Saturday, September 29, 2012

"No Cry" Days

The old saying is that a widow should not buy anything or sell anything for a year after her husbands death. No major decisions to made within that 365 day exile. 
So... I tried that for 3 months. It blows!
What? Sit and look at walls? Wear black for months and go to the cemetery? Not smile or chat or laugh?
I did all that too.
It's exhausting and it does nothing more than cement into your skull that your man is gone. It is all a constant reminder of sadness. Don't get me wrong. I am sad. I cry on people.
Oh Lord do I cry on poor unsuspecting people!

I went to see my dentist. I had neglected most everything about myself so it was time. My dentist is also a friend. He entered the exam room with my x-rays in hand, said hello, touched my arm and in 1.3 seconds, I was blubbering all over his scrub-shirt. Not just the pretty tears that fall from your eyes like in movies but the full-on sobbing UGLY cry. 
(I may have to switch dentists now I am so embarrassed)
Same with my Priest. My postman. My Veterinarian.  The cashier at the grocery...
The list goes on, I am sorry to say.
Hey.. I think I we get a pass when we lose a loved one. 
So, back to better news...
I decided to break all of the rules of being a widow.
I always claimed to be a "rule-breaker" so why stop now?
I'm done caring if people in my community judge me for crying too much. 
I hear them whispering... 
"Oh look, she cries too much. Her black dress is so big on her. She looks awful. Her eyes are red.
She's lost weight. She's aged 10 years."

Oh, Bite Me!

If people have so much to say about YOUR life... That says very little about their own, right?

Words to live by.
I haven't got all the answers on how to act or what to do. I never have! We just do what we can. Life is short. I plan on living each and every day in honor of my husband but to the fullest.
I ran away from home!
It's so liberating. I am going back in a week.
Don't want to but have to...
Some of Henry's old football players from the Denver Broncos and basketball buddies from Purdue are honoring him with a benefit memorial. All proceeds will go to the Purdue Athletic Department in his name. It will be a sad and emotional day but I have my Big Girl Panties all picked out and laid out for that day. 
I can DO this and I will. 
Oh and I bought a new car. My dream car. 
I thought it would make me happy. Things don't make you happy. People do. 
I have amazing people in my life.
I am so blessed.
More later.
I Love You.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Is it Ever Okay to Lie?

Every morning, no matter how ill or how much pain, Henry would get up and go to the office. It was his focus. Good for him to keep his mind off what was going on inside his wracked body. Neither of us knew.
He had refused to go to a doctor for a scope or scan or test. He had had it and I don't blame him. Surgery to deform him with no guarantee? No thanks. Maybe buy him 3 more months but no tongue, no voice, no face?
Our friends would ask me daily "How is he? What's going on? Is he ok? Is the cancer gone?"
My classic answer.... "I don't know. I am his nurse and the internet is our doctor."

The internet is a handy tool for quick solutions to simple problems but try diving into it deeply for REAL answers to real health issues. You can be lost in all of it and come away more confused than ever.
Nothing I could say or do would change his mind to see a medical professional. I ranted, raged, pleaded, begged, bargained.
So on we went. Marching forward thru each day. Trudging along. Blissfully ignorant.

I have decided I am over all of the gloom and sadness and putting it out there. That is not who Henry was nor am I. He loved my blogs but I think even he would say to stop being so sad. One thing my husband was... He was FUN and funny. Four days before he died he said something so freaking funny it had me bent over laughing and crying.
God I miss him so.
But... This one thing keeps me awake for hours in the dark of night. It haunts me.
Actually, grieving these days is not at all about me, it's about what Henry went thru at the end. That is what sends me to bed for days to cry and cry. I can't get past what he went thru. The pain, the chemo, the radiation, the feeding tubes and not eating a BITE of food for over a year... Barely able to sip a drop of water. The swelling, the pain... ALL of it.
Those are the things I hurt about. Not about ME but about HIM.

His left arm swelled up to five times the size it normally was. Both legs swelled so huge that I would describe his feet as giant hams stuck to the ends of his legs with little toes stuck on.
Still he refused medical treatment. He wanted this done HIS way.
Everywhere in the house that he went there was this sticky stuff on the floor. Did one of the kids spill Kool-Aid? I would mop and scrub but at the end of the day it was sticky again. I found out later that it was protein leaking from his pores as he walked, he was so swollen. It had no where else to go so it seeped from him as he took each step.

Still he went to work.

I knew things were changing. He seemed to be dizzy and disoriented at times. I worried about him driving the 1.2 miles from our home to the office. I would walk with him to the car in my pajamas and coffee in hand, as the car would reach the end of the drive, I would follow it down the street. "Please God let him get there safely."
I would whisper silently as the car turned the corner out of sight.

About a week later, he came home and each day, each hour and each minute, things grew progressively worse.

He didn't go back to work. I knew things were bad. Henry not going to the office? It was really bad but he never complained or said a word about how he was feeling.
Each hour he was worse by now...

He asked me for paper and pen. He wanted to write. I gave him a stark white pad of paper and a pen with the company logo on it. He was adamant about writing something... What?
"I need to write this but write how do I write it?" he said.
"I'm not sure, write what you know." I told him, totally confused by what he wanted to say.
He began to write....
He wrote the date, his name and my name and wrote that I was amazing.
Oh God, I can't stop crying about this.
"Why am I amazing, darling? What do you mean "amazing?" I asked when I read what he had written.
He looked up at me and with that sweet smile of his, he told me he would save that and tell me someday and then I would know.

His next question...."Am I dying?"

No, no,no, no.

My heart fell clear to the floor and stopped.
Why did he ask me that?

" Why? Why do you ask me that?"

In the quietest voice I had ever heard, he said.."Because I feel like I'm dying."

Oh God! No.

At that exact moment, I think I knew. Tell him yes? Lie?

"Of course you're not dying, silly. You're going to be fine. Everything is fine." I lied.

Was I lying to him and to myself? Should I have told him yes? Should I have lied?
The answer to this question haunts me. Wakes me up at 2:00 a.m. every morning and sticks in head all thru the day. Should I have told him????
If/when my time comes, someone had better damn well be telling me about it!
I want to know.
To this day, I don't know if my lie was the right thing to do or not.
In my defense... I didn't know. Only God did.
Two days later he was gone. I had called the priest that married us to come to our home to give him his "Last Rites"
As the priest blessed him and prayed over him, I crawled into the bed. I held him in my arms. He took three last breaths and gently died in my arms. My heart died that day too.
Will the tears ever stop? I doubt it.

I can't wait to see my husband again. I need to tell him so much.
I want to tell him how proud I was to be his wife. How happy he made me. How very much I love him. I want to tell him that I am sorry I lied to the most important question he has ever asked of me.
And... I want to ask him about that one question he said he'd tell me about later....
Why did you write that I am so amazing?
I look forward to that day.

PS. To the miserable person that wrote the cowardly letter...
I know who you are.
I want to Thank You.
You see, your intention was to hurt but I have had all the hurt I can. Your words didn't hurt me. In fact they helped me and for that I thank you.
You lit a fire under me.
No more sitting looking at the walls. I am going back to work. I am going back to blogging and making videos soon. I learned one very valuable lesson in losing my darling husband and that is this:
Life is VERY short. Enjoy it.
And that is exactly what I intend to do.
Your cruel words mailed to me were intended to crush me. You can not. I am strong.
After all.... My husband thinks I am amazing!

I love you all. Thank you for being here. You, all of you, truly are amazing.

Monday, September 3, 2012

One Last Kiss

The day of the funeral...

To feel so numb but to have so much to do is such a contradiction in terms. All I want to do is go to bed and stay there with the blankets pulled over my head.
Let someone else do this. I can't.

Phone calls from people, food and flowers arriving at the door. God, I hate the smell of roses now. So cloyingly sweet. The smell seems to penetrate the house but mostly my brain.

A friend of mine that I had met at the Radiation clinic... (That seems like it was a 100 years ago)
Her husband had died of the same horrible cancer my husband had, told me that she had put her dog up in the bed with her husband to let him know that he was gone.
Ewwww, so morbid!
After my husband had gone, I did just that.
Both dogs were thrilled to be up on the bed I had denied them access to these last weeks. The little Chihuahua, much older and wiser, sniffed him all over. Looked up at me with such sadness in her soft brown eyes then laid her little apple head on his arm with a small sigh. She bared her teeth at anyone that tried to move her from his side.
Izzy, usually so rambunctious and out of control, sniffed his face once, jumped off the bed like she had been shot from a cannon and hid under the bed in the next room.
They both knew.
I'm glad now I did this. They are both grieving but seem to know why their beloved master is not here. He's not coming home....

Shower, makeup, hair. Like an auto-mon get ready for this day.
Meet the rest of the family, cousins, relatives, life-long friends at the funeral home.
Pall Bearers
Saying good-bye. More tears. More sorrow. More prayers. More sadness.
One last goodbye. More tears fall onto his face. "My Darling, please know that I will always love you. Forever. Unending."

I see the six best friends of my husband, the pall bearers, bring the casket and loads of flowers out to the waiting hearse. Such a sunny pretty day but a black hole in all of our hearts. I feel as if my knees will buckle and I will become one with the parking lot.
I am just led around like a four year old. Totally clueless. I have never done this before.
Not this.

Our limo follows the long black hearse. Others follows us. A long steady stream of cars
winding thru the streets to the church Henry and I attended every Sunday that we could while we were home and together. I see people and recognize their faces but my heart can't acknowledge their presence or why they are there to tell this wonderful man good-bye.
So many people crying.
So much sadness.

People speak at the podium and the priest says the Mass. My husband is lying there beside me in a white draped coffin with a cross of gold embroidered on the delicate cloth.
The priest begins The Lord's Prayer.

Every Sunday, all of our married life and before, as "The Lord's Prayer" was being said, we would recite those familiar words, my husband would reach out and grab my hand as we spoke the words....Hands locked in a grasp, all of the week's issues and problems would seem to melt away....

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy will be Done

No one to hold my hand now as that beautiful prayer was said, I reached out and laid my hand on the coffin. Never to hold his hand again, sobbing, as the prayer and the people prayed.
I could hear people crying behind me. He was so loved.

Back to the limo again.
Winding thru the streets. We don't go straight to the cemetery. Police escorts leading us past his business. All of his workers out lining the street in a silent salute and good-bye to this amazing man. Gone too Soon. Too Young... Too Good.
Following the hearse to the cemetery. A tent has been set up with chairs under the old oak trees in the spot we had chosen over a year before.
The sun dapples through the trees and glistens on the mirror covered casket. His name and birthdate and the date he left us engraved so beautifully on the top of the glass.
The priest ends the prayers and before they lower my beautiful husband into the ground, I bend to kiss the top. I leave an eternal lipstick print on the glass as I tell him one last good-bye...