Letting Go and Forgetting
A Room of His Own

Sometimes I check in on the 5 or 7 Stages of Grief, just to see where I might fit that day. It’s not official grief, since Vernon is still with us, but there is obviously a major sense of loss that hits me in different ways at different times.  I guess I’d define today’s check-in as somewhere between Depression and Acceptance, with a twist of Anger lurking below the surface.  Its interesting that Fatigue isn’t listed, but then isn’t an active state, is it?


One of Maki’s vocabulary words for his English class is “Bereavement.” The definition:


a period of mourning after a loss, especially after the death of a lovedone:

The widow had many visitors during her bereavement.

a state of intense grief, as after the loss of a loved one; desolation.

deprivation or loss by force (usually fol. by of):

The hurricane left a trail of bereavement of ordinary people.
I like that word. Maybe that’s what I’m experiencing. I’ll throw it on the list.
This afternoon, Vernon was taken to a hospital we had yet to visit, Hoag Irvine.  This worked well for me, actually, as it is somewhat closer to home than the hospital he went to yesterday.
There were initially intentions to have the surgery done in time to go to an afternoon session of Dialysis, which seemed awfully optimistic. And by the time everything was done, it was too late for that—I expect they will add a session or extra hours later in the week.
In the end he had his chest catheter replaced. It has been about a year since the last one was put in, so it was high time. What had occurred was the buildup of a Fibrin Sheath, which clogged the port. This is (in part) a complication of his inability to tolerate the blood-thinner Heparin.  All went well…he should be good to go for Dialysis in the morning. And he got a nice deep nap in. I hadn’t heard him snoring so peacefully in ages.

But this is where I return to the Sages of Grief or Bereavement or whatever I should call this.

Ever since I got the call yesterday about his emergency surgery, I’d been experiencing some new feelings. It’s hard to admit it out loud, and this too may pass, but I recognized the feeling right away. Until now, I’ve been able to move into each inconvenient crisis with hopeful energy. This time, as I mentioned in last night’s post, I feel totally spent. I felt as if a corner had been turned, a downward corner.

It’s the little things that put one over the edge, I guess. This was not a major procedure, compared to other things, but it was necessary if he is to survive. And yet, it all is beginning to feel so futile, like its just more spinning of the medical wheels and stress to my life. I am exhausted today. I am stretched as far as I can go. But then…maybe I’m not…as it seems there is always more stretch left in me. I think of my Pilates classes, where I am able to stretch my hands to the floor at the beginning of the hour, but by the end, I can get them down even further.  Flexibility comes with the warming and use of the muscles. You can always go a little further, apparently.

But I FEEL spent (it doesn’t mean I actually AM.) I admitted today that if he doesn’t start showing improvement and we have to spend so much time, energy, and money in life support, I honestly do not look forward to the next few years, or however long we have left with him.  It’s starting to feel like more effort than its worth. I know if I weren’t so stretched, I might not feel this way…but with time, I have used up so many of my personal resources (friends to help, to ask for help,babysitters, school pick-ups) I just wonder if its all worth it. His quality of life is so small, he can’t even have a drink of water or feel comfortable lying down.  And there is so little I can do to change anything for him.

I don’t know if this is a loss of hope or if it just a normal part of running out of steam. I imagine all carers get to this point. But today, I realized I’m at the beginning of letting him go (which is bound to happen at some point in the future, I just don’t know when.)

“Perhaps this is what the stories meant when they called somebody heartsick. Your heart and your stomach and your whole insides felt empty and hollow and aching.”

—Gabriel García Márquez

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Letting Go and Forgetting
A Room of His Own