Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tears and Fears ......


...... are something I've had more than my share of during these last 5 years ...... and something I've experienced zero of.

I've had more than my share of tears.
I think we can all agree that the human body is capable of shedding more water than it seems able to hold.  There were several times during those first two years when I wondered how it was possible to not die of dehydration because of all of the tears I shed.
I still wonder how it's possible to survive that ...... and wonder if I will soon reach my lifetime allotment of tears ...... and then never be able to shed another one.
I'm not sure how I'd feel about that.

As for fear ...... when I was told that Jim had died during surgery ...... and when I saw his body ...... what was left of him, but wasn't really him ...... I lost all sense of fear.  Truly.
I didn't fear a future without him.
I couldn't see a future without him.
There was nothing to fear because all I saw in front of me was cold, inky, blackness.  No hope.  No smiles.  No happiness.  Nothing.
And when there is nothing ...... there's nothing to fear.

I can say that the thought of my future has lightened significantly over the past 5 years.  It's no longer a cold, inky, blackness.  It's slowly turned from that ...... to grey, to brown, to a kind of khaki color, to a dark green ...... and now it's slowly fading into a lovely blue color.
Yes, it may seem weird that I describe my future, and my grief, in terms of color, but it's been that way from the beginning.
I'm glad that the blackness is gone.  I'm happy with the new blue that's before me.  For however long it lasts.

But no matter the color, it was not something that I feared.
Five and a half years ago I experienced the worst thing that could ever happen to me.
And I survived.
That was questionable some days, but here I stand.  Today.  A survivor.
And I never felt one moment of fear.

Until last night.
Let me preface this by saying that this has been a week from hell.
It has sucked ...... both in its happenings and in the energy it has drained from me.
My step-dad went in for surgery last Wednesday.
And everything started slowly sliding down hill.

I have spent 8 days with my mom, who has been staying with me because the hospital is in Houston, closer to my home than to hers.
We spent most of Wednesday at the hospital.  Up at 5:00 a.m., surgery at 8:30 a.m., out of surgery at 1:30 p.m. (2 hours later than expected), in post op for 20 minutes, back in the waiting room for 2 hours, and then finally in a private room with him until that evening.

The next time we saw him he had been moved to a different floor and had a room mate.
And had gone from having a pain block in his right leg (he had a total knee replacement) and a morphine drip ...... to no pain meds ...... and no iv.

And so the week has gone.
Then, during the last 2 nights, he has called my mother in the middle of the night and in the not-so-middle-of-the-night and has been totally out of his mind.  Not knowing what day it is or what time it is, or why he's where he is.
I have only been the listener to one side of these phone calls.  But that was enough to scare the crap out of me ...... because I could see, and hear, the fear in my mom's face and voice.
This was not the husband she knew.
This is not the strong, stubborn, sometimes-frutratingly-unmoveable man that she shared  a life with.
And the future she had always assumed would be there ...... seemed to be evaporating during those phone calls.

I felt her fear, and I feared for her.
For the first time in over 5 years I feared what "might happen".
Because I know what "could happen".

Thankfully, we figured out what was really happening ...... and were able to get things sorted out today.
Let's just say that a combination of strong pain meds and strong sleeping meds does not always (ever?) lead to a good outcome.
We are relieved that that's all it was.
And that what "could happen" ...... didn't.
This time, anyway.

You and I both know that ultimately ...... what "could happen" ...... will happen.  To someone.
To everyone.

And that thought scares the hell out of me.

I don't want anyone I know and love/like/tolerate/can't stand ...... to have to go through what I've gone through.
What you've gone through.
But I am ...... as are you ...... powerless to stop it.

This time we experienced relief, rather than grief.
All is well and he's getting out of the hospital tomorrow.

And I'm heading to NY tomorrow, where I can hopefully hole myself up in my room and cry long and hard, releasing the tears that have been building up, and slowly leaking out, all week.
I just need a few hours.
And then I'll be ok.

This time.


  1. deserve your NY time after all that. My friend is with her friend waiting for her husband to die today. That sounds cold and cruel but that's what it is and it takes me back to when my friend and family sat with me and waited for my Jim to die. It's agonizing and not something we should have to go through. For now you are safe so go enjoy NY and go to Ferraras bakery and get a lobster tail (I think that's what they're called) for me!

  2. Before my husband died unexpectedly, suddenly, it seems that my life was driven by fear; I didn't like it and there are many childhood trauma reasons why fear was my faithful friend, but no matter. It was just how it was.
    Then when my Marty died, it was as if fear has gone out the window. As a matter of fact, I have referenced it as "Fear? It went in the crematorium with Martin," because that is how it has felt. There is very little I fear. In so many ways, I haven't found something I haven't been able to do since Mart died. Oh sure, there are a zillion things I haven't wanted to do and I have forced myself to do; there are also many things that I opted not to do, choosing not to put myself in purposeful places of pain - good choice every time!
    I think any woman called to pick our her husbands funeral clothes, has done the hardest thing of their life. I've done that. Nothing scares me anymore. Almost to a fault. I don't behave recklessly, but I don't let fear stop or thwart me - almost as if I feel a challenge, "just tell me I can't......"
    You are right; with a blank slate future, what's there to be afraid of. Now for 29 months, I have gotten up every single day, put one foot in front of the other and walked on this wretched journey. Boring - yes! Mundane - yes! Unknown - yes! Resented - yes! Lonely - yes! New things in my life to infinity and beyond - yes! Changed - yes! Longing for what was - yes! Afraid - NO!!!!!