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mittam99

The day the clock stopped ticking

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When Tammy died on March 6th 2015, the world I lived in changed forever. Any and all future plans were gone. In an instant everything was different.

From that moment on, I became a different man. Not entirely, I mean I'm still basically the same Mitch to most people. I put on a good show. But inside, I'm not the same. How could I be? I had one perfect best friend. One absolutely perfect for me wife. One person in my life who I knew loved me. One person who was always on my side and by my side. When Tammy died, I pretty much had no one and my emotions were instantly out of sync. The world, which I thought I had a pretty good grasp on, became foreign and painful to live in. That's when I just started "existing" and not living with the same zest and joy for life.

Tammy and I came together in 1999 via the internet. She was living her life in a small town in Illinois with her 3 year old daughter Katie. Me, I was in Maryland living the life of a confirmed bachelor believing I'd never find the right woman for me. Who would put up with me and all my quirks? ;) Yet somehow, there was this instant connection. First in our writing and then in our sometimes all night phone chats. One night in particular, she read to me from Katie's book "Goodnight Moon" and I fell asleep clutching the phone to my ear. In mid-snore I awoke and Tammy was still on the line waiting for me. Over the months we talked (before her move with Katie to live with me in MD), we were clearly falling madly in love with each other. When we met at the airport for the first time and I saw her and touched her and kissed her... there was no doubt she was the one. And vice-versa.

Tammy never was blessed with good health. She was diagnosed with systemic lupus at 20. Her case was severe. Tammy lived a life of courage and strength facing health issues literally 24/7. Multiple cases of sepsis, cardiac arrest and too many life threatening infections and surgeries to count were a way of life. And yet somehow Tammy had a smile on her face and loved to laugh. I think my sense of humor was a big attraction for her.

Tammy and I were a team. We fought all the battles together. We truly were better together, that's no cliche. Having Tammy in my life made me a much better person and gave my life a sense of joy and fulfillment I never had experienced before.

And then Tammy died. At 45 years old. How unfathomable is that in this day and age? After coming home from another long hospital and rehab stay. Her mind was willing but her body succumbed to the ravages of her disease. When Tammy was rushed to the hospital on the last day of her life, I frantically followed in my car. I had just seen that man in the ambulance pounding on Tammy chest and she did not respond. My emotions at that moment were incomprehensible and inconsolable.

A doctor came to where I was sitting and told me Tammy had arrived unresponsive and that she had died. At that moment, I was gone too. Emotionally checked out. I sat with Tammy in the hospital's trauma room for hour after hour. I could not leave her. I could never leave her. She was me and I was her. After about six hours they told me I had to go and I understood they needed that room. I drove home and arrived at our house after 1 AM on the 7th. At that moment, the world went dark.

My life had no meaning. I had no purpose. No direction. I had no one who loved me and no one who wanted my love. I was there but I wasn't there. I'm sure you all know what I mean.

Time. I have no concept of time anymore. Some days, 24 hours feels like an eternity and then I look at the calendar and see it's been over 32 months since I lost my Tammy. How could that be? How has it been that long? How have I even survived?

And yet with all of this, I still have some inkling of hope. But my expectations have been lowered. It's not about hoping to find a new love and start a new life with someone else. That's not even part of my thinking. What I had with Tammy was a once in a lifetime moment. The hope I have is that somehow I will change my life into something that has some sense of fulfillment and a modicum of happiness to it. Right now, it's just a day to day moment to moment "to-do" list kind of life. I'm functional, but there's no joy to be found.

All of us know our lives will never be the same, it can't be. Life will never feel as good as it once did. But we all want to find a way to go beyond just existing. Beyond staring at the walls and marking off another day on the calendar. The problem is, figuring out how to accomplish that. And the path and ultimate goal is an individual thing. There's no "one size fits all" solution.

And so begins another day on this lonely (but still hopeful) journey...

Mitch

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Mitch,

You pretty much described all of us  since we lost the most important person in our life.  My world certainly came to a stand still and pretty much still is.  Al and I cared about each other so very much.   No one comes close to  caring for me as he did.  Life has become so lonely with no hope of it changing.  Aging has brought on a lot more challenges that we would have shared together.  I guess all we can do is plod our way onward the best we can.  

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Mitch,

It's good to hear from you and I can relate to what you wrote.  Three years, twelve, it's pretty much the same, except I've had a little more time to find some purpose and build a life I can live.  It's nothing like "before".  I can't compare because if I do, it's a letdown.  I have to accept what is good about today rather than focusing on my loss, which is great.  That doesn't mean I don't remember that loss, I'm hit with it every time my family, who all have their spouses, are enjoying life together and don't have a clue what my everyday existence is.  I am reminded whenever I'm alone on holidays.  I'm reminded when I can't attend an evening event because I have no one to drive me and I can't drive at night.  I'm reminded when I fix a good meal and George isn't here to enjoy it.  I am reminded when I go through the hassles and struggles of life and no one to talk it over with.  And I am especially reminded when I go to bed alone every night.  I feel like you do, I had a once in a lifetime perfect soulmate.  Lord knows I tried several times to find happiness with someone but this was the only one that was THE one and it was so apparent when I met him.  Like you and Tammy, we just clicked, we got each other, we related, we understood each other, and we were a perfect fit.

You are right that there is "no one size fits all" solution, it's up to each of us to find what works for us, and that is quite a challenge...nothing simple about it.  I like that even though your life has been turned upside down, and reality has definitely sunk in, you still remain optimistic about life being better...not the same, but better than the last 32 months.

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Mitch, I can relate too. I felt I was part of a team and there was a purpose, a mission behind and beyond everything that was part of my former life that is gone forever. That feeling had nothing to do with being dependent, being abducted or loosing our own selves while being in a relationship. It is hard to put in words. 

My personal expectations have lowered to just above ground zero. I expect that things that may appear to be solid, to change and to be over. 

Still, I appreciate a quiet day, a silent day, when I take a nap or listen to a good old song. I appreciate small light  chat with neighbours and shop customers. 

As I mentioned in another post, happiness is a concept I don't use anymore when it is about me. The same with future. It is an elusive word.

Peace. 

 

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On ‎11‎/‎18‎/‎2017 at 12:01 PM, mittam99 said:

When Tammy died on March 6th 2015, the world I lived in changed forever. Any and all future plans were gone. In an instant everything was different.

From that moment on, I became a different man. Not entirely, I mean I'm still basically the same Mitch to most people. I put on a good show. But inside, I'm not the same. How could I be? I had one perfect best friend. One absolutely perfect for me wife. One person in my life who I knew loved me. One person who was always on my side and by my side. When Tammy died, I pretty much had no one and my emotions were instantly out of sync. The world, which I thought I had a pretty good grasp on, became foreign and painful to live in. That's when I just started "existing" and not living with the same zest and joy for life.

Tammy and I came together in 1999 via the internet. She was living her life in a small town in Illinois with her 3 year old daughter Katie. Me, I was in Maryland living the life of a confirmed bachelor believing I'd never find the right woman for me. Who would put up with me and all my quirks? ;) Yet somehow, there was this instant connection. First in our writing and then in our sometimes all night phone chats. One night in particular, she read to me from Katie's book "Goodnight Moon" and I fell asleep clutching the phone to my ear. In mid-snore I awoke and Tammy was still on the line waiting for me. Over the months we talked (before her move with Katie to live with me in MD), we were clearly falling madly in love with each other. When we met at the airport for the first time and I saw her and touched her and kissed her... there was no doubt she was the one. And vice-versa.

Tammy never was blessed with good health. She was diagnosed with systemic lupus at 20. Her case was severe. Tammy lived a life of courage and strength facing health issues literally 24/7. Multiple cases of sepsis, cardiac arrest and too many life threatening infections and surgeries to count were a way of life. And yet somehow Tammy had a smile on her face and loved to laugh. I think my sense of humor was a big attraction for her.

Tammy and I were a team. We fought all the battles together. We truly were better together, that's no cliche. Having Tammy in my life made me a much better person and gave my life a sense of joy and fulfillment I never had experienced before.

And then Tammy died. At 45 years old. How unfathomable is that in this day and age? After coming home from another long hospital and rehab stay. Her mind was willing but her body succumbed to the ravages of her disease. When Tammy was rushed to the hospital on the last day of her life, I frantically followed in my car. I had just seen that man in the ambulance pounding on Tammy chest and she did not respond. My emotions at that moment were incomprehensible and inconsolable.

A doctor came to where I was sitting and told me Tammy had arrived unresponsive and that she had died. At that moment, I was gone too. Emotionally checked out. I sat with Tammy in the hospital's trauma room for hour after hour. I could not leave her. I could never leave her. She was me and I was her. After about six hours they told me I had to go and I understood they needed that room. I drove home and arrived at our house after 1 AM on the 7th. At that moment, the world went dark.

My life had no meaning. I had no purpose. No direction. I had no one who loved me and no one who wanted my love. I was there but I wasn't there. I'm sure you all know what I mean.

Time. I have no concept of time anymore. Some days, 24 hours feels like an eternity and then I look at the calendar and see it's been over 32 months since I lost my Tammy. How could that be? How has it been that long? How have I even survived?

And yet with all of this, I still have some inkling of hope. But my expectations have been lowered. It's not about hoping to find a new love and start a new life with someone else. That's not even part of my thinking. What I had with Tammy was a once in a lifetime moment. The hope I have is that somehow I will change my life into something that has some sense of fulfillment and a modicum of happiness to it. Right now, it's just a day to day moment to moment "to-do" list kind of life. I'm functional, but there's no joy to be found.

All of us know our lives will never be the same, it can't be. Life will never feel as good as it once did. But we all want to find a way to go beyond just existing. Beyond staring at the walls and marking off another day on the calendar. The problem is, figuring out how to accomplish that. And the path and ultimate goal is an individual thing. There's no "one size fits all" solution.

And so begins another day on this lonely (but still hopeful) journey...

Mitch

Mitch:  I was so touched by what you wrote...I can say that you truly spoke for me too so well.  It's so incredibly painful but true.  I also hope for a way to live without just existing...I guess if I didn't have that hope I wouldn't be here now.....

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