This is my sharing of grief, loss and the daily act of coping with the death of my loving husband, Kevin. He passed away on June 26th after a devastating year-long battle with lung cancer that metastasized.
This morning I took the vacuum apart to clean the roller and check the health of the belt. Not something I would normally get into doing. But was much needed and I put it off for several months. Kevin was not one of the handy guys or wannabes. He would have done it for me, just the same. Like I would do things for him.
It was an understanding between partners. Of course we were territorial about tasks and chores. I would never let him do the laundry and he insisted on doing the yard work. He paid the bills, kept track of paperwork and took the car in for car check ups. There were crossovers. I would worm my way into helping with the yard and Kevin always made great Neat Kevins (Sloppy Joes without the sloppy part). It was harmonious like that until the cancer. I started taking on more of the lawn chores. I took over driving when he started chemo. There was a lot of shuffling going on and I didn't think about it. Kevin would've done it for me.
As the months went on, I was labeled "caregiver." That was okay, too. I loved and love Kevin so much. I would do everything I could to make him better.
Definition of Caregiver:
One who contributes the benefits of medical, social, economic, or environmental resources to a dependent or partially dependent individual, such as a critically ill person.
When we were among the medical world, I became his voice when he was too tired and sick to speak. I was his advocate always. But I also became the advocate for his doctors, nurses,, aides, therapy techs, dietitians, cleaning people and the medical bills.
As for the bills and cost of treatment, we were fortunate to have the Oak Hill Patient Advocate Manager, Linda Murphy step in the first time he was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with cancer. Kevin did not have insurance, so she got me through the paperwork for his getting accepted for Medicaid. Between Kevin being so sick and the mountain of bills that we were getting, my heart was always in my throat. I was in panic mode, but couldn't show it. I don't know what I would've done without Linda. It all took time. There were interviews and always more papers to file, but she got it done and continued to help us with the financial part of cancer until after Kevin passed away. We were so thankful to have her assistance,
On the medical side, I was always expected to carry on with their directives. Especially in the last four months. Doctors would look at me and say, he has to eat more. Physical therapists would tell me, he has to be able to stand up and walk before he can go home. Easy for them to say. I tried. Kevin knew what they were saying, but he was no longer physically able. Yet, I was expected to keep after him even though it didn't feel right.
I was in the middle, wanting what was best for Kevin and never giving up hope.
I was stepping in for Kevin, taking over his task to fight for his life.
He is the love of my life. I just don't know. Pushing him to try harder, eat more, do what the doctor says. It gets me down to think about it.
Writing this is helpful. I have so many emotions to work through. This morning when I started thinking about all of this, I was mad at myself. Now, I am just sad.
There are so many things we do in life and never have to look back or scrutinize. Then there is grief..
Sending my love to all. Thank you for being here for me.