Have and have not

It has been some time since I last posted here.   I’ve been doing some thinking about many things, including the thoughts that I have captured on this blog.  It struck me how intensely personal some of those thoughts were, perhaps too much of a peak into the mind of the grieving widow.  Writing it down did help me tremendously and continues to do so, so after much consideration I decided to keep on making entries here as the mood strikes me.  It serves much like a diary for me, and one day I will go back and read what I wrote, but I am not at that point yet.

I think that I am entering a transition period, and not by choice.  I don’t usually recall my dreams, but in the last few days I have had the same snippet appear repeatedly, from night to night.  It is always Kevin, giving me kiss and a hug and telling me, no asking me, to let him go.  Gently, with a soft voice and a comforting kiss, making a request that I can’t entertain yet.  For, if I do have even a bit of him still, I want to hang onto it.  But the thought is there in my mind, why is that?  If I were to ask my kids I am sure they would tell me that there is a heck of a band forming in the great beyond and Kev wants to be part of it.  Rock ‘n roll heaven.

I know he will keep asking and I know that one day I will have to say okay.  Okay, and thank you my love.



A Wretched State of Mind

"The Planets" - One of Kevin's recent oil paintings... No more of these ever again.

“The Planets” – One of Kevin’s recent oil paintings… No more of these ever again.

It is widely held that writing is cathartic, that it “provides psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions.”  Personally, I have always turned to writing as a way to sort through my problems or emotions or to capture a thought or feeling.  Sometimes the things that float around in our heads and seem so insurmountable become a whole bunch more manageable when written down.  Oftentimes, after we strip away the emotion associated with a problem and capture the bare facts, then true risks and potential solutions become apparent. That’s not the case with respect to Kevin’s death. Writing this doesn’t serve as a pressure valve where I can relieve the sadness and despair from his passing. There is no way to strip away the emotion and there is no solution. Fact is, I don’t solve anything by writing this blog. It’s not meant to solve things anyway.

Sometimes actually sitting down to write something can become overwhelming.  I write and the tears flow. I type but I can’t see the keyboard for tears.  Sometimes the weight of his loss sits so heavily on my shoulders and chest, I bow my head and just let the sorrow wash over me.  It may take two or three days to finish off one solitary blog because it is just too painful.  It doesn’t make me feel any better, sometimes I feel worse.  I don’t stop though, because I feel that writing and expression is an essential part of this process for me.  I don’t stop because I feel compelled to capture every part of this journey – I don’t ever want to forget.  The depth of my devastation at Kevin’s loss sums up the immensity of my love for the man.

Death, hopefully, produces a blessed oblivion for the one dying, but it devastates those unprepared or unwilling souls that are left behind.  For me it has put in me in a horrid, wretched state of mind.  I know that I am surrounded by goodness, kindness and charity, but it’s like they exist on a parallel plane, visible yet not accessible to me.  I feel that I can’t absorb those gifts even though they are right in front of me.  It’s not a lack of gratitude on my part, it’s an inability to receive.  This month, the month of June, is a tough one.  It’s not getting easier as it nears the end of the month, nor do I expect it to.  No one can make it better, a reprieve from my present state of mind has to radiate outwards from me.

The Final Day

On Sunday morning we made the decision to let a few close friends know that Kevin was failing and fast.  We contacted the doctor, and I also called the pharmacy to ensure we had adequate anti-anxiety medication on hand.  It had been a trying night and all of us were quite spent.

Fortunately both our GP and the visiting nurse arrived at the same time.  After a quick assessment and some discussion with the visiting nurse, our GP wanted to speak with me upstairs and alone.  She wanted to confirm what I already knew – that my husband was going downhill far faster than anyone could have anticipated.  The GP asked me what was more important to me and the family, to have Kevin around a bit longer or to aggressively manage his pain with medication which could shorten his remaining time.  She asked although she knew the answer was a no brainer – his pain was significant and it was being transferred onto everyone in the room.  We were all in agony with him.

The decision was made to increase the morphine being administered through his pain pump as well as to allow him to self dose or bolus every 15 minutes versus every half hour.  The visiting nurse also provided me with a port to use to administer the anti-anxiety medication rather than injecting him.  We had been giving him anti-anxiety medication sublingually however, the lymph nodes had swollen so significantly in his neck that he couldn’t swallow and was quite fearful of choking.  The doctor and the nurse stayed for almost an hour getting him comfortable.  The nurse sent out my son to purchase some mouth care products to ensure that Kevin’s tongue, lips, roof of his mouth and inside his cheeks remained moist. I can still see his beautiful blue eyes staring hopelessly at the ceiling while I swabbed his mouth.

The doctor left around 2 pm or so advising me that we were likely looking at 24 to 36 hours at best, if things were merciful.  Family had arrived and were able to spend a few minutes in his company even though he was now non-communicative; it was evident that he could still hear what was being said.  We filled that room with so much love and I hope he felt it and still does.