Wednesday, June 3, 2015


I just need to say AGAIN how wonderful he's been in all of this. He has never once questioned my feelings for him, even in those first days after Dan's death. He took care of my kids when I couldn't get out of bed. He let me grieve. He continues to let me grieve. He let me sob on his shirt the day that the cremation happened. He went with me to see Dan's dead body, for God's sake. He gives me random hugs just because he knows I need them.

Currently, I'm having serious issues with my parents. They have behaved very selfishly during this entire situation. I understand it's odd, their ex-son in law dying, and them not knowing what to do. It's very clear my mom doesn't understand why it's hit me so hard. I was talking to Justin last night. I reminded him that my parents don't know he was an alcoholic, and if they did, they're the type to roll their eyes and think it's an excuse for not being strong enough. They certainly wouldn't understand the addict-enabler relationship.

My dad and I had the biggest fight we have ever had, yesterday. It was horrible, and resulted in him hanging up on me. He kept trying to control me and I kept pushing back (I have NEVER done this before) and he didn't know what to do. Anyway, J and I were discussing the situation last night and he just looked at me and said "I am the luckiest man in the world because of someone else's misfortune and sickness." He couldn't get it all out before HE started crying. He told me he felt guilty for his "good fortune" and knows that if Dan had been able to get himself together that he and I would never have met. He said he "I saw the love you have for him. And the support that you gave to him. And I'm just so lucky." Sort of an unspoken, "I know you'd do the same for me."

I am the lucky one. To have met someone who came through this WITH me, with flying colors. He has made the best of a horribly awkward situation, standing right next to me at Dan's memorial service. Meeting Dan's friends, passing THEIR inspection.  Loving my kids, Dan's kids, unconditionally.

a box for daddy

This morning, S & A were up super early. While I was getting ready, they were coloring.  I heard A say something about daddy and S said "no, he's not here." I walked out and asked what they were talking about. S told me that A wanted to give daddy the picture she drew and S told her that she couldn't because daddy wasn't here anymore. We all sat right down in the hallway to discuss. I told them that I thought it was a great idea for them to draw pictures for daddy, write notes for daddy, whatever they wanted to do. S questioned me on how he would get them. I told her that she was right, that we couldn't physically give daddy the pictures, but maybe we could make a pretty box that we could put all the things in that we'd like to give to daddy, and that even though he wasn't here in person, he'd know that they were for him. And I said that I thought leaving notes for daddy was a great idea and S excitedly said "like when I want to tell him that I lost my second tooth!!" And I said YES, exactly!!!

And now I'm crying again just thinking about the conversation. All the milestones he will miss, although I know in truth, if he were still here, he'd miss most of them anyway. But, my kids will be cheated out of getting to tell their dad special things.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Some days...

Some days, I can get through most of the day with little emotion felt about D. Other days, I am just overwhelmed by it. Those typically are the days when I can "feel" him around me. I realize that sounds crazy. I do. But I can. I woke up this morning early, without an alarm, and realized I'd been dreaming about him. I can never remember my dreams, and I struggled for a bit to remember that one, but to no avail. And it was a mix of him and J; all mixed up together. I remember that much, but that's about it, and I couldn't have sorted it out if I'd tried.  But it was a good start to the day, feeling close to him.

I want to see him. I want to see him in my children. I look at C and just stare at him, hoping that some expression of his daddy's will pop up on that sweet face. I can hear his laugh, so clearly. I am comforted knowing that I am touching something that he touched. God, how creepy is that?!?

Two Fridays ago, I took J to the condo for the first time. he's going to help me get it ready to rent and stopped by after dinner for him to get an idea of what would be needed. It was the first time I was there after dark, since I'd lived there. I warned J before we walked in that it was a bit stinky. It was the alcoholic Dan smell. The smell of alcohol leaving his pores when his body couldn't process it any longer, mixed with a bit of sweat. It was the smell of my family room before D started sleeping in the basement. I remember it vividly, how I'd walk in in the morning to wake him and this smell permeated the family room.  But now, in a closed up condo, it seemed even more concentrated to me. After we left, I asked him if he smelled anything and he said he did but it wasn't bad, just a bit "sour." He didn't think it was strong at all, but to me, it's all I could smell and it was overwhelming.

I could tell that J seemed a bit uncomfortable there. He told me after the fact that he felt like he was intruding. We were there for about 45 minutes. We were standing, talking about what needed to be done, and he was making some notes. I started looking around and memories came flooding back, good and bad. A lot bad. During the silence I noticed the ticking of a clock on the wall. It was a new clock that he must have purchased, and the tick tocking seemed so LOUD to me. It got to a point when it was all I could focus on. I suddenly felt like I was experiencing what he had. Nightime, silence, except for a ticking clock. And it felt so lonely. He must have been so lonely. He slept in the floor of the living room, next to this ticking clock. I know him well enough to know that must have affected him in some way. I was crying, and told J that we needed to leave. I'd reached my max and couldn't deal anymore.

Last Wed, he and a friend removed the two loveseats from the condo. They were trashed, and they just took them to a dumpster. I knew that I could not be there for that. To me, I was removing part of him from that condo. And I couldn't be present for it. When J got home, sweet Sierra was all over him sniffing. He realized that she must have smelled D on his clothes.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


I just saw a link to this article on FB. Holy hell. With the exception of actually divorcing Dan, this is me, this was us. Some pieces are so right on that it's eerie. I'm floored at the similarities.

Oddly, I found it comforting to know that her husband died within 19 days of being given the diagnosis of alcoholic hepatitis. I've been too busy to research it, and honestly it never occurred to me to research it, but I'm now curious what the recovery rate is for this form of hepatitis.

Alcoholic hepatitis was actually the 2nd diagnosis listed on Dan's death certificate.  Dan's death certificate. How strange to say that. I actually only looked at it on the way to the Celebration of Life for him, not quite 2 weeks ago. I had picked up the copies and was taking them to his brother so that he can close his estate. In a state of denial of course, I looked at it. And it felt like I'd been hit by a truck. Date of Death. How does he even have a "date of death?" And my heart sank when I saw his marital status listed as divorced. It somehow seems nicer to me to die married. I know I know. Completely illogical. And at the bottom were the diagnoses. I wasn't expecting that, as I'd only seen one other death cert and that was his moms. The first was hepatorenal syndrome, which basically means that your liver shuts down your kidneys, and then your kidneys get so bad that there's no possible way for your liver to improve. It was mentioned to me several times in the hospital, but no one ever confirmed. It's a dx of exclusion, so basically you rule everything else out and that's what you end of up with. The 2nd dx was alcoholic hepatitis.

"Robert’s addiction caused chaos in our marriage, our happily-ever-after days got hijacked at the bar, revealing the ugly underbelly of our often admired marriage. The others in the group had been looking forward to their futures, whereas I worried about fresh troubles each day. While they felt the loss of a partner, I’d lost Robert long ago to a never-ending drink of Scotch. They saw their lives as bleak and empty; I’d found some peace and comfort.

Transformed from wife to detective, I began kissing for the sake of sniffing, snooping for receipts to see how much liquor he bought and how often, discovering hidden trash bags full of empty bottles. The confrontations escalated, initiated by me. I was outraged by Robert’s denial and disregard; yet protective and heartbroken, wanting to save him from himself."

I want to post this on FB. I want to scream it from the mountain tops but I won't. Because it doesn't need to be done. It would be me, admitting that Dan was an alcoholic, to the world. I'm not ready for that; not sure I would EVER be ready for that. He deserves his privacy re: this issue, at least now. And admittedly, I don't want to tarnish any thoughts of him that others might have. Ever the enabler I suppose, but at this point, I'm ok with that.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

talked with the neighbors

J and I went yesterday to get D's car from his condo. I knew it had a flat tire, but the battery was also dead. While J was fixing that, a neighbor came by walking her dog and asked "is that Dan?" in regards to J. His back was facing her at the time. My voice just caught in my throat as she walked closer. I somehow managed to get out "no, it's not Dan. He passed away." By then, J had turned around and was right next to me.

I learned that she was the neighbor who called 911 for him. She's also a nurse. She started talking, and I started crying and she stopped. J told her to keep talking, because I wanted to know, and then he walked away. She looked at me and said "he loved you. He did. He talked about you all the time, and he LOVED those kids." And...I lost it.  He couldn't remember my phone number, and had told her that me and the kids were his only family. Clearly, neither one thought to look for my number in his phone, which he had with him.

I cannot TELL you the relief I felt to hear her say she was with him that morning. Her voice was so calm and soothing and I'm sure that was comforting to him. And to just know that he wasn't alone. I mean, I knew he wasn't, but she had his best interests in mind. She seemed to be an angel to me. I am just so glad he wasn't alone, and he knew that someone cared. 

Her story was very consistent with the story I'd heard from the dr. Another neighbor found him that morning, and then called her (Shannon), to come take a look at him, since she's a nurse. She told me that he was completely coherent, and oriented x 3. And also very very jaundiced already. He told her that he thought he'd had a seizure the night before, in the parking lot, and he fell. She said he had a spot on his forehead and side of his head that was consistent with a fall. He told her he'd been too weak to get inside so crawled in his car for the night. She said the smell of alcohol was heavy on his breath, and that was probably 12 hours without anything to drink. She said he apologized to her for soiling himself. He told Ron that he'd come down to check on his car battery and that he hadn't been out of his condo in 3 days. He fought them on calling 911, said that he just wanted to go back upstairs. She and the other neighbor (Ron) fought right back and called anyway.

She said that he gave her permission to list her name/number as a person to contact. She said that she called him and talked to him while he was in the hospital. he told her he was being transferred to a larger hospital that had the equipment they needed to treat him. He thought he was going to BJC (would have been his preference), but instead he was taken to SLU. She did not know this, so once he was transferred both she and Ron called the area hospitals trying to find him, but they had no luck. Ron tried to track me down, but couldn't remember my first name. They both said they'd tried to figure out how to get in his condo to find contact information from me. After we left, I realized that they could have just went and opened his door, knowing now that he had left it unlocked.

Once she left, I just walked over and collapsed on his car door. I was completely drained and really felt like I'd been hit by a truck. We did exchange phone numbers and she made it clear she was happy to talk with me again. I definitely want to. It was so helpful to talk to her.

Not only do I now know he was in good hands, but I know that he had no ill-will toward me that day. No mention of "don't you dare call Stacey. I don't want her to know." I never thought that was the case, but it had crossed my mind. But it made me feel so much better to know that he talked about me in a positive light. Not for my own selfishness or self-esteem, but simply to know that he still thought, after all that had happened, that I was a good person, and one that he could count on. I made comments in an earlier post that maybe he would have just told me to get the hell away had I shown up at the hospital. I now know that wouldn't have happened, and am grateful for that knowledge, but now I feel so sad that if I had known, he most likely would have welcomed me. I think, simply, that he was very sick. After we talked, and I admitted to his alcoholism, Shannon even said "I bet he just wanted to get back upstairs so it would end there." And I can see that. What I realized later that day was that he had SEEN himself jaundiced. It was very evident to Shannon and Ron, so he HAD to see it when he looked in the mirror. He had to know what was happening, if not immediately, then soon. And I wonder what he thought about that. Did it scare him? Did it worry him? Did it bring relief? Did he even process what was happening? 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


This has been bugging me, and it works its way into my thoughts daily. I don't necessarily feel guilt, for anything really. But I do feel regret. For not knowing he was in the hospital for so long. I know that was completely out of my control and there was absolutely nothing I could have done about it, but the scenarios I've played out in my head, had I known...well I just wish I'd known.

Was he lonely during that time? Was he even alert? Aside from the day the dr called to tell me he was headed to the ICU, I never really talked to anyone about what happened during those first 10 days.

I could have visited. Maybe not daily, but I could have stopped by to let him know someone cared. It's very possible he didn't want anyone there, even me, maybe even ESPECIALLY me, and I get that. I'm sure there was a phone in his room. I'm sure at some point he was cognizant enough that he could have reached out if he'd wanted, or had a nurse call.  But maybe not. The encephalopathy caused by the hepatitis left him very confused.

I could have taken the kids to see him. They could have seen him ALIVE. They could have said goodbye. Maybe seeing them would have given him incentive to fight and to try to get better. But, was that already a losing battle anyway? He deteriorated while in the hospital. I suppose he was heading for death, regardless of his possible motivation to change his behaviors.

We could have talked. Well, I could have talked. Getting Dan to talk on a GOOD day was almost impossible. But yes, I could have talked. I could have looked him in the eye and TALKED to him and known that he heard me. Selfish? Maybe, but I think I earned it. I would have told him the same things I told him while he was in the ICU but maybe he would have responded. Maybe he would have told me to get the hell away and not come back, or maybe he would have told me that he loved me too.

I don't regret anything about making the final decision that led to him moving out. I knew that, despite so many telling me I'd gone above and beyond, that I wasn't ready to throw in the towel. It wasn't time, until it was. And I can look back at that time and feel not good, but at least content that I'd tried everything I knew to try, and had essentially run out of options.

Same thing with moving from separation to divorce. I don't regret the timing of it. I was content for quite awhile and saw no good reason to move quickly so I didn't. Until I met Justin, and knew that I was ready to move forward. And my meeting Justin, encouraged some bad behavior from Dan, which made me realize that was the right time to move towards divorce. If I hadn't met anyone, maybe we'll still just be separated. Or maybe not. But regardless, I don't regret it.

But not getting to spend more time with him in his last few weeks, I regret it so much that it hurts. To not have had the opportunity to what, I don't know. But I didn't have it, so we'll never know. And no, I don't think that I could have miraculously turned him around during that time. But we could have said our peace. Or I could have, at least one last time. And I did get to...I just wish it had been when he had the opportunity to respond. 


Blah, things are moving along, away from the day he died, and then BAM something slams into me, or one of my kids and it takes me back there, and back to him in general.

Last night, S mentioned that for my birthday on Sunday we should go out to dinner. I told her that was a great idea, as long as I got to pick, since it was MY bday. She (thankfully!) agreed, and then said "and when it's Father's Day, Justin can pick where HE wants to go." And then she moved on to the twins b-day and then to hers. But my head, and heart, were stuck on the comment she made about J.

How can she easily forget D? How? I played out different scenarios in my head about what she meant. I *hope,*although realize it's most likely not the case, that she said that about J simply because he's a father, not because she was not thinking about her own.

I mentioned it to him last night and he said that C and S have seemed to seek him out more since D died. A always has--they're most definitely buds and have been from the start, but there's been a change with the other two, especially S. He said maybe they've transferred their feelings about Dan to Justin. And I lost it. Although it may be true, and ultimately what I knew would happen, it's not even been three weeks.

It's not fair to Dan that they are doing this. He was their dad. IS their dad. God damn this just breaks my heart. And why in the HELL is this bothering me so much, after he put me through so much. He's their DAD. And while he was alive the possibility of being a good dad was always there. Now that he's not though, my children, HIS children, are ready to forget him.

I know this is healthy. I just didn't expect it to happen so quickly. And, at the same time as S is making this "transition" to J, she's having a lot of somatic complaints that I realized last night are from her grief. At school the last two days her teacher told me she's been VERY quiet, and also for the past few days she's been complaining of stomach aches and headaches. Physically, there's no good reason (and I see no evidence to the contrary) that she would have these. It's her little heads way of processing. Two nights ago she asked me to hold her and she wrapped her self up really tight in her blanket and just cuddled with me. This is not S lol. And then last night, she was tearful for the better part of an hour because her had and belly hurt.

I realized last night that the twins will not remember Dan. Nothing concrete anyway. Nothing other than "he is ashes." I'm so glad I took as many pictures as I did, although now it doesn't seem nearly enough.