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  Nostalgia ain't what it used to be

Monday, 21 October, 2019
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A Year Gone Bye

Date: 21 January, 2018

By: Chief

Imageoday marks the first anniversary of my sweetie's death.

And God almighty what a year it has been. Over the past 365 days I've often wondered if I was going to actually make it, not just to the next year, but simply making it through each and every single day. Sometimes just making it to the next hour was a battle. And no, I have never considered suicide. That would be the easy way out. And she never believed in that. Believe it or not — right this very second I am in tears. Writing this story which must be done is more than just difficult. Indeed, it is the toughest thing I have had to do in quite sometime. Too put it bluntly — this story is anything but fun.

Living the life until ...

For 20 years and 17 days we lived a life which many couples have dreamed about but very, very few have actually lived (truly a travesty of huge proportions). I can say that because we were told that by other couples we knew. We were, if you will, the dream team or dream couple (I am not bragging a whit either). Then on the morning of January 21st, 2017, the dream ended. Without doubt, the dream came crashing down and was shattered. As we all know, unlike the tale of Humpty Dumpty, this dream could not be put back together again.

Now in one regard I was extremely lucky, which I suppose, does sound rather odd. We had lived only about 5 miles northeast of the little town of Dexter, New Mexico — which, like all small towns, everybody knows everybody and their business — like it or not. Once the word got out about Sweetie's death, which did not take long I assure you, I was inundated by:

from towns people, neighbors and the like. All offered their condolences. Some offered to assist in doing chores around the house and outside (cutting the grass, etc.) while others brought meals and most important of all — companionship. You have no idea how important companionship is at a time like that. I really believe it was the companionship that got me through the real tough times of which there were several. I shall never be able to repay the kindness which was given too me freely and with love. Hence, I shall do the only thing I can do — I shall be their for them during their time of need.

Hospice

Thank you Hospice. Thank you for all you did for Sweetie and, actually, for me as well.

At times like these one organization stands head and shoulders above all others, at least as far as far as I am concerned, and that is the local Hospice. I do not know about any Hospice organization save one — the Roswell, New Mexico Hospice. If there is such a thing as 'best of the best' — they are it. Make no mistake. Their staff is:

You can count on them. And that friends and neighbors, when you are in the middle of watching the love of your life slip closer and closer towards death — knowing there is utterly nothing you can do to slow the process down let alone prevent it, is incredibly comforting. It really, really is. It is also incredibly important.

Their entire staff of:

are not only highly skilled in the medical arts they are also highly skilled in the 'people' arts. And that is critical. Indeed, in these sorts of situations, the 'people' arts may very well be the most important skill of them all.

One very important aspect of the Roswell Hospice which sort of 'slides under the radar' is the bereavement counselor. And here, the bereavement counselor is an actual minister. Take my word for it — should you become the "surviving spouse" — you will need him and I most strongly recommend you take advantage of his services. I never would have thought I would need a bereavement counselor ... boy howdy was I ever wrong. Not only does he do one-on-one counseling should there be a need for it, he also hosts a bereavement support group.

This support group meets once a week for approximately one hour. The meeting place is the church he ministers at. There is but one simple rule:

"What is said in here stays in here."

Which is, I believe y'all will admit, a perfectly sensible rule.

One final note about Hospice is simply they are also there for the surviving spouse. Do understand this not open ended. I believe the Roswell Hospice will do whatever they can do for the surviving spouse and/or family for approximately one year after the death of the husband, wife or whomever. In other words — they really work to cover all the bases. And in my particular case — they did a tremendous job. Again — thank you Hospice.

Epilogue

Losing a spouse is something which is so traumatic that it is not just unexplainable, it is incomprehensible as well. It is a situation which nobody just 'gets'. Regrettably, one must go through it in order too 'get' it. And we all will go through it ... sooner or later. Having said that I recommend to each and all of you — volunteer at your local Hospice. They are ready to help you so why not return the favor?

Helping someone through this nightmarish journey is a great feeling. And in going through this everybody can use a helping hand. Or several.

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