October 11, 2009

Thanksgivings

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 11:36 pm by letterstoelias

Hello My Love,

I am terribly sorry for how long it’s been since I last wrote.  It has been an extremely difficult time these past days.  My last letter was the night before C’s 2nd birthday, her first without you, and though I was still reeling from the emotions next day I had planned to write you that night and share some of the day and the photos, but a new ordeal began.  I received a tremendously hurtful message and I unfortunately allowed this person’s condemnation and judgment (and incorrect assumptions) challenge me on my decision to write and on the content of what I have written.  I questioned myself.  I tortured myself going back over the old Caringbridge posts from shortly before you died (though most of them I couldn’t read in their entirety as it was too painful).  It was all incredibly upsetting.  I know writing in this forum opens up the possibility for things like that, but I think if it was a random stranger it would have been easier to take.  I didn’t imagine that someone I had once felt close to would be so hurtful at a time like this, and for what?  But, in the end I decided that I need to write.  People who don’t like it don’t need to read it (and if they read it anyway, they don’t need to send hurtful messages).  I write for myself, and for my girls.  It may be ridiculous, but I feel like I am writing to you and it gives me a small sense of peace, which can be very hard to come by these days.

It has been incredibly busy with our full schedule up and running.  I sometimes have a hard time keeping track of what’s going on from one day to the next – I need to find a way to be more organized, as it’s tougher keeping up with the house now too.  I’ve fallen asleep on the couch the past number of nights (another reason it’s taken me some time to write again) as it seems my body has just given up on staying up late.  There’s so much to do, and still so much gets left undone.  It’s funny how, though I always talk about how much you did around the house (because you did a lot), we really were a team and we worked together.  There were jobs that we just naturally each took on, without any real discussion/argument.  I ‘usually’ was the one to unload the dishwasher, for example.  Even though I used to do this job 95% of the time and it never bothered me, now that I know I’m the only one to do it – I can’t stand it.  Likewise I’ve found with a number of other jobs that were primarily mine.  I guess it’s also because there are so many ‘new’ ones added to the list, but it’s funny how I’ve come to hate jobs that I used to have no problem with.

I’ll get to C’s birthday in a moment, but in the days following that (aside from the afore mentioned added grief) I had to finalize my application for the Aspire program and submit it.  The following Saturday we went to the fall fair at E’s preschool.  It was a fundraiser for a new playground they want to build.  It was a beautiful day and the girls had a great time.  At first I was so busy keeping up with them checking everything out, but when we finally sat down for a bite to eat and I looked around the playground, I saw all these dads playing with their kids, and I felt a sudden pit growing in my stomach.  It’s hard.  It was close to C’s nap time anyhow, so we packed up and left.  The next day (Sunday) we went to visit with your parents.  I had to work in Vancouver on the Monday, so we came a day early to see them and spend the night. They looked after the girls for a few hours on Sunday while I went to Catherine’s for a massage and a visit with her.  It was SO great to see her, the massage was awesome, and we shared a few laughs and tears about you as well.  On Monday your parents looked after the girls while I worked, and they had a long walk at the bird sanctuary and went to the pumpkin patch.  The rest of the week seemed to fly by – on Wednesday night we had another parent’s meeting at the preschool and I managed to sit through all of that one.  Yesterday we went to a birthday party and were invited to stay through dinner, which was really nice, and this morning I had my parents over for a waffle breakfast and then we went with my Mom to the annual fair at Quality Farms.

C’s birthday ended up going as well as can be expected I think.  C woke up beside me and spotted the photo I had framed for her almost right away.  She looked at it so lovingly, and clearly enjoyed looking at the other photos from her birth as well.  It’s so hard to believe you have been gone for almost a quarter of her life now.  I made the girls pancakes for breakfast, then Sian picked up E for the music-preschool run and my Mom took C to the grand opening celebration at Cedar Grove for their new playground.  After I was off work, we went to my parent’s house for dinner and presents.  C was very excited for the day, and that was one thing that kept me going and keeping it together – there was still something to celebrate about the day – but I could physically feel the effect of missing you throughout the day.  My stomach felt almost nauseous and my head felt ‘spinny’ for much of the day.  After dinner we all headed back to our house to have Buz, Sian and the boys over for cake.  I managed to get through the singing and blowing out of candles without turning into a blubbering mess, though it took a lot of deep, calming breaths before and after.  It was an ice cream cake from IGA.  It was good, and of course it made me think of the ice cream cake you made for E’s 3rd birthday . . . . (though you probably don’t want me to remind you – but it tasted SO good, regardless of how it looked!).  I couldn’t help but notice that when all the pieces were handed out, there was one piece left on the platter, and I decided that it must have been yours (though I still ate it the next night).  It was only after the girls were in bed and that the tears came.  I lay down on the couch and felt like I had just run a marathon.  My whole body felt weak and still had the light headed and nauseous feeling.  You were definitely a part of the day, but it hurt so much to have you absent.

The week to come should be another busy one.  I have orientation at the preschool on Saturday so I can do the parent duty days, and I also need get a doctor’s signature and arrange to do an observation day this week so I’ll need to adjust my work schedule around that.  On Friday I have my presentation for the Aspire program, and I should find out that afternoon if I’m in or not.  I’m obviously hopeful to get in, but it will be good to know either way so I can try to make more arrangements in advance for when the program starts if I get in, or figure out what I need to do otherwise moving forward.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  I had really wanted to write something hopeful and post about the things I am thankful for – because they do still exist, but at the same time I didn’t have the best day today, and Thanksgiving was always one of our favourite holidays, so it’s again really hard to miss you on this day.  I loved the fact that it’s not a ‘hallmark’ holiday.  It’s not for gift giving.  It’s not about big characters bringing things for kids.  It’s just getting together with the people you love and sharing a wonderful meal, and being thankful for what you have.  And we no longer have you.  You always loved being a part of the cooking – whether you did the whole meal at our house, or if you helped out wherever we went, you loved having extra people to cook for and were amazing at putting together big, delicious meals.  You even made brussel sprouts taste delicious (something else I must have picked up from you because I made some pretty decent ones the other night).  It was fun just watching you in the kitchen on a day like that.  So busy and focused, but you managed to have so much fun too.  When people would inevitably come and ask you questions about how you did something and why, you would always take the time to explain it.  When you would taste something someone else made, if they asked for suggestions you managed to find a gentle way to offer something helpful without offending them.  It was easy to see why you were such a good teacher.  The kitchen will seem awfully empty tomorrow.

It was also three years ago this weekend that we moved into this house.  I still remember that first night here so clearly.  It had been a long day, we were pretty tired from the move, but when we finally got to lie down on our mattress on floor, we couldn’t hear anything but the crickets.  It was so quiet and peaceful, and we just had the sense that we had made the right decision to move here.  It felt so right.  We looked at each other with big smiles, and knew that the other was thinking the same thing.  We were thankful.

Now, though it is hard I still am thankful.  Thankful for our home (though it often feels so empty at times).  Thankful for our two little girls who I love so dearly.  Thankful for my family and friends who have somehow managed to make this experience a little more bearable (which says a lot more than it sounds like . . . ).  Thankful that I’m finding a way to creep forward and make the days as best as they can be for the girls and me.  And most of all I’m thankful for you.  For the life and love you gave me.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

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3 Comments »

  1. FATMA said,

    Dear Chelsea;

    Please please don’t let anyone judge you or hurt you and add extra burden to yourself. Only you know what you have been and still going through and you are doing your best. And as far as we know (not that it matters but I think all your followers can notice this so easily) you have done a great best so far. You were always there by Elias’ side giving him comfort and support and you now keep doing it for your girls. He must be proud of you, he must have thought how lucky he was to have you. In theory, yes, but in practice not many people do what you have done for him-staying positive and hopeful- and I know this very well because I work at a hospital.
    Your girls will be proud of you once they are old enough to understand what happened and how it affected you.
    Anyway, once again, please try not to think about the hurtful things that person said. No matter how close he/she is to you and whatever this is about, it is clear that she/he lacks the ability to empathise and to understand that all you need now is some extra support not more pain. Please keep writing if it makes you feel somewhat better and ignore that person.
    You and the girls are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Fatma

    • letterstoelias said,

      Hello again Fatma,

      Nice to hear from you again, and thank you so much for your kind words and support. I am finally feeling like I’m able to move past this ordeal now, but it was very hard initially. I’m glad I decided to write still, as there are so many reasons to keep doing so.

      I hope all is well with you and your husband. I know how hard this road can be with all the ups and downs and feeling like it’s impossible to get a straight answer out of doctors. It’s not easy. Not easy at all. Which is exactly why it’s so important to enjoy the moments you can. That is one thing that has helped me so much now (as hard as it is); knowing that the time we spent together at the end of Elias’ life was quality time, and full of love.

      Thanks again, and all the best to you and yours Fatma,
      ~C~

  2. Debbie said,

    Chelsea,

    Thank you for sharing your blog and hello from a fellow Canadian! Your blog is so real and I can see myself in many of your words. I’ve survived both of my children’s birthdays since my husband died and your description of laying on the couch once the kids were in bed took me right back to that place of total exhaution and sadness that your baby had grown a year older withour her Daddy. You’re doing a great job! I look forward to following your blog.

    Wishing you peace today,
    Debbie


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