So it has come and gone again.  The anniversary of Kevin’s death.  Year two in the books.  Not easier at all.  I don’t know if it was harder, but I do know it wasn’t easier.  This year Easter fell similar to the year he died.  Kevin died on the Sunday before Easter.  I pushed to have the funeral on the Thursday before Good Friday.  Deliberately so it wouldn’t wreck anyone’s long weekend plans.  It likely/probably did, but at least they didn’t have to go to a funeral on one of their days off.

This year, just the way it fell, I found it hard going into the weekend.  And it wasn’t just me, his sister, my kids, we all felt it.  The memories sit in your heart and hurt with each beat.  But more than ever I realize that this is it, what I have now is on me, and I need to appreciate what I have.  This is what Kevin fought for, why he went through chemo, what he was so desperately trying to hold on to.  Life: to watch his grandkids grow up, to enjoy his family and friends, to explore, create, attempt new things.  To see and to be; to wring every bit of enjoyment out of every single day.  It’s all right there for anyone who wants it.

So, I just have to figure out how to want it.  So far I am not applying myself very well.


After the Doctor Left

The doctor left the house around 2 pm on Sunday, March 29th.  The kids were all around and immediate family had come over as well.  It is surreal to me now as I reflect back on what happened.  The doctor left and I chatted with the kids about how things were rapidly declining.  The lymph nodes in my husband’s neck had swollen tremendously and likely were the culprit for the rapid decline.  We had been instructed by the doctor to use the pain pump as often as every 15 minutes if Kevin appeared to be in discomfort.  We also had the mouth care products which we liberally applied to the inside of his mouth and his lips.

There was no noticeable change in his breathing, it remained as laboured as ever, and his physical presence didn’t change dramatically.  Whatever was happening was occurring inside, almost like he didn’t want to cause us any distress.  There was no rattle in his chest and his agitation was significantly diminished – I suspect his system was gently slowing down.

All day, off and on, someone had been holding his hand or stroking his arm and telling him how loved he was.  Around 6:30 that night I knelt by the side of the bed and held his hand, my daughter Kelly knelt on the other side and did the same.  I said to him “it’s okay Kevin, your girls are here.”  At that exact moment his sister walked through the door saying “Hello everybody, I just finished dinner and thought I’d stop by.”  My two sons were at home, one in the room, one outside watching the darn hawk that had been flying over the house all afternoon.  It was then that Kevin took two deep breaths, almost sighs, and literally left us.  It was a graceful departure, one of peace – the thing he believed in most.  It was his gift to us as a family, a quick release designed to minimize our agony of watching him die.  Cancer may have taken him, but in the end he went on his terms.

Kevin, Kev, Kevi, Big Daddy, Pappy, Dad, Pops, Uncle Kevin, Granddad, Batch, Batchelor – you will be missed so very much and by so many – there was no one quite like you.  I love you honey.

What Next?

So I have to make a decision about this blog – do I keep it going or do I shut it down. It started as a diary of events surrounding my husband’s illness and with his death it must be revisited.

Grief is a debilitating thing, it takes away all rational thought and introduces a fear that is insidious that influences you without you even being aware of it. Like the fight or flight response the body goes into gut wrenching reaction where emotions over rule the mind. They tell me this is normal. The events preceding my husband’s death were the most emotional and draining I have ever experienced and play over and over in my mind as I grieve.

During Kevin’s last days with us he deteriorated far faster than the doctor expected. We had agreed and enrolled in a program called expected death in the home or EDITH. This provided us with access to home supports for all stages associated with impending death. Consequently when his health started to decline on Saturday I called our visiting nurse to come to the house and assist me and the kids in calming him down. He was most agitated.

We used an injection from a symptom relief kit that was supplied to me (and is given to all terminal patients in our area). Kevin’s agitation was quite intense and he was determined to get out of his bed and leave. He pleaded with us to “help me”. It was bar none the hardest night that the kids and I have ever put in. The night was an anxious one but he made it through.

We made a decision to contact the doctor to attend the house on Sunday to help us prepare for the days ahead – or so we thought. At this point we still believed we had at least a week or even two to spend with him.