Four weeks passed from the last post, until Julie’s passing. Her appetite continued to improve, yet she continued to become more weak and less aware. She was able to be with us through Thanksgiving. A week before her passing, we drove her to the garden store and bought a Christmas tree and she watched as we put it up. Over the course of her last week, we played quiet Christmas music for her, and she slept most of the time, ate less and drank less. She passed away at home on a Sunday afternoon.
This death is so hard to comprehend. My feelings are aways on the edge. I can speak normally and happily and times, and then alone and in private I suddenly fall off that edge and into despair, and feel the sudden absence that Julie’s passing has brought. The absence, the emptiness, the vacancy is so profound. Trying to do fun things with my kids, I feel like I am just pretending, and feeling guilty about trying to have fun. Taking my kids on a road trip I used to do often with Julie, leaves me with a sinking feeling inside. Everything is wrong, I am trying to pretend otherwise, to keep my kids from slipping with me. They are the ones who are helping me, and they don’t even know it. Two nights ago after the kids went to bed, I went to my room and yelled something to myself. Christopher must have heard me alone in my bedroom as I mourned. I thought he was in the basement, but he came in and threw his arms around me and held me as I shook. These kids are my angels.
I love to look at photos of Julie, how she was a year ago, 5 years ago, and 25 years ago. Now when I see her in my mind, I the see my healthy, vibrant Julie and not how she was at her passing. The pictures are bitter sweet though, because they also remind me that we are no longer making new memories together. Our photo album will cease to have new pictures of her, and she will be absent from future events, and memories of those events will not include her. It seems so final. It is hard to comprehend the distant future of us being together again, but it is what we believe.
I know I will be OK. I know I will feel better for longer periods as time goes on. But I expect and hope to always have those moments of grieving over my Julie who is here no more. I am speaking often to the children about happy memories of their mother. For the rest of their lives, they will hear me speak things like, “If your mother were here she would be happy….your mother always liked doing this…and this was one of your mother’s favorite…”
Now I have the task before me of raising these kids, the way she would. With the love and discipline that she could employ simultaneously. Wish me luck!
This post is drawing to an end. I will post her life sketches next and then wrap up this blog.