Another girl, another blog

A good night
October 9, 2009, 9:00 am
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I had the most comforting dream of Aaron last night, and I need to write about it before I forget.

(background: it’s been a tough week. Wednesday I had my first “I have to call Aaron and tell him…” in a few months. It hit me like a ton of bricks–again–the reminder that he is in fact, unreachable by phone. That night was my 1st support group meeting in a month, and a lot of painful memories were stirred, as we spoke of regret and guilt. I went home and cried myself to sleep. In the moments before falling asleep, I had one of my nightly conversations with my deceased husband, asking him to show himself to me in a dream or give me some sort of sign).

Yesterday I woke up feeling exhausted. The bags and dark circles under my eyes betrayed the fact that I had cried myself to sleep the night before and slept like crap, to boot. All day I felt numb, counting my blessings that clients weren’t showing up so that I could sit at my desk and stare off into the computer screen.

I got home from work and my plans for frozen yogurt with my best friend and god-daughter got a raincheck, so I put on a long-sleeve comfy t-shirt and jeans, watched the end of the Dodger game (woo hoo! Way to come back for a win in the bottom of the 9th with two outs, boys!), and spaced out on some more mind-numbing TV.

After dinner and a glass of wine, I decided that I was going to take a sleeping pill and crash out early. I curled up under the covers, grabbed a book I bought a few months ago, and started reading. As my eye lids started to get heavy, I closed the book, turned off the light and laid on my side. It was then that I could feel him there with me, spooning me. It was so warm and comforting to feel him there with me, because its been so long since I have had that sense of his presence in the room. I fell asleep, and then that’s when the dream occurred.

We were in a new house, the walls were brown like the wood paneling like the spare room in our old place. Aaron was there, lying down, pale and skinny like he was right before he passed. However, this was not a “before Aaron died” feeling. He was lying there, telling us (there was somebody else in the room, although I’m not sure who it was) about Heaven and the gift he had to come back and be with us again. I don’t remember all of the details of the conversation, but what stood out to me was watching him become reanimated (for lack of a better phrase).

As the dream went on, I remember trying to get up to get him something, and looked down and my foot had no bones in it. It forced me to sit still and just be with him, something I always struggled with before he passed because there was always something to do–clean, study, write a paper, take care of dinner, dishes, the trash, the dog…I sat there with my husband (!) and just was there. He told me he understood my decisions I have been making for the last seven months and was not angry with me.

Then I woke up, with the warmest feeling of peace in my heart. It was like he had heard me in my desperate cries the night before and came to help me get through this next phase of my grief process.  Just knowing that I’m doing ok in his eyes, where ever they may be spying on me from, will help me deal with whatever comes my way next.


The longest week
March 2, 2009, 9:21 am
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In all of my years of dealing with cancer and knowing that my husband was going to be taken away from me because of cancer, I never–EVER–imagined that losing him would be as difficult as it has been.

On Monday, I was there, holding his hand as he passed away. There is no way to describe how horrible that moment was for me. After he was gone, that state of shock and numbness set it. To be honest, it hasn’t completely gone away. I have had my support system be there for me in the most amazing ways. My friend Nicole organized my entire week for me so I didn’t have to do much and would remember to do everything. My friend Vanessa helped me to do the programs for the funeral as well as the picture that will be up by the urn. Aaron’s best friend Scott was here when Aaron passed away and has stepped up in too many ways to list here. Last night was my first night in the house alone–everybody has been staying here to make sure that I’m okay.

The grief comes in waves, and it comes in the most unexpected of ways–looking in his t-shirt drawer, going out to the bar with my friends and putting my Blackberry on vibrate in case he texts me and then realizing he won’t, doing laundry and realizing I have nothing of his laundry to wash because I did everything last Sunday. I went to dinner with Scott, his wife Chrystal, and another of Aaron’s friends the other night and I could totally see Aaron sitting right across from me at the table.

Aaron’s mom has been amazing this week. She has to deal with her own stuff, obviously, but she has been very respectful of my space and my grieving process. She is spending the night tonight and tomorrow she, Scott and I are driving to Glendale to be with Aaron during the cremation process. My friends have asked me why I’m going and the answer is simple–I don’t want him to be alone. I’ve been with him throughout the entire journey, and I’m not about to let him go through this last leg alone. I probably won’t watch the actual cremation, but I will be there. He will know that I’m there, he will not be alone. 

Thank you to everybody for your kind comments, thoughts and prayers. They’ve helped me get through the longest week of my life.

Conflict within
February 8, 2009, 9:15 pm
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When everything with Aaron started happening in 2006, I was quite fond of using denial as my main defense mechanism. It was easy because I didn’t have to acknowledge reality, and I most certainly did not have to admit to myself or anybody else that my husband was going to die far too young.

Lately I’ve been suffering a crisis of conflict. I’ve written before about accepting the reality of the situation and there’s nothing new to say on that front. No, the conflict stems mostly from guilt. Of course I don’t want Aaron to die. I don’t. I wish I could miraculously cure cancer and save his life.

But then there is a part of me that is done. Done watching my husband be miserable and in pain all day, every day. Done waiting for the inevitable. Done wondering when it’s going to happen. Done taking care of people all day at work to come home and do it all night. Done working all day at work and then coming home and doing all of the work around the house. I’m exhausted. I want Aaron to be out of pain, I want this to be over. I want to move on with my life. I want to find happiness, where it may be.

And this is where my conflict comes from. I want Aaron to live, but I want this battle to be done. I don’t want him to leave, but I want to move on. I am so tired of these feelings being in my head, so tired of feeling bad for wanting my life to move on.

I think I need a good night of sleep and a back rub. 🙂

January 29, 2009, 10:21 pm
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Its been a fairly mellow week. Not much to report around these parts. Work is busy. Aaron is holding steady, not getting sicker, not getting better. There is one new development that has been on my mind a lot lately.

My mother-in-law is spending the night one night a week now. Aaron brought it up to me last week, saying that he wanted that to happen, because he feels like she’s more attentive than I am–actually, the way he described it was that she’s “actively attentive.” Well, sure, when you’re around for 3-6 hours a week, you can be more active. Live with it everyday for 2 1/2 years, and you kind of fall into a comfortable routine. It’s like a mother with a newborn–you know that the baby has different cries and it takes you a minute to figure them out, but once you do, you’re mostly good.

I’ve got mixed feelings about all of this. I have a difficult relationship with my mother and feel like I’ve raised myself and haven’t really had a strong maternal role model for a long time. It’s tough for me to be vulnerable around maternal figures, including my mother-in-law. Aaron’s always pressing me to have a “better” relationship with her, and quite frankly I think our relationship is fine. I’m comfortable with where we are and I don’t really feel the need to open up to her. It’s scary and I don’t really trust in myself to go there. I know it’s all my own “stuff” but I feel like I’ve got enough on my plate to where I don’t really need to work on improving the relationship with my mother or my mother-in-law.

(sigh) It sucks sometimes. I wish I could be like my friend Jess who has a great relationship with her mom, or my co-workers who are BFF’s with their mom’s. Its not fair that I can’t have that, but at least I know what NOT to do if I ever have children. 

Here’s my current favorite song by Eddie Vedder from the “Into the Wild” soundtrack. I don’t really have a good way to close this entry out, so I guess this will just have to do. 🙂


Such is the way of the world
You can never know
Just where to put all your faith
And how will it grow

Gonna rise up
Burning black holes in dark memories
Gonna rise up
Turning mistakes into gold

Such is the passage of time
Too fast to fold
Suddenly swallowed by signs
Low and behold

Gonna rise up
Find my direction magnetically
Gonna rise up
Throw down my ace in the hole

I won’t make it any other way…
January 13, 2009, 11:05 pm
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When I was doing my individual therapy in 2007 one of my biggest struggles was to feel my feelings. I’m a social worker, a therapist–my job is to keep my emotional reactions in check and stay in my head. My biggest breakthroughs were when I cried or was able to really reach in and dig deep and touch upon the feelings I didn’t want to really acknowledge. 

I’ve been trying to spend what time I have left with Aaron being more open with my feelings. I’m not sobbing all over him (I leave that to my mother-in-law) and I don’t sugar-coat the things I need to say. Some of the things I have to say are perfunctionary–fold the towels, feed the dog, call hospice and schedule your appointment, blah blah blah.

Then there are the things that we need to talk about as a matter of planning ahead. One of the things Aaron has said that he wanted was that he wanted a “natural funeral,” the way that it was portrayed when Nate Fisher died on Six Feet Under. After doing some research online, I was told that California does not allow this sort of funeral to happen, because a person needs to be buried with a concrete vault of some sort. Aaron does not want that to happen, so we have decided to have Aaron cremated after he passes away. We will are going to start researching local funeral homes and are going to start the pre-planning process and getting things taken care of that way we (and by “we” and mean me and Aaron’s family) will have few things to deal with during that horrible time. 

Then there are the other things that we say between each other that will stay between us. Suffice it to say that the things I learned in therapy have served me well. I’m able to tap into my emotions in a way that I was unable to before. Its been amazing for us to bond and connect and make sure that we have the chance to have these moments. I am so grateful for those moments. I could only wish that we hadn’t spent so much time not having them.

Have you seen the Barbara Walters special where she interviews Patrick Swayze and his wife? If you take out the fame and fortune, you would basically have our life over the last two years. (As Aaron said last night, “Ha, I’ve got a year on you!”) We watched it together last night, crying at different parts, being touched on the same level. I was quite frustrated with Walters’ questions asking,  “Do you picture your life without him?” and “How much time do you have left?” I understand her job as an interviewer and whatnot, but for me the questions were brash and I’m pretty sure that Swayze’s wife has spent enough time answering that question. My friend Vanessa asked me that same question today and I can say that yes, I have imagined my life without Aaron but lately I’m not able to get past the initial few days after he’s gone. It may seem strange, but I think its my brain’s way of protecting me.

Or maybe that’s the social worker in me, quoting James Taylor, “I won’t make it any other way.”

7mg base, 3mg bolus for breakthrough pain
December 29, 2008, 9:35 pm
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That’s the order for the morphine currently coursing through Aaron’s veins right now. There is a steady hum of the oxygen machine in the background, competing with tonight’s SportsCenter. Dodger is cleaning himself, and I’m trying my hardest to keep my shit together.

It wasn’t supposed to happen this quickly.

On Wednesday, Christmas Eve, the RN who is working with us came and placed an order for MS Contin, which is basically a pill form of morphine. She also opened up the emergency stash of liquid morphine that has been in the fridge since Hubs enrolled with Vitas a few weeks ago.

Then over the Christmas weekend and through yesterday, every time Hubs took the MS contin, he would vomit. At one point on Saturday night I had him taking a Boost and I was silently contemplating a trip to the ER for some IV nutrition. However, he was able to keep the Boost down, and was pretty good through yesterday and today.

This afternoon, the RN came over and ordered Hubs the morphine pump. Which was just installed in the last half-hour. He’s got a baseline of morphine in his system and can push the “bolus” button for breakthrough pain. 

When I was a little girl, and my dad would speak of my Grandfather and his battle with cancer, I always remember him equating morphine with it basically being the beginning of the decline my Grandfather went into before he died. On Wednesday, when Hubs was ordered morphine, it was a huge blow to me, even though the pain patches he’s been on for the last 3 years are morphine. At my Grandma’s house on Wednesday night, she was telling me the story of the day before my Grandfather died (thanks, Grandma!) and how she had him go to the hospital because she didn’t want him to die at home. That was a difficult conversation to have, because what was I supposed to say to that? What am I supposed to say when people tell me they are sorry I’m going through this? 

Sorry…my emotions are all over the place today. I had a shitty day at work, I come home to this, AND I still have to wake up in the morning to go back to work. To all of the people who have told me they read this blog, thanks. It’s nice to know I have an audience out there. Especially to all of those friends I haven’t seen in awhile, I appreciate your kind words and prayers. They really are very helpful, even if I don’t always know what to say.

Merry Christmas!
December 25, 2008, 11:24 pm
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I hope you all had a wonderful, beautiful, family-filled, happy Christmas. Mine was nice, packed from start to finish with family (my parents, sister, her boyfriend and his son) for breakfast and then dinner for 13 (in-laws, parents, Grandma). I made a wonderful ham with sage, oranges, and baby carrots. *SO good.*

Enjoy this little clip from “Elf,” which is now one of my favorite Christmas movies. “I love smiling! Smiling is my favorite!” Have a great weekend everybody!