Day 159: and we have a cause of death

Last night, I got really angry. The medical examiner had told me that it would take 3-5 months for a cause of death. Last Friday, I hit the five month mark. Nearly every day since month three I have made the journey to the mailbox and steeled myself for that autopsy report to show up in my inbox. Every day, nothing. Last night, I decided to give them a call. I didn’t really expect an answer much less for them to tell me on the phone what had caused his fatal seizure, but both occurred. The lady on the phone explained they were missing a form from me and that was why I didn’t receive a copy of the report I had requested, but they also didn’t bother to contact me as his next of kin. The results were actually ready November 4th. I think it was fear that kept me from hounding them sooner. Part of me was terrified the results would show I had missed something or he had maybe done something stupid that inadvertently caused his death. Instead, I am left with a cause of death that simply makes no sense.

Officially, it is “Natural Causes- Cardiovascular Disease”. So here is the thing, if they can pinpoint it to cardiovascular disease, wouldn’t that have been apparent from the initial autopsy? Why did we go through all of this rigmarole of toxicology if it was something that would have been perceivable from the initial exam? To me, this means they really don’t know, saw he was a bit overweight, and simply slapped that convenient explanation on it. It doesn’t feel right.

However, I do feel a little lighter with this knowledge. Since I think they don’t really know, how could I have known that he was going to die? I was not a crappy wife that missed something. Apparently, as appalling and scary as it is, sometimes people just die. We don’t like to think about this. Our minds require reason, which is why people that have not experienced deep loss will default to “Everything happens for a reason” as the least comforting attempt at comfort in the history of grief. So what if there is no plan or reason to anything? What if everything we take as minor comforts to continue on with our day to day lives is humanity’s big old dose of lithium meant to numb us to harshness of randomness and chaos? Or maybe there is some sick plan that involves the deaths of good people and suffering of the innocent. I think I would much prefer to live in chaos.

Good thing for today: Adios 2014, you whorey whore!

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Day 158: dear 2014

Dear 2014,

Good riddance. May you be gone as swiftly and suddenly as all of my plans for my future.

F*** you very much,

Me

PS: Good thing for today: This crapfest of a year is almost over.

Day 156: tis the season

Screw Christmas. Screw packages, boxes, and bows. Screw mistletoe and lights. Screw smiles of recognition that fade into grotesque sad clown faces. Screw my lack of ability to get a single “Merry Christmas” or card without the caveat “I know this will be hard for you.”¬† Screw platitudes and praise of strength. Screw my brother for calling me yesterday commenting that my “attire” has changed only for me to find out that he is referring to my lack of wedding ring that I have not worn since October. Screw the people that didn’t even bother to call. Screw the people that did and made it about my grief. Screw my five month sadaversary coming the day after Christmas. Screw 2014- the single worst year of my life. Screw 2015 for having the audacity to arrive without him. Screw the funk I have found myself in that keeps on creeping in any time my mind is quiet and giving me a small reprieve. Screw it all!

Bah humbug.

Good thing for today: I finally cleaned off his sink yesterday. No more stubble and globs of toothpaste. It is another thing that is mine that I needed to reclaim and now have.

Bonus good thing: New guy has a ticket booked to fly out MLK weekend, I am very much looking forward to it!

Day 148: relearning the art of self reliance

I have been sick this week and it frankly sucks. My usual routine when I got sick in the past was to come home, lay on the couch like a pathetic lump of fever and phlegm and proclaim loudly and pitifully “I’m siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick!!!!” With the quickness, my husband would provide me with hot theraflu with some sugar added (it really does help the medicine go down), extra blankets and pillows, and my pajamas. Now when I come home it is all on me. Those days really throw the ever present loss right in my face. There is no distraction or putting it on the back burner.

Miraculously, I do have actual medicine in the house, which is a major score. Also, immediately after becoming widowed people just showed up with boxes of tissues. Seriously, I have so many I could probably build a fort. On the downside, I have run out of coffee creamer and food. I am feeling a bit better today and know I should run to the store, but the idea of facing Saturday crowds when both my emotional state and health are much less than 100% is not an ideal scenario. I really miss having a partner here that can share the load with me.

I know there are millions of people that live alone and take care of themselves just fine, but I think much like the period of adaption required to co-habitate with someone, there is also quite the learning curve as to how to do things for yourself. The confident women on TV shows and movies that don’t need a man and would probably scoff at my need to be taken care of probably don’t recall the years spent getting to that place of self reliance and confidence. When the widow tornado tears through your home, there is a lot of rebuilding to be done. I feel I am making positive progress, but some days it is really in my face just how ridiculously far I have to go.

Good thing for today: New guy’s daughter talked to me on Skype for the first time ever. Progress?

Day 144: honesty

So, I have been a bit absent for the past several weeks. I am sorry if it worried anyone. I assure you that everything is fine. More than fine, really, but I will get that in a little bit. I am someone that values honesty. Sometimes, honesty can be a trait that is hard to maintain, especially when honesty could result in confusion, hurt feelings, or fallout. Since there are a small handful of people in my every day life that know about this blog and follow it, I found it difficult to write for a little because I wasn’t prepared to be honest about a certain aspect of my life right now. So, here it goes. I have met someone wonderful that makes me very happy.

When I set out to record my struggle with grief, I never really imagined part of my story would involve such a thing. New loves were for other widows, not for me. What my husband and I shared was too close, too wonderful, too powerful to ever consider letting anyone else into my heart ever. What I have learned in recent days is that there is no replacing my husband, but my heart has grown to accept someone new and completely different, which is really a great thing. So, here’s the story.

Very soon after being widowed, I joined an online forum for young widows. It took several days for my account to be activated but it finally was on August 6th. I immediately jumped in and posted. The very first person to reply to me was a man whose account had also just barely been activated who had just made his first post eleven minutes prior to mine. Like me, his spouse had also died very suddenly and unexpectedly and it had happened just 18 days prior to me losing my husband. I felt an instant kinship, which I couldn’t really explain but it was certainly not anywhere near any sort of romantic feelings at all. There was no reason to think it would become that. Over the next couple months, we exchanged some private messages that at times would get ridiculously lengthy, but there was no flirtation in them. It was just two friends connecting through a shared experience. I did however find myself trusting him and being happy any time I saw he had reached out to me, but it didn’t strike me as anything more than that. While he was mainly the only person I would communicate with outside of my normal posts, I knew that wasn’t the case for him so there was nothing to read into at all.

At the end of October, he sent me a message that asked if I would be interested in talking on the phone and giving me his number. He explained he had talked on the phone to several people from the board and he felt “that it is high time you and I have a chat, but only if you are up to it.” I felt no pressure or threat so we scheduled a time to talk that coming Sunday, November 2nd. The talk was very nice and completely platonic, but I found myself surprised about two things: 1. I felt a twinge of jealousy when he told me about someone telling him they had a “music crush” on him due to his taste in music, and 2. I was really sad to get off of the phone with him. I decided I wouldn’t analyze it because clearly I was being silly.

The next day was a really bad day for me. I was on my way to work and just couldn’t stop crying so I called in and turned around. I sat with my grief for a while and then started thinking about how he had said I could text any time I needed someone. So, I sat not sending a simple text¬† that said “How is your day going?” or something like that for about 30 minutes. Finally, I hit send and set the phone down, determined not to stare at it waiting for a response. I got a response about 5 minutes later. I admitted to having a terrible day. He proceeded to text with me for the next 6.5 hours and making me smile and laugh so my day did a complete 180. The next morning, he texted me again and we spent the whole day and night texting back and forth on and off. When it repeated the next day, I started getting the feeling that there was maybe more developing than I had first thought and I started really thinking about it and realizing I had a twinge of something that was not bad, it was exciting. However, that night he solidly friend-zoned me by telling me he felt so close to him that I was like his sister. I wondered how my compass could be so off, but decided it was for the best anyways, I was not ready for anything of what as going through my head to occur.

The texting continued throughout the week and then changed to also being night time phone calls. Late that Friday night, after a few beers in on both of our parts, he admitted he was feeling more than a close friendship or sibling relationship. It caught me off guard a little because I had been actively pushing such thoughts from my head and accepting any friendship he had to offer because I thought he was so great. To be honest, the admission on his part also scared the crap out of me. I knew my feelings but having them actually returned meant this wasn’t in my head and that it was actually real, and how was it possible for me to have those kind of feelings so soon after the shocking, unexpected death of who I considered my life’s one great love? Would people think I wasn’t as happy and in love in my marriage as I truly was? Would they think that I’d been pretending? Would the perception be that I was failing to honor his memory? I allowed these thoughts to quiet and gave myself permission to say “You are not the only one that is feeling that.” And that one little sentence changed everything. I could hear the relief in his voice. We talked about it being so early, but for him it was not something he could ignore or deny. It wasn’t something I could ignore or deny either. So, we decided to see where it would lead us.

He had some friends scheduled to take a trip out to Phoenix in February and that seemed pretty far off, but a convenient cover if one was needed for his 16 year old daughter so she wasn’t hurt or confused about his grief for his wife and her mother. However, following some advice from some other widows, it was decided that was too long to wait. He was honest with his daughter about me and she is trying to adjust to the idea. Thus, on December 5th, he flew out from his home in Kentucky to meet me. I was surprised to be greeted with an immediate kiss. Not just any kiss, but one that really would not be appropriate for the venue of baggage claim at the airport. I didn’t care. It all felt right. We had an amazing weekend together and it very much confirmed that there is something deep between us beyond our shared grief experience. We hope to get something scheduled for January for him to come back out, maybe with his daughter if she agrees to join him so she doesn’t feel left behind by him.

So there you have it. I have a huge bright spot of happiness in my life I didn’t expect at all. I am grateful for it. I am continuing to grieve for my husband. I miss him so deeply every single day, but this is something completely different and new. We are open with each other about our grief and how long we have to go to get to a good place, which makes the distance between us a bit of a blessing so we aren’t tempted to avoid the pain and get lost in each other. It wouldn’t be healthy. It was both difficult and easy to put this story out there to be read. It was easy because it is the truth of where I am at right now. It was hard because I am so worried it could be construed that I somehow didn’t love my husband or am not committed to honoring him. Those things are not true, but I still don’t want that perception.

Good thing for today: I found the courage to be open.