Wednesday, August 21, 2013

How it feels to be grieving

I honestly did not think I would be grieving the death of my husband at this stage in life. It is a very emotional and trying time for me. In a single day, I could be doing several chores, truly focused on them, and suddenly a thought would interfere, pulling me down and I resort to an episode of intense crying. It doesn't take much for me to enter a "weeping widow" phase.

How did this ever happen? How could a loved one, who I thought would be around for another twenty, thirty years, just up and die? It's a mystery to me. I wake up asking myself, "how could this be?" I go through the house, looking, touching his clothing, books, papers and memories would just wash over me like a tidal wave. I pour over the cards that we wrote to each other over the years. Me being the poet, I would write tons of spontaneous love poems to him, and he being the cautious researcher, would sit and write a draft before he wrote each card. He was so loveable, so cuddly, so approachable.

Memories that come in the middle of the night -
I used to tell Tony that I loved his laughter, it was so musical and made me feel good all over.
He had a special way of knowing I was in the room even before he saw me and would smile and say something.
Sometimes he would whistle a tune, and I'd be thinking of the same song at the same time.
He made sure I didn't lift anything heavy and would take care of carrying the groceries.
He always loved my cooking, and once in awhile if I felt like I needed a break, he didn't hesitate to treat us out to dinner.
Holding hands was something that we always did, no matter where.

My son and I visit my husband at the cemetery weekly. We burn incense, say some prayers, and talk to him, like we used to. We tell him what we've been doing, and in the end of our session together, tell him we love him.

The loss of my husband is like losing a part of myself. We had become so intertwined, that even now, when I think about things, I feel as if he is thinking along with me. I often hear his words in my mind, as if he were here, talking to me his thoughts. Sometimes I turn to my son to have a discussion, and it falls flat, and I realize that it is not the same. But I am extremely grateful that I have my son by my side. Even though he is young, he is very reliable and good. I am blessed.

I have filled my days with many activities and this really helps with the suffering and pain. I focus on others, an outward approach rather than inward. If I focus too much inwardly, then I end up wallowing in the pain and it really doesn't go anywhere. I cannot bring him back to me. I cannot. I have to focus on myself and my son, and our future together. For that is all I have.
We are planning a visit to a monastery before school starts. It is the same monastery I visited before I married. Although it has been many years, now it is time to revisit it.
God bless.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

My Husband Passed Away

With deep regret, I write to inform you that my husband Anthony (Tony) recently passed away. I am saddened and shocked by this loss of a beautiful, kind, and gentle man. He was a perfect husband and father. We were truly blessed all these years together. The books that I wrote were inspired by my love for him. I adored him, and cannot fathom him gone. His essence is still around me.

Two weeks before his sudden death (June 10), he had incurred some bite on his wrist (after working in the garden moving a shed around). This was followed by some poison sumac reddening just below it. He did not notice the bite until the next day. The reddening of the arm also increased and swelling and oozing occurred, spreading down his arm to the elbow. Also swelling at the elbow occurred. At the ER, they gave him a shot of clindamycin, and he took it for four days. A rash on his body appeared, and his family doctor told him to get off of clindamycin because he was allergic to it, and to take Bactrim instead. Just to be sure, we went to an infectious disease specialist a couple of days later. He said there was no need for the Bactrim, and we went home. The rash was taken care of with hydrocortisone and in a few days, everything was cleared.

Then, on June 25, Tony was up and about, acting normal. We were having breakfast and he said he would go up to change because he was feeling a little cold. A few minutes later, we heard a boom and I rushed upstairs only to find him unconscious on the floor and not breathing. I attempted to revive him with CPR until the EMS people came. My son prayed over him, and we followed the ambulance to the ER where they continued trying to revive him, but to no avail. The doctor said it could have been either a massive heart attack, a blood clot, or a stroke. I wonder if it was connected to the bite (spider?). I spoke with an immunologist and when I told her he died two weeks later, she said it could have been a virus. I will have to investigate that further.

This handsome Greek, this wonderful man, full of laughter and wit, full of intellectual conversations, this amazing man, vanished within minutes. Just like that. Unbelievable. I am still in shock a month later.