wings and things


on September 21, 2017

It’s a month now since Anthony died and I still can’t quite believe it. I know that if I go into the nursing home there will be somebody else in his room so maybe that will confirm things for me. I have such strange impulses like wanting to dig up the soil on his grave and open the coffin just to make sure he really is dead. Just before the funeral, Ming and I viewed his body, not to say goodbye, but (for me, at least) to make sure that he wasn’t just sleeping. I realise that these impulses are totally irrational but they persist nevertheless. Time will fix this eventually.
I want Anthony back so much that the feeling of longing is inside every breath I take and hold. Remembering to breathe normally is something I am now re-learning. I want him back the way he was on the Friday before he died – eating, smiling, squeezing my hand, watching television.
Anthony had been ill with Parkinson’s Disease Dementia for so long that, until now, I had forgotten his robust energy, loud laugh, barbecued steak, and the way he used to love looking at himself in the mirror. He didn’t know he had Dementia but he did know he had Parkinson’s Disease, but he would always reassure me that he was getting better. And I would always agree of course.
It was so fast – Anthony’s death. The aspirational pneumonia was loud in his gurgling breath and his forehead was so hot to touch. I vaguely remember wetting a small towel and placing it on his forehead to cool him down. His eyes were slits and I wasn’t sure if he could hear me saying how much I loved him. I hope he didn’t hear the fear in my voice….
There is no relief for me that Anthony has died because he was never a burden of responsibility for me and those last five – nearly six – years in the nursing home were filled with joy and fun. Our love for each other was so gigantic, I struggle to find words to describe it – it was like some sort of massive water slide, or maybe even a parachute jump, a leap into an unknown that I now know.
I said, in the eulogy, that nobody ever had a bad word to say against Anthony because I had forgotten how he broke my heart when I was too young to understand why. I remember calling him a ‘selfish pig’ at one point. Before we were married, he admitted that he, too, had fallen in love-at-first-sight, but he was 41 and I was 18, and he respected me.
But Anthony’s mother, Gar, knew. She would say little, suggestive things to me and hint at the promise of a relationship with her son. Her last words to me “Look after Anthony,” just before she died, had a resonance unfelt for many years.
What does a person like me do now? The absence of Anthony in the here-now is like an icy wind-tunnel and I feel fractured/split/injured. And, yes, I want him back, I want him back.
The love of my life has died and I feel so lost without you, Ants. But I can also feel the warmth of your smiling encouragement, and we have Ming – like a clone of you – the most beautiful gift we gave each other.
It’s a month now since Anthony died and I still can’t quite believe it.


23 responses to “Death

  1. susanpoozan says:

    X you use words so well to describe your feelings, it must help to go so open. I hope so anyway.

  2. ksbeth says:

    i know it must be like waves of the ocean washing over you at times. i am so sorry

  3. Your gigantic love is inspirational! Hugs. ♡
    Diana xo

  4. Grief and disbelief bring many thoughts… The one that you wanted to dig up the grave; believe it or not is not so irrational. My sister said the very same thing when her husband died, as did another blogging friend who lost her husband.
    While a person’s grief is their own, there are some thoughts and feelings that are shared. Julie, I know how much you loved each other. May that fact and the memories shared with Ming and others bring you comfort and peace in the coming days and weeks… Diane ❤

  5. Writer Lori says:

    Your grief and sense of loss will be as big as your love for Anthony, Julie, of that I am certain. My hope for you is that the sadness is quickly displaced by the many happy memories the two of you made over the years, for it’s clear your love for one another was profound.

  6. tootlepedal says:

    Strangely, I feel that Anthony may live on in the memories of many people who never even met him thanks to the vivid way you brought him to life for so it is not surprising that he lives on in your heart.

  7. Judy says:

    I knew that despite your anticipatory grief – this stage would still overwhelm you. There is no way to anticipate death and you have suffered both with his impending death and now his absence.
    I am very sorry, Julie and wish I could just hug you right now.
    Shock is the first stage of grief. It is horrible and bizarre. I remember it well and I know you went through a lot when your father died rather suddenly.
    The entire grief journey is life-changing. I am always thinking of you and hoping you have some peaceful moments and are able to begin finding ways to fill the tremendous void that Ants left behind. Much love to you.

  8. judyrutrider says:

    I sit weeping into my breakfast cereal, sharing your pain. You continue to show us how to wade through the grim fog of loss.

  9. Ms. Boice says:

    I wish I had words to comfort.

  10. Julie, thank you so much for sharing your’s and Anthony’s love. I hope he understood how much he shared with us through you. I miss his humor and his love for you.

  11. How lucky you were darling girl to have experienced a love like that. I never have. Thank you for writing so frankly. Carry on now – autumn is coming – plant his trees. Build him a forest! A JUNGLE!! c

  12. SPRING! Spring is coming! so sorry – wrong hemisphere!

  13. I get wanting to check he is really gone, I think that would be normal for so many people, I do not know how I would cope if I lost Tim, he is annoying and drives me nuts but I do love him

  14. Each moment is a forever. 😦 So sorry.

  15. dogdaz says:

    Only time will help put some distance to the pain.

  16. You and Ming have been much in my thoughts. My deepest sympathies. Such big love, as between you and Anthony and Ming, can only come from big hearts willing to reach out — not with ease, but with effort and joy. The world is short supply of those kind of hearts. And, especially those who can reach out and teach others to find and embrace the bigness of their own hearts… You all still have much to share and teach, I hope.

  17. By sharing this you are probably helping more people than you realize because they will know they are not alone in thinking those thoughts that come after a loved one dies. i feel like we know each other from reading and commenting your post.Grief takes time, maybe it is something you never get over but good to know you deal with it only one day at a time.Husg to you, julie.

  18. Eehall1 says:

    Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry you are having to go through the grieving process. This is a tough time and I wish you and your family well! xoxo

  19. Heartbreaking but touching. I have recently written a short post <1000 words on Impermanence that you may be interested in.

  20. bsgfe says:

    Good article thank-you for sharing

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