Author Topic: How Do I Go On?  (Read 12698 times)

johnkmurray

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How Do I Go On?
« on: August 28, 2010, 02:02:05 PM »
The other night I was watching my wife's favourite cat live up to his nickname (i.e. The Spotted Freak!). I turned to share a laugh with her over what he was doing and yet again it was driven home forcefully ... and brutally ... just how big a hole losing her carved out of my life. I caught myself wondering yet again how to go on, and whether or not I really wanted to.

Kit and I were married for close to 17 yrs. We were together through lean times and good, career changes, relocations, etc. She was my best friend, my soulmate, the foundation upon which my life was based. We didn't have any children in spite of many years of trying. Perhaps to compensate, we somehow wound up with 5 cats, a toy poodle and a macaw in lieu of human children. The youngest cat, Orion, is a Bengal, and for those not familiar with the breed they retain many kittenish qualities through adulthood - kittens that never grow up, they just get bigger ... and get into everything. As such, he was a never-ending source of amusement for both Kit and I.

Kit became ill in early 2009 and was diagnosed with non-cancerous fibroid tumors in her abdomen that they first thought they'd treat with medications and later, as the pain grew worse, through surgery. As the date for her surgery drew nearer the pain got progressively worse and her doctor prescribed stronger meds, until one day I had to take her to the ER for pain relief. While we were there they took a CT scan of her abdomen and just happened to catch part of her lungs in the picture. They noticed some spots on the lungs that gave them some concern and admitted her for further tests. Within a week or so it was confirmed that she had cancer (unknown primary). Not only that, but it had already spread to other areas. The Oncologist estimated she had 1-2 years to live if she underwent chemo, less if she didn’t seek treatment. Our lives came crashing down around us that week.

Kit went for chemo and at first it seemed to slow the spread of her cancer but by the New Year the cancer was back with a vengeance. Late January we were told Kit had maybe a few months to live. We halted treatment so she could best enjoy what time she had left. In early March they said she had weeks … and if we had any plans (trips, activities, etc.) we should not waste time on excess planning. The last week of March I took her to Las Vegas, a place she had often talked about us going to see together. After getting back we were also planning a long weekend in Savannah. When we left home she could still walk with minimal assistance (and a cane) but I arranged for a wheelchair to be at the hotel. Two days later the cancer played perhaps its cruelest trick - It took away the use of her right arm and leg. We had made a side trip to see the Grand Canyon, and that night in our hotel in Flagstaff Kit tried to get out of her chair and her right side collapsed, sending her crashing to the floor. For the rest of the trip she was confined to her wheelchair. She couldn’t get in or out of it without assistance. She couldn’t dress, shower, etc, without assistance. Kit was an artist, both in traditional media and as a graphic artist. She was also very talented musically and played many instruments. For Kit this seemed to be the final blow, the ultimate indignity heaped on her by the disease. We finished the rest of the trip, but she grew visibly weaker and weaker as the week went on. It was our last trip together, to a place I’d promised to take her to for a few years, and we enjoyed the trip, but when I look back on ths photos I took of her that week alone I can see the changes that happened in those few days.

At the Las Vegas airport, waiting for our flight, Kit slept soundly in her wheelchair, so soundly that two burly security guys came over to see that she was ok. She had to be carried to her seat (I’m SO glad I shelled out the extra for First Class!). She slept so soundly on the flight home to Atlanta that I checked her breathing and pulse a few times. She woke up near the end of the flight and apologised to the Flight Attendant for sleeping so long … imagine that. Her mom, who was staying with us throughout Kit’s illness, met us at the airport. When we got home we set up the sofa bed in the living room until Hospice could get a bed delivered. This was Friday night. On Saturday a bed was delivered and set up downstairs. Kit slept more and more as the weekend progressed, and on Monday morning the Hospice nurse told us she was slipping away, that it would be a few days at most. On Wednesday morning, April 7th, 10:30am, I held her hand while she died. We were watching an episode of “Scarecrow and Mrs. King”, a show that she’d waited for years to come out on DVD and the first season had arrived while we were in Vegas. That morning I put the show on so she could at least hear it, even if she didn’t wake up to see it. On Saturday I played “Dark Island” on the bagpipes at her funeral service.

I’ve been like a zombie since then. Weekdays I would get up, go to work, then come home to the pets and sit alone in the house. A couple of times each week I’d go to band practice to get out of the house. Weekends it was me, the pets, and lots of memories. August 14th was our wedding anniversary. It would have been our 17th. I knew it would be rough. It was worse, but at the same time it was wonderful. I watched our wedding video, then a few of our favourite movies. I ran out of champagne early on and switched to Crown Royal. It felt right to spend the day with her, with our memories. We usually spent this day together in previous years and I couldn’t deny her this one.

I’ve never told all of this to anyone. I don’t know why I’m doing so now, but I feel like I’ll implode if I don’t get it out. Tears are streaming from my eyes as I type, and my chest aches. Still, I need to get this out, to grieve. Sadly I can’t grieve openly around other people … call it a “guy thing.” Stupid, but we’re programmed this way.

Anyway, if you’ve made it thus far, thanks for letting me get this out. I know she’s gone. I see the empty side of the bed next to me at night, the shoes and coats by the door that she’ll never again wear, the toothbrush on the sink that will never be used, and I know, intellectually, that my sweet Kit is gone. In my heart I can’t make myself believe that this is so.

Thanks,
John

Terry

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Re: How Do I Go On?
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2010, 02:32:19 PM »
Hi John,

I'm so sorry you've lost your precious "Kit" and welcome to WebHealing! I was very touched by your story and glad you feel comfortable sharing with us.

It's a very different way of life after losing someone we love so much. I know that your furry friends must bring you comfort as I have quite a few, too and I'd be lost without them. They all sound precious.

You've come to the right place to vent all of these feelings that seem to be overwhelming right now. Although our stories vary, we all share a common bond here; we have all lost someone so dear to us that at times it hurts to breathe.

I hope you'll come back soon and tell us more about your darling wife. You can express your pain, your loneliness and your anger from losing her and we will all understand and always listen with an open heart.

We're always here for you, John.

((((((((John & KIt))))))))

With love & understanding,
Terry


sevenofwands

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Re: How Do I Go On?
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2010, 03:16:18 PM »
John:

I can only echo what Terry has said so well.  I am so very sorry for your dreadful loss, and what you are enduring.  When you can please post some more.  The love for your wife comes over so overwhelmingly in your open-hearted post.

ll the best
Seven

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Re: How Do I Go On?
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2010, 04:06:49 PM »
John,
I know it will be hard to understand this but time will heal you. It's been two years sicne I lost my beloved husband Glen and I still miss him so much. I do understand you not wanting to be with groups of people. I felt the same way. I know you can't beleive it now but it will get better it really will. Have you tried to go to a greif healing group. I went through three with the local Hospis and my first few meetings all I did was cry and cry, but all the ladies and the guy were so very understanding and caring. Just a hand held or back patted was so healing.. By my third time around I actually was comforting the newer people. I hope you will keep posting here.
Linda
Linda K. McGlenn

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Re: How Do I Go On?
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2010, 04:09:26 PM »
The other night I was watching my wife's favourite cat live up to his nickname (i.e. The Spotted Freak!). I turned to share a laugh with her over what he was doing and yet again it was driven home forcefully ... and brutally ... just how big a hole losing her carved out of my life. I caught myself wondering yet again how to go on, and whether or not I really wanted to.

Kit and I were married for close to 17 yrs. We were together through lean times and good, career changes, relocations, etc. She was my best friend, my soulmate, the foundation upon which my life was based. We didn't have any children in spite of many years of trying. Perhaps to compensate, we somehow wound up with 5 cats, a toy poodle and a macaw in lieu of human children. The youngest cat, Orion, is a Bengal, and for those not familiar with the breed they retain many kittenish qualities through adulthood - kittens that never grow up, they just get bigger ... and get into everything. As such, he was a never-ending source of amusement for both Kit and I.

Kit became ill in early 2009 and was diagnosed with non-cancerous fibroid tumors in her abdomen that they first thought they'd treat with medications and later, as the pain grew worse, through surgery. As the date for her surgery drew nearer the pain got progressively worse and her doctor prescribed stronger meds, until one day I had to take her to the ER for pain relief. While we were there they took a CT scan of her abdomen and just happened to catch part of her lungs in the picture. They noticed some spots on the lungs that gave them some concern and admitted her for further tests. Within a week or so it was confirmed that she had cancer (unknown primary). Not only that, but it had already spread to other areas. The Oncologist estimated she had 1-2 years to live if she underwent chemo, less if she didn’t seek treatment. Our lives came crashing down around us that week.

Kit went for chemo and at first it seemed to slow the spread of her cancer but by the New Year the cancer was back with a vengeance. Late January we were told Kit had maybe a few months to live. We halted treatment so she could best enjoy what time she had left. In early March they said she had weeks … and if we had any plans (trips, activities, etc.) we should not waste time on excess planning. The last week of March I took her to Las Vegas, a place she had often talked about us going to see together. After getting back we were also planning a long weekend in Savannah. When we left home she could still walk with minimal assistance (and a cane) but I arranged for a wheelchair to be at the hotel. Two days later the cancer played perhaps its cruelest trick - It took away the use of her right arm and leg. We had made a side trip to see the Grand Canyon, and that night in our hotel in Flagstaff Kit tried to get out of her chair and her right side collapsed, sending her crashing to the floor. For the rest of the trip she was confined to her wheelchair. She couldn’t get in or out of it without assistance. She couldn’t dress, shower, etc, without assistance. Kit was an artist, both in traditional media and as a graphic artist. She was also very talented musically and played many instruments. For Kit this seemed to be the final blow, the ultimate indignity heaped on her by the disease. We finished the rest of the trip, but she grew visibly weaker and weaker as the week went on. It was our last trip together, to a place I’d promised to take her to for a few years, and we enjoyed the trip, but when I look back on ths photos I took of her that week alone I can see the changes that happened in those few days.

At the Las Vegas airport, waiting for our flight, Kit slept soundly in her wheelchair, so soundly that two burly security guys came over to see that she was ok. She had to be carried to her seat (I’m SO glad I shelled out the extra for First Class!). She slept so soundly on the flight home to Atlanta that I checked her breathing and pulse a few times. She woke up near the end of the flight and apologised to the Flight Attendant for sleeping so long … imagine that. Her mom, who was staying with us throughout Kit’s illness, met us at the airport. When we got home we set up the sofa bed in the living room until Hospice could get a bed delivered. This was Friday night. On Saturday a bed was delivered and set up downstairs. Kit slept more and more as the weekend progressed, and on Monday morning the Hospice nurse told us she was slipping away, that it would be a few days at most. On Wednesday morning, April 7th, 10:30am, I held her hand while she died. We were watching an episode of “Scarecrow and Mrs. King”, a show that she’d waited for years to come out on DVD and the first season had arrived while we were in Vegas. That morning I put the show on so she could at least hear it, even if she didn’t wake up to see it. On Saturday I played “Dark Island” on the bagpipes at her funeral service.

I’ve been like a zombie since then. Weekdays I would get up, go to work, then come home to the pets and sit alone in the house. A couple of times each week I’d go to band practice to get out of the house. Weekends it was me, the pets, and lots of memories. August 14th was our wedding anniversary. It would have been our 17th. I knew it would be rough. It was worse, but at the same time it was wonderful. I watched our wedding video, then a few of our favourite movies. I ran out of champagne early on and switched to Crown Royal. It felt right to spend the day with her, with our memories. We usually spent this day together in previous years and I couldn’t deny her this one.

I’ve never told all of this to anyone. I don’t know why I’m doing so now, but I feel like I’ll implode if I don’t get it out. Tears are streaming from my eyes as I type, and my chest aches. Still, I need to get this out, to grieve. Sadly I can’t grieve openly around other people … call it a “guy thing.” Stupid, but we’re programmed this way.

Anyway, if you’ve made it thus far, thanks for letting me get this out. I know she’s gone. I see the empty side of the bed next to me at night, the shoes and coats by the door that she’ll never again wear, the toothbrush on the sink that will never be used, and I know, intellectually, that my sweet Kit is gone. In my heart I can’t make myself believe that this is so.

Thanks,
John
Linda K. McGlenn

browneyedgirl

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Re: How Do I Go On?
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2010, 07:11:44 PM »
John ~

I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Kit.....your words are a testament to how much you love and miss her.
Welcome to Webhealing, again, I am sorry that you have to be here with us.

You will find a comforting, supportive word here when you need it.  We are a family here, you can come here anytime, there will always be someone who cares.

I am so sorry for the deep pain you are feeling in your heart.

Please take care of yourself and come back soon.
Tony Repola 07/20/66 – 03/29/09
I know you are fishing in the oceans and streams of heaven

querencia

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Re: How Do I Go On?
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2010, 07:34:12 PM »
Oh my dear, please know that we are a family of brothers and sisters even though we never meet.  We understand what you are feeling because we have felt it too.  When you described your wife sleeping away her last few days, I remembered when my husband did the same (six weeks ago).  I am troubled by the thought of you sitting alone in that empty house.  Why don't you call your Hospice people and see if they have a bereavement group that you can join? And, even if church is not a part of your life, get in touch with the minister or priest and ask if there is some sort of grief support group there? My thoughts are with you.

closs86

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Re: How Do I Go On?
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2010, 08:10:31 PM »
Hi
    I am so sorry for you loss, it is so sad for all of us here, we all know what you are feeling and going through, I lost my wonderful husband on April 6, he also died unexpectedly, he had pancreatic cancer and from when his symptoms showed until he was gone it was only 6 weeks.  We were married 43 years, it is so hard to get through all of this.  I have tried everything, I went back to work, bereavement groups, one on one counseling, I like the one on one the best, and I really think that she is helping me get through this somehow.   I also have animals, dogs, and they are so good, when you come home there is life when you open the door, and they are so happy to see you. 
    I wish you peace, and comfort in your heart and mind.
God Bless
Karen

Tom

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Re: How Do I Go On?
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2010, 10:45:26 AM »

I’ve never told all of this to anyone. I don’t know why I’m doing so now, but I feel like I’ll implode if I don’t get it out. Tears are streaming from my eyes as I type, and my chest aches. Still, I need to get this out, to grieve. Sadly I can’t grieve openly around other people … call it a “guy thing.” Stupid, but we’re programmed this way.


Hi John and welcome to webhealing.  Thanks so much for writing out your story.  Remember that writing and simply "thinking about" are both valid ways of working with our grief.  Whatever way we can find to tell our story is the way we tend to use and all of us will usually have different ways since we find safety in different places.  Men certainly find different places than do women. Verbally sharing emotions is more often the domain of the feminine.  Men seem more prone to use action (like writing), inaction, and honoring.

It was so clear in your writing through everything you said that you loved Kit.  Also good to keep in mind that our grief is fueled by love.  If we have no love we have no grief, if we have an abundance of love we will likely have an abundance of grief.  (Here's facebook note on this if you are interested)  Wear your tears with pride that they reflect your love for Kit and her importance to you. 

Glad you found us.

Tom

   
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johnkmurray

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Re: How Do I Go On?
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2010, 10:54:40 AM »
Thank you all for the warm sentiments. I 've spent some time over the last week or so browsing through this site, which was recommended to me by the Hospice bereavement cousellor. I had originally intended to post a brief introductory note, but got writing and, well, it sort of wrote itself. I just checked spelling and grammar!

I feel like I've just finished riding the Roller Coaster from Hell, and now I'm standing at the exit all numb and woozy. And alone. Oh, that last bit isn't entirely true, but does anyone else feel alone now, even when with friends?  

I felt like I was coping, barely, by keeping to the routine of job, my music, some time with friends, and some evenings and weekends to myself. Unfortunately I was laid off a couple of weeks ago and 'coping' isnt a word I'd use anymore. Oddly enough I'm not really upset about the job thing. Heck, in some ways it is a welcome break, a chance to rest a bit. No, the problem is the coping routine is gone and I now have rather a lot more time staring at the walls. I've noticed, too, that the dog and the cats tend to follow me around the house.

Anyway, "Hi all, I'm John and I'm new around these parts!"

John

johnkmurray

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Re: How Do I Go On?
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2010, 11:05:20 AM »
Tom - Thanks for that link. Also, and I'm assuming you're the author Tom Golden, thanks for the books that the Hospice bereavement counsellor recommended. "Swallowed by a snake" indeed! The title alone sums up how I've felt for some time now.

John

Tom

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Re: How Do I Go On?
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2010, 05:52:10 PM »
Tom - Thanks for that link. Also, and I'm assuming you're the author Tom Golden, thanks for the books that the Hospice bereavement counsellor recommended. "Swallowed by a snake" indeed! The title alone sums up how I've felt for some time now.

John

Yes John, I am that Tom.  Glad they liked the snake book enough to recommend it.  I hope you find it helpful.

Tom
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AlwaysLovingHim

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Re: How Do I Go On?
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2010, 09:36:07 PM »
John I Am So Sorry For The Lost Of Your Beloved Kit She Sounds Like My Donnie A Fighter He Went Though Alot Of Stuff I Mean Diabetes, Dialiays, Kidney Pancreas Transplant Eye Surgerys But The Last 3 yrs After The Transplant He Was Like A New Man, But He Did Have Problems But Not As Bad. But He Was Just Tired And It Was His Time To Go I Believe That The Massive Stroke Was His Way Out And I Am Ok With That Cause Now He Does Not Have 2 Suffer Anymore. And It Time Heals All Wounds, I Am Here If U Ever Want To Chat..

Autumn Leaves

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Re: How Do I Go On?
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2010, 07:11:18 PM »
John, sounds like the animals are grieving too.
All I can recommend is that you keep yourself busy. I spent a long time away from my house just because the house was so empty and I was so alone there.
RJ

Juls

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Re: How Do I Go On?
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2010, 09:46:44 AM »
John,

Please allow this site to be your "safe place".   It can be exhausting to maintain that outward face we all must show the world.  Here there is no judgement, no rigid expectations, no pitying looks - just acceptance. 

And please remember that your grief is never our burden.  We know what your life has become.  Allowing us the opportunity to reach out to another, to make that connection, to offer support and caring, well it helps us as well as you. 

Your Kit sounds like a very special lady.  Hopefully with each other's help, we'll all find a way through this dark time in our lives. 

Juls