A Year in Review

1272092_10201984625798976_531763288_o.jpgThursday marks one year since Megan’s death.  It amazes me how hard that is to think about.  It is just another day for the rest of the world, but for me, it is bringing heightened emotions, and random relapses into heavy grief.  

As much as I sat and thought about what I wanted to write today, I couldn’t put together a clear line of thought.  I simply want to wallow in my grief, and allow myself to scream through written words, and see what comes out.

To most people, the world kept turning this morning, just as it has for eons.  Their first thoughts may have been about breakfast, the day’s work, or their children.  It might have been thoughts of how much they hate their alarm clock, or giving the person that might be lying next to them a good morning kiss.  My first thoughts for the past few days have been of Megan, dying.  


I can’t escape them, and I can’t just think about something else.  Nothing is going to change the fact that Megan is gone forever, and I was the person that told the doctors it was time to remove her support.  Yes, we had discussed it for years, and yes, all of her loved ones knew this too.  I have no regrets about executing on Megan’s desire.  It doesn’t change my feeling that I ended her life.  It wasn’t a disease, accident, doctor, or even mercy that caused her heartbeat to cease...it was my words.


After discussing it with a team of now nameless and faceless doctors, I said, through blinding tears, “We will take her off of support” to whomever was in charge of that sort of thing.  I called her parents and mine, and told them to “get up here”, meaning they needed to get to Cleveland Clinic as soon as humanly possible.  I didn’t need to say much more.  They already knew what it meant.  


I don’t care how “manly” or “stiff-upper-lipped” you are; when you have to decide to end your loved one’s life, or otherwise let them suffer, it’s hard.  I still feel guilty, one year later, as if it is my fault that she’s not here, decorating the house for Christmas.   I feel guilty that Shelby’s hair isn’t braided almost daily.  I feel guilty that Megan’s father (much to his credit) travels 30 minutes one-way every weekday just to take Shelby to and from school.  These all seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, but don’t we all miss the trivial things the most?


I’m a widower, yes, but also a father.  I should be holding my own and making sure Shelby gets to school, the house is decorated for Christmas, dinner is on the table, and her clothes are clean.  I know I CAN do all of this on my own, I have no doubts.  I also realize that I am inadvertently playing the widow card and allowing others to do things that I should be doing.  


Slowly but surely, over the past year, I’ve been easing into being a single father.  Shelby’s hair is braided a few times a week now.  I’ve been taking her to school one or two days a week, before work, so Megan’s father doesn’t have to leave in the early morning to get here.  We actually grabbed some halloween decorations and put them up this year, and we’re cracking out the Christmas decorations soon.  She’s well fed, well loved, and quickly becoming a young woman.


I’m not doing any of this to ease the burden or separate myself from those around me that can and do help...I’m doing this because it’s what I need to do.  It’s taken me a year to realize this.  If I was strong enough to look a stranger in the eye and tell him to LET my wife die, then I am strong enough to raise a little girl on my own.  It’s not about masking Megan’s absence with action.  It’s about making her presence more meaningful by acting on the example she provided.


Showing 4 reactions

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  • Judy Kaan
    commented 2015-11-18 18:01:18 -0800
    Mike I totally get what strength you went through to tell those doctors to let her go. I had to almost do that, but then the doctors told me no. But then, I did sign a DNR and felt like because I did that, they couldn’t save him. You are an amazing dad to be proud of such a beautiful daughter- and Shelby looks just like Megan. Sending love to you and Shelby tomorrow – I know it will be a hard day .
  • Lisa Richardson
    commented 2015-11-17 22:59:52 -0800
    You are a strong soul and an amazing Dad. I too had to make the decision to let my beloved go, there are no words to describe it. Love and peace is what I wish for you and Shelby this week.
  • Cathy
    commented 2015-11-17 19:05:28 -0800
    Mike, I often tell myself “you can do this”…what ever it may be, from clearing out the house, selling it, moving to my own place, selling cars, fixing toilets, taking care of all the day to day stuff that he did. I already did the hardest thing, being there for him while he was dying, laying with him as he took his last breath, all this other shit is just that, trivial in comparison. You too have been there, you decided it was time to let Megan go and did it. She knew you would do the right thing, just as she knew it would be a difficult decision for you. You’re still ok in using that widower card, it won’t always be necessary to turn to it. Megan’s father is probably so grateful to help in some way, plus he gets to see Shelby!
  • Kelley Lynn
    commented 2015-11-17 17:08:38 -0800
    youre a great dad, and Ill be thinking of you this week, especially Thursday.
    p.s. Shelby looks just like her in this picture.