Widowed Parenting

There’s things you think about when your spouse dies.

How you’re going to explain it to your children.
Making sure they get counselling.
Making sure they get fed every day.
Figuring out how to manage their schedules when before you had two people to do the running around.
How to shop with children in tow.
Having to endure the “oh I’m so sorry” looks and voices when people ask where their father is.

Then there’s things you don’t think about.

Having to teach your teenaged boy how to shave.
Having to have the safer sex converstations.
Having to have a conversation about sex, and how to make sure she ENJOYS it.

Those are the three I hadn’t thought about… until they came up.

My son who wants to shave needed razors and I just about had a meltdown in the grocery store buying them.

Both my son’s are at the age where safer sex is a conversation that has to be had… condoms need to be available… and how to use them…

And then last night… the conversation about actual sex.

He’s had sex.  And so the conversation became…

… about consent.
… about making sure she enjoyed herself.
… about talking to her about what she likes.
… about how condoms can affect a woman

Those are conversations HE should be having with his son dammit! NOT me.

I am NOT supposed to have to teach my son how to have good sex.  That’s his FATHER’s JOB.

The fortunate part of all this… is that he’s got a mother who:

A: is very open about sex, and has no problems talking about all aspects of it and
B: is training to be a nurse so will end up having to have these conversations with clients… so he gets to be the one I practice on.

This isn’t the life I wanted. I was supposed to be raising my kids with my husband and we were supposed to be Grandparents together.

But it is what it is.   And I get to have the hard/awkward/uncomfortable conversations with my kids.

New Normal Sucks.

It's Going to be Ok Someday

I Watched You Die Again Last Night

I went to bed (alone) like I do (almost) every night.

I kissed the pendant and said good night to you again like I do every night.

I asked you to come visit me in my dreams like I do every night.

I woke at 630am, having not dreamed of you again like I do every night.

I forced myself back to sleep – it’s the weekend and I have been ill and I need the rest.

I woke 2 hours later, gasping, in tears, because I had just watched you die.

In real life, you died from complications of pancreatitis.  You made the choice to let go. We said our good-bye’s and loved each other the best way we could one last time.

In my dream, your heart stopped. I called 911 but they were stupid on the phone and I had to scream at them that you were having a MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION!! And they still just pretended they didn’t know what I was talking about. They didn’t send help.

Your heart stopped.  And I couldn’t get it going again.

I was surrounded by all my new friends, with all my new knowledge, and it wasn’t enough.

I watched you die again.

And then I woke up, alone.  Again.

It’s your birthday in 4 days.  Could you not have brought me a dream where you were happy?  Maybe have me “join” you in your memories of your last birthday with Wade?

I watched you die again last night.  And this morning, it feels like it did the first time.  Except I know how I’ll live without you.  I’ve been doing it for almost 4 years.

Mark in Fruitvale

Terrace Sucks

It sucks on cellular levels.

The drive in was painful.  Closer we got… the more I hurt.

My friends were all talking about their husbands and how they’d met and how long they’d been together.   All I could think of was…. we’d have been married 17 years this year.  And together 19.

I wanted to share my stories… but didn’t want to start crying or be the Big Sad Widow.

So I kept quiet and listened.

And watched the scenery change as we got closer to where my life with him started.

First Clinical Setting

I wanted to write before now.  The last 2 weeks have been intense.

Today, I finished my first Consolodated Practice Experience in my nursing program.

What does that mean?  It means for the past 8 days I’ve been working in a Senior’s Home, working with people who are in Assisted Living and Residential Care.

I’ve been working with people who, for whatever reason, are unable to care for themselves in their own homes.

Part of my clinical experience was to work with the Recreation Department.

For my Rec day…. the activities planned were:

10:00: Memorial Tea
11:00: Pony Visit
2:00: Bingo

I helped set up the Memorial Tea. I sat in the room during the Memorial Tea.  I figured I was good.  No worries.  There wasn’t any family around. It was just the staff speaking on behalf of the recently deceased.

Until it wasn’t.

Until it was the wife of one of the deceased.

Until she talked about how much he was loved.

Until she talked about how much he was missed.

Until she broke down in tears, her voice trembling as she talked about him, the love still very much evident.

And at that point… I broke.

I got up from my seat, let the Rec Aide I was working with know I would be back, and sent a text to my instructor that I was at the Memorial Tea, and that I was having a bit of a breakdown.

My instructor came, took me to a private spot, and talked to me about what was going on, ensured that I could finish the day and told me to take the time I needed to get myself under control.

I didn’t expect to have a breakdown in clinical.  I didn’t expect to have to deal with the emotions I was dealing with. I don’t know why I didn’t expect it.  It’s a home for older people.  People with mulitple co-morbidities. People who go in there without an expectation of moving back home.  People die there.

So… the expectation is that if I’m working there… I will have to deal with death.  The expectation is that in my chosen profession, I will have to deal with death.

I had better learn to deal with death.  Fairly quickly. I only have 15 months left until I’m officially a nurse.

Overall, clinical was an awesome experience.  But once again… grief managed to smack me in the face and say hello when I least expected it.


Day Drinking & Derby

NOT recommended.

I debated where to put this, on my widow blog or fitness blog.  I’m still not sure which is the best place, but it’s both so… meh.

Today at school we were going through hospice training. The training involves digging deep into empathy and feelings. We got to talk about death and dying and grief and mourning and how to best help the families and patients as they go through this.

I started the day with Bailey’s and coffee. First thing.

I wanted just enough to keep the edge off.  It didn’t work. So I drank more.

And I cried my way through hospice training.

The first coffee finished, and the facilitator started reading a poem. I had caught a glimpse of the poem and left for more coffee.  I still had Bailey’s left and there was enough to make me comfortably… relaxed. Filled my cup with coffee and managed to get back to the room just at the point of the poem finishing.

I cried my way through the rest of the training.

I cried for three freaking hours.

After the hospice training, we went into the nursing lab, and talked about what would happen with a body.  How it would look.  What would be happening with it. We got a body bag and talked about the family and their rituals and what they would want.  And I watched and listened while memories of Mark after he passed superimposed over the visual of the mannequin laying there.

And I cried some more.

Some classmates and I went to Boston Pizza.

We had pitchers of sangrias.

And I spent the afternoon getting inebriated. And more inebriated.  And thank goodness for my commuter dude who could drive home.

I got home at 5.30pm.  Derby was at 7pm.

I was day drunk.  And then had to go to derby practice.

Not a good combination.

I practiced.  I hurt more than normal.  Had trouble breathing.  Couldn’t push myself the way I normally do.  But I practiced.  And I tried to focus.

But I was either still drunk… or I was hung over.  I wasn’t on my game.  Our head ref said to me… “You’re not moving the way you normally do” which… duh.😛 I was either drunk or hung over. LMAO

I couldn’t have made it through the day without the drinking.  But I shouldn’t have drank. But I needed it.

I laughed with my classmates. I laughed a lot. And had a good time.  And got drunk. I needed it.

But day drinking and derby don’t mix.



Hospice Training

If you’re new-ish to my blog, or haven’t read that far back, I’m in school to become a Practical Nurse.

This involves working with people who might die.   Just in case you didn’t know.

As an LPN the primary areas we work in are Long Term Care, Palliative Care, Post-Natal Maternity and Med-Surge.

2 of those 3 involve the likelyhood that someone will die.

So we need to know how to handle that, how to manage that, how to be a part of that.

Enter Hospice Training.

It started at 9am.  Tears started about the same time.  I brought Bailey’s for my coffee.  Drank it all.  Cried for 3 freaking hours.  Still teary.

But yeah.  Lets talk about death. Dying.  The dying bill of rights.  Grief.  Mourning.  Bereavement.

Lets do this all in a class.

And lets watch Jane fucking break down over and over and over and over.

Other people cried.  In parts.

I cried the whole time.  And after.  And honestly if someone were to look at me sideways I’d probably start crying again.

But yeah.  It was like having a wound…and someone sticking their finger in it and twisting it around so that they could say “HEY! This is how it HURTS.  Now you KNOW how it feels!!”

Fuck you.

And fuck you again.

But I will have a bit of a better idea how to help people through the process when it’s time. And hopefully, I will be able to bring an empathy to the dance floor that another wouldn’t have had.

But fuck me.  I haven’t cried that much for a very long time.

After class?   I went and drank.  Had some serious laughs. Had a good time.

But I still want to cry.  A lot.  Because that class brought up SO much emotion.

Fuck I miss him.


Are You Ok?

Three simple words.

Sitting at the afterparty, a derby girl I’d just met, just played with for the first time that night, sat across from me at the table I was sitting at and asked me, “Are you ok?”

She saw that I was teary when I came into the dressing room.  She wanted to check in with me that I was ok.

She asked, and was genuinely concerned.  She genuinely wanted to know.  And so I told her.

And she… she listened.  And understood.

She held space and let me talk for 5 minutes.

Because.. she truly wanted to know.  Was I ok?

I was. And having someone just take those 5 minutes, take that time to be genuine, I was even MORE ok when we were done talking.

Really ok

If you randomly read this, for whatever reason, Amanda… thank you.  Thank you for that moment of just being genuine and holding space and allowing me, for one moment, to just not be ok… before I was ok again. Thank you for that moment.