There’s a lot of personal information in today’s writing.  It’s a process by which I decompress and share because I know there are others who are experiencing the same feelings.

Ugh.  That pain.  What is that pain in my stomach?  What is that pounding in my chest?  What is this feeling of impending doom?  What have I done?  What will I do?  When will this stop?

How did I get here again?  It’s been nearly 22 months since Keith died.  Why now?  Why is it all hitting me now?  Where have I been?

Over and over and over again, I am experiencing that horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that I felt when they closed the funeral chapel doors and closed his casket.  I held it together up until that point.  I felt then like someone had punched me in the stomach.  It took my breath away.  It is taking my breath away again.

How do we get from a safe crevice in this mountainous climb to the rocky ledge that I find myself standing on?  Where does it come from?  It hurts so badly.

I witnessed God in our home, in our lives, in our hearts.  He promised Keith and me that things would be okay.  I promised Keith that I would be okay.  I feel like a failure in that right now.  I am not okay.  No, I do not need counseling.  No I don’t need to give it to God, He already has it.  I need to find a way to feel less like I’m moving backward and more like I am choosing the right next-step and not teetering on the edge when I really am making sound decisions.

Who knew that leaving my old surroundings would invoke such emotional strife?

I am struggling with everything.  I have so many friends who are fighting for their lives with the disease that took my husband.  I have lost too many friends to the disease and it consumes me.  I can’t find my balance anymore and this ledge is a scary place to be.

I’ve never experienced panic attacks before where they came out of nowhere.  Sure, I’ve had anxiety throughout my life (who doesn’t?) but not like this.  You think you’ve got it all together and then BOOM.

I MISS him.  Keith always, always knew what to say when something needed to be said.  He grounded me like nobody else ever could.  He showed me how to live in the moment.  The problem is that right now, every moment feels like an eternity.

Back in 2005 I had encephalitis and meningitis from West Nile (mosquito borne illness) and had a lot of issues post illness.  I was put on Cymbalta (an anti-depressant) to deal with the effects of what it did to my brain.  The dose was increased in 2007 when I had a stroke-like episode which left me in a wheel chair for months … eventually, thank God, with intensive therapy I did heal, but the medication was affecting my liver along with all the other meds I was taking so I went off of it.  Then Keith was diagnosed.  I poured all of my energy into helping him and making sure his every need was taken care of.  I didn’t have time to feel anything but intense love for this man I was taking care of.

Grief is messy.  It’s something nobody can experience through another person.   I am nobody’s hero – I am not an inspiration.  I am a woman who was blessed to be loved by the best.  If I could have traded places with him, I would have, in a heartbeat.   I didn’t ask to be left behind, but I was so I have to figure out a way to keep hanging on, even though some days, it is by my fingertips.

Over the past few weeks, since my move, I’ve experienced more stress than any person should have to have.  I finally took the initiative to see my doctor.  I don’t want to take medication every day to “cope” – but I did agree to take it (Cymbalta) for 3 months.  I was given another medication for the panic attacks and actually slept very well last night.  But, I want to be in control so those will only be used if I can’t find myself able to handle the pounding in my chest.

I depress myself these days and that’s not a good place to stay.  I have been taking breaks from my support group because I’m not much good to anyone if I can’t be good for me. But that doesn’t mean that I am not thinking about them all constantly.  It’s a seesaw life.

I am not the only one struggling and I recognize that.  As much as Keith’s cancer was his journey, being left behind is mine.  Doing it without him is the single hardest thing I have ever had to do.  I made him a promise, yes, I will be okay… and I will be.  I am impatient and I want to know when.


Stepping Stones

6 thoughts on “Stepping Stones

  1. Oh my Friend,
    I don’t leave a single smiley face or face with a tear. You will know what to do. Sometimes we don’t know how we got to where we are because we didn’t have to try to get there. Often times it is already done for us and the plan is there and the understanding will follow. And yes you are an inspiration and there is some purpose you need to fulfill and you will and you have and it shall find you and reveal itself in a subtle way and it may be. Your message means something to me and this chapter of your story made me dig deeper for some reason. Perhaps these words and the different meaning of your words wrang out inside of me. It’s not the country song that” you left me” type of meaning. Yes maybe he left but he left loving, not just leaving. I know it’s no consolation and we know he is ALWAYS in your Heart everyday and every moment no doubt.But he did leave for the right reason and he left Loving you and being Loved and not like a” you left me” country song that was written. He is in the hands of God and in your heart forever. Much Love


  2. Dear Therese,

    I have no words to assuage your grief. Tears come to me when I think of the pain you are suffering through. Just know that you are loved by all who know you and who would do ANYTHING to make your journey easier. Sending you my love and my hugs, that this leg of the journey will usher in some new light and ultimately bring you to a more comfortable place. I love you, and I’m always here if you want to talk!

    All my love……Hope


  3. No words to make it better… moment by moment, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day; this is the only way to deal. You’ve made a lot of big changes in the last few months. I can understand your grief and loneliness. Only wish I could take away the pain and make it better. Know I love you.


  4. I am with you in spirit and you know you need to find a special way to have fun. Just anything that will make you laugh (your — off!). Go with someone to a comedy club. Go see a funny movie. Have another overnight with your girl cousins. You already do things with Kim and Nino and the grandkids. I am talking about other people…..Find a group to sing with….I know you can sing and you will find a lot of joy that way….even Karaoke at a nice bar. I miss my Musichorale people and haven’t found a group yet, but I am getting closer. They have women barbershoppers The Sweet Adelines in Illinois. There is a group here in Texas for 55 yrs and older and I may look them up. I know I could pass an audition. Just a few of the ideas I have in my head this evening. ps Uncle Bob and I and Dorene and Zack and maybe David and Dorene’s kids and babies will be in Illinois in November for Thanksgiving Dinner at Dawn and Paul Ternes house. We have booked airfare, hotel and car rental tonight (9-30-2016) from 11-23 through 11-29 so maybe we can arrange a visit with you and Wayne and Dolores. I love you and miss you and look forward to seeing you again…..when, where, how…I don’t know. That’s just the first opportunity that comes to mind! See ‘ya… love and kisses!


  5. Hello,
    I am at nearly 22 months now too. I was inspired by your honesty. Thank you for sharing your heart. God has stood beside you the whole time. He knows your pain and he loves it when we lean in on Him.


  6. Praying for you. I remember experiencing God there with you and Keith in your home too. I miss that . Hang in there. If you ever need a friend we are hear.



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