Six years ago, when my first husband could no longer hold on and passed away from colo-rectal cancer, I was told by a grief therapist from Hospice that I would be blessed. I didn't know what she meant. I had cared for my husband 24/7 except when he was in the hospital. I remember he used to ask the doctors to admit him just so I could get some rest. I washed his wounds, fed him and slept in the same bed, the best I could, with a man who needed to sleep on a bedpan. Yes, it was that bad.
We finally got him a hospital bed in the living room, making it easier for me to care for him, and to sleep, and to have the ambulance guys come get him when needed. I also told my younger daughter and her husband in Australia to "come now". They wanted to come in January. "No!! That's Too Late. Come Now." They did. It was September 22. He died October 3, one day before our 41st Anniversary. On our anniversary I was sitting in the office at the funeral home making arrangements.
I will never forget the panic I felt when the funeral home people came to the house to take him away the morning he died. The evening before Hospice helped me understand how to make him comfortable and gave me two medicines to administer under his tongue, by drops....morphine and something else. They told me to call any time if it got too tough for me to handle. By 5 am, with my younger daughter by my side, I was so exhausted I could no longer stand. Her dad was breathing loudly and we could not help him to breath easier. My daughter and I decided to go to bed. I figured I would wake up if there was a change.
My daughter woke me up. The sun was shining. It was 8 am. "Dad is gone." Later I wrote a poem.
You never wanted to see me cry,
You didn't want a sad good-bye.
Quietly you saw us sleeping,
So you left before the weeping.
Three years earlier my mom passed away in a nursing home, also under Hospice care. I didn't want to put her in a nursing home, but I couldn't care for her any longer. She was living with us, and it was straining my marriage to the breaking point.
I first learned about loosing a close loved one in 1987 when my dad passed away. My mom and dad had moved to a small 2 acre farm in Arkansas, the first land they ever owned, bought with my dad's $10,000 early retirement from Norris Industries in California. They had lived there more than 10 years when my dad go sick. He had some rare lymphoma. My mom had been camping out in my dad's hospital room in Little Rock, 150 miles south of the farm for nearly a month when she called and told me to come there now.
I flew in from Indiana on a Wednesday. My dad passed on Saturday. I had a nervous breakdown prior to his passing. I saw the hospital therapist. I told her I was having dreams where I would find band-aids with clocks on them all over my dad's bed and I had to keep picking them up to shake them to keep them running, because if they all stopped he would die. By the time I was done talking we were both crying. She told me I had to let him go.
Three months before my husband died, my older daughter's husband died from liver cancer. She was devastated. She and her dad had been close. Four months after her husband died she was dating. "Mom, I don't want to spend the rest of my life sad like our neighbor did because her husband had died and thirty years later she was still sad and lonely."
I had no intentions of marrying again. I thought I might move out west somewhere.
Then love found me, all the way from Europe. I had joined a chatroom that played music. I enjoyed chatting with everyone. Once in awhile someone with an unusual name would log in and start talking about things, things I understood but no one else seemed to notice. He was talking about a war in the Balkans. I started talking with him. A month later he PM'd me. We started talking about everything. We had a million things in common. I saw his pictures. Every nerve in my body wanted to meet him. He wanted to meet me.
"Don't trust him, find someone in your own community."
"There must be some American man you could have a relationship with."
"He's going to use you, don't trust a foreign man."
My friends and family were worried.
I wasn't looking for a husband. I wasn't looking to get married. Forty-one years married to a closet alcoholic left me lonely for a soulmate. I married my first husband in 1969 and raised a family. I have lots of good memories. We had lots of adventures before his health declined and he found comfort in bottles of beer.
In the summer of 2011 I flew to Europe. It was a fairy-tail romance. We were married in his country. I stayed there 6 weeks. I had a new life and I loved it. We talked about me moving there, but I couldn't handle the heat in summer. I was also concerned with winter because of the choking coal smog, plus he wanted to have better job opportunities (there are still next to no jobs in his country). So I flew home to start the immigration process.
The process is long. A year after filing for him I flew back to visit for 10 days, which was all I could manage that time. I made him promise not to be so sad this time, for surely we will be together soon. Finally in the spring of 2013 he got his visa and immigrated, home to me at last.
We are inseparable, though we have our own space as well. My husband is a hard-working man, and he takes good care of me. On his days off we go places together, for coffee or shopping or walking nature trails in nice weather. We respect each other, worry for each other, care for each other, love each other.
So, last night I was thinking about all of this, and thinking about all the self-help books and teachers. I had tried to watch some videos and read a bit, but I kept thinking, "why go somewhere to find myself when I wasn't feeling like I needed to?" "There is no place I would rather be than by my husband's side."
Then I realized....I know who I am. I am the Mrs. to my Mr. I am the soul to my mate. My husband doesn't subtract from me, he amplifies me. He encourages my hobbies. My place, my ah-ha moment, my happiness, is my life adventure with my best friend, my husband.