July 10, 2010

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 10:31 pm by letterstoelias

I’ve loved this song from the first time I saw ‘The Sound of Music’ when I was a child.  When E was an infant and had long bouts without sleep, it was often one of my go-to songs to try and get her back to sleep, and I’ve used it in many other situations with the girls as well.

It’s a great concept – ‘I simply remember my favorite things, and the I don’t feel so bad’ – but what do you do when one of your favorite things, is also the thing that makes you feel sad, because of it’s absence?

C has reverted back to telling me ‘I really want my Daddy back’ quite often.  There is not much to say, aside from ‘I know’ or ‘It’s really hard to miss someone you love, isn’t it?’ and, though I try not to make it about me, the odd ‘Me too’ gets thrown in at times.

Fortunately (?) the sentiment lasts but a few moments, and then she is distracted by something else and moves on, until the next time, but I can see how much she means it.  The other day she told me that a fairy was going to swoosh in and bring you back. She was so excited about the idea – and I felt bad because it just made me cry.  She often ‘makes up’ memories of you, which is sweet and heartbreaking all at the same time – and there are the odd ones that could be true, but I’m not sure.  You are constantly on her mind these days.

And E – she seems a little less comfortable with telling people about the fact that you died now.  Initially, she would tell anyone in quite a matter-of-fact way.  Now, if someone asks where her Daddy is, I can see the emotion in her more and it seems harder for her now.  She fidgets and dances around while answering and I can see her face going red and eyes welling up.  She usually forces a smile as well.

The other night, though, they were playing in the yard as I was making dinner and I had just called them in to wash up.  She was climbing down from the trampoline, and though I couldn’t hear exactly what she was saying, I could hear her, in her ‘announcer’ voice, saying words such as ‘Daddy’, ‘died’, ‘brain tumour’ and something about ‘we are sad and we wish he could come back but he can’t, so that’s what it is’.  I tried to peek out the window and she spotted me, but then she turned to C and told her it was her turn – C spurted something out about you as well, then they came in.  I wasn’t sure if I should ask what it was about or not, but as she came to the table she told me that she was telling the ‘big kids’ in the other yard about you.  I asked if they had asked or were talking with her (obviously she can’t see them because of the trees and fence), but she said no – that she could hear them playing outside and she wanted to just say it loud so that they would know what happened to you.

With the weather we’ve been having these days, we can often hear dads out in the yards playing with their kids – it’s hard for me sometimes, so I don’t know if this had any affect on her, but I can imagine it may.  Tonight as we were snuggling into bed, she was holding onto our rings that are on my necklace (while C was holding my hair).  I was thinking about you, and how though I love how close the girls and I are, how much you and they are missing out on.  After a few quiet moments, she told me that she could hear you, and that you were talking to her through the ring – it went into her hand, up her arm and into her brain where she could hear you.  I asked her if she wanted to tell me what you said, and she said it was that you love us all, always.

I was talking on the phone with Jackie the other night – we were talking about ashes, and how she’s had some of the same feelings I had when I worried I sent your shoulders into the ocean.  She said she remembers every detail about Jeff’s earlobes, and I was sharing my love for your shoulders – and for a moment I felt almost as if I could see your face, smiling, in front of me.  Just for a split second, but I felt as if I could see ‘you’.  Not as a memory or conjured up in my mind intentionally.  Just, you.  I know I’m crazy busy and over tired a lot, but for that split second it felt like something real, and it felt good, so I’m going with it.

I teared up while while looking at the paper yesterday – a photo of the Ace-it culinary graduating class for this year.  All those students you should have been teaching.  A program that was basically brought in because of you.  Your other ‘baby’.  It meant so much to you, and I looked at the faces of these students that, though I’m sure they received great instruction, never got to benefit from your skills, passion, and love for cooking, and teaching it.  And, though I didn’t hear about it until it was in the paper, they did present the memorial bursary for a culinary student in your name again this year.  That warms my heart a great deal.

Sometimes I worry you are being forgotten.  I didn’t get many responses to my request for stories/memories of you around the anniversary of your death – and though I trust this isn’t a reflection of people forgetting you, it’s tough to not feel that way at times.  Logical or not.  Just like it often feels as though we are a burden to others, we are just too much, or the reality of our ‘situation’ scares people off, or people just figure that after this much time we must/should be ‘moving on’ and doing fine on our own.  But, rightfully so, as most people have no idea just how very hard this is.  In reality, I’m thankful for that.

This is one of the reasons I’m looking forward to going to Camp Widow.  It seems as though all has fallen into place for me to go, and all that’s left is to book the flights and register (hopefully by Monday).  I hate that so many other wonderful people know what it’s like to try and balance parenting, finances, housework and yardwork (both of these are falling apart at the seams right about now…), work-work, and, oh yeah – grief – alone, but I know it will help to be able to remove the filter for a couple of days and just ‘be’.  I still can’t believe I would be going away from the girls for that long, but they’re happy about it and E started making me paper flowers and cards to take with me before I even decided to go.  When I was still trying to sort out if I should/could go, Ryan’s wife Tasha asked me what you would say about going.  I laughed and knew right away that, hands down, you would want for me to go, and that helped make my decision.  I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that before . . . .

Well, I’m hoping to open the store next week if all goes as planned.  No ‘grand’ opening just yet – I want to get everything running smoothly and will plan for the grand opening for after I get back from Camp Widow – but I have much to do in the next few days if I am going to get the store ready for the public.  It’s something new in my life, and I needed that.  Not to ‘move on’ from you by any means, but something that didn’t have painful memories attached and was a positive focus for me.  It will surely be another big change to my life, and the girls’.

I don’t have all the answers as to how it will work out just yet – but I feel like if I can survive losing you (as I have done at least so far) this, is no big deal.  It’s a long road ahead without you.  Like it or not, I’m on it.


P.S.  I Love You



  1. hawkfeather said,

    sometimes reading your words I feel like I am spying something I shouldn’t.. like a voyeur peeping into a personal letter to someone else.

    And of course- I (nor can anyone) answer you the way I imagine you wish you could be answered-
    I am grateful though for reading what you have shared..it is an intimate look at an aspect of life that reminds me to hug a little harder.. to drink in the shoulders and earlobes..to let frustrations slide off more easily.

    Every time I drive through Gibsons now I look at Elphi and try to spy the magnolia tree you planted there.. (i know it could be anywhere).. but i look. and think of you and Elias as well..

    I think people might be under this notion that not mentioning a lost loved one is somehow helpful to those grieving- like the reminder will cause further hurt..

    I tend to think there is no way the grief is on hiatus- but i see the intention- hopefully a caring one to not cause deeper pain- at least I guess that is a possible cause for a possible scenario I am only guessing even happens..

    Hey -you have at least one reader who can be a potential shopper at your store too (i dunno if you have lots of local readers??)

    still I will watch for updates on your shop! that is exciting stuff.

  2. Dianne said,

    Chelsie ~ That is such a beautiful picture of the girls! I was glad to hear you decided to go to Camp Widow as I think it will be quite healing…A good way to begin your newest endeavor of opening your dream store. I’d love to go for a drive north and check out this awesome kids store and I just might do that sometime in August!

    You’re in my thoughts often!

  3. Mandy said,

    Some of these feelings I know all too well. Especially the feeling that no one will remember Dan. I feel at times all I can do is think about him, and then when anniversaries or birthdays roll around it doesn’t seem as if anyone else does. I hope all goes well with the store opening!! Your girls are beautiful, and they sound like truly amazing little people!! Hugs and love!!!

  4. Great post, Chelsea. So many touching parts. I’m so glad you’re coming to Camp Widow!!!! I’m really trying to figure out the logistics with getting up to see you in between the boys lessons and I’ll give you a call.

    Take care and see you soon!
    Love Deb

  5. Sarah said,

    can i just tell you (if i haven’t already) how freakin’ excited i am that you’ve decided to go?! seriously, i knew i would have a good time no matter what but i was really hoping you’d be there. CANNOT WAIT! period.

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