Thursday, November 3, 2016


Cont'd...I do have a reason for writing about those last months and days and it is to hopefully say something that might ring a bell for someone else.  Perhaps someone who has gone through something tragic and had feelings and things happen that didn't seem okay, seemed well, crazy in a way.  So as my story continues I hope this will be helpful.  A couple of years after Skip's death I even thought of writing a book about it all.  Because I discovered widows who just didn't talk about it.  Wearing a mask of smiles and acting as though everything was okay.

One very important project was ongoing in our house.  We had started renovation on our kitchen.  Everything was removed, gutted.  Everything from the floor up was to be removed and replaced.  Before all the doctor visits, we had picked out all the cabinetry and appliances and flooring, paint colors, etc. etc. etc..  It seemed like there was a constant flow of work men coming and going every day and yet the work was going so slow.  I had to take up the supervision of the job.

In the next couple of weeks things got really complicated and fuzzy and unreal.  We now had a hospice nurse who came quite often and a counselor.  Skip requested to be moved out to the sun room he had built.  With the help the girls and our son in law we began to make arrangements to make Skip as comfortable as we could.  In the mean time his doctor prescribed pain medications, chemo, and radiation.

Hospice provided a bed and other equipment needed to meet his needs.  A walker was provided and with in just a few days a wheelchair was brought in.  Our home became a hub of people coming and going to provide meds, mini exams, and baths.  Visitors coming by.  Once the sun room was complete with a day bed for me we began sleeping in the sun room.  Rather like camping out because of all the windows. Between the girls and I, we made a schedule to ensure that someone was with him all the time.

Skip and I spent many hours sitting out on the front porch.  One of the first times we did that he had been praying and considering his options.  The doctors gave no real hope of life.  He could take chemo and radiation but no guarantee of life.  Even talking in terms weeks and maybe a month or two with treatment. With out treatment the same result.  He was still having awful headaches and pain.  He was taking so many meds to treat all the side affects and we began to notice some behaviors that were not at all part of him.

Anyway, Skip and I were sitting on the front porch enjoying the pleasant weather when he told me what he had decided to do about treatment.  What did I think of him not doing the chemo and or radiation, how would I feel about that. It was one of those times that you just say the brave thing without even really thinking about it.  I said, I want you to do what you want to do.  I will support you in what ever you decide to do.  I was instantly numb somewhere inside and from there on I don't really think I allowed myself to play out the repercussions from his decision, what it would mean. I didn't want to know what was ahead.

We sat quietly for a good while.  The sun was warm and the time was still.  After some time had passed, I called the girls and asked them to come by, Dad had something he wanted to talk to them about.

There are so many blank spaces for me during those days.  I do remember feeling numb, alert to the moment but numb, surreal.  Like being present but not being there.  The discussions were so serious, so totally different than our normal get to gathers.  No one was themselves.

And the workmen in the kitchen continued adding to the unsettled atmosphere.  I was trying to be Skip at the real estate office, keeping appointments, making phone calls, showing houses.  Talking to sellers.  Even trying to present a newly listed house at the weekly meeting and when they asked how much the seller wanted for the house, I was speechless.  It was one bit of information I didn't have.  Thinking and focusing was not readily available to me.

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Blessings 'til next time, Judy