Seven…

Three years ago, in 2017, I was driving the 1000 miles from Boston to Asheville. After a very painful, 7 week spilt from my husband, we comitted to try and put our marriage back together. We. As in two.

I left because I thought if I could just make my husband see how mean he was, maybe he could find a way out of the misery he was in. Without me. By the third day of separation, I started to realize that I was so verbally abused, and abusive, that changes had to happen for both of us. As individuals and as a couple.

I hurt so many people when I left, and some of them will probably never truly forgive me. It’s okay. My husband forgave me. I’ve forgiven myself. After three years time, I no longer seek, nor need forgiveness from those who won’t give it. My husband forgave me, our families forgave me, and most importantly, God forgives me.

Six months after returning to Asheville, our lives were upended again. We were vilified as parents, thrown away, and forbidden to see our oldest grandson. I’ve often wondered if the reasons given for the estrangement weren’t made up, and was the estrangement a form of retaliation? Retaliation for the pain I caused when I left my husband? The reasons for us being thrown away don’t matter anymore, we were able to stand against the pain together. My husband held my hand, I held his. My husband let me cry in his arms, he cried in mine. We stood up for one another, determined to keep moving forward.

Seven weeks later, (seems there might be a commonality going on) I spent a weekend in Charleston, SC, loving on, and being loved by, the daughter and grandkids we were allowed to love. That trip was the application of stitches that started to sew back together my shattered heart. When I got home, my husband was gazing into the backyard and didn’t know I was there. When he realized I was standing behind him, he turned to me and said “I think we should sell the house.” I asked why before considering what he’d said, and he answered with “my Poppy heart is lonely and I want to love our grandkids.” I said yes to selling without hesitation.

After the decision was made, we spent the next seven weeks getting ready to list the house. Cleaning, purging, updating smaller things like doorknobs, hinges, painting, and replaced the roof. Busy times. Very busy times.

We listed our house on August 3rd, had a full price offer within 24 hours and closed on August 30th. We packed up a large POD, a storage unit, and headed north, to Boston. Again… Just for a visit, though. I had found a smaller house on a quick weekend trip back to Charleston, but our close on that property wasn’t until Sept. 28th. We took our time driving to New England, stopping often to enjoy the beauty of the Shenandoah Valley, the Pocono Mountains, and the changing colors of fall in New England.

We had been in New Hampshire about 7 days when my beloved mother-in-love tripped over a threshold and fell. She broke her femur and I am so glad my husband and I were there when it happened. I called 911 and by the time my husband came down to the garage, we could hear the sirens. Off she went to Manchester, later to have surgery and go to rehab. She did well and went home after we left.

I write all this to let you all know that life happens. Sometimes we determine our own course, at other times we are pushed along the road of life, even if we don’t want to make the drive. Since moving into what should have been our last home, we have sold that home, purged again, driven thousands of miles and settled in New England. My husband’s stroke in October of 2019 has been the determining factor in all decisions made since, and we are both exhausted by life now. Yet it seems there is more to do…

Not being able to see my husband in hospice is slowly killing me, and he is incredibly lonely. How could he not be? I’ve been trying to make sense of the non-visitation rules, but I can’t. I’ve been trying to keep myself from falling apart, I fail. What I can do is remember that my husband and I rebuilt the foundation of our marriage on the Rock that is Christ, we put ourselves and our marriage first in a non selfish way and that we choose love.

This part of my life hurts. There are no words out there to describe how hard it is to watch your spouse die. Now I can’t even do that. I call every day to check on him, but not being able to hold his hand, kiss his face or just sit quietly with him is beyond comprehension. He’s dying. Alone. Physically. My husband never walked away from his faith like I did, and the promises we depend on to keep us strong are just that… strong promises. We share an unbreakable bond, and that bond is what will keep me going after he’s gone.

Darkness comes. Often. More often than I would like. I spend my days praying for the man I love more than my own life. I pray that the peace and rest he so richly deserves finds him. And finds him soon. I pray that I will be strong enough to let myself fall apart and just be. I pray that the broken hearts that have already shattered because of my husband’s stroke be healed with love, and time, and grace.

Thank you for reading this, and please know that there is a day, somewhere down the road, that light will shine upon you again. On me. On my family. And friends. The storms don’t last forever… right? They just feel like they do…

Photo by Barb Enos

A Little Heavy…

I don’t normally share about my faith. Today I was reminded why that is, and why I am so guarded.

Shattering hurt comes to all of us, and being able to admit that is one thing, sharing it publicly? A completely different experience altogether. I fully admit that I have hurt people, both with intent and without. Seeking forgiveness for my actions seems elementary, but it’s not. Forgiveness of self is never easy, but it is possible. Asking others to forgive me isn’t easy, but then again, nothing worth having should come easy. I want to be able to appreciate someone else’s forgiveness, not take it for granted.

I started a five day study today on forgiving what we can’t forget, and I see so much of my brokenness in the first day of reading, I don’t think I want to keep going. I will. I know the best things in my life have always been born out of great anguish and tremendous struggle.

Whether you believe in God or not doesn’t mean you can’t forgive. Forgiveness is a human moral, not a religious one. Did your husband cheat on you? Did your adult child throw you away? Did someone steal something from you? No matter the wrong committed, you can find the strength to forgive. Forgiveness of others and of self make the weight of being broken a little lighter. At least for me.

Today is day 7 of not being able to see my husband and the first day I didn’t wake up crying. I know I’ll cry somewhere along the way today, but I’m thankful my eyes stayed dry this morning. Not seeing him makes me angry. And sad. And confused. All things that I need to forgive. Daily.

I’ve been told many times over that I’m “too” forgiving, and all that statement says to me is that the person(s) making it are hurting so much, they’re blind to their own pain. I never want to be so blind to my hurt that I can’t, or won’t, learn from it. Life lessons are just that… life lessons. I may not have been the best student in school, but I fully intend to learn the lessons this life teaches me.

I’m very thankful for all of the support shown to my husband and me throughout this most difficult journey and want you all to know that. I know I draw into myself. A lot. Sometimes the pain shatters me so much, I can’t see past it. Sometimes the pain is so hot, I feel like I am dying in the fires of hell. It’s after the burning I find that I am being forged like iron, the forging gets me ready for the next round of pain.

If you’ve read this far, thank you. I know this post is a little long. It’s more personal than most, but my heart cries out to share this journey from time to time. Today seemed a good day to share. I am still hurting more than ever, but I see a bit of light through the cracks in my heart today and I can only hope that my words encourage someone else to forgive that which can’t be forgotten…

(I do not own this meme)

Affliction

I’ve spent the morning talking (via text) to a friend in Mumbai, cleaning out the dishtowel/pot holder drawer, the tea cabinet and did laundry. I made my bed and swept the kitchen floor. At this time of day, since September 14th, I’ve been at hospice, holding my husband’s hand, singing to him, telling him I love him. Now all of that is gone again and I have to find a “new” routine to be able to make it through however long this lock-down lasts.


I normally can find solid reasons why things happen, and if not, I can at least try to make minimal sense of a situation. Last lock-down, I had Morgan (my dog) to focus on. He was my reason to get out of bed and try to have a life. Morgan died in July… I miss my dog so damned much, and I know he is better off. I am not.


I miss my husband and there seems to be no one that can tell me how I am more of a threat to him than the people that work at hospice. Minimizing traffic in and out of the buildings is the only answer I got yesterday after seeking out someone to answer my questions. I get the thought behind that, but damn, the patients in hospice are already at the end of their lives. Our people are dying alone, again. I wear a mask, I limit my socializing, I try and stay safe and be cautious. It seems beyond cruel to eradicate the human touch of love. I know he’s well taken care of by the staff, but they don’t know him like I do. I need his touch as much as he needs mine, maybe even more. None of that seems to matter…


I can’t just unlove him. I can’t see past my shattered heart. I can’t unthink about him, or unfeel his touch. The extended length of time since his stroke has changed me forever and some of those changes I don’t like. Some I do. I am less trusting. I have zero tolerance for other people’s opinions about my decisions. I have walls built around me that only very few people are allowed to peek over.
When I cry, which is at least 90% of the time right now, it’s ugly crying. That I’ve been through three boxes of tissue since Wednesday afternoon should tell you something. I had a peaceful day with my beloved sister-in-love yesterday and she knows all too well what pain can do to the spirit. I cried a lot with her yesterday, and she understands. I understand her. Thank you, A.E….


When life knocks you down, sometimes it’s just too damn hard to get up right away. Sometimes the only way to get up is to let your feelings be, and accept the refining of the silver in your life. “Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” Isaiah 48:10. The furnace of affliction… whether a believer, an atheist, a christian, a person without faith tenets, we all face affliction. Sometimes the white hot heat of life is the furnace of affliction. Sometimes we open the door to the heat without even knowing it. Sometimes the heat comes from a back draft. The furnace of affliction with its overwhelming heat is a brutal place to be, but it’s not as scary as we think it is. I am hopeful that as the fires of affliction burn all around and through me, I am able to stand. And survive.

I’m not strong, I’m broken. I’m not happy, I’m sad. I’m not sharing light, I’m stuck in darkness. I know this may seem sad to those of you who see me as encouraging, it is sad. I feel tremendous guilt at not being there for my husband, though it is in NO way my fault. The guilt comes on like a tsunami, crashing over me. Again and again. The force of the guilt is like the water, relentless. Ebb and flow. Crashing, receding and crashing again. Guilt is not what I should feel, this I fully realize. Guilt sucks. I am not the only person who is being kept away from a loved one that’s dying, and I can almost guarantee you, others feel like I do. Many, many others.

Someday, Coronavirus will either burn itself out, or become a world-wide, common virus like the Chickenpox or the common cold. As long as people deny the science behind how to minimize it, I will be in this position. Broken. Being denied the touch of my husband’s hand. Sad. I’ve said it before, public health is a public responsibility, so please, be responsible. PLEASE!!! We, as humans, are not created to be alone, to be divided. We should be able to depend on one another in our times of greatest sorrow, and it’s very sad that we can’t. It’s very personal to me now, knowing that people say they care and then demonstrating just how little they actually do. Wear a mask, stop bitching about it! It’s part of being responsible. It’s simple, too. Not complicated at all. Try it, please…

In closing, I’m going to try and get out of the house this afternoon and maybe I’ll find a smile or two. I need to feel the sun on my face, listen to the birds and know that the darkness I am encompassed by is temporary. Even though it doesn’t seem so…

Be kind, stay safe and know that I appreciate you all!

Photo by Barb Enos.

Again… and Again… and Again…

Hi all…

Today is the first day of a reoccurring nightmare that seems to happen again… and again… and again. I feel like I am caught in a downward spiral that has no bottom. No end. No light. I keep thinking that eventually I will be able to find my way back to my own heart, but I am still lost. Lost. Lost in the pain of again…

Yesterday, November 18, 2020 was the last day I was allowed to hold my husband’s hand, stroke his face, kiss his forehead. It was the last day his oldest brother was allowed to visit him. Visitation at the VA hospice unit where my husband is has been suspended. Again. I was told I would be able to stay with him and not allowed to leave the building if the VA decided to stop visitation, but that information was false. I would stay in his room, not leaving at all until he passes away, therefore not exposing myself to Coronavirus. But no, I can only see him when he’s down to “hours” left to live. Hours. By that point I assume he won’t know who I am, he won’t know I’m there and he will die thinking he was alone. The suspension of visitation defies logic, but then again, I understand it. If I, as the spouse of a dying veteran, am prohibited from visiting because of potential exposure, what about the staff? Don’t they leave the building? Go home? Shop for groceries? Who are they potentially exposed to when not at work? Can’t they carry the virus and not know it? All the same things that happen to the families of the hospice patients can happen to a staff person, right? We’re all human and have to live, but denying hospice patients human contact from their loved ones seems beyond cruel. My husband cries, a lot. When asked what I think about how to help him find a way to keep him from being so sad, I always told them, let him see his family more. He’s lonely. He’s dying from loneliness. Literally.

As I sit here at my computer, the tears don’t stop. I continue to cry without even knowing it now. I am beyond crushed in spirit, my heart completely shattered into nothingness. I know I shouldn’t feel guilt, but I do. I should be there right now, holding his hand, playing music for him, wiping his face to keep his beard and mustache free from being sticky with food, or nasal discharge. I would wash his face every day and then comb out whatever debris was stuck to his facial hair. Seems like something I shouldn’t worry about, right? I do. He deserves to be kept clean, and he is, but this kind of thing is not something the staff of hospice should have to do. Especially when I want to do it for him. Who will sit and pray with him? Who will whisper that it’s okay to go be with his Daddy, or to hug my Daddy around the neck when he seems him again. The staff of hospice don’t know the small intimacies shared between my husband and me on a daily basis. The songs I would play for him have meaning to us both, the playlists are personal. Who will turn the TV off or on? Make sure that channel 64 is on? Who will turn the volume down when it’s too loud?

I just can’t seem to make any sense of the why behind the decisions being made anymore. Why is it okay to make the sick and elderly die alone? Why is it okay that lack of leadership and lack of personal responsibility determine that my husband be dying from loneliness? I have tried for many months to figure out how human kind can care so little for their fellow human beings, and I am no closer to an answer today than I was when I was banned from seeing him back in March. Should I be grateful that I got to see him from August 30 thru yesterday? I am, but not in the way people seem to think I should be. I only got to see him because I pushed for him to be admitted to the hospital from the long term care home he was in. By the time I got to see him, he and the Grim Reaper were dance partners. Had I not insisted he be admitted to the hospital, I never would have known how sick he was. How much the forced isolation took from him. From all of us.

I am grateful that I am part of this group of people I call family. It breaks my heart to know that so many of us will soon lose the husband, father, Poppy, brother, father-in-love, uncle, friend and man that we all love. Some of us have had the chance to say goodbye to him, and some haven’t. I’ve said I love you to him so many times over throughout our lives together, I know he knows I love him. To know that our children have had to say goodbye to their beloved Daddy is beyond painful, but knowing that they have to explain to their children that Poppy is gone, is excruciating. Our three year old grandson is his Poppy’s heart, they all are, but the three year old? How do you tell him his hero is gone? No child should have to know that kind of pain…

I keep telling myself that I will be okay again, but I don’t really believe that anymore. I know we shouldn’t ask the age old question “What else can happen?,” but I do. I ask that because I truly believe there is no end to the suffering I am experiencing. At one point I thought I would be able to salvage some of myself and start over, now I’m so completely broken, there is nothing left to salvage. I am melancholy. I am bereft. I am floundering in a world that holds no joy for me right now. Joy. Something I have firmly believed in. Until yesterday. I believe in God, but do not consider myself a christian, just a believer. Christianity is not kind, I am. Or at least I try to be. Christianity is full of hateful people that think I am not child of the God because I don’t think like they do. I pray. Constantly. I believe that prayer is helpful, but prayer backed up with condemnation is not. I believe that Jesus loves me as I am, and if that’s not enough to make me worthy, it’s okay. My husband believes as well, and I will continue to pray for him. Always.

Again… and again… and again… I just keep thinking that what is happening to us is cruel and unnecessary. I know none of us get out of this life alive, but none of us should have die alone… People need their loved ones and I need to see my husband. Again… and again… and again…

Stay safe, be kind and have a Happy Thanksgiving… Until next time…

Photo by Barb Enos

Getting Lost is Too Easy…

Hi all. I hope this entry finds you all well and staying safe. With the holidays right around the corner and the virus raging out of control, I know times seem dark. They are dark. And it’s easy getting lost in the darkness. At least for me it is…

My husband is still hanging on to life, but declining steadily at the same time. It’s been almost two months since he went to hospice care and I feel like it’s been so much longer. So. Much. Longer. I am lost in the depths of a sinking sadness and it just doesn’t end. There is no way to say this. It just is. I pray constantly for his pain and suffering to end, knowing that mine will be made greater when he passes. It’s okay. I know I will heal as best I can and I hope to get lost in the healing process. I hope that makes sense… I am so lost in the grieving process already, and have been for over a year now, so the healing process will be a welcomed change.

Today my husband asked me not to cry, but I don’t know how to stop. It’s so easy to get lost in the sorrow of the journey we’re on. Finding reasons to be happy still come, just not as frequently as they are welcome. I did have a reason to be happy for a little while today when talking to the other Gma of our oldest grandson… He got a new puppy on Monday of this week and our boy named him Moe. I learned that our grandson has shown great responsibility in caring for Moe already, and that Moe brings healing to his heart. This is the same grandson we lost to the forced estrangement more than 2.5 years ago, so knowing that he is happy means everything to me. I am so grateful for the small things in my life that bring me moments of happiness.

Being lost in the love of my family is easy, and I appreciate them so much. I am so wounded and not fun to be around, and the people of my family are loving me through the pain and the loss to come. I won’t be the only one to lose my husband, and I know that all of us will be left a little emptier after he’s gone. I think sometimes I hurt so much that I close myself off, and they know this. So do my trusted friends. I’d like to believe that the people I love aren’t hurting, but they are and I can’t fix that. I wish I could…

Getting lost to the sadness is one thing, getting lost in the anger that rears its ugly head is another. I have been angry a lot over the past 13 months, but lately that anger seems to sink its teeth deeper and deeper into my soul. I don’t care if people agree me when it comes to the decisions I’ve been making. What other people think of me is none of my business. The climate in which we all live in the U.S. is toxic. It’s also emboldened people to give voice to their opinions about MY decisions. If I want to know what someone thinks about what I’m doing, I’ll ask. The saying about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes… Yeah. I get lost in that anger and I can’t shake it off as easily as I used to. I know I shouldn’t care, and most of the time I don’t, but when closer then most people to me say shit to me about what they “would do differently” I get pissed. When it’s your turn to do things differently, go ahead. I sincerely hope you never have to do things differently… I hope you never have to sit by a loved one’s bedside and watch as the Grim Reaper slowly takes his sweet time torturing them.

I wish I could be more positive and encourage you all like I used to. I hope to get back to that person again someday. I know I’ll never be the same again, but I also know that I will be okay and that my story will be an encouragement to someone else someday. When people tell me how strong I am, I tell them that I’m not strong, I’m broken. Being broken is okay, and so is being strong. I’m not strong enough to be anything but broken right now and it’s as it should be. I am not afraid to ask for help, I am not afraid to cry and I am not afraid of what is coming. There is a strange sense of strength in the brokenness I feel, and someday I will try my best to put the pieces back together again. Until then, I’ll try really hard to not get lost in the pain…

Stay safe, be kind and know that I appreciate you all making this journey with me. Until next time…

First snow of 2020. Photo by Barb Enos

It’s been a while…

It’s been a while since I’ve written, and that extends across all the ways I write. My journal, my blog, letters, my book. I have been so caught up in surviving the visits to hospice every day that I haven’t taken much time for myself lately. I did, however, take time today to walk the Cape Cod Canal this afternoon after visiting with my husband, and it was well worth the drive. I’d almost forgotten about the beauty my home state offers, even with the winter approaching…

It’s been a while since I’ve felt good, both mentally and physically. I’d gotten used to walking the campus of the VA Hospital where my husband is every day after our visit, and then that freak snow storm hit the area on October 30th. A dusting was predicted. We got 6 inches here in the greater Boston area! I drove in the snow for the first time in many years and did fine. Just kept it slow. I also drove to NH to spend the weekend with family and it was nice. Even nicer? I didn’t have to drive to and from hospice for two days as my brother-in-love did all the driving. Such a relief…

It’s been a while since I’ve felt whole. A long while. We passed the one year mark for my husband’s stroke on October 30th. He had his craniotomy on Nov. 2, 2019 and it’s been more than a year since he looked like someone beat the crap out of him the day after the surgery. In the long year since he had fought so hard to recover and he did so well. Until Covid came. The forced isolation took its toll on him physically, mentally and emotionally. Spiritually he has become stronger, and the closer he gets to death, the stronger his faith becomes. I wish I could say the same. I’m broken, not strong, and when I tell people that, they’re usually surprised.

Have you ever watched someone you love more than your own life die a long, slow, agonizing death? I hope not, but if you have, than you know what I feel like. I feel like this: When our daughter estranged herself from the family and forbid us to see our grandson, I was shattered, As time went on, I began to pick up the larger pieces of my life and tried to put them back together. Light would shine through the cracks and while the light refraction’s looked different, there was still beauty. Then came the stroke, 18 months later. I was shattered into smaller pieces, and again learned to put the small pieces back together. Light again shone through the smaller pieces and larger cracks. Then came selling our home. Moving. Being banned from visiting my husband. Discharging and moving. Again. Still no visitation. Almost seven months without being allowed to touch my husband, hug him or even hold his hand. In that 7 months, the pieces of glass kept breaking. They turned to dust. Dust that cannot be put back together again. My spirit became dust. Glass dust is beautiful in its own right, but it’s impossible to keep together. I also feel like a jigsaw puzzle. Every day that I get to see my husband, for two hours, I feel like I leave another piece of the puzzle behind me when I have to leave him. I don’t even bother to look for the missing pieces. I will. Later. I AM determined to be okay. I am determined to face the storms I’m in with every broken piece of me. And, when I get to the other side of the storm on the horizon, when I get my feet under me and my mind clears from the fog of grieving, I will begin to look for the lost pieces of myself. It’s the getting from here to there that is taking a while…

I do want you all to know that I’ll continue to try to do some self-care, hence the walking of the canal today. I dream of the day I can travel to SC to see my beloved daughter and her family. I miss my grands so very much. I dream of going to Northern California to visit family and heal. I long to walk the beaches of Northeastern Florida and spend time with family there. I know that these desires will have to wait until it’s safe to travel again, but these are some of the things I will do when I can. Until then I will see my husband every time I am able and try to remember to be grateful for the time we have. He is declining every day and I pray for him to find relief from the terrible pain he lives with 24/7/365 now. He is heavily medicated for pain and anxiety, but the pain always seems to find a way to break through the morphine and fentanyl.

In closing, please remember to be kind to one another and try not to take your life for granted. Hug someone you love, pay it forward and smile. The trials of this life may seem insurmountable, but with support and love, we can all find moments of joy. Until next time, I am always thankful for you…

Cape Cod Canal Photo by Barb Enos

Dancin’…

Good morning, all, I hope this entry finds you all well and staying as safe as possible. With Coronavirus surging again, the future looks more bleak every day. That’s what got me thinking about dancin’…

Dancin’ with the devil… Dancin’ on the ceiling… Dancin’ in the dark… Dancin’ in the Rain…

Take your pick, the field is wide open. Right now I am basically dancin’ with the devil. The devil of depression, the devil of despair, the devil of loneliness. Too many devils to name them all. What keeps me going is knowing that I can and do dance with my friends, my family and with my faith. I don’t write much about how I believe, but I do. And that belief helps me beat back the devils I dance with on a daily basis. I’m a believer that doesn’t identify with mainstream Christianity. I know that’s not a popular thing to say, but it’s the truth. I see things from a more open-minded view point, and how I pray, practice my faith and worship, are very personal to me. I don’t share much more than that.

Dancin’ is something that should make us feel good, the more movement we get in in a day helps keep our spirits up. I love all different kinds of music and sometimes I just want to find that rhythm that makes me move without even thinking about it. I know that when people drive by me and I’m dancin’ in the car, it always makes them smile, and sometimes laugh at me when they pass by. It’s okay, I laugh at myself, too. I believe in simple joy, and knowing that even for a few seconds that someone finds something to smile about in this dark and somewhat oppressive world because some fool woman is dancin’ in her car brings me joy. Simple.

Do you ever think about how crappy this world would be without music? Without dancin’? It would be a place that I would not want to be, music sustains me. Especially in this dark, dreary and uncaring world. I would rather listen to music than watch TV, and dancin’ is just a way to bring music to life. My husband and I would dance in the kitchen when he was able to. I would dance in the kitchen with my children held in my arms when they were young. I love to hold my grand-babies and dance with them when I am able. Being silly and dancin’ with my beloved Boston Terrier, Morgan was something I would do often. I miss dancin’ with my dog, he crossed the Rainbow Bridge in July of this year.

Dancin’ is a simple way of relieving stress and who cares if you look foolish or not? I don’t worry anymore that people will think I’m a freak for expressing myself. I don’t care anymore what other people, especially those I don’t know, think of me. I am broken and hurting and trying to keep my head above water these days, so what someone else thinks doesn’t matter. Stress will eat us all alive if we let it and adding to that because of someone else’s opinion? I don’t think so…

I just wanted to say a quick hello and am getting ready to head to hospice to visit my husband. Please know that I appreciate all of you and the time you take out of your busy life to read my blog. Have a joy filled day and remember to dance whenever you want! Life is too short not to!

Photo by Barb Enos

When I…

Hello all, I hope that this post finds you all well and staying safe. Thanks for checking out today’s post!

When I think about what is happening in my life and the lives of those I love, I frequently become overwhelmed. Writing helps me make sense out of things that seem nonsensical. Most days during this particular time frame are pretty much nonsensical to me, and I literally end up overthinking every thing. It’s been a tough weekend for me, as are most weekends right now, and I would give almost anything to be able to change things. I’d change things not only for myself, but for the people I love that are dealing with losses and trials of their own. While driving home from visiting my husband in hospice today I realized, for the umpteenth time, just how much being an empathetic person takes out of me. Today, for an hour or two, I would’ve traded myself in for a model that couldn’t feel as much. I’m over that now, but those feelings gave way to so much more than myself. It gets exhausting carrying the weight of so much emotion, and if people like me aren’t careful, we lose ourselves to everyone and everything around us.

When I think about this last week I have to say that it was by far one of the hardest of my life. I never thought that saying goodbye to my son-in-love at the airport would open up the flood gates to so much emotion. I spent the week barely existing, barely functioning. I feel a little better today, but the bruises on my heart will take some time to heal. My heart remains broken, but my mind is a little less chaotic than it was 7 days ago. My youngest daughter and her extended family received some devastating news that set all of us reeling in disbelief and grief. I have spent the last few days praying for peace and healing, for comfort. Healing in this situation will be a very long time in coming, and the acceptance of such news as was received will not happen overnight. So much pain…

When I think about the loss I am facing with my husband, I am so conflicted. So very conflicted. I love the man I have been married to for the past 38+ years with my whole being, yet I am agonized by watching him suffer so. The transition to death is not anything like I think it should be, it’s a very personal and trying journey. The ups and downs of the hospice journey have been confusing, I get angry, I hurt beyond belief, and yet when I don’t receive that dreaded phone call, I am grateful. And I am sad for my husband. My suffering pales in comparison to his, there is no way I can put into words how much watching him writhe in pain hurts me. For him. If I could take it all onto myself, I would. Every damn day. The miracle in all of this will be his freedom from pain, no matter what that freedom looks like.

When I think about the future and what it looks like, I would rather run backwards than look forward. I know I have no choice but to look ahead, as we all know we can’t change the past. Looking forward right now is scary, I know the future holds days of unimaginable grief, struggle and pain. Beyond those things is where I need to focus. Beyond the grief will be healing. Beyond the struggle will be an easing. And beyond the pain will be a new journey that I pray will be honoring to my husband, challenging enough to keep me learning and a new found strength. I already know that I will not be traveling alone, I am surrounded by love.

As always, I appreciate any and all who read this and hope that you find something worth holding on to in my words. You are not alone in your struggles, you matter, and you are loved. Stay safe, be kind and remember to turn your face toward the sun and appreciate its light. And warmth…

Photo by Barb Enos

And so…

Hi again,

And so… I’ve been stuck in a never ending cycle of grief and angst on so many levels that I don’t know how to breathe anymore without struggle. Every day is a new challenge in living, and though I rise to the challenge, I’ll be honest and tell you that I would rather not keep on rising. I am broken. I told my therapist today that I’ve been shattered so many times there are no pieces left. All that’s left of me is dust, and dust doesn’t shine. Dust is easy to overlook. Dust is easily scattered. I want to shine again. I want to feel pieced back together. All I feel is shattered.

And so… I try every day to be realistic, and all I find is that the reality is too painful. I manage, and I think that old say “fake it til you make it” is the way I’m making it through each day. My husband is in hospice and he seems to be rallying at this time. He has spent the last two weeks without eating and barely drank water. The end was on his doorstep. I’ve made peace with his impending death (more than once,) knowing that I would again be crushed, but believed at some point I would be able to heal. Now he’s beginning to eat again, and he’s still dying. The ups and downs of this ride called hospice are so much more intense than I thought they would be. It’s like the Grim Reaper is stalking him… and then backs off. Over and over and over again. How many times can my heart be told he’s on the edge? No matter how “prepared” I am, or even think I am, it’s never enough… I have nothing left inside me but hurt, despair and confusion.

And so… I spend a lot of time up in my own head and need an escape. But, no matter where I go, there I am. I am teetering on the edge of depression and I’m stuck. If I jump in, I know I will have to dig a long time to get out. I’ve been there. I don’t want to go back. I fight like hell, but fighting an invisible force, without strength, doesn’t go well. I can’t let myself go, I have to stay strong for my husband. For myself. I have to fight…

And so… I know that the sun will come up again, it always does. I know that no matter what happens, or when, I am loved. I am supported. I am not alone. I need to stop “shoulding” myself. I “should” be happy he’s rallying. I “should” be grateful for more time. I “should” not beat myself up for being so confused. Or angry. Or sad… What I “should” do and what I actually do are not companions. Not even close.

And so… I realize this post probably makes little sense, but it’s gotta be okay. Making no sense right now is how I roll and it’s how life comes at me. Suffering the stages of grief “should” be easier right now. I’ve been grieving the loss of my husband for almost a year now, but the loss to come is at once unfathomable and impossible to imagine. WTF? Walking out this chapter in my life is more of a crawl. Moving forward has lost its momentum. I’m out of steam…

And so… I am going to bed. I’m gonna put my pajamas on, brush my teeth and pray that sleep comes peacefully upon me. Thank you for sticking with me, I appreciate it so much.

Stay safe, be kind and remember to smile when you can…

Photo by Barb Enos

What if…?

Hi all. I find myself thinking “what if” a lot right now… Let me fill you in.

What if you knew the last time you hugged your spouse was just that, the last time? I’m talking full on front to front hugging, feeling the warmth of your loved one encompassing you and feeling their breath on your neck. Would you hug tighter? Longer? Would you try and commit to memory just how they smelled, like soap and water, or fresh cut grass? I had my last full on hug with my husband on October 3rd of 2019 and I can remember almost everything about that hug. I didn’t know then that it would be the last time those strong arms would wrap fully around me, or that the timbre of his voice was going to be forever altered just 27 days later… We were on our front porch in the early part of dusk and he was getting ready to drive from our home in South Carolina to see his family in New England. I stayed behind because of my job, not knowing that we would never be the same couple that hugged and kissed goodbye that evening. With almost a year between then and now, I wish I had gone with him, but I had only been working at UPS for 4 months, so taking almost a month off wouldn’t have been possible. Hindsight…

What if my husband had gone to the doctor when he called me that day complaining of a headache? Would he have had the same type of catastrophic stroke? Would he have been able to have medications administered that may have broken down the massive clot that formed in his neck and caused so much damage? What if seems like an innocent enough question, but in my reality it’s a fully loaded, assault style weapon. What if I had flown up to New England and dragged him, kicking and screaming, to an emergency room? Or a doctor? What if? What if? What if? I don’t blame myself, nor do I blame him, I just wish I had been able to see the future. I know there’s a reason why we can’t see into our futures, and looking back on the past 11 months has shown me exactly why we don’t get to see ahead.

What if I hadn’t agreed to move back to New England and had stayed in Richmond? What if we went back to South Carolina? Because of Coronavirus and it’s vast reaching destruction, I have no idea what our lives would look like right now. I know that being home in New England, and back in the city of Boston, has been exactly what we’ve needed it to be. I hate that my beloved is dying, I fucking hate it, but I am so glad to not be alone. I have been able to spend time with him this past month and am ever grateful for that. I’m with him every day and will be with him when the end comes. I am not sure when that will be, but it can’t be too much longer for him. He doesn’t eat, he barely drinks anything and is being kept comfortable. He deserves peace. And rest.

What if I knew that I would become a widow before I turned 60? Would I marry him again? I would. I wouldn’t trade my life with him except for the past year. All the turmoil and chaos, all the strife, all the loneliness? I’d do it all again to have my husband in my life. Love is a great feeling, but it’s a decision. A hard one at that. I have messed things up, I’ve been mean and hurtful and cruel to him over the years, as he has to me. But… We have stuck together and decided time after time after time to love one another and I am so glad we have. We don’t have, nor have we had, a storybook romance. Our romance is more like a suspense novel, with some shade thrown in, and the two of us are both aggressively trying to figure things out. We have always said that our relationship is aggresive/aggresive, not give and take. We have always been this. I will miss him so…

What if? A question that begs to be answered by all of us, but very rarely do the answers make any sense…

Photo by Jack Gittoes on Pexels.com