And so this is Christmas.......

And so this is Christmas,wow what a difference a year makes....last Christmas I was full of hope for Tom's cancer treatment, we had a most wonderful Christmas day last year...nothing special except that my family was all together....just a heart warming day. Everything about it is burned in my memory forever, from a morning of opening gifts to a visit with my mom and back home for a lovely meal with my husband and children. Just finished up the dishes walked into the dining room sat with Tom at the table and saw a vacant look on his face, I asked him is he was ok and he couldn't answer he looked at me as if a plea for help but couldn't say anything and I knew he was in trouble, he had just watched out the window as our daughter had left ot go home and I thought at first he was upset by her leaving but as I looked more closely, I knew something was terribly wrong, I called the doctor and told my 2 sons to please get their dad out to the car so we could take him to the hospital. The hospital where he was recieving his cancer treatment was about a 20 minute drive from our home, halfway there Tom had a seizure.....I thought he had a stroke we pulled to the side of the road and called 911 and waited in the rain for what seemed like an eternity for help to come. Eventually we made it to the hospital they took him to the back and we waited to see what was wrong...the doctor finally called me into the back and there in front of a light board was the answer, it was a CT scan of my husbands brain....our worst fears were right in front of me the lung cancer had spread to his brain there was a large tumor that was pressing against the front lobe of his brain and it was causing his brain to bleed ...there was nothing more the could do but keep him "comfortable"Merry Christmas to us...........So tons of morphine drip and there he lay in the hospital bed...no hope nothing they could do. Christmas night was spent at the hospital with my husband and kids. After a night of tears and no sleep for the weary, I decided I was not doing this in a hospital....this whole death experience thing..I just wanted to take my family home, I walked out to the nurse station and said I wasn't doing this anymore I was taking my husband home and the nurse looked at me like I was crazy, so I called Hospice asked them for help they came with in hours and handled everything, by 4:00 the day afte Christmas we were headed home... in a ambulance. I rode in the back of the ambulance with my husband and as we turned on our street and entered our driveway.....Tom opened his eyes and looked at me to say what happened? I was in utter shock and amazement, after being told he would most likely never wake up. We got him into the house and into bed where he sat an talked to everyone, my truely amazing man.Hospice came to check on him and told me that his body was shutting down, this was just the calm before the storm all the signs were there his body was failing him.Tom, actually lived another month to not leave us until February 3rd, in the end he ended back up in the hospital for me to insist on taking him home again for one last ride in the ambulance, and home to die in my arms.Although many knew Tom by his sharp tongue I pity those who didn't get to see his soft heart and crocodile tears they were the best part of him.Over the last year and more of our lives together we had endured everything and anything, this time has been the hardest yet most honored time of my life.Often people say that if they have to die they wish to do it quickly and painlessly,I have to say that through this time in our lives I would not change an single thing that we endured or a single decision that I had to make on behalf of our family. To know that my husband was going to die was a gift rather then a curse.....why you may ask..... the reason is simple over the past year every single day or event or holiday we spent together I knew it would be the last, the last vacation to Wildwood, the last birthday, Thanksgiving and last but not least the last Christmas....I wouldn't change a single last and will cherish them in my heart forever...you see we got to say all those things that go unsaid when one dies unexpectantly.....so for this I am eternally grateful.Tom was the youngest of the three boys born to John and Matilda Bernarding, he never got the opportunity to meet his father he had died 3 weeks before Tom was born. His mom remarried to whom Tom always considered his dad, Edgar Torbeck, Tilly as Tom's mom was known passed away right before Toms 12th birthday, she had sorosis of the liver, you see his mom was an alcoholic . He would often speak of ,and we would laugh about, not laughing about her illness but how for years after his moms death they would find bottles of Carstairs Whiskey hidden in the most unusual places, like most people that suffer from addictions she was very creative to get what she needed. Tom's dad was a very critical person and had some lets say unusual punishments, one that I will share with you that Tom often mentioned was the story of the white Bermuda shorts, you see the family would vacation every year in Wildwood New Jersey, this one year in particular their mom bought each of the 3 boys a nice pair of white Bermuda shorts to wear on the family vacation, but as with most children all of the boys not being that far apart in size. when one would get their shorts dirty the other brother would steal the shorts from the other until mayhem would ensue and the household would be turn Topsy turvy, so his dad, the master of punishments decided he would fix this problem, he stopped at the store on his way home from work had told Tilly, to make sure all 3 pairs of their shorts were clean, when he returned home that evening he spread all 3 pairs of Bermudas on the dining room table and wrote each one of their names in black bold letters across the seat of their pants, returned them to the boys and told them to pack their new Bermuda shorts for the family vacation, upon arriving in Wildwood that year he made the boys wear them on the boardwalk for one of their evening stroll's Tom of course being the younger of 3 didn't seem to mind it as much as his older brothers ......but he always said they never took each others clothes again....those were the kind of lessons he learned growing up. He always said his father had the most unique punishments and I think we would all agree with him on that. Through all of this he endured. and there within lies the lesson. No matter what life throws at us we continue on, continue on a better person then what we would have been if we had never met, every loved on that passes through our lives leaves a gouge in our soul, and a forever on our heart, that stay with us til the day we to pass on. Tom is my happily ever after through all of or years together of up and downs, withs and withouts, for better and for worse. We have fulfilled ever line in our marriage vows to the t. I wish for everyone and our children to have or find their happily ever after everyone deserves to have that in their lives at least once.My husband leaves behind a long legacy to our childrenTo Jessica he left pancakes with only butter, and his drive to succeed at whatever she doesTo Tommy he leaves his ability to work hard to succeed and the wisdom to be strong and make the right choices in life.To Kristen he left his quick wit, no nonsense attitude and to know that your success is his success.To Andrew he left his mechanical abilities, willpower, as well as his inability to sit still for more then 5 minutes-they will service you well to your successes in life.To all four of his children he left his heart, because it is a good one and as long as you always leave it open it will never fail you, through these things and more he will always be with us.And so this is Christmas.......As Christmas day came to a close last night even having lost so much of myself and my family last Christmas, Tom taught me that death carries you on, he experienced so much death in his life that started before he was even born, and continued through his life.So through everything I look forward to the rest of my life with a smile on my face inspired by Tom, and memories into the future to carry me through.May the Christmas season bring us all Peace and Blessings into the future through Gods hands.

Replies

doyew
doyew

Thanks for sharing all this - about your last Christmas together, your husband\'s death, his legacy for your family. It is good for many who are new to this journey to know that we CAN make it, we CAN feel better, and cherish our good memories as we move into future days.
Blessings - Doye
deleted_user
deleted_user

Lovely post. Feel like I know your husband as well as your children. Mike died from liver failure from alcoholism so I can imagine the stories he had from his Mom. I\'m glad it was a precious time for you during his long goodbye. May the good memories carry you forward. Hugs to you..
ricebells
ricebells

l can relate to your journal because l did the same with Frank,he also had terminal cancer,but then he did have a stroke.l kept him in hospital for 6 days then insisted that he come home,they did,t believe l could manage,but l did,he died at home 4 weeks later,he was in the best place among his family,getting all the best of care.l think your journal is a lovely tribute to your husband.
Alice
deleted_user
deleted_user

Your journal entry is a wonderful tribute to love and all the things it makes possible. I was blessed to be able to keep Jim at home until the end and I, too, am glad we had, although it was all too brief, time to say our goodbyes. Dianne