COMING THROUGH AND GOING ON seems like a strange name for a blog, but when I decided to write a blog about my experiences relative to the love of my life and her death after a 30 plus year relationship it seemed to best describe what it is and has been like for me. I’d like to tell you a little bit about Anna so you have an idea what Anna was like.
Her favorite color was orange, she love to go exploring new places and roads she had never been on to see where they went, especially in an area she had never been before. She liked to collect rocks , I’m not talking just about pocket size rocks , but rocks that weighed 25-50 pounds or more and would expect me to lift them and put them in the trunk of the car to bring home. Not because we had a need for them but because she just liked how they looked. I put my foot down and said if I needed a crane to lift it she couldn’t have it. She laughed and gave me that look she had with a twinkle in her eye that always made it hard for me to say no to her about anything.
I think that twinkle in her eye is what made me fall in love with her. We were friends for 2 years before we began seeing each other in a relationship other than just friends. Yes, before you ask we were lesbians. In social situations, Anna was basically a very shy, quiet person, and I was just the opposite according to her. At how she was much different and believe it or not had a hot temper when she got mad.
She grew up on Lowell, MA in what she described as a rough housing project and I grew up in suburban Manchester, NH and when we decided to live together she moved into my inner city apt. in Manchester.
We had some great times there and talked about spending the rest of our lives together and doing some traveling in retirement, as that was something we both enjoyed. We moved a few times, each time to a better place, and one of those moves was to Salem, NH where Anna was her happiest, as we had 2 very, very large boulders in the back yard and she would sit on the deck day after day and look at them and smile. The grandkids loved them too because they could climb on them as long as one of us was in the backyard to watch them and hopefully prevent them from falling off.
But I digress, before moving to Salem, we had our first of many medical scares with Anna when she was hospitalized for a heart attack while I was out of town on business. She called me from the hospital and said “I’m fine, don’t worry I just had a small heart attack and I’m in the CCU”. That was her way of not worrying me, LOL. I don’t ever suggest you make the drive home from a call like this alone, especially if you are in an area for the first time, took me an hour to find my way off the campus of UM-Auburn. If someone offers to take you, like they did me, do it.
This was the beginning of many health issues with her, she also smoked 4-4 1/2 packs of cigarettes a day and through the grace of God we both stopped smoking 25 years ago. She had hypertension, psoriatic and osteo -arthritis. She also had COPD which was a result of her smoking and the cause of her death.
She was also a diabetic and had such a great denial system around that one. If her sugars were under control she decided she didn’t have it anymore and would eat what she wanted, when she wanted. She loved strawberry ice cream that had big chunks strawberries in it and it was not unusual for her to eat the entire container in 1-2 sittings and blame it on the fact that the packaging was no longer a half gallon.
As her health declined and she reached the point that she had to leave work and file for disability. This was very hard on her as she had worked very hard and now because of her medical problems and her medications was no longer able to perform her job as all of it was also affecting her memory. I remember holding her more than once as she cried because she felt useless. My heart broke to see her this way. I also during this time began to have my own medical issues including uterine cancer, but I was blessed that it was found early and I have now been cancer free for some 10 years.
This was the point that we both began to talk seriously about what we needed and wanted when the time came that we knew our deaths were soon approaching. Although those were some of the most difficult talks we would have and the most difficult decisions we would ever make, we also knew they were the most important ones we would ever make. And so begins our journey into the final years of our lives together, in this lifetime.