A Memorial to My Husband

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The Beginning of the End - August 2008

Rea Bradley Ellithorpe (SGM Ret. US Army) 08/01/1955 - 08/17/2008

I have been attempting to write this blog post now for a week or more and today I am going to try to get through it.

One year ago yesterday, August 7, 2008 was "the beginning of the end" for my husband and I. I wish I could just sleep away this month of August.

We were planning our wedding for August 13, 2008 and he was admitted to the hospital on August 7, 2008. We didn't realize or want to even think of the possibility that he would never come home from that hospital trip.

August had always been a good month for both of us. His birthday is August 1st, mine is August 13th and 2 years earlier in August of 2006, we had starting living together and the date of our marriage was also going to be in August. Instead August has turned out to be a month I will now dread for the rest of my life.

We did go ahead with the wedding in his hospital room on August 15, 2008 with my daughter, my 2 grandchildren, my best friend of 40+ years there and a friend of my daughter's who married us. Considering how sick my Rea was and the pain he was in, we were both very happy and he suffered through the pain to make that day very special for both of us; especially for me because he always wanted me to be happy and looked out for me in every way possible. After the ceremony and everyone was gone, I could see the toll it took on him to try and ignore the pain. He was given some pain medication and I left my "new husband" to let him sleep.

I came back later in the evening to be with my new husband. I didn't care that ours was not a normal wedding, I was just so proud and happy to be Mrs. Rea Bradley Ellithorpe.

Saturday, August 16, 2008 was not a good day for Rea. I could see that he was exhausted, still in a great deal of pain and the fight for life was draining from him. He had told me when he first went in the hospital, that no matter what happened, he was going to hang on until we were married. I still did not want to believe that he would never come home with me.

He wanted his hair cut and I contacted his best friend Jerry who came and cut his hair for him on Saturday afternoon. They were able to spend some time together. Through the pain and agony, Rea and Jerry laughed and clowned around as they always had. Rea was exhausted and we left. I drove Jerry home and went home myself to get some rest. I was going back to the hospital the next morning, Sunday, August 17, 2008.

About 5 pm, August 16, 2008 Rea called and asked if I was coming back that evening. I just sensed something in his voice, so I drove back to the hospital to spend the night with him. Those last few hours between 6 pm, August 16, 2008 and 3:15 am, August 17, 2008 is something I have not and probably never will tell anyone exactly what happened. Those hours are mine and Rea's last moments together. My dear sweet baby passed away at 3:15 am on August 17, 2008.

I became a bride and a widow in a matter of a few days and entered the "widows fog" that still surrounds me from time to time. That moment of 3:15 am on Sunday morning, August 17, 2008 seems as if it happened only hours ago and then at times it seems as if it was a million years ago.

Would I do it all over again? You bet I would, even though the pain of losing him is as great today as it was that Sunday morning. Rea was the best thing that ever happened to me. We loved each other very much and we were good together. We had only about 4 years together but I would not change anything about those 4 years even to escape the pain I am feeling now.

My heart is hollow and empty. I feel I am just existing but I am attempting to go on with a different life without him physically being here, but he is with me always 24/7. One of his last wishes was that I go on to be there for our daughter and our 2 grandchildren and I will do that for him and for them.

I will finish this post with a poem I found a few days after:

Love Shared.
Listen for my whispers in the night as they come across the miles to where you sleep.
I will be the lightness in the dark to comfort you and hold you as you weep.
Never will you be alone again, for you hold a special place within my heart.
Always will you have a home with me, you are close to me e'vn though we are apart.
Forever in tandem, our lives are tied by a silver strand that crosses o’er the miles.
Sharing conscious thoughts and Godly faith we help each other find again our smiles.
© May1998Brenda "Rion" Sewell

All my love forever my dear sweet husband. Rest in Peace with no more pain and torment.

Mrs. Rea Bradley Ellithorpe