June 27, 2016

Six and a Half Weeks

Hi there.

It's been six and a half weeks since my husband died. That amount of time feels both like a lot and very little at the same time.

I get asked how the kids and I are doing by someone, in some way, probably every day. Honestly, we're doing better than I ever imagined we would.

So far.

We're not simply OKAY. Saying that would be too overly simplified and make it sound like losing Mark wasn't a huge and sad event in our lives.

Because it was. It is.

We are doing fairly well, all things considered. I prepared for the inevitability of Mark's death for years before that fateful night last month. I got therapy, I wrote blog posts, I processed with family and friends. Mark and I talked about the possibilities and probabilities, both with each other and with our kids. We ore-planned for his funeral arrangements.

In the weeks leading up to his passing, Mark and I had several conversations about where he was, how he felt and how he hoped things would go. It was still too hard for him to admit out loud, but I know now that he knew he was dying, that his body was losing its battle.

We are doing fairly well, all things considered, because it is very, very comforting to know that someone you love SO MUCH is no longer suffering and is actually completely whole and happy, having been able to shed their diseased body.

As I burst into tears.....


But that's also part of it. I am allowing my feelings to come, to feel them, let them flow through me and pour out of my eyes. It's the only way. I will be authentic in my grieving. I will allow my children to be authentic as well. I will not let anyone tell me nor them how we "should" feel or be.

I feel like Mark had a good death and we were able to accept that it was his time and let him go. I'm very grateful for that.

***

As I write this, Camryn and AJ are enjoying their last day of grief camp. I felt so much relief when I knew they were able to go. We are quite open with each other, but I know that kids often need validation from people other than parents. One of the scariest things about losing Mark for me is that I am now a single mom, without the luxury of their dad to talk to about them, to problem-solve with. I don't know if I'm helping them grieve in all the right ways. I needed grief camp for my kids so that I too had someone else to validate them and help them with coping skills.

With them at camp, I got to visit my bestie at her new home. Right on the heels of losing Mark, she moved over an hour away (when she used to live just 2 miles from me). Getting to see her in her new environment was very reassuring. Also, she is so very easy to talk to because she is utterly accepting of whatever I need to say or however I feel.

Something I have been struggling with is continuing to wear my wedding ring. I feel weird without it, but wearing it on my finger feels like a lie. I lost my husband; I'm not actually married anymore. I don't know why these details matter to me, but they do. It's not that I'm anywhere near ready to think about other men, it's just.....confusing.

Surprisingly, and quite organically, I found a solution while with my friend. We went to Target for a few things and I stopped by the jewelry counter to look at the necklaces. The chain I've been wearing (and swapping out pendants on) for only about a year and a half inexplicably broke a couple of weeks ago. At Target I found what I thought were two chains of different lengths (with pendants), but turned out to be one double chain. I thought this wasn't going to work, but with a little thought, my friend and I found a solution.


I didn't plan it or think of it when I bought it, but this necklace, with my wedding ring at the top and a simple circle pendant with a tiny clear stone at the bottom, to me, symbolizes what was (my marriage) and what is now (just me). I feel like I can wear this with pride rather than confusion.

***

Finally, we are doing fairly well, all things considered, because we are surrounded by a lot of love and support. From our family and friends to social media peeps and those of you reading this, we can feel the love.


June 6, 2016

How My Husband Died

It's been nearly four weeks since my husband passed away.

His death still doesn't feel fully real.

Even though I knew -- we all knew -- he wasn't long for this world, it's hard to believe that he died. That Mark actually DIED and is GONE.

I think death is just very hard for us to understand.

He had survived so much in his 47 years. We thought he was going to die four years ago, but he didn't. He fought back just like he had done so many times before.

But not this time. This time was different.

***

May 16, 2016

My Husband's Obituary

As many of you may have heard by now, my husband, Mark, passed away.

He suffered cardiac arrest and although medical professionals were able to restart his heart and keep him alive with meds and machines, it was ultimately his time to go.

Mark died quickly and peacefully just before 6:00 PM on May 12, 2016.

There is much more I would like to say, and probably will, but for now, I just want to share the obituary I wrote.


April 21, 2016

How My Husband is Doing This Spring


Hello there.

The last detailed update about the state of my husband's chronic health problems was about two and a half months ago. There have been a few changes.

We now have another condition to add to the list: low thyroid (most likely due to taking the anti-arrhythmia medication, Amiodarone). This news actually gave us a little hope because Mark can take another medication to bring his thyroid level back up, and maybe that would help how he feels overall.

Since seeing his Endocrinologist, Mark's dosage of Levothyroxine has been upped twice. It has taken many weeks, but he is a bit less tired and bit more hungry.

One step forward....

April 5, 2016

A Funny Thing Happened

I am in an odd place.

A hard to explain place.

I think I've said that a lot over the past year or so. But now it's, like, more.

For the last three weeks, I have been thinking and noodling and pondering just what is going on with me. Where am I at? What do I want to say? Do I have anything to say?

That last question is the most important because you see, I recently read something another blogger wrote in which she was giving new blogger advice. One piece jumped out at me and I have been chewing on it ever since. She said to write what you want to read.

March 14, 2016

Alone in the Village

There are many doctors (and their nurses or assistants) involved in my husband's health care.

An entire team including a nephrologist, technician, RN and dietician at the dialysis clinic.

A palliative care nurse.

Home health nurses who change dressings and check vitals a few times a week.

A paid caregiver provided by the state who helps with some housework, appointments and other errands, and helps Mark get a good shower every week.

Then there's me.

March 2, 2016

I'm Less Important Than Everyone Else


I have always felt like my needs/wants/desires have been less important than anyone else's.

No, really.

Kind of odd for an only child, wouldn't you say? (Only children are generally characterized as a bit on the "it's all about me" side.)

Marrying the man I did doesn't help.

February 27, 2016

Forcing Thankful

I've been in the downy-dumps most of this week, despite trying thing after thing to raise my spirits.

It hasn't been all terrible-awful, but definitely a whole lot of blah and meh. And sigh. And maybe some ugh.

One thing -- on top of the other many things -- which has been weighing on me is that my husband has had C. diff since (at least) sometime after his last round of antibiotics began the week of our son's birthday last month.