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.
For the past year our family has been living on a greatly reduced income. I actually had quit my full time job almost a year ago to pursue my own bookkeeping business at home. Then a month later, we found out that Mr. B had multiple myeloma and we were on the roller coaster ride of our lives. A few months ago when Mr. B was going through a particularly bad time healthwise, I made the decision to do whatever I could to work at home. I felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders once I made that decision....until today.
About a month ago, we decided to make an early application to have our mortgage changed over to our new financial institution. Our current mortgage is held by a company that is closing down and will only honour our mortgage until it comes up for renewal which is in November 2013. So we thought it would be good to know if we would even qualify for our mortgage to be renewed now rather than in a year from now when Mr. B's health might be even worse.
Well, surprise, surprise....we did not qualify and now we will need to make some hard decisions in the next year. We basically only have two options, sell our condo and move into an apartment or I will need to find a full time job out of our home. It sends shivers up my spine to think about the pressures of working full time and trying to care for Mr. B at the same time. I've found the last year pretty hard emotionally and I know that trying to hold down a full time job would not be very good for me. I would be a basket case. :-(
I'm sure that many of you are working while caring for your spouses. I've admired those of you that can do it. I think I would rather sell our home and live in an apartment then go back to work. Yet I know how hard that would be for Mr. B so I have to weigh the options and decide what would be best for both of us.
It was a wake up call that I should have expected but still shocked me when I got the phone call today. I know that I have almost a year before the decision needs to be made but I don't want to be leaving it to the last minute. And as I'm learning, I will need to be the one that makes the decision. Mr. B gets very depressed when these types of decisions need to be made. He blames himself and nothing I say can change his mind. It's just easier if I do as much leg work myself first and then present the solution to him.
I think I've mentioned before that I'm not a writer. English in school was my worst subject. I struggled through any creative writing assignment that I had to do. I would even go as far as to say it was painful for me to do any writing. I lump writing emails or making a post for this blog in the same category. Many times I try to start a new article but my mind is all tangled up like a ball of yarn. Many thoughts are jumbled up inside and I just don't know how to get them down on paper.
When I first started knitting, my mother taught me to look for the start of the ball in the center. You stick your finger in one of the ends of the ball and pull out a section of yarn. The end would come out with that jumble of yarn and you were on your way to knitting your project. The remaining yarn would seamlessly flow out of that hole until you came to the other end. When I started knitting again a few months ago, I tried this same technique. What I ended up with was a horrible mess of tangled yarn. It was painstaking work to untangle it so I learned my lesson. Each ball after that, I took my time to unwind it and rewind it back into a ball. It was time well spent.
So how does one untangle the mess of thoughts and emotions that are running around in your head? I guess it would be the same way you would untangle a ball of yarn.....one step at a time, one thread at a time, until you see some progress. Don't try to untangle it all at once, but pick one knot and work on it. Then move to the next one and so on and so on. It won't be long and you will have a nice neat ball of yarn.
The past few weeks have been emotional ones in our household. We had an appointment with Dr. A and he stressed again that Mr. B had an aggressive form of Multiple Myeloma cancer. He would continue to treat Mr. B for about 4 more months in the hope that his protein numbers would be reduced enough to be considered for a stem cell transplant. If they did not come down and hold steady, then his only other treatment option would be a drug called Revlimid. Mr. B left that appointment feeling very depressed. He said that he felt he had been given a death sentence. The rest of the week he cried often. During this time I was considering some contract work outside of the home. It would be for 2 days a week and would last for about 4 months. The important thing was that it would ease some of the financial pressure that we are under right now. But after seeing the turmoil that Mr. B was going through, I had to search my heart and determine if it was in the best interest of both myself and Mr. B if I worked outside the home. I tried doing it last April & May when I worked 2 or 3 days a week. I had forgotten that I was very stressed during that period of time and was only too happy to have it end. Mr. B & I had a real heart to heart talk. We cried lots and we even ventured into the area that we have ignored since he was diagnosed. Yes, we had "the talk". We addressed the elephant in the room finally and talked about getting some wills prepared and getting our financial affairs in order. It was very hard to talk about and we didn't talk about everything but it set the wheels in motion. So with great trepidation I called the client the next day to say it was just not good timing for me to work in their office right now. To my surprise, he said that he felt I could do the work remotely from home! What an answer to prayer! Now I will be earning some extra money that will help cover our bills plus I can stay at home to monitor Mr. B.
Don't get me wrong....it's not that Mr. B is a total invalid who can't be left alone. But I've noticed in the past that when I'm away lots, he tends to get more depressed. He has never been the kind of person that has lots of friends or hobbies to keep him busy. His life has been work, me and tv. Not sure which order they go in. *g* There have been weeks and even months where he would not get a visit or a phone call from anyone. So I feel it is very important that I'm around him as much as possible to keep him connected to the real world. Each week I see the chemo treatments take a little more out of him physically. He is still struggling with nausea and the dry heaves or vomiting from the treatments and out of 7 days a week, he will only feel good for maybe 2 of them. It breaks my heart to see him suffer so much each week. And when Mr. B has a good day, my hopes start rising again that maybe the treatments are starting to work. But a few days later, he will crash again and I'm reminded that his journey is far from over. It truly is a roller coaster ride.
But the one good thing that has come out of this nightmare is that for the first time in our 37 years of marriage, we are starting to communicate from our hearts. The baby steps that we took this week have been awesome. I know that there will be many more in the coming months. Please....hug your spouse and tell them that you love them, at least once a day. You will never regret it.