February 16, 2012

More than a little late . . .

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

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

* * * * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

And that’s as far as I wrote.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

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November 12, 2011

Caught off guard

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 9:11 pm by letterstoelias

I had planned to write about something else tonight.  Photo at the ready, and a little story about hidden treasures of you around the house that are still yet to be found.

Then, as I was clearing through some old photos (none with you I could remove from my computer, even though they are stored in a few other locations as well), I saw a series of short videos.

Christmas 2005.  E’s first Christmas.

On the screen all you could see was my sister and Mira (along with the remnants from a busy Christmas morning).  I’m certain I noticed your knee in the background, but didn’t put 2&2 together of what I may see/hear once I hit play.

An 8 second video.  You were talking to John about printer ink.

But, the subject was irrelevant and so was the length.  I heard your voice.  I heard you.  Instant tears.  Instant.

I watched the other two – a 13 second video also talking about he printer, and the final one 50 seconds long talking about someone your age, and then talking to Duffy.

You were not visible (aside from your knee) in any of the videos, but didn’t matter.  It’s rocked me.

It’s been so, very long since I’ve heard your voice.  I miss it beyond words.  I played the videos a number of times over, just to hear you ask Duffy where is toy was, to say how old your friend was.  How the quality something you printed wasn’t that great.  How expensive the ink was.  Just to hear your inflections, pauses, mannerisms.

A phone call interrupted the teary downfall, thankfully from Caroline who understood once I choked out to her why I sounded as I did.  But the physical pain that pierced my heart once again resides there now as I write this.  Missing you, so terribly.

I know this could be seen as a hidden treasure too.  I do love to hear your voice, regardless of what it’s about and I am glad to have these to be able to go back to when ready (now that I know they are there).

Some of these treasures are just easier to take than others, especially when you’re caught off guard.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

September 26, 2011

An old haunt

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:56 am by letterstoelias

Some things change, some things stay the same, and I guess some do a bit of both.

I went somewhere today I had wanted to go for a while now.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I knew it would be easier than a number of other things I’ve done since you died, and I felt a strong pull to go back.

I heard that some had never left, and others had returned.  Familiar faces.  Those who knew us ‘before’.  Those who were there when it all began.  Those who ensured you were treated to the best food any hospital patient ever got.

I so rarely do anything other than go ‘through’ the city on my way somewhere else, and a rare reason presented itself for the girls and I to head downtown today.  Within blocks.  I knew I had to go by, and I wanted the girls to be there too.  I wanted them to see a place where you spent so much time (and hell, I spent a LOT of time waiting for you there too).

At times I call out for people to share stories of you – and never get many replies.  That place holds so many.  I was hoping the girls could hear one or two.

All week it had been on my mind.  Excited.  Nervous.  Back and forth and completely intertwined.  As I started the drive through downtown, nervous started to take the lead, but I was going.

As I turned the corner to the back ally, it all looked so different.  Where once an old heritage home and vacant parking lot sat, now stood giant apartment buildings.  Had it really been that long?

Thankfully, there was a space right in back, where I had parked so many times before – and as had happened more times that I can count, I saw a few faces look down from the windows at me as I pulled up – only yours was not one of them.  And these ones looked more than a little confused.

It had started to rain quite heavily, but I got out and stood under the window.  I can’t even recall what was going through my mind as I didn’t see any of the familiar faces I was hoping for, and I figured these people would think I was crazy – but I still shouted up to the open window, ‘Excuse me?’.

Thankfully one of the chefs answered back.  I asked if Takeo was there.  Not until Tuesday.  Julio?  Not until Wednesday.  I figured Nate wouldn’t be there yet, but asked anyway, and of course the answer was no.  He struck me as kind – I told him my husband used to work there years ago, and I was stopping by to say hi.  The rain was really coming down and I was going to leave it at that, but I turned back and asked if I could bring my girls in for a moment.  He said sure, then he came down to open the back gate.

I got the girls out fast and we went into the covered area.  The smell struck me.  Exactly the same.  I saw a chef making pasta in the lower kitchen.  Working away, as you would have done.  I could picture you there.  He looked over at us and smiled, though likely as confused as the rest.  The first chef (I wish I had caught his name) was in the cooler area.  I explained a little more . . .

He was very kind.  He didn’t (seem to) get awkward or uncomfortable.  He brought up another name he figured I may know, and sure enough it was James (he doesn’t work there, but apparently this chef trained under him).  Blair still stops by once in a while too.  I asked if we could go upstairs and just have a quick peek at the kitchen and dining room (it was early enough that it would still be closed) – he said sure.  I knew it would be tough, and strange I’m sure for the other chefs upstairs who still didn’t know why I was there – but it became a moot point when E saw something that scared her and wouldn’t go any further.

Oh, that damn foot.  She knows you got it from a place that used to be ‘beside’ the restaurant, and though I told her that place was no longer there, she saw a laundry bag filled with dirty kitchen towels, and apparently (I found out later) thought it was full of body parts.  I had a feeling something along those lines was factoring in and offered to carry her – she didn’t even need to go past it – but it was a no go and I didn’t want to push it (I’m sure it was already a little odd to the staff there, let alone with me carrying a screaming child around the kitchen).  Perhaps much of it would have been lost on the girls anyhow at this point, without people there who knew you to share memories with.  But if that would have even made a difference, I’m not sure.

I chatted a few more minutes with the chef – noted a few changes that had been made.  I was struck by the stairs, as they had been widened significantly and seemed less steep than I recall (would have made it harder for you to do your prank falls to freak out the delivery guys).  He told me that there were lots of changes – a few others I could see, but it was still so familiar and oddly comfortable to me.  A part of me just wanted to stay.

I thanked him for his time anyhow, and asked him to tell the others I had asked about that Elias’ wife came by to say hi.  I hope he passes the message along.  I feel like he will, and I hope we can make it in again sometime soon, and see those familiar faces.  As I backed out, I missed seeing your smiling face looking down at me, waving good-bye – but I could picture it.  As we left, the winds picked up, but the rain stopped and the sky started to clear.  I was more than certain that if we weren’t stuck between high-rises we would have spotted a rainbow as the sky looked primed for one.

We carried on with our day and the main purpose of the trip, which was Chloe’s housewarming party. It was great to spend some time with family there.  On the way home a song came on, and the lyrics were a bit of a trigger.  I managed to get us home fine, a lousy dinner, bed.  Exhausted.  Then, as I sat to write this letter, I played the song again.  And the tears started flowing.  My heart constricting.  E woke up to go to the washroom and heard me.  She asked through the door why I was crying.  I invited her in, told her that I was missing you, and we snuggled.

We talked about maybe going back to the restaurant one day – I promised she wouldn’t see any fake body parts and it was all just laundry.  I tried to tell her a few of the stories I knew . . . how you loved to take bets and once took one where you had to drink 4 litres of chocolate milk, which ended with you throwing up chocolate milk everywhere.  As I told her I started laughing, and then crying some more, while laughing (and for some reason it makes me cry again now while typing it).  I wish I didn’t have to try and convey everything you were to them.  It’s impossible.  I wish they could see it for themselves.  I just miss you so much.  So fucking much.

Life is busy.  Overwhelmingly so.  The girls are amazing.  They miss you too – they cry at times.  I’m not miserable 24/7, but you are still on my heart and on my mind to that extent.

I’m glad I went today.  I do hope to go back.  And, maybe when I do they can tell the girls how many lemons you could fit in your mouth . . .

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

And, this was the song.  Sure, about a break-up, but 99% of the lyrics are still pretty accurate….

July 27, 2011

In the nick of time . . .

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 3:42 pm by letterstoelias

I didn’t want to hold too high of a hope it would be done today.  I didn’t want to get let down.  But still, of course I hoped.

She knew how important it was and was hopeful too.  And I know she worked hard to make it happen.

She told me, after all was said and done, that many things could have gone wrong – but nothing did.  They even managed to fit in my last minute engravement request.

And it’s done.  Today.

* * * * *

It’s done, and I have it back.  Today – 15yrs from the day we first kissed, and 12yrs from the day he asked me to spend the rest of our lives together.  From the day he gave me a ring.  One of the three, that now makes ‘the one’.

Every time I think of that it brings me to tears, but in a good way as well.  I can hardly stop looking at it.  I can feel it’s weight . . . it’s definitely a ‘thicker’ ring than what I am used to, but it had to be.  It represents so, very much.  I appreciate the weight.

It sings to me.  It shines with the love we shared from that first kiss 15yrs ago this very night.  Fireworks (this post from 2yrs ago will explain that . . . ).

Of course, it’s not what I envisioned.  When he slipped the first ring on my finger 12yrs ago, I never imagined I would be standing at his funeral less than 10yrs later.  I never imagined I would eventually feel the need to take it off or change it.

But, death got in the way.

I still suffer from ‘phantom ring syndrome’.  Now that I have removed my claddagh ring from my wedding ring finger too.  I feel the ‘itch’ of a ring.  The need to twist it.  The need to rub my thumb across the band to ensure it’s there.  Sometimes the need to hide my bare finger.  And, I know I will miss my rings as they were.  It’s only been a few hours, but I’m hopeful that the new ring, though on the other hand, will help cure some of this.  It’s the same thing, only different.

And the claddagh?  It has now moved to my middle finger on my left hand, turned with an open heart.

I don’t know if there will ever come a time when a new ring or two will sit on ‘that’ finger again (and though I hate speculating about that on this particular day . . . ), I’m happy that I would be able to show, on my hands, just how big the heart is, how strong, how tenacious, how expansive, and capable of fitting in more love than anyone would have thought possible.  How you don’t have to let go of one, to allow for another (anyone with more than one child understands this).

I know Elias felt damn lucky to have my love, as I was to have his.  We loved each other fiercely.

No, it can’t erase the heartache I still feel.  I still ache to spend this day (and every day) with him.  I have shed tears of sadness already on this day.  But my heart is happy to be able to wear this ring.  I will carry my love for Elias with me for life, and my ring will show that.  It was the absolute right decision for me.  There was not an ounce of regret.

I look at it, and – especially on this day – I can feel him smiling at me.  I know he would ask me the same question again if he could, and I know I would, without a doubt, say ‘Yes’ once again.  And, in a way, I am.  I am saying yes to carrying his love forward with me, for the rest of my life, no matter what else comes my way.

Before

After

After

(not the greatest shots, but I was rushing and will take more soon . . . also, there is still a ‘little’ gold leftover, and our diamond ‘chips’ from our bands to be incorporated into the girls rings when $$ allows)

* * * * *

My Love,

Amongst the sadness of what I am missing today, I feel you around me.  I feel your love.  Your warmth, and your smile.  I can picture the scene in the car the night we first kissed, 15yrs ago today.  I can picture the scene in the restaurant when you proposed 12yrs ago today.  Thank you, ever so much, for trusting me with your heart, and for taking care of mine.

I know you felt lucky as I did to share in the love we had.  I feel honoured to have been able to love you the way I did, and still do.  And as our love is stronger than death, it will remain represented on my hand, through my new ring, carried with me for the rest of my days.

This ring reminds me that I was loved, fiercely.  That I love, fiercely.  That I am worthy of the best kind of love.  And, it makes me smile.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

The beauty that can be, when love is cultivated.  Our love is a sacred thing, like the mysteries of the night.  In the darkness unwavering, and still so strong come the light.  Our love is an infinite thing, like the suns last rays on the sea, as it sets low in the west and the moon rises.

April 20, 2011

The Tree

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 11:09 pm by letterstoelias

As I mentioned in my last post, there is another element to the ‘anniversary’ day, now just 4 2 days away (well, really 1 now, since I ended up finishing this so late) – though it’s a bit of a ‘double-whammy’ for me, as the 21st is equally as hard . . . seeing as that day was the last of everything, the day it all came crashing down, and it was only the wee hours of the 22nd that it was ‘official’.  So, really, both days suck.

I don’t know that I could ever quite put feelings into words they way Kim does – but it feels a little lot like this.

The girls are feeling it too.  I’m sure a big part of C’s ‘highly emotive state’ lately (ie tantrum city) has to do with just being 3 1/2, I can’t help but feel she’s affected by it a lot these days too*.  She has been talking about Daddy and dying lately, telling complete strangers that her Daddy died, etc – but the tantrums are wearing me down right now (good thing she’s so damn cute and funny – though it’s hard that Elias is missing out on that, as he would have appreciated it so).  And E made me a card at school yesterday, in the shape of a heart, that read “I know it’s hard to miss someone we love” – and she was sure to tell me that she wrote ‘we’ because she misses Daddy too.  She’s shed a few tears in the past few days as well.

The conversations I get to have with my kids . . .  and, I worry so much about finding the right balance with how much to talk/not talk about what’s going on and my feelings, etc., not wanting to ruin them by going too much either way.

* * * * *

If you haven’t already figured this out about me, I’m quite into symbolism.  I like things to have meaning, even if only to myself.  My hummingbird tattoo is not just because they are pretty birds, for example.

The tree which is in the logo for my store, was no accident either.  It is a weeping cherry tree – chosen for it’s symbolism – and with the help of my brilliant sister-in-law, we worked it into the logo beautifully (at least, I think so).

So, when out for a walk at the local gardening store a couple weeks back, I was immediately struck by a lonely little tree at the back of the greenhouse area.  I walked up to it, certain I was going to see ‘Japanese Weeping Cherry’ on the tag, but instead found the words ‘Prunus Serrulata Shidarezakura’, or something of the sort.

Seeing as I’m not a botanist or latin major, I then wasn’t 100% certain the tree was what I was hoping it to be, but I felt in my heart it was.  I couldn’t get it off my mind, so I went back a day or two later and asked for a pen and paper to write the name down.  A quick google search at home confirmed it – a weeping cherry.  The day after that, I rushed home from work, threw the girls in the wagon and practically ran to the garden store before it closed to bring it home . . . .

Now, it is sitting in my backyard, waiting to be planted.  It’s not too big just yet – quite small, really.  But it will be nice to watch it grow.  My initial hope was that Elias’ family would be able to come for the lantern ceremony on the 22nd, then we could work together in the garden on the 23rd and all plant the tree together.  Since it seems confirmed that only one Aunt and her family are going to come (the same who were here at spring break), there won’t be the ‘garden party’.  As such, I then thought the girls and I would plant it together in the morning of the 22nd.

As I was working in the garden today on Sunday (for almost 7hrs) getting the area prepped for the tree, along with trying to make the whole front garden bed look as nice as possible for when the tree is in – the thought occurred to me that I may even just do it on my own.  I know the girls would probably enjoy it to a certain extent (especially E, who has started referring to herself as ‘Nature Girl’), but I had also planned to take them down to the beach in the morning as we had done last year, so we could have something that was just for ‘us’.  We’ll also have the lantern ceremony, of course, too.  So, maybe the tree planting can be just for me.  We’ll see.

And, the symbolism?  The cherry tree, for many in Japan, symbolizes “the transience of life” primarily due to the short blooming time of the trees. The fallen blossoms on the ground can also be seen as “a metaphor for a warrior killed early in life”.  Cherry blossoms are an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life – something that is here for an incredibly short time, yet can still be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen and have a big impact on you, and the world around you – just as Elias did, and now I will have one of these beautiful trees in my front garden.

*An interesting note, while putting the girls to bed tonight, C picked the book ‘Peaceful Piggy Meditation’ – a children’s book on feelings and mediation, given to us by the hospice councillor we saw just a couple weeks before Elias died.  One of the first pages discusses how it can be difficult not to lose your temper when angry and, as we chat about books while reading, I noted that sometimes Mama feels that way and I asked C if she does too.  She said to me, “Sometimes when people are sad, I feel angry.”  I just about dropped the book.  She also said when people are happy, she’s happy, but she clearly said again that when people are sad, she feels angry.  E and I both asked her if she felt angry when we are sad, and she said yes.  I asked her if she knew why, and she just shrugged her shoulders and said no.  Though I try to avoid putting words in her mouth, I found it interesting, and so I asked if she felt sad too, or if it was confusing, and she said confusing.

Also, on one page there is a Daddy pig, and she pointed and said, “Their Daddy didn’t die” and on another page there is a picture of a goldfish who died, and after we finished reading the book, she wanted to go back and look at that page.  I know her behaviour lately has been very much that of a typical 3yr old.  People are quick to assume that she was and is too young to understand or even notice any of it – but a big part of me felt as if it was something ‘more’, and I’m pretty sure I’m right.

* * * * *

Elias,

Words to express how much I miss you are failing me.  It hurts beyond words.  I would love to try and promise I won’t relive our last day together tomorrow – last kiss, last touch, last smile, last breath . . .  but try as I might I know it will come.  Like a freight train downhill with no breaks to knock me down.  (I supposed that should have said ‘brakes’, but really, it’s pretty much both in this case)

As I put the girls to bed tonight, I remembered putting them to sleep this night two years ago – the four of us together in that one little bedroom, mattresses on the floor, clueless as to what the next day would bring.  As I lay between them I thought of how far we have come since then.  It has not been easy, plenty of times I’ve felt like it was too hard to keep going.  But, we have made it this far and I know we will continue on much the same – missing you and loving you, every single day, no matter how much time passes. In the early hours of April 22nd, 2009 – I had no idea how I would make it . . . I couldn’t imagine my life without you for the next 5 minutes – certainly not even this far ahead.  I sat awake on the couch the next 4hrs or so, waiting, and dreading the girls waking up and having to deliver the news that they would never see their Daddy alive again.  I couldn’t imagine their lives without you either – yet here we are, and with love from you and for you in our hearts, we keep going.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

February 18, 2011

Friendship, Loyalty & Love

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 12:54 am by letterstoelias

Timing can be a funny thing.

It’s been a little while now since I moved my wedding band to join Elias’ on my necklace.  Not yet ready to leave my ring finger bare, I moved my claddagh ring to its place and still wore my engagement ring where the claddagh ring had been.

Recently, I moved the engagement ring to the necklace as well.  In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been considering moving the claddagh ring back to my right hand and leaving my ‘ring finger’ bare once and for all.

I’ve slipped it off a couple of times at home to see how it feels.  I know I’m not ‘there’ just yet, but I suppose I’m gradually moving closer.  I became uncomfortably aware of its absence from my finger one day at home when my mom came by . . . I don’t believe she noticed and it wouldn’t have really mattered if she did, but I think my discomfort with it and my quick, inconspicuous switch back tells me I need a bit more time.

Tomorrow I have to ferry into town to get work done on my car, and providing there’s no snow, I’ll be without the girls.  The chance of running into someone I know is not too likely.  Without the girls I won’t worry as much about others perceptions/assumptions of my marital status.  So, I’ve been considering taking myself for a ‘test drive’, and taking the ring off for the few hours I’m away.

This morning I was putting a great deal of thought towards my claddagh ring.  I stare at it often.  I twirl it around on my finger as I did my wedding ring/engagement band.  While it’s not the ring that ‘should’ be there, there are many reasons it gives me comfort (even though at times I am still self-conscious about it).

Those who know the history of the claddagh may know why – in short it symbolizes Friendship, Loyalty and Love – though there are numerous, wonderful folklore tales attached to its origins as well.

And, I have my own story with mine.

Elias and I travelled to Ireland almost 8yrs ago.  It was a dream come true for me (I have some Irish heritage and had always been drawn to it).  We stayed with my Grandpa’s cousin – it was far too short as we had other stops in the UK to make, but it was a wonderful trip.  Before going I had wanted to get a claddagh ring, and how exciting to actually get one from Ireland!

But, we had spent a great deal of money just on the trip.  Once there, I didn’t feel there was enough left to spare on something like that, so instead I longingly window-shopped at rings, having decided against spending the money to get one.

For some reason the memory of the day I got mine came to me so, very clearly this morning.  Our last hour in Ireland, walking into the airport duty free shop about to board a plane to take us to our next destination, I spotted one that was cute and affordable, but I still didn’t want to spend the money.  It was not fancy or expensive – probably only around $25 (I actually still have the receipt somewhere in my office), but I didn’t see the point.  Regardless of how badly I wanted one, I wasn’t going to buy it.

Elias came up to me and insisted I buy it.  “You know you want one.  You’ve been looking at them the whole time we’ve been here!  Just buy it!”  I didn’t realize he knew how much I wanted one, but I still argued it wasn’t necessary.  He said he didn’t care and walked it up to the cash register (along with the silly little stuffed lamb that played Irish Eyes – though I don’t quite recall how that happened!*).

I remember feeling so, very happy about it.  Excited to finally have my ring.  And, it made him happy too.  I remember smiling and laughing giddily with him as I paid for it.  It was by no means an elaborate, grand gesture, but it meant the world to me.  And, I’ve worn it every day, since that day.

 

Today at the store as I was helping a customer, she commented on my ring.  She mentioned how she had wanted a claddagh ring, but so many she had seen looked cheap, and she thought mine was a nice one.

I felt my face go red hot at first – people don’t usually comment on it and for whatever reason I felt somewhat ‘exposed’ for a moment (I guess because it’s not my wedding ring??) . . . but then I just smiled, nodded my head and thanked her.

I know she didn’t get a great/close look at it and maybe if she had she wouldn’t have thought that way.  In terms of money – it is absolutely a cheap ring (the green stone that once adorned the heart in it fell out in a matter of weeks, but I continued to wear it as I feel it looks just fine without it).   There are plenty of gorgeous claddagh rings out there (some of which I would love to have!) that are ‘worth’ a great deal more.

But this ring, cheap as it was, is invaluable to me.  Absolutely invaluable.

* * * * *

Thank you Elias,

Thank you for ‘making’ me buy the ring.  You knew how much it would mean to me then – and now, almost 8yrs later, it means so much more.  I’m thankful that it is something I will always feel comfortable wearing, even on the right hand, and it will always remind me of you and our love for each other.

My Friendship.  My Loyalty.  My Love.

For you, always and forever.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

*I kept a journal of our trip (the only time I’ve ever done that . . . ) and after writing this post I was curious to see if there was anything about the ring there.  A quick glance through and I found mention of the day we bought it (and it explains the sheep!):

“ We made it to the airport in plenty of time, yet I was disappointed that I didn’t get a real souvenir or trinket.  The shop in the airport had just shut its doors, so we went to the little magazine shop.  I had desperately wanted a claddagh ring, but all that they had was a little stuffed sheep, ‘Musical Mollie’ who, when squeezed, plays ‘When Irish Eyes are Smiling’ which I bought, much to Elias’ dismay {that part made me laugh}. After we went through security, we entered the duty free store which, wouldn’t you know it, sold claddagh rings!  I bought one of those as well =)”

Now I remember that the other reason I didn’t want to spend the money on the ring was because I had already bought the silly sheep – which I only bought because I wanted to at least have ‘something’ from Ireland . . .

I also read through other bits and pieces of the journal, and had myself laughing and crying.  I’m so thankful I wrote so much of it down, and I’ll have to try and get through the rest of it sometime soon (maybe read it to the girls).

January 31, 2011

One Step Forward, One Giant Shove Back

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 12:55 am by letterstoelias

This widow life – it’s hard.  So very hard.  It sucks.  I hate it.  It’s lonely.  So very lonely.  Sad.  Confusing.  Dark.  Overwhelming.  Impossible to fully explain.

If you ask me, I won’t tell you.  I can’t.  No.  I use that dirty little 4-letter ‘f’ word . . . . Fine.  I’m ‘Fine’.   Or my other favorite, ‘OK’.

Its just faster and easier on everyone involved.

Yes, there are aspects of my life that I love and it’s not like this 24/7 – there are moments of ‘fine’.  Even ‘good’ now and then, but those are so often railroaded by grief and the next thing you know you’ve gone from spending a boring night at home watching tv, to having something on said tv trigger a wave of grief leaving you in a heap of tears.

And, there are even things – such as Love – that are clearer.  Brighter.  More breathtaking.  Because we know just how valuable it is, how fleeting it can be, and how to truly cherish it.

Though this is a wonderful gift, it does not make the journey any easier.

So, this is where we all come to try and let it out, and to lift each other up.  Hold each other’s hearts from across countries/provinces/states.  To listen.  Care.  Understand.

I feel like I’ve even been in ‘hiding’ from here lately too, however.  Keeping it in.  Not wanting to share just how hard it still is.  And, it seems, most of my widowed friends are feeling it too these days.

Is it the new year?  Is it the grey days of January?  The cold?  The wet?  The dark?  The post-holiday slump?  Who knows, but I see it all around the blogs right now.

I try not to put too much emphasis on the new year as any kind of ‘fresh start’, but Jan 1st was such a great day that I have to admit it gave me a spark of hope.  Mid January I finally decided to take down my 2009 calendar.  ‘Move forward’.  Then, BAM!  Stuck on the back of it was one of Elias’ brain MRI scans and the word ‘apoptosis’ (apoptosis is basically cell death – cells are supposed to die eventually, and ones that don’t become cancerous).  The scan was the ‘clearest’ one we could get our hands on (from Jan ‘08).  At one point we had these ALL over the house (and carried them with us) to use as positive visualization – law of attraction type thing – we wanted to try everything . . .

It was really hard for me to remove all of them after Elias died, but at the same time I hated them. I was shocked to see it stuck to the cover of a calendar that’s been up for almost 2yrs.  It was such a punch in the stomach.

One step forward, one giant shove back.  It seems any time I ‘try’ to do something like this, there is always a negative consequence of some sort.  It makes it so much harder to take those steps.

‘Fresh start’ or not, January was not a particularly good month for many reasons.  I’ve cried more than I care to admit (though not so much the ‘big sobs’ but rather frequent yet brief ‘bursts’ – even once in public the other day, which I haven’t done is quite some time).  I’ve wasted a fair amount of time staring blankly out the window.  Been less than motivated to get things done that need doing.  I’ve complained over and over in my head that it’s just too hard.  I’ve repeatedly forgotten E’s backpack for school.  Dance outfits.  You name it – but I’m still making it work, somehow.

A positive light out of the month was that our family grew once more . . . my brother-in-law and his wife had a baby a few days ago.  Another niece (number 6!).  I am beyond thrilled for them – they are already such wonderful parents to a beautiful little girl and I had tears of joy to hear Anthony tell me about her, to see the photos, videos, and for our brief ichat with them today – but over the past few days I’ve shed tears of sadness as well over the fact that Elias is not here to be a part of it.

Half of his nieces he will never meet, and they will never know him (though I have no doubt my sister and Elias’ brothers will do him justice as they tell their girls all about their Uncle Elias).  I don’t want to take something so wonderful and put sadness on it, but it’s impossible to ignore.

I’ve heard far too many stories from my widow friends that are on a similar timeline as me that ‘friends’ are telling them they should be ‘over it’ by now.  They should be ‘better’.  That they ‘can’t let everything in their lives’ be about their lost love.

I am fortunate that no one has said this to me directly about it, but it’s hard not to wonder if people feel the same.  There have been those that have all but vanished from my life.  And, of course it doesn’t matter what others think, but trying to not let things like this get to you is extremely difficult, especially when we are often already so hard on ourselves.  Then, to have friends disappear on you on top of it all . . . people just have no idea what it’s like to live with this.

Perhaps just another reason to say everything is ‘fine’.

* * * * *

Hello My Love,

Uncle Elias once more . . . I’m sure you’ve already kissed her tiny forehead in your own way and don’t need me to tell you, however.  She’s beautiful.

We visited the beach today.  I had my feet soaked by a rogue wave, and we all had quite a good laugh feeling as though ‘you’ got me once again.  Later, E was running back and forth to the water, and as the waves chased her back she giggled ‘No Daddy!’  Then she said to me, ‘Do you think Daddy is playing gorilla with me?’

She always says that is her favorite memory with you.  I know she’s seen the photos plenty of times, but I’m sure she remembers.  She misses you deeply.  She drew a picture of herself with tears the other day.  It was beside a picture of you, smiling, and the words “Daddy I miss you, 2011”, and she addressed it ‘To Mama’.  I’m so happy she can use art to express her feelings, and that she’s sharing them with me, but it’s tough.

In recent days C has started making up Daddy stories again . . . she went through a bit of a phase with this a while ago.  She misses you too – more than you ever imagined she would have.

As do I.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

November 28, 2010

And now I know . . .

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 6:54 pm by letterstoelias

I found something today.

Something I wasn’t ever supposed to find.  Something I never wanted to find.  I didn’t care to know.  It was his happy secret, and I was happy to keep it that way.  I hate that I now know.  And I hate that he’s not at least here to give me hell for finding out.

I was searching through the office – looking for something completely different – but my office is kind of a holding ground for, well, almost everything that isn’t actively in use.  I saw a box marked ‘Bedroom’, and though I knew what I was looking for was most likely not in that box, I wanted to be thorough.  I’m also easily distracted, especially when looking through ‘memorabilia’.

I knew the box had been mostly unpacked from two moves ago – from when we moved out of our condo almost eight years ago.  I started rifling through some of the items.  The first thing I saw was one of the only ‘stuffies’ he kept from his childhood (compared to my garbage bag full).  I knew this would probably be an emotional endeavour.  Maybe that should have been my signal to stop . . .

Then, there was a little stack.  Old birthday cards and ticket stubs.  On the top of the stack was a random folded piece of paper – I held my breath a little and my hands were nervous as I unfolded it, waiting to see what I may find – only to find an old pay stub.

I didn’t know if the pile was mine, his or ours.  I saw the dates on the ticket stubs.  Many from the year we started dating, some just months before.  I looked at the concerts – they had to have been his.  As I picked though, looking at all the events – stuck somewhere between Van Halen and a Canucks game, was a little yellow receipt.

If I had seen the vendor first I would have folded it right back up – but first I saw the amount, and now I know.  Lawlor Jewellery.  July 12th, 1999.  I could almost see the cheeky grin I imagine he would have had as he paid and took the ring into his hands, along with this receipt.  His plans for the future set in motion.

For a moment I smiled, but a split second later the realization hit – his secret was gone.

When we had it appraised, the jeweller commented that he had picked a good one – wife and ring – after I told him I didn’t want to know how much it was worth.  I didn’t care.  I was happy just to have it on my finger.  My plans for the future set in motion.

Through the building tears I also found, after a few more ticket stubs, the receipt for the box made of chocolate the ring was placed in the night he gave it to me, just over 11yrs ago.

Now, the ring is no longer where it should be.  Our plans for the future came to a crashing halt.  I still wear it, but it’s on the opposite hand, and I don’t know how much longer I will wear it as it is.  My thought was to blend it with our wedding bands (still worn on my necklace) and make a new ring for myself, and perhaps even one for each of my girls from the gold.

I’m trying to release my attachment to material things.  To realize that I don’t ‘need’ these items to prove how much I still love Elias.  But it’s hard.  And so is losing this secret.

*****

I’m sorry My Love – I wasn’t looking for it.  I never wanted to find it.  I’m sorry I spoiled your secret.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

September 29, 2010

Filling the void

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 2:39 am by letterstoelias

It’s late and I can’t seem to sleep.  I busied myself for a while on the computer, felt sleepy enough (I thought) and finally turned the lights out and closed my eyes, only to hear an unsettling, far distant, strange noise.  A bear rummaging through a garbage can?  No, garbage day is Thursday and most my neighbours are pretty conscientious about that.

Who knows.  At any rate, as I tried to listen – and waited to see if the dogs took issue – I really missed the ability to grab your arm and insist you get out of bed and investigate strange sounds in the middle of the night.

Another sound that grabbed me tonight was a simple, quiet, tick tick tick.  I put on a watch today for the first time in ages.  My mom has been bothering me to wear one for a while as I guess I ask her for the time now and then at the store . . . .   anyhow, as I was wasting time on-line, at one point I put my arm up to my head and I could hear my watch ticking.  Nothing unusual about that, right?  Only, as silly as it may seem, the last time I would have really heard a watch ticking,  it would have been yours.  I immediately was taken back to when I would be resting my head on your arm, or we would be snuggled up in some way, so that I could hear your watch.  A strange thing to remember perhaps, but I guess these are some of the things we hold on to.

The watch got me thinking more, however.  Back to our trip to europe when I knew something was really going on with you, but you wouldn’t tell me.  Whenever I would ask you the time, you would stare at your watch for an inordinate amount of time, only to get the time wrong.  You insisted that you were thrown off by the time change, but I knew better.  I would often ask you the time, just so I could see if it kept happening.  There were other things that bothered me too.  You hated that I didn’t trust you, I hated that you wouldn’t admit to anything.  Somehow you forgot just how well we knew each other.  ‘A wife knows’ I would tell you.

Just as the week earlier, right before we left, when we went to your oncology appointment.  You were asking questions that I knew were out of the ordinary.  You hardly ever asked questions at appointments – you always left it up to me.  And when I asked you about it, you insisted you were just curious.  Again, I knew better.  It was only the night before your seizure in Norway that you admitted to your brothers and I that you had been seeing ‘flashing lights’ now and then, and it had started just before the trip.  I was so hurt/angry/sad/frustrated that you kept this from me.  I know why and in a way understood, but was glad that you promised to never, ever, keep things from me again.

I almost feel the need to get up and find your watch right now as I’m not 100% sure where it is and I want to find it – but I’ll try to let that go.  It was hard, too, when you finally decided to stop wearing it.  It was getting increasingly difficult for you to put on yourself and you, admittedly, couldn’t read it any longer and decided there was no point.

I received some great feedback recently on my writing.  I’ll take much of it into consideration, but I still don’t know what to do some days.  I look into our closet.  My closet.  Your clothes are all still there.  The bathroom still holds all your toiletries.  Your socks and underwear in the drawers.  Everything in it’s place.

I stil often load the cutlery in the dishwasher the way you preferred.  I find numerous ways to ‘carry’ you with me all the time, and I don’t feel ready to let go of any of it yet.  Why do I carry your wallet??  I never was the one to carry it in the first place and you only had it for a very short period of time before you died.  But, I remember the night – just days before – when I got irritated with you for staying up so late so you could move everything from your old wallet to the new.  I kept calling you to bed as you would have such hard days when you didn’t sleep well, and sure enough the following day was rough.

The bed has become another story though.  For months after you died, I didn’t want anything else even touching your side of the bed.  I didn’t want the girls there, clothes, books, anything.  I almost beat the dog when I discovered she had jumped on the bed, messed up the covers, and ended up sleeping on half of your shirts I had piled neatly under the covers.

Now, your side of the bed has become somewhat of a dumping ground.  Still mostly at the foot, but I seem to have taken to piling any number of items there to fill up space.  Even the calendar is stuck on Dec 2009.    

I discovered the other day, however, that it holds a pretty great quote:

‎”The joy of Being, which is the only true happiness, cannot come to you through any form, possession, achievement, person, or event — through anything that happens. That joy cannot come to you — ever. It emanates from the formless dimension within you, from consciousness itself and thus is one with who you are.” – E. Tolle

I had never read it before (New Years Eve was a particularly tough night for me, and I was resisting entering a new year without you, and so it stayed).  Perhaps it’s something I can work on a little more, which may in turn help me to put away ‘some’ of these things that are waiting for you.  Though I’m sure most women would love more closet space, I haven’t felt ready yet to take over yours, nor am I ready to see the void.

Well, a benefit to being up in the middle of the night – at least I’m already awake when C stirs . . . but now that she is back to sleep, and I think even my night-owl widower friend Dan is likely asleep now too, I should try once again.  I know full well of the other reason sleep is escaping me.  But I can’t even get started on that right now.  I highly doubt this has been coherent. . . .

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

September 21, 2010

‘Mine Daddy and I . . . ‘

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 12:41 am by letterstoelias

C has so many stories to tell these days.  She has become almost as much of a chatterbox as her big sister (which is no small task).  Geez, I wonder where they get that from???

The interesting thing is, most of her stories involve you in some way.  The majority of the time it will start out with you throwing her in the air, and often from in the pool.  From there they can get rather ‘creative’.  I wish I could remember more to share, but at this time I’m drawing blanks.  It’s very cute.  But it’s hard to take as well, because they aren’t true.  And, she has no opportunity to create ‘real’ stories with you.

I’m glad that you are on her mind so often.  In bed tonight she was playing with her locket and told me that you are in her heart and that she is in yours.  The other morning at breakfast she said to E  that she wishes you could come back, but you can’t.  She is almost 3.  Another birthday approaching, without you here.

Her birthday was the worst ‘first’ for me last year to that date.  And, while I don’t have the same intense dread for it this year, it is not easier.  You are still not here.  I don’t have any plans as of yet, and I feel badly for it, but I’m sure it will be a small event once again.

I sit here tonight and think back three years ago to this very night, when I was two days overdue with C.  E was in our bed as she was sick, and I had just returned to bed after giving her some tylenol.  You had woken up, and as she and I lay back down to sleep, I thought I heard you say something, but wasn’t sure what.  Then, you suddenly sat up straight in bed.  Next thing I knew, you dropped to the foot of the bed and were having a seizure.  I didn’t know what to do, but I somehow managed to stay fairly calm, even though it was 2am and E was screaming (I think I tried to remain as calm as possible for her).  You had had seizures previously of course, but it was the first time for me to be present for one.  I really got scared when I saw blood in your mouth (finding out later it was from biting your tongue), and I dialled 911.

You came to as the ambulance attendants arrived, and it was almost equally as frightening to see what it had done to your short term memory as you asked the same questions over and over, often only seconds apart.  The ambulance attendants were extremely kind – rather worried about me as well, considering. I think we tried to make a few jokes about them sticking around for my labour to start.  I remember how hard it was for me to go back to sleep that night.  I don’t know if I did – I wanted to keep an eye on you.  I was so angry when you decided to try and go to work the next day.  And, you wanted to walk to work.  I always admired your work ethic, but seriously!  I was glad when they sent you home.

I hated you walking to work each morning after that.  I had terrible fears of you collapsing on the trail and not being found for hours, or you coming to and getting lost.  But of course, the main fear was the tumour.  By this point, we knew it was back and it would not be good.  Months earlier we were told that the ‘small something’ on a scan was most likely scar tissue from radiation.  We now knew that was not likely the case.  Almost as if this night, three years ago, was the beginning of the end.

Perhaps this was the cause for my dream the other night.  As usual, I don’t remember much of it.  You were in it and things seemed ok for the most part, but things started to change.  I remember a feeling of dread, and though I don’t recall why, I know it wasn’t initially about your death.  But, you had gone upstairs and I was trying to do something with a sense of urgency downstairs (I have no idea what house we were in . . .), when suddenly I could hear you upstairs, struggling for breath.  I ran up the stairs as fast as I could.  You were lying on the floor, dying.  I got to you just ‘in time’ to tell you how much I loved you, I was there for you, and that it was ok – just as I did the night you died (though in the dream it was much quicker).  I woke up, as usual, with my heart racing.  In the dream your body felt cold, and as I woke I could even feel that same, cold feeling.

In some ways I am happy(?) that I was able to reach you in time even in just a dream, but I think it was the first time that I actually dreamed of your death as such – and it was hard.  I didn’t want to go back to sleep.

It’s just yet another thing on the list that widows and widowers must endure I suppose.  Some form of post traumatic stress syndrome I’m sure.  One of those things that I write about here to get it off my chest, as it’s not exactly fun conversation on the playground. . . .

As for day to day life – E has her first cold of the season already and missed kindergarten and tap today, but at least it made the day a bit easier for me.  I was supposed to have my first dance class the other night – and though I managed to get there and start the class, through a series of events leading up to it, I wasn’t able to get the girls ‘set up’ as I had hoped and spent much of the class attending to them.  Half way through I gave up and left – apologizing to the teacher – and made it to the car just in time before the tears came.  I cried the whole way home and a good while afterwards.

I felt badly for the girls though.  While it was, in part, due to them – really it’s not their fault and I don’t want them to feel the weight of my emotions on their shoulders.  The whole thing just magnifies my ‘situation’ and the fact that I get so little time to myself.  I had SO been looking forward to this one hour of dance so that was disappointing, but then just everything hit me all over again.  I can’t even feel mad at you though.  I know that would be perfectly normal, and I know many widow/ers who at times feel angry at their spouse for deserting them – but that one hasn’t hit me (yet).

I read a great article on grief the other day that spoke of just how normal many reactions to grief are, that other people may find rather odd.  Including writing letters to the person who died.  I want to keep writing.  And, I want to keep writing letters.  But I’m feeling somewhat stuck.  I want to continue writing ‘to you’.  But as time passes (17 months now) you are feeling so very far away.  Does it make sense any more??  I don’t know what I really want to do here these days.  I know I need to ‘do what feels right’, but I don’t know what that is.  I’m torn.  I suppose it’s no different than the issue of rings, your clothes, dating.  I know you aren’t coming back, but yet here I am keeping you informed of our day to day life, and waiting.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

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