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.