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RJF: Clearly, this forum is as much about the members as it is about our weaponry. Please think of us as "the best friends you never met", which we are. Lean on us when and as needed. Your beautiful tributes to your wife have touched us all. My wife and I have been together for over 49 years. She has had 3 heart attacks, 5 stents, at age 79. I'm 84 and know that one of use before too long is going to be experiencing what pain you are feeling now. So easy to empathize with you. God bless you.
Ralph
 

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Prayer brother. Jesus Send my brother Bob an angel to comfort him to rest well knowing his wife is pain free and young again, enjoying the joys of heaven. And when the time comes for Bob have is wife stand by to walk him into your kindom without fear. In your name Jesus I pray.
AMEN.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Thanks to all. You are indeed friends I need.

Took our A-B Trust to a lawyer this week to see what he can do (we hadn't updated since 2000). Also to update my carry-over will. NY Life (our prime insurance carrier) has probably sent enough documents to account for ¼ of the Amazon Rain Forest. Just updated my VGLI beneficiaries this week also. All is mostly changing the secondary beneficiaries to primary now, and adding some secondary ones who did not exist years ago. Still need to do the same with my AAFMAA insurance.

Thankfully, all our bank accounts and property title were Joint Right of Survivorship.

Still need to officially notify the Defense Finance and Accounting (DFAS) office in order to stop the Survivor's Benefit Plan (SBP) withholding. That I have to do via mail or fax, with (of course) a DD form with a witness.

Tried stopping the TRICARE Express Scripts automatic Rx refill for her, but it will no longer allow for that on-line. Apparently dropping her from DEERS cut off the TRICARE access but not the Express Scripts auto refill. Will need to call - which always hurts.

More sympathy cards, the most recent from her pain-management person, who she liked very much. I still need to find the snail-mail address of one of her cousins who wrote often to inform her of JoAnne's passing. She will be devastated, even though they had not seen each other for more than the 25 years we were married. I still haven't mustered up the courage to respond to the multitude of sympathy cards received. Perhaps next week - after I get a box of thank-you cards. JoAnne would have demanded that!

This election day will be my first without her since we were married. It had been a tradition for us to go to the polling place together, to vote in person as our civic duty. Now, it will be just me. As one wise person on this forum said, "the first...without a loved one is always the toughest". He is so right! This election day will also be the 25th anniversary of our "church" wedding - a taking of our oaths to one another in God's house, rather than in a magistrate's office. It is the anniversary we most recognized.

I know she is with me; there are subtle signs not seen before. I won't go into details, lest I be led off to a funny-farm.

There are concerns, to be certain. Unlike before, when she could drive me home from a medical appointment that I could not drive from, there is really no one unless I tap one of our/my neighbors (who would willing do so). If something were to develop with our surviving horse, I am at a loss (but we had a wonderful vet who might help out). My concern is that I would not recognize something requiring attention.

I have not begun to address her clothes or her (our) master bedroom. That will take quite a while.

I still need to force myself to eat - I just have no appetite and I'm already seriously underweight. She did her best to keep me fed and I'm still eating meals she prepared for me and put in the freezer. Those will run out and I'm already digging into steaks and stuff I froze over the years. Am currently working on a pizza I got this week - ¼ per day. Have also started steak-and-eggs on toast once a day. Not large portions, but satisfying. I need to increase the portions to perhaps enlarge my stomach a bit. Maybe next week...

More later, but I need to check on our "pony" and walk about a bit. And perhaps light up our burn-ring to do away with the multitude of debris that accumulates on 25 acres of farm and woods. Also, maybe do some mowing...
 

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RJF,
I'm very sorry for your loss, but you must try to keep a positive attitude. My words may sound insensitive, but life is for the living, and living is continuing on with what makes you feel fulfilled. You're lucky in the fact that you have a large tract of land, so there should be no lack of projects to keep you active and occupied. You might try to think of something that your wife wanted done on the farm, and dedicate that as a project to take on, and complete. The danger is falling into a malaise, and not keeping active. Good luck, and remember that you have a lot of folks that have your back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
Gary, thank you for your kind words. Believe me, there are gobs and gobs of things JoAnne wanted done on the farm that I failed to do: from short "wish lists" to "Honey-Do's" to a 4X6 whiteboard full of things to do. First order of business (other than day-to-day tasks such as moving hay to the barn and mowing) is replacing the very crappy gutter system for the barn and shed. We literally have trees growing in the gutters for the barn. That all gets replaced on the 28th, by LeafFilter: a big expense she would have choked at but needs to be done. Fencing and dilapidated gates will also need to be addressed, but there is also removing all the jumps and Dressage markers in her "arena" and just making it an alternate pasture for our surviving horse. There is plenty to do, and I'll tackle a little bit at a time, but the administrivia can't wait much longer as I am sure much of it is time-sensitive. We had a Merrill Lynch account that needs to be closed out, for example, which includes transfer of cash funds and stocks to our/my local Wells Fargo account.

I am keeping about as much a positive attitude as I can, but there are underlying concerns that still bother me, mostly concerning being able to see things in our surviving horse that require attention beyond my capabilities. Horses were (second to me) her life-long dream and passion and why I am now here on a farm with a 20-year-old horse named Hawk. It is a blessing that cannot be overstated. JoAnne was always keen to see even minor changes that may require addressing, and then she would take care of them or call our vet. I will never be at the level she was in caring for him or knowing when to call in our vet, and that is the overwhelming concern I have. When he lost his pasture-pal and best friend almost a year ago, we both promised both of them we would not abandon him, and I have every intention of honoring that promise.

Thankfully with Winter's onset, mowing will be less of a distraction of time, and a time to deal with things like jump-stands and rotted/rusted gates that are a haven for wasps. Her son and grandson are but four hours away, and they will come visit from time-to-time and help out with projects, but he just retired from the Army and is job-searching and I haven't prepared our guest bedroom/bath for a visit yet. The dining room table is covered with correspondence I've yet to address. And I have yet to start going through JoAnne's clothes...

To be sure, I thank God each and every day, and several times during the day, for our blessings. I know we will all be together again in God's Heaven, embraced by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with love we cannot imagine. I will be patient, and try not to screw things up in getting there, as there is a horse and two barn cats dependent on me that I will not abandon. It is the nature of a mortal life, I suppose...
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Horse trimmer was out this weekend. Hawk's hooves were in good shape (no thrush or other untoward problems). He enjoyed her using a "bot knife" to clear out some bot eggs I had noticed. I don't love on him and groom him as much as I should, and I'm working on that.

There is a flood of NY Life mailings demanding my attention - something I have set on our dining room table and will eventually get to. We held no life insurance for her, but gobs for me to keep her comfortable. The challenge will be her annuity and IRAs mostly, and adjusting the beneficiaries to her son as the primary.

The same holds true for my VGLI and a few other insurance policies.

I am so glad she is not going through all of this. And so glad she is no longer in such pain, but rather embraced in love from our Savior and surrounded with her loved ones.

To say she is in a "better place" is such a tremendous understatement...

I so love her, and so miss her. Mortal life is just that - mortal, which means an end, and which means a beginning. She is there! Awaiting me patiently while enjoying the indescribable love of Heaven with those she so loved.

I'm good, but still miss her, as I always will.
 

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Well RJF...I think that your mention of bot eggs may just cost me a good night's sleep tonight. :oops:

I made the mistake of looking this up on Wikipedia as I was not familiar with the term. "Oh gross" fails to adequately cover it. 🤢

That is another thing I look forward to in Heaven...no more yucky parasites and disease...for us...or our furry loved ones!

Stay strong my brother and keep leaning on the LORD Jesus.
 
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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
According to our equine vet, bot eggs are an annoyance, but really nothing particularly serious, particularly as we enter winter in VA.

I am perplexed at Hawk's change in preferred diet: After coming in from his turn-out, he used to dive into his "gruel" first, then into the hay. Over the past several weeks, he has changed to hay first, and then his "gruel" (which contains the supplements JoAnne had determined best for him). And for about the past week, he hasn't finished his "gruel" and often just nibbled at it, leaving most un-eaten. Same formula that he had been eating for years. Overnight, he often finished it off but not for the latest week or so. Colic is a concern, but he poops regularly, drinks his water, and devours his hay. Gut sounds are normal, so all I can think of is he has lost his taste for the gruel formula he has been happily devouring for years.

JoAnne formulated his "gruel" to have supplements she thought he should have, and she was always right and up-to-date as to what he should need. He's not getting them and I'm at a loss as to what to do. I even added some psylium (smells like black licorice - which horses love) last night, and didn't seem to make a difference. I will discuss this with our vet.

Nice warm days and nights for the next few days, so that is a good thing. I'm very aware of the possibility of colic with wide temp extremes, as that is what caused our Mac's evac to a horse hospital for a few days less than a year after we moved here.

Our barn cats are becoming more loving and vocal each day, which is nice for me, but they're over 15 and Spooky (our black male) is starting to change his patterns, which is somewhat worrisome. Coughs and sneezes he's had for several months, and a general loss of appetite recently has me worried, but he would not tolerate a vet examining him. Still very loving and needs contact with me - he sleeps soundly when he's on my arm computing, or curls up with me when I take an impromptu nap on the floor of the Toybox.

Time will tell what is going on. Hawk is the prime concern right now, but as long as his appetite with pasture and hay is up and his poop-level is normal and his water intake (and exhaust) is normal, I'm not in a panic mode just yet.

I promised both JoAnne and Mac I would take care of Hawk, and that is what I have every intention to do as long as I am physically capable. He keeps me going here, as he joined our family when we moved to this farm almost 17 years ago, and was Mac's very best friend.

Overtime to let Hawk out for his evening turn-out, so I'll close out for the evening.

Thank you all for your support and concerns.

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
Migyver, Mac's full name was MacGuyver: a hat-tip to the TV show, but with a personalized twist. He was a very clever horse - something we often joked about - and had a tremendous sense of humor, to include his own way of smiling and dumping hay on my head and grabbing the button on the top of my baseball cap and tossing the cap. There are so many fond memories that surround me on this farm (which JoAnne found), and my tears are of gratitude for the mortal lives we had together. All of us.

There truly is a medical "thing" called broken-heart syndrome, and I suspect I'm going through a bit of that - as I'm sure JoAnne went through with the loss of our Mac just under a year ago - but Hawk keeps me busy enough to not wallow in my grief/mourning. Just worrying about his eating of gruel of late. I think I have narrowed it down to one of three ingredients...

Her son and his family will be down here this weekend. That will be nice, and JoAnne's absolute best friend and her family have offered to visit whenever I'm feeling the need for company, or help around the farm.

Much of my adult life was as a bachelor, so living alone is - sadly - not new. It is wholly different when the love of your life of over 25 years is no longer around. I know she is with me, so I'll continue to take care of Hawk - the one she chose for Mac as his pal. It is my personal obligation to her and to Mac. And then there are the loving barn kitties...So I have a "mission", and that is very important for recovery.

I'm staying strong as much as I can. My main worries are the care of our critters when the prostate cancer finally takes me.

Bob
 

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By no means an Expert on such things, but you are going through a "greiving" process.

Your loss was great, but I'm certain that your wife would want the best for you during the rest of your life.

Your taking care of her animals shows you honor her memory, and your obilgations.

One day at a time, and the hurt of your recent loss will recede little-by-little and the good memories, when they come, be less painful, and eventually more welcome.

My respects, sir.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 · (Edited)
Thanks, RI. I skipped through all of the seven stages of grieving after the docs showed me the MRIs and CT scans of the amount of brain damage, the prognosis, pneumonia, and potential lung cancer developing. The decision to remove her from life support was a no-brainer as we had both discussed such a contingency. Having her son present and also knowing her sincere wishes, the decision wasn't difficult, but nonetheless painful.

We both knew that, at one point, one of us would pass on before the other. We also both prayed that our demise would not be mutual, as there were - and are - concerns about the care of our beloved critters should that happen.

Having nearly lost her through three heart attacks, I think I was mentally prepared that she would pass on first. She was very aware she lost both her parents in their early '70s, and had commented a number of times that she had "outlived" her mother. Somehow, she knew her time was up, even though the manner or timing of her mortal death was not something she or I saw coming. She was also five years my senior. She was 73, with her last few years in chronic pain from RA/OA.

I am so thankful we lived over the last 1/3 of her life together, in bliss and seeing her live her life-long dream and passion of being around horses together. I am forever surrounded with such wonderful memories and reminders, and Hawk and the kitties - and this land - are living legacies of her. My tears are of gratitude and awe of God's blessings and love - not so much of grief.

I'll be okay, just processing a bachelor life again after well over 25 years blissful life with her.

Thanks for your comments!

Bob
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Imararangemaster, you have been of good friend over the years, and I appreciate your prayers more than you could know. Her passing was pretty much unexpected, but she had so many other painful things going on that, in the end, it was a blessedly and comparatively quick end for her. Her veteran son and I shared her last days together - as she would have wanted, and the medical conditions of her massive stroke left no doubt as to our decision to relieve her of her suffering and fulfillment of her final wishes. A DNR was a joint and obvious decision for us: she would have never allowed a decision that left her in a vegetative state in a nursing home, on life support with no prospect of healing: the only other prospect she was facing.

It is tough to be sure, but we also understood that most likely one of us would "survive" the other, so here we are. In many ways, her passing before me is a blessing for her, as I could never imagine her dealing with the life insurance/SSA/DFAS/IRA administrivia I'm now dealing with. She HATED paying bills so I stepped up to do that shortly after we married over 25 years ago.

So it is now me, Hawk (our surviving horse), and two barn kitties remaining on this remote farm JoAnne found - with God's guiding hand for all: a continuing blessing and an everlasting memory and legacy of her I will not give up in this mortal life.

It pretty much takes the wind out of my sail for now, and it will take some time for me to adjust. For their part, the two semi-feral barn kitties have curled up to me for my naps near the barn, and Hawk is still loving as he has always been. All of that keeps me going. Guns are a of a lesser at this point.

Bob
 
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