February 3, 2010

Lost, without you

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 12:10 am by letterstoelias

Hello My Love,

It’s been an interesting week of big decisions for the store (still unmade), beheaded unicorns, memories of a decade ago and what was to be our future, and feeling lost about, well, Lost.

I’ve been trying to sort out a lease space for the store this past coupe of weeks.  It’s such a big decision – the most expensive, and one of the most important of them all – and you are not here to talk about it with.  That’s hard.  I have a couple in mind and they both have their positives and negatives (basically one is small but cheaper and the other is bigger and needs less work but is much more expensive).  The other day Sian asked me what you would say.  I sat and tried to ‘channel’ you and feel what you may offer, but in the end I knew that, were you here, you would discuss it with me, weigh the pros and cons and offer support.  We would have come to a decision mutually.  I have a few other people I can do that with – and of course the insight that Bridie can provide is invaluable since she’s done this before, but it’s just not the same.  I miss my partner.

I had a rough day with it all last week.  I didn’t have the best start to the day as is – the girls have taken to putting on tap shoes first thing in the morning, but even that came after C was dripping water from her water bottle on my face while I was still half asleep.  After cleaning up an accident, then having breakfast, I was getting ready to meet with the realtor to look at one of the potential lease spaces.  The realtor called just as C had some form of drama so she screamed blue murder the whole time I was on the phone, shouting to confirm that I would meet him in 15mins.

As we were trying to get ready, the girls both had various issues.  C refused to put on underwear.  Then insisted on it.  E wanted me to put her coat on her when she is fully capable of doing it herself.  C didn’t want to get socks, but as soon as I went to get them the screaming started again as then she wanted to do it.  And so on.  I finally broke and exclaimed something about the fact that I am only one person and I can’t do everything for them all the time and deal with the screaming too.

I hate getting to that point.  It’s not like it’s their fault you died.  They don’t understand what it’s like to try and be a single parent and deal with the grief of the loss of your soul mate.  They don’t understand bills and housework and work stress – nor should they have to.  They are kids.  And, who am I to put that on them?  But, sometimes it’s just hard.  I took it down a notch and explained to them that I just needed their help a little bit too – to stay calm and patient, and that we were on our way to look at a possible space for Mama’s new store, and I really needed them to listen and co-operate while we were out.  ‘Sure Mama.’

They were fine while we were viewing the space, then I quickly wanted pop into the sporting good store to talk with the owner about their experience in the mall.  That’s when things just fell apart.  There was just too much going on to try and write about it, but I’ll just say that NEVER have they behaved so poorly in a store.  EVER.  I had taken their little pony/unicorn toys in for them to play with, but they both promptly handed them back to me (shoved them in my purse).  I tried to explain that the stuff in the store was to be left alone, but E was just trying to yank herself away from me and not listen.  Clearly I was getting nowhere with them, so I had to just leave.  Embarrassed.

As we left the store E asked for her unicorn.  I told her not right now.  As we got into the car, she tried to help herself to it from my purse.  I snapped once again.  I told her that she better not even think of getting it out of my purse, and to get in her car seat immediately.  She of course started to cry.  As we drove home I told her that I needed both of them to go and spend some time in their bedroom because I was feeling very angry at how they behaved in the store and that I needed some space.  E just kept crying about wanting her unicorn.
I have never used ‘time outs’, and it’s extremely rare that they are even are asked to go to their room, but I felt this would be better for all of us.  As they went down the hall, I took the unicorns out of my purse and just felt the urge to pull their heads off.  So I did.  I knew they could be fixed, and I honestly had absolutely no intention of showing the girls this.  I just thought it would be a funny way for me to get some of my anger out.  Better the unicorns then the girls.  As I write this, however, I’m acutely aware of how crazy I must sound . . . .

Anyhow, the girls came out, after only a minute and I asked them to go back.  A moment later C came out again, asking for her unicorn.  I said, ‘Fine, you want your unicorns?’ and showed them.  I know.  Not my best moment by any means.  I felt like the worst mother in the world.  I did explain to the girls that they could be fixed, however I told them it would not be that day.  But, um, who am I to question behaviour?  I’m the one pulling heads off of dolls. Ah well, the girls survived and so did I, even though I felt awfully mean and hypocritical, and we ended up having an enjoyable afternoon and evening despite it all.

A few other things struck me this week – it was 10 yrs ago, almost to the day that we moved in together.  Our first home.  A brand new, 780sqft one-bedroom condo.  I looked over the photos of the day we moved in.  The white walls – a clean slate for a fresh beginning because, it was also at this time that we were in the midst of planning our upcoming wedding.  When I was cleaning out the office the other day I found a notepad that we had used for some of the planning.  It had both our writing – guest lists jotted down, songs, costs of various items, to-do lists, meanings of flowers for my bouquet, even my jotted notes as I wrote our vows.  I smiled through tears as I poured over it.  10yrs.  We were just kids.  And so excited for what our future would hold.  Together.

I had so hoped we would be able to renew our vows this year.  Have a little ceremony with our girls there.  A chance at another, simple dress (since your reaction to the first one wasn’t what I was hoping for – sure, sure, you liked it and you didn’t mean anything bad by what you said . . . yada yada yada.  I know = ).  Even our plans to bump it up and do it for our 9yr anniversary – after finding out you may not make it to 10yrs – fell through.

It was also recently the 8yr anniversary of your first seizure.  What eventually led to your diagnosis.  We were still pretty much kids.  Barely more than newlyweds.  I remember that night so very well, along with much of the weeks to follow when we finally found out about the tumour, followed by your first surgery.  And so it began.

And finally, though I am very lost without you, that’s not what I was referring to above.  The last season of Lost starts tonight.  I knew it was coming.  I set up the PVR.  But I didn’t expect it to hit me the way it did when the finale from last season was on last week.  I saw a moment of it, and my initial memory was just of how hard it was for you to watch it in the last couple of weeks before you died.  Your vision had been giving you problems and you had to watch it with one eye closed so you could see straight (and to make matters worse we were watching it on my computer as we were staying at your parents and were accessing it through the slingbox, so it wasn’t all that clear to begin with).  I remember you joking about how Lost is hard enough to follow as is, and how it was almost impossible to follow when you have a brain tumour.  Amazing that we could still joke about things at that time.

When I went to watch that episode last week though, I suddenly remembered something else and my heart started racing.  Just over a month before you died we had been watching it at home.  It had been a hard day as we had an MRI that day, and though we hadn’t met with the oncologist yet we saw the scan and knew it wasn’t good.  We both fell asleep watching Lost, and when we woke up you became somewhat disoriented.  You were asking me where we were.  Where we lived.  You were asking me my name.

At first I thought you were joking.  Trying to be funny as usual, but you insisted you weren’t, and though I hoped that was the case, deep down I knew.  You started asking me if we were on Lost.  You were confused about music that was playing on the television, and how on Lost they often have similar music playing, and you had been dreaming about being on the show and were just having a tough time waking up and getting your bearings.  Now, I know it’s easy to wake up and feel disoriented – I’ve had that happen myself – but the fact that you said you didn’t know my name was so hard to take.  As you started to ‘come to’, you then insisted that you actually knew everything, you just needed to get confirmation from me to try and help clarify things for you.  I wanted to believe you, but I wasn’t so sure.  Within a few moments of you coming out of being disoriented, you had a panic attack.  It was the first panic attack you had.  I wasn’t sure what to do, I’d never experienced that before, but I remember just sitting on your lap, keeping one hand on your heart, the other hand stroking your hair/face/shoulder, trying to keep my voice calm and calm you down, while inside I was completely freaking out.  It was one of the scarier moments of it all for me.

So, here I sit with Lost on pause, eating a bowl of Skor icecream (though I like it, it was never one of my favorites but it caught my eye in the store the other day, because it was one of yours), trying to figure out if I can actually watch the silly show.  I want to – I’m curious to know how they end it.  I smile as I think of how you had a love/hate relationship with it anyhow – you hated how ridiculous it all seemed, yet kept watching it – even with one eye (though I really think you were ready to give it up at the end).  I know if I do watch it, I’ll miss your running commentary, picking it apart.  I guess it’s late enough now that this decision will have to wait for another night anyway.  It should.  We’ll see.  Maybe I’ll just fall asleep on the couch watching it . . .


P.S.  I Love You



  1. Carolyn said,

    I’m sure you weren’t laughing, (and you probably aren’t ready to laugh yet about it – but one day you will) but reading the part about you pulling off the unicorn heads has me almost on the floor. I can feel it! What a wonderful way to get rid of some pent up anger/frustration/embarasment/rage. Okay, maybe not wonderful from a perfect parenting perspective (you know the books where they tell you to get down on the floor with the two year old having the tantrum in the store – but I’ve never been convinced the people that write those books have actually ever met a 2 year old let alone been a parent to one), but it is wonderful from a real parent perspective who has been in situations when you truly wonder how these adorable little creatures can turn in to possessed individuals at the most inopportune time.

    So you pulled off the unicorn heads – don’t beat yourself up about it. In fact congratulate yourself that you took the frustration out on a unicorn. One day even your girls will laugh at this story.

  2. brenda said,

    First, the girls need to know when they’ve acted badly – if there wasn’t a consequence, how would they learn? It IS better than pulling their heads off. Everyone has limits, and while they needn’t know all the stressful details of being on your own, all kids do need to know that regardless, they need to respect other people and behave when asked to. Otherwise they turn into college students who text and email during class (I say as I mark assignments).

    The unicorn moment made me laugh out loud – though perhaps showing them was not the best idea, I’m sure it got your point across loud and clear. And we’ve all continued saying something or doing something at some point while the little voice in our heads says “stop, don’t say/ do that.” Still, a decapitated unicorn is hilarious.

  3. Hi Chelsea,
    The unicorn decapitation had me giggling, but I know all to well the stress and frustration that comes with parenting without our children’s father’s. I’ve had so many moments since Austin died where I feel like a horrible mother. I’ve snapped where before I would have had more patience, I’ve sworn when before I never did in front of my kids and I’ve cried and yelled where before I would have counted to 10. No, it’s not our children’s fault that their Dad died and yes, they are grieving too. Which sets us up for a perfect storm, ’cause we’re all missing him and needing him. Just remember that we are doing the best we can at each moment. Keep breathing and keep learning from each situation and know that you are a wonderful mother, despite the fact that the unicorns lost their heads! I can tell from your writing that your girls are very lucky to have you as their Mom. And we will figure this single parenting thing. It sucks, but we will.

    I’m having an ok day today as a Mom so I can offer this encouragement. Tomorrow when I lose my mind, I’ll count on you to remind me! 🙂

    Any final decision on the 13th? I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

    Love Deb

  4. letterstoelias said,

    Thank you all so much for your understanding, support, and giggles. . .

    I laughed at myself about it too – not so much after I went as far as to show the girls – that’s when I felt really bad about it – but it was wonderfully satisfying at the moment I took the heads off.

    It was incredibly out of character for the girls to behave that way, and I felt like I should be thankful that those types of incidents are not commonplace for them – but in the moment I was just shocked and horrified, and even taking care of well behaved children can be overwhelming when you are doing it on your own.

    I try to keep trusting that the vast majority of our interactions are positive – I don’t ‘generally’ rule based on fear and horror of beheaded dolls – and that these incidents will wash over. They are incredibly, deeply loved and I make sure every day, multiple times a day, that they know it. As Carolyn said, perhaps they will laugh about it one day too.

    And Deb, it looks about 99% sure that I’ll be joining you and Jackie on the 13th! I’m sure after this little ‘incident’ the girls will be glad to have me out of the house for a day!


  5. Dan said,


    I know it is horrible of me to encourage the type of behavior you chose to impose upon those helpless unicorns. Off with their heads! Remind me to stay out of your way whenever you are having a bad day.

    If it helps, I must admit that I can act so impulsively and harsh when pushed to my limit. It’s a damn good thing my kids have out grown such soft and cuddly toys. But there are still a few lingering WWE wrestlers that better be looking to save their own necks now that you have planted the seeds to their demise.

    Hang in there. We juggle so much, and we need to let off some steam now and then.


    • letterstoelias said,

      Thanks Dan,

      It always helps to have encouragement – even when it’s regarding beheaded unicorns . . .

      Here’s hoping the wrestlers keep their heads, but if not – you know now that it’s rather normal =)


  6. […] things have improved somewhat since the dreaded ‘unicorn incident’ of the other day . . […]

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