One month after he was gone

Our Wedding

Today marks, by the calendar numbers, one month since he died, June 8, 2013.

Last week I didn’t cry. Instead of finding solace in not crying I worried my lack of tears meant I wasn’t a good wife/partner. I worried I had cried all the tears I could. What is that saying about Crocodile Tears? According to Wikipedia they are “superficial sympathy…a false, insincere display of emotion.” I am trying to make them come but they don’t.

This week they are back. I am in denial again. But now the denial isn’t as shocking. I just look at his side of the bed and think “He’s not there.” Tonight I cleaned the kitchen table. I went behind the chair he always sat in and thought “he’s not here.” And that was it. Would that be acceptance? And yet I can’t accept this. It’s still just a bad dream. It’s me wanting it to be just a bad dream.

I keep having replays of that scene in the movie Steel Magnolia’s where Meline (played by Sally Field) tries to come to terms with the reality that she just buried her child.

“God I want to know why?…No it isn’t supposed to happen this way…I just can’t take this.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-Ai4SUrj8w. In the end the scene takes a humourous turn, but I’m not feeling much laughter these days. That’s not reality.

I have tried to get the “cause of death” for the insurance companies but no one seems to know. I call and call and get passed off to someone else. Finally I go to see our doctor and she says she will get it. Today someone from our doctor’s office called and said the information came in and the doctor wanted to talk to me to explain it, so I went.

It isn’t easy talking about the details of how someone died but when I read the report all I could see was that recurring word “unfortunately.”

Unfortunately, this pneumonia progressed…Unfortunately, he was transferred to the ICU and deteriorated…Unfortunately, after a few days of treatment the family decided to withdraw (intubation).”

Like we had a choice? Should I have let him stay with that horrible tube down his throat; his face swollen from being propped on his stomach, then turned over, looking like he had been in a fight? Puffy features on his always slender, long face and his strong square chin. It wasn’t Bob. And when we removed the intubation and they shut off the machines, it didn’t take five days or five hours (as we were told it could). It took five seconds. No time at all.

And now the tears are back. Now I can’t stop crying when I think of him.

No one will ever know me like he knew me. No one will remember what happened when my mother died. No one will understand when I tell them something that happened when he and I were the only ones present.

Yes, I am taking care of myself. Yes, I am getting therapy. Yes, I am going to a bereavement group where others tell their stories of losing someone close, many spouses. Some can’t forget after three years or more.

I hear clichés over and over again:

You won’t get over this, you will just get through it.
Normal is just a cycle on the washing machine.
This is your new normal.

Then there are the ones that make you feel dissolute in a desolate wasteland because you can’t see or touch or hear or feel these things:

He’s an angel on your shoulder.
He’s watching over you.
He’s telling you what you should do.

Really? Because I can’t hear him. I can’t feel him.

And then there are the little things I miss. I want to touch his cheeks to feel the unshaven stubble. I tried to feel that after they unhooked  him from the machines. He was so cold and there was no stubble. I touched his face in the casket and it was a terrible feeling – makeup. No, I will never, ever feel that stubble again.

I want to hold him and feel the scar on his back where he had a benign lump removed. It gave me a sense of reassurance. It was him. We were connected. He knew my body’s quirks, I knew his.

I want to trace that one fingernail with my finger; the one I traced every day and gently chastised him about biting. He said that it was crushed at work in a machine and the nail never grew back. Whatever it was, that, and every physical, tangible connection I had with him is gone. It’s just a memory.

Today marks, by the calendar numbers, one month since he died, June 8, 2013.

11 comments
  1. Suzanne Your pain is visceral. Thanks for your honesty. Maybe Kym and I could come by to see you soon or you could come here for a hot tub and swim. Your choice. Xo Mac

    Date: Mon, 8 Jul 2013 23:36:34 +0000 To: tundramac@sympatico.ca

    • Thanks Mary Ann. I am exhausted after I write these but feeling less pain. Wish it would all be just a bad dream. Sometimes it feels that way. Am going away for a few days. Please give me a call or e-mail me to set up a get together.

    • Thanks Gail. It’s been a long, exhausting journey and it’s not close to being over yet. Writing things down seems to help for a while but the time has to be right, or something has to spur me on in the moment. Otherwise I’m just left with my grief.

  2. What a difficult thing you have gone through and are continuing to go through. After our son died I read somewhere that grief was the price we pay for love and I took some comfort from that. If I hadn’t loved him so much, it wouldn’t have hurt so much when he died. There are no easy answers and no short cuts. Another thing I read that stuck with me was: “Grief shared, is grief diminished.” And I found truth in that too. Sharing with others made me feel just a little less alone with the pain. Thank you for sharing. You are finding a way to put such difficult things into words.

    • Thank you Helen. I can’t even imagine how difficult it would be to lose a child. I appreciate your insight. Where I’m at right now I can’t fathom how people get through this. Bob was my “person,” who I could talk to, rant to, bounce ideas off of. There isn’t that person for me now. It is comforting to know the pain will lessen, but I know that will be a long time from ow. Thank you again.

  3. Suzanne,
    I didn’t know about your loss until I saw your link on Face Book. I’m very sorry that you lost someone so special to you. We all experience the loss of someone in life with whom we have built unique bonds which cannot share with anyone else, nor express them by words. By that sentiment alone, please know that my heart goes out to you and shares your pain. Time, although it doesn’t erase, heals a little and takes us to another level of coping.

  4. Hi Suzanne. I’m glad you are continuing to write about your feelings. It is clearly helping others, and I’m certain it is helping you as well. You just may not feel it at times.

    I really like what Helen shared: “Grief is the price we pay for love.” I have paid that price on several occasions in my life and it is worth it every time. Just hold on to those positive loving thoughts. They will get you thru this.

  5. Your sorrow is deep, and your loneliness profound. I wish I was near you to support you. Your honesty touches me deeply. I wish I had a way to comfort you.

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