Monday, September 13, 2010

6:05 AM


I don't know what to do with myself. The deep sorrow has arrived, and I don't want to turn it away.

I sat here and read the medication journal that I kept during Michael's last two weeks. In the margin I made notes about what he was experiencing. Whether he was calm, or agitated. Whether he was sleeping, or groaning. Whether his breathing was steady, or if he had the death rattle.

I apologize, this may not be something that others want to read. I may choose to post this, or I may choose to delete it. I don't know. How am I supposed to know what to do all the time?

In reading my notes from last year I was wishing I had the presence of mind to write more about when he would awaken, or look for me, or reach out for me. Those things happened, but at what time?

I know this probably sounds so agonizing, and that I am just putting myself to needless pain. But that's not how I see this. I feel like I owe it to Michael to walk through this once again. I want to remember how his last days, and his last hours, went. I don't want to allow myself to forget those difficult details, as they were difficult realities that he had to endure. I see in my notes how I panicked at one point, and called the nurse. Michael was very agitated, and I needed someone to tell me how to relieve him of his pain. I needed to hear a voice tell me that everything, and anything, I do for him now is okay.

Although I am writing this just after midnight, I will be time stamping it for 6:05 am. On this night last year it was clear to me that Michael was leaving me. My son Remy wanted to sleep in the room with Michael and I, and I laid in the middle, trying to hold on to each of them. Around 3am Michael's breathing took a significant turn. This woke Remy up, and he realized he could not stay in the room. He was scared and began to cry. I sent him upstairs to sleep with my daughter. I then went to awaken Michael's mother, and let her know that he was beginning to leave us. She joined me in our bedroom, and laid beside her son. Each of us held on to one of his hands, and we didn't let go for three hours. I didn't allow myself to sleep. I sat there, looking into his face, kissing him, and speaking quietly to him.

At 6:05 am Michael took his last breath. I put my mouth to his to kiss him goodbye. When he let out his last breath, I took it in.

For just a few seconds, the world was completely silent. I didn't hear a thing. No sound came from me. Then suddenly, without missing a beat, two years of anguish came pouring out of my soul. My heart became brittle, and began to shatter. I found myself on the floor, with my kids arms all around me.

That was the beginning of my journey alone. And as I sit here preparing for my vigil, I know that I am not completely alone. There are many on this journey with me. It can be dark and lonely, but there is always a hand reaching out to me when ever I need it.

That is the blessing that I can take with me as this first year comes to an end.

Thank you.


  1. I've been checking your blog every ten minutes since I got to work to see if you had posted. I haven't got a lot of work done and I don't care because today, all my feelings, thoughts and emotions are for you.

    You used the words, "deep sorrow" and by coincidence I have left you a poem on my blog which uses those very same words. The poem had an almost Buddhist feel to it and it seemed entirely appropriate for you and Michael.

    I understand your need to revisit those hours. Some people (not touched by the flames of grief and loss) might find it a little masochistic but it is NOT. It's something that we need to do from time to time and especially on a day like today.

    Always remember that you were there for him, you didn't leave him, you cared for him, you loved him, you helped him go safely into the next life/afterlife completely surrounded by your love for him. No one can ask for more. You didn't break till he had gone because you put him above yourself. That IS love.

    You are not alone, as you say, but today it will feel hard not to feel thus. You have so many people who love you Dan, and I am blessed to have you in my life now, just as Michael was (and vice versa of course).

    I hold you in my heart today but so wish I could be with you in person.

    I love you xx

  2. Thinking of you today, Dan and knowing the pain you are having. It still seems like only yesterday, doesn't it?

  3. I've been thinking of you as this day approaches, Dan. Love to you and your family always, but especially today.

  4. I understand why you read the journal. Don kept one for himself, on which to write his medication and other notes. I take note of how his writing changed over time. The final entry was written on the morning that I took him to the hospital for the last time. I bring the journal with me wherever I roam and read pages from time to time. It's important to remember what we went through together. It is our history.

    I join with many others in reaching out to you on this day.

  5. i wish you peace on this day and every day that follows. i feel that the love you and Michael shared will give you strength. i will keep the candle lit all day today for you and Michael, your sons, and his mother. so many carry you in their thoughts and prayers and are sending their love. i hope you can feel the strength from all of them, from all of us.

  6. I don't know you and you don't know me, but I came across your blog from Matt Logelin's blog. I would feel like a jerk for not commenting to tell you that your story touched me very deeply, and I think it's no accident that I came across your site on today of all days. I've experienced a great deal of grief in the last two years, and although I've never lost a partner, I know how the kindness of strangers can mean everything at times like these. So please accept my deepest condolences and I hope you are able to find some peace today as you remember Michael. From what I've read, it sounds like he was so very well taken care of and loved.

    You will be in my thoughts.

  7. With you, my friend. Don't have any words that will do. All just standing next to the hole with you.

  8. I understand the need to revisit the last hours, to live them again in your mind and to try and remember every detail. I'm thinking of you and hope that today is exactly how you need it to be. Hugs and love to you.

  9. Thinking of you today and hoping that you experience peace amidst the grief.