It seems like months, not days since Mr. B passed away. On Friday it will be two weeks. I was hoping that as each day passed it would get a little easier but it doesn't. If anything it has gotten harder. Last week I was mostly in shock and as that shock wore off it was replaced with anxiety about the funeral service on Saturday. I was absolutely dreading it! I knew it would be emotional and it was. I cried so much. At the end of the service, the funeral director asked everyone to file by the front pew were all of the family were seated to offer their condolences. I hugged many of them and cried each time. There were approximately 150 people that attended the service. So many of them were co-workers of Mr. B from his current workplace and from his previous workplace. Although I did not know their faces, I did recognize their names as Mr. B spoke of them often to me. It touched me so much to see how respected and loved he was by others. Mr. B was cremated so I have his ashes at home now. My plan was to have the urn buried in a cemetery plot this summer. But I'm having a hard time thinking about that right now. Yes, it's true. I've become one of THEM. You know who I mean. Those crazy widowed ladies that keep their husbands on the mantle forever. I'm finding such comfort in having his remains close by. The urn that I chose is so beautiful and represents Mr. B so much. I will try to post a photo of it. Hopefully I don't gross anyone out. :-)
I feel such an emptiness inside of me since Mr. B passed away. It's like part of me is missing. I can't seem to focus on anything, not even watching TV. I find that having the TV on is just noise to me so most of the time I have it turned off. I'm better if I'm away from home running errands but when I'm back at home and looking at all of his things, I start crying pretty quickly. I'm taking it very slow in regards to disposing of Mr. B's things. I know that his clothes will be the last to go. For now they bring me comfort. I see them each day when I get dressed in the morning. I know I won't be able to handle the big empty space in the closet once they are gone so I want to make sure I'm ready before I take them out. Every thing of Mr. B's that I take from our home has left me feeling more empty. The first things I wanted to have taken out were the things that reminded me of him being sick like the hospital bed and his wheelchair. I still have to tackle his bathroom. There's a few things there that were to help him like the special toilet seat, the tub bar and the shower chair. I will deal with them, but so far I've not wanted to spend much time in that bathroom. Too many bad memories for me there.
Its funny how some of the smallest things will make me cry. In our home we often purchased jujubes candies as a treat. Mr. B and I both really liked them. Mr. B really liked the green ones which made me really happy since they were my least favourite. So as I passed the candy dish the other day I thought to myself, "Who is going to eat the green ones now?". Silly, I know but it did make me cry. I feel like I've lost my protector. :-(
Here are the three songs that were played at Mr. B's funeral service.
This song was played at our wedding on October 10, 1075, Time In A Bottle by Jim Croce.
This song was suggested by a close friend. At first I resisted using it because I knew it would be very emotional for me to hear it. I cried the very first time I heard this song even before Mr. B passed away. But I knew that it was perfect for the service so I went with my heart and used it. I know it touched many people at the service and even though I had to restrain myself from sobbing uncontrollably, I feel really good that I persisted and played it.
The last song was Mr. B's favourite. I never really liked it but since this service was about him, I knew there was no other song that I could pick. Plus it was a really good way to end the service on a happy note. Rest in peace, Mr. B.
I think I've heard this prayer millions of times, but until I looked for a picture to add to my blog I never realized that there was more to it. I've only ever seen the first part of it. What a powerful prayer and one that sums up the last 15 months of my life.
The past 24 hours have been very difficult. Yesterday, April 5 at 1:40 pm I said goodbye to my best friend. We have been married for 37 years and I am so lost now that he is gone. I've watched him suffer with so much pain and hardly ever complain. I think I'm still so numb that this day has finally arrived. I so wanted Mr. B to experience a total healing and although he did not receive it here on earth, he has now received it in Heaven.
Rest in peace, Mr. B. My heart is breaking now that you are gone.
The past week has been a blur to me.
Mr. B was not feeling very well last Sunday and Monday. When the palliative care nurse came for her Tuesday visit I told her that I was concerned about his condition. She evaluated him and decided that it was a good idea to start daily visits. He was also officially registered into the palliative care program and all chemo treatments were stopped. It was a hard decision to make but since Mr. B had refused dialysis, the decision to continue with the chemo treatments was made for him by his oncologist. He said that it was important to take dialysis to keep the kidneys functioning while the treatments were on going. But since the current treatment with Revlimid was not working to keep his Lamda Free Light Chains down, his kidneys were starting to fail. The only other treatment option available was to give a much higher dose of cyclophosphamide, the drug that made Mr. B so sick last summer. Unfortunately, Dr. A could not start that treatment unless Mr. B started dialysis. Truthfully, I'm not sure that Mr. B was strong enough to have that treatment or dialysis either.
That same day, Tuesday, the palliative care doctor visited Mr. B for the first time. He evaluated all of his medications and determined which ones could be stopped and which ones needed to be adjusted. I was given the after hours number to call for a nurse if I required one. Tuesday night had been difficult for me. Mr. B needed some cleaning up after a toilet mishap and I had a very hard time getting him in the bathtub. He was just too weak to lift his leg over the side of the tub. It scared me so the next morning I let the palliative care nurse know. She quickly ordered a commode for Mr. B to use at home. Later in the afternoon, Mr. B started to become much weaker. He could no longer get up to walk so I had to use either the wheelchair or the commode to move him around our condo. It was extremely hard to support his weight when he would get up from his bed to use the commode. I decided it was time to call the after hours palliative care nurse. I thought she would come to see him but instead she passed the call over to the night nurse as this nurse was on her way to another patient's residence and then her shift was over. It took another hour before the night nurse called me. She asked me if everything was ok and if Mr. B was now resting. I said I would check on him and found that he had somehow managed to get to the bathroom but had not been able to get there in time and had an accident on the floor and on his clothes. I said to the nurse that I didn't know how he managed to get to the bathroom on his own and all she said was that she would let me go since I had to tend to Mr. B. I think I was so shocked that she didn't even offer to come to evaluate him and I was so scared. I barely sleep at all that night and the 3 hours of sleep that I did get was with one eye open.
The next day when the palliative care nurse came, I told her everything and said that I just couldn't handle Mr. B when he was this weak. She decided that he should go to the hospital and said it would likely take a day or two to get him a bed. She left and within an hour called me back to say that they had found him a bed. I was so relieved. The interesting thing was once he was in the palliative care unit the staff quickly determined that he required two people to take him to the bathroom. Here I was trying to do it all by myself. No wonder I was so upset!
Mr. B is still there but resting comfortably. They were able to get his pain under control and he graduated to having just one staff member help him to the bathroom on Sunday. He still is too weak to walk by himself so stays in bed other than for his washroom breaks. Today he was having some breathing problems which scared me. The doctor told him that he just needs to call for a nurse and she will bring a medication to help him breath.
The staff in the palliative care unit are amazing! Mr. B never waits more than a few minutes when he presses his call button. They stop in his room to check on him and find out if he needs anything. Sometimes they bring a treat for him like ice cream. Mr. B isn't eating or drinking very much right now so they want to do whatever they can to make him happy.
And how am I doing? I cry lots. The first night was the worst when I came home. Walking down the hallway of our condo building, I realized that Mr. B would never walk that hallway again. Once I was in our condo, I saw all of his things and I knew he would never see them again. I think I started grieving his death even though he had not died yet. I finally called a friend because I just couldn't stop crying. :-(
I find that I'm often reduced to tears. When I'm with Mr. B at the hospital I'm ok because he is still with me. But once I go home and I'm faced with the silence of being alone, I quickly find the tears start. I'm not ready to lose him. We've had such a short time since his diagnosis. It's only been 14 months! And Mr. B has suffered for almost every day of it. Now I just want him to be released from the pain and suffering. I want him to enter the Gates of Heaven rejoicing that his healing is finally here and even though he didn't see his healing while on earth, he will receive it in Heaven. My heart breaks a little more when I think about the time when we will say our final goodbyes. I don't want a new title - widow. :-(