From “the Can Opener”

Image by autumnsgoddess0 from Pixabay

Monday will mark one month

This Monday will be Valentine’s Day- and it will also mark one month since my husband passed. It still feels like it was yesterday. How do I celebrate Valentine’s Day without him after 40 years?

I thought I was doing okay until I had to go pick up his death certificate and his ashes from the funeral home. I had known it wasn’t going to be easy, but nothing can really prepare you for bringing your spouse home that way.

I don’t want to dwell on this for too long. But it has taken me days to be up to writing about this and I will be starting grief counseling (hopefully this week)- and I know this will be one thing recommended. I had bought a new journal to write about the whole cancer diagnosis and why it wasn’t diagnosed until it was too late.

But I have yet to write a single word in that journal, because I stare at the blank page and my mind instantly starts seeing him doubled over in continual pain and struggling to breathe as he had been daily since about May of last year. I want to watch tv, and I remember the countless times we would “watch something together” and he would retreat into the bedroom in too much pain to care. Then I remember hearing him breathing at night and saying, “I think you should go to ER” (but he was in too much pain).

I start seeing the countless dinners I’d prepared for us, from which he would take one or two bites, then retreat into the bedroom in pain saying he was “full.” I remember the vain attempts to offer him something that would maybe- just MAYBE help him have a little relief – only to have him refuse it because he already knew it wouldn’t help.

I constantly feel the helplessness all over again of thinking he was going to die, and we wouldn’t even know why. I feel the anger at the doctors again also who saw his “something” on his small intestine that “they didn’t think was cancer”- and didn’t give him anything at all to relieve his constant pain and other symptoms while he waited an average of 3 months to be seen by another specialist who said the same things and referred him to yet another specialist– (with yet another month or two or three in between).

The last specialist he was referred to was 110 miles away – and when he finally was called (in November) by that specialist it was for a phone consultation. Still no relief for him symptoms meanwhile. The next thing we knew he was being rushed to the ER because of a blood clot- and nothing was the same after that.

I need to stop this for now – (though I hadn’t planned to)- There is so much more to say- but I want to encourage you all to not take for granted the time you have with your loved ones. Especially your spouses. When we celebrated the New Year this year, we knew something was wrong with my husband, but we had no idea that the Christmas we had was going to be our last Christmas together- and that the New Year we celebrated would be the last time we would ring in a New Year.

Whatever you do- treat your loved ones – with respect and consideration – don’t say things in anger and frustration that you can never take back. Don’t be oblivious to their emotional needs or frustrated with them when they don’t see things the way you do. Let them be who they are- don’t try to make them a copy of yourself. You have one chance in this life to BE the “someone special” to the “special someone” in your life.

Sheild and protect each other. Uphold each other’s dignity- and don’t tolerate anyone speaking evil of your spouse. BE SOMEONE SPECIAL to them while you can- today! Tomorrow everything could change.



42 thoughts on “From “the Can Opener”

  1. I can understand your anger/frustration with/towards doctors/specialists. I have often times been reminded that we can’t depend on them. I feel like I’ve had to do and will have to do my own research and it’s like I’m flailing around trying to figure out something I have no idea. I think it’s a common thing for regular people to feel like they are almost on their own. I’m generalizing, I’m sure there are people who might not have had that experience but I’ve had it for myself and also for my Husband. I think you are not alone in your experience and I hope you find grief counseling helpful, I have no idea about what that’s all about but I’d be interested if you feel like sharing the experience. Sending big hugs your way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Grief counseling is (thankfully) offered free to me and my family because my husband was in Hospice care at home. I’m so thankful for them because they were a tremendous help and so supportive. I will definitely let you know how it goes. I’m sorry you’re having the same type of experience. It is so frustrating. My husband had begun to feel like no one took him seriously – and it was so painful to see. The doctors who finally did get to the root of the issue weren’t the specialists- they were the doctors who treated him for the blood clot in his leg. I’m so thankful for them- otherwise, I’m sure he would’ve died without us having even known what happened!

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      1. Sometimes I think the doctors read what the last doctor wrote in the chart and then continue with that line of thinking instead of thinking outside the box. I switched hospital systems so that they couldn’t read the old chart and maybe come up with a new idea. My problem was taken care of a few years back, finally. Now, we just work on my Husband.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Do whatever it takes. I agree. And in my husband’s case, I’m sure that is likely to have happened. But now I have the comfort of knowing that He is with the Lord- and will never experience suffering or pain again. That is a wonderful comfort.

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  2. It is a good thing to write down all these feelings and frustrations, way better than letting them fester inside yourself.
    Both of us having been in the healthcare system for the bad things that can happen to us…yes, you feel that you are left out in the cold as it were, and knowledge is power, it helps to have some ammunition to question the medics with, not to intimidate them but to let them know you are not going to be their doormat.
    I am so sorry you and your Husband were made to wait all that time, in such dire straits with pain and unknown ‘spots’. Not sure if the time you and your husband had would have been lengthened, but sure it could have been made more comfortable and at least knowing what was actually the medical reason for all his issues would have helped.

    I pray that the grief counseling will be of much assistance to you.

    I pray that you will one day find peace as given by God. That He will uphold you all your days and bless you even as you are grieving. May you know His Presence.

    Sending a ton of my own hugs and much loving care. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do believe the grief counseling will help. I’m encouraging our daughters to take advantage of it also- and for our granddaughters – I know the Lord is the reason we discovered the problem when we did- it’s amazing how He caused it to be discovered. And He is my strength. I feel His Presence now more than ever before and He is comforting me.

      Thanks for the hugs and prayers- they are so needed and appreciated!

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  3. Most look to heaven in the belief God is there, but it is my belief that God is the spark of life within each of us. That spark binds us together because we’re all part of ‘the body’ and yet it also makes each of us unique, just as the heart differs from the lungs, yet both are still part of the whole. To the best of my knowledge, there is no way to confirm or deny this, but I feel it is so. I also believe that our soul is eternal, but these bodies it uses for this life experience are vulnerable….
    If my views give you comfort, feel free to adopt them. If you dislike them, feel free to reject the ideas.
    Another concept concerns your journal. I used a similar technique years ago – and still use it when I’m trying to work through something. For some reason, it works best when I handwrite, don’t worry about spelling, punctuation or anything – just write whatever pops into my mind be that my disgust with the medical profession, dismay over politics or even my grocery list… whatever pops into my mind. Over the years, i’ve honed this to starting out by writing whatever question I have, then writing whatever pops into my mind as fast as I can write… in about 15 minutes, I often write the answer to my question and have an immense sense of calm.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome! Hope it works for you as well as it works for me. It even helps with writing a novel – I know that sounds odd, but back when I was writing full time, I’d have a glimmer about what a new story would be about, but not know where to begin, so I learned to simply use that technique and after about 3 pages, I’d somehow morph into writing the story. It sounds crazy, but it works for me… The 2nd and subsequent days, I would reread/write/edit what I’d written the day before, then continue adding new pages. This method also reduced editing time.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s great to hear- thank you for reminding me! When I started this blog the intention was to eventually write a book- but it’s been hard to find time to even blog- now I have new hope that I may actually be able to manage it after all-(when i get through this season)!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. If I can write a book, so can you!
        Don’t overlook the possibility of writing through your vulnerability and taking readers with you as you grow into your next phase… Vulnerable heroes are much better than those who are perfect.
        Define what you want to write, then just do it, even if you only write a paragraph per day.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Wow! If my way doesn’t work for you, I’m sure you’ll find the one that does… there isn’t one right way for all, so we each need to find the one that fits us.

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  4. I always appreciate your sharing. You give good advise too …. I’m only newly married …. I found my soul mate late in life …. but still … couldn’t imagine a day without him. I pray that writing gives you some solitude. (I don’t even know if that’s the correct word I want… I’m not good with words) I know that God wants somebody to hear what you have to say. I’m so glad that you can put your words here until you are ready for the journal. ((hugs))

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    1. Oh thank you so much for sharing! I’ve felt prompted to write this for the last week- but every time I tried I just couldn’t even start. I always fear that my followers are going to get tired of it- or think I’m just feeling sorry for myself- but I’m not- I’m just trying to get through it and I know there are others out there who may be going through something similar and I want them to know they aren’t alone.

      Thank you for your kind words- and congratulations my dear friend- you hang on to that soul mate of yours! Happy Valentine’s Day to both of you! Make it wonderful!🌹❤️

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  5. Wonderful lady….your post says it all. I went thru this with husband Paul in 1996 & then with husband Kevin in 2003!
    The whole seeing the Certificate of Death for the 1st time & holding the container of ashes (both times) was so surreal 😦
    I travelled over 300+ miles to bury Paul with his parents.
    Kevin’s Mother would not tell me where her parents were buried & I forgot name of Cemetary…so I ended up having a service & we put Kevin’s ashes over the local Falls where we had our 1st kiss.
    Last year I found name of Cemetary Kevin wanted to be buried in w/ Grandparents. Nothing I can do now…I hope Kevin forgives me….
    In your situation it is Covid that messed everything up…alot of peopel are goign thru this. Even I have been misdiagnosed & messed about by the Medicos’ up here.
    What you & your beloved husband went thru is unforgiveable.
    I send you ❤ ❤ an (((hugs))) & prayers of healing Sherri-Ellen
    &***purrss*** an ~~head rubss~~BellaDharma ~~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. I’m so sorry you’ve experienced this -not just once but twice! I’m so thankful to “meet” someone who knows how that felt. That in itself helps. Because truly, there are no words to adequately express that feeling. Bless you- And I know Kevin understands. He sees clearly – and he is aware of all you went through.

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      1. Thank YOU for your understanding! I cried for weeks after the service.
        What made Kevin’s death & subsequent ‘not burial’ worse was that he had committed Suicide. His family turned their backs on him….oh they showed up for the funeral & for the $$$; but they would NOT grant Kevin his final wish. So it is not REALLY ‘on me’….
        With Paul his family & I worked together like family should! I am still an ‘honorary’ McMenemy to this day!
        And yes I KNOW this pit in the stomach feeling…and the disbelief! It can shut a person down……
        If you need anything or to chat you can access my email addy. I am here for you…..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am so sorry! Going through the death of a loved one is hard enough when it results from disease or accident- I can’t imagine how a person could cope with death by suïcide- family should come together at a time like that- but of course, not all do, and that makes a painful situation even more unbearable.

        I’m confident though that he knew you tried to honor his final wishes and that it was out of your hands- so please let go of any guilt remaining because of that.

        “Shutting a person down-“ that’s the perfect description of the way it feels. ♥️

        Thank you for your support! Bless your heart!

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      3. At first my Sister & family were there for at least physically.
        Emotionally they harrassed me saying “You should have done something!”
        And Kevin’s Mother told anyone who would listen “She is the reason Kevin killed himself!}
        Yeah it was a nightmare. And I finally shut down completely.
        I never ever want to go thru this again.
        I believe you; Kevin MUSY know I did my best….I hope so. He was very very special to me.
        I hope you are feeling a bit stronger today!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I actually am doing better today. I didn’t feel well yesterday, but this morning I had my first grief counseling session and I learned the biological changes that take place in grief- and my counselor helped me so much! I’m so thankful for it!

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      5. I would not be here without Grief Counselling over Paul & Kevin. Seriously.
        And yes, the body goes thru such changes….
        I am so relieved & glad you are getting counselling. My close friend lost her hubby last September & I sent a link to sign up for Grief Counselling locally. She is ‘stiff upper lip’ British & will not go. And this month she & hubby would have been married 50 years
        I so wish she had Counselling but I can’t drag her there!!! If only…. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      6. “Stiff upper lip,” and “being strong” isn’t as easy as it sounds. And when the pressure builds up to a certain point, that “stiff upper lip” will crumble. We NEED others. None of us were meant to go through these things alone.

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  6. You HAVE begun your journal – right here. Anger is an acceptable reaction to all this. And you have much to be angry about – it is good of BellaSita to remind us all that the pandemic has caused a lot of sorrow outside of any Covid diagnosis. Prayers to you for continued strength, and purrayers to your kitties.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I hadn’t thought of it like that! Thank you for pointing that out- As hard as it was to do that post last night, I felt a release when I finally did it. And yes. I know the pandemic has caused people to die who never got covid- but also never got heart or kidney transplants they were waiting for either. My heart goes out to them all.

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  7. In a few weeks my husband will have been gone 5 years. I wish I had taken advantage of grief counseling but I did write, a lot. Every word has been healing. I’m glad you have family with you and the counseling available. Healing does come, but I found it to be like a dance. You take steps forward and then the grief rises and you step back. All the while, you are healing. Writing is cathartic and very healing, it allows all those emotions out and onto a page where they can be faced and dealt with. Know I am thinking of y’all at this time.

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  8. It must have been horrible to watch his suffering and not been able to help. I know I lost some respect for the medical profession during my husband’s illness. Not the people, the process needs to be improved. I wish you well with your counseling. Remember to not rush yourself

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was horrible- I knew that it was going to be really bad whatever it was- but I had hoped that he would be able to recover.

      The doctors at both hospitals who treated him really did all they could to help him- but the specialists who kept delaying his treatment have lost my respect. Their delays (whatever the reason)- cost him his life- and our daughters their father.

      Liked by 1 person

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