I really enjoyed celebrating my birthday and spending time with my daughters, granddaughters and some great friends in May. We shared many adventures, laughs, meals and time with each other. It was so wonderful, I was homesick when I returned home. Wish I could be in two places at once.
But what's really been on my mind is what mine and Kevin's lives were like a year ago. He spent 23 days, from my birthday on May 12th to June 3rd in Bayonet Point Hospital in Hudson, FL. On that day in June 2016 he was released and sent home with Hospice Care for another 23 days until he passed away on June 26th.
I was in a fog for the six or eleven months after he died. There were days when I was sure I'd passed some level of grief and I was moving on, the way grieving people should move on. But really most of those days were dark, lonely for Kevin. Time was passing with little relief. I kept busy doing my crafts, going to the gym, trying to keep in touch with family and friends. Sorting through Kevin's things, letting go a little a little her and there. Time will help me heal, I kept telling myself.
Something happened while I was staying in Boynton Beach. It was my third visit to Stephanie's since Kevin has been gone. Visits last summer were consoling while I was in a state of shock and utter confusion. This time was more like going home. We'd always considered that city our home. We had some wonderful years there with the girls, the grand kids and many friends. Even scary things happened, like my having breast cancer, but we got through it together. The place has grown and changed. This time the familiar faces, loved ones and Kevin's favorite beach helped clear my mind and out of the fog.
I need to stop mind wandering aimlessly. Kevin wouldn't want that for me. I've felt guilty, angry, sad, lonely, endured heartache and all things negative. I am not sure why, but since this visit I feel focused on recalling our last 46 days together.
Maybe because in hindsight, I know I should've realized he was dying. None of his doctors said so. Instead they were trying to get him released to a rehab facility, which meant (to me) there was more than a glimmer of hope.
He went downhill fast this time, while in the hospital. The staff was doing their best to keep him maintained with transfusions and tweaking medications. Actually, the list of problems and complications that landed him in the hospital a final time signaled all was down hill. I see that now.
We knew his life was in danger when he was diagnosed the cancer in April 2015. Yet we never prepared for his death.
His oncologist even called me, pleading with me to do what ever I could to get him into a facility close to home and near the doctor.. As the days went on Kevin could no longer sit up, let alone undertake physical therapy sessions at the hospital. I tried to encourage him, but it was more than he could handle. The facility near home rejected him. They realized his state of health was beyond rehabilitation. A nursing home near the hospital offered to take him and promised therapy, but hospital staffers that I trusted warned me, the home could not provide what Kevin needed.
Our last hope was HOSPICE. I was adamant that Kevin receive physical therapy so that he could regain enough strength for more chemo and better health. I believed anything was possible. HOSPICE staff explained they would provide therapy and that we had the option to drop HOSPICE care once Kevin was well enough for chemo..I believed with all my heart he would be recovering and back to fighting the cancer that was once again growing in his lungs, brain and bones.
Dr. Tang would not agree to being his representative//physician while he was in HOSPICE care, so the HOSPICE doctor took over.
In the meantime, Kevin became less responsive. Doctors at the hospital and then HOSPICE staff started communicating through me. Kevin's responses to me were yes, no, I'm sorry or I love you. His moving was confined to helping pull himself up in bed or tossing and turning in his sleep.
Between his not communicating and my not facing reality, we never got to talk about what was to come.
A year ago today was Kevin's second day home from the hospital. Halfway through the 46 days. He wanted so much to go home. HOSPICE staff came by on his first and second day home to get him settled, do their evaluations and then started their visits and routine two days later. It was actually less stressful having home home rather than in the hospital. He was sleeping most of the time. He was confined to a hospital bed in our living room and I slept on the couch during his last days home, so I could be close by in case he needed me.
I can't help it. I need to dwell on those days and every last piece of our lives together. June 26th marks one year. I've somehow made it through every day on the calendar that had meaning for us.
Something inside me needs to walk through those days again. For some reason it is essential.
If we had our way, he'd be sitting in front of the TV right now watching baseball. Or better yet, we'd be at a game. I miss Kevin every day. He is always in my thoughts and prayers.
Thank you for reading my posts and your support. I am fortunate and grateful to have loving, caring friends and family.