September 8, 2010

Take two . . .

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 12:50 am by letterstoelias

I tried starting to write this last night, but didn’t get more than one word on the page before the tears started to fall.  I’ve been so very busy lately, that it’s been some time since I’ve really let ‘the grief monster’ take over – but it can only be held back for so long.

It’s always there – like a childhood bully, waiting in the bushes for you as you walk to school.  Some days it just taunts you and threatens, and other days it jumps out at you, kicks you down, takes your milk money and runs away leaving you crumpled in a ball on the sidewalk, crying.

That’s been me this past couple of days.

I knew it was coming.  I’ve been blocking it so effectively lately that it actually managed to catch me in my sleep the other night.  Just after my last letter, I went to bed feeling pretty good.  I had shared Lindsay’s beautiful story – I knew others would be uplifted by her amazing energy, spirit and outlook, just as they had been by yours.  But grief had figured out a way to find me.  I had an awful dream that night.  I don’t remember it all, but it had to do with you dying.  But, it some ways it felt like it was me who was dying.  At any rate, I was trying to say good-bye to whoever it was – strange to say good-bye to yourself, but in some ways that’s how it felt.

There was much in-between that I don’t remember at all, but at some point I was upset about my house.  I just kept screaming that it was just a house and that it didn’t feel like a home.  I was crying and screaming that I just wanted a home.  I wanted to ‘feel’ at home.  That my house wasn’t a home anymore.  I woke up sobbing.  I don’t believe I’ve ever woken up in tears before, but I sure did, and I continued to cry for who knows how long, until I was back asleep.


I wentwith my dad and the girls to a bbq at my aunt and uncle’s this past weekend.  The girls were beyond excited when they found out we got to sleep in a tent trailer outside.  There were more non-family members there than I had been expecting – some who had met you and, though I don’t know if they ‘know’, they certainly didn’t mention anything.  It sometimes was difficult as well because, though the girls are so very ‘well behaved’ (I don’t like that term, but am not sure what else to use . . .), it’s still a lot of work to be a lone parent at something like that.  E was enjoying spending time by the fire pit, but C wanted to be inside.  I needed to get plates of food for the three of us, and just after I had them set up and was about to get mine, E spilled her drink.  Justin helped clean it up, and just as I got her more and sat down to eat, C spilled hers.

Though I was enjoying spending time with family, there were a number of points where I felt on the verge of tears.  Towards the end of the night when things settled down and it was just family left gathered in the living room (being led in songs of ‘I am a Pizza’ and ‘Down by the Bay’ by my aunt =) it was quite fun and I was able to relax a bit.  Social gatherings are still just difficult, and it didn’t help that my stress was building over E going into kindergarten.

As mentioned, we spent the night, and we had a nice morning visit with my aunt, uncle and cousins before heading back to the ferry.  The girls had been up very late but of course woke at the usual time, so they were rather cranky.  I had a hard time staying awake on the couch after getting home as well, so I had them off to bed early.  I was exhausted but was hoping the extra time to myself would help.  No such luck.  As I sat and watched some tv – avoiding work I needed to do both at home and for the store – I could only think about how much I miss just being next to you on the couch.  As the nights are starting to cool and get dark earlier and earlier, I miss having someone to snuggle under the quilt with (and I’m really not looking forward to having to start managing the fireplace once again soon . . . . ).

But, the whole kindergarten thing was really on my mind.  Of course, in part because I had once hoped to homeschool, but of course mainly because you aren’t here to be a part of it.  I know I shouldn’t do it but I tried to imagine what this day would be like were you here.  Sure, you would have been at work (though maybe you would have managed to sneak away??), but I probably would have brought her by your work to ‘show her off’ a bit.  I could picture you in your chef uniform, white cleaning towel in hand wiping down a counter and smiling as we walk in.  I could see you picking her up and talking to her, asking her how excitedshe was and laughing at whatever she had to say.  And, at the end of the day at the dinner table, I could see us exchanging smiles as she shared with you the numerous things that happened in the 45 mins she was there.

Instead, she and I walked, hand in hand, towards the school and I was far more anxious than she (she was beyond excited) –  though not for the same reasons other parents may be.  I’m fortunate that my dad came as well to share in it and take lots of pictures (though I did take some before we left), and of course that my mom looked after the store and C so I could be the one to take her.


Had to show off her new ‘Molly Blue’ shoes

As with any days like this, there were many points throughout that were very hard.  Numerous times the teacher made comments about ‘Mom and Dad’ or ‘Parents’ and a part of me just waited for E to pipe up so honestly and frankly about her Daddy as she so often does (instead she just blurted something out about her new ‘Molly Blue’ pediped shoes and Mousie backpack from her mom’s store . . . ).  I hate filling out the forms – leaving the spot for the father’s phone number blank (as Deb said, she was tempted to put Austin’s number there anyway, even though it would be pretty tough to reach him!).  Trying to answer what your biggest worry for your child is . . . can I answer that, ‘she will eventually feel the same discomfort of her ‘situation’ as her Mama does’?

I don’t expect people to know what to say when a 5yr old tells them their Daddy died of a brain tumour, but I’m so often amazed by the reactions, or lack of.  I worry that she’ll come to sense other’s discomfort, and feel self conscious about it as I do.  That she’ll begin to sensor herself.

How much do people really want to know how we’re doing?  Sure, it’s easy to ask the question, but do they really want the answer??  The ‘real’ answer.  Yes, on the surface I’m doing ‘ok’.  But the truth lies beneath.  I know people care.  I know it’s hard for those who haven’t been through this to understand.  I don’t expect ‘answers’ or ‘solutions’ or even comfort – just listening helps.  I know my parents hurt for me so it’s hard for me to even explain it fully to them.  Brenda is so far away and with the time change and new baby, and me at the store so much, we rarely get time to talk – and as with her and Bridie it’s not always easy over the phone.  It’s so nice to have someone to sit and talk with in person and that’s so few and far between.  Really, almost never these days.  Everyone has their own lives to live.  And, do they really still want to hear my heartache after 16+ months?  How much I struggle.  Every.  Single.  Day.  It doesn’t seem like it.

So, I hide it.  And I hide it well.  But it still hurts.  So, so very much.  Especially on days like these.  It’s still tempting to hit delete and hide it from you too . . .   but you know my truth anyway.  You always did, and I love you for it.


P.S.  I Love You



  1. Dan Cano said,

    Well Chelsea, I’m here, and I still want to hear from you. I am always up late, as you know, and have shared with the world, so you should never feel completely alone. I often feel like what we need, and want, we will never have. Sure, people love us and want to know that we are going to be alright, or are already alright. I’m just not sure they want to know that we are not already alright. I find that when someone does eventually ask, they just sit in silent shock that we are still struggling, then have no clue what to say. I’m learning more and more to be okay with this response. At least they asked, or at least they were there for us to talk about it.

    I too had to go through all the damn school information issues. With the boys in new schools, and a new school district, I had to fill out so many forms. I too hated the fact that I had to leave half of the parent sections blank. I kept wanting to add in there that at least there used to be another parent. Somehow I want everyone to know that this person did exist.

    Take care. You are loved, and you are thought of, every single night after midnight.

    • letterstoelias said,

      Thank you Dan,

      I also feel like I need to put something there on the form. Leaving it blank or writing ‘n/a’ just seems so cruel. There was an amazing man and father in their life.

      You are on my mind very much these days as well. As I sit up on my computer I watch for the update that you have written so I can see how you are doing. I know how heart wrenching this time is, and my heart is with you.


  2. Donna Z said,

    Chelsea, thank you so much for having the courage to post what you are feeling. Your blog always seems to coincide with what’s going on in my life and I find such comfort in your words. My daughter’s first day of kindergarden was yesterday and it was a “first” that I wasn’t really prepared for.. I didn’t think it was going to be that difficult, yet it punched me in the gut. I was doing so well, being busy, not really dealing with my grief when Wham, dropping my daughter in front of that school just hit me so hard. Seeing the other daddy’s there kissing their kids goodbye. husband and wife holding hands, watching with pride as their kids walk into the school. Now, my husband worked so he wouldn’t have been there if he was still alive, but the fact that he doesn’t even have the option to be there just sucked.

    So again, thank you so much for helping me through these dark moments…

    • letterstoelias said,

      Hello Donna,

      Thank you for taking the time to comment and share – though I’m sorry you are going through the same. I hate that others experience this too, but it helps to know we aren’t alone, which is one of the reasons I continue to write and try to do so as honestly as I can. If anything I say provides an even ounce of comfort in understanding, then it helps me too.

      Yes – seeing the other daddies and the kids with both parents at the school was a big part of it too. This isn’t an easy road to haul – I don’t know how long it’s been for you, but regardless of time there are so many ‘firsts’.

      Take care Donna,

  3. Debbie said,

    I love your post, as I always do. I always find myself nodding my head in agreement. I wish we lived closer so we could get together regularly but please know you can call me anytime! After 9:30 my time will guarantee that the boys will be in bed and I’ll have no distractions.

    Love and hugs to you!

    • letterstoelias said,

      I may just have to take you up on that a little more often – I always love our chats!

      Much love back at ya!

  4. Hugs to you on this big milestone.
    The good news is that everything will continue to change.
    The bad news is that it will continue to change.

    And one day, you will have a year (which was kindergarten — last year — for us) when it doesn’t occur to you to mention his death to the teacher. And then I got to clobber myself for being neglectful.

    win/win, right?



    • letterstoelias said,

      Thanks Supa – it’s hard to imagine that happening at this point, but I’m sure a while back you would have said the same. That’s why it’s helpful to hear from others a littel farther down the road.

      Hugs to you too!

  5. mandymy17 said,

    First, I just want to thank you for your words of encouragement with my current crazy bump on this silly ride of widowhood!! They mean the world to me, and I love feeling the support!!

    Second, I know all too well what it’s like to try and hide from the “grief monster”. Sadly that jerk always manages to find you. But, do know that no matter what time of day it is I’m always just an email away. I know what it’s like to not want to bother people with my story. Most don’t “get it”, and their words sometimes hurt more than they help. But, it’s ladies like you, that have helped me get to where I am. I love that I have found the ones that “get it”, and I’m truly blessed. So, if there is ever anything I can do, just let me know!! HUGS and love to you and the girls!!

    • letterstoelias said,

      Thanks Mandy!

      I, too, am so thankful that we have this ‘virtual’ support group available so we can help each other through those crazy bumps (there are unfortunately so many!). I am always uplifted by comments left here.

      Take care, and hopefully the bumps will start to smooth out soon . . .

  6. Brenda said,

    Anja has the same backpack, but the teacher sent a note home saying it was too small. Phooey.

    • letterstoelias said,

      Double phooey! It’s a great backpack!
      I hope Anja is enjoying jr kindergarten!

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