Wednesday, February 26, 2014


My husband had lain in a deep coma for days, and even now many years later, that night is still so vivid. (I had written this around that time but it was too hard to do anything with it. So now years later I'm bravely bringing it out again this time to share. But it still brings tears but I feel this is something we all will have to go through, sooner or later with someone dear to us.) Over the years things had been so great for us as I shopped, cooked and enjoyed the grandchildren. A sight bulge had begun to accumulate around my middle, but that could be expected at this time in life, so it was okay. Painting the house, mowing and trimming in the yard, shoveling snow, changing the oil and filling gas on the cars was done without much notice. We had settled comfortable into middle age, secure in the knowledge that we could look forwrd to retirement in a few years, to relax and travel. But abruptly things changed when my husband got sick. Eight months later, in a hospice, after days of pain and suffering for him, anguished, I'd asked how this illness could go on for so long? I remember the nurse exclaiming, '"they worry about having to leave their loved ones behind, so they hang on! One evening as all the kids were still vigilant in the family room and I sat as his side, I just couldn't bear to see him suffering any more and I made a decision. Bravely, I slipped off my shoes and crawled up on his bed. "Sweetheart, I said gathering him to me, "'It's okay, you just rest now and go to God, the kids and I will be fine." Then within minutes, as I held him close in my arms, he drew his last breath. Over the years, then I thought I had learned to cope gracefully with the twists of fate, In fact, I became quite proud of myself for the independence I had perfected and honed; I had learned to live alone and had survived the sadness, the lonliness,and the demons of the night. I had faced the inevietable quiet day and night without end. I had prowled the house, lost sleep, drove miles aimlessly trying to find a niche to fit into. It was hard work, both emotionally and physicaly, but the solitude forced me to discover who I was, and after strugglling with the issues of self-worth, guilt, selfpreservation and acceptance. I thought I had found I could stand alone, make my own mistakes and forgive myself. Then I made another earth shattering decision, and that was to sell my home. And thinking I'd have months to ease into the transition, I was flabbergasted when it sold the second day it was on the market. Well, suddenly heartsick at what I'd done, a week went by and I'd lain on my couch with a pillow and blanket watching soaps. I said to my friends, "I'm sick with some kind of a bug." My eyes grew swollen, my throat sore and my voice grew hoarse as I cried. I yearned for someone to help me, to say, "yes, this is okay, you made the right decision!" I remembered as a couple how good it was as we faced decisions together, bounced ideas back and forth and the doubts were lessoned with each other's assurances. But now, I was truly on my own. I shed tears again in my lonliness. And each morning waking from a troubled sleep, my decision would hit me again like a fist in my stomach. I'd weathered storms in my home as well, learnign how to be this new person. And it had protected me from the outside elements as well as providing a refuge as I learned how to be comfortable with my oneness. I had decorated my bedroom in lace and frills and learned to sleep in the middle of the bed. But now a stranger would slumber in my room and hang their clothes in my closets, walk on my grass and pick my weeds out of my flower beds. In desperation, I called my attorney and asked him to please get me out of the mess I'd gotten myself into. "My dear," he said, "I'm afraid its too late!" Another sob tore at my throat. I couldn't do this, surely my heart would stop from the pain I had inflicted upon myself. But being single, I'd had some adventures and taken some risks. I'd lived alone up north in the woods by a lake, where I bought and sold antiques and junk. I'd traveled to an island each year and spent weeks by myself by the ocean, and here I was, still living and breathing! But surely, this time I had made a terribly rash decision. A horrible mistake! Well, I guess my loving God figured I needed the time to heal. Then figuring he'd been patient and listened long enough to my whining, he gave me a sudden boost of energy. I got up off the couch and put my pillow and blanket away, and put a smile on my face. At first it felt false, but slowly I began to feel my spirit mend. I remembered the lifestyle I had dreamed of! Well, I got rid of the snow shovel, the rakes and the lawnmower, and I waved goodbye to crab-grass and began to feel a tricke of excitement again. The gradually I began to feel proud of myself that I'd had the courage, and then the strength to weather through another angished decision and to welcome another change in my life. At times it still hurts to not have that built-in support system anymore, but sometimes the choice is not ours to make. I expect there will be many more decisions to make in my life, and I can only hope I will have the courage and the strength again to make a wise one. circa 1995

No comments:

Post a Comment