Discussion Forums

Reply by Xenia
07 Feb 2015, 10:37 PM

Greetings to all My Friends:

To-day, this afternoon, I am really alone.  So I watched Quartet - Maggie Smith, etc for the 4th time in the past month. Repeat but very heartwarming.  A home for aging Musicians and singers.  If you get a chance, watch it, brings to mind many of the moments one shares in their lives as they age.

Today is very hard for me, John passed away 4 weeks ago to-day and time is flying, why does it move so fast as if time wants me to forget what happened.  Time moving so fast I try to remember the last time I shared with John.  Yes, I remember, bitter sweet and as the Hospice volunteer told me it may get harder as time goes on.  I do believe I am hurting more these past few days more  than when John died.  I was in shock, disbelief and too busy to feel things to feel pain, now I feel deep pain and I am trying to retain some semblance of going about the days without appearing too mad...not mad at any one...mad with my feelings.  That too shall pass I know but the tears and ache in the chest must be released as I have been hanging on too long.

The two daughters who are at their holiday place, Galapagos, etc, called the other day Equador..  Sunburned already as they are near the equator.  They are planning to become vegetarians as the meat ...guinea pig meat, is not their taste so with all the corn and rice and beans they believe they can become vegetarians quite quckly.  They were aware of this but feel they can fill up on fruit and rice and beans.  Good on them for being so brave and seeing the world before it is too late.  Good on their husbands who feel they need to travel and see the world.  One daughter;shusband had a stroke 4 years ago and does not travel outside of Canada and the youngest is a Princess...lol and her husband does not like to fly so off she goes around the world enjoying her trips.  They have been married 30 years so they are well suited to one another and enjoy life. 

I digress as I do not want to bring anyone down at their difficult time.  I wake up and think I hear John in the bedroom, I think I see him getting out of bed like old times when he was so ill, calling me to help him, but it is a dream and I am reaching out and find myself actually reaching out as I am half asleep.    

I have been getting things in order, things, most of the paperwork is done, only have to file this years income tax and then can report to John;s union what my income will be and see if I am eligible for the Gain or extra benefits.  All the things one has to do when you die seems wierd, when you come into the world your parents file a birth notice, you become a Canadian citizen, get Family allowance and a SIN number, later on in life .  So easy, I am trying to humour government...when you die, file you SIN with the government, turn in your Passport, turn in your med card, file you last income tax, notify the pension departments of your death, all with death certificatesm check out your bank, change names on any property, etc. They sure want a lot to let them know you will no longer be paying taxes and will now be sharing you pesion with your widow. 

To-day and yesterday seemed like it was going to be 40 days and 40 nights of rain.  The rain has been coming down so hard that the rivers and creeks are filling up so quickly.  Most of the snow has melted off the ski resorts in this area.  It is a very strange winter we are having.  Warm as all get out but very wet.

The afternoon has been dragging now that the movie is over so I will finally get to the kitchen and clean up and make dinner.  Feels like I am working in slow motion to-day, what used to take me 20 minutes to do is now taking me half the afternoon.

Take care all and thanks for listening.  It helped

Report this post      
Reply by oldbat
07 Feb 2015, 11:32 PM

Dear Xenia,

You are so brave.  And so true.

Thank you for sharing your feelings.  Anniversaries are so hard when you are grieving somone.  Yesterday was the third anniversary of Karl's stroke.  I had been feeling quite odd all day and when I got on my Google calendar realized what was going on.  Amazing how we can know something subconconsiously but are not able to  ackowledge it in "real" time, isn't it.

I have seen Quartet and share your opinion.  It is a delightful film.  Maggie Smith, as always, plays herself.  But herself is so wonderful that she adds imeasurably to whatver she's in.  Are you watching Downton Abbey?  She's outstanding in that,  I'm really hooked.  Strangely, there is another movie called The Last Quartet.  Also wonderful to watch.  It was one of the last things Philip Seymour Hoffman did.  I watched it on Netflix.  See if you can find it somewhere.  It, too was quite dark, but worth watching for the fine acting.

You are travelling a hard road, Xenia, but it does get easier.  You carry John in your heart and he will keep you strong.  Cuddle up as often as you can with your family and close friends.  They will give you the solace you need.  And please keep in touch.  If you hadn't posted today I wa going to give you a shout-out!  So glad you did!


Report this post      
Reply by NatR
07 Feb 2015, 11:51 PM

Hugs to both Xenia and Oldbat,

you are such wonderful friends and supports for each other even though it's over the miles, through computers and on a message board.

somehow the messages feel strong and real - the very core of your souls are expressed here.
i am in admiration of your strength and ability to share your feelings.

Thank you for sharing it all with us.  You will help others immeasurably.
Hang in there:)
best wishes,
NatR xo  
Report this post      
Reply by Xenia
08 Feb 2015, 2:48 PM

Good Morning All:

Thank you for your support.  This morning I have been up since 3:00 a.m. and now it is 6:30, sleep eludes me but also gave me some time to think more clearly to-day.

I was thinking of my grief losing John.  Then I thought, why is my grief so much more important to me when there are so many others grieving for a lost loved one.  Why should I think my grief is so special, others are feeling the same way.

Do I grief because John was my husband for so many years, does my grief mean more than someone who has lost a loved one after a lesser time, or a younger person.  I wonder why my grief for an older person should seem so tragic.  Is it because I have been sheltered more or less from losing someone younger.

No, I have lost 3 brothers under the age of 60, I have lost brothers over the age of 65 and was able to go through this loss in a different manner.  Yes, we were close, as close as a large family of 14 can get.  Perhaps it was because as with large families we live across the width and breadth of Canada and our visits with each other would take place during holidays or special occassions like weddings and funerals so the connection through siblings was there but not the same connection as the partner you shared the better part of your life with.

I believe that this grieving that I am going through is a learning process and from John's death our family will learn that through good times and bad we have supported each other and now realize that we must all take time to appreciate each other more, to keep in touch more, to share our love of each other through words more and through these steps our grieving will be shared by all and we can speak of the hurt we are feeling and not keep it to ourselves and know that our family can go on even though we do miss Dad, grandpa, uncle and husband and keep him in our memories and remember him as the man he was.

To-day our son in law is taking me to the Casino.  He called last nite asking me how I was, did I hear from his wife, my daughter = the princess.  Also, he wanted to take me out so I could get out of the condo.  I said no, then yes, then okay so out I go this morning to the Casino instead of sitting at home.  Then the telephone rang and it was our grandson asking how I was and he and his fiance want to visit on Monday, no work day, B.C's Family day, so I am having company for the next few days.  Someone knew I needed them so here I go thankful for caring family.

It is going on to 7:00 am. have to get dressed, we are going to the Casino at 8:00 a.m, yes, 8:00 a.m. as son in law does his bike rides at 10:00 and like myself is an early riser and likes to get out and on the road early.  He lives in Vancouver and I live in the valley 30 minutes away.  

Take care and thank you all for being here and there for me when I need a shoulder to cry on and to share the good, the bad and whatever happens daily.

Report this post      
Reply by eKIM
08 Feb 2015, 7:02 PM

Jimmie, I just came across your posting of Feb 3rd.  I have no words to describe the emotions that you evoke in me.  I can't imagine what you are going through.  I wish I were there to give you a big hug, sit down with a cup of coffee and simply listen to you and offer comfort. This is not possible of course, so I will offer you my thoughts and prayers. 

You are a very good writer Jimmie.  I hope that you (like me) take comfort in the catharsis offered by putting pen to paper.

Through your writing, you have provided me with sweet gift.  I refer to your description below:

“Perhaps some winters night with the north-east winds doing their best to batter down our door, we should gather together as a circle of friends.  I suspect we could cook and bake a wonderful feast.  And the conversation could be our dessert - food for the body and food for the soul   There is something iconic about such an image - friends bound  by difficult times gathered together - a table laden with  homemade food - an evening of conversation - moments of silence understood and honoured and not rushed or brushed aside.  Let us do that for each other.  And let us make some thick warm soups and bake delicious brown molasses rolls.  And let there be lots of butter on the table and big easy chairs to sit in and should the windows be frosted over with ice and snow may the warmth of our friendships keep the cold at bay.”  - spoken anonymously from a sweet tender soul  

I immediately thought of our wonderful kitchen staff at the hospice where I volunteer.  Although in my role as a resident support volunteer, I do offer compassion and a “listening ear”, I have always found that there is as much if not more support that occurs in our kitchen.  I think the reason for this is that the same comforting atmosphere exists there as does in your wonderful words. There is just something so very special in “breaking bread” with tender souls.

If you don’t mind, I will pass these wonderful words on (anonymously) to them.  They are an amazing group of people and I know that they would love your beautiful words.

- eKim

Report this post      
Reply by Xenia
11 Feb 2015, 3:47 PM

Good Morning All:

I am writing this message about a PBS Frontline program I viewed last night and wished it had been on air from the time John became very ill and given the information about doctors and how they too do not really know how to deal with death and their patients.

The Frontline program was called "Being Mortal" and the program featured Dr. Atul Gawande who wrote the book "Being Mortal".  He did interviews with patients who were facing death and speaking to their doctors who had a hard time dealing with death just as many of us have.

After viewing this program, you can probably see it on line if you are knowledgeable how to pull it up on your computer, I found that we, who are on CVH deal with the death of our loved ones in a similiar manner and perhaps more knowledgeable as we are with the  very ill person 24/7.  We have lived with them, know their needs and wants, their wishes.

The understanding each of you who are on CVH is from what you have experienced or are experiencing.  The dilema of the need to know what to expect from their illness, the pain, the length of time of treatment, would more treatment help, or would this just prolong life and not be a quality of life.

Many of us have taken time to talk to the loved one about his/her wishes about extreme measures, etc.  The doctors found that those who had talked about these things made their passing easier on them and on the family.  The fear of the unknown was utmost in the patients mind and not dying but the fear of pain from their illness.

I found the program gave me much insight into what I had done and that was thanks to our Doctor who was forthright about John and his illness, the palliative car nurses who spoke openly and helped me understand what to expect.  Although John's passing was not at home as he had wished it was expected but not expected as it happened as we were in the process of having John placed in a care facility.  

We as a family were prepared for his passing and as we speak about it , this was the way it was to be and we accepted it and were there for him at his time of passing and he knew we were there holding his hand and letting him go as painful as it was.

I encourage you to watch this program as it will help you understand that we are not alone in our dilema and that the doctors, nurses and all who care for the dying are just as much affected and uncertain as we.

Take care and hugs to all.


Report this post      
Reply by NatR
11 Feb 2015, 4:15 PM

Hello Xenia

glad you got to view that program.  I was on Twitter last night and people I knew were libe tweeting about the program.  

I am am sorry I couldn't find it on my cable tv...but will try to find it online as you suggested.

Hugs Xenia, you are one remarkable wife, mom, caregiver.
best wishes,
Report this post      
Reply by oldbat
11 Feb 2015, 4:47 PM

Hi Xenia,

So good to hear from you.   I actually watched that program some time ago on-line.  Can't remember how but if any of you out there are interested just Google "Being Mortal" and see what comes up.  As Xenia says, it's an interesting and informative film, of particular interest to us all.  And, you can also subscribe to Frontline - it's free - just get on their site and sign up.  They have a wealth of interesting material.

Report this post      
Reply by KathCull_admin
11 Feb 2015, 5:48 PM

Here are two links to the PBS feature Xenia is referencing. The first is a 54 minute video - that was probably the one you saw Xenia.  Being Mortal The second is a bit more of a clip on Dr. Gawande


Report this post      
Reply by Xenia
15 Feb 2015, 5:16 PM

Good Morning All:

I wanted to name each of you however with so many of us on this link I just said good morning.  The link has been very quiet and I have been remiss in not writing I have been having  quite a pity party for myself and thought, girl, get off of it and get on with life.  Sure were easy words to say but I am trying hard.

I was making the bed just a few minutes ago and thought, I am travelling in my grief and care for John, or is it a journey.  I thought hard and realized, in my case, it is a journey.

I journey back and forth around the memories of John, a journey of when he was very ill and when he was not, travel always seems so exiting so I do not know if it is travel or journey, again I ask myself.

I reread the messages on this message board and find I am learning a lot from all of you.  Your expressions of support, your own grief, your good and bad times all help me in my journey, like a few days ago, the girls who are on their trip of a lifetime at the Glapagos, called and told me about their great time.  After I hung up I turned my head and said "John, Gayle is..." then I realized John is not here.  I find I am looking for him in various ways, the sound from the fridge motor gong on makes me look up and expect to see him pushing his walker coming into theliving room.  Having a nap in the afternoon and waking up thinking I have to get dinner, looking for John.  No, he his not here.  So I get up and want to know why I am feeling so bad.  

In reality, I know why I am so sad and hurting.  I miss John so very much.  After 59 years together I miss him just being here.  I miss him sitting in his chair watching his beloved hockey team, looking up at me when I pass by, I miss touching his hand and looking at his eyes that seem to change colour from hazel to blue at times.  I miss how he was with the family, especially the two daughters who were able to visit on the weekends and made him laugh.    

I know this will pass so I go about my days.  I think of what I should have said to him the day before he died.  Watching TV and reading there are always momets shown how the heroine or hero says some endearing words to their loved one as they lay dying.  I believe that these books,TV and movies have made death quite different from reality and when the time does come it is so different and even when we know and expect the death of a loved one, we walk through the experience in a very personal way and handle it the best we can.  There are no rehersals...no one can direct us how to handle the situation.    We learn from you on CVH reading your messages, understanding and feeling your pain and this helps, as it did me, and still does, understand that losing a loved one is heart wrenching and we all handle grief differently.

Just writing this has helped me this morning allowing my tears to fall as I write and know that it will take more than a month to learn how to live without John and enjoy and remember the good memories of the things we did and shared together.

All for now.  Take care and keep writing, I miss all of you!

Report this post