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.

Last Perfect Day

Today I hate FaceBook. A memory came up that is hard to deal with.
 
One year ago today I had my last perfect day. I remember as though it was yesterday. John and I were in Florida at our condo. John decided to sleep in a bit because we were going to have a busy day. He was still building his strength up after the corrective surgery he had in January. He was feeling better, eating more, smiling more and we were feeling positive. At this point it never occurred to us that he wouldn’t recover and we were happy. The sky was so blue that day and it was warm and breezy out.
 
John got up, showered, changed and had breakfast. He was in such a good mood. We were meeting friends for lunch at a restaurant about an hour away from our condo. We left around 11 and drove leisurely along Gulf Blvd so we could enjoy the beauty of the day. I was driving and John was enjoying the sunshine. We were laughing, reminiscing about all the places along the route. I could see John was so much stronger and happier.
 
We arrived to the restaurant before our friends so we walked around looking at the water. This restaurant is beautiful (Pier 22 in Bradenton). The building was built in 1928 and had a breathtaking view of the Manatee River. We walked along, mindful that John didn’t want to get overtired early. Our friends arrived and we were seated in the restaurant.
 
John was on fire that day. He was chatty, happy talking about work and happy being in the company of old friends. My friend Lisa mentioned how thin John was but I reassured her that we had heard back from the doctor from the tests were all negative and that John just needed time to recover. The doctor had told us there were no signs of cancer, that it was pancreatitis and he would be fine in time. John had a good lunch, ate sushi and crab. He was laughing and having so much fun.
 
Afterwards we walked hand in hand back to the van feeling better than we had since the whole journey started back in October. John was tired but happy.
 
When we got home he napped and we had a light dinner. Afterwards we went over to our neighbour a couple of doors down and had a glass of wine and chatted. We went to bed happy, tired from the sunshine, wine and long drive.
 
The following week we stayed close to home as John was taking a tax course. Even “semi-retired” John felt it was important to keep taking these courses. He was always looking forward to the future.
 
He didn’t really have another perfect day. He was tired, not eating and quiet. We went to a couple of Spring training games for the Jays but he only lasted 2 or 3 innings. Ten days after our perfect day John flew home to see our family doctor as we felt he was not recovering as planned.
 
Eventually it was our family doctor that diagnosed him with pancreatic cancer. All the specialists and surgeon missed it. I don’t think the end result would have been any different if we had known back in February but at least I had that one last perfect day with him.
 
So if you actually read this … I’m not looking for your pity or sorrow. I just want you to make sure you live each day to the fullest and show the people you love that you love them. Don’t just tell them, you need to show them. You never know when your last perfect day will be.

Six Months Later

John died six months ago.  June 13, 2016 the life I knew ended.  I’m learning to move on.

I miss John.  I miss talking to him, sharing things with him, knowing he always had my back.  But what I miss the most about him is the way he smiled at me when I’d come home.  He would look up at me and give me this half smile and it would make my stomach flip even after 35 years of marriage.  In that moment I could always tell he loved me and he was happy to see me.  I miss that smile.

I believe I made the right decision about selling the condo.  I know John would have kept it but he loved going there because he was comfortable there.  He would spend hours sitting on the balcony reading and watching the golfers.  He liked having his own things there and sleeping in a comfortable bed.  He was not happy traveling.  I think though he would understand why I am selling.  I know I’ll have second thoughts and regrets but in the long run it is the right decision for me.  I know it.

I find it overwhelming having to handle everything on my own.  Not just the big things but the little things too.  John was so good to me.  He would fill my car with gas or just bring me a bowl of ice cream (he did love his ice cream).  He would take the garbage out at the the condo and take my car to have the oil changed.  We also split the office work.  We worked on tax returns together, he’d choose the mortgages we would fund and I’d do the bookkeeping.  We were the perfect team.  I took good care of him too.  I’d remind him to take his insulin, I took care of him the best I could.  Not just when he was dying, I always took good care of him.  It made both of us feel good to do things for each other.  Now I am alone and struggling.

I have been thinking about what I want to do in the future.  I don’t want to continue working with the clients. I should never have signed up with Simon to continue working with the clients.  Simon isn’t reliable enough and it is stressing me out.  I should have just told the clients that I was wrapping everything up when John died but I didn’t.  First, John wanted me to continue with the personal tax clients and secondly I thought I was helping Simon.  But I’m not qualified to do all these tax returns.  I would rather get a normal job than have to deal with all these clients all the time.  But I’ve told them I would take care of them.  I need to figure out a way out of this mess.  I will continue taking care of the family’s returns but not everyone else.  I only have two corporate clients to worry about and I can either have them work with Simon or go to another accounting firm.

I wish last April that John had not encouraged me and the clients to continue our relationship.  I don’t like answering the phone.  I don’t feel qualified to answer the questions they ask me.  John wanted to make sure i had something to do when he was gone but he shouldn’t have decided my future for me.  I can easily get a part time job and make just as much money and have less stress.  I need to move toward that life.  The accounting practice was John’s life and not mine.  I only got involved when he opened his own office.  I’ll blog about that story another time.  But right now, I realize it is time to give this up.

I need to carve out my new place in the world.  I need to decide my own direction and my own life.  I need to leave my old life behind and move forward.  I need to make my own mistakes.

I am really starting over.

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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Running on Empty

My husband has been gone for two months now.  The days drag on but I can never remember what day of the week it is.  I don’t sob very often anymore but I cry every day.  Every day.  When people ask me how I feel the only way I can describe it is that I feel empty.  I am not complete.  My heart is missing.

I went back to Florida for a very short time.  I went with my goddaughter Zoe for some girl bonding time. She is heading off to university this fall and I have barely seen her in years.  Not because I didn’t want to see her but she lives a very busy life.  She models professionally and when she is not modeling she is studying.  It was nice being with her as she actually spent the time with me and not with her phone.  A week from now I’ll see her again when I go to Halifax to see her off to university.  Seems like it was yesterday when she was born.

I’m feeling very stressed these days.  I’ve finally started the house renovations.  I called a contractor and am waiting for the quote on my dining room ceiling and getting the hardwood installed in my family room.  It is time for the house to be fixed and I can’t do it alone.  My family has been helping me.  We have a dumpster and have filled it.  There was a major leak in the basement and the flooring was ruined and moldy.  My son and his girlfriend are now going to have two rooms … One for sleeping and one for hanging out in. I want to get my room finished this week.  John’s closet and dresser empty. I want to renovate my ensuite and I can’t do it until my room is clean.  Everything is such a mess.

But the biggest cause for stress that I have is there is this woman that owes me money.    A friend of mine told me she said was happy that John died, that in fact he deserved it. She said many horrible things that I won’t repeat here and now she refuses to pay me the money she owes.  She doesn’t owe me a fortune but she does owe me money.  What bothers me the most is what she is saying about my husband.  I am taking her to court.  I will spend whatever I have to in order to make her pay.  Only because she is so heartless.

I also have gone back to work.  I am self-employed and I took enough time off.  We were supposed to be retired this year but now that John is gone I don’t think I want to sit around doing nothing all day so I have decided to go back to work.  I’ll see how this goes … Being self employed is hard work but it is better than just sitting here waiting to die.

I have written out my draft will and given it to the lawyer.  I want to get my affairs in order so I can stop thinking about that aspect of my life too.  Once my will and POA is completed I will begin training my son and daughter on how to run the family business.  Maybe when that is all finished that I will start to heal.

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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