Fear

fear

In a few days I will be entering the hospital to have surgery. I have finally decided to have knee replacement surgery after suffering with pain and physical limitations for years. I don’t think I’m afraid so much about the pain from the surgery as I am about the details after. I tend to be the type of person that worries about the details. Like how will I respond to the strong pain medications? I’ve had problems with nausea before when I was given them. I hate being nauseated. I would rather be in pain. Crazy huh? I know that once I have the surgery over with my fears will start to subside as they always do. The lead up to the event is often much more stressful than the actual event. I know I will be fine but this is the first time I’ve had to go through such a big event without Daryl by my side. I miss him. I never thought I would be doing these things alone.

If all goes well I should be home after 5 days but from what I understand, the rehabilitation will be slow. I will need to rely on people to do some things for me. I think for the first time I’m finally starting to understand how Daryl felt during his illness. To be helpless and not be able to do certain day to day tasks that you have done your whole life is horrible.

Yet I know many others have walked this path before me and managed just fine. So why does my head still want to fret and worry? I think because of the unknown. If I had a crystal ball that would let me see into the future and see the hurdles I would need to overcome I could prepare for them. Maybe it comes down to losing control. I do not like losing control. Those are the times when I get the most freaked out.

The good thing is I have at least a hundred things to do before I go for surgery. With any luck my mind won’t have time to dwell on the surgery too much.

Pray for me. Please! 🙂

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Time To Vent

blowing-off-steam

I consider myself a pretty even tempered individual, not prone to angry outbursts. But tonight I think I reached my limit. I posted a status update on Facebook that I borrowed from one of my widowed friends. This is what it said:

“I feel very sad tonight … Sometimes I don’t know who I’m most in mourning for, Matthew or the person I used to be when I was with him.”  Lady Mary on Downton Abbey

I posted it because it really described how I feel right now. I don’t even watch Downton Abbey although I am contemplating watching it on Netflix. *g*

One of my friends posted this in response to my status: Hugs:) and maybe quit watching shows that make you sad for now, this comes out of love for you.

My reply to her:  I don’t actually watch Downton Abbey. A friend posted this on their status and I just borrowed it. And not watching shows that make me sad would require me to not watch anything on tv. Some day you might understand but I hope you never have to.

I’m sure that every widow could write a book about insensitive things that people have said to them. I know I could. And most of the time I let those comments just roll off like water on a duck’s back. I’m not sure why this one bothered me so much except for the fact that many things make me sad right now. Even things that would make most people happy like watching a couple walk hand in hand, make my eyes well up with tears. I am sad 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The sadness never leaves me. And most times I can control that sadness so that I’m not crying in public. I save my tears for when I’m alone and won’t be judged by anyone. Soon it will be ten months since Daryl passed away and I find myself becoming much more guarded about who I share my true feelings with. The reason being because many people feel I should be moving on….accepting that I’m alone…looking forward to a new life. You are kidding me, right???

And so I come back to her comment that I should stop watching shows that make me sad. Maybe I should just cover myself in bubble wrap and hide in a closet until I’m not sad anymore! That should solve the problem!

Surviving The Holidays

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I thought I was being proactive. I was pretty sure that I would find it hard to be alone for Christmas Day. Even if I did invite my daughter and her husband over for supper, I knew that they would only be there for a few hours and the rest of the day would be spent alone. So I took some advice from another widow and asked my daughter if I could have a “sleepover” at her house. We had a wonderful time. Very low key but it was nice to have someone else to talk to. For me, it didn’t matter if I was cooking Christmas dinner at my condo or at their home. My daughter came down with a cold on Christmas Eve so I’m really happy that I was able to look after the supper so that she could rest. Plus I had the benefit of enjoying their dog, Baylie, who I love dearly.

What I wasn’t expecting was the crash that came on New Year’s Eve. Daryl and I had never really done much on New Year’s Eve. In our early married life we would often attend a New Year’s Eve social at a local community center. But as we grew older, we would just spend the evening with a few friends or family members and order in some Chinese food. The social committee in my condo building decided to have a pizza night and since I knew the group would be small, I decided to attend. I left at 11 pm though because I wasn’t sure I wanted to ring in the New Year with so many people. I’m glad I made that decision because soon after midnight I was sobbing. Thinking about starting a new year without my husband was totally overwhelming me. I’ve been finding it hard to pull myself out of this grief bomb this time. Some people call them waves of grief. I’ve decided to call them bombs because they leave a lot of flack behind and they hit me so suddenly and unexpectedly. Since New Year’s Eve I’ve often been breaking down in tears. I want to stay in my condo and not talk to anyone. I know I will pull myself out of the hole left by the bomb as I have done each time in the past. It’s just taking me a little longer this time. Of course, the fact that it is freezing cold outside and has been for over a month has nothing to do with it! Maybe I’m also fighting some cabin fever.

Sunday will mark the 9th month anniversary of Daryl’s death. I’m still dealing with lots of flashbacks of his last day. I try to get them out of my head but they swirl around like an angry snowstorm. Often they are the worst when I’m trying to fall asleep at night. They invade every corner of my mind until I’m in tears, admit defeat and climb back out of bed. The other night this happened at 3:30 am so I got up and spent some time on the computer. YouTube is my friend when I feel like this. I search for songs that will minister to my soul and give my mind peace and rest.

Some days I wonder if what I’m feeling is grief or is it depression? This is a question that I will need to ask my grief counsellor the next time I see him. The hole in my heart is not healing quickly. Just when I think I’m rounding the corner and making progress, the grief bomb will explode. I’m learning that I have very little control over this grieving process.

In February I have some surgery booked to replace my knee. A few nights ago I found out that all of the people that I rely on will be away on winter vacations during this time. I don’t have a car so when I need to go to an appointment or for groceries I have to ask someone to take me. I’m expecting that I will have appointments after the surgery for physiotherapy as well as an appointment to have my staples removed. Thinking about facing this alone has been very difficult for me. I’ve always had Daryl to do those things for me. So now that he is gone, I feel very alone and not sure how I will manage. I’m sure that this is adding to my depression right now.

And so, what does one do to navigate through this maze of grief? Literally one minute at a time. Try not to think about what tomorrow will bring. Keep your focus on the small tasks that are in front of you. Read a book. Take a walk. Reach out to others. For in doing that, you will heal yourself. And most of all, allow yourself to have bad days. And don’t apologize to anyone for having them. It is all part of the journey we are on right now.

Joy To The World?

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The holiday season is quickly approaching and I find myself feeling very panicky. I know it will be very difficult not having Daryl with us. I’m sure that our daughter and son-in-law feel the same way. The usual things about Christmas are not bringing me any joy at all. I did manage to string the lights on the balcony and hung my snowman wreath on the condo door but so far that is it. The small tree is still in the box sitting in my living room. I wonder if I could just slap some bows on the outside of the box and call it decorated? I guess not. This will be the second year that I have not felt like decorating. Last year I was so overwhelmed by caring for Daryl and he was so sick that I just couldn’t get excited about it. This makes me very sad because I have always loved this time of year. I love driving around the city and seeing all of the decorated houses. And even though I really hate winter, there is nothing prettier than a house all lit up with Christmas lights in the snow.

I recently read an article on the internet called: “Why Holiday Music Can Hurt”. It says that Christmas music doesn’t bring everyone cheer. It also goes on to say that music is a very powerful link to our memories and emotions. For those that have lost a loved one, hearing the holiday music can bring a flood of emotions that are very painful. The end of the article basically encourages us to turn the music off for now and not feel that we have to push ourselves to listen to it. For me, it was a relief to know that I’m not crazy because I don’t want to listen to Christmas music right now. You can read the full article here:  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-musical-self/201312/why-holiday-music-can-hurt

Today is exactly eight months since Daryl passed away. For some reason I find myself missing him even more than the first few months. Each day that goes by makes me more aware of being alone. And during the holiday season that feeling is extremely intensified. What I wouldn’t give to be able to hug him. Just. One. More. Time.

A Flatlander Widow

On April 5, 2013 I lost my husband to cancer. I thought I was prepared for his death but I realized as soon as he was gone that I had never really prepared myself. Every time the thought of his death would crowd my mind, I would immediately push them away. It was just far too painful to imagine my life without Daryl in it.

On October 10, 1975 Daryl and I were married on a cold, rainy evening. Little did I know when I spoke my vows, “in sickness and in health”, I would become a caregiver for my husband. In January, 2012 Daryl was diagnosed with a cancer called Multiple Myeloma. I started a blog to help me cope with the frustrations and fears of being a caregiver. It helped me so much to write my thoughts down plus I was hopeful that I was also helping others in the same situation. I had searched for more blogs written by caregivers but found that most of the blogs were written by the patient. You can find that blog here: www.apebbleonthebeach.com

Writing for my caregiver blog was a freeing experience. I never seemed to be at a loss for words. I really even surprised myself since I’ve always found it very difficult to write anything, even emails. I was expecting Daryl’s journey with this cancer to be for many years as was indicated by his first cancer doctor. She said that many patients live for 10 or even 20 years with treatment. The bad news was that Daryl did not respond well to treatment and continued to get sicker and sicker as each day passed by. After only 14 months, his journey was over. I was now left in a completely different place that I had thought I would be. I wasn’t sure what to do with my current blog. Should I close it down? Should I change it to a widow’s blog? I found it hard to make a decision so I thought the best thing to do was leave it alone for now and start a new blog about my journey as a widow. And so Flatlander Widow was born. In case you wondered about the name, I live in the middle of the prairies which is fondly called the flatlands. *g*

It has been almost 8 months since Daryl passed away. I’ve been trying to write my first widow blog entry for many months and I just couldn’t do it. I was not sure that I even understood why except that now all my thoughts are consumed with Daryl. I think about him 24/7 and most of the thoughts are so painful that it is hard to write about it. I find it hard to remember how he was before he got sick. Even all my dreams about him are like nightmares where he is even sicker now than before he died (if that is even possible). I’ve been told that losing a loved one to cancer causes a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It was an extremely stressful time in our lives and so far my mind has not been able to turn off the images that are embedded in it. I hope some day that I will find a way to remove those images.

And so I would like to welcome you to my widow’s blog. I will try to share my journey in this new land. I’m sure we are in for a roller coaster of a ride.

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