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one month gone



I am slowly, oh so slowly, breathing in the reality of Ray's death. It is easy to fill my days with busyness, to cook, clean, weed, shop, exercise, walk and find so much to do to fill my days. There are still a lot of tasks to do, I have just finished writing the "thank you for the flowers" letters, 8 of them, to loving and thoughtful friends and thanks yous to the three Clubs we belonged to that also sent flowers. The lilies we put on Ray's grave, the rest I had here until they faded and died.


But sooner or later I have to lay down and sleep and that is crunch time. No more evading the reality. I am on my own now, truly alone, just me to oversee my life, to make the moves, to do what there is to do. Yes, I knew it was coming and to a certain extent planned for it to happen but still it is a state of being I just need to learn to live with now.


It is like becoming a different person, not all at once but a piece at a time. I got a letter addressed to "The estate of the late..." that was hard, harder are the cold calls which ask: "can I speak to Raymond please?". I wish I could speak to him too, I spent so much time in the past year doing that, sitting by his bed, sitting by his wheelchair in the dining room, the lounge room, out in the courtyard, sitting speaking to Raymond. Now I can't.


Friends are kind but they will go back to their own lives, they all have busy lives. It is part of the world we live in, being busy, busy, busy. Some I thought would contact haven't, maybe Sue without Ray is different, a single lady, not a member of a couple as they still are. Maybe they are afraid I will pour out my troubles to them or frighten them by describing the last days, which I am busy trying to forget. I am still the same person, aren't I?


I am taking the advice of close friends and where I can I do accept invitations, so I had dinner with Trev and family on Thursday night and coffee with a friend yesterday. I will eventually reach out to others but not yet, at the moment I am still in self-preservation mode. Those of you who have had a bereavement will understand what I mean,I am not ready yet to be "out there".


I did go to the Lions dinner on Tuesday night but didn't agree to join in any of the current activities. That too will happen eventually. The Christmas Stocking roster is out already so I will fill in a few spots a week, get myself dressed, go out, smile at the people, try not to cringe when people ask: "and how is Ray?" as I know they will, there are old acquaintances we only ever caught up with while selling Stocking tickets. I will have another older Lion with me and he/she will pat me on the back and say "never mind when my ... died...". There are a great number of grieving people out there.


I have been visiting Mum twice or three times a week. She is mostly sleeping now. I interviewed the nurse at in charge of Mum's section in the nursing home. I had a call to tell me she is "palliative only" now. In my opinion she has been for some time, this is just confirming it. So she will be allowed to reject food and drink, sleep when she wants to sleep, even miss a shower if they think it will disturb her. It is sad they have it all in writing now, almost as if she is being written off. I knew it was coming, I just don't think I could deal with her death so soon after Ray's death. But if I have to I know the strength will come from somewhere. My faith tells me that it is so.


It is one day at a time, one foot in front of the other, look around and see what needs to be done and do it. It is trying to pick up the routine things again and going through the motions. Some of you have been there, done that, some of you have not yet experienced what I am going through and will think "that is something ahead of me that I don't want to think about". Please do think about it, line up your ducks. Remember we all have to go through it sometime, with a parent, a partner, a spouse whoever you look after,all of us are vulnerable.


Being prepared is a good thing and does take some of the stress out of the event. If you have made some preparation, a power point of photos, a eulogy that I had previously prepared to be updated were the two things Shirley and I worked on in the days between Ray dying and his funeral. With Mum I have done those things already. But I just hope I don't have to use them soon. Sleep on Mum.


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I know that it is hard. But, with time and your personality....things will change.

I do worry about your Mum. I do hope that she stays comfortable.

It is so hard.....changes....in our life. But, as you said it is inevitable.


being alone......


I pray for you daily.


Love, Ruth

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One foot in front of the other. I've sat at this computer a good long time trying to think of what to say next, something that could comfort you. But I don't have the words I imagine you truley wish to hear. So here is what I'll say to you instead: You are not alone. Ray is never going to leave your side. When you ask for him,he will be with you. When you need his advise he will answer.


Yes, we all have to go through this in some way or another. Its part of life and death. Knowing this doesn't make it any easier to go through, however. One foot in front of the other, Miss Sue.


Thoughts and Love,


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Sue, if I remember grieving corretly, it gets worse before it gets better. I mean, at first you still have some shock and disbelief covering you, you do the normal distractions, but seems in a few months, it sinks in more like a reality. I'm only saying that because if it slips up on you, it may knock you down. If you know it is it is the normal way, you can keep holding on till the worst is over, knowing it will get better later. When my dad was dying of cancer, I knew it. When a friend asked when he was going home from the hospital, I calmly told them, he wasn't. So why was I so surprised/horrified when he passed? Because my brain knew it technically, but my psyche still hadn't accepted it. There is a part of the brain that protects us so it don't all hit at once. Praying for you and sending you (((((SUE)))). Stay here with us, where we can hug you!

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Sue: the week Bruce was in the hospital post-stroke, I never left him. When he got to Rehab, his boss would spell me off every night. I remember thinking that this was such a God-send, then got home to that empty house and bed and could not wait to get back to him. Those feelings, honey, are in our love and our partner. You raised three children with him. He is your backbone, your support and your love.


He will never leave you. You have his heart. It is just a matter of learning how to live without his physical presence. His "essence" is with you always. He has your ear. His support and love are always there and I know you "listen." That fills your heart. I can't explain how his touch, or smile or lack of physical presence affects you. I had that the most with my Mom. We were so close. But she speaks to me every day and visits often, at night. For that I am lucky and have some peace. Dad visits as well, but only in the most difficult situations or stress.


The loneliness, I just don't know. I have not had to deal with that. But I do know your children and in-laws love and support you. And your Grandchildren need their Grandma. There are things you bring to them that no one else can. And in Ray's memory, you need to keep Grandpa alive.


Your plate is full right now, honey. You will sort it out and adjust in the transition. The pain, I can only pray it lessens with time, a bit less "sharp." Go easy honey. We are here as you need us. Debbie

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