What’s my Rage? Why? #Guilt, #Grieving and #Loss – #Birthday #Coronavirus and the ‘System’

 

Rage crying and guilt. It’s a thing. And it’s real for me. Like Elizabeth Kubler-Ross states in her book, On Grief and Grieving, there are five stages of grief and you may not feel them in order, but surely everyone will experience them all. Well, I’m still in big time denial, a.k.a., shock, and that doesn’t mean I don’t believe my husband is alive, literally, only that numbness and other defense mechanisms set in and help to play games with my mind to sort of attempt to ‘take the edge off’ the heaviness by playing the ‘pretending game’. Like when I actually get busy doing something, I pretend George is sleeping in the bedroom. But of course, that only lasts so long.

The five stages of grief are certainly not in same order for me. My denial stage is the shock not worn off. Depression is my inner rage. Bargaining is useless, as it’s much too late for that, so I’ve switched that one up to guilt, because guilt is part of the heaviness I carry within. And as for acceptance, it’s so far off I can’t even visualize it.

 

Why didn’t I know? Why didn’t I know! I’m beating myself up at why my husband couldn’t be saved before he became terminal.  I’ve always looked after him. Every little symptom I’d report to the doctors. Covid made everything harder and worse. I can’t stop replaying the summer before he died. He’d complain and question why he’s so tired. What did I know? He was aging, he had ‘other’ issues, we were locked down for Covid, no real living, and no more getting to actually see a doctor! Tele-health calls were scant, but my husband had so much bloodwork done in the last year of his life, how did nobody catch anything? Labs should tell a story. Everyone was so busy taking care of his other issues that the possibility of cancer was totally over-looked.

Bloodwork weekly, low sodium levels, chronic indigestion and sleeping in half the day. I worried all the time. I spoke with doctors as much as I could get hold of them. Was nobody as curious as me? Did anyone consider something worse? Why did it take til February of this year to put him through the ringer of all tests til the grim discovery would show? He was so bloody tired!

These questions haunt me and squeeze my heart with grief when I start screaming out the whys. Yes, if my love could have saved him, he would have lived forever. Covid has shut down most of the world and the ironic part about it is that thousands more die because they can’t get a surgery booked or even see their doctors in the live. Labs are helpful – somewhat, but there’s nothing like being looked at by a doctor, to look in the eyes, skin, listen to hearbeats and breathing.

I’ve been told that my questions are all part of the grieving process, despite me feeling they are all valid questions. I’m living with guilt that I didn’t do enough for my husband. I didn’t scream out to doctors, my whys. People were dying from Covid and our doctor’s hands were tied with rules and regulations with lockdowns and cooties. Doctors not seeing patients, hospitals not allowing scheduled surgeries. Who was I to fight the system? This system has killed so many others who couldn’t and can’t see a doctor unless they were taken to emergency and admitted through the system. No. Right now I am far from acceptance. Nothing can bring my husband back, and yet, the guilt engulfs me; like crying over spilled milk, I know it will get me nowhere except into a darker abyss by dwelling on the whys, yet, I can’t stop asking.

Happy Birthday Puppy

 

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday, only weeks after he passed. I had extra anxiety all weekend. I decided I’d be able to handle the day better if I went to visit his grave. I struggled with it being too soon to go there, but feeling worse if I stayed home and grieved the day all day at home. I went to visit his grave, although I somehow feel closer to him here at home. They hadn’t even finished shoveling more dirt and laying the grass over where he was buried. Remnants of the funeral flowers and ribbons lay scattered over his grave. I threw in a few of my personal stones – rose quartz for love, along with some others, and I placed the stick of the little balloon with the cub on it that says “I love you” in the ground. It was attached to the little puppy love who sleeps with me on his pillow. Puppy love didn’t need to hold on to that balloon anymore because he has me beside him, so I thought Cub balloon would do better keeping him company at his gravesite.

 

Beloved Puppy

 

Birthday at the grave

 

~ ~ ~

 

Note: I recently wrote a post about the state of craziness here in Toronto with vaccine output. I am happy to report that in the past week, our province has got their act together and currently 50%, almost 1.5 million adults, have had their first Covid shot in my city, despite the detrimental number of cases still occurring daily for weeks now, approximately 3000 new cases daily. And one very special nurse who promised they’d save me an Astra Zeneca shot invited me to come have it on this past Friday. I feel blessed that all my networking has paid off and whenever my city decides to ever open up again, I’ll feel a lot more secure about entering the fray – not to mention, be able fly again as soon as flights open up here, and the UK will put Canada back on the ‘approved’ to visit list.

 

©DGKaye2021

Life Love Loss

 

Sunday Book Review – No Happy Endings by Nora McInerny – #Grief and Loss

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. As I’ve explained before in other reviews for books I’m currently on a tangent with reading during my time of grief. Before and after losing my own husband, I couldn’t concentrate on reading any books as my mind was preoccupied with my husband’s welfare, then ultimately, his passing. But I have found that I can easily read books on grieving, and stories about life after death, in the literal sense, and as a grieving widow. Such books give me a bit of comfort right now in my life, books that equate with what is currently going on inside me, questions swirling around, the need for a kinship with those who’ve walked in the shoes before me in this journey, and a sense of ‘fitting in’ somewhere new.

 

Nora McInerny’s story is a powerful one. In this book she teaches us through her own lessons about deep love and loss, how she endured, and how she found new love unexpectedly, and the guilt she felt for loving another man while she was still in love with her first husband.

Now, I’m so veryyyyyyyyyyyy far away from even thinking about a ‘Chapter 2’, as Nora calls it. And I was drawn to this book after watching a Ted Talk with Nora as she briefly discussed her journey of loss, and despite the sadness of her whole situation, her ability to punctuate some of her story with humor in her easy conversational style of telling, compelled me to read further on about this woman.

You can expect more reviews in coming weeks of books I feel make a difference in the life of someone who is grieving, so I hope you can all take something from my reviews whether you’ve been ‘in the shoes’ or not, because inevitably, we will all be walking the walk at some point in our lives.

 

 

 

Blurb:

The author of It’s Okay to Laugh and host of the popular podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking—interviews that are “a gift to be able to listen [to]” (New York Times)—returns with more hilarious meditations on her messy, wonderful, bittersweet, and unconventional life.

Life has a million different ways to kick you right in the chops. We lose love, lose jobs, lose our sense of self. For Nora McInerny, it was losing her husband, her father, and her unborn second child in one catastrophic year.

But in the wake of loss, we get to assemble something new from whatever is left behind. Some circles call finding happiness after loss “Chapter 2”—the continuation of something else. Today, Nora is remarried and mothers four children aged 16 months to 16 years. While her new circumstances bring her extraordinary joy, they are also tinged with sadness over the loved ones she’s lost.

Life has made Nora a reluctant expert in hard conversations. On her wildly popular podcast, she talks about painful experiences we inevitably face, and exposes the absurdity of the question “how are you?” that people often ask when we’re coping with the aftermath of emotional catastrophe. She knows intimately that when your life falls apart, there’s a mad rush to be okay—to find a silver lining, to get to the happy ending. In this, her second memoir, Nora offers a tragicomic exploration of the tension between finding happiness and holding space for the unhappy experiences that have shaped us.

No Happy Endings is a book for people living life after life has fallen apart. It’s a book for people who know that they’re moving forward, not moving on. It’s a book for people who know life isn’t always happy, but it isn’t the end: there will be unimaginable joy and incomprehensible tragedy. As Nora reminds us, there will be no happy endings—but there will be new beginnings.

 

My 5 Star Review:

Nora McInerny helps to welcome those of us new to widowhood with a delivery of micro dosing of humor threaded in where warranted to ease in some comedic relief to soften the heartache we will engulf within when reading Nora’s story.

This author explains to us within her own personal stories, how everything we do in life, leads us to the next something. She shares her life openly and the tragic woe she lived through in a short timeframe of losing her unborn child, her father, and her beloved husband Aaron within the span of a few short months. As she states, “You don’t stop loving your first love, you keep it and take it with you.” She explains that everything that came ‘after’ in her life was built on the life she had before; she refers to her life after losing her first husband as – Chapter 2.

This book is a memoir told in conversational style of the author’s most raw and poignant moments of love, loss, enduring, and even how her life moved forward – not on, almost without her realizing as all the new parts in her new widowed life fell and found new life. Ahh, but new life doesn’t mean she forgot about her old life, or that the searing pain of missing her first husband ever went away, but how she managed to tuck that life into a sacred place and allowed it to become part of her new life. She freely expresses her thoughts, fears, doubts, and longings as she grieved the loss of Aaron, some of which might have some scratching their heads to her open admissions about physical longings and needs being met, not because she wanted another relationship, not to get over her love for Aaron, but to remember what it felt like to be touched and desired, before she realized that human emotions do have an affect on her limitations and that her momentary needs were just that, moments of longing to feel human touch. She’ll continue on sharing her apologies for her spontaneous desire, sharing her not realizing how the one she chose for pleasure only began to entangle the emotions of that partner, and her realization about how wrong that was to allow someone into her bubble of grief for her own satisfaction, and her self-reckoning with how that person was hurt.

After Nora meets Matthew, her deep, intense telling of how that relationship even came to be, she makes us understand the gift she was given at her ‘second chance with love’, all the while making us understand that despite her second time round, everything she did and was came from her deep love for her first love, Aaron.

Nora shares how she struggled to be in her new relationship because of guilt and shame she felt for holding love in her heart for Aaron while having ‘new’ love for someone else. Nora continues on about the relationship with Matthew and talks about the places she could no longer go to with anyone that were now sacred to her and Aaron, but shows us the way on how she made new places to go in her new life.

 

Best Relatable Quotes:

Most poignant line for me: “I wasn’t a caregiver, I was a wife living my vows.”

“Aaron died at age thirty-five and that will always be tragic and it will always make me sad. But our love and his death are not a burden to the person who loves me next. Aaron’s love and Aaron’s death are my foundation.”

“The first year of widowhood is a year of firsts: 365 days where you can say, ‘last year, we were . . .”

On religion: ” What does God have to do with this? I wanted to shout at every person who tweeted their #thoughtsandprayers to me while Aaron’s body wasted next to me. What does a prayer do? What kind of God is listening, but not doing anything?”

“God to me is just people.” (Referring to the people who helped her find her way.)

“Even if you’re surrounded by people you love, figuring out grief is a solo project.”

Nora to her therapist: “This is what I’ve felt like all these months, like I’m groping about in the darkness, waking up in a world I hadn’t expected to occupy. But there is no way through it, except through it.”

On being unafraid to give her heart again: “You cannot bubble wrap and protect your heart from life, and why should you? It is meant to be used, and sometimes broken. Use it up, wear it out, leave nothing left undone or unsaid to the people you love. Let it get banged up and busted if it needs to. That’s what your heart is there for.”

Hemingway Quote: “.. the world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are stronger in the broken places.”

Nora shares with us that her grief for the loss of Aaron remains, despite the new love she has with Matthew, because true love will never die just because the body has.

©DGKaye2021

Life Love Loss

 

Time for a #Rant – #Covid #Vaccines in Canada the Disorderly

I haven’t been back writing much lately, due to my husband’s recent passing. But that doesn’t mean through my grief that outside influences haven’t been getting my goat, like the way our province of Ontario has become a big joke for the incompetence of our government on the handling of containment and the sorrowful lack of vaccines, and the system of no law and order when it comes to how they are rolling out vaccines at random.

 

When I got my first vaccine in early March, my doctor’s office managed to get me into a local pharmacy that had openings, but not for my lack of trying, I could never get through the line to book, it’s much easier for a doctor’s office to connect. The pharmacist who gave me the jab had told me there is no return date booked for my second vax, but it will be four to 12 weeks. Well, no return date, and our province has decided four months will suffice. Why? When the directives are 4 to 12 weeks by the pharmaceutical suggested dosing, and we don’t have enough vaccine around, Health Canada ‘decided’ four months is sufficient. Do we even have any data of efficacy for that long of a wait gap?

Our province did not begin vaccines with a plan of law and order. In fact, front line workers are only RECENTLY being called on for their turn. I guess they forgot that all the people who work in factories who go to work and bring home the Covid to their families are creating wild hotspots within our city and contributing to the 3000 plus daily cases daily we’re still getting. This is a fire that can’t be extinguished because our borders are a joke, as is our government, and vaccines are being sent to us willy nilly. The general public is lost and speaking out about the joke of a system where they have to look for popup places, often getting shutout because if you didn’t stand in line from the wee hours of the night waiting for them to open, you more than likely lose out. We’re like a bloody third-world country here!

Gratefully, while I was watching the Canadian news the other night, the media announced that @VaxHuntersCan, has taken it upon themselves to establish a responsible group to take over where the government sorely missed, using social media to help Canadians get a heads up on where vaccines will be offered daily, how many spots, how to book, and who is sold out. From VaxHuntersCan, came another branch @VaxHuntersTO, they post specifically to Toronto’s availabilities. Note their slogan under their name on Twitter – “Here to help people navigate the overly complex vaccine rollout and do the Ford government’s job for them.” Yup, thanks to them they are helping Canadians out where our government fails.

Now, here’s the bug up my ass. As I am living in solitude and grief with the passing of my husband, I am ANXIOUSLY awaiting my second dose, where I know not where and if it will come from, so I can get the heck out of here by July/August. But hey, this country is farrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr from even getting close to vaxxing Canada with round one.

Here’s something that niggles at my mind. The only reason my age group was randomly called out of order, which allowed me to get the first vaccine, I found out from the pharmacist, was because at that time, (the age allowances have been changed several times since for those eligible for the Astra Zeneca – just another reason people have no confidence and don’t know what to believe about safety), the pharmacy’s vaccine was soon to expire. That’s how I got in.

Fast forward to a few days ago, when I began following @VaxHuntersTO on Twitter, they announced two pharmacies (close to me) that had lots of spots left for the Astra vaccine, that are supposedly expiring in May. So I called up both those pharmacies and told them I noted there were lots of spots on the website still available. A lot of people don’t want Astra Zeneca for whatever reasons (most of which because the government has changed their mind on age limits), so I asked if I could come in for my second dose and was refused. I didn’t hang up without making a comment, reiterating that they have vaccines, nobody is coming for, they’re about to expire, but they will go in the garbage instead of vaxxing anyone waiting for dose two. Yes apparently, in our Covid capital of Toronto where we can’t get enough vaccines, they will throw them out before giving anyone a second dose.

DO YOU SEE WHY I NEED TO GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE???

So I’ve been DMing on Twitter with one of the persons running this VaxHuntersTO site, sharing about my discoveries and they are as appalled as I am. Apparently, ‘the person’ I’m chatting with runs a clinic downtown Toronto, and they told me that they will have left overs and they will personally DM me to invite me in for round two!

Thank goodness for competent citizens because certainly our government cannot seem to get their shit together!

Note – I’d also like to add that my first dose vaccine came from India. Ironically, when India was doing so well before this next tragic wave hit them, they kindly helped Canada out with Astra Zeneca from their plants. My heart (what’s left of it) goes out to India for the horrific predicament they are in right now. It’s gut-wrenching to watch those poor people in desperation to save their loved ones. I know Canada and the US are sending them equipment, oxygen and ventilators as they so desperately need for this killer next wave that is unrelenting there. I hope other countries will send along some healthcare workers to help ease their under-staffed situation, the same way so many are helping out each other in so many other countries, including my own.

People are dying everywhere, kindness and compassion are essential in these times everywhere and from everyone. We are all one as the world.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

bitmo Kindness Matters

 

Sunday Book Review – On Life After Death -Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Since my husband’s illness, and consequently, his passing, I’ve found it difficult to read books with my lack of concentration as my mind drifts back and forth to grief. So I’ve found that reading books on the topic of grief are somewhat comforting because I can identify well with that topic that I’m living daily. And hey, if there’s something that is going to teach me how to roll with the waves, I’ll take all the help I can get.

This week’s book is, On Life After Death by Dr. Elisabeth Kuber-Ross who is well known for her books on grief, dying and afterlife.

 

 

Blurb:

A collection of inspiring essays with frank and compassionate advice for those dealing with terminal illness or the death of a loved one, from the pioneering author of On Death and Dying and On Grief and Grieving

As a pioneer of the hospice movement, Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross was one of the first scholars to frankly discuss our relationship with death. By introducing the concept of the five stages of dying, her work has informed the lives of countless people as they face the grieving process. This classic collection of four essays—based on Dr. Kubler-Ross’s studies of more than twenty thousand people who had near-death experiences—illuminates her sensitive, original, and even controversial findings on death, dying, and the afterlife.

Now with a new foreword from Caroline Myss offering a personal perspective on Dr. Kübler-Ross, On Life After Death presents writings that challenge and encourage us to approach the end of life not with trepidation, but with clear-eyed, compassionate love.

 

My 5 Star Review:

Four inspirational essays on death and dying by Dr. Ross who was considered a pioneer of the hospice movement. Dr. Ross studied over 20,000 cases of people who faced near-death experiences and came back to tell, participating in as witness, and in these stories she shares her discoveries. She describes the stages of a person’s passing as they walk through the light and the deceased begins to play a whole movie reel of their entire life as they transcend.

Ross says, ‘It’s a blessing to be able to sit at the bedside of a dying person.” Personally, I’m no amateur at this as I’ve been to my share of beloved bedsides, including, recently, my own husband’s. I’m not sure if the blessing is for the one leaving our world because the only blessing I felt was that he was no longer suffering, but the aftermath of me and my loss certainly doesn’t feel like a blessing.

We are told that when the person is passing on their guardian angels, guides and past love ones are greeting  them to help with the transition. Dr. Ross said these events have been verified by her as a scientist. “There will always be someone there to guide the leaving soul to transcend.”

One example of watching a near death event, Dr. Ross watched a blind girl slip away. She came back to the land of the living and explained that she watched from above the doctors bringing her back to life. She explained that she saw everything from above, told Dr. Ross of the colors of clothing people were wearing in the room. She was spot on. When she returned to the land of living, so did her blindness.

I think we are all curious to know what really goes on in the other side after life on earth, and we have much to learn from those who’ve been to the precipice between two worlds, yet somehow made it back to the land of the living. This is a short book with stories of people Dr. Ross has witnessed their near death experiences, which she shares openly. There are no big jargony medical words or terms to navigate, merely stories of survivors who came back to tell.

Poignant Quotes:

“Death is simply a shedding of the physical body like the butterfly shedding the cocoon. It is a transition to a higher state of consciousness where you continue to perceive, to understand, to laugh and to grow.”

“Everything can be bearable when there was LOVE.”

“…dying is only a transition to a different form of life.”

 

©DGKaye2021