Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Saying Goodbye~ It's so Darn Hard

It's no big secret to anyone following this blog that I've cut back on my blogging. I've even changed what I do blog about and when except for those blogs I'm committed to do. This is another of those times.

For the last couple months I've been struggling with the care of my husband. For those who do know, he is terminal with a bad heart, bad lungs, and cancer. Yes, he's been terminal for a long time...11 years and counting.

It's my anniversary today! Happy Anniversary to us for passing the 21 year mark in spite of life's hard knocks. That's what faith, forgiveness, and fortitude has done for us, but I'm afraid this is coming to an end.

No not divorce but death.

My husband's condition has rapidly deteriorated over the past year since my stroke. He has honestly given his disease ravaged body a good fight for staying with me. This year so far he has fought numerous bouts of pneumonia and congestive heart failure. At the end he's bounced back, but had not bounced back fully. Each time has taken its toll to the point where there is almost nothing left.

I watch him struggle to draw a breath and stop breathing completely for a few moments, and can see the truth. We've had the revolving door of in and out of doctors' offices, the *ologist's brigade, over the past several months to where we are all exhausted. All of it to hear the same thing, ""It's time."

They all wonder why he is still breathing and talking. I wasn't sure myself, but for years I've been praying for peace and comfort. I no longer pray for healing. That has been given to us in spades although it might not seem that way to most. I've been blanketed, no cocooned, in peace and comfort that I've forgotten all my worldly training.

This week that revelation was brought home to me by my hospice nurse daughter while we were discussing his condition. For the past month now, my beloved has imposed on our children to take me out and do fun things like the farmers trade and swap, movies, lunches etc. for several hours a week. Another child, or grandchild, or extended family would sit with him and take care of his needs. I couldn't see why he was doing it or at least refused to see why.

The reason was to get me involved with life again. To make me realize that life goes on even after death. It was his gift to me. My daughter said, "Mom, you need to tell him that you will be fine without him. It's time to say goodbye."

Now I have counseled umpteen gazillion people to do the same thing. I've even done it with family members like my mother, sister, assorted others. I've counseled others as a nurse and a minister. BUT it never dawned on me or recognized that it was time to do this with my husband.

So this week as I stroked his face and kissed his lips, I told him goodbye. I will be fine that he could stop fighting. He could look into my eyes and see it was the truth. I gave him permission to leave me until we meet again. This was my final gift to him and there is nothing more precious left to give.

And now I wait, because I refuse to mourn his passing until he breathes no more.

14 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Jo, I'm sorry, because that's got to be the hardest thing in the world to do. I will be praying peace for both of you. Enjoy each other's presence while you can here.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Jo - congratulations on those 21 years ... love emanates from here .. both your own love and your husband's ... I'm so pleased your daughter has had the prescience of mind to give you this advice ... and admire you so much for taking it on.

Amazing to read ... and wonderful to know about - be at peace as he slips away .. both of you in the knowledge the best has been done ..

With lots of hugs - Hilary

Diane said...

Sending hugs and prayers for both of you.

Suzanne Furness said...

This is a true story of enduring love. My thoughts, love and prayers to you and your family.

Elizabeth, John and Jack said...

I am so sorry. You are handling this with such grace and love. My husband and I are lucky enough to share that same kind of love...although we are "newlyweds" with only 6 years of marital bliss behind us so far. Saying goodbye to the love of my life sounds overwhelmingly impossible. May you continue to be blessed by comfort and surrounded by love as this chapter continues to unfold. Hugs and positive energy sent ur way for u and ur whole family.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

I'm overwhelmed. You've given your husband such a precious gift. God bless you both.

Lara Lacombe said...

Oh Jo... I have no words for you. Sorry doesn't begin to cut it. Saying goodbye to a loved one is one of the most difficult parts of life. I hope he goes peacefully, and that you find comfort in your memories.

Sandy Campbell said...

Oh I am so sorry to hear things are so difficult, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Sandy

Michelle Miller said...

I'm so sorry, Jo. Just know that I'm keeping you in my thoughts during this difficult time. *hugs*

LynnMarie said...

Sending prayers for peace and comfort for you at this time.

Amy said...

Oh wow Jo, I'm sorry. Sending you prayers and hugs.

Barb Polan said...

Jo, you are so brave to be able to say good-bye - and mean it. And your daughter was brave to suggest it. May the Holy Spirit comfort you - and your husband - through this phase of your long, loving marriage.

Gina Gao said...

I'm so sorry. I've lost someone that I cared for some time ago. Its good that you had a chance to say goodbye.

www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

Jane Decker said...

Jo, your strength and perspective are inspiring. I'm praying for peace and comfort for you, your husband, and the rest of your family. Hugs to you.