A Life-changing Year of Loss

Hard to believe it was nine years ago; the year I lost everything that held my life together; everything I identified myself with just wiped away, smashed to smithereens.

It was a bad marriage and getting worse. For twenty-eight years I endured verbal and emotional abuse not realizing I was being abused because he didn’t hit me. But he broke my spirit. I was dead inside and had given up hope for any happiness.

My mom was bed-ridden with multiple sclerosis and lived in a small farmhouse with her second husband, not my dad. My father died of a heart attack years before and she had remarried. Going to stay there was not an option; let’s just say home was better than there.

My sister had found the love of her life and moved to London, England. So I really felt I had nowhere to go.

My husband and I had a business together, keeping bees and selling our honey and beeswax products. I had worked at building this business for 25 years; out of the job market and aging, quickly. I didn’t feel I had the strength or ability to start over. I was beaten down.

The only love I got was from my dog, Betty.  Just writing that makes me start to cry. She was such a loving comfort. If I could hug any of them right now it would be Betty. She was the first to die.  Both my husband and I were grief-stricken but he didn’t turn to me; he withdrew even further into his hard, cold prison of misery.

A few months later, my mother passed away. She had lived with MS most of her life, it was a gradual decline. Her husband went above and beyond looking after her needs… and demands! He dedicated his life to making her life better and was proud of how well he cared for her. Now her organs were starting to break down and she ended up on life support. The hospital she was in was a four and half hour drive. My husband was mean and uncaring so I drove the truck down to Windsor by myself, meeting my sister who had to drive 3 hours from another direction.  The final decision to take her off life support had to come from her husband, Earl.  He couldn’t do it. He wanted them to give her ‘immune boosters’. We had to go home, back to work. I could hardly think, I knew for sure my mom did not want this.

My sister and I went back after a few days to beg Earl to let her go. He still said ‘no’ but we stayed in the waiting room hoping she would go on her own. We sat through the night in the cold, vinyl waiting room, taking turns sitting with mom.

In the morning we had a family conference with Earl and he finally agreed. It only took a half an hour and she was finally freed from her cage.

Back at home I was going through the motions but was so depressed. The worse I got, the madder my husband got. “You can’t beat a dead horse” was my answer to his constant yelling.

One day he couldn’t take anymore of me. He yelled at me to pack my bags he was taking me to my sister’s and dropping me off. He couldn’t stand me, I was a parasite, being with me was like being in a swarm of black flies. This is what he yelled at me all the way to my sisters. He dropped off my suit cases and drove away.

My sister had returned to Canada because the love of her life had also died. That same year he developed a brain tumour and died within months. They had bought a cottage here to spend summers in and she was living in it.

And now I was living in her guest room. We were both still stunned, saying “What happened?” and “Now what?”

Looking back now, I know it had to happen. I needed to be kicked out of that miserable life because I didn’t have the strength to do it on my own.

I still feel the loss; I wish he had been the husband I thought I married. I didn’t have children so my life can get very lonely. I try to forgive him but there’s still a part of me that resents him for destroying all my dreams and hopes for the future. I think about what life could be like if only he was nice and loving. But he isn’t. I was in love with someone I hoped he’d be.

Remember the Etch-a-sketch?  That was my life that year. Turned upside down, given a good shake and a blank screen to write my new life on.


We are shaped by our experiences and what better way to write than to relive some of our experiences. Good or bad, they will always be a part of us.