Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reflections on the past

4 years have passed since John died. I try not to dwell too much on this day, mostly I keep my thoughts to myself... I prefer to celebrate his life on his birthday in February. Thats not to say that I don't find myself counting down the days in December until the twelfth arrives. This year I have also been thinking about another woman's journey through life and death...

I have a facebook "friend" that I have never met. She is a painter who splits her time between North Carolina and Maine. She grew up in New Hampshire and we "met" through a mutual, real and in the flesh friend, Mark. Katy's guy has cancer and it's terminal. He has spent a lot of time in India and he decided he wanted to return there to die with dignity, and in his own way. They visited with lots of family and friends in the United States before making the long trip to India. I have kept up with their journey through a blog they are writing together.

I know from experience that it's hard for family and friends to accept the decisions you make about how you want to die. John wanted to die at home. There was no way he was going back to the hospital or a hospice facility. His parents would have liked him to go back to Maryland and be close to them, my parents thought a hospice house would be better than home, they worried about me having to take care of him. John was the one dying, it was his choice to make. We both knew that home was the best place for him. Everyone finally accepted his decision. I took a leave of absence from work and we were nearly inseparable from November 1st until December 12th. A hospice nurse did come whenever we needed her. It was a very special and intimate time... like we were in our own little 'bubble" of a world for six weeks.
John died at home during the big ice storm of 2008... we had no power or heat, and a tree had fallen on my car, ripping the power lines off the house as it fell. I wrote a post about that day and you can read it here and here.

The hardest part about losing a partner is returning to "real life" and coming home to an empty house.

Expecting to receive that smile and warm hug...
and it's not there, the house is empty.

I have been thinking a lot about Katey's long journey back to the United States from India without her beloved. I am sure it will be a difficult one to make and my wish for her is strength and courage.


  1. Ahhh, Michele, I'm so glad you blog. I love reading your posts and sharing your journey. My dad died 19 years ago from cancer on Oct. 15. This year, for the first time, the date passed without me remembering, but like you, I did remember his birthday. Losing someone is so hard and it's a long way back from the pain and the loss. I imagine your friend's trip home from India will be a long one indeed, in more ways than one. I wish her peace...

  2. What can one say.
    This week has been a hard one for me with another Christmas coming and the 2 oldest puppies of my litter not with me. I have days that I don't think about this loss and weeks where it consumes me.
    I can not ever begin to tell anyone of some of the strange thoughts that go through my head over the loss of those 2. My sister left this world during a terrible thunderstorm that yanked a tree right out of the ground as she left. I sometimes think that she was thinking goodbye suckers, I am out! No more pain. It was weeks before she came to me in a dream.
    As you can see I am still dealing with this.
    Ahhhh- miss them all.

  3. oh Meredith, I can so relate. It was months before I didn't cry everyday... mostly it was on the long drive home from work. I had an hour alone with my thoughts.
    Every night, after he died, I wanted to dream about him and it didn't happen until probably a month later. Then i had quite a few dreams, but he didn't talk in my dreams for many months.
    Sometimes now I panic when I can't remember certain details of things we did together... and I feel like I am forgetting him. :-(

  4. Boy you really had a time when John died with your car and all. Going back to real life isn't ever easy after a loss. I'm glad you can be supportive for your friend Katy. I lost someone in my family last month but it was bittersweet and words can't be expressed about it. Now that Gary and I are both over 60 we have actually talked about and accepted the fact one of us may die before the other. But thinking about it and having it happen are two different things all together. I know the loss I would feel if it was Gary I cannot even imagine.

  5. Michéle~ Katey will be fortunate to have the love and support from her friend (you) who understands that walk home... Blessings to you.


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