A community of peers created by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation
About fifteen years ago, I had a huge physical crash that put me in an electric wheelchair for five years. Since then my health has improved a lot and I now use an electric scooter for more than just short walks. Jud was a wonderful caretaker. When I collapsed in exhaustion, he came home from a long days work and made dinner. When I would feel sorry that he had to do so much, he would say, "I am just sorry that you feel so bad." He was a kind husband and a great man to spend a life with.
Enter Cancer. It is a good thing that I was getting healthier. Through the fourteen months that Jud was sick, we went from him pushing me in a wheelchair at the airport to both of us being pushed by airport help. During the last three months, when he was very ill, I had a great surge of adrenalin and was able to nurse him through.
Enter Death. It has been fifteen years since I have maneuvered an airplane flight alone. Getting me from Minneapolis to Rapid City wasn't easy. In fact, i seemed to take a village.
I planned the trip to attend the wedding of a dear friend's son and to sprinkle the rest of Jud's ashes in the Black Hills I was able to get the tickets online by myself. First time in quite awhile. Good enough. Jud had always done this. Then there was planning the trip with my scooter. Help! I sent out an all call to ten of my able-bodied friends. On Saturday night, team A arrived and took the manual wheelchair (that was on top of the scooter in the back of my van...another story) into the house and brought in the battery to be charged. On Sunday night, team B arrived and put the battery back into the scooter and took my suitcase to the car. On Monday morning, team C arrived to drive me to the airport and get the scooter out of the car.
I am so grateful for my friends. Truly. They were wonderful. But honestly, I was so exhausted from the planning and the logistics that I was really to call it all off!
We got to the airport on time. Jud had always kindly put the scooter together. I had watched very carefully the last couple of months but my mind does not easily absorb such mechanics. Thank God, Barb, my driver, had those skills. Together the two of us got the scooter together and I turned on the key, ready to go. It didn't go. After twenty minute, we found the button that was stopping everything. I was off and rolling. I got to the gate and realized I had forgot to call the day before and ask for a bulkhead seat, necessary to avoid extreme let pain. Luckily they still had one.
I arrived and was greeted right on time with big hugs by my friends. Thirty minutes later, we were still trying to figure out how to take the seat of the scooter off the body. Two nice men stopped and help us take the chair off the da** scooter. It took maybe...two minutes. Jud always did this part. I had watched to carefully but I had missed a tiny step.
When I got to my friend's house, I opened my suitcase and discovered it had been examined. Apparently, they were very interested in the white powder in the sack (Jud's cremains). They had put them back in a different place...not a serious problem once I found them. When I pulled out a tee shirt, white powder fell off. All of my clothes were covered with...ashes of Jud. He would have laughed.
I have had a nap and I am glad I am here. I realize that I had a husband who had, in many many ways, been caring for me for many years. I am flabbergasted how many people it takes to make up for one Jud. I am concerned at the planning it takes to do a simple trip. We had such a rich,full life despite me being sick...because he found ways to work with it. I wonder how my life will proceed. I realize that this is the first time and hope I can find ways to make things easier so that I can travel and do other fun things.
I miss that life. Mostly, I miss him.