I recently read a post on the Soaring Spirits International Facebook page which now serves as a writing prompt for me as it resonated with me at this stage of the grieving period. Even writing those two words “Grieving Period” is still difficult.
That Post was about dealing with Face Book Memories which appear in our feeds daily. Some do not welcome them and this particular post explained how to limit or block these archived posts and memories. Although they are difficult to see sometimes, these Facebook Memories from two years ago during this time help me piece together a blur of events, but what I understand now is how I tried to normalize a situation with conflicting updates, opinions and sheer fear of the uncertainty of Rich’s condition; always putting up a nice photo or a positive quote.
I see now that I was trying to stabilize life as I knew it; trying to capture the events of each day as normalcy slipped away, one long day at a time. A roller coaster of hope and despair while trying to find the fine line behind being informative and accountable to close family and friends without being an alarmist. Trying to make sense of events while realizing later I was actually in a state of shock, an “unregistered” patient so to speak.
From the period of October 8th, to October 28th, 2021, our world was upended. Instead of returning to our new home in Georgia after a road trip north and vowing to finally live the life we’d just begun to establish, Rich spent his last days at home on the couch until it was evident he was worsening each day and I drove him to the hospital.
I can still recall that last ride down our road and the last time I saw him on two feet. So many “Lasts”. During those harrowing weeks, I chose to remain secluded. The process was so exhausting that when I finally returned home alone with the latest update I would just crash, only talking to those who needed to know, which at the time in and of itself was a stressful situation. At one point the window of opportunity to actually speak to Rich, for me and anyone else, had closed and it was a concept not many seemed to understand which added to my frustration and despair. If I lashed out at their messages to “say hi” to Rich for us, I’d be admitting that all their hopes and prayers were not going to work this time, I would be accepting that all hope was indeed lost because he was never going to speak again.
I think about those three hellish weeks. I spent the last two of them riding up and down I-95 from St. Marys, GA to the hospital in Brunswick. Those rides taken on autopilot were surreal filled with occasional hopeful thoughts, but with the acceptance of what I came to believe was the inevitable. I rode with Rich’s Navy Corpsman cap by my side. I knew he’d want me to “buck up.”
I had offers from friends to come and stay with me. Neighbors that offered me rides and meals (the latter always accepted). But at the hospital, no emotional support was offered after I was informed that my husband had passed just before I’d arrived. They tried their best to be comforting, but in the ICU, there is a lot of work to be done, and offering much-needed emotional support for surviving family is not typically a priority. I found myself sitting in the only “solitary space” to make calls and calm myself; the vending machine room with its frequent visitors.
At Camp Widow in San Diego last July, I learned of an initiative that has been launched to guide those in the medical field, the clery and members of law enforcement that can help those who are technically in shock following a profound loss, but not treated as so. I will share more about that in a later post.
As I approach the two year milestone of Rich’s passing next Saturday, I found myself making a big decision this past week. As I’ve shared in previous posts, in September I purchased an enchanting log home on a stunning parcel of land in Central Florida. I was going to use it as a rental property, but after several visits, I flipped, and now will rent my home in Georgia and live in this new space.
It is a bittersweet decision. I’ve done well in that Georgian house with its lively and supportive community. But, sometimes it’s difficult to “Move Forward” if the energy is not present. Sometimes we need a hiatus from our memories and “old life” to see the world in a different light. I will be sharing as I settle and maybe it will encourage someone else to take their own steps forward no matter what form that takes.
Thanks for following along. Have a great week.