I thought that when Jim died I would be ready. I have known that day was coming for a really long time. There was always the off chance I would end up dying first, but the disease took my love from us on April 2. I was supposed to write some blog pieces by now, but when your brain is frozen and non-functioning, it is hard to write. This is my first foray back into the arena.

I wrote about our experience before Jim passed away on my personal blog, www.missingjim.com. Since then, I have been functioning with erratic stability, with moments where I think I can embrace this new chapter of my life and times I can barely function, unable to think clearly enough to carry on a conversation let alone make any decisions. Sometimes I don’t even remember the conversation or who I was speaking with.

How can I be so ill prepared for a time that I not only have prepared and thought about anxiously over and over again for years? How can the finality be so shocking? How can I be so sad, so sorrowful, so emotional, so devastated? Haven’t I been grieving Jim since the day he got diagnosed in 2011?

Yet, I mourn. I mourn the loss of him, of our family, our children’s father, my best friend and the man that made the world a better place for all of us. I long to look into his beautiful blue eyes again and then it hits me: he isn’t just down the road at his home but he is gone and I will never see those baby blues again. I will never hold his hand again. I will never feel his touch, however weak or changed it had become, ever again. He will not miraculously recover and come home to help parent our kids. He will not aggravate me anymore.

I feel panic. What was his favorite movie? What was his favorite restaurant and meal? What was it we did last year for our anniversary? My own brain has started to let me down. I can’t seem to be clearheaded enough to recall all the little details I am desperate to hold onto.

How could I have been so stupid as to delete his voicemails? I saved one. ONE. Out of the hundreds. But my voicemail always got full and there would always be more from him, right? The only one I did keep doesn’t have the three words he always said to me, almost to a point of annoyance….I love you. Why? Why didn’t I save one of those messages?

Is it possible to miss someone who has been gone for years? Yes my friend. Yes it is.

I am grateful to Home Instead Senior Care for their support, understanding and patience during this time. And I thank you, my faithful and caring readers for your thoughts and your prayers.

29 thoughts on “Jim is Gone

  • Barbara C Wood

    Karen,
    I’m so glad that you were able to share your heart again..One comment you made really resonated with me. “I love you” almost to annoyance. My husband is at mid stage 6 of Alzheimer’s.. When his mind is actually engaged, he will look at me, say I love you …and I’m sorry..I’m sorry…I hung him close, tell him he has nothing to be sorry for! How incredible that this loving man is apologizing for his state. Oh how I hate this disease…..

  • susan wood

    Karen.
    There is a line in a film ‘Clockwise’ (a humorous film, but none the less an important line) – where Cleese says ‘ It’s not the despair, Laura, I can take the despair, it’s the hope I can’t stand.’ And maybe, somewhere in your subconscious there was a crumb of hope, however improbable, & you clung to that. Now you are doubly bereaved. As a retired counsellor, I have accompanied this stage often. Go with it, you have no choice, it’s a necessary path. We cannnot know your pain, but we feel for you. Give yourself time. God bless you. With love and thoughts, Sue

  • Jill

    I subconscious put off grieving because I knew that all were in they 80’s. We lost 10 people in 5 years, then the lose of our preemie granddaughter.
    Dad 2009, Ruth 2010, Betty 2010,Mom 2012, Mattie 2013, Gloria 2013, Nan 2013, Marty 2013 Mae 2013, Carter 2014
    Emmaleigh 2015.
    The tears came and went but I had direct responsibility for my parents, and an aunt. I thought I can’t grieve there is not time. I stayed stoic as I under a fall-out with a friend.
    I finally broke down and I am still grieving for them all. It takes time, a long time but I’m stuck in a well of dark.

  • Mary Anderson

    You are not alone. My Mom passed 4 and 1/2 yrs ago. I was so ready for her suffering to end. And mine (guilt). I repeated many times to her, “It’s ok, you can go. Dad is waiting for you. And I’ll be fine. That was the biggest lie I’ve ever said in my life. I knew I wouldn’t be ok. But, I would do anything to end this horror for myself. I was the only one there when she passed. What a roller coaster ride of six years. When she passed the roller coaster ride continued. So glad it was over for her but missing her already. Still recovering at this time. Love you Mom❤️

  • Mary Anderson

    I didn’t mean end the horror for myself. More for her. But, yes, also for me. My first thought as I drive away for the last time was, I have my life back. And then felt immediate guilt. I know she went thru hell but she is in a better place yet I am still dealing with all the memories. I’m sorry for all us who have had to take this journey with a loved one and the ones who are going through it now. You aren’t alone! Ever!

  • Sue

    Well. This really touched me. My husband passed away March,28. I certainly know what you are feeling. This comment brought me to tears. I am not functioning most of the time.

  • Linda Youngblood

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and my heart breaks for you and your children.

  • mklotzer@yahoo.com

    Karen , I know how you feel. I felt the same way when I lost Bill the love of my life . With him it was a complete shock. He had a heart attack in our driveway and I lost him. How sad you must feel without Jimmy. My love and prayers are with you and your children. Stay strong for them.

  • Terri

    This has got to be one of the most heartbreaking diseases on the planet. I lost my Mom 19 years ago and I miss her everyday. She was the strongest person I have ever known. To watch her dwindle to nothing and lose to this disease was nothing short of heartbreaking. I am so sorry for your loss and understand how devastating it is to go through this process. You can never prepare for someone to be gone from your life. It is always heart wrenching when you lose not once but twice.

  • Carol E

    My thoughts and prayers are with all who loved him. It’s not easy to let go of someone you love especially after taking care of that person who probably in the end can’t communicate that they love you or even know who you are. My mom had Alzheimer’s. I wish it on no one.
    I’ve enjoyed reading your articles and listening to your comments online when you had the forums.
    Take time for yourself now or with those you love who you’ve had to put on the back burner while taking care of Jim. Blessings to you.

  • Stuart

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Karen. I just read your blog. Thank you for sharing your story. My wife of 26 years is 49 years old and just diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. My boys are 17 and 14. We haven’t told very many other than family. We are just starting our journey down this road. I am seeking support and guidance soon. Good luck to you and your family. I know you will keep Jim in your heart forever.
    With Best Wishes,
    Stuart

  • Anita Latulippe

    I lost my beloved George 8 years ago to this horrible life robbing disease…I share every feeling you described in your blog…I too long to hear is voice, hold his hand, dance in the kitchen, share our love, see his big blue eyes and laugh at his witty comments…I am still “riding the waves” of emotions…so sorry for your soul-mate moving on.

  • Lorrie

    I understand what you are going through! This SUCKS BIG TIME. But you will take each moment at a time,and move forward.My thoughts,prayers and many hugs are with you. Please let us all know how you are doing,ok? Donot isolate yourself. We love you and the kids.

  • Maria Cordero

    Karen…grief is such an individual thing. I cannot imagine what losing ones husband and best friend in this way feels like. Just know I pray for all of you.

    Maria

  • Diane Chadwick

    I understand completely…..I have followed missing jim since the beginning and my mom is the one who has AD. She is in the final stages and yes we have grieved a long time for her but her body is still alive. Today they came and took a chest X-ray. I am no doctor but I saw the cloudy side of her lung vs the clear side and know that it is probably pneumonia. She has been bed ridden for the last 4-6 weeks due to a pressure sore that won’t heal because she has no muscle mass. Thankful for your blog which has helped us cope. This is a horrible disease. Hugs & prayers.

  • Sarah

    I thought I was ready, I was not…almost a year, it’s still strange at times, I miss him, I miss us…this new normal is hard for me, who am I now….still searching, sorry for your loss, praying for your family. I HATE ALZHEIMER’S

  • gwen

    we think we are prepared, we all want more, we are all human, life is precious to some and not to others.
    The timing will be right when the call comes, But We are not ready

  • Vicki

    I lost my husband to this terrible disease Nov 22′-2012. He was diagnosed in 2005. Gradually he left me in mind a little at a time till he had no recollection of me. My heart still aches for him. The husband he was, not the shell of a man he became. I eventually had to put him in a dementia unit the last year of his life, but I went to see him everyday and if I had to do it all over again I would. I lost my best friend that.november day. I still mourn him.

  • JOAN

    I will miss your blog,my husband is moderate stage six,and I
    wonder how long this will go on.I forgot to save his office voicemail ,now he is not coherent.It’s a terrible disease,I wish you and your children healing and happiness!
    God bless!

  • Glenda Presley

    I lost my precious Bill Jan. 31, 2016. He was kept at home, and remained a sweet, humble man for all the years of his diagnosis. ONly the last two weeks, everything changed. He lost all body strength, confused about the state he lived in, and everything about his mind and health seemed to fail all at one time. I have always thought I was the strong one, but he was the rock that held me up. I miss his smell, voice, touch, humor, his daily habit of telling us how much he loved us, and most of all his presence. It is such an emptiness–I will never be the same again.

  • KarenG

    I have not dealt with Alzheimer’s so I cannot say “I know how you feel.” Your storytelling and memories of Jim, however, make us feel like we know you and we miss Jim with you.

    “…and I will never see those baby blues again. I will never hold his hand again. I will never feel his touch…”

    But I believe you will, Karen! I will continue to keep you and your children in my prayers.

  • Donna

    So sorry for your loss. All your emotions are understandable and normal. For all who lost a parent or a spouse to AD the time afterwards is not an easy one. I was lost for a while when mom passed away…I found myself a middle aged orphan that had to take on the role of family elder when that role was reserved to mom, but .as long as she was alive, she held the presumptive role. I had found that as time passed I was upset in forgetting the details, but now I am happy to recall our good times, and no longer need to relive all those difficult moments. God Bless! Peace.

  • Glenda

    Hi, I’m sorry for your loss, please accept my heartfelt condolences. As I read about your Jim it seemed as if it totally described me. I lost my dear father last Dec due to Alzheimer’s & cancer. It was a long, bitter-sweet 10 & 2 year period since he was diagnosed. My mom had passed over 20 years ago and as an only child I stopped working in order to take care of him. I did all I could for him but was so heartbroken that the day I feared had arrived. From then on I haven’t been myself again. But I know I will be Ok and so will you, Karen. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Phyllis Gallagher

    Karen,
    I am so sorry for your loss. My husband’s condition has always seemed to be a few months after Jim’s. We made arrangements for brain donation and met with the funeral director to pre-plan the funeral. This is the most horrible disease and I spend half the day wishing it was over and the other half begging for a miracle. Thank you for all your insight, I have relied on you for so much. Thank you. I hope you continue to find strength for yourself and your children.

  • Charlotte Russell

    Thank you so much for sharing my feelings exactly. Having lost my husband to Alzheimer’s Nov 3, 2014, (after losing him for 14 long years), was still devastating. I too miss his beautiful blue eyes, the touch of his hands, his unresponsive kisses and the joy in his eyes when he saw the hot fudge sundae I would bring him. I will say that it gets a little easier as the months go by, but the hole in my heart will always be there.
    My prayers are with you and your children as you start this new and unwanted phase of your life but always remember the Lord is with you.

  • Isabel Primmer

    I know the exact feelings you are going through. I lost my son June 3rd, 2015 with dementia and cancer. I am still going through the loss of not only my husband but my son. Everyday is different as well as your feelings and emotions. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost a husband or child. My son was only 56 and I still feel he should out live his Mother. I finally had to go to grieving classes and they have really helped. I love to do scrap booking of pictures for my Grandchildren.but my heart or energy is just not there. Just take one day at a time.

  • DIANE SHEIMAN

    My mother died at 88 after suffering for many years. I cried when she died, and I broke down at the funeral. I don’t care how old they are or how long they have been sick, this disease is a tragedy and we question everything about how we handled it. My mom had the greatest care and I know now that I took good care of her.

    My husband died suddenly one night and its been two years. Seems like yesterday. I will mourn him forever. His dying changed by life, but he is in my heart every day and Jim will always be with you. No matter what, you will never forget him.

  • margaret Janssen

    So sorry for your loss, Jim was so young and my heart goes out to you and your family.
    I know my time will come, my husband has Vascular Dementia for two years now and I feel sometimes I have a child to take care of, he forgets so much , I keep reminding him and showing him everything. It is draining, my husband is 84 and I am 77. Thank God for our support group here in our little town of Creston, British Columbia. My prayers are with you, that life will start looking up. Have faith in God, he knows your hurts and anxieties. Things will get better. God Bless you .

  • Paul Stallebrass

    My wife started having problems with her memory in 2011, initially her doctor dismissed this as depression, the fact she was watching trash daytime TV, and that she wasn’t using her brain as much as before as she was not working. It took almost a year for her doctor to take her symptons seriously, and almost another 18 months of tests, waiting for specialists to finally be given a diagnosis. She turned 52 in April this year, and is in late stage Alzheimer’s. Watching her die a little bit more is heartbreaking. Our time together is now precious. My heart goes out to you.

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