Happy Anniversary!

It amazes me how many people I know that got married 18-22 years ago.

How many of them are still married.

How many of them are posting recently on Facebook about how they’re so happy to be celebrating their 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st, or 22nd anniversary and I love you SOOOOOO much.

How many of them I want to punch.

How much I want to cry about it.

Happy fricken anniversary.

It would have 18 years for me and Mark on Aug 21.

We *almost* got 13.

And I’m getting married to a new and amazing man soon-ish.

And I still want to tell all of them to STFU.

Don’t get me wrong.  I AM happy for them. I just want them to STFU about being happy about their anniversary when I didn’t get it.

Yep, totally selfish.  I wouldn’t actually tell them that though – I just send them a happy anniversary and move on.

But dammit.  Could you STOP with all the in-your-face love-y dove-y crap for a month or so?

kthxbai.

Mar & Jane Wedding

 

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The Patient who Died

In my very short nursing career (super short! I’m not yet a licensed nurse!!) I have been a part of 3 deaths.  3 deaths over 2 years of theory and clinical.

Two were very expected.  The patients were on palliative care orders, they’d had a decline and death was expected.  I cried a little, moved on and continued my day without much pause.

The third and last (latest?) was not.

He wasn’t expected to die.

His death was not only unexpected, it was unusual and traumatic.

An artery blew and he bled out. He was my patient. I had sat him up for breakfast, and 45 minutes later I was walking by to get another patient a drink and saw him slumped over.

His bed was covered in blood and non-responsive.

I discovered this.

I didn’t respond well – there were things I didn’t do that I should have, and there were things I shouldn’t have done that I did.

I learned so very much from that man’s death.

I walked out of the room as they were continuing the code and thought to myself… what did I miss? What didn’t I do right? What could I have done differently?

The answers?

Don’t leave the patient.
Hit the emergency button.
Put oxygen on the patient.
Open the IV to run a bolus.
Look for the bleed.

The last two are probably interchangeable. Stopping the bleed is important but getting volume back into the patient is important as well.

So I learned.

And now… the grief has hit me again and again.

I talk about it, and I cry. I think about it, and I cry. I’m blogging about it, and I cry.

It was the first traumatic death I’d experienced. And in the words of the nurse who was working with me… it was VERY traumatic.

My husband’s death wasn’t traumatic like that. It’s not reminiscent. It’s only reminiscent in that it wasn’t an expected death. We expected Mark to get better.  He didn’t. I expected the patient to get better.  He didn’t.

I am grieving over this patient who’s name I don’t fully remember (just remember his first name) and his death.

People tell me it’s normal. That I will learn to adjust. That it will stay with me. That I learned from it and from this point on, I will ALWAYS remember to check my emergency equipment, hit the emergency button and put oxygen on a patient who is suddenly not stable.

But I’m grieving.  And I’m sad. And I suppose it will eventually be a part of me. I’ve also been told that if I wasn’t compassionate and caring – I wouldn’t feel this. But in the meantime…

I grieve.  For the man who’s last name I can’t remember. For his dog.  For the children who lived across the country. For a death that shouldn’t have happened even though I know that there probably wasn’t anything anyone could have done differently to change the outcome.

The images in my head flash randomly.  The memory of his voice haunts me. And I grieve.

 

Not as Bad

Things aren’t as bad as they were last year.  The pain of missing him is still there, and the grief storms hit on occasion, but I don’t have that overwhelming depression.

Things are better.

Things continue to get better.

There has been no cutting nor has there been a desire to cut.  There IS a desire to not do anything or go anywhere, but I’m committed to doing things and so therefore… I do them.

I’m not dying inside. I miss him.  But it’s not killing me this year.

Almost 5 years… and I’m doing okay this year.  So far.

Grey's Anatomy

Sucker For Punishment

I read the Facebook and blog posts of many of my fellow widda’s.

They all have something in common that I don’t share with them:  they avoid the triggers.

I don’t think they go out of their way to avoid them, more of a matter of if they know a movie will make them cry, they’ll choose a different movie or wait until they’re alone to watch it.

I’m different.  I deliberately, on occasion, put myself in situations where I know I’ll be triggered.

I think I do it for two reasons:

  1. I want to see how much that particular thing still affects me – am I still grieving as hard? Am I sensitized yet? Am I ready to let go of that sadness yet?
  2. I truly believe that if I allow myself to FEEL, then I won’t be caught unawares, and I wont’ be stuck in a situation where I’m bawling because I thought I was OK.

And it’s interesting how it’s evolved.

Take Twilight: Breaking Dawn Pt 2 for instance.  I blogged about this back in 2012, about 5 1/2 months after Mark died.

The theme song gets me. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It was sent to me by a friend shortly after Mark died.  He said it reminded him of me and Mark.  So this song is played at the end of the movie.  It’s on my iPod. I listen to it a lot.  When I’m in my car, driving, unless it’s a trigger day or something that hits me… I can listen to the song and enjoy it for what it is.

If I watch Breaking Dawn Pt 2, the song makes me bawl. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

So today, I’m hanging out, and Twilight comes on.  I decide..what the hell. Haven’t seen it in a few months, lets try this again. Cue happy family, cue disgruntled vampire who goes to the mean vampires to make a complaint, cue epic fight between mean vampires and good vampires, cue happy ending.

Cue theme song… and I start bawling.

I could feel it building. I could feel it coming.

The question became… let it build, let it out and cry?  Or shut it down and change the channel.

Well.. I don’t know how bad it will be.  So lets go through the process.

And here I am.  Hiding in my bedroom while my youngest son watches my grandson while I cry and listen to that damn song again.

Clearly I am not ready to watch Twilight: Breaking Dawn pt 2 without tears.  Even after 4 1/2 years, I still break down and bawl. It is one of the things that will make me cry.

I still miss him.  So very much.  Despite how happy I am. Despite how excited I am for my future.  There are days when I just want to curl up on my bed… and submerge myself in the “fuck I miss him” feelings that overwhelm me. Because they’re always there.

I miss you Mark.

End of Another Year…

Here I am, 6 hours away from the calendar flip over from one year to the next.

I am alone, sorta.  Hanging with my youngest son and his friend.

My Sexxy Chef is working, my older son is with his girlfriend.

While my Sexxy Chef will be off work in about 3 hours, I’ve volunteered to DD to help raise funds for my roller derby team.  We’ll spend maybe half hour, an hour together on our first New Year’s Eve together.

I will spend the evening with my daughter.  My oldest is in another town, and I’ll send him a text around midnight.

This is not the New Year’s Eve I anticipated.

I accept… that the Sexxy Chef has to work. I accept it. I understand it. I understand that the nature of his job means that he can’t join me in volunteering because of tomorrow’s work schedule.

I accept that.

I don’t like it.

I have spent too many New Year’s Eve’s alone in the past 5 years.

Before Mark went into the hospital, New Years was puzzles. Drinks.  And after I met Kathy it was a party.

It was surrounded by people.

This alone thing… feels weird.

New Year’s 2012 – Party at the Dunlops’
New Year’s 2013 – New relationship, don’t really remember New Years – was in a relationship that ultimately failed and posted *nothing* about what was going on on Dec 31, 2013
New Year’s 2014 – single, quiet evening.
New Year’s 2015 – single, went to a party. Won (?) mother of the year award by dragging my kids to said party (it was kid friendly) and let them have a couple drinks.  Sent them home, stayed and tried to make myself feel better about my life by hooking up with a random.

This year, I’m in a fantastic relationship with a man I love.  I am looking forward to our life together.

I’ve cried less over Mark.

I’ve cried more intensely over Mark.

I’ve found someone who will hold me and keep me together while I fall apart over Mark.

Christmas came and went… no tears shed, although it felt like I was going to on several occasions.

So another year has gone by.  Every year marks one more that I’ve been without him. Every year is one closer to longer without him than I was with him.  That frightens me.

It’s been almost 5 years since he got sick.  4 1/2 since he died. And while my future looks fucking amazing… I miss the future that isn’t.

But it’s a happy New Year.  Despite being mostly alone, I’m surrounded by people who love me… I am blessed with many friends and a whole ‘nother family.

I hope your New Year shows promise of joy and laughter.  If you’re reading this, fresh out from the loss of someone you love, know that it doesn’t get better, but it gets different. The pain you feel now will become a part of you, and you will feel joy again. It’s not the same as before…there’s always a thread of sadness and missing your person that will run through everything, but it becomes a part of who you are and the laughter and joy will be genuine.

You’re not alone, no matter how alone you feel right now. There’s a whole community you can reach out to – starting with me.  And I can help you find someone closer if you’re looking for someone in your time zone.

Happy New Year to all my widda peeps and to all the friends and family who have been there for me the last 5 years.

happy-new-year-wishes

Christmas Sucks

The good things about this Christmas:

  1. My daughter
  2. My daughter’s baby that’s due a few days ago and will be induced in 2 days.
  3. My sons.
  4. Most of my family together (only one missing is my grandson)

Things that suck about this Christmas:

  1. Lack of decorations
  2. Lack of places for me to be (and by that, I mean have privacy, have time for me, have time to grieve or cry or be angry.
  3. Sleeping on a couch, in a living room, when everyone gets up stupidly early.
  4. It doesn’t feel like Christmas.  At all.  None of it.

I wake up in a mood every morning.  I wake up teary and full of emotion and full of grief and I have to swallow it down because I have no where to express it.

I can’t cry in privacy.

I can’t grieve in privacy.

I’m with people from the moment I open my eyes until the moment I shut them.

I’m around people all. freaking. day.

There’s no where, not really even the bathroom (only one bathroom, pregnant person in the house and 3 other boys/men) so no extended time in there – and besides, no bathtub to just relax in.

I can’t curl up on a bed – the only one here belongs to my very pregnant daughte.r

I can’t curl up on a couch or a chair and have no one sitting with me, there’s one couch and that’s it for seating.

So I’m awake, with insomnia, at 2am.   She’s probably going to go into labour tomorrow, if not, she’ll be induced the next day, and I’m going to be exhausted.

This Christmas feels wrong on so many levels – I don’t even know how to express it.   I am doing nothing in terms of what I normally do.  There are no traditions.  There is no Christmas joy.  Just people going to work and waiting for a baby.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited for the baby… but I feel lost without Christmas.   And he’s dead and he’s not here and so this Christmas the absence is felt SO much more strongly.

I get a grandbaby.  I have to trade my Christmas traditions and my Christmas joy for that.  And that’s mostly ok.  But it’s not.

And for the first time I can’t articulate clearly how I feel.  Because I KNOW I should just be happy and grateful for the things I have – but FUCK!  Christmas joy is what keeps me from wanting to die from missing him so much.

Seriously.

The baby’s not here yet.  Maybe that will change after baby gets here.

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Always Loved, Never Forgotten

Two years ago, a light died in my life.   My husband, my best friend, father of 2 of my children and Dad to all of them, let go of his fight to stay with us.

We had an amazing last night together.   We talked, we laughed, we cried, I comforted him, he comforted me, we loved each other fiercely and without reservation.

For a long time I was angry.  Angry at him.  Angry at the doctors who didn’t FIX him.  Angry at the doctor who tried to make me guilt him into trying a little harder.  Angry that my kids would have to go the rest of their lives without that beautiful man guiding them.

And I was sad.

And I mourned.

And I grieved.

And I loved him fiercely and without reservation.

I still do.   I love him with all my heart.  I will love and miss him forever.

He was, in many ways, a better parent than me.  He was, in many ways, a better spouse than me.  He was in many ways, a better person than me.

He taught me to love unconditionally.  He taught me I was worth loving unconditionally.

It has been two years since that day.  Two years since he took his last breath.   I still have the printout of his last heartbeat in my wallet (sorry Patricia!  My kid took it and didn’t tell me until we got home.)  I carry him and his love with me everywhere.

Mark W. Smith.

Forever Loved,
Forever Missed,
Never Forgotten.

Mark's Urn Coloured Memorial Tattoo Mark in Fruitvale