September 27, 2009

Hard day ahead

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 2:09 am by letterstoelias

C’s birthday is fast approaching.  Whenever asked her age, she excitedly exclaims ‘Two!’ in her sweet, tiny voice.  You barely even had a chance to hear her voice.  You didn’t even get to hear her say Daddy.  She loves talking to you every night, and it’s funny sometimes trying to figure out what she’s saying – but at the same time it breaks my heart.  E has decided she doesn’t want to do it for now – she finds it hard to talk to you when you aren’t there in person to answer back.  I’m not going to force her to do it, though I do feel sad that she has stopped.  I guess I can’t win either way.

E had another meltdown the other night.  She was crying again about not wanting to ‘leave this house, ever’ and she wants all of us to ‘stay here forever and ever’ (though she did clarify that leaving for groceries and dance classes was ok).  This is not the first time this has come up, but as she was going on about it this time she added, ‘And I don’t want to die’.  Of course.  You left the house and didn’t come back.  You left the house and died.  You left the house, forever.  Last week when the ambulance was on our street, when I came back into the room she was talking about when the ambulance came for you, and she said, ‘You guys were sneaky, you did it in the middle of the night when I was asleep.’  I don’t think she actually believed it, but I think she was checking to see what I might say to be sure.  I assured her that we weren’t trying to be sneaky, that we didn’t know that was going to happen and that just happened to be when it happened.  Anyhow, when she mentioned not wanting to die it worried me.  I know there are a lot of changes going on in her life, and day to day she seems to be handling it all so well, but there must also be some deep-seated fears that don’t surface as often.  Though tonight as we went to bed she said to me, ‘I’m going to try not to cry when I say this, but I don’t want to die because . . .  I would miss Word World and Oasis HD’.  Thankfully she added that there would be other things she would miss too, though she didn’t specify (playdough perhaps?).  We have had a couple of conversations about how everyone dies eventually, and I’ve tried to make it as simple as possible and not scary, but it’s not an easy topic.  Anyhow, I’ve made an appointment for her to see the grief counsellor again, just to see what she has to say about it all.

It’s been a very busy week with all the girls classes now up and running.  I’ve had to print out the schedule and stick in on the fridge so I can keep track of everything.  I’m finding my mind is more like a sieve these days.  I forget things all the time.  I need to start writing things down more.  But the girls’ classes have been going well and though I’m surprised they aren’t sick of us yet, Buz and Sian have helped with carpooling and childcare as the girls are in many of the same classes as their boys.  We’ve just sort of adopted each other.  I just wish I could do more to help them out.  I did cut Buz’s hair today though – that was fun.  He was brave because it had been a while, and I warned him about the first time I cut yours and you didn’t like it (though you were an awful client, it wasn’t that bad, and within days you were fine with it), not to mention the fact that I have zero training as I don’t think seeing it done a thousand times counts.  But, it turned out great.  We also had a nice visit with Kim and Maddie the other day – Maddie had a huge growth spurt recently and so Kim was kind enough to give us a bunch of clothes for E.  Neither of our girls had a big growth spurt this summer.  They haven’t grown much at all in size the last 5 months, really.  They ‘change’ all the time, but aren’t getting much bigger.  Maybe that’s because C’s new favourite thing to do is walk around with chewed up food in her mouth without swallowing it.  Tonight we were trying to ichat with Ally and Peter, but she wouldn’t swallow her lasagne.  I finally had to get her to spit it out so I could brush her teeth before bed – I think she had had it in her mouth for over a ½ hr.

Mealtimes drive me crazy.  I don’t know that it would be easier with you here in regards to their eating habits, but at least you would be here to talk to.  There seems to be a revolving door to the potty – E of course sometimes going for ½ hr and C goes about 10 times during the meal and it can be really hard to get her back in her seat.  I read to try and get them to sit still but E always wants to read along, or she talks about everything in the book (which normally is fine, just not while I want her to eat), or she gets too interested in the story and forgets to eat.  I hate having to remind them every 30 seconds to take another bite.  Recently, between all the potty breaks and taking forever to eat, we were at the table for almost two full hours.  It’s not that I’m making them sit there and eat all the food on their plate – it just takes a LONG time for them to be finished.  I need to come up with tasks to do at the table while I’m waiting for them to finish because if I leave the table, then they want to leave before they are done.  At least this week I can work on knitting scarves for the fundraiser at the preschool next weekend.  I just really miss sitting next to you at the table though.

And I miss sleeping next to you.  Your side of the bed feels like a gaping hole that could swallow me up at any minute.  I don’t like anything being over there.  I can still picture you on weekend mornings, playing ‘mountain’ with E on your knees, or smiling down at the little babe sleeping between us, stroking her cheek and giving a soft little laugh as you wondered at the beauty we had created.  Weekend mornings were my favourite.  Sometimes the four of us would spend over an hour just playing, tickling, and laughing together before getting out of bed.  When the girls get up on the bed with me in the morning I don’t like them going on to your side.    I don’t know if it’s because I feel like I’m ‘saving’ it for you in some way, but that’s just how it is right now – irrational or not.  Even if they get up in the night to sleep with me we are all squished up on my side of the bed.  I have a few of your t-shirts under the duvet on your sidel.  They were some of the last ones that you wore, and they haven’t been washed.  I am hoping to preserve your smell on them for as long as I can. Every once in a while I’ll pull back the duvet and bury my face in them,  Its strange how I’ve discovered now that if it just try to sniff them it doesn’t work so well as if I just breathe it in.  I’ll rest my head on this little pile of shirts, just as the countless times I rested my head on your chest, and just breathe.  It brings a sense of calm to me somehow.  Though it can also make me cry.  Still, I don’t do it that often as I have this fear that I’ll somehow ‘use it all up’.  Again, irrational.  Really, I guess I should do it all I can because the smell won’t last forever and I feel like that’s one of the last little things I have of you.  Not just stuff, but the ‘real’ you.  That smell will never be duplicated.  Once it’s gone, it’s gone.  Just like you.  And time will eventually take that from me as well.

The closet is still filled with all your clothes.  Even though some of your clothes had been with us at your parents and were packed in the suitcase the night you died, I unpacked everything and hung it up.  I put away your razor, gel, deodorant.  Everything.  It’s all where it should be and I can’t bear to move any of it.  I know it’s just stuff.  It didn’t make you and it didn’t define you and it can’t bring you back.  Getting rid of it doesn’t mean getting rid of you, but I know it’s going to be a long time before I even get close to that.  Sure, it may be ‘easier’ to have more space in the closets.  I also know I don’t need the dozens of pots and pans we collected.  I have enough dishware to feed a small army.  But I don’t want easy.  I want you.  I want you to come back and leave your clothes all over the floor.  I want you to come back and use 5 pots to cook one small meal.  I want you to come back and ‘breathe loudly’ at night so I can push you to roll onto your side.  I want you to come back and hold my hand before we fall asleep.

But most of all, I want you to come back and hold your little girl while she blows the two candles out on her birthday cake.


P.S.  I Love You



  1. ashlyn said,

    Chelsea… u need to wake up from this… are u a believer? cause if u are, ask God to help u..

    i know this is kinda absurd but u wrote really well maybe because it is real and maybe just maybe, u could publish it? i mean, u must be strong.. n while u stay as a strong person, write it down so that u can help others out there too…
    plus, it would be a nice additional income…

    but it’s just a suggestion.. sorry if i offended u in anyway… and chelsea, take good care of urself k? ur children need you… don worry, no matter how lost u are, God will always be there to let u count on him.. if ur not a Christian, try knowing bout him.. contact the church near u.. trust me, He will help ur life… n i bet ur husband wouldnt want u to grieve forever too…

    take care…

  2. brenda said,

    I’m not so sure Chelsea needs to “find God” – whatever that means – right now. I think she needs to greive and we need to honour wherever that process takes her without making assumptions about her faith and offering platitudes about what will help. Nothing will “help.” Elias is dead. Her life is changed forever. If we’ve never lost the person we’ve pledged to spend our lives with, we simply cannot comprehend or comment.

  3. ashlyn said,

    i guess ur right… its just hard to see her so down… Elias wouldnt want this either…

    • letterstoelias said,

      Thank you for the compliment on my writing – what I write about is very real and unspeakably difficult to endure. My writing is an important way to help me get through it, and I do hope if someone going through the same awful experience stumbles across it, they can find even a little help in it, knowing they are not alone.

      During the day I spend most of my time making a life for the girls and I that is as good as it can be in these circumstances (which is no easy task, but I think I’m doing ok), and as such there isn’t much time to grieve. As Brenda mentioned, this is a part of my grief process.

      From my experience over the past 5+ months (or years if you include the countless ups and downs since Elias was diagnosed), and all the reading I have done on grief and of other widow’s experiences, I don’t believe there is a quick, easy path to ‘wake up’ from this – whether God (or Allah or Buddha or any deity for that matter) is present or not. Each individual will find their own way in their own time. And it takes time.

      I also know that, while there is truth in that Elias did not, and does not want for me to be in this kind of pain, he also understood and expected that this would be the case. He, on many occasions, would say to me ‘I feel bad, I get the easy part. I get to die; you’re the one that has to live with it.’ We both knew that because our love for each other was so strong, that his death would tear me apart, but I also assured him that it would be that same love that carries me through this, in time. That said, I will never stop grieving loosing Elias. It may not always be this hard, but it will always be there. Especially on the day he misses our daughter’s 2nd birthday. I’m sure he is grieving this as well.

      • Dianne said,

        Well said, Chelsea! I too believe that your writings will some day be a book. I know that’s not your intention but you have a gift. I can see the beginning of the book…but there really is no ending. Your life goes on, but I believe your writings show how it is possible to live in and be enlarged by loss, even as you continue to experience it.

        You and your two beautiful girls are thought of often!

      • letterstoelias said,

        Thanks as always Dianne,

        I know what you mean about how there is no end, we just keep living – I recently finished reading ‘The Alchemy of Loss’ which was written by a woman who lost her husband in the twin towers on Sept 11th, and when I got to the end I was sad as I just wanted to keep reading and see where things went. Fortunately I discovered she too has a blog! =)

        I hope you and yours are doing well,

  4. Roads said,

    Those conversations about death continue. Kids are inquisitive, and they want to understand it (don’t we all?). It can get distressing for you, but I don’t think it’s distressing for them. Fairly early on, they realise that their experience makes them a little different from other children, but at the same time it is their ‘normal’ and I think they adapt to it much better than I had often feared.

    For me, it was always when we were driving home from a weekend away. Daddy … ? and off we would go.

    The bed feels very cold and empty. I changed over, and slept on Jenny’s side of the bed, for a long time. I kept a few of her old t-shirts and used them as my running kit for a while (obviously those ones got washed). I took her putter from her golf bag when it went to the charity shop, and I still use it today (well, maybe I’d had secret designs on it for a while, who knows?)

    There’s plenty of time to think about what to do with the stuff. For now, you just want it around you — so just go with what works.

    Interesting discussion on religion, tactfully handled — hats off to Brenda for her comment, and to Elias as well for his gift of foresight. With that kind of goodwill behind you, you’re not going to fail.

    All best wishes to you and Caia on her birthday. And spirits up, as best you can.

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