November 7, 2012

Bailouts

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 2:46 pm by letterstoelias

Another thing I’ve had to get used to in the past few years . . . the need to be ‘bailed out’ by others.

No, I haven’t ended up in jail at all (yet! who knows what this crazy life might bring) –  just tricky situations or unexpected hiccups that I can’t take care of without friends and/or family jumping in to help – usually last minute.

Asking for help is not always easy (well, pretty much never easy for me), but at times there aren’t many other options.  Another thing that is frustrating about being an ‘only parent’ as I wrote about in my last post.

Recently I had a day off (from the store) where I was trying to get stuff done.  Dog nails clipped, wood pellets delivered, car service and new tires, mixed in with my weekly treat of a pilates class, and hopes to clear up some (frighteningly behind) bookkeeping for the store.

The day started with a big, teary drop off at kindergarten for C*.  That made me a little late to meet my friend at the house who was to clip the dog’s nails.  Thankfully my mom was meeting us there with her dogs, so they were able to get started without me.  Things smoothed out for a bit, tea with my friend, off to pilates class, then back home to wait for the pellet delivery and get a little work done.

I called to find out when they were coming (as time passed and I was getting a bit anxious), and of course (after initially saying I wasn’t even on the schedule) they told me it would be around 2pm, which is ‘exactly’ when I needed to be dropping my car off for servicing (as I had told them on the phone when I ordered the pellets).  Along with this, I called the store to check on my very pregnant employee, and I could tell she was not feeling well.  Not wanting her to have to stay working, I started trying to figure out how to get my pellets delivered, my car to the tire place, my kids picked up from school, and cover off the store so she wouldn’t have to work.

Thankfully, my other employee had stopped by the store to see how she was doing as well, and offered to stay until I could get there (which also required her to ask her mom to pick up her son from school . . . ) – bailout #1

Then, my mom (who was also not feeling great, mind you) came to my house to wait for the pellet delivery, so I could get my car up to the service station – bailout #2

My pregnant employees partner works at the place I needed to take my car, so he said he could drive me down to the school to get my girls (then he would take the car back for the work to be done) so I could walk them to my house, where my mom could then drive us up to the store – bailout #3

Of course, when went to drop off my car, they only had 3 of the 4 tires I needed, so I was only able to get the service done and had to arrange for the tires to be done next week.  Grrr.

As I got to the school to pick up the girls, my friend Sian offered to drive the girls and I back up to the store so my mom could just go home – bailout #4

And, my employee’s partner brought the car back to me at the store at 5pm when I was off work, so then I could drive back with him to pay for the service done.  Thankfully the tire place is only a few mins from my work, and of course he was ok doing this as it meant his very pregnant partner was able to get the rest from work (and I know they do this for other customers too, so it’s not entirely unusual).

Just trying to sort it all out was exhausting – within this there were MANY phone calls back and forth to see who could do what and when and how to make it all work.

This past week added more when, one of the days C had a teary, hour long drop off at school which made me almost late for work, and therefore no time to make lunch, so a ‘favour’ was asked (one of my employees who had stopped by the store) to pick me up lunch.  The next day, I went to the store expecting to be there just for an hour, had C in tow, no food for lunch – and turned out needing to be there for the whole day as both my employees were sick.  As such, my mom picked up lunch for C and I, took her for a few hours, picked up E from school and got her to dance class.  As my employees were both off for the rest of the week, that meant a little extra child care there too, and another favour from my pregnant employees partner to pick up and drop off my car once again so the tires could finally be done.

I am BEYOND thankful for the people who step up to help (and I’m grateful to know they are willing, and usually happy to), and no one makes me feel like a burden – but ‘I’ certainly feel like it at times.  It’s still hard to know that you can’t manage without.  And, it definitely makes it more difficult to ask for any ‘extra’ help with other types of things that I just could do myself, and especially for childcare for something that just may be fun (gasp at the thought!).  These last two could also be covered by paying someone – like lawn mowing, gutter cleaning, babysitting for example – but on a variable income and being a ‘tightwad’ as is, this just doesn’t happen either.

I also wish I could return the favour more often.  I certainly try to help out when I can, and perhaps one day I will be able to do more, or will pay it forward.  And, in reality that was a rough stretch – and though they do happen more often than I’d like – thankfully in our ‘day-to-day’ with no unexpected bumps I’ve managed to work a schedule where we don’t need as much help (at least with childcare/transportation issues), but we still need to call on my mom a few hours a week regardless, and have some friends who help out when they are away.

And, just as important, I have my friends who may not live near by, but are my ‘virtual’ sources of a bail out.  When the pain of missing Elias just hits harder than usual (or the frustration of this life in general), their understanding and comfort bails me out once more, and I can return to the ‘regular’ grief that I have learned to manage in the usual ‘day-to-day’.

(of course there are others who live near by who do this too, only usually by phone . .. .)

Both groups are incredibly valuable to me.  Both groups have helped me to function through this season of my life.  They have helped me to get this far – though I’m not sure exactly where that ‘far’ is. . . .

I suppose I should give myself ‘some’ credit for getting myself there too, but this is to thank those who are my bail bondsmen and women.  Both near and far.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

*I haven’t written much about it yet, but transition to kindergarten has not exactly been easy for C and I.  I’m not taking her 100% of the time as I just don’t feel that is what is best for her or us, but even part-time has had it’s challenges (and with one staff member having just left for maternity leave, we need to up another day….).  And, as I’m not someone to leave her screaming and in tears at the classroom door, I will stay until I’m confident she feels comfortable with me leaving.  Much of this has come under question as well (also part of the frustration in my last post), but we’re just trying to find what works best for us.  Her grief has been hitting much harder in the past few months (since just before school started) and I’ve recently set her up with a counsellor at school in hopes to help.  And we keep on keepin’ on.

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October 24, 2012

Frustrated

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 . . . )

~C~

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.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

May 25, 2012

Seasons

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 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.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

September 20, 2011

A week* in the life . . .

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 4:25 pm by letterstoelias

Perhaps this is why my blog gets neglected:

 

*this is pretty close to most weeks, though the preschool meetings are only once/month and I doubt I’ll be able to make the ballet classes on Friday nights

* * * * *

My love,

We are certainly keeping busy!  Life moves forward – but it doesn’t stop us from missing you.  Not even for a moment.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

March 18, 2011

Update . . . finally

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 2:28 pm by letterstoelias

I can’t believe how much time has passed since my last post – I feel bad for not up dating earlier, but the post will explain some of that.  I will also say how much I appreciate the comments and caring for Cali that came from my last post . . . SO very much.  Hopefully the speed in which I write this (there’s a wee bit of caffeine in me just now) will still allow for some coherence – but here we go!

After bringing Cali home that Friday, there were definitely a few moments where I was uncertain as to how she would fare over the weekend.  She was drinking excessively, and once or twice that evening she went into the backyard and was going behind bushes and under trees, digging at the dirt as best as she could.  Now, I should also mention that she has never been a ‘digger’.  She does not bury things in the yard.  The only time she has ever done any type of digging in the yard was if she was trying to cool down in the summer, or if she was having what we call a ‘spaz attack’, where she runs madly through the yard and excitedly digs for a second before tearing across to the other side of the yard and doing the same.  This was much different, and my fear was that her instinct was telling her it was time to find her ‘final’ place.

She was by my side almost all day Saturday – thankfully I was able to have help at the store so I could stay with her.  She stopped with the digging, and even started to show a bit of interest in her food, but she would often get ‘shivers’ for a while, which gave me concern that she was uncomfortable/in pain.  I also thought she may have been cold so I cranked the heat in the house, to be on the safe side.  But, as the day wore on I just ‘felt’ she was going to be ok.  I kept giving her the vitamin supplements in her water and on her food too.

By Sunday, she started eating more and seemed to be getting stronger.  I had a call from the emergency vet to see how she was doing.  He was going by the reports of how she was at the clinic (he had not seen her before) and he was fairly fatalistic, even with the positive reports I was giving.  He was also still ‘encouraging’ me to get the x-rays.  At one point he asked how old the girls are, and when I told him he said something about how ‘they are too young to see a sick dog, they need to have good memories of a healthy dog’ to which I angrily sputtered something to the effect of ‘Yeah, and their father too’.  Not many 6 and 3yr olds understand sickness and death the way mine do.

We were able to give her some time alone while we went to E’s birthday party on Sunday – which was great, and in large part wouldn’t have happened at all without the help of my amazing friend Zoe and the way my mom pulled out a fantastic cake, even though she didn’t feel well.  I’ll hopefully get around to posting more about the party later – but she even greeted us at the door with a wag in her tail and a shoe in her mouth, as she usually would when we get home.  She was still a stubborn mutt when it came to taking pills (I’ve been trying to decide who was more difficult to deal with administering meds to between Cali and Elias) so the illness didn’t affect that – no pill pockets or cheese can fool my dog!

When I took her back to the vet on Monday, they were amazed at how improved she was.  They wanted to keep her that day for more iv fluids, but I didn’t want to lose the ground I had made with her at home and opted out of it.  Same story on Tuesday when I took her back.  I was getting a bit stronger at going with my gut (and my wallet).  Not only that, but the Tuesday vet was the same who had called me on the weekend.  I had already decided I wouldn’t like him, based on the comment he made, but he was actually great.  Cali loved him and even kissed him on the nose, and as I tried to explain why I didn’t want to go for the extra steps he wanted to take, that I just wanted to keep going with the antibiotics that seemed to be working – he came back a few minutes later to tell me that he wouldn’t charge me for that visit, for the one injection he wanted to give her, and it would only be another $30 for the pills he wanted her to take.  I certainly wasn’t trying to use the ‘widow card’ by any means, and I don’t know if that’s what came into play here inadvertently, but I was grateful (and then felt a ‘tad’ guilty . . . ).

As for now, short of still limping on her back leg, it seems that Cali has made an incredible recovery and she is back to her usual, slightly neurotic self.  We still don’t know the cause of the infection that almost did her in – the vet would be happy to run more tests (for more $$ of course) to figure it out, but for now I’m just happy  she survived, and it ‘looks like’ she’ll be with us for a while to come!

It was definitely a wake-up call, and of course if we don’t find out/fix what caused it there is a chance it could happen again and this time without good results – but should that be the case I would have at least been prepped a bit (I hope).  For now I’m going to chalk it up to a mysterious infection that was (barely) caught in time and the antibiotics took care of.

I can’t even begin to explain how much stress that all caused me, and so of course when Thursday hit, my streak of bypassing all the illnesses floating around came to an end.  An abrupt end, as I threw up at work.

When I initially felt the nausea earlier in the day, I thought it was because of something else.  I’ve written in the past about how I’m considering reworking my rings to make a new one for myself and one for each of the girls.  I finally worked up the courage to at least meet with a local jeweller to get a quote and talk about ideas.  Little did I know, that to get an actual quote, I had to leave my rings behind.  I managed to get through the whole meeting fairly well, but once I heard this news I started to falter.  The jeweller was wonderful (has dealt with this before) and they offered to bring my rings back to me in a few hours at my work.  I still tried to keep at least one of the three, but as that wouldn’t work, I agreed.  It was as soon as I was out the door walking to the car that the nausea struck.  I spent the next few hours thinking this was a sign that I was not ready to change my rings.

Well, the rings were returned not much later and I still threw up a number of times that night, followed by each of my girls 48hrs later (C first, then E 48hrs after her).  So, this made the next few days rough to get through.  Thankfully, again, I a few wonderful people step up to help with the store and with childcare on Friday when I was still feeling awful, and my parents helped out with looking after E so I wouldn’t have to drag her to the store with me when she was at her worst (for C it was Sunday, so we were able to stay home anyhow).

It was a difficult couple of weeks, and with such little time between this and when my dad had his health scare in December, I’d love a little peace for a while – but I know too well that this just doesn’t happen so easily.  It also helped me realize how beneficial it would be to have at least one hired staff person to be able to call on in emergencies, and though things are quiet at the store right now, I’ve got someone lined up who I think will be a great fit.

* * * * *

In other news, I had been meaning on posting for a while about a great weekend the girls and I had, but so much time has passed now it seems a bit silly . . .  in short, I had to take my car into town for work one Friday, and was able to go on my own.  It gave me a couple of hours to meander around the nearby mall – unplugged.  No email, internet, kids, work.  No one to need me.  No one to watch over.  It was great.  Of course they took a good hour less then expected and so when they called to say they were coming to pick me up I was a little disappointed.  I didn’t get some of the things I hoped for – I am in desperate need of some new shoes (Elias would kill me if he knew I had started wearing a certain, terribly leaky pair again), but it was just nice to have that bit of time to myself.

The following Sunday was for the girls.  I had plenty of things I ‘could have’ done around the house, but instead we had a day which included a bike ride to the park, playing at the park, exploring various ice formations, glitter tattoos, a dip in the hot tub & smoothies.  I’m mindful that I need to do this type of thing more often.  As a ‘lone’ or ‘only’ parent, it’s easy to get caught up in all the ‘stuff’ that needs to be done, and when my girls play well together and entertain themselves well, I can easily forget just how much they still need that time with me, and likewise how much I need that time FOR me.  Slowly.  S.L.O.W.L.Y., I am working on finding more balance. . . .

I know this has been a long, ramble (not unlike much of my other writings I suppose), but I just wanted to get it up asap as so many thoughtful caring people were asking about my lovely little Cali.  Thank you!

* * * * *

Oh, My Love.

Yes, the recent weeks without you have been beyond rough.  Yes, the weeks ahead are looking tough as well with your birthday next week and the 2nd yr mark fast approaching.  And yes – somehow through it all, we just keep ticking.  I credit you for much of this, but I like to think I have at least a ‘little’ to do with it, and I like to think that you’d be pretty damn proud.

~C~

P.S.  I LOVE You

September 16, 2010

Moments of Quiet

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 1:14 am by letterstoelias

Today was an interesting day.  Definitely one of my better days this week.

Sunday I didn’t have to be anywhere (though I had hoped to at least grocery shop and take care of my ever overflowing recycling bins – blasted love of the planet!) but I was caught up in trying to finish some product photography that I had offered to do, which took all morning.

I had planned to do it the night before while the girls were sleeping, but my camera battery died and I was stuck leaving it to the morning where I had both girls and two dogs to contend with.

(this is one of a few similar shots)

The girls were battling a fair bit, and my frustration was getting the best of me at times as I just wanted to get the photos done.  The afternoon was a bit better and I managed to get at least a little bit of much needed clean up done around the house.  Monday was a tough day.  It was a lot of running around and for some reason the girls challenged me at every turn.  I had my meeting with E’s kindergarten teacher and when ‘the topic’ of you came up there was some rather uncomfortable exchanges.  By the time we got home I basically hibernated in my room for most of the rest of the evening.  I’ve never given either of the girls a ‘time out’, but I felt like I needed one to keep from loosing my cool.  Perhaps we’re all just feeling the pinch of trying to get into the rhythm of the new schedule.

On Tuesday C had her first day of preschool.  Another first missed . . . .

and music back on this week for her, as well as the girls’ dance classes picking back up.  It was a little deja vu as E finally grew out of her body suit for ballet and C is now in it (we’ve gotten some great mileage out of it!)

I expected today to be yet another crazy day – on paper it seemed as though it would be, but it actually turned out ok.  I dropped of C with Sian on the way to work – she took C to music while E came with me to the store.  It was so nice to have time with just the two of us together.  She has been itching to buy C a birthday present, so now was the perfect opportunity.  We had a great time with that, she learned a bit about money, and it was a pretty easy morning.

It wasn’t long before Sian was back with C, but she then was kind enough to just swap the girls so she could take E to kindergarten, which left me with some one-on-one time with C.  Again – what a difference it makes!  It’s been such a rare occasion that I can be with just one at a time.  My mom came to pick her up a little later in the day, then picked E up from kindergarten and took them home so I had the rest of the afternoon alone in the store, and because I had a meeting with someone from the Aspire group.  From a customer standpoint, it was a little quieter than I would have liked (though the morning was better), but at least it gave me some time to take care of some ordering, etc.

I was home just in time to say good-bye to the girls as my mom was taking them out to the fall fun fair at Elphi because I only had just under an hour before I had to head out for the first preschool meeting of the year.  I was glad my mom was up to taking them as it would have been far too difficult for me still – especially as this year, due to potential rain, they had moved much of it indoors – including the cafeteria.  I took a thank you card into the office a few months after you died, but I haven’t been back in the cafeteria since the memorial.  Still, the girls always state ‘There’s Daddy’s school!’ every time we drive by.

It was strange to be in the house alone for that brief time between when they left and I had to go.  Of course, I’m always up for hours after they go to sleep, but there’s something different about being in the house alone during the day.  Another rarity.  The girls were asleep by the time I got home from the meeting, so I didn’t have to do the bedtime routine.  Again – rare.  It’s not like I ‘hate’ putting them to bed – I was always involved with one or both of them before in some way – but it’s just so very, very different when you are the only adult around 99.9% of the time.  It’s nice having that little break from it (even if it is just to attend a meeting).

So, though I was busy all day, it was actually rather smooth and somewhat peaceful.  I know I’m going to have to rely on a little more help getting the girls to and from some of their activities – which is not always easy for me to do – but I’m hopeful that we’ll get in a descent rhythm.

One of the other things that has been interesting this week is that Coast Parents website featured me/the store in their parent profile section.  It was done in an interview format in order to explain a bit about me, what the store offers, and how it came to be.  Of course, it would be pretty impossible for me to explain any of that without mentioning you.  I had to be honest – it is my life and my truth after all – and though I was worried about it coming across as a ‘sob’ story, or looking like a plea for sympathy, I think it turned out fairly ok (I think it helped that I actually got to write most of it so I had a fair amount of control).

I guess one of the things that’s hard about it is, now I really feel ‘out’.  Sure, it’s a small community and  a fair amount of people know – but so many – and I would say the great majority of my customers – had no clue.  I can’t help but wonder now, when people come in to shop, if they read the article or not when I feel as though they are looking at me in a different way than before.  As always, I am likely imagining more than half of it – but you get a feeling about these things sometimes.  People almost look like they are studying your face more (does that sound crazy???)  Or, perhaps they look at you with a great deal more sadness than the last time you saw them.  Nervous.  Sometimes even friendlier perhaps.

It’s hard to get past these things – and so many aspects of people knowing – but in some ways it’s feels a bit better.  Though there will always be customers who have no idea and may make comments about my husband (as if you are still alive, that is . . . ), at least this may cut down on some of that.  It feels as if there’s less of a facade (though at times I think I liked the facade).

There are some hard days coming over the next while.  Some of which just the thought of bring almost instantaneous tears, but somehow we are making it through.  We have done so the past (almost) 17 months and I’m sure the trend will continue regardless of tears, kicking, screaming.  Fortunately, there is still room for love and laughter too.  Missing you.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

July 2, 2010

There’s Only an ‘I’ in Team

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 11:23 pm by letterstoelias

I can’t believe how long I’ve let it go since I’ve really written.  I am busy, yes – extremely busy – but that hasn’t stopped me before.  I think it’s just that I have SO very much that I want to say, but just can’t seem to find a way to say it in any way that will make sense to anyone other than me.  Though, were you here, I know you would get it.

I think that’s one of the things that is so hard right now.  Not having ‘that person’ who gets you, completely.  A teammate.  Someone who will know exactly what you want/need/feel with just a glance.  Someone to sit in comfortable silence with, or to talk with about anything.  There is SO much going on right now, and I don’t have ‘that person’ to share it with.  I don’t have you.  There are others in my life I can share things with, and I am grateful for that – but I still can’t shake the lonely feeling.  It’s just not the same.

I used to love weekends.  You and I would wake up with C between us.  Eventually e would join us and the four of us would stay in bed for what seemed like half the day.  E would play ‘mountain’ on your knees.  There would be plenty of tickles and giggles.  Then, we would finally roll out of bed and you would make an amazing breakfast of some sort, before getting on with the chores/errands of the day.

We made such a great team.  At times we would work together on tasks – and, no, we didn’t ‘always’ work perfectly together, but usually.  We would always try to find ways to make the tedious more fun.  When working on something independently of each other we would thank/compliment/congratulate/acknowledge the other (most of the time).  We supported each other.

I miss being part of a team.  Now, weekends are usually just the girls and me – they play with each other while I play ‘catch-up’ around the house.  It’s not even just about all the work there is to be done – it’s the lack of companionship in it all.  Now, here’s no one to pat my back.  No one to kiss my cheek and say, “Thanks”.  No one to sit back with, relax with, and admire our accomplishments.  No one to share in the good, and the bad of parenting.   No one to assure me that I am doing a great job with them.

I miss having someone to share my life with.  Someone with the same, vested interest in it all.  I miss being held.

As for the store – I’ve been mad busy with it, but it has been a positive focus for me.  So far I am still confident that this was a good decision (even though I still get freaked out by it now and then).  I am thankful that there have been a few people who have pitched in to help.  Of course my parents.  They come by the store often and help out with whatever they can.  I know they worry, but they are supportive and seem excited about it too, which is nice.  Bridie has been spending hours on the phone with me each week helping out with orders and I couldn’t possibly be doing this without her help.  Ally has done an amazing job on my logo and website.  Stuart and my Dad helped me go into town to get the slatwall (I planned to do it myself, and that would have been an absolute gong show!) and they helped hang it last weekend.  Rob and Greg helped me move my desk and some shelving to the store recently.

I still find it incredibly difficult to ‘ask’ for help (though it’s not as hard to say ‘yes’ to offered help, at least) . . . . I’m trying to get better at it as there have just been some things that I really can’t do on my own (like the slatwall excursion), but sometimes it feels like it takes more energy to ask for help rather than fighting through something on my own.  Also being stubborn and independent naturally doesn’t help matters.

That’s why it warms my heart and makes me smile so much as just the other day when an email popped up from Caitlin with the subject line ‘Need a hand?’  She was here for a few days this week helping out at home and the store, with the girls and cooking (and she taught me how to make her awesome vegetarian gravy!  YUM!)  And, just now I got an email from my Auntie Cath offering to come over soon as well.  Hopefully we can work something out, as help aside, it’s just nice to have company once in a while too (and the girls love nothing more then when someone comes for a sleepover).

I think the last few weeks were tough as well with passing through father’s day, and the girls dance recital again.  It was a bit easier this year I suppose, but it’s still not easy knowing that there should be two parents watching and cheering them on.  They had so much fun, and you would have loved to see them perform.  They also both just got over colds once again, and when they get sick it always wears me down that extra bit more.  After father’s day, C started saying ‘I really, really want my Daddy back’.  Every day, multiple times a day.  It seems to have faded down now, but while I’m happy to know she misses you, I would have been happy to have her go back to ‘I’m really, really hungry’ instead.  She also will often say, ‘Daddy can hear me!’ after she says good night to you.

The girls have been incredibly awesome, coming along with me to the store every day.  It’s tough because, although I feel incredibly fortunate that – at this point – they love going and they have generally been having fun there (plenty of boxes to play in & colour, along with bubble wrap to pop . . . ), I know there are many other things that it would be great for them to be doing as well.  We get to spend all day, every day together – but I’m not really ‘with’ them much of the time, and as great as they are, there is SO much more I could be doing if they weren’t there now and then.  I know this is the craziest part of the whole thing right now and that once the doors are open for a bit, things will settle, but it’s hard when we are at the store all day, and when we get home and I’m about to make dinner, E asks to go to the park to ride bikes.  I would love to take her, but as I am the only parent, it’s just not possible if we are going to be able to eat.  It was great when Caitlin came, as she made dinner and I was able to take the girls out for a bit of a bike ride – but it would be nice to be able to do that more often.  I’ll just have to figure out how to plan my time better.  Since you died they get so much less of me – but they also know without a doubt, every day, how very much they are loved by both of us.  I feel lucky to be their mom, and I tell them so.

It’s not easy doing this on our own.  We are doing it though.  For you.  There is a widow’s conference coming up in San Diego that I would love to go to – most of my ‘widow friends’ are going and it would be amazing to meet them in person.  I could fly for free on points.  The hotel would be almost nothing as I could share a room, the girls could be looked after here by Buz and Sian, so it would just be my registration fee as a cost – but there is the store.  I will have only just been open for a couple of weeks.  It’s only two days I’d be gone while it’s open . . . but it’s tough.  I think it would be incredibly valuable to go – and there would always be something in the way of going no matter when it happened I’m sure – but to be able to meet a bunch of other women (and the odd male widower) who are going through the same, balancing work, parenting, life and loss would be amazing.  We’ll see . . . . I keep wavering on the possibility of it, but I do want to go.  Badly.

Anyhow, I should probably get back to researching pos systems and a few other orders before calling it a night.  In a few weeks it will have been the 14yr anniversary of when we started dating.  Of our first kiss.  The fireworks (literally and figuratively).

I miss you, with all my heart, soul, body and mind.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

April 12, 2010

One, is the loneliest number

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 12:58 am by letterstoelias

(ironic that ‘One’ was a favourite song of yours ….)

Most of my mornings start with C waking up in my bed.  She usually comes in at some point in the night – though if she makes it through the night in her own bed, she’ll come in mine when she wakes up.  Sometimes she plays with my hair.  Usually she crawls back and forth across me getting books from her room to bring back to my bed look at.  Sometimes the books get stacked on me, waiting for me to wake up enough to read to her.  Sometimes she’ll just play about with whatever she can find.  This goes on until E wakes up.

Once E is up the two of them often play together.  The morning seems to be the time that they (not always, but generally) play rather harmoniously together.  Not necessarily quietly, mind you – wearing tap shoes, racing each other down the hallway screaming – but sometimes they look at books together, do puzzles, or draw.  It’s really great to see their relationship growing and it often affords me a few extra minutes to get out of bed, and the harmony doesn’t last throughout the day so I try to take advantage of it when I can.

Once I’m up they are pretty much at my feet and in need of something or need to tell me something or want me to watch something or just want to be wherever I happen to be (bathroom included).  I’m pulled in multiple directions throughout the day – C wants a book read at the same time E wants me to draw with her, or C wants to eat while E has about 101 things to tell me – the usual go, go, go of children (of course at their age they are still intensely dependent on me, and one day I’ll be wishing I had that much of their attention).  In the midst of this I try to get work towards the store done.  I try to keep up with the house.  I try to keep up with the yard.  But the more time I spend with one thing the less I have for others (girls included) and there just doesn’t seem to be enough of me to cover it all.  I’ve taken to accepting a certain amount of mess as the norm to take the pressure off myself.  There are certainly more important things in life.  But I always feel bad when others have to see it . . .

Cooking is still not one of my strong points, but I continue to try and keep up with as much fresh, unprocessed food as possible as that was something so important to you (and is important to me of course too).  It’s tough when the girls are constantly in my way though – constantly asking for food, wanting to watch, or just playing in the kitchen.  I want to involve them like you would always do with E, but I’m still rather frantic and stressed when cooking and it’s tough for me to do.  Besides, half the time when I’m in the middle of cooking there’s some sort of other crisis that goes on – someone had an accident or needs a bum wiped or unrolled half the toilet paper roll or there’s a fight breaking out over who knows what this time.  It seems like just before dinner is when things get the craziest.  The food sometimes suffers as a result.  This is one of the reasons I’m going to try and pack the new little deep freeze I got with meals to make things a little easier once I’m busier with the store.

They girls also seem to have quite a bit of energy after dinner and I try to use that to get them to help tidy up from the day.  E will often try but gets distracted about every two minutes and C just usually refuses.  Bedtime can be hit or miss, but is generally not too bad – they just like to take their time with most everything it seems.  C is now sleeping in ‘undies’ through the night, which is very exciting and means that I am almost finished with the world of diapers.  I feel badly for E as she sees her little sister dry at night and she still struggles with that (SO close, but not there yet) – but I told her it will happen in time, that maybe her bladder is just a bit smaller.  Besides, I’m just happy that she’s become such a solid sleeper so I don’t really mind that much.  I like to stay with them until they are both asleep, and it’s pretty easy with C but sometimes E takes a while and I’m either worried that I’ll fall asleep with them, or I’m thinking too much about the ‘stuff’ I need to do, or I just want some time to myself.

All of this on top of missing you is just so very hard.  Grief is like a full time job itself.  But there’s not much time for it either.

It’s an incredibly lonely existence.  Sure, I’m with two wonderful, cute, fighting, charming, loud, dancing, silly, screaming girls all day long (who I love dearly I might add) – yet I still so often feel terribly alone.  I miss being able to ‘check in’ with you during the day.  Seeing how your day was going.  Telling  you about mine.  Even if it was a 20 second conversation, just to touch base was enough.  To have another adult at the dinner table to talk with – without having to remind to swallow their food before they talk or that if they don’t eat their dinner they will likely be hungry later.  To have someone else say these things for at least one meal a day.  To hear you reading the bedtime stories.  To sit and talk with you on the couch after the girls were asleep, even if we just watched a bit of tv, at least we were together.  I think the rest would be so much more doable if at least I was able to talk with you at the end of the day.  Even just to have your presence.  Someone to ‘be’ with.

It’s been a long year (almost) without you.  I miss you, My Love.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

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