May 31, 2013

On The Run

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 10:51 pm by letterstoelias

I grew up loving dance.  Taking any classes I could from the time I was about 2yrs old, until, well, I’m still taking ballet now whenever I can.  I’ve always had a great deal of flexibility, turnout, a decent amount of strength . . . but lacked a fair bit cardiovascularly speaking.  More than a fair bit, really.

I remember dreading having to do a run every year in P.E.  One where we had to do a certain number of laps around the 400m track . . . I can’t remember how many – and probably not even ‘that’ many, but I was NOT a fan.  And though typically rather competitive by nature, I really only cared about not coming in last when it came to that run.

Somewhere over 10yrs ago, a friend and I started dong a walk/run program together.  We wanted to work our way up to some sort of distance or time, though I can’t recall now (have I mentioned how bad my memory is these days??).  We met a few times at a track near home, and would run 30seconds, then walk 4 1/2 mins, etc.  Slowly building up the running time and shortening the walk.

But, we didn’t get very far, before she got pregnant.  My brief foray into running came to a grinding halt.  Of course, it didn’t have to, but I’ve never had much motivation (or perhaps found it too boring?) to go on my own.  A few other times in my life I considered picking up my running shoes again, and that was also always fairly short lived.

* * * * *

After Elias died and I was searching out others ‘like me’ through blogs, I discovered a blog by Matt Logelin.  From there, I heard of the Liz Logelin Foundation.  A charity formed by Matt in honour of his wife Liz, who died the day after giving birth to their first child.  A charity to help widowed parents fill financial needs, and to just give them overall hope in their time of deep grief and despair.

Suffering the loss of your love, soul mate, best friend and co-parent is hard enough – believe me – without having to worry about financial burdens that can come from the loss.  Times have not always been easy for me financially, I worry a lot and watch every penny I spend, but I feel very fortunate that I have never faced the possibility of losing a roof over my girls’ heads, or food on their plates.  There are many who are not so fortunate.

The LLF is a charity that is very close to my heart, I know people whose lives have changed because of it, and I’ve seen first hand the positive impact it makes.

That is why, two years ago I decided to participate in the Run, Walk, Hope to help raise money for the LLF.  My Dad joined me, and together we did a 5k in their ‘Walk Around The World’ option (the actual event takes place in Minnesota).  I decided to create a fundraiser with that run, and was beyond excited to have raised over $200, and then my amazing Brother-In-Law matched the amount!

I hadn’t prepared for that run at all, but I did fairly well, and it was just great to be out there with my Dad, and running for a cause that I cared about and raising some good money along the way.

Back around January this year, I figured maybe with a little more ‘training’ under my belt, I could run that 5k a little better, as I knew the event was scheduled for early June.  And I figured maybe I could get into this running thing a bit more and finally improve my cardio a bit.  One of my best friends (and all around amazing and favourite people), Sian, had also started running around that time.

Then, I learned the Run, Walk Hope had added a 10k option . . .

I know that for the charity, no matter how far I go it’s all the same (for registration fees and therefor the donation), but I do enjoy a challenge now and then.

As we started to improve our times on our 5k runs (though I know I slow her down!) and challenged ourselves to go a little further, we figured maybe we could pull off the 10k.

Unfortunately, as I got so busy getting the new location of my store reno’d, my old location packed, moved, and a new grand re-opening (all good, but still crazy busy!) I didn’t have much time for anything, let alone running.

Things are just now settling back down at the store (and I LOVE the new location!), and though she can kick my ass even more now, Sian has been wonderfully patient as I’m trying to get back into it, and hopefully still be ready to try a 10k by June 8th!

* * * * *

A great deal of  running is a mental challenge for me.  Sure, my knees don’t seem to be made for it (or my hips, or ankles, or much else for that matter!) but getting through what I think I’m capable of (or not) can be tough (having a great, motivating running partner sure helps though! especially when she can run WAY faster without me…..).  I NEVER imagined I would even attempt a 10k at this point in my life (if at all. ever).  I know for many it’s not much, but for me it’s a fair bit.  I like to think Elias would be pretty damn impressed.  And happy about the cause I’m running for.  And, I’m pretty proud too.

There aren’t a great deal of flat, smooth areas to run around here (not to mention my fear of bears and cougars!), and it’s pretty impossible to find a route without at least a few decent elevations to climb.  Though there are points in a run where I’ll feel pretty good and as if I could keep going no problem, there are many times in a run – in particular when facing an incline of any kind – where I really struggle.  Just knowing they are coming is tough for me.  I want to stop and walk (or just quit entirely), think I can’t run it, etc.  I find myself just wishing that I could run nice, long, flat, smooth stretches all the time.  SO much easier.

But then, that’s not really life either, is it?!  Though you get the odd, nice smooth stretch for a bit here and there, much of this life is bumpy, rough terrain, and there sure are hills to climb.  Sometimes very steep hills.  And, seeing them looming in the distance is daunting.

And, as with running, getting through those rough stretches and up those hills takes strength, and builds it – even if, at times, you feel as if you don’t have any, you need to slow down or even walk, you still move forward.  It makes the smooth parts that much more enjoyable.  And, in time, those hills get a little easier to face.  Muscles, heart, breath, and mind – all work together to get you through.  A few of the hills on our route that I used to dread and needed to walk up, I can now run up without stopping.  Some still challenge me, but I know I can face them, and bit by bit I will get stronger.

Not unlike facing life as a widowed parent.  Hope is a crucial part of surviving this road.

I’m happy to have my registration fees going towards a great charity like the Liz Logelin Foundation, that helps give that kind of hope to other widowed parents.  And, again this year I’ve decided to do my run as a fundraiser for anyone else who wishes to donate towards my run for the LLF and help provide that kind of hope.  I know the kind of difference it will make . . . .

Yesterday I took my tax return and treated myself to a new pair of runners to help me get through the next week of training and beyond (I still have to find a way to add 2 more kilometres to my run!) as I’m pretty sure my ‘old’ runners were the ones I had bought with my first attempts at running over 10yrs ago.  And, while I am usually greatly adverse to wearing ANY bright colours, let alone pink –  the ones that fit me best (and of course weren’t on sale =p) just happened to be fluorescent pink!  Almost identical to Sian’s, but she swears they help her go faster.  I’m still not sure how I feel about wearing them, but at least you can’t miss us!

(and for whatever reason, I can’t get the photo of the shoes to upload, so I’ll have to try again later . . . perhaps in an ‘after’ shot if I end up making it through the 10k!)

~C~

My Love,

I’m sure at times you’d be equal parts proud and mad at me – mad for not taking things a ‘little’ easier sometimes.  But still, the proud would edge out the mad.  At times when I struggle through a run, I think of all you went through.  Your surgeries, radiation, chemo, and more.  As well as what I’ve been through since you’ve been gone.  With that, I know that I can push through a little knee pain, ankle ache or cramp.

And, I know when I run the 10k, no matter how much of it I end up walking (likely dependent on how much my ankle heals in the next few days!) you’ll be cheering me on.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

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

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.

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

May 2, 2011

There are times . . .

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 9:54 am by letterstoelias

. . . . when more than positive thoughts are needed (though, those help too!)

I’ve been planning a post about the ‘events’ of the 2yr anniversary of Elias’ death for a while now, but exhaustion from the grief hangover, then a week of the stomach flu once again, and a computer keyboard with a mind of it’s own has made it difficult to write.  I still have plans to write about it, but this weekend something a little more pressing came up.

I received a message from a friend, a fellow widow.  Only a few of us did – and she asked for nothing more than positive thoughts to help her get through a tough time.  When asked, she let us in on a few more details.  Things are hard for her right now.  Really, very hard.  She needs more than positive thoughts (though she is happy to have those as well, of course)

Times are tight for everyone, I know. Myself included. But, I have a house over my head and food on my children’s plates for the foreseeable future – a luxury my friend Cadi doesn’t have right now.

Even $5 from enough people could make a huge difference for her and her children.  

So many of us know how difficult it is to ask for help, even when a situation is desperate.  Sometimes it takes others to see the need and do the asking.  This is what a few of us are doing for Cadi.

A guest post has been written on her blog and a Paypal button set up, so that if you have $5, $10, $15 (or more) to spare, you can donate easily.  If you can also share the blog and let others know, I have no doubt we can build the community her little family desperately needs right now.

http://maehegirl.blogspot.com/

Holding you and your littles in my heart right now, Cadi.  And, in her words – Many blessings and much love to you all (and some good juju too!)

~C~

P.S. I Love You

May 8, 2010

E’s Art

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:02 am by letterstoelias

Our time at the beach was the most relaxed I had been for a few days – it didn’t go exactly as ‘planned’, but I guess I didn’t really much of a have a plan anyhow.  I just knew I wanted to go to the ocean (besides, things rarely go as planned with two children in tow).

I think back on how much the ocean has played a part in my life.  In our life.  Some people have asked me about if I will stay here on the coast, and while there are parts of me that at times want to just pick up and leave and start new somewhere, I know that there is no where else I would really want to live, and I could never leave the ocean (and really, the only time I toy with the idea of leaving is when I’m feeling overwhelmed and it seems like it would be an escape – but the reality is there is no escaping the pain of losing you).

I remember when we were dating, if we got in an argument we would often drive out to the coal port road (with fries and milkshakes) to sit at the beach and talk things over.  I would even drive there on my own just to sit and look out at the ocean and think.  We shared so many great times at the ocean too – sunsets, beach days with the kids, walks, taking the dog for a swim.  And, no matter how many times we crossed on the ferry, we would still usually take a moment before getting in the car to look out over the ocean.  It offers such a sense of calm.  We were both always drawn to it; I guess it makes sense that it was where I wanted to be on that day.

It was hard to leave, and not long after getting back that same feeling came over me.  The cloud came back down around me.  I was so thankful that Bridie had ordered the dinner for us – it was delicious as always, and though I can usually polish off a whole dish (and from Sita’s that can be a task), I couldn’t.  At least it worked out well that we had leftovers for the next day.  Anna also dropped by with lasagna, and that was handy because I just put it in the freezer to have a bit later.

I got the girls to bed, and couldn’t even manage to eat all of the dessert in one sitting (Bridie ordered a piece of cake for me too).  I just felt like I didn’t know what to do with myself.  I couldn’t eat or sleep, but I couldn’t even cry.  I just ‘was’.  It was really hard.  I know I slept eventually, but waking up the next day the same fog was over me.  Day 366 = just as hard without you.

It’s true that many of the ‘firsts’ are over – but there are still so many more things to experience for the first time without you.  There are still 1001 new ways to miss you.  And, besides, being through the first year just makes you seem so much farther away from me.  From us.

For a number of days I carried on in that depressed state and felt very much like I was coming down with something, but I had two little girls to get out of bed for – and while some days it wasn’t easy, there wasn’t much choice.  I did manage to forget yet another birthday too – this time it was Kayla’s.  What a rotten auntie I am.  I spoke with Anthony a few days before and a few days after, but I forgot to at least send a little email or something on the day.

On Monday we were scheduled to do a visit the kindergarten with E, and afterwards the girls were with Buz and Sian for the day as I had some photos to do for Aspire.  In the afternoon I felt like I was finally ‘starting’ to get out of that state – but as I had not done much around the house for a number of days, it was in quite a state itself.  Just as I started to try and put everything back together on Tuesday, I was dealt a couple of blows.

I had finally come to an agreement via email with the landlords regarding the space I wanted to lease for the store.  The papers were supposed to be getting drawn up with the lawyers and I was scheduled to take possession on May 1st.  It was now the 27th of April and I hadn’t heard anything for a few days so I asked for an update, and was told that they had made a mistake – the space (which I had been talking to them about for the last 6 weeks or so) was going to be affected by upcoming renovations to the mall, and was not going to be available for lease after all.  I was shocked.  And, back to square one.  And, just about ready to give up on the whole thing.

It was absolutely devastating news.  I had contractors lined up and ready to start the renovations the following Monday, and they pulled out 4 days before I was to take possession.  Then, in the afternoon C started to come down with what seems to have been a sinus infection.  She was so congested she had snot coming out her eyes.  At first I was worried she had pink-eye, but thankfully that wasn’t it.  She was hit hard though, broke out in hives and complained of an ear ache.  She was just downright miserable, and again I could get nothing done.

E seemed to be fending it off rather well, but I managed to pick up the cold.  We were basically back in quarantine once again.  Then, this week it hit E a bit harder.  She broke out in hives on Tuesday night this week and woke with a sore ear on Wednesday.  C’s sleep was terribly affected as she would go to bed as usual, but wake after an hour or so, and then about every 20-30mins after that, and would really only settle after I would take her into bed with me.  At one point this week I had the both of them up and crying in the middle of the night – E was refusing to take the antihistamine for the hives, and C was just miserable.  I’ve said it before, but it’s times like this when being the only person to be there to help them is really tough – especially when I feel miserable too . . . I can’t remember which day, but it finally all came crashing down and I had the ‘melt down’ I had been anticipating the week earlier.

I think what finally triggered it was this:

(reads: ‘I hope Daddy comes back’ incase you can’t decipher her spelling)

She drew it at preschool – and of course I’m thrilled that she is using art to express herself (especially since I worry about her keeping things bottled up when her ‘eyes water’ – but it’s still hard.  Also, she knows full well that you can’t come back; it’s just what she wishes.  I asked her if one of the teachers or the duty parent helped put it in her cubby for her, but she said that she just did it quickly then put it in the cubby herself so no one would see.  She also did a ‘Daddy Speech’ at home the other day.  She told me that she wanted to do it, but then she took quite a while to prepare herself to actually speak.  She had these alphabet cards that she used as her ‘cue cards’, and she basically stated (though in a few more words) that you died and she hopes you come back, but she knows you can’t come back and it’s sad.  She’s also been drawing rainbows a great deal lately, and the other day she told me it was because they help remind her of you, and she’s worried about forgetting you.  <z3

Another thing that was really hard for me this past week was feeling like – though there are only a few people who really help me on a regular basis – I’m too much for them in some ways.  I hate that I feel like I always have to have someone to talk with on the phone every night after the girls are asleep.  And, if it’s a short conversation I’m trying to think of who else I can call – not wanting to have to bug the same people night after night – but I do. It’s so hard not having that person to share your day with.  To hear about their day.  And, as much as these people care – it’s not the same anyhow.  They don’t have the same investment here.  They have their own lives.  Besides – it’s still just the phone.  It’s not the same connection as sitting in a room with another adult and having a conversation.

My parents were away most of this week, and Buz and Sian were quite busy and as we wanted to keep the spread of germs to a minimum, we didn’t see them all week – and as I kept the girls from their activities for so long it felt really isolating – as much as I love the girls, I need to be able to talk with people over the age of 5yrs now and then too.  And when it comes to help, my parents and Buz and Sian help as much as they can, but they have their own lives too – I don’t want to feel like a burden and as though I’m in the way.  I don’t want to come to rely on them too heavily, because things can change.  Plans change.  Life happens.  In the end I am alone, so I feel like I should behave as such more.

I came to the realization that even if I did have help 24/7 – never had to do laundry or dishes, cleaning or gardening – it wouldn’t be enough, because you’re not here.  Sure, it would be great and I wouldn’t turn it down – but still not enough.

As for the lease space, I’m working on an offer on another spot, but seeing how quickly things can change, I won’t be convinced it’s done until I’m physically ‘in’ the space.  It’s all put me about another three weeks behind my original business plan, but I guess now I don’t have to worry about working around what would have been our 10yr wedding anniversary which is sneaking up in roughly two weeks time.  10yrs.

The thought of that did me in for the night.  Such plans we had . . . .

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

April 15, 2010

The Final Countdown

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 1:57 am by letterstoelias

One week to go.  A year ago at this time Claude had just had his mini-bike accident, which resulted in what would be our last family photo:

I’m trying not to relive every single moment from a year ago – but it’s hard.  And, even though it may not be every moment relived it’s just the fact that it was such a challenging, challenging time.  I went back and read some of the caring bridge posts recently and felt quite surprised.  I think, perhaps, because we were trying to hold on to so much hope at that time I blinded myself to how bad things had become.  Really, though, I knew it but my everything was just completely focused on keeping you alive and I didn’t let myself get caught up the negatives.  But re-reading it, it seemed like it was even worse than I remember – and (though some may find it hard to believe) I didn’t even write some of the really hard stuff.  There were plenty of challenges and experiences and events that were left out for many reasons.  There were certain people (ie your brothers) that we wanted to be able to talk with directly before putting it on-line, was a big reason.  Looking back on it now, I wonder how I survived much of that, let alone what I’m going through now.

But, I did survive it.  And, though it’s not easy by any means, I am surviving this as well.  My neck has been in pain/spasms for almost a week now.  I marvel at the fact that I managed to give birth twice to nine-pound babies at home without a drop of pain meds – but last night the pain practically had me writhing around in tears.  I can’t imagine that this doesn’t have something to do with the impending ‘anniversary’.  I’d like to think that I just tweaked it somehow, but I doubt it.  It doesn’t help matters that I’m not (and really, can’t be) resting it.  The weather had been beautiful and it’s great for the girls to be outside so I’ve been working a lot in the yard the past few days.

On Easter weekend a bunch of your family members came and helped finish the arbour project, and do a great deal of other work in the yard that I couldn’t possibly have done on my own – so that was a lot of fun and incredibly helpful.  We had an egg hunt for the kids as well as a bit of a pot luck lunch and it was a wonderful day where your energy and spirit was felt by everyone.  I’m so thankful that everyone pulled together to help complete it, and I know that they all felt honored to have been a part of helping finish something that was important to you.

There are still a few kinks to work out I think, but for now the vines all have a home and I love that it’s so similar to what you had planned.  I know it’s not ‘exactly’ what you would have done, but I hope it’s close enough.  We also found homes for all those huge, broken, cement planters you were thrilled to get for such a cheap price.  I remember how excited you were about them, and how I couldn’t for the life of me understand why.  “But they’re only $15!!!” you excitedly exclaimed (maybe it was even $10?) as I questioned your sanity when I saw them.  You so loved a bargain.  A huge crate of oranges rotting in our fridge – they were a great deal!  Didn’t matter that there was no way we could have possibly eaten them all before they went off.  It drove me crazy.  It made me laugh. I miss it.

Sorry – off topic for a bit there . . . we also managed to clear away 3 ½ yrs of green-waste that had accumulated in our yard, and moved that gigantic cement block that the fireplace had been on.  After your mom and I cut back the hedge along the back fence a month ago there is a huge area that I’ve just leveled (as much as possible) and planted grass seed, I’ve also done some topdressing and I have a few other areas to seed as well so I’ll have more grass to mow soon I suppose (maybe that was a bad idea…).  I also plan to try and put some landscape fabric and bark-mulch around and under the girls play area to avoid the long grass and weeds that come up under it.  The grass wears out under the swings anyhow.  It only took me almost year but I finally got one of the weed-whackers working – granted I didn’t exactly try very hard.  That machine is an exercise in frustration.  Now I know why you hated it so much (and you bought two for $15 at an auction – another ‘great deal’, though I can’t get either of those ones working…).  I’m sure you’re amazed to hear how much I’m putting into the yard since it wasn’t exactly my ‘thing’ before.  I have to admit that I have found aspects of it more enjoyable and rewarding (and therapeutic) than I would have expected, but it is often frustrating and is a lot of work as well– especially when there is so much else to do.  I think I may try to take on too much at times and will need to step back a bit.  I was just hoping to get a bunch done before the store opens so the rest will be more maintenance.

In other news, the playoffs start tomorrow.  Though I only know from looking it up on-line, the Canucks finished 1st in their division, 3rd in the conference and 5th in the league.  Not only that, but you’d never guess who led the league in points . . . Henrik Sedin.  Yup.  He beat Crosby and Ovechkin.  Maybe I’ll have to try and watch a playoff game or two, but my heart still isn’t really in it much.

I skipped out on the last pre-school meeting because the discussion topic was ‘Parenting as a Team’.  I know there are other items covered at the meetings so I feel bad not going, but I didn’t feel like I could sit through that.  I don’t begrudge them for having that as a topic – I think it’s a great idea and considering I’m the only lone parent of the 40-or-so families it makes sense to do it.  Just not for me.

I just spotted a few faint freckles on E’s nose the other day.  I was so excited, but still sad at the same time that you aren’t here to experience something as simple as first freckles.  Even the tiniest of things – quite literally – it’s hard to know you’re missing.  It’s difficult to know where E is at with her feelings about missing you.  I know she misses you, that’s not the issue (almost every night she asks me to write ‘I Love Daddy’ with my finger on her back or on her stomach) – she just keeps so closed about it. There was a special I watched on PBS tonight called ‘When Families Grieve’ that I’ll watch with her tomorrow and see if it strikes up any more conversation.  It was a mix of real families dealing with a loss of a parent along with a little Sesame Street thrown in.

Both the girls love to include you in everything.  Whenever we are talking about our family, you are included in some way.  C still likes to call out ‘Daddy!  Daddy! Daddy!’ at the dinner table often, and will sometimes do something funny and look up to the sky exclaiming ‘Look Daddy!’ and laugh.  Your laugh.  She’s so incredibly affectionate and loves to give hugs and kisses at random, and likes to say, “I ‘wud’ you”.

I managed to find some peace and validation in your continued presence with us recently – I’ll elaborate more on that some other time – but as the anniversary of your death approaches it’s just so hard to focus on that with the darkness of what that day represents to me.  I know it’s important to try and focus on the happy times we shared rather than dwell on the loss and sadness, but I think it’s inevitable at a time like this.  There is just so much the day represents – and in some way I fear that people will expect that day 366 will suddenly mean I’m past the first year and things will start ‘getting better’ because we all know the phrase ‘the first year is the hardest’.

I don’t know yet what I will do that day.  I hate that I don’t have a ‘plan’.  I have a few ideas but it’s hard to know what you want to do on a day like that.  Maybe plant a tree?  Maybe go on a hike?  Maybe scatter a ‘little’ bit of your ashes?  Or just stay in bed all day?  I had hoped to get letters/emails from others with stories and memories of you to read and share with the girls – and I received a few wonderful emails, but not many.  I can always go back to some of the comments on the caringbridge site I suppose.  I know that many people still think of you often, but traffic and comments on that site has died down so much, it sometimes feels like now that so much time has passed you are fading from other people’s thoughts and that is hard to take.  I’ll probably post once more there next week and then stop.  I’ll still check for comments, but will likely only write here from then on.

A really nice surprise was that I had a call from one of your old co-workers at the ferries on your birthday, as well as a call from one of your old students at Easter though.  It makes me so happy to hear when people are thinking of you out there – I guess it feels like it keeps you a bit more alive in a way.

Anyhow, I have photos I wanted to add, but I’ll try to put those up tomorrow as right now my neck is bothering me more and I should close up for the night.  So much more to say, always.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

January 10, 2010

Forever My Love

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 12:25 am by letterstoelias

Though I know it’s impossible to put into words just how much I miss you, I sure wish I could find a way . . .

It was so great having LB here for a visit this week – she ended up coming on Tues evening, and after joining us for dinner she jumped right in to help put the girls to bed.  They loved it too, and it was a nice break for me.  I hate that it sounds so silly to make such a big deal about having a night off from the bedtime routine – it’s really not that hard to brush teeth and read stories, etc – but it makes such a difference to not have to do it once in a while.  And even though I pretty much always did it before you died anyway, you always were there to help in some capacity or we split ourselves between the girls and it was just so much easier.

Anyhow, it was great that she was able to pitch in and we also had a really nice time to catch up and chat.  On Wednesday I didn’t have work or Aspire, but having her there gave me the chance to go out to Sechelt to do some photography for a friend, then head back to E’s preschool and do a few photos there for the website they are building.

I had also mistakenly thought there was a preschool meeting that night and thought it worked out great that LB was there to look after the girls (as she decided to stay an extra night), but I forgot that the meeting had been cancelled.  I joked that since I had childcare already arranged for a night out, I should head out with Buz and Sian to the Blackfish – and LB insisted that we do it.  She kicked me out, and it was really nice to have just a couple of hours to sit with Buz and Sian, without the distraction of 4 kids.  The girls were asleep when I came back, and LB and I had another great chance to chat.

I was sad to see her go on Thursday morning – I tried to convince her to pick up and move in with me =), but no such luck.  Having the extra hands around the house & with the girls, even just for 40hrs, was so great.  It also reminded me just how much I miss having you around – not that I ever forget, but I’ve just become accustomed to making-do around the house on my own (ok, not completely on my own as I get some help from my mom and Sian), and it was so nice to have that help, and the company.  Something other than a screen to engage with after the girls have gone to sleep.

On Thursday, my mom had noted that C was a bit grumpy while I was at Aspire, and while I worked in the afternoon I noticed she did seem a little ‘off’.  I picked her up and she felt quite warm.  Sure enough, she had a mild fever.  It’s the first time I can remember her having one.  She was quite tired as well, and was practically falling asleep on my lap, which is quite out of character for her.  She still had an appetite, and after shortly after dinner she went to sleep quite easily.  Friday afternoon E had acro and we were thinking of cancelling pizza night with Buz and Sian, but C’s fever was gone and her energy was back up.  We went for dinner, but by 6:30 she was wearing down so we went home and off to bed.  Today we had planned to go to a friend’s for dinner, but I cancelled as in the morning I was not feeling well, and C – though her fever is gone – now has a cough and cold, so we opted to stay home for the whole day and tried to take it easy.  My coughing has progressed some through the day, so I’m hoping to rest up as next week is my final week of daily workshops with Aspire.  That said the house is still a bit of a mess, the recycling is overflowing and the cupboards and fridge are looking a bit bare, so I should put in at least a little effort around here tomorrow.

Something else occurred this week though, too.  C woke in the middle of the night, Thursday (or Friday morning).  I brought her into bed with me, thinking she would likely sleep more soundly.  It took her some time to settle back down (this was the night her fever developed) and I was in and out of sleep for a while as she was trying to settle herself.  At one point, I started to dream . . .

I had just got C back to sleep, though in the dream she was in her bed and I in mine.  It was 2am, and suddenly the phone rang.  I answered it quickly, so it wouldn’t wake the girls.

‘Hello?’ I heard a lot of static.  Background noise.  Then I heard you.

‘Hello?  Hi!’  It felt so amazing to hear your voice.  I could even hear your smile.  I remember feeling indescribably excited.  Happy.  At ease.

‘So, when’s dinner going to be ready?’ you asked, with that smile.

‘I’m putting it on the table right now’, I replied, smiling too (though it was not true by any means of course – remember it was 2am in my dream and I was in bed).

Then I think you asked something about what was for dinner, and either I told you that we were having stew, or you asked for it – I can’t remember which (I can’t remember it exactly and for whatever reason there was a lot of background noise on ‘the phone’).

‘It better be a meat stew’ you laughed, ‘I’ve got to have my meat you know’.  (ironic, as immediately before you died you had decided to become vegetarian).  I laughed, and said ‘Ok.  Sure.’  (also ironic since I NEVER cook meat).

Then it was over.  There would have been more, I’m sure, as just as you started to say something else C began to stir and I woke up.  My heart was immediately racing (it must have been during the dream too).  I thought it would beat out of my chest.  It felt so real.  SO real.  And, it felt so good.  But then I found myself almost in a panic trying to remember it all exactly.  I retold myself the dialogue over and over again, not wanting to miss a thing – though of course now it’s somewhat foggy.

I needed that.  It’s still hard, because it just wasn’t long enough and it sucks that it’s the only way I can experience you in a new way – but it was comforting too.  You sounded great.  Content.  As if all was ok.  I haven’t had many dreams that were so clearly you thus far – I can only think of two – though there have been many where I feel like I have sensed your presence but could just never be sure if you were there.  Though I didn’t ‘see’ you in this dream, there was no question that it was your voice.  And you were telling me you were ok.

As good as it felt, it’s still brought me near tears a few times as I’ve thought of it since, but I wish you could come to my dreams all the time.  I’d take it.  Even if just through a phone call.  It’s funny, because though I can’t bring myself to watch videos with you in them, even to hear your voice on a video is too hard – but this was ok.  Somehow.

Something that also brought me to tears the other day – while driving – this song came on the radio:

Picking up the pieces,
of a life that I once knew
What will tomorrow bring?
Gray skies all around me, I don’t know where to turn
Can you help me with this pain?
A shooting star, a ray of light
A breeze that calms me in the night
I got your message yesterday
I feel you here, I wish that you could
Stay with me
Two hearts forever
You were the spark that lit the flame
Only if you’d
Stay with me
This love’s forever
And in my heart you will remain
Until we meet again

 

Sitting in the cold room, waiting for the sun
Will it ever shine again?
Pictures frames, the better days, are swirling in my head
Will I ever find a way?
A shooting star, a ray of light
A breeze that calms me in the night
I got your message yesterday
I feel you here, I wish that you could
Stay with me
Two hearts forever
You were the spark that lit the flame
Only if you’d
Stay with me
This love’s forever
And in my heart you will remain
Until we meet again

As much as all of this hurts, I do try to take peace in some things, and I’ve been trying to focus on that more the past few days (perhaps mainly in an effort to recover from the holidays) – our love was worth this.  It still is.

Nothing can take the pain away.  In time, I will get used to living with it, but the wound will remain and the intense grief will always be lingering in the shadows of my existence.  There will be an open gash across my heart for the rest of my life.  It will never heal, though I will learn how to bend and move with it to avoid constant pain.  From time to time, however, it will still get hit and the pain will knock me back – I have accepted this as inevitable, and in some ways I am ok with that, as I actually find comfort in knowing our love was so strong that, even years from now, I will cry for you.  For the rest of my life I will cry for you.  And that is ok.

It doesn’t make it easy.  By any means.  It doesn’t mean I’ve yet accepted all of this – there are still many moments where I feel you have to be coming back, or that I can’t actually believe this is really my life now.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t wish, with every fiber of my being that you were still here.  My tears are still frequent.  The wound is incredibly raw, even 8 ½ months later.  But I know that, even without you here, our love is forever.  Until we meet again.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 2:09 am by letterstoelias

At least, I’m sure by the time I finish this, it will be.  It’s been an eventful week since I last wrote.  Your parents came over on Friday to start work on the arbour.  We had to work out kinks in the logistics of where it would go and how to lay it out – trying to blend what was your initial vision for the project with what would work best; and by the time the others arrived on Saturday the holes were already dug, and it ended up being a pretty great day.  After a few wet days earlier in the week, the sun came out and it was rather mild – a perfect day for that kind of work.  Claude had his ‘crew’ (JP and Mike) to help get the posts level and supported, and we all worked on mixing and pouring the cement.

Even the girls got involved and had a good time, though C had less interest than E and spent a fair amount of time indoors ‘supervising’ (I’ll add a few photos at the end of the letter).  I think we all could really feel your spirit there with us – laughing at some of the antics and smiling to see everyone working together on something that meant a lot to you.  I know I will be the one to benefit from the arbour, but really, it’s for you.  I said that it was like our Christmas present to you.  It won’t be finished for some time, but it’s nice to have it started.  I suppose it would be wonderfully fitting to have it finished by your birthday in the spring – though that is a way’s away yet.  It was incredible for them all to come out and help like that, and it meant a lot.

I also had a nice treat after the work in the yard – Buz had planned on a manicure and pedicure for Sian, and he figured it would be more fun if she had a friend to go along, so I got treated as well.  It was sure great to sit in the spa’s massage chairs after a day of shoveling cement, that’s for sure.  I think it was more fun to get some time to spend with Sian without chasing after kids though.  I realized it was only the second time I’ve had that done, and the last was over 7yrs ago, so I guess it was due.  After I got home though, I was feeling completely beat – I think I was dehydrated from not drinking enough while working in the yard.

On Sunday my parents took the girls to the mainland to see all my grandparents, along with some aunts and uncles, before Christmas.  I considered going, but wasn’t feeling up to it in a few ways, and opted to stay home.   I got a fair amount accomplished around the house and completed some much needed paperwork, so it was quite a productive day for me, and the girls had a great time visiting everyone.  On Monday we celebrated Sian’s birthday/solstice with dinner at their place.  Sian made a delicious meal and I made an eggnog cheesecake for dessert.  My first cheesecake.  It wasn’t properly set in the middle, but it tasted pretty good.

In the last few days I feel like I’ve just been running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  I’ve been working on finishing the (somewhat botched) homemade gifts, and I’ve tried to do a bit of actual Christmas shopping.  I hate to sound like a Grinch, because I’m honestly not trying to stamp out other people’s joy and cheer, but it’s tough to wander the isles, listening to the other shoppers happily humming along to the Christmas tunes, seeing all the extra chipper sales clerks in their santa hats cheerfully casting wishes of merry Christmas on everyone.  And rightfully so.  And I don’t wish for it to stop for others, it’s just hard to be around.  And I hardly think it would be festive if my response to the well wishes was to say, ‘Actually, my Christmas won’t be merry at all because my husband died 8 months ago’ (it probably didn’t help that it was the 8 month anniversary of your death on one of the days I was shopping).  I know I could justifiably say it, but I don’t wish to dampen anyone else’s’ Christmas spirit just because I don’t have much (it’s hard to keep the spirit up when your kids go to bed at night and cry for their Daddy to come home – it doesn’t happen every night, but it did happen just the other night).

So, instead, I walked as fast as I could, with my hat and head as low as possible and tried not to look much beyond the shelves in front of me.  Inevitably, of course, I ran into people I know – and I’m sure most of them could sense my discomfort.  I have never been one prone to anxiety before, but I could feel my heart trying to beat out of my chest almost the whole time.  It was mostly a blur.  It seemed impossible to try and keep track of whom I had already bought for (what it even was), and who was left.  I hate feeling like I’m not putting thought into it – because I am, but it’s hard to even figure out my thoughts right now.  I was fortunate that this morning Zoe offered to take the girls for a couple of hours so I could try and finish up without dragging them with me – which was a huge help (along with all the frozen meals she gave me).  I miss Christmas shopping with you.  As much as you hated it, and drove me crazy by complaining, at least we were together in it.  At least I had a partner.  Someone to discuss gift ideas with and to talk me out of/into presents for people.

As I shopped, a few more ‘fitting’ songs for my mood played, but they only served to just about bring me to tears . . .

They’re singing deck the halls

But it’s not like Christmas at all

I remember when you were here

And all the fun we had last year

If there was a way

I’d hold back these tears

But it’s Christmas day

Baby please come home . . . .

(from U2s version of Christmas, Baby please come home)

This was followed immediately by ‘Blue Christmas’.  If ‘Wintersong’ came on next, I definitely would have bolted.  The afternoon picked up though, as Chloe and Fern came over for a visit.  Only, I felt bad as they ended up on an earlier ferry than I thought and the house was quite a mess – but at least they were able to get a hold of my mom who entertained them for a bit until I got back home.  The girls love to play with Chloe and it was so sweet of them to take the time and make the trip over.  Oh, and my mom took the girls to see ‘Santa’ – they were just going to look, but they ended up sitting on his lap.  I must admit to being disappointed that they weren’t terrified of him as in years past.  It also seems to have made E forget most of what I had taught her about St. Nicholas (the real one) as much of the focus has now shifted to Santa and Rudolf.  I want them to have fun, I just don’t want Christmas to be ALL about Santa and presents.

I ‘sort of’ felt like I had accomplished a lot, but as I sat on the kitchen floor tonight surrounded by my purchases and home made gifts, it didn’t seem like much.  And there are so many I haven’t bought for yet.  Then I went to grab some wrapping paper and bags, only to have the first bag I picked up with last years tag that I had labeled ‘To Daddyman, Love Your Girls’ which made me smile, then cry.  I’m reminded how, immediately after Christmas last year, you told me that was probably your last.  I hated hearing you say it, but it had crossed my mind too.  I hate that you were right.  And what a difference without you this year.  A sad, lonely difference.

I’ll be going to my parents’ place, though I’m not sure if we’ll send the night Christmas Eve or not.  We had initially discussed it, as it won’t be easy waking up here without you – but part of me just wants to have a moment here for the girls and I in honour of you, before diving into the day.  As ideal as that sounds on paper, I’m sure the girls will just be too excited and I would get frustrated that it didn’t go as planned, so it’s possibly better if we just skip it – but I think, as many other things, it will have to just be a ‘game day decision’ for me.  Your extended family is having a gathering, as is mine, but I think the smaller the better this year.  I even told my mom she didn’t need to go all out for dinner – beans on toast would be fine by me – but we will be having a more traditional dinner.  There’s a tree.  Some decorations.  The stockings are up.  Even a gingerbread house.

I can’t believe it’s here.  I can’t believe you won’t be.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

I wanted to add an update this morning that, though missing you will definitely take centre stage, I’m sure I will find some moments of happiness in the day.  I am so very thankful for what I do still have, and as much as I miss you, I will do my best to continue to be present with that, through missing you.

~C~

 

November 15, 2009

Argh

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 9:24 pm by letterstoelias

Hello My Love,

I had actually planned a much better letter for today.  I started writing it last night, but was too sleepy to finish it off and was trying to be responsible and go to bed at a more decent hour for once.  Still, I managed to wake up with an excruciating headache today.  I seem to be getting them a little more often again.  And no amount of water to drink, advil, or my magic bag provided much relief.

I managed to get the grocery shopping done (with a little company at the store) and after lunch the girls and I snuggled in to finish watching an IMAX HD documentary on dolphins, and watch the one on mountain gorillas (I think I’d give up the TV entirely if it wasn’t for the nature channel).  I tried to rest my eyes a little and when it was over the girls were contentedly playing.

As was the case I decided to continue resting on the couch a little hoping to help the headache.  They would come and talk to me every couple minutes anyway so I figured I wouldn’t actually fall asleep.  Of course, however, they managed to find an ‘activity’ entertaining enough that they didn’t feel the need to come over to the couch to chat, and I guess I was just done in enough that I did doze off.

When I woke up, all seemed normal.  I don’t believe it was too long that I was actually asleep for.  I went to go to the washroom and was stopped in my tracks when I saw the bathroom counter and sink covered in blue ink.  As was the soap.  And the towel.  When I walked back into the family room to ask what had been going on, it was then that I noticed their art table.  Almost completely covered in a wash of blue ink (with a little red thrown in for good measure).  The few spots that weren’t completely covered had nice big complete blue handprints.  There also happened to be a little ink on the wall to go with it.  I must have been pretty out of it as this all happened not more than 10 feet from me.

E explained to me that they were having fun with the felts.  And she added, ‘but we washed our hands after . . . ‘.  Serves me right I suppose.  If it was just C I could see it, but E has never really been one to do that sort of thing.  I was pretty surprised.  But, luckily it all came off fairly easily and for the most part it was contained to  just their art table, designed for ‘art’ afterall.  I feel like I shouldn’t have let it get to me so much as in the end it didn’t do any harm, but it still put me in a bit of a grumpy mood, however, as I still had the headache.  It made me wish I had been suckered in to buy the ice cream that was on sale . . .

Anyhow, I was able to get dinner on at a reasonable time and the girls ate a bunch and at a faster pace than the usual prolonged dining experience.  As such, I was able to get them ready for bed quite early and we had some extra time for lots of reading, which was nice.  C picked a book off the shelf that I had never even seen before.  I don’t even know where we got it from.  We have SO many books, and get many from the ‘Spark!’ program, but I don’t think it was one of those.  It was about a little girl growing up with her Grandpa, and how they used to watch the orca whales every summer together.  After many years the Grandpa dies, the day the whales finally came, and the mom tells the little girl that her Grandpa’s spirit is jumping and diving with the whales.  They don’t see the whales again for some time, and of course, the next time she sees the whales in the summer, there is a baby whale there.  It was a nice story, and I think E really enjoyed it as she recalled seeing the orcas in Alaska and thinking of you having sent them to her.

Both the girls have started ‘talking to you’ at night again, which is nice.  For a while E decided she didn’t want to – she found it difficult to talk to someone not there.  Understandable.  I didn’t force the issue.  But, for whatever reason she has started again, which started C doing it again too.  She’s turning into quite the chatterbox now (go figure) and I can actually understand most of what she has to say to you.  It’s so fun to hear what is on her little mind.  E talks about how much fun you must have had watching her doing whatever it was she was doing that day, and how much you must have been laughing.  And tonight I loved that she added, ‘You’re the best Daddy in the whole wide world!’  But it’s hard not to cry hearing that.  Even now, typing it.

I am working in town tomorrow and have to be on the 6:20 ferry.  This will be the first day trip over that I haven’t brought the girls in a long time – since long before you died actually.  We’ve usually come over and stayed over with your parents on my ‘office’ days, but it didn’t work out this time, so this will be a long day away from them.  My mom is coming over to get them up and ready, then they’ll be with Sian for the rest of the day which is great.  Anna’s been a big help recently too, taking the girls to the parent-tot drop in on Wednesdays for the last few weeks and has been pitching in wherever else she can which has given my mom a little extra time off here and there and has been fun for the girls too.  She’s such a wonderfully sweet person.  I often think of how much you would have enjoyed getting to know them all more.

We went to Barb’s for dinner last night – and we met up with her and Dave first at Cliff Gilker park for a nice walk in the forest.  The water was running so fast through the creek – the fastest I’ve ever seen it, and it made for quite a few spectacular falls.  It was incredibly beautiful and I know you would have loved to see it like that.  I’m so grateful for where we live.  Dinner was great and she sent me home with a pile of leftovers which helps ease the cooking burden for a few nights.  It was nice to spend some time with her.  I forgot to mention in my last letter that I ran into John from the ferries at the library the other day.  It was nice for the girls to see him too, as we hadn’t seen him since the funeral.  He offered to come and take Cali for a walk sometime, which is really nice – it’s just too bad she’s such a pain in the ass sometimes.  It’s hard to know if it would be ok to let someone not used to her take her out . . . but it would be good for her and would help me feel a little less guilty that she doesn’t get out much anymore.

I also forgot to mention something that happened the other morning too – the girls had both climbed into bed with me at some point in the night/morning, and C was lying behind me.  She woke up first, as always, and was playing around a bit.  She took the neck of my t-shirt and pulled it down to look at my tattoo.   As she looked at it she said, ‘Ahhhh’ gave a little giggle, then said, ‘Daddy’ and gave it a kiss.  Then she did it all again.  It was so very sweet.  When I showed the girls the day after it was done, I had mentioned then that it was to help show how much I love Daddy, etc., but I’m never sure of how much C picks up – it’s so amazing to me just how much she really does get.

Anyhow, my other letter will wait for another day as I should start getting ready for my long day tomorrow.  I don’t even want to go into the kitchen right now though . . . it’s a disaster.  I seem to have run out of steam for keeping on top of things after the last few weeks of dealing with the girls illnesses.  I’m trying to keep the mindset that there are more important things in life than a clean house, but the chaos can be disconcerting at times too.  Ah well, it can wait for another day.

Thinking of you always, loving you more than ever,

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

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