Hysteria? All the anger, stress, and loss started, started flowing, along with tears.
The first official act was to fill out the information for the Death Certificate with the help of my daughter and the Chaplain. The hours of watching and waiting had pushed us into the new year. I can still see the form that was waiting for my signature in front of me, and of course, I needed to date it. 2013. This was the first year I didn't make the mistake of writing last year's 2012.
Once you are through the initial 24, 48 hours, clean up the battlefield. You may not realize but the battle waged has littered the home, car, bedroom. Clean it up. Ask a friend to remove the obvious: medications, oxygen tanks, whatever is around to remind you of illness. Keep the memories of health, wellness, not reminders of disease, pain, suffering.
There will be months and years to reflect, to take care of clothes, books, music. Just remove the reminders of sadness and struggle. Be strong, decisive about this.
Over the past few months I have talked to many who have endured the lost of a loved one, parent, husband, wife, sibling, child ... I am frequently asked, "How did you prepare? You knew this was coming, I had no time. We went to the emergency room, he died a day and half later." We imagine the other's journey to be easier, I think.
This is an area where we can all help, share experiences, reach those who are more alone now, or have been left alone.