June…It’s So Bittersweet

For most people June signals the beginning of summer.  The kids are getting out of school.  It is time to plan vacations or a get away.  It is a time to have a bbq with friends and family.  For most June is a happy month.

For us June signals that it is time to feel bi-polar.  June is when we lost my young son-in-law at the age of 22 from a pulmonary emboli ( blood clot to the lung).  Sadly that day he had returned from the doctor with a bad “sinus infection”.  They were not home from the doctor an hour before he collapsed.   I tried to pull him to a spot I could start CPR.  I did, but it just wasn’t enough.  EMS tried, the hospital tried.  He was gone, how could it be he was young and in pretty good physical shape.  Why?  He left behind my daughter and a 1 year old son.  My grandson doesn’t remember him.  He only has the stories, pictures and few things my daughter selected to pass onto him.     He has his daddy’s big ol’ grin.  We all rallied behind this little boy to be there for him, support him in what ever means needed.  I carried a lot of guilt for quite awhile because nurse-mom could fix it.  You can’t “fix” grief…it takes time.  My daughter wandered thru the first year of widowhood.  I wasn’t much help…I didn’t know what she was going through really to say I had been there done that.   We had encouraged her after a year or so to out with friends.  She reluctantly did, but she felt a certain amount of guilt for enjoying herself.  She met another man and they hit it off and just a year later they got married.   She was feeling happily in “love” again.  All was good with the new couple and 8 months later they announced they were expecting a baby.  Things were looking good.

After the holidays that year my husband continued to not feel well.  I knew he had lost weight.  He was always sick on his stomach.  He skipped a few doctor’s appointments.  I went with him on the next scheduled and asked his doctor to give him something for his stomach.  We discussed some of his worrisome symptoms.  Or should I say I discussed some his symptoms while he flashed me the “shut up” look.  Needless to say he was scheduled for an ultrasound later that week.   You know it is never good news usually when a doctor calls you after 7:00 pm.  My husband was scared to to talk to him about the results so I did.  I can remember his words.  Things like that get forever embedded in your memory.  It showed a large abdominal mass with several small lesions to the liver.  We both knew it wasn’t good.  We went to Walmart ( that is our place we went to talk things out).  I don’t know why, it just was.  He was then scheduled for a CT-Scan and surgery.  I knew what we were facing but when you here the surgeon say “Stage 4 Colon Cancer with cancer into the liver.  I cried.  I cried a lot.  The world as I knew was going to change forever.  I wiped my tears and pulled my shoulders back and explained this to our five children the youngest being eleven.  Just how to you explain that the man that they love and adore is dying,  he won’t be there for your graduation or to walk you down the aisle at your wedding.  He won’t be there to answer all there questions about college, boyfriends, girlfriends or teach them to drive a car.

The next several weeks were filled with oncology appointments, chemo, blood transfusions and him growing weaker and weaker.  I knew we were going to lose this battle.  June 1st of 2016 was the beginning of his downfall.  He passed out a few times at home, I finally had to call an ambulance because he couldn’t stand.  He was nearly 6 feet  tall and I was having more difficulty picking him up, my back was tired and worn.  After being in the hospital for a week, my husband had a episode of respiratory distress.  It happened in the middle of the night.  The doctor figured it was his cancer. I didn’t believe him, or didn’t want to believe him.  They agreed to do another CT-scan.  I was wrong more wrong than I could imagine.   The doctor was kind and gentle but honest.  He brought me into the doctor’s charting area and brought up his old CT-scan from just about 2 months ago to the one they had just done.  His liver was completely consumed by cancer.  He said I’m sorry and turned off the computer screen.   Our focus now was comfort care.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever thought this is where I’d be,  waiting on hospice.  My husband lingered for another week, some days alert and discussing my future without him, other days he be drifting in and out.    He sighed his last breath on June 15th at about 9:20 p.m.  I became his widow.

During my husband’s final days, my daughter was having some pre-eclampsia issues.  A few days after he passed she got admitted and transported to a bigger hospital that could handle a preemie baby.  Wow, what else were we suppose to deal with?  In the process of trying to plan my husband’s memorial service, thank god my oldest daughter pretty much took over, we was preparing to welcome a premature baby into this world, ready or not.  Family from out of town began to arrive for my husband’s service.  I was not leaving the hospital, not until I knew my daughter and granddaughter we safe.  After a a bit of an anxiety  attack, I was torn between the devotion I felt to both the memory of my husband and the danger that was daughter was in.  On June 20th, 2016 my granddaughter, London Avery came into this world.  She was small, but at 3# 12 oz she was feisty.  Once I knew she was okay not great but okay I traveled back home to have my husband’s memorial service.  Soon she will turn two.  She is going to be independent strong woman.  She has a sweet, funny side and is not scared to tell you “NO”.  She was our glimmer of hope at a very dark time.

Now here in a few days I will welcome another granddaughter to be born on June 6th.  I am relieved to see for all the sorrow June has brought us, we are able to still shine on thru with these two rays of sunshine.  Each and every child is a blessing, some brought here on earth to remind us of just that.  I see my husband in each of of our grandchildren, be it his eyes, his smirk or a certain something they do.  My husband loved his grandchildren  so much and I know he will be shining down on June 6th as we meet our newest granddaughter.  Hug them, love them for tomorrow is not promised.  Go and make a memory with them.






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