Saturday, January 30, 2010

4 days. The anger and guilt are passing.

Elaine went home yesterday, but my nephews, her boys, are coming up today. That will liven the house up a bit. And I won’t have to shush the little ones up if they get a little noisy. I’m glad they’re coming up, I need the distraction. I am so thankful that I have Lukas and Christian at home with me. I don’t think I could take this in an empty house. OK, it’s not an empty house, I have a cat meowing to go out and a ferret scratching my leg begging for a treat.

It’s -8° here, and I have birds galore. Both feeders are covered with birds and I had 4 woodpeckers on my suet feeder. By Thursday it’s supposed to be above freezing. I want this winter gone.

Friday, January 29, 2010

3 days.

Anger and guilt and grief.

Anger at David for not being able to overcome his alcohol use, and anger at myself for at times despising him for that weakness.

Guilt at all of those wasted emotions and wasted time being angry at him, for not being able to somehow be what he needed, for walling myself off from him these last few years. Maybe if I hadn’t done that he would have said something about not feeling good, maybe I would have caught it. All I can do now is pray to Jehovah for forgiveness and try my best to live more in tune with Bible teachings.

Grief at picking up his fuzzy vest and putting it back down because I don’t know what to do with it. His billfold is still on the kitchen table, and his coffeepot on the kitchen counter, half full of coffee. I suppose I should empty it out before mold starts growing in it, but not today. I can’t. Time will ease this sorrow, but it will never go away. How can it? I’ve lost my love and my friend.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

2 days. It’s incredible how much change 2 days can bring.

My first memory of David was at a card party. I had seen him before at the airport (we were both independent taxi-cab owner-operators), but had never talked to him. There was something about him, dark curly hair, mustache, low voice, that just struck me, and I thought ‘I would like to get to know him better.’ Did I pursue him? You bet I did. I was in love with him (love or lust, what’s the difference when you’re in your 20s). In the next weeks and months, we got to know each other and went on dates, and had a very brief fling, but he decided he was still in love with his former girlfriend, so he broke it off, and we moved on. I was rear-ended one day sitting in the cab line and that kind of did my full-time driving days in because of whiplash injuries. I leased a cab part-time, which made for some pretty lean days. So when David, who had quit driving to take a job as a cab-starter (when people came out of the airport looking for a cab, his job was to ask them their destination and he would direct them to the proper cab) asked if I wanted a job as an assistant starter, I jumped at the offer.

Over the next couple of years, we got to be friends, and then best friends, and then started going on dates again, and ended up living together and then getting married. I can honestly say I married my best friend. He was kind, generous and so funny then.

9 years ago, the company he worked for was bought by a big company. They installed a computer dispatching system, waited a week to make sure it was working, and laid off all of the senior dispatchers. No severance pay, no 2 week notice, nothing. David was devastated. Personal demons (he is the 3rd sibling out of 7 to die of alcohol abuse) and the bottle took that funny, caring, wickedly-witted man away from me, and 2 days ago death took what was left of him.

When they took him off of the ventilator, his heart so very gradually started to slow down. We all just stared at that monitor. I would close my eyes and pray over and over for strength to endure this, and open my eyes to look at the monitor. It went down into the 40s and then the 30s, and then the 20s. So very, very, very gradually. I couldn’t understand why we can take a dog or a cat to a vet when we know that death is imminent and have them given a shot to hurry their passing, but we can’t do that with people. More crying and praying over and over for endurance. Then his heart went to 19, then it started to go up, and up into the 40s and 50s. There was that little surge of hope, that maybe they were wrong. Into the 60s... and then to 0.

I have so much guilt to contend with. His daughter was up yesterday and I sent his computer home with her. I put pots of tulips in its place. I cleaned off the shelf where he had his cigarettes and telephone, feeling guilty that I was somehow wiping him out of my life. There’s a bag of tacos in the refrigerator that he bought last week. For some reason, I can’t throw them away.

I miss him so much. I miss the man that he used to be.

When Lukas was born, it was a horribly horrendous time (he was 4-6 weeks overdue). The local hospital and doctor botched up so bad that the nurses at NICU in St. Paul, which is where Lukas was taken after he was born, would tick off on their fingers what should have been done and hadn’t been. One of them told me I had to do something about them (that wasn’t the first time they had screwed up, which I didn’t know at the time). Lukas spent a month in intensive care down there. He has epilepsy and cerebral palsy. He’s gone through 7 operations to keep him out of a wheelchair. The only way that I could cope with all of it was by burying memories. I decided I needed to do that once when Lukas was a baby, and I was going over and over in my mind some of the things of when he was in the hospital. I was driving and crying and wanted so bad to go 100 mph and drive my car into a tree. So living just in the moment is a form of self-preservation for me. That’s one of the reasons I blog and keep a diary. So all of these things in my life are somewhere besides a deep hole in my mind.

Last night I decided I need to do some mental digging. All I have of David are recent things, of anger and bitterness. I need to dig and find those happy memories, and I’m going to write them down here. It’s a coping mechanism for me.

Don’t anyone pity me. I know, as much as I know that the sun is coming up tomorrow, that the next thing that David knows will be the resurrection. Right now he is a memory in God’s mind. (Quick history lesson: The common belief of a soul that separates from the body after death is not a Bible teaching [Google nephesh]. That is Greek philosophy that crept into Hebrew doctrine when the Greeks expanded their empire into the middle east. It didn’t become a Christian doctrine until a couple of hundred years after Christ died). After Armageddon, death is done away with. That’s when the resurrection begins, as Paul wrote in Acts 24:15, of the righteous and the unrighteous, and not in heaven, as Christian church doctrine teach, but on earth, as the Bible teaches (2 Peter 3:13, Psalms 37:29, Isaiah 65:17-25 are just a few out of the many scriptures that tell about this). At that point David will wake up in a re-created body, young and healthy and happy, and he won’t have to watch Lukas ever suffer through another seizure or operation, because Lukas will be in the same condition, healthy and whole. He will be able to find things to do that will bring him happiness without destroying his body and mind.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2 days. Today I watched my husband die and made arrangements for cremation. How could life change so much in 2 days?
David is gone. The nurse called at 4 this morning and told me he was getting worse. So this morning I went down to North Memorial and asked to have him taken off of life support. Kelly, his sister and Jim, her husband, and Dusty, one of their boys, Sean and Teresa, his children from his first marriage, and my sister, Elaine, were there. Once they took him off of the ventilator, his heart just beat slower and slower, and then it raced, and then it quit.

This man I’ve known for over 30 years, I’ve loved him with all my heart, and at times I’ve despised him just a little bit. He struggled with alcohol, and he lost his fight with it, as did 2 of his sisters. The doctor thinks he had an infection, and his body was too run down to fight it, and he didn’t go to the doctor or say anything about not feeling good. So by the time he got some medical help, it was too late. His organs were already shutting down.

From the beginning, David was my closest friend, but over the years the alcohol was too much competition, and when he started saying hurtful things to me over the past couple of years, I withdrew to protect myself from the pain. Maybe if I hadn’t done that, he would have been more communicative. As my sister says, though, hindsight is always 20-20. All I know is that he’s gone, and I hurt so much, and I don’t know what to do. I’m full of regret and guilt and grief.

Monday, January 25, 2010

My husband, David, is in the hospital on full life support. Something happened yesterday evening, and we had to call 911 because he couldn’t stand. They took him to Monticello, and had to administer CPR because his heart stopped. They stabilized him and then took him to North Memorial in the cities. His kidneys have shut down and he’s on dialysis. He’s not breathing on his own, so he’s on a ventilator. They don’t know what happened, and why this is happening. All they can do is keep his body alive and hope something ‘optimal’ happens.

I talked to the ICU doctor this morning, and he said that the kidneys could come back on their own, and it could take days or weeks, and even if they do, there’s no way of knowing how badly his brain has been affected.

I have people telling me I need to have him taken off of the machines, that he would not want this. I agree, but I’m having a very difficult time making this decision. I know very well he wouldn’t want to be hooked up to machines to live, and I know very well that he wouldn’t want to be in a condition where he would have to be taken care of by others. I know this is the right thing to do.

But I am having a VERY hard time saying it. There’s the guilt, maybe I should have just made an appointment after he fell down 3 weeks ago instead of just urging him to go to the doctor. The guilt of just wanting to let him go. He’s spent most of his adult life trying to find happiness with a bottle. He’s been miserable the last few years, and he turned into a crabby old man who seemed to blame me for everything bad that’s happened to him. Maybe it’s true. Maybe if I hadn’t been so angry at him for choosing the bottle over us, maybe it would have been better. And the guilt of thinking about the hospital bills, about nursing home bills. The doctor said it could take days and even weeks of being hooked up the dialysis machine before finding out if the kidneys recover. The fear of having him mentally and physically disabled and having to take care of him, on top of Lukas. Lukas is our 23 year old handicapped son, and he lives at home with us. Am I letting all of these feelings push me into making the wrong decision?

And then there’s the finality of that decision. It’s saying goodbye to the person I fell in love with 30 years ago, even if he hasn’t been that person for years. It’s not having him here. It’s saying goodbye to 30 years of life with him, and the hope that he would overcome the alcoholism, and go back to that caring person who could make me laugh.

How do I make that decision? How do I not make that decision?