May 3, 2010

The last two weeks…..

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 12:52 am by letterstoelias

Hello, My Love,

I thought writing about how much I miss you was difficult – but trying to figure out how to write about the last couple of weeks seems almost impossible.  Aside from it being rather painful, so much of it seems a blur.  My head was so blocked with thoughts of you and a year ago and how much it hurts that you are not here, there wasn’t much room for anything else.  It’s also hard to write without feeling like I’m trying to come across as a victim, or that I feel like the world has done me wrong and ‘oh poor widow me’ – it’s just that this is my way to vent the hard stuff, and yes, it was a hard couple of weeks.

My appetite was definitely affected, as was my sleep – and a great deal of time was spent in my pajamas and staring blankly.  I went to the chiropractor on Tuesday (the 20th), as I woke up in about as much physical pain as I’ve been in for some time with my neck troubles – so I finally gave in and went for treatment.  I remember taking E to ballet as well as bits and pieces of the day, but not many specifics.

Though I do recall a really, really bad decision to pick up Wendy’s drive through for dinner after ballet . . . . I was too tired and upset to think about cooking, but I could barely even eat the food and ended up feeling worse off for it (not to mention the amount of waste – though I did recycle the packaging/cups/etc – and the cost!  I thought fast food was supposed to be cheap in price, not just quality).  I also started to get pretty emotional after dinner, and fortunately my Mom came by to help put the girls to bed so I could have a break from it for a night.

As for the 21st, Sian was kind enough to pick up the girls early that morning to take E to her various classes for the day, as well as drop C off at her home to play with Buz and D for the day.  It was a huge help as I was barely functioning – just to get them fed, dressed and ready for the day seemed like a remarkable accomplishment to me – and just as the door was about to close behind them, I was already in tears and headed back to bed.

It didn’t last long, however, as I had a few phone calls.  I decided I would go and sit in the sauna for a bit – as I was about to get in I was struck with the worry that the hot tub repair person (who was supposed to come on Mon or Tues) was likely to show, but I hoped not and went in anyhow.  Sure enough, 10mins in and full of tears and snot I hear a knock on the back door.  Thankfully I had closed the door to the room the sauna is in, otherwise he would have had an interesting view through the sliding glass doors in the back.  I threw my sweats on and wiped my face as best as I could before going out there, but he still looked at me quite shocked and asked if this was a bad time.  Of course it was, but I figured I should just get him to look at it so I could get an idea of how much it would be to fix.

After he left I took some time to write, had a few more phone calls, and then the girls were home.  I managed to throw together the most basic spaghetti and tomato sauce dinner that night, then it was off to bed for the girls.  Through dinner, however, I noticed a significant change in me.  Perhaps because I was distracted from some of my grieving in the day with phone calls, hot tub repair, and little girls who needed me – I started to feel like I was just shutting down.  ‘Turning myself off’ so to speak.  I normally love to listen as E shares her day with me – but as she rambled on about the many events of her day, I just found myself staring blankly out the window.  Even C’s goofy antics couldn’t seem to break the cloud that started to come down on me.

I thought, for sure, that after the girls were in bed and I was once again on my own it would hit me and I would then break down and let it out.  But, no.  I walked into the family room to see the hockey game on – I remembered how there was a game on the night you died.  You were in pain and didn’t see any of it.  When the Canucks won that night, I ran the pvr back so I could tape the end of it for you to watch the next day when you were feeling better.  Even the reminder of the hockey on didn’t do it.  I took a second spin at the sauna – and this time with no visitors, but still just feeling as if in a depressed state.  I was fully aware of it, and surprised by myself as I’m not one to usually keep from letting my emotions out and now there was opportunity and a pretty good motivator – but for some reason I was numb.  I didn’t know if it was my body’s way of trying to protect me?  But it was definitely strange to me.  Even when I finally went to bed – nothing.  Watching the clock pass the time you died, one year prior – painful, but I couldn’t even cry.

I didn’t sleep much that night, yet on Thursday, I managed again to get the girls fed and this time ready for ballet.  Zoe, Ms Penny’s daughter, was kind enough to take the girls to class for me, and then they took them to the flower farm to pick some fresh flowers for us.  They both also had dropped off some food for us, which was so thoughtful.  They unfortunately know too well what this is like – though this is one of the reasons that they have been so very helpful, considerate and thoughtful this year.   They know how hard it can be to ask for help and how much it means when people just reach out without being asked.  It makes such a huge difference and I am so grateful for them.

We had a quick lunch, then E was picked up for preschool.  I had a few more people come by to drop off flowers and Penny from the ferries helped arrange a beautiful basket and Japanese maple tree to be dropped off.  It was extremely thoughtful of them.  I also received a couple of messages from some of your co-workers at the school – Jenny said the tree they planted in your honour is growing beautifully (I planned to go see it that week but didn’t – hopefully in the next few days I’ll get there), and I also received a card from one of your old students.  It really did help to hear from people at that time and to know you were in the hearts and minds of others.

The girls both wore their ‘Daddy shirts’, and after E was off pre-school, we went down to spend some time at secret beach.  It was a beautiful day – a bit windy, but beautiful – yet we were practically the only people down there.  Almost two hours there and only one couple walked by with their dog as we arrived.  We had some snacks first (trying to fend off C’s perpetual statement of ‘I’n hungy’ to no avail), and found a few interesting ‘signs’ in the nature around us.

After snacks, we each picked a rock and piece of driftwood and headed up to the ‘big rocks’ as E likes to call them – where we would often do our family self portraits.  We sat for a bit, decorating our rocks and driftwood for you, before sending them out to the ocean – because ‘Daddy is the ocean’.  E likes to believe that you are in pretty much everything – the ocean, the sky, rainbows, clouds, the sun, the moon.  This is why I thought of writing messages to throw into the ocean for you . . . (also a little less potentially harmful than balloons I hope).

It took the girls a couple of attempts, and moving back down to the beach, to get the messages in the water, but they seemed to appreciate the sentiment of it.

Earlier in the day, with hands shaking violently, I managed to open the box with your ashes for the first time, and using a small carved vessel Martin had made out of a burl you collected some moons ago, I brought a tiny bit of ‘you’ with us.  Oddly enough, though it was difficult to go through the process of putting your ashes in that little jar, once they were in my hands I didn’t want to put them down.  Luckily they fit well in my pocket . . .

Knowing I couldn’t get anything past E, I took a few moments to finally explain what had happened to your body (avoiding the words burn and fire, mind you).  Over the year, she had asked a number of times where your body is, or asked if we could go see you at the funeral home again, or something of the sort – but it seemed each time she asked, something distracted her two seconds later allowing me to delay answering.  As she has such a curious mind, she seemed as comfortable as can be with the information provided, and actually asked to see the ashes, and took a long look.  She also asked if she could have some in her room – which I told her would happen one day – and when I told her that some people wear jewelry with ash in it, she told me she wanted that.  Some people may expect that because she’s only 5 she wouldn’t really understand, but I believe she does.  She understands far too well.

Once I felt ready, I walked a few feet into the water and watched as you flew on the breeze into the ocean.  Incredibly, incredibly surreal.  Until seconds later I was hit by a larger than usual wave that soaked the bottom of my pants, and I smiled, knowing you had something to do with it . . . . (especially since the same thing happened to the girls – E got out ok but C landed on her butt and was pretty wet – it was rather comical).

Eventually we had to head back, as Bridie had called a local restaurant to order dinner for us, and my Mom was bringing it by.  Coming up the path we came across a beautiful orange butterfly – not the same white one that I saw repeatedly last summer – but it put on quite a show for us.  And, just before leaving, E found a beautiful shell – one not as easy to find in one piece and certainly not as common a find as a you would expect.  She held it up to her ear, and told me that she could hear you in it.  And, among other things, she told me that you were happy.

I had hoped to finish tonight – but this is going rather long as is, and I now have a little visitor in bed.  C has been awfully sick this week, and though she seems to be on the mend, has woken up about 7 times or so (I’ve lost count) in the last 3hrs.  She’s rather interested in the computer and if I don’t turn it off, she won’t be asleep for a while.  I guess the rest will have to wait a bit . . . .


P.S.  I Love You



  1. Allie said,

    Dear Chelsea,

    Please allow me to try and qualify what I am going to say with the belief that since you are so painfully and so, so refreshingly honest with your thoughts and opinions -from your girls to your family and friends- that you wouldn’t mind me saying what your blog has done for me.

    I ave watched the movie P.S. I Love You several times, and always wondered if the way they depicted her grief did hone in on, or come even close to, what widows such as yourself go through. Some people may find it morbidly bizarre, but I went traipsing through several widow[er] blogs, partially I think because I have never known real pain or grief from loss. Please don’t think that this ‘curiosity’ in any way is me trying to trivialize your journey and experience, or reduce what you have felt and gone through to a mere occupational habit for myself.

    In other blogs I came across, there seemed to be a perennial film of hope and positivity from start to finish across the surfance of postings from widows which I always wondered and felt might be a mask of sorts. Then I read one entry from yours, and the unvarnished honesty with which you transmit your thoughts and feelings left me with the most searing sense of emotive pain and grief I have ever had, perhaps parallel with that of when my grandmother passed (while making comparisons probably isn’t practical or constructive, I know this isn’t quite in the same universe of your loss).

    I now have read your blog backwards, all the way back to the first entry, and I can tell you that one of the steadily growing reactions I have had is to work on repairing my relationship with my boyfriend, and whom I expect to marry in a few years time. I thought I was getting bored after a few years of crazy, impassioned loving him had started to subside and I settled into domestic “bliss”. I have begun to see that sense of complacent normalcy is far from boring, but that which, if I may, I believe you miss more than anything. I could not begin to imagine, and yet I do..I don’t know why, or what purpose it serves, but I find myself imagining sleeping knowing that Chris’ arm touching mine would never be again, and I can’t breathe, can’t think how I could ever possibly function, particularly with children as young as yours to remind me of what should have been the beginning of life as a proper family. You, and others who read my comment, may think and wish I hadn’t written this, as all it might seem to be doing is twisting the knife just that bit further.

    I have always suffered from the syndrome of being far, far too verbose, so let me try to just get to the point that may have been obscured in the above ranting; I am so, so much more aware of how much I love Chris after coming to know about your journey, how much having my life revolve around our co-existence rather than going out and living the ‘free’ single life at the age of 25, is in fact how it should be, because I couldn’t bear to be without it. Reading the details and depth of how much you miss your husband has given me back the sense that I had for the first year or so of our relationship that I was insanely lucky to have found my life partner and soulmate so young.

    I wish so much that what I am telling you could give you some kind of comfort somehow, that giving me back the awareness of my deep, yearning, eternal love for Chris would make you see how blogging your experience has done some good, but I know and could fully understand that all this might do is make you more upset at the end, because it won’t bring your husband back, and will have only done something good for me, and left you just as empty before. If it does, please feel free to tell me where to shove my enlightened sentiments. I thought about re-reading what I have written in case I was being too frank and heedlessly selfish and not tactful enough in expressing my thoughts, but then I remembered how much I like your own frankness and decided against it.



    • letterstoelias said,

      Being overly verbose myself – not to worry Allie. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

      I would be interested to see the movie PS I Love you – I had planned to before Elias died, but was warned against it. After your comment I looked it up and only just found out that the husband in the movie also dies of a brain tumour. Strange coincidence.

      My busyness in taking care of the girls, etc doesn’t allow me much time for grieving, which is why I try to use this as my way to get it out. It is an indescribably painful experience, and part of the pain is how ‘normally’ life seems to continue when you feel like the world should have stopped the day your spouse died. But, it does continue and so we find a way. There are many times when I feel Elias’ presence so strongly and it does make me smile and give me hope – but he is on my mind 24/7 and it is SO hard to miss him. And, you are right, many of the ‘mundane’ day to day things are what I miss most – and some of the things that drove me crazy I would love to have back . . . though I’m sure they would eventually drive me crazy once again as I think that is part of what relationships are about. Nothing is ever perfect. There is plenty of mundane, and there were points when I, too, missed the intensity of those early couple of years of dating – but it becomes something more. Something you grow to value more than anything in life.

      I do really appreciate you sharing what my writing has done for your relationship with Chris – no extra turn to the knife (missing Elias is as painful as it gets anyhow) – Elias and I tried to make it a point in his last months to talk with people about living for the moment and enjoying the little things in life that really mean something, so I know it would make him smile too.

  2. Chelsea,

    I love the pictures. You are an amazing photographer. I have been wondering how the past couple of weeks have gone so it was good to hear from you. I love the time you and the girls spent at the beach. Sounds like a perfect way to spend the day. I hope that Caia is feeling better today and you are finding a little peace after the storm of marking one year.

    Love Deb

    • letterstoelias said,

      Thanks Deb – I’ve been wondering how you have been doing too . . . a little quiet on the blog front for you these days. Hopefully we can catch up by phone or email soon.


  3. bridie said,

    When I read about the waves I instantly thought: water fight.

    • letterstoelias said,


      I had to laugh and shake my head, and I think I even may have ‘flipped the bird’ at him . . . =)


  4. Lovely pictures, beautiful girls, love always to hear your fantastic mind and heart telling your days. Thank you for sharing this lovely set of memories.

    • letterstoelias said,

      Thanks Supa! Always nice to hear from you.


  5. JoAnne Funch said,

    I loved your post and photos, really lovely. I too had a burial at sea with my husbands ashes, it was a powerful symbol of sending him back to the universe.
    The screen saver on my computer is of the bay where we laid him to rest so everyday when I look at this vast blue water I smile knowing he was sent back to the place from which he came.
    I wish you and your children peace in your healing process and to continue to know the love you were blessed with even though it was for such a short time.

    in love and friendship,

    • letterstoelias said,

      Thanks JoAnne,

      Yes, the sea is powerful – and has such a calming effect on me, so I think it was a wise choice. Thanks for taking the time to comment, and for your understanding.


  6. I admire you courage in blogging about your loss. You are brave, beautiful, and loving. I hope that you find peace as time goes on, and that you and your children find love and support via your writing. My very best to you. molly

    • letterstoelias said,

      Thanks so much Molly – I appreciate your kind words.

  7. […] was at peace with how we spent the day – friends helped the girls keep their routine going to ballet and preschool, then the three […]

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