Monday, August 29, 2016

Looking back and looking forward

In my last post, I alluded to a blog I started but never finished. Here it is, and finished too. A little more backstory.

Hummingbird Farm has experienced another major setback. A setback unlike all others before it. A change that will impact the future of the farm in countless ways for years to come.

Ghon and I have been making plans for our move. Finalizing the “to do before we move” list and the “it would be nice to do” list. Things may have been slower than anticipated, but Ghon was ecstatic over the progress being made. Just seeing tile in our mudroom floor, he looked at me, and with a glimmer in his eye said, “it’s starting to look like a home.” It certainly was.

Sometime in April, Ghon left his job at Best Buy. Major transition there! The work environment was no longer good for him; the stress was wearing on him, the drive getting old, and the schedule, while it sorta worked for us from a get to work/get to kid activity standpoint, it also greatly limited our ability to do things as a family. There was no such thing as weekend time. Upon leaving work, the plan was for Ghon to take the farm to the next level from a farming perspective.  Trout raising, pigs and gardening; in addition to our eggs and looking at raising meat chickens.

He started window shopping and prepared to purchase a tractor so he could do all the work around the farm. He worked a little in the house, continued his photography, and worked on plans for the farm.

On June 13, 2016, he had a double inguinal hernia repair. Things went well and he was healing up. Actually taking his time and not rushing things! But on June 18, our world changed.

Our last picture together - headed in for hernia surgery.
The night of June 17, he was experiencing a lot of pain. By 1:30 am on the 18th, we were on our way to the emergency room at our local hospital. About midnight, I left without my husband, my partner, my world. I promised him before he left us, that I would raise the kids in the farmhouse, that I would keep the chickens and the goats, do my best with his bees, and I was sorry, but I was not getting pigs. I stroked his head, I held his hand, and I cried. I professed my love for him, for us, and apologized. For what, I'm not sure, other than I was so sorry that this was happening to him. To us. That I wasn't there for him. He had internal bleeding, and was admitted for pain management and monitoring. I stayed all night, into the morning, went home for a few hours and at 4pm, he went into cardiac arrest after standing up from his bed. He was resuscitated, but it took nearly 30 minutes. He was on life support. The doctors didn't know what his brain activity was like, but it wasn't promising. He was given a very small chance of making it through the night. I almost passed out in his room. 

I knew that was not the life he wanted. In my heart, when I got the call at 4:25, I knew, my soul knew, I wasn't coming home with him. That doesn't mean I still didn't want to, or planned to do whatever I could to try, but I knew. That's the only way I can put it.

With his son Eric, I agreed to a DNR near 1030pm, and we went to be with him. His body was shutting down. We didn't have to remove support. His fragile heart stopped beating at 11:09 with Eric and I at his sides. He was not alone. I stayed. I left to let the nurses remove the machines. I went back in. Family came to check on Eric and I. They left. I stayed. I tried to leave, got to the door and turned around and went back in. I couldn't go. I can't say goodbye. I kissed him again, stroked his head, and backed out of the room - I couldn't turn my back on him. I finally left, and left a huge part of my heart behind. I left empty.

The truly last picture. Hand in hand.
As empty as I was, I was fueled with direction. The only thing I can remember saying was that I needed to get into that house. I needed to get into the farmhouse. I had to find a way to get it done; the stuff contractors were already doing, things we were going to find new help with, and things he was going to do. And damn it, I had to finish the penny floor. 

For the next 2 weeks, the kids and I were surrounded by prayers, meals, friends, family and offers to get away and play dates. I accepted what I could; but I had to work on the house. I didn't want to go away. I wanted to be where our dream was, where his heart was. I had to finish. I had to clean out, assess what needed to be done and make a plan. Yeah, sometimes I think Ghon is looking at me either perturbed or laughing, wondering where that same drive was when he was alive. It was there, but time, well time meant something different.

I will need to devote an entirely different post to the many blessings were were given. I am humbled. Completely. I argue with Ghon all the time about them. He is likely saying they are for me and the kids - that people loved us. I tell him they are for us - because of their love for us and him. It's not me alone. I pray that he now sees how many people appreciated him and how many people he positively impacted. I knew there were many, but even I was amazed at the number of messages I received from people I didn't know.

Eight weeks after Ghon died, the kids and I spent our first night in the house. It wasn't complete yet; Jonathan's room was still under construction. Some floors needed finishing. Detail work to be done. But it was done enough for us to stay. And so, we did. 

One week later, with some construction still happening, we opened our home to all of our friends and family for a Celebration of Life for Ghon. It was an absolutely beautiful day. The only thing I would have changed was for it to be a complete housewarming party with Ghon there; not a Celebration of his life. Yet, I know he was there. He was watching in disbelief for sure. But surrounding us all in love and his big smile, telling a joke to make us laugh and probably saying something inappropriate at least once, if not twice. That day, the house felt even more like home.

When I started blogging about the house, it was just that, about the house, us figuring out farming and  life on a farm. I'd wanted to blog more in the last year, but just didn't make the time. All free time went to working on the house,  not talking about it. As time continues, there will still be some of that. But there will probably be some cathartic release of emotion too. As I sat here finishing this post, the tears were free flowing and my nose blowing. So much of who I am was defined by Ghon and who we were, that I'm not sure who I am. I've actually struggled with that for a bit, and will have to figure that out. Writing seems to help, so perhaps some, I will share.  

There is so much I want to do to continue and honor Ghon, to fulfill some of his dreams and wishes, and create a legacy so that no one ever forgets him. There is so much to do at the house. I hate moving, but I want to be completely  moved in. I'm trying to focus on the kids and trying not to forget about me. I want immediate results. But that doesn't happen. I keep hearing things take time, but when you lose such an important part of your life so quickly, without warning, and realize - for real - that tomorrow is never a given, time - well, time, it takes on a new perspective. I can't take time for granted. I want it all done and done now - but life doesn't happen that way. So I'll make a million lists that don't get finished and will stay up too late trying to make them get done. And I will only ask for help when absolutely necessary because I'm hard headed and want to show myself I can do it. 

Or, I'll wake up from this bizarre dream, and have Ghon here with me, swinging on our front porch swing hand in hand like we planned.  But that won't happen. 

And I can't exhaust myself much more. 

So bear with me. I'm staying positive. I'm doing stuff. I'm giving back to others. But I know I'm still not operating at full speed. All cylinders are not firing. I feel so scatter brained, and I hate it. But I'll get there. Sooner or later. I need to. The kids need me to. Ghon wants me to.

Sooner or later. Because I have nothing but time and time has nothing but me.