As noted in earlier posts, until now this blog has been a joint effort between Bill and Janet Buell. Janet did the actual writing but Bill provided much of the inspiration, gave wonderful critiques, and enjoyed thoroughly hearing any feedback that occurred. And now Bill is gone and I am going to have to learn to carry on without him.
Bill first began showing signs of the illnesses that disabled him in the early 1990s. By 1995, he was forced to retire from a job that he loved by the progression of those illnesses. We spent 22 years living with his chronic illness, and that fact was largely responsible for our drive to see that life remained fulfilling in spite of the challenges. As Bill’s illnesses progressed, finding ways to keep life fulfilling required more and more initiative, determination, imagination, and a sense of humor.
By the end of 2015, my wonderful, lovable, endearing husband had reached the point where he was completely homebound, required the constant use of an oxygen supply to keep him comfortable, and couldn’t remember what he had for lunch on any given day. He had chronic pain, frequent periods of confusion, and was so short of breath he had to give up playing his beloved trumpet. But the most important of Bill’s qualities did not change during this period of time. He retained his sense of humor, his extremely loving disposition, and his ability to enjoy the simple things in life.
As he had to give up so many of the things he loved, it did become more challenging to keep Bill’s life fulfilling. As he was forced to give up riding his treasured Harley Road King and then his MadAss scooter; then lost the ability to work in his garage workshop; lost his ability to travel; and his ability to enjoy the company of friends—we had to become very creative to find entertaining and fulfilling activities. There was a certain amount of satisfaction involved in managing to have a good time anyway.
And now Bill has moved on to a new level of existence. Bill and I both felt, right up to the very last moment of his existence in this world, that our life together was still pleasurable and fulfilling. And now I have the challenge of discovering ways to keep my life entertaining with my partner gone. I had never in my life lived alone. I was 19 years old when I met and married Bill, and I moved directly from sharing a bedroom with my siblings to sharing a home with my husband. For 53 years, my life was very much a partnership with the man I loved. Now, at the ripe old age of 72, I’m going to have to learn how to go it alone. Continue reading