Monday, February 17, 2014

From fiction to the real deal. Death does not warrant drama.

Death is a difficult topic for many. As some readers may know, I lost my husband, Mike last summer to AML leukemia. I've released 14 Erotica romance novellas through several Ebook companies. I've recently started writing nonfiction under the pen name JC Cerrigone. My nonfiction works consist of my experience in dealing with a spouse that battled cancer. I only planned to write one memoir. Now that has turned into a series which will consist of three books. One has already been released-"Leukemia, My husband, And me: A Turbulent Triangle." The second book in the series titled "What Lies Behind" is now in edits. I am currently working on my third and last book of the series, titled-  "Widow's Walk."  
Since receiving nine 5 star reviews for the first book for which I am thankful to all my readers, that is what has prompted me to write this blog post today.
In those reviews it's stated many times that my story hit close to home, and that so many people had similar scenarios occur in their family circles.
Being a cancer caregiver as well as the experiences that I've had to endure following my husband, Mike's death, has spawned a mission of sorts. I hope that these books can be used as tools to help others. The first and second books I go into how vital communication among loved ones and relatives is while dealing with a catastrophic illness. A topic I did not touch on and that I am addressing today in this blog post is how important it is for one to have plans in place. Yes, I am speaking of making plans and/or arrangements for your death.  Whether a death is unexpected due to a sudden accident or a catastrophic illness, it is so important for one to have a A Last Will and Testament drafted, leaving instructions for family members. Let me enforce that those details need to be specific. 
My husband Mike planned his own memorial service once his doctor told us that his time here on earth was extremely limited. Our wills had been drafted 17 months prior after Mike was diagnosed in the spring of 2012. 
Addressing this need is often brushed aside, consumed by the demands of a daily routine, for which Mike and I were guilty. Though it's unpleasant to look at and explore, it is so very important that one documents his last wishes. So many people struggle with death and loss, actually avoiding it until it directly affects us.  There are a plethora of problems that can arise from procrastinating on this issue of not having arrangements in place. 
I mentioned earlier my husband even planned his own memorial service and there were still problems. This is when maybe a recording or a personal letter from the individual to the family would really ensure a solid, drama-free acceptance and journey through the grieving process. 
A few weeks ago while sitting at my desk I came up with this line 'Denial can be the enemy of almost anything.'
Family members on my husband's side denied his illness, often avoiding the gritty reality of what we were all up against. 
After my husband Mike passed away negative, self-centered drama erupted. People were aghast at the fact that my husband chose to be cremated. They were irate, going to great, malicious lengths to get me to change things. My husband's death became all about them. As a wife it was my job to honor my husband, implementing what he had planned and wanted. One of his relatives went as far as requesting to go to the funeral home to view my husband prior to his cremation. 
To the grieving widow these occurrences are devastating, compounding a pain and loss that is already so deep and raw. 
So many factors can play a role in this type of reactive behavior for which I go into in my second book. Though, I was pressured and emotionally abused by people who claimed to care about me, I refused to budge. I knew what my husband wanted. 
Mike and I had had many private, intimate conversations about his death, conversations that are meant to be kept between a husband and wife. Sorry moms, dads, sisters and brothers. This is something that is private between spouses. 
As Mike's wife the result of me carrying out his final wishes has completely destroyed relationships, relationships that I thought I had with my in-laws for fifteen years. 
I am pleading with all my readers and blog visitors today. Respect the wishes of those whom have departed. Promote unity and memorialize your loved one the way they deserve. 
When making your plans leave detailed and specific instructions. Ask your family to respect your wishes, and to treat those left behind facing a gaping hole of loss with compassion and kindness. 
The selfish bickering of family is not what my husband deserved after fighting an intense illness for sixteen months. 
If individuals have trouble dealing with serious illnesses and death then they should seek council. Open the lines of communication and utilize the numerous resources that are available in your community and local hospitals. 
I've seen the devastating damage of unspoken words and regret. I've witnessed the anger and selfishness of others. It's about honoring your loved one. Being supportive, and compassionate should not be contingent with your own wants. 
In closing I want to emphasize that these plans, no matter how unpleasant, need to be put in place. When arrangements are made ahead we can assure that those who we love and have left behind will not be harassed and hurt. It only adds to the loss. I lived through this. The torment went on for months. 
Instead of reflecting on the wonderful memories of my husband, I was channelling my energy into an empty well that was corroded with greed. 
I did what my husband wanted, and I have great peace in that. Though the price was high, I'd do it all over again. I know that Mike would not have wanted all of this drama and discord. If his family could've looked beyond themselves the outcome would have been so different.
Make your plans. Have wills drawn up that speak directly to family members, and most of all, ask that they unite in your memory. Come together and mourn the loss. Don't create division. It's not always about us. 
JC Cerrigone

Coming soon from JK Publications- What Lies Behind. 
Visit Mike's website for his story

JC Szot- Author of fiction romance 

JC Cerrigone/ Nonfiction works

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