It’s nearly 2 months since Thomas died. Every day, and every way, I miss him. The feeling of loss is as palpable as the feeling of the keyboard under my fingertips. He’s nearly always on my mind, when I read something on the internet I know he’d love, when I lay in bed waiting for sleep to come, when I drive to work, when I talk to Boy…all the time.
I’m not ready to be alone. I’m not ready to face my dotage without having Thomas at my side. I’m not ready.
I’d rather it have stopped the day before Thomas died. I’d still have him in my life. I’d still be able to share the cool things I encounter. I’d hear him laugh as he reads comics. I’d see his smile when he sees me. I miss him.
I’m taking on a new position at work. Near the end of the month I’ll be moving into the case worker position. It will mean that I will do a whole lot less support work (which involves building checks, filling supplies, handing out meds and YMCA passes, etc.) and doing more paperwork and more direct support/counseling with residents. I’ll still be running the Reporting Centre, which I was originally hired to do five years ago. The good thing is that part doesn’t involve a whole lot of work. It’s more of a step side-ways.
This move will help me move to the counselor position when the current counselor goes on maternity leave. I’ll be working her job for a year while she’s enjoying having her third baby. When she comes back, I’m move back into the case worker position. Hopefully, this move will help me get a job with probation. The current case worker is moving on to become a CX (guard) at one of the provincial jails.
With the disruption that has been going on with my sleep of late, working day shifts really fucks me over badly. Worse yet, this week I had to switch to an evening shift on one day (working until midnight) because of a doctor’s appointment in the morning. This means that I had to get up at 6 am after working until midnight the day before. On three of the days I had a nap in the evening because I just couldn’t keep awake any longer…usually around 6 pm. I’d wake up at 10 and then go back to bed again at 1 or 2. I’d wake up around 5 and then doze until dragging myself out of bed between 6 and 6:30.
Boy had another toenail removed yesterday. More to the point, he got it re-removed. He’s been having trouble with hangnails on his big toes for the past couple of years. They did a partial excision (taking it off on either side of the nail) but that didn’t stop the problem. Just after Thomas died, Boy kicked an ice buildup on the underside of my car and popped the nail mostly off the nail bed. That was removed the week before the memorial. His other big toe was having issues again with hangnails and so he made the appointment for late yesterday.
When I went in to see the doctor on Tuesday to get forms for Student Loans filled out, I got a requisition for massage therapy. I have to have one in order to have my supplementary health insurance cover the costs. I’ve been having a lot of problems with my stress being reflected in neck and upper back pain. It gets bad enough that it radiates down my back and through to the front of my chest. All I have to do is tip my head to the right and front a bit, and the muscles of my left back stretch out and pain shoots through to the front of my rib cage. I also talked about a couple of other things, but I can’t recall off-hand what they were. We did talk about Thomas and life after his death, both for me and for him (the doctor). He’s a good guy.
I cut the very tip of my pinky finger. You know, one would think that cutting up an avocado wouldn’t be quite such an issue, but I was a little less than careful and managed to cut straight down onto the tip of my finger. It bled like crazy. Now, it’s very contact sensitive so typing is an issue. As well, there is skin protruding above the fingertip that catches on things. I’m wearing one of those fingertip bandages. While offering my fingertip some nice protection, it’s making typing interesting.
My coworkers are hosting a fundraising steak night for Boy and I on Sunday evening. At first I was going to go, then I decided to stay home. It feels awkward that people are raising money for me. Then I decided to go anyway. Boy and I will be attending. Despite how awkward it is going to feel, those people are kind enough to buy tickets, attend and probably buy tickets on a dessert auction, raffle and 50/50 tickets. I should be ok enough to go and thank them.
After that I’ll drop Boy off at home and head to poetry. I’ll be late, probably not have a seat, but I’ll be there. I missed the past two weeks because I just couldn’t get out of the house. I want to go again. I don’t know how long I’ll keep going to the events. For now, it’s almost a compulsion and I feel greatly guilty if I don’t go.
For any Canadians out there reading. If you have Firefox and a subscription to Netflix, you can watch American content (the Canadian content being pathetically paltry) by downloading an add-on called “Media Hint”. This will allow you to view American content without having to use an American DNS. It makes life much less trouble. I’m disappointed that I haven’t been able to see the A&E programs I like (The First 48, for one), but there are lots of other programs that I’ve not looked at. Right now I’m watching “Alaska State Troopers”. I look forward to seeing more programs. I have Boy to thank for this joyous addition to our lives. He’s been watching all kinds of new shows, which is nice for him, because aside from his very sore toe, he’s been sick with a nasty cold and having something to entertain him as been a good thing.
There’s not a whole lot more to say right now. I’m thinking of laying down for another nap.
I didn’t tell him to be safe and careful and to remember that I loved him. That was what we said to each other for nearly all our married life. Once, when we were still relative newly weds, I forgot and his day was ruined because of it. Since then I’d been careful to remember. I didn’t this time. While I know it’s silly and pointless, I can’t help but get the feeling that if I’d remembered, he wouldn’t have died.
I don’t know if it’s because of this, or because I need the comfort food, but I’ve been eating bread again. I’ve also been paying the price of doing so with diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Right now I feel like I don’t have a right to be healthy. I have his entire supply of medications, including dilaudid. I’m not going to take them, but I still have them. Eating bread appears to be functioning as a low grade poisoning.
Sometime in the next few weeks I have to sell Clifford, the big red truck. Boy and I will empty it out, wash it and get it detailed before we do so. We’ll also see if we can fix the passenger seat. It’s stuck adjusted as far back as it can go. We couldn’t see anything in the way, but the lever isn’t working and I want to have it fixed before I sell the truck.
I’m not having much success in dealing with Thomas’s death. Everything that I do, everywhere I go, I’m reminded of his absence. I have to do much of the shopping alone now. I pay the bills. I drive Boy here and there around town. He’s not in the living room, at his computer. He’s not laying in bed snoring or reading his latest book. The only thing that appears to be still functioning is his Tumblr account. He used the queue function and, apparently, had enough to carry through for a long time.
I’ve sent a message to Facebook asking that the memorialize his account. This will mean that people will be able to write on his wall, but there will no longer be new updates and no friends can be added. We’ll see how long that takes. My co-worker, whose husband died a few years ago did that with his account. This way people can still “talk” to him in some small way.
I’m tired. Down to the bone, to the very core of my being, I’m exhausted. This past week I slept well on two nights. I’m pretty sure it was the sleep of the exhausted. Now I’m back to the usual 3 or 4 hours of disturbed, light sleep. I have thought of sleeping pills, but I don’t want to risk the addiction value, and I have enough drugs in the house as it is.
On a less death related note, I’m thinking of getting Netflix. I have to get the Canadian version of it. I could get the American version, but that would mean having to use a proxy server and that complicates my life a bit more than I can deal with right now. Having the Canadian version isn’t so bad as it has a lot of BBC programs available. However, having the American version would mean access to A&E and TLC and some of the other networks that broadcast true crime programs. EDITED TO ADD: I became a member of Netflix. Right now I have a free month. At first blush, I’m disappointed.
I’ve mostly settled into work. My schedule is going to be screwed up for the next while. One of our support staff quit and the case worker gave notice on Friday. This means that, until new staff is hired, cleared, and trained, current staff have to cover shifts. In a few months I’ll be taking over the counsellor job while the current counsellor goes on maternity leave for a year.
If they don’t hire a guy for the case worker position, I’m going to want it. It’s solid evenings, but I can live with having a regular hours instead of having to change from days to evenings each week. My weekends, however, would suffer. I’d have to work them and have a “weekend” on Tuesdays and Wednesdays instead.
It’s a word I rather like. I’m going to use it at work at the first opportunity.
I’m sick today. For the past two days I’ve been working with the disadvantage of laryngitis. My voice would cut in and cut out. Paging people over the loudspeaker was an interesting case of frustration to the point of having to ask the boss to do it for me. Today I woke up with a sore throat so I called in sick. There’s no point in being there if I hurt and I have no voice. I have to go in on the weekend so that I can write up the monthly and quarterly reports. It shouldn’t take too terribly long. I’ll not have to do the usual support work. I’ll just close myself into Admin and work away.
Today marks 1 month, 4 weeks, since Thomas died. Perhaps that’s why I’m sick. Perhaps my body just had enough and needed to shut down for a little while. I miss him terribly. I know that’s to be expected. I miss him all the time, but sometimes it’s more difficult to deal with than others. For example, when I’m reading comics and find one that I know would cause him to laugh, I’d email him the link. I loved hearing his chuckle across the rooms. There are a hundred different things that happen through the day that I would have either told him about or shared with him in some way or another. He’s not there anymore to do that with.
On the bright side, I’ve only gotten one, “He’s in a better place.” My co-worker said that people would say some very stupid things in their attempt to comfort me. Thus far there have only been two, this person and my brother-in-law. Last night Boy showed me the sympathy cards he got at work. It was very sweet of them. He was rather impressed that, as well as his co-workers, all the supervisors, and managers and even one of the owners signed the cards. He may not be over the moon about his job, he does (for the most part) like the people he works with. As well, Thomas worked there the year before last so several of them knew him and knew how close Boy was to his Dad.
That reminds me. I have to arrange to have the phone bill sent to me so it can be paid. I also have to talk to him about cancelling his phone and changing me to the primary account holder.
That’s all I want to write.
I know that change is inevitable. It’s the only constant in our lives. Usually I find that change isn’t so hard to deal with, but I”m sure that everyone will understand that this time I’m making an exception.
I’m slowly adapting. I still don’t sleep well, but I’m getting used to not having the second person in bed with me, to not hearing him snore, or laugh (he read in bed a lot). I have to rearrange the room and stuff. I guess I’ll do that this coming weekend. I’ll clean it out as well.
I’m back to work again. Work is work. It’s a nice break from the thoughts. Today I spent time doing front end admin stuff that I’d not been able to do for a few weeks because I wasn’t there. Tomorrow I start preparations for month end at the end of the week. The month has flown by. This coming Thursday will be 28 days since Thomas’s death.
I got some head bands to hold back my hair. I still haven’t decided if I’m going to cut it or leave it grow out. Thomas was never a great help in this type of decision since he didn’t care one way or the other. He liked both.
I bit my lip today. Now I have a huge lump on the inside right front of my lip. It seems that I end up biting it more often now that there’s something sticking out to catch between my teeth. I have to say, that sucks. I can hardly wait for it to go down so that I can chew normally again.
Today was the memorial. There were fewer people than I expected, but the weather was crap the past days so people from out of town weren’t able to make it. People talked about their feelings of loss and their remembrances of Thomas. It was quite beautiful.
I’m glad to be home.
Though I did address the gathered group, I couldn’t do as some did, talk about their feelings. There really are no words to express the depth and breadth of loss and distress I feel.
Three weeks ago, Thomas died. At this time on that day I was sitting at my desk, stunned, nearly paralyzed with shock and grief. Since then I’ve come to accept the reality of what has happened. In many ways I think it was eased somewhat by having seen his corpse, both immediately after his death, and then a few days later to identify it for the funeral director. There’s mixed feelings about that though. Yes, I saw his body and it was still. But it was all wrong. My expectation was that he was just faking it, that he would get up off the gurney and come home with me.
Today I changed the title on his truck to me and renewed the plates for two months. That will give me some time to get it cleaned out and cleaned up (his truck is filthy). I should be able to get between $13000 and $15000 for it. That will give us a nice cushion. I’ll probably give Boy some of it and then sock away the rest in some kind of investment thing.
I also picked up the memorial cards and picked up the key for the church where the memorial will be held. I decided not to do a PowerPoint show of photos. I can’t deal with that. I still find it impossible to look at photos of him without feeling like my heart is being torn out again.
Tomorrow I take Boy to an appointment for counselling. He was scheduled for this prior to Thomas’s death. I hope this helps him process this very profound loss in his life.
I’m watching Ancient Discoveries. The episode I”m watching right now is called “Ancient Death Machines” about ancient weapons that were very efficient at killing people, including the trebuchet, catapult, a multiple arrow launcher that might have been the first automatic weapon and more. It’s a series about inventions that rival ours, or used technology similar to our own. It’s done by BBC (I think).
I’m tired of writing.
Today I went to Staples to have the memorial card things copied. It turned out that their version of Microsoft Word was different from mine and it borked up my formatting. I was instructed to go home and create a pdf of the document. So that’s what I did. I had to download some free programming to create that though. With that all done, back I go across town to Staples. A proof was printed up and approved. Tomorrow I’ll go and pick up 150 copies, all folded as I need for $140. That’s not too terrible considering the paper quality is better than I’d first considered, they’re colour copies and they’re folding them for me. This means I avoid paper cuts from folding.
After I finished at Staples I went off to Early’s Farm and Garden to check out some pet supplies. I wanted more of the bowls that can be hung off the side of the cage. They’re really handy in that they prevent the chinchillas from using the food dishes as litter boxes as they are prone to do with dishes that sit at the bottom of the cage. I got two more (for a total of 3). I also picked up an edible tunnel (made of alfalfa) for them to play in and chew up, and a sweet treat (honey, grains and fruit) to attach to the side of the cage. I filled their bowls, their hay rack, put the treat on the side of the cage and filled their water bottle. When I left all the chinchillas were happily feeding on their various food items.
After I finished with the chinchillas I went to my bosses office just to do a quick decompression. I sat quietly fora while and we talked about some mundane things. Some was about work (new residents coming in) and also about me possibly doing some cross stitch work for his wedding attendants. He’s trying to decide between me doing the work and buying gamer cufflinks he’s seen. It was a nice quiet distraction from the stuff I’ve been dealing with of late.
Tomorrow I pick up the memorial cards (they’re paid for). Then I go pick up the key for the church. At 4 I go and pick up a co-worker and head out to Costco for our bit of shopping that needs to be done. She doesn’t have a car so getting out there is a bit of an issue. As well, it means that she’ll be able to do a little bit of stocking up. It’s hard to carry the quantities they sell on the bus and a cab is an added expense. Having me provide the ride makes her life a little bit easier. It gives me some company, which I appreciate.
I’m still liking my keyboard. As I recall, I noted that the action is a bit stiffer than my old keyboard. This requires that I slow down a little bit (have to use more pressure to complete the keystroke) so I make fewer typos. I decided to check out the keyboard buttons. I have a single button that will bring up the calculator. I rather like that. I don’t have to hunt for it anymore.
Boy and I are still in a fairly stable financial place. I have some of the tax refund left. Despite next week’s pay being taken up by rent, having the cushion means that mid-month pay next month will be able to be divided so I don’t lose an entire cheque to rent next round. Rent here is stupid expensive.
I’m not planning on going anywhere tonight. I’ll hang out here at home and either watch videos on television, watch videos on my computer, read comics on the notebook (Oh My Gods!), and/or crosswords (or a combination of any of the above that will also include editing/writing poetry).
My sister may or may not come down tomorrow. It all depends on the weather. We’re expecting yet more snow both tomorrow and Friday. Today it’s stupid windy. If the weather isn’t good then I’d rather she just stay home and come again after the melt. I don’t want to be attending another memorial service, and I told her that. While I appreciate her wanting to be here to support me, when you get down to it, Thomas is dead. He’s not going to be here for a visit anyway. It would be different if he were on borrowed time and there was a bit of a time limit.
That’s about it.
Life is settling into a new normality. I had a week of work (day shifts). I came hone early one day because I was having trouble coping. They’ve been quite understanding of my needs. I have this week off. It was booked off in January. Saturday is the memorial for Thomas. Today I did the final edits on the obituary, sent it off to the newspaper, reviewed their copy, and then paid for the announcement in tomorrow’s newspaper. Here’s what it says:
Thomas Hugh Dunbar
February 23, 1960 – February 28, 2013
Thomas died suddenly at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. Thomas was predeceased by his mother (Irene), step-father (Alfred), and Father (Tom). He is survived by his loving wife (Naomi) and son (Dylyn), nieces, aunts, uncles, and many, many dear friends. Thomas was known for his compassion, humour and freely-given, all-encompassing hugs. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.
Thomas’s memorial will be on Saturday, March 23, 2013 from 12:30 to 3:30 pm at the Unitarian Church, 213 2 St E. Children are welcome as he wouldn’t have it any other way. Please join Naomi and Dylyn in celebrating the life of a truly good person. It’s an open mike, so you can share your experiences with Thomas. There will be a luncheon afterwards in the basement.
Our gratitude goes to the MD Ambulance’s EMTs, Saskatoon Fire Service, and Royal University Hospital Cardiac Care unit, for their care and compassion at the time of Thomas’s death.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Avenue Community Centre, Canadian Diabetes Association, and/or the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation will be gratefully appreciated.
I left the Avenue Community Centre as it was rather than list its full legal name. The full legal name is “Avenue Community Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity”. I want them to get donations. People get very weird when it comes to anything about sexuality, gender and such. The other two are for those who have no connection to Saskatoon. They’re organizations that virtually everyone in Saskatchewan has heard of.
Boy and I also went to work (mine) so that I could fax off an application for payment relief from student loans. In their eyes, I’m now considered single and they will want to have money. I’ll have to negotiate a lower payment than what they want if I’m earning enough (close to $900 a month). What I net hasn’t changed yet and Thomas’s dying. though some expenses are reduced, they’re only things like buying his medications (about $75-100 a month) and food.
An old friend came into town this weekend to spend time with me. She can’t be here for the memorial but wanted to spend time with me. It was wonderful to see her and wonderful to spend time with her. We spent time reminiscing about things way back when when Thomas and I were newly married and other things. We talked a lot. We also went out to Tonight It’s Poetry at a local bar. It was slam night. Things were moving quite slowly and at about 10 pm we were worn out and needed to go home. So we did. I took my camera and shot a pile of photos. The problem I ran into is that it was dark and even an ISO setting of 3200 made for a slow shutter speed. This meant that, because the poets couldn’t stand still for longer than a nanosecond, many of the photos are blurry. I haven’t checked to see what is good or not yet. That reminds me, I have to get the batteries recharged. They’re on the charger now.
Another old friend (the ex-husband of the friend visiting) came by to visit today. He brought a bottle of wine with him to share. He, Anne and I sat around and talked about what has been going on in their lives. Added to that I also got a connection with the probation office in Lac La Ronge in northern Saskatchewan. He suggested that I email my resume to him and he would forward it on to the parole office there with his recommendation. The nice thing that lends some weight to his doing this is that he’s the director of the Crown Prosecutor’s office in that locality. I don’t want to leave my job, really, but I have to go with where I have a better chance of advancement and twice the income. It’s right up my bailiwick. It’ll be a little bit yet before anything (if anything) happens. He’s on his way to Cuba for a holiday later this week.
I got a cordless keyboard today. Boy wanted a new mechanical keyboard for gaming and I wanted a cordless keyboard. I was tired of having cords all over my desk. I also wanted to be able to tuck my keyboard away without having to worry about cords. Now that I’ve done that I can move my USB hub off my desk and hang it to the side, out of the way. I like the new keyboard. It’s got a better set up than the corded keyboard. The action is better, though it’s a bit stiff. I can live with that.
My friend told me about a vitamin that is vital to our absorption of calcium. That vitamin is Vitamin K. This vitamin is essential for our body to take calcium out of the blood stream and allowing bones and teeth to absorb and use that calcium. By reducing the blood calcium levels it also reduces the accumulation of plaque in veins and arteries. We can access a dietary source of vitamin K2 if we are able to get milk, meat, butter, and eggs from animals that were free range, grass fed animals. Chicken livers and egg yolks of free range chickens are excellent sources. However, those tend to be very expensive commodities. As well, in a province like Saskatchewan, where grass isn’t something that grows all year round (we’re still buried under several feet of snow and, damn it!, it’s still snowing as I type), accessing free range anything can be extremely expensive. So now Boy and I are taking a vitamin K2 capsule daily. You see, Thomas died because two arteries were blocked with plaque. If we had known about vitamin K2, we might have had him on that. It might have prevented a heart attack, or perhaps made it less severe and more survivable.
I have an appointment at one of the banks to have Thomas’s name taken off our joint account and to close his savings account (under $10). It shouldn’t be too hard. I have to make an appointment at the other bank for this week as well for the same reason. I just don’t have the umph to take care of that and now the bank is closed for the day.
Today was a bit more difficult. I was trying to deal with the government stuff around Thomas’s death. By far the easiest was with Canada Student Loans. All I had to do was create a fax cover letter with the needed information and the statement from the funeral director and send it via fax to them. Easy peasy.
Canada Pension (for the death benefit and survivors benefits) is another story altogether. Seriously. I have the application for the death benefit filled out and ready to mail. The one missing thing is the address to mail it to. There’s nothing on the application, in the pages of instructions on how to fill out the form, or on the web site as to where I’m supposed to mail them to. Seriously. So I tried phoning from work but can’t invest 25 or more minutes on hold waiting in queue to speak to someone. I can’t get either my, nor Thomas’s cell to register when going through their menu. It’s enough to drive a girl nuts.
The ambulance bill came today. There’s a permission page on the back allowing someone other than Thomas to pay the bill. It’s tempting to not pay it at all, after all, it’s his debt, not mine. However, we get a refund from the health insurance, and they were really good. Thomas would be unhappy if I were to leave the debt unpaid. After I get the refund from the health insurance people I’ll cancel his membership.
I went to Costco on my own today. I took only an hour to get through the short list of things we needed and/or forgot the last time we were out there. I got some veg for tonight (butternut squash), tomatoes, avocado (having found that ripe avocados can be frozen), fish, the PVC gloves, etc.
While cooking supper I discovered that our microwave is dying. It overheated and also blew out the overload fuse in the power bar. That’s a sure sign that things aren’t quite as it should be. Speaking of supper, I made fried pork chops (with lemon juice) and the squash. I’m going to make a nice salad for lunch tomorrow, so tonight I’m going to prep the lettuce, pack a tomato, some cuke and an avocado (if I can find one ripe enough). With that and some salad dressing, lunch is made.
Going through the paperwork of death was hard. It’s not going to get much easier as I have to go through things. I have yet to go through Thomas’s things, other than his clothes. I have to do it though. There are things that we won’t be needing or wanting to have. Today my boss told me that I’m stronger than he figures he would be in a similar situation. I’m not so sure. Perhaps. Perhaps not. So much dies when a loved one dies. There are promises of times to come that are blown out of the water. There is time together that gave common ground, experiences shared…all that is lost. So much is gone, regardless of the length of a relationship. How one reacts, I guess that depends upon the persons involved.
That was my day. Life goes on. And bits are left behind.