Sunday, April 28, 2019

Where to begin ...

Stevie, my husband and constant companion for over 38 years, passed away early Sunday morning, March 24, 2019.

It was about 1 a.m. After a normal night of TV and internet browsing, we were getting ready for bed. He was in his chair by the edge of the bed, breathing normally and then he stopped.

As quick and simple as that. One moment we were there talking, he was breathing and the next moment he wasn't. I'd always thought the human body was incredibly strong and took a lot to die. But it isn't, wasn't.

Guessing that I went into auto-mode. I remember calling "Stevie, Stevie ...", dialing 911 on the cel while running to unlock the front door and turn on the light. The dispatcher had me put Steve on his back and begin CPR. But think he was already gone.

When the firemen arrived, they worked on resuscitation for about 45 minutes ... before proclaiming Steve dead. Not passed, not gone, dead.

My hubby, my "Sweetie", the one I make Easter baskets for and send birthday cards to, the one I watch endless hours of Fox News with, the one who holds my hand at night and tells me silly jokes when I'm trying to get to sleep.

I know he is gone, but he is still here. I can hear his voice. I can feel his touch.

It's been just over a month and I wasn't ready to write this until now.  I've googled all the links about surviving spouses and the stages of grief. And those about how to survive after a spouse dies -- both financially and emotionally.

I've received lots of support from friends, family and neighbors who have reached out and continue to do so. My sons and California cousins were here the week after and I continue to get weekly, daily calls and texts.

Other widows have offered valuable information. My hairdresser lost her husband 7 months ago. My first question to her was, "does it get easier". The answer ... expected of course ... is "not really".

But there are so many of us. One statistic I came across said "nearly 700,000 women lose their husbands each year and will be widows for an average of 14 years".

I spent 33 years growing up, 38 years married to Steve, and now a projected 14 years as a widow -- the three stages of life? He often told me that I had to live long enough to see the grandchildren graduate from high school. That is just about 14 years.  He adored his granddaughters.

Earlier this month, my daughter-in-law texted me that our 3-year-old granddaughter Addie had been laughing in her sleep. When asked why, she said she had been playing "with Stevie and Aunty Sarah". 

Addy never called him Stevie, but always "Grumpy". Yet that day, it was Stevie who had been playing with her. "Aunty Sarah" was our late daughter, who was stillborn. And that sounds about right, that Stevie would be visiting ... with Sarah at his side.