Archive for the ‘Don’ Category

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It’s the morning of the seventh anniversary of that day when Don died. Last night and this morning, I’ve been thinking about what to write, as I always write something on this anniversary. Also, I wondered if I should write my post this morning, or wait and write something at the end of the day. I decided that morning was better – so that I can say what I need to say and then start on with the first day of the coming year. I guess you could say that September 6th has become my New Year’s Day. I choose not to acknowledge that other near-universal date.

This morning, facebook did that thing it does where it shows you what you wrote “on this day” a year or more ago. Surprise, surprise! It showed me links to a bunch of blog posts I’ve written on each anniversary of Don’s death going back to when I first started using facebook!

So, well, I looked at all of the posts and decided to do something a little different and perhaps odd. I went back to this post from September 6th, 2012 – the fourth anniversary – and used the photos from that post to write this one. Why? I don’t quite know. It just seemed like a good idea. I guess I didn’t feel like digging around through my photo archives, being wounded by photo after photo. These ones are ideal just as they are. They speak to me in a certain way that befits this time of the year – the end of another summer and beginning of another autumn.

As I began reading the post from 2012, I soon discovered that it actually says several of the things I planned to write about today – almost word for word! I guess the message in that is that I feel about the same now as I did three years ago when I wrote the fourth anniversary post. The truth is, that’s about how it is. However, I do have a few things to add. I guess maybe time and three additional years of wisdom give me the privilege of expounding a little further on some of the matters I chose to discuss that year. I’ve even added a couple of new topics! So, what I’ve decided to do is quote some bits and pieces from my older post – appearing in italics – and add some new musings here and there.

Alright, so let’s begin:

Each year, I ponder over what to write, how much to share, and what to keep to myself. Mostly, I wish for my friends to take a moment to remember Don as a wonderful person. I have met few kinder and more attentive people in my life. He always made time for everyone, even when he was busy and stressed. He rarely found fault with anything and was a joy to be around. I look back on our 34 years together as a great gift, even if it was to end far too soon.

Some (but not many) have suggested that I do that thing that people sometimes do – to idealize someone once they are dead and gone. Well, I’m sorry, but that’s not the case at all. Don was all of what I wrote up above. He was a really fine sort of a person. I knew that when we were together, and more than ever, I know just how special he was for the way he cared about people, animals, the environment, our dogs, and me. I always laugh a little when I remember how the mechanics at work used to try to tease him by calling him the Recycle Man, because he would go around the garage picking aluminum drink cans out of the garbage cans, putting them in boxes and bringing them home to put out in our recycle bins at the curb on garbage day. I so admired that he was the kind of guy who didn’t give a damn if people laughed at him for doing what he felt was right.

Let’s continue:

I don’t really have much wisdom to impart to anyone. However, I would like to write a little about those things I have learned about time. For the widowed among you, I doubt there will be any surprises.

First, in the months after Don’s death, people often told me that time heals all wounds. I did not really believe that and, in fact, it has proven to be one of those commonly stated falsehoods that is accepted as being true. Time doesn’t actually do too much except make you feel somewhat older. For me, it is as though time stopped on the evening of September 6, 2008. I am caught in some strange place called Limbo, where my body moves forward doing what needs done, but my mind is back in some other world, left behind while the rest of you went on with your lives. Now, all time is measured in relation to that date. The new year of my calendar begins at around 7 p.m. each September 6th. Although I know that 48 months have passed, to me, I can still remember the events of that evening four years ago as if they happened last week. In fact, as the hour draws nigh, it feels as though some door is opening back to that very moment and that it is actually just about to happen all over. I have experienced this sensation each year during the evening of this anniversary.

All of the above remains true. However, now, instead of the passage of 4 years, it is 7 years. That thing I mentioned, about feeling like I am in Limbo, remains to this day. Yes, yes, I know. You see me doing all kinds of things, going places, fixing houses, planting garlic, and so on. Well, yes, my body is doing all of those things – rather like a well-behaved robot that performs as instructed. However, rather like the Great Oz, the front that appears in public bears only a passing resemblance to the little man behind the curtain who is flipping switches and sending up great blasts of fire and puffs of smoke. Despite all that I do and places that I go, I’m still “me” inside, and I am still deeply wounded by all that I experienced in 2008. I don’t cope all that well with stress, bad news, bad behaviour, illness and death. It takes very little to send me into a tailspin, as I discovered this spring when I returned to Round Hill, only to find that my neighbours, who had become close friends, were in a bad way. Several days a week, I cared for them until the husband died about 7 weeks after I returned home. Before arriving home, I had had some good plans for this summer, but after all of this, I sort of lost my place and mojo and it took most of the summer to get back to feeling okay about things. It appears that my resilience isn’t particularly good anymore. Actually, I already knew as much, but this situation put it to the test and, in a manner of speaking, I failed. My integrated stress-o-meter is just about kaput. That said, I would not have done things any differently. I did what was right and what was needed in a dire situation, but I’m just not the person I was back in 2007 before all the bad things happened. I do not have any magical powers to protect me from harm, or help me bounce back when faced with bad situations. Whatever I once had, was fried forever on the Altar of Catastrophe.

So, what else is to be said in this year’s post?

I suppose it might be useful to say something about how it feels to be me at 7 years on. Well, to be quite frank about it, I’m sick to death of the whole thing, even though I don’t speak the words very often. Truly. Seven years is a long time to be a prisoner in the Penitentiary of Grief. Actually, I busted out awhile ago, but things will never go back to the way they were. No, I’m not sad every day. In fact, I am rarely ever sad. Basically, I just toodle along like a good little widow, finding things to work on every day – because, well, that’s what we widows are expected to do! You know, “Keep busy! It helps!” or “Find a new passion!” or “Volunteer for things!” Yes, yes, yes, I’ve done all of those things you ordered me to do. However, like most widows I’ve spoken with, I’m becoming very tired of living a life doing shit that is not at all as WE had planned. Instead of spending OUR golden years, hiking and canoeing, as WE had spent many hundreds (if not thousands) of hours planning to do for the 35+ years that we both busted our asses off, working ridiculously long hours and putting up with an incredible amount of bullshit at our thankless jobs, here I sit, rather like a hockey player who got sent to the penalty box to cool my heels for about – oh – SEVEN years, while my team mate disappears off to hang out in DEATHVILLE. I tell you, I am tired-tired-tired of this bullshit.

Preemptive Note: No need for anyone to offer placating words. They’ll just roll off me like water off a duck’s back. I’m well practiced at ignoring silly sentiments and advice.

Well, what next?

I’ve gradually come to understand that I like being alone more than I like going out places to hang around with the Normal Folk. Oh, you know… those lucky people who still have their Normal Lives and have not yet been incarcerated in the Penitentiary of Grief. Believe me. I still love all of you, but it just wears me down to hang out around you for very long at a time. A little exposure goes a long way. It’s much easier to maintain equilibrium here in my own little world, which is actually a pretty good place – with its dogs, art, music, insects, brook, crazy old house, gardens, and more! So if I become bored and wander off after a few hours of socializing, never fear. I’ve just gone home to do my own thing and play with my own toys – which is as it should be.

In my 2012 post, I wrote about how photographs can work like time machines. This is what I wrote about the above two photos:

It was an unusually warm September day. We were hiking the Tallow Rock Bay Trail at Charleston Lake. We hiked it many times over the years, but on this day, I can tell you that it was one of our first hikes with Sabrina after she recovered from a truly nasty bout of mange. Our vet felt she might have caught it from being in some place frequented by foxes as there was a lot of mange being seen in the local fox population that summer. We stopped to rest on one of the platforms on the floating bridge that crosses the bay. We often paused there to have our lunch and give Sabrina a bowl of water. It’s very likely that we had chickpea and celery salad on pita bread that day as that was our favourite hiker’s meal.

Well, this brings up another point that has become a touchy subject with me. Memories. Believe it or not, I have quite a few! A year or so ago, I took a lot of flack over having MEMORIES and that I still enjoy talking about them. Apparently, we widows aren’t supposed to talk about our former lives. Oh, you know — don’t you get it? Our “before” lives don’t exist anymore and we aren’t supposed to talk about “the old days” anymore because, well, because. It’s okay for everyone else to talk about their past 5 or 6 decades on the planet, but we aren’t supposed to talk about ours because, well, that means we’re talking about Dead People, and bringing everyone else down! Don’t we realize that no one wants to hear about our memories, even though everything that we did for the past 35 or 40 years, involved this Dead Person that we aren’t supposed to talk about, so, like, we should just STFU and not say anything while everyone else spouts off about their own memories. Yeah, well. I’ll say whatever the hell I like about my memories and my past. They belong to ME and they are part of who I am. I have a life and it includes the past 40 years on this planet living with a Dead Person! Got that?!

Next thing I want to say is that, we humans really aren’t very good at predicting the future. No, we’re actually incredibly shitty at fortune-telling. Take the following example:

The above and below photos were taken in the midst of a conversation about how we could not think of a better way to celebrate our anniversary than to hike the Point Trail at Murphy’s Point Provincial Park. It had become our annual event and as we lay on the grass with Sabrina nearby, we discussed how we would endeavour to do this particular hike on our anniversary for as many years as we could manage to shuffle our way around the loop trail. I turned the camera first toward Don and then took a self portrait while listening, somewhat bemused, as he speculated on how many more decades it might be before we became too feeble to make it for the last time. We had a similar conversation the last time that we put our canoe in the Barron Canyon River in Algonquin Park, paddling to the falls and back. That was to be our other annual trip that would measure how we were holding up in the battle against the effects of Time. How strange to look at these photos, now knowing that we had so little time remaining and would only be able to do our anniversary hike one more time.

See what I mean? Hubris. How crazy was that for us to think we would have at least a decade, or perhaps even two, to do our annual Point Trail hike, and Barron Canyon canoe trip? Silly, I tell you! Now, when I think of doing anything, I just get the hell packing and go. Seriously. I do a quickie assessment of my physical strength and abilities, finances, state of repair of my vehicle, and just get the hell out of Dodge as quick as I can. As the now popularized saying goes, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” True. It isn’t. We’re broadcasting live, 24 hours a day, each and every day. There will be no second takes, so make it good!

The world can be a weird place. It’s true. Just as photographs can be a time machine, so can familiar places. I have this love-hate relationship with eastern Ontario. I love to remember the many wonderful places that we hiked or canoed. Lately, I’ve been thinking about all of our favourite places to see dragonflies. We knew just when to go to which place to see a particular species of dragonflies. I never seem to be able to figure such things out here in Nova Scotia. Why? I guess because Don and I had decades of hiking or canoeing in particular places at so many times during the season that we just knew when to be in the right place at the right time. Will I ever know another place so well as I know eastern Ontario? Sometimes it makes me unbearably sad to have left. Some don’t understand why I did. I guess it was self preservation….

I have not really hiked any of the trails on our old stomping grounds since Don’s death. On a couple of occasions, I did go out to certain places to look around a bit, but I just could not deal with the sadness of walking those oh-so-familiar pathways alone. Over the decades, we hiked some of those trails so many times that we knew where we were most likely to encounter a Ribbon Snake, or a Slaty Skimmer dragonfly, a Barred Owl perched silently in a particular tree, or a Six-Spotted Tiger Beetle scanning for prey. For me, our old trails became nothing more than a painful reminder of the cruelty of fate that took Don away and left me alone in the world.

I don’t know. I want to return to my old places — the places that I know as well or maybe even better than the back of my hand. However, I don’t think I can. It hurts too much to go there. I’ve become like a wanderer on a distant shore, who burnt her boat when she landed.

And so, I come to the end of this blog post. I am left with my photos and memories – my Time Machine:

Oddly, so many of my time machine photos were of Don looking back as he waited for me to catch up. He and Sabrina used to wander ahead, searching for plants and creatures for me to photograph. I was always a little behind, messing with camera gear and snapping photos. And so it seems I am still a little behind, with Don and Sabrina off somewhere in the distance and me straggling along behind.

These days, I’m not as angry about what happened. I’m still a little sad. Rather surprisingly, against my own wager, I’m still here. I continue to live. I’ve learned a lot in seven years. And, I’m older – now about 4 years older than Don will ever be. Hell, I’ve almost attained sage status. I guess I have earned the right to think and say whatever I feel.

~ * ~

To Don: I miss you and love you. Always.

Written by Administrator on September 6th, 2015

sixth on the sixth   25 comments

Posted at 5:58 pm in Don,loss,memory,sabrina,Uncategorized

This evening, just a couple of hours from now, it will be the sixth anniversary of Don’s death. Each year, I put up a few photos and try to write something that shares a few memories and also helps all of you to know what kind of person Don was. This is a really difficult task for me. Just looking through my photo library makes me very sad. Also, it makes me wonder why I didn’t take more photos of him — although actually, I did take many. I just wish I had more.

Anyhow, each time I write this annual post, I try to think of something new – something that I haven’t said before. This year, I would like to write about how things were in the last months of Don’s life. I feel that I need to write about that because it seems rather like I’ve woven a tapestry with a big hole in the middle — the hole that speaks of those last months of dealing with terminal cancer. In many ways, maybe those are some of the most important days in our almost 35 years together. Some of this will be hard for me to write, and perhaps hard for you to read. Of course, no one is obligated to do so.

As these first few photos illustrate, Don was a very strong, healthy man. He was a never smoker. He ate well — well, we both did. We hiked, snowshoed, cross-country skied, canoed, rode our horses, and were pretty much on the go all the time.

In November of 2007, Don became very ill. He had been coughing for awhile, but the doctors chalked it up to hay fever and asthma. They prescribed inhalers and other meds. However, his condition continued to worsen. A CT scan was scheduled and that revealed shocking results – a tumour in one lung, smaller lesions in the lung, and clear signs of metastasis in his spine and rib cage. Even the respiratory specialist he was referred to was shocked and perplexed. The CT scans and MRIs were showing terrible things going on in his body, and yet he scored about as high as a person possibly can on the respiratory tests even with one lung almost blocked by a large tumour. It was all very difficult to accept.

While waiting for further testing, Don became very ill in late November. I rushed him to ER one evening and he was admitted with extreme sepsis, caused by a lung infection associated with the tumour. It was touch and go whether he would survive. However, after a couple of days in ICU, he was moved to the cancer diagnostics centre and thus began a week of MRIs, bone scans, brain scans, blood work, a bronchoscopy and other tests. The results showed Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). The cancer was all over the place. As the radiation oncologist said, “There is no point telling you which bones have cancer – there are too many – so let me tell you which ones don’t.” Anyhow, I won’t go into all this — I think I’ve written about some of this before — but the results were so grim as to be almost impossible. One doctor after another came into Don’s room to deliver the latest blow. Eventually this struck us as hilarious in a bizarre way. It was like something out of Monty Python.

Through all of this, we held up remarkably well. In fact, almost every doctor made a point of telling us that we were really unusual — unlike almost any other couple they had ever met. We didn’t break down. We asked sharp questions. We didn’t give them shit or scream at them. We remained upbeat and optimistic in the face of the horrendous. Anyhow, it was an experience.

A few days later, Don was released. He had a PIC line to deliver very powerful IV antibiotics. During this time, he took a very heavy round of radiation on the tumour. He could not begin his first line of chemo (Cisplatin-Vinorelbine) until he was entirely recovered from the sepsis or the chemo would likely kill him. It was February before he could begin the chemo regimen.

It was good for me to assemble these photos today. The top bunch were all taken the summer before Don became ill. He looked and felt pretty good other than the persistent cough. The photo immediately above this paragraph was taken after Don had begun his first line of chemo. He continued to feel pretty good. We worked hard to develop a diet that would keep him very strong, healthy and retaining weight as lung cancer is a bastard for making people lose weight and become feeble. Don did all kinds of exercises each day – working out with weights, walking back and forth on the lane between the house and the barn. We actually got out and did a bit of hiking around when the snow was not too deep.

During this time, we both tried very hard to remain upbeat. It was difficult, especially when Don was taking prednisone (steroids) before and after a chemo treatment. He would become very emotional and cry at almost anything sad that came on the television. He loved watching the James Herriot “All Creatures Great And Small” television series, but I secretly cursed it because there was almost always some sad part that would trigger a terrible crying jag.

I contrived ways to surprise Don — like stomping out the “I LUV YOU” heart on the snow so that he would see it as we departed for a chemo treatment on a snowy morning. Believe me when I say that I probably pulled off some of the greatest acting performances of my life during that time – being cheerful 24 hours a day with Don, the doctors, the nurse practitioners, the home care nurses, and anyone else who touched our rapidly declining world. Again and again, we were told how extraordinary we were. We didn’t feel very extraordinary. I think we just wanted to try to help each other to get through what was, for both of us, a horrific time.

Don’s first line of chemo went so well that we felt some sense of optimism. However, as soon as those treatments ceased, the cancer began to grow very aggressively once more. It was decided to go on to a second line — this time, the drug, Taxotere, which is used to treat breast cancer. It totally bombed and after a couple of treatments, had done so much damage to Don’s heart that it was never good again and he had to take three different heart medications to keep him alive. It was all very devastating.

However, if you look at these photos taken in our living room, I think you’ll have to admit that Don looked pretty happy and cheerful. He was almost always this way — even toward the end. As I wrote above, it’s good for me to look at this photos once more — I never do as they hurt me too much — but good to see that he looked quite happy, well, and comfortable with Sabrina. All through this time, he could only sleep on a recliner chair and never in bed as the cancer in his spine made it too painful to lie down. I kept adding more and more layers of comforters to the chair, trying to make it softer and softer as the pain gradually became worse. We used to joke about how it was becoming rather like the story of the Princess and the Pea who had to have many mattresses to sleep on.

After the Taxotere fiasco, the last ditch effort was to try Tarceva – a once a day targeted therapy oral drug. Unfortunately, it was reserved as a third line medication which could not be tried until you jumped through the hoops of doing the first two lines. I’ve always been kind of furious inside about that because it was the Taxotere that really ruined Don’s health. Once he began Tarceva, he got all the horrid side effects — the rashes and sores in his mouth, but the pain in his spine began to clear up quickly. However, it was all too late. The cancer in his lung had progressed too far after not responding at all to the the horrible Taxotere drug. However, there was actually a period of about two days when the pain in his back was lessened to the point that he slept in our bed for the first time in months. I felt such relief. Unfortunately, that was short lived. He choked on a fruit smoothie one morning and I ended up having to take him to ER. His blood oxygen level had dropped off dangerously low (I kept a sensor to check it several times a day and saw the level tank suddenly). That day, I asked him if he wanted to just stay home or if he really wanted to go to the hospital as I was pretty sure they would keep him there. There was an unspoken message here. “You may never come home again.” He said to wait awhile while he thought about what to do. A little while later, he said he wanted to go to the hospital. We said goodbye to our dog, Sabrina, and I took him there.

The doctors in ER said he would have to go on a ventilator. That was the only choice. He would have to be sedated and they warned that he might never be able to come back off of it. I neglected to mention, but this is important — that Don had lost the ability to speak in more than a whisper about 4 weeks previous to this time. I leaned close to him to hear his wishes. He said, “I will try this. What other choice is there?” I nodded my head and told the doctors. They brought a clipboard with a piece of paper for Don to sign. He signed it and then they put an oxygen mask on him and began the process to sedate him and put him on the ventilator. I have a memory that is so vivid to this day. It is of Don smiling so bravely and giving me a big thumbs up as they put the mask on his face. Something about it always reminds me of some test pilot on an early super sonic jet, getting ready for take off. That was the last time that Don and I were able to communicate. From this point onward, he would be strongly sedated.

He was moved into ICU and received incredible care. I stayed by his side almost 24 hours a day, sleeping in a recliner chair by his bed. The staff were wonderful. I think back to all of them and still remember each and every one. I used to go home to feed Sabrina and be with her for a half hour twice a day — quite a drive as we were about an hour from the hospital. On one of those days, I dug up a folder of my 11×14 photos of dragonflies (left overs from a natural history museum exhibit of my work), and brought them in to give to a bunch of the staff. They were thrilled and asked me to sign them. Something about all this helped me to feel that this whole hospital thing is not entirely an inhuman machine. People really do care and the staff who work in these places are very special.

At one point, there was an attempt to reduce the sedation being given to Don, but he became extremely agitated. I happened to have left to go home to feed Sabrina. I returned to the hospital that afternoon to find Don tugging at the ventilator hose. His eyes met mine for a second and I could immediately sense the fear and fury. I stepped between him and the nurse and ordered her to increase the sedation immediately — which she did. He calmed down quickly.

A day or two later, one of his doctors told me that he thought Don was doing a bit better and that they thought they could remove the ventilator after the weekend. That seemed unlikely to me, but I was willing to believe anything. He advised that I go home and get some rest. I was pretty exhausted by this time and Sabrina was doing very poorly — not eating and growing weaker by the day. At midnight, I drove home and fell asleep on the sofa. About 9 a.m., I received a call from a nurse. She said that the doctors needed to see me right away. I asked why and she would not tell me. I told her to get a doctor on the phone as I wanted to know what was going on before I drove at breakneck speed to the hospital while still half asleep. I guess that must have scared them because a doctor came on the line after a minute or two. He said that Don had taken a turn for the worse and that there were matters to be discussed. I said I would be there within the hour. I called my mom and brother, Randy. They said they would meet me at the ICU.

When I got there, Randy accompanied me to the meeting with the doctor. He said he had done an emergency bronchoscopy to see what was happening. They also had X-rays up on a screen. He said Don’s lung was now full of cancer. They wanted to remove the ventilator because he was just getting worse and he felt it was wrong to carry on as his body was dying. I had actually realized that a day or two before. I could tell by Don’s appearance – the swelling in his legs and feet – and various signs on the heart and respiratory monitor screens. I studied the X-rays carefully and could see the extent of the cancer. There was no clear area remaining in his lungs. I spoke calmly, “There’s nothing left to do, is there?” The doctor replied softly that this wasn’t really a decision — that the cancer had decided all of this for me. I remember nodding my head and looking to my brother who looked distraught, but supportive. I’ve always been so glad he came there with me. I know it is about the last place he wanted to be, but there he was.

We went to Don’s room and I sat with him. In awhile, a respiratory technician came in and explained that the ventilator would be gradually stepped down. That’s what happened. I would not say it was uneventful. The machine had a ridiculous warning buzzer that kept going off every minute or two. I became greatly angered by it and my brother stood by ready to hit a reset that would stop the buzzing. I put my arm around Don’s head and spoke to him. I observed that as I spoke, his heart rate would increase and stabilize. I told him that when this whole mess was over with, we would blow this place and take off. His heart rate strengthened more. Then I would stop talking and it would drop down and become erratic again. This went on for awhile – me speaking and then going quiet. Finally, I said that he should just rest and sleep. Soon after that, he passed on.

I remained calm — sad, crying, but calm. I have seen all kinds of reactions in those ICUs – people screaming, yelling, falling to the floor. I did not feel that. I think I felt relief that this whole terrible thing was over with and that Don was now free. I spoke with his nurse – she gave me a big hug and told me that they would remove the ventilator and lines and then I could return. I went out in the hall and called my best friend to tell him what had happened. He had already told me that when Don died, he would catch the first available flight from Portland, Oregon, to come and help me deal with everything. He is a great friend – the one person who called Don every week to talk during his illness. Anyhow, when I returned to the room, my brother and mother were there with me. I passed my hands back and forth over Don’s arms and legs and body, memorizing how they felt to me. I still remember how he felt. Muscle memory never forgets these things. Then I noticed a pair of scissors on the bedside table. I suddenly knew what to do. I picked them up, held a large part of my hair out and away from my head, and chopped off a huge length. My glance fell upon my brother. He looked stricken. I coiled up the hair and placed it into the palm of Don’s hand and pressed his fingers closed over it.

I left soon after. I drove home alone to look after Sabrina. That night, I actually contemplated ending things. I had arranged it so that I could do so. However, when I saw how weak and pathetic Sabrina was, I realized that I’d have to kill her too. That seemed like a terrible thing to do, so I decided to hang around for awhile. My friend arrived the next day. He watched over me constantly. I have a funny memory. Interesting in a way.

The night after Don’s death, I fell asleep sitting up at one end of the sofa. I say “asleep”, but it was more like dreaming while awake. I felt a growing sense of warmth around me and pressure, like being hugged and held. It was a good feeling — a feeling of well-being. In the midst of it, my friend came racing down the hall yelling, “Where are you?!! Where are you?!!” He was in a panic. He’d fallen asleep and awoke, not seeing me around, and thought I must have gone outside to end things. I looked up at him – slightly sad that he’d broken whatever weird magic this was that had come over me for a short while. It was gone. But that’s okay. I’ve never felt it again. I sometimes wonder if Don dropped by the house to say goodbye. I’m an atheist, so that kind of thing seems a little out there, but it did seem real enough at the time. Who can say what things are real in this world and beyond.

Anyhow, I hope this post doesn’t seem too maudlin or bizarre. It’s just how things happened to two people who never really asked for or deserved such an experience. Even now, the whole illness thing seems impossible and unreal – almost like it happened to someone in another life. I still feel very close to Don – even at six years later. I keep a favourite photo of him next to his ashes. I speak to him briefly at least once a day, kiss my finger and brush it gently across his cheek. If that seems strange to some of you, well, then you probably haven’t experienced such a great love and such a loss yet.

Love to you always, Don.


Written by bev wigney on September 6th, 2014