Nothing will ever be the same again

I’d like to say I’d like a redo of the past two months but I don’t think I could live through it all again:

  • Three hospital stays
  • Doctors on the third stay telling us there was nothing more they could do
  • Home with hospice care
  • Watching my best friend die
  • Watching my other best friend lose her husband and soul mate of 43 years
  • Memorial service
  • Burial with full military honors

I’m exhausted and I know my weariness is nothing compared to what his widow is experiencing.

Don’t get me wrong either, there were some very sweet and tender moments interspersed throughout the past ten weeks.  The Monday before Christmas we went to see the second of the Hunger Games movies (I can’t remember the name right now), something he had wanted to do since it came out. We spent Christmas together and it was beautifully simple. It was the last time he was able to eat. The following Tuesday he went into the hospital for his second stay, going on the subsequent Monday after two surgeries. He went back in on Thursday, and went home with hospice care on Sunday. (Hospice workers are amazing people btw.) That Sunday morning he insisted he had been to the hospital cafeteria to have pancakes and sausage, telling his wife that she had slept through his going.

She gave him some syrup on Monday morning at home when he told her again how good those pancakes were. The next few days a parade of friends came by to visit him and even though he was not conscious for most of it, we were assured he could hear everything going on. Watching his 13 year old grandson say goodbye was one of the most beautiful and difficult moments of my life. We were up all night January 15 with him because it was obvious the end was very near. Thursday morning everyone came over and we made pancakes…apple cinnamon and his favorite, chocolate chip. His wife put her plate on his chest as she settled down next to him and he opened his eyes briefly. She sat down and he closed his eyes and died, peacefully, surrounded by those who he loved and those who loved him deeply.

He was a great man. We spoke daily, sometimes more than once a day.

He loved me even knowing what a mess I am.

Nothing will ever be the same again. And I’m not really sure I’m up to life without him.

thoughts on a Monday morning

I don’t belong.

It’s too raw. The two people who do know (because I’m stupid) are uncomfortable around me, often unable to look me in the eye or say much, and especially in a crowd. It’s agonizing because others read those reactions and respond in kind without even thinking about it.

I fight with the anxiety and make it into the building Sunday morning, believing it is the right thing to do.

No one greets me during the greeting time. Or the friend I’ve brought along with me to visit.

No one helps when we don’t have the insert in the bulletin for the responsive reading, either one of us, or when I go looking for one so we can participate.

No one speaks to us as we slip out at the end.

I assure my friend (who knows just enough) that it’s me, not her.  Over lunch we make small talk about my agoraphobia and our mutual hard, painful losses and how they have permanently scarred us.

The first time I ever said the words “I was raped” out loud, the person (one of the two who do know) had no response, not a word, nothing. I felt deep shame for having told. To this day I struggle with talking, preferring to write instead. Because talking about private family business was not allowed back then and consequences dire if it did happen.

No response should have told me something.

It’s not even that there’s anything to be said or done, not now with so time having passed. It’s more about not feeling so alone, so raw in the middle of dealing with it all.

I believed, perhaps foolishly, that facing the truth would bring freedom.

Instead I feel shame.

Shame that it happened. Shame that I’m so repulsive to others because it happened. Shame because I’m so obviously an outcast and unwanted.