Tuesday, September 28, 2010

After the bomb

(I just went back and checked -- Mr. B died just 20 minutes after I posted my previous post.)

Mr. B and I both are (were?) avid fans of science fiction/fantasy books. He tended more toward space opera things with lots on interesting world-building and aliens and ships and adventures where lots of stuff happened. I liked those if they were cleverly written (I'm looking at you, Lois McMaster Bujold) but my favorites are typically stories set in our world, or not-quite our world, with richly-drawn characters and relationships. But my most favorites are post-apocalyptic "after the bomb" books, as we used to call them way back in Cold War times. Stephen Kings' The Stand, for example, or even the Left Behind books which are fascinating when read from a sci-fi perspective.

Anyhooze, that's where I am right now: A post-apocalyptic, bombed out world where the survivors have to scrabble and scramble to survive. Something catastrophic happened and the whole world changed in an instant. It was just a week ago we returned from our three-day cancer retreat (now that sounds like a fun time, doesn't it?) and met with hospice.

Yesterday was a flurry of activity which made it super-easy to stay in left-brain mode. The Ex went with me to the funeral home which was easy-peasy, really, since Mr. B and I tend toward the minimalist in that regard. Sister flew in to stay with me, and Evil Twin was finalizing preps to come, too. The 'durable medical supply' place came to take back the, ahem, 'day bed', etc. There were phone calls and emails and Facebook communications to take care of. I was running on four hours of sleep, and I was grateful for the buzz of exhaustion.

But last night after Sister went to bed and I was shutting down the house for the night, I looked over my shoulder into the now-empty dining room where Mr. B had lain a scant twenty-four hours ago, where Pal Peg and I helped him finish up the hard work of dying and letting go.

The hard candy shell of uber-competent and strong caregiver/problem solver I had constructed around my gooey soft inner core cracked wide open and everything started to leak out. I sat in the middle of the empty floor and wept. That's the first time I felt the Mr. B-shaped hole in me.

It was the first time since his diagnosis a scant three months ago (THREE FUCKING MONTHS!!) that I simply sat and cried to the point where I couldn't stop myself.

I know full well that as the hubbub fades and I have to reconstruct a daily life from the rubble, that Mr. B-shaped hole is only going to get larger and larger.

The world is now Mr. B-less, and that's just so wrong, on every level. Wow. It looks like my tag "Strange New World" has just taken on a whole new meaning, hasn't it?



  1. Oh Liz. Hugs aren't sufficient. This was beautifully written. I wish I could give you comfort, but all I can say is that it's okay to cry and scream and let it all out - you need to do that. I've been thinking of you and Mr. B. I'm just so sorry that this had to happen to you both.

  2. Just this afternoon, I was thinking that you need to write, cry, write, and cry....and so you have, and it's good to do. Go ahead and let it all out.

  3. As Bev said, that was a beautifully written post -- so heartfelt and transparent. There is nothing I can say that will make you feel better right now. I'm so very sorry and hope that you are given the strength you need to get through each day.

    And yes, it is wrong on every level to lose someone you love so much.

  4. Mrs. "B",

    I've known your Mr. B since 98. Memories contain Neal's global solutions to world's hunger. Neal was "above and light years ahead" of me and yet, always took the time to come down in altitude and share his paradigm.

    I (we) are sorry for your loss. Our World has an empty place which will never be filled.

    Paul Werth & Family
    Former CG QPC - Alaska
    Ferndale, WA.

  5. Oh how I have dreaded, for you, seeing this post. Does that make sense? I'm so very, very sorry. I cannot begin to imagine the loss and sadness. I wish you all the best...

  6. I am Mr. B's cousin. My father was Neal's mother's brother. We were about the same age, so I have many childhood memories of visiting him up in Canyon Dam.

    We lost touch over the years, and he made me smile last week with his talk like a sailor day comment on FB. You're blog helped me to put the pieces together of the past year. He was so lucky to have you in his as part of his life....

  7. I am so sad for you, for Mr. B, for all of this...so very sad.
    Just please know how many people hold you in their hearts.

  8. I don't know what to offer/write, except that you have my deepest, sincere sympathy, Liz. I can't imagine how you must feel after a year of such highs and lows, but it's clear that you both were blessed to have each other. I'm very sorry for your loss.

  9. I am so sorry for your loss. You did everything you could for Mr. B. and you did it very well. Now is the time to take care of yourself. You description of what happens when someone you love dies is right on....there is not only a big hole in your life where Mr. B. used to be but a big hole in the universe. One day you will fill in that hole a little bit with good memories. Take care of yourself.

  10. My heart is breaking for you. Hugs and prayers to you and your loved ones. I just started reading your blog last week. From what I've read, I know you will come through this a stronger person for your son and more importantly, yourself.

  11. God, Liz....I cry for/with you. I'm heartbroken for you and utterly speechless. This was beautifully written. I want you to know my thoughts are with you and I'm sending you as much love as I can through cyber world...


  12. I am so sorry. You have been and still are in my thoughts and prayers.

  13. I've been thinking of you and just wanted to say that I'm so, so sorry.

  14. You're in my thoughts, Liz. So sorry this happened.

  15. Fuck is right. I'm so sorry for you tremendous loss. (((HUGS)))


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