Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I've seen better days

Things aren't awful.
We have everything we need.
Despite weeks of illness of one kind or another, we are basically healthy.
But the longing for my soulmate is as strong as ever.
I think part of my problem is that I never got to say goodbye.
In fact, we'd had a tiff the Friday before as he went to the farm to work for yet another weekend and I was starting a new job on Monday morning and would have really appreciated the moral support / family time / him taking the kids so I could prepare lessons etc. 
I was so upset that went as far as not getting out of bed to welcome him home at 11:30pm Sunday night when I finally heard his car pull into the driveway.
I know.
I am thankful that our tiffs were never big or long-lasting...... I could have remained pissed off at him on the Monday morning, but his tired little face melted me and we held each other for for a few minutes before we went on with the rush of the day.
Then we were making breakfasts and lunches and having our ritual morning family cuddle before Greg drove off to work.
I didn't realise that would be the last time I ever saw him.  
At all.
Unsurvivable head injuries meant that I took the advice of police, chaplains, morticians, relatives and friends that I shouldn't see him.  At the time, I took their advice.

But one thing I wish I had been able to do was to spend time alone with him (even if he was inside the sealed coffin) before the funeral. 
Nobody watching me in my grief.

I was so self-conscious of the 300+ eyes on me during the service that instead of kissing his coffin like I wanted to, I laid my head briefly on it.  I could feel 300 pairs of eyes boring into the back of my head.  ....and being an introvert, I couldn't breathe with all those eyes watching me, leave alone watching me at my worst.

I wish I could have spoken to him without those eyes watching me .

If I had a re-run, I would have insisted upon it.

But then again, if I got a re-run, I wouldn't have let him go to work that day.....

So yeah, right now, I've surely seen better days..... but I have also seen much, much worse ones.
...and so I keep plodding on in the hope that the days are better.

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  1. Amanda, this post is also directly from my journal. I, too, never had a chance to say goodbye because my husband died of a sudden stroke. I, too, feel so blessed that the days just prior to the stroke were filled with love and desire for each other even after 28 years of marriage. So many times we had arguments and unfortunately, did not always make up quickly. Everything was right between us when he was suddenly taken.

    No goodbyes for me either. In fact, since he died at home, when the undertakers came, they insisted on whisking him away and I wanted to hold his limp and cold body one last time. They rushed me and I allowed it. If only, I could go back....

    Oh yes, and I can relate to the eyeballs seething into my back and when I glanced up, the pathetic and sad looks from the funeral attendees. I elected also to not touch him in the casket, yet I evoke even more sympathy from those around me.

    If only life did come with a rewind button but then again I might not have been so blessed.

    Thank you Amanda.

  2. Wow. This took me back. I never got my goodbye either. Every time I tried to steal a few private moments with him at the wakes, someone would come along to cry with me or to "console" me by pulling me away. By the time they loaded the casket in the hearse, I lost it...knowing I never got to say my goodbye before he died, or in death.

    I know the feeling of the arguments and tiffs. We fought so much in the weeks leading up to his bone marrow transplant. He was under so much stress and fear as was I. And even when he was in the hospital for the last three months of his life, we'd have our share of arguments in his room. There was a couple of occasions where I walked out and went home to not have to deal with everything. Or snapped on him after I lost count of sleepless nights and full work days. He felt like a burden to me. He wasn't. I was just so scared.

    I try to live without a single regret but I can't help but regret the fact that I ever made him feel like a burden. No matter how many times I told him he wasn't (HE WASN'T), I know he didn't believe me. I hate that he died with that in his heart. I hope he believes me now.

  3. Beautiful post Amanda - I can feel your sadness and loss. I think one of the hardest things about bereavement is the regret we carry with us. How cruel our minds and hearts can be when they force regrets to the forefront when someone dies. Life is imperfect, as are human relationships and, therefore, I doubt there would ever be a time when we would feel absolutely regret-free when we lose a loved one. x

  4. I hated that too. I'm an introvert as well, and HATED the visitations and the funeral. I hated the feeling of all those eyes being on ME.

    I had a closed casket mainly because the cancer and chemo had done a number on Dave's body. He had lost sooo much weight, and absolutely hated how he looked near the end. We hadn’t discussed it, but I’m sure he would prefer people not see him that way in the end. And he was so beautiful...
    I had a slideshow running on a big screen with hundreds of photos of him, and I know he would have preferred that.
    I do however recognize that a closed casket made it a little less real for me.

    And I know I didn’t behave at all how I wanted to at the funeral. I don’t think I even really cried. I couldn’t. Why is that? I just wanted it over.
    This post has brought me back there again. The funeral. Dave was buried in another town an hour away the day after the funeral, (his wishes from many years earlier) so there was no huge procession on the day of the funeral. The hearse came to pick him up after the service, and while everybody watched it drove away down a long winding path back out to the road. However as I stood at the front with the two pastors, I actually laughed a little. (Absolutely awful I know.) The hearse was being led by a tiny white Smart Car. I turned to the pastors and quietly and said, “Oh no. Dave hated those cars with a passion. And now one is leading him away!”

    I should have been sobbing and throwing my body over the coffin and hearse, and here I was laughing at the irony of the situation.
    I would certainly have liked a do-over of that moment... Pathetic.

  5. Amanda,
    We all wish we could do over parts of our lives, but we know we won't have that chance. You have to just go on, and tell yourself you made the right choice, at that time.
    It's over and done with, and dwelling on what you could have/should have done, will get you no where.

    I didn't even want a funeral, didn't want to deal with everyone. But his brother, and my daughter, took the lead, and we planned a small gathering, invite only. That of course did not work, so I, too, had the eyes of many on me, many who ignored us in the last months. All of the sudden they wanted to be there, where were they when we needed them? I did pick some favorite music, to be played after the service. I think the funeral home was a bit taken back by my choice, reggae, but I really didn't care. Probably the first (and last) time they played Bob Marley!

    1. Thank you for your response.
      I really appreciate it.
      I did just want to clarify something though - "dwelling on it", or as I see it - "processing it", is something my psychologist advised me to do. I have found that I wasn't able to process much at the time and it has only been a long time after the fact that I've been able to go back and process those things that happened in the first few days. This may be something I will always regret not being able to do, but by viewing those regrets across a couple of years, I'm hoping that this , like many other things in life, will be resolved within my brain as I process my feelings.

      ....and as for music - we had a mix of Australian country music and pop ... and not the ACDC he would have wanted because we were in a church!