I am an unwilling widow.
It's not as if we didn't see it coming. Herb was officially diagnosed with Alzheimer's shortly after we moved to Nebraska in 2007. His condition deteriorated until he died on May 14, 2011. Some day I'll write about those years--I kept notes--but not now. It hurts too much.
Now I'm not a stranger to grief. In fact, grief and I are old friends. Our beloved son, Teddy, died at age 16 of an aneurysm in the cerebellum. And raising a severely retarded, autistic child (Teddy's younger brother, Allen) is a daily walk with grief. Allen is now 48 years old and doing beautifully.
So, knowing I was going to have to renew my acquaintance with Old Man Grief again, I thought I was resigned and ready for it.
I was wrong.
Losing my best and closest friend of 57 years cut deep. The sudden emptiness--I hadn't understood that he was there for me even when he wasn't physically present. Perhaps it was knowing he would call to check on me or I could call him to share something new or ask his opinion or just fuss about something, knowing he was on my side, that made him seem so close when he was away. And knowing he'd be back. That was the best thing of all.
When he decided to retire so that we could move from Oklahoma to Nebraska to rescue grandchildren from a neglectful Mom, we entered a truly delightful time for us both. We enjoyed being together. We rented a house on five acres of land, with trees, a long, winding driveway and
Country peace and quiet (except for the sometimes rambunctious but always loving kids). Often, at night we would sneak out after everyone was asleep and lie on a hillside to gaze at the stars and talk.
When our son remarried we took an apartment in Kansas City and had four years of exploring, making new friends, and just enjoying hanging out together. We moved back to Nebraska to help with the grandchildren again and now, with the vision of hindsight, I think I sensed something wrong and instinctively knew I would need help. He never knew.
But the loss blindsided me. And life itself seemed to gang up on me. I'd been driving without an accident for over 50 years and suddenly a teenager "tee-boned" me, causing severe damage to my car. Appliances broke down, one by one. I had to have surgery for glaucoma--and more. Even our precious little Cavalier Spaniel, Angel, died of a sudden heart attack. And more.
If I hadn't had the love and support of a treasured daughter and son-in-law and son and grandchildren I really can't imagine getting through all that.
But I am getting through it. Life is a precious experience that I am grateful to have.
I don't know what I'm going to blog about here. Or even if I'm going to. But for now I'm back.