Sunday, September 4, 2016

#SOL16: Clots and Clouds Wandering Lonely

From my art journal-  work in progress (9.3.16)


Dawn was but a suggestion when I woke. My too-early rising reminded me of last winter when sleep was at best a 90-minute affair. This morning I could have returned to bed. There was no sick husband to tend, nothing so pressing, but I had a list of things to get done this morning and frankly walking early is mostly a gift. Later in the day, I collected the mail and there in the middle of the stack between an advertisement and a credit card offer was an envelope from hospice. It was a form letter telling me what my internal clock already knows--'my loved one' has been dead for six months. I was offered different types of grief groups to join--one group dedicated to making it through the holidays.

And I so want to do more than make it through, but honestly some days unfold boldly, while others seem to have forgotten my name. This November when my birthday arrives it will be the first time in 29 years that Rob and I don't celebrate our birthdays together. His was the day after mine and this recollection has me recalling what the medium told me a week ago.


One of the first things Anne Marie said was that Rob wanted to thank me for his birthday last year.

"Oh, did you have a party?" she asked.
"No, I got him released from the hospital the night before his birthday. I can't recall much except that and how nervous I was those first few days."
"The doctors didn't want to release him. He was supposed to come home that morning but they found blood clots in his right leg. He was so disappointed.  By then he had spent 50 days in hospitals and none of his stays were aimed at treating the lung cancer."
"None. I called the admitting doctor and explained it was Rob's birthday--what might be his last birthday. She didn't seem moved and told me that his birthday was less important than his life. She was a 30 something and sometimes I do think the passage of time and experience humanize us in ways that strict study cannot.  I was so frustrated by her lack of empathy and I wanted Rob to have what he wanted. She told me she would not release him and I hung up on her."
"What happened?"
"She called me right back and told me I was rude and then hung up. I contacted Rob's oncologist who figured out we could give him injections at home as they were doing at the hospital. So by 8 that night, I got Rob, his medicine for staph and the blood thinner meds in the car and we headed home in torrential rainfall. Once he was at home, I was mostly afraid I would accidentally kill him. I'm no nurse. Handling all the meds and cleaning lines was daunting.  You never know what you can do until you have to do it."

In looking back I see that I did not sleep during those first few nights Rob was home. Even when I climbed the stairs to our bedroom, I was too restless to lie down, too scared a clot would travel to his heart and I would return to sit quietly on the stairs leading back down to where Rob rested in the reclining chair. I just needed to see him. He could no longer climb the staircase, and he was most comfortable anyway in the recliner. It had been months since he slept in our bed. The lesions on his spine pressed too severely if he was lying flat on his back.

We spent everyday together from November 19 through the morning of December 30 when Rob was transported by ambulance to the hospital where he would spend the next 50 days. The last thing he told me before the EMTs arrived was that he feared he would not come back to this house. He would return home in mid-February to die.


I know now there will never be a 'getting over Rob's death' stage. Acceptance and getting over are separate animals. Getting over his death would require me to sever bone from skin; heart from ribs. It simply can't be done.

Mostly, I am bereft.
Some mornings I am Wordsworth's line. I too wander lonely like a cloud. 


  1. Sometimes, sunlight travels in among the clouds. Your image was very evocative.

  2. The weight you carry Mary Ann is heavy and I am I awe at your strength. In my grief I listen carefully to the grief stories of others. Your story and your move into life is miraculous.
    I have more words just me to you...

    1. I listen too. I went through last year doing what had to be done, believing Rob would live. Now I am remembering. I didn't write much at all last fall.