Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hello Year Three

John at our local swim centre - part of how I spent the 2nd anniversary.

I'm struggling writing this week.  I know the general gist of what I want to say, but some of it keeps seeming harsh, uncaring, like I'm an insensitive bitch.  Because it's about the relief and positivity I've figured out I find in Ian's death anniversary.

This past weekend was the second anniversary of Ian's passing.  And although it may sound odd to many, my experience of it was a positive time of transition.  I was sad, and there were some bitter sweet moments, like me mentioning to John that daddy played field hockey, while we watched some highlights from the world cup, so John went up and asked which was daddy... little hard.  I explained again that daddy died, but stifled a bit of a giggle, since daddy wouldn't have been playing women's field hockey!! 

But I also felt a weight had been lifted.  And in general living life terms, it was just another ordinary Saturday with swimming lessons, me working on uni stuff, cleaning, laundry, playing with John. 

Having now passed through 2 cycles of anniversaries, I'm certain my really hard period is March, when Ian got sick and I went through what was for me the most traumatic part of the illness that lead to his death.  He should have died that day, and I spent most of the day feeling the weight of that.  And I began to grief the loss of what our life would have been from that moment.  But as much as March is my heavy anniversary, there is a weight that sits in the background up until his death anniversary.

By the time he did pass away, it was a relief for me.  He wasn't being put through test after test, and wasn't lying in a bed, paralysed and unable to speak. No more seizures robbing him of his cognitive ability bit by bit. 

As harsh as it sounds, I knew I'd reached the point that I couldn't carry on with the uncertainty, the stress, the roller coaster that had been his illness. It was keeping me from being the best parent I could be for John, even though I was doing the best I could given the circumstances we found ourselves in.  I didn't want him loosing two parents, particularly since we reached a point that loosing one was inevitable.

By nature, I'm a planner.  When it looked like Ian would survive with decent cognitive ability, but be in residential care for the rest of his life, I was looking at options to keep our family as intact as possible. 

Then we reached the point where that wouldn't happen.  And I was lost.  I couldn't plan.  I couldn't find security for John and I in anything.

So when he died, although I was and still am, sad, it was a huge relief.  In fact the first words I said were 'Thank God it's over" - for both of us.  And I could transition to the immediate practical aftermath of the death of someone - I had stuff that needed to get done, rather than sitting and waiting with nothing I could do.

So the upshot is, the anniversary of his death for me is a time of renewal, where I feel like I can look forward to the future - in terms of years now, not just days, weeks or months that I had in the initial loss. 

I guess another part of it is knowing I have 9 months of less weight on my shoulders, without the anniversaries looming over my head.


  1. Thanks for this, Kerryl. I think the relief you feel makes perfect sense. I felt it for you as I read this post and all that you both went through.
    I also think most of us can relate in feeling that relief every time one of those "big days" passes. The leading up to those days always seems to be worse than the actual day itself.
    Thanks for sharing your relief. :)

  2. I'm approachng my third "deathaversary", but I too feel the day with the weight is the anniversary of his diagnosis. That's the day that everything changed - the day when I knew that we would never be the same again. I thought that we would emerge from this fire ready for the next stage of our lives, as we had when I got sick some years ago. But, I don't think he ever believed he would survive - despite every bit of evidence saying he would - and he was right.

    So, even though to the world I am nearly three years a widow, in my mind I always as those extra months when he was already leaving me. That date that I recognize alone is the one that really matters to me.

  3. All I can say is thank you......you will never know how much this post helped me.

  4. I understand this. I remember crying (angrily) for God to either heal him, or take him, as I simply couldn't take it anymore.
    I loved him soooo much but when he died I felt relief.
    And guilt.

    1. The guilt of wanting it over, of being relieved hangs heavy. It just feels culturally unacceptable to wish for the end to come quckly and as peacefully as possible for both of you.

  5. Dana died May 29, 2012....Starting in March, is the beginning of the end. The rest of your story is mine. Except for the kid part. Mine are grown.
    This year, May 30 dawned and I felt lighter somehow. I knew that I needed to take this year by the balls and shake it around. I am pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Doing things I would have never done a few years ago....
    Cheers to the next 9 months!

  6. For me I think it was month 18 that I felt like I turned a corner. However, the anniversary of my wife's accident was harder than her actual death anniversary. I too had the roller coaster experience of good days and bad. Her main doctor kept saying that Laura would recover, but it would be a long recovery. I didn't not have a DNR for Laura and on that last day her blood pressure crashed and the doctors worked on her for two hours. But after that her doctor said he didn't think she would recover and I made the decision to remove her from life support.

    While my life has been getting better, I often question if it would have been better for Laura to die at the accident site and not have had to live in the Critical Care Unit for another 20 days. Laura was never responsive and I don't know if she understood where or who was in the room with her. Part of me thinks a quick death would have been better, but another part is glad that she did live those extra 20 days. It allowed for her mother, twin sister, and other close friends to see her before that final day.

    1. Hello, I stumbled onto this site.. I read yr testimony. Wow sounds like mine, except yes I'm glad he didn't die at scene because he got to see me before helicopter lifted him out.. And he saw my sister and brother law.. Oh how I wish I could get that scene out of my mind.. I picked up his boots.. I wanted to die right there.. 34 yrs.. We were kids 18 when we got married. At 51 I had to face the worst..being a widow..I won't lie to anyone abt how u r not Gona ever get over it.. U get thru it....almost 6 yrs later, hard to move on. Alone, kinda lost,single not by choice, still dealn w it.. Daily..that day I lost my man, husband,lover, friend, breadwinner, mechanic, electrician, plumber, carpenter, scholar of words and meanings, my sons father, my grandchildrens pop pop, etc..many days I thought I was dead, but still breathing..I can only tell all, that I prayed to God help me.. There's no way I can do this alone..no way..my testimony is long one, but wil tel u my sister said we lived n glass house death of one so close never knocked at our door. We were unprepared..Life as I knw it, no longer exists..God b with u all that have had to endure your loss..