Friday, April 22, 2011


Ever since Michael passed away, I've felt numb and full of fuzz at times. Does that make sense? Sort of like this huge fog has drifted into my body and is just now slowly lifting from the landscape.

I thank God for my family and friends who have been so very supportive. My mom's phoned me almost every night since she returned home last Saturday.

One night, Andrea and her buddies went to another house for a sleepover which meant I was alone in the house for the first time. Around 9:30, I started to have a bit of a panic attack and texted Andrea.

"Are you OK?" I asked.
"Fine," she replied."Are you?"
"Not really. I'm a bit nervous,"
"Do you want me to come home?"

So I drove to her friend's house and picked up ALL the girls and they camped out in my living room for the night just because I didn't want to be alone just yet. Dear Andrea has been "mothering" me for over a week now. She's gone everywhere with me in the evenings and polished my scruffy nails twice.

I returned to work on Tuesday. Many people were surprised I returned that soon after Michael's death. But, honestly, keeping my head buried in files and doctor's reports is good medicine for me at the moment. It felt strange being here at first, but by Wednesday, it felt routine and comfortable again.

Monday night I went to my church's quilting group and was surrounded by my friends with love and comfort. I also learned how to paper piece log cabin blocks. Each of us are sewing three blocks (at least) for comfort quilts for our congregation members who need a bit of, well,comfort. The pastor's wife will determine who receives the six quilts we're working on. It was an idea I proposed after seeing how much joy Michael had when he received a comfort shawl from a church in Texas.

For the first time in two years, I'm going to my mother's house for the weekend. It will be nice to celebrate Easter with her and my step-dad's huge family. One of Andrea's friends offered to watch our pets for two days.

So, dear blog followers, this "Catquilter" is slowly getting back to ordinary things and life. Each day gets better.

Love ya,

Sunday, April 17, 2011


My husband, Michael, passed away in his sleep on April 11.

It's taken me nearly a week to have the courage to get on-line and blog about it.

Last Sunday was a rough day for him. I planned on attending the International Quilt show in Cincinnati, but his breathing and stamina were so poor, I hesitated to leave him.

"You've been looking forward to that show for over a year," he stated, "Go, I'll be fine." He insisted I leave, so I did. I drove home at 2:30 and returned to his room. He woke up and yelled at me, "I thought I told you to go to that show!" I did, I explained, you've just been sleeping the whole time. We laughed a bit about that.

Then about 6 pm, he went into respiratory distress and asked for me to phone Hospice. The emergency nurse arrived and together we got Michael back into his normal breathing pattern and comfortable. It was the worst attack I'd seen. But, he seemed OK. At 10, he wanted something to eat; he had not eaten all day - just didn't feel up to it. I told him I would fix whatever he wanted or even go out to fetch a meal. He wanted rice pudding and toast - two of his favorites.

I delivered the meal to him in bed and he turned on the telly - there just happened to be a show on PBS about the Orient Express. He was happy - his favorite comfort foods and a train show. "Go on to bed," he ordered. "You have work in the morning."

"Are you sure you'll be all right," I asked.

"Go!" he said "I'll be all right," and he smiled and waived bye-bye to me.

The next morning, I got up, started a pot of coffee and made a cup of tea for Michael. I opened the door to his room and could tell at first glance he was gone. I called out his name three times, no response. I started to get a bit shaky, but I knew what I had to do. Phoned Hospice, the on-call nurse was here in ten minutes, listened to his chest and confirmed that he had passed on probably around 4 am. The respiratory attack the previous night probably weakened his heart, already compromised by congestive failure, and he died in his sleep.

The rice pudding was gone, but the toast was untouched and the television was still on. He probably fell asleep and just never woke up.

I don't remember who I phoned first. My mom, brother, work, my friend Diane, my son and Michael's ex-wife. My brother was already with a patient in surgery, but he left as soon as he was done. Mom and my step-dad made the four hour journey and were here by 3. My dear friend, Diane, was here by 10. What a comfort they all were and still are! Pastor Tom and his wife were here at 3 - my sister-in-love phoned them. Michael's ex had just made plane reservations to be here for two weeks to help me care for Michael. I asked her to cancel those and please visit another time. She phoned all of Michael's children for me and his mum too. Andrea was here also and was a huge help keeping the pets happy, answering the phone and door. It was a flurry of activity all week.

We had a luncheon here at the house yesterday in Michael's honor. We shared a lot of happy tales, celebrated his life and comforted each other. It's how he wanted it.

Now, his ashes are on their way to his son who will host a memorial for Michael in England. Again, just what Michael wanted.

I went to church this morning, thanked my wonderful Sunday School class for catering the meal yesterday. During the service this morning, the church organist - an extremely talented musician - the pianist, the bell choir and the chorus performed "To God Be The Glory". It was by far the most beautiful rendition I've ever heard of that hymn. Until then, I had held off my tears, but mid-performance, the tears tumbled out of my eyes. A combination of joy in the glorious music and a celebration that Michael is in heaven. My friend, Donna hugged me and we both said how appropriate it all was.

Throughout everything this week, I knew Michael was and is all right. And so am I.

Love ya,

Friday, April 1, 2011

New Challenges

Each week presents its own set of new challenges, especially with Michael's health. His legs/feet are so swollen from the congestive heart failure his doctor has decided to increase his Lasix at the peril of his already low blood pressure. It seems like we chase away one "demon" and another takes its place with these medications. Dr. Peerless has also prescribed another anti-biotic to combat the thrush that's creating so much discomfort in his mouth and throat.

Irregardless, these prescriptions are just for comfort and do not stop his heart failure and lung disease from worsening. It's just a matter of time.

Debbie, our Hospice nurse, said to expect it any time.

So, Andrea and I had a talk the other evening: What to do if you happen to check on Michael and don't get a response from him. Horrible thing to to discuss with an 18-year-old girl. But, the beautiful thing is, she understood and is displaying an unexpected amount of maturity with all this. She's trying her best to protect me.

As much as I'd like to hide in my sewing room, Andrea's not letting me. Every night after dinner, let's play a game, let's go pick up a few groceries, let's practice the driving, etc. A bit of that is healthy, but frankly last night I was tired and wanted nothing more than to sit in my recliner and finish some hand sewing. Eventually did, but by then it was 9:30 and almost time for bed.

The weekend is almost here and I will get a bit of a battery re-charge the next two days. Catch up on my sleep (maybe), get some sewing in (perhaps), clean/do laundry (will think about it) and take care of Michael (definitely). Michael wants a few thing re-organized in his bedroom, for which I may enlist Danny's help. I tidied up the room a bit last night in an effort to make things more reachable for him.

One has to remember his "universe" is limited to just the area around his hospital bed now. So we have to bring it to him - hence the doorbell he rings when he needs help. Once in a while, the doorbell goes off either because it's in his shirt pocket and he presses it accidentally or (as in last night at 10) sits on it. It causes quite a stir - Daisy, our dog, starts barking, the kittens scatter and Andrea races to the bedroom. It does the job!

I hope we all have a lovely, relaxing weekend.

Love ya, Cathy