As promised in my last post, Taking off the Cape, I will continue here to talk about some of my experiences just before or after my becoming an ordinary citizen again. It was very difficult to transition from the constant on the go and the multiple duties of being a caregiver to suddenly being alone. I remember some of the first 24 hours after Kat went beyond me. I was in shock after I said my good-bye to her as she laid too peacefully in the flat hospital bed. She did not reply to any of my words..except I thought one of the monitors still connected made a beep. I then walked out to the nurse and she gave her best effort to describe what to do next. I barely understood, fortunately, I already called Kat’s mother for help because I had no experience even though my own mother passed a little more than a year before. This is because I was not able to visit my mother to help her while taking care of Kat (see another post for that experience). I think the nurse had me fill out a couple of sheets of paperwork. I do remember asking her “was that all”? No fanfare, no witnesses, no administrators, no counselors, no one! I then took a copy of the paperwork, thanked the nurse, zipped my jacket (it was very cold for a November in Florida at about 4AM), and went home (I do not even remember getting into the car and driving).
I got back to my apartment and was greeted by Socks (my cat). Socks is a very smart, intuitive, and extremely sensitive cat (even the vet said that). He immediately rubbed my legs and scratched my shoes (which meant take those stupid things off, sit down and hold me). So, here I was sitting in my office chair staring into space. I did not sleep at all the rest of the night (something I never did!). It was like a sudden crash! I was relieved of duty. I was now for the first time in more than 30 years all alone (Kat and I had our 25th anniversary only a few weeks before). I was very afraid of what I was going to do next! Although I did not tell Kat’s mother and cousin as they picked me up to take care of gathering Kat’s items from the rehab and making arrangements at the last-minute with the funeral home. I do not remember much of what happened except that I kept on saying to them that “I was sorry”. I have no idea why I said this so much. There was only two more vague memories that I remember after all this which was getting into a small argument over the phone with my father and on a positive note, a friend that I was not expecting called and simply said you are not alone! That helped tremendously, nevertheless, I was still in shock, disbelief, and so began the process of my grief.