November 23, 2009

Like tinsel on a Christmas tree

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 1:04 am by letterstoelias

*I started writing this post last night (the 21st), but of course I fell asleep before finishing.  I always like to try an honour what comes out at the moment so I’ll leave the first part as is, then update at the end . . . . .

Hello My Love,

I wanted to write more of an ‘update’ type post tonight.  Share the events of the week, my gratitude for the extra time my mom helped with the girls and around the house, to Anna for taking the girls on Wed morning, and to Buz for arranging a ‘girls’ night out’ for Sian and I.  I wanted to share the latest antics the girls are up to (E’s headstands and C’s singing talents, etc.), and perhaps most of all the fact that it looks like I have now been accepted into the Aspire program.  But, I’m just feeling my loss of you too acutely at this moment to try and write of much else.

Though I will it to stop, the pictures on the wall keep changing.  No matter how beautiful the image, under each one the number 22 stares me in the face, and then the day arrives.  Now we are seven.  Seven months of existing without you.  And that’s what it feels like.  Existing.

As I said to a friend the other day, it’s hard to feel like an active participant in life.  I’m here.  I’m alive – I just don’t feel like I’m ‘living’.  I know in time that will change, though it will be a challenge to feel that it won’t be a betrayal of you to start enjoying life again. I ‘know’ that is not the case, and I ‘know’ that is what you want for me (though I also know you have no expectations on me), but it’s still hard.  SO hard.  And I don’t believe it’s something that I should need to ‘try’ to do.  I imagine it will just come naturally when I’m ready.  But what do I know.  It’s not like I’ve done this before.  And as tired as I am of feeling sorrow, I’m not there yet.

And it’s not to say that I don’t find any joy in my days – it’s there.  There are plenty of things to feel joyful about.  To smile about.  To laugh at.  I can still see beauty in the little things (two little things in particular).  I have the girls (of course), my parents, sister, friends, all of whom help with this daily (without even trying, which makes it even better).  I’m encouraged by comments on the blog.  I feel hopeful when I read blogs of other widows who have feel they’ve come through this better than before, all the while still able to mourn their loss.  Finding that balance.  I’m still way off kilter.

I look for you everywhere.  Every flash of light.  Every passing shadow.  Anything that catches my eye, I look to it to see if I can find a glimpse of you somehow.  I try to place you in the sounds I hear, or the feel of a draught.  I try to take comfort in it – thinking you’re sending me a message.  But it’s f#%*$@ windy out; of course the wind chimes are clinking and it’s draughty.  I just long so much to have you a part of my life still.  But I don’t want light reflections.  I want you.

Your ring fell off my necklace today.  It was the first time I’ve been out of physical contact with it since I took it off your finger that night.  It was only for a moment, but it was so strange.  It didn’t catch on anything; no one was pulling on it.  I was just walking to the couch and the clasp literally popped off and the ring fell to the ground.  The really strange thing is though – the clasp doesn’t appear broken at all.  It came apart from the chain, but there are no cracks on either end and unless there’s a missing loop somewhere, there is no visual reason as to why it fell off.  I know that having the ring there doesn’t bring me any closer to you, but I still didn’t like knowing it was off.  I thought that one day I may melt our rings together – our wedding bands and my engagement ring – to make a piece of jewellery for each of the girls and a new ring for myself.  I like the idea, but am not 100% sure I want to mess with them, and it would still be a while down the road as I don’t feel ready to take my rings off yet.  I don’t feel single.

And as such I don’t like having to ‘classify’ myself that way.  Since you died, I’ve had to fill out a number of forms, checking off ‘widow’ as my ‘status’.  As much as that sucks, the other night at Spark I had to fill out a form which asks ‘who is primarily responsible for looking after your child?’  No widow option there, but in this case it would have been preferable.  I didn’t want to check the box – Single parent.  And I hated looking at the phone list for parents at E’s preschool and seeing my name as the only one with out an ‘&’ beside it.  I want my marriage back.

It doesn’t matter how independent a person I am – our lives were spliced.  We were a part of each other.  I miss feeling ‘known’.  I miss having you to know.  I miss our talks, and the comfort in our shared silence.  I miss my partner.  My friend.  My Love.  I miss sharing our days.  Making plans.  Making decisions (which neither of us were terribly good at).  Bouncing ideas off each other.  Arguing.  Saying I’m sorry.  Making you laugh, and vice versa.  Emotional intimacy.  I miss you being my Dumbass, and I your Freak-show (I don’t know many other couples with such loving pet names for each other . . .= ).

I hate that half of the memories we shared together are now gone.  So many experiences that I am the only one left to remember.  I don’t get your version of the story any longer.  For once, I don’t want to always be right.  I’d rather have you here to correct me.  Because there is just so much to miss that, even with all the love I have around me, I end up feeling isolated.  Cut-off from the life I knew and loved.  Loosing you reaches so many different levels.  Even though it was so busy and stressful, in those last months where I felt like we were working so hard to keep you healthy and keep our lives going; balancing work, your appointments, you, the girls, the 40+ pills/day, etc., was intense – but I felt like I was making a difference, and I miss that too.

I’m hoping to get in contact with a couple of other widows by phone as it helps incredibly to find people who really understand what it’s like.  There’s no need to try and explain.  And it’s just sharing, not comparing.  No one can possibly know ‘exactly’ what I am going through – we are all individuals and no two experiences are the same – but there is a greater level of understanding with another widow, and that offers some comfort.

**This is where I fell asleep last night.  The rest is from today (the 22nd – though I know by the time I post it will be the 23rd . . . )**

Today was not all that easy for me.  I was feeling pretty down in the morning, missing you.  I didn’t have a great sleep – Cali was having some sort of issues and when she wasn’t endlessly circling the 10sqft space beside my bed with her claws clicking away on the laminate floor, her stomach was making some strange noises.  She kept wandering off into the girls’ room too – I was afraid she would wake them and had to keep getting her to come back.  She finally settled down, I fell back asleep, and shortly thereafter C was getting into bed with me.

I decided I wanted to try and find a nice way to entertain the girls though – we didn’t end up doing anything at all on Saturday and I figured they would get bored and antsy with two days of nothing, so I thought we should try to make quince jelly.  You and your love of the obscure.  You planted that tree for the purpose of making jelly, and we had a pretty decent haul of fruit this year for the first time, so I thought it would be a nice tribute to you to give it a try (never having made jelly before) as you never got the chance.  Quince fruit is ridiculously hard to cut.  It looks similar to a pear, but it’s almost as dense as a squash.  I was getting extremely frustrated, it took me quite a while to get a rhythm in cutting them, and by the end I was pretty tired.  I boiled them all up, then realized I didn’t have nearly enough sugar.  I hope to finish it tomorrow, but my attempt to do something fun with the girls and to pay respect to your plans with the tree just didn’t pan out.  And took up much of the day.  We did manage to make some pretty amazing rice krispie treats though (using gelatine free marshmallow ‘crème’).  The recipe called for more butter than usual, browned, and a tiny bit of coarse salt.  YUM.  So I guess something went right today.  I’ll have to let you know how the jelly worked out after tomorrow.

I’ll also fill you in more on the Aspire program and everything else in a day or two.  But I am really looking forward to it, and it starts in only a week!  I just can’t wait to get the ball rolling on the store.  Anyhow – before it gets too late, I should call it a night.

But I almost forgot to include what I planned to write regarding the title of this letter . . . while seven months seems long in some ways, really it’s not.  The other day when I was getting ready to go out with Sian, I took the time to blow-dry my hair for the first time since your funeral I think.  It was nice to put a little extra effort into going out and feel a bit more like a girl for once – but there was a downside to it as well.  Spending the extra time on my hair, only showed me how much more gray has shown up in recent months.  I know genetics plays a factor (which has fortunately blessed me with a beautiful shade of gray).  I know I’m not getting any younger.  But I don’t believe that the amount that has cropped up in the last seven months has anything to do with either.  This outburst of shimmering bits of gray hair is starting to look like tinsel on a Christmas tree.

It still seems impossible to me that this is it.  That I won’t see you again.  But a song hit me hard while driving the other day:

You’re beautiful.  You’re beautiful.  You’re beautiful, it’s true.
There must be an angel with a smile on her face, when she thought up that I should be with you.
But it’s time to face the truth, I will never be with you.


P.S.  I Love You



  1. Debbie said,

    Beautiful post. You so realistically and eloquently describe what so many of us are feeling. I was particularily struck by how you describe how half of your memories are now gone. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and how losing Austin’s memories, his perspective on all the events of our life together, is another loss in itself. I grieve his physical and his emotional loss in our present, the loss of our future and the loss of all our past memories from his perspective. It seems like every day I find another thing that I miss about him, which surprises me because it was 8 months for me on the 20th. I would have thought that there would be no more new discoveries in grief for me and yet there are.

    Ok, now I’m rambling. Thinking of you today. By the way, what is the Aspire program? Hope you and the girls have a good day.


    • letterstoelias said,

      Thank you for your understanding Debbie – and you, too, are so right – new losses appear all the time, and in so many little ways. There is definitely no time frame to grief – all we can do is hope it will get a little more bearable, bit by bit, as those who have gone before us have stated. I believe it will, but I don’t like to think of it as ‘moving on’ (which seems to imply getting ‘over’ it), as much as ‘learning to live with it’ or at least ‘moving forward’.

      And, I’m looking forward to getting in touch with you soon!


  2. Shannon Bond said,

    Thinking of you.

    Witnessing your journey from afar and endlessly impressed by your willingness to share the hard truths and bittersweet small joys.

    Some days you make me laugh and others, I ache for you.

    • letterstoelias said,

      Thanks, as always, Shannon. . . .


  3. Dan Cano said,

    Hi Chelsea,

    I want to thank you for dropping by my blog yesterday, and as you stated we unfortunately to have a similar experience. I feel blessed that my Michael made it to almost 2 years post surgery, yet at the same time I am angry at God/the universe, for taking him. As with my grief, I’m sure my anger will evolve.

    Your post was beautifully written. So much of what each of us are going through echoes in unison. Yet as you point out, all of us blogging about our grief also have something unique about our lives, our experience, and so our in turn our words. When I read a post like yours, I find comfort in the familiar, and also take notice of what makes your experience unique.

    Find joy in tomorrow’s day of thanks, and you and your girls will be on my list of those needing extra grace bestowed upon them.


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