October 24, 2012


Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 9:09 pm by letterstoelias

Holy, it’s been a while . . .

Since school and dance has all started up again, the busyness continues.  We also had a wonderful visit from Elias’ youngest brother and his family, along with my Mom taking the girls and I on a little trip to Disneyland!

I am just as far behind on reading blogs as I am on writing mine, but so it goes I suppose.

I am feeling some frustration at the moment, and guess I just waned to get it ‘out’ though.

One of the things I find so incredibly, horribly difficult about being an ‘only’ parent, is lack of support that you can only really get from a spouse when it comes to decision making, ESPECIALLY when it comes to the kids.

I know that sometimes coming to the same decision with another parent can be equally as frustrating (at least I think I vaguely remember this?) but Elias and I were so often on the same page with things in the few years we were able to ‘co-parent’, that it was always pretty easy.  And, whatever decisions we made together, I had him to back me up on when talking about it with anyone else.

Home-births.  Vaccinations.  Vegetarianism.  Etc. Etc. Etc.

Now that it’s all on my shoulders, it’s extremely difficult.  I am IT.  I know there are some benefits to this as well.  I always get my way*!  But, I liked having someone to bounce things off of.  Someone who had as deep a stake in it as I did.  Someone who it meant as much to.

Of course there are other people in my life now who love my girls incredibly.  I know they mean a lot to other people.  But, it’s still different, and the end decision is still solely mine.  AND, when people disagree with me, I don’t have that person to back me up.  I don’t even have that person to at least vent to when people disagree.  I think I also spend more time second guessing myself and/or trying to justify myself because I’m alone in it (and a lot of what I go on is by how I ‘feel’ in my heart/gut which can also be more difficult to explain . . .)

I know all my decisions aren’t ‘popular’.  I know I don’t always go with expectations of society (which I think is where much of the difficulty comes from).  But I also think I know my kids and myself well enough to know what is best for us as a family.   I like to think that somewhere, Elias is ok with the decisions I’ve made.  That he is silently backing me up.

I just wish he could find a way to tell all of us that.  It may not make others agree with me, but at least I’d know I’m not alone in it all. . . .

(as a note – this was written extremely quickly and without re-reading it to edit/proof/whatever or else I figured I’d never get it posted – so hopefully it makes sense and isn’t grammatically too terrible!)

(*and, all this said, I think it would be EXTREMELY difficult to ever then have to transition back to having to make decisions WITH someone again – though I gather for the first ‘ever’ when it relates to the kids, it will still be me . . .and, there would have to be someone for that to actually happen with . . . )


P.S.  I Love you


September 15, 2012


Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 12:39 am by letterstoelias

They sure have a way of messing with you sometimes.

I’ve had some good dreams with Elias in them.  Some great ones (so great I question if it was just a dream).

Of course, some not so great ones too.  And, some just awful.

Recently, I had a dream where I discovered that he really had never died after all.  At first, I was a little ticked at him – “How could you let me think you were dead for almost 3 1/2 yrs!!!  Do you know how f’ing hard this has been!?!?!”  but then, I was just too happy to see him again to be mad (he also had some interesting excuse that he had to as he was on the run or something from some bad guys, then I believe we were on the run together).

Last night though, was one of the awful ones.  Really, really awful.  Painful.  I woke up at 3am, could hardly swallow because my mouth was so dry.  Breathing hard.  Heart racing out of my chest.  I’ve had images from the dream flashing in my  mind throughout the day.

And now, I can’t seem to convince myself to go to sleep.

I tried to go to bed at a decent time (for me).  I have to be up early to take a ferry.  I’m really excited for tomorrow . . . I’ve been looking forward to it for a while now, as we’ll be seeing Elias’ youngest brother and his wife for the first time since the funeral, and meeting their two daughters for the first time.   I’m exhausted.  I need sleep.  But that dream is haunting me.

I’m trying to release my fears.  Deep breaths.  Wipe the tears away.  Let the pain in my heart subside.  Tonight, along with the dream, there is just more missing.

I’m sure if I stare at my computer for long enough, eventually sleep will come.  In the mean time, this song came to mind and seems to fit in some ways . . . though not in others.


P.S.  I Love You

August 23, 2012

At This Moment

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 9:45 am by letterstoelias

It has been a whirlwind of a summer.

Company coming and going, little trips for the girls and I.  Big steps. Work.  Home.  Exhaustion.  Fun.  Hurt.  Hugs.  Tears. Smiles.  Pain.  Joy.  Grief.  Love.

At this moment, in the other room E is quietly reading.  C is in dress-up clothes, humming to herself and playing quietly.

In this room, the dishwasher is humming and I’m sitting with a mug of hot chocolate.

The last two days have been a little on the rough side, so I need to take these little moments of peace and soak them in.

Soon we’ll be off to grocery shop, the bank, check in on the store, paperwork, etc.  The little cloud and rain that started the day is slowly giving away to the sun breaking through once again.

In comes C with a self made connect-the-dots for me to fill in.

She asks how to spell Daddy, practices writing it, and is working on drawing pictures of him.

Life rolls on.


P.S.  I Love You

May 30, 2012

Thank You

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:16 pm by letterstoelias

I wanted to thank those of you who commented on my last post . . . I thought about writing a response to each one individually, but I know sometimes I can be slow at checking back to see if there was a response (or sometimes forget to completely), and I wanted to be sure you each knew that I appreciated it.

Karen – I certainly recall your messages and following along with Issac’s story through Caringbridge.  I’ve popped in from time to time to check in, and I keep him in my thoughts all the time.  I followed a few other children I had come across in my research, and when I would share with Elias what I was reading on those sites it would always upset him so . . . he didn’t like the fact that he was going through it of course, but he felt like he could come to some sort of acceptance with it – it made him so angry that a child had to deal with the same.  I thank you for continually following along and keeping us in your heart and am happy to hear from you here =).

Megan – I loved the post you shared, thank you.  I can certainly feel bits of it that hit home.  And to both you and Deb, thanks for understanding the raw, confusing in-between stage and sending peace ❤

Mel – I love what you said about the way we are choosing to live as the ultimate ‘letter’ to Elias . . . thinking of it that way really does help.  So beautiful.  And so true.  Sometimes it feels almost ‘blasphemous’ to write about the ‘happy’ in this one place that has been such an outlet for the opposite . . . but I know that’s what Elias wanted for me, for us, more than anything in this world.  It’s hard to think that people may feel as if I’ve ‘moved on’ or no longer grieve – but I suppose that is not something I can or should try to worry about.

JJ – I’m glad to know that the entries have inspired you, showing how life continues on despite intense grief.  That is by no means a hinderance!  That is one thing I’ve always hoped in this space, is that if I can help even ‘one’ person, then my loss is lessened.  Thank you for sharing that.

And Candice – I don’t know if I realized that you started your blog at 3yrs out!  Yours was one of the first I found after being widowed and I recall reading back some, but in the early ‘fog’ it probably didn’t register.  I absolutely agree with what you say on the difference between the facebook day to day and a blog.  And you are also bang-on about how there are those ‘shifts’ in dealing with various issues this far out – but they are still extremely difficult and harder to explain.  This is why I love my widdad peeps so much!

I know I will continue to write.  I’m feeling somewhat more comfortable about keeping it in ‘this space’, but that’s still up for more thought.  It doesn’t ‘feel’ the same as a general ‘day to day’ type space . . . we’ll see.  But thanks again for all the great feedback and support.  It means more than you could know!


(oh, and I have NO idea how I ended up with 35 spam comments on that one . . . but I found it funny that one read, ‘Great Job!  Keep Functioning!’ and found it oddly appropriate none the less)

P.S.  I Love You

May 25, 2012


Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 9:33 pm by letterstoelias

“We honor the place that is not light,

the forest in winter, the cold and night.

Yet know that spring and summer will come,

and with the dawn will rise the sun.”

In some ways I think of life as a series of passing through seasons.  In some ways I wish it was.  There would be a little more predictability.  When you start to grow weary of one (or not like it in the first place), you know it will end and soon a new one will begin.  At times it feels too far off, but still – you know it will change.

Even though there are some aspects of certain seasons that aren’t always loved – be it allergies that come with spring, intense heat with summer (of course not usually around here!), dark in the winter – there are usually enough benefits and beauty in each to help us get through.

I feel like I had a greater point to all this and am now just rambling (my neighbours loud music and drumming likely isn’t helping much at the moment . . . .) but I was reading a book to the girls last night that ends with the above little poem I love so much and it got me thinking (as it has each time I’ve read it).

I feel as though I’ve passed through countless seasons in the past number of years – with no predictability whatsoever – and a predominant amount of darkness.

When Elias’ tumour started to take over once again, I started the Caringbridge blog.  I had heard of blogging, but had never followed any and never even considered it a blog initially.  It was the easiest way to get the word out to those interested on how things were going.  We were staying as positive as possible, hoping to motivate people to do the same without death knocking on the door.  We were uplifted and inspired by how many people were following and cheering us on.

After Elias died, it became incredibly difficult to write there, in that space.  A space that had once been filled with so much hope and positive energy.  People had a harder time reading it (and bothered to mention it) because of the change in tone, but of course how exactly was I supposed to keep that going when my life had just ended?  A change in seasons.  Which, led me here.

This was the new place I came.  One where I could let out (most of) my pain and the darkness I felt.  I longed to continue talking to Elias and sharing with him, which is why I started writing as if to him, regardless of who else read it.  I didn’t really think I cared if any one did – but once again I was happy to find a readership to help me through . . . though this time it was from a less expected ‘group’.  Other widow/ers.  I found their blogs, and they found mine – and new hope was formed in the midst of the darkness.

Early on, it was just comforting to know that someone else understood that pain.  The pain that I felt so terribly alone and isolated in.  I hated knowing someone else felt it – but part of the pain was the isolation.  I was not alone.  I met others, months, weeks, years ahead of me and some behind – and I could look to them and see that it was possible to survive.

Even better, was the opportunity to meet them face to face.  Hug them.  Cry with them.  Laugh with them.  Dance with them.  To feel the energy in a room of others who have all known that pain of thinking you could never breathe again, let alone stand – yet here we were walking our ‘new’ lives, together.

A while back I made a tough decision to stop writing ‘letters’ to Elias as each one of my posts.  I still often write some of, and at times all of a post in that way – but it was extremely difficult to make that change.  It’s also one that’s never sat completely comfortably with me.

I’ve expressed before that I now struggle somewhat with this ‘place’.  It was once a lifeline for me.  It (along with those who I found through it) helped carry me through the darkest season of my life.  I still feel that pain, but as my body and mind have adjusted to handle it better, I’ve found it more difficult to find ways to write about it.  I don’t know how many different ways to express it.

Missing Elias is still in every breath I take, and always will be.  Every beat of my heart feels the loss of him.  I long to see/hear/touch him again – even if for just a moment.  My love for him is ever present.  But, none of this is new and I know I will always feel it.  Regardless of what happens in my life.  My girls will always miss him.  They will always have tears for their Daddy, and their lives are forever changed by his absence (just tonight, E is having a difficult time sleeping as I mistakenly chose bedtime to bring up the fact that fathers day is coming and to remind her of her choices when it’s time to start making crafts at school . . . . ).

I’m torn about this space.  I don’t want to stop writing here – but I don’t know how else to express these feelings.  I don’t know how much writing the details of yet another ‘death anniversary’, missed wedding anniversary, birthday, christmas, dance recital, etc, etc, etc, will help.  Tracking all the crazy numbers and stats of time with vs time without (I’ve now parented C more than twice as long on my own as we did together, etc).

And, life isn’t ‘all’ bad, and I want to write these things too – and I have written some of that here.  I think it’s important to do so for those who may come across it in the midst of their darkest period of grief, to see that there can be light.  And yet . . . .

I like writing.  Even though I have almost NO time for it any more (which is the other struggle I have these days).  I’m considering starting a new blog that is more just daily life and observations (likely still with ‘grief bits’ in there, as it is still part me), but I don’t know.  I just feel as though ‘this’ place has changed for me, yet I don’t feel done here either.

Seasons.  Change.  Rambling.  Who knows (but next time I’ll try not to write on a Friday night when the music is thumping through the walls . . . )

I know what he wanted for me.  For us.  I’m trying, every day, to live it.  It’s so hard without him.  But I feel like we’re doing it.

For now, this is what I submitted as a memoriam for the paper this year

If Love could have cured you, you would still be here with us . . . 

Impossible to believe it’s been three years, and impossible to describe just how loved, and missed you are – with every breath, every heart beat, every day.  How lucky were we to have someone so wonderful to love, that it made saying goodbye so hard.  Your smile, energy and life will be forever missed – thankfully your spirit lives on in all of us.  

Always and Forever ~ CL, E & C

P.S.  I Love You

April 20, 2012

The Tree – Take 2

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 3:19 pm by letterstoelias

Last year, on the same day, I wrote a post about a tree.

A tree I bought to plant in our front garden in memory of Elias.  A weeping Japanese cheery, filled with symbolism.  My initial hope was to have a group of Elias’ family together to plant it with me – but when it turned out only the one Aunt and her family were going to make the trip over, I decided to plant it on my own in the middle of the night instead.

I’m sure I blogged about the comedy of errors that occurred during that (my dog escaping at 3am and wandering off into the night), but the tree was planted.

I enjoyed looking at it so much over the next weeks – but as time went on, it wasn’t looking so good.  Understandable for it to lose it’s blossoms soon after, but the leaves seemed to go a little too soon.  I just got the feeling I didn’t quite plant it right.  Perhaps I didn’t water it enough?

Sure enough, the tree started to look like it was not going to survive.  I spoke with someone from the garden centre, and on their suggestion, tried to dig it up, break up the root ball more (I don’t believe I did that at all the first time around) and replant it.  This didn’t seem to work, but I wanted to give it time.

I look at it out the window every day, and as we pull out of the driveway.  As spring approached, I’ve been watching it and hoping.  Hoping that I’d see the slightest sign of a bud.  A leaf.  Anything.  But, there’s been nothing.  I can scrape the trunk and find a little green, but the branches are completely brittle and snap off under a tiny amount of pressure.

I finally decided to come to terms that it has died.  Now, looking at the tree just makes me sad.

I needed to go back to the garden store today for dog food.  I went through their trees, hoping -once again – to find the same tree.  No such luck there either.

They have one that is similar, mind you.  Bigger (and therefore a little more $$).  But, another Japanese weeping cherry.  Not the same, delicate white blossoms.  These are pink and much more ‘full’ looking.  Different leaves.  But, it’s still beautiful and has the same meaning, even if not exactly what I was looking for.

My problem is this – do I try again?  I’m clearly no expert at gardening.  I haven’t taken any time to prep anything.  Is the same thing going to happen again?

I’d really love to have it there.  Something to look at out the window and smile at – seeing it’s beauty in memory of Elias.  The kind man at the garden store suggested finding another tree that blooms at the same time of year that may be easier/more hardy.  But I’m stuck on the weeping cherry.  I know Elias loved magnolias, and they blossom now – but they planted one of those at the school for him.

My brain is not functioning well these days.  The weight of the weekend is heavy.  Seeing his memoriam in the paper today sent me to tears (even though I know the photo and words well as I submitted both).  But the suffocating pain of losing Elias is palpable.  I try to remind myself how the ‘lead up’ is always worse than the day – but somehow knowing that still doesn’t change how I feel.

Will the tree help?  Even if I do end up killing it again in time?  I wish I knew…


P.S.  I Love You

April 12, 2012

10 Days

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 2:11 pm by letterstoelias

I’ve written, and re-written so many blog posts in my head recently.  Finding the time and energy to commit the words to ‘paper’ is one thing.  But, that’s not all I’m struggling with these days.

It’s always been difficult.  Though, it seems to be getting more so – finding a way to put it all into words.  At almost three years.

How much I still miss him.  How much I long to see him.  Hear him.  Smell him.  Feel him.  How much it still hurts.

Every day.

Time heals?  Jury’s still out on that one for me.  Time helps you get used to it.  Learn how to manage it.  But the deep pain and sorrow is still there, just under the surface, and it still comes up for air now and then.  Knocking me down.  And, in many ways, I’m good with that.

A little under three years ago, couldn’t believe that the world was still spinning.  That people were still going about their daily business, laughing, working, playing.  I wanted it all to stop.  I wanted to stop.  My world ended.

But of course life is still moving forward.  And is even great in many ways.

I run a business.  I manage our home.  I take care of our girls.  Not always well on any of the three, but I’m doing it.  Sure, I spend much of the time feeling behind on everything, exhausted, overwhelmed – but somehow we’re making it through.

I’ve accomplished things that I never would have imagined three years ago.  I’ve done, felt, said, heard the ‘impossible’.  And I’m happy about that.

Alongside the pain of missing Elias, trying to balance the grief with the great is a daily struggle too.

Tell me he wanted me to be happy until you’re blue in the face – I know it – but it’s still hard.   This is what I struggle trying to explain.

I have much in my life to be happy for.  I’ve found new reasons to smile.  New things to laugh about.  New hopes.  New plans.  New parts of myself I never knew existed.

And, I think this is why I am more appreciative of the waves of grief that still come.  As crazy as that may sound.  Not that I enjoy them – don’t get me wrong on that point – but I know now that I can, and will survive them.  I know that they have served a purpose to get me to where I am.  I know that they are a sign of just how much I loved, and still love that man. With all my heart.  They tell me that I will always miss him.

I never want to stop missing him.  I will never stop loving him.  No matter how happy I am, or what life brings me.

* * * * *

In 10 days it will mark 3yrs since Elias died.  Three years since all the ‘lasts’ I can’t bear to list at this moment, regardless of how many ‘firsts’ I’ve survived since then.

Since April hit I have felt the weight getting heavier and heavier as each day passes.  I’m less productive, more distracted, short of patience, grumpy, sad – you name it.  My body and mind seem to be kicking into ‘barely functioning mode’ already.  I’ve tried to stop fighting it this year, as that seems to make it even harder.  Perhaps it’s working a little.  But, I still just wish I could curl into a little ball and wake up in May.

I didn’t’ handle his birthday very well last month.  I don’t know what the girls and I will do this year – but I imagine we’ll head to the beach as we usually do.  I’m sure we’ll do a lantern again as well, though not with so many people as last year.  I loved doing it as a group last year, and hope to again at some point – but it also took a fair bit more energy than I feel I have right now.

No matter what we do, I will celebrate the man I love.  An amazing man, father, husband.  And all I can ask, in honour of Elias, if you have someone you love beside you, let them feel it.  No time like now.


P.S.  I Love You

February 16, 2012

More than a little late . . .

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 8:38 am by letterstoelias

I came to write a new post tonight, but got a little side tracked looking at my drafts.  I found this one, incomplete.  A ‘recap’ of the 2yr ‘anniversary’.  I gather I ran out of steam to try and finish it properly and get the photos and videos posted, and probably, eventually, felt it was too late to put out there.  But, for some reason, tonight I decided to scrap my initial plans for the post in my mind, and put up what was written here so many months ago.  Not long now before anniversary #3.  I will leave it written as far as I managed way back in May, but will add at least my video of the lantern ceremony, and a link to another from the night (I wanted to post the photos too, but if I try to do that, this will *never* get done!)

* * * * *

Well, over a month later but for whatever reason (perhaps the funk I’ve been in?) writing about the 2yr anniversary has been difficult.  I have a lot I wanted to write (more for myself to be able to remember it years from now – considering I’ve already forgotten some of it).  Apologies in advance for the length of this and kudos if you can read to the end!

I can say it wasn’t ‘all bad’ – much of it was quite the opposite, but it wasn’t all that easy either.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, the 21st is an extremely difficult day as well.  I was fortunate to be off from the store that day, and though I still had to get the girls to and from their respective schools and dance class, I managed to keep the hat and sunglasses on, head down, and moved fast.  Not much was accomplished that day – though a friend took the girls for a couple of hours in the afternoon so I had some time to myself . . . mostly taken up with going through the photo trunk in the office, attempting to find one photo in particular, but of course spending who knows how much time looking at much of everything.  A LOT of memories in that trunk (and, I never actually found the one photo I was looking for).  I pulled out a number of photos for the next day, as people would be gathering at my house and I wanted to have a number of photos of Elias around for people to see.

Getting to the trunk was a bit of a challenge as well – as it was buried under a pile of ‘stuff’, much of which included an array of ‘cancer’ paraphernalia – medical reports, bills, books, passes from Brain Tumour Awareness day, etc.  A number of memories here as well.

I tried not to replay too much of the timing of the night over in my head as the clock ticked by – the time he fell asleep for the last time, jolted awake before going unconscious, the time the ambulance came, my parents came, the ambulance left our house in it (with him leaving our home for the last time, etc, but these things still come to mind whether you track it by the actual time or not.

I put the girls to bed that night and at some point decided that – since there were a number of ‘events’ planned for the next day with other people, I needed something to do on my own for Elias.  I decided I would plant the weeping cherry tree by myself just after 2am – close to the time he took his last breath.

I prepped most of the ground, etc. around 8pm while it was still somewhat light out, but at 2am went out there (hoping not to see any neighbours of the human or animal variety) with a candle, some ashes, and the tree.  I was working slowly and deliberately.  I didn’t want to rush through it – I wanted to take my time and concentrate on what I was doing, who I was doing it for, and have a little time for just Elias and I.  It was a bit chilly, but clear, quiet and beautiful out.

I had left the front door open with just the screen door closed so that I could still hear the girls if they woke, and Cali was clearly feeling she needed to be out with me as she pushed the door open and crept out.  I was just in the middle of something important – I think it was likely pouring some of Elias’ ashes at the base of the whole for the tree – when she came out, but I figured she would stick fairly close by until I was able to corral her back into the house.  I’m sure you can see where this is going . . .

Of course, I was concentrating quite hard on the task at hand, and my few verbal commands to keep Cali nearby were forgotten for a few minutes – who knows how long – but clearly long enough for her to wander off completely.  No sight of her (though she is dark chocolate brown and it was rather dark out), and I couldn’t hear her anywhere.

I tried to still finish what I was doing with the same intent with which I had started – figuring the goof would make her way back – but of course now I was not as focussed as I had wanted to be on the task at hand.  I rushed a bit more than I would have otherwise and started wandering up the road with my giant candle, ‘whisper-shouting’ to Cali.  Still no sign of her.  I couldn’t go far because of the girls (and fear of bears), so I went back to take a few more photos and hope she would show soon.  I went inside to grab a flashlight and sent a quick message to a friend who is a notorious night-owl like me, hoping she may be able to pop over if she was still awake.  I waked up the road a bit more with the flashlight but still no luck, and it was then I heard C crying.

I went back to the house – she only wanted a sip of water.  Still no message back from my friend, and after a few more minutes outside, I realized I was going to have to drag the girls up and out of bed and take to the car (now almost 3am).  Fortunately, since they had both just been awake moments ago, it wasn’t too hard.  Initially they were excited, but of course their excitement turned to worry about not getting Cali back (I worried about this too, and though I hate to say it, the thought also occurred to me that I hoped my recent expense in saving Cali’s life was not going to have gone to waste only to have her hit by a car . . . ).

Fortunately, we didn’t even get to the end of our road before the goof came round the corner off the main road – looking like a deer caught in my headlights.  I hauled her into the car, relieved (though also worried she was going to end up like this) and the girls were back in bed, excited by the adventure of it all (and of course the happy ending).

So, my attempt at planting the tree in the middle of the night to be able to ‘focus’ was thwarted, but I suppose I’m not really all that surprised.

The next morning was for the girls and I.  We woke up and had omelettes for breakfast – one of Daddy’s specialties (and since the waffle maker was broken), then packed up a lunch and headed down to the beach as we had done last year.  We took some time finding treasures, writing messages on rocks and stick to throw into the ocean for Daddy, and had our lunch.

At one point, just as I was taking a moment to throw one of my rocks into the water, C announced she had to go pee.  I took my moment and threw the rock and decided I would throw the rest after helping C.  As I turned around to see where she was at, a white butterfly flew past right behind me.  I almost had to do a double take, and called to E to see if it was my imagination of if she could see it too – which she could.  I watched it for a few minutes as it paraded along the waters edge, before it went up over the ‘big rocks’ which is where we always go to explore tide pools and to take our family self-portraits.  It was the first butterfly I’d seen this spring, and found it interesting to see it right at the waters edge.

I quickly had to change focus once again, however, as C was making her way back to the path to leave as she said she wanted to go home to go potty.  After a little work to convince her to just pee in the bush as she usually would.  This gave us a little more time to spend there.  As it had been the year before, it was a beautiful day yet we had the place to ourselves.

After heading for home we had a couple more hours to ourselves before people were due to arrive.  I was pleasantly surprised at how many of my family members decided to make the trip over for the lantern ceremony.  I wasn’t sure any would come, seeing as it would have to be at night and meant they would have to stay overnight – and it was the Easter long weekend, but almost all the Cotter side came.  Elias’ aunt Caroline came with her family as well, so it was nice to have some representation from his side too.

Everyone started arriving sometime after 5, and we shared some pizza and snacks – then it came time to decorate the lanterns.  I encouraged people to share stories of Elias as we decorated.  Of course I couldn’t get through this, and telling everyone how much I/we appreciated their participation without crying, and though somewhat surreal, it was comforting to see my house scattered with lanterns – people hunched over with their sharpie markers and felts, writing messages to Elias.  It was nice to see people taking the time to think about what they were writing, pictures drawn.  Some funny, some simple, some more serious – but all filled with love for a great, wonderful man.  I didn’t get a chance to even see them all myself – but as they weren’t actually for me, that was ok.

Of course I wanted the conversations to be 100% Elias, which didn’t happen, but I have to try and understand that it was also a chance for people to be together that aren’t often together.

I did two lanterns – one for Elias from the girls an I, and one to commemorate the lost loves of some other incredible people I know.

Once the decorating was done, we all headed up the road to the field at the nearby school to launch them.  A few other friends met us up there as well, so we had about 14 or so lanterns to launch (many people launched them in groups – especially with the little ones).  Once again I got a little teary as I got everyone grouped together to light them, and it took a little trial and error to get them ready to go – but once they were up on the sky, it was amazing.  We launched them just before it was completely dark out, and to see the lanterns against the twilight blue sky was gorgeous.

One of the things that was so wonderful about it as well – was how joyous it was for everyone there.  There were cheers, clapping, children squealing – a real celebration – which is what I wanted for Elias.  I had to have my time to be sad and alone that day too, of course – but I want his life and who he was to be celebrated.  I want our girls to see others who loved him come together and share his stories with us and share the joy he brought to their lives as well as ours.  This is what the lantern ceremony was for, and it served the purpose even better than I could have hoped.  There were moments here and there where the crowd would pause – almost in unison – with quiet reflection (which was nice too), but the energy was perfect.

(this is the video my Dad took . . . it was a little ‘trial and error’ to get them going, so you may want to fast forward to the 2min mark for when they finally start to go.  I love my Dad’s commentary though)

Lantern Ceremony (my video of the lantern to represent Elias and the loved ones of all my widowed friends)

When the last lanterns had burnt out and had fallen back to earth (to biodegrade 100% – and we managed to get one that had landed back a nearby parking lot that I put in the garden to see how long it takes), those who met us at the park departed, and those who came from my house returned to share in our excitement and joy from the lanterns before everyone went to their respective sleeping places for the night (much of my family stayed at my parent’s home, Elias’ aunt and family stayed with me, and a few stayed at a nearby inn).

The next morning we had a little more time with Caroline and her family.  It was the Saturday of the Easter weekend, but we thought it would be fun for the kids to do an easter egg hunt together (her two kids are the same age as my girls, and they had been over last year around Easter when we built the arbour, so we had done the same).  She had gone out the night before to hide them.  The kids were up bright an early, and one egg was ‘hidden’ in fairly plain sight by the door, so as soon as it was spotted, the four of them had shoes on and baskets out ready to hunt.  The adults had to get ready – and as we headed out, it was quickly realized that a number of the eggs had already been ‘found’.  It seems about 20 of the small ones, and 2 of the 4 large eggs were more than likely eaten by rats.  Ugh.

* * * * *

And that’s as far as I wrote.


P.S.  I Love You

January 17, 2012


Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 1:52 pm by letterstoelias

Last year, the theme for  Camp Widow was ‘Hope Matters’.  I wrote a blog post with my feelings on the subject, and thought the support of friends and family was lucky enough to attend.  I hope to make it this summer too – only time will tell.

This last Christmas, there was talk on the ‘internets’ of a fair number of widows finding ornaments with the word ‘Hope’ on them.  Around the same time, I entered a contest – last minute – at a local kitchen store that had been one of Elias’ favourites, The Seasoned Kitchen.

A few days later, I was surprised to hear that I had won a gift certificate to the store!  I tried to shop before Christmas, but didn’t have much time and it was tough with the girls (we went in once for 5mins when they decided to set off all the egg timers at once . . . ), so I decided I would wait until Elias’ brother was visiting over New Years with his family so we could go together (I know Anthony would like the store too).

As we were shopping around, I spotted a rack of discounted ornaments.  Very few left, and they each had a small amount of damage on them (apparently the rack had gotten knocked to the ground at some point over the holidays) – and there was one that read ‘Hope’.

At first I was sad of the fact that there was a small chip off the corner of the star at the bottom (and almost decided against getting it for that reason), but then I realized it was actually kinda perfect that way.

Perfectly imperfect.

My star is chipped, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have Hope.

There will always be that part of me missing.  I can still reflect light and shine.


P.S.  I Love You

January 13, 2012


Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 1:52 pm by letterstoelias

A number of years ago Elias and I were watching a fundraiser for cancer research on tv.  Stand Up 2 Cancer.

I’m pretty sure it was there that I heard this song for the first time.  Originally written about a break up – but this video and version of the song was done specifically for SU2C.  They wanted the video to convey the feeling of being supported by those around you, and I think they did a great job.  The people in the video were simply fans of a relatively unknown artist at the time, and I was immediately a fan of the song, and of the artist.  Elias too.

Ingrid Michaelson became a regular on our playlist.

I played one of her songs at his funeral.

I’ve posted them here before, but I don’t believe I had posted this one yet.

I was watching the video again yesterday, and it caught me in a different way.

Before I watched it from the ‘cancer’ perspective.  We were supported by people around us – friends, strangers, family, other cancer patients – all putting positive energy towards Elias’ health and survival.

After he died and the initial rush of supporters had faded (not at all long after) I was left with a few friends and family close to me helping me along the way – but I felt very much alone.  So. Very. Alone.

With some distance now I can see a bit more clearly – going from that huge sea of people to only a few, and of those almost no one knew what I was feeling – it’s no wonder I felt that way.

In time, however, I found a new community of support.  My widdas.

Who would’a thunk it?

All these other men and women who were suffering their own gut-wrenching pain, barely finding the ability to breathe, were there to support me?!  And (hopefully) I to support them?!  But somehow it works.

So, I post this today for all of those widdas (and my other friends and family) who have helped to hold me up the past (almost) three years.  Helping me know that I will Be Ok (broken parts and all).

And so will you.



P.S.  I Love You

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