by Sonja

I know ...♥♥♥ must seem like a strange title. But, it holds a lot of meaning, to me, as this is the way Felix and I always signed off on notes, emails and FB comments.

It began four years ago when I placed a personal ad, with the headline, "Looking To Annoy Someone For The Rest Of His Life." He sent an emailed response saying that although he wasn't what I was looking for, he thought that was the funniest thing he'd read. And, so it began...

We wrote a few times back and forth. I was amazed at his writing abilities... his way of being self-deprecating with humor, sarcasm and wittiness. I've always loved a man, with a brain, and he was certainly intelligent and insightful. In the course of our emails and a few phone calls, I told him where I worked and one Sunday (yes, a Sunday), there were a dozen roses waiting for me. It scared me at first. Who was this nut sending flowers to me... someone he didn't even know! Did I have a stalker? So, I called demanding to know why he dared... his reply was that he just wanted to show appreciation to someone who had brought happiness and company in such a short period of time. So, I met him that same evening and the rest is history.

Felix had suffered a number of health issues, over the years, and it didn't help his body's ability to heal by being a former heavy drug user. Those things combined meant his 59 yr old body was much older. In addition, he was nervous about going out a lot due to some of the health issues... so, he lived somewhat a recluse. However, his mind and spirit were young and I fell for the person he was inside... caring, concerned, funny, vulnerable.

He was fiercely independent and it was hard for him to accept declining health. His eccentricities and health limited what our relationship could be... not normal by most standards. But, it was normal for us. We accepted each other for what we were and weren't and what we could be and what we couldn't. Neither of us could really explain "why it worked" but we both felt that God had brought us together... that He used something as worldly as a personal ad for a higher purpose.

Of course, when I first met him, the health problems hadn't limited his mobility and such as much. But, gradually, things did worsen. Last summer, he became ill and as much as he hated to, he agreed to be hospitalized. He was diagnosed with CHF and stage 4 kidney disease. Refusing dialysis, we both knew what the final outcome would be... it was only a matter of time.

Felix went home, after two weeks, and I moved into a spare room to help when he needed it. Then, the day before election day, I was hospitalized for complicated gall bladder... pancreatitis, wound up with sepsis, organ failure and temporary dialysis myself. Towards the end of December, while I was still recuperating, Felix fell and wound up with over 11 stitches at the base of his skull. I think that was the beginning of the end. He never did become functionally mobile. I was able to go back, to his place, in January.

He didn't really need a lot of physical help, but he could no longer go downstairs. I mostly cooked, straightened up, ran errands... With urging, Felix finally agreed to allow Hospice to start services.

Then, as the kidneys started failing even more, I scratched his back to ease the constant itching. We hugged, cried, held each other...

In March, he asked me to marry him. I sat there and thought, "Why didn't you ask me three years ago?" After some discussion... and, he told his aunt (who didn't agree we should)... we both thought it best not to. But, we did, on March 28th, exchange rings. He gave me a ring he'd worn for over 30 years... a star sapphire set in a man's gold setting. And, I gave him an engraved titanium band. Almost the next day, he began a downturn.

However, he never did get to the point most of think... he stayed fully in control til the very end. He was very present in each moment. His body was failing, but not his heart and mind.

He told me a day or so after we exchanged rings, that he didn't want anyone else there- except me - when IT happened. He didn't even like it when his aunt or cousin stayed with him while I attended a nursing class. I tried to be consoling saying "They take care of you and it's okay. I come right back." And, he said, "But, it's not the same."

On Monday morning, April 1, 2013, I left at 10:15am to go to school. Upon my return, he was still awake. The hospice volunteer attorney had just left. After awhile, no one was there but the two of us. Over the weekend, even though we'd had so many tender moments talking, he had gotten worse.

Monday evening I had to ask a male cousin to come back over to help him get settled, and positioned in the bed. He was so weak, he couldn't do it himself. He didn't want me to call Danny, but I did. Danny left and I was trying to get some pillows positioned for support and I told Felix ... mindlessly talking... that when I got him settled and he was comfortable, I was going to the next room to study for a test, but would be checking on him. I struggled with the pillows and Felix said, "I'll wait for you." My reply was, "Oh honey, you don't have to wait on me. I'll fix your pillows right now. I'm not gonna have you uncomfortable while I study, Goofus."

He was asleep and slept til around 10pm when I thought he was trying to wake up. He sounded like he had to cough and I grabbed some tissue. He literally pulled himself up and sat on the side of the bed. I said, "Honey, here's the Kleenex..." He just sat there, then went limp back on the bed.

That was it. The love, of my life, was gone.

Time is precious.

You can expect IT to come. You see IT coming, but you're not prepared for the loss.

It's been 20 days now. And, it feels as if it just happened tonight.

I don't see how people go through something like this and ever learn to be happy or enjoy life again. I've heard about "new normals" before, but is feeling like this the new normal?

I'm sure I'll write more later, but... all for now.

Thank you for reading... Peace & God Bless

Comments for ...♥♥a

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Apr 24, 2013
Sonja. Life after Death its highs and its lows.
by: Doreen U.K.

Sonja Thank You for your rambling thoughts. Since I lost my husband of 44yrs. I never thought I would have had some cynical thoughts and question life e.g. Is it worth the bother of bonding, and loving, and marriage, only to die and lose it all? I think Grief makes us feel this way. Never did I imagine how grief felt. It is the worst feeling ever. You grow and plan a life and then lose it by having to bury the Love of your life and now Life has changed forever and we have a to RE PLAN our life all over again with people missing from it.
I am still Happy for being married. Raising a family. Building a Life that gave life to other's through having children. They will also face hardships and grief in life. BUT. The human race will grow and go on. We can learn much from the one's we have LOVED and NOW GONE. The establishing of relationships. The highs and lows of this and how we have evolved as people through the relationships we have had that has built us up and given meaning to our life. We want this to go on forever. The Sweetness of the relationships we have with our parents, husband/partner, children and grandchildren. Would I have wanted things differently so I don't have to endure Loss and Grief? NO. I have no regrets in my life. Except DEATH of loved ones. But I do have the hope of an afterlife with my loved one's in Heaven as promised by God. This alone gives me the HOPE to go on in life.
We will struggle each day. But having Children and grandchildren and if lucky to still have our parents around. WE can enjoy each day with them and gather these lovely memories to help build up their memories and history for when we aren't here. YES!. Sadly our children and grandchildren will go through what we are going through when they lose us from their world. Your rambling thoughts created mine. THANK YOU! Best wishes for your future life with the ones you have left. May You be comforted and supported in your grief and find a New Joy and Happiness to go on through your life. Best Wishes

Apr 23, 2013
Dear Pat in Missouri
by: Sonja

Good morning,

I'm not sure if checking responses first thing, in the morning, is the best thing. (Tears are flowing... again). Thank you SO much for your comforting words and encouragement. With time I hope I am able to reach out, to others, and share as you have.

There is no doubt that God brought us together... for so many reasons. It was a very special and unique relationship.

Felix was very supportive of my becoming a nurse and during his last conversation, with my mother, he told her it would be up to her to make me study, etc. That degree will be as much his as it is mine. And, with God's help, I will continue doing well.

I am sorry for your loss, Pat, and I pray for your continued comfort and peace. Thank you again for reaching out... it means a lot!

Peace and God Bless

Apr 23, 2013
Dear Sonja,
by: Pat in Missouri

You are an amazing person, Sonja! You have been through so much and are still coping well. It may not seem like it to you, but it is true. You are seeking answers. This is quite normal and healthy. The "why" of death always comes to those of us who are left to grieve. You have also survived your own serious illness- sepsis. My fiance' died of sepsis in 2011. I am happy to read about someone who survived it. It hit my fiance' in every organ and after 10 weeks, his body finally succombed.

I have often asked the "why" question myself. I have been reading "Confessions of a Grieving Christian" by Zig Ziglar. I am finding some helpful answers to my questions. God has a plan for each of us. He is in control. He knows when we will be born, when we will love, and when we will die. The life journey is more than the physical body. God gives us life and a purpose. When He sees that our purpose has been achieved or that our pain is too much to bear, He takes us Home.

What we, as humans, miss is the physical body, but the spirit is still very much alive. After your shock and desparation for answers eases, you will begin to feel Felix's spirit. I truly believe that God called your Felix Home because he was in so much pain. His choice of using drugs and not taking care of his body did not help him. You are left with the painful feelings of grief. It was God's purpose for you and Felix to meet. Remember the good times and the love you shared. You also gave much meaning to his life.

You asked about what grieving is supposed to be
like. There is no set plan or map for grieving. For each of us, it is different and it never really goes away. We just learn how to cope with it. I also think that the love we shared with the one we lost is a gift God gives us to pass on to others. The most valuable purpose of our lives is love. Passing on what you had with Felix will help you feel better and help the recipients feel better. Becoming a nurse to help the sick is a perfect way to pass on Felix's love. God's plan is for us to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk, humbly, with Him. It sounds to me like you are very much on the right path.

You might try attending a grief support group. It helps to be with others who are all going through the same thing. Also, reading about grief will help. Most of us do not know what to expect from grief. Reading what experts know about it helps. It is comforting to learn that what you are feeling is not a sign of "going crazy."

I can tell that you are a very strong person. You will get through this and will be a better person for meeting the challenge, head on, and helping others. As a nursing student, you might have the opportunity to take a course in thanatology. I am sure that would help you understand death better and how to help your patients get through it. Take care, Sonja. I wish you well. It will get better. Blessings. Pat

Apr 22, 2013
To Doreen U.K.
by: Sonja

Dear Doreen,

I am sorry for the loss of your husband. You must miss him terribly. Thank you for reaching out to me. Yes, death is a part of life but it makes it no easier to accept and live with. It is comforting knowing that I am not alone in having these feelings... that others experience them also. I'll keep you in prayer and again, thank you for your very kind words. Peace & God Bless.

Apr 22, 2013
Felix & Sonja.....
by: Doreen U.K.

Sonja I am sorry for your loss of your special love Felix. What a lovely LOVE STORY. Of tenderness and respect, and honour between two soul mates.
It isn't easy to go on in life when someone you loved so much and had a special bond with has left this world and you can't quite take in what has taken place. Death leaves one disorientated for days. It is hard to process that someone has left this world and OUR WORLD.
I lost the love of my life. Husband of 44yrs. to a deadly cancer 11 months ago. I had to watch him die a slow death whilst I nursed him for 3yrs.39days. Life has lost meaning now. How can one go on as normal. Because even though death is normal (part of life). Someone has touched our life in a special way. As if two hearts are joined into one heartbeat. When that heartbeat stops. So does ours. WE are left limp and as if we are climbing up some big hill and we are tired and worn out and we can't go up anymore. This is what grief is, and what it does to our human frame. YET! WE are meant to go on in life.
You had a very special LOVE that touched another SOUL. It gave your Life MEANING. This is the essence of LOVE. Memories you will have forever. God is the one who touches my Life and helps me go on each day otherwise I would struggle. May life treat you well and you be comforted in your grief.

Apr 22, 2013
by: Sonja

I suppose this is the way to continue writing under my grief blog (leaving a comment).

I just reread what I posted yesterday and I suppose I was sharing a bit about Felix's illness and events surrounding his recent death.

Woke up this morning with him on my mind. I think about him constantly. The only "break" I get from mourning is when I'm doing school work.

It makes me wonder how many days will end and begin the same way... crying myself to sleep and waking with the thought, "I can't believe he's gone."

Felix suffered a long time... years before we even met. I know the way he treated his body didn't help and probably, he wouldn't have had some of those issues had he'd lived more healthfully. I can't be angry at him because he left. I know he's happier now... in a better place... no more pain or suffering.

But, I'm left without a best friend... without the one who loved me for what and who I was.

I don't know the purpose of living now... No, that doesn't mean I'm suicidal, but it makes me question why we're here... What is the point? We're born, we grow, we become adults... we find someone with whom we just go with like peanut butter and jelly... Then, it can be gone. And, for what? Is there a lesson to be learned here? Why do humans have this need to bond heart and soul with someone and then, have to bury that person? Why bother at all? Is the risk of losing someone and having to deal with grieving worth the joy of having someone while you had them? These are questions I have and I'm not even sure I should even have such thoughts. I'm usually not the cynical kind... that was Felix's job.

It's not like I didn't know what was coming, but I didn't know what the loss would feel like. I would brush aside thoughts of his passing (before) and didn't think about it. I guess to have been concerned about it would have meant not being able to enjoy the moments we did have.

*sigh* I don't know. I don't think I'm making much sense here... just typing thoughts as they come and in no particular order.

Today has been three full weeks since Felix passed away. It's terribly lonely although I have my parents, children and the sweetest two grandchildren anyone could ever ask for. But, just as Felix said when his aunt/cousin stayed with him while I was in class... "It's not the same."

What is grieving supposed to be like? Like this? How long does it last? Is it a part of me forever? Would it help if I got a hobby? A new interest? Went away for awhile?

Nursing school is not easy. And, I haven't even gotten to clinicals yet. I have a break between May 7th and the end of August. I was, at first, upset that I didn't get an earlier start date, but now (in retrospect), it's for the best. Because I think I will need the time for me.. healing and quietude.

Thanks again for reading. Peace and God Bless

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