Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Truth hurts

I'm so sorry I haven't blogged for a few weeks. I made a certain discovery which has changed my life upside down for good . I have been in the depths of despair ever since & have been left in fragments. I can never be the same person again as a result.

I think it will have to change the purpose of my blogging since it was all about "A Journey through Grief". I don't know what else I could blog about but I'm sure there will be plenty of other things in time. But one thing is for certain my course of direction will have to change. I can no longer be the "grieving wife". What I now know would make my husband my "ex".

For months I have struggled with the concept of being a single parent but now this feels right for me. Who would have thought that after my husband's death I am grieving that he has become my ex. Also I am grieving the husband I never had. He certainly was never my soul-mate.

I wonder whether there is anyone else out there who has had a difficult relationship. I feel rather a misfit in society. I go to a group called WAY (widowed and young - under 50) but have yet to meet anyone who has gone through my experience.

I'm glad some people have met their soul-mate. It must be so hard to loose them if they should die. But what if the relationship was hard like in my case? I have met others who had a hard time when their partner was dying as the cancer changed their personality such as in liver cancer. Yes I found that to be the case, although my husband suffered a brain tumor & not liver cancer. But my doctor said it wouldn't have effected his personality. However I had had problems for years with him. I had always blamed the steroids he was taking for colitis as he had seemed a reasonable person until then.

But from what I had told my G.P., he referred to him as an "odd personality' which was made worse by the kids coming along. I'm beginning to feel my G.P. was right. Unfortunately he had to go on steroids shortly after the second child was born. So I will never really know what happened or what was to blame - maybe a combination of things. But what does that say for me being attracted to an "odd personality"? I try to think it was because my husband was so clever that he was able to fool me. God I hope that it doesn't make me odd for having fallen for it. No - my husband was a very clever person. He knew how to manipulate & pull the wool over anybody's eyes.

Well, you well & truly are reading about "Midnight Ramblings", aren't you? A very appropriate title for my blog, considering. You must all be wondering what an earth has happened. It is all so sensitive that I can't really explain. Maybe it should be a reminder that if any of us want our secrets to be kept it will all come out in the wash once we have died unless you make a point of concealing it.

I guess, as my husband didn't know he was dying until the week in which he died, he hadn't thought of concealing it all. Then it was too late. He went downhill so quickly, I guess it was the last thing on his mind. But had I known what I now know, there was no way our marriage could have continued. He would have become my "ex". I am now grieving for the 18 years of our marriage that was a lie (although I will never know how much of it or to what extent) as well as the emotional effort I have put in since - searching for the treasured memories which have now become contaminated. It has all been taken from me.

The timing of finding out wasn't very appropriate, either - Valentine's day. I had left a red heart balloon on his grave, had a card ready to sign & place by his side of the bed back home (once I had returned from visiting my dear Mum, Maggie May).

I had just been discussing with my dear family the very words to put on my husband's headstone - including words sucn as "Forever in our hearts...." I was assured the words I had chosen were very nice. I had put lots of emotional effort into looking at all the headstones in the cemetery where he is buried & deciding roughly what I wanted to make it perfect & honorable to him. Now I haven't a clue. To the outside world & to my boys, I'm living a lie. I must go on being the grieving widow, or should I ? I feel I have to do the headstone as it is the done thing but it is meaningless to me, now. How on earth do I get out of this one? Please Somebody design a headstone for me. It is too much for me to bear.

My husband was the first & I think will be the last. He has done such lasting damage that I don't think I will ever be able to trust anyone ever again.

It just happened to be Valentine's Day when my brother helped me to search through my husband's lap top to see whether he had backed up treasured family holidays. I recently had had to call in the experts to have a virus removed from my P.C. There was a real danger all contents to be removed & re-installed. This meant I could have lost everything - all the sentimental memories of us as a family. Luckily that didn't happen. But there were no family photos backed up - well not recent ones. But that was when we discovered what I now know.

My intentions was not to spy but to honor my husband with cherished memories & all I got was what I found in shock & horror instead. He had obviously lived a very dark side which he kept well hidden from others.

I had asked God for a sign which I believe I got by this discovery. I may need to retract & tell you more about asking for signs. Hopefully I will do that soon. Now I have blogged again, maybe the ice has been broken & it will make it easier to write future posts.

I just wonder what my previous post was all about - the importance of sitting with a dying person. I feel used. I'm sure I was a great comfort to my husband but at what cost? Would I have done it had I known what I know now? I just feel so used.

Thank you for all your comments, prayers & words of encouragement. They are all much appreciated & help to spur me on.

Debs xxxx

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The importance of sitting with a dying person

I had previously wondered whether I should have done more when I sat with my dying husband. Could I have said more, held his hand, stroked his face, etc. But largely I had forgotten about having thought this until I went to church last week.

I went to a healing service with my son, hoping he would be healed of his eczema & sensitivity to dairy products as I'm fed up with having to cook different foods for each family member due to either food allergies or simple food fads.

Anyway, the person giving the talk (J.) started giving a spiel about his dying Grandfather & how he had just sat with him for 36 hours & doing nothing else as he drifted in & out of consciousness. Eventually J. went home & his Grandfather died the next morning. He was gutted.

He then proceeded to tell the congregation that God had told him how important it had been to just sit with his Grandfather. J. went on to say that this was nothing to do with what he was going to talk about but he felt there was someone here in the congregation that needed to hear this. God was telling them that what they also did was very important - just sitting with the dying person.

I immediately felt stunned, gob-smacked. I knew this message was for me. I had only ever wondered why I had not done more once before & had forgotten about it. Now it resurfaced. It felt so magical, like the candle burning in one of my recent posts (see Daytime ramblings of painful anniversaries). The connection with God, with my husband, the personal message for me out of the whole congregation. But why now? I guess now is as good as any time. I can lay this ghost (thought) to rest.

As my husband had a tumor at the base of his spinal column, bit by bit of him was packing up very rapidly. By this time he was bed bound & couldn't move his legs. In fact the nurses had been instructed not to move him back up the bed when he had slid downwards. I guess any sudden movement would have killed him & they had to cushion his feet with towells instead.

I held his hand on one occasion & he seemed to take his hand off immediately. I thought he didn't like the sensation. Maybe he could sense my hand was there but he was going numb & he didn't like how this felt. His body was shutting down. So I respected him. I could only be guided by him.

I didn't think to say anymore to him as I had said all I needed to say at the time to him a couple of days before. I had to ask my Mother-in-Law to leave so I could say what I needed to in private.

I guess I was very conscious that my M-I-L was around trying to sleep in a nearby relatives room. We were taking it in turns to sit by my husband's side. She had already done the previous night. Tonight was my turn but we both wanted to be there when he died. I had to know when to go & wake her at the right time, otherwise he may have died without her being there. It felt a lot of responsibility to be taking onto my shoulders.

So for ages I sat all alone. How I hate death & dying. Here was I facing it all alone. I didn't think to pray to God. I didn't feel his presence. I was just fixed on my husband's every breath - sometimes his chest would rise & fall. Other times his stomach seemed to be doing all the breathing.

But when I was worried or thought he was uncomfortable, I went to call the nurses. I didn't even buzz the alarm but crept down the corridor so as not to disturb the other patients.

The nurses were very good. They gave us space & privacy. But they quickly came to help when requested - such as to use suction to clear his airway as one of the last things to go was the ability to swallow. They guided me when to go & wake my M-I-L up. That helped relieve the pressure. She was able to see him through from birth to his death aged only 41.

I am so grateful to J. for this message, in church. I obviously did need to hear it. I don't normally come to the evening service. As I said before, it was only because of my son that I had come. So it must have been inspired by God, even orchestrated by him. I felt very comforted by this, how God can single me out & speak to me at this time.

I found it simply amazing how God arranged for J. to use his experience to speak to me & for me to actually be there to hear it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Phone Call


One day last week I had popped out for a short time leaving my son at home, who was sick from school on that particular day.

I routinely asked Dean, if we had had any phone calls whilst I was out. He told me someone had called but couldn't catch their name but they had asked for his Dad, who died only 16 months ago. As Dean, is only 11, I asked him how this made him feel. He told me he was okay about it. But I felt for him, being so young & having to deal with it. As a Mum, if only I could protect him & take the pain away from him. But of course, I can't do that for him. He has to go through his own life experiences & feel whatever emotions arise as a result.

I, then explained to Dean, how it doesn't matter how many letters someone writes to inform organizations & individuals that someone has died, the letters or phone calls will still keep coming. I can't predict which databases my husband would still be on in order to have them removed. Dean seemed to be very accepting of the situation.

I dialled 1471 to see if I could trace the telephone number of who had dialled the number as curiosity was getting the better of me. But a recorded message said "Number not known".

I forgot all about it until a couple of occasions later that day, the phone rang again but disconnected when I picked up. I was feeling rather irritated by the second time & was suspicious it was the same organization wishing to speak to my husband.

The phone rang a third time but didn't disconnect this time. It was a very bad line & the person on the other end sounded like a person from a call-centre in India. They asked for my husband by name & then asked whether they were speaking to this person! As if my voice sound's like a man's! Maybe they weren't taught to distinguish "Mr" from "Mrs", who knows?

I asked for the name of the company that they were phoning from, but couldn't catch the answer as it was such a bad line & their English was very poor. I wanted to know before I answered their question. All I heard was them saying something about France. I guessed it must be to do with holidays & my husband was still on a database. Maybe this was from having previously gone to a timeshare presentation or after having filled out a survey whilst on holiday on another occasion. I'm still not sure.

I proceeded to tell them my husband had died so they couldn't speak with him. They ignored this & said "May we interest you in...." . I still couldn't hear the whole sentence. I was GOBSMACKED by their insensitivity. Had they not heard/understood what I had just said. Did they not understand the word "Died"? I could feel my blood starting to boil. I again thought of my poor son having to deal with this person before. I got very cross & told them not to phone my son or me again as it was very upsetting. I think they then had the cheek to hang up on me. I was left feeling very irate.

I looked across at Dean. He was on the computer & appeared to be totally unaffected by any of this. We can learn so much from kids just taking everything in their stride. Yet here was I, feeling angry & upset for him as well as for the injustice of these call-centres. If only they could speak English, be from the local area, then maybe there would be a chance of getting solutions to our problems. And in my case, some compassion in dealing with the loss of a loved one. It just would have been nice for the person to have acknowledged the loss or to have said "sorry" rather than to try to interest me in a particular product.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"You look pretty in pink"

http://www.fotothing.com/photos/d0c/d0c1018db8d81ecc6093230c487fbb51_346.jpg http://www.mooseyscountrygarden.com/pink-rose-pictures/david-austin-pink-rose.jpg

The above title was sent to me in an email last night which has inspired me to write about a memory I had of preparing for my husband's funeral.

I had gone into the florist which was virtually next door to the funeral director, with my Mum. We were busy choosing flowers to throw on my husband's coffin as he was committed to the ground later that day. I didn't like the idea of us all having to sprinkle ashes on top of him. That was too depressing, especially for my sons who were only 12 & 10 at the time.

We were busy deciding on the colour of each flower for each individual guest. I was busy trying to select a blue flower as I only learnt on his death bed that my husband liked the colour blue. I was pointing this out to the florist. She turned round & said "I hope you don't mind me saying this, but you like pink!". She had sussed this out by the clothes I was wearing. I must have been pink all over! Then the florist suggested I throw a blue flower & pink flower tied together.
I felt so moved by this. I had been busy, busy, busy, thinking about my husband's likes & wishes. By doing so I had failed by not acknowledging my own. In fact I had denied myself my own.

The flowers tied together resembled our relationship as husband & wife with both of our wishes met - two different individuals come together. Although he was committed to the ground, he will continue to live in my heart & will always be No 1 Dad to Rick & Dean.

Below is a photo of The DAD oasis the kids chose for the funeral. After the flowers died, we kept the base so they could decorate it for christmas & put it on his grave each year. It certainly brightens up his grave & it looked very nice amongst the snow.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Candle revisited

On Sunday I decided to cook a Sunday roast. I don't normally do this very often because it is too much hard work & both my sons are very fussy eaters.

Anyway, I spontaneously asked Rick & Dean whether they would like me to light the silver & glittery candle which I had lit on what would have been Rupert's birthday (see my last post "Daytime ramblings of painful anniversaries"). I don't normally light candles but obviously feel drawn to this particular candle after my experience with it.

Rick & Dean had been very keen to hear about this encounter & they were okay for me to light it again. This time, as soon as I had lit it, the flame didn't die down. However the flame was never as tall or as bright as when it had been Rupert's birthday. It was just a normal candle. The magic was gone.

This seems like additional confirmation to my questioning mind, that yes I was truly blessed by both God & Rupert.

Thank you for your kind comments & encouragement. I certainly feel loved & supported by so many of you. Thank you for your prayers.

Debs x

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Daytime Ramblings of Painful Anniversairies

A lot has happened since I last did any blogging back in June 2008! If you read my posts you would know my husband was receiving radiotherapy following a brain tumour. Rupert, my husband, tragically died on September 20th 2008 from this.

As it would have been my husband's 43rd birthday on 5th January, I decided to light a candle to remember him. I normally go to his graveside to speak to him but couldn't get there because of the snow. I was feeling guilty about this as I would also have liked to place a birthday card there & take away the Christmas decorations the kids & I had left there
. We had kept the "DAD" oasis & covered it with tinsel & baubles which had brightened up his grave.

I find it so painful that Rupert can't see our kids Rick & Dean growing up. I just hope & pray he can see them from heaven & enjoy each new milestone they reach such as starting secondary school, becoming a teenager.

I feel so guilty as hell that it is him 6 feet under & not me. I ask"Why him? Why did he have to die so young aged 41 when his kids were only 12 & 10?" It must be so hard for them to come to terms with. As a christian I direct my anger at God. It was bad enough becoming a widow at 41, but I feel for my kids - all the things they will miss out on because they haven't a dad to teach them new skills such as tinkering about with the car, building a garden model railway as I'm sure he would have done with them.

I do know, that I can't fill the gaps. I can't be a Mum as well as a Dad. Their Dad must live on in all our hearts with everlasting treasured memories.

So many anniversairies year on year out. Just got through Christmas & the New Year & now Rupert's birthday.

I lit a candle at my dining room table & talked to Rupert as I would at the grave. Very quickly the flame of the candle started to die out. I felt bitterly disappointed. I already hadn't been able to get to the grave. Any card I bought had to be laminated. Choice of card has to be limited. Some words just aren't appropriate for someone who is 6ft under.

I felt desperate. Just as the flame was about to die out, I remember saying spontaneously, "Rupert, please don't die on me". For the candle to have gone out, felt like he had left me for good - total abandonment. I immediately felt guilty for having said this. After all Rupert was already dead. But what I meant was the candlelight.

As soon as I said this, the flame shot back upwards growing bigger into a strong flame. I felt this was a sign he was with me. I felt a rush of adrenaline go through me - a thrill of delight that he was with me & understood why I couldn't go to the grave on his birthday.

My kids were thrilled to hear this encounter & we later bought cards for him. This time we didn't put them on the grave. The kids put their's next to the big computer downstairs where Rupert would often sit. I put mine next to our bed, on the side where Rupert used to sleep.

This week-end I took the boys to Frankie & Benny's for breakfast to remember Rupert. This isn't something we would normally do but hey sometimes it is nice to do something different.

I also phoned my Mother-in-Law to let her know I was thinking of her as well which I think she appreciated.

I don't feel so bad now that I didn't get to Rupert's grave. This experience has shown me that it is therapeutic to do something different. I can remember Rupert wherever I am.

My next step is to sort out a head stone. Over a year has gone by & I haven't been able to do this yet. I'm just waiting for this weather to improve first.

The other thing I found difficult last year was my birthday. I became 42 & left Rupert at 41. As we were married for 18 years & I probably knew him for about 20 years, it didn't seem right or fair that I should have lived longer than him. I guess I have always known him to be a couple of months older than me.

As I will be 43 this year, it makes Rupert's death feel like he was really young to have lost the fight against cancer or even to have had cancer at all. There is a sense that I have left him behind. What a tragedy.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Midnight Rambling

I'm new to blogging & don't really know what to expect. Nor how often I will get the chance to do this. My husband, Rupert, is upstairs on his computer. Oh, what luxury to have peace & quiet downstairs on my own. The only trouble is how long for? Well here goes. I might as well make the most of this. I don't know when I'll get the chance again. If I hear any footsteps coming down the stairs I'll quickly go back to playing solitaire! I have had to do that several times to day because I didn't want Rupert to see what I'm really doing on the computer.
The kids are tucked up in bed & are fast asleep. It is now nearly 1 am! A rarity me being awake at this time. Normally I am fast asleep on the settee in front of the telly.
This last week has been a hectic week. Rupert started radiotherapy last Wednesday following surgery to remove a malignant brain tumour which is a secondary tumour to a malignant melanoma he had 12 years ago. Don't know what the future holds. He is very disagreeable at the moment. This may be to do with the steroids he is having to take or a personality change following surgery. Maybe he has a bit of an odd personality anyway. Who knows? A lot to take on board.
Rupert has 2 more sessions to go with his radiotherapy. Don't know whether he needs chemo as well. We are waiting for the side effects to occur. They are at their worst 10 days after treatment stops. Probably he will be extremely tired, loose all of his hair & have a sore scalp as they are doing the treatment to the whole of his head.
My eldest son Rick broke his elbow this week - on the very day that Rupert started his treatment. He fell off his bike & now has his arm in plaster. Luckily it was his left arm & Rick is right handed. His arm will be in plaster for 3 weeks.
Rick is very like my husband in many ways and I'm wondering whether they both have a touch of Asperger syndrome. I'm planning on seeing the G.P. this week as the school are also concerned. So what a week it has been. Let's hope I can get some answers for both their sakes.
Rupert didn't come down the stairs. Didn't have to result in playing solitaire for the umpteen time. Looks like I have got away with it this time!