  A few days later our family doctor phoned us saying he had booked an enhanced CT Scan on March 16.  I flew home to be with John for the test.

John was still passing blood so the surgeon had scheduled another colonoscopy on March 21.  While John was having this procedure our family doctor called to tell me he believed John had pancreatic cancer.

On April 7 we went to Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto only to be told John’s cancer was too far spread to do anything.  All they could do is recommend palliative care.  John had a couple of months at the most.  They recommended a stent be inserted in John’s gallbladder to prevent jaundice and told us they were sorry but nothing else could be done. We came home devastated.  OK .. I amend that.  I was devastated.  John was accepting.  I will write more about that later.

It took a week to have the stent inserted.  That is going to be another post that deals with his last months of life.

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Plan B

So I haven’t had the best start to my new life. I got up yesterday, ate a bowl of my healthy steel-cut oat breakfast (recipe will be posted later) and started to clean my basement. Why start in the basement? Well … just because it is winter time … my furnace decided to stop working. (side note … I really hate the three dots and I have no idea why I started using them … I really need to stop.)

I went into the basement and almost had a heart attack. Cat poop everywhere (we had a sickly cat that had bowel problems), I could barely get across the basement because of all the garbage bags down there (my daughter cleaned out her room before moving out and left it there along with most of her belongings) and a mess left by my son when he moved his games room upstairs.

Two trips to the dump later I was starting to feel under the weather. I’ve had a persistent pain in my right side since Sunday morning and it was getting worse. Now those who know me know I hate going to the doctor but I decided it was time to go. I called my doctor and was shocked when his nurse said I was to come right away.

My doctor examined me and told me to go to the hospital. He called ahead to the hospital to have them expect me. After he had examined me he said he believed it was my appendix.

The doctor at emergency also examined me, decided it was my appendix and ordered blood work, had me change into a gown and an IV was put in. I had to drink this foul-tasting orange liquid and wait for it to flow through my digestive track. Then off for a CT Scan. They inserted a die in my IV that made all my blood vessels tingle (makes you feel like you wet your pants but you don’t really).

Back into a little room I go (but at least they gave me a TV so I could watch NCIS while I waited). The doctor came back in and said it was not my appendix and they couldn’t find anything other than one large kidney stone and one small kidney stone. After waiting an hour to make sure I didn’t stroke out from the dye I was released with no answer to my pain.  So off I go home (with a nice needle for pain) and I go to sleep in a freezing house.

So today I got up all enthusiastic to start again.  Knock me down and I’ll pop right back up!  Ate another bowl of steel-cut oats, finished cleaning the games room, cleaned a pathway to the furnace, made a healthy meat free dinner (fresh mushrooms, garlic and tomato sauce over pasta) and had a hot shower in a cold room.  Furnace people are coming tomorrow.  I’m still in pain but not nearly as bad as yesterday.

So everything in life is about how you handle Plan B.  Yes, my dream is to have an “A” life.  I want the “happy every after”.  I want my husband to feel strong and well. I want our finances to ensure us to have a comfortable retirement.  But that never happens for me.  My husband has major back and body problems and the economy directly hit our retirement plan.  But how do I handle this?  Do I sink? Or do I swim?  Do I wallow in self pity (like some people I know) or do I make the best of the situation?  The choice is mine and I decide I always need to be ready for Plan B.

So I am looking at the past few days as a positive thing.  Yes, I was in terrible pain yesterday but I got a state of the art CT Scan that checked me out and found nothing.  No surgery, nothing came up on the scans other than one big and one small kidney stone.  (I am having them blasted next month.)

My furnace went out.  OK, positive thing is it forced me to work on the basement.  I had planned to work on my room, but now I have the games room cleaned and available to use while renovating my house.

Nothing ever goes the way I plan.  So I need to learn to rely on Plan B.