Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Their thing

My daughter, who was away for her 1st year of college, and Tori literally talked everyday on the phone last year.
They had a wonderful relationship.
Sometimes, if home, I would listen in on their conversation.
Other times, T would fill me in on what they talked about when I got home from work.

I thought it would be helpful to try and continue the same daily telephone contact this year.
I was mistaken.
My daughter, in her own kind way, recently let me know I was calling her too often.
Initially it hurt my feelings, but only for a very short time.
Her relationship with my wife was one of a kind, irreplaceable.

My daughter knows I love her and would do anything for her.
Talking on the phone everyday was their thing.
I was wrong to assume it could or should become our thing as well.
We still text and/or snapchat everyday and that's a great thing.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The deep dark chasm of grief

It was great to see a friend of mine over the weekend.

He's a buddy from Medical School and although we haven't had a huge amount of time together over the years since we graduated, I've always considered him to be one of my best friends.

He was one of the ushers at my wedding and just an all around great guy.

He gave me a copy of the book, A Grief Observed, by CS Lewis-a classic on the spiritual journey of grief.

In the introduction the authors step-son reminds us that despite being a strong and determined Christian, his Dad also fell into the deep dark chasm of grief while in the midst of whirling thoughts and while groping for support and guidance after the death of his wife.

"If we find no comfort in the world around us, and no solace when we cry to God, if it does nothing else for us, at least this book will help us to face our grief and to misunderstand a little less completely."

I'm reading it for the second time.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Some well earned zzzz's

I've had no problem falling asleep lately.
It's exhausting taking care of the dog, working all day, figuring out what to make for meals, preparing the meals, doing some laundry, keeping the house picked-up, paying some bills, balancing the checkbook, making lists of needed groceries and supplies, fielding phone calls and text messages from our children and helping to problem solve whatever mini crisis arises over the course of the day.
I always thought I was impressively multi-tasking while going to the bathroom and shaving at the same time.
I never fully realized what a typical day for Tori was like.
She never had a problem falling asleep.
I could never understand how she could be asleep within seconds of kissing me good night.
I now understand.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

That's life

Things I found out recently:

A neighbors wife left him and his 2 elementary school aged daughters over a year ago. She has not contacted them since. He's struggling as a single Dad.
A nurse, who I've known for years, inquired how my children were doing. She also let me know that her mother died suddenly when she was only 15 years old.
A colleague inquired how I was doing. During the course of the conversation she let me know her husband committed suicide when their daughter was only 15 months old. Her daughter is now 12.
I saw a note from a high school friend acknowledging the ten-year anniversary of his wife's death. She was 46 years old at the time when she died suddenly of a heart attack and their son was only 10. I had not known until I saw his note.

I saw a quote today:
"Most everyone you meet is fighting a battle of which you know nothing about."

It's true.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Will they stop?

I'm sure the match making services read the obituaries.
I just don't quite follow how they got my e-mail.
Everyday I receive multiple e-mails from some well known,, etc. but also from others, origins unknown-Ethnic women looking for middle-aged widowers, Women looking for a sugar daddy, etc.
I don't open any.
I delete them all.

It's predatory.
It's insensitive
It's creepy.
They just keep on coming.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Gets to me every time

Pretty much anyone can now ask me "are you doing all right?" and I can respond "yes, thanks" and not have tears start to form...except for when my son asks me the same question.
I spent yesterday afternoon watching a college football game with him.
We had a great time, even though his school lost.
As I was dropping him off back at his apartment he asked me "the question."
He asks me the same thing every time we talk.
I would never request for him not to ask.
The tears started immediately.
I know how deeply he loved his mother and the magnitude of the loss still overwhelms me.
I also know how much he cares about me.
My daughter always makes sure I'm eating well, exercising and getting enough rest.
She tends to not ask "the question."
I know I would have the same response as when asked by my son.
I'm sure she knows as well.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The rest of my life

I went to see my Mom today.
It was a quiet ride down this morning but I decided to jam on the way home tonight.
I started the ride back listening to a "golden oldie" station.
A lot of the oldies are love songs but I started to get particularly sad while belting out the song by Bread:
"And I would give anything I own
Give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give everything I own
Just to have you back again
Just to touch you once again."

So...I switched to a Christian Rock station for the remainder of the ride.
The song that was playing as I pulled back into my neighborhood was "Day One," by Matthew West:
"It's day one of the rest of my life
It's day one of the best of my life
I'm marching on to the beat of a brand new drum
Yeah, here I come
The future has begun
Day one."

I'm hoarse but the singing helped.
Coming home tonight stung a little bit less than usual.
Poor Dwight looks pretty tired because the music made it harder for him to take his usual 3-hour nap.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

She had a vision

T was an avid reader.
Prior to her Kindle she made almost a weekly trip to our public library.
Once she had her Kindle she downloaded, on average, 3-5 books a week.

So many people have been shocked to learn that she had a turbulent childhood.
Family dysfunction, divorces, court proceedings, kidnappings, etc.
It took me years to tease out much of the information because she never really wanted to talk about it.
She did let me know that as a kid, in the midst of chaos, she would find her safe haven alone in a room with a book.

She didn't have the benefit of having a stable family life as a model to follow when she became an adult.
I don't know exactly what she read as a child but I suspect, through some of her readings, she was able to envision a perfect family.
She achieved her vision.

She was a relatively small woman in stature but such a strong person, intrinsically, who was determined to never let her past affect her future.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water

I went to a men's bible study group this morning for the first time.
All was going fine until we started to discuss the letters the disciple Paul had written and then someone went off on a tangent to talk about how letter writing has become a lost practice.
The group leader decided to ask "who here has actually received a hand written note recently," while looking right at me.
Of course I'm still getting a few hand written notes every week since T died.
When I answered that I have the water works started.
I then explained why I was crying while my voice was cracking but luckily I was able to compose myself in short order.
I mentioned then that, in a way, I wish the notes would stop.

I had another nice note, when the mail arrived, on a card today.
The tears started to flow while reading the kind words.
I wasn't being truthful when I said I wish the letters would stop.
I don't wish for that to happen.
Especially when I can read them in private.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

As it should be

Another blog ( by a middle aged male who lost his wife noted,"we could read other by the most fleeting of glances, a frown or a simple smile."

He went on to say,"I would almost say she was made for me and I like to think that she thought the same about me too."

Well stated.

The two of them had a lot in common with the two of us.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The facts of life

American Heart Assosciation statistics for out of hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) victims include the following:
* 25% of OHCA victims have no symptoms before an arrest.
*Survival to hospital discharge for OHCA victims is 10.4 percent. Only one of ten OHCA victims who make it to the hospital after advanced cardiac life support survive to be discharged.

T had an OHCA.
I think she was in the 25% who had no symptoms before her cardiac arrest-at least she didn't voice any symptoms and I've convinced myself that I didn't notice any-on most days (other days I question if I missed subtle signs).
She was one of the 9/10 who did not survive to hospital discharge.
I still have thoughts that she still might be here if I had done CPR more effectively at home before the rescue squad arrived.
These thoughts are always accompanied by guilt.
I suspect I've been reviewing these statistics to in a way encourage me to accept that the odds for her recovery were not significantly worsened by my inability to adequately resuscitate her after she collapsed in our home.
I haven't been able to accept it yet.