How is everyone doing today?

doc8404June 13, 2007

I need to tell my story but after that I want to hear how the rest of you are doing. Dave, Debbie, Kay, Mavis, Carol, Susan, Dorene - forgive me if I've missed one of you. How are things today for you?

This will be tedious for some of you but I want to get it off my chest and write it down. I apologize for the length of this post.

After returning home from a weekend camping trip with my two sons (11 and 12), the boys jumped out of the truck and rushed into the house to tell mom all about it. As I was hauling some things into the mudroom my youngest started hollaring from my room, "Dad, Dad, something's wrong with Mom!!" I had an idea but I ran into our bedroom and found Mom face down and out of the corner of my eye saw a pistol in her hand. I grabbed my son and threw him out of the house. I called the EMT squad right away but it was obvious she was gone. I remember the EMT running in but after that the rest of the day is pretty much a blur.

We did not have any financial problems, family issues or any other events that may push a well balanced person over the edge. Rather, my wife suffered from pervasive, crushing depression. For 15 years, she tried to explain it's depth and hold on her. As best I could, I tried to understand. She did all the right things - saw her therapists, tried to apply their advice and took her meds. But she never got any better; in fact she declined over the years. When we got married she had a wide and rich circle of friends. She was an talented artist on top of being a licensed therapist specializing in grief counseling. Ironic that no?

But over time, she gently pushed all her friends away by not returning calls or letters, or not accepting invitations to events, etc. Upon reflection, I think unconciously she was preparing for the day when she would be gone.

When she was well, she was a beautiful woman and took pride in her appearance. At the end, she would go days without bathing and I'd have to lead her into the bathroom and bathe her. Toward the end, she no longer would speak at the dinner table but would answer if one of us would ask her a question.

Do you remember Russell Crowe's character in "A Beautiful Mind"? My wife had parts of that personality. She didn't have auditory or visual hallucinations, but she did build these paranoid fantasies of persecution that she would explain to me for hours on end. It was similar to the graphical representations of relationships that the Crowe character drew - except her's were verbal. They couldn't possibly be true and had no basis in fact.

Her slow descent into madness was heartbreaking to watch and even though all involved did all they could to help her get well, the illness washed over her like a tidal wave and "all the king's horses and all the king's men . . . " Well, you know the end to that rhyme.

She knew she was sick and in her good moments understood with clinical precision what exactly was happening to her but as I said, was powerless to stop it.

Well, enough about that. The boys and I are doing pretty well. For me, her suicide was shocking but not surprising. The boys never knew her when she was completely in control of her mind. My 11 year old is dealing with his experience of finding his mom reasonably well. His therapist and I are working on replacing his mental image of mom lying on the floor with the gun with happier images and that is going well.

During her rants, I would tell her "Yes, I understand." She always said the same thing. "I know you are trying to, but you really don't." She was right - I didn't.

But I do now.

Okay - glad that's out.

How are you all doing? Dave? How you doing? Others?

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I am SO sorry, that is such a very sad story. Watching someone suffer no matter what illness it is from is so heartbreaking and you watched it for so long.How are you and your boys doing?How long ago did this happpen?
Thank you for asking about me.I am doing OK, it has been 6 1/2 months for me and it is getting a little easier each day.
God Bless you,

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 11:44AM
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We will certainly add your family to our prayer list. I am so sorry you experienced this - GOD be with all of you.

I am doing one day at a time - it's been 7 1/2 weeks, and I grieve and miss him differently every day. I can't sleep and still talk to him, still expect him to call - it's so very lonely without him. I hope to meet men and/or women who have gone through this and start a lonely souls group. You wouldn't think it would be hard to find people in this situation, but most have already been several months/years into the loss and have moved on to other things. It's tough being alone, but I guess it's meant to be - very LONELY!

Please keep us posted on how you are getting along. Feel free to email any of us - we will talk with you. Take care.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 1:57PM
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Doc, Thank you for caring, and asking about me. How are you and the boys coping? I will keep you and the boys in my daily thoughts and prayers. Please don't hesitate to try grief counseling, it was a great help for me. Times are better now than when Bob first passed, but I still have an empty space in my heart. Take care and keep in touch with us. Carol

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 2:04PM
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Mavis and Carol, you dear, sweet ladies have helped me so much with your caring and love. Thank you both! Now we have another member of our group to love - and pray for!

    Bookmark   June 13, 2007 at 8:55PM
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dear doc, my sympathy goes out to you and your family, from what i have read yours is the worse type of grief to have. i suppose, that when Al and i were dating, i knew that he was a diabetic and that there were complications that went with it, and he warned me about them, but when you are in love it doesn't matter. when he first had his one leg amputated, he said how could i stay with him, and as the years progressed he was sicker and sicker, but i promised that he would stay home and iwould take care of him, and he was a wonderful patient, and i wouldn't let him go into long term care 8 blocks from our home. he often said to me i don't know why you stay married to me, and he told me how beautiful i was (he said i have striking features, whatever that means), i told him it was my job and leave me alone to do what i have to do, he also asked how i could go out in public with a legless person in a wheelchair, i would say back how can you go out with a woman thats 5ft 9! we also joked about things and didn't let his illness let us (the kids too) down and it worked for us. my husband worked at the college here for 26 years so he had wonderful benefits and so i am able to be free counselling, which i have done and the paxil i am on is also covered, but gee we did everything together, and i too can still hear him and i go to the cemetary daily, i do think he knew that his time was coming, he started talking about what kind of funeral he wanted, what he wanted to wear, the kids gave me the past,present and future ring he had selected for mother's day, it was too cold here in the winter for him togo out, i was also given a puppy 3 weeks before he passed away, which he named gracie joy devine, our dd only remembers Al being ill andour ds remembers him as the dad who was a coach and the mom and dad who volunteered for everything. our daughter feels that we should go out at least to the mall or W--mart everyday just to get out, i on the other hand prefer to stay home. i am one lonely 51 year old woman, i know that it has only been 3 1/2 months and it takes time, there are no groups here to join, if i had drug or drinking problems that would be no problem. also i am very independent and don't ask anyone for anything (dd and i put in hardwood floors ourselves), i can see Al shaking his head and saying, i knew that you'd do it yourself.
Al's aunts who live in idaho are my strength they believe in the power of prayer and our family is now in their prayer circle.

still hot here in northern ontario, but no forest fires!


    Bookmark   June 14, 2007 at 1:02AM
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Time for an update - how is everyone doing?

I plan to go to the cemetary tomorrow to take flowers. Son is out of state, so won't be here to go with me. GOD, I really miss my husband and still argue that it's SO UNFAIR that he was taken so young!

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 7:48AM
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Hi Kay - thanks for the kind words.

The boys and I are doing pretty well. I am busy with running the house, loving the boys, working and trying to place my mom and dad into an assisted care facility. My parents health failed miserably the week after my wife passed. Busy yes, but okay.

I haven't yet experienced any depression or real loneliness. It's only been 6 weeks though. The leader of the grief group I attend said it could come out of nowhere and hit me or never come at all given my situation. I think I had been preparing myself mentally for my wife's death for years. I don't feel abandoned or even hurt - for me I experience a sense of 'what a shame' that my wife was so sick for so many years. I'm comfortable that she is free from saddness and pain now - and for that I am grateful. The poor thing was so tortured.

I've had to face this type of grief before - my third son (I had five altogether) died 13 years ago. For me, that was a worse experience than this. Thank God for my faith. I'd have folded the tent long ago if not for that.

I sprinkled my wife's ashes in our woods this week as per her wishes. She loved those woods so.

Your're right about it not being fair. It isn't the normal course of events.

The boys want to make me breakfast for tomorrow. I'll bet that means Poptarts and donuts. :)

Best wishes, Doc

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 8:21AM
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What a tribute to you, DAD - those will be the best Pop tarts EVER MADE! I hope you enjoy eating them as much as your kids will enjoy making them!

I remember one Father's Day, after my husband split from his first wife. His son was only 6 years old, and his ex was understandably angry with my husband. She wouldn't take husband's son to get a Father's Day gift, so husband's son made Dad a gift: a plastic spoon with a face drawn on it, and a piece of string (with a cotton ball attached to it) was taped to the handle. My husband was SO HAPPY to get that gift, because his SON made it with his own imagination and hands. We later found out it was supposed to be one of those paddles that had the elastic and ball attached. Anyone can to to the store and buy a gift - when it comes from the hands and heart, it is SO MUCH more meaningful.

If I were you, I would go ballistic when those little guys bring you WHATEVER it is - this will be the most memorable Father's Day of their lives.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 8:33PM
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Doc: Those of us who have lost loved ones in such a manner (my older brother took his life in a similar manner)know the pain you and your family are going through. No, I don't think anyone will truely ever understand the innerworking of the human mind and what would drive someone to do such a thing. My brother lived far away, in another state. Family members were concerned for him as, he too began distancing himself from family and friends about a year before. I remember driving out to see him about 8 months before. I could tell his depression had worstened (a condition he had for many years). Anyway, I spent about a week just hanging out with him and he seemed to be in better spirits by the time I left. But as I drove out his driveway and waved at him through the rearview mirror, I had this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomoch that it would be the last time I would see him alive. Sure enough, my preminition held true. Your story truely touched me and I know it took a lot of cojones to sit down and write what you just wrote. I hope it brought ou some measure of comfort get get it out.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 12:14AM
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hi everyone, today it is still hot and humid, you think living on the shores of lake superior it would be cooler, but it isn't. Al's headstone went up on wed. or thursday, i'm not sure since we were without a car of a week. it is very nice and simple like our family is. our son took it very badly and he spent 45 minutes crying and we then went to get flowers for tomorrow. our sons girlfriends mother made a beautful arrangment for the top of the headstone, it was such a nice surprise.
Doc i haven't been depressed yet, but when i visit Al i told him that i'm mad at him for leaving me the way he did, all ihear is me saying aren't you going to turn off the alarm and him saying to me i can't. then he went into a coma. i too was used to him being ill, and thought i would be fine when he did pass, but i was a wreck for a couple of week, but i am not the gal with the sparkling personality, my life has changed forever.
enjoy your day tomorrow, it will mean so much for your boys, our kids still make us gifts and i have everyone of them still.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 12:15AM
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Debbie, I can relate to being 'angry' with our husbands for leaving us like they did - but it is our desire to have them back and well. Today, Gary has been gone 2 months, and it STILL feels like he will be coming home soon, even though I know that's not to be.

I miss him more every day. I hear that that feeling of loss will pass with time, but so far, it has done nothing but increase.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 10:58AM
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I was so sorry to here you story.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 2:56PM
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Doc, I hope you are having a very Happy Fathers Day with your boys. Emotions, and there are many that come with grief, can hit at any time. I found that when I'm sick or very tired or stressed I have a hard time coping. I am sorry for the loss of your son. You already know about grief having had to deal with that. It's good to know that you are going for grief counseling. Please know we care. Take care. Carol

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 4:22PM
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I hope every one had a nice Father's Day albeit a difficult one. I saw both of my girls and they had a nice day with their husbands and children but they were still sad about their DD. That is another "first" over.Suposedly after all the "firsts" we will feel better, we'll see.
God is looking after all of us, we just have to realize that.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 9:28PM
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Hello, everyone. I hope today proved to be a blessed day for all. I went to the cemetary and took a nice wreath to put on Gary's grave. I almost didn't go, but after I felt the need to honor his fatherhood, I felt much better. He was a good father and a good husband, and deserved the recognition. I thank God that I had him in my life for 20 years!

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 10:37PM
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I did have a good day today. My boys actually cooked me a very nice breakfast and we enjoyed the day. Got a couple of loads of laundry washed and put away. My oldest called from California to wish me a good day and I called my dad too.

Yesterday we went to a cookout hosted by my wife's friend of 30 years. We hadn't seen her in 7 years. I think she is taking this harder than me. She didn't know how sick my wife was so her death was a bolt out of the blue. We cried and told lots of old stories about her but I'm very glad I went.

Best wishes to all, Doc

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 11:45PM
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