…… on many levels.
My dad and his wife came to spend the night and to buy my Mustang. The car Jim surprised me with on my 40th birthday.
It looked like this:
And I loved it a lot.
I’ve had it for 13 years.
Go ahead …… do the math. I don’t really care all that much.
That car has been with me through some really great times.
And through some of the worst times anyone should have to experience.
But for the last 6 years, it has mostly sat in the garage. I drove it once in a while, and it was good to have as an extra car when Son #2 needed some wheels. But mostly, it sat.
And I thought it deserved better.
So I called my dad, who had asked about buying it a few years ago.
Before I was ready.
But now, I was.
Until he drove it out of the driveway.
And tears poured down.
Because I should not have to be selling that car.
Jim should not be dead.
But there you go.
Another chapter closed.
It doesn’t get easier.
A couple of days ago, I fell in love with a house. A smaller house, but a beautiful one.
So I put an offer on it.
After a day and a half, they countered.
And today, I looked at another house, and then re-countered.
And they said yes.
It’s hard to believe.
On the one hand, I am beyond thrilled to get this house. To start over with something that’s me and what will be, rather than what was, and what will never be.
I’m excited to move into this house and make it my home. My Houston home.
But I’m also beyond sad.
I wish that I weren’t having to make this decision.
I wish that I still loved the house I’m in because Jim is in it with me.
But he’s not.
And never will.
The closing of yet another chapter.
A very long, and mostly wonderful, chapter.
Too many chapters have closed in my life.
And then there’s this:
Daughter #1 has been trying to make an appointment for a CT scan. The scan that the cardiac surgeon told me my children will need to get, every year for the rest of their lives, after he told me that Jim had died.
Unfortunately, her health insurance company doesn’t agree. (Thank you, Obama). They say that it’s not necessary.
Easy for them to say. They didn’t have a father die of an aortic dissection.
She asked me to look up her records and see if I could find anything that gave the surgeon’s instructions about getting regular CT scans.
Unfortunately, and for whatever reason, I have no records from 2008 or 2009. At that time I used a CPA firm that Jim had used to do our taxes. And then they folded. And took our records with them, I guess.
Also unfortunately, a very good friend (at that point in time) was in charge of the medical records for the kids. She was an amazing woman who helped me with all of the scheduling of the CT scans and all of the research into what might lie ahead for them. She also got them involved in a study for aortic dissections.
But we never learned anything from that study. Mostly, they just used the word “inconclusive” a lot. And I don’t have any of those records. She had them, and I’m guessing that she still has them.
But she is no longer a person I can contact for help.
That has been made perfectly clear.
So I spent the morning searching on line to see if I could remember/recognize the surgeon who came out to talk to me on December 18, 2007, at about 2:00 a.m.
But I couldn’t.
So I pulled out his death certificate to see if that dr. was listed.
It was the first time I really perused that piece of paper.
And I actually felt more and more light-headed as I read it.
I hate that piece of paper.
And I hate where it takes me.
But it didn’t give me the information I sought.
So I told Daughter #1 to call the hospital’s cardiac unit and talk to them about what happened and ask for their recommendation.
And then I sent an email to Jim’s aunt and uncle.
I asked them if they knew what his mom/Jim’s mom’s mom had died of.
After Jim died, his mom told me that her mother had died of an aneurism, but she didn’t know what type.
It was the first time that I really saw red and wanted to hurt someone.
As Jim sat in that hospital room, waiting for surgery, the doctors and nurses kept quizzing me on what could possibly have caused it.
Was he hit in the chest?
Was he in a car accident (like Princess Diana?).
Had he had high blood pressure?
There was nothing, anywhere, to indicate there could be a problem.
No family history of anyone dropping dead from an aneurism?
No, not as far as I knew.
Would that knowledge have helped Jim, in the end?
No, I don’t believe so.
But it sure would’ve been good to know before then.
So that he could’ve included that on his health records.
It might have saved his life.
Maybe. Should’ve. Would’ve. Could’ve.
But it still pisses me off that his family didn’t openly discuss things like that.
Secrets do a lot of harm.
A whole lot of harm.
But I digress.
So I poured over the death certificate, and once I started feeling light headed and nauseous, I stopped.
And then I received the email that told me what had happened to his maternal grandmother.
She had, indeed, died of an abdominal aneurism. It led to kidney complications, which also contributed to her death.
I read that …… and I felt numb.
It was hard to breathe.
And then I cried.
I cried for what could’ve been.
I cried for what could be.
I cried for the senseless loss of the other half of myself.
I cried for the senseless loss of my children’s father.
And I cried for the unknown future of my six precious and very loved children.
Because two weakened aortas, does not bode well for them.
And yes, I know that this information could help save their lives, help them get pre-emptive medical help, help their doctors discover the first hint of a problem before it becomes a life or death issue.
In a couple of days …….I’ll be able to be grateful for that.
But today …… today I am sad, depressed, and angry. Very, very angry.
My kids have been through enough shit in these past 6 years. They really don’t need this crappy sword hanging over their heads.
But there it is.
And it makes me sick.
And beyond angry.
I hate this.
I resent it.
I wish I could take it away.
I wish I could take it upon myself.
And once again, I’m pissed at God.
It wasn’t enough for us to lose Jim.
Now we all get to wonder, for the rest of our lives, if one of them will be next.
Or if one of them will get to have open heart surgery to avoid death.
So there you go.
An emotional day.
They never seem to end.
Pray as you feel led.
Pray for those of us who can’t …… at the moment.
SO much love, the biggest hugs, and a virtual handful of Kleenex after Kleenex being sent your way, Janine. What a hard-hitting day for you. I hate it for you.
I often think those onslaughts can hit us so much harder, and more unexpectedly, when it gets farther out and we have lovely , exciting things to trigger of them. They hurt more again because we’re used to regular days feeling pretty good. And then people we love never stop being dead, dammitall.
Praying that everything continues to go okay with your kids’ health. What a heavy thing to contend, and live, with. Accidental deaths totally suck, and while paranoia and anxiety come with it, there still isn’t that element of inherited conditions. SUCH a minefield for you guys….
Love you, so much. Hang in there….
Thank you, Candice. I love you so very much and am so thankful that you are in my “after”. Thank you for understanding and knowing how much this sucks.
Thank you. Don’t take this the wrong way but I guess I like to know you still cry. I watch so many strong widows from soaring spirts live and find their new normal. And I’m always like a fish out of water trying to find my next meal, trying to pay a bill, trying to watch my sons show and stop crying cuz I sit alone without his father, trying And trying not to go off the deep end, just trying to breath. I am always thinking what’s a matter with me it’s been 3.5 years and there hasn’t been one day I haven’t cried? So I forget we all live in this nitemare at a young age, and as I cry for my son who lost you cry for six. I guess every now and then I need to watch someone strong like you still have a moment and then I feel some hope ..I will move on, happy I think not, but I will move on. I hope you understand my bizzare thinking. But thank you for letting me know it’s ok to still cry.
It will ALWAYS be ok to cry. Always. Please don’t compare your grief to anyone else’s. We all look very different and besides, you never know what happens behind closed doors. You’re grieving perfectly, for you.
Many, many hugs. 🙂
There will never be a time when crying is not ok. Ever.
Those times do come less and less as time goes by, and as we become stronger and carry our grief easier. But I believe that Grief will always be with me. I believe that every so often he will tap me on the shoulder, just to remind me that he’s still there. And I’ll cry. Even if I find love again, I know there will be times when the death of my husband will overwhelm me …… and I’ll cry.
I’m thankful that you now feel less alone with your tears. And I’m thankful that you also have Hope. Trust me, Hope is powerful …… and it’s out there. And I think you will be happy again. Happy in a different way, but happy none the less.
In spite of the occasional tears.
Lots of prayers and hugs for you and the kids. I can only imagine how much this sucks.
Thinking of you and your kids health and praying! Grieving sucks…and it hits at any time… days, weeks, years, years…. so sorry!
T.A.N.W. I’ll keep you all in my prayers.
I hear you Janine and my hearts breaks for you. Heart disease runs in my family as well. I’m having my checked at the end of the month and will probably schedule one for my son to be on the safe side.
Yesterday I moved into my new small home and sitting here on the floor of my empty house reading this – I am crying my eyes out.
Only the happy memories are carrying me forward towards Hope!
Thanks for sharing this