wings and things

Chapter 37: Blog entry [August 21, 2017]

on September 29, 2021

It is a very strange experience to visit my past self via my blog entries before and after Anthony’s death and I have been avoiding it. But this afternoon I decided to venture back to what I wrote on the day he died; I wanted to check that what I am writing now accurately reflects then.

There was no blog entry for the 23rd of August, 2017, the day Anthony died, but there was this:

August 21, 2017: Death and dying

About a year ago, Anthony had a series of TIAs (mini-strokes) and was unconscious on and off for a few days. I panicked and began funeral arrangements but he ‘did a Lazarus’ and has been as okay as is possible since then. Recently – the last few days – I have noticed a marked deterioration and this afternoon I couldn’t wake him up and he looked deathly.

I am once again afraid even though I know that tomorrow he will probably be bright-eyed again like he was a week ago. On the other hand, I think I better go back to the funeral people and finish the arrangements just in case.

A friend of mine, whose husband has been in care for around the same time as Anthony (he had a massive stroke), has invited me to a seminar this week on death and dying so I’m going to go. I think it will help me to be more prepared mentally and emotionally. If Anthony were suffering constant pain or distress I would be wanting him to die, but he is so comfortable and uncomplaining that I can’t even imagine it.

It is so many years now that I have been trying to prepare myself for Anthony’s death – ever since the prostate cancer diagnosis when the urologist said he probably had 1-3 years to live (around eight years ago!) But then the Parkinson’s disease took precedence and has been by far the more debilitating of the two diseases.

The fact that Anthony is still such a huge part of my life on a daily basis (even when I don’t go in to the nursing home), the fact that I don’t find visiting him and being with him at all onerous, and the fact that we derive so much enjoyment from each other’s company, leaves me ill-prepared. It will not be a relief when he dies; it will be the most grief I have ever felt, and I’m not ready.

I don’t think Ming is ready either, although he just assured me that he is, well, sort of. He also assured me that he will come with me next time I make an appointment with the funeral directors. I think it’s about time we got back to the business side of Anthony’s death.

One of the things I should probably do is to figure out what to do with my ‘Anthony time’ once he is gone. Of course there is the book I’m writing and that will help, but the gap he will leave in our lives is going to be massive.

This feels like the peak of the anticipatory grief I have felt for so long that it’s like a second skin; this is the knife edge of the most terrible mixture of fear and love. But perhaps this isn’t the end after all and tomorrow Anthony will look at me, smile his slow smile and repeat what he said the other day: “You’re still beautiful, Jules.”

Two days later, Anthony actually did die. He died. Anthony died.

5 responses to “Chapter 37: Blog entry [August 21, 2017]

  1. Anonymous says:

    You have broken so many taboos about death and dying in your writing, Julie, and I can only imagine what it is costing you, but this, with all your other stories, needs to be widely read for the thousands of people who deny and avoid any thought of their own mortality or that of their loved ones.

  2. beth says:

    i remember this well ❤

  3. susanpoozan says:

    Well done for venturing back, you have courage.

  4. Reading this made me choke up

  5. I remember when you wrote about that the first time. Devastating. I think sharing your story will help so many others in their journeys with loved ones and facing grief, dying and death. Not only that, you are a good writer engaging your readers with your passion.

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