One week ago yesterday Elbert went home to be with the Lord.
I didn't know what to expect out of the grieving process nor had I ever really thought about it. Who wants to think of how they will act under such circumstances? Grief for each is different and very personal but I decided that I would continue this journey with all of you wonderful, caring friends who have held me up and sometimes carried me as I cared for Elbert. You enriched my life, you loved me and supported me and although when you come to the end of YOUR journey it will be, as I said, very different and very personal. At that time I hope that you can glean some little tidbit of comfort from being a wee bit prepared (from reading this blog)
This first week has been interesting. I have felt numb for most of the days and wanted to sleep. Oh, my how tired, emotionally and physically, I was and still am to some extent. It's okay to sleep and sleep I did. To begin with of course was the flurry of activity. Even though we had a prepaid funeral plan and had most of our information on file at the funeral home I found there still was a lot to do. Order flowers, which one daughter took care of. Arrange for the minister (our former pastor lives in Texas now), get an organist and soloist, make sure out of towners are notified. Is there enough food? Is there enough toliet paper for all this crowd? and kleenex? Where will everyone sleep? I have four children, inlaws, grandchildren. But, you know, it all took care of itself. People took over and just did.
I have had feelings of relief. I feel guilty having those feelings. I should have felt that I wanted him here with me as long as I lived. But, the truth is, I have lost him every single day for years. Too many to think about. I have grieved until I think I have just grieved all the tears out of me. I can't cry it seems. Oh, I did at the military part of his funeral. Lost it. And, that's good. I was burying my love, my companion. But, then the tears just did not come until night before last when I woke up at 3 a.m. I felt odd, like I was an unloving spouse for not shedding tears. I hope that in time I can cry my heart out. But, you know, I was not an unloving wife and I know he loved me so very much. As he lay dying he knew me and a lot of the family were there. When I'd say something to him he would try to turn his body and lift his arms up toward me to give me a hug.
Okay..... now I'm crying!! Maybe I just needed to talk about it and too, I have tried to be so strong for the children and grands. Shirley said yesterday 'Mom, you never cease to amaze me'. Well, kiddo... I do it for you!!
I've been in my house alone for one and a half years. So, settling down by myself in the house has been comparatively easy. Elbert was in a very loving nursing home and I feel that the family made the right decisions about first placing him in an assisted living and when he couldn't stay there to move him on to a nursing home. I couldn't have cared for him at home without round the clock help. We couldn't have been more pleased with his care at Consulate N.H. In fact, after he passed some of the nurses were seen in the hallway crying. That's special care.
TIP: Do your homework if you plan to use a nursing home. Get references, visit the facility at odd times, and keep a watch during your loved ones stay. The more you visit the more they are sure to be on task.
Yesterday, the one week anniversary, Shirley got me out of the house. She has been my mainstay for years. Well, I guess she had to be.... she lives next door. (grin) We dropped off flowers for the nursing home staff and a thank you card. We just wanted them to know how much we appreciated their attentiveness and kindness. Then on to pick up granddaughter, Britt, who was due any hour. She wanted to spend the night (and watch the football championship) with her Mom. Got a text message a bit ago..... they are headed to the hospital. Little Dylan is on his way.
How significant is that!!! Life passes on, a new life begins.