One Year Ago

A year ago, we all said good-bye to the one and only Adam Czech.

I have been searching for the words to describe this past week, this past month, this past year.

Searching for those words to tell you how I have survived this year.

I don’t really know. If I go back and read what I have written over the last two years, the story I read reminds me.

Our sons, Edward and Reginald who help me find the joy every day. Our bulldog Matilda, who has been a faithful companion and the best comforter to my tears at three am. My faith, which gives me a promise that I will see Adam again some day.

Our friend, Witt, who has kept a promise made when Adam died one year ago. The promise that he, along with our families and friends would always be there for us. A promise I learned Adam asked him to keep a month after he was diagnosed with cancer.

My parents, who have watched me cry and listened to my anger over life, and supported me in any decision I have made. They have been asked to do the unthinkable and help their daughter grieve losing her husband. A loss that started the day he was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer.

Our families, especially both my parents and Adam’s parents who have never said no to me when I have asked for help with the boys. Our friends, especially my widowsisters who understand this life and are always there for me. 24/7.

Year one has been a blur. I learned that every happy moment, will always be “happy-sad” because Adam is not here. I know that every dark wave of grief will be followed by a period of calm.

I learned to smile and laugh again. I learned how to have fun in this next chapter of my life. I have discovered the heart is capable of expanding to love again while never losing my love for Adam.

A year ago, we entered hospice on November 17. A day later, Adam passed away. While we were in hospice, I found a peace that didn’t know existed during death. I will leave you today with a very personal peace of my journal. Something I have thought about sharing for 365 days, but never felt it was right.

Today I feel is the right time. Looking back on the last two years, it is unbelievable the twists and turns, the pain, the anger, the love, the help and peace I have felt. Often all at the same time.

The following is a text conversation I saved with one of my best (and also widowed) friends. I saved it so I wouldn’t forget the peace I felt among the pain on that cold November day I saw my husband take his final breaths.

The death experience is almost a beautiful thing. It is so spiritual. Adam is afraid, but I am helping to calm and guide him. He’s not ready yet. It won’t be long but it won’t be soon. 

“I’m sure you are doing an amazing job. There is nothing more intimate than being with the love of your life fully in their time of death. Nothing as tragic and heartbreaking either, but your presence is giving him peace in his transition and that is such a gift. “

It is so odd. You know what I mean right? I feel relief but I am afraid I’ll feel guilt. And I am sure I will. I leave him 2-3 hours a day every other day and it’s too much. 

“It is odd. There are so many emotions at once. There is no wrong emotion. You aren’t crazy to feel peaceful. He’s at a point where he can’t come back from, he can’t live this way, there’s no suffering where he is going, that’s why you feel some peace.  My prayers went from Stop This!!! to Just let it be peaceful, let him know how loved he is, within days of each other . . .I can’t stop the pain you are going to feel. Trust me, I still feel it.”

Am I crazy that I feel peaceful? I know I won’t when it happens. Is it prayers? Does this really happen to spouses? 

I feel like it’s the calm before the storm. Last night I was so scared. Today, now that we are here, I’m not as scared. I’m sure this feeling will come back.

“Nothing you feel is wrong. We were telling stories and jokes off and on the whole time. Watched an awesome Packer game the night before (Jim) died.” 

It will be heartbreaking helping the boys. I’ve told him he will always live on in me and the boys. The boys will know who their daddy is and they are half of him. They have his DNA. If I ever (date again), I’ve told him they have to marry me and you because I will never stop loving him even after he is gone. I will love him more and more every day after he is gone.

“You are so right. I love Jim as much if not more. And he will always be my husband and the dad of my boys.”

He is very alert but not as sharp as 2 days ago or 1 day ago. He knows this and it scares him. The nurse and I talked to him about being okay to take the medicine to feel better. Only God will decide when it’s time and I told him, God won’t take him until he is ready.

He’s asked will he get to see his parents again? I said in the morning. The boys? Yes, in the morning. I told him he isn’t ready to go but he will know when he is. It is scary because nobody can tell him what exactly it is like. 

“The unknown is awfully scary. The medicine should help his anxiety….”

Indeed. He wanted ME to talk to him tonight and not take Ativan. What an honor. I was able to calm him to sleep. Amazing .

“That is amazing. Such an honor.  Some people never experience the love we have. So blessed in spite of this.”

We are. The social worker here said he was in awe, said at our young age, only knowing us for an hour, we have experiences and love most will never ever know or touch. Heartbreaking and blessed. 

 

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