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    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2015 edited
    I wonder sometimes whether I'm more lonely or more lost. I do that because I'm trying to understand what I could do to help. And I do that because I've had better times throwing up on myself and passing out. A day or two later that hangover went away. This doesn't.

    I can't invent a new life by snapping my fingers. Four months after my wife passed, I'm not in an emotional state to make decisions which I would trust. But four months after she died, I'm already overtired of all the oppression and of all the changes I have to make and of all the patience I'm going to have to show where I'm so sick of this long reality but I have to take it easy because I have plenty of evidence that I'm in a volatile/precarious state.

    I wondered also why it seems so much harder these days. I've seen that I can look out and think that the world seems so empty and then realize the world didn't change and it's empty because Dianne isn't in it, but mostly that I changed where for one thing I'm now a griever witnessed for example by the fact I haven't picked up a paintbrush since she passed where I used to paint most days.

    Today I asked the question. Why is this so hard I asked. Because now it's everything came the answer.

    In my head everybody is from Missouri. The next lines I thought verbatum were "this isn't about everything" and then "you and your life, what part of everything don't you get?"

    It's true. This really is my life. I just finished going around the block of doing all the things people suggest and it does mean something but I'm not landed anywhere so nothing sticks. Basically, it's exercise while I wait to get those answers.

    I have to accept there's a part of me flopping around trying to get out of this like a fish flopping around in a boat. I can't remember how many times I've said I'm bone tired but I'm not sure I've been as clear that I'm bone tired of feeling like I have for most of this decade.

    There are also wild counter currents. On my walk today I stopped and chatted with two people. One was a mom who's little boy was trying to squirt me with a hose and the other was a couple where he was clearly older and sat in a chair while she watered the front garden. I've been looking around more and I live in a beautiful neighbourhood. All the houses were built in the 1960's, the area is called Forest Hills because it's covered in trees and gardens, and while it's no different from many other places, it's my area and I'm just beginning to see how rich in life it is. I can smell again. The lillacs and the musty wood smells and the little creek running over the stones. I can feel the sun on me and while I haven't run up those 34 stairs yet - I'm not puffing anymore when I get up them either.

    I feel sometimes for a brief moment like I'm rich and there's no doubt I'm very fortunate to have enough to live on. But I mean feel rich in my life. There really is a part of me that knows it's going to be fine but I have to wait and be patient. This is like a long walk. It seems to be forever at first but you see things along the way and eventually arrive.

    "Arrive now!!!" One voice inside encourages with a megaphone right in everyone's ear.

    It's like this around here some days. Grieving, not exactly like being thrown around in the back of the boat of a maniac with a testosterone overdose but not altogether different either. Not exactly like a front row seat at the mad hatter's tea party but not altogether different either. Not exactly Fantasia directed by Alfred Hitchcock, not exactly Cinderella written by Virginia Woolf, not exactly Grapes Of Wrath starring the three stooges. Not exactly like shooting river rapids in an old fridge. Not exactly Ethel and Lucy on the assembly line of that chocolate factory. But not altogether different either.

    Nuts? Strict freudian psychiatrists (a dwindling bunch) are taught that women who can't achieve vaginal orgasm show emotional immaturity. This from a person who's wife had to move in so he could live with his mother. There are four reasons. 1. The partner is an idiot. 2. She's not that interested in sex. 3. She's not that interested in him. 4. She can't stop wondering if she turned the stove off. It's highly probable it's going to be one of those four. Reality, not exactly like Freud living with mummy while he explains mature relationships but not altogether different either.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2015
    Oil and vinegar, juxtaposition, and the prom queen.

    I was sitting there in the adirondack chair on the large floating dock watching the boats out on the lake pulling fancy skiiers, kids hanging on screaming whipping around on huge tubes, and morons on skidoos racing through the wakes of the other boats. The smell of coconut oil was the air. The ice cold margaurita dripped naughtily on my hot tummy. I was explaining the Greek debt crisis when some animal grabbed my foot and struggling it all went dark and I realized it was just a dream and my foot was twisted in the blanket.

    I had another dream a few nights ago where Dianne was poking around into something she shouldn't and I pulled her attention away. She threw her arms around me and confessed she was so grateful that I was taking care of her. "Don't be silly. I love you." I answered feeling her hugging me. I woke up from that one in a sweat.

    The thing there you see is that when I really was taking care of her she had no speaking parts, and even though I keep waking up in the dark alone, I was happy that she was getting better in my dreams. I told my mind in no uncertain terms that I require that in the same way a beggar might stand on the street with his shaky hand out.

    I've come to understand that grieving is a powerful and basic human thing, but, that the main event in my life now is a completely disorganized and profound shift from enduring my life to my life fundamentally changing.

    That change was as immediate as it was full. It was complete the second that Dianne passed away. Every other thing about all of this was about everyone catching up with that. Her family, the nursing home, the funeral home, her legal status, her pension, and over arcing all of that my sensibilities were all about catching up with something already complete - evidenced by it's lack of ability to create any further change.

    The full blown version of that is when they pass at home with no transition period such as a nursing home brings. And while respite like that reduced the strain it also blurred the reality by creating a semi-state where I continued enduring what the disease demanded but did it largely at home alone. I thought I was spending that time getting back up on my feet but I was just learning some of the skills I need now and was really still in the continuum of us in the disease.

    I've explored ideas like self authorization in that time but I didn't live them. The second Dianne passed I started living them but now have to catch up. For example am I married? No. But I have to catch up because a lot of powerful things are happening at the same time and they do not blend nor are they meant to.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2015
    Oil and vinegar do not blend. They stay separate but pack in closer when whipped hard enough for long enough. Let that stand long enough and the oil and vinegar will separate back out because they do not blend.

    Grieving is a profound experience as evidenced by the long history of ritual and affect that it brings throughout history, archeology, culture, and location. But grieving and living do not blend either. So universally experienced and so little understood, we are to let that stand long enough for the grieving and the living to separate back out.

    I was actually on that dock drinking a margaurita and talking about Greece. That wasn't a dream. I was up there last week and it was real fun. I've also been overcome by how awful everything has been for so long, how she really is gone, and how lost I truly feel. I'm not living in a blended reality. I'm living in a juxtaposed reality where powerful things not meant to be blended rock and roll my world and will do for some time.

    I did have that dream with Dianne talking and hugging me. I got up later and thought "good" because as I've said before that's what I want. I also wanted an exemption from grieving but I didn't get that. I'm not complaining really because I did what I could and sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn't.

    The people I visited on the lake have three children. I grew up with all of them. They talked about how parenting is never done and in that conversation I touched on how their own parents felt the same but we didn't listen much to them. Here's what they heard "seg4wv eill peooreszz gav3illi". They hesitated and then realized I may as well have been speaking Greek. It's all good. I don't get paid to rain on people's parades.

    I realized recently that I still have conflicts running through my head. I must have logged a thousand hours those seven years or so battling in my mind what trusted and loved people around me were doing to us. All of that was defensive, being hurt, pleading my case over and over to no one. What I realized recently was that none of those people are part of these inner conflicts now. And that in every single case I notice, it's me that is pointing out the flaw, it's me that has the evidence, it's me that shreds the fabric of lies. I'm not on defense anymore internally. I'm on offense. Still a few steps away from just being quiet inside until some actual conflict shows up.

    I lost my everything. The only way you could really hurt me was to take her away and that has been done in almost the cruelest way I can imagine over such a long time it boggles the mind to really take it all in. That's a movie no one will watch however many Glen Cambell's or Robin Williams are in it. I rose from that ashpile a twisted and tormented being who had voices inside screaming "end this!". The three years I spent at home looking out for her care were a transition from nightmare to tolerable.

    On that day when my fingernails were clawing into the wall wanting out the voice inside said flatly "we're not doing this" and that moment was the end of my suicide period. If you think I'm going to stop listening to that voice inside then you are quite wrong. The voice that tells me not to worry about grieving because it self-regulates. Not to worry about feeling lost because I am. Not to worry about what will happen because that's not me. And instead answers my plea to say something useful with a string of letters. UBU. BU. B. Pick one because they're all the same.

    Finally, I want to thank my first love who dumped me and went on to become prom queen because I didn't seem interested enough where I was actually unworthy of anyone. It set me up for Dianne, the quiet Celt, who simply reached out for what she wanted. So of course I married her. And the rest, as they say, is history.
    Thank you Wolf.....
    I love reading your stories, over and over again.
    In some way they seem to comfort me and make
    me feel like I'm not alone.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 1st 2015

    To: George

    From: The foxhole next to you


    Look to your right stop

    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2015
    "What I really need is a big hug", I said, which was a real shock for the saleslady. "Don't look at me...", she answered deciding I wasn't a creep and must be bored. I was suprised because I didn't realize I'd said that out loud. I was deep in therapy at the checkout and was asking myself what I really wanted.

    I've read that grieving can take years or never and I'm about as interested in that as I am about repeatedly being boxed in the ears. No. No. No. No. I get a discount. I'm not waiting. I've seen that a lot of people just make stuff up and it seems to work a fair amount of the time. At least that's what it looks like from the outside.

    "I'm all better now" I pointed out to my therapist. "Water off a duck's back." She didn't seem convinced but then it's hard to tell because she can talk with her tiny mouth moving even while you watch rigormortus set in on her features over the months. "Perhaps we should continue these sessions a while longer", she said at the end. Perhaps we should continue these sessions a while longer I thought, mimicking her unkindly following her to the door trying to move in her robotic way. "I bet you never had a really good org..." I wanted to say but the door shut. I looked at the door for a second but it was still shut.

    The thing is I just want my fair share. Ok, I got the short end of the stick; but, there's some stick there which is legally mine. Take your grieving, and your sad sack, your seven dwarfs, the horse you rode in on, and whatever baggage you want and git! Vamoose! Leave town and don't let the gate hit you on the way out.

    I was reading these self help books where the message is you have to want it enough and you have to push yourself hard to succeed. So I was sitting there pumping myself up that I really, really wanted it, and the thing is, I think I pulled a muscle in my neck which really hurt and I was jumping around and knocked the chair over and ended up on the floor. Time of your life, huh kid? What are you doing on the floor?

    I think I liked it better when I didn't know what month it was and time seemed a million miles away. Now I'm thinking of buying a watch so I can watch the minutes go by. That's why they call them that. So you can watch. I don't know whether time slowed down or I sped up but even my email is complaining. "What?!? You just checked five minutes ago."

    I'm cleaning. I do my pot and pans daily now and I've decluttered the counter and keep it quite clean these days. It worries me. I used to run the dishwasher and then live out of it for days until it was empty, then I'd run the dishwasher and live out of it again. I rinsed everything that used to accumulate because I found out if you let it harden it's ten times as much work and one of my core features is that I'm really bright - I mean lazy. I have lazy genes. It's not my fault.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 9th 2015 edited
    I learn things. I learned for instance that when I bang a telfon pan full of food against the Steel Queen® sink, the sink wins. Big ding in the pan, not a sratch on the sink. Also, food can really travel a long distance when you do that. Don't do that. I'm keeping the frying pan though. The teflon didn't crack for some reason even though the pan looks like I fended off an attack with a viking axe. I'm calling it modern expressionism and it's a piece entitled 'rage'.

    "You're not doing anything." My friend said over the telephone. "I'm killing my plants." I answered. "Pardon?" he asked. "I feel bad about it but I'm trying to keep people and cats alive here. Ok, person and cats." "What are you talking about?" he asked me. I thought of telling him we used to have 34 house plants. I know that because Dianne counted them one day years ago. Now there are 4 1/2 left. Two rubber plants in case I ever run out of elastic bands and the two orchids from her mother - which is kind of odd but I try not to think about it. "What are you talking about?" my friend asked again. "I'm not doing anything." I answered.

    I'm channelling Salinger and I need to change the channel. Vonnegut would be better. More Montana Wildhack and less Franny and Zooey. Listen. I didn't do anything. One day I was eating my cereal and Dianne got alzheimered and a decade was in there somewhere and now I'm starring in what life keeps trying to make an Alfred Hitchcock movie and I keep flipping the channel back to Monty Python. It's like a test of wills or more like a test of won'ts.

    "These birds are going to fly around and peck at your head because we're gluing bird seed on your scalp." Hitchcock explains. "No you're not you stupid twit." I explain. "It's required. Here put on this black dress." he answered. "Not happening. Flock off." I announced. I'm not playing. Fellini was there watching no doubt with major plans and as I stormed out I pulled his fedora down over his eyes. Nobody laughed but he looked funny.

    Listen. The world isn't just dark fears and shrivelled horrors. We're all going to die which can't possibly be news. We're on a rock. We don't really know what's going on and taxes aren't certain. Only death is certain. That's the way it is. Innocence ends. That's the way it is. But life is not just dark because innocence ends. Life is dark when we give up hope. Life is dark when we can't get over the changes, however hard, that we must either face or endure. Once we can accept our lives we no longer endure - we only miss.

    I don't have to worry about grieving. It can find me when it wants. Most of my world changed and now I'm changing. Or I'm doing my job if you like. I'm taking my life seriously because I must become something different and the first thing about that, the first thing about that is to learn to stop not wanting to. I'm already certain of that.

    (only the frying pan and changing are true)
    Hey Wolf, I don't have a deep brain like you do, but I would say get out and get some exercise, because it clears your head. Also, washing your dishes is good...I've found that even in my deepest funks, if I can keep the dishes washed and the bed made, I can get away with a lot. (Dust rag? What's that? Ha-ha.) In terms of self-help books...I don't agree with that one that told you to push hard to succeed. In recuperating from Alzheimers survivor spouse misery, I think just the opposite is true. We have to go easy on ourselves. We are in a huge recovery phase. I think you have to let it all go--all the "should" and "must-do" -- and as the clouds and mists dissipate, see what is being revealed for you and your future. (I wouldn't worry about the plants. I'm not sure you really need may be time for them to move on to that great plant heaven out in the compost pile.)
    Hey Wolf ...

    Maybe I can help you avoid some of your dish washing chores by telling you how I do it.

    For breakfast I eat fruit, sweet-rolls or toast and drink hot water (it's the same as coffee for me)

    For lunch I always have a cottage cheese and pineapple salad, and graham crackers with peanut
    butter and drink a can of Pepsi.

    For supper I always have a nice meat, cheese, and pickle sandwich with a can of Pepsi and a
    few cookies for desert.

    In between meals I have an ice cream bar or a slice of pie or cake or cookies or some candy.

    As you can see. Each day, I only have to wash three utensils......One spoon, one dish, and one
    knife to spread the peanut butter. I have been doing this for three years and I feel that I eat
    very well. All good stuff. lots of candy. ice cream bars, and fruit and a little wine at bed-time.

    The only thing that upsets my apple cart is when my daughter or some neighbors, (who all seem
    to want to take care of me) bring me their favorite food.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 11th 2015
    Hi Elizabeth, I agree. I do go for regular exercise walks. And the recovery phase should consist of endless treats. Back up the truck. Don't know about the deep brain thing though.

    George, that's very efficient. One of my favourite meals is a couple of big slices of real bread out of the freezer, a tin of minced ham, a good tablespoon of mayonnaise, and a tablespoon of cheap green relish. Also a touch of pepper.

    If I were not cooking, I would look at a different cheese or a different luncheon meat and certainly different breads. You may like it exactly the same all the time but I like when it moves around. I also eat tinned fish with some bread and I'll eat a cold summer plate at times. Storebought bean salad (beans have good protein) or macaroni salad and I will add some pickled beets, some sliced pickles, and some pickled herring (a decent source of omega and fish oils).

    As to cheeses, I love a slice of real swiss for that tangy taste sometimes. Tomatos are in season, I have them around and wash and quarter them up with a dash of basil (and salt in my case). You sound like you're all set with a routine you like though.

    I'm fortunate in that I like to cook even though I've done all of it for ten years. I want different things each day and part of my life is figuring out how to make that move around. I could eat in restaurants more but being involved in my food and maintaining a willingness and comfort zone to do that is more meaningful for me.

    I eat once a day by the way. Have done for over twenty years. People I tell that to often protest that's not healthy but I haven't changed body weight in 40 years and in the entire decade of stress and anguish, I never even caught a cold.

    I'm happier than I've been in years. I don't worry about Dianne and I'm very satisfied with my life the first 64 years. I'm not afraid of what is ahead of me and my one real job is to find ways to have some fun and not get into trouble. I don't try to be different and I have no idea why I always am.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 20th 2015
    A reminder - this thread is just about afterwards. Reading such a topic may not be best for you right now. You decide.


    A week after Dianne died I went out and bought a day timer. In that I've been marking what I eat, when I shower, who I talked to, what I did in bullet form, when I excercised, and other details. I also keep a journal where I write extensively in WordPad.

    Together they are my hospital chart so the doctor can see what the actual state is and more importantly how it's changing - if it's changing. If anyone wonders why I need a hospital chart then we're not on the same planet. On my planet I'm not in a normal state, I need help to get healthier, and I'm it - so I both make the chart and I also read it and then I also decide what is to be done.

    Right now, 151 days after what needs no further discussion, I don't have to do any back flips or hit any markers but I have no interest in guessing later either.

    Here's the back story:

    I've been a decade in change that's so hard I haven't had time to know anything about how I've changed while everything around me changed. And now I have to enter another huge change where I'm in fact already in it but haven't caught up with that decade or her death or myself.


    Why should I be concerned? After all, I'm grieving. Grieving, after hours of serious reading, is anything for any amount of time and all of it's very serious and if you try to avoid this anything for any amount of time then it's very bad for you.

    I'm not new at grieving. I lost my mom, my dad, and three lifelong friends. This is deeper but grieving isn't ten different things. Grieving is how much I miss Dianne and what it does to me that she's not here. It isn't anything else.

    I'm not new at grieving. My sister just can't get over mom passing 7 years ago. She goes through her boxes of stuff still and reacts when I remind her of things. I have mom in my thoughts like right now. My best friend can't get over what happened 21 years ago and now has to take anti-depressants the rest of his life. Two friends actively resist my mentioning the future or talking about getting older. I'm not new around grieving.

    My sister could help herself. She could get rid of those boxes and resolve to accept mom is long gone and it's time to let her go. I hope she does one day. My best friend who is on his fifth psychiatrist could admit to himself that those things happened and it's time to let it go. I have little hope that in his third decade of resistance he will, but I hope he does. The only thing that I know will happen for sure is that my two friends who fear getting older will one day be at peace about that.

    Grieving is how much I miss Dianne and what it does to me that she's not here. It isn't anything else. It's certainly not a new reason to continue being the victim of a disease which ended almost half a year ago. Grief has no trouble finding me. It knows where I live and when it comes it comes. There isn't anything positive or negative I can do about that and I don't believe that I should. In fact, I think the grief I feel is the truth of my love and I see it and offer it that way.

    What I just said is that there is weather in my life which in no way diverts me from what I believe. Dianne is at rest. There is only one person left to help out of this long nightmare and grieving is not a thing I have to do. It's a thing that happens to me.

    The instant Dianne died, I tranformed from selfless to selfish. My life jumped from us-ishness to self-ishness. Humans can't say self-ish without meaning it's bad. It's like people who don't believe in our religion. They can only be heathens or atheists. There's no word for some parts of life that don't cast the thing in a bad light. We are even harder on our-self than we are on anybody else. We don't even talk about these things in society.

    And yet any skill about the self is exactly what we need. Unfortunately that would be self-ish. Which is funny.

    Am I wondering why my drum is discordant? No.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2015

    It's a more ancient form of English coming from the time after the Romans left (after 200AD) when Hadrian's wall was abandoned and the ninety mile wide Scottish and English border became lawless and full of reivers or robbers. Far more than Sherwood forest, travelling through this region often meant you were deprived of your belongings which was so frequent it became a word of a thing that happened to you.

    It means 'deprived of' by the border robbers who were called reivers there and translates into be-reived. It is the origin of the word bereavement which we now use to describe the time when we are grieving for something taken away.

    Sunday morning coffee reading. Or it could be if life were otherwise wonderful and we were having our croissants and marmalade reading the New York Times on the patio.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeAug 11th 2015
    I have a commission from the nearly blind motorcycle man across the street. This burly mountain of a man has an eagle tatooed on his back more than a foot tall. He can't ride his Harley anymore but this spring he found a Starling who had fallen out of the nest and he nursed it with milk soaked bread mostly. It grew feathers and flew around outside coming when he called until one day a few weeks ago it flew and kept on going.

    He's restoring an old wheelbarrow including a shiny chrome wheel and he wants me to paint flames coming down both sides of it like on a motorcycle. We were standing in his backyard looking at it while his parrot was at the screendoor of his kitchen talking loudly the whole time. He was asked to watch it for a month three years ago while the owner went on a trip and has never heard from him again.

    Today I went out to the bank and local convenience store. As I got out of the bank it started to rain and as I pulled into the store it began to pour. There was a young lady standing at the bus stop just at the corner and as I pulled up I could see she was getting soaked. I have a small collapsible umbrella in the car I've had for over 30 years. I reached for it and heard my mind ask if I was sure and I jumped out of the car and ran over to her opening it and in the pouring rain yelled "Here! You can have it!" and ran into the store. I've heard with my back already turned her hearfelt "Thank you!" dozens of times since like melodic waves on a zen beach.

    It's still raining. Everything's soaked. I'm thinking about flames shooting out of the sides of a souped up wheelbarrow and wondering what life my umbrella is now leading.
    Delightful story Wolf. Made my day. :-))
    No time to post, as I'm too busy painting orange flames down the sides of my Toyota Highlander. Great idea, Wolf--thanks to your neighbor for suggesting it.
    Elizabeth...I just bought one of those. I have 4 car seats in it so that I can get all 4 grandbabies in at the same time. It looks like a daggone bus. I couldn't get them all in my car so had to upgrade. I used to have a Dodge Durango and really missed being up higher as I drove. The past few years I felt like my rear end was dragging on the road. Love the higher view! Today it is at the shop getting running boards installed. My grandson said "Nana, you need steps for us to climb in easier". So, steps it is! Perhaps I could paint mine to resemble a school bus!
    Aunt B, I hear ya! I have two boosters and a baby car seat in mine. And in the walker and wheelchair days, we really used to fill that vehicle up!

    Once again you have confirmed the age old truth that the way to make
    ourselves happy is to make someone else happy. It certainly works for me
    every time.

    Living alone like we do, can sometimes be very tiring and boring and not
    much fun. When I'm lying in bed each morning before starting my day, I'm
    thinking.........What can I do today to ease the pain of being alone without
    my dear Helen?........The only answer I can think of is to try to bring some
    happiness to someone else.

    Since I can't get around much anymore, my choices are limited, But if I put
    my mind to it, I can always think of something. It may be just a short visit to
    someone bedridden or a kind word to a stranger, or an email or a phone call
    or even a little gift for my friendly cat.

    You can do much more Wolf. Your writings are an inspiration. I still love to
    read your very first story on this page. It's like an umbrella in the rain.

    • CommentAuthorbqd*
    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2015
    GeorgieBoy, your message is right on.
    I believe that to be truly happy we have to look beyond ourselves - small gestures on our part (such as Wolf handing the lady an umbrella) can make a big difference to the person on the receiving end. Sometimes just a smile and a friendly hello can be enough to brighten someone else's day.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2015
    Will I ever meet someone again?

    Why? Am I pacing the floor wanting to give my love to someone now, care about them more than me now, and spend my time focused on them and us now? Not even close. The person I want to meet is me. If someone asked me if I thought I was normal right now I would answer 'no' and ask them how much time they have for me to prove that.

    I'm me. But I'm not normal me. Instead I'm in a frankly difficult period of absorbing that it's all over. The long horror. Her life. That this is now my life. In these six months both the thoughts I'm having and the way I see those thoughts are changing. I'm certain it's because my assaulted and battered self realizes it's really over and it's safe to begin coming out and look at the wreckage.

    The thing is, when I come and survey the wreckage I always meet the same idiot. He's an annoying little twerp full of information I already know and never says but one thing:

    Grief: "I can't believe this happened..."
    Wolf: "It did. Start getting over it."

    Grief: "This can't be my life now..."
    Wolf: "It has been for years. Get a grip."

    Grief: "Oh God, she's really gone..."
    Wolf: "Yes. For the fourty second time. Keep trying."

    Grief: "I feel so terrible..."
    Wolf: "I see. So not a breakthrough."

    I've had all those moments inside here and many more. Luckily, I'm in charge and the grief I also feel is not. It's the little brother I'm minding and is frankly a royal pain. Listen. I love Dianne and I miss Dianne and I'm seeing what all happened in ways that hurt even more because I'm further away now and so more of 'me' is coming out.

    What is coming out? The parts of me that hurt. The parts of me that are my own fragility and my own trepidation and my own deepest feelings and needs. The final nuances of a fully functioning personality. The thing that was taken from them and damaged in me. My truest self that only comes out when it is safe ever and is the first thing hidden in all of us.

    The moment you came to trust your spouse that they really did love you. I'm talking about the 'you' that was willing to come out after that. I'm talking about that extent of you. Not the you that was clinging to any sensibility and reason you could muster while they pee'd themselves incoherently. Pick your nightmare picture. The point is not what it was but that it existed and the fully trusting you had long left town.

    Grief: "I really do feel terrible."
    Wolf: "I know. Have a sandwich."

    I'm remembering more things in ways that are more me. The entire sweep of how I feel and see them is changing. I'm not in them anymore and deep parts of ourselves know that and begin approaching the "where am I now" subject and "what am I now" subject while the main topic may be "what happened" or just "what?".
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2015
    It's in the early months in my opinion where we are most vulnerable. I believe it is in those months where the spouse realizes they are lost or how lost they are. That evidences the fact that there are fundamental shifts going on within us where the continuity of hanging on breaks up and the reality of ourselves now begins to pour in. That reality is almost certain to be a feeling of being lost because that's the only feeling that makes sense in reality.

    Which explains why from the minute Dianne died, the gong rang and I was in the ring against grief. I said I was going to do this on the widower thread and had it explained I didn't understand. True. But here's what I did understand. Nothing anybody else did worked. Ergo you don't know what you're doing either.

    I've now read hundreds of pages on grief. I dug around. It's bogus. Being deprived of things you desperately don't want to be deprived of and that change your life is very hard to go through. That's all you need to know and all the thought I need to give it. Sometimes I cry because I feel that. Good. Fine. What?

    Grief: "I don't even know what to do."
    Wolf: "In a minute. I'm almost done."

    Grief is not a compass now. Grief is the compass that navigates my sister's experience of our mother passing seven years ago. But it is not the compass of my grief for Dianne who died almost six months ago. My thoughts about Dianne are designed by me - the partner that shared her life - and not by some convulsing reaction to her death. The only thing my very real reactions are is a temporary noise between me and her. I can't get her as fleshed out in my memories as I want to while I'm grieving; but, I do have the rest of my life to get that done in.

    Not in some weird way. Dianne and my story is written. But in how I play with that story. The truth is Dianne isn't here anymore and center stage is open. The truth is also that I'm not normal yet. And thankyou thankyou thankyou, I can see that I'm not all that far away.

    Grief: "I really don't feel very well."
    Wolf: "I'll get you something. Just a second."

    How I feel during a great loss should never be given the keys to anything. It's going to be gone in a few years but I will still be here. Like the books that introduce characters that come in but you don't follow - I have jumped narrative. Like the girl I adored in high school who wrote to me a few months after Dianne and I became engaged inviting me to Ottawa to come and visit her. The door not opened. Well I'm in it now. Life is like a banquet on which we feed. And when they tell me we don't eat the Peking Duck, we just mourn the life taken away, I wish them well - and I am out of here.

    Grief: "I'm all alone."
    Wolf: "Yes, yes. I'm coming."
    Wolf, if you still have the phone number of the gal who invited you to Ottawa, give her a call. Or if you've lost touch with her, try calling someone else in the real world out there and then just keep following your nose after that, turning over new rocks until you have grief on the run. I really doubt that engaging in soliloquies with yourself and philosophizing on this message board are the way to get the job done!
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2015
    Gourdchipper, I'm guessing you don't see the disconnect of coming on the board repeatedly six years later telling someone they're wasting their time on the board five months later.

    Coming here where I have recently lost my wife and am working through what alzheimers did, to keep telling me I'm wasting my time and should get the job done means, sir, that six years later it's you that still has issues.

    You've been clear both times that you have no respect for what I'm doing. I also have no respect for what you're doing. Perhaps we could leave it at that.
    Now, now, you two. I've been following the last couple posts with interest, not quite sure whether to chime in with my thoughts. Gourd chipper, you'll have to beat me up with a wet noodle, because I'm pretty much relating to Wolf and feeling much like he does. I'm going to be at the one-year point on Sept. 2, and somehow that's a real milestone for me. I'm preparing for it mentally and physically--exercising hard, trying to look nice to some extent, (still wearing a lot of black and gray--but I'm from NY, so that's normal anyway), putting on makeup once a week and keeping my nails nice, although I'm not back to polishing them yet. I lost another couple of pounds, and I'm determined to have the house looking really nice--cheerful, tidy, and fragrant--for his first anniversary in heaven. Now yes, I know that's a little wacky. But I want to show him and myself that I have at least reached a certain level in this recuperation. After Sept. 2, I'm going to start going to the singles dances, too.

    Now here's the thing, gourd chipper. I hear you loud and clear about following my nose and turning over new rocks...but so far, I have not found anything very useful under the rocks. My feeble attempts at reaching out and building a closer network of friends and family in the "inner circle" is getting me nowhere so far. You all know that I'm not particularly comfortable with the social dynamics here with DD and the grands...ethics, culture, values...I just don't live the way she lives. Friendships with my family and old friends from elementary school are going to be truncated by their issues of distance, disability, and death. Not just in terms of the older relatives, but cousins my own age really don't live the way I do, either. And one old and very close friend from school (a guy), is frankly in worse health at 67 than Larry was at 89...can't three hours away...and still has a wife lingering in the background somewhere. There is just nobody here for me...and trust me...I'm trying. I always have fun when I go back to NY...but am just not on the inside track with anybody...not old friends (Phyllis and her group) and not family (Larry's in NY and CT, and my niece and her group of relatives in VT.) I just don't belong anywhere. I'm floating around in outer space like a loose electron. I hate that feeling of not having anybody where I come first...that feeling of always being the "extra" person...the outsider. I'm not used to that. I am perfectly capable of forming long-term, half-way decent relationships---and it's getting cold out here. I loved Larry and will always honor his memory...but love is like Silly stretches...there is always enough to go around. So hey...where is it?

    So Gourdchipper, I'll have to be on Wolf's side in this debate. Respectfully. There's a big difference between six years (you), five months (Wolf)
    , and eleven and a half months (me). And I'm still having soliloquies with myself, spending way too much time online, and bloviating to the max on this forum. I'm sure people get sick of my incessant whining. But I think I'm moving right along in this miserable grief process, and I think Wolf is, too.
    Wolf, if I've hurt your feelings or something, I apologize. I guess what we have here is a left brain/right brain "disconnect". It isn't that I have no respect for what you're doing, it's that I have no patience with it. That's my left brain talking. Born and trained as an engineer, I do what engineers do -- try to solve problems, and am frequently too quick to try to force my problem solving solutions on others. (I have a son who is very much right brain, as you seem to be, and he and I have lots of disagreements about things!)

    I expect I loved my Frances as much as you loved your Dianne, perhaps even more as we'd been together for 60 years and she had borne me two sons that we had the joy of raising together, but as I posted on some thread about six years ago, the engineer in me accepted that she was going to die and started thinking in terms of "where do I go from here?" I knew I didn't want to be alone, so I took Coach Frank Broyles' advice and tried to put that upcoming loss behind me and start planning for the next game. Following that "strategy", I remarried less than a year after my precious wife died. I still love and miss her, but I have had so many other things to occupy my time and thoughts that there's been no time for grief of the type that lots of folks here seem to be dealing with. And truth be told, I seem to have bought into another developing caregiver role, but at least I'm living life.

    In the future. I think maybe the best thing will be for me to not read this "off topic" thread you started.
    Thanks for elaborating Gourdchipper.

    Wolf please don't change anything. Like Elizabeth, I too can really relate. I thoroughly value being able to tag along with you as you navigate grief. Most of us have big struggles and sharing those truly helps. Makes me realize I am not alone in the anguish of it all.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2015
    Having been called out and genuinely laying your cards down, I thank you for that, and accept our differences as nature. You're welcome to comment with your thinking. I don't believe this is going to be any fun for you though.

    In fairness, you are speaking directly to a portion of the audience who are mostly solvers. There is no valid test to how we go about this because there is no evidence that anything specific works.
    There is no right or wrong. Thinking makes it so. How can two of the nicest guys in the world
    think differently? They say our thinking is determined by just two things. The genes and DNA
    we were born with and the situations we have faced in our lives. We have no control over either
    of these.

    From my point of view, I just cannot imagine how anyone in their right mind could think
    differently than me. But everyone dose..........

    Still I enjoy reading what others are thinking and sometimes it gives me cause to do some
    powerful thinking on my own. What if someone else is right and I am wrong? Maybe I should
    change my thinking. Reading the thoughts of others is a life experience that can actually change
    the way I think.

    I so enjoy this site because even though we are all in similar situations we think differently and
    can express our different thoughts. And best of all.....I can find out how others think.

    The way I see this..... now remember....I could be wrong.....Wolf is merely trying with all his
    heart to get through this difficult period in the way his thinking directs him. Gourdchipper is
    trying with all his heart to alleviate wolf's suffering by offering him a different way of thinking.

    My thinking tells me it's time for me to get off my soap box...........GeorgieBoy
    GeorgieBoy, I'm so with you in your thinking. Thanks for taking the time to post this diplomatic little gem!
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeAug 17th 2015 edited
    Travels with my Grant.

    Get a better travelling companion I thought. I was on a train to Istanbul. Or I may as well be. It was a very long ride. And after it was a very long ride, there was still most of the ride to go. I was travelling alone. Not by choice. By choice I would be on someone's yacht. But I'm not.

    And the thing about being my own companion is that I'm not very interesting. I already know everything I'm going to say about anything I might say. I've seen the act. The Howling Pain Sisters. Inadequate and Selfcritical. They're twins but not identical. I could make them dance the Can Can or the Chickendance but I can't make them sing like Mary Poppins. Well, I can but they hate that.

    It's an ordinary train. The seats were designed by someone that hates people. There are hungarians in our cabin. I think they are. Handlebar mustaches like the wild west. Billie the Kidder. I'm not really on a train but what does that matter? I'm travelling through now which keeps moving along like a train and I am travelling alone and it is a long ride so most of it's true except the train. And the hungarians. And the Pain Sisters.

    Look. Are you coming along or not? I was on a train for a long time and I need to get a better travelling companion I was thinking. A girl needs company. Actually that may have been a movie I saw. Black and white. Humphrey Bogart or Cary Grant. I was watching the lights of the nameless town flashing by and couldn't recall the movie. I kept seeing Cary Grant and kept hearing him..."Oh that's no good Red. That's not even conversation."

    And in an instant I knew what I would do. I called a meeting. And like Cinderella's sisters they showed up and I explained to them that they would both be required from now on to speak exactly like Cary Grant. If you want to put myself down or criticize myself we have to do it exactly like Cary Grant. I was quite firm. They howled. "That's no good Red! That's not even conversation!" Perfect, I thought.

    Grief: "I'm not happy at all."
    Wolf: "Yah. I got you."

    Listen. The thing is you're here. You gave a lung and are Joan of Arc runners up. Now you're stuck with you. And years. Life's been self entertaining sort of and now there is an empty building. A library of memories larger than the Smithsonian. A rich background in watching comedies, hearing music, reading inspiration, and a host of other things that would make Dr Suess tired.

    There are several problems. The first is that life has taught you to be serious. That's almost the exact opposite of what you need now. You're going to get old and die. What is there to be serious about? The second problem is that on the scale of how much enthusiasm you have where 100 is the highest, you have minus 500,000.

    The third problem is the big one. Most people grew up and forgot how to play. Most people never forgot how to open a book and enter another world or how to create that world as a living thing inside their mind. People aren't terribly bright though. They slay everything on the battlefield and go to bed afraid and slay everything on the battlefield and go to bed afraid and sometime later it's next month. Or they read Alice In Wonderland, create that entire world within them, and walk away with the sisters. You know. Inadequate and Selfcritical.

    Wait. Wait. I have to clarify. Unless you're obnoxious. Then it's they who are inadequate and it's yourself that's critical. Doesn't sound like a great travelling companion. Too busy because lets face it most people are borderline insane and as PT Barnum said, they keep making them.

    It's like my pet Grief. I turned it into a midget orangutang. Heh heh heh heh it says now showing it teeth grinning and shaking it's head. I turn to it and answer...what? What do I answer?

    That's no good Red. That's not even conversation. Oh yah.
    "Good Lord," she says faintly as she dips her spoon into her morning oatmeal and listens to the falling rain outside the screened porch. "My sisters Inadequate and Self-critical have cloned themselves and moved over to Wolf's house."

    "That's no good, Red." Self Critical and Inadequate are sitting on the porch with her, as Grief flies around the room like the combination of the parrot and bat that he is...and comes to perch on her shoulder.

    "OK you guys." she says as she takes a swig of coffee from her NYPD mug. "Out." She opens the screen door and sternly gestures to Self Critical and Inadequate to go. "Out, out, out. Take a hike." They slink away, howling "Noooooooooo." and disappearing into the mists of the cool, gray, rainy morning.

    "What about me?" says Grief quietly on her shoulder.

    "You will have to stay. I think you and I are going to be together for awhile."

    "OK," says Grief meekly. "But I will try not to fill up your life so much, so you have to spend all your time with me."

    She strokes his blue and yellow feathers, thinking again as she so often does, of the day he came to live with her almost one year ago. "It's been quite a journey, Grief," she says as he pecks lightly at her hand in a companion-like gesture. "I don't know where we're going exactly, but I think our friend, Wolf, up in Canada, is on a similar journey."

    At the sound of the word "Wolf" he squawks in alarm and flies to perch high on the plant hanger in the corner. "Oh, don't worry, he's a person (I think), not an animal. It's his pet midget orangoutang you might have to really worry about..but I'm sure Border Patrol wouldn't let it into the country, so you should be safe."

    She sets out some almonds for Grief to peck at, and goes in the kitchen to make herself another cup of coffee.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2015
    Oh, wow! This thread seems to have strayed into the "Romantic Fiction" genre. I can't wait to read the next installment in this series!
    Wolf, I love the conversations you have with grief!
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeOct 3rd 2015
    I have my own thoughts about how all this works. In the eighth month after us being released from AD, there isn't anything that has changed my mind about the approach. Basically the approach is "I know, I know, but now I work to have a life."

    The first priority is that I'm beat up a lot from AD. I believe it's both very hard and urgent that I keep that front and center. I see mourning as a strong wave that obscures that important reality and that we are willing participants because we want to get away from that misery in our minds.

    The second priority is to try to emerge where I think it's disingenuous and destructive to perceive myself as myself and instead see myself as an invalid during this time. Another silly game I played just because it's true.

    Every day I have gotten up it has been in the alzheimers world because that was the tsunami wave of my life which ruled everything the day Dianne died. And despite what anyone thinks, alzheimer's still ruled my being and still dominates today. It does because my behaviours and my thoughts and my trust and confidence and anxiety to name some are still dominated by the ten years I learned to be nothing but a slave to the disease.

    My third priority is to keep the understanding forefront that it's impossible for me to experience normal mourning or grieving. It's all happened and still happens, but it's support cast in the seriousness of what I faced the day Dianne passed away.

    I'm still willing to go to a therapist but it's clear I won't be. It looks like I'm able to navigate the turbulence even though I grossly underestimated how much changing would cause everything else to spin. It's over I kept saying and time proves that it is over and I spin on it being good that she went quietly and horrible she died. That's not anywhere near normal in such an important life event - but is current damage from a disease still in the survivor.

    My life these months has been reacting to how I've been hurt. Looking at where I am, at myself, at life out there, and the people I know - it's all been dominated by the hurt alzheimers caused and I know it still is. I'm fairly content with Dianne overall. She did get this and so a quiet out when almost all quality of life is gone is the kindest outcome. I stood by her with everything I had. I love her and I'm going ahead full tilt into my own life. All of that is fine.

    I'm not me yet because I still have anxieties and reactions and moods that are foreign to what I know is the core me. What that is now remains to be seen because the thing I underestimated by miles was how much I would be changing in these months, and by changing, the ways I saw things would move.

    Some years ago there was a discussion where I learned I'm not the only one who marries once. I have no interest in living with someone new either. With luck I'll get closer to some people in my time. That stuff is easy for me. When I want closer ties I trust myself that I will find them. Any association I have beyond an ordinary one will be based on genuinely mutual things. I have no interest in appearances and never will have.

    My sister finally threw out our mother's boxes of things. I've been prodding her for a couple of years now and she thanked me for being annoying. She told me she finds me intimidating because of the stuff I did and know. I told her she failed grade two because it was a set up. She was one year older than me coming from German and never had a chance passing that first year in English. She always had higher marks than me. She was miss grade twelve. I'm her little sensitive brother who was always in awe that she beat up the bullies that picked on me because I was one of 'them'.

    I told her I was sorry. I was sorry because I was going to have a better time than she was in these retirement years. "No you're not." she protested. But I am which is a slam dunk because I'm coming out of a deep hole and I get to stink the joint up while I keep feeling better. She on the other hand is getting a smaller life and feels she's losing things. I win no contest. And there is no contest because in the end, it's all in how we look at it. Which is a way of saying we see what we believe.
    Hey Wolf, It sounds as if you are making good progress back to the land of the living. Today is 5 months out for me. Hospice tells me I am doing well and I must say I am feeling a little better about things. Finally took his old medications to the police station and disposed of them yesterday. Sounds like a small thing but for me it was huge. Also went to the show last night with a friend. First time I have been to the show in years and years. Another step. Saw The Intern staring Robert DiNero and Anne Hathaway . Really a good movie. I am not a movie person but this is one I would not mind seeing again. I have decided not to return to the Alz support group I have been in for 7 years as the last meeting I went to I was depressed for 2 days. Hospice suggested a 6-week bereavement group which I think I will go to. She said the facilitator is outstanding. That always helps. I know I am getting better because the inner sadness and loss are not quite as sharp and I have actually had some "good" days. You are right though when you say Alzheimers does dominant one's life even after they pass on. I have visited the grave once since his passing. This gentleman in my group who lost his wife almost 5 years ago still goes once a week to her grave to "talk" to her. When I went I had peace about it but do not feel that he is there. I can "talk" to him from my home just as easily. I wish you the best as you continue your journey.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2015
    Hi CO2, I think so and you sound like we may be experiencing some similar things. Different people need different forms of ritual but I also feel I can talk to her anywhere. I may watch The Intern. I like both of them. I came to like Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wore Prada I think it was called.

    The overall point IMO is that it's up to me to find the hundreds of little things that make up a life and by finding I mean opening to them by learning to value and trust again step by step. I even have to relearn to be disappointed and not get bent out of shape because of it.

    I'm not actually 'learning' that much which is new about life. I'm learning to change myself which is something I've been all my life anyway. I miss her but there's nothing to do with that except stare at it. I'm sorry she's gone but she is and I have my whole life ahead of me. Of course that's true for the 100 year old man who just competed in the San Diego Senior Olympics and set 5 world records but is disappointed with his pole vault results. "I guess I have pretty good genes." he said. Yah, no kidding.
    My "journey somewhere else" is interesting, at least to me...just trying to find my footing and a new direction. Being out of the workforce, Larry being gone, and living in what is still a fairly new place still seems weird at times. It's the old, "OK, now I've arrived...but where am I ?" feeling. I am looking forward to Ireland by myself, just to get away and clear my head. I think after Ireland, and after one or two long weekends back in NY, that I will be able to make a better decision about what I want to do after June. I want to get a complete break from the family, and I want to just go up to NY "cold" so to speak...trying to come in as a newbie with new eyes (even thought I'm not)...not seeing my friends...just looking at my old neighborhood as a "tourist" almost...and checking out a couple of apartment complexes that might be possibilities. I feel so alone, and so un-engaged with everything...this feeling of being an outsider looking in is a new feeling for me. I'm more used to being totally engaged...with my husband, my job, my church, my local community...and that is all gone. Totally gone.

    I actually like being alone, don't get me wrong. But I don't want to spend the rest of my life feeling like I'm in some kind of transitional limbo.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2015
    Isn't that the central beating heart of all this 'afterwards'? To try and transition from what you described very clearly. I also live what you said and I'll pick 'tourist' to sum it up. I am trying to transition from caregiver through lost and disconnected to where I line my nest with enough things that stand up for me to feel like a full life.

    That takes time we might agree. One of my jobs is to find ways I can navigate better through now (even in moments) and give myself a chance to see things that matter to me more clearly.

    Personally, I've answered the question I asked here in 2010 which is something I feel so thankful for that I couldn't possibly express it. That is I would be thankful but that would be oddly self serving.

    What I see, Elizabeth, is that you are going forth trying to admit your truths to yourself so that you know them. I believe that's what I also try to do and I believe that is key to having a chance of discovery. I wish CO2 luck, I wish you luck, I hope that all of us are lucky in the sense that we discover things that have meaning for us.

    I'd like to be more specific but specifics don't actually matter IMO. I haven't found anything that changes my mind that it's all inside. I keep throwing Dianne's things out in the garbage. The first time I said that I was shocked that I broke down and sobbed. Now I know I'll be keeping some things of hers probably the rest of my life. She thought all relgions were mythology and it was what you did that mattered. This is my world though, and in it, I find myself expressing the real truth in my real voice which is "sorry Dianne". I'm sorry you got sick and I'm sorry you're not here. That's my grieving in a nutshell.

    I, however, am here. My job is to pay the bills and play. It's a long, hard road ahead but I believe in myself and I plan to leave everything out there on the floor for my team.


    There is a little snippet in my wallet which I stole out of Dianne's wallet when she was in high school. It reads: If you're losing the game change the rules". What it said to me was "see things differently". I've done that many times in serious ways. Never in the way that a parent learns - but enough.
    Elizabeth, I appreciate your post on where you are with your grief. When you said ok I have arrived but where am I this really sums it up so well. Most of the time when someone asks me how I am I have difficulty even putting into words how I am and since this web site seems to be about the only place that "gets it" I find it rather pointless to even try. Since you are 8 months ahead of me with your loss I am beginning to wonder just how long this transition will take. It does not work to try to speed things up as I have already learned. I think you are very courageous to be traveling alone. I am no where near being able to do that. I too would like to take a break from the family but do not even know how to or where to begin. I am blessed in that I still have a little job and am connected to my church. I am finding making new friends is the most challenging thing for me right now. Most of my past friends have moved on and a few of the people I have reached out to the relationship has not continued. I just do not want this horrible disease to define who I am for the rest of my life. I have decided to stop attending the Alzheimer's group because it depresses me and I am a firm believer is listening to yourself when deciding what is good or not good at any given time. Anyway I hope you have a wonderful trip to Ireland and perhaps you will gain some clarity on your trip.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeDec 30th 2015
    What a horrible journey alzheimers is. When I turn the calendar in 2016 in two days it will be the first year without alzheimers in it since somewhere around 2004. What all happened in that decade doesn't need to be explained here.

    When I ask myself what I will do in this new year I remind myself that I'm a person who needs time to readjust from what the disease did to me over that decade. A lot feels different and the feeling that it's all changing is more like ice melting or soil recovering where I can't see what's going on but my thoughts and ideas are changing along with my reactions to them - so something is going on.

    I realize that looking ahead is wrong for me. We didn't enter relationships, have children, go into careers, or run a household always fixating on hurrying to the end - to the state of completion. We entered into those things and began engaging with them. I don't need to have a life plan mapped out or stated goals or any other foreign idea that I don't even believe in. Those are all worries that I feel lost because I'm disconnected after years in isolation and the horrible misery we all experienced. I have to respect the power all of that has on human beings and I have to respect the input I get from reading and this board.

    This journey I've learned isn't about finding a new life or new meaning. It's about absorbing an enormous pile of nightmare horrors, a frighteningly long loss of time in our own lives, and the reality that all of what was gone through did damaging things as it would to any human being who had to go through that.

    I knew from 2008 that even though I could feel sorry for myself and needed to, I couldn't live there and instead had to man up and shoulder everything. She was dying before then but from the diagnosis I never forget what it meant - that she would die. I still don't remember all the times I did feel sorry. I certainly never just took it on like a robot; but was pushed and squeezed and kicked down the narrowing and inevitable road.

    When I broke down as she went into and out of palliative care a month or so before her death, I came to understand that I was going to go down. I understood that she was dying and that when she did it would be my own biggest threat. I was already having physical reactions to the stress and now bereavement would come and I know that is one of the powerful things that happens to us.

    I realized that I had to up my game to a higher truth for myself in the same way I realized I had to face her long suffering and did. I mourn Dianne. I don't grieve for Wolf or for us. I'm in my 11th month and I have never felt sorry. The day Dianne died from alzheimers was the end of her story which once completed was always going to be her story. It's very likely that if she had married someone else and had a completely different life she would still have gotten alzheimers and still have died somewhere around then.

    I got all the Dianne time there was. I married her at 18. I could feel sorry about marrying her because of this but I feel the opposite. I'm a fortunate man. I know what I've learned from all this too. I became a better man because of alzheimers. Not a happier man but a better one.

    In my own time I will have a woman in my life. When I'm ready and want to be that again and want to give my caring and nurturing to someone again. When I do I will hunt and it won't take long because the world is full of genuinely fine women. I don't buy that loneliness is a valid reason to want someone in my life. I can fill my life with people without doing that. At any rate I know myself and will know.

    My focus remains on getting all of me out of here and all other priorities are secondary. Getting me out of alzheimers and getting me into now more specifically. I don't thank the disease and I hugely miss Dianne, but I don't feel sorry. When grief showed up and told me to carry him I explained I had a different idea and brought out the warrior who never quits because he had a new mount to ride. We've all demonstrated that strength. I accessed it by changing it's mandate. I broke conventions getting here including this thread and the ideas in it. That was certainly the road for me.

    I believe there is a mid point in all things with length. How you would unravel the bundle of things to determine that escapes me. Specifics weave back in and out of the whole because these are integrated feelings and outlooks we're discussing. Nevertheless I believe I have passed the mid point of the road elsewhere. So what is different about 2016? I don't know. I know I'll be on the attack more. Less healing for the lazy and more pushing into everything.

    What a to do but I own this and that's end of story.
    I've been thinking about this a lot after I read Wolf's post yesterday. I don't have much to add except that if I wrote as well as he does, I probably would have written the same thing. I've been thinking that for New Year's Eve I would post something on the Widows/Widowers thread...and I probably will...but what Wolf says pretty much says it all for me, too.

    I'll probably see everybody at the Lodge later.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2015
    Wolf, I have to confess that I don't completely understand a lot of things you say in your posts but I understand every word of this one. I'm glad you feel you have passed the mid-point of this road.
    Thank you sincerely Wolf. This is SO excellent to read especially on New Year's Eve.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeDec 31st 2015
    Thanks Myrtle. Little sweetness and light here but few dark clouds or stormy weather either.

    In 1719 a ship that a man was sailing on hit a storm and sank. After hours in the waves the man crashed through surf and managed to crawl out onto the beach. In the morning he saw that the ship had been pushed into the surf and was on it's side. No one returned his calls. He found no one on the wreck. There were provisions though and some tools and things he could salvage. He flopped down on the beach bemoaning his bad fortune when a spirit appeared to him saying it could give him the secret to life. The man stared back nodding that he wanted that secret. "Change", the spirit said and disappeared.

    Of course that book's been written already. It's called Robinson Crusoe.

    (the beauty of a vibrant language might be demonstrated by the trip up in "no one returned his calls")
    I'm just bringing this up to the top because sometimes I have something to post, but I'm not sure if I should put it under widows/widowers any more, or whether some of my musings really belong on the aptly-named "Journeys Somewhere Else" thread. I feel as if I'm getting somewhere, but it is so different from what I would have expected that I'm wondering if others have experienced this. It isn't bad, but it's just different. My day to day life contains the usual puppy training routines--those of you with dogs will know what I mean--and just having to get up, get moving, get outside etc. is good for me, I think. It is nice to be not quite so alone, even if it is only a dog. And I'm finding that after a day filled with music and writing, the puppy, and just normal things like going to the post office and the grocery, that after supper and dishes, I'm really enjoying just settling in for the evening by the fire with my DVD boxed sets...and then going to bed and writing and reading before falling asleep and sleeping all night--seven and a half or eight hours--this is unheard of for me...and very pleasant. While I think of Larry constantly, and look back with lots of love, I have to say that I think I might have survived after all. I mean, really survived to be able to move forwards to a peaceful and fulfilling life. One thing I'm finally starting to enjoy is life without a paying job. I've been in the workforce in one way or another since I was fifteen years old, and I'm only just learning the joy of waking up in the morning and knowing that I pretty much don't have to fill my days with someone else's agenda. Yes, I do supper for the family, and today I've got a sick eight-year-old on my sofa...but for the most part I have plenty of elbow room for the creative stuff I used to have to do at two o'clock in the morning (falling asleep and falling off my desk chair, lol). And for such a long time it was that combination of the job and Larrycare...and later on, just Larrycare...that" I- me- myself "really got lost in there somewhere. Then it was all the anguish and misery of loss and isn't that I don't miss him, and the way he used to be...but that was then and this is now. And "now" seems to be the "journey somewhere else." It's been the "Alzheimers journey" for so long that "the journey somewhere else" seems like a very good thing. OK, end of boring monologue post.
    Dear Elizabeth,
    I think we have all followed your journey closely, and been cheering you on as you move forward out of the fog and darkness that is Alzheimer’s caregiving. In my opinion, and I don’t believe I am alone, you have guts and strength and intelligence and a huge heart that allows you to share, not only your journey, but your experience that most of us have benefited hugely from. (Enough praise now (lol), but meant from the heart.)
    I’m still deep in the valley, and very stressed because this has been, no doubt, the most horrible year of my life. I lost Rene - huge terrible loss - then going through all that stress with the Long Term Care Home and the Police - almost 6 months - during the time Rene was sick I fractured my nose twice, and broke my left (dominant) arm and right kneecap, and I'm dealing with the problems of my daughter (many!). So, it has not been an easy year. I miss Rene SO much - even though he was ill, he was here, and I don't know if I will ever get over it. I still have a lot of paperwork to deal with (my own mistake, but well meant) so hopefully others will learn from my mistakes.

    Your posts have helped me tremendously. You’re much younger (I’m 80 … soon to be 81) and it’s different at my age. You have many years ahead and much to give. The future is bright ahead.

    I am trying to move forward, and at least can say that, for me, the worst is over … I know Rene is safe now.

    I’m hoping that within the next six months I can begin to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

    Ever hopeful!! And I hope this is not a depressing post.

    Please keep posting!!!
    Hi again Elizabeth,

    I so hope my previous message is not down-putting for you or others. I guess I'm just venting.

    I am very happy for you, and for all who are moving on.

    Happy that you have your puppy. You will now, again, have someone who loves you unconditionally, even though it's not Larry (smile).
    Hi Margaret--Not down-putting at all.

    You have been through so much--Rene, your health issues,the videotaping incident and its aftermath. Just rest, relax, take care of yourself. There is no timeline, but you have done so much for Rene and for others that now you must focus on yourself--and do whatever it is that brings you happiness and nurtures you mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I'm sending hugs! (((((( )))))))
    • CommentAuthorCO2*
    • CommentTimeFeb 4th 2016
    Marg78*' just remember you are not alone. You are barely 6 months out so try to be patient. My grief cloud did not begin to lift until 8 months although I know we are all different. I still have my moments but more good days than bad. You have been through so much with the long term care and police. The most difficult thing for me was to just feel the sadness and still finding the strength to function and do what I had to do. It is getting better one day at a time.
    Yes, it just takes the time it takes. For me, it has taken 16 or 17 months to even begin to really feel like I've gotten somewhere.