Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Almost a year

Lately I've noticed I don't multi-task like I used to. To much just confuses me. Then I shut down and call it a day.
If I call it a day without having one, not only do I loose ground, but I now have an amount of regret
or "noise" in my head for the next day.
I need to concentrate when I work, paint, draw, carve and doodle.

So what do I do? Well I'm down sizing quite a bit. I'm selling the house, and moving closer to my studio.

After 6+ years of cancer, my wife died last August. I was her care giver, and did all I could to maintain our home and welfare. It became exhausting.

There were many times I felt helpless and unable to accomplish most tasks. Personally, I failed miserably on a regular basis. Or so I felt. I had high expectations that I could not meet. I was over my head, but wanted to save my wife and her health.

So I blindly continued to do what I could. Hoping things would get better.

Three weeks before Renee, my wife died, I thought there was still hope. She was "cancer free" several times during those 6+ years. So I wanted to think she still had a chance to beat this condition.

In the end I had to bring her into the hospital her last week. I no longer could care for her, the way she needed to be cared for. I could see her loosing ground each day.

She had her 55th birthday in the hospital. It was acually her last cognative day. She rapidly began to shut down.

I was called 3:30 in the morning to come into the hospital. Renee was asking for me.
I arrived shortly after they called. Renee was uncomfotable.
Several hours later she went into a coma. I notified our kids and they came to the hospital.
Although she wasn't talking, she would twich her toes,or eyebrows to let use know she could hear use.
We all said what we wanted to say to her.

Renee died that evening before the sunset.( 7:40pm. 8-7-10 ) I think she was hanging on for us. She loved us all very much. We all loved her very much.

When she died, she looked truly at peace. All the painful expressions left and she looked more beautiful than the day I met her.

It's been almost a year. I try to move forward. Everything is difficult and strange to me. Things that were important no longer matter. Yet I know I must do something. I'm stuck, or can't let go.
At times I look to find meaning in all of this, and I see a magnet on the fridge that says," Live well, Love much, Laugh often"
To me, that was Renee's code she lived by. This will not be so easy for me.

 Tortoise .Weathered black walnut chainsawed. (approx.200 lbs.)


martinealison said...

Je suis très émue en lisant votre publication et je me sens très maladroite pour vous écrire ce que je ressens face à votre peine.
Il y a 2 ans déjà, que ma meilleure amie, ma soeur devrais-je dire, nous a quittés après 10 années de lutte acharnée. Un cancer du sein, puis un cancer de l'ovaire qui a dégénéré avec des métastases... Elle a tenue a travailler le plus longtemps possible malgré sa maladie... Je l'admirais et je l'admire toujours car elle est toujours là, près de moi. Elle m'aide lorsque je ressens une faiblesse. Son rire communicateur me manque terriblement ainsi que nos rencontres et nos discutions... Nous avancions si bien dans la vie, jamais l'une sans l'autre...
Je comprends ce que vous pouvez ressentir, mais votre Renée serait là, elle vous dirait très certainement, allez il faut que tu continue à rire, je veux pouvoir entendre ce rire qui me séduisait... même si je ne suis pas tout près...
Il faut retrouver un sens à votre vie. Il faut avancer, vous n'avez pas le choix. L'art nous aide aussi à atteindre ce nouveau chemin que vous vous devez d'emprunter.
Je vous fais de gros bisous... Une belle pensée pour vous aujourd'hui.

Jane said...

Dear Bill. Your story made me relive my husbands death 16 years ago...my children were small, 4 and 8 years. I did what you did, held the family together, took care of my husband, who went on/off into hospital, and tried not to make the great despair effect the children. And like your wife , sometimes my husband was well, and you hoped..but in the end he went into coma...
Life can be so hard and unfair, we go through trials which you think bigger than you , but in the end...there are only two ways...up or down. I had my small children, I must be strong.
One year is very little, grief is still very strong, I have no advice..how could I, but grief must be lived out totally , and baby step after baby step you will eventually feel better. We all loose loved ones in a lifetime, I think we must learn to accept,...there must be a meaning in all this.
Bill, a big big hug to you.

Anonymous said...


Celeste Bergin said...

Hi Bill, First off, did you create the tortoise? It is wonderful! You are a very talented person.

When your wife died last year I read a tribute you did for her and I cried. I remember thinking ....wow, I don't even know this lady, but from what you wrote, I wished I did. She must have been really something to have captured your heart so completely.

I am glad you are downsizing...I bet that feels purposeful to have some plan! I can not imagine what you are going through, but I can identify on some level..I find "change" to be quite difficult and I am very loyal (I believe you are too). . I think you should go bowling. lol ...or do something you used to do a long time ago to have fun.

It's very important for you to enjoy your life....! :) Hugs to you on Renee's "angel day" (the day she became an "official" angel)

billspaintingmn said...

Thanks All For your comments. I couldn't sleep and blogged this to get it out. It wells up and
I need to express so I can understand.

Martine,Jane,Cindi,and Celeste,Thank you. I do feel better.

Yes I did carve that tortoise. His name is Andy. He greets people at the side door.


The loss of our Loved ones was only 6 days apart. I'm so much older than you and I'm ashamed not to be handling this grief any better.

billspaintingmn said...

Hi Nora!
Please don't be ashamed. Handling grief can be difficult. It's a weight we carry. Sometimes it gets too heavy, or we get too weak, we have to set it down.

I didn't know what to expect, but I know now, things will never be like they were. That hurts the most. The emptyness I feel makes it hard to go forward, and why should I? Because I'm suppose to? There are times when I feel
my life is over. My time is done. I'll put a sign in the window, 'gone fihing' for fun.
I'll still try to laugh, I know I can cry.
I'm all out of tears, the well has gone dry.
(ha) that rhymes.(I hope I'm not loosing it!)

Seriously,I am looking for the day I can paint.
I believe that will be my medicine.

Heather said...

Very well said Dad,

It is getting close to the 1 year of moms passing and it is hard for me to think... has it felt longer or did it feel like it was just yesterday, I cant determine which way I sway, more as if it felt like it was a month ago I think. However, not a single day goes by where I don't think about mom, and you and all the wonderful memories you both gave all of us kids growing up. I love you dad!

Jesus Estevez said...

Yes Bill painting will help you very much, go for it and don't stop.

Gilberto said...

What one can say wetter that Rene has no made clear in his magnet? Bill, jump on that lake and accept the consequences. Time goes and don't come back my friend.