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It Has Been One Year.

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I've been wanting to express what I have been experiencing lately especially last night. It was last year on January 22, 2010 that my husband passed away. Last year it was on a Friday so last night I have been going through the feelings I should have gone through that night when all his family were here. Four of his sisters, his nephew, our older son was here when Danny breathed his last, our son's wife came a few hours later, and our other son and his wife-to-be was here earlier with their son who was 7 at the time and their 7 day old baby, who our younger son picked her up for his Dad to see her and Danny kept looking at our precious newborn granddaughter, her older brother, our son and our son's fiance, Dan's head turning to look at them again. They were here, but left to go back to where they live about 25 or 30 miles away. During the early morning I called our younger son, to let him know as I told everyone else when I called them that the Hospice nurse said it could be tomorrow or it could be 11 days. In my mind I remembered her saying another time that it could be another 3 months, so of course I thought he'd be here for that much longer. But the inevitable happened while everyone was here, except for our younger son and his family, Danny was breathing steadily and stopped and started again. He breathed evenly, he stopped and his lips parted and he wouldn't start breathing again like I thought he would. Just about 3 feet away, with pen in hand, while I was writing the schedule of medications I would be administering to him, orally, as he wasn't taking all 10 meds any more, I really thought I would be continuing to give him these last 3 meds, as I had been for the past 3 or 4 weeks, taking care of him, feeding him cream of wheat, or orange sherbet, holding his hand, looking into his eyes, telling him I loved him, but when he had his last breath last year on January 22, 2010, early Friday morning at 3:30 a.m. in actual time, but 5:40 a.m. was the time the nurse arrived to check his pulse which was their official time for the certificate.

Weeks before this, Danny as I thought of it as chiding me, when he was able to talk and get around and when he used to sit on the couch leaning on pillows to get comfortable, and said, "Now, if anything happens to me, do like the nurse said and don't be hysterical, just call Hospice." (sort of like Archie Bunker would say to Edith) I just laughed. Danny always had humor in him. I remembered that I was somewhat annoyed when his time came that I wasn't holding his hand or even lying with him, embracing him like others I've heard about had done, I just stared and one of Dan's sisters had to tell me to call the Hospice Nurse, and I said "What for?" Even then, I still couldn't believe. I stood very still, everyone was silent, being in the moment, while each of his sisters were quietly wiping their tear-stained cheeks, but not a whimper from me. I just wouldn't leave his side, all I could think of doing was stroking his hair. Later, while waiting for the funeral director, I called our younger son to tell him, and I tried to comfort him. Two of my sisters came very early, an hour before the man from the funeral home came and my sisters stayed with me while Dan's sisters all left one by one. From the moment the doctor told us on December 18th of 09' that the second round of treatments didn't get the reoccurrence of cancer, he didn't know where the cancer would go next, nor did he know how long Danny had and fast forward to about a month after the wake, church service, interment, and family get-together my brain was in a fog. I couldn't have been hysterical as my body was protecting me from all that, by relaxing my brain to think only in cognitive terms.

But last night I was somewhat hysterical, crying the way I would have if I was here alone with Danny because it was a Friday night last year that he passed, and I feel the need for only those who would understand to know my experience of last night. It was during the final episode of "Medium" when I had burst into tears during the show and especially at the end. It was as if Allison was me, and her Joe was my Danny, telling me he'd always love me and when she became an elderly woman they were joined together as when they were young at heart again. I just couldn't stop weeping and sobbing and saying to no one in particular, 'How could this happen?', 'It's not true', 'I don't want to live without you to be an old woman' although during this past year I have already said these words dozens of times. But last night I was able to mourn him in the same place where he died last year for the last time.

After July 1st, when a 1 bedroom becomes available I have to move from the only safe and secure haven I have known with all his memories I had while living here with Danny and our 2 sons who grew up in this 2 bedroom apartment for 30 years. I obtained a letter from my therapist, my primary doctor and I myself wrote a 3-page letter of why it would be a harm to me and it would cause undue anxiety for me to move from this apartment. The girl who works in the office here in our apartment complex came across my name when she happened to discover I was 'overhoused', and later that week I gave her the verification papers and my letter to fax to the corporate office for them to determine my tenancy all to no avail. Two days before Christmas I received the letter in my mailbox. It stated in the letter that they would allow me to live here for 6 months, but on July 1st as soon as a 1 bedroom is available I have to get all the stuff we accumulated during our 30 year stay and stuff it into a 1 bedroom apt. Now I fully realize that thousands, millions of others have gone through worse devastation and upheaval and anguish. I just have this need to own my pain, in which my therapist told me that my anger is understandable because one of the basic emotional needs humans have is to be in control. She understands, but there are others who don't get it. I kind of knew that all of you here would understand my pain.

I know I wrote about this situation before and the point I was trying to make was that this will be the last and final time I will be able to be at the place where my beloved Danny breathed his last breath because I have to move. So, it is particularly sad for me and I am overcome with the emotional loss of having to grieve over his memories from where we had been living.

I don't know what it will be like next year. I'm not looking forward to all the tomorrows and certainly living without his memory of walking through the living room and kitchen and bedroom, remember him as he groomed his hair and saying, "are you coming to bed?" as he walked from the bathroom to our room. It won't be the same when I was on the computer and he would say, "Are you coming out to watch TV with me?" and I'd say, "I'll be right there." And he would be making me coffee in the kitchen because he always made the best cup of coffee and served me dessert, he just had coffee. How can I leave here? I would be doing dishes and he would all of a sudden start talking to me because I didn't hear his stocking feet walk from behind me and I'd be startled and jump, which in turn would make him jump. He's say, "Don't do that" and I'd say "You made me jump" and we'd end up laughing with an embrace. How can I leave here?

Today I went to 2 Masses I had arranged to be said in his memory. The first was one of solitude. At the other Mass family members came, and it was all of us talking to each other, saying to one another afterwards, "I didn't know you'd be here." And it was a good feeling to be surrounded by loved ones. We went out after, but I still came home alone, and I feel empty but a little peaceful inside. Well, the first anniversary is done, the year of firsts is over, but what about tomorrow? I'm not looking forward to the rest of my life. I really hope and pray I don't live to be 95 as Allison did in "Medium" and whether I remember Danny or not, how can life be good without him? Life will never be the same. I hope everyone else is having a better day.

God bless,


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Hi Suzanne, I just posted about that Medium episode, as it struck my heart as well. I'm so sorry for your loss and so sorry you have more change you didn't expect, nor choose. It is devastatingly tragic to lose your spouse, I'm just 8 months into this journey and still cry everyday, it is so good that you had lots of love and support with you as you pass through one year of grief. This loss has changed us and through this new world we live in, we must continue to change - we have little choice... In moving house, know you will always have your memories and you will have the possessions that you hold dear to you always, the structure that you live in, won't change you and your memories of your loved one - they are a part of what makes you - you. Take care, Deb

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Dear Suzanne,

My heart aches for you. I understand completely. Thank you so much for sharing so much with us. I carry all that you have shared in gentle care, respect and support. I have said it before but all of you who had to watch your love slowly slip away to death and not only mourn their death but also have to experience the aftermath of being your love's caregiver. I can scarecly let myself imagine what this must be like. My love outwardly to me, was enjoying life, was healthy in body, showed no signs that death was eminent. Then in a blink of an eye she had died. I did not have to witness her suffering of mind or body. I give you all a standing ovation! I am in awe of your courage to carry on!

My heart ached when you first told us that you would have to move and it is still aching for you. I hold you in gentle thought and prayer as you find yet more courage and strength to keep moving along this path of unimaginable pain and I can only hope that you again feel joy at times and the Light is brighter for you as this path has shown me.

Courage and Blessings, Carol Ann

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Suzanne, my heart goes out to you. Some people say that a dwelling is just sticks and stones, but to most of us, the walls that surround us and our loved ones absorb the love, the arguments, the grief, the joy, that encompass our lives together and I can't imagine leaving those sticks and stones. I am less than 3 months into this process and if I had to sell our home tomorrow, I would be a basket case. The thought of not being surrounded by the walls that Glenn painted, the kitchen he rebuilt, the floors that he tiled, is beyond my imagining.

My Glenn died in hospital so my last memories of him in our home were only peripherally involved in his surgery and subsequent death, but if he had died here at home, I'd never, ever be able to leave.

I only hope that I have as much courage as you, when it comes time for me to have to move. I'm so sorry for your loss of Danny. Hugs.


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My heart aches for you as I read what you are going through and feeling. I have lived in the same place for 33 1/2 years and I'm sure when it's my time to leave here, as will undoubtedly happen, it will be with anguish. Your memories will go with you, but I know that won't be the same as being in your familiar surroundings with all of the reminders that come with it. Know that your Danny will be watching over you until the time comes you get to join him. I'm sure they're aware of just how hard it is to be left behind here, and they wish they could wrap their arms around us and help us in some way. I have often wondered what George's final thoughts were as he had his heart attack...perhaps the pain was so great he wasn't able to think at all, it was hard enough just to bear up under it. But perhaps his thoughts were on me and praying I'd be alright. The love we shared with our spouses was so great...if it wasn't, we wouldn't be here. I hope and pray, when the time comes you have to move, that you have your kids there to help you with all of the decisions and effort involved in it. It's much too great to go through alone. We will be praying for you as you go through it.

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