25 April 2007

One Foot in Front of the Other

My mom left this morning. I miss her already. My dad is here now, which is nice and very helpful, but it's not the same as having Mom around. She probably won't be back until the twins' first birthday party in June. That seems so far away, but I have a feeling the time will fly.

I have started dealing with the bureaucracy of death. I made that horrible call to Social Security to set up an appointment about survivors' benefits for the twins. The soonest I can get in is 15 May. I've also been in touch with the group that administers one of John's retirement funds, and I've started looking into donating John's car to charity. I'm trying to take care of at least one item of business a day. I figure that pace is manageable and will get me through it all in a relatively timely fashion. Of course, I may hit the end of my gogogo phase soon and take a break from it all, but we'll see.

The twins are starting to sleep better (knock on wood). They have done great on the last two nights and I hope we're turning the corner on the 5:00 cranky wakeups for now.

I'm surprised by the way I miss John. I expected that I would be a tearful, hopeless mess for a while. That might come. For now, I feel an odd combination of relief for John that he is no longer sick and a hollow sadness like a dull ache, all the time. A particularly touching card or shared memory will make the pain more sharp and bring on the tears, but for now, I mostly feel a constant, lonely grief.

My mom and I were driving around the other day trying to go to REI. I wasn't sure what exit it was off the highway; John was always at the wheel for our REI trips. As I turned off at the third incorrect exit, I almost said to my mom, "Well, duh, we should just call John and ask him where it is. I know that he knows." This has happened to me a few times now, where I feel like John's just away for a while, or at work or something. If only that were more than wishful thinking.

For those of you who were wondering, GH stands for Goose Husband, although for those of you who thought it might be Gorgeous Husband, I'm not going to argue.


baasheep said...

Ugh the paperwork sucks, we are wading through it ourselves and my Dad is trying to get his head around the fact he will be eligable for a widowers allowance. A job a day definitely is the best way to go. Much love to you x

Caroline said...

I think that urgent inclination to pick up the phone never goes away. My mom passed away in 2003--she was only 59--and I still have to fight it.

I email her sometimes. Hate to see that bounce message, though.

Snick, you're a wonderful mother and a remarkable woman. John was very lucky to have you by his side for the last years of his life. After spending some time reading your blog, I am guessing they were among the best years of his life.

Much aloha from Caroline

Angela said...

I'm sorry your Mom has left,she sounds like such a wonderful person, happy to read that your Dad is there to help out. That's wonderful that you're able to actually be productive and get things done, once again you amaze me.

That's so wonderful that the twins are sleeping better, you must be so exhausted, so every little bit helps.

Thank you for sharing your journey and your thoughts...you are in my thoughts and prayers, please take care of yourself.

Anonymous said...

Sorry that your Mom had to go, glad that Dad could come for a bit. You're adventurous with one job a day, good for you, I couldn't get that far when my dad passed away. I still call his old cell number by accident sometimes and I've saved the very last voicemail he left me, when I feel dumpy I listen to it and I feel better.

Thinking of you often, and hoping the good sleep for the babies continues, I can't believe they're almost 1!!!

laughing mommy said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I wish I had words to cheer you up. Just know that we are thinking of you and praying for comfort for you. I hope something good happens today to bring a smile to your face.

Dorcasina said...

I know. I know. I know. It's those mundane, "my husband took care of that" things that continue to throb the most, not because they were so important, but because they symbolized the glue of our relationship. The things I want to tell him, every single day. The computer problems I can't solve. What to do about our dying cars. The cute things my daughter does, that he would LOVE. The moments of agony and despair, in the long run, are easier than that ache. It gets better, of course, but for me losing the ache means another loss of him.

I guess I should be offering words of cheer, but they seem false. Not every day is awful, of course, and now I cherish those "if he were here..." moments, even though they hurt. I think of them as my tribute to him, and to us, and to our marriage. There's no easy way to lose those things.

Sending love and good thoughts your way all the time.

Yankee T said...

ouch. Ouch the paperwork, ouch the ache, ouch the car, and getting lost. I'm so, so sorry, and I send my love to all of you.
I'm glad your mom and dad can do tag-team for you. You need all the hands you can get. And the shoulders to lean on!

Jason said...

In case you didn't know, the SS benefits are paid retroactively. So you'll get a check for the benefits from when John died until they get you set up for regular payments.

I understand about the phone thing. I heard the phone ring a week or so after Anna died and some little part of my brain said "Oh, it's Anna!" When the reality kicked in that it couldn't be her, it knocked me flat. I was basically disabled for the rest of the day.

Thanks for continuing to write.

Julia said...

I did the one thing a day thing for a bit after my son died. I ran out of steam about a month or five weeks later and then was stuck in the mud for a while. I guess what I am trying to say is please be gentle with yourself if you loose the drive.

Leggy said...

From my own experiences with grief, that first 2 months is just kind of being on autopilot, going through the motions, one foot in front of the other. Its too painful for your brain/heart/mind to really wrestle with all you've lost, so the best way to deal with it to just tackle the business of death, as much or as little as you can.
I'm glad your dad is around, sorry that your mom had to leave.

Rachel said...

I'm glad the twins are sleeping better.

It must be hard to deal with all the mundane details and paperwork when your grief is so fresh. Thanks for continuing to share your journey with us. I think about you every day.

Rev Dr Mom said...

I always thought GH must mean "Good Husband".

Hugs and good thoughts for you and the babies.

Anonymous said...

Same as rev dr mom said....

Thinking of you.


Menita said...

I still save things up to talk about with my sister later, and then remember.
One foor in front of the other.
I'm thinking of you.

singletracey said...

I figured Goose Head :-) I am glad to see you are getting through. You are a very strong woman and I have found inspiration in your journey. Thanks for sharing....

purple_kangaroo said...


honglien123 said...

I always thought that GH was "Good Husband". =)


liz said...

More hugs and dittos on what others said.

Take care of yourself. Pause when you need to.

gypsy said...

i always thought GH = Great Hubby! which i can tell from what i have read, it does.

i have been reading your blog since i saw the candle on "A Letter To My CHildren"s blog... i dont think i have commented, yet, because i feel like i have been a voyeur.

i have truly enjoyed reading about the relationship you and GH had... you have my greatest sympathy and love and prayers in your grief.

not much else to say... (((hugs))) hope you dont mind me sending a hug.

DoctorMama said...

You did a lot of grieving for the life you didn't get to have together BEFORE he died, I think. Which is good. The relief doesn't seem surprising at all. When someone is very ill and suffering, there's almost a guilt about wishing for them to stay alive.

People often say they hope not to know they're going to die, but most people who are terminally ill say the opposite. You can never really be prepared, but there's a peacefulness to knowing that you did and said the things you needed to.

laura said...

Hollow sadness. I am so very sorry.

Anonymous said...

Hi - I found your blog through someone who posted it on the John Hopkins Pancreatic Cancer site. I wish neither of us had that connection but sadly I lost my mom to this dreadful disease as well. She lived only 5 mos from diagnosis. So, while our experiences are different I bet some of the things that we went through are similar.

I am so sorry for your loss.

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to connect. Mhersh at kc dot rr dot com.


susan said...

I always thought it was Great Husband, which he most definitely was.

Sugar Pixie said...

I know a woman who lost her significant other, who caught herself yelling upstairs for them to bring something down when she realized that they weren't upstairs anymore. How sad and funny at the same time.

The Terrific Trios Mom said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. It really breaks my heart for you. I too am a mom to twins and 11 months later I had another little boy.
My husband did not die, but instead choose to stay a drunk abusive man and I knew that I could not raise my children with him. I filed with the courts and was granted full custody.He was a pretty mean man, tried to actually kill all three babies and I. I was so scared. To be alone with all of these babies that were still in diapers, with no family to really turn to. I in a way grieved for maybe not him, but for what my children would not have.
But you know what I found? Sometimes when I just was numb from being dumbfounded by everything, I was still in disbelief over many things, they call it some sort of stress disorder that Vets normally have, I would be there feeling so numb, and not sure that I could do it, one of them would look up at me, with just the most atonsishing look of love, that I found the strength to keep going.
This may sound strange to you, but it is the absolute truth. Right now it may seem like there is just so much on your plate with having to deal with the emotional process of your husbands passing and being a single mom to twins, but as they grow older, you will find that having twins, compared to a single baby is so much easier. You will find that they have built in playmates that will play contenedly with each other for hours allowing you to tackle the everday tasks of life, you will have twice the smiles and twice the laughter and twice of your husband in them.
As my babies got older, I started to realize that the time had come for me to start being not just a mom, but also an individual woman, and I was afraid. I thought "Who on earth is ever going to want to be with a woman with three kids?" And I found myself to be very surprised with the fact that there are an awful lot of really good guys out there that have incredible hearts and are open to loving more then one child. My babies and I have been now blessed with a wonderful man that is not only my partner, but their dad.
You sound like the most amazing Mom and woman, and life will bring you many joys with your beautiful babies.
If there is anything that you ever need or if you just need to talk, please never hesitate to contact me.
Wishing you only strength and happiness.

Andria and Co. said...

I thought it stood for Great Husband. :)