Monday, February 28, 2011

Waiting for joy

Life is just not as much fun without Dianne, without someone to wake up next to in the morning, to have a cup of tea with, read the newspapers with, and comment on the news to each other. I was always amazed at the depth of her perception, her grasp of a situation, and knowledge about current events.

I go through the motions of life. I get up, clean up, eat, shave, shower. I go to the gym and exercise, and walk Ella, but take no real joy in it. There is just something big missing, that cannot be replaced. In some ways I feel her presence, in a very positive way. And I feel she will be with me, in  spirit, as I drive up to Mayo's this month, a drive we have made so many times. Doing the taxes this week, assembling all the bills for that last, nightmare trip, (for her),  we made in January 2010,  brought all the memories back.  On the way back I drove straight through, from Des Moines, and took her, immediately, to St. Luke's Hospital, South, for admission. She was in such awful pain with those huge mouth ulcers, resulting from her low white cell count, and nothing seemed to give her relief. In addition she was getting weaker all the time.  Those memories have not cheered me up this week. I think the word to describe my current mood is "disspirited". But, at least, I have the taxes done, and have an appointment with the CPA for next Monday, so I can get them filed.

How I wish I could look beyond me, and see what other people need. Sadness just overwhelms me at times. But I see other men in the same position, having the same difficulties. I sure hope the mood will lift, with time. Otherwise the future does not look too attractive. Must start looking at independent living facilities soon, and start working out costs. I promised Di and myself,  that I would make no major decisions for at least a year. That year is almost up. When I find out my results from Mayo's. that will either give me more urgent impetus, or slow me down, if they are good.  Love to you all. Geoff/ Dad

Friday, February 25, 2011

A snowy night

Went along to the last night of the current COR Grief Support group last night. It was a night fit for neither man nor beast to be out. However, with a four wheel drive vehicle, I thought  should be safe to go - and was.

Attendance made me realize that I really have made some progress over the last year. The newbies in the group, still deep in the crazy stage of coming to grips with the fact that what happened really did happen, (what I call the "numb and dumb" stage), and dealing with the tears, the anger of being left alone by events and things totally beyond their control, the powerlessness of solitariness. As a pamphlet said, "Grief lasts a lot longer than you or I want!"

This morning, as I write this, I look out the study window at the new, pure snow, It looks very pretty on the crossing, intersecting branches of the shrubs in the rear garden. I know that Di would exclaim about its beauty, could she see it, as I do. I know the snow will reach its messy stage before it disappears. But, for now, I will settle for beauty.

It still takes an extraordinary effort to get started in the morning. Having to walk Ella in the snow and ice doesn't help, though she, poor little thing, has been very good, and showers me with unconditional love every time I return home.

Have been invited to an Academy Awards party on Sunday, but, since it is a clear attempt at matchmaking, (for which I am totally unready), I think I will decline. Will I ever be ready? At the present I doubt it. One cannot find, in a short time, what Di and I built together over fifty three years. It would be desperately foolish to think that could happen. Also, I am fortunate, (in one way),  in not having a surfeit of money So there will be no "gold diggers". What a pain that would be, trying to distinguish  true love from monetary interest! I hope never to have to deal with that.

Besides, with my health conditions, I do not expect to live a long time. So I cannot see myself as a "great catch", with women lining up, eager to become a new widow!

The harsh winter has not helped my mood a lot.   If I can get to the gym regularly, I can generate enough endorphins to keep me going, so I don't need anti depressants. Besides, once  you start on those on those, you have to think of getting off them at some time. And that is yet another struggle - one I would like to avoid from the outset.

As I said earlier,  "Grief lasts a lot longer than you or I want!" And you can neither prepare for it, nor do a lot of advance grief work to ward it off. When it comes, you just have to endure the journey through the "valley of the shadow of death".  Hopefully you will have some supportive fellow journeyers.  So, just enjoy your life together, as it unfolds, without thought of what might be coming, "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof". May God, and his love, be with you always. Love never dies! Geoff

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Death is something everyone encounters, sooner or later.

Reflecting on the meeting on Thursday night last, I realized the commonality of emotions experienced in profound loss, like that of a much loved spouse.  That feeling that something large has been clawed away from inside you, that a significant part of you is missing, that you are no longer WHOLE; that the duo has been relied upon for so long, that one no longer knows how to function as a single, and has to develop a whole new skill set.

That reliance means some significant things to the survivor, eg what happens when I get sick?  On whom can I rely?  If that happens, it seems inevitable that I will have to move into at least an independent living unit, at some facility. Have two check ups within the next month. I will await the results of those before I start to move with any speed, in that direction. One is almost in a constant state of apprehension, waiting for the "other shoe" to drop, and the next medical complication to arrive. I just hope that I will be able to handle it with the same grace and dignity that Dianne did.

One of the checks is up at Mayo's. We used to drive up there together. The enforced seven hours of     togetherness was something to look forward to. But I would not wish her back to endure that lsat, nightmare trip, for her, in January,2010.

We have been at our closest, at times during long drives. Before leaving, Di always went to the library to get some entertaining books on CD. That's how I was introduced to Janet Evanovich as an author, and her zany circle of characters.

Psychological and emotional intimacy is a huge loss. Loss of a presence, and the opportunity for ordinary conversation is an enormous, and irreplaceable loss.

Well, service at the Cathedral tomorrow morning, and the opportunity to talk to real human people. There is so much suffering and illness among the congregation, that it is hard to moan about one's own.

Good night. It is bedtime for me. Love, Geoff

Friday, February 18, 2011

Grief work is so bloody hard!

Last night, I felt the need to connect with the old grief support group and went along to the 5th session of the new series of meetings. Was it a mistake? There are more men in this group. Would have felt more supported had there been more in my original group. It was interesting to hear play out, similar stories of preoccupation with the loss, and the loss of energy and initiative that I feel. I feel completely anergic.

I have been able to bestir myself to work on getting the tax information ready in good time, but there is no drive, no initiative. It is just sheer self discipline. It is a hard chore to get up each morning, with no one else in the house, going through the motions of a routine we used to have - take the dog out, cup of tea, newspaper, breakfast. There is no on else here to do things for, or to talk to. Sometimes I wonder if I really have had a stroke, and am brain damaged. But, I think my cerebral function is too high grade for that. But I certainly am having a lot of difficulty with drive and initiative, and getting things done in an orderly fashion. Vestry work is beginning to come in, and I wonder how I will cope. But that work is mainly in committee, so there will be others there to bounce things off.

On the positive side, I have been going to the gym regularly, working out,  meeting people, and talking to old and new friends. That, I believe is a healthy necessity. and I think I am seeing some body development.  It is sometimes an effort to go, but it is human contact that I desperately need. The loneliness is awful.  So, I try to make it most days. even at the weekend. Have met again R., a pianist who plays at certain restaurants round the city. Dianne and I both knew him quite well, through the gym, and went to dinner to hear him play on a couple of occasions. He might come by some time and play the piano. It needs tuning.

Have also had a couple of dinner parties, to get humans into the home, for contact and conversation, though it is a lot of work. Maybe I am a better conversationalist than I thought.  Will have another one March 21st. after I get back from Mayo's.

Time for sleepy time milk. Maybe, having started again, I will write more frequently again.