I Can't Wear My Wedding Rings

To my shock, within weeks of his death, wearing my wedding rings made me profoundly sad.  Each time I looked at them, I saw the beautiful ring that he had picked out for me carefully, surprised with me, and I had worn for well more than a decade.  It was an unusual ring for a wedding set - it was a sapphire engagement ring to start and the wedding band was my grandmother's, and both were antiques.  I was constantly fielding compliments on them.  But even looking at them made me beyond sad.  

I had thought, if you had asked me before he died in a theoretical sense of becoming a widow, because it truly never crossed my mind in a real capacity, that I would be one of those widows that would wear her wedding set for the rest of her life.  But if not life, at least a few years.  

But here I sat, mere days after his party-funeral, incredibly sad and wanting to take my rings off.  Yet societal expectations weighed heavily on me.  What if someone who knows me noticed me without my rings and said something?  What if I got hit on by a single guy who thought it was ok to do so because I am unmarried as per my left ring finger?  Both would SUCKKKKKKK.  

Due to basically serendipity, I came up with this compromise.  I bought this beautiful ring .... for myself, that I wear on my left ring finger.    

I have long long long wanted a true "Princess Diana" ring and he always wanted to buy me one.  But for various reasons, we never bought one.  Now, this ring makes me REALLY happy every time I look at it.  He would have picked this out and bought it for me in a millisecond - and I bought it in time to wear on our first anniversary apart, earlier this month.  

Now, my marital status is ambiguous if you ask my left hand.  I like it that way, because that it exactly how I feel too.  And my left hand makes me happy now.  I like it that way.  

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Everything Changes

I didn't notice this one until just now. I was turning the lights on and off the way I wanted them and saw this .... even how I have the lights named in my bedroom has to change. It was called "wheelchair stand up" because it is a tall skinny lamp and it was near where his wheelchair sat where he was in bed and it was not being used.  I don't know how to change it because Chad was the tech guy who set all this up. But now that I have noticed it, I really need to change it because it is going to bother me.

We used our iphones/ipads to control lights so that he could do it too. He had the entire house wired via wifi to do everything himself. He was amazing that way. You name it, he could do it wifi with his mouthstick. He could even open and shut the garage door himself independently. And the boy was in the middle of building him a backup camera for his wheelchair when became too incapable to use his wheelchair (last summer basically). 

Man, this sucks.

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Crocodile Rock?

The weirdest thing just happened to me.  

I feel good.  

Like, really really good.  Normal good.  Almost too good.  

Then Crocodile Rock came on my car stereo and I ..... rolled down the windows, cranked it up and sang along with it (even though I don't know all the words) at the top of my lungs, hair blowing .....

And I loved it. 

Super. 

Weird.  

Things I Can't Do Yet

  1. Stop counting the time since he died down to the hour (2 months, 7 days, 8 hours and 51 minutes as I type this and I can calculate it lightning fast)
  2. Drive somewhere and remember where I'm going, I have to use my GPS to go anywhere more than a few miles from my house.  Up until about two weeks ago, I even used my GPS to go to the grocery store 3 miles from my house that I have gone to for 15 years.  
  3. Work.  I am out of work presently on disability leave.  I can't work.  Not I don't want to work.  I can't.  I tried.  Really, really, really hard, I tried.  
  4. Read a book.  I have been reading a book written by a friend for 8 weeks.  I am on page 34.  Normally I devour a 500 page novel in a few days easily.  I was so grateful when e-readers came out because traveling because I would finish giant books easily one way to Europe so my suitcase was always filled with giant books, the longer the better. 
  5. Watch TV.  I'm stumped on that one.  I guess it is because shows we watched together before remind me of him.  But I can't watch new shows either.  I just can't concentrate. 
  6. Speaking of which, I can't concentrate.  I guess that's the catch all for all of the above eh? 
  7. Feel happy without feeling horribly guilty.  Self explanatory. 
  8. Go to the grocery store without crying.  Why?  Because I don't have to buy pimento cheese, that really crappy white bread he likes, Doritos, chocolate milk and really bad for you Little Debbie snack cakes.  But at least I can go now.  The first time I went, I abandoned my half full cart right in the middle of the store and fled to my car, sobbing.  That was fun.  The next time, I wore sunglasses and brought A LOT of Kleenex.  Not kidding. 
  9. Stop listening to playlists of his favorite tunes from his funeral-party.  I don't even like his music for the most part.  Yet, it is 90% of what I listen to, all day, every day 
  10. And the number 1, or I guess, number 10 thing?  Stop thinking about him, all the damn time. 

Man, grief sucks.  

 

What Doesn't Kill Me? Better Run

When the WORST possible thing in your life happens .... and you survive it? 

You get brave and tackle all the other shit in your life you shoulda done years ago and didn't cuz you were scared to. 

NOT. ANYMORE. 

I saw a thing on facebook that I made my banner: What doesn't kill me better fucking run.  Ok, I added the "fucking".  

I hereby am kicking ass, taking names and gonna make sure I am NEVER run over again by ANYBODY.

Blowback?  Retaliation? There ain't nothin' in the world than can be worse than your husband dying.

So BRING IT ON assholes of the world.

I'm ready.  Are you?  

Cleaning Is Dangerous To My Mental Health

On nights I don't sleep well, I clean. Tonight I tackled our master bedroom bathroom. Never gave it a thought. Then: 

WHAM!!!!!!!!!!........ MASSIVE GRIEF OVERLOAD. 

It was a disaster in that bathroom before, you literally could not see the counter (nor the floor) and there was a reason for that apparently. Maybe I, or the universe that seems to usually hate me by killing my husband, was protecting me from finding: 

* His toothbrush and toothbrush. I use this weird French stuff that tastes like licorice (yes, really, and yes, thats what he says too) because I hate all American toothpaste. It's gonna be weird not to see his toothbrush and paste in there anymore and no one to make faces when my teeth smell like licorice.... 

* All of his cologne.  He loved cologne.  We bought some on every cruise.  So of course, it all reminds me of our cruises too,.  

* His shaving kit. We used an old fashioned brush, fancy (French of course) cream and straight razor, it was just our thing.  He only half joked that he was always afraid I was going to kill him with that thing because I was always half looking at facebook when I shaved him! 

* His hairbrush with his hair still in it

* His iPhone was inexplicably in there, hidden away in a drawer. It was of course dead. I had taken it away from him a very long time ago (6 months it turned out) because the dementia was causing him to not be able distinguish a wrong number/scam from a real person he knew calling him. I powered it up, scared, and found a video compilation of photos of (son). I sobbed and sobbed. I'm still crying. 

CAN YOU SEEEEEEEEEEEE why this is killing me every goddamn day??????

I miss him more than I can possibly put into words but I try every goddamn day to put into words how much I miss him. And why these grief websites just S-U-C-K?! No, yoga, exercise, a new hobby or even getting out fixes this or even helps a teensy tiny bit. Not. One. Bit.  

I miss him so very very much.

Even Stranger's Funerals Make Me Cry

I dropped a friend off at the airport this afternoon, and there was a humongous line of motorcycles (like, 200 or more of them) with a police escort obviously lined up to go somewhere for a rally some sort. As I drove to my next appointment in Raleigh, on 540, every single solitary overpass was filled with stopped police cars fire trucks or any sort of vehicle with flashing lights. They all had their lights flashing with the affiliated personal standing on the bridge at attention, clearly waiting for the motorcycle brigade to come by. 

I had no idea what was going on, so during my appointment (grief therapy....), I asked my facebook friends to figure it out for me.  They did, while I was in being therapized. I read their google sleuthing in the parking lot of my therapist's office.  

It was a funeral procession for a fallen Vietnam solider from Goldsboro, who was only found and brought home today, 50 years later.  The tiny remains had been flown all the way from Vietnam to RDU that day and were being escorted 100 miles home to be buried.  

I cried.  And cried.  And cried.  

Then sobbed.  And sobbed.  And sobbed.  

Then the body breaking heaving tearless soundless horrible crying.  

If you've suffered a catastrophic loss like mine, you know what this crying is like.  And only if you have suffered a horrible loss will you will know.  I never knew this type of crying existed until Chad died.  I can describe it, but you will never ever know how horrible it is until it happens to you.  The crying.  The loss too, but man, that kind of crying is horrific too.  

I don't recommend it.  

I'm going to stop being curious.  

Chad's impact

Here is his party.  Funeral.  Whatever it was.  Is.  

Enjoy?  

https://youtu.be/QGGGB6wlW2o

(above, 29 mins of the most RAD funeral you'll ever see, it starts with a show of hands of who has been "drunk under the table" by Chad)

https://youtu.be/tbTX_EP4Zd8

(above, slide show, which sorta like his life, inexplicably cut off midway through and just .... ended, abruptly, we don't know why - on either count)

If watching this doesn't convince you that he was an amazing guy, I will leave you with this, which I posted on facebook: 

To demonstrate the impact my husband had, (name's) KINDERGARTEN teacher attended his funeral.  

(NAME) is now 17.  

It's That Day Today

It's that day when it starts out well with cleaning, making hash browns and eggs, as in I actually ATE an actual meal, more than 3 bites, and then ....

I go to Target, which I LOATHE doing, just to buy a plastic tub to store my late husband's most precious belongings that I am keeping forever. And when I lift it off the shelf, it falls and lands ON my face, knocking my $700 pair of bifocal glasses into my face, breaking them AND giving me a probable black eye. Then I start sobbing in the aisle at target, and cannot stop for 15 minutes and everyone stares at me like the crazy person I actually am. And then I call my optometrist to find out they have gone out of business. And then I have to drive home blind-ish half holding my glasses, crying and trying to remember where a new optometrist is. 

Yeah, its THAT day today.....

The Check Depositing Fiasco

You know, the theatre of the dead husband absurd never really ends.

Got a check from our mortgage company made out to us both since the mortgage is in both of our names. I endorsed it with my name and took it to my new bank, Bank of America. 

They refused to deposit it because chad did not endorse it. I said: 

“He cannot endorse it, he is DEAD”. 

I showed them copy of death certificate which I now carry with me at all times because shit like this happens all the time. 

They told me I had to have the company reissue the check just to me. Fine. So I sat in their lobby and called my mortgage company. Guess what. Since it is our mortgage, and our mortgage is in BOTH OUR NAMES there is no way they can re-write it to just one of us even though he is dead because I would basically have to refinance to get his name off the loan. Yes even though HE IS DEAD. 

I tell the bank that. They are unpersuaded to let me deposit the check. 

For fucks sake!!!!!!!!  Are you kidding me?

Finally, i go back the the State Employees Credit Union where I had run down our accounts to basically zero but hadn’t actually closed them. They were completely aware he is deceased, and they happily deposited it AND wished me condolences. Two tellers came out from the desk and gave me a hug as did the front desk lady. 

Large banks have bells and whistles, mobile apps and such (why I changed) but you can’t beat a local credit union who KNOWS YOU personally. So I’m going to keep both banks accounts. I may even ditch Bank of America. I used SECU for decades when I gained Chad as a spouse. Small town locally owned everything is better. 

And, as always, having a dead spouse comes with SO many benefits.

But Something Happened On Your TV Show Dear....

Does anyone know HOW I can tell Chad that the wife was killed on the tv show Designated Survivor? 

This has been seriously bothering me (not kidding) since he died. I don't watch that show, Chad does .... did .... but I still record it of course. And I saw a teaser that made it clear that the President's wife had been killed. That's a HUGE deal and I really really really want to tell Chad. He would be agog. And I just can't NOT: I have been faithfully saving every episode for him. Say it with me people, it's become my mantra:

Man, this sucks.  

I am very close to going to a medium so I can try to communicate with him just to tell him that and I am so not kidding. 

I hope my mom never reads this so that she doesn't send like, the pope, or an evangelical team interventionist....

Hey, So That Was Fun To Be Hospitalized At Duke Where He Always Was ....

So I have recurrent MRSA.  Have for the past year or so.  That's been super fun, cuz I've had 7, count them, 7 MRSA related surgeries and spent 6, count them, 6 month on complete bed rest (on my side or stomach) of the last 15 months due to it.  I had cut short a much anticipated trip to Australia from a visit my niece-daughter (niece by relation, daughter by heart) and fly home by emergency to be directly hospitalized (over Thanksgiving, that was awesome) and other fun things.  That's the backdrop. 

I got MRSA again and was in the hospital, at Duke, on the very same floor the Chad usually was, the 8th floor (neuro, they were out of room on general medicine, so lucky me), for 8 days.  And I don't really mean lucky me.  It sucked. Being there reminded me of Chad.  And how I couldn't save him .... from ALS it turned out, but still.  He was dead.  And being alone alone alone alone at the hospital, well, it SUCKED.  The only good thing, but also bad thing, is that all the doctors and nurses, and I do mean all of them and even some of the orderlies and people who cleaned the rooms .... RECOGNIZED me.  Like "uhhhh, don't we know you" and I'd say you and explain then they'd say "oh! how is Chad?!" with a big smile.  

Then I got to explain.  But word spread very fast and I was then immediately surrounded with love and condolences which was nice ... but .... well, not.  Because he was .... dead.  Sigh.  That damn double edged sword.  

And, it was damn near impossible for me to sleep at the hospital. Not for the usual reasons. They were awesome about it being quiet and dark. The bed was very comfortable and warm. They didn’t come in for meds and tests at weird times. Here is why it was impossible for me to sleep. 

After a few nights of crying - not regular crying, heaving, sobbing, gasping for air crying because being there reminded me of Chad - I had an oddball idea about trying to sleep there.

I got out of the comfy fabulous heated soft bed into the guest chair in the room - the legs kick out, it is padded, but the back doesn't go back, it sits ramrod straight up. 

I curled up really really small on the seat with a pillow, laid my head on the hard wooden arm ....... and I apparently instantly fell asleep. I slept for 12 hours straight in that uncomfortable chair curled up in a ball. 

Later, upon waking, and finding myself draped in blankets, I realized that I had slept there because for years and years and YEARS I have slept in that very chair at Duke keeping watch over Chad. 

The nurse had rapidly concluded this was why I could sleep there. And didn’t wake me to “move me to the comfortable bed”. Instead, he draped me blankets as I slept and moved the IV poles over to me at the chair (I only got hooked up to it during antibiotic times every 4 hours) and silently ran my medications there, carefully attaching my IV somehow without moving or waking me. They also prominently posted a "NO ENTRY WITHOUT ASKING NURSE - YES EVEN YOU LAB!!" sign on my door so I would not be bothered or be mistaken for a visitor. (I wish I had taken a photo of that sign, it was super awesome of them to do that, apparently the charge nurse did this, she signed her name for extra emphasis) 

They did all of this so I could sleep curled up comfortably-uncomfortable in the guest chair, not the $30,000 hospital bed my insurance company paid for. 

That is my grief, yes. But the moral of this story is unbelievable human kindness. Thank you Kevin the night nurse and Beth the charge nurse at Duke on the night shift on the 8th floor for doing that for me.

That 8 days wasn't fun.  But at least I got to sleep in a chair.  

I Even Miss My Bad Taste in Music

I really hate not having anyone to harass me about my bad taste in music anymore.  

We constantly had stereo wars. Both Chad and I could "take over" the receiver from our Apple devices. And we would steal it from each other. Me: top 40. Him: Pink Floyd. It was a heated battle.  And it was in jest.  It was fun - and funny.  We laughed and laughed - as did Son.  He would cackle as a little one and then roll his eyes as a teen.  

Alone, my taste in music is impeccable, you know, according to .... me.  

Man, this sucks.