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I'm not the sharpest crayon in the box. I don't know if I'm a masochist at heart, or just what my problem might be. I don't even know if it really is even a problem. I'll let the brain scientists or the rocket surgeons figure all that out. All I know is every year now at about this time of this month a powerful case of melancholy comes over me that I don't seem to be able to ignore or overcome. Maybe I don't want to bad enough. I don't know the answer to that one either. I am the dull crayon after all.

It was on Dec. 13, 2015 that I drove my Cookie to the hospital. She had been dealing with congestion and the sniffles for a couple of days, but we both thought that it was just another allergy-related issue that would go away. But on the 13th it was getting worse. She was on an oxygen machine leash 24/7 even at home, but on the 13th she started having a real problem breathing. So right after lunch that day off we went to the hospital. Finally about 7pm a room became available and they admitted her. And on the 15th she was moved to the hospital's critical care unit and immediately put on a ventilator. She never came home from that trip to the hospital. I have her ashes here at home with me in an urn, but she isn't here.

I wonder sometimes if being on the ventilator non-stop weakened her body to the point to where she was eventually doomed to never be able to live without it. I used to have several of those "coulda-shoulda-woulda" sorts of questions I wondered about. On new year's day of 2016 I had to make that God-awful decision to turn the ventilator off and end her misery. During the first half of 2016 I had guilt issues over that decision. After all, even though my decision was legal in the eyes of the law, I did intentionally and with premeditation end the life of another human being. A human being that meant everything good and wonderful to me. Fortunately, those guilt issues don't bother me anymore.

Almost the entire year of 2016 came and went without me having absolutely any kind of support. Cookie and I were not able to have children, and we had both outlived our families. So when Cookie was gone, I was literally and completely alone. When her health began to fail her I retired from long-haul trucking. She needed a full-time caregiver, so I retired from being a tough, macho trucker and came home to be her chief cook and bottle washer. Even tho I had no training or background for doing it, it was a labor of love. I would be lying if I said it wasn't stressful every now and then. But I tried to never let her see it. When I felt a stress attack coming over me I would grab the leash and take our dog for a walk. I still thank God for this little dog. After Cookie passed I probably would've done something really dumb---the kind of thing there is no coming back from. But knowing that this dog depended on me for everything kept me around. On Christmas Eve of 2016 I googled online grief help and found this wonderful place. For better or for worse ya'll are my family now.

They say time heals all wounds. I know that in some good ways time has helped me. I will never stop loving Cookie, and I will continue to miss her until we reunite in heaven. Knowing that I have that to look forward to does sustain me somehow. These holidays don't mean anything to me anymore. There's no tree, or decorations, or anything else to mark the occasion. Dec. 25th is just another day on the calendar. I don't say any of this looking for pity. All things considered, I am okay. I do manage to stay as positive and upbeat as it's possible for me to be. I stay busy with a book I'm writing and other "things" that keep me busy and my mind occupied. 

But I sure do miss my Cookie. But I still manage to put...

One foot in front of the other. 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to my family here.

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Merry Christmas to you.  I do not post here often but read posts here almost every day. This is my "first" everything without my husband and I miss him.  Your posts always move me as you describe your love for your wife and how you continue to "put one foot in front of the other".  I am trying to take things one day at a time and, when that is too much, I just focus on getting through the next hour.  I understand your feelings about the date....I have that same extreme sadness on the 17th of each month...it was July 17th when my husband died.  

So...thank you to you and others for your heartfelt posts.  You are all helping others more than you know.

 

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12 minutes ago, Jame said:

Merry Christmas to you.  I do not post here often but read posts here almost every day. This is my "first" everything without my husband and I miss him.  Your posts always move me as you describe your love for your wife and how you continue to "put one foot in front of the other".  I am trying to take things one day at a time and, when that is too much, I just focus on getting through the next hour.  I understand your feelings about the date....I have that same extreme sadness on the 17th of each month...it was July 17th when my husband died.  

So...thank you to you and others for your heartfelt posts.  You are all helping others more than you know.

 

Hi Jame, and thank you for the kind words and thoughts. I went through almost my entire first year of loss without any kind of support. Happening upon Marty's group here has been a definite God-send for me. I encourage you to take advantage of the help and fellowship that is here for you in every way you feel comfortable with. One thing I think I can safely guarantee is that nobody is here to pass judgment or take advantage. I won't even try to speak for anyone else here, but in my case there may never be an end to my grieving over my wife no longer being with me. She was my anchor, my lifeline, and she kept me grounded and centered while we shared our beautiful life for 41+ years. I miss her terribly every day. She was an amazing woman. But we will be together again one of these days, When God decides the time is right. Everything I do now is to make sure I qualify for my ticket to get through the gate to join her there. That definitely keeps me focused. 

I know how you are hurting now. You have my sympathies. Getting through each hour one hour at a time is sometimes is all we can hope for. There's some wisdom in that old saying about not biting off more than we can chew. One thing we all learn as we trudge down this path is that we are stronger and tougher than we ever thought was possible. Hang in there. You can do this!

One foot in front of the other...

Darrel

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1 hour ago, Jame said:

This is my "first" everything without my husband and I miss him. 

Jame, I understand intimately.  Stephen made his transition August 10.  I have managed and struggled.  This week I spent each day making little stocking ornaments for my Christmas tree out of Stephen's two favorite pair of socks.  Crudely hand sewn, but with all of my love.  

4 hours ago, olemisfit said:

Fortunately, those guilt issues don't bother me anymore.

Darrel, my heart is full reading you are able to release this.  No one is guilty, but it sure is hard to make your heart feel that.  I never felt guilt or anger.  For me it serves no purpose and in the afterlife we are not judged.  You gave Cookie the greatest gift of all.  The gift of caring and loving her, and with grace, knowing when to give her back to the light.  I did the same with Stephen.  We will always miss our other half.  It's just the road we travel, bumps and all.  But we keep moving forward.

 

As we all struggle, in our own way, to make it from one moment to the next, my heartfelt wishes to all of you is peace on your little bit of this earth.

~Shirley

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Darrel,

I'm glad you continue to come here and post.  As Jame said, your posts also touch me as it's plain to see how much you love your wife.  I think those of us here, we had that special something that we were the lucky ones to get, the not so lucky ones to be missing them.

Jame,

The single best piece of advice I got was taking one day at a time (or hour or minute or whatever we could handle).  I'm glad you found this place, it literally saved me when George died.  It helps to know there's someone out there that gets it and I'm not alone in this.

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@Jame, I can only add to what was said by mentioning what you already know: others are reading and liking/upvoting  but just don't have the energy to form words.  So I'll just say welcome to the club no one wanted to join.

On 12/13/2018 at 3:18 PM, olemisfit said:

I wonder sometimes if being on the ventilator non-stop weakened her body to the point to where she was eventually doomed to never be able to live without it.

Darrel, I think this is what happened with Mark.  He was intubated when the sepsis took over his body unexpectedly, and was on it for probably 2 weeks, maybe three.  It's all a blur.  He recovered enough to come off it for some days, but his oxygen saturation was too low.  He was not breathing sufficiently on his own, so they had to do it a second time.  He was noticeably slower, sluggish and confused so they had do re-insert the breathing tube.  Once off it again, he had to use a breathing practice device, the kind they give you in the hospital.  And he did well since then in the rehab center, but I think poor breathing led to a buildup of carbon dioxide in his blood, but the rehab center nurse told me I was mistaken and "to calm down."  My input was ignored until, just like I told the staff, he had to go be sent back to the hospital for unresponsiveness, where he was intubated for the third time.  I should have called 911 myself, when I noticed what was happening.  Woulda, coulda, shoulda!  The ICU doctor told me he would have to be on the ventilator permanently and that the process of inserting and removing the breathing tube damages the delicate tissue of the trachea (our own breathing tube), basically shredding it.  The quality of life by that time was zero and I was forced to make a decision to remove him from life support.

I so "get" what you are saying.  At least I got to say goodbye, unlike some folks here.   😔

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1 hour ago, Kieron said:

@Jame, I can only add to what was said by mentioning what you already know: others are reading and liking/upvoting  but just don't have the energy to form words.  So I'll just say welcome to the club no one wanted to join.

Darrel, I think this is what happened with Mark.  He was intubated when the sepsis took over his body unexpectedly, and was on it for probably 2 weeks, maybe three.  It's all a blur.  He recovered enough to come off it for some days, but his oxygen saturation was too low.  He was not breathing sufficiently on his own, so they had to do it a second time.  He was noticeably slower, sluggish and confused so they had do re-insert the breathing tube.  Once off it again, he had to use a breathing practice device, the kind they give you in the hospital.  And he did well since then in the rehab center, but I think poor breathing led to a buildup of carbon dioxide in his blood, but the rehab center nurse told me I was mistaken and "to calm down."  My input was ignored until, just like I told the staff, he had to go be sent back to the hospital for unresponsiveness, where he was intubated for the third time.  I should have called 911 myself, when I noticed what was happening.  Woulda, coulda, shoulda!  The ICU doctor told me he would have to be on the ventilator permanently and that the process of inserting and removing the breathing tube damages the delicate tissue of the trachea (our own breathing tube), basically shredding it.  The quality of life by that time was zero and I was forced to make a decision to remove him from life support.

I so "get" what you are saying.  At least I got to say goodbye, unlike some folks here.   😔

Greetings Kieron. It sounds like you and I share some similar experiences. Cookie was moved to the hospital's CCU on Dec. 15th and put on the ventilator. To keep their patients for fighting the tubes they sedate them and leave them sedated when they are on the machine. The sedative was strong enough to where it was almost like her being in a coma. I visited every day, but she never (consciously) knew when I came and went. On the the 20th they extubated her to see how well she would breathe on her own.After about 2 hours they had to put her back on the machine. They shut the sedative off while the tubes were out, so we were able to visit that day until the tubes went back in. The entire time she was in the hospital that short time on the 20th was the only time she could talk to me. the day after Christmas she cought a bad case of c dif and her poor body was too weak by then the fight it off. She went downhill really fast after that. And then new year's day became the day I had been dreading. I know that I don't have to tell you how hard it was to say those words to turn the ventilator off and let her go. I'm happy for you that you and Mark were able to say your goodbyes. Because of the sedative situation Cookie and I missed out on that.

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