Saturday, April 2, 2016


To say that March was a difficult month would be an understatement.

I lost the love of my life, and am slowly learning how to navigate a world without him. We both knew this day was coming, but even after the accident last fall, when his health became so immediately fragile (he had some broken vertabrae in his back which made it even harder to take any kind of a deep breath), we somehow always thought his passing was something in the future. He was here TODAY, and we clung to that. Even when he began in-home Hospice Care, we were optimistic that he would be one of those people who defied the odds. I mean, he always HAD before, so we thought he would just keep going. We joked about the Energizer Bunny, and how thankful we were that he just kept going and going.

Until he didn't.

I was with him when he passed, holding his hand, telling him how much he was loved. I like to think he heard me, but the nurses assured me he was thoroughly sedated - something we insisted on, so he would not feel pain or panic. But whether he heard my last words to him or not, I have no doubt he knew, because we said those words to each other pretty much every day of our marriage and meant them, even when it was a challenge.

And now it's just me, without someone to consult about important decisions, without someone to bounce ideas off, without someone to hold and care literal other half. I remember saying to him once that I would not even know how to be ME, without HIM. He thought it was a silly statement, but it's true. A part of me went with him.

In the midst of all this, there are some very important decisions to be made. Both space and financial considerations mean a move, and sooner rather than later. A house? A condo? And where? I'm strongly leaning toward staying here in Lancaster County, where I have a strong support system, and am only a train ride away from our daughter Courtney. But I'm also dreaming a bit about the mountains of western North Carolina, where John and I always dreamed of living or retiring.

There's also much work to be done...more paperwork and legal details than I'd ever imagined, and of course, painting awaits at the studio table, and a now desperately overdue commission schedule. I must get back to it, and soon...and trust that as ever, Art Heals.

I would also like to thank everyone who has offered up prayers, all those who attended his funeral Mass, and Celebration of Life earlier in the week, and the many, many kind comments, messages, cards, and very practical gifts of help I've received. I'm overwhelmed, truly, and so grateful for each of you in my life.

There will be some major changes happening, and I will miss him terribly every day of my life. But I'll find my footing, and take comfort in the knowledge he's no longer struggling, and that I will see him again someday. It's all I can do.

Besides, if I fell apart, he'd be the first to come back and tell me to snap out of it. ;)

Much Love,
♥ Carolee


Ann Loftin said...

Wishing you strength as you journey forward. I love you.

Fredd Van Ess said...

You may never be the same without him, but your composure, strength and kindness I saw on Monday is a true testament to your character. Best wishes to you as you navigate your way in this new chapter of your life.

Pam Griner said...

Carolee. Reading your words you made me think of my mom. I sang to her,talked to her, slept holding her hand. And I know positively she knew it. Even with all the medication. You two are joined together and even though his journey has taken him somewhere else, he is there with you until the day you are together again. Souls that mend together can never be broken. My love to you and Courtney as you begin your new journey. You will have all the guidance you need as he is there watching as well as friends and family who love and care for you.

Anonymous said...

So very sorry, my friend. Dealing with a loss is one of the most difficult things you will ever face. I won't throw out any of the platitudes that seem to be the only words one can muster up as support. Just know that you are not alone and things will be OK eventually...different but ok.
Thinking of you, Dave and Maureen

Carolee said...

Thank you all. ♥

Susan Krichbaum said...

So sorry for your loss. The entry was so beautifully written, I can feel the strength you have. Hugs to you and your family. Susie

LYNDY WARD said...

You're a strong beautiful lady inside & out Carolee. John heard every word, many that have been on death's bed have said they heard & saw everyone in their room. John will be with you every step of the way. He's rallied up all your guardian angels & loved ones on the other side. You & lovely Courtney are going to be just fine... Love & Hugs To You Always, Lyndy

sandi s said...

I am so sorry for your loss. My prayers for you and your family. Hugs,

Laura Tieri said...

I am so sorry to hear about your husband. I found out by reading your comment at Vanessa's blog. I left you a message there if you want to go back & see it.

Esther Prentice said...

My heart goes out to you. I also lost the love of my life this last month,April 9,2016, our 40th wedding anniversity would of been next month June 25. I admire your work very much and being an painter myself I agree that painting is good therapy. God bless you and yours. Esther P

Carolee said...

Thank you all for the kind words.

Esther, my deepest condolences to you too, for your great loss.

~ Carolee

Maja said...

I am a new follower, having just read of your painful journey. Can I just say, as a grief counselor,and past hospice counselor, He heard you! He heard every word you said and he was with you in mind and spirit until he left this earth. Forgive me if this brings up sadness, I felt it was important to say, and I rarely post comments, but breathing the same county air, it felt important. Your art is magical!