April 2, 2010

April Showers

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 12:38 am by letterstoelias

If this first day of April is any indication, the next three weeks won’t be all that easy.  Not to mention the days following the year mark of your death.  I was able to function today. I got a fair amount done.  But the significance of the day was by no means lost or swept under the rug.  April.  There were many times I was very near tears, or fighting them back as much as possible, and after dinner I had to jump in the shower and just let them come out for a few minutes, before returning to put the girls to bed.

One such instance of the fight, was a conversation with one of E’s pre-school friends that went something along these lines:

‘Do you have a picture of a ‘mans’ on your car?’

‘Yes, I do.’ (she was referring to the sticker of the line drawing of you in each of the girls’ windows)


‘That’s E’s Daddy.’
‘Oh.  Does he live with you?’

(now really fighting back tears) ‘No.  E’s Daddy died last year.’

‘Oh.  That’s really sad.  How did he die?’

‘He got very sick.’  (followed by a minor conversation about cancer, what it was and the fact that it was in E’s Daddy’s brain – she asked)

‘Oh.  That’s really, really sad.’
‘Yes.  Yes it is.’


Though not an easy conversation, I appreciated the honesty, empathy, and natural questions that only a five year old could pose….

The girls seemed to handle your birthday well last week, but it was not an easy day for me.  About 4 months ago, I was looking at the calendar and she spotted your birthday marked down.  She asked me to write something for her.  This is what she asked me to write:

First, you make a cake.  Then, put candles on it.  Then, hold it up to the sky so Daddy can blow them out.

So, that was the plan.  I know they missed you, but they were pretty happy to help me make a cake (angel food cake, for our angel) and take it outside for you to ‘blow’ out the candles (and obviously they enjoyed eating it too).  I also started the day by bringing in some fresh cut flowers from our garden – something you always loved to do, and of course the spring flowers remind me of you – a ‘spring baby’.

Of course, there was not even the slightest breeze out that night, and while at first the girls forgot and after we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ they blew the candles out (and I was busy taking photos and worrying about C dropping the cake so I had initially forgotten the original plan too) – but E then remembered so we re-lit one candle to hold to the sky.  Not even a little gust.  I waved the cake around as much as I felt I could do safely without sending it flying off the plate (and pictured you laughing at me all the while), but each time I checked it, the bloody thing was still lit.  Finally I laughed so hard on it, it went out and we accepted that.

We cut a piece for you at the table (which the girls offered to ‘help’ you eat when theirs was done), but unbeknownst to them I ‘helped’ you after they had gone to bed – along with a glass of wine – outside on the porch swing (for as long as I could muster . . . . it was a little cold), and though it was nice to sit out in the fresh, cool spring air and listen to the frogs and crickets, I so hate that you were not there on the swing with me.

It had also been a tough couple of days as C had quite a fever – it had developed on Sunday – and hadn’t slept well for a few nights.  The middle of the week was just the usual business of the girls’ classes and my work – along with guest night at the pre-school where E got to take her Nana, Papa and C as guests – but then E got the fever on Thursday, we had a couple of quieter days while she recuperated.

Saturday we went to the Early Year’s fair up at Chat, and as we couldn’t connect with Buz, Sian and the boys to meet up with them there, I asked my mom if she wanted to come along as I knew it would be good to have another set of eyes, ears and hands for the girls.  Still, C managed to wander off at one point towards the end and it’s such an awful feeling – in reality it took less than a minute to spot her but that was enough to make me feel like a rotten mom.  I saw that happen a few times to others that day and I know it only takes a second, but it’s still such a sickening feeling.

I opted out of going to the ‘Family Dance’ fundraiser for the preschool that night.  I try to support the fundraisers for the school as much as possible, but just didn’t feel up for something like that.  And, it’s difficult to explain to other people.  One person who was trying to understand then asked me why I didn’t go to the ‘Cancer Dance’ fundraiser recently instead.  I really didn’t want to explain why I wouldn’t be up for something like that either . . .

I even missed Earth Hour that night.  Something that I would enjoy participating in and could do from home, alone.  But I forgot.  Completely.  Just like I managed to forget Brenda’s birthday on Monday.  My best friend for 20yrs (Wow.  Is it really 20yrs???).  Monday was a bit of a crazy day though.  I worked in town and was up early for the ferry, but as it was my last day ‘officially’ working at DCIS, the staff all met up for tea and treats and to give me a lovely parting gift.  It was definitely a bittersweet day.  I also realized it was going to mean my last regular pay-cheque for sometime and I started to get a little freaked out . . . but, judging how fried my brain has felt the last few days it’s probably a good thing that I’m not trying to sell medical insurance to anyone right now.  Of course the work I’m doing for the store is important as well, but for some reason it’s much easier to focus on.  It’s also been nice just having a few extra hours this week to spend with C one-on-one while E is at pre-school and I would normally be working.

It was also a busy day as my sister and her family were in town as the girls were getting their eyes checked.  They all ended up coming back home with me to stay for a couple of days.  It was a bit of a whirlwind as plans had to keep changing for various reasons – and for a while it looked like Bridie and the girls may have needed to stay with me for a while because one of the girls required a surgical procedure – I was looking forward to the company, but plans changed yet again and it looks like they may be heading home after all.

Things are finally starting to pick up steam with the store – I ‘almost’ have the lease finalized, the logo finalized, Ally is going to help me with the website, and it looks like I have a couple of photo shoots coming up soon too.  It’s exciting, I just wish things were moving a little faster – but the slow part is all out of my control.  It looks like I’ll be opening towards the end of May or even June 1st now (instead of early May as I had initially planned), but perhaps it’s better that way as then I will also get passed what would have been our 10yr wedding anniversary.  There isn’t ‘so’ much to face in June . . .

Aside from all that, it’s difficult to pinpoint exactly how I’ve been feeling otherwise.  As I mentioned earlier, much of the last few weeks have been spent in thoughts of this time last year.  Your last birthday – where the day before I surprised you with a phone call from an old friend and chef you used to work with so many years ago, along with a few of your other restaurant ‘buddies’ at the party we had at your mom’s house.  They were great surprises.  I was pretty proud of myself, and you seemed so happy.  Claude wanted to buy you a suit for your birthday so you would have something nice to wear on our trip and any time after, and you told me you didn’t understand why he was wasting his money because you wouldn’t have a chance to wear it after the trip.  We tried to joke about ‘well, you could wear it when we buried you’.  Turns out that was the only time you wore it.  It was also just before your birthday that I pushed Rosemary to tell me how long they really thought you had.  Even though the answer was exactly what I was expecting to hear, when she said, ‘A year – give or take.’ It was like someone drove a knife into my heart.  And twisted it.  I told her that I had really hoped you would make it to our 10th anniversary at least, and she said maybe you would.  Neither of us would have guessed a month later you would be gone.

Just before your birthday last year you also had the MRI that showed more growth.  We didn’t get to meet with the n. onc for a few days for the ‘official’ results, but by that point we could read the scans well enough to know.  When we met with him he confirmed it wasn’t good, and that was also when they changed your tumour diagnosis to a Gliomatosis Ceribri.  A very rare type.  I told you that I always knew you were special.  We changed up your treatments once again and this was when we moved into your parents’ home for the last month of your life so we could get you as much of the naturopathic treatment as possible.  It was around this time a year ago that your headaches were increasing – once to the point where I had to take you to the ER, and the double vision was starting.  It was such a difficult time, but we still managed to enjoy and appreciate each other so very much.  I don’t think we had ever been closer (though I hate the fact that I didn’t have my camera for that last month and missed the opportunity to take more photos).

It’s been tough this past couple of weeks as well for some of my other ‘widow friends’, and my heart just aches for all of them too.  Deb just had her 1yr anniversary (or ‘deathiversary’ as some call it . . .) on the 20th, Jackie had her 2yr mark on the 25th (as did Matt), and I’ve been following Ryan’s blog and things are declining rapidly for him now.  It’s so hard, and my heart breaks for his family.  Also, seeing how things have progressed for him, I think that had your death been more ‘typical’ for that of brain tumour patients, it would not have been long off anyhow.  And I know how much you didn’t want to go through that decline, and though a big part of me thought it may have made it ‘easier’, reading what Tasha is going through, I don’t think that it would have been.  It’s never ‘easy’.  Not when you expect it, not when you don’t.  I’ve met enough widows and widowers who have lost their spouses in a variety of ways.  One way is not ‘better’ than the other.  It all hurts.  Like hell.

As for this weekend, it’s Easter.  Your parents are coming tomorrow to help prepare for the work party on Saturday, when a whole bunch of your other family members are coming to help finish the arbor and work in the yard.  Even Caroline, Lorenz and the kids are coming so we’ll do a little Easter egg hunt too.  E remembers last year when one was put so high, that Daddy had to get it for her.

Last night she told me that the sun reminds her of you.  As do rainbows.  And pretty much everything in the sky.  We talked about how the warm sun was like you giving us big warm hugs, and how the rain was like big wet kisses.  The wind was tickles, or hugs.  And so on.  Perhaps this is why in my dream last night you came ‘swooping’ down from the sky.  I just wish I could remember more of it.  I know you spoke to me, but I can’t remember what you said.  I just know it felt so good, yet so sad at the same time.  The crying felt so real, as did the pain in my heart – I’m sure I actually felt it – yet so did the feeling of your arms around me and my head on your chest.

As I mentioned before, there have been a few ‘lapses’ this past few days where I’ve almost forgotten that you aren’t here.  When Bridie was talking about using my car the other day, the thought crossed my mind, and I ‘almost’ said out loud, ‘Sure, I’ll just ask Elias what he thinks.’  There was another point where I was cooking something and I thought how I couldn’t wait to hear what you thought of it (or something like that, I can’t remember exactly).  You would think after almost a year that wouldn’t happen.  But, I guess you never get ‘used’ to living without

Anyhow, I guess I’ve rambled enough for one night.  I’ve been sipping on a glass of wine and you know how much of a cheap drunk I am, so I hope this is coherent.  Sian and I had planned to share a glass on Monday after my last shift of work, but she stayed home so I could have time with my sister.  Bridie and I talked about having it, but we were all too tired and didn’t (and don’t worry – I haven’t turned into a raging drinker even though I’ve mentioned wine twice in this letter – it was the same bottle from 10 days ago).  So, it’s back to just me.  Cheers to my departure from the world of insurance, cheers to surviving the first day of April, and cheers to you, My Love.


P.S.  I Love You



  1. Kristin said,

    Thinking of you. Wishing I could be sharing a glass of that wine with you. Stay strong, Chelsea.

    • letterstoelias said,

      Next time we each have a glass, we’ll have to raise it to each other and to our loved ones =).

      Thanks for the encouragement – hope all is well with you.

  2. Dianne said,

    Know that I’m thinking of you. I’d love to see some photos of Spring popping up around your home. Maybe you can capture a few and put up with your next post :0))

    Every time I see the neatest gadget for babies or kids, I think of you and your upcoming store. I’ll have to remember to shoot them to you to see if you have them.

    One more thing…have you ever read “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years”? It’s an awesome book…one that’s tough to put down!

    Take care ~ Dianne

    • letterstoelias said,

      Hi Dianne,

      I’ll try to get a few more ‘spring type’ shots soon – I wish I had taken some of the cherry blossoms, but they are so fleeting.

      I haven’t heard of that book, but I am slowly making my way through the other one you sent me and can relate a great deal to it.

      I hope all is well with you and yours,

  3. mamabearsarah said,

    i think he was on that swing with you …

    that picture of him really struck me. as hard as it is for me to fathom my own situation, i can’t fathom it for you either. trying to make our brains understand how it’s possible that they are not physically here. the pictures say otherwise, their things in our homes that are still here …inadimant objects that remain and yet they don’t. doesn’t make much sense.

    thinking of you and holding you close in my heart.


    • letterstoelias said,

      So true – hard to fathom that which makes no sense. You wrote about it so well in your recent post…

      Thanks for keeping in touch, even though I’ve been a little ‘lax’ at it these days.


  4. Hugs and love to you Chelsea. I wish I had some magical words to help you feel better but I don’t. You are doing an amazing job with the girls, honouring Elias and keeping his love and memory alive in your family. I think that is the greatest gift we can give our children, to bring their Dad with them into the future so they continue to grow with his influence and love.

    Congratulations on your big career change. It takes courage and a huge amount of effort to do what you’re doing, as you know, and I so look forward to seeing pictures of the store when it’s up and running. I also hope to make it there one day to shop!

    My heart ached for you when you talked about being out on the swing on Elias’s birthday. I know what that time is like, sitting outside with a glass of wine after the kids have gone to sleep and feeling his absence so profoundly. I’m sure he was there with you, but nothing is as comforting as his physical presence, obviously.

    Take care,

    Love Deb

    • letterstoelias said,

      Thanks, as always Deb, for your kind words and understanding heart. It helps me to know of others who have survived these moments ahead of me.

      I hope all is well with you and the boys.

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