Without my Love One Year

by Judith in California
(Winnetka, Ca)


It’s been a year today since my world was turned upside down and away from me. How did I get here? It certainly wasn’t by choice, for I surely would have begged him to stay. God had other plans as I said “stick with me Chuck, I love you” as I watch him choking from fluid build up in his lungs from pneumonia. He had aspirated. It was a 3 ½ year battle since he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and began falling a lot. One day he fell and fractured his skull and had a cerebral hematoma. He was in a care facility for a month until I decided to bring him home and care for him myself. Then a couple of weeks later he had a TIA and back in a care facility for a week. I brought him home and cared for him daily. I signed up for working half days at work and half days from home as I had a caregiver for 4 hours a day. He was able to do a lot of things at first. As time passed about every three months I’d notice something he couldn’t do or would do with more difficulty so I would have to make sure I had things to accommodate him like walkers and wheel chairs then instead of finding another house with one story, I had to buy a chair lift to get him up and down the stairs. I tried so hard to treat him with dignity and respect and not put him in diapers. But time and loss of sleep made it to where I had to finally do that but I loved him anyway. No matter what was happening to him I was there beside him with something new to help him adjust and to make his life better and to love him unconditionally as I always did. One by one he lost the use of his hands, his ability to walk but for the help of my body to get him to and from the bathroom and from the wheelchair into and out of the car for his numerous Doctor appointments and from his chair to the stair lift and out and into bed. I had a daily routine all written out for the caregiver to go through each day as well as a medicine chart. I bathed him, lotioned his entire body, did manicures and pedicures, brushed his teeth and combed his hair and dressed him. I fed him and toileted him and changed his diapers and I never once felt any hardship or stress caring for him in fact I loved caring for him. I always told him he was my handsome man. I retired in September 2009 to be at home. But as time went on I noticed him losing weight no matter what he ate, and he ate good. He lost his ability to talk well and to think clearly. He was in a failure to thrive mode and then he got pneumonia and he no longer had the lung strength to cough stuff up. So on this very day one year ago he died at 11:55. I have spent my days as most of you going through the motions and making an attempt each day to move on to the new normal but I still feel a tremendous hole in my world because he was my every damn thing for 35 ½ years. I lived to care for him and show my love to him and protect him. When he told me I ought to write a book on what real love is. I mostly miss the I love you’s and the special days when we would give each other our Anniversary cards and dress up to go out. I miss so much of OUR life that we lost through his illness. He always was so handsome and loved to dress well. People would tell us we looked so good together. I have my candle lit and his pictures in a circle and I have cried and talked to him most of the morning and let two cups of coffee get cold. I told him I was not going to continue my journal writing to him because I can’t say anything new. I’ve written over and over that I wish he could come back, I love him, miss him, miss US and OUR life and that just because I don’t write doesn’t mean for a second that I don’t feel those things anymore. I will always feel those things daily. I will cry at the drop of a hat remembering him and our love. And as he said ‘I love you, always have, always will, above all else even if I’m mad.” I have to hang on to those words while I let go to let him rest in peace. That’s the hardest part. My heart will continue to ache. 35 ½ years was not enough.

Comments for Without my Love One Year

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Sep 16, 2011
one year mark
by: Judy

Judith,

The first year of grief is incredibly difficult, lonely and exhausting. I can remember the days when I was lucky to make it home from work before collapsing physically and emotionally and just giving in to my pent up sadness and emotions. Yet during this first year we are also getting stronger and developing the ways to keep living and moving forward. Our time with our beloved is never enough, but I have come to cherish each day I had with Barry, good and bad. Today I reached into an alcove in the dashboard of our van and came out with the aviator glasses he wore everywhere. It brought back all the happy times we spent traveling together. He always laughed at me because I hold the map in the direction we are going but we always got there. I don't have a map anymore but I know he is watching over me as I move along this broken road toward the future. Chuck is there to watch you too. So turn the map in the direction you are going, and he will follow along also to watch over you.

God bless you as you continue on.

JM

Sep 16, 2011
There is never enough time
by: Zoe

There is never enough time with the ones we love
There is nothing we can do for them that is not done not only with love, but to bring them back to their normal, because their normal is our normal.
And as things stop working, as the world starts to turn more slowly, when the doctors ask how is he doing, is he responding, because they know, that if there is a response, it is to us,
All the while we scream at the universe to give them back, and whisper in their ear it is ok to go, so they do not suffer.
It is the first lie I ever told him, that it was ok to go.
I wish I could tell you it gets easier, it does not, it gets different. I still talk to John every day, and I still cry most days. He was my life, he was my heart, I stopped when he did, time moves me forward.
Know that your journey is one of many, even if you will always feel alone, but when you need to reach out
come here
we are always here to hear you, and to understand
one breath, one step, one day at a time.

Sep 15, 2011
The year mark...
by:

Judith,

Navigating your way through grief without a map is difficult. It is like driving blindfolded. You never really know what is coming up around the next bend. As Summer turns into Fall I feel melancholy, Not as Angry as I was that first year. I thought it so very unfair that the seasons were Allowed to even change with out the one that I Love. I recall the Winter of 09 when he died, It was a heck of a snow storm for VA. And I felt a prisoner held captive in my own house.

The first Year of grief are many milestones Many birthdays anniversaries, and moments pelting you with memories of what was and what will never be again.

I thought if I could just get to the year mark and that in itself is an accomplishment. But the year mark seems to rewind everything the good the bad and the ugly into a pain that we thought ourselves not over but somehow...better.

In time thankfully you will remember with a fondness the good times that you had, yes you will always miss him but you will smile when you think of him instead of holding back your tears.

This is my 2nd Summer, My 2nd Fall Yet my 3rd Winter coming. As the seasons pass I grow stronger, I doubt myself and my ability to survive grief at times but in the end we are stronger than we have ever been. Loving them, taking care of them in sickness and in health was easy. Loving ourselves and allowing a new life, some happiness and joy is the hard part. I hope that you attain that just know that you are worth it. And allow it to happen one day, one breath.
HH

Sep 15, 2011
One Year.....
by: TrishJ

Judith~
So...you've reached the one year milestone. It was a lot of hard work huh? The darkness is overwhelming and it takes a lot of work and courage to finally make a little bit of sunlight peak through.
As caregivers I think we suffer the most. We care for our husbands as we did our children but still in our hearts we remember them as the wonderful strong men they were before they fell ill. A special closeness develops as they come to realize what strong women we are and how fortunate they are to have us (something they probably already knew). It's a closeness that most marriages won't know. And then....all of a sudden it's gone. We are left with only our memories. Our role as wife, lover, friend, caregiver is gone. The one person we chose to be in our life is gone. It's devastating.
We're all here for you Judith. I loved your post. I'm 2 1/2 months away from where you are and I already know the day will be a torturous one.
I write to Joe as well. It has been so helpful to me. Maybe you could still write to your husband when you manage to find a little bit of happiness in your day. You know...share the good positive things with him. He'll always be with you. I'm a huge believer in the after life and the fact that our loved ones don't really leave us.
God bless Judith.

Sep 15, 2011
Without your soulmate
by: M Mack

Judith,

You did everything possible to keep him in your life until the very end. He hung on as long as he could. I see the love you both had for one another and that is what's everlasting. That love is still there and that's what's holding you up after this year anniversary. That love gave you the strength to persevere in spite of the difficulty.

It's time to remember Chuck the way he was before he got sick and you were the caregiver. Remember how you completed each other, the days you walked together laughing and doing what couples in love do. No matter how long the anniversary is, it will always be difficult to be alone but remember, there is always eternity. You will see him again in due time but for now, carry on with living. Allow his soul to recharge, and your heart to heal knowing he's in a better place. I hope you can feel some peace and know there is light in the future where you will be together again. Take care of yourself and I hope you find comfort knowing you are not alone.

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