Archive for the ‘MARRIAGE, FAMILY, AND LIFE IN GENERAL’ Category

WHAT AM I TO DO ABOUT CHRISTMAS?


I do not know what I am going to about Christmas Day or even the few days remaining leading up to the holiday. I had hoped that my experience with Thanksgiving would have provided me with some clues but no luck there. I opted out of going to North Las Vegas to see my son Dan because I got a massive case of cold feet about leaving my comfort zone and not having good ways to mitigate the effects of the difficulties of my daily existence. My son John and his wife drove in from Lancaster and spent thanksgiving day with us and we had a good visit and a quiet meal. I cried some after the meal when I began thinking of the family members who have passed away. I know well that the lot of the survivor is to bear the grief one feels when someone you love passes away. This grief accumulates as one gets older and more people die. The temptation to suppress memories becomes greater and that is one of my greatest concerns – that time will dim my memories of Patty. The holiday season is particularly hard as it seems like every thing that touches my life does remind me of Patty and our life together. I sometimes mentally flog myself for being too sorry for myself when the memories become too vivid. I try to not pursue that train of thought because it does me no good. My son David, I know, is feeling the holiday effect. He is doing a lot of work in our yard,  front and back, to put the place into good shape for his Mom. She would be very proud of the place.

I frequently have to remind myself that Patty was a mother, sister, grandmother, great grandmother, great great grandmother, aunt, in – law, and friend to many as well as my wife for 66 years. I feel at times that I have fallen short in my duty to properly commensurate with the many persons who have been hurt by Patty’s death. This, I fear, is the result of me being me – for better or worse. My only defense is that speaking and thinking about Patty is painful for me and I cry a lot –  neither of which is among my favorites. 

I am slowly becoming more tolerant of the mental anguish that seems to afflict me when I dwell on my life with Patty. I am trying to stay connected with family and friends and I am writing this Post to my Blog as part of my effort stay engaged. It seems to help me a lot. I recently published a gallery made up of images of Patty that I ran across as I went through my image files. I made up my mind that I had to confront my difficulty in viewing these images. This has done me some good, I think, because I am thinking of getting out the  slide images I took on our Alaska adventures and using them to illustrate a post, yet to be to be written, about those very happy times in our life. Bear with with me my friends, I will be OK.

As to my plans for the next few days – I still don’t Know. I’ll just take it day by day as I have been.

 

 

“IT IS JUST ANOTHER DAY” – NOT!


I have just finished the first Thanksgiving meal since my wife Patty died last February. We ( two of my sons and their two companions plus me) did pretty good in all respects. I hope that Patty is not too disappointed at the lack of home cooked dishes on the menu.  I managed to not cry during the meal, but did after. I began thinking of the many friends and family members that have died in the past twenty or so years. In spite of this sadness, that seems to cloak me from time to time, I retain my basic outlook on life as being good and satisfactory in the main. I am lonely most of the time because I miss the companionship and love that existed in our sixty five years of marriage. Thank you family and friends – you make life bearable.

 

STATUS REPORT


I am feeling good this morning and I do not have a clue as to why. I am usually feeling very tired and sad this time of the day (noon). One of my doctors thinks I am experiencing “male menopause”. He had me tested for low testosterone and we subsequently found out my testosterone level is about as low as one can get and not be mistaken for a dead person. He has prescribed a testosterone patch for me to try. I will start using them as soon as they arrive in my mailbox. The doctor also informed me my hot flashes should stop. Except for some kind of weird placebo effect, this does not explain why I feel good today. I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out the “nuts and bolts” of my lifestyle in an attempt to determine what I should avoid doing in my my daily routine and thus maximize my “feel good” time. About all that I have learned thus far is that it is important that I not eat much meat protein (amino-acids binds with the L-dopa in my Parkinson’s medication), not eat fatty meals, be very punctual with regards to my medication schedule, and pay close attention to my state of mind as I cycle through the on-off periods of my medications. My other doctor has put me on a dopamine agonist patch (changed daily) which seems to be effective in lessening the deleterious effects of the on-off cycles of my Parkinson’s medications. All in all, I am doing better physically, but I have not gotten to a place with regards to my  memories of Patty which permits me to do what I need to do with her belongings. Her things are pretty much as she left them the morning she went to the emergency room. The lipstick stain on her coffee cup is slowly fading away, but my memories of her are vivid in my mind. I find myself at times expecting to hear her come in the front door or listen for her in the house as she goes through her daily routine, but the silence goes on.

So, I am doing ok physically, I guess, but I am very lonely. I still miss the physical presence my wife very much and there is no medicine for that. However, the medicines that I have taken and the resulting changes in my mental state have nearly convinced me that what we do and feel as humans is the result of the chemistry of our brains as it exists at any given time. Notice I said “nearly convinced me”. I cannot bring myself all the way to the belief that “we” are just the product of chemical reactions in our brains because Patty is very much alive in the place in my brain that is “me”. I feel her spirit near me all the time and I am trying to find comfort in that feeling. Thus, I find it difficult to believe that the comfort I seek is contained in a bottle of pills. I do not want to leave the impression that I am not thankful for my medications because I am. I recognize that the fact that I am able to tell you this story is largely due to my medications and I am very grateful for that.

AN UPDATE IS OVERDUE


I am beginning to feel better as the days wear on. For instance, I gave Patty’s truck to Dan recently. It seemed like the right thing to do. My big worry was my reaction during the giving process. I managed to hold myself together as we went through the paperwork. I really did not know how it would go. Our driveway now looks barren without the truck sitting there. Something else to get used to.

David is keeping the yard in good shape and I believe Patty would approve of the what he is doing. David is grieving the loss of his Mother and he tries to stay busy to avoid thinking too much. Not an easy thing to do when you are living in her house with the ever present reminders of her everywhere you turn. I am completely unable to do what I must eventually do to dispose of her belongings. I may never get there. It seems that everything in my present life is somehow connected to the events of our long marriage and my memories of these is painfully sharp. I think of our time together constantly and I continue to miss her very much. I would not have it any other way.

GOOD NEWS


My apologies to all for  not keeping you up to date concerning my welfare.

I have a new medical practitioner advising me as to my treatment for my Parkinson’s. She has prescribed a larger dose of L-dopa taken at more frequent intervals. This new prescription seems to be working well as I feel much better now.

The new air conditioning is work very well and I have become dependant on it now that summer is here. I am paying less for my electric bill now than when we were using the fans.

I have completed ten weeks of meetings with a group of people that have experienced the recent loss of a loved one. It was a very helpful experience for me. I am glad that I did it. However, I am still having meltdowns when I speak of Patty and our life together. Our 66th wedding anniversary would have been July 27th and I do not know how I will react on that day. I owe her so much for the years she spent at my side. She made it possible for us to live a life filled with joy and happiness. She was the love of my life.

We met when we were eighteen years old and we both became adults together when we began our married life in 1951. We learned together as the years passed and we were fortunate not to have experienced any major catastrophes in the years of our marriage. We were very lucky. We were close in our marriage and we loved each other very much. It has been five months since Patty died and I am slowly coming to terms with the death of my remarkable wife. I will feel her presence at my side for the remainder of my life and will take comfort in the certain knowledge that she loved me as much as I loved her. What more can a man ask of  life than to be loved by an attractive and smart woman like my wife Patty.

I FOUND OUT THAT I AM NOT ALONE


Last night, I attended the third meeting of the bereavement support group I recently joined. We heard stories from several new members of the group and the details of one member’s story were eerily similar to the details to my story. It was remarkable and reinforces my belief that I stand to gain much relief from the pain of my loss of my wife Patty by discussing our shared experiences. Somehow, the knowledge that others have the sort of pain that I am experiencing is a form of grief therapy for me.

I learned the name of the deceased spouse of another member of our group and the name seemed familiar to me. I established that I had done volunteer work with the deceased person in the distant past and we had a great conversation about that. What a small world this is.

 

 

MOTHER’S DAY TOMORROW


Mothers day for Patty was a day of receiving phone calls from our three sons and our many grandchildren. She downplayed the significance of the day, but enjoyed very much the opportunity to converse at length with those who called to wish her a “happy mothers’s day”. Both patty and I did not feel that a special day was needed to honor your parent’s sacrifices, made as your parents fulfilled their responsibilities as parents, and, consequently, we did not have a history of making a big deal out of “mother’s day”. That has proved to be a “blessing” now as we do not feel the need to “do something” tomorrow in spite of Patty’s absence. That does not mean that the substantial sacrifices made by parents in the course of raising their children is not appreciated by those children. It just means that the best way to honor your parents is to live your life, day-to-day, as they taught you. Now that I have made my point about “mother’s day” clear, I must tell you that I know that Patty is missed very much by all who knew and loved her and that the lack of the opportunity to call her up and wish her “happy mother’s day” will bring much sadness to all.

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