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I struggle for sleep. I get plenty tired....both physically and mentally. But that final drift into sleep escapes me, until I absolutely crash.

Of course I grieve. It is lonely, it is sad and the heart aches. I think I have come to accept that, have for some time really.

But when I try to sleep the mind will not let me. During the past 4 years as the husband, best friend and caregiver....I just did the best I could. Move to the next thing, anticipate the next obstacle, make the path as comfortable and struggle free as possible.. Also during that time I lost both parents and my oldest brother. My mind did not, COULD NOT process it all. There just was not time, there just was not the mental energy.

So in the quiet moments my mind processes....and it hurts. Not so much the loneliness or sadness, that goes on during the day. It is anguish. It is thinking about all the things that went on. All the hurt I could not, would not allow, myself to feel. Seeing Linda struggle. It hurt me deeply. But I had to keep moving forward and be strong for my daughters. Keep it all under control. Remain the calmest person in the room. Inside I was screaming for it all to stop. But it is anguish now and I suffer through lack of sleep.

The pain and and anguish of seeing her lose her abilities and strength and mental capacity. Having to administer morphine every two hours. Her unable to eat or take water the last week or 10 days, or whatever it was. Oh how that hurt, and still does. Leading up to those final two weeks having to use a wheel chair for anything out of bed. Having to physically move her from the chair to the toilet and back again. The change in personality, the hallucinations and the anger towards me for not protecting her from those visions...that were absolute reality to her. The medical trials....out of hope. Pushing the nurses and doctors aside to comfort her as I was sure she would die right then and there from the reactions to the drugs....on two occasions. And we finally said enough is enough. The monthly sickness from chemo and radiation. Losing her hair and remaining strong and courageous and with dignity. Better than I ever could. The long talks about the future for our children and how I would have to help them....alone. The countless trips for infusions, radiation, Dr. appointments, blood tests. Sitting in the room, wearing earplugs through dozens of MRI's so that she did not have to endure that alone. Keeping track of all the medications and dispensing. Tracking everything. Thousands of miles driven over those years to all the appointments....talking and holding hands most of the time. I hated knowing these were the final years, months, days, hours, minutes.....her last breath. Ohhh how it all hurts so deeply now. Pure anguish and pain having to see her go through all of it....and I could do nothing to save her, only comfort as best I could.

I miss her terribly. But it is the anguish of processing all that I witnessed, and lived through and shared that is tearing me up inside. PTSD??...on steroids. When this anguish subsides, if ever it does, I will sleep. I sooo look forward to the days when my memories just make me smile and miss her.....and never think of these horrible things again. Until that time comes, I am up....on the front porch and the back deck. And when the birds start to sing just before the the first traces of morning they did on that morning almost 11 months ago when Linda left us....that is about when I crash. And tomorrow is a new day.

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Comment by Hope on May 2, 2016 at 3:19pm

Thinking of you. You have had a lot to deal with. I wish there were something I could say that would take that anguish away. I hope in the days to come you find some peace

Comment by Patience on May 1, 2016 at 8:06pm
David, i would tell you to just keep putting one foot in front of the other.. You have been through so much.. The loss of your wife after all the cancer treatment... I know what that's like having endured it all with my husband... Then having the loss of your parents and brother.. Too much really for one person.. Keep posting here... It's helpful..
Comment by Callie2 on May 1, 2016 at 7:36pm
You've gone through a lot and it is quite understandable the anxiety you are experiencing now. Do you think you could benefit from some counseling? Sleep is important, if your insomnia continues maybe try some OTC meds. Your dr. might be able to prescribe something if that fails. To have trouble sleeping for short periods of time is probably not unusual for many of us, but if it has been a long period of time, it may be time to try something.

I am familiar with the inability to "turn off" the brain at bedtime. We stay up very late then want to sleep into the daytime but wake up feeling very groggy and out of sorts. I hope you can gradually get back to a normal bedtime and hope it helps to manage some of the anxiety.
Comment by CinPan on May 1, 2016 at 5:05am

It is an indescribable anguish that you talk about here.  I too have tried to put it into words, yet words really aren't enough are they? BUT, I understand what you are explaining, even if I can't articulate it to others who have not experienced this pain.  Because I have lived it, I understand. My loss was sudden but I agree there are PTSD experiences that follow because  perhaps our brains protect us, but it then trickles back into our minds & causes flashbacks, panic attacks, and sleep disturbances. And each time I feel hopeful or positive it crashes back and drags me under again. SO exhausting, yet sleep restores nothing.  

Comment by deaf widow on May 1, 2016 at 4:36am

I, too, share your pain.  I lost my husband due to cancer 4 months ago.  I ended up being his caretaker 24/7. I tried to get help from people to come watch him while I went to pay bills, shopping...but no one would come 'cause he would scream and throw fits of anger.  *8 brain tumors, lung cancer, bad kidney, etc. plus diabetic with insulin. know the story.  Bad and sad memories?   You bet!  I hate cancer!!!!!  Sleep?  Not much!  Am sending everybody (((HUGS)))!

Comment by Bj on April 30, 2016 at 11:26pm

I can feel your pain and can relate to so much of the anguish you describe.   It all breaks my heart for you and I too want to reach the point of remembering all the happy times we had and all I can feel right now is such a great loss.  Maybe one day it will began to get a little easier and until that time comes we must try and put one foot in front of the other and carry on even though so much has been taken from our life.  One day some day,  I pray for a better tomorrow. 

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