Still Crazy/Grieving After All These Years

First of all, I apologize for the rambling mess this post is likely to be. But if I don’t write all these thoughts out they just keep doing laps in my head. I debated whether or not to put a link to this post on Facebook, but I decided yes. If people are interested it will give them some idea about where I am three years after Bill’s death. And if they’re not interested, that’s okay too.

Bill died three years ago on Oct. 5. Not Oct. 4, as I’d been thinking for the past week. The realization this morning that I had the date wrong crushed me. It didn’t matter that, as my sister pointed out, his death sort of spread out over the two days. He went into the hospital on the 4th. We said our good-byes on the 4th. He went to sleep on the 4th. He died in the early morning of the 5th. But I was unbelievably upset when I realized I had the death date wrong. In chaos, the negative voices rise up and do their best to destroy me. They almost won this morning.

I’ve found that the two weeks leading up to the anniversary of Bill’s death are extremely hard. Like my friend, Leah, remarked – the movie of their last days, last hours, last minutes replays over and over in your mind. I hate that movie, but in these two weeks I can’t seem to stop watching it.

I don’t see it as three years that I’ve lived without Bill. To me, it’s that I’ve gotten through each day of the year three times since he died. That’s not much at all. Don’t they say it takes 21 days to form a habit? I’m far from the habit of living without him.

And it hurts. God, it hurts. The best analogy I can come up with is if you have a deep wound – you bandage it up and leave it to heal. It hurts to peel off the bandage and how it’s doing, and when you do you find it’s still a big hole and is actually inflamed. So you irrigate it with lots of salt water, expose it to the air for awhile, then bandage it up again. That’s my grief journey anyway. My tears are irrigating my grief, and writing this is helping me expose it to the air. Then I will bandage it up again, and carry on.

The times when my grief is most inflamed are not the times I expected. For me, like I said, the two weeks leading up to Bill’s death date are the hardest, but other hard times are my birthday, the first bbq of the summer, coming home from a trip, the first crisp fall morning, and sometimes even just random days when something or other triggers a flood of grief. Don’t ever worry that you’ll “set me off” – you have no control over it, and neither do I. And it’s okay. I sometimes think I should make up a sign “Widow Grieving” to wear around my neck, so people won’t have to worry about why there are tears streaming down my face. But they would worry anyway, because people care. And I love them for that.

I have a great life. And I know it. But sometimes the pain of my loss overwhelms me and the only way I know to address it is to cry it out. I will be okay. But probably not until after the 5th.

Saying Good-bye

The house is sold. The new owners take possession next Friday. It’s time to say goodbye.

 

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This is the ramp that led into the house from the garage. When we first bought the house, the ramp was only 2/3 as wide, and folded up against the wall. After Bill became less mobile and needed the ramp all the time, some of the guys that he worked with at Mitchell’s came out and widened the ramp and added the railing. It’s a testament to the great relationship he had with his Intercon “brothers.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The living room – Bill’s chair was always at the left edge of the short wall, next to the magazine rack/table with the phone and (of course) the remotes. The couch was originally along the longer wall, but later was replaced by a loveseat in the corner and Bill’s computer desk along the wall.

 

 

 

 

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The view of the living room from Bill’s spot. The TV was in the corner to the left of the windows. The dogs’ beds were next to the TV under the window, which explains why one shade was always part-way open – Shadow would rest his head on the window sill and watch the goings-on outside.

 

 

 

 

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The kitchen was largely Bill’s domain, for most of our marriage. He made the majority of the meals. He wasn’t a fancy cook, but he was a good cook. And he made the best ribs – bar none!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This was Bill’s room, where his hospital bed was. We had a lift put in as well, after his second lengthy stay in hospital. But once he got some of his strength back he preferred to lower the bed to the same height as his chair and slide over on to it. He was a proud and independent man, and it was hard seeing him lose that independence as he become sicker and sicker. The stand held (of course) a TV and his own satellite control box so he could watch whatever he wanted while he was in bed.

 

 

 

 

 

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Bill loved BBQing out on the deck in the summer. Hamburgers, steaks, pork chops, chicken, sausages – and of course, finishing off his awesome ribs. He’d have the stereo on, blasting songs from the ’60’s. “Who’s this?” was his favourite question. I sometimes knew – he ALWAYS knew.

 

 

 

 

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This is the fencing around the garden that Bill and I strengthened the summer before he got sick. We made a great team. He was the brains and I was the brawn. I always appreciated that he showed me how to do things and encouraged me to learn how to use basic tools.

 

 

 

 

I loved this house, but without Bill there, it was no longer a home. I like my new condo and I’m glad the house sold quickly. Glad and sad. This was the last place Bill lived, the fifth and last place we lived in together. It’s right, but hard, to say good-bye.

Always and Forever

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Bill Young

Aug. 8, 1947 – Oct. 5, 2014

You’re in my heart. You’re in my soul.

You’ll be my breath should I grow old.

You are my lover. You’re my best friend.

You’re in my soul.

(Rod Stewart)