The first eight hours as a widower
That title felt weird to type.
First and foremost, over 1200 people have liked the post of her passing on Facebook. Unbelievable. I am so happy that she touched so many lives. I am not sure if I will able be able to reply to the hundreds of facebook notifications individually, but please know to each and every one of you that your thoughts, well wishes, and prayers were of great help to us over these past three months.
When I got back to the Hospice Home, they hadn't touched her, per her mother's request to wait until I got there.. She looked blue, but at peace. I kissed her, told her I was sad yet relieved she was no longer in pain, and that fucking cancer had died. In time people are going to forget the cancer, yet Billy Jo is unforgettable. In that way, she beat the shit out of cancer for 17 years, and even when it took her life, she wins.
It was a bit hard to watch the CNAs prepare her for the funeral home to come get her. There was a lot of settling of blood already. It caught me by surprise.
The guy from the funeral home was the same one we met back in October when we planned everything. I was relieved to see his familiar face. He asked me to join him on the trip to the van. I did, gave her one last kiss, told her I'd see her in a few days at the wake, and walked away. in tears.
Upon hearing the news, that occurred about two hours after I got home, and about ten minutes after I posted my last blog entry, I fucking LOST IT. Screamed, yelled, cried, everything. Then the next two xanax took effect and I calmed down.
Since then, I've had a few small moments but so far I'm ok. I'm exhausted, but the 45 minutes of sleep alone would have done that.
Her mom, Brian, Lisa, Lena, and I decided instead of moping around we were going to keep ourselves busy and help me immensely at the same time. I have immediately started removing stuff that is sure to fuck me up in the days/weeks/months to come. Closet - emptied... the girls all went through and picked stuff they want either because they liked it or wanted a memory of her through a piece of clothing. There's tons left but it's in our never used living room in piles for more people to come and go through. Whatever is left over goes to Goodwill. Get in touch with me to come by.
All her toiletries/shampoos/stuff like that is getting donated to the Hospice Home for people staying with dying loved ones that may have forgotten something. It took them 20 minutes to find me shampoo last Sunday. I asked and they said they'd love anything I could provide.
The wigs she never ever wore and all bandanas are being donated to the cancer center we went to last year.
Brian is getting me a t-shirt quilt made, and I'm going to get a few teddy bears made of some of her clothes by the Hospice Home.
Doing all this tonight helped us all. We joked, had good memories, a few tears, but all in all it has been an ok time. Kept ourselves busy. Just the way she would have wanted us to. What a perfect way to show her we can be and will be ok. It will take some time but tonight was a good start. Hell, I even kept down dinner.
To those of you wondering if I am going to keep this blog going - the answer is YES. So many people have told me that I've helped them in one way or another, I can only continue to share my journey towards recovery, in hopes it will help a spouse through a hell like this. I hope you continue to read. I will also start working on the book soon. It will include many blog posts, but also other content not posted here. Who knows when that will be done - I'm not in a rush.
There will be many posts about how I am dealing with all of this, and in addition you will start to see more posts about me getting ready for RAGBRAI in July - which I will ride in her memory.
I have picked out what she will be laid out in for the wake - unanimous approval by everyone tonight. She will be summery looking in December but who gives a fuck. For those of you that know her best - yes, she will be wearing flip flops in that casket.
The wake will be held Wednesday December 19th from 2-9pm. Thursday at 11am there will be a memorial service at the funeral home. There will be no procession to a church. The funeral home is Overman-Jones in Plainfield. I meet with them tomorrow afternoon to go over final details.
I will explain tomorrow where Billy Jo's final resting place will be (if I haven't already).
Once again - thank you all. You said I am strong, I think you all provided me with it.
That's enough for today. I am going try and cheer up my mess of a doggie and then go to sleep soon.