Without my Love One Year
by Judith in California
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.