I'm still having difficulty sleeping. I woke around 3am again today. Perhaps it's still part of my old life. I used to have to wake at that time on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in order to get Vern ready to head off to dialysis. It made for very long days, although since I had Fridays off we'd try to take a little nap after we got back home and before we had to head over to his oncologist for his chemo treatment. There's a hole in my life now where all of the caregiving duties once were. There's a hole in my heart, too.
Dialysis ... just thinking about that word brings me pain. I realize now that I pushed Vern to keep going longer than he really wanted. He was such a sweetheart (oh my, there's that word that brings tears as I recall him saying it over and over to me while in his hospice bed) ... He knew I needed time to come to terms with this and I'm quite sure that's why he didn't discuss it. But during the past few months he kept saying how very tired he was ... and he stopped eating. Why didn't I see what he was trying to tell me? It took the issue with him not being able to get out of his recliner to start us down that path. And yet on 'that morning' that was the beginning of the end I still didn't get it. I was angry with him because he didn't appear to even want to try to get out of the chair to go to dialysis. I demonstrated how he didn't need to use his arms to push himself up. "Just use your legs and I'll grab under your arm", I said. He couldn't. When I learned that the Multiple Myeloma had completely eaten away his clavicle I felt horrific guilt. My God, of course he couldn't get up. I apologized - over and over again - and know he understood. But even then, I didn't 'get' where we were headed. Denial. It took two doctors using the same words to finally register. I posted about this on CaringBridge (www.caringbridge.org/visit/vernwest) so I won't repeat it here.
I spend a lot of time reading about grief and reading widow's blogs. There are many. Do I find comfort knowing I'm not the only one feeling this way? No. Grief can be very selfish. No one else knows what it was like to be Vern's wife, to have found each other so unexpectedly 41 years ago, to share our memories, how very special he was, my soul mate, my best friend. So their experience can't possibly be the same as mine. Their pain can't possible be as big as mine. But, of course, I know that's not true. So every now and then a post will connect with me, letting me know that what I'm feeling isn't unusual. I guess that's a good thing, so I'll keep reading.
And I think I'm finding all of this tougher right now because some of my closest MM warriors and caregivers are dealing with hospice or facing that decision at this point. My heart hurts for them as they work through these decisions. And it brings everything that occurred from Sept. 14-22 right back to me. It happened so very fast. Not enough time ... never enough time.
The mortuary gave me this big file box and said it had everything in there to help me deal with the necessary paperwork. I've not opened it. I think he said I could ignore it for 30 days, so that sounds about right. I haven't yet written thank-yous. I haven't even read all of the cards and messages I've received. I'll look to see who they are from, but haven't even opened them up. Not sure why I'm feeling that way. Guess I'll deal with it when I need to have a good cry. Although I don't really need to push that issue ... the tears pop up quite easily on their own.
So my message, once again, is to cherish the time you have with those you love. Don't take it for granted, as it can be snatched away so very quickly. And when there is no more time ... it hurts ... a lot.