Monday, July 28, 2014

Life Goes On

I still have to get up every morning. I still have to cook and clean the house. Even when my heart is ripped to pieces. Life goes on. The grass still grows (and needs mowed), the sun still shines. People still smile and laugh. Life goes on. We still have to eat and drink and we still have to live. I have two kids to raise to 'full-term'. I always thought that was a funny term indicating the end of pregnancy. Full-term is when they are out of the house and standing on their own two feet. In my mind anyway.

The clothes still need washed and folded. I have held his close and tried to inhale his very essence. It's slipping away. His smell is dwindling. I open his aftershave bottle and sniff. I put a drop on my pillow at night. I know I have to go on living. But there are moments, I will admit, when I don't want to. I want to join him. I miss him so much. I knew that it would be hard. But NOT this hard. No way can one prepare. I just will keep moving forward: one day at a time. One step in front of the other. And cry. Until I am dry. And then tomorrow I will cry again. 

Memorial Service is ready to go. It will be this coming Saturday at 4 p.m. It will be a really special service. We have friends speaking and grandchildren participating. The Boy Scouts are involved and the Army is coming! There will be an awesome music/picture video that I hope to share here later on. He was a special man. He will be missed.

But, life goes on............

Friday, July 25, 2014

Misery

I wonder how long it will take for this gut-wrenching pain to go away. I feel like my heart was ripped out of my chest and stomped on and then handed back to me in tiny little pieces and I am supposed to do something with it. I knew I would be sad. I expected to mourn but this is so much more than what I expected. I have cried until there are no more tears. I am destroyed.

 No one can possibly know what this is like until they have lost someone. The person who held my heart in his hands. My soul-mate, my life mate,and my best friend. He was my partner, my buddy, my lover. I looked up to him. I leaned on him. I needed him more than I ever needed my mother or my father. More than ever I needed a brother or a sister. More than a son or a grandchild. He knew me...inside and out. I look for him. I smell him. I hear him. He is everywhere, yet he is gone. And I hate it! I don't understand it. And yet he is at peace. 

BUT I AM NOT!

Every day is hard. Each new milestone is ripping me apart. The house is empty. The hospital bed is gone. His wheelchair and walkers are gone. The lotions and potions and medications: all gone. And he is gone. And he will never, ever come back.

Not that I wish that for him. That would make me selfish, wouldn't it? But I would give a million dollars to look over the top of this screen and see his face, lying on that bed, smiling back at me.

I am waiting. Waiting for the services to be over. Waiting for the pain to ease. Waiting for,whatever my new life will be,to begin. But right now I am grieving. In a way that I never expected.

 This is the hardest part of the journey that we were on together for the past 40+ years. Back to when I first met him. When I really didn't like him much. Back when he was married to someone else, and so was I. Back to when he was my boss and I was an employee. Back when the sun used to shine. Back when there was hope and a future. One that neither of us knew would bring us to where we ended our life together on Monday, July 21, 2014 at 5:10 p.m.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Heaven Got Another Angel


My beloved husband passed yesterday evening at 5:10 p.m.
It was peaceful.
I miss him so much!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Life Continues


Since I know that you, my friends, are wondering how things are going here I thought I would drop in for a short up-date. Not much has changed. Richard has pretty much stayed "out" all day. He has opened his eyes twice, maybe. No talking. No trying to communicate with us at all. Taking fluids only in drops with a syringe and his anxiety meds crushed in a smidgen of applesauce. If he is awake, he is coughing!! And that increases all of our anxiety. So we are giving breathing treatments, cough syrup, and anxiety medications, along with the Atropine drops to dry up all the mucous. Time is marching on as his time with us is dwindling. Not much more to say....thanks for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Update

An update on our journey:

We had a short burst of energy on Saturday morning. Richard was up for a bit, ate breakfast, and back to bed. Then very quiet and slept most of the rest of the day.

Sunday brought another quiet day. We pulled out all his 35 mm slides, taken from the time he and I first got together, until around the time Danny was 16 and Justin was 12. This is when he bought a new camera and the slideshows came to an end. Lots of vacation pictures and a few good laughs (especially about hairdos and clothing styles). I sorted through the ones I wanted to convert to digital and sent the rest over to Trina's (Justin's lady) for her pleasure. She is new to photography and I know will get a kick out of his whole 'slide' world. He sat up briefly in his wheelchair, but it was apparent he couldn't handle it so we put him back to bed and back on his oxygen.

Since then he has mostly slept. Awakens briefly. Stares ahead. At brief moments I know he knows we are near. Takes sips of fluid. Pain Medication is delivered when he shows signs of needing it. And mostly sleep. Our 'adopted' grandchildren visited last night and it was pretty hard on Piper and Willow, ages 12 and 10, as they haven't been around as much to see him grow steadily weaker. They said their good-byes and we shared a good, long cry. They plan another visit this week.

Now we go on with living....and watching! All prayers and thoughts have been appreciated. I am doing well. I am at peace! I am ready. (I think).



Friday, July 11, 2014

As We Near The End

2009
We are seeing the changes take place. The ending of a life. His time is coming. Our Hospice doctor came on Thursday evening, along with the nurse, to re-certify Richard for Hospice. He has been staying more in bed the past few weeks. And becoming quieter. And sleeping more. The Hospice doctor gave us her judgement, as close as anyone can predict. We all know that we are living on God's time. Not our time. But the doctor said, "it will be days; probably not much longer than 2 weeks." I have had time to let this soak in. I have watched him closely the past 24 hours. I see death lurking nearby. Standing in the shadows. But I have seen him here before. So it is really hard to tell. I know that I have been married to a tough old man. He has pulled through before when we thought it was the end. However, this time I am seeing other things.

He has withdrawn. He stares at things I cannot see. He mumbles, but I don't think it is to me. I tell him often that I love him. I let him know we will be okay. I respect his 'space.'

He has reduced the amount of food and fluids that he wants to take in. Sips of water. Or a cold sip of Root beer. No food yesterday at all. Today a cup of jello is all. When he's done he no longer opens his mouth. He pushes the straw away with his tongue. His eyes appear more sunken. There are times I hear a gurgling or rattling noise. In the nursing field we called this the 'death rattle'. It stops if I change his position. Or we can administer drops of Atropine to help. 

His hands are cold and at times blue. His feet are still warm. I do not yet see signs of mottling. It is changes in his circulation.His heart rate is slow and irregular. 

He does not communicate at all. It is hard for him. I don't push it. We've said all that we need to say. I know how much he loves me and the family. He has told us all often. He showed us by the way we lived our lives. I don't think there is a doubt among any of us that this is the best man, the smartest man, the kindest man, the most sensitive and loving man that we have ever known. 

His time is coming. Death is anxiously standing in the shadows. I look away and back again to see if he is still there. He is....waiting, watching, knowing that soon he will be accompanying a very important man from this earth. And we will stay behind!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

What Do You Think?

Way back in June (that seems so long ago to me) I started a new series on my blog to get some 'back and forth' conversations going with my readers. I am interested in what you think. So whenever I am pondering anything I am going to come on here and ask:


"What Do You Think?"

I was born in the early 1950's. 1951 to be exact. I went through school all through the 50's and the 60's. When I was in high school I didn't dream of what I wanted to be when I grew up. I already knew what I was going to be. I didn't dream about college and dormitories. I didn't dream about education and degrees. I didn't dream about working and careers. I was going to be a wife and a mother. End of story. That is what all of us girls who were born in the 1950's did. I don't think I had a single friend from high school who went on to college as soon as school was out. In fact, most of us already knew exactly when we were going to get married. We already were either engaged or getting ready to become engaged. We already were planning out weddings. I did attend a 'business college' for a few months, just to occupy my time until that diamond ring was placed on my finger.

Now the average age of new brides is 27 years old. Heck by that time I already had two babies, a tubal ligation, and a divorce. But many of the girls that I graduated from high with are still married to those same 'boys' they walked the halls with, holding hands. In fact, other than myself, I don't know any of them that aren't still married to the same guy. I just chose poorly!!

So tell me what do you think? Are girls of 18 today ready to be wives. Or is it by far wiser to wait. Why is it different now than it was back then. What made me, as an 18 year old, more ready for marriage than an 18 year old of this generation? How old were you when you got married? Inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Mournings!

This has not been a good day! Richard is resting comfortably, so it is not about him. It is about me. It's okay to once in awhile have a down time that is about me, isn't it. Well, indirectly, it is about him. My son stayed over again last night so that I could have two nights in my own bed. I went to sleep to "Army Wives" and woke to a nightmare. In my dream, Richard was lying on a slab. With the tag on his toe. And that familiar V-shape from the autopsy. I jumped out of bed, crashed into the bed rail and raced into the living room. There he was, sleeping peacefully in his bed. Justin was in the recliner watching TV. I sat with him and cried a bit as he comforted his mother from a STUPID nightmare. See how we revert to our childhoods? Now son comforts mother. I kissed Richard and told him "I love you" He opened his eyes and smiled. I headed back to bed.

But not back to sleep. Did not want to bring that dream back. So I watched another episode of "Army Wives." Didn't want to get up this morning. But when I did it was to a text message from my Hospice nurse. We had it all set up to start with a home health aid coming to bathe him and give me a break. She was to come today. Well guess what. Now she wants to come on Thursdays. I don't understand all these time and day changes that take place with Hospice. I am one of those "on time" to a fault people. If I say I am going to be somewhere, I will be there if it kills me. This is why I quit with the aid before. Geeze is it really that hard to put people's names on a day and keep on schedule? I'm afraid I lost it with my Hospice nurse. The nurse that we love. She comes every Wednesday, sometime between 3 and 4. Without fail. Why can't these damn aids do the same thing?? It is beyond me. Now I am starting off with a bad feeling about a new aid and I haven't even met her yet.


I am exhausted. It is not easy for me to ask for help. And EVERY TIME I do something like this happens. What the hell kind of lesson is God trying to teach me? I have had enough. I don't want anymore lessons. I just want help. I am wondering if It is time for a new Hospice. I hate to give up my nurse but the rest of her organization needs a major over haul.

Darian and I bathed Papa. I am so blessed to have these kids. I turned off my phone and I slept all afternoon. Now I have a yummy breakfast casserole in the oven for supper.

God grant me a better Tuesday. Please.  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I haven't Lost Hope

My word for 2014 is Hope. I haven't written a post about hope for awhile. I haven't forgotten about it. I have just changed 'how' I think about it. Hope! When I started out this year I wanted to hope that things were going to get better here at my house. Better, as in, my husband would suddenly no longer be sick. He would be up walking again. He would be talking loudly and clearly just like he used to. He would be driving and working in the yard. He would be dressing himself. Feeding himself. And sleeping quietly next to me in bed. And I would be gently poking him in the side to get him to roll over and stop snoring. Those were my hopes. As crazy as it might sound, I really, really wanted to believe that if I hoped long enough and hard enough that God would grant me my wishes. But that is not going to happen. And I can't give up hope.
I see Richard fading and slipping away each and every day. It seems to last forever. It seems that it will never end. I have to remind myself, often, that we are on God's time. Not my time. 



We are promised, in the Bible, that we will have problems and troubles in life. We, who are believers, are promised this. We are not, however to lose hope. And I have NOT lost hope. I have changed what I am hoping for. I know that Richard cannot stay here on this earth with me forever. None of us will. That is not how the world was made. We will have our time here and then we will go. My hope is for him to go quietly, peacefully, and free of pain. My hope is that he knows that we are near him. My hope is that he knows that he is loved and cared for. My hope is that all of us can tell him good-bye. My hope is to see him again someday. I still have Hope.

Friday, July 4, 2014

When I Exhale...


It is getting late. It has been an uneventful day but it is a day that I will never forget...July 4, 2014. Today I lost the diamond from my engagement ring. We have searched all over the house and we found NOTHNG! It is gone. I am a believer in signs. You know the kind of signs that I am talking about? Like the verse in the Bible that says:
"Unless you people see signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe." John 4:48. I think that I have been sent a sign. I don't want to interpret it. I don't want to think about it. But I am being prepared. These signs have come to me at other times in my life, but I will save those for other posts. Today I am on to Lisa Jo Baker's 5 Minute Friday. Where a group of us write, uninterrupted, unedited, without too much thought on a prompt that she provides. And then we share with each other. Today the prompt is:


Exhale 

Go


Almost three years ago on September 16, 2011, sitting at the dinner table, my husband suffered a stroke. I knew it immediately. I called for help. He stopped breathing in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and was on a respirator by the time I arrived. But we were able to give him TPA, which really reduced the severity of the symptoms of the stroke. That is the day that I took a really deep breath.

And I haven't let it all the way out yet.

He came home from the hospital after going through rehab and he even threw away the walker and was pretty self-sufficient again. He just had no short term memory. He read the paper three times a day forgetting that he had read it each time.

Then in December 2012 he again had an episode and quit walking. In March of 2013, he stopped breathing one day. When my brother and I threw him back into the chair he started breathing again. But I have never exhaled. Just a bit at a time. I just keep holding onto my breath. I know that it is coming. The day is in the nearer future. It is no longer very far away. It will come.

That will be the day that I will finally exhale. Because there will no longer be anything that I can do. He will go home. His pain will end. His new life will begin. I will exhale.

Stop

Independence Day 2014


Mission Trip to Chicago

Last week Darian and Harley had the privilege to go with 26 teens and 7 adults on a trip from our home in Kansas to Chicago, Illinois. They traveled in 3 large vans. It was a 14 hour trip. The arrived in Chicago late on Sunday night at their new 'hotel' for the next 7 nights:the floor of the Mt. Greenwood Church of the Nazarene on the south-side of Chicago. At the end of each day they went to the Mt. Greenwood Park Field house to shower. Harley's first time with community showers and they both said the water was freezing cold.

They partnered with an endeavor of the Church of the Nazarene's Chicago district called "Chicago-Reach Seventy-Seven." Reach Seventy-Seven's mission was to reach 77 specific Chicago neighborhoods with the love of Jesus by being in the neighborhoods doing what they could to help and to make Christ-like disciples. 
Harley(in white) with a New friend at the Mission


Harley (in green) with some 'cheesy' pizza
Friends of the Park Pantnership
They  had a different  mission each day, as well as worked in some sight-seeing. Each day they went to the Pacific Garden Mission, the oldest, continuously operating, Gospel rescue Mission in the Country. They offer meals and a place to sleep to the poor and the homeless. Darian and Harley helped to make 575 beds every day with fresh linens and folded a mountain of bath towels. They helped to serve two, and sometimes three meals a day at the mission. And gained an education that cannot be taught in books. And made new friends. 
Operation blessings
In front of a window at Willis Tower over-looking Chicago


Darian (on sidewalk) working on a landscaping project
Some of the group helped to do a landscape project at a Nazarene Church parsonage to spruce up a house on the south side of Chicago. Some of the group helped at a Salvation Army with folding piles of donated clothing. And some of the group went to Operations Blessings, a food pantry completely funded without government help, to provide food to needy families. Before a family receives help with food they go through a counseling session and some of our kids got to witness these sessions and there were 7 people who gave their life to Jesus during the kids' visit. They found this to be very powerful. 
Darian goofing off


Playing around with picture-taking
They assisted with a park cleanup that consisted of clearing weeds and trees. Parks are a very important part of life in Chicago. They also hosted a party in the park, on their final day in Chicago, that was attended by anyone who wanted to attend, but mostly aimed at lower-income children.

 While there they visited Navy Pier,  Magnificent Mile, Willis Tower (used to be called Sears Tower), Lake Michigan,Chinatown,Millennium Park, ate Chicago style pizza, went to Linclon Park Zoo and shared group devotions and small groups to discuss what they were seeing and hearing. 

They haven't stopped talking about their experience. I am ever so grateful that they got to go on this trip. It was an education and they were a blessing to many people while they were there.


One of the vans leaving Hutchinson
End of long day. First time on the subway


Just finished making 575 beds

The Bean Sculpture in Millennium Park

Chicago Style Pizza





Harley spending time with her Bible

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

July Goals



I cannot believe how fast June went by. I just looked at June's goals to see how well I did. June was a busy month at our house with Boy Scout Camp, Wrestling Camp, and a Mission Trip for both kids to Chicago (I am trying to write a post about that). Then Richard had a downward turn and I am not quite sure where we are with that but I will go ahead and talk about whether I met my June goals and what I plan to do for July.

1. Organize My Home
   My goal for June was to go through Harley and Grandma's clothes and take what wasn't needed to Goodwill. We did Harley's clothes but Granny's will wait for another day. My big news on the organizing home-front is Darian's bedroom. When the kids moved in with us 5 years ago I gave my bedroom to Harley and Darian took over Richard's office. We just moved a few things around and put in a bed. It has never really been a bedroom with his signature on it. This past week when my cousin was here we took apart the desk/credenza that were taking up a huge part of the room. We moved a TV unit into the closet and added closet rods for his clothes. (Richard had taken out the rods when he converted the closet into a place for his file cabinets) Uncle Justin put together the drafting desk and chair we got Darian for Christmas (I know, I know) and then hung 4 shelves on the wall. Now to finish this room here are my goals.
   July goal: remove wallpaper in Darian's room,paint, make headboard, hang light over his bed.

2. Freezer Cooking
   My goal for June was to make/freeze more chicken wraps and 2 casseroles. I am happy to report that I accomplished this and we already ate all of it!
   July Goal:Make/freeze chicken wraps; Make/freeze cooked chicken and hamburger for quick meals

3.Family budget
  June goal was to work in paying for summer camps. Check. Started back with building the account after paying to have house painted.
   July goal: My bank has been sold to a local bank family so I will be working closely with them to get my account, debit cards, automatic deposits and withdrawals going again. That is more than enough budget talk for me. 

4. Use More Coupons
   My June goal was to use the coupons and not leave them on the desk. I Made it!!!
   JULY goal: Continue with the coupons.

5. Use my Savings Account Better
   My June goal was to deposit into 3 accounts no matter how small....miserable failure.
   July goal:make at least one deposit in all three accounts.

6. Use Hospice Better
   My June goal was to sign up for one day a week of having a home health aide visit. I did that and she will start coming every Monday to help me with bathing and changing his bed. Yipee...big step for me!
   July goal:Continue educating family and friends of Richard's wishes and hoping that everyone gets on board and I quit stressing about it.

7.Forgive Myself....on going! Work on this every day in everyway.

8.Worry less...love more...ongoing.
  Due to the stressors of the past two weeks there has not been less worry. But I think the worry is taking a different direction. Now I am not worrying about Richard's failing health as much as I am worrying about if I am honoring his wishes. I know that I am! So I will put this worry aside and love more.

How about you? Do you make goals? How are they coming along?

Understanding

My dear friend, Lisa, hosts a weekly blog challenge for caregivers and anyone else that wants to chime in. This week the word prompt is:


Understanding

Understanding is a big word. A word that I struggle with. I don't know that I understand. Anything! Sometimes!

While my cousin was here last week, and Richard was doing so poorly, we didn't understand. Well, really it was my cousin who didn't understand. He thought I should call an ambulance and take Richard to the hospital. I told him that we were not going to do that anymore. That we are going to keep him home and take care of him right here. Then he thought I should at least call the Hospice nurse. I didn't feel like I needed to do that. What was she going to do? And I was comfortable with where we were. And then my brother came. And he said "this just isn't good" and I started to second guess myself. I felt like I wasn't understanding what it was I was supposed to be doing.

Do you know what I did? I got out the books that both Richard and I filled out before his stroke in 2011. The title of the booklet is Honoring Your Wishes. It is a personal planner with pages to fill in the historical information, a page for favorites, a page for spirituality, and a page for final requests and wishes. Here is where I found my understanding. Here is where Richard told me exactly what he wanted. I found peace with this understanding. He wants to be free of pain. Even if that means that by taking the pain medications it might shorten his life. He knew that back then. And he told me what he wanted. And it is right there in black and white for all to see. I know what he wants. And I will honor his wishes. Even if it isn't what the rest of the world understands. It's not their death. It is Richard's. And I understand exactly what he wants.

Now hop on over to My Sweet Peanut and link up with her One Word Wednesday blog challenge. That's what I am going to do.....