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      CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeAug 17th 2018
     
    wanted to say 'hi' Bonnie and thinking about you. Hope you are able to get some rest.
    • CommentAuthorlindyloo*
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2018
     
    Sending thoughts and prayers your way too, Bonnie.
  1.  
    I've been thinking of you, Bonnie. (bhv) You probably have a million things to deal with right now. Stop in when you get a chance and let us know how you are doing. But not if you have too many other things going on.
    • CommentAuthorNicky
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2018
     
    Hope everything is well with you Bonnie. I'm sure you're very busy & I know you'll keep us informed when you have more time.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2018
     
    Military honors scheduled at national cemetery for Friday 31 August.

    There are so many people involved! Suddenly I have two step sons and three grand children. I have no idea how this will play out. I told you I held the phone so they could talk to him before he died. They are being really nice. Funny I said that to someone today and he said, "of course". I was like no of course about it. I've heard nothing but horror stories!

    I have frequent panic attacks because I am an introvert not used to being involved with this many people. Never planned a party like this. I think it will play out fine, but sometimes I can't breathe.

    They were asking about flowers. Saying people frequently say in lieu of flowers donations to Alzheimers Association appreciated. I am like can't I just say DONT SEND FLOWERS! I am allergic to flowers. I don't like flowers. I abhor wasting money. I don't want to tell people who to donate to. And on and on. A friend finally talked me down.

    Lots of his AF pilots are coming too. Some from all around the country. Holy mackerel! I asked our favorite crew chief to be my backup to read my remarks if I cant do it. And to be Sgt at Arms to get the crowd to gather round and shut up when ready to start things. That was my most brilliant idea... to have my Christopher by my side. Favorite Crew Chief, "Number one son" if you will.

    One of his pilots is now part of the Patriot Guard Riders. They started protecting families from that weirdo church who were going to funerals to protest the war. Now they honor other vets, especially VietNam vets. So this guy is going to bring a detail of 20-40 motorcycle riders flying flags for us. He flew with Jim and really really wants to be the ride captain for his former aircraft commander. It is awesome, but still a bit overwhelming. Good god did I just say a bit?

    Well I've had a nice break. Dips in the pool. Time to make some food. I've done enough for one day.
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      CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeAug 18th 2018
     
    You can always tell them their presence is more important than flowers but it they insist donate to their favorite charity.

    Can't believe all the people you will have - hope you have lots of room. Just remember to take some time for you while doing all this planning.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2018
     
    All done. Everyone gone now. The funeral ceremony was everything I imagined. The cemetary guys were so professional. They played my very favorite version of Taps. I'd have been fine with just that. The cemetary guy explained that civilians should stand (if able) and place their hand over their heart, but active duty and veterans are allowed to give a final salute to their fallen comrade. I saluted. This was the first time I heard Taps and didn't cry.

    That morning his best friend sent me a picture of a Marine standing at the base of a stairway to heaven. And the night before someone had shared a you tube cover of "On the wings of an Eagle". Oh my.

    I had written a speech and it was 7 minutes. Almost backed down thinking I'd bore them all. But one of our favorite pilots was there and stood in the center so I talked to her. They loved it. I didn't cry. My crewchief didn't have to read for me but stood with me. I seem to have forgotten or forgiven the abusive guy. Now remembering who he was before and was able tell funny stories of how we met and stuff like that.

    His estranged sons came and I like their wives and kids. Everyone worked seamlessly together in the kitchen and elsewhere as if we had known each other all our lives. The sons soaked up every story, every tidbit of information about their dad and told some nice memories too. His oldest son took his golf clubs and golf bag. I had offered that, but didn't know if he would be interested since they are old technology. But he talked about the lessons he learned from his dad from talking about golf. It was really moving to see his face when he asked if I was sure I would be okay letting them go. I was delighted because the last time they were together they missed out on playing golf together.

    I had some quality time with my brothers, a sister in law and a niece who came from back East. They really had my back and kept everything on track so I could concentrate on the people. During the reception, one granddaughter somehow appeared to give me a hug everytime I was starting to feel a bit antsy. Kind of magical.

    Now I am well and truly alone. But will be busy all week with legal and finance issues.
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      CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeSep 1st 2018
     
    Happy to hear the day went well and was all you had hoped. All the good memories people shared will go a long way in forgetting the abusive guy he had become. That is good.
  2.  
    Bonnie, I'm so glad that it went well. Keep us updated--I remember how there were a million things to do afterwards. (I remember how Larry always wanted Taps played--the young troops playing Taps over the Hudson River at his interment was a memory--a beautiful memory--that I will cherish forever.)
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd 2018
     
    Thanks for letting us know. I was thinking of you yesterday and hoping that all went well.
    • CommentAuthorlindyloo*
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd 2018
     
    So very glad you had the emotional support and the practical support you needed to get through the day. Glad too that the service was all that you wished for. God bless you through the coming days. Being able to remember the man you loved before the disease and letting go of the rest is a true blessing. Will continue to think of you through the coming days.
  3.  
    Bonnie, you are an excellent writer and I am going to suggest that you take the posts you have written here about the funeral, combine them and then add more details. This is for you, for later. You may never read it, or in years to come you may pull it out and remember (with the details) what a special and wonderful service it was. Trust me, it will be a gift.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd 2018
     
    I will do that marche. I started a notebook to keep track of everything from day one of my "After". The last tab is called Saga. I wrote the beginning pages of that while still in the hospital.

    It was interesting that a number of people asked how I could manage to speak like that. I finally realized it went all the way back to Officer Training School.

    It is quiet today. Cool enough to open windows. Orioles left a few days ago, but there were still enough hummingbirds to entertain everyone. It is nice sitting here listening to the birds chirping out there. And the ever present tv has been silent for days!!! I am catching up on newspapers. Reading all the tributes for John McCain and Aretha Franklin. Catching up on news that has happened since my world stopped turning at 7:11 on 14 August
    • CommentAuthorAmber
    • CommentTimeSep 8th 2018
     
    Bonnie - I dont come here very often and was sadden to read of your lose. May I offer my sincere condolances. I hope you are healing and staying strong during this sad time.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeSep 9th 2018
     
    Thank you Amber. Everything is so very odd. Losing your spouse is very different than any other losses I have experienced. Still have lots of action items to deal with keeping me busy.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeSep 24th 2018
     
    Wasnt sure where, or if, to post this.
    I have a masters degree in clinical psychology. Have read numerous articles about the phases of grief. Have lost parents, cousins, friends. Thought I have been grieving the loss of "US" since alzheimer's reared its ugly head in 2009. So, how, in god's name, is it possible to feel this AWFUL?
    • CommentAuthorlindyloo*
    • CommentTimeSep 25th 2018
     
    I too thought my grief in the midst of losing parts of my partner each day and each week would be "my grief". Instead I was hit by waves of grief that I called tsunamis. Where everything would just have to stop until the wave ended. And then another would begin. They eased in both frequency and intensity after a while. But oh my. And I did not want to be by myself at the one year anniversary of her death for fear of more. So I drove to DC to be with my son and dil. Prayers and good thoughts being sent your way. And love. You are not alone.
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    Yes, it is surprising how when you feel like you've been through it all and couldn't possibly feel any worse...then they die...and "worse" takes on a whole new dimension. It does come in waves, and I can't even begin to describe how bad it can be. I am searching for words to describe the utter misery, and I can't find any. I guess there are no words. But you're not alone, Bonnie--so many of us have been through it. If anybody "gets it", we do. It is a gradual process, not at all linear. But it will get better, and you will find happiness again. The day will come, I think--because that's how it happened with me--that you will start to feel such joy that you had him, and will think of all the good stuff, and you will just have to smile. The bad stuff will kind of fade away. It's true that time is a great healer. Be good to yourself, and just relax into it, knowing that it will take the time it takes, but that it will get better.
    • CommentAuthorbhv*
    • CommentTimeSep 25th 2018
     
    Thank you. It is like a huge wave coming out of nowhere and everything has to stop til it passes.
    A week from Sunday is our 36th anniversary. I am toying with going to the beach where we got married.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeSep 25th 2018
     
    Strangely, this did not happen to me. I think I front-loaded all my grief, so by the time my husband died, my grief-generating machine had worn out.
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      CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeSep 25th 2018
     
    I was always told grieving is like an onion - in layers. You will grieve, maybe a period of non-grief, then it will hit again until eventually the events will become smaller, less painful. You could be doing great for months or years then something will trigger the grief (PTSD).
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeSep 25th 2018
     
    Thinking about this more, I realized my last comment was not quite accurate. I don't have waves of grief or anything, but I do feel permanently changed - impaired, actually. I think of it as a broken heart. When I go by the facility my husband was in, I think about going in and just sitting there, knowing it was the last place he was alive. But I'm in better spirits than I was when he was here.

    I think that the caregiving was so hard on me that when he died, the relief from that stress allowed me to tap into an energy I did not know I had. Another way to explain this is that I was suffering from situational depression, which began on the day he was diagnosed and gradually started to get better after his death.
    • CommentAuthorNicky
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2018
     
    Myrtle, I know that I also suffered from situational depression, especially when we first found out about my husband's condition. I wish I'd known about that 'term' at that time, because my kids were convinced I had clinical depression & wanted me to take antidepressants. I didn't want to take anything, since I felt that 'down' feeling would eventually pass & I didn't want to be dealing with their side effects, when I had to deal with my husband. My kids might have reacted differently had I mentioned situational depression or an adjustment disorder. I know it would have made me feel better had I known about that type of depression.

    I think most caregivers must suffer from situational depression at some point.
    • CommentAuthormyrtle*
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2018 edited
     
    Hi Nicky, I took anti-depressants during the whole course of my husband's illness,which lasted 10 years from the date of diagnosis. There was no way I could wait for the misery to pass, since I was working and had to continue being productive. Every year it got harder for me. Now I'm gradually emerging from the nightmare but I'm a decade older and my physical health has taken a beating.
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      CommentAuthorCharlotte
    • CommentTimeSep 26th 2018
     
    'As the name implies, situational depression is generally brought on by a stressful situation. In this case, the person feels overwhelmed by a situation that also exhausts their coping abilities. The symptoms often subside as the situation comes under control or becomes more manageable. This is much different than clinical depression where there is no identifiable “cause.” Sometimes, people will start with a situational depression that develops into a clinical depression. Similarly, people with clinical depression may experience an overwhelming situation that worsens their depressive symptoms."

    I guess one could call PTSD situational depression. From the definition most of us that suffer from depression do so because of some event or numerous events that overwhelm us. In my case my whole life has been one event after another that triggers the depression. But when someone ask if I am depressed I will just say yes I am depressed. I won't bother with a more technical name.
    • CommentAuthorNicky
    • CommentTimeSep 27th 2018
     
    Myrtle, had I still been working I would have taken anti-depressants. Not working, was a bit easier. What made it more difficult is that we had just moved to another city out of province & that's when it really started to show. He'd had it before the move, but I didn't know. After the move, our lives fell apart, as everyone here knows about that. I was in a new city & province, didn't know anyone except my daughter & her family & realized I didn't know my husband either.

    Charlotte, I agree with your definition of situational depression & my symptoms eventually diminished & subsided once I was able to cope better with the situation, but it took a long time. And that's why my daughter wanted me to take anti-depressants, so it would not take so long for me to feel better. Looking back now, it's hard to know if I made the right decision of not taking anti-depressants.

    I'm in a much better place emotionally now. I visit my husband daily in long-term care. Although it's difficult to see him in that state, I really need & enjoy visiting him - most times he still knows me. He's still there physically, so I can still hold his hand, kiss him, stroke his cheek, rub his arm, take him for a walk - I cherish all those moments I still have with him. Those moments bring me both joy & sadness, but surprisingly most of the time I've been able to focus on the joyous part, pushing back the sadness so it doesn't ruin my visit with him. Sometimes, I still cry when I look at him, but I've accepted that as part of my visit. No matter where we are on our 'journey', it's all very difficult!