Friday, September 27, 2013


I've passed the 3 year mark ... sounds like a long time. But it doesn't always feel like a long time. And yet, some days it feels like forever .... I miss him.

When someone asks how long it's been and they hear '3 years' I usually see the look. It's been that long? You should be "over it" by now.  And I resent that - but I don't show it. I've become really, really good at hiding my true feelings. It's just easier that way. For me. I don't necessarily recommend it for others.

The days leading up to September 22 were once again harder than the actual day. I took a couple of days off work so I could have the time to reflect, to feel what I needed to feel. And I wallowed in it. Felt it. Grieved it. All of it.  And then I decided I needed to finally do something I'd been putting off ... get his Mustang running again. So on Saturday, Sept. 21st, I spent several hours doing just that. AAA got it running again with a new battery; I took it down for an oil change and a car wash. Because the battery had died, it didn't pass the smog test so that meant I had to go to DMV to get a 10-day extension (since the license tags expired at the end of July while it sat in the driveway). And the A/C compressor died, too. Just couldn't be easy, could it?  But I did it all and it felt good.

September 22 was a lovely Sunday. Cooler temps, a light breeze, a perfect day for a drive with the top down. I headed out to Red Rock Canyon, a favorite spot for Vern & I over the years. Learned that I qualified for a $10 Lifetime Pass to the National Parks - a perk for hitting 62 this year. I drove along the 13 mile loop, stopping now and then to take photos. Had to pull off when the Diamond Rio song "One More Day" came on; it always makes me cry. And then The Calling's "I'll Go Wherever You Will Go" played. OK - thank you Mr. Radio DJ Guy. That's quite enough.  Decided to head down the road to Spring Mountain Ranch while I was in the area and it was beautiful. Found a little bench in the shade by the ranch house and just enjoyed the view and let my thoughts flow.

I've chosen to spend this special day alone the first two years. That felt like the right thing to do then. But this was the right thing for me to do this year. Nature and all its beauty can have quite a healing power. Am I "over it"?  Oh no ... don't expect that to ever happen. But time has allowed me to learn how to recognize and listen to that inner voice that knows exactly what I need to do to get through the tough days - and time has given me the strength to be selfish when I must ... to do what I must to live this life without my Vern. 
"But for those who love, time is eternity."

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The wound remains

I really expected this year wouldn't be quite so hard ... that my thoughts wouldn't take me back to this day 3 years ago ... the last day he was here in this house. The day I had to call 911 for the final time. But it has. The sadness. The heaviness. It seems to reside in my heart and burst forth even before I realize what the date is. Perhaps it will always be like this. An annual rewind of  one of the most important weeks of my life.

I find myself needing to go back to my CaringBridge journal to read again of those days. To try to understand how I could not have known that it was the beginning of the end. The signs are there ... in hindsight. And I beat myself up for not seeing them then. For not talking to Vern about it when he was still able to talk about it.  But I didn't and I can't change that now.  I did not expect that he would not come home. I did not expect that call would lead us to hospice. I had no idea when those 6 EMTs gently lifted my love onto a gurney on the 14th day of September in 2010 that he would be gone just 8 days later.

During those hard cancer years I didn't realize I had a wound, too -  there was no time, no energy, no desire to worry about me. My entire life was devoted to caring for him, to ease his pain, to research the questions, to be his advocate in the difficult medical community, to watch for signs, to give shots, to administer IVs and pills, to take blood pressure, to measure oxygen levels, to clean and rebandage that stinkin' wound that wouldn't heal, to spend countless nights curled up in a chair next to him as we waited in the hospital for the latest crisis to be handled, to flush his PICC line, to get him to his dialysis and chemo and doctor and blood transfusion appointments, to deal with that colostomy bag, to keep his spirits positive, to love him.  But my wound was there, festering just below the surface, waiting ... waiting ... waiting to break through and rip me open when he was gone.

Three years ... that wound is still there. It has healed at times - on the surface, just like Vern's. But it remains. Always and forever. A reminder of both the hard times and the blessings that were ours. Yes, blessings. There were many, even in the midst of the heartaches. Some days I can focus on the light ... some days are wrapped in the darkness. But the one constant is love. It was there ... it IS there ... always.