February 26, 2013

Sometimes . . .

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 3:56 pm by letterstoelias

Good things DO happen to good people.

I have a number of other things I’ve been wanting to write about.  January/February has been such a blur it seems – the girls started the year struggling like never before with their grief, I’ve been trying to decide on the idea of moving my store, spent a few weeks short on staff . . . but, there was some happy news for a friend of mine recently, and I wanted to share.

This is a friend I’ve never actually met in person.  A ‘widda’ friend.  Someone I’d written about here before, as she had been going through an extremely difficult time.  She only ever asked a few of us for some good ‘juju’ along the way, but we could see more was needed – so we did what we could for her, from behind our computers, from our hearts, and with the help of our kind hearted readers as well.  And it turned out right.  When I wrote, many of you out there offered help in the form of good thoughts, prayers, and even financial support.  And, I wanted to write again today, because that help HAS made a difference.  A very good difference.  An important difference.

It’s been a long road for Cadi.  An extremely difficult road –  at times almost too difficult to continue the struggle for what she knew was right.  And she still faces the challenge of raising a little girl who will never know her father, alongside her own grief of losing a man she loved.

But recently, a few great things came together for her as she needed them to.  Things for Cadi and her daughter are looking so much brighter.  Her perseverance, her kind heart and compassion for others involved (so amazing), and her willingness to struggle for what she knew was right for their daughter is nothing short of inspirational.

And I was beyond proud to be a part of that little group of widdas who all ‘virtually’ cheered her on, and celebrated how far she has come with her this week.  Cadi is a beautiful person, a loving Mama and SO deserving of this good news.

I know she has plans to pay it forward.  I also know how incredibly grateful she is to those that offered help in whatever form it came – I know how deeply it touched her, and this is the other reason I wanted to share the news.  How do you begin to say thank you?  Well, my post will be a start, to my readers.

Thank you.  And wishes of plenty of good karma and ‘juju’ your way, just as it came to Cadi.

And, my thanks again to Cadi for the gift of a couple of beautiful, and well loved felted bunnies that my girlies have enjoyed so greatly . . .

It’s so, very nice, when good things happen to good people.

~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 13, 2011

Busy, busy, busy

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 4:40 pm by letterstoelias

I sure hope this gets posted . . . . I currently have 4 drafts waiting.  Posts I’ve tried to write and have not yet found the time/energy/words to finish.  My poor little blog =(

There is an important reason to try and get this one finished though, aside from it’s usual purpose of ‘getting stuff out of my head’, that is.  This coming Saturday will be a first for me.  I’m participating in a 5K.  My first ever 5K.  But, not any 5K – it’s a fundraiser for the Liz Logelin Foundation.

For those who are unaware, the Liz Logelin Foundation was created by a friend, Matt Logelin, in honour of his wife Liz who died 27hrs after giving birth to their first child Madeline – moments before she was to hold her for the first time.  She never got the chance.  Through his loss, Matt joined ‘the club’ that no one wants to be in (but the members rock!), and in doing so met many other young widowed parents who were struggling financially in the wake of their loss.  He saw a need, and set out to help fix it.

The Liz Logelin Foundation is how he does that.  I have met recipients of grants and have seen first hand the difference this can make in their lives.  Every year at this time, the foundation hosts a Celebration of Hope in Minneapolis as one of their main fundraisers (and if you are going, be sure to bid on the lunch box I donated from my store!).  The following day is the Run Walk Hope 5K which will take place in Minneapolis, or anywhere in the world!  There is still time to register if interested, but if you aren’t up for running a 5K yourself, I’d be happy to do so on your behalf!  How great is that – support an amazing cause, without having to get off the couch!

If you would like to donate to my 5K, you can do so here:  http://www.razoo.com/story/Run-Walk-Hope-Around-The-World-5?referral_code=share#.Tm-E6JNKiPw.facebook  Any support would be SO greatly appreciated!

As I said before, this is my first 5K and I am doing it with really no training at all (and I’m FAR from a great runner) – but this is a cause close to my heart, along with the people who created it and the people it helps, so I felt compelled to take part (and am thrilled that my Dad offered to run along side me!).  Of course Elias will be at the forefront of my mind as I run, as will my girls, and all those who struggle to put food on their children’s plates alongside dealing with the loss of their spouse.  I try to use these opportunities to show them ways we can, through our loss, find a positive way to help others.  I may have not created a foundation, but as I told Matt, I’m happy to try and add a drop or two in the bucket he created.  The weekend of these fundraisers would have been Liz’s 34th birthday (she would have been my age), and I can only imagine what a gift she sees this as.

In other news, we have been beyond busy lately (which is in part why I can’t seem to finish a post!).  I started writing a post on the last day of August about how crazy that month was, and so far Sept hasn’t slowed down a bit.  Eibhiln has done a week of grade one, and Caia had her first day back at preschool today.  I went to Camp and had an amazing time, and can’t wait to share some photos.  We’ve been trying to get down to the beach here and there.  Hopefully I can finish that post about August one of these days, a recap of Camp, and add some of the September news in it!  I also have a few other issues kicking around in my brain I’d love to clear out sometime soon.  Sigh.  In the meantime, please watch this amazing video put together by the director of Camp Widow – featuring widowed people, who are MORE than widowed, and because Hope Matters

(and I’m also sending MUCH love to my dear friend Dan, who’s face you see on the clip for this video . . . in memory of Michael who died Sept 13th, 2009 . . . )

Cheers,

~C~
Elias, I’ll be running for you on Saturday . . .. try not to laugh at how pathetic it looks!

P.S.  I Love You

November 27, 2010

Bragging Rights

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 12:32 am by letterstoelias

Now, I’ve hesitated to even write about this because I don’t want it to come off the wrong way,  but I figure the last 19months have been so hard, I may as well take the good where I can get it (mind you, there still managed to be a little ‘bad’ at the end . . . . but I’ll get to that)

I always hoped to homeschool my children – at least for the first few years of their education.  There were many, many reasons, and Elias was on board with it provided we could find a way to make it work.  We had figured that by the time E was ready for 1st grade I would be able to scale down a bit of my work hours, and it would be a good fit.

When Elias died, it felt like it was just another one of my dreams lost.  I still wonder if I can find a way to make it work, but when kindergarten enrolment came around I figured since it’s supposed to be play-based (and since her school stayed with the half-day program) I would enrol her and would still have another year to figure out the future.

There are a lot of things to keep track of even though they are only 5.  Library day, gym day, poetry duo-tang day, letter log day – there seems to be ‘something’ almost every day that I need to send in or sign, and there is even ‘homework’ (granted they don’t track it and it only takes 2 minutes to do, but still . . . ).

Earlier this week the class had a ‘Brag Night’.  It was an opportunity to go into the classroom and see photos of what they have been up to, have E give me a ‘tour’ of the stations, and take a look at her scrapbook.  She draws all the time at home and always shows me her artwork, but something about being able to flip through it all in this book was truly great.  A couple weeks prior the teacher had requested students bring in a family photo – I had been wondering what it was for, and on this night I found out.  Within the scrapbook, there was a small book of ‘thanksgivings’.  Some of it was written by the teacher and other parts by the student – and when I saw the words “I am thankful for the Family that loves me every day’.  I knew immediately what was coming next.  It was tough not to go into a complete sob at that point . . .  I felt bad we didn’t have more time to spend there – after leaving the store we had E’s ballet, then a super quick dinner before heading up to the school, and I will admit that I still have a hard time at events like this – but I was glad we made it.

Last week I received E’s ‘report card’.  I find it funny to give report cards in kindergarten.  It didn’t tell me anything I wasn’t expecting to hear or already knew – she exceeds expectations in reading (considering she can read her own homework that was no surprise), and meets expectations in all other areas.  Then, just the other day I had the parent/teacher interview.  The teacher told me about the evaluations that the district did recently with the students.  Again – I’m not one who really feels it’s necessary to put any emphasis on testing, I don’t even know why it’s done in a ‘play based’ program – but at the same time I couldn’t help but feel pretty damn proud when she told me how well E did.

On the literary section, where the average score (not just her class) is 55/100, E scored 99.  And, the teacher said she would have given her the point that was missed, and she also went above what was required of her in other areas (spelling whole words when she was only asked to write the first letter).  For the ‘math’ section, she scored 98/100 where the average was 65 (or was it 68?).  Aside from all of this, the teacher spoke about what a joy she is to have in the class (again, no big surprise).  She is friendly with all the students, considerate, listens well, is enthusiastic and so on.

As I’ve already mentioned, I know all this to be true about my lovely little girl anyhow (and I haven’t even discussed the marks with E), but given all she has been through and just how much she is missing in her life, I am so, very happy to know that at least in some ways things are going well for her right now.  I want more than anything for her, and myself, to focus on internal peace and acceptance, not looking outwards for approval (and I’m not saving for Harvard yet or anything) but it was still rather rewarding.

Now, the bad news I referred to earlier . . . . while driving back to work after the interview, we took ‘bumpity bumpity’ road – it’s a short dirt road filled with potholes that the girls love me to take for the bouncy factor.  I always drive it slowly, and tried to take extra care on this day as it was rather icy out.  I stopped at the end of the road, and when I saw it was safe for me to take the right hand turn off of it, though I accelerated very slowly, my tires still managed to slip just enough to bump the bottom/side of my car on a big, low rock, which took the long narrow panel that runs the length of the bottom of my car right off.  I looked in the rear-view mirror to see the piece of my car behind me.  It’s times like this where you can’t help but feel like you aren’t ‘supposed’ to have too much to enjoy . . . but surprisingly enough it didn’t really do much to dampen my spirits as it might have at some other point in my life.  No, I’m not happy about it, but it’s really not all that important either.

And, it’s not that I want to put a damper on everything, but I am here to write how I feel – the other downside to the story is – as much as I was excited about how well E is doing, and thought throughout the day how proud Elias would be too – once I was on my own that night, the fact that he is not here in person to ‘celebrate’ with me was hard to take.  Really hard.  It’s times like this where the hole feels so big.  The other parent – the only other person in the world as invested as you are – is not there to enjoy it with you.  I gather eventually some of the sting of this will wear off and it will be easier to enjoy on my own, but it hasn’t yet.

*****

Our little girl is thriving.  She misses you terribly, but she is smart, she is beauty, she is everything, she is love.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

September 3, 2010

The new man in my life . . .

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 1:17 am by letterstoelias

Yes – so soon after my last post I managed to land some male companionship – and as Dan said, he’s a little hairy, but easy on the eyes.

Meet Laddie.  He is not actually officially ‘our’ dog – but he will be with us for an extended/indefinite period of time.  He is wonderfully sweet, incredibly charming, and the girls are absolutely smitten.  He and Cali are still getting to know each other, but it’s going ok.  Though I feel guilty about it, I have had him on the couch with me the past two nights (as Cali is on the floor), but he seems cold . . . .

It’s been an eventful few weeks.  I’ve neglected to mention just how great the grand opening for the store went.  The majority of my family came out and it was rather emotional at the ribbon cutting – I had each of my grandmothers there to cut the ribbon, and of course I spoke of you and how much of a part of this you are – even though not in person.  The day wasn’t without a few ‘glitches’, but overall it was great.  Many friends came by too, and it was great fun.  I was absolutely exhausted by the end, but it was wonderful.

A local parent’s website is doing a profile on the me and the shop soon, and so I was getting my dad to take some photos of the girls and I.  Things were going rather well, and I was taking a few shots too,

(I can’t help but feel like you’re the 4th person in this ‘windy’ photo . . . )

and next thing we knew C tried to jump from a bench and landed on her face. . . .

Poor little thing.  I think it’s the worst ‘wound’ situation between the two of them thus far.  But, it was nothing a little chocolate ice cream couldn’t help, and we found such a fun way to clean her up, that even her sister got involved (blowing bubbles into a bucket of warm, soapy water . . . )

When we were driving home the other day, she suddenly stated, ‘I know where mine Daddy is!  He’s in Au-tralia!’  I’m not sure why this came out, and I’m confident she knows the truth (the next night she was telling me how sad she was that you died as we were going to bed . . . ), but since then she often will insist that’s where you are.  E will then try to correct her, and she’ll start yelling at her.

Things are fairly crazy right now trying to keep up with everything.  The house is an absolute disaster area and the yard is suffering a fair bit too, but I did manage to get out there the other day and pick some of our potatoes – I love eating out of our garden and wish we could do it more.

Things are only going to get crazier next week as school and activities start back up (my colour coded ‘ical’ is a virtual rainbow).

C is starting preschool and E is starting kindergarten.  How bitter, bitter sweet.

They are both very excited.  They are also both maintaining dance classes, thanks again to Dance Works, Penny & Zoe – E is adding tap to her repertoire this year, and I’m even going to try and dust off my ballet shoes and take an adult ballet/contemporary class.  I so enjoyed getting back into it years ago and I think it will be beneficial to me in many ways so I’m a ‘little’ nervous, but really looking forward to it.

I was fortunate to be sent a link to a wonderful news story the other day.  Of course you remember how much time I used to spend on the cancer forum website in my endless search for a cure – and though it worried you as I often would get so saddened as, at times the people I communicated with or their loved ones would die, I always tried to explain to you some of the benefits of it as well.  There were many great stories, and people.

One such person I met was Dianne who’s daughter Lindsay was diagnosed a few years ago now.  Things have been rough – but Lindsay reminds me so much of you, and Ryan.  Dianne has continued to keep in touch since you died, and the other day she shared something wonderful with me: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/101704583.html?tab=video

Dianne was also kind enough to imply that some of our story, and the words in my last letter about how life is short, and if something good comes along you need to grab hold of it and love it while you can – may have played a small role in this.  I know there is much more to it that that – but I will happily accept any minute part in something so wonderful, and I know for a fact you would too.  Love is grand.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

February 25, 2010

It’s official . . .

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 6:37 pm by letterstoelias

Your new baby niece is named (drumroll please . . . . )

Penelope Alexandra!

Penelope is a beautiful name (with cute nickname possibilities, like Pipa).  And her middle name, well, that’s in honour of a certain Uncle with the middle name Alexander.  It’s a wonderful tribute to a wonderful man, and I’m so happy that you will have that connection to her.  I know you’ll be watching over her, just as you watch over the rest of us.

Big thanks, and much love to my Sister and John.  It’s incredibly thoughtful, and I can’t wait to meet little Penelope!

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

February 22, 2010

On Birth, Death, Life & Laughter (part 2)

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:34 am by letterstoelias

Such fantastic women!  We had a great time.  We shared our stories, our fears, our hopes, and a LOT of laughter (and some sort of mocha-bailey’s cheesecake – yum!  oh, and the odd glass of wine too . . . ).  We asked each other questions and explored the issues of guilt, of dealing with perceptions and expectations.  We discussed challenges we will face and the humps we have overcome.  And we laughed.

It wasn’t all ‘widow talk’, but it was nice to be able to express those issues and be completely understood.  Kindred spirits.  It’s hard to articulate this without sounding disrespectful to those around me daily who have helped me get this far, because I would not be here (nor would I have been able to meet with Jackie and Deb) without them – but I felt like I could just be real.  There was no need to try and explain.  To justify.  To pretend.  Because of that connection, I was able to share things with them that I haven’t really discussed with anyone.  My mom was a little worried that commiserating with other widows wouldn’t be the best way to celebrate my birthday, but it helped take my mind off of it for the most part, and for the rest – they knew what it was like to be in my shoes.  There were notably few tears shed between the three of us.

I feel like I learned a bit more about myself in a way too.  In seeing them, I had perhaps a glimpse of how others may see me.  As I heard Jackie and Deb retell their stories of how their loved ones died – the trauma and heartache they faced then and since – I was in awe.  The thought would occur to me, ‘How did they do it?  How did they manage to live through that?’  But then I realized, as I looked into Jackie’s face, or Deb’s, that it was like looking into my own.  In our eyes, the same sense of knowing.

Our stories are different in many ways, but we all faced that moment.  That awful, painful moment when the doctor looks at you and says that there is nothing else they can do.  Your husband is going to die.  Or, is basically already gone, even though there is still breath coming out of their body.  We all experienced that desperation, of wanting to keep trying, despite what the doctors said.  We fought.  We screamed.  We begged and pleaded and cried.  And, we each watched the love of our lives take their last breath (yours coming almost exactly 10 months ago as I write this . . . ).  And, we are still here.  Still moving.  Not moving ‘on’.  Not getting ‘over’ it.  Just, moving.

To some it’s just semantics, but to a widow it can mean a lot.  It’s not to say that I begrudge people for saying the ‘wrong thing’ – it’s hard to know what to say.  I get that.  And unfortunately I think people worry so much about what to/not to say people just end up avoiding, which actually feels worse.  Even a lot of widows/ers have different preferences for how they view things.  Some look at their life as two separate entities – ‘before’ & ‘after’.  Some consider it the same life, just under different circumstances.  Sometimes we don’t even know what we want to say/hear.  It comes down to the fact that we are in a situation we don’t want to be in, and it’s hard to find a comfortable way to ‘define’ it.  Just as it’s hard to define how we are doing.

People often remark about how ‘good’ I seem/look/sound.  I sometimes marvel at myself for how I can come across that way, when inside I still feel like I’m screaming – but it’s not all fake either (sometimes, sure, but not always).  I think my soul has just begun to expand.  I’m better able at balancing the pain of missing you, along side the life I continue to life without you.  The pain never leaves.  I feel it in every fiber of my being.  Every day.  All day.  And some days it still knocks me right out.  It threatens to rip me apart.  Sometimes I sit in the sauna as hot as it will go and hope to sweat out the sorrow.  I hope it will melt away.  But I know that, if it did, there would be nothing left of me.  The sorrow will be with me to the end of my life, running deep in my veins.  And that is ok, because that is how long I will love you.

Our love knows no boundaries of death.  ‘To fill you with laughter, and a Love, unconditional throughout Eternity’.  It was in our vows.  We didn’t say ‘till death do us part’.  Death only parted us physically.  I wish will all my heart that wasn’t the case.  As the clock ticks closer to the time you left this world 10 months ago, I can feel my heart beating faster.  I can feel the tears right behind my eyes, waiting to come out.  My chest tightens.  My stomach turns.  But my heart and soul have also swelled enough to begin to play our symphony.  The highs of our love and the wonderful memories we shared that I will carry with me always, the lows of pain we suffered together and the sorrow in losing you, and the crescendo of my life now – trying to pick myself up from the moment I last left your side when life as I knew it came crashing down around me (it’s a long, steep, slippery climb and some days it’s just so fucking hard – sorry, can you tell I’ve been hanging out with Jackie?? =).  But the notes all play together.  Sometimes simultaneously.  Sometimes alternating.  I wish I could be the composer and control it all, but I can’t, so I just have to let the music play.  The crashes still come and they are just as painful, but I am more equipped to handle them now.  I don’t fall quite as far.

It was really beneficial to spend that time with Jackie and Deb, and I hope to see more of them again – but until then we’ll just have to keep ‘meeting’ in cyberspace.  The flight home was nice as it was a beautiful day, and it was great to see the girls again.  They had a wonderful sleepover with Buz, Sian and the boys, and when we got back to Buz and Sian’s we were outside, and E hopped on a bike, with no training wheels, and started to ride.  It was fantastic.  At first I was worried that she had been started this in the 24hrs I was gone, but it really was just that moment that she got it.  Her sense of self-pride was palpable.

I was so glad I happened to have both my camera and the video camera with me, and documented it all.  I knew she was close, so changed the seat height on C’s Skuut bike so she could practice balance, and it apparently did the trick.

The excitement continued as that afternoon we heard that Bridie was in labour.  Updates continued until about 10pm or so, then nothing.  I woke up, surprised that there was no further word, but after finally calling the hospital and catching them there, I found out that a beautiful baby girl was born at 2:30am on Feb 15th.  Another niece!  They are pretty sure about the name, but it hasn’t been 100% finalized yet, so you’ll just have to wait for that. The girls have been able to ichat with their cousin and we all can’t wait to meet her.  Everyone is happy and healthy though – and there is nothing like the birth of a baby in the family to bring a true sense of joy.  There has been a lot of heartache in the time you have been gone.  But, at the same time, this beautiful little life was developing.  Her body taking shape.  Getting ready to join the world.  I guess the last 10 months hasn’t been entirely bad after all.  I hate that she will never personally know her Uncle Elias.  I also know, however, that just as I never really knew my Uncle Art, I know how much he was loved.  I know how much he meant to my Mom, and to my family.  My Mom kept him alive for me in her stories and memories, just as I know Bridie will do for you – as will your brothers with their daughters.  It’s not the same – but it gives me some comfort.

The knots continue to churn in my stomach and I can’t seem to take my eyes off the clock, so I should try and get some sleep.  The last week since I’ve been home had it’s share of ups and downs – as usual – though I will share those another day.

10 months.  God, how I miss you.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

February 16, 2010

On Birth, Death, Life & Laughter (part 1)

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 10:58 pm by letterstoelias

This letter has been brewing for a few days now, but for many reasons I’ve been unable to get it finished. It’s driving me a bit crazy, so for now I’ll post it as a ‘to be continued . . . ‘ and try to finish up soon. It’s probably better that way anyhow, to save from having a gargantuan post.

It has been an eventful few days. Days with new friends, big firsts, little victories, a bit of sorrow, a lot of laughter – and now, a new life.

We celebrated my Dad’s 60th birthday. I did my business plan presentation for the Aspire committee, and it went great and I am now in the next ‘stage’ of the program. It wasn’t without a few bumps – I was passed by a screaming ambulance en route to the hospital as I was practicing my speech in the car. Fortunately I got there a bit early, and was able to chat a bit with some of the Aspire facilitators and gain some composure before starting. I had a slideshow of some of my photographs running behind me, and of course I also almost broke a bit when I glanced at it at one point and my photo of you and E eating gelato in Venice came up . . .

. . . but I managed to keep it together.

It feels good to be past the planning stage – to get to put it all into action now – but it’s still a little on the scary side. That said, I just keep reminding myself that, in relation to what I’ve been through recently (and continue to go through), I’m pretty sure I can handle whatever comes my way. It doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll handle it well, but if I can survive losing you, there’s not much else that can faze me (provided the rest of my loved ones are ok – just to be clear). It’s been valuable for me to have something to work towards. A different path for a different life. Friday night we were at Buz and Sian’s for the usual acro/pizza night, but they added a little early celebration for my birthday. The kids were all excited and it’s hard not to smile when there are 4 little shinning faces bringing you cake. Still, as I had an extra moment to make a wish as Sian was grabbing the camera, I couldn’t help but think of how my one wish wouldn’t come true, but as I looked at the flickering candles I could almost see your smiling face in them.

Still, once home, with the girls asleep, the tears came. I wasn’t even expecting it then, but that’s how grief goes. I started to pack up for my over-night trip away. I tried to find/do a few little things to make the event – my first night away from my girls – special for them and for me. In the morning, we drove out to the harbour where the plan would take off. My first time on a floatplane. It was pretty rainy, cloudy, and very windy so it was a bit of a bumpy ride, but only 20mins to cross the straight, so not to bad at all. It was rather strange leaving the girls behind. Watching them get farther and farther away. I looked for your face in the clouds, and again could almost feel you smiling at me. And I was comforted by the sight of arbutus trees all around, both before we took off and after we landed as we ‘taxied’ through the water. The arbutus tree will forever make me think of you.

Greeting me off the plane was Jackie, along with her wee ones, Liv and Briar. How great it was to finally meet them in person! We dropped her kids off at her sister’s then headed back to her place and talked for hours over tea and soup. We snuck out for a little valentines shopping for our loved ones (the kids, of course) and she took me to a huge toy store in Nanaimo. It made me even more excited about opening my own. Then, we were back to her house for more chatting as we waited for Deb to arrive. It was so great to meet her too – and once she came the three of us went out for a bite to eat . . .

Ok – that’s all I’ve got for now, but hopefully I’ll finish the rest soon.  Until then, good night My Love.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

November 5, 2009

The sweetest nectar is within

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 2:58 am by letterstoelias

“Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. The hummingbird’s delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning and that laughter is life’s sweetest creation.”

(though I may beg to differ slightly on the last bit – as much as I love laughter, and we laughed a LOT together, I personally think that our two little girls are life’s sweetest creations . . . )

There are countless ways hummingbirds remind me of you. Even a fleeting glimpse of a hummingbird can brighten almost anyone’s day. They are undeniably amazing, beautiful creatures. A hummingbird’s life is ephemeral, just as yours was; but the swift nature of their existence doesn’t take away from what they bring to the world – it only adds more.

I love the symbolism of a hummingbird. Their fluttering wings form the infinity symbol. Infinity. Eternity. They can fly backwards – looking back on the past, but not dwelling there. Remember what was beautiful. Move forward, but pause – hover. Savor each moment – live for it. Sip the nectar. Appreciate the things we love.

They are tireless. Pure energy. Tenacious. They accomplish that which may seem impossible and handle the twists and turns of life with grace and dignity. They seek out the good in life and the beauty in each day.

Hummingbirds love honeysuckle flowers. We have one in our yard and I’ve seen them there. I’m sure they love the nectar, but perhaps they also appreciate the symbolism of the honeysuckle – generosity and devoted, true, undying love.

In some cultures, hummingbirds are believed to be the souls of departed loved ones, or a messenger between worlds. The hummingbird is also said to be able to heal the saddest heart and make anyone glad to be alive again, and that it can heal any grief or pain . . . .

November 09 052

(posted in b/w so skin irritation doesn’t show – it was only done last night – and there is no actual colour in it anyway)

Regardless of the effect, I feel honoured to bear a permanent display our everlasting, unconditional love.  Life’s greatest gift.  A reminder of all that we learned from each other. Of all that you taught me. The writing is even yours – the word, ‘Love’, traced from a note you gave to me over a decade ago – now permanently a part of me, inside and out.

You learned to live the life of a hummingbird – and now you are mine.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

August 7, 2009

Uncle Elias

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 11:56 pm by letterstoelias

Hello My Love,

Sorry for the time it’s taken me to write once again – I’ll explain why in a moment, but first for some wonderful news.  Peter and Ally are now parents of a beautiful, healthy little baby girl!  Your baby brother is now a dad.  And, yup, your Mom now has 4 granddaughters!  Cleopatra Lily was born on Wed, August 5th around 8pm (I think) Aussie time.  On Wed morning the phone rang around 7am (our time).  I was awake, though still in bed with C, but not many people call that early and when I heard our talking call display phone announce ‘Out of Area’ as the caller I figured pretty quickly who it was from and rushed to answer.  Sure enough it was Peter calling to share the happy news.  The excitement in his voice was palpable.  He obliged in answering my hundreds of questions about how everything went even though it was the middle of the night in Australia and he had just had a marathon 24+ hours.  I told him that You would be so proud and happy for him (though choked back tears), and he said he knew you were right there watching over them.  After getting off the phone with him and sharing the news with a few others, I went into the bedroom to share the news with ‘you’ (aka your ashes).  It was with happy intent, but as soon as the thoughts came into my head about this exciting, special news of your brother having a baby – becoming a dad for the first time – I couldn’t help but break down into tears at the thought of what you were missing out on, and what the baby would be missing out on in never getting to meet her amazing uncle.  I can SO clearly remember your happiness the night Peter told you that Ally was pregnant.  Your laughter.  Your excitement.  I truly wanted to focus just on the happiness of the birth, even here, but it’s hard not to, and it wouldn’t be sincere, if I didn’t address the sadness as well.  It didn’t last long, however, as the life of a parent quickly snapped me back when C’s calls of ‘Poop!  Poop!’ rang down the hallway.  I had left her without a diaper on and she didn’t quite make it to the potty on time.  Breath caught, tears wiped, back to being Mama.  Cleaning up bodily functions.  Grieving will have to wait for another time, agian.  Anyhow, I couldn’t be happier for Peter and Ally and little Cleopatra Lily.  I love that her name means ‘Father’s Glory’ as I’m sure it couldn’t be farther from the truth.  E is very excited and has already gone from wanting to go to Australia to see the baby, to wanting to move there, next door to Peter and Ally, so she can see the baby every day.

Now, with this happy news I had wanted to write to you immediately, but I’ve been struck down by the flu the past couple of days.  I had been feeling ok in the morning when Peter called, and the girls and I had spent the morning/early afternoon having a nice time at Chapman Creek with Jana, Edelle and the baby (Edelle and E were wearing almost matching outfits – I’ve added some photos below, along with a few others from recent days) though even then I had started to feel a little ‘off.  By the late afternoon it really started to hit me, and getting dinner on the table and the girls to bed was as much as I could handle.  Nothing hits home harder about being a single parent as when you are sick it seems.  Fortunately it now seems to be on its way out, fairly short lived (though in the moment it feels as though it’s endless), and I had some help along the way.  My Mom was already coming to help while I worked on Thursday, but she stayed a little longer so I could catch an extra nap when I was finished, and she also came this morning for a short while.  I have a couple of friends from the La Leche League coming tomorrow to help around the house which is great timing since I haven’t done much the past couple of days and it adds up fast.  And Buz also helped out by taking the girls for a few hours yesterday morning.  I was struggling with asking because I felt like I‘could take care of it myself, and they already do so much for us – but I pictured either him or Sian giving me a hard time if they heard I was sick and didn’t call them to help.  And it really did help.   Even still, as I walked up their driveway after dropping the girls off, I had pangs of guilt.  Feeling like I ‘should’ just do it on my own.  That it’s not fair to the girls that I have to pass them off on someone else.  That Buz and Sian already do so much for us that I don’t want to ask even more of them.  When, in reality I know that while I can do it on my own I don’t ‘have’ to.  That the girls were more than well looked after and most certainly had a better time with Buz and the boys than they would have with a sick, grumpy, tired Mom.  That Sian and Buz sincerely enjoy helping out never see it as a burden – if anything they are always looking for ways to help out more (I’ve said it before, they are amazing people).  Yet it’s still so hard to ask for help.

Since you died, the phrase ‘Be gentle with yourself’ has come up a number of times – comments on the blog, cards I’ve received, and I’ve read it on other’s blogs as well.  I don’t believe I truly understood the full meaning of that statement until this week.  I know I am often hard on myself.  It’s nothing new, but it’s either become more apparent or more frequent in the past three months (and 16 days).  I often feel guilty about any number of things.  Loosing patience, not having as much energy for the girls, not being able to cook (well, at least not anything like you could), not being able to keep up with the house, taking time away from the girls to get things done around the house – or even for myself (gasp!), among many other things.  But I think, slowly, very slowly, I’m starting to at least to try and forgive myself at least a little.  Taking an hour break from the household tasks to read a book in the sunshine when the girls are at Buz and Sian’s.  Realizing that even you would make a simple dinner of just burgers or perogies once in a while (though you would still usually ‘fancy’ them up a bit).  Accepting the fact that, though it may be messy to look at, there are far more important things in life than a clean house and a weed free yard (though the piles of paperwork do become cumbersome when trying to find that ‘one’ document you suddenly need, or you forget to pay a bill because it’s lost in the mix somewhere . . . ).  I also know how much the girls not only enjoy, but look forward to, spending time with Buz, Sian and the boys, so I know it’s time to let go of at least a little of the guilt.  Unless they starting liking it more there than at home that is . . . =)

I did manage through two short shifts of work this week.  I didn’t accomplish much other than going through emails and reading up on product changes.  That said, it was actually quite hard going through some of the emails.  As I was looking through those that came in the days before your death, the day of your death, and the days following – even those that were strictly work issues and had nothing to do with you – I found myself reliving those days in a way.  I had an email dated April 23rd from a client with the friendly greeting of ‘Hi Chelsea, I trust this finds you well . . . ‘.  No, that day I was not well at all.  About as far from well as one can be.  It was not the only one from around that time with a similar greeting.  And there were some emails that did relate to your death, as well as one from a co-worker who lost his father on the same day.  It was not easy to go through, but I got through it.  Soon I’ll be ‘moving up’ to talking with clients again.

As for other news, I should probably save it for another day as – while it’s not my ‘usual’ late night, it is later than I’ve been up the past few nights and as I’m still getting over this bug, I should get some sleep.  And, even though I did go to bed early I still found myself dozing off on the couch this afternoon while the girls played.  Besides, after the night-time fiasco last night with the girls seemingly taking shifts waking up crying, I need all the sleep I can get.  Feeling as awful as I did I initially ‘tried’ to calm them back to sleep verbally without getting out of bed.  Ha ha ha.  I must have been ‘really’ sick to think that would have worked easily.  As such, there was a fair amount of crying at times – something else to feel guilty about as that’s not usually how I handle things and in the end it didn’t make it easier on them or me – but I did manage to get up at least once when things were clearly going downhill.

I can say though, that the girls are doing great – C still adding to her vocabulary daily, ‘happy’, ‘deer’, and ‘eat’, are just a few of the new words.  Also, since we saw a deer in our front garden the other morning during breakfast she insists every mealtime there is a deer out there, repeating the word ‘deer’ about 50 times.  E’s printing is getting more clear every day, her spelling is amazing – she figured it out when I spelled butter to someone the other day), and she’s really enjoying math workbooks right now.  We certainly miss you though.  Every day.  All day.

My ❤ is yours,

~C~

P.S.  I Love You