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About Herc

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    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 06/29/1972

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  • Your relationship to the individual who died
  • Date of Death
  • Name/Location of Hospice if they were involved:

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  • Location (city, state)
    Gaithersburg, MD

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  1. So I did the interview last night. Erin was very compassionate. I didn't cry, but felt very odd. I had moments where I thought or felt that I wasn't communicating clearly. While none of the subjects we talked about made me "uncomfortable" I couldn't seem to express what I was truly feeling, and stumbled over a lot of my answers. I alternated between very short answers, and rambling explanations that didn't really have much substance to them. Overall it was a good experience, and I requested a copy of the transcript, which will be interesting to read when my head is a bit clearer to see if I really did struggle as much as I felt with my answers. There were some very deep emotional issues brought up, and in many ways it put me in the same mindset of the shock of the first few weeks. Moments from that time were revisited, but more than that the way I was perceiving my reactions reminded me of that kind of "out of body" feeling I had in the early days. I hope Erin got something of value out of it. She was nice, and seemed to care deeply about the subject. Thanks for passing along the opportunity Marty, Herc
  2. KayC, I wish I could offer more than just prayers and positive thoughts. I am sure you will be fine, and know that your indomitable spirit will see you through. Though I know you are strong enough to get past this with flying colors, I'm still going to ask whatever powers may be to give you whatever help they can. Wishing you peace and tranquility, Herc
  3. I am no where close to dating again. It is far too early in my journey to even really consider it. Even though I am not three full months into my journey, people have asked and suggested though, so I have had to think about it. If I did date again, I would have to be able to do two things I am currently incapable of doing. I would have to be able to consistently consider another persons feelings, emotions, and situation beyond and in some cases before my own. I would also have to accept another persons care and support in a way that did not involve my wife. My current emotional state is beyond chaotic. I can't even put my own emotional well being before the thoughts of what I should or should not be feeling about my wife and my loss. Though I know it isn't true, I often feel as though I deserve to be miserable and hopeless. If that is my own self image, what chance do I have of offering another person a positive view of their own self worth? If I did develop feelings for another person, would I want to put them not only in the position of having to help me through my emotional instability, but also having me be unable to be there for them if they experience moments where they need emotional support? If we did manage to make it past those emotional hurdles, would I honestly be able to separate that persons emotional contributions to my life from those of Christine? I see and seek signs everywhere of her continued involvement in my life. Would I be able to differentiate what Christine has and in many ways continues to do to improve my life from a new persons contributions? Would it be fair to take another persons compassion and care but be unable to acknowledge it as such? To put another person in the position of having to deal with my emotional trauma, yet be incapable of acknowledging their contribution is the opposite of what I know a loving relationship to be. A true relationship is two people supporting and benefiting from the mutual support, and I currently would be of little or no value in that respect. I still have a long journey with time to heal and change. I may at some point be able to offer something to another, and accept what they offer to me. That is still a long way off, and anyone who tries to rush me in to that just to fill a void, doesn't truly understand what love is to me. They also don't understand the void they perceive, which can only be filled by me better understanding how full that hole is with the love that I am slowly rediscovering after my loss. I can see why many people have issue with the subject. Having known true love, I am somewhat insulted by the idea that it can be "replaced" by dinner and a movie. Other people want to see us happy, and assume that involves doing what we have done before. In their eyes, we had a relationship, so we obviously need another. Happiness won't come from replacing the loss, not that we could if we tried. Happiness may come for me from accepting that I haven't really lost anything, simply that what I had has changed form. When and if I get to that point of acceptance, I may look for something else. Until then I am very happy knowing that I know love more deeply than many of those who suggest that is what I need to "fix" my situation.
  4. I just signed up for the research study. I think the interview will be for 7:30 tomorrow evening, but will hear back shortly.
  5. It sounds like you had a magical trip to the outer banks. Christine and I went there every year. She wasn't supposed to go out in the ocean because the force of the water could cause damage to her transplanted kidney, but she was a swimmer and lifeguard in her youth, so she couldn't stay away either. In order to get her out in the waves, we had to hug closely, letting my body take the beating from the surf to protect hers. She missed a few years in the ocean due to surgeries, and finding dialysis clinics was a challenge. One year we had to go to the mainland, a 2.5 hour trip each way. I'll be going again in July, the week we always went. It's going to be difficult, but there will be family and good friends as always, and we will all help one another through it. Hoping you are finding the peace and comfort she always had lying on the beach, Herc
  6. To expound on my early thoughts, I would like to say I don't know anything about what happens next. My belief is that there is something more. The laws of conservation of matter and energy indicate that the energy that comprises our soul, spirit, life force, whatever you choose to call it continues in some way. I tend to believe in some sort of divine being, because even with the nearly limitless universe the delicate intricacies required for life, let alone intelligent life seem to indicate to me that something had to lay out a plan to at least set all this into motion. And these beliefs are not proof. There is no proof, or solid rebuttal of something more. So I find myself trapped in a place of not knowing. As a result I choose to believe, but must also acknowledge that this could be it, this could be all we have. And if this is all I have, it is still beautiful. My grief is unrelenting, yet it is merely a by product of the love I once had which was, and indeed still is, more enduring. The anguish is unbearable, but is only present because the joy was and still is more overwhelming than any other emotion. The loss is profound and terrible, but compared to what I once had and am still a part of it is inconsequential. If there is nothing more, then I am at the bitter end, and I am still glad for having made the journey. If this is it, then at least I tasted of perfection, and basked in it until my heart was brimming over with what many only dream of. And while I may never experience that bliss again, it still goes on around me every day. Sometimes that is a bitter pill to swallow, that I now watch from the outside a show that once was about my love. Seeing the others who are in the midst of it often heightens my awareness of what I have lost. And yet, to simply know that it is out there is marvelous. While it may be gone to me now, I know that there are others reveling in the joy of it. That those emotions still flow and bring forth the resulting miracles that I have witnessed first hand is proof that what I now endure is worth while. That I may never feel that love again is devastating, but still the love remains. As with all things there is a cycle. Every ending is also a new beginning. What beginning this has wrought, or may bring forth in the future is beyond me, but it is there. Perhaps my life and love will inspire my daughters to find their own. Perhaps some small act of kindness Christine and I performed helped someone who will do great things. Perhaps someone will read the words we type to one another and find a measure of peace in them to get through one more day. And perhaps it was all for nothing, and even that is fine because it created a beautiful union that I am always proud to have been a part of. Faced with the possibility that this is it, I can look the universe in the eye and say that I am happy to have been a part of it. I have done what I had to, helped what I needed to, and enjoyed what I could. And nothing can ever take that, or the love in my heart from me, not even death. While I fully believe that there will be something more, if there isn't I am ok with that as well. Hoping everyone finds peace and love within their own hearts, Herc
  7. I am no longer afraid of death, but then I had embraced my mortality far before I ever met my wife. This has certainly made the prospect sweeter though, the chance of being reunited in some way. Even if my beliefs are wrong, and it turns out there is nothing after, I will be ok with that. At least the struggle would be over and I will have done as well as possible with my time here. I also am not suicidal, and further while I am not afraid of death, I am not rushing into it. I have a long life in front of me, in the area of 35 years based off my projected lifespan per retirement calculators. If I were to fall ill, I would pursue medical treatment, for my daughters and mothers sake if nothing else. At the same point in time, if I were to go in a traffic incident on the way home tonight, I would be more than ok with that. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the most likely scenario is that I will be around for a long time. That is ok too, I don't think time will work the same on the other side. I have a feeling that what seems like a long wait for me will only be moments for Christine. Regardless, the after will take care of itself, it is the now that I need to focus on.
  8. I already expressed myself elsewhere Kay, but again, I am so sorry for you and your daughter. I wish there were more I could do, but a hug is all I can offer. (((Hug))) Herc
  9. I didn't realize how close we were George, we got a few flurries today up in DC, and have our first call for accumulation over 1" coming on Tuesday. I think KayC finally managed to send us some so she doesn't have to keep shoveling. I hope you enjoy the retreat. It sounds like you could use it after a hectic work week. I hope next week is just full and not overly full. Many thanks to all for helping relieve the isolation a little on this wonderful site, Herc
  10. George, Thanks so much for the suggestion on alternative treatments. I think I am going to try making homemade cat food. Some people have had positive results from molasses and baking soda, and something called Essiac Tea. Essiac has pretty well been debunked, so I am not sure about that, but I will give the molasses and baking soda a try. Other ingredients in the home made cat food include broccli, pumpkin, liver, fish oil, shitake mushrooms, and a multi vitamin to ensure proper nutritional values. I am a pretty good cook, but catering to a cats pallet isn't something I have tried before. I'll see if I cant come up with something she doesn't completely spurn. I have to balance it with a diet that is good for kidney function as well since some of the blood work came back and she is having some issues with the numbers on that front. I might end up going to a holistic vet to get some advice on all of it. Even if it doesn't do anything, at least I will know I am trying something which is important to me as turning down some of the standard treatment options left me feeling like I wasn't trying to help Pokey. Thanks again, Herc
  11. KayC, Thanks for understanding, sometimes that is all we really need. I worked at an animal shelter for about 5 years. It wasn't a "no-kill" shelter, we put down about 20 animals a week. I cross trained for every position in the shelter, I was primarily a dispatcher, but did office work, kennel duties, field services, everything except vet tech, which you need documented medical training for. I was the vet techs go to for an assistant when putting down animals though, because I was reliable, strong enough to control even some of the large and more aggressive dogs, and always treated the situation with the compassion the animals deserved. I saw a lot of vet techs leave because they had so many issues with putting the animals down. It was a rough job that requires a very special person. You get attached, bringing the animals in, caring for their every need for weeks, and then suddenly having to lose them because you have to make space for other animals who deserve a chance to be adopted as well. I would still be doing it today if it paid better, playing with animals for a living was wonderful, even if there were the oh too frequent moments of heartbreak. I often wonder if those experiences, at least in a small way helped prepare me for this one. I've also had many pets that I have had to put down myself. A wonderful black-lab/australian shepherd mix named Magic, that I may have waited a bit too long on, hip dysplasia and a second floor apartment don't combine well. I carried him up and down the stairs three times a day for walks for about six months. He had a wonderful last day though, with very little pain and two steaks, one cooked and one raw. He ate them both, because he was a hog. He was actually the one who brought Christine and I together. A cat named Guava that has more stories than most people I know. We managed to stretch his life by about a year and a half with surgery for a kidney problem he had, but I had to put him down about two years back when the kidney problems spiraled out of control. My point is this is a situation I have a lot of experience with, so I know I'll make the right call when the times comes. Hopefully it is still a good ways off, Pokey isn't showing any signs of discomfort or pain at this point, so we might have quite some time before I have to make the call. I'll get there, the news just hit me at an already low point, I had a rough morning leading up to it. I am sure when the time comes, Pokey will head off to Christine and tell her what good care I took of her. Thanks for the understanding, compassion, and letting me ramble, Herc
  12. George, Thank you for the kind words and prayers. Other treatment options is a good idea. I am normally pretty solid in following standard medical treatment, but as this is one of those cases where following the standard treatment may not be for the best, looking for alternatives is something. Time to go do a little research. I hadn't even had time to think of that yet, so thanks again, Herc
  13. So I took the morning off work to take our (Christine's) cat, Pokey, to the vet. This is the cat I have to medicate twice daily. We were going for a recheck on some blood work. She has a thyroid problem, which is what the medication is for, and her values had spiked pretty seriously after Christine's passing. This cat truly was Christine's. I love her too of course, but she wouldn't sleep on my side of the bed if I had slept on it until Christine washed the sheets. It's hard to explain, but this was most definitely Christine's cat and there are no two ways about it. So I had attributed the spike in thyroid levels to separation anxiety. But upon visiting, the vet did a check on the thyroid gland and it has swollen noticeably. From roughly 0.5 cm to 1.5 cm. The most likely cause of this is that the benign carcinoma that was next to the thyroid and caused the original problems has become malignant. We still need the blood work to come back, which should be some time in the next few days, but the outlook right now is not good. The vet is talking about the possibility of chemotherapy, radioactive isotopes, and potential surgery. Pokey is about 16 years old, and while I would do anything to hold on to her, I am looking at her quality of life. I am not sure how cats react to chemotherapy, but I have seen it in humans and it isn't nice. Putting her through that to add a year or two of adequate to poor health is not appealing. I've spoken to the vet, and she agrees. We will get the results back and look at potential treatment options of course, and things could change. But right now I don't see a lot of options. If things go badly, losing another part of Christine will be devastating. Right now Pokey is doing well, but I also couldn't bear to see her suffer. Just hitting a low point today, Herc
  14. I am the same person, but that person has been irrevocably altered by this experience. It is a very painful experience, but the pain is not what has altered me. The love is what created the change. At the moment my emotions can overwhelm me, and the frequency which I am confronted with those emotions is daily, hourly in some cases. As I go through this journey, I will (hopefully) learn how to prevent those emotions from becoming overwhelming. They will still be there, but I will have more experience dealing with them. The frequency with which I feel those deep emotions will also lessen with time. The way that I have completely changed though isn't dependent upon them, my reactions to them, or the depth or frequency of those emotions. The change came gradually through building a life with Christine. Sharing who I was, and allowing her to share with me. Her passing clarified that change, and gave me the opportunity to accept and understand it. I am not the same person I was. I am a little wiser, and a lot sadder. The sadness may, and probably will fade with time, but will always be a part of me. And for that I am grateful, it will temper me and make me a better person. I wish I could have shared that man with Christine. But in a way I did, for she helped forge him, and I hope I can share his experiences with her when I take the next great adventure many years from now.
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