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    • CommentAuthorLindylou*
    • CommentTimeNov 11th 2017
    One week to Remembrance Service. All plans are in place. All except my Beloved’s family will be there. Have not heard from any of them since September. But that is now “The Past”. An uncomfortable reality which does not need to have any prominent place in my present or future.

    The really neat thing about the service is that we have two fine and compassionate jazz musicians from the Boston area that will play the New Orleans jazz music my partner dreamed of. And also wonderful is that the church choir is singing the hymns she chose and a friend will be singing a solo “Swimming to the Other Side”. I am hoping that at the end I will be able and want to dance out of the sanctuary to “When the Saints Go Marching”. This service has been a long time coming.

    What is most surprising to me is the significant sorrow that has fallen over me recently. It is overwhelming at times. At first I was feeling relief at the end of this long hard journey we had been on. It was over for my dear dear partner and it was over for me. That feeling got complicated as you all know by family issues. But now our home is too big. It has too many rooms for just one person. I have to force myself to do things around here. But I have to. House work, yard work. Friends and family will be coming by after the Service and Celebration of Life. But it is hard hard hard. I miss her so very much. The beautiful soul I chose to love. I’m calling my feelings sorrow and grief, not depression. I’m trying to welcome them to the table and not be disabled by their presence. The poet Rumi says they are needed guests, not to denied but welcomed, no matter the havoc they play. I’m still finding solace in the poem “The Guest House”.
    • CommentAuthorCarolVT
    • CommentTimeNov 11th 2017
    The Remembrance Service will be beautiful, Lindylou. Happy dancing.
    • CommentAuthorWolf
    • CommentTimeNov 11th 2017
    I believe there may be four corners to a box I tried to stay inside. There is no order in how I record them.

    One is the reasoned grasp that there is a serious human toll in having our life partner pass and there is a serious human toll to the years of what this brought. I've lived intensely bad things happening for a long time. I can't feel that but I need to respect that truth.

    Two is that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way - this is as personal as anything gets. There is no right or wrong way to experience grief or go through PTSD or any other trauma.

    Three is that in psychological trauma there is never a reasoned solution. Grief is universally understood to cause serious psychological duress. That is more visible with wailing at the casket but it's equally impactful in stoic or shocked silence. Trauma is an experience - not a process with a solution.

    Four is the validity of me. I'm the one who matters in this because there isn't anyone else in here but me. If they mattered so much then, then I must matter so much now - else there never was a partnership. I don't get that in a nuanced way because I'm the one all this has happened to and is happening to. I matter though; I'm the one this is about.

    Simply - it's a real thing, this isn't about right or wrong, there are no simple answers to the soul being hurt like this, and I'm the one that matters here.

    I tried to stay inside those four cornerstones when I asked myself serious questions. Much of the time was spent learning that it takes time no matter how hard I worked at it. I could solve specifics; but not the malady that actually existed however determined I was (see number one). It takes time. The reason it does is because the psychological impact of watching our beloved whither away is pitiable in the extreme if we read it in a book about somebody else. We would understand how powerful that one aspect alone would have been if we read it in a book. But we lived it in real time and that seems completely different - which it isn't.

    Motive does not counter facts in reality. That conviction is hard wired in the experience of self awareness. We may have doted on our partner or secretly loathed them, gone through our unique set of these experiences, and have effects from this that are all over the map.

    We might have a formidable constitution or unbreakable will or impeccable motive or be the world's worst dresser - it doesn't matter in issues this fundamental to the operation of the body we each house - the psychological and physiological machinery we all share.

    Athletes learn this intricately in the physical sphere. No matter how much they believe or will themselves, there are limits to what the body, and their body, can do. They push those limits as a life activity which is why they learn this intricately.

    There is no such experience in our own perception of our own psychology. There we pass limits with roadless and signless abandon and we all read in the paper and watch on the news the results of that. Simply put - anything.

    I'll tell you something. The more I come out of that and come into this, the deeper my respect has become for what happened to me. I believe I've respected what happened to Dianne all along because my ideas about that haven't changed with a thousand days and thousands of hours thinking about it all

    It's my understanding of what happened to me that is changing three years later. I've made it to over here now and from over here, and not before, I can read the book about the horrible years that person went through where there are no reactions except a wry smile. That book is written to this very moment and so I, the reader, knows how it's worked out - well, mostly.

    I've looked through some of my posts and I can feel the echoes of that screaming banshee wailing in the moonlight charging through the nothing forest. Time of your life, eh kid? It's a shame Dianne had such terrible genes. I always thought she looked great in them.


    Lindylou, the significant sorrow isn't as surprising to me. I hope the service goes well.
    Lindylou, the sorrow and grief is going to come in waves, and sometimes come unexpectedly out of nowhere. You will have your good days and your bad days. It is going to take awhile. I think depression mixes in with the sorrow and grief...kind of a gray, foggy mental mist. Apathy and lethargy. Not so much a lot of weeping and wailing, but just a feeling of everything is too much trouble to be bothered with, and who cares.

    I had kind of forgotten that my husband's family really wasn't there for me after his death, other than the usual formalities of phone calls and Mass cards. It was OK, because so many had died off or were so limited by their own issues of age and distance. Over the three years, the ones who are left have pretty much become what I call "wedding and funeral" family. A Christmas card at the holiday season, and that's it. I don't really care--I'll send my Christmas cards to them...and a Mass card if somebody will suffice.

    The service sounds like it will be great. I'll be thinking about you next week. Will be raising a glass in a toast! (It may be tea instead of wine, but hey.)
    • CommentAuthorLindylou*
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2017
    So, let me tell you.

    My partner’s service was held yesterday. The church was full. Full of our friends, the congregation (who are also our dear friends), and my family. Myrtle came, I was so grateful. The choir sang the hymns that my partner had chosen a long time ago. The New Orleans jazz band played. The minister spoke. I spoke. (Something I would not have been able to do in September when I felt so wounded, emotionally raw, and numb.) Healing has happened for me truly and while more healing will be needed I am emotionally where I need to be now. One of the most remarkable things is that at this Remembrance Service people left not only dancing to “When the Saints Come Marching In”, they were also smiling and laughing. Everyone knew from knowing her and from experiencing this service that my partner had lived her life, and that it had truly been a good and loving life. The service was the celebration that she had wanted.

    The church provided the refreshments after. With the help of my son I was able to show the Power Point slide show of pictures that I had gathered together the past two years for my partner and me to look at. I got a hundred hugs if I got one.

    A few family and dear friends gathered afterwards at my home for pizza and togetherness. All was good yesterday (Saturday).

    I recognize that after all the endorphins released yesterday on Saturday I may be due for a crash when they dissipate. Ah well. I will have my son and daughter-in-law to support me this week, and all of you after that.

    Should anyone feel that they are interested, I am willing to post the words of remembrance I spoke yesterday.

    Thank you again and always for the support that all of you have given to me on this journey I have been on for the past years of dementia.
    It sounds like the coolest funeral of all time! I always think the test of a good funeral is if the person would have loved it or not. Yes, do post your eulogy, Lindylou, if you feel it's not an intrusion for us to read it.
    • CommentAuthorRona
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2017
    So happy lindylou that everything went so well. What a great send off.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2017
    I agree with elizabeth, coolest funeral ever. Especially everyone dancing on the way out just like you qnd your partner hoped.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2017
    I was at the service and it was very uplifting. I was surprised that the jazz music fit right in with the hymns sung by the church choir. As lindylou said to me, it was the first funeral she had attended where people were smiling on the way out. But it's hard not to smile when you hear, "When the Saints Come Marching In." Most important, though, was the strong sense of community and support from the church members. Also from lindylou's son and daughter-in-law, who I was delighted to meet.
    • CommentAuthorLindylou*
    • CommentTimeNov 20th 2017
    I’m sharing my eulogy of my parter with you because I’d like you to know her and me just a little bit better. I, of course, used her name when I spoke. And when I got to the portion where I spoke of her family, I paused, because in order to say those words in front of friends and family I knew I had to believe them. And then I spoke them and somehow in that instant they became true and remain so. The very last line speaks to you too. Without you I do not think we would have made it with the grace we did.

    The Eulogy:

    Good afternoon.

    My partner and I were in love from almost the first time we met. We met speed dating. Would you believe? It continued to amaze the both of us! We stayed in love for the whole of our journey together.

    We were both mothers of grown sons, the apples of our eye.

    We were both caregivers - she of her “Nana”, I of my mother.

    We both absolutely loved our jobs caring for the elderly.

    We loved to dance with each other.

    And we both had a quirky sense of humor that saw us through a lot. Including our last journey.

    While some might think it was morbid, we had absolute fun planning our funerals. My partner, the musician, picked the hymns sung here today. We did this planning long before dementia entered our lives. We’d poke each other during worship while singing a hymn and silently mouth “How about this one?” And we’d go home and add another song to our “When I die” list.

    My partner told me she wanted New Orleans Jazz music at her service. So we have it. Thank you to these fine musicians. She also wants us all to dance out from this place to “When the Saints Go Marching In.” So, everyone, be prepared to dance.

    My partner, always one for rules would tell me she does not want anyone to cry at her funeral. So don’t! Actually we agreed that this rule might be unenforceable. But who knows, maybe she will get her wish.

    Something you need to know. My beloved had a stroke when she was 27, followed by major brain surgery. The very famous surgeon who operated on her felt he gave her maybe a few more years to live. She always believed that her many extra years were a gift to be celebrated and cherished.

    She never believed she would live to see grandchildren but she did. She has two beautiful granddaughters that she adored with her whole heart. My partner was never afraid of death. So celebrate with us now and after this service at the Celebration of Life Collation in Parish Hall.

    I’m missing my partner’s family here today……. But they needed to find another way to grieve and face the pain of her loss. My heart aches for them because they loved her too.

    My heart aches too for myself. But I am a richer and better person for having known and loved my beloved.

    Half of our life together was spent on the unexpected journey called dementia. With grace and love we saw our way through to the end. Along with some, maybe a lot, of anger and much much frustration and pain, we also found joy, found laughter, found tears. Each of us truly knowing that the other was doing the best she could.

    All of you here helped us through this impossible journey. I will be forever grateful.
    Beautiful, Lindylou.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeNov 21st 2017
    Beautiful. I especially love that you both agreed the rule about no crying might not be enforceable. I am loving you both right now.
    I cried just reading it!