June 30th

Discussion in 'Grief and Bereavement' started by ellorian, Jun 21, 2012.

  1. ellorian

    ellorian Well-Known Member

    June 30th 2011 two people died: one of them (me) is still breathing. That was the day that I had them turn off the life support machines that my wife had been hooked up to having come into hospital about two weeks before. The doctors were giving no hope, she had been hospitalized three times in one year for total respiratory failure but this time a UTI had spread as sepsis through her system and had shut down her kidneys, was starting to affect other systems. I don't know. Did I do the right thing? It was all so quick, too quick. Should I have fought or am I right that that would have been torturing her in the long run for no reason. Gods. Did I mess up or did I do right? And does it even matter? She had been in pain so long, so damn long. Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Peripheral Neuropathy, and more. She had been debilitated. She often remembered how she used to go for long runs each day before going to work but from that time we married she was using a cane, then a wheel chair, then an electric cart. She was on so many meds (I set them up, counted 49 a day at one point) that they had messed up her GI so bad she had to use daily immodium and wear depends. That caused her such shame, such fear that something would happen in public. And yet, and yet... to the end (and even when we were heading for possible bankruptcy) she paid and worked to provide a free grants information service to non-profits. She volunteered at a disability action group and helped them fight to sort out local taxi company who were ripping off people with disabilities among other things. She maintained a blog that had various respondents, dealing with her fight with her illnesses and with living a life despite that. She was a much stronger, much more giving, much better person than I can ever be. I died with her, yet somehow I'm still going through the motions.

    She is so present in "my" house. I inherited her dog (I'm not a dog person). Her quilting room lies mostly untouched (though I did manage to donate her clothes which also used to be in there to a colleague who was a similar size and impoverished, I think she would have liked that) and contains her fabrics, her quilting essentials, a few ornaments etc, and some UFOs (a jocular quilting term meaning UnFinished Objects). Her books are on the book shelves. Her DVDs are there too. I still haven't managed to give away her DME (durable medical equipment), nor gotten rid of her remaining depends, lotions or huge box of diabetes supplies. I've managed to avoid killing off two of her house plants so far. Hell I haven't even transfer the two vehicles to my name yet and it's been almost a year. I'm surrounded by her stuff... and yet she is gone.

    I don't know what to do anymore. Life is so damn meaningless without her. I had done some work on recovery from child abuse before I met her but it was living with her, and the two of us helping each other heal (she was the most horrendously abused survivor I have ever met) that made me push past so many things. Now... why bother? My life, on paper, looks good. I have sufficient income that I can send $600 a month to some impoverished friends in TN without me personally suffering for it. I have now got the best, most worthwhile, most enjoyable job I have ever had and feel at least semi-competent at it. I own my own home (well I guess the bank does until the mortgage is paid off some years from now but you know what I mean). I have debts but I can now afford them. And it is all so damn meaningless. Without her, everything is worthless. Especially me.

    She knew I would come to this position. Both she and I have attempted suicide before, so of course she knew that. But she knew I would basically fall apart mentally and emotionally too. Do you know how many times she tried to get me to contract not to kill myself if she died before me (which was always likely)? Someone has to remember me to DJ (her youngest grand child via a child from before I knew her). But even that reason doesn't exist any more since her son moved to another state and changed his phone number without letting me know the new one hence taking both DJ and Sasha (granddaughter) out of my life. Do you know how many times she tried to get me to contract to do one of three things if she passed: either a) marry her best friend of many years (which was a bit silly as that friend has been in a relationship, albeit not the best of relationships, for around 20 years), or b) marry someone else, or c) return to my family in England because she was certain that while I was a great husband (I have my doubts) I would not be good living alone? I couldn't contract to any of those things.

    I think I had a point when I started writing this. I have no idea what it was now. I just... I don't know if I can go on much further without her. Please don't tell me she wouldn't want me to take my life - who knows, if there is an afterlife and it is wonderful she might want me to join her as soon as possible and if there is no afterlife then she is beyond wanting anyhow. At the moment it is what I can do for other people that keeps me alive - the friends I send cash to (apparently I mean more to them than cash but I got no idea why), the people I provide services to at work, a friend who has been suicidal and I have been able to provide some support to. I'm the kind of person who would drive to a bridge to throw myself off, find someone ahead of me, do my best to talk them out of it and get them to a hospital or therapist, and then go back and take my own life. My shit can be put aside when others need what little I can offer. But you know what? Even that's becoming less and less powerful. My job? I might be semi-competent but others could do it better. Hell I know there's a colleague I have in a slightly different position in the organization who would love to be doing the job I am as he is hoping another similar position opens up. The friends in TN? I am beginning to feel more and more - despite how much I know that thought upsets them - that the only meaningful thing I can do for them IS send cash... and cash has never been a great motivator for me. The suicidal friend? Well as soon as she is past it enough that I don't need to hang around immediately perhaps then I can go myself. Perhaps I can't even wait that long. I don't know anymore. I'm sorry.
  2. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    Hi how hard a position you were put in hun with the help of the doctors there you made a decision one that was Right hun at the time The doctors gave you no hope for her.
    You are so compassionate I hope you can turn that compassion onto YOU now and reach out to professionals and get some help to cope with your loss. Therapy talking to someone does help relieve some of that sadness that depth of darkness hun. I am glad you are talking here that helps too There are people here that do understand hun so keep talking okay You deserve help hun help that will help you move on now okay the help that will get you through this pain h ugs
  3. ellorian

    ellorian Well-Known Member

    Let me rephrase that so you understand: doctors did not say "there is no hope." But they said nothing to indicate any meaningful chance of recovery. Doctors do not say "there is no chance" or "turn off the machines" or "well in my many years of experience X tends to be the outcome Y% of the time". No, the bastards shrug and say "Well she's been through a lot of damage, but who knows... sometimes people recover..." etc. In other words the bastards refuse to give you any confidence in the decisions they require you, an untrained layman who is emotionally distraught, to make. I don't know what to do - I'm not the one who went through 10 years of goddamn school for this shit and has spend god only knows how many years practicing it, seeing what happens, watching people die, recover or be tortured. What they do, effectively, is abandon you in your time of need. I understand that they can't make the decision for you but do you have to fucking say nothing? Do you have to leave me spending the rest of my life wondering if I just screwed up in the most terrible way and murdered the greatest woman the Goddess ever gave form to?

    My wife made her desire plain before she went into hospital a few times. She didn't want to survive on machines. She didn't want to be a vegetative state. She didn't want that at all. So if two doctors would both say there is no hope then don't leave her like that. It rapidly became apparent that the former part of that desire and the latter part of that desire conflicted... because doctors are fucking useless at helping with end of life decisions. No apparently the best way to make such decisions is leave it up to someone so emotionally tied to the person that they would rather die in that person's place, without helpful input, alone.

    I so want to hurt myself right now. I so feel like I messed up, but I would feel that if she had been on machines. Gods damn the medical profession!
  4. IV2010

    IV2010 Well-Known Member

    I'm so sorry you lost your dear wife, ellorian.:console:

    sounds like you made the right choice to me..a very compassionate choice in your wife's best interest..
    It must've been beyond difficult for you to have to make a decision like that alone..

    one year is very early in your grief, please try not to be too hard on yourself.
    I won't say things get easier because I myself hate that phrase..
    it's more like it gets different! we learn to cope with our loss in a different way.

    from reading your posts I can hear you are a very kind, caring person and have much to give.
    perhaps that is your purpose here...the world needs more people like you!

    I hope you'll stick around and give yourself time to heal..
    here for you when you need us :hug:
  5. ellorian

    ellorian Well-Known Member

    Lots of things meant something to me - giving was one of them... but you know what? I am tired of giving. How damn selfish is that? Right now I feel like I've switched from a loving, caring person to the person portrayed in Geldof's Great Song of Indifference:

    I don't mind if you go
    I don't mind if you take it slow
    I don't mind if you say yes or no
    I don't mind at all

    I don't care if you live or die
    Couldn't care less if you laugh or cry
    I don't mind if you crash or fly
    I don't mind at all

    Like I say, selfish.
  6. IV2010

    IV2010 Well-Known Member

    I don't think that's being selfish..I believe it's self preservation

    It's because you're in deep grief and the anger and pain that goes with it..
    you need to take care of yourself...you are the one who needs your compassion and 'giving' at the moment..

    I've read that the amount of pain we feel after a loss is equal to the love we have for our loved one.
    I can hear how very much you loved your wife.

    the lead up to the anniversary is always stressful!

    i lost my son and each year on the anniversary I have special things I do to pay tribute to him and his life. I find for me the lead up is always so much worse than the actual day.
    I hope it is the same for you..

    I'm glad you're reaching out here....many of us here have some understanding of your pain :arms:
  7. ellorian

    ellorian Well-Known Member

    thank you for writing back. i dont know what to say though. but see the thing is if i cant give anymore then i cant do my job anymore. not that i should be doing anyway. not now. see im a peer counselor, a person hired to help others dealing with mental health issues work on deciding a way forward, someone who has worked on their own recovery from mental health and can use that shared life experience to help others. its kinda like this place in some ways - peers understand what non-peers do not. until you've been there you can have all the degrees you want and its still just all theory. im told ive helped people progress. but you know what? if ive given up then the idea that ive worked on my own recovery is bullcrap. so what am i doing in the job? maybe im done.
  8. IV2010

    IV2010 Well-Known Member

    i feel for you and your dilemma re your job..

    but don't give up on yourself ...it's so early in your grief that I feel you're being way too hard on yourself..
    almost 12 months, with the anniversary coming up...understandably it's a difficult time for you (understatement - because there isn't a word invented to adequately describe the intense grief people suffer after losing a loved one)

    I do know each day you hold on and fight, and reach out and share your pain is another day of life experience and learning to share with your clients.

    each day you're alive is one more day closer to finding a way to survive this pain and loss..
    the fact that you're reaching out here is a good thing...I feel there may be a spark of hope left in that dark place you're in ?!

    I'm hoping you'll stay around for a while and talk to us more.
    sometimes talking can ease that overwhelming feeling of hopelessness
    I know this forum has brought me back from the brink a few times and I wish it can help you too

    for me it's been just getting through one day, one hour, one minute at a time and dealing with the feelings as they come
    remember all you're feeling is 'normal' (hate that word too) and that these tough times usually pass..
    I'm hoping for you they will again :hug:
  9. MoAnamCara

    MoAnamCara SF Artist


    I've just read your posts and wished to say hi and I am sorry. Just over three months ago I lost my partner. I understand what you are feeling, even when we can't put words to it or understand it ourselves. It is an understatement to say you were put in an awful position. And, its yet so soon since her death that you need to (and I need to) be selfish at times. It IS self preservation, we have to do what we can to get through the day, whatever that may be.

    Please, know I am here should you wish to chat or vent or similar.

    Take care of yourself, treat yourself as you would others. :hug: