John and I began isolating in this house on March 11th. Boston, a son, decided to join us when SanFrancisco started its lockdown due to the coronavirus. He drove from San Francisco, CA, to Pauls Valley, OK. That took four stops overnight, but he made it and then quarantined himself for two weeks before we began to be a pod of three. Boston has done all of the grocery shopping for us, and that has been a blessing for John and me. We have each eventually developed our own projects and stay busy. The only meal we usually share is supper. All in all, we have all remained 90% happy and grateful during this coronavirus change.
One of us will possibly have a bad day of crankiness, but that is not often. This last Sunday, I guess it was my turn. I awakened agitated. Thoughts ran through my head. “Did I have a bad dream? Why am I frustrated?” At breakfast, something Boston said triggered an old story. Perhaps the writing of my past pulled it up, or maybe it was because two good friends lost their husbands this past week. I have been praying for each of them and reflect on the difficulties of going through significant losses. I recalled the shock and denial stage I went through, plus the anger and also the blame stage. Remember, in a past blog; I mentioned that I telephoned my mental health center and asked my secretary to look through all of my notes to see how long each stage of change lasted when there was a death. Of course, I had no records on that because it is different for everyone. I think I wanted to move through all stages in six weeks or something like that. That just doesn’t happen.
The following is the story I told at breakfast. John had heard it many times. I thought I also told Boston in the past, but I began again with sharing what happened: The doctors at Mayo Clinic came into talk to us about Don’s surgery the next morning. They said, “If the operation goes the way we hope, he will be back in his room in about thirty minutes. However, if we run into difficulties, it will be longer, but you should not worry.” So the next day, I sat in the room next to surgery and then returned to Don’s room in thirty minutes. He was there, but not awake. No doctor came to talk to me following the surgery. I assumed they were busy.
Thinking all was okay, I telephoned our children and all friends on standby waiting for news and shared the good news. All went well. At 4 o’clock that afternoon, the doctors came and asked me to leave the room. I went down to the end of the hall and looked out the window, wondering why they asked me to leave. Then one came to get me. I entered the room and stood at the end of Don’s bed.
Don said: “Susie, they told me that I would die in six months and there is nothing I can do about it. They do think I should talk to an oncologist, but it really will not make a difference. It might help with the pain.”
Me: At that moment, I was stunned. I wanted to deny it was true. The doctors left. I started crying and could not stop for about four days. Sometimes I could pull it together for a few hours, and then the tears would flow again. Don did not seem upset. Perhaps he had suspected this result. He was so peaceful about dying, and I was a wreck. His peace permeated the room. People from other parts of the hospital came to his door and asked to enter, so they also could feel the peacefulness they had heard about. I, on the other hand, was falling apart. What about the goals we had set and the fun times we planned to have later? What about all of the time he took away from the three of us trying to achieve so much? I felt like all of the work that we each had done was for nothing. Every goal we were each trying to reach was for, supposedly, was preseumably for our family. Now all of the goals we discussed were just “gone.”
He seemed fine with dying, and I was reeling between “the loss of a husband, our children losing their father, and being upset about Don being so peaceful and not seeming to be upset about leaving. I even felt some anger mixed in. He was going to leave me with a mess. We had school loans to pay off still, campaign losses, money owed on the house that he wanted, and was being built. It was his dream, not mine. I loved our present home. I also knew I was thinking about “decisions one has to make and guidance for two teenagers. What if I made the wrong decisions without him?” (And I did make wrong decisions, by the way.)
Don continued to be peaceful, and I continued to be a basketcase. His doctor finally asked me if I would like a prescription to help me. I said no. I have always believed that ‘we will have more joy in life later on than we are having pain in the present, and that we move through the pain better when we do not medicate.’ That is my belief. It does not have to be someone else’s belief. I felt guilty about being mad at Don for being able to let go and be free of our problems when he was the one facing death. Even though we had excellent communication about his death, I am not sure I ever told him all of this. I did not tell others about my feelings, about how mad and sad I was at the same time. It did not seem right to be worried about me and have a pity party for myself about what I was going to face alone when he was the one in pain and was dying. I even felt guilty about “perhaps I could have done something different in our past that would have prevented his stress and cancer?”
Boston: “Susanne, you have told me that story multiple times, and you are still mad about it.” That story is stuck in you. You need to release it by blogging about it. With so many deaths right now, other people may be feeling multiple responses in the same way. What you say may perhaps help someone.”
As he said those words, I looked down at my body language. I was holding both arms open and to the side with my arms bent at the elbows. Each hand was in a fist. I looked like I was ready to fight someone. I agreed that I needed to blog about this and release this last bit of anger. I have had such an amazing life and so many great experiences, I could not imagine I was still mad. However, this may have surfaced to help me release the tiniest bit of negativity remaining within. Keeping these thoughts to myself about what I was being left with in the beginning and staying so positive may be why this was stuffed.
I want to tell all out there that have lost a spouse that it is normal to have these multitude of feelings. Hopefully, this will give someone permission to feel, know it is okay to have the odd thoughts you are having, and do not hesitate to get help or ask for help if need be. It is reasonable to have all of those thoughts. I had a multitude of feelings that I did not understand as I went through Don’s death experience. And I had feelings after his death I did not understand. That is why I kept trying to find a book that would answer my questions. There was none. I had to pray and wait for answers, and I eventually got them!
With the coronavirus, we are “all” going through an unprecedented change. The first stage affected is awareness. We initially want to deny the situation, and may even choose not to recognize it. Then we have shock and disbelief as the reality of truth becomes clear. Next, attitude is affected. Perhaps anger with Self comes to the surface. I believe violence is coming out sideways these days, through arguments about masks, fighting, acting irrationally. Rather than flowing, perhaps we exhibit the confrontation of this virus plus the many changes we are having to make. Information we learn sometimes leads to guilt or self-doubt. Maybe we experience depression or self-pity takes over.
LESSON: It is good to move through change and ask for help. Life is so much better and I have had so much more joy than pain by working on me and going through the ‘letting go processes, learning to flow, gaining spiritual solutions, practicing gratitude, and so much more. Years ago, I began doing a small ceremony to completely release a negative reflection I have had from my past. I plan to let go of this bit of anger within and release this story I have told Boston multiple times within a few month period. How? I am going to write it out, get a shovel, make a prayer, and bury it! Then I will release it completely. That is my plan.
GIFT: I became aware that I had retained this little bit of anger even though I am so happy and have been so happy for many years. My words, my tone, my body language all suggested it. Releasing brings blessings. Kindness replaces irritability. The light within becomes brighter with each negative thought gone!
Thank you to all that read my blog. If you are having something negative happen, I do hope this brings about new thoughts and new ideas to help you work through something. Time does heal, but we can do things to help with the healing along the way. What is most important is “keep hope, belief, and faith.” A future blog is going to be about our electromagnetic energy field and what good will come when many of us improve Self!