Hi Shirley, Thanks so much for reaching out to me. My husband had been disabled from a severe stroke he had in late June of 2015, shortly after having bypass surgery. My whole life really started to change then. He was in hospital/rehab for 7 weeks before finally coming home. It was another couple of months before he could walk with a cane, or even go up stairs. He lost almost all language. He had about 5 words. He never lost his intelligence or understanding of what was happening. With constant therapy he made great strides in recovery. I was his primary caregiver. We had moved to Virginia ( in 2011) from Massachusetts ( where we lived for 24 years). Our kids were both born and raised in MA. My husband and I had lived in Maryland when we met and married, but moved away in 1984. We both have family there in MD still and he was happy to return. I just didn't like Virginia really at all. Our family there was about an hour away, and it wasn't that convenient to visit. His family really was not very supportive after his stroke, though they meant well. My brother would come about once a month or so to help me get things done around the house, etc. My oldest daughter lives in Boston and my youngest is here in Greenfield, WI. She was the one who helped me the most during my husbands disability. A big reason I decided to come here when he died. He had another undetected stroke on Feb 7th that hospitalized him until the 17th when we brought him home with hospice. He died the 25th, surrounded by his family. No matter what, I wasn't prepared to lose him..... are we ever? My house sold within 24 hours of hitting the market, and I gave away about 70% of what we owned. My daughter in Boston took a truck load, and my daughter here wanted some things as well. The rest we donated through Operation Green Drop ( 2 trucks full) one went to the American Association for the blind, the other to the Purple Heart association. I didn't really 'think' about much of it, just worked hard to get it done. Once I was settled here, I joined the gym next to my apartment, and have joined a couple of 'meet up groups'. I think the gym helps me the most..... and my daughter lives about 5 minutes from me. She delayed going into her Masters program when her Dad got ill, so she is in her last year of her Masters. She has been with the same boyfriend for 11+ years and they want to move to the Pacific NW when she graduates. I know I will be sad when she moves, but I wouldn't trade a day I have had here with her for anything. This move was right for me. The meet up groups are hard because I can't seem to stop myself from telling my story. Most of these folks are divorced or just single and don't really want to hear it. I have met one or two widows that are nice, but haven't really tried to get together outside of these groups. I also had trouble with the holidays. But honestly I am having more issues now. Remembering the last 'normal' month of my husbands life. A year ago tomorrow I interviewed for a job in Virginia I really wanted and would have allowed me to still care for my husband and get health insurance for myself. It is ironic that about two days into his last hospitalization, I learned they hired someone 'onsite' because of a current employees health emergency. I often imagined how hard it would have been had I gotten the job and then he got sick again. Anyway, I am still doing some paperwork, but mostly facing the taxes. I am anxious to get that done. I haven't even gone to SS for widows benefits yet. That is on my to do list this week. I too feel better when I get out.&n
Hello, Shirley. Yes, time ticks along and you do come to realize (sadly) that you shared a 'piece' of life with your husband...and that your life is so much more...after he is gone. It is so hard to find it sometimes, though...the rest of your life, that is. I mean, what IS the rest of my life? I wasn't planning on doing this alone! That is what I kept asking myself. I still ask myself this question...but I am better at not letting it rock my boat. I guess confidence in my ability to figure things out is much greater 4 years out. I hope you are confident in your ability to make a wonderful life for yourself, Shirley. If you are not now, you will be. Everything is going to be all right. I wish you the very, very best! Cindy
At 2 weeks in I know that things are extremely difficult for you. We are here to help you. At this point I am just over 4 months in and there is a long way left of this journey. I am here to help in any way possible.