Archives for category: losing a loved one

Twenty-seven days

Although this seems “sound”, I don’t know if it is is the secret to getting me on the road to normalcy, but it seems like a good idea. I plugged some routine tasks and some exercise blocks into my iCal yesterday. There was an exercise block for 8 am this morning. I didn’t quite make 8 am, but I was in the gym by 9:15. I did my half hour of cardio and some lower body strength exercises. My shoulders are “in treatment” now, so I did the little exercises the physio gave me yesterday. I’m not a regular gym person. I’ve tried for years to stick with it but I always fall off the wagon. At this point, though, I think I need to be a bit more disciplined as it’s not just a “nice to have”. I think it’s critical.

I won’t lie. I didn’t love it, but at points during the walking I pushed my speed up because it felt good to lengthen my leg muscles and stretch out. I also felt really good about doing it even though I hadn’t wanted to. At this point, I’m operating on logic, not instinct. My instinct tells me to stay in bed and be extra nice to myself, but I know that the endorphins that exercise provides will help lift me up. I have a lunch meeting today with a friend/client I enjoy, so that’s another thing to look forward to.

Which brings me back to my iCal. It’s a framework for real life. I can look at the day or the week and see these little rocks and branches I can hang onto in the middle of my swim up river. The more tasks I plug in, the more secure I feel. I wouldn’t recommend booking yourself solidly, unless you do that kind of work. I’m in the “creative” industry. I think for a living, so sometimes I need to leave myself long empty blocks of several hours to do that thinking. If this is the kind of work you do, you need to do that as well.

So, I’ll keep you posted on how this framework works for me.

Twenty-five days

I don’t know where you are in the loss process. I’m not sure where I am. But it occurs to me that I have the ability to write and to rationalize my experiences. So, in the feint hope that I can help another person who is newly facing loss or who is raw from the loss of someone so important to them that the loss seems insurmountable, I’ll document my thoughts.

This is my first post, so bear with me. I lost Ray, my perfect soulmate on March 23, 2012. Three weeks and two days ago. I have the ability to distance myself from my own reality on occasion, as I’m sure we all do.

Ray was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on March 17, 2006. I was gobsmacked. He was only 52 years old! We were successful…planning our lives….making a difference, and then everything changed in a blink of an eye. I had to call my kids and tell them that their dad was seriously ill…but he was fine yesterday.

I’ll write about the in-between some other time, if you want me to, and if I think it’s needed. But for now, let me tell you that six years of knowing that someone is likely to die does not diminish the shock. We had times of absolute bliss where the cancer seemed so distant. But it was always that “other shoe” and we waited for it to drop. I always thought we were “just kidding”. Ray was one of the stoic people who never acknowledged the illness and just kept going. So, when he finally started to show signs of weakness: a cane, a wheelchair, a dependence on oxygen therapy, I had to start seeing the reality. It was a short reality. From the time he needed that cane and oxygen to the time he died was three short months. He went from a robust 200+ pounds to I don’t know what in that time. He was light, frail and struggling to breathe in such a short time. How could this happen??

Ray was well known in our professional field. Three hundred people attended his Celebration of Life. Countless others watched it via live feed and later watched the recorded version from all around the world. That makes this not greater or less than your loss. It’s just that I find it difficult to understand how someone so loved and respected could be plucked from life when he had so much more to do. I am struggling with that right now.

Here is what I worry about. People will give me and my children time to grieve. But it will be far, far less time than we need. My doctor sat me down last week and, though she never does this as she knows I’m “in control” she told me, “let me tell you something about grief”. She told me that I will need a minimum of one year…to start. That’s for all the anniversaries. Each day will be a day without Ray. The year won’t do it, but the problem is, friends and maybe even family, won’t give us even that one year. They’ll give us weeks, maybe months. Then they’ll want to get on with things and expect that we will do the same. But we can’t. There is a smoking, meteor-sized hole in our lives. We just can’t fill it in that fast.

If you are reading this and you’ve lost someone, fight for time. You deserve it and you need it. If you are a friend or family member, back off. Allow the loss to settle. That settling time will be long — likely much longer than you will understand.

I’ll write more as I see that I can.

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