April 21, 2010

Goin’ Out

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 5:30 pm by letterstoelias

This letter has been started and stopped, edited and tweaked, written and re-written in my head a thousand times over in the past days, weeks, months, year.  To the day.

I apologize in advance if it comes off as incoherent rambling as it is almost as difficult to say how difficult it is to say what I want to say.  There are no words, and yet I try.

I ‘made it’.  Day 365.  The year of firsts is over.  I was told 365 days ago that this year would be the hardest.  That time would heal.  I’ve read other bloggers who recently passed this day and seemed to do so with a great deal of grace and inspiration.  Today, I don’t feel graceful or inspirational in the least.

I know that technically, legally, officially on paper your death occurred on April 22nd, 2009 somewhere around 2am (you can ask the er receptionist who likely has it down to the second as she swooped in like a vulture every time she thought you had taken your last breath so she could be sure to get it documented when all I wanted to do was scream at her to fuck off and leave us alone and that you were going to die and did she really need to keep circling and offering ridiculous platitudes as I screamed, cried and experienced the most painful moment of my life – I should qualify this with the fact that the ambulance attendants and nurses were great . . . and I’m sure she’s a lovely woman herself and it’s not an easy job, but it’s hard to like people very much when watching the person you love most in life die before your eyes), and I will mourn that day as well – but this day.  This day was when it all started and really it was only the 22nd because you were so damn stubborn and continued to breathe as long as you could for me.  For the girls.  For the rest of your family.

This day.  This was the last morning we woke up together – all four of us in bed (that is, until I had to try to rush E to the bathroom, only making it to the door as she puked).  We cleaned up, had a few other laundry and toilet mishaps, laughed, and packed up eventually, excited to be going home for the first time in 4 weeks.  What was supposed to be a much-needed break for a few days.

We laughed more as we drove off for the day.  We held hands.  A little later, as your naturopath treatment finished you touched your temple with a wince and told me you felt a headache coming on, then you smiled your sly grin at me and told me, “And it’s going to be a good one too.  Oh, yeah.”  The last time I would see that genuine smile – and one of the last times I really saw ‘you’ before the pain took over.  Of course you ‘toughened up’ briefly for the meeting with the oncologist because you would be damned if you were going to seem in such bad shape that he would tell you we couldn’t go on our trip.

But for the rest of the day it was just pain, until finally – just before the girls went to sleep, and just before you did for the last time – you told me you weren’t in pain any more.  That you just wanted to ‘get out of here’.  To go to sleep, you clarified when I asked what you meant.  The words relieved me and worried me at the same time.  But you were relaxed finally, and went to sleep.  In some ways I wish it was as as simple as ending with you going to sleep and not waking up – but at the same time, through the stress and trauma that followed I was at least aware of what was happening and able to communicate with you right to the end.

I can’t relive the rest here now, though it’s been done countless times in my head.  We know how it ends.  April 22nd, 2009.  I’m not sure which day will hurt more.  The day of ‘lasts’, or the actual day.  I guess it doesn’t really matter – every day I live without you hurts.  This day hurts.  I know tomorrow will too – the ‘official’ day.  The start of the ‘firsts’.  Waiting for the girls to wake up to tell them that their Daddy had died and that they couldn’t see him any longer.

The pain is so acute at times like this.  I know for so many people who love you and miss you it’s still hard to believe.  That when you didn’t see the person every day, it’s hard to come to terms with.  Even with my day to day affected as it has been, it’s still hard for me to believe too. It’s been a blink and an eternity all at once.  It’s like you were here yesterday, yet never even existed.  A memory.  A fantasy.

You were the first thing I saw in the morning and the last thing I laid eyes on as I went to sleep at night.   You were my shelter in moments of weakness, my shoulder to cry on.  You were the arms to wrap around me tight and the soft voice to whisper in my ear that everything would be ok.  My soft place to land.  You were my hand to hold, my cohort in parenting, my cheerleader, ‘team mate’, soul mate.  The fire that lit the spark in my eyes.  We made all our decisions together, no matter how big or small.  We celebrated the good times together and survived the tough times together.  We shared memories.  We fought, we laughed, we cried, we loved together.  The list is endless.

365 days without you.  365 days without us.  365 days without me.

Last night I looked back over a few of my last posts on the caringbridge site and a number of the comments people left after you died.  So many comments on how we inspired people with how we faced the situation with our heads high and positive attitudes and lessons of living in the moment.  It was true.  We learned that lesson – and in some ways I feel like I have let you down by being so caught up in the grief of losing you that I let it slip away.  Though, perhaps that’s not entirely true.  I guess I’m still very much in the moment – the moment just happens to suck a lot of the time.  But the spark has faded.  I see photos of myself now, smiling and appearing happy – but if you look closely, it’s not the same as before.

Sometimes I long to have not just you back, but me.  But, just as you can’t come back, neither can the ‘me’ that left with you.  I miss her in many ways.  It’s not to say that I don’t like the ‘new me’.  There are some great things about her.  She’s learned a lot, grudgingly so at times.  There are still countless things she needs to figure out.  There are still things she needs to change.  I often wonder what you would think of her – but I guess if you were here . . . . she wouldn’t be.  But, she’s doing ok.  She’s standing on her own two feet (most of the time), and though it took a great deal of kicking, screaming and fighting tooth and nail along the way, she’s made it through the first year (something she didn’t think possible that dreadful night).  So much of which has been a complete blur.  So many things I don’t even remember.  Sometimes I’m not even sure how I got here.

Will day 366 magically be better?  Doubtful.  Will the seconds be easier?  Not necessarily – I know other widows who found the seconds were harder because the shock had worn off.  Has time ‘healed’?  Depends on how you look at it I guess.  I don’t know that there is anything to heal.  The break of my heart that came with losing you is not something that I can see getting ‘fixed’.  It will always be there.  I will, and have to a certain extent, learned to live with it.  Learned to cope with it.  It still brings me to my knees at times.  Not as often as before, sure, so there’s something to say for that I suppose.

I tried writing this during the day while the girls were out, but was happily interrupted by a phone call with Anthony, and it was great to get an opportunity to talk with him, mostly about you of course.  Now the girls are home calling at me to fill their needs, dinner to give them and I can’t concentrate on the rest and am not even sure exactly what I’ve written thus far, so the rest will wait for tomorrow.  For now I need to get this out.  The song on the letter below, was sung by Vanessa at your memorial service, by the way.  I wish I had the audio of that version because it was amazing and I know you would have loved it so (though Sarah Harmer does a pretty great job too . . . . ).

Tomorrow I will write again.  Tomorrow.  The ‘official’ day I lost you.  It’s starting to sound more painful than today after all…..


P.S.  I Love You



  1. Dan said,

    Lovely post. It will be interesting to see how this next year will be for you. I keep worrying that I expect the passing of the first year to be so significant, then I just wake up the next day feeling just as horrible. Nothing will have changed. I hope that it does become a year of reclaiming beautiful memories for you. A year to feel more at peace with your loss. A year to put a little distance from the rawness of the first year.

    Be gentle with yourself. Let his love hold you.


  2. michele maheu said,

    I only accidentally discovered your blog and though I cannot relate to your loss, it is so clear how much you love your husband, and that I can relate to. Reading your words was such an eye opener for me, I cannot even begin to tell you how moving and powerful they are. I just wanted to let you know that your writing has really touched me.


  3. Sending you hugs and positive energy. This is such a difficult time but you’ve almost made it to calm water. Keep breathing and drinking water. I hope that you and the girls find some peaceful moments tomorrow, wrapped in Elias’s love and knowing how proud he is of all three of you.

    Love Deb

  4. Courtney said,

    Chelsea, I can’t remember how I found your blog, but I check it often. Though I have no idea the pain you’re going through, I want to thank you for sharing your life with Elias with us and your painful struggle after losing him. Your love for him is so apparent, it makes me realize how important it is to cherish the people we love. I go home every night and hold my boyfriend of 6 years extra close because of you. Thank you. Sending you healing light and love on this horribly painful day.

  5. Shannon Bond said,


  6. Cadi said,

    Sending you love & good juju. Bright blessings!

  7. Bridie said,

    Thinking of you, Elias and my beautiful nieces.


  8. lb said,

    Thinking of you tonight.. Mom and I are getting together tomorrow to dedicate some time honouring Elias. I’m sure he will be on the minds (and in the hearts) of many.

    Kisses and hugs to you and the girlies.

  9. Caitlin said,

    I’ve been thinking of you and your girls for the last week, and dreaming about Elias as this date has loomed nearer. It’s bothered me that I didn’t send in a story about Elias as you requested a few weeks ago. It’s such a small thing to ask that might offer a great deal of comfort, how could I not?

    My hesitation was this: From my perspective, Elias and I had one thing in common for sure – we’re both pretty shy. This meant that at family get-togethers, I didn’t really talk to him much, and he didn’t talk much at all! 🙂

    Although I didn’t get to have a lot of deep conversations with him, I loved him a great deal. Not just because of the love that he brought to my cousin’s life and our family (but that was a big part of it), but because of the amazing father I saw in him, and the values he clearly embodied in his daily life: selflessness, compassion, optimism, kindness, humour, openmindedness, and love. These are values that I try to reflect in my life, and when I struggle to be the best person I want to be, I think of Elias as a role model.

    I hope this day brings you and your daughters peace and love. Know that we’re thinking of you, the girls, and Elias, and that we’re sending our love your way to help you get through the day.

  10. brenda said,

    I am thinking of you, Elias and the girls much today. Big cross-Canada hug.

  11. Sheri said,

    Hi Chelsea,

    Reading your post reminds me of the 1 year anniversary when my brother Ryan died. That day we had a dance/sing-a-long (remember those?) Christmas performance at the Kinsmen Centre in Tsawwassen. I never thought I would get through the day, let alone a performance with the intent to cheer up other people!

    But I did and you will too. Please don’t ever feel like you need to inspire anyone or perform on this day, or any other. Just be. Just feel it.

    Your dance family is thinking of you today.

    Take care,

    PS – I remember seeing you ask for memories of Elias. It made me think of the times he would come to our dance studio while class was on and he would leave candy (Skittles I think it was?) under the windsheild of your car. Doesn’t get much sweeter than that, does it?

  12. Kristin said,

    Your words are exquisite. And honest. And painful. All at once. I feel for you. My heart breaks for you, and it makes me fear whats to come for me in 3 months even more.

    I don’t think the 2nd year is any better. I think it’s just different. I do think some things will be more painful, mainly because I think we’re conditioned to believe that they won’t be. Regardless, it is what it is and all we can do is move forward like we have up until this day. All we can do is take each day moment by moment and make the most we can with it. Elias would want that for you. I know Chris would want it for me. They fought so hard to keep us from living this life. And now we need to fight to keep on living. It’s ironic at best, I suppose.

    Lots of hugs today.

  13. letterstoelias said,

    Thanks so much to everyone for your comments . . .

    Dan, Deb, Bri, Shannon, Brenda, Kristin, Sherri, LB – thanks as always. Your comments always lift me up, and this was no exception.
    Caitlin – so great to hear from all of you as well, and it is helpful to hear those memories and to know he is in your thoughts as well.
    Michelle – it really does help me to know that my words have touched your heart so thank you so very much for taking the time to comment and share that with me. Especially on that day.
    Courtney – knowing you hug your boyfriend a little tighter at night after reading a post is music to my ears – it’s just what Elias would have wanted too =)
    And Cadi, thanks so much for the blessings & juju =), and I see from your link, you know how much they are valued. I hope all is as well as can be expected for you on this difficult journey.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: