December 24, 2013
Our fifth without Elias.
I’ve had to count, and recount it over a few times to be sure, and then once again because it still doesn’t seem possible.
And, somehow, even though I’ve been through this four times already, five has been rough. Harder than number four in some ways. Perhaps because 5 just ‘feels’ like a more significant number…?
There are still tears. In the shower. After the girls are asleep. Looking at pictures. When a certain song or two comes on. And, though it’s by no means ‘all’ bad – we have had plenty of fun, happiness, and made some great new memories – the weight still presses a little harder on my heart.
There are still moments where doing anything seems to take a great deal of effort, doing little things overwhelm me greatly, and so many, many things get left undone. Time still gets lost in moments of staring silently at nothing.
It’s easy to say that I really thought I’d be ‘better’ at this by now (at least the handling of it, I mean), but I have travelled long enough on this road of grief to understand that it’s just not that cut and dry. (I also recognize that I ‘have’ come a long way in my ability to handle things over the years – and I did manage to keep my store afloat, get the kids to all their classes/concerts/etc/etc/etc)
Greif aside, I have no doubt Christmas would be much, much different with Elias’ influence (in person, of course – he still has a strong influence around here…). But, he was always much more ‘festive’ than I. Even though I run a retail store that needs this month to get me through the next, I personally tend to shy away from an overly commercial Christmas (perhaps especially in the last few years it’s been harder for me to focus on ‘stuff’). While we certainly recognize Santa, I’ve generally tried to ensure he wasn’t the main player in the season. That he didn’t get all the credit around here. And, sometimes I feel like a bit of a scrooge for it.
I appreciate the magic and wonder my girls have in Santa and don’t have any plans to ruin it, and sometimes feel perhaps I should just play into it more, though, they do seem to be more than happy with what happens around here, regardless.
I know a big part of why I don’t want them writing big ‘wish lists’ to Santa, is fear. I know that ‘my’ one and only wish can’t be fulfilled, and though I don’t think they would ask Santa for their Daddy back (I’m pretty sure they ‘get it’ when it comes to that…), I know it is on their hearts too. C has been talking about wanting him back constantly for a few weeks now – just two nights ago she told me she didn’t think she could go on without him any longer – and last night E asked me if I was sure that Voldemort didn’t kill Daddy…
While so many kids ask for toys, my kids already generally wish for that which I can’t give them, and I don’t want to let them down (I’m not even including having Daddy back here). I feel like they’ve already lost so much in this life, how can I explain that Santa can’t bring you an admittance letter to Hogwarts, or grant you the ability to do real magic? Or, a real live bunny or kitten? (ok, technically he ‘could’ do that one, but it’s just not happening at this point in our lives)
Tonight, now that my sweet girls have finally drifted off to sleep, dreaming of a fun morning, Santa’s smoothie will get drunk. His cookies will get eaten (along with 10 baby carrots for the reindeer), and he will fill two little stockings with plenty of fun (with a bit in Daddy’s stocking too).
I, will wrap presents. Wintersong will play in my head on repeat, and a few tears will likely fall, among thoughts of happy memories, and imagining what Elias would do/say if he was here (remarkably clearly at times).
Tomorrow, a candle will burn, and the girls will have a fun morning. And, though it’s not exactly as any of us wish it to be, I will try to take comfort in knowing that he’ll be smiling along with them…
Merry Christmas, my love…
P.S. I Love You
March 6, 2013
Grief can do such funny things to your brain.
In some ways, it feels like it’s changed the wiring around in there. Things you once wouldn’t imagine worrying about, wouldn’t even have thought about in the past, all of a sudden mean the world. Things that used to drive you crazy, you now miss and crave. And, some things that used to worry you, no longer do.
Of course, much of this is linked to the person you lost. Along with realizations of what is important in life.
Numbers, and in particular time, can take on a whole new meaning as well.
Tomorrow, my oldest ‘baby’ will be turning 8. She is a marvel to me. Wicked smart, precocious, would read ALL day if you let her. She loves to laugh, is caring, loving, compassionate, silly. She can be quite shy at times (though not when it comes to performing on stage!), too hard on herself at times, easily unnerved, but she is filled with more courage and strength than she knows. She has so many of the wonderful qualities and features her Daddy had, and she loves to try and smile like him. She’s graceful and kind. She’s been through so, very much in her short life. I could go on – even though there just aren’t enough words.
I feel SO lucky to be her Mama, and I try to tell her so every day. Along with how loved she is – by both her Mama AND her Daddy…
Eight is a big number – she wants to get her ears pierced! – and it also holds a great deal of meaning to me, and as I found out recently, to her as well.
‘Almost’ four years ago, I couldn’t imagine even getting to this point. In those early days of grief, my newly wired brain did a lot of computing. Numbers, dates, time. Along with tracking the days that had passed since Elias died, I thought about dates in the future that I couldn’t imagine even getting to, let alone surviving.
The date C lived longer without her Daddy than with him has long since passed. The date I’d lived in the house longer without Elias than with him now too, among many others. And, though I’ve survived more than I thought I ever would, though I stopped counting in days some time ago, and will even stretch to give it to you in months, there are still some dates and ‘milestones’ that take my breath away.
In those early days of grief, I remember thinking of the point where E would have lived longer without her Daddy than with him – and with it, the date I’d have parented longer alone than with him. It seemed impossibly far away. I seriously questioned whether I’d ever even make it that far. Though, as her eighth birthday approaches, so does that date. I guess the impossible, wasn’t.
Unfortunately, though I haven’t voiced out loud to her how tough this one is for me, it seems she’s taken note as well. As I mentioned before, the girls have been hit by their own grief more in the past couple of months, and one night recently, as E was in tears, she said to me, “I’m almost 8, and I was only 4 when Daddy died!” Not hard math, even for an 8yr old, but I guess I hadn’t realized she would look at it that way as well. She has spent half her life without her Daddy.
Of course, the actual date won’t be until just after the 4th ‘anniversary’ of his death in April, but the birthday still hits home (though, any birthday for either girl without their Daddy here still just doesn’t seem right . . . )
I don’t want to go too ‘over the top’ to compensate, but I think her ears will get pierced (and I just may get my nose pierced along with her!), and though I generally stay away from anything too ‘commercial’ for my girls, we will have a fun Harry Potter themed birthday party (her new favourite book series), complete with ButterBeer, wand making, and more (and, perhaps I ‘did’ go a little crazy on the invites, especially considering we only sent out 6!)
And, most of all, I will celebrate this amazing, beautiful little girl of mine (who is growing up so very fast).
Just the thought of how much I love her brings tears of joy to my eyes….
P.S. I Love You
October 24, 2012
Holy, it’s been a while . . .
Since school and dance has all started up again, the busyness continues. We also had a wonderful visit from Elias’ youngest brother and his family, along with my Mom taking the girls and I on a little trip to Disneyland!
I am just as far behind on reading blogs as I am on writing mine, but so it goes I suppose.
I am feeling some frustration at the moment, and guess I just waned to get it ‘out’ though.
One of the things I find so incredibly, horribly difficult about being an ‘only’ parent, is lack of support that you can only really get from a spouse when it comes to decision making, ESPECIALLY when it comes to the kids.
I know that sometimes coming to the same decision with another parent can be equally as frustrating (at least I think I vaguely remember this?) but Elias and I were so often on the same page with things in the few years we were able to ‘co-parent’, that it was always pretty easy. And, whatever decisions we made together, I had him to back me up on when talking about it with anyone else.
Home-births. Vaccinations. Vegetarianism. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Now that it’s all on my shoulders, it’s extremely difficult. I am IT. I know there are some benefits to this as well. I always get my way*! But, I liked having someone to bounce things off of. Someone who had as deep a stake in it as I did. Someone who it meant as much to.
Of course there are other people in my life now who love my girls incredibly. I know they mean a lot to other people. But, it’s still different, and the end decision is still solely mine. AND, when people disagree with me, I don’t have that person to back me up. I don’t even have that person to at least vent to when people disagree. I think I also spend more time second guessing myself and/or trying to justify myself because I’m alone in it (and a lot of what I go on is by how I ‘feel’ in my heart/gut which can also be more difficult to explain . . .)
I know all my decisions aren’t ‘popular’. I know I don’t always go with expectations of society (which I think is where much of the difficulty comes from). But I also think I know my kids and myself well enough to know what is best for us as a family. I like to think that somewhere, Elias is ok with the decisions I’ve made. That he is silently backing me up.
I just wish he could find a way to tell all of us that. It may not make others agree with me, but at least I’d know I’m not alone in it all. . . .
(as a note – this was written extremely quickly and without re-reading it to edit/proof/whatever or else I figured I’d never get it posted – so hopefully it makes sense and isn’t grammatically too terrible!)
(*and, all this said, I think it would be EXTREMELY difficult to ever then have to transition back to having to make decisions WITH someone again – though I gather for the first ‘ever’ when it relates to the kids, it will still be me . . .and, there would have to be someone for that to actually happen with . . . )
P.S. I Love you
January 10, 2012
(this was mostly written last night – but I fell asleep before posting it . . . there is one demonstration of growth, I suppose. Though I still struggle with sleep now and then, 2yrs ago I would have stayed up all night to finish it. I’m still not convinced I have finished it as I would like, but so it goes….)
Last spring, we learned that the year end performance for the dance studio the girls are with was to be based on the book, ‘The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe’. One book of seven that make up The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
I knew we had one book which held all seven around the house somewhere . . . it was Elias’. The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Myst, and Narnia – he was a fan of fantasy novels. I thought it would be nice to read the story before the dance show so the girls could understand it a little better, and I figured they would enjoy the story as well.
The book wasn’t on the bookshelf. I wasn’t sure where to find it. I was about to go to the library to take it out when, one day for some reason, I had gone to look in Elias’ nightstand. I don’t recall why – I wasn’t looking for the book, but there it was.
The girls both loved the story, and so much that, once done, we decided to go back to the beginning (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe is not the first of the 7 books) and read them all.
Over the months we read it – roughly a chapter a night. Sometimes more, sometimes taking a break from it for a bit when other books took up more interest. But recently we started the final book in the series of seven – The Last Battle.
It was exciting to know we were going to find out how it all ended. As one of the chapters was titled, the pace quickened and the last couple of nights I read a chapter or two at the dinner table as the girls ate as well (a nice change from me dozing off at the table waiting for C to finish eating…).
E has been fascinated by the book. She wrote a letter to Aslan once. Role plays the characters all the time. Talks of her wish to go to Narnia one day. This was a common recurrence. She was excited to finish the book so we could start it all over again.
As we got closer to the end I started to piece together some of what I thought the ending may be like. What Narnia and Aslan represented in some sense, though I still loved various twists and surprises and questions along the way. I don’t wish to spoil it for anyone who may want to read it (or see the movie as I believe there’s one coming out soon?) but it’s difficult to write without giving much away so please stop here if you don’t want to know any more …
Tonight we reached the final chapter. Farewell to Shadowlands. The final 8 pages of 767. As I reached the top of the final page, I could feel the tears coming. I continued to choke out the words as best as I could. It was, basically, as I had suspected, but it still got me.
I could see E trying to figure it out, and C in her compassion simply put her arm around me and leant in to give me a kiss as she always does when I cry. I paused to assure them that I was happy with the ending and that it was beautiful. It was sad too, but it was ok. A mix of happy and sad tears.
When I finally managed to finish, I spoke to the girls a bit about my thoughts on what it all meant, and how it could relate to our lives. Another opportunity to talk about soul, spirit. That our bodies do not make us who we are, only what’s inside us, and that never dies. How Daddy is all around us, that we’ll see him again one day. I could see E’s wheels turning. Trying to put her own (almost) 7yr old thoughts and emotions to it all.
She went to sleep thinking of the book, and of her Daddy. And I will do the same. So, terribly sad that his story here has ended, but every day I will continue doing what I can to at least keep it alive. Hopeful that the new story he’s started is – as in the book – too beautiful to write. That he’s happy watching us figure out the rest of ours here without him.
As it is in Narnia, so it is in life, or well, death “For us, it is the end of all the stories . . . For them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
P.S. I Love You
October 13, 2011
The other night as I was putting the girls to bed, after the lights were out and we were all laying quietly, I could hear E breathing in an odd manner – not bad, just playing around it seemed.
I looked over at her – it was dark but our twilight ladybug was shining the constellations on the walls, and it was just enough light to see her. She had a hand a few inches in front of her mouth and was breathing on it. I asked her why, and she said she wanted to feel how far her breath went. Of course I asked again why, and she said,
“Because that’s how far away Daddy is.”
After the happy shock wore off, I smiled and let the warmth, sincerity, and truth of her beautiful words sink in.
She said she remembered it from a song lyric I had played for her once. I told her I was so glad she understood it, and asked her what song it was. She couldn’t remember much other than “A breath away” maybe with “from you” or “from where you are”?
I spent about the next hour or so googling song lyrics with those words, and the closest I could find was the Josh Groban song, ‘To Where You Are’. I don’t doubt she’s heard it as her Nana is a big fan. I’ve been known to like a few of his songs and likely listened to this one before, but as the lyrics are quite a trigger for me I know I haven’t listened to it in ages. I played it for her, but she said that wasn’t it.
I can’t seem to find any others (though there is an Enya song with a lyric about being a ‘heartbeat away’ . . . I’ll have to play her that one and see)
She struggles with her loss, though she tries to hide it. It’s not constant, but it’s there. She has expressed interest in talking to someone about it, so plans are in place. Even though it will never be the same as having her Daddy here, I hope she believes her words as much as I do . . .
And, here is the Josh Groban song (ironically someone made a video to it with scenes from the movie P.S. I Love You)
P.S. I Love You
September 28, 2011
I’m feeling like an awful mother these days. Once again.
The last birthday (other than his own) that Elias was able to spend with us was E’s fourth.
E shares a birthday with my sister and she was visiting with her family. We were all at my parent’s house and Elias was making dinner. Not just any dinner, one of my favourites – caramelized onion, butternut squash and goat cheese ravioli with a red pepper coulis sauce. E happily worked along side him some of the time, making the pasta dough.
But, part way through he started to feel sick. Lightheaded. Dizzy. He couldn’t finish. He had to sit down.
The dinner was finished by others. And still tasted great. He felt awful that he couldn’t finish – sorry that someone else had to take over. Embarrassed that he couldn’t do it. It was hard for him. I was scared. I knew that if he stopped cooking, he had to be feeling pretty bad. It was not the way either of us wanted to feel on our daughter’s birthday. I’m certain it scared him too.
It was just over six weeks later that he died.
Friday will be C’s fourth birthday. Her third without her Daddy there (and the one she had with him was at a rough time too).
I am having a difficult time accepting the fact that she will be the same age E was when Elias died. She seems so, very young. I’ve been ridiculously busy lately, and trying to balance a way to celebrate the day, alongside the grief it brings is so hard. As such, I haven’t really made any plans for her birthday. And I feel awful about that.
I know she wants a ‘wedding cake’ for her birthday cake. I know we’ll do something, even if it is small. I know she’ll have a great time regardless. I know that I’ll be able to celebrate the absolutely amazing little girl she is. But, it still hurts.
I know there will always be grief for what everyone misses out on days like this. But I hope that, one day, these days that mean so much will hurt less. At least a little less.
* * * * *
Our baby is turning 4. I can only imagine how much fun you would have with her these days. Her incredibly goofy personality – SO much like yours. Her sense of humour. Her infectious laugh – which can also be SO much like yours. Her sweet, loving, compassionate nature. Overly dramatic tendencies. The tonnes of hugs and kisses she loves to give.
She is everything you would hope her to be and more.
I will celebrate her, as I do every day. I will remember the moment she was born just after 3am, in the comfort of our room, on our bed, and into your hands. The look on your face as you lifted her up. I will be forever grateful that your hands were the first to touch her.
I thank you for her. She is one of the best gifts you gave me. Your imprint on the girls will never go away. It’s on their hearts. In their blood.
I miss you more than I could ever say, and I wish you could be here (more than in spirit) to share this day with us. For all of us.
P.S. I Love You
June 19, 2011
I knew it was coming. I wanted both of us to have a little ‘preparation’ I suppose. I gave her options – she could make it for you, for her Papa, for me (since I’m kinda Mama & Daddy all at once), or she didn’t have to make one at all. She chose to make it for Papa. She is very excited about it. Very happy to give it to him. I am happy that she chose to give it to him (honestly, I’m not sure what you could do with a cat note-pad at this point . . . ).
But, it hasn’t been easy for her. In fact, of the three that you haven’t been here for, this one has hit her the hardest. It can’t feel great to be the only kid in class who doesn’t have a Dad to make the craft for. It ‘should be’ for you, because you ‘should’ still be here. She still goes through most of her day-to-day life glowing, happy, smiling, incessantly chatting about, well, anything. But missing you has been hurting her more than usual this week.
I’ve noticed it with C too. A few times in recent days she climbs on me, giving me big hugs as usual, but repeating ‘Daddy, Daddy, Daddy’ while doing so. Seemingly happily enough, but I could tell something was up. I asked her if she was calling me Daddy, of just saying it – she said she was just saying it, and that she missed you. The last day of preschool came last week – many parents were there for the beach day, and the teacher was instructing the kids to stay with their mommies and daddies. C shouted out ‘My Daddy died’. The teacher handled it gracefully, but I could hear a minor collective gasp. I think there may have even been a few parents who didn’t know still. Even after more than two years, moments like that hit hard.
Tomorrow, as we did the first Father’s Day without you, we will be heading into town with my parents to go and see my grandparents. Tonight the girls and I were counting how many Father’s Days each of my grandfathers have had. How many my Dad has had. You had four, and only one was with C. Next year, it will be as many here as away.
It’s a ridiculously huge gap in their lives (I hate to even use the word ‘gap’ as it sounds WAY too small). The girls have some wonderful men in their lives, but it’s. not. the. same.
For me, it’s hard to play both rolls (as my friend Deb wrote so accurately about) – it’s impossible, actually. I will always wish we had more of you. I don’t think I’ll ever get over feeling that both you and the girls were terribly cheated in all of this. It was not enough time. Just, not enough. But, I am thankful that the love you gave them in the short time you were a part of their lives, has lived on. And, I know it will continue to live in them for the rest of their lives.
Tomorrow, we will also take time to celebrate you as a Father. As Daddy. We will honour the love and care, smiles and spirit you gave to your girls. If the weather is right, we may launch another lantern for you.
Thank you. Thank you for making the most of the few years you had as a Father, and for being an amazing Daddy.
P.S. I Love You
March 18, 2011
I can’t believe how much time has passed since my last post – I feel bad for not up dating earlier, but the post will explain some of that. I will also say how much I appreciate the comments and caring for Cali that came from my last post . . . SO very much. Hopefully the speed in which I write this (there’s a wee bit of caffeine in me just now) will still allow for some coherence – but here we go!
After bringing Cali home that Friday, there were definitely a few moments where I was uncertain as to how she would fare over the weekend. She was drinking excessively, and once or twice that evening she went into the backyard and was going behind bushes and under trees, digging at the dirt as best as she could. Now, I should also mention that she has never been a ‘digger’. She does not bury things in the yard. The only time she has ever done any type of digging in the yard was if she was trying to cool down in the summer, or if she was having what we call a ‘spaz attack’, where she runs madly through the yard and excitedly digs for a second before tearing across to the other side of the yard and doing the same. This was much different, and my fear was that her instinct was telling her it was time to find her ‘final’ place.
She was by my side almost all day Saturday – thankfully I was able to have help at the store so I could stay with her. She stopped with the digging, and even started to show a bit of interest in her food, but she would often get ‘shivers’ for a while, which gave me concern that she was uncomfortable/in pain. I also thought she may have been cold so I cranked the heat in the house, to be on the safe side. But, as the day wore on I just ‘felt’ she was going to be ok. I kept giving her the vitamin supplements in her water and on her food too.
By Sunday, she started eating more and seemed to be getting stronger. I had a call from the emergency vet to see how she was doing. He was going by the reports of how she was at the clinic (he had not seen her before) and he was fairly fatalistic, even with the positive reports I was giving. He was also still ‘encouraging’ me to get the x-rays. At one point he asked how old the girls are, and when I told him he said something about how ‘they are too young to see a sick dog, they need to have good memories of a healthy dog’ to which I angrily sputtered something to the effect of ‘Yeah, and their father too’. Not many 6 and 3yr olds understand sickness and death the way mine do.
We were able to give her some time alone while we went to E’s birthday party on Sunday – which was great, and in large part wouldn’t have happened at all without the help of my amazing friend Zoe and the way my mom pulled out a fantastic cake, even though she didn’t feel well. I’ll hopefully get around to posting more about the party later – but she even greeted us at the door with a wag in her tail and a shoe in her mouth, as she usually would when we get home. She was still a stubborn mutt when it came to taking pills (I’ve been trying to decide who was more difficult to deal with administering meds to between Cali and Elias) so the illness didn’t affect that – no pill pockets or cheese can fool my dog!
When I took her back to the vet on Monday, they were amazed at how improved she was. They wanted to keep her that day for more iv fluids, but I didn’t want to lose the ground I had made with her at home and opted out of it. Same story on Tuesday when I took her back. I was getting a bit stronger at going with my gut (and my wallet). Not only that, but the Tuesday vet was the same who had called me on the weekend. I had already decided I wouldn’t like him, based on the comment he made, but he was actually great. Cali loved him and even kissed him on the nose, and as I tried to explain why I didn’t want to go for the extra steps he wanted to take, that I just wanted to keep going with the antibiotics that seemed to be working – he came back a few minutes later to tell me that he wouldn’t charge me for that visit, for the one injection he wanted to give her, and it would only be another $30 for the pills he wanted her to take. I certainly wasn’t trying to use the ‘widow card’ by any means, and I don’t know if that’s what came into play here inadvertently, but I was grateful (and then felt a ‘tad’ guilty . . . ).
As for now, short of still limping on her back leg, it seems that Cali has made an incredible recovery and she is back to her usual, slightly neurotic self. We still don’t know the cause of the infection that almost did her in – the vet would be happy to run more tests (for more $$ of course) to figure it out, but for now I’m just happy she survived, and it ‘looks like’ she’ll be with us for a while to come!
It was definitely a wake-up call, and of course if we don’t find out/fix what caused it there is a chance it could happen again and this time without good results – but should that be the case I would have at least been prepped a bit (I hope). For now I’m going to chalk it up to a mysterious infection that was (barely) caught in time and the antibiotics took care of.
I can’t even begin to explain how much stress that all caused me, and so of course when Thursday hit, my streak of bypassing all the illnesses floating around came to an end. An abrupt end, as I threw up at work.
When I initially felt the nausea earlier in the day, I thought it was because of something else. I’ve written in the past about how I’m considering reworking my rings to make a new one for myself and one for each of the girls. I finally worked up the courage to at least meet with a local jeweller to get a quote and talk about ideas. Little did I know, that to get an actual quote, I had to leave my rings behind. I managed to get through the whole meeting fairly well, but once I heard this news I started to falter. The jeweller was wonderful (has dealt with this before) and they offered to bring my rings back to me in a few hours at my work. I still tried to keep at least one of the three, but as that wouldn’t work, I agreed. It was as soon as I was out the door walking to the car that the nausea struck. I spent the next few hours thinking this was a sign that I was not ready to change my rings.
Well, the rings were returned not much later and I still threw up a number of times that night, followed by each of my girls 48hrs later (C first, then E 48hrs after her). So, this made the next few days rough to get through. Thankfully, again, I a few wonderful people step up to help with the store and with childcare on Friday when I was still feeling awful, and my parents helped out with looking after E so I wouldn’t have to drag her to the store with me when she was at her worst (for C it was Sunday, so we were able to stay home anyhow).
It was a difficult couple of weeks, and with such little time between this and when my dad had his health scare in December, I’d love a little peace for a while – but I know too well that this just doesn’t happen so easily. It also helped me realize how beneficial it would be to have at least one hired staff person to be able to call on in emergencies, and though things are quiet at the store right now, I’ve got someone lined up who I think will be a great fit.
* * * * *
In other news, I had been meaning on posting for a while about a great weekend the girls and I had, but so much time has passed now it seems a bit silly . . . in short, I had to take my car into town for work one Friday, and was able to go on my own. It gave me a couple of hours to meander around the nearby mall – unplugged. No email, internet, kids, work. No one to need me. No one to watch over. It was great. Of course they took a good hour less then expected and so when they called to say they were coming to pick me up I was a little disappointed. I didn’t get some of the things I hoped for – I am in desperate need of some new shoes (Elias would kill me if he knew I had started wearing a certain, terribly leaky pair again), but it was just nice to have that bit of time to myself.
The following Sunday was for the girls. I had plenty of things I ‘could have’ done around the house, but instead we had a day which included a bike ride to the park, playing at the park, exploring various ice formations, glitter tattoos, a dip in the hot tub & smoothies. I’m mindful that I need to do this type of thing more often. As a ‘lone’ or ‘only’ parent, it’s easy to get caught up in all the ‘stuff’ that needs to be done, and when my girls play well together and entertain themselves well, I can easily forget just how much they still need that time with me, and likewise how much I need that time FOR me. Slowly. S.L.O.W.L.Y., I am working on finding more balance. . . .
I know this has been a long, ramble (not unlike much of my other writings I suppose), but I just wanted to get it up asap as so many thoughtful caring people were asking about my lovely little Cali. Thank you!
* * * * *
Oh, My Love.
Yes, the recent weeks without you have been beyond rough. Yes, the weeks ahead are looking tough as well with your birthday next week and the 2nd yr mark fast approaching. And yes – somehow through it all, we just keep ticking. I credit you for much of this, but I like to think I have at least a ‘little’ to do with it, and I like to think that you’d be pretty damn proud.
P.S. I LOVE You
February 22, 2011
I had a bit of a ‘cheerier’ post running through my brain the past few days (that I will get to), but my hopes that I could skate by the 22nd of the month just never seem to pan out (though it did seem to sneak up a little faster than usual). There’s been a lot going on these days and it’s tough to avoid.
A friend’s mom was recently diagnosed with cancer. Interested in natural treatment options, I wanted to offer any information on what Elias and I found/tried and even some leftover supplements if necessary. I haven’t yet provided all of the info, as I know how overwhelming it is . . . at the same time I have these resources and information floating around – I’d like to try and make them of use and most of all, potentially help someone else. I wish I could help. I hate that they are going through it. I hate anyone going through it. I hate the damn, wicked disease (big surprise there I’m sure). In some ways it’s taken me back to some memories I’ve tucked far, far away. We shared a great deal of our experience, but we didn’t share it all – and there are some parts I will never share with anyone.
The other night, while leaving my dance class, C looked up at the night sky and said:“That star reminds me of Daddy.” Me: That’s nice my Love C (as I was buckling her in her seat): “And that star means I Love Daddy.” Me: That’s really beautiful C. C (as we were driving home): Do you think one day we could all fly up and catch the stars? Then we could die. (she said this sounding very happy/excited) Me: Well . . . (before I could finish) C: When will we die? Me: I don’t know, my Love. no one knows. C: But, when will we die? E: Not until we’re really old Me: Hopefully . . . (there were a few more ramblings between the three of us before they started singing to the music once again)
There was an accident recently, in our little community. A man was killed at work. Left behind, among many other friends and family, is his young wife and their four little ones. I don’t know them, but this too has touched my heart in so many ways. I recently wrote to a friend of hers to let them know that I am here incase she wants to email or meet, talk on the phone. I know how isolating it felt to have no one around me who understood what I was going through. Loving friends and family – absolutely. And they helped in ways I could never properly express my gratitude for, but being able to share with people who understand is invaluable as well. Again, I hope that a little of what I’ve been through may be at least a little help to someone else. And again, hinking of this woman and her girls has also brought me back to some of the early days after Elias died.
And today. Another ‘anniversary’. Now 22mos, and creeping up on the 2yr mark. A blink of an eye and an eternity all at once. I often relive moments of that day/night. It comes in bits and pieces, here and there. But it’s almost impossible not to on the anniversaries. It’s not that I want to (at least consciously, anyhow). It’s not that I try to. But, how exactly do you turn that off? As E went to bed tonight and said, “See you in the morning” it hurt, knowing that 22months ago, she went to bed having no idea that she would never see her Daddy again. How do you not look at the date, at the clock, and realize it was the last time you were able to look into your loved ones eyes, and to have them look back? Talk to them, and to hear their voice in return. Touch them, and have them touch you back. The last ‘I Love You’. The last breath.
* * * * *
And, with every breath I’ve taken since, I’ve missed you. With every breath until my last, I will continue to.
P.S. I Love You
December 30, 2010
We had this conversation a number of times in the weeks leading up to Elias’ death. I didn’t deny it would be hard, though would often try to point out that he didn’t exactly have it ‘easy’ – but he believed it to be true, and he hated it.
“Sure, it’s hard for me too, but there’s an end to it. Eventually it’s over for me. I die. You’re the one who has to live with it.”
It made him so, very upset. Yet another example of the incredibly compassionate man I was fortunate enough to share 13yrs of my life with.
These types of conversations were extremely difficult – but I am thankful for them. Part of me had my blinders on, convinced that we were going to find the ‘miracle cure’ and my focus was on keeping him alive, but I still knew how important they were. There was so much yet that we didn’t discuss . . . . but I gather that would almost always be the case. There’s never enough time.
And, it is so, very hard. In far too many ways to express, though I have tried on these pages many times. Many people will tell you that the first year is the hardest, though most widow/ers I know will state that year 2 can actually be harder in a number of ways. I can attest to that. The ‘first Christmas’ I felt intense sorrow and sadness and generally just wanted it all to go away – but I felt compelled on some level to try (at least in some areas).
This year I wanted even less to do with it. And, in many ways I feel like I let Elias (and the girls) down for not putting forth more effort. And though I was by no means glad for the main reason behind it (my dad had not been well), I was happy that we ended up skipping a traditional dinner. We ordered Chinese take-out. This is not to say that Christmas was ‘all bad’. The girls still seemed to enjoy it thoroughly even with my ‘grinchy’ moments, and I managed to find some moments of light here and there as well.
Now New Years approaches, marking the 15yr anniversary of the night we met. My 2nd without him since. New Years was one of the hardest days of the ‘first year’ for me, so I hope in this case the 2nd will be easier – and I will have some company as my best friend and her family will be visiting for a few days – but, among other things, I hated the thought of not being able to say ‘My husband died this year.’ And I still haven’t taken down my 2009 calendar.
Now, I hate the thought of not being able to say ‘My husband died last year.’ The passage of time continues to take him farther and farther away. It hits me hard when E will start speaking of a memory, ‘Remember last year when Daddy . . . . ‘ and already in some cases it was not only ‘last year’.
But, there’s still so much of this that I think would be easier to bear if it wasn’t for the girls. Don’t get me wrong – they are my life, my joy, my love, and I have no idea where I would be without them – but I have such a hard time accepting that they got ripped off in so many, many ways.
The girls and I had an incredibly enjoyable day today. It was peaceful, relaxing, we played games together, did puzzles, stories, baked soda bread, and I even managed to get a ‘bit’ of work done. Days like this feel so rare. Tonight at dinner we were playing a game. Picking random, fun questions out of a box and each giving our answer in turn. I was happy to pull the question, “Who do you consider to be a hero?” When I read it, E smiled too and, without hesitation, answered “Daddy”. C answered the same (though she often will). I agreed, and shared that I had two other heros in my life. As I was giving a wonderful list of reasons why, I saw E tear up and bury her face in her hands. It wasn’t long before the heartbreaking sobs and cries of missing her Daddy followed.
Yes, My Love, it is hard. Single parenting, supporting us alone, grieving, managing it all – but even all this would be so much easier to take if the girls didn’t have to suffer. I’m glad to know they miss you, but it hurts to know it too.
Thankfully though, alongside growing up without you, without a father, and a fraction of what their mother used to be in some ways (though possibly more in others?), they are happy. They are thriving. They are beautiful. And they love you. Their Hero.
P.S. I Love You