Another girl, another blog

Bad juju
April 13, 2009, 5:29 pm
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Seven weeks ago my life was turned upside down. Its hard to believe that its been that long since Aaron died.

All weekend he was on my mind in a very intense way. On Saturday morning, I woke up to a beautiful sunny morning. I had let Dodger out earlier in the morning and left my bedroom doors open. My bedroom doors face the back den, which is where  Aaron spent most of his time as he got sicker. When I  woke up and saw the sun shining into the den, my first thought was, “I need to go and check on Aaron, see how he’s doing.” 

Yesterday I drove up to Lancaster to spend Easter with my sister and other family members. I drove past the Glendale exit where we went when Aaron was cremated and started to cry as I drove past. I could feel him in the car with me, I couldn’t get his face off of my mind. It was the first real holiday I’ve experienced without Aaron (I think of my birthday as a holiday, haha) and it was really difficult. 

Then today. Sigh. Today I wore the funeral dress to work. I spent $100 on it and didn’t want to let it sit in my closet forever. Besides that, I look good in it! So I wore it to work today and all day–ALL FREAKING DAY LONG–I was getting bad juju from the dress. I was in a funk. I had to make copies of the death certificate. I had to discuss losing my husband to co-workers I haven’t seen since I got back. I was running late all day. I was sad. I was tired. Nothing was feeling right. I have no energy.

For some reason the feelings of grief are more intense now than they were when everything first happened. Actually, I know why, it’s because my mind is starting to allow me to feel the feelings. It’s just really hard to deal with it. I can’t wait to start feeling better, and I want to stop feeling this crappy and always writing on here about how sad I am. I promise I will be able to do that. I just can’t say when it will happen.


Back in the swing of things…
April 7, 2009, 1:08 pm
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Or so I tell myself.

I started back at work yesterday. It was a surreal experience to walk the same familiar hallways, and yet feel like I was a complete stranger in a forigen territory. I dealt with the expected, “Oh how are you” and “We’ve missed you” and “I’m so sorry” comments and the “poor widow” looks. People were kind and gave me space and didn’t pry too much.

The first thing I saw when I walked into my office was the note that Aaron had sent with my Valentine’s/anniversary tulips.  My heart stopped beating for a minute and I had the ever familiar, “Hey, this has all just been a nightmare” moment, and then came quickly crashing back to reality.

It was difficult to deal with clients, as many of them had been told I was on vacation. So I kept having to answer, “How was your vacation?” questions all day. I wanted to scream, “Um there was nothing good about the last six weeks of my life, thanks!” Instead I told them, “It was okay.” There’s no reason to tell them the truth…

I was not able to stay for a full day, and I’m surprised that I thought I would be able to. I left around 1:30. I just could not handle being here for another minute.

Thanks to everybody who has been emailing, and checking in on me. I’m hanging in there. There are good days and then there are the horrible, shitty, not wanting to get out of bed days. Here’s hoping those days start to be fewer and far between.

Three weeks
March 16, 2009, 10:07 am
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I can’t believe it’s been three weeks since Aaron died. There are moments where it feels like it’s only been a few minutes, and moments where it feels like it’s been three years. Today has been a rough day, and it’s not even 11am. 

August and Bert (Aaron’s sister and her husband) came over this morning to pick up the cases of Boost out of the garage. Aaron had been drinking Boost to supplement his diet when he couldn’t keep normal food down. I don’t need the Boost, but I wasn’t prepared for the sadness that came with realizing Aaron doesn’t need it anymore. Then, they went through some of his clothes and baseball caps to take some things with them that hold sentimental value. 

I haven’t opened up Aaron’s closet in the three weeks since he died, and to do so this morning was really difficult. August went through his t-shirts and took a few things, Bert took a hat and a Lakers jersey. I didn’t really care about anything in particular that they took, but I just don’t want to have to keep doing this. His mom is coming over, I want to call his dad and other friends to see if there is anything in particular that they would want before I donate things to charity or have a yard sale. 

After August and Bert left, the mail came and in the mail were the death certificates. I opened them up and cried. Cried because I miss him, cried because its just one more thing that reminds me this is all really real and not just some God-awful nightmare. Even though I can now send in the life insurance money and get some of the business aspects of this taken care of now, it still is awful. 

And to top it off, the first really hard day is coming up this weekend. My birthday is Sunday. It will be my first birthday in my adult life that Aaron is not a part of. It will be the first big day Aaron is not around for. I am going out of town for the weekend because I need to be distracted and not be here surrounded by memories. 

Okay. Enough depressed thoughts for one day. I’m off to take care of things. Peace!

Hanging on
March 4, 2009, 10:57 am
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Up until yesterday I had been hanging on to some sort of crazy hope that this past week had been some sort of crazy, awful nightmare. After yesterday, I know that is no longer a possibility. Yesterday, Aaron was cremated. I was able to see him one last time, give him one last kiss, run my hands through his hair for one final moment. I had to leave the building when they loaded the box to go into the actual device. Aaron’s mom and best friend Scott stayed. I came back in after a few minutes.

I feel like I’m barely hanging on. Like I said earlier, it comes and goes in waves. I’ve been spending more time alone, which has been good AND bad. Good because I need time to process and reflect and mourn. Bad because this house is giant, empty and lonely. I’ve lost people who were close to me before, but nothing (obviously) like this. The pain is so raw and numbing. I’m trying my hardest to take care of myself, but I haven’t had an appetite, and no energy to work out. I have lost 7 pounds in the last week and have a feeling that there will be a few more lost (I was trying anyways, so it’s not like this is a bad thing). 

I know all of this is “normal,” whatever “normal” might be, but it’s awful. I am coping the best way I can, but that doesn’t mean its been easy. Thanks again to everybody who has reached out, it really has brought me comfort during this time.

The longest week
March 2, 2009, 9:21 am
Filed under: life | Tags: ,

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.

February 24, 2009, 7:45 am
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Aaron passed away at 2:35pm yesterday, February 23, 2009.

He was surrounded by love, family and friends. He was comfortable and went peacefully.

I’m not okay, but I’m hanging in there. I’ve got my friends surrounding me, holding me up. I won’t be back here for awhile, but please know that having this blog for the past few months has helped me to deal with the pain of this illness, and I am incredibly grateful for the support you have all given to me.

Love to you all-

Six years
February 16, 2009, 9:28 pm
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Aaron and I have a very interesting story. From our first date (he made me dinner; I didn’t drink wine so I had a Coke); to moving in quickly (four months after our 1st date); to getting engaged (I proposed on Leap Day), nothing about us has been traditional, normal or expected.

Our wedding was no different. We got engaged in 2000. Broke up in January 2001. Aaron was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August 2001, I moved back in later that month and on Sept. 12, 2001, he had his Whipple Procedure. That following Valentine’s Day, Aaron wasn’t feeling well and I was making soup for dinner. I turned around and he was on one knee, proposing marriage to me. We had an initial wedding date set for July 4, 2002. We hadn’t saved up enough money and kept bickering back and forth about all the details. We called off the wedding (not the engagement) and were living fairly happily in Huntington Beach.

One night we got into a fight about setting a date. I remember saying something along the lines like, “I need you to man up and set a date. I don’t want to be engaged forever, and if you do, then we need to rethink what we’re doing.” A few days later he was being very secretive with our roommates at the time. A few weeks later Aaron asked me, “What type of dress do you want to wear? A-line or princess cut?” This question surprised me, because this was a man who didn’t know the difference between white and ivory. We were helping Aaron’s mom move into her place in Mission Viejo and his Aunt Rosie spilled the beans–she asked us where we were registered and said she was excited to go to Vegas for the wedding.

I had about a week to get ready for the wedding. Aaron had taken care of all the details. He had plans to rent me a dress, but I ended up getting a dress at the Jessica Mclintock outlet in Huntington Beach which was on super-super-SUPER clearance. It cost me $24.24. And no, that is not a typo and the decimal is in the right spot.

We got married at the Paris Hotel on the Vegas strip. Aaron had a hook-up through work and we had our suite, for an entire week, comped. The room was amazing. It had a separate jacuzzi tub and a bidet in the bathroom (the bidet amused me to no end). We had a queen-sized bed with a princess canopy around it. Others who attended the wedding  were able to get their rooms free for one night and discounted for the rest of the weekend.

The ceremony was simple, but lovely. My dad walked me down the aisle like he couldn’t wait to get rid of me (my dad is 6’5″ and speeds up when he’s nervous), but clutched my hand like he didn’t want to let go. When I got to the alter, Aaron had been crying (I gave him a sappy card before the ceremony started), and I couldn’t stop smiling. From ear to ear, I grinned and grinned and grinned. 

Afterwards, we all had dinner at the italian restaurant at the Paris. Josh and Scott gave lovely best-man toasts and then Aaron and I walked the Strip in our wedding clothes. I, however, changed out of my heels and put on my blue and white Vans. 

Today is my sixth wedding anniversary. We had a beautiful Valentine’s Day dinner here at home (grilled ahi tuna, green beans, champagne) and tonight Aaron wasn’t feeling well so we scraped plans to go to our favorite romantic restaurant in Costa Mesa and stayed home instead. 

Earlier today the hospice nurse increased the morphine dose from 10mg/hour to 15mg/hour. The swelling is still awful and his breathing has become labored and difficult. He’s drifting in and out of sleep, uncomfortable and his bedsore isn’t healing.

Despite all of this horribleness, today I look back on that day six years ago and I smile. I smile because I’ve had six beautiful (sometimes rocky, sometimes REALLY rocky) years and have made countless memories with this wonderful man. Tonight I remember that walk up the Strip, freezing my behind off, and how he simply, effortlessly took his jacket off and gave it to me. Always protecting me, always looking out for me, always making sure that I was okay.

As this life I’ve been leading winds down (and it’s winding down far too soon, and much quicker than I imagined it would), I know that Aaron will continue to look out for me, and will protect me everyday for the rest of my life, from wherever he may be. He’s been fighting so hard, and for so long that the fact that he’s got any strength left now is an effort to take care of me and to stay here as long as he can for me.

After six years, two cancer diagnoses, being enrolled on hospice and seeing the decline in his health, the phrase “In sickness and in health, till death do you part,” has never been as true as it is today. But today I celebrate. Today I smile. Today I love.