I have been on a journey of remembrance since March 19th, the day that Brian fell for the final time, ended up in the hospital, and died 14 days later, at home, on Hospice. April 1 will be the second anniversary of his death. A lot, of course has changed since then. Some of it in the way I see his death. Some of it in the way I see my life. The good thing is that I’ve learned to not fight Grief when she comes to visit. I’ve learned that if I spend enough time with her, simply letting her be, not making more of her presence or less of it, that I discover the secret she carries with her . . . the secret of love. Love. Because, if there were no love, there would be no grief once someone leaves this world for the next. And, the greater the love, the stronger the grief. But I don’t have to let that grief take center stage in my life. I can take all the love with me and go on with my life, letting grief sit quietly in the wings, waiting for her next entrance. So, that is what I have been working on these last 24 months since Brian died. I’ve had my ups and downs, my regressions, and my sad times. But I have also found laughter, smiles, joy, and hope. I plan to keep living and moving forward, taking the love along with me, and letting grief bide her time in the wings.

Part of doing that involves remembering. Taking a journey back to where I was so that I can better appreciate where I am right now. So, in my next few blog posts I will be journeying back in time, finding the love, hope, and acceptance in those 14 days two years ago that altered the course of my life. Remembering the love, and celebrating life both before and after Brian’s death. It all starts with a letter, written after he had been in the hospital for 10 days. The doctors had exhausted all of the possibilities of what might be causing his pain and rapid decline, but could find no way to remedy it. I asked him if he wanted to come home and have therapy come there to help him manage pain and hopefully gain back some of the ground he’d lost in his hospitalization, or if he wanted to go to skilled care at a local facility where his therapists were based. To my surprise he chose the latter. I wrote the following letter after he had been at the rehab facility just two days. Little did I know that in the next two following days he would wind up in the ER with a temperature of 102 and a blood oxygen of 80, and come home on Hospice, dying just three short days later. Days that were some of the longest and hardest days of my life.

********** ********** ********** ********** ********** ********** **********

Friday, March 25, 2021

Dear Brian

How did it come to this? You, lying here in the bed in the nursing home, me sitting in the chair beside you. Holding your hand in mine. Watching you sleep. Not a restful, soul restoring sleep, rather the kind brought on by nearly two weeks of pain killers whose job has been to numb the throbbing pain in your back. But they are not doing their job, so the pain keeps you from resting. And when you do sleep it is fitful and unnatural, not sleep that is restorative. The times in the last 10 days when you were awake, your once sparkling, sometimes mischievous eyes were glassy and unresponsive, reflecting the pain that seemed to be elusive and unsolvable. Unfixable and unending. Eyes that seemed, much of the time, to be focused far away, somewhere only you knew.

Do you know how much I love you? How much my heart aches to see you this way? How helpless I feel because there is nothing I can do to change the trajectory of where I see you headed? Do you know how empty I feel already without you in my life? Each day when I leave you and return to our house, every step I take echoes through the void created by your absence, each one reminding me over and over again that I am alone. The silence is deafening. No one calls my name. There are no dishes from a meal to wash, because there is no longer someone to cook one for. And I am not hungry. At night, I sit on the bed, the letters you wrote to me nearly 27 years ago when we were dating, spread out in front me, each one a precious memory of how we began. I have read them all. Slowly, deliberately, savoring every word and memory that goes with them. And I answer my own question, because of course you know how much I love you. You knew it then and you still know it now. I don’t know where all this is headed, but I am scared that you are leaving me soon, and my mind and heart are having a hard time accepting that. Still, I wouldn’t trade the last 27 years with you for anything. I love you, Brian Gentz. I will always love you in some way. Oh, God. . . I miss you already.



Love . . .
Do you feel it?
Sometimes it's as easy as a simple hug.
Other times, as difficult and complicated as a long goodbye.
More times than not, it's hard to put your finger on. . .
Elusive, ethereal, unquantifiable, mysterious.
Love. . .
Who do you love?
Your best friend? Your spouse? Yourself? The unborn baby you have yet to meet?
Perhaps you feel it's no one.
Or maybe it's everyone.
Or maybe, like me it's THE one.
Love . . .
It can be given, and sadly, not returned.
Worse yet, it can be unrequited, rejected, returned to the sender
damaged and degraded.
If you are lucky enough to find it, hold it close.
Nurture it.
Bask in it.
Cherish it.
Love . . .
It's such a small word, yet it has so much power.
It can change the world.
It can change your life.
It changed my life.
Love . . .
So all-consuming.
So divine.
So very lovely.
Such a gift.
My Love.

by Julieanne Gentz Feb. 2021

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s