May 31, 2010

I Saw you, I See You

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 1:47 am by letterstoelias

It’s been a very busy 10 days or so since I last wrote.  Our anniversary was a difficult day in many ways – the girls were out for a few hours in the morning, and I did the same as last year; sat in the sauna, listened to the cd I made for our wedding, and looked at our album.  Oh yeah, and I cried.  Some people may question this type of thing and think that it’s some form of self torture – but it’s not like I can exactly ‘forget’ that we were married.  I still managed to smile through the many tears that fell while looking at certain photos.  I even managed to listen to the final song on the cd for the first time since you died.  ‘Our’ song.  Long Time Running by the Tragically Hip.  No.  Not your typical wedding song.  Not a romantic song – quite the opposite I think – but we were Hip fans and they didn’t have many ballads . . . and it’s such a great tune (though I don’t think either of us would ever pick such a long song to dance to ever again!)

The weather was funny that day – part sunny, part cloudy, with a misty rain much of the day.  A few times I popped outside, hopeful to perhaps catch sight of a rainbow, but would just take a few moments to feel the light rain on my face and feel the strong breeze that whipped up as I stood still.  It gave me a smile.

Though I had initially planned to opt out of pizza night, and Sian and Buz offered to still host it with the girls, in the end I decided to go over there just for dinner as – though I wasn’t feeling particularly social, I didn’t feel like eating dinner alone in the house either.  I left early – in part because I had to give Duffy his eye drops (my parents were out of town and I was looking after him), but also because I wanted a bit more time to myself.

As I was sitting on the couch, writing an email and looking out our back window, I caught sight of a hummingbird flitting about.  I must have watched it for 3-5 minutes before it finally left.  I know it’s spring and the huneysuckle is just blooming, but I found it interesting timing.

Sian brought the girls back when it was time for bed, and after I got them to bed, I poured a glass of wine, made myself one large chocolate covered strawberry and grabbed a few other chocolates, and sat down to watch our wedding dvd.

It would be the first time to see you in motion in over a year.  It would be the first time to hear your voice (though I did hear one quick clip of you laughing many months ago and had to turn it off).  To see you smile in anything other than a photo.  I wasn’t sure if I could handle it, but I wanted to try.  10 years.  I had to see you.  I had to see us on that day.

Of course, you were the first thing to come on the screen and I had to hit pause 3 seconds in – I was already in tears.  Well, sobbing.  It took a few minutes to convince myself to try again.  I hit play and the camera was off you for a while, until the 30second mark or so when I had to hit pause again with tears falling once more.  A few more minutes to recoup, and I hit play once more.  Fortunately(?) the camera was then on me for the next while, and the video was then so familiar – though I hadn’t seen it in who knows how many years – it was familiar enough that I knew most of what was coming and what to expect that it made it easier.  I would still tear up every time you were on camera, every time I heard your voice, but I made it through the video.

I’m glad I did.  Of course I remembered it was a great day – but I had forgotten just how much fun everyone had.  My parents, Bridie, Brenda and I singing in the hallway as we were waiting for the ceremony to start, My Dad making jokes about the minister being late because he was golfing, Peter making jokes about you peeing your pants, Derek’s jealousy because he wanted you for himself, Anthony giving the shortest toast to the bride in history (but it was perfect!) – it goes on.  We all had such a good time.  It was nice to see the video of everyone dancing, and it really was everyone.  Such a fun day.  And the love.  Oh, the love.

As much as I loved to see everyone dancing to ‘My Life’s Companion’ by the Mills Brothers, some of the lyrics hit me – ‘I know a man who’s lonely and is old at thirty-three.  No one wants to be, old at thirty-three’.  I sure feel old at 33.  And lonely.

One other thing that struck me about the video – though I recalled it immediately as it came to that part , at some point over time I had forgotten that the minister changed up our vows on us at the altar.  He had us each read the first few lines – up to ‘… a love, unconditional’ – then we read the rest in unison, changing it to ‘’… with all the words of our hearts, we marry and bind our lives together’.  I guess because I had chosen to laminate them as we had written them, I always thought of them that way.

And, though our vows didn’t read anything about ‘till death do us part’, I thought a lot about that over recent days.  No one usually expects it to happen so young/so quickly, but however/whenever it happens in a marriage, usually, only one person really gets that.  You got to live ‘till death’ for us to part.  I didn’t.  I’m still here.  I know that’s not exactly what it means, but . . . I’m just having one of those moments.  Bear with me.  Who knows, maybe it’s because a part of the ‘surviving spouse’ really does die with their loved one.  Often I feel like ‘I’ died that day too.

It was not easy going to bed that night.  But I did, and woke the next day at the 13 month point.  I had foolishly assumed that perhaps after a year the month anniversaries would not carry as much weight or be as difficult, but I was wrong.  I was glad that we had some company come, however.  Bridie and Penelope were down and stayed with us for a few days.  It was great to have them here for so many reasons (and not just because of Bridie’s cooking, though I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that was part of it!).  The downside to the visit was that they had to leave.  Having the company for a few days was so great – an adult to talk with (and eat ice cream with) after the girls had gone to bed – but now it’s back to just me.  The loneliness hits on such a deep level these days . . .

It was a busy week with all things store related – my logo is done (Ally did an amazing job on it), and I was finally able to get the lease documents all signed and pick up the keys!

It’s exciting, and frightening, and frantic, and fun, and overwhelming.  Now things are about as busy as can be with trying to actually put the store together.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to open as early in July as I had hoped, but I’ll be working as fast and hard as I can over the next few weeks to get it going.  I’ve been picking paint colours, light fixtures, flooring, shelving, etc. etc. etc.  Another reason it was great having Bridie here was because she also helped me put together some of my initial inventory orders, and I can’t wait to do the rest.  Even in the midst of all of this – along with the general business of being a mom and keeping up with the house (or at least trying to) – thoughts of you are ever present.  It’s hard to explain how you are, quite literally, constantly on my mind.  Constantly.

I’ve found myself ‘seeing you’ now and then.  I remember early on reading of this happening to other widows as well – I saw someone drive by yesterday and for a split second really thought it could have been you.  Or, I’ll see someone down the road or just catch an odd glimpse of someone and catch myself wanting to scream out your name.  I feel my heart jump.  I gasp.  Until that split second is over and reality hits once again.  I don’t know why the mind plays tricks like this.  Even on those rare occasions where you are present in my dreams – often I can only hear you, or it’s like you are there, but something is missing.  I remember one where briefly I was able to hug you and feel your arms around me and I just cried – but no matter what the dream is, it’s always extremely brief and I am woken up in some random fashion, desperate to try and remember the dream and return to it.  It never works, though as another widow wrote recently, the ability to conjure up loved ones at will in dreams would be wonderful in some ways, but terribly dangerous in others.  I would want to sleep all day if that was the case.

Speaking of sleep . . . I suppose I should get to it.  There will be much to do this week with the store – painting starts on Tuesday, and there is so much more to organize and I’ve been incredibly tired the past few days – even though (tonight aside) it’s not from staying up so late.  Almost the opposite, in that I’ve fallen asleep on the couch, or putting the girls to bed, then I can’t get to sleep when I actually get to bed.  Anyhow, I’m sure I’m tired enough now, so – as usual – I’ll have to finish my ramblings another time.  Good night, My Love.


P.S.  I Love You



  1. Dan said,

    Chelsea. Wow, there are so many universal emotional responses to the grieving process. I too have watched our wedding video so that I can hear Michael’s voice, or to just see him in motion. We didn’t have a professional, or even semi-professional, taping the wedding for us. Fortunately, one of my brothers brought his video camera, and taped much of the day’s events. The video itself is horrible in some ways, as his young kids are grabbing at the camera, screaming in the background, and the camera often seems to fly off without anyone noticing that it is still on. It’s quite funny actually. But in the end, it is the best wedding gift I could have received.

    I have watched our video a few times. And like you express, it can bring up so much anguish and tears. Yet also like you explain, I am smiling through most of the tears. Wedding anniversaries are going to be tough to get through, but it’s so because of the love that was celebrated on that day.

    I admire how much you have taken of during this first year, especially getting you store together. I think it is very exciting, and I hope it is a complete success. You are teaching your girls how you can honor your loss and grief, but keep building a life at the same time. Like Deb said in her recent post, without the kids we would likely be living our lives a bit different. Having them does keep us in check, reminding us that there are others that need us to keep moving forward. I feel fortunate in this way.

    Beautiful post. Your love for Elias is so special.


    • letterstoelias said,

      My uncle shot our video – but he had an amazing camera and worked in the film industry, so while it wasn’t your typical wedding video, it was great because it had so much humour and fun to it (my uncle really likes to get ‘extreme close-ups’ on people’s faces). It was tough, but you are so right – it is a gift and I’m glad I can share it with the girls too, so they can see at least on video how much we loved each other.

      Thanks for the boost about the store – and I hope all goes well with your move and job search! I read somewhere months ago that in your first year of widow(er)hood you shouldn’t make any major changes – including work and moving. I guess we don’t subscribe to that! But I know it was something I needed, and it sounds like it will be a great change for you too.


  2. I hate those wrenching moments of thinking you see him out of the corner of your eye because it’s so hard when you realize of course it’s not him. But for that moment, your heart pounds with pure adrenaline, remembering what it was like…. Sigh…. This post is so touching. I would love to talk about it over a glass of wine sitting outside with our kids entertaining each other somewhere no too far away… By the way, I love your logo! I look forward to shopping at the store:) And I’m so proud of you for watching the video and doing what you need to do to keep him with you while moving forward. Hugs to you!

    • letterstoelias said,

      Yes! The time you are coming is creeping up! It would be SO great to meet your boys and introduce you to my girls, and let the kids play while we chat =) Looking forward to it! And thanks, as always, for understanding.


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