April 11, 2011

Danger up ahead

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 12:21 am by letterstoelias

As the weather has been improving (somewhat) these days, we’ve been fortunate to be spending more time outside.  I’ve been trying to fit in a little gardening – which I enjoy more than I ever thought I would, it’s just tough to find the time and still have a lot to figure out.  Along with the time on the swings and trampoline, the girls have been doing a bit more bike-riding – though this isn’t always the most relaxing activity for any of us . . . .

Both the girls can be quite the ‘nervous nellies’.  I’ve noticed how, when riding their bikes they see something they perceive as a ‘danger’ up ahead – and I’m thankful they are conscientious, however they go into complete panic mode LOOOONG before they are anywhere near the ‘danger’, if it is even really a true danger (like a parked car).  They may franticly wiggle the handlebars (which sometimes causes them to fall), scream, cry, stop moving all together, or some combination of any of these.

I’ve realized, this isn’t too unlike how things can be in the world of the widowed.  For anyone who has been on this crappy ride for very long, I’m sure you’ve experienced many times where you have a ‘big day’ up ahead, and start to completely shut down, panic, cry, scream, will it to stop.  When the day comes, NOT to say that it’s easy by ANY means, but afterwards you find yourself saying ‘the build up to the day was worse than the day itself’.

It’s just under two weeks now until the two year mark.  I’ve definitely noticed the anxiety creeping in.  I’ve noticed a more difficult time with sleep.  My diet hasn’t been the best as I’m consuming more sugar.  I’m easily distracted.  Forgetful.  Feel less productive.

I know I’m not in as rough shape as I was at this time last year, but it’s still hitting me – and it’s still hard.

But, I do have something much different planned for this year’s ‘anniversary’ (I still have a hard time figuring out exactly what the hell to call it).  Last year, I wanted nothing more that to be on my own with the girls.  I didn’t want to face anyone.  I couldn’t.

I was at peace with how we spent the day – friends helped the girls keep their routine going to ballet and preschool, then the three of us went down to the beach for a couple hours, writing messages on rocks and sticks, then throwing them into the ocean to send to Daddy.  Simple, peaceful.  I felt Elias all around us.  Not the way we want it, of course, but it was nice to feel him close.

There is a large part of me that still wants to hibernate this year.  I would love to stay in bed ALL day and do nothing, see no one, or do the same as last year with the girls at the beach – but, as hard as it is, this day is not just about me and my grief.  So this year I was inspired to do a little more.

I was reading a blog posting by Supa in early February, where she noted a scene in a kids movie where they released flying lanterns in memory of a loved one who had died.  It peaked my interest, and I started looking into the tradition of this thinking, “Wouldn’t it be lovely”, though I didn’t really think it was possible.

Then, a friend of mine, Boo had posted in March that she was sending up the same type of lanterns for her Cliff’s birthday, along with a few others.  I wrote her right away to find out where to get them, as now my ‘if only’ was looking to be a real possibility.  Initially I was hopeful to get them in time for Elias’ birthday but it was just a little too soon, so it was then that I decided it would be a perfect fit for the 2yr mark.

At first, I figured the girls and I could go down to the beach and send one up with our messages on it, but as I looked into buying them I came across a number of amazing videos with mass launches.  

The more I thought about it, the more I was drawn to the idea of trying to get a number of people to come together and honour Elias in this way (of course we won’t have ‘quite’ as many people as in the video, however =).  It’s also extremely important to me for the girls to really see, in a beautiful way, that we are not the only ones who miss Elias.  We are not the only ones who love/d him.  Plenty of people do.  And, I know it’s also important for my girls to have this type of outlet for their grief.

After a fair bit of research, I found a supplier where I could get them wholesale, as I figured they may make a nice addition to the store as well – something people could use to celebrate a baby’s birth, child’s birthday, or a wedding.  I am now just anxiously awaiting their arrival.

Last month, we had a visit from Elias’ aunt and uncle, and their two kids who are (basically) the same age as our girls.  It was a busy weekend, but so lovely – the kids had a blast and it was wonderful to spend some time them.  We even got a chance to go to the pool, which we hadn’t done in years.  The girls can be quite nervous in the water and just cling to me, so I find it too stressful to go on my own.

One evening, I was sharing my plans for the ceremony with Caroline, and she thought it was a beautiful idea.  A bit later that night she suggested we do another ‘yard work party’ as we did at Easter last year, where a number of Elias’ family came out to help build and arbour in the yard – one that Elias had always planned to do – along with some other heavy duty yard work that is too much for me on my own.  We figured it would be great if everyone could come over on the 22nd, we could have a potluck and take time to share stories of Elias and decorate our lanterns, then walk up to launch them at a park nearby our home after dark.  Then, the next day we could all work in the yard together.

So far, it seems that they are the only ones from Elias’ family who are going to come over, so the potluck and yard party isn’t looking too likely, however my parents will be there, and I do have a number of friends who are planning to come and share in the evening lantern launch with us.

As life has rolled on in these past two years, it feels strange to have made new friends who never got the chance to meet Elias.  Some of the people who have been my biggest sources of support, barely knew him at all.  I know there will be a number of them there that night – and for that I am so thankful.  Even if they didn’t get a chance to really get to know such an amazing, beautiful, incredible man, it’s wonderful for them to come out and honour Elias too as I know how happy it would make him, and for the girls (and myself) to feel that support at the toughest of times.

We will still take some time to ourselves to grieve as well, of course.  Perhaps down to the beach again in the morning first, and then the tree.  How lucky was I to find the tree . . .


Sigh.  It’s getting late, and I’ve tried to get this post done for so many days now – so I’m going to post ‘as is’ and get to the part about the tree shortly (I hope!).

* * * * *

My Love,

Almost two. whole. years.  It blows my mind.  I miss you as much today as I did day one, if not more.


P.S.  I Love You



  1. Debbie said,

    What a beautiful way to spend the day, Chelsea. I wish we lived closer so we could join you. The boys and I just saw Tangled and the lantern scene brought tears to my eyes. It is a great message of love for Elias and almost more importantly, for the girls and you. Keep breathing and I’ll meet you on the other side of 2 years. The view and reality aren’t any different, but it is unbelievable that time moves on. Love and hugs to you!

  2. greggieswifey said,

    Wow Chelsea. So much I could say. I like your analogy of us Widdas as “nervous nellies” as significant dates approach with our beloveds (birthdays, heavenly birthdays, anniversaries, days they got sick etc) and how we get a lot of what’s going on inside us out and expressed prior to the actual day. (not that the actually is any easier like you said). 

    I like the idea of the lanterns, I had no idea about them till recently. I like how you want to share this moment as a learning opportunity with your girls and a way for all who loved Elias to release a lantern. 🙂 

    And I want you to know that it’s ok if the potluck and yard party doesn’t come through and ev1 can’t come. I know its sad that ev1 can’t be together, but you extended the invite and reached out and what more can you do? Maybe have a small dinner with those that can come, maybe outside if weather permits? 

    Your first year honoring Elias with the girls sounded like you 3 honored Elias, and remembered to take care of you too, beach and tree sound lovely and serene. I believe you when you felt Elias with you. 

    So thankful you have supportive friends in your life. I know it is weird when ppl don’t know Elias but are still so amazing to come out and share in this journey with you. 🙂 Gods great like that. 

    Looking forward to reading about the tree.

    Much love and prayers to you Widda sister. 


    • Dan said,

      Hi Chels,

      You have been on my mind a lot lately. I know it’s drawing closer to the two year mark, and I’m sure you are filled with so many emotions. This afternoon I kept thinking about what I went through with Michael, and how much grieving I did when he was first diagnosed. I thought about how difficult it was to feel him slipping away from me. Then my mind kept going back to you and Elias. I suppose it’s knowing that we were each going through similar circumstances at similar times, only to meet later once we were alone.

      I just realized that the second anniversary date for Elias is the day after the anniversary of the day I fist met Michael. That was always the day we celebrated as our “anniversary.” Being that Michael never made it to our first wedding anniversary, April 21st is still the day I most connect with him. How strange, celebrating the day our relationship began, then five months later, the day it ended.

      I’m babbling. It’s late, so I best get some sleep. Just know that you are on my mind. I wish you love and peace in the days ahead.

      Love. Dan

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