In many ways it seems surreal that three and a half years have gone by since my husband’s passing! Yes, I am now counting in years and not months. My journey has come a long way in three and half years. The loneliness still prevails many days, but I feel as though I am piecing a new life together for myself. I have two dogs and a cat who have been by my side through this journey and last week I was reminded that time has passed and they are getting older. My oldest dog was diagnosed with diabetes and gave me quite a scare. That nauseating emotional pain came flooding back through me when I was rushing her into the veterinarians. She was sick and had gone into Ketosis and this all happened very quickly. I am happy to say she is fine now and will be on insulin for the rest of her life, but that can be managed.
The return of the emotional pain brought my thoughts back to the months after my husband’s passing and how brutal and ugly those days were. I spent many hours in agonizing crying pain, so out of control that I would hyperventilate. My two dogs would surround me in an effort to help and protect me, while I was breathing into a paper bag to try to regain control of my breathing. Only a few close friends knew and saw the depth of this grief. It’s not something that you even want many to see and it takes a very special and unique individual to walk along side someone at this level of grief. I don’t think my family had any idea what I was going through.
I have survived this life amputation for this long, so I know I can and will continue to survive. My life is very different now in many ways, but I continue to try to focus my attention on my Gratitudes. So to anyone who might read this and is new to walking this path, I have survived, and although you think you won’t, you too will work your way through this!
It has been 39 months since my husband’s passing. Sometimes I will refer to this passage of time in years, but just as with babies, I still tend to use months. I feel that I have moved forward in many ways during these “months”, but there are still times when I stop and question whether all this has really happened.
My story started on a Friday night in the middle of July in 2013. It was teaming rain that evening and my husband could hardly breathe or talk. I thought he might have pneumonia and called our family doctor. I was to take him to an ER for a chest X-ray. At this point it had been raining so hard and so heavily that roads were flooding. I couldn’t get to the hospital, so we went to a local urgent care. He did in fact have pneumonia, but they also found a mass in his chest. I remember my whole body going numb at the sound of those words. This is not at all what I had expected to hear. The next five weeks were a roller coaster of medical tests, doctors visits, emotions and fear. Everything just seemed to be going down hill and quickly. When I think back on this time frame, a lot of it seems like a blur, everything happened so fast. It was such a whirlwind that I didn’t have time to tell many people what was happening. Only a select few even knew. I felt like my world was falling apart and I was all by myself. Exactly 5 weeks from the Friday night in the urgent care to Friday night in the hospital, at around the same time that we were told of the mass, my Husband took his last breath. He died in my arms.
I was in total shock! It wasn’t until around 3 that very afternoon that I even let the thought that he might pass even enter into my thinking. I was preparing myself for “the battle”! But, there really wasn’t much of a battle, it was such a fast and ferocious journey that ended sooner than I had ever expected it too. My wonderful life with him had just come to an abrupt end!
The hours and days that followed were spent in numbness and shock. I felt like I had been shot up with novocaine. I wasn’t even sure I was breathing! I have never felt this deep level of emotion and intensity. It’s difficult to put in exact words the enormousness of these emotions. I had a friend staying with me for part of the first week, but then I was on my own to cope. I somehow managed to keep functioning, but it was the hardest thing I have ever done. Fortunately I was able to get out of bed everyday and I credit this to my two dogs and cat. I had to keep taking care of them. I had to survive for them and only them. They were the only ones on earth who needed me now.
There were the usual things that had to be taken care of after a person passes and somehow I managed to get it all done. Thinking back on it now though, I don’t remember a whole lot of it. I think I was just on auto pilot and mushed my way through. What needed to be done at the time did get done, but my memory of all this is a blur!
I was told by someone when all this happened that I would “survive” this! Although I have made it 39 months, I still do have moments of doubt that I can keep going, but each day I do. I have heard this experience of loosing your spouse referred to as an “amputation”! I think that is the best word that sums it all up. A huge piece of my my life was amputated that night and my new life is growing back very slowly.
Finding support for this type of grief seems to be few and far between, so my hope is that by writing about my experience I may be able to be of some support to another woman going down this path.
Two and a half years ago, I was unwillingly inducted into this club called Widows!!!! Like other members of this club, I didn’t apply for admission or pay a monetary fee to join. It took only “one breath” and I was officially a member. It started on a Friday night in the middle of August at 9:06pm. It will be forever engraved in my memory! At that moment I was about to embark on a journey through a thing called “Grief”, the likes of which, I had never known. It has been a journey that no one can understand unless they have walked this path. I know this to be true, as I could never have understood what this was like till I went thru it!!! It is a personal and very individual process that is as different for each individual as our fingerprints. My hope with starting this blog and writing about my own journey will in some way help others walking the same path to heal and grow and move forward as I have been doing and continue to do.