Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Three Times Three: Screams of Guilt Beginning to Subside

Gone but never forgotten: three years for my husband and daughter's father, three months for my mom, Grandma, and three weeks for our beloved family pet, our tabby cat, a family member for two decades.

At a Green Day event last week, I was standing at a table with a local provider of used medical equipment about donating a wheelchair and walker and some other items. A woman walked over and also asked about donating.

Two people who may never have met except in this way with so much in common: she lost her husband two years ago, she lost her mother two months ago.

She mentioned how no one prepares you for this part of life and how challenging it is to make your way through each day until suddenly you realize how much time has already passed since the life changing event actually happened.

She'd just started back to work; I was returning to work in the field I'd loved for so long and made my professional home, where I'd not had the courage to apply since my husband's death.

We worked together for so many years in this field and I needed to grow in another direction before I could return to prosper growing where I'd been planted and thrived for so long.

It's a large company and chances of meeting this person except for this particular event might have not occurred for months or even years.

We talked, the woman and I; not for long but for long enough to exchange contact information and hopefully keep in touch. If not, this chance meeting served a much needed purpose for me and I hope for her.

On the surface, it was like looking in a mirror -- the reflection of someone looking back who had been formed by so much personal loss and survival.

Now I can share. Now I can compare. Now I can talk.

I've begun the part of my life's journey where I contrast and perhaps settle the still continuing "what ifs" and "if I'd only".

They used to scream at me, these feelings and thoughts, about what I might have, could have, should have --- done, said, been.

Words or actions I believed would have stopped, changed, delayed, redirected -- or any other adjective or adverb of change for what inevitably did occur and over which I and they had little if any control in the outcome and result.

In reality, daughter and I did the best we could, at the time and under the circumstances of what we knew, were told and could do. But when it comes to end of life or even the journey moving in that direction, there's always those lingering "what if" and "why" that continue to fly around and pursue you long after the times have passed.

I am grateful for small things:

Memories we made and did not wait "for another time, another place, more money, more time ...." to make.

Reaching for "stars" and willing to dream and turn them into realities.

Including many in our lives and in our hopes and dreams.

Taking chances, seizing opportunities and being willing to walk alongside others on rocky roads, bumpy paths.

Together, finding ways around what seem to be dead ends in roads less traveled.

Making mistakes -- they gave us the opportunity to see the strengths and abilities we built together to overcome, outdistance and go beyond while learning and growing as what we were -- individuals and a family unit.

Treasuring one another and measuring one another not by other's standards but by standards passed down by generations who preceded us and who will follow:  faith, hope and love.


  1. My husband passed away exactly 10 months ago today. I read your blog looking for comfort given by someone who has experienced the same thing. He had LBD and had required an aortic valve replacement. Following his surgery he developed a UTI that we could not seem to stop. His decline was rapid ...about 6 months after the surgery in spite of 8 rounds of IV antibiotics. I am devastated and have many "what if's" or "could a"' " shoulda a" moments. At this point I question if I will ever get to the point where I don't cry daily. We were married 48 years and now I feel so alone. Even though I knew he would pass someday it doesn't make it any easier. Thank you for a listening ear....

    1. Pam,
      From time to time I reread some of my blog posts; especially those that seem to continue to get readers. This was one I read today. It's now over four years for me since my husband passed and a little over a year since my Mom's passing. With Mother's Day next weekend, I feel the hollowness of not being with her, sharing that special time together as two mothers of one daughter each -- a daughter it took her many years to have and so it was with me. We were both given the opportunity to have very special people in our lives for long periods of time. There are some who lose young children or spouses early in their relationship. A "new" acquaintance I've made lost her husband of less than a dozen years in a freak automobile accident and I know she wishes every day he'd not gone out, not been driving, etc. etc. UTI's are treacherous; most people really don't know how they and challenges like MRSA (which my husband developed) are sometimes more dangerous than other medical problems. Keep moving forward. Keep reaching out. You were given the gift of one another and shared a life you once dreamed you'd have. Believe in what you gained, not what you've been parted from. We're human, you and I. Above all, we had the gift of time and of love -- now we have the memories. You did your best, I'm sure. Most people do. It's those who do, in my opinion, who face the challenges of the "what if's" or "could a" moments.


We welcome your comments and any additional information we can research and pass on to others. Together we learn and grow.