In Losing You...
I Lost Myself...
I Losing You...
I Reinvented Myself...
In Losing You...
I Found A New "ME".
A Beautiful Life Together...
My story begins when I met and married the love of my life. We were both 17 years old when we decide to take our vows for life. We were inseparable for 31 years. We travelled to many places and enjoyed many happy times together. We shared an incredible bond. He was my husband, my lover, my best friend and my greatest teacher.
Many Up's And Down's
Our journey together was anything but boring. He had an incredible sense of humor and could make me laugh even in my deepest despairs. In our 31 years together we had many up's and downs. We experienced together many moments of grief and pain. His mother passed away at age 51 from cancer, his brother passed away age 34 from cancer, my mother passed away unexpectedly in her sleep age 62, my father passed away two years later from cancer age 68, my husband's cousin passed away age 42 for cancer. So needless to say we had seen many die before their time.
No, This Can't Be Happening To Me
All along I always thought no.. this would never happen to me. I need him in my life way too much and God would not do this to me. I am an only child, both my parents have died and we never had any children. Without him, I was left all alone in this world. Not only did I adore this man because of who he was but he was also my life.
And My Nightmare Begins..
In late November 2012, my husband had chest pains and I had to take him to the hospital. They began running blood work on him and saw that the results were very erratic. So he was admitted into the hospital and the next day he was set up for a bone marrow test. Results came back the day before Thanksgiving it was Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I sat there on Thanksgiving day holding his hand and staring at a picture of a turkey the nurse had drawn in the bulletin board in front of his bed. As I sat there I wondered what I had to be grateful for? He was given only 2 weeks to live if treatment was not given. Treatment was intensive chemotherapy. After having seen so many in his family take chemotherapy and suffer from the side effects only to die a couple of years later my husband was adamant that he did not want to take such a harsh treatment to see if it would cure him. He told the doctor right there and then he did not want to take the intensive chemotherapy, this was something we had both talked about and agreed if anyone of us would get cancer neither one of us would take chemotherapy. We both agreed to find alternative methods that did not have so many side effects. He then asked the doctor how long would it be before I would pass? The doctor responded about 2 weeks. Then he asked the doctor how will I die? She responded you will grow very weak and will eventually die in your sleep. He responded, well Doc that is not such a bad way to go is it? I felt my whole world crumbling before me and I wanted to jump out of the hospital window. After explaining the situation to a long time friend she asked what can I do for you? I said look for a place that does holistic and conventional treatment, he is willing to do that as long as there is a way to naturally combat the terrible side effects of the chemo. She found me a place in Philadelphia. We decided to travel to Philadelphia for his treatment. I remember on the plane holding hands and having this incredible amount of hope that either this hospital will find out it was a terrible mistake and he did not have AML or we would prevail and beat this evil disease called cancer.
We arrived in Philadelphia and my husband the"traveller" wanted to check out the area before starting treatment. It was a great weekend and it seems like we were on our usual trips only this time we were in a Cancer Center. A couple of days after he was admitted into the hospital to begin his treatments he began having chest pains. Later on that night they rushed him to Pennsylvania hospital which was more equipped to handle his cardiac condition. After doing a procedure to see if he was able to have a stent done in his heart..the doctors told me that he needed a triple bypass and that he could not have that done due to his leukemia..they also told me they could not give him chemotherapy due to his heart condition. My world completely shattered and every door I try to open to save his life seem to close. They informed me to prepare for hospice. I was all by myself when I received this news. He was still in recovery. I broke down into tears once the doctors left and two of the nurses in the station heard me and I explained the news they hugged me and gave me water and tissues. There it was. The love of my life.. and here I was on the verge of being a widow.
All Hope Is Now Gone.
When he got to the room he told me he did not want to know the results he was not ready. I think he knew but was not ready to face it. The next day the doctor came into the room and informed him of the results. Little did I know that in only a week I would lose him. I was so exhausted because I had not slept in over 2 weeks and my mind was a fog.. so finally I was able to get someone to relieve me in taking care of him.. at least enough for me to eat and get some rest. I was really an emotional wreck. I asked his uncle to fly from Florida to Philadelphia and he did.
On December 10, 2012, three weeks after being diagnosed with cancer I saw my husband die. There It was. The man that I had shared 31 years with leaves this earth at the age of 48 and just 3 weeks after being diagnosed. And here I am... all alone in this world..with no family of my own..no children. no sibling...nobody...
Two Roads To Choose From...One Dark..
One With Light...And A New Beginning..
I was left to deal with the arrangements of transporting his body back to our home state of Florida. And here I am my first time in my life in a hotel room by myself. His uncle was with me, but we could not stay in the same room there was only one bed per room. So there I was on the eve of December 10, 2012, all by myself in a hotel room. I called my "mom" I call her that because she was a friend, but she had become a mom to both my husband and myself.
I was finally able to take a shower. Something I had not done for days. I called "mom' up and somehow I was talking to her and my phone fell out of my hands dropped into the wooden floor in the hotel room. I looked at the phone and saw that it was in a million pieces. My lifeline.. my only way to survive this night and now it was shattered into pieces on the floor. I could not call my mom from the hotel room because I would be charged long distance. As I looked at the pieces of my lifeline phone I finally broke down and cried.. not just a cry but the kind that takes your breath away where you can't breath. All my emotions that I had been holding back began to come out.
I sat there and began praying for God to help me and to make the phone work again. I started to locate each piece around the room as I crawled in the floor sobbing and praying. I found all the pieces and I was able to put them back together the only question now would be if the phone would turn on. One more prayer to God. Please God makes this work.. and my prayer was answered and the phone started as if nothing had happened to it. As I sat there for the first time in my life in a hotel by myself I realized I had two choices to make. One was to go back home and take my car into the garage and turn on the engine and end it all. The other was to take this horrific experience...Survive it... Learn from it.. and use it to help others. I choose the latter... Which brings me to the present. I know the pain of grief. Unfortunately, I know it all too well. I know what each and every day feels when the person you loved with all your heart is no longer there. It is the darkest moment in your life ..but it can be turned into a new beginning. A new life... A new you...
A Reinvention Of Myself.
I know I can use those tools to help you. My experience is not only text book but also a true life one. I found out in this journey that the people that truly understand our pain are widows and widowers themselves. I also believe we are here for three reasons..1) To Learn: we learn from our experiences both good ones and bad ones. 2) To Teach: To teach what we have learned in our bad times and good times. 3) To Love: We must love and treat everyone as we would like to be treated.
My grief and pain I believe will never truly leave me. I believe we learn to live with the pain of a broken heart. We must move forward into our new life, but we must not dishonour our grief. Grief is in our hearts for a reason and that reason is because of profound love we had for that person. The reinvention of ourselves does not mean we forget our past or our pain due to loss. But it is the continuation of a human experience evolving into another new journey in one's life.
The key to surviving widowhood is to begin to build a new life around our pain.
So this is my story and my journey into becoming who I am today. I will always miss my husband and there are good days and not so good days. I've learned the very best way to survive this horrific event was to reinvent myself. I have now discovered myself again and I am living a happy and joyful life.