Monday, September 9, 2013

The Hardest Goodbye



 Visit the Tuesday Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers.  Tweet at SLICE2013! 

     One of the biggest challenges of the Slice of Life is to write and share something very personal, yet for all of you who are part of my life in mostly online, but personal, ways, I think I must. I want to share all that is my life with you and the following story is part of my life.        
      I’ve written about my husband nearly all the time I’ve been blogging.  We have been married 48 years, have two children and their spouses and three grandchildren.  We’ve had a large extended family through all our marriage, a wonderful group of grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, cousins and their families, etc.  And we count our blessings in the numerous friends both near and far. We have celebrated together and grieved together all the years. 
            And now I must grieve once more. 


 My husband Arvie died last week after a long time of suffering from Parkinson’s and its sometime companion, Lewy Body Dementia.  He was diagnosed in 2007, and when I knew I could no longer give him the care he needed, I placed him in a nursing home for dementia patients in April of 2012.  He has declined since that time.  The care and love he and I were given from the staff at the home and from the hospice staff was exceptionally wonderful. I have been a lucky person to have found this place for Arvie.
         In these months, in a small wing of the nursing home, special moments happened:  smiling greetings when I arrived for a visit, watching Arvie and one of his best friends walk down the corridor together, a sing-a-long when my brother, sister-in-law and niece visited, grandson Carter pushing his grandpa in the garden, and Ingrid (our four year old granddaughter) singing “You Are My Sunshine” to him.  There is a lesson in ‘being in the moment’ when a loved one has dementia.  We sit, we smile, we hold hands, we are. 
          It is a blessing that Arvie has passed, is no longer frustrated at the loss of his abilities,  no longer wheelchair bound or in pain, and yet, he will be so missed, by me, his son, daughter-in-law, grandson, daughter, son-in-law, two granddaughters, and on, and on.  It’s been a very long goodbye, and a too short one all the same. 


  For Arvie
Don’t go, stay.
Don’t go away.
I’ll miss your smile
Be with me awhile.
   With love, Linda

55 comments:

  1. Linda,
    So, so sorry. Praying for you and your family…
    Carol

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a special tribute to the man you shared your life with for so many years. You have been in my thoughts and prayers. Your poem brought me to tears. I understand. I'm sending you a virtual hug.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There are no words to lessen the loss and make you feel better. My heart weeps. Just know, I am here for you when you need me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. While I've known about Arive's passing for a few days now, seeing his picture, reading your words, and imagining Ingrid's four year-old voice singing "You Are My Sunshine" got me.

    You shared so much together through the years, Linda. Like Terje said, there are no words that can make this loss easier.

    Sending hugs across the miles.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Linda, you have such a beautiful spirit. I'm so sorry for your loss, yet so inspired by the life you shared with your dear husband and the cocoon of love you both created around you. That's no small thing. I've known those long/too short goodbyes. Many, many hugs and good thoughts to you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Your beautiful words brought a huge lump to my throat this morning. I love your goodbye poem to Arvie, "don't go away/be with me awhile". Simple and so totally poignant in their pain and love. And brevity. Thinking of you. We never know how much time we get. I think about "the long goodbye" and the sudden one and don't know which I would want if I got to choose. Probably best we can't choose. We just "are" and I think you teach us, dear Linda, with your words and writing and life. Janet F.

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a blessing Arvie has been in your life. You will carry on. I, like others, am choked up. Seeing his picture and imagining your granddaughter singing as well as your sweet little goodbye poem show a love that is so rare and wonderful. God bless you, Linda, on this next chapter of your life.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you for sharing your love, your loss, and your poem. I am holding you in my thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Over our many years of blogging together, I have followed your journey with so much admiration. There was such a sense of acceptance of what we cannot control - illness, loss, and what we can control - the attitude to the time we do have, the insistence on making that time count. The little moments you shared above, especially the ones with your grandchilren, revealed how successful you and your family were, Linda, at making the moments count. You were all together in this journey with Arvie, bringing dignity and compassion and oh so much love to every moment together. I'm sending you hugs and thoughts of love, my friend.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Tears for you, my friend. I knew this would be a hard post to read (and harder to write), but your loving words set just the right tone. Again, I wish I was closer and could just sit with you while you tell stories of your dear Arvie, but for now, we'll settle for this.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Linda, so unselfish of you to say his passing is a blessing... you knew how much he missed not doing what he used to be able to do and that it was time. Losing someone we love is never easy but hold on to the 48+ years of memories and know your dear Arvie is still with you... Take care of yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  12. What a beautiful tribute to the love of your life. I often wondered how he was doing and thought about you and your journey together. My grandfather had Parkinson's and I remember what a terrible disease it is. I love your memories and the reminder to live in the moment. Thank you for posting the picture. Now I have a face to think about and I will smile when I envision the love you two shared. Sending lots of prayers for you and your family as well as a big hug.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Every time you tell of Arvie, I am reminded to hold my own husband a little tighter, to make the most of all our times together, to appreciate any irritation, for we just don't know the instant that our lives will be changed.
    Wish I could be there to give you a real hug and share some tea and cookies and hear of more sweet times you have spent over the past 48 years with Arvie.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thank you so much for sharing this moment with us. Long goodbyes - short goodbyes - they are all so hard.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Thank you for sharing your husband today. Thank you for the poem, the reminder to live in the moment.
    Crying for you and with you today.
    xo
    Pamela

    ReplyDelete
  16. Arvie will be missed by all who knew and loved him!! But I'll miss the smiles and laughs he brought.

    ReplyDelete
  17. So many deeply loving thoughts here. I love how you wrote "We sit, we smile, we hold hands, we are." Thank you for sharing. I hope you will always still see that smile when you think of Arvie.
    My prayers are with you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Linda, this is a beautiful tribute to your loving husband and friend. I know you will miss him and yet know that he is at peace and without pain. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  19. My friend, I'm glad you shared today. Your poem is beautiful and your signature at the end tugged my heart. I want to keep learning from you, gleaning your secrets of marriage. I'm sure yours and Arvie's is a treasure.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Linda, this was a beautifully written tribute to your husband. You are in my thoughts and prayers, your family too. Thank you for sharing your heart today. Hugs to you.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Your heart sings of love here. Your words so soft and beautiful through this whole post signify a deep love and gratitude toward the times you shared with your husband. May you hold onto the memories forever and cherish them. Sending love.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Beautiful! Love, joy and hope all shine through your words. Arvie will be missed, but his life will be celebrated. Praying for you!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Through tears for your loss as well as tears for the beautiful life your words celebrate and honor, I search for words worthy enough to shape a response. I have always been in awe of your ability to write "raw." You offer a valuable lesson of the healing power of words. I will carry your reminder to 'be in the moment' in my heart for a long time. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Why is it when I need words the most they elude me? I have thought of you every day since your email. Many hugs and love sent your way.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Linda, I am so sorry for your loss. I, too, have watched a love one go through this experience and it is quite difficult. Please know that although I have only "known" you for just a few short months, you can count on my prayers for you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Linda, So sorry for your loss! I also know this experience of wanting that loved one to stay but experiencing that relief that they are no long bond by a body that does not work for them. Take care of yourself now! My thoughts are with you.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Linda,
    Your post brought tears to my eyes. I wish you healing through the memories of your obviously love-filled life. You are in my thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh, Dearest Linda... my eyes are welled with tears. My heart aches, knowing the loss of the person you most include as part of yourself. I send up prayers of continued grace, peace and comfort, as you maneuver through the days, weeks, months and years ahead, knowing that this is a void that will only be filled by all of the re-living you will do through story-telling, laughing, crying, and sharing. Please, continue to share. Know you are loved here....

    ReplyDelete
  29. Linda, I am so sorry. Your love for Arvie and the joy in your life together shines through in every word here. Thank for sharing this beautiful reminder to cherish each moment we share with those we love.
    Catherine

    ReplyDelete
  30. Thank you to everyone for such kindness in your words. It wasn't easy posting, but yet I feel this community is one I value, so I really did want to share. And I didn't want to pretend that these things were not happening in my life, a big part of my life! Some weeks I know that we are all tired, me too, and cannot comment as much as we'd like, but I suspect we are thinking of each other, even if we only skim a post quickly. That counts too. I appreciate your thoughtful ways!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Oh, Linda. I am so sorry. I will be thinking about you and your family. I'm struggling with what to say right now, but I am glad that you shared with the community. I am glad that you have so many special memories.

    ReplyDelete
  32. The hardest words to write are often the most important to share. Thank you for trusting us with this. I join in sending love, hugs and prayers.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Oh, Linda, my heart goes out to you and your family. I hope your happy memories will be a blessing to you all in this sad time. Blessings and love to you.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Ah, Linda. So sorry to hear this heartbreaking news. Hugs to you.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi Linda,
    I understand your reluctance to post something so personal, but feeling you must because it is so important, so central. What a great smile Arvie had. I am sure you will miss it every day. I was just thinking about my grandmother this morning, about how much I miss her. It was a blessing for her when she passed -- I understand what you mean about goodbyes that just can't be the right length.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Linda, I am Sorry to hear that your beloved Arvie is no longer with you to share those special moments. However, as you always do when you write, you have left us something to contemplate about living in the moment. So many of us are in the same place in our lives with our spouses, parents and sometimes are children. I will remember your advice, and though I never knew him, think of you and Arvie.

    ReplyDelete
  37. May you find comfort and moments of joy as you grieve. Even though we have never met, you have been so very supportive in this online world. I want to offer you the comfort and support you have always offered me and others.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Thank you to all of you who have commented since I last wrote. What a lovely surprise to read your kind words! I appreciate each of you very much!

    ReplyDelete
  39. Dear Linda, sending love your way. I'm so sorry. Your love for your husband has always shone through these posts.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Sending a long distance hug. You have been through so much and you always proceed with such grace. I know Arvie will live on in your heart.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Linda,
    HI. I am sorry to hear about your husband's passing. You are such a strong person and have so gracefully shared in this process. I pray for God's arms to support you as you walk through this time of sadness and loss. I am sure Arvie IS smiling down on you from Heaven and watching over you as Angels do! God bless you and prayers for you,
    Amy

    ReplyDelete
  42. Dear Linda,

    Reaching across the cyber miles to send you love.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Here's my hug, Linda - ().
    Notice how tight it is.
    Your poem and post were lovely.
    From all you've shared about Arvie and your family, I truly believe he's with you forever.
    I hope you take comfort from our community's embrace and your heart's pain in time eases.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Mary Lee, Amy, April & Esther-I am blessed by your words, & feel the hug from all the miles across. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  45. Linda, I'm so sorry for your loss, but I know he will always be a part of you and your story. You will continue to smile, laugh, cry, and weep at the memories you will think about - I hope you continue to write and capture those moments about Arvie. I think putting such a heartbreaking moment into words is the hardest thing to do, but it's therapeutic as well. And then the support from your online friends is overwhelming. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, Linda.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Michelle-what sweet words you write. I'm sure I will continue to write about Arvie-I have lots to share!

      Delete
  46. Oh Linda, I'm so sorry. Having family members who have suffered from Parkinson's, I understand the blessing of the passing, but also the grief that accompanies it. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Katherine, I appreciate your words.

      Delete
  47. Oh Linda,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I understand. My grandmother had Parkinson's. It was a blessing but still it rips your heart out. I hope that the 48 years of memories are flooding your soul now and lifting you during this time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I am blessed to have such good memories, too. Thank you Jone. I'm sorry for your grandmother, too.

      Delete
  48. Oh, Linda, I'm so sorry! I don't know how I missed this. I was just reading your post from Poetry Friday last week, and you said something about losing a loved one, so I came looking to see if you had posted more. Your poem made me cry. I just can't imagine what you are going through. Sending love and hugs, and I'm sorry they are coming so belatedly.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's okay, Ruth. I often miss people's posts, then see a reference & sometimes discover what they are referring to, sometimes not. Thank you for commenting now!

      Delete
  49. Oh Linda, I can't believe I missed this post... so sorry. Your words at the end are so beautiful, along with the little list of special moments you enjoyed near the end. Thank you for posting the picture too, so we can really imagine him -- although I already feel like I've known him after reading all your posts about him. Now think of how many more hearts he lives on in, since you've shared him with us!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jennifer. Even now the words mean a lot. I love your last thought-what a nice thing!

      Delete

Having a conversation is a good thing!