Friday, May 3, 2024

The aftermath

Friday, I paced the apartment, closing Ray's bedroom door and then opening it. It is closed at the moment, and to be sensible it will save on the heating bill which I will have to pay on my own, among everything else. 

I know his phone PIN but not that for his banking app. It doesn't really matter but I am pleased I knew his phone PIN as a couple of condolences came to his phone. As the days have gone on the tissue usage count has lowered and my voice only quavered once today when Fire Fighting Nephew called. 

I couldn't keep just pacing around. I need to get our. I was overwhelmed with messages, emails and phone calls. We I needed a loaf of bread so the afternoon after Ray's death, I caught the tram to Prahran where I ran into one of Ray's former clients who uses a wheel chair and Ray used to transport as a volunteer driver. I told him the sad news. 

I sat in Prahran Square with my takeaway coffee where we would sit together to eat a sandwich or a sausage roll with our coffee, but I have been there alone many times, so it didn't feel so bad. Today I was back there and one staff automatically wrote down Ray's usual coffee, an extra hot skinny flat white. Sorry love. My friend has died. 

Back to Friday. I went to Baker's Delight to buy a sliced white loaf. 

"Sandwich or toast?"

What? 

Do you want it thinly sliced or thickly sliced. 

I stared at him blankly for five seconds. Ray always bought the bread. 

Sandwich please. I now have very thinly sliced bread. Apparently we normally have toast sized slices. Learning curve #1 one sorted. I bought some coleslaw in the supermarket for dinnerto go with dinner but it was undressed. I wasn't thinking clearly. I ended up have a packet of soup and very thin toast. 

Hairdresser Friend insisted on visiting on her way home from work. It was a nice visit but I was glad when she left. I'd felt cold all day, which happens to me if I am tired, and I was absolutely exhausted after so little sleep the night before. I slept pretty well but of course when I woke, what is this nightmare situation I am living in. 

Saturday, ABI Brother, Tradie Brother and his daughter Hippie Niece,  Sister, Bone Doctor and Jo visited. The latter three stayed on and took me out for dinner. Jo went to the spare room as I had told her Ray had kept the art work they had created in a drawer. We heard a sob in the bedroom and Sister nodded to me in that direction to go into Jo. We both fell on the bed holding each other and cried our eyes out for a few minutes. He was somewhat of a father figure to her when she was young.

Sunday morning I had coffee at a neighbour's place, then it was turn of Ex sis in Law and her husband, and soon after they arrived, so did Oldest Niece, her husband and their three children. 

There is much to do when your beloved dies and as the days went on I slowly tackled it all.

Monday was a visit to the funeral parlour to arrange the cremation. Sister came up by train to support me. That was very kind of her and we had brunch afterwards.

Tuesday a visit to the bank. 

Wednesday was the last post with Nephew, his wife and their kids. 

Thursday, I did minimal shopping. Thrice I was asked where Ray was. While not normally after shopping, I did drive the circuitous route home around the lake we sometimes used after brunch in Port Melbourne. More administrative matters later.  

Two weeks ago we had paid about half the money for having the apartment painted and recarpeted. The week before we had booked a Queensland holiday. Fly to Brisbane, stay a few days, train with a bed to Cairns, stay a few days and fly home. I'm delaying the former and cancelling the latter. 

Days are passing and as I type, exactly one week ago less an hour or so, Ray was in hospital and quite aware. He had so much to live for. 

Meals are difficult. It is decades since I've cooked aside from making fried rice. I am trying to address that but it is low priority, as long as I eat something. I find most frozen supermarket meals have vegetables too well cooked and the mashed potato in the meal below, too soft. It tasted ok and it was an adequate amount of food, but. I will look at the meal delivery company Hello Fresh. 

57 comments:

  1. As if there wasn't enough to do, without a huge learning curve thrown into the mix.
    I am glad that you have friends and family around - even if some days that in itself can be overwhelming.
    Hugs.

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    1. EC, indeed overwhelming at times, but they are all so lovely. Thank you.

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  2. My heart goes out to you, Andrew. You don't know me, and I only heard of you through Sue (Elephant's Child). Something made me hop over and read several of your posts when she posted about what happened to you. Your loss and grief really hit me hard. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to lose the person you have loved so long. And so unexpectedly. Please know that I'm thinking of you and care. Condolences and compassion from Louise in Colorado, USA.

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    1. Thank you FB. I have to remind myself that I am not the only person in the world to go through this but it just feels like it a bit at times. I watched train trips and some other clips about Colorado. What stark, at times, and beautiful scenery in your state. I was astonished.

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  3. I imagine it will take some time to adjust to your life now. As so many people who have experienced such a loss have said, you can only take each day as it comes. Your family and friends are sure to offer support and comfort. You have good people around you.

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    1. Yes JayCee, it certainly will. I am so full of uncertainty at the moment. I am fortunate to have such a family, who also dearly loved Ray.

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  4. So much to learn and adapt to. You're doing really well.

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    1. Boud, I am surprising myself a bit. Adjusting to my life rather than our life will take time.

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  5. Every day is a step forward; it never gets better, I don't think, but it does get easier.

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  6. So raw, so soon to have to cope with the unexpected (and as Boud said - so much to learn). Your loss will be a loss for others (in your family) so you’ll all be mourning together but each in their own way.
    We all have things to say but that’s about our grief not yours…….so close the door sometimes if it helps….

    There is another blogger who recently has lost their long time partner - Ron from http://retiredindelaware.blogspot.com/. He is also writing about his ‘ journey’

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    1. Thanks Cathy, I took a brief look and will look further in the morning.

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  7. The terrible reality that things are becoming different is the new adaptability you must face. You have a very good support network.

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    1. I do have good support, Roentare and I am adapting...mostly.

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  8. Hello Fresh is a good idea. My mother did all the cooking for her and my dad, but when he died, she simply couldn't bear the thought of cooking for one, of eating alone. You are rail thin to begin with. Do not allow yourself to fall into the habit of not eating.

    Take care of yourself, Andrew. Still thinking of you.

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    1. Thanks Debby. I do know the importance of eating properly and I will get there, but I am not sure how yet.

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  9. Getting through the admin and paperwork after a loved one had died is a pain in the ass. All you want to do is to mourn for your loved one in your own way without having to remember PIN numbers or make phone calls and write e-mail messages. Chin up Andrew!

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    1. YP, as you really experienced with your Simon, on your own. What you have to do distracts you from reality, not a bad thing for me at the moment.

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  10. You are constantly in my thoughts.
    If you don't want to actually cook which you do with Hello Fresh, you can order Lite and Easy or Choice. They just require zapping, Maybe a mix of both.
    You've got this, Andrew xxx

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    1. Thanks Merlot. Hello Fresh doesn't sound right for me, then. Lite and Easy, too healthy and not tasty? I will look. I am doing ok at the moment just by heating. More frozen food arrived this evening from Sister.

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  11. thecontemplativecat here. Your post was heavy with your grief. You and Ray were blessed to have such love. I will pray for you. I promise.

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    1. Thank you CC. I like that you are thinking of me.

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  12. This was hard to read, I had to keep mopping my eyes, more so when Jo also cried. And not knowing how thick to buy the bread, well, that's one thing you now know. You can learn to cook so you don't rely on frozen dinners, nothing fancy, just have a relative or two talk you through something as you buy ingredients and then the preparation and cooking. When you are ready of course, no need to rush anything.

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    1. Thanks River. I used to cook meat and three vegetables, but it was a long time ago and I am deskilled. I could relearn, but preparation, cooking, cleaning up afterwards just all seems so hard. I may cook at times...I just don't know. Part of it is that Ray was such an excellent cook and I was spoilt.

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  13. Omg it must be a nightmare, not just the loss of your second half, literally, but also someone who did half the chores, knew half the stuff you have to know, has all these passwords you might not know but now need......but it must be like reaching for something that suddenly isn't there, missing a limb, like that maybe. Like you've been amputated? I'm sorry, for all your losses. That box dinner looks awful. I just basically eat the bagged salad mixes now again, I don't know why, and only when they're marked down with at least two mark down stickers.

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    1. Strayer, It is rather like part of me is missing. I tell myself Ray is sleeping late or having his afternoon nap in his bedroom and he will get up soon enough.

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  14. All partnerships share tasks, and after 20 or 40 years, who remembers how to do the tasks that were given to the other half? You never cooked and now you have to learn how to create a range of simple dishes from the ground up. I couldn't use a computer properly but when my dad was alive, he did everything I needed.

    The learning can be slow and painful, but it is in honour of the beloved family member.

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    1. Hels, that's a bit funny about you dad helping you with matters tech. It would normally be the other way around.

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  15. You are doing so well, Andrew. Tears here, too.

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  16. You must have so much to do on the legal/admin front that we forget how many other more mundane but equally difficult tasks you will have to deal with on a daily basis. Good to hear you are managing to get out there and beginning this new life you now have to face.

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    1. Fun60,. yes there is plenty to do and I will slowly get there. Things are fairly simple but take time and the process is slow.

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  17. Dear Andrew, I'm one of those many people who has followed your blog for many years, without being a regular commenter. You and Ray were like a mirror image of myself and my long-time partner Mike, and I was always impressed by your devotion to each other, and the support you gave and received with your families and friends. We send you our sincere condolences, with the hope that you can continue with a happy life, just as Ray would have wanted you to do. With our support and best wishes, Rod & Mike.

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    1. Thanks Rod and Mike. I am a little surprised by followers who are making a first time comment. Nicely surprised, that is.

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  18. I hope you don't mind me commenting on your blog, I'm fairly new to reading it. I'm feeling very sad for your loss. When my dear mum died a couple of years ago I was poleaxed with grief, yet somehow kept going. Thinking of you as you face the daily challenges. Look after yourself as best as you can.
    Alison in Wales x

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    1. Thanks Alison. I seem to be coping reasonably well, but I am not sure that is a good thing. The loss of my mother felt quite different, maybe because it was someone you knew your whole life.

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  19. Departure of someone near and dear turns a new leaf in our life for us to adjust to. Glad you have friends and family around to adjust to the new reality.

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    1. Pradeep, my family, and surprisingly neighbours, have been terrific.

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  20. Andrew, my heart is breaking for you. I am so glad you have family around you for now. I'm truly sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. It's never easy to navigate through the mundane tasks of daily life on your own after such a loss. Please know that even in the midst of routine tasks, you're not alone. Ray may not be physically by your side, but his spirit and the memories you shared will always be with you, guiding you through each day. Take care of yourself and allow yourself the space to grieve however you need to.
    I tried Hello Fresh and I thought the portions were small and I'm not a big eater, and yes, you do have to cook it, using the recipe cards provided. However, they do offer a nice variety.

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    1. Thanks Jackie. That's very kind. I just don't want to cook, certainly at this stage, so Hello Fresh doesn't appeal to me. I didn't know it is a multinational.

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  21. You are doing so well with everything, Andrew. It hasn't been very long since you lost Ray and look at all the things that you have sorted out. You will figure out the food situation as you go along. I have been thinking of you a lot and so have all your blog friends so know that there are good vibes heading your way from many directions.

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    1. Pat, the kindness from bloggers has been so good, including those who I don't know and just read blogs rather than comment on them. Thank you for your thoughts.

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  22. Andrew, I think you're doing marvellously to be learning and rethinking when everything is so fresh. Grief robs our ability to think.
    I buy Dineamic meals for my parents and they like them. They're made in Victoria, too.
    Thinking of you every day

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    1. Kylie, I have been making some silly little mistakes, but nothing major. Thanks for kindness and I will certainly look at Dineamic. I haven't heard of the company.

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  23. The habits of a long-term relationship. In time you'll develop new ones. Hang in there.

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    1. Kirk, the logical me tells me that but...

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  24. I don't even have to say anything, I went through all that with less company and no family, I don't remember exactly now, I think I was like a robot. Now that it is almost 2 years that Rick died, I thought the pain would become less, but it became worse ! Only in company I am cheerful and "normal" but once alone, it's another thing. Go ahead and take some holidays, I did it too, it did me good to be all alone with myself in England at the sea. It's a terrible time.

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    1. Gattina, I will holiday but not big holidays as we had together. You have done so well, mostly on your own. I admire you.

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  25. Andrew,
    I am glad your friend Cathy referred you to my blog (Retired In Delaware). First my sincere condolences to you for the loss of your husband. Of course you know words are inadequate at a time like this. However, I believe we can be of help to each other by talking. Talking with others, especially those who have recently lost loved ones, has so far gotten me through this most awful time of my life. I have my own little grief support group which I invite you to join via Zoom. I will leave this comment on your blog also. In my support group is Glenn M. (Palm Springs, CA) who lost his long-time partner (36 years). Also my friend Pat F. of Hamilton, Ontario Canada. Just us three now. Last month my longtime friend Renee lost her husband of seventeen years. She has joined us occasionally. Talking helps, especially with others in similar situations.
    Ron

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    1. Thank you very much Ron. I'm not much of a joiner but I will take a look. There seems to be so much to do at the moment.

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    2. I don't actually have a group Andrew. Just me and my friend Glenn. If you feel like talking sometime, feel free to let me know. If not, that's all right too. Each one of us has our own way of grieving. I was just talking to Glenn on Zoom and told him of your loss. He also offers his condolences. He had a similar problem at first after his Michael died in entering his bedroom. He didn't go in for three months. I was going to clean out Bill's bedroom, remove all the furniture and clothing but decided not to. I have found more comfort in stopping in and seeing him every day (his ashes are in a container there) and talking to him. This is what works for me. Take care Andrew.
      Ron of Retired in Delaware

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  26. I was only thirty-seven when my father died and the greatest shock to me was that life continued on for everyone. We still had to eat lunch after dad died. Everyone grieves differently, there is no right or wrong way, but it does take time. When mum died, I cried every night for weeks and caught myself thinking I had to call her, almost daily.
    Take care Andrew.

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    1. Pixie, parental death seems quite different to that of your life partner. Both can be profound but quite different. It is early days for me and my mother only died eight months ago, and that still feels quite raw. I hope you are coping better now but there isn't a right way or wrong way, is there.

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  27. Peace be with you.

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  28. I can imagine one would feel lost, when someone else in the relationship takes care of things and we don't know what to do when they are no longer here. At least your family has been pampering you. Poor Jo :( Take care Andrew.

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    1. Sami, I am rather surprised at how family have rallied for me. Yet they are all grieving themselves with the loss of Ray. My sister was twelve when Ray and myself got together.

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