Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Day of Tears

Grief is what we think and feel on the inside when someone we love dies.  Mourning is the outward expression of our grief.  Everyone grieves when someone loved dies, but if we are to heal, we must also mourn.  "Healing a Spouse's Grieving Heart: 100 Practical Ideas After Your Husband or Wife Dies" (Alan D. Wolfelt PhD)

I attended a "Getting Through the Holidays" class at Nathan Adelson Hospice yesterday morning. I felt good leaving the house, but memories and tears started up on my drive over since it was the first time going there since Vern passed.  As I drove past UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center that brought more tears and memories of the 20 years Vern spent there supervising the ushers. And then as I drove into NAH, wouldn't you just know the only parking space available was the exact one I had pulled into when Vern was brought there on Sept. 17 and my car stayed there until he passed? I nearly backed out and headed home, but then thought perhaps this was supposed to be a good sign for me - a kind of welcome back - so I took a deep breath and headed inside.  Whoa ... more tears as soon as I stepped through the door. I must admit I thought of that poor woman at the first support group I attended and whispered a little apology to her for not fully understanding how she felt until then.  There were only 4 of us there, along with a really wonderful facilitator.  One lost her husband a year+ ago, another lost her husband in April, and another lost his wife on the same day Vern passed.  There was great information for dealing with the holidays distributed, along with time to share our personal stories and issues. It was good that I attended this session as it confirmed some of my decisions and helped me to be very grateful for some things:  I had Vern with me for 41 years, we had those days at hospice to say our good-byes, I don't need to worry about losing my home; I don't have a young child at home; I have a job and didn't rely on Vern to do everything for me. That said, however, doesn't mean this is easy in any way. It was pointed out that my 4+ years of caregiving adds an extra layer to my mourning, and I agree with that.

I had planned to attend the 'Day of the Dead' event at the Springs Preserve later that day, but I was just feeling too wounded to even try that. I headed home, curled up in Vern's recliner and started reading a book called "Heaven" on my Kindle. I had the tv on and an old movie came on I had never seen:  "Sweet November".  Well ... if you've seen it, you know that wasn't a good choice for me.  I think every last tear left in my body was expended yesterday, so perhaps that was what I needed.

The work week was good and this was the first Friday since Vern's service that I ventured out. I needed to get the wheelchair van smogged and the new tag, so I headed out in the morning to take care of that. (For those who don't know what this is ... Nevada requires all vehicles have a smog check before you can renew your vehicle registration and get the license plate tag for the next year. If your vehicle doesn't pass, you need to have some work done first to cut down on the emissions before you can get the tag.)  I haven't yet decided what to do with the 3 vehicles I now have, so I had to pay the $342 fee to renew it.  And then I had an appointment in the afternoon to get my hair cut and colored.  I've been doing this myself while Vern was ill; just didn't feel I wanted to spend the time away from him to go somewhere to have it done. But when he was in the hospital the last time, he asked me to go get my hair done at a salon - so this was for him.  It's short and very red - more the color of when I was younger - but I think I'll get used to it. I had let it go so there's a pretty dramatic color change.  It did feel good to do something 'normal' and to hear all of the conversations going on at the salon.

I didn't sleep well last night - kept waking up every couple of hours since Jeremy wasn't feeling well. I gave him some medicine and he's skipping golf today.  Need to get him feeling good so he can help me get some projects done. Thursday is Veterans Day, so I'm taking Monday-Wednesday off so I have 10 full days to get things done.  Walked out back this morning and found the DirecTV wires hanging down on the ground.  Guess yesterday's wind must have caught them. So a trip to Home Depot is on tap for today to get a ladder and some of those clippy things to put the wires back up on the eaves. Hope they'll know what I mean when I use the term 'clippy things'.  Then I must attack the remaining piles of paperwork since I received a notice yesterday that I had failed to pay our property tax installments in August and October. Oh boy. It's nice that we've lived in this house for 27 years and it's paid off, but if I ignore the tax bills I could still lose it. Then it's on to the garage .... if you don't hear from me next week, send a rescue crew.


Anonymous said...

the red will fade...quickly! unfortunately! lol

Wounded is a good word for how I feel too!

Christmas? Not sure here either, although we have the other g/kids who are expecting a normal christmas...nothing normal anymore!

Lori Puente said...

Hang in Dianne. You are doing good. I know it doesn't seem like it, but mourning your profound loss and healing your wounded soul is needed. I think about you often friend!


Ginny said...

That is an excellent quote at the beginning of your post. When Phil was on hemodialysis, our social worker told me (privately) that it was important to let my tears flow, even if I did so in the shower where no one could see or hear me. That was good advice, and I continue to heed it. It is interesting, too, the comment that being a caregiver adds another layer to your mourning. I think about that, too, all the years we put into caring for our spouses, then when they are gone, we lose that. I think being a caregiver becomes part of who we are, making its end even more difficult.

Good for you, getting your hair done! There's nothing like a bit of pampering to make us women feel better.

I finished reading Vern's Caring Bridge journal (hope I didn't say that in another comment). So many times I teared up . . . and I found myself thinking how much more difficult your caregiving was compared to how mine is. Then I remember that I am also chronically ill as well as living with pain from a joint that needs to be replaced. In the end, what is important is the quality of our service, and you did remarkably well.

Keep plugging along, Dianne. You are doing well.

P.S. Are you still willing for me to use you as a sounding board now and then, as you mentioned in your email following the post you made to the Myeloma board?