Lessons from Lou

This blog is about my journey through the brain tumor world with my dear husband, Lou. While not a journey I would wish on even my worst enemy, it is a journey that has enlightened and awakened me to what lies within us, and around us, each and every moment of each and every day. There are lessons here....lessons in this journey.....lessons from Lou....that I would like to share with you.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois

Picture of Lou (sick) and I at a party, circa 2005, long ago and faraway. I'm now a middle aged widow, trying to get my life back together. Mother of two young adult sons, living with two adult cats.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Soon, it will be two weeks since Lou left us. That was another life it seems. Since that time, we've stood for four hours straight, shaking the hands of something like 175 well wishers at the visitation, we drove 3 hours each way to Peoria for the burial, and we held a wonderful memorial service and reception here in Chicago. Now, we are numb. At least I am. It seems the only word I can use to describe this. Numb, and in a fog. Going through the motions. Feel like someone kicked me in the gut. Feel neither here nor there. Strange, very very strange. Think I need to rush home when I'm out somewhere. Think I need to pick something up for Lou, ie: prescriptions, or something he might like to eat. Hear his voice, see his face. Wish he were still sitting in that chair.......even in his weakened state. Wish I could hold his hand. And hug him. His pillow is just not good enough. Everyone told me, you can never be prepared for this. They're right. We knew this was coming. But it doesn't make it any easier. The fact is, it's hard. And it will be hard. And we have to keep going. And we will keep going. Numb, and in a fog, but we will keep going.


Anonymous Kathie said...

Cathy, numb seems like a good word to discribe how you must be feeling. I am so sorry you have to go though this. By you writing how you feel at such a difficult time as now will help others to maybe know how they are feeling is normal. Normal? what is normal at a time like this. I don't think there is normal. Cathy thank you for sharing. We are here to listen.
God Bless You. Prayers still coming your way.

2:32 AM  
Blogger Sue said...

Dear Cathy
I am so sorry for the steps you and the boys are forced into walking. That pushing feeling that is keeping going is your "Lou" nudging you along. Numb, Fog, all those words are exactly the right words and thank god you are numb because I can't imagine doing and completing all the tasks you have in a normal state of being. . . can you? Please know that you will feel so many things in the minutes, hours, days, weeks and years to come. Most of all though I hope you feel the love and support you and your family will have as so many people from all over continue and will continue to pray for you my friend.

7:05 AM  
Anonymous Vonda Evans said...


I am so sorry for your loss. I somehow came upon your site...don't even remember how but your journey is so very close to ours. We just lost our beautiful 28 year old daughter to brain cancer on August 13th. I like to imagine that she was there to be kind to Lou when he passed. I do miss her so very much and will forever have a hole in my heart.

Numb and in a fog seems to really describe what we feel right now.

Take care of yourself.

1:10 PM  
Blogger Jamesd00 said...

Cathy, you are wrong. It is easier. I have learned that now, and I would be happy to talk with you. Jim DeCourcey. 541-476-1039.

We had the time to love our dear ones, to touch them, to hold them. Yes, 20 plus years together isn't long enough and it is unfair, but we have had so much more than some people will ever have. How is that fair? A woman I'm very fond of lost her husband over four years ago, and last year thought she'd found her second love, who turned out to be a narcissistic a******. She had a couple of bad marriages before finding her true love of 18 years, and she felt short changed by his death, and Pi**ed off by being (1) taken in, and (2) treated without respect by her next relationship. She blew out her knee two months ago. I laid hands on her knee in a healing ceremony yesterday, and guess what happened? She started crying as all the pent up anger started leaving her body....from a year before, and four years before. We have had the time to get rid of the "why mes" and "why nows" and the "why hims", and reconcile ourselves in a universe where God is everything. Not just the good times, but everything, and if we can't understand it, we still have to accept it, and love Him anyway. I know I am farther on this path than you, and perhaps it will take you longer. I am sort of a weird personality that way; I have never cried over spilt milk. But if you would like an ear, I am a great listener, and if you would like someone to just ramble with, I am a great ramble. I am the most open, intuitive and creative person I know (limited world view, obviously), and if I can be a can to kick, a rock to hold on to, or a face to rail at, I am there.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Diane Phillips said...


It's almost midnight here, another time zone away, and I'm wishing I knew whether you were still awake and pacing, because I'd call. Time for bed, I guess. I just wanted you to know you're not alone out there in the big, scary world. For now, "numb" is OK. Numbness = protection, in a way. When you were a little kid, did anyone ever stuff you into a snow suit so that you resembled a little overblown red or blue or pink balloon with great limits on her range of movement? Makes for great home movies at this point, but at the time, you didn't feel the cold quite so much. I know you are feeling a great deal---you're not completely numb---but there will be so many layers to this: emotional sweaters, leggings, mittens, scarves, and thermals. You have won friends with the understanding and patience to see you through the changes of the seasons. There is plenty of time to "deal." For tonight, sleep well. May you have a dream of Lou. And if it's not the right night for that, may you fall asleep remembering all the blessings that were yours. When it hurts a great deal, it means you had a great deal---like an impression made, fossil into stone. Takes only a tiny bit of the sting out of it, unfortunately. Just know that you are not alone way up there.

11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cathy,
Thinking of you, saying prayers for you and your boys. It is so hard, this life without our loved ones, but you will get stronger. For now wrap yourself in Lou's love and you will get through one more night.
God Bless you,

10:59 PM  
Anonymous B'Lynn said...

Hi Cathy,
Just up and you and Lou are in my thoughts this early, cool morning. Wanted you to know you are still being thought about. Hang on to that pillowcase - I would too.

3:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Cathy: I "miss" Lou, too--your words over the past months have caused me to respect and, yes, love Lou. I admired his bravery and his kindly spirit. And you and your family's tremendous love for him shone forth everytime you wrote.
Sending a prayer for you all,

7:49 AM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Dear Cathy,

I'm walking with you..my beloved husband Jeff lost his 20 month battle with gbm on september 3, 2006. While reading your blog, I almost felt as if I could have written the words you've written as I've been in the same shoes over the past many months. Such a feeling of limbo...I share your sorrow. Have gathered some strength through this journey in reading your posts on the ruta group, have always admired your uplifting attitude throughout. Lou was blessed to have you. My best wishes go to you and your family,


taking it hour by hour

1:59 AM  
Blogger Donna Metcalf said...

Dear Cathy,
Just to let you know my thoughts and prayers are with you. Although numb is not a good feeling, numb is the best it can get right now. The numbness is your protection. Hold on to it for as long as you can. As much as I hated the numbness following Mike's death, it was the only way I could have made it through. Once the numbness starts to lift and your feelings start to resurface, you will probably be wishing for the numbness to return.

I think that Dianne Phillips analogy to being bundled up in the snowsuit is so fitting, and taking off the layers, one by one, as you are able, and then if you get too cold, you can put the layers back on until you feel stronger again.

I'm so glad you have two little kitties. I am holding on to my 16 year old cat Willie and nursing him to save my life, and his. I think some days of getting a pup, but I can hardly take care of myself, so it wouldn't be fair to a puppy at this time.

My prayers are with you and your boys. Keep strong. God bless. Donna Metcalf, w/o Michael J. Metcalf

12:48 PM  

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