September 30, 2006

I read it is good make a list of the 10 things I would like to do before I die. I feel comfortable and satisfied within my life, and no matter how hard I have tried I can’t come up with really anything to put on that list. Well that is other than winning the lottery and having a date with Meg Ryan or Jennifer Aniston. I am pretty sure there would have to be 3 on the date as I am sure Vi would insist on coming along. But hey if anyone can set me up please do. haha.

I guess what I am trying to say is I am content. Doctors have made it clear there are no more treatment options available. I can either chose to be miserable during my last days fretting and worring or I can chose to be content. I am satisfied, with my life, not necessarily the length but generally with the quality. There have some definate lows, and I may talk about them sometime, just to get it off my chest.

This writing is proving much more beneficial than I had ever imagined, it is helping change my mind set more and more. Some of the kind responses I have received have been like a energy boost. I am trying to tell the world, dying is not a scary bad thing, it is not something we have to fear. I really believe this but it seems the more I talk about it, the more I type it, it is becoming more ingrained into my system. My brain has always held these beliefs but by doing this it seems to be settling more and more into my heart, giving me the serenity I so desperately wanted.

I really encourage any one to journal, you will be surprised how benificial it can be. Many people have encouraged it in the past but for some reason I always sluffed it off. I suppose it is true we get wiser with age. Some times it is sad that we wait until it is to late to get this “wisdom” and then often don’t act on it.

My stepdaughter is getting married tomorrow. Congratualtions to Jackie and Curt. I am sorry I can’t be there in person but know I am there in spirit. My wish for Jackie and Curt and for all people around the world. “may the very best day in you past, be not nearly as good as the worst day in your future”

Dying Mans Daily Journal Sept 29/06

September 30, 2006

Had a really good day, felt fine all day. Vi left for the weekend just after lunch. Strange thing about her leaving, I know it is just for 2 days, but I found myself missing her even yesterday. How can you miss someone even before they are gone. Don’t know.

Came across an interesting thought the other day. I am not sure I must have read this somewhere or something. I don’t remember, maybe having so much time to just think I maybe dreamed this up all by myself.

This requires a little use of your imagination. Now try to imagine this. Imagine if we could talk to an unborn baby, a baby all safely tucked away in its mothers womb. We could tell that baby about all the wonderful things that are waiting for it after its delivery into this world. We could tell the baby about the loving parents that are awaiting its arrival, of how much it will be loved by sibling, by grandparents and lots of others. All, just waiting for the baby to arrive. We could describe the wonderful world the baby will be coming into. The marvels of growing up, maturing and starting a family of its own. Oh, there are just so many wonderful things we could tell the baby about.

Now lets use our imaginations again and try to imagine what might be going through that baby’s mind. Fine, it is being promised it will be greeted by many people that will love it, care for it and nurture it. Fine, it is promised a world filled with wonderful things, but try to imagine what might be going through that little baby’s mind. All it has ever known is the safety and wet warmth of its mothers tummy, where it is nurtured and cared for. Do you think the baby might be reluctant, inspite of all the promises, to leave the comfort and safety of the only home it has ever known. Do you think, maybe that baby would be just a little scared or nervous about entering this world. From the stories I have heard of the difficulties, some ladies have in labour. It almost seems like some babies don’t enter the world to willingly. Almost like they are fighting to the end, to stay as long as they can, in the safety of that womb. But, fortunately for the human race, after about 9 months God and mother nature step in and the baby is forced into this world.

I like this thought and take comfort in it. I think our time on this earth can be compared to the time the baby is in the womb. We are comfortable here and don’t want to leave. We are reluctant, inspite of all the stories we hear of the loved ones, that will be waiting for us and all the glories we will see that are beyond our imagination. Most of us are like that difficult child birth, fighting to stay where we are for as long as we can. We fight to stay, until God steps in, and ultimately forces the situation.

I know, I fell into the reluctant catagory for a long time. I definately, can’t say I am eager for the day to arrive so I guess I still fit in the reluctant catagory. But, I am no longer reluctant in the same way, there is no fear involved. It is a reluctance to leave my loved ones behind. Knowing my reluctance is not based on fear but on missing family has proved a great sense of calm or even serenity.

dying Mans daily Journal

September 29, 2006

I am just sitting here rereading my todays posting and I realize there are a couple or areas I could expand upon. Or, maybe explain a little of my thinking about certain issues. Actually, are many but I am tired and only will do, one for now.

I said, yesterday, was a good day to have over and done with. It was the type of day I know we have all had. Really, didn’t feel well and anything and every thing just seemed to go wrong, yeah poor me. I see how that sounded and should explain my thinking on those days.

Firstly, I really believe a positive attitude will do wonders for us all. Now, I know by my writings it may not always sound like it but generally, I am a very positive person.

I usually, try to think of things this way. Say, your morning starts off very badly, you can let it upset you and spoil the rest of your day. Or, you can think, This morning started off badly, that is a good thing, there is only so much bad stuff can happen to me any given day. So I have the bad out of the way and the rest of my day will be good. Or, take it a step further, suppose your whole day is bad, say to yourself that is a good thing. Only so much bad can happen in any given week, I have got this week covered already and the rest of the week will be great. You can carry this on and on have a bad week and you have the months bad covered and so on. Now, I will have a good week, I got my allowance of bad out of the way. I know what I am trying to say, not sure I have worded it in a way that any one else will understand. But I hope everyone has a good day, week, month etc.

Dying Mans Daily Journal Sept 29/06

September 29, 2006

Feeling much better today. Yesterday is a good day to have over and done with.

Vi and Lynda are leaving for the States in a couple of hours. She is all concerned about leaving me alone. Had to promise I won’t have a heart attack while she is gone. Will do my best to live up to that promise. My brother will be keeping an eye on me, sometimes it almost makes you feel like a little kid and need a baby sitter. It will be good for her to get away for a few days.

Got an email yesterday from another sister-in-law, Vicky. She is an amazingly spiritual lady and I really respect her and her thoughts and views. The timing was perfect, I really needed a lift yesterday and there it was in her email. Thank you Vicky.Her message made me realize and appreciate how far I have come. Granted, I have had a about a year and a half to get used to this dying thing. But, I don’t think you can get used to the idea, I am going to die soon, unless you grow both inside as a person and spritually. When I first was told by the doctors that I am dying, I spent a period where I was angry. Angry at myself for not taking better care of my health, and even angry at God. Why me, I am a good person, why would God let this happen to me. Some where along the line a realiztion came to me. Yes, I am what I consider to be a good person, but so are the millions or others out there that are dying. What gave me the right to assume I would get treated any differently than any of them. I believe in a loving and a fair God. A God that loves all of his children. His childred being absolutely everyone on this earth. Does,God love me in a way stronger and more pure than anything I can hope to imagine, Yes. Does God consider me to be special and unique, Yes. Does God love me or consider me to be more special than anyone else in this world, No.

God, loves all of his children equally, with the same pure love for all, irregardless or race, colour, sex or anything else. I realized, it was pretty arrogant of me to expect that I should be treated any differently than anyone else. What makes me think I am so special as to receive perefential treatment. Am I loved by God and have I received special treatment from him, absolutely. Can I or should I expect to receive pereffential treatment above all others, No. So I guess the answer to my question why me, is why not me.

That is a humbling realization. I have never considered myself to be superior to anyone else, nor have I ever considered anyone else to be superior to me. What could possibly make God see me any differently? I have come to accept what ever God has in store for me, I am in his hands. When it is obvious that it is inevitable, acceptance is the greatest comfort.

Dying Mans Daily Journal sept 28

September 28, 2006

Not having a good day today. With the heart failure I retain a lot of fluid, this extra fluid just makes the heart work that much harder. The doctors have me on a daily dosage of 2 different water pills and then twice a week I take a third pill, what I call the mega pill. Usually, this system works fairly well. However occasionally they don’t seem to work. Even the doctors can’t explain why. May be my body just has a weird reaction to the pills or maybe it is reaction to the combination of pills I take. I take 29 pills a day not all are different but a total of 29. Anyway, taking my pills cause me to void most of the extra fluid, but it still builds. About once a month or so it is like a damn lets loose or something and I have what I call a “pee” day. Yesterday, was one of those days, I voided 11 pounds. Now I know everyone will say, “yeah sure” he got rid of 11 pounds in one day. Even my doctors scoffed at that, when I told them of my “pee” days. They even put me in the hospital for 10 days, closely supervising my medication intake. Well, I didn’t have an 11 pound day but I did have an 8 pound day. Now they believe me. Having a day like that really messes with your electolites and potasium levels. I take different medications for that and within a day or two I am back to normal and the cycle begins again.

Today, is just one of those bad days and I know that and am hoping my out look will change over the next day or two. In fact I am sure it will. Right now I am questioning if I made a big mistake a day or two ago, I let my wife read my blog and we had a open honest discussion about my condition and how I feel. Up to that point I have always minimized or just laughed it all off. Now, I know this is likely all in my head but since our discussion I have not felt the need to minimize and suddenly in my mind anyway everything seems to feel worse. Chest pain, tiredness, light headedness, nausea. By trying to “protect” everyone from worrying about¬† my condition, was I at the same time helping myself. Maybe I was helping myself, even more than my family, some how by not acknowledging the discomfort or atleast minimizing it, it almost didn’t seem so real. Am I now really, feeling what I feel. I think likely, I am just having a bad day and feeling sorry for myself. I am sure I will be feeling better by tomorrow, sorry for the whining.

Vi, and I have talked much more about my writings here, I even suggested that she might want to occasionally write something. After all I am not the only one going through all of this. In fact I believe it is harder on her than on me. I think hearing things from her point of view may be beneficial to other, don’t know. She is reluctant, I think shy. Maybe one day you will see a posting from her, I hope so.

Dying Mans Journal Sept 26/06

September 27, 2006

Had a really good day yesterday, felt fine all day. Even missed my nap which is really unusual for me. With the progression of the heart failure, I feel tired almost all the time. I get light headed and dizzy, which usually leads to an upset tummy. But, considering what a lot of other people are going through, I have it pretty good. Doing this writing has been helpful to me, OK, yeah, I am dying, but compared to what so many others are going through, I do have it pretty good. I really am a lucky man, it could be so much worse.

Well, I guess the cat is out of the bag, so to speak. I have been hiding behind the sign on name Hudds53. I did this because on the really unlikely event that one of my family members stumbled on my ramblings, I didn’t want them to be upset. I wasn’t and still am not sure how all this internet stuff works, as to how assessable it would be etc. Well last night Vi (wife) read my blog and realized I am not always as cool and calm about this dying stuff as I like to pretend. So, my name is Bill Howdle, I will still use Hudds53 because I have become comfortable with that. I still really don’t want my dauthers to find out, but who knows maybe that would be for the best also. I will leave that in God’s hands.

I consider my daughters and I to be very close, we talk regularly on the phone and visit often (they both live in different communities making visiting difficult), but we have live apart for years now and any of our discussions are always about very general things and we never seem to get into discusions on values, fears or life in general. I am going to have to change that. Really, it is kind of stupid when I think of it, here I am telling anyone in the world that wants to read about my fear, values etc. and these very things I haven’t discussed with those closest to me at least not in recent years. Sure they know basically what I stand for but we have lived apart for so long, do they really know the deep down me.

Vi and I had a long talk after she read the blog. She says it was very good and helpful for her to have really openly discussed everything. I certainly know it was helpful for me. Here all along I have been going along thinking I was “protecting” her by not openly discussing everything. But, I was “protecting” her from things she already knew or had pretty much guessed. She says it has put her mind much more at ease, knowing I do not fear what is coming. We have had general conversations in the past about death, and I always strongly stated my beliefs and that I will not be afraid when my time comes. This conversation was different, not speaking in general terms but about my pending death. A conversation I dreaded ever having turned out to be a relief for both of us. I had never lied to her about my condition, just minimized or even laughed it off. Hey, after all Hudds53 has already had 4 heart attacks that didn’t put him down, this stuff sure isn’t going to do it.
Vi and Lynda (sister-in-law) are going to drive to the USA this weekend to just get away and do a little Christmas shopping. It will do Vi a lot of good to get away even if only for 2 days. She does spends a lot of time worrying about me. She has a real burden to carry as right now both her mother and father, are doing very poorly. You could likely start a pool, betting on which of us will go first, I hope and pray we all have years left.

There is poor Vi caught in the middle. Vi is the oldest of 12 children, as the oldest with so many sibling, she took on almost a mother like role to many. She is still the one every one in the family turns to when in need, she really is quite the woman, I am a lucky man.

Dying Man’s Journal Sept 26/06 Pt 2

September 27, 2006

Its my normal nap time, but I just can’t seem to sleep, mind is racing. tried meditation but can’t seen to get into it.

Have lots of time to think these days, so have again been reflecting on my life and the people that have really impacted on me. Most in a very positive way, others not some much in a positive way, even in a painful way. But I have come to realize all are important and all my experiences has made my into the person I am today.

Started thinking of my Mother, bless her soul. I imagine there are very few people, that their mother didn’t play a major role in influencing their life. My mother had a very hard life, we were poor as I grew up. My father was an alcholic. He worked away much of the time as a miner. He always made good money but seemed to drink it all away. She worked full time and kept the home going. She was of the “old school” in which males weren’t expected to do much around the house. Being kids we took advantage of this and really did nothing to help out. This is one of the guilts I carry today. Looking back I realize there was so much I could have done to ease her burden. If I could only turn back time.

She had a very strict definition of what was a man and to become a good man, was what she encouraged the boys to become. Her definition of a man: always be a gentleman, always fulfill you commitments and obligations, take responsiblity for your action and NEVER hit a woman or anyone smaller than youself. I have tried to live up to that definition and to make her proud and deeply regret the times I know I fell short of making her proud. I particularly remember one comment she made, a Man has never hit a woman. That struck me as odd with all the news you hear of domestic violence. But she explained. A true man has never hit a woman, unfortuneatly there are many over grown juvenile deliquents out there pretending to be men, that will hit women. Suddenly that made sense to me. I have never hit a woman, I am proud to say.

She also taught me of the mirror test. OK, what is the mirror test. Every morning you will look at yourself in the mirror at some point, maybe shaving or brushing your teeth what ever, but at some point you will look in the mirror.

When you do take a hard look at the person looking back at you, which naturally is your own reflection. Now based only on yesterday, being one day only, how do you feel about that person you see in the mirror. Are you proud, knowing yesterday I did something special to help someone, or I corrected a wrong. If yesterday was that sort of a day be proud of yourself. If yesterday was just a regular day, you did well getting though the day as a man, give yourself a pat on the back. Now comes the part I have always hated.

If when you look in the mirror, and seeing youself are embarrased or ashamed of something you did yesterday. There is certainly nothing to be proud of, feel bad but only for a moment. Reflect on your actions, your mistakes or what ever. Learn a lesson from them, vow to avoid repeating this action and plan to immediately make ammends. Believe me, there have been times I hated that mirror. But I learned from it.

Dying Man’s Journal Sept. 25/06

September 26, 2006

Had a really good day yesterday, felt good all day. My wife is doing a little painting, she enjoys it and is good at it. I felt so good I even started on one wall myself, she quickly recognized the fine job I was doing (haha) and suggested maybe it was time for my nap. I am pretty sure that suggestion can out of consern for my health and not as a reflection on the quality of my work. she is a wonderful woman, I am a lucky man.

Did a little meditation and more reflecting back on my life. there have been some definite highs and lows. Why is it the lows, seem more clear in my memory? That is with the exception of the birth of my two daughters. I saw them both come into this world, words can not describe my emotions and feelings at those wonderous moments. Wonderful life changing moments. My oldest daughter was born when I was 26. Up to that point I thought I was really enjoying life. I partied (got drunk) every weekend, occationally got into fights lived the high life, I thought. Some thing change inside me the first moment I held my daughter. Suddenly, I didn’t want to party anymore, I just wanted to be with her, to hold her, change diapers, it didn’t matter, just she did and being with her. My heart was just so full of love for her that when my wife became pregnant the second time, I was worried. How could I possibly love a second child as much. But my second daughter proved me wrong. Again, from that very first moment, my heart was filled to the bursting point with love. I have the two most wonderful daughters, I really am a lucky man. Both are now grown, married starting their own families. Though, we are now separated by many miles, my heart is still just as full of love and pride. they are two of the main reasons I am reluctant to leave this world, I will miss them.

I have come to realize, I am not afraid to die. Maybe reluctant is a better word. I know God will take care of me in the after life, it is the people I will leave behind. My physical life in this world is good, we are comfortably set financially, not rich but comfortable. Does it sound strange to say, it is the people in my life I will miss more even than my life. I know I (my soul) will continue, physical death is not the end just a new beginning. Death is just like ending one chapter in a book and beginning a new chapter. I am just not sure I am ready to turn that final page to begin the new chapter, I am enjoying being with the people in this chapter.

I am finding this typing and the telling of my story almost therapeutic or something. It is like it gives me a purpose for being, something to do besides sitting around thinking. Not that that is always bad, doing all this reflecting and meditation I have come to know and understand myself a little better. So, I guess I will continue as long as I can. Look out world here I come.

Dying Man’s Journal sept 24/06

September 25, 2006

Having a really good day today, going to help Vi (wife) with a little painting. During my 3rd. heart attack I was unconscious at different times and it has apparently affected my memory. Loosing track of days, titled this Sept 24. I think that is the day but really not sure.

Read an interesting book on living and dying. This sounds morbid but really it is not. The message it has is to live every day the best way you can, so that when you get to the point I am at, you are not filled with feelings of regret and guilt over missed opportunities or past indescretions.

I spend a lot of my time reflecting on the past and I am burdened with both a sense of loss over missed opportunities and guilt over past actions. There are so many things I would do differently if given the chance. What is that song by Cher, ¬† “if I could turn back time”. My guilt is over what may seem to be small things to anyone else, but weigh heavily on me now. Missed time with my kids, being to wrapped up in my work and missing much of life. Questioning past decisions. But then I look at it on the other hand and realize all those, events and decisions make me the person I am today and I am comfortable with being me. I just wish I could have taken a slightly different path in becoming the me, I am today. But did I miss out on life on my trip through life? Lets take sex for an example.

I’ve heard many guys over the years openly bragging about how many women they have had. I have never been like that. To me sex has never been just sex but rather the ultimate act of love between a man and a woman. What more special gift can you give another, than yourself, your body. I am not sure if I heard this somewhere or have just made it up myself but this would be a comparison.

Suppose you met the woman (or man) of your dreams. She is absolutely wonderful in every way. You birthday comes and she surprises you with a sweater she has knit for you. It is wonderful, you marvel at it, knowing all the time and effort she put into knitting it for you. You feel so special so loved that she would do that for you. You wear it with pride showing it off to all of you family and friends, you know you are special to her. But, one night you go out and see 10, 20 or 30 other men wearing that exact same sweater. You realize she knit that same sweater for many others, you are nothing special just another one of the guys she has dated. What a let down.

I am not sure if I have used a good comparison. If you have already shared the ultimate gift of love with many others, is it just as special when you meet the woman of your dreams?

Everything, I read or see on TV make me think I am almost alone in that thought. The rest of the world seems sex crazy, did I miss out on a lot of fun and enjoyment? No doubt I did but I guess that makes me part of the person I am today for better or worse.

Dying Man’s Journal Sept 24/06

September 25, 2006

Not feeling to well today, very light headed with a lot of neausea. Quiet day yesterday, just laid around watching TV. Napped a lot.

Ok. I am dying, so why am I on the internet telling the world about my problems? After all a lot of people are dying and in a lot worse shape than I am, being in pain or severe discomfort. I have a bad heart after 4 heart attacks and in congestive heart failure. According to the doctors I could go basically any time. I is my hope that by journaling my experiences, I can maybe help others when they are faced with the same issues. I have prepared myself and right now have no fear.

I am just praying I can hold that faith to the end. You know how it is when, say, a distant relative living far far away, invites you for a visit next summer. At the time it sounds like a great idea but as it gets closer, the idea sounds less and less appealing and can even turn to dread. Well I certainly can’t say the idea of me dying sounds like a good idea. I have come to accept it is going to happen, I have my solid beliefs in God and the after life. So while I am not looking forward to it, I do not dread it.

So day by day, I hope to journal my last journey and show that it doesn’t have to be that bad or scary. Hope it helps someone.