January 31, 2011

One Step Forward, One Giant Shove Back

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 12:55 am by letterstoelias

This widow life – it’s hard.  So very hard.  It sucks.  I hate it.  It’s lonely.  So very lonely.  Sad.  Confusing.  Dark.  Overwhelming.  Impossible to fully explain.

If you ask me, I won’t tell you.  I can’t.  No.  I use that dirty little 4-letter ‘f’ word . . . . Fine.  I’m ‘Fine’.   Or my other favorite, ‘OK’.

Its just faster and easier on everyone involved.

Yes, there are aspects of my life that I love and it’s not like this 24/7 – there are moments of ‘fine’.  Even ‘good’ now and then, but those are so often railroaded by grief and the next thing you know you’ve gone from spending a boring night at home watching tv, to having something on said tv trigger a wave of grief leaving you in a heap of tears.

And, there are even things – such as Love – that are clearer.  Brighter.  More breathtaking.  Because we know just how valuable it is, how fleeting it can be, and how to truly cherish it.

Though this is a wonderful gift, it does not make the journey any easier.

So, this is where we all come to try and let it out, and to lift each other up.  Hold each other’s hearts from across countries/provinces/states.  To listen.  Care.  Understand.

I feel like I’ve even been in ‘hiding’ from here lately too, however.  Keeping it in.  Not wanting to share just how hard it still is.  And, it seems, most of my widowed friends are feeling it too these days.

Is it the new year?  Is it the grey days of January?  The cold?  The wet?  The dark?  The post-holiday slump?  Who knows, but I see it all around the blogs right now.

I try not to put too much emphasis on the new year as any kind of ‘fresh start’, but Jan 1st was such a great day that I have to admit it gave me a spark of hope.  Mid January I finally decided to take down my 2009 calendar.  ‘Move forward’.  Then, BAM!  Stuck on the back of it was one of Elias’ brain MRI scans and the word ‘apoptosis’ (apoptosis is basically cell death – cells are supposed to die eventually, and ones that don’t become cancerous).  The scan was the ‘clearest’ one we could get our hands on (from Jan ‘08).  At one point we had these ALL over the house (and carried them with us) to use as positive visualization – law of attraction type thing – we wanted to try everything . . .

It was really hard for me to remove all of them after Elias died, but at the same time I hated them. I was shocked to see it stuck to the cover of a calendar that’s been up for almost 2yrs.  It was such a punch in the stomach.

One step forward, one giant shove back.  It seems any time I ‘try’ to do something like this, there is always a negative consequence of some sort.  It makes it so much harder to take those steps.

‘Fresh start’ or not, January was not a particularly good month for many reasons.  I’ve cried more than I care to admit (though not so much the ‘big sobs’ but rather frequent yet brief ‘bursts’ – even once in public the other day, which I haven’t done is quite some time).  I’ve wasted a fair amount of time staring blankly out the window.  Been less than motivated to get things done that need doing.  I’ve complained over and over in my head that it’s just too hard.  I’ve repeatedly forgotten E’s backpack for school.  Dance outfits.  You name it – but I’m still making it work, somehow.

A positive light out of the month was that our family grew once more . . . my brother-in-law and his wife had a baby a few days ago.  Another niece (number 6!).  I am beyond thrilled for them – they are already such wonderful parents to a beautiful little girl and I had tears of joy to hear Anthony tell me about her, to see the photos, videos, and for our brief ichat with them today – but over the past few days I’ve shed tears of sadness as well over the fact that Elias is not here to be a part of it.

Half of his nieces he will never meet, and they will never know him (though I have no doubt my sister and Elias’ brothers will do him justice as they tell their girls all about their Uncle Elias).  I don’t want to take something so wonderful and put sadness on it, but it’s impossible to ignore.

I’ve heard far too many stories from my widow friends that are on a similar timeline as me that ‘friends’ are telling them they should be ‘over it’ by now.  They should be ‘better’.  That they ‘can’t let everything in their lives’ be about their lost love.

I am fortunate that no one has said this to me directly about it, but it’s hard not to wonder if people feel the same.  There have been those that have all but vanished from my life.  And, of course it doesn’t matter what others think, but trying to not let things like this get to you is extremely difficult, especially when we are often already so hard on ourselves.  Then, to have friends disappear on you on top of it all . . . people just have no idea what it’s like to live with this.

Perhaps just another reason to say everything is ‘fine’.

* * * * *

Hello My Love,

Uncle Elias once more . . . I’m sure you’ve already kissed her tiny forehead in your own way and don’t need me to tell you, however.  She’s beautiful.

We visited the beach today.  I had my feet soaked by a rogue wave, and we all had quite a good laugh feeling as though ‘you’ got me once again.  Later, E was running back and forth to the water, and as the waves chased her back she giggled ‘No Daddy!’  Then she said to me, ‘Do you think Daddy is playing gorilla with me?’

She always says that is her favorite memory with you.  I know she’s seen the photos plenty of times, but I’m sure she remembers.  She misses you deeply.  She drew a picture of herself with tears the other day.  It was beside a picture of you, smiling, and the words “Daddy I miss you, 2011”, and she addressed it ‘To Mama’.  I’m so happy she can use art to express her feelings, and that she’s sharing them with me, but it’s tough.

In recent days C has started making up Daddy stories again . . . she went through a bit of a phase with this a while ago.  She misses you too – more than you ever imagined she would have.

As do I.


P.S.  I Love You



  1. Cindy said,

    I am new to reading your blog. Its beautiful, heartbreaking, honest and REAL… I have to say I am a little more than frustrated with death. I lost five people in six months. This last year starting in May. It makes me afraid to love, it gives me a fear of being close and It has caused me to be a smothering mother. Trying not to push my kids away, it is hard to pull us all together. They tend to push away in times like this. Your strength and honesty are a breath of fresh air. Its nice to know you have times of smiling but that you still have your sad days… I thought after nine months I was going crazy for not being able to let go. Counseling is a joke. I feel like I need to talk about what I don’t want to talk about. I am so tired of talking about it. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Thank you for giving me the idea of a blog. A journal to someone but no one I know. Thank you for putting your heart on a piece of e-paper for us all to read and love on you through. ((((HUGS)))). Thank you.

    • letterstoelias said,

      Hi Cindy,

      Thank you for your kind words . . . and I am SO sorry to hear of your losses. That is a lot to handle. And nine months is like the blink of an eye – you are by no means crazy. If you find a few other blogs out there, you’ll see. There are countless ups and downs, and fortunately the stretches between the ‘downs’ tends to spread out a bit in time, and the tend to get a little shorter too – but they don’t go away. Part of me is ok with that though, as it helps me to know I will ALWAYS love Elias . . .

      I’m sorry to hear that counselling is not helping . . . sometimes it’s a matter of finding the ‘right’ counsellor – but the writing on my blog has always been my greatest outlet. The downside to it is, that I am very aware of my ‘audience’, comprised of a great number of people very close to me . . . I am as honest as I can be, but there is still a certain amount that I don’t say, even here. I know a number of widows who keep their blogs secret from their family and friends (and use an ‘alias’) as it helps them to feel really free to say whatever they want. But, with any blog, you get to control it – and when you are in a situation where it feels like you can’t control anything – it helps.

      Thanks again, and keep in touch =)

  2. widowedowl said,

    I am with you. January has been hard and the weather does not help.

    I feel like everytime I make a step forward, I pay for it with either something more difficult or another heap of overwhelming grief. It kind of makes you want to find that numb status quo and just stay there. Not to live fully, but to merely exist.

    It is easeir to say “fine”.

    • letterstoelias said,

      Hi Widowedowl,

      That transition between ‘existing’ and ‘living’ takes a while (I think) – and it’s not exactly linear (like most things to do with grief). I see we are almost exactly one yr apart, as Elias died April 22nd, 2009. I know there are certainly more moments of ‘living’ for me at this point – even amongst the sadness, loneliness, and the challenges of the day to day. I don’t know when it started, but I hope that you too will feel it too.


  3. Dan said,

    I don’t know why we find ourselve “hiding” even from those that are going through the same thing. I am often telling others that their grief is individual, and that there is reason to hide your true feelings, yet I find myself doing just the same. I think I am more self-critical than those that feel I should just move on. I have become really good at looking like I am doing really well. I think that many of us have learned this art.

    Reading what you wrote about the MRI’s, and the prior moments of hope, followed by moments of despair, really took me back. It helps me to know that someone knows that feeling, has lived that same experience. I think of you often Chelsea, as I have a kindrid connection to anyone who lost someone to a brain tumor. Hang in there, and know that we do get it, and whatever you are going through, we are always here to accept where you are, and to hold you while to go through it.

    • letterstoelias said,

      I agree about our ‘kindred’ connection . . . there is something of comfort in knowing others who have dealt with it all. I was saying to someone the other day that, though I knew at the time just how much Elias was deteriorating, I tried so hard to just focus on the day and enjoy our time together. I was just happy to have him still here – it’s not to say that I ignored it or didn’t see, but a certain part of me turned a blind eye. You wrote the other day about waking up every day not knowing what new difficulty Michael would face, and that really hit home with me, as we were going through the same.

      I think I ‘hide’ here, more from people who read it who are ‘not’ in the same shoes – family, in particular. I know how much it hurts them to see me in pain. I know I can’t be responsible for how they feel, but it’s hard not to feel it’s easier just to keep it in to ‘protect’ them in a way, but I grow weary of it too. And, I get the sense that sometimes they grow weary of hearing about it.

      Thanks, as always, for your kind words Dan. Much love to you and the family,

  4. Mirys said,

    Hi Chelsea:

    First of all: forgive me about my English… I´m a Brazilian and plus I´m all emotional right now, after discovering your blog, so… I may have some mistakes…

    I´m a Matt Logelin´s reader and that´s how I ended up in here. You have a great blog and your words seems so real… All the love, the missing, the lonelyness, the care with the kids despite your all needs of care… It´s so easy to believe you and to share your feelings!

    I´m a widow too. A young one with 2 little kids, too.
    I kind of know exactly what you are talking about… I just turned out the first year but I know that nothing changes: we don´t stop to love or feel just because of the calendar! Sometimes it´s so hard and I´m so demmanding with myself that I have to reminde me of it: it´s OK not to feel all happy and jumping sometimes!

    It happened to me last Sunday. When I thought I was moving foward, changing my habits, my spaces, my city, all of a sudden I listened to a music at the church… the same music I sang to him as a good-bye song… It crashed me up down and I started to cry in the middle of the people. Terrible… I know. But not under my control, every now and then…

    If you wanna know a little bit more about my story, you can go to a blog that I created to write donw the father to my kids, so they can remember him, in the future. It´s at http://www.diariodos3mosqueteiros.blogspot.com.
    It has a translation button, don´t you worry.

    Kisses and blessings.
    Mirys from Brazil

  5. Kristin said,

    Chelsea – You said better than I ever could. Word for word, you’re not alone. xoxo

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