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Peggy, Karen and Nancy


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I started to write this to all of those who have recently lost their husband or soul mate. I decided that what I have to say may be of help to someone who has lost a parent recently and is having a hard time understanding some of the other parents behavior.

I know there are many more of you than I have mentioned but my memory doesn't work as good as it used to. I know too that there are still others who are facing the first Christmas without their loved one. I know that no one can ever understand completely what you are going through but there are many things that we all have in common. I just want you to know that there are those of us who do understand many of your heartaches and fears. I'm sure that Ann, Shirley, Norme and several others would agree with me.

I am not making lightly of the loss those of you have had of a parent or a sibling. I have been there and I know how shattering that can be. I can only say that losing your soul mate is not only different but much harder to live with.

I want to share some of the feelings that I wrote about in my journal not long after Johnny died. I sincerly hope that what I say can somehow help someone else. If not to start to heal but to know that you are not alone. Or maybe help you to understand what someone close to you is going through.

His death robbed me of many things. I lost the man I loved and wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I lost my hopes,dreams and purpose. For two months my every thought and every action was caring for him to the best of my abilities. His care took all of my thought and energy as well as the love I have for him. Then suddenly he was gone and I was adrift in a world without him. He no longer needed me but I needed him and he was not there.

I had my car in the parking lot at the hospital but I was in no condition to drive even had I known the way. That thick fog was still there and it was so cold and felt like it kept me isolated from the rest of the world. But maybe it was just me not the fog. It was as if I were in a long tunnel and all of my life was behind me and someone had put up a blockade to keep me from going back to it and when I looked ahead I could see nothing but a void. I couldn't feel the ground beneath my feet. I can't say that I was numb because the pain was so bad. I felt like there was some wild animal inside of me eating it's way from the inside out.

It seemed that every inch of the way from his son's house to our home held a memory. We had made that trip so many times together. As I rounded the corner I saw the table and chairs on the patio and the nights sitting there while he talked on the phone were so real that I could almost see him there. When I walked in the door the first thing I saw were the roses he had me buy the night I went to Wall Mart they were still there and the petals were falling. They were as dead and and black as my life.

His recliner was by the door. I had put it there when our love seat was delivered and hadn't had a chance to get anyone to take it away. Then there was the oxygen concentrator by the love seat and his nebulizer on the table. Everywhere I looked I could see him but he wasn't there. He was everywhere but he just wasn't there. I couldn't go into the bedroom yet or take his things out of the car. I went to the kitchen and put some coffee on. While waiting for it to make I walked to the door that looked out onto the patio. When I turned back around I saw the calender that we wrote things on. There were little notes and reminders in my hand and his. When I saw the date I took a pen and wrote next to it "the day my heart died".

Those words are from my journal and the story I wrote about me and Johnny. What made it all even harder was that there was no one to talk to about him. I know that people are really not insensetive but I felt like they were. The truth is that most people just don't know how to handle someone elses pain, especially emotional pain. So they don't talk to you about your loved one and they try to change the subject when you mention him. That just makes it that much harder.

You can't look to the future because it is so frightening to face the years ahead alone. You can't live in the here and now because you are so lost and full of pain. The only place to look is back. You hold on to those memories as a life line, both the good memories and the bad because you feel that is all you have left. That is all that really matters to you at that time.

I advise you to keep a journal. It took me a month before I started keeping a daily journal and as hard as it was it was the best thing I could have done for myself at the time. In a journal you can pour your heart out. You can curse and you can cry. You can let all of your anger, fear and frustrations out and no one will try to shut you up. You can talk to your loved one through a journal and you can talk to God. No matter how many friends or other family members you have there are somethings that you can share with no one but the one you have lost. That makes you feel even more alone. That is where a journal helps. Put it all down and later go back and read it. You will find that as bad as you still feel things have gotten at least a little better.

Another thing that helped me was Johnny's uncle. He is only one year older than Johnny. They grew up more as best friends than uncle and nephew. He tells me things about Johnny that he was too modest to tell me. He brings Johnny's youth to me and sense he had not seen Johnny for many years I can give him Johnny in his later years and some of what I know about the ones in between. The things you can share with someones childhood friend are very special and they are a gift that you can treasure. If you can do that please try. It is so good for both of you.

I know that there are many things that I write here that I should keep for my journal instead. The truth is I haven't kept it up in over a year. I just don't have time for both and I need this message board. I can come here and I know there is someone who understands at least part of what I say and I know that you care. I can talk about Johnny here. This is a place where we laugh, cry and pray together but it is more. Somehow comming here gives us one more connection to the one we have lost. A part of them will always live here because we have shared so much.

So as Christmas approaches if you find yourself in a bad place reach out to one of us who have been there a little longer. We may not know what to say and we may not be able to lessen your pain but we will "listen" and we will share. In the long run I think that is the best medicine any of us will ever find.

God Bless you all. Lillian

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