I thought I would give you this epilogue to expand the story on the final week of the trauma of my wife’s death. I know this story is mostly unique to me, and maybe I am penning it more for my benefit than yours, but I can see something similar possibly happening to you. So, maybe my “lessons learned” can be helpful for you.
When the death process had finally played out, it was in a sense freeing. My wife spent 78 days in great pain and utter anxiety. To finally see that last breath was in a sense freeing for both of us. She was finally without pain and anxiety. I was done with by far the most stressful period of my life.
I survived that time but not without numerous Aspie meltdowns. They would come several times a day during those last 9 days. Without the help I got during that time, I’m not sure what would have happened. I was as close to being totally overwhelmed as I have ever been.
By the time my wife had gotten into the second hospice which would later become my future home at the retirement community, she was pretty much unable to do anything for herself. She was in her fourth week of not being able to hold down any food. She had lost over 30 lbs in sixty days. She was unable to go to the bathroom herself, and due to my twenty pound weight limit for lifting, I couldn’t help her with even that. She simply got weaker and weaker as those nine days progressed. The beginning of the last week brought on the most tragic condition. She was unable to sign to me what she wanted me to know, and her speech was too slurred to make lip-reading possible. So, even though I was with her constantly, we could not communicate any more than at a most basic level. That made those days totally frustrating for me and utterly anxious for her. Her anxiety grew so severe toward the end that she began to reject everything I was trying to do for her. That almost destroyed me! I had so many meltdowns that I didn’t even know if I wanted to live anymore!
The staff did everything they could but couldn’t be there 24/7 and even if they were, I don’t know how much they could have done for her. Even though she was in hospice and fed almost continuous doses of morphine, those last days were tragic for both of us.
I haven’t tried to write this story until now, three months later, as I don’t know if I could have done it before. It brings back some of the worst days of my life. But, I think that now that I have the words out, it will help me heal a little more to move on in this grieving process.
In the coming weeks, I will continue this story to include all the things that need to happen when you lose a spouse. I really didn’t feel that I could actually take a breath during the month after her death. I am just now, after more than three months, finally closing out this period of my life.
Now, it is on to what I want to make of the rest of MY days…