We write about widowhood as we live it. Together we examine the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of life as a widowed person. The views expressed here are those held by each individual author. We take no credit for their brillance; we just provide them with a forum for expressing their widowed journey in words that are uniquely their own.
I made the mistake of going through mine and Seth’s old
He was in school full time. I worked a desk job. So we both
sat in front of a computer all day.. and emailed each other during slow times.
I have a million emails between us.
Which can be a good thing and a bad thing.
I came a crossed an email that reminded me of right before
my husband died. It also reminded me of times I had forgotten.
A lil back story. Since 2001 I needed shoulder surgery to
correct snapping shoulder. I had two different doctors tell “Put the surgery
off as long as possible, some people don’t need surgery and can manage the
I reached my pain limit in May of 2010. I was putting off
surgery until February 2011, which is when my vacation at work would renew. In February I would be able to take time off work and recover from surgery without taking a
loss in pay.
Thanks to the emails, I remember surgery was originally scheduled for February 2011. Come July
2010 and I couldn't stand the pain anymore. I was in so much pain I could
barely brush my teeth.
My surgeon rescheduled my surgery to July 22nd,
I don’t remember any of this.
I remember all this now due to the emails Seth and I sent to
each other about me reaching my pain max, my surgeon scheduling emergency surgery,
and talk of how we would manage me taking time off work without pay.
I went through surgery just fine. The only downfall was I
couldn't do anything myself. I couldn't move my right arm at all. I am very
right handed, I’m not left handed at all. Seth had to do everything for me,
even brush my teeth.
I would sit in the bathtub with the water up to my waist and
he would bath me.. and shave my body. Careful to not get my incisions wet or
cut me while shaving.
He would then change my bandages, dress me while I sat in a
chair, brush my teeth, blow dry my hair, curl my hair, do my makeup, and drive
me to work. He did every single thing for me. My mom was there to cook, clean and help me get around while Seth was at school or work.
Five days later on July 27th, 2010.. my love
ended his life. Five days after my shoulder surgery.
Now.. I don’t remember his death being that close to my surgery.
I remember (now) that I went to my surgeon alone on July 26th,
because my husband had gone missing that morning.
I (now) remember sitting on my surgeons table, getting my
stitches removed, getting my shoulder pushed and pulled on, dealing with the pain.. alone. When
my surgeon asked me how everything was going (meaning my shoulder) all I could
come up with was “fine.”
But my husband killing himself five days after my shoulder
surgery, when I couldn't take care of myself, was selfish.
But was there ever a good
or convenient time for my husband to die? Probably not.
When I read the emails, reminding me of my surgery, and
reminding me of how close to surgery my husband’s suicide was.. I was angry.
How dare him leave me right after I had surgery! How dare him leave me when I needed
Now counting back the days and going over his toxicology
report, I realized he stopped taking all his medication a day or two before my surgery. How could he stop taking his medication when he knew I needed him for my recovery?
I read these emails a couple of weeks ago and have been
trying to process the anger and thoughts.
I have finally come to see the silver lining in this.
The last four days of our life together was spent TOGETHER. We
spent very intimate moments together during that time. I’m not talking about
sex.. I’m talking about my husband bathing me.. and shaving me in places I
wouldn't let anyone get close to with a sharp object.
Taking care of me in ways I wouldn't let just anyone take
These are my last memories of him. Watching him carefully
wash my hair, carefully wash me head to toe, attempting to not cause me
shoulder pain or get it wet. My last memories of him is not the bipolar stricken
person I had come to know. It was my husband that loved me, took care of me
when he obviously couldn't live one more day.
His last four days on this earth revolved around taking care
While I have been angry with him for leaving me in such a
way, I will forever be thankful for this time we had together. The time he took
to take care of me. The times I sat
helpless in the bathtub and just trusted him to do everything for me.
Ironically if I hadn't reschedule my surgery, I would have had surgery seven months after my husbands death. I wouldn't have had this time with my husband. And my mom would have been taking care of me.. including bathing me.
Maybe there is a silver lining in everything after all.