The Hellhole

Friday, September 02, 2016

A (hopefully final) brain dump

Due to the circumstances around Helly's passing, I felt I needed to write down some of my thoughts that were outside of the more clinical narrative from earlier. I'm still reeling from and dealing with the fact that I had to make the decision and sign on the dotted line to allow my wife to die. Yes, she was going to die anyway, but she could have held on for days or weeks, and that would not have been her wishes. So I had to put my name on a legal piece of paper allowing the hospital to remove the drugs that were keeping her alive so that she could pass away. That's something that I think will weigh on me for quite some time, even though I know it was the right decision to make. So please bear with me (hopefully) one last time as I try to bring some closure to this.

2016 was supposed to be a great year for us. I had some seriously good plans for 2016. It started out with us seeing both Wilco shows at the Tabernacle in February, combined with staying at the big Westin in downtown Atlanta and having lunch at the Sundial Restaurant. That was such a good time, and looking back, the last really good and carefree time we had together. 2016 was also the year I was going to finish school after four years of working full-time and going to school part-time, and I had hoped that having my nights and weekends free again would allow us to do more things together like maybe take a yoga class or a different tai chi class… anything to get us off the couch and to get started on getting fitter. We were also looking forward to taking a trip for our 10th anniversary in May, and seeing the Chihuly exhibit at the Botanical Garden several times, which we had been excited about since the end of 2015. I had also gotten us tickets to see Neko Case, kd lang, and Laura Viers at the Botanical Garden on July 29th, the week that school ended. I bought those the day they went on sale. I also got tickets for us to see Tyco at Variety Playhouse in late September, because “surely I’ll be doing OK by then..” she said.

Instead, 2016 has been anything but great. Other than the Wilco shows, we weren’t really able to do anything. Instead of a trip for our anniversary in May, we bought each other gifts, but we were both disappointed we couldn’t do a bigger celebration. She was so weak by then that just walking around the house exhausted her. We never got to see the Chihuly exhibit, had to miss the Case/lang/Viers show (she wanted me to go, but she was too weak to be alone by then), and she was barely able to go out for our Dateversary on July 3rd (our 12th Dateversary). Even me finishing school was anti-climatic, because she was so weak that we couldn’t even go out to celebrate. Instead I cooked a nice meal that she poked at a bit, but didn’t eat much of. And a little over a month after I finished school on July 25th, I was calling 911 to have her admitted to the hospital, and she never came home.

So now I’m sitting at home, in a house that used to be full of my stuff and her stuff and our stuff but is now just full of things. Helly lived here for about 12 years before I moved in, and even though I’ve lived here for 11 years, the entire house is a reflection of her and her tastes. The color on the walls, the curtains, the lamps, the furniture, everything is her. Now it’s just walls and window treatments and places to sit and lie down. I go into the bathroom and instead of seeing Helly’s makeup and nail polishes and other “girly” stuff, I just see things on a counter. On the table in the kitchen is the purse I bought her for her birthday a few years ago, but instead of being full of her wallet and lipsticks and other things that women carry around there are now just things in there. I have three closets full of things, bookcases full of things, dressers and cabinets full of things. There is a storage unit that is now just full of things. All of these things I’ll need to deal with, but that will have to be another day.

Her desk is stacked with paperwork that I need to sort through, and I’ll eventually need to sort out our financial life, including what to do about the house and all the things ancillary to that. I have no real love or attachment to this house or where we live; my only attachment to this house or town is no longer among the living. I’ve got to get the title to her car and eventually deal with her very nice but extremely impractical and expensive to maintain car, as well as her retirement accounts and all the things that go with being an adult. And let me just say that right now adulting is not very fun.

And to add insult to injury, I was let go from my job on August 19 (needs of the business, and my former employers were very generous with my severance package). We weren’t originally worried about that, because Helly was still working for her boss of 27 years, and she had always made more than I did. The idea was that I would take care of her until she was well again, and then look for another job. But now that’s gone, and in the midst of dealing with all of this I’m going to have to also concentrate on finding a new job. Thankfully we have a few months in savings, and if I can access her retirement accounts fairly quickly I’ll be OK for a while (months, not years), but that’s still on my mind.

But right now I’ve got all the dogs napping under the desk, and I have friends and family willing to come and see me if I need them. I know people are there for me, and that I’ll be OK, but it’s not easy. I liked being married. Being married was pretty much the best thing I’ve ever done. I liked saying “…my wife and I….” I liked being someones husband and knowing she often said “…my husband and I….” I liked being part of something bigger than myself, and knowing I had someone to support me like I supported her. Having that anchor in my life was something that I had come to really rely on, and now that’s gone. I think that’s what hurts the most.


  • Nothing harder. Love to you, my friend.

    By Blogger kelbutt, at 10:41 AM  

  • Everything I ever read here, Helly adored you and it showed. Like you, she loved being married. This story of her death is heartbreaking. I am sorry that you are walking through this very hard time.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:02 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home