Friday, March 1, 2013


Powerful photo series from another who lost his wife to breast cancer....

Monday, April 16, 2012

Grief and Addiction

Dear E,

In your last weeks of life your greatest concern was how our sons were going to handle your death, but most of all was your worry about our youngest son E who was 15 at the time. As usual, you were right as E he has had the greatest struggle of the three. I promised I would take care of them, especially E.

All three had trouble, but E has had the most by far. Drinking, drugs, and legal problems have increased in the 4 years since you died. Arrests for possession of marijuana, under aged drinking, and shoplifting booze have all led to him facing time in jail. He's been in out patient treatment twice, but he has not gained control of his addictions. By the grace of God and the judge's mercy he was permitted one last chance at inpatient rehabilitation.

He's been in less then a week, but claims he feels cleaner and stronger. I pray it continues, and isn't just lip service.

Over the past 4 years I've spent much money and time in trying to help him. Most costly of all has been the emotional toll it's taken on our family. I went to an Al-Anon meeting for the first time last week...and am starting to see how it's affected me. I quit my job as the travel was extensive and I wasn't at home enough. Now I'm depressed not working....and I realize I'm still grieving losing you. I fear I will never get over losing you.

I've started volunteering with a hospice...visiting dying patients and I found I come away with a different perspective of life. In addition to caring for the dying...I'm hoping it will help me with my own grieving....a bit of self therapy.

I miss you and love you,


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Reminder of the worst case scenario....

In recent months I've learned of several friends my age with Cancer (or spouses). While I want to be supportive and helpful....I fear I'm just a reminder of the worst case scenario...that Cancer often kills the people we love.

The best I seem to muster is "I know a bit of what you may be going through" and offer to be there if they want to talk. But I don't think that's much help....or enough.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Last week of July

Three summers ago at this time you lay in bed slowly dying. It was the last week of July, a hot humid time, just like now. In the evenings I sat on the sofa next to your bed softly playing guitar while you fell asleep. You had stopped eating and were drinking less every day. Your final words were a few days before you passed away, but until the day before you would still communicate by squeezing my hand, or giving a faint smile.

I slept on the floor at the foot of your bed partly in fear you'd wake and be alone, but also for my own comfort to know you were near. I was so worn out...I thought I was prepared to let you go, but one night when the moon was nearly full I jumped to your side as I couldn't hear your breath. As I stood there in the middle of the night holding your hand I became terrified that you had heart pounding in fear...but ever so faintly your breath returned...shallow and slow. The end was nearing.

On the last day of July the hospice nurse paid a visit in the morning and took me aside to say she felt you would die before the next morning. I called your mom and dad, your brother and sister in law, your nieces, and of course the boys. As they all arrived in the afternoon and evening we took turns sitting with you. Through out the night each of the boys sat holding your hand, and E crawled into bed laying beside you. Shortly before midnight your breath sped up, and then slowed until you ceased to be. You took your last breath at 12:01 am on the first of August.

I walked out back, away from the house and into the field. The full moon was at it's zenith and I sat on a stump and looked at it for a long time...imagining it was you looking down. You were finally free of your decaying and painful body and I imagined your spirit soaring.

Any time I see the moon I think of you...and of the last night I held you. I will always love you and miss you. And I promise I will always stand by the boys and be there for them as we did together for so many years.

Rest in peace sweetheart

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A new job

The last six months have been tough. In the fall my job had become so bad that I made the decision to resign, despite having no new job lined up. What was once a great company and position had become something I wasn't willing to put up with. I think job stress contributed much to my dad's sickness and death at an age not much greater then I am now.

I owed a lot to the company...the job put food on the table, paid for our homes, put the boys through college and in the end paid for nearly a million dollars of your health care. In the end they (especially my boss) supported us when you became very ill and in the months following your death. While leaving had an economic effect....the greatest effect was the loss of many friends I'd made over the years. I under estimated the impact leaving would have on my psyche.

I could hear your voice (and the voice of dad) telling me don't stand for this....don't can do better. It gave me the courage to break away....and the continued income from our business helped as well.

I tried to stay busy...working on projects around the house...helping out at M's ranch...going down to C to help get the house ready to sell...but I still felt less then useful and productive. Monday morning were others were starting the work week....I was idle. For the last 30 years I had worked hard every day...and love my jobs. I'm not ready to retire.

I interviewed for many jobs over the months which several looked less then appealing....but I felt compelled to try for every job as I told myself any job is better then none. Sears was the best example as they looked as bad if not worse then where I had been working.....same big, slow, dying company. Even the recruiter and first few managers described them as a "dinosaur". Im sure my lack of spirit shown through during the interviews. It felt odd to be happy when I wasn't offered the position.....if offered I don't know how I could of not accepted as I needed work...but would of hated working there.

But opportunity knocked....and I start Monday in a new position with an interesting modern company in a new industry where I can really shine. I couldn't be more happy.

Before accepting (I had another offer as well from another interesting company) I had long talks with you about the pros and cons of each job....and we decided together which one to choose....just like we did before. We made big decisions together...and still do.

I miss those talks....I miss your hugs, your scent, your smile, your spirit. But your still along for the ride.

Until we talk again....I love you.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A new member to this horrid club

A friend I previously worked with lost his wife several weeks ago after struggling with MS for years. Talking with him took me back to how I thought and felt back in those brutal early days. It hurts to seem him go through it, but necessary none the less.

Also recommended he visit as it's an excellent support group, loaded with others who have lost husbands and wives.

I wish you peace...

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Grief Observed

Dear E,

In the quest to find a slice of sanity after losing you I read scores of books...many filled with positive upbeat streams of butterflies and rainbow bullshit. To say the least most didn't help...I didn't need to hear "you'll get over happy".

The one tome I did find laden with wisdom was C.S. Lewis's "A Grief Observed". He speaks with brutal honesty on his thoughts and feelings while journaling after losing his wife.
"If, as I can't help suspecting, the dead also feel the pains of separation (and this may be one of their purgatorial sufferings), then for both lovers, and for all pairs of lovers without exception, bereavement is a universal and integral part of our experience of love."

Regardless of your stage in grief, I'd recommend you pick up a copy. My library had several or always available at Amazon...

Peace be with you....