How to Survive Year 1…or the seemingly never ending morass of bullshit you must endure now that your spouse is gone


So, dear reader, we did it! We survived the first year! Congratulations. Pat yourself on the back, because obviously, no one else is around to do that for you! So…..now what?

You thought that things would be a lot different, didn’t you? Ha! Nope. You only survived because you don’t know how to not survive. You put your head down and put one foot in front of the other. Every. Fucking. Day. Because you had to. If you’re like me, you didn’t inherit a metric fuck-ton of money when your spouse died. You inherited an entirely new set of headaches that no amount of fuckitall is going to take away.

I thought that I would have my house paid off and I would be living somewhere else by now. Nope. My lawyer assures me he is working on it, but since he’s never in his office, and certainly doesn’t answer phone messages, I have no idea whether or not this is truthful or not. How hard can this be? The only thing in the estate was the house. But this has brought a completely new set of headaches. For one thing, I now owe more on the house than I did when Andrew died. Totally fair, right? No.

Also I can not change the name on my insurance account until the house is settled. Because God forbid what would happen if the whole thing burned down around my ears? Well, I know the answer to that. The insurance agency would issue a check that I could not cash in Andrew’s name to cover the contents of said house. Which brings us squarely into this week’s drama.

So, apparently the insurance company has been overcharging us for years. Thank you, Farmers. Not applying the correct discounts. So when I added the new car, apparently this brought this little black seed out into the light and they have been fixing it. One small refund check at a time. The bank said to sign his name and then mine and add “representative payee/personal representative”. Which I have dutifully done on every single check I have received. Until this week. Suddenly, the bank has decided that this is not their policy and that I have to get the check reissued. In my name. Sounds simple, right? Nope.  I call Farmers and talk to an agent who gives me a phone number to call. I call the number and get “virtual voting has ended”. Click. I call Farmers back. They give me 2 new numbers to call, one of which calls some black hole in outer space and never connects and the other, interestingly enough to Bank of America. Or at least, a class action lawsuit for them. Because apparently, they’ve  been overcharging people for years. So, I call Farmers back and get a girl who tells me that they just have to change the name on the billing account to me. This change should take 24-48 hours and I will get an email notifying me of this change before Friday. Email never appears. I call Farmers again. Different lady tells me that is not the case at all and that they can only issue the check to Andrew or to Andrew’s estate. Which does me no good. I call the bank and they tell me that they can’t cash the check because Andrew was never on my account. Grrr.

So this morning I went to the downtown branch of the back and cried. Playing the widow card with as much enthusiasm as having a whole hand of Aces at the Poker table. I have all the paperwork. I cry. I talk. I cry. The guy I’m talking to looks at paperwork. Looks at ID. Looks at paperwork. Goes and talks to someone. Comes back. Looks at paperwork. Says “follow me” and leads me to a teller who he tells to deposit this check. Sigh. WTAF. It never should have taken all of this effort a week after Andrew’s one year anniversary to do all of this. It’s insane. They should all be ashamed.

I know you thought I’d be living some kind of charmed carefree life by now. I’m not. Nothing has changed. I’m still barely making ends meets. Still working. Still trying to get Autiezombiegirl off the ground. Still barely surviving. Interestingly enough, I discovered the bottom of the depression barrel this week. Yeah….I’m in the basement of that, right now. But who wouldn’t be? Fuck. I can’t move on. Hell, I can’t even move until all of this crap is settled. So, I just sit. Spinning my wheels.

Bank of America sends me a little Asian guy every other day to hand me a yellow envelope that says “Please call immediately” and take my picture.

These are just a few of the things that I am still dealing with. A. Year. Later. In other news, I have also discovered that my heart is still absolutely broken. My tolerance for frustration is at zero. And I honestly think that I am heading straight to Applebee’s after  work and ordering drinks by color. Because I can. And because that’s how I adult. I feel like I have just put up with WAY too much this week. So, if you happen to be around…..

I’m disappointed. I really thought that things would be different in some small way outside of my husband being dead. It just all feels so….depressing. Sigh. You know me dear reader. I’ll get up and do it all over again tomorrow. But it is still overwhelming. And heartbreaking. And I hope that you don’t have to deal with this kind of bullshit if your spouse dies. Because it sucks. It really does. There are days that I just go home and go to bed because I cannot deal with even one more thing. I don’t know how to end this blog, today. So I will just end it with a period.

Anniversaries from the brink of the edge of nowhere


.facebook_1471892102149Oh dear readers, we are racing at light speed toward the one year mark. It sits on me, the weight as vast as the entire universe. I won’t lie, this year has been jam packed with all of the dips and highs of this insane roller coaster ride. It has been nothing that I either expected or wanted to happen this year. Most of the time I have just floated, keeping my head down on the difficult days and breathing, taking one moment by impossible moment. If someone had told me a year ago that this would be my life, I would not have believed it. How do you even predict this? Or cope with it?

This week feels heartbreaking. Full of moments of afraid to breathe because if I start crying now, I will never stop. Will I?  I have many people that tell me that I will. But I am not so sure. So I thought that I would share some of my favourite pictures with you.

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This is him in his Sears uniform. Way back 16 years ago when we first met. This is how I will always remember him. Those startling blue eyes and those boyish good looks. He never really changed. Of course, now I can let the secret out that I dyed his hair for 16 years. Laugh. He wouldn’t let me stop!

He was goofy beyond belief.

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This was the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame trip that I gave him for his 40th birthday. He had a blast. These guitars were all over Cleveland and I think we took pictures of most of them.

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This was after we won our first title of Crab Race champions. 2015.

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He never missed a chance to take pictures of us together. This is our first year together, he was still living in Van Buren and I was spending my time between Muncie and his trailer.

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This was our vacation in Cancun. I wanted to spend all our time on the beach and he actually only got to microplan a couple of days from the whole thing. For those of you who don’t know, he could microplan the fuck out of a vacation. I often came home needing a vacation from our vacation. This one, he only got 2 days. But he was a water baby and he would be lying if he said that he didn’t love the beach time.

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This is the picture we used for the obituary. He is playing my cousin’s 1952 Gibson and he never looked happier or more in awe of anything in his life. He loved playing music and his guitars were his favourite and most prized possessions. I have way too many guitars for a girl that doesn’t play, but he loved them and now so do I. Our lives were full of music. He dragged me to many a festival, concert, bar and outdoor performance. I didn’t like all of them, but I went because I was his built in concert buddy. We had a concert budget and went to anywhere from 50-200 shows a year. We planned vacations around them every now and again. I have gone to some shows this summer. It’s a hell of a lot harder to find someone to go with, but I also go to more things that I like and less things that I don’t, now. LOL.

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This was the last concert that we went to (the last show was the 1964 Beatles tribute). It was the Rolling Stones at Speedway. He was ticking off his bucket list the last ten years and I didn’t even realize it. But here we are at one of those last few shows. This was 10 days before his mom died. About 8 weeks before he did. It seems like now that there isn’t anything music that doesn’t bring him back to me. Because our entire lives were indeed music.

I miss him immensely. Those of you who are FaceBook friends are often entertained by the “Conversations with my husband” series that show his more blonde, silly, and just plain not thinking things out moments.

I will forever curse Timehop and FaceBook for having apps that bring me the joy and the tears of all of these photos that I forgot about or haven’t looked at. I will forever cry when a text message comes up on one of those apps with some inane thing like “what’s for dinner, baby?” or “what do you want to do this weekend?”. Wishing that it was some profound profession of our love. But being with someone for 16 years isn’t about profound professions of love. It’s about profound love that is SO there that you don’t have to say it every day. You just know that it’s there. You trust that it is there and you hold it in your heart above all the other things. Because you know it’s safe and it’s yours.

This year has made me step so far out of my comfort box that I am not even sure where that damn thing is anymore. This year has made me take stock of what is truly important. This year has made me count up all the good things, discard the poison ones, and push other things that are just not worth bothering with away. This is good and bad. Above all, this year has made me appreciate the person that I become with this wonderful guy and I treasure the fact that he weaseled his little blond haired, blue eyed self into my heart. I don’t know how he did it, but he did. I am grateful that he did. Look at the things that I have done in the last 16 years. This barely scratches the surface of all of the amazing trips that we took and all of those things that we experienced because he planned them so amazingly well. It barely touches all of the shows we experienced and the joy those shows brought to either of us. It can never come close to making you experience the love that he so obviously had for me.

I hope that you all enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Here is one last thought. A pendant that a friend made and his ring.

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Birthdays….grrrrr….another first in my corner of hell….


This is 47. I didn’t think that I would be celebrating this birthday as a widow. Weird where life leaves us and drags us. .like highway wreckage. I am trying to have no expectations for the day. After all, expectations lead to disappointment and honestly, I woke up with a headache. It’s too hot for this shit. Against my better judgement, I’m working today. That’s never worked out well for me in the past, but what the hell?

I will put my head down and get through it like all the other hard days, I suppose. I miss rolling over and being showered with kisses and “Happy birthday, baby, I’m only 7 years older than you again.” The cats are indifferent to my birthday. They run away when you try to love them. Sigh. My alarm is going off. Time to go.

Added: It’s before noon, and I’ve already had so many birthday wishes which are keeping me going through the day. I am so lucky to have such awesome friends and so many people that care about me! 

Closing in on a year and other tales of survival (or who let me adult? WTF?!)


Yesterday was Andrew’s birthday. He would have been 54. I was bombarded all day with memories from various social websites reminding me of this fact and of all the birthdays in years past and how we celebrated. Mostly it was concerts. Because our whole lives were concerts. But mostly I woke up feeling lost because for the first time in 16 years I did not wake up to snuggle his  crazy blonde curls that I affectionately called Rooster head and tell him “You’re 8 years older than me”. July was very special for us. Our first date was July 15th and for years (including that first date) went to Muncie for Shakespeare at Minnetrista and later on BSU’s campus until they did away with it altogether. His birthday came on July 19th and 7 years 7 days and 7 hours later on July 26th came my birthday. It seemed our whole world revolved around 7s. Now I have had to add the anniversary of his mom to July on the 14th. In the past, our little group of 3 couples celebrated four of our six birthdays in this week. Starting with Drew’s birthday and ending with mine. It seems a little weird to start on a different birthday this year.

It also seemed weird to sit quietly at home and go to bed fairly early last night.

We plan to celebrate a little with a lantern release tonight. Just the few of us getting together and remembering a man who made so much impact on all of us and left such a giant gap behind. It’s important to go through these rituals of remembering and feeling all of the feelings that come with it. It makes us…..(swallow) human.

If I had known a year ago that my life was going to be so drastically changed and forever altered, I don’t know if I would have acted/behaved/done anything differently. But I do know that I would have still put my head down and moved forward with everything that is inside of me because I am too stubborn/dumb/pathetic to do anything less than that.

So this year has been filled with all of the firsts. Which suck. Every. One. But still I move forward. This year has also been filled with lots of changes. I changed jobs, hairstyles, focuses, relationships, coworkers and cars. I didn’t get stuck but am often debilitated by the thing that brought all of these changes. I am not happier in these changes, per se, but I am feeling a hell of a lot less stressed about life in general. I have found support in places that I did not know existed. I have learned that we take life way too seriously and that we worry about far too many things that…..Just. Don’t. Matter. And we also let life get on top of us in ways that…..May. Just. Kill. Us.

Think about those things for a moment. Meditate on them. Use them for a mantra. Life is way too short to fuck around with people who make us miserable and far too precious to waste time doing things that don’t make us happy or lead to a way to make us happy.

Afterall, I decided that after 2 years of being stuck in a job that I hated and that had become some sort of demented antagonist in my life, that I was moving on. With or without a replacement job. Luckily a replacement job came along.  I have learned to appreciate little things in life. I consider nothing wasted time anymore. Roger wants to take a car ride?  Let’s go! Chance to take a day off work and take my kid to see our lads <bows head in reverence> Liverpool play on US soil? Fuck yes! Take my friends and kid to concerts? Hell yes! (Side note: you have not lived until you realise that you prolly played WAY too much Violent Femmes while your kid was growing up because you are standing next to him at that concert and you both are screaming the lyrics “why can’t I get just one fuck” at top volume.)

Have a written a word outside of a few blogs since Andrew died? No, I have not. But let me tell you why. I sit in front of the screen writing a blog and I cry my eyes out. I am not ready to write anything else right now. Writing is intensely personal and intensely emotional. I am just not ready to share that much with anyone right now. I haven’t stopped being creative. I have been working on the Autie Zombie Girl shop and things are starting to come together in a way. I have a working website: Weird gifts for Weird people. For now, this is satisfying my creativity. I will go back to writing. But right now, there is so much to do!

I challenged myself this year. It would be very easy for me to go inside, shut the door, lock the latch with that satisfying CLICK and….Never. Come. Out. Again. But because that is the easy answer, I did not do that. Instead I put myself out there. I go to the market every Saturday. Good or bad weather. Good or bad sales. I signed up to do some local shows. That is definitely not in my comfort zone. But without Drew to buffer the world for me, I have had to learn to do it for myself. I do occasionally still hide. I still have Asperger’s for fuck’s sake. But I had to get strong enough to do things on my own. I always have. I have always had this pool of getupandgoness that makes me move forward in a generally lucid manner.

I am now also LITERALLY my husband’s brother’s keeper. Not many of you know that Drew has a brother with an extremely awful mental illness. He is paranoid schizophrenic. When their mom died, Drew and I promised we would look after Mark. When Drew died, I thought that it was my job to fulfill that promise. He was arrested a few months ago in Family Dollar arguing with his voices and destroying merchandise. We got him a placement in first our local mental health agency and then our state mental health hospital. The guardianship hearing was a hoot. Drew’s real father showed up to contest it. He’d succeeded in putting off the hearing for a month. He attempted to make it a three ring circus, but did not succeed. He told the judge that I was crazy and that I was famous on the internet because “her people call her auntie zombie girl”. He also tried to turn being weird into a bad thing. He told the judge that I was proud of being different. So the judge told him that he could see I was different from where he was sitting and he was going to give me guardianship anyways. Bam!

I have been tempted often in the last couple of months to send him a letter and tell him that this is  not how good Christians and Believers behave. That he should be happy that someone has stepped up to take care of Mark. Afterall, he’s just as crazy if not crazier than Mark. He does not see it that way. Thankfully, I have people on my side in that family. Drew’s cousin told the rest of the family that I was obviously the best person for the job. Afterall, his own mother trusted me to take care of him in her absence. I also made sure to dispel the myth that Drew’s mom died atop a giant pile of money that was earmarked for Mark’s care. This is not the case at all. It’s hard to make people who only use money and their own rewards/benefits as a basis for helping others understand that sometimes it’s just the right thing to do.

I continue to clean the house and to put his items away that will eventually go to an auction and be used to pay for his headstone. I continue to find memories of what our life together was and what it meant to him. I believe he was truly happy. Not just with me and our marriage, but with his life. He loved his little part time job and he loved fixing things. He was starting to put together a little network of people that needed things fixed. He enjoyed the freedom of doing what he wanted when he wanted and taking as long as he wanted to so that the job was done right. He was truly in a very good place in life.

So ahead of us are the last few firsts. My first birthday (in 16 years) without him. My first year without him. It’s a struggle that I feel immensely under equipped to take on. But here we are. How would I have done this all without the love and support that I have? I have no idea. Prolly not very well.

I miss his smile. I miss waking up every day and told how pretty I am. I miss his gentle kindness. I miss his confidence. I miss the confidence that he gave me in myself. I miss having a built in concert/movie buddy. I miss everything about him deep into my soul. Life is not as happy without him. Music is not as good without him. My house is so quiet and empty without him. He was my best friend.

The Other Side of the Worst Year EVER….and other tales of survival


I know that I have been terribly negligent of you this year, dear reader. I’m sure that you understand. It hasn’t been an easy year. I wouldn’t even describe this last year as awful, because in reality there have been moments that were much worse than that.  There have been days where I cried with broken-hearted sobs that would rival the depth of the Grand Canyon. My sorrow has been indescribable. I have tried to find the words, but they are lacking.

I am sitting on the eve of the one year anniversary of my beautiful mother-in-law’s death. I don’t know how things would have changed if I had known that moment was only the gateway that would change my life irreparably and forever. On that night when about this time in the evening I sent my husband and my father-in-law to have a lie down because upon my arrival at the in-law’s house, I knew it was the end, I had no crystal ball to tell me that it was only the beginning of the end. Of a lot of things. There was no way to know that on that night, though. Instead I sat gently beside this woman that had given birth to the man I loved with all my heart. I read to her. I read to myself. I whispered with her. I told her it was okay for her to go whenever she felt it was time. I listened as her breathing became shallow and almost non-existent. Many times I held my own breath, waiting to see if she was done. I gave her drops of morphine upon request because there was no other comfort that anyone could offer her. I was sure she’d made whatever amends she felt necessary. I cried for all of the indignities that this wonderful woman had felt that she had put us all through. I didn’t feel that way at all. I felt as if it was the very least I could do for this woman who had given me her eldest son and the chance at a happy life.

In the last year, life has changed so much. I had no way of knowing that this simple natural event would change everyone’s life so fundamentally. None of us did. It seems like an innocent moment. We buried her in a beautiful British ceremony that was exactly what she wanted and what she had planned. So many people came to say goodbye to her. She had touched everyone she ever met with her gentle kindness. Those of us who were lucky enough to be close to her had no idea how truly blessed we were to have her hands on us every day. No one has ever had an unkind word to say about her. This is how one woman made an indelible mark on this sad and sorry world. She truly left it a better place than she found it.

In the last year, little things have popped up in our efforts to put our lives back together. Sometimes it is a photo. Sometimes it is a little thing that was left behind. Untouched in these last 12 months. With my mother-in- law it has been photos and these amazing letters that we keep finding. She wrote these amazing Christmas letters to people over the years. In the words of my father-in-law “Today is the one year anniversary of Caroline Hart Krumel’s passing. In the 54 years that she spent away from England, she must have written hundreds of letters and notes to family and friends. She so enjoyed that. She wrote with a simple, perfect eloquence I admired. There was a quiet optimism you could sense. Her Christmas letter of 2009 was is a wonderful example of her writing. Take a second to read if you will. There was no complaining in her writing. Reading this letter brings Carol back to life, for this day.”

Follows is the letter of that year: “Dear Family and Friends, We wish you peace and prosperity and hope you have had less worries and more happiness this year than you had last year. I feel more like an old person than in previous years. I take naps…in fact I fall asleep everywhere I go. In the car, int the bathtub, you name it. I stare into space more and it takes me until lunch to find my way to work. Roger and I are still making awnings and renting tents (marquees) but right now we wish we were walking on the beaches of North Carolina and Florida. This year of 2009 has been very unusual. Family came to visit. Actually it is the first time in 46 years that family has ever came to visit. My cousin Michael and wife Pauline appeared bearing an artfully restored family heirloom in the form of an antique mirror. Carefully packed in a wooden box and transported from 3,999 miles away…amazing! Roger found a brother he didn’t know existed. Carter McNamara an extraordinary man tall, handsome, and funny and he came to visit with his beautiful wife Teri from Minnesota. This visit was a time of sharing and catching up on the lost years and preparations for a reunion in 2010 of family they have yet to meet in North Dakota. My brother Richard made his way to England to meet his son Alex. A visit that was long overdue, thirty-five years in fact. I have heard that everything went well. For those of you who didn’t hear from me this year, I apologize. I will try and do better next year. No particular tragedies occurred this year, they all occurred the year before. My granddaughters, Cassie and Chelsea are actually making money and supporting themselves much to the delight of their father who thought their university days would never end before he retired. Daughter Judy at age 46 is still looking for a break into the acting world but is undiscovered and disappointed as we speak. When advised by her parents to seek a part in local theatre productions as a beginning, we are told they don’t pay. Meanwhile she is house and pet sitting around the country. My only grandson, Jeremy, who we see very little of when asked why he doesn’t visit, says he has too much homework and could we send him petrol money. A girlfriend, Bree, is prominent in his life. Our house in Warren, Indiana, for sale now for 2 1/2 years finally sold to the neighbors when an aunt and uncle gave them the money. Some things are looking up. Business is down 65% but Roger still goes to work every day. When I arrive at noon, I find him on the phone looking for buyers or on the computer and the work is waiting for me. My son Andrew has been researching his Boller ancestry and finding many skeletons in the closet. As yet, he hasn’t touched on the Harts, Robertsons and Aylings. My son Mark at age 44 has yet to find his way to a job. My daughter-in-law, Katey Jayne has two jobs now. She is persecuted endlessly by her ex-husband who imagines she owes him money. She has spent more time in court this year than church. I am thankful for many things, a warm house, sunny days, shade, great bird watching in the garden and a husband I can laugh with who takes me to all my favourite movies. We hope your lives are as good.”

And that, dear readers, is that beautiful understated eloquence that only the British culture can instill in one. I hope that you enjoyed this. My heart is still broken, but somehow lighter. We are on the edge of the first year. This bizarre and worst year of my life. Those of you who know me, know that is no small feat. I have had a very strange life. Keep posted, dear readers as I work my way through the six weeks. We will see what the end of the time brings.

6 Months Seems Like Forever (My New Life and Other Sordid Memories)


So dear readers. We have passed the 6 month mark. I have also lived through a majority of the firsts. First Labour Day, first Halloween, first Thanksgiving, first Christmas, first New Year’s, first Valentine’s Day, stepdaughter’s first birthday, first book…all of these firsts without him. My heart breaks non stop for all of these things and the few that will be coming up. I spend a lot of time reflecting and remembering. Crying and kicking myself for crying. These are the things life is made of.
I switched jobs shortly after the last blog. Well just before Christmas. Running a program was way too stressful and my impending health issues with the diagnosis of broken heart syndrome made some changes necessary. I realised that going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark was greatly affecting my mental health. Not even to mention the toxicity of the previous 2-1/2 years. It had all weighed so heavily upon me that there was nothing else to do but get out. So I did.
That is not a choice that my husband would have approved of. But I started thinking that something had to change or I would end up like him. Happy means more than money sometimes.
I bought a new car. Yet another decision my husband would not have approved of. But I just wanted the piece of mind of not worrying about car issues. I have very few other things to worry about, so what the hell.

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I also have justified it because Autie Zombie Girl Gifts had outgrown the Hyundai. And all I have to do is wave my foot under the tailgate and it pops right up. WIN!!!!! I did put the Hyundai plates on it. Makes me feel like he’s still there with me. This car also reminds me of our old Blazer. Which he had bought just a month before we met and we owned until about 2 years ago. I miss the Blazer.
When I think over this last year and a little, it’s crazy. I did some things that I never thought I was strong enough to do. I participated in the Fear Project and my husband was one of my biggest cheerleaders. He gave me the pep talk I needed every week and held me for an hour while I cried the morning I was eliminated. He kept me going when I didn’t think I could.
We lived through our first parental death this year. It was hard dealing with his mom dying, but we somehow did it. He did it with his calm and quiet manner and made all of us understand the true meaning of compassion in dealing with others even when you are not dealing well. The eulogy he gave was beautiful. It also served no one but his mother which is the best tribute any boy can give to the woman who gave him life.
In all of this, I think of where we finally were in life. He was working part time at a job he enjoyed. It also gave him time to continue doing the things he loved to do. Fix music equipment and tinker with things electronic. He had met some guys that were going to be supplying him with some fairly steady work and working on things that challenged him. I was working on my first season of craft marketing and I was successful with lots of support from him. I won’t lie, the first time I tried to set up without him, I lost it and almost packed up to head home, but my friends at the market rushed in to help. Once I got busy setting up, I almost forgot about him not being there. This winter I set up and even had new merchandise and new display stands!

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This display stand is actually really purple now. So without his support, I wouldn’t be moving toward making my shop into something real.
In a last little tidbit, the new anthology is out.

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You remember how to get your very own autographed copy, right? Message me. I have 37 copies left to distribute. They are moving fast. Better get to it!

Welcome to the World of All My Nightmares Come True


Hello dearest most loyal readers. It’s been awhile. I meant to get to this back in June. But as usual, life got in the way and thwarted me. So I know that you are dying to know what has kept me away for an entire summer. Well, here we go. It’s going to be a bumpy ride, so hold on. You are allowed to be angry, be sad, be heart broken… you are welcome to scream, cry, yell, shout, curse or whatever else comes to mind because Gabriel only knows that I have had all these emotions and more in the last few months.

So we will start in May. In May, the hospital in Indianapolis sent my mother in law home with shaking heads and their lips full of “I’m sorry”. After her successful hysterectomy, leaving her ovaries intact, she started to experience some issues similar to what had driven her to the hysterectomy and upon returning to the doctor, she discovered that the cancer had jumped and was too far gone. They sent her home with sorrow and ordering hospice. She avoided it, of course. She didn’t want strange people in her house telling her how to or how not to die. Like everything else in her life, it was going to be on her terms. This lasted until the pain got so bad and the pain meds got too expensive. Turns out that the benefit of hospice is free pain meds. So we watched her get weaker. Her granddaughters, dearest Fix-it-guys daughters swooped in to care for their grandmother and to learn everything that would be useful in their lives as adults. I appreciate that they are both at places in their lives where this was possible and I am grateful that they were able to spend lots of time with their grandmother. So dear mother in law weakened and became ill beyond redemption. The last weekend, roughly 8 weeks into our little journey of “they will be surprised if I live a month”, she became completely dependent on the pain meds to function at all. There were lots of poignant moments with my mother in law. One day we were in the bathroom doing a sponge with her husband and I assisting and I thought how childlike she had become. Obstinate and stubborn. She didn’t want help. She had been fiercely independent her entire life. We tried to make it as easy as we could. Telling her that we were only doing what we had hoped shoe would do for us.

I hope that I helped to make her last days more comfortable. Her husband tells everyone that I was an attentive caregiver. The last day when I got there after work, she was cool and her skin had gone waxy. She hadn’t been out of bed for 2 days. Younger stepdaughter and father in law arranged plane tickets for Fix-it-guy’s sister who insisted that we be able to tell her exactly when the moment was near so that she wouldn’t have to do anything that required empathy or caring. She flew in that last day, and I told momma that she was on her way. We sent her son to the airport for her. He had gotten increasingly whackadoodle toward the end. Non stop rantings about vitamins and food and weak bodies. We constantly had to distract him from interfering with her pain meds and everything else. Finally, sister in law arrived and I told mother in law that all her children were there and that she could go. My sister in law refused to speak with her even after I told her that this would be the last day for my mother in law and it was time for her to clear her heart. I told my husband the same. We all told her how much we loved her and made her comfortable until she left us. I am forever struck by how wonderful my father in law was when he told her goodbye. I have never seen my husband cry in 15 years, but he did. I will not talk about the ugliness of my husband’s nephew’s reaction. It was ghastly at best and should have alerted us all to how crazy things would get exactly, but we were all grieving too hard to go there.

Daughters swooped in once more and arranged a funeral that was beautiful and strong just like the grandmother that they were honoring. The funeral was a grave side service because she didn’t want to be embalmed and it was hotter than hell. But we made it through it. My husband was tactful in dealing with his father who for some insane reason thought it necessary to get up and speak. My husband gave a beautiful eulogy for his mother. He talked of things that were important to her and and the things that were meaningful to him as her son. I gave a eulogy as well. It was beautiful as well. I will include it here at some point.

So, life went on. We continued to try and keep my father in law on kilter and to get back to normal for ourselves. My husband tried desperately to figure out how to go on without his momma. They rarely went a day without talking and it was difficult for him. Many times I saw him pick up his phone, start to dial and sigh. It truly broke his heart when his mother died. We marched through six weeks. A daughter’s birthday came and we celebrated as a family including father in law. It was a lovely day and considering what the next day would bring, I’m glad it was the day that it was.

The next morning seemed like every other one. It was a morning that we’d repeated a million mornings before. I got up and prepared myself to go to my job. I talked with him, made plans. Snuggled with him. Kissed him goodbye, told him that I loved him. Just like a million mornings before. And I walked out the door with his last words still in my head, “We should have sex tonight, baby.” And I told him that he should plan that. In retrospect, the day seems so mundane and so ordinary. I did the things that I do everyday. I listened to a Liverpool game and the boys drew. I drove up and tried to call him. He didn’t answer. I was irritated, but it wasn’t unusual. I thought he just wasn’t home from work yet. I pulled up and parked. Everything looked normal. The mundanity of that  moment is not lost on me. I walked in and yelled for him. No answer. I walked through and saw his car in the carport. Annoyed I yelled up the stairs, “Husband, what the hell are you doing?” No answer. I thought maybe he was working on dj stuff and had his headphones on. Halfway up the stairs I noticed that the bedroom door was open which never happens during the day. I asked for him again. “Honey, what are you doing?” Still nothing. I continued up the stairs, that sense of dread filling me up inside. I saw him lying on the bed, so I asked if he was okay. No answer. I thought he was sleeping. I could see that he was still in his underwear and tshirt. “Did you call in sick? What’s going on with you?” He wasn’t moving. My brain registered that he wasn’t moving. It screamed at me that he wasn’t moving. By this time I was at the foot of the bed. He was reaching. Forever stuck in that moment. I rationalized it. That he was reaching for his phone because he wasn’t feeling well and had slept through work. He was reaching for his glasses so he could see the time on his phone. But still my brain screamed at me that he wasn’t moving. I went to him and saw his eyes open. Touched him. He was cool. And then it hit me. He was gone.

I know that what I did next will make some of you wonder. But I knew that once I made the phone call that they would come and take him away from me and I would never have another moment with him. This was it. I sat next to him on the floor and held his hand. I told him that I loved him. I told him that I had no idea how I would do anything without him. I told him how he had changed my life. I told him how lucky I was to have him in my life for 15 years. I told him that he was the only real love that I had ever had and how my life was better with him and would never be the same without him at all. When I told him everything that was in my heart, I picked up my phone and made the phone call. I told them that I had come home and found my husband dead. The dispatcher asked me if I needed to start CPR. Bless his heart, but I told him that he was stiff and cold, I couldn’t do anything for him. The dispatcher sent me out on the porch to listen for the ambulance. I flagged them down and watched them do the secret “there’s nothing we can do” nod at each other. I sat in the middle of my hall and wondered how normal people react when this happens to them. Because I was a disaster as an autistic person doing it. I called Wee Geek and told him to come because Fix-it-guy was gone. Wee Geek was fully prepared to run to me because he was without car. Luckily, girlfriend came home and got him some transportation. The coroner was kind and explained everything to me. I told him goodbye and kissed him before they took him out the door. I made phone calls in between it all. Called my girlfriends who came without asking too many questions. I called his first wife. I called my father in law and my parents.

And then I had to call the girls. Because after all, my life would not have been complete without living through all of my nightmares in one week. I found him, I had to tell his children, and I had to bury him. My brain is a mess of emotions and crap. I have no idea how I got through any of it. I had a lot of help. I love that my girlfriends came to me without asking questions. I love that people from my husband’s part time job where I also used to work full time came to me and offered help in whatever way would be helpful. I love that the girls came and did everything for the funeral so that I didn’t have to add that to my worries. I love that I have friends who think about things like I might need an attorney to help me through some of the stuff. Our situation was not the norm and it caused some problems. All of the people that stepped in to help me with all of my fears and tears, all of my moments of falling apart for the stupidest things and all of my insane laughing over the silliest things.

Those of you who know me either in real life or through the blog know that I have done some really truly hard things. But today, I can say that this is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I miss him every day. I miss him every moment. My heart is broken in a million pieces over him. I have no idea how to do the simplest things in my house because he did everything for me. I’ve never had a workman in my house because he did things always without thinking about them because they needed to be done. He always took care of me. This makes things very hard for me. Because I didn’t realize that I had let my guard down so much that I had let him in to take care of me. It is nice and devastating all at the same time. He had become my best friend in 15 years and my biggest cheerleader.

I am not afraid to be alone. I panic occasionally because I’m alone, but I’m not afraid of it. It’s curious, but I worry now that something will happen to me and I will be alone for Wee Geek to find. It terrifies me that I will leave him that way that the Fix-it-guy left. I want him to be prepared for the inevitable now that I am alone. I worry about things that I never gave much thought to at all. I sigh a lot because of it. I realize how much I loved that big goofy guy and how my life was so improved for having him in it. He gave me the courage to do things that I never would have done on my own. So I wouldn’t suggest ever living through this. It is an awful moment to have on your soul. But I know that I’m a lot stronger than I give myself credit for. I know that I will be able to figure things out. It just doesn’t feel as good without him.

So dear readers, this is my life now. I am starting to get back into the swing of things. It’s hard. I don’t feel like doing any of it, but I have to. This is the beginning of something different for me. And I have to figure it out. I have some ideas. Most of them are creative. So look forward diligent readers. I love you all.

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