But here I am a year later and I am just as lost as I was on that fateful day I got that dreaded call. But the sick Jim, the one who left me once and for all, he taught me more than anyone ever has. So now I am alone with the kids and no longer have the worry of his care. The most common question I get asked is, “How are you? We laughed about me just jostling around trying to stay upright, but the conversation was dark truth hidden in lightness and laughter. I was always focused on taking care of him, taking care of the kids, in constant motion even if I didn’t always know what was around the corner. My world was confined and at times terrifying because I was blinded by the disturbance in the atmosphere around me. Each day takes me further away from him and from us. It is surreal how now that he is gone from us entirely, I no longer feel lonely.
But I am so very, very grateful we had the journey together and I would never change April 30, 1996 for anything.
The waiting for him to die takes a toll both mentally and physically. Sitting, watching, holding his hand, rubbing his hair. Seeing a slight movement of his lips or a flutter of his eyes and wondering what it means?
I knew he was the man I would marry and I would grow old with. It set up our whole lives together…sports and talking. The anticipation is over And the real grief begins And I couldn’t be more sorry For your terrible loss.
Today I close my eyes, as tears seep out and picture all that we had before us. You could always be more patient, More loving, Slower to anger, Relentlessly selfless. I wish I could ease your troubled mind; I wish I could be there. But all I can think Is that I’ve stood where you stand And platitudes matter little.
That is why I married Jim and stayed married to Jim (among other reasons). And now there are apps for dating and websites and social media…good grief. I can go to a movie by myself, enjoy a meal solo and even travel wherever and whenever I want. Our house is small, but sometimes can seem so empty and vast. When I delve deeper, there isn’t another I picture…it is the memories with Jim I ache to recreate and hold steadfastly onto so I don’t forget them too. I look in the mirror in our bathroom after getting out of the shower. When I was tired, hungry, frustrated, mad or acting like an ass for no apparent reason.
I ask for privacy for our children and for our family. Two, I suddenly realized if I don’t inform you what is happening, the next post you read will be announcing Jim has passed away and it will come as a huge shock and might be very disheartening and traumatic. The thought of trying to explain to someone all that our family has endured, the introductions to friends, the awkward getting to know you stages….ughhh! Somewhere along the way it is engrained in our very being: You should be with someone. I feel so lost and out of control at times and just keeping my life simple seems about all I can manage. The connection I long for cannot and will not be found in another…it is so easy to think in terms of wanting to have that all again. He has seen and heard me at my all time worst moments.
I am working my way through, just at a very, very slow pace. No matter how capable the person was we had show up didn’t matter, all that mattered was getting more points over all by the end of the 30 day event. I noticed he had really nice legs and mentioned this to my friend, Cathy, who knew him and was watching with me. (Again, he later confided that was his way of letting me know he was interested) I teased him and told him if he got a medal (he still had to finish out his bracket) I would buy him a Grolsch beer. And I didn’t hear from him for the remainder of the month while I finished Corporate Challenge. By the time we were watching the fireworks display during the evening parade down Main Street I was in love. We rode back next to each other with my head on his shoulder and our hands entwined.
These last few months have been much harder than I ever imagined. For example, in swimming, we could get points by just having a male who was 40 – 44 participate because the other teams may not have anyone. He said he looked at me and thought to himself, W I sat up above the courts and watched as Jim easily defeated his opponent. After his match, he offered me some of his always present Oreo cookies and peanut M & M’s. He sat on one side of the aisle and I sat on the other.
Now I am struggling to recall all of the memories I am terrified of losing and a few I should probably forget. And you now have all the “guy” chores to do and the last thing you ever feel like doing is getting out of bed and doing any of it. Decisions can now be based on new thought processes and changing outlooks and plans.