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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One Month Later

One month ago today my husband died.  Died.  And I am overwhelmed with grief.

I never thought it would be like this for me.  My husband would always tell me he was going to die first because I was the stronger of the two of us.  He was wrong because I’ve discovered I’m not strong at all.

Over the past ten days I was in Florida.  I had to go there to pick up my husband’s van that we left there when I left suddenly to come home to be with him.  John had flown home early to have a CT Scan done on his kidneys and to get a head start on tax season.  My son-in-law and grandson was with me in Florida and we were all going to leave at the same time.  After my husband was gone for just a couple of days I felt I had to come home to be with him.  He wasn’t complaining of being ill or anything, I just wanted to be with him so I flew home and left his van in Florida.

Laura, my granddaughter Emily and her friend Cassie accompanied me on this trip.  Laura worked hard at trying to make me have fun.  We went out for dinner at places that my husband and I went to to make new memories.  People would see the photos and comment how good I looked.  But inside I felt numb, forcing myself to smile.  I was afraid (and still am) for people to touch me.  I don’t want anyone to touch me anymore because the pain is so close to the surface that I’m afraid if they touch me I’ll break down.  I alternate between feeling totally numb to crying and then feeling panic building inside of me.  I can’t believe I still have tears left inside of me.

I actually felt good walking into the condo that John and I owned.  We decorated it together and we loved it there.  It felt good to be there and I felt close to John.  I felt I would be ok there because there are several people there that have lost their spouse (the joy of being in an over 55 community).  When I went to the pool the three people that I thought would give me words of wisdom and comfort surprised me with what they said to me.  The two ladies told me that the pain never goes away and I’ll hold it until the day I die.  I had expected them to tell me it would lessen over time and I’d be able to go on.  I went to see a good friend that lives downstrairs from me and I told her what they said and how surprised I was at their answer.  She looked at me (she’s 76 and lost the love of her life many years ago and remarried 25 years ago) and she said, “honey, they are the first people that are being honest with you.”

I now understand why some long term couples die days apart.  My heart actually hurts at times.  I think of John and the pain in my chest is intense.  I can’t breathe.  I feel like I have to go somewhere but I can’t figure out where to go.  I realize that I want to be where John is and that is not possible.  My focus right now is to get everything in order for my kids for when I die.  I want everything laid out for them so they know where to go and what to do when it is my time to die.  It will take some time I believe John left this for me to do so it would give me some purpose to go on.

Month one over .. Verdict … I barely survived.  I don’t know how I will go on without John. I’m not sure how to live with my heart gone.

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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And When I Die …

I want the people who love me to be able to say, “oh she lived a wacky, loving, happy life”.

When I was growing up my favourite aunt was considered “eccentric”.  I loved going to her place.  She lived in an old farm-house in a small village outside a small town.  She was larger than life, loud, flamboyant and creative.  When I was small I would go and explore her house while the family would visit.  There were secret passageways between the walls, I spent hours creeping along the walls and finding new passageways.  As I got older I spent more and more time in her company and I would listen to her stories about faeries living in the trees, of how we should treat nature and her religious beliefs.  She believed she was a modern-day Druid.

When my daughter was born I would take her up to the farm with me.  My aunt was a master weaver and she was teaching me how to spin.  We would take the freshly shorn wool, carded it, spun it and died it together while my daughter played beside us.  I loved those afternoons.  I knew people who my aunt was eccentric, crazy, wacky but I thought she was wonderful.  Her home was a drop in centre for all sorts of people, artists, gays, cerebral people … it was like a melting pot.  Once my son was  born it became difficult for me to go visit there anymore.

My aunt’s funeral was an event.  Her ex-husband was the host.  It was packed with all sorts of people.  My mother clucked and clucked … by this time she and her sister hadn’t spoken to each other for years.  I mourned the light that had left this earth.

So this is the long way around to say I want to be that kind of person.  I want my creative juices to flow, I want to live a fun life.  My life has become boring for the past twenty years.  Work consumed me. I had some many dreams and they went by the wayside.  I wanted to design jewellery, create glass creations but there just wasn’t any time.  I lost so much time and I want it back.

So now it is time to fly kites, slay dragons, rekindle my passions and embrace my inner wackiness.  There is no more “tomorrow” … time is running out.

I want to make a difference in someone’s life and change my own.  Help me.  Give me any advice you have!

Sunny and Blue

Over the past few days I’ve felt a bit blue even though I am in my own little piece of paradise. This has caused me to break one of my resolutions .. to blog daily. So I am back on track.

Yesterday, in order to change my mood, I went to the Botanical Gardens in Largo, Florida. What a beautiful place! I took photos of flowers, trees, fruit and wetlands. I even saw a black racer snake and didn’t freak out! Perhaps I am getting used to living in Florida.

The Botanical Gardens in Largo, Florida are beautiful and has FREE admission. It covers over 30 acres and includes a historical village with over 28 buildings from the 19th century. In January I am going to spend time there photographing and exploring the area.

Progress

Two weeks into my happiness and project and it is time to self evaluate. Am I moving forward? Am I any happier? The answer is a resounding YES.

I have made small changes in my diet. Cutting down on my old nemesis french fries has made a big difference in me. I have decided if I am going to eat them they have to be awesome! Home made style … crispy and salty. Great thing for me is that is not the way they serve them in restaurants so it is easy to leave them on the plate.

I am failing on the exercise part but I did get up today and used the wii fit. I am only here another two weeks but I hope to swim most days. That will help me burn calories!

I did read a book to keep my brain active and blogged every day. I do want to add in doing my luminosity exercises every day. I forgot all about them once I stopped working at the office.

Now the more difficult area .. creativity. I did try to find something to make but so far have not completed anything. I will find something that I am good at again. I have decided to finally finish a Christmas stocking for my son over the next two weeks.

I do want to add some resolutions to my basic five now. My beginning five are:

1. Cook from scratch. Not just cook .. create meals. Create menus and feed my family good food.

2. Ignite my creative side.

3. Read more.

4. Exercise more.

5. Blog regularly.

New changes are as follows:

6. Eat 3 pieces of fruit or vegetables a day.

7. Create a daily schedule, weekly schedule and monthly schedule to help bring balance into my life.

8. Kiss or hug someone every day. Smile at strangers.

Mother Mother Ocean

I love water. When I was young I had a canoe and small sailboat and I spent hours at the cottage on the water. As I got older I started coming to Florida. For a few years we had a condo on the Gulf of Mexico. I would watch the waves and dream of the ocean. I wanted to sail on the water, feel the spray on my face and watch the dolphins play in the wake.

I will never have an ocean-going sailboat but I have been on a cruise ship. I know it is not the same, but I have spent hours on the balcony watching the water. It is like heaven to me.

Today I touched heaven again. Tourist heaven, but heaven nonetheless. I went on a tug boat out onto the Gulf of Mexico to look for dolphins with my son and his girlfriend. I loved the motion of the boat, the sun on my face and smell of the salt water. Within the first few minutes of the trip I spotted a solitary dolphin. The boat headed out to the Gulf to see if we could find any other dolphins. Gulf was choppy so the spray was fierce and waves lapped into the boat. We came back to the intercoastal and found the original dolphin. The dolphin played in the wake of the boat. Watching him play filled me with such a feeling of joy and peace.

Tonight I hope to dream of the ocean.