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….

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March 18, 2011

Update . . . finally

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * * * *

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

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

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

* * * * *

Oh, My Love.

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

~C~

P.S.  I LOVE You

September 16, 2010

Moments of Quiet

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

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

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

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

(this is one of a few similar shots)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

September 3, 2010

The new man in my life . . .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

July 22, 2010

Never to busy to forget . . .

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 11:39 pm by letterstoelias

15 months now have gone by.  It was another windy day today (at least in the morning) – I have come to love the wind on days like this.

I also had a split second sighting of a humming bird today.  That’s 5 times now where I’ve spotted one on a meaningful day.  Our anniversary, May 21st.  May 22nd.  June 21st and 22nd.  And now, July 22nd.  I know this is the time of year for them to be out and about – but, though I look for them constantly, I haven’t seen them at any time in between . . .

It has been incredibly busy this past week, as I have managed to get the store open.  It’s not all ‘done’, but it’s running.  It feels good.  I feel like you would be proud.

I opened very quietly on Thursday last week, but with no advertising and nothing aside from a sandwich board sign on the road.  In the morning, for some reason, I suddenly felt compelled to use your ‘Livestrong’ mug.  I’ve avoided that mug like the plague for the past 15 months.  It taunted me from the cupboard, and when someone else would come to the house and use it, it always bothered me no matter how much I tried to let it go.  I feel like it let me down.  Let you down.  Bloody Lance Armstrong (just kidding of course – the guy is amazing – it’s just why can he live through 20 kinds of cancer and most people can’t live through 1???)  But, you did ‘live strong’, and I know you want me to as well.  So, I used it.  And it felt good.

What I consider the ‘real’ opening of the store was Saturday, as – though there was still no advertising done – a neighboring store was having a big event, and helped promote my store as well, which made for a busy day.  Now that things are running I’ll have to get going with more advertising.

I wanted to thank you for my dream the other night.  It was so very ‘you’ that it’s hard to believe it was only a dream.  The part with you in it aside, it wasn’t entirely a good dream though.  I can’t recall all the details – it started out not too bad, but then things got scary.  Very scary.

I remember running down the main road our street is off of, and there were just ‘bad’ people everywhere.  People who wanted to cause harm.  Cause pain.  Again, nothing I can specifically recall – I can’t even remember if I saw these people or if it was just a feeling and I knew they were out there – but I was running like mad to get home and I was terrified.

I came into our house, and you were there, asleep on the couch.  I was crying and calling out for you.  Over and over again – begging you to wake up, screaming that I needed you.  I could almost feel my eyes trying to open during the dream so I could see if you were really there.  I was calling at you for what seemed like forever – but then, you woke up.  And, suddenly, everything was ok.

It had been so dark, but you woke up and it was like the lights came on.  I suddenly felt peace.  Calm.  Relief.  You smiled your big smile at me, and said (just as you would if you were here), “Oh.  Hey.”  Then you simply said, “I love you.”  I ran to you (now crying happy tears), hugged you, kissed you, and told you how very much I needed that.  Then . . . I woke up.  Damn.  My heart was racing.  This was the night before the ‘real’ store opening.

Though I was frustrated that it couldn’t have lasted longer and that I couldn’t remember much else (I think there may have been a ‘tiny’ bit more before I woke up…), it felt good going into the store that day with your words in my head.  Thank you, My Love.

As for the rest of things – there isn’t much outside of the store these days.  The girls are doing well, as always.  They miss you terribly.  The other day, Caia didn’t finish her lunch – she told me she wanted to ‘Save the rest for Daddy’.  I often am told to put a napkin on the table for you as well.  Oh, and the other day apparently you ate a grape she dropped on the ground by the swing-set.

They are quite the troopers, having to spend so much of their summer indoors at the store.  I tried to spend some time outside with them on Sunday – but of course the lawn needed mowing and other weeding/pruning needed to be done.  Eibhlin wants to tell/show me something every 30seconds and Caia just wants to be pushed on the swings and it’s frustrating.  She swings on her belly most of the time – luckily Eibhlin is kind enough to push her once in a while – but seeing this on Sunday just made me break down in tears half way through mowing the lawn (mowing the lawn has become my nemesis for many reasons . . . I’ll try to explain some other time).

I went inside to get some water and they both followed me in.  They sat on the floor with me and put their arms around me and gave me hugs and kisses.  Such incredibly sweet, compassionate, loving girls.  I know they won’t have a ‘normal’ childhood – but I do worry about exacerbating the problem by expecting a bit more help than most kids may have to give a parent.  I don’t want Eibhlin to have to be ‘assistant mommy’ by helping Caia with things, etc. I know she ‘loves’ being in charge right now, but she needs to be a kid.  She needs to play.  They both do.  I’m not saying some responsibility shouldn’t be expected – I think it’s important for any kid – I just don’t want to put too much on their plate because of being a single parent.  Argh.

Well, perhaps these are some things I can get some info on at Camp Widow . . . it’s coming up in just over 2 weeks now.  I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to think about it much – but I’m really looking forward to going.  It will be SO hard to leave the girls for that long (a whole 2 ½ days), but I’m sure we’ll all be better off for it in the end.  There are workshops on parenting through grief, the various stages of childhood grief, and many others, which will be great – but I know it will also just feel so good to meet some of the great people I’ve connected with on-line.  Jackie and Deb (who I already met in person back in February), and Dan, Sarah, Andrea, Supa – just to name a few – will be there too.  I still can’t believe I’m actually going.

Though the night before the store opened, I had suddenly felt the urge to put our rings back on my finger, I left them on my necklace with my claddagh ring still in their place.  I noticed that they smacked me in the mouth a couple of times while I was leaning over and moving about the store – and it made me smile.  I also love the symbolism of the claddagh, ‘Friendship, Loyalty, and Love’ so I am learning to be content with this arrangement for now.  I also have to laugh because – in this weather (it’s been hot off and on here lately) my wedding band used to always give me problems.  I figured the claddagh would be better as it more ‘airy’, but I still manage to have some of the same issues (though not as bad).  Somehow, it doesn’t bother me as much these days though.

Sea Cavalcade is this weekend and the girls are thrilled to be in the parade yet again with the dance studio.  Eibhlin is convinced she is going to wear her acro costume – which is a full body unitard – and it’s supposed to be fairly warm out, but I hope it will be ok.  They are going to ride their bikes this time, so it should be fun.  I only hope they have the pony rides as usual – Caia has been talking about it for months now.

Oh, and aside from almost losing an eye (thanks to Eibhlin ‘weed whacking’ with a stick in the backyard) and a mysterious scratch by her tail, Cali is doing ok too.  She’s getting up there – 10 yrs ago this summer that we brought her home.  She drives me crazy sometimes, but she’s still good company and, though she’s scared of her own farts (which really stink), she looks tough and gives me some sense of security.  I don’t think I ever noticed how many scary noises there can be at night before you died.

Well, I suppose I should try to call it a night.  Angela is helping out at the store tomorrow so I don’t have to be there all day, and I’m hoping to get some time to take the girls to the beach.  I know there are a 100 other things that could be done at house/store/yard – but I think we could all use at least a little time at the ocean.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

July 10, 2010

Raindrops on Roses and Whiskers on Kittens

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 10:31 pm by letterstoelias

I’ve loved this song from the first time I saw ‘The Sound of Music’ when I was a child.  When E was an infant and had long bouts without sleep, it was often one of my go-to songs to try and get her back to sleep, and I’ve used it in many other situations with the girls as well.

It’s a great concept – ‘I simply remember my favorite things, and the I don’t feel so bad’ – but what do you do when one of your favorite things, is also the thing that makes you feel sad, because of it’s absence?

C has reverted back to telling me ‘I really want my Daddy back’ quite often.  There is not much to say, aside from ‘I know’ or ‘It’s really hard to miss someone you love, isn’t it?’ and, though I try not to make it about me, the odd ‘Me too’ gets thrown in at times.

Fortunately (?) the sentiment lasts but a few moments, and then she is distracted by something else and moves on, until the next time, but I can see how much she means it.  The other day she told me that a fairy was going to swoosh in and bring you back. She was so excited about the idea – and I felt bad because it just made me cry.  She often ‘makes up’ memories of you, which is sweet and heartbreaking all at the same time – and there are the odd ones that could be true, but I’m not sure.  You are constantly on her mind these days.

And E – she seems a little less comfortable with telling people about the fact that you died now.  Initially, she would tell anyone in quite a matter-of-fact way.  Now, if someone asks where her Daddy is, I can see the emotion in her more and it seems harder for her now.  She fidgets and dances around while answering and I can see her face going red and eyes welling up.  She usually forces a smile as well.

The other night, though, they were playing in the yard as I was making dinner and I had just called them in to wash up.  She was climbing down from the trampoline, and though I couldn’t hear exactly what she was saying, I could hear her, in her ‘announcer’ voice, saying words such as ‘Daddy’, ‘died’, ‘brain tumour’ and something about ‘we are sad and we wish he could come back but he can’t, so that’s what it is’.  I tried to peek out the window and she spotted me, but then she turned to C and told her it was her turn – C spurted something out about you as well, then they came in.  I wasn’t sure if I should ask what it was about or not, but as she came to the table she told me that she was telling the ‘big kids’ in the other yard about you.  I asked if they had asked or were talking with her (obviously she can’t see them because of the trees and fence), but she said no – that she could hear them playing outside and she wanted to just say it loud so that they would know what happened to you.

With the weather we’ve been having these days, we can often hear dads out in the yards playing with their kids – it’s hard for me sometimes, so I don’t know if this had any affect on her, but I can imagine it may.  Tonight as we were snuggling into bed, she was holding onto our rings that are on my necklace (while C was holding my hair).  I was thinking about you, and how though I love how close the girls and I are, how much you and they are missing out on.  After a few quiet moments, she told me that she could hear you, and that you were talking to her through the ring – it went into her hand, up her arm and into her brain where she could hear you.  I asked her if she wanted to tell me what you said, and she said it was that you love us all, always.

I was talking on the phone with Jackie the other night – we were talking about ashes, and how she’s had some of the same feelings I had when I worried I sent your shoulders into the ocean.  She said she remembers every detail about Jeff’s earlobes, and I was sharing my love for your shoulders – and for a moment I felt almost as if I could see your face, smiling, in front of me.  Just for a split second, but I felt as if I could see ‘you’.  Not as a memory or conjured up in my mind intentionally.  Just, you.  I know I’m crazy busy and over tired a lot, but for that split second it felt like something real, and it felt good, so I’m going with it.

I teared up while while looking at the paper yesterday – a photo of the Ace-it culinary graduating class for this year.  All those students you should have been teaching.  A program that was basically brought in because of you.  Your other ‘baby’.  It meant so much to you, and I looked at the faces of these students that, though I’m sure they received great instruction, never got to benefit from your skills, passion, and love for cooking, and teaching it.  And, though I didn’t hear about it until it was in the paper, they did present the memorial bursary for a culinary student in your name again this year.  That warms my heart a great deal.

Sometimes I worry you are being forgotten.  I didn’t get many responses to my request for stories/memories of you around the anniversary of your death – and though I trust this isn’t a reflection of people forgetting you, it’s tough to not feel that way at times.  Logical or not.  Just like it often feels as though we are a burden to others, we are just too much, or the reality of our ‘situation’ scares people off, or people just figure that after this much time we must/should be ‘moving on’ and doing fine on our own.  But, rightfully so, as most people have no idea just how very hard this is.  In reality, I’m thankful for that.

This is one of the reasons I’m looking forward to going to Camp Widow.  It seems as though all has fallen into place for me to go, and all that’s left is to book the flights and register (hopefully by Monday).  I hate that so many other wonderful people know what it’s like to try and balance parenting, finances, housework and yardwork (both of these are falling apart at the seams right about now…), work-work, and, oh yeah – grief – alone, but I know it will help to be able to remove the filter for a couple of days and just ‘be’.  I still can’t believe I would be going away from the girls for that long, but they’re happy about it and E started making me paper flowers and cards to take with me before I even decided to go.  When I was still trying to sort out if I should/could go, Ryan’s wife Tasha asked me what you would say about going.  I laughed and knew right away that, hands down, you would want for me to go, and that helped make my decision.  I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of that before . . . .

Well, I’m hoping to open the store next week if all goes as planned.  No ‘grand’ opening just yet – I want to get everything running smoothly and will plan for the grand opening for after I get back from Camp Widow – but I have much to do in the next few days if I am going to get the store ready for the public.  It’s something new in my life, and I needed that.  Not to ‘move on’ from you by any means, but something that didn’t have painful memories attached and was a positive focus for me.  It will surely be another big change to my life, and the girls’.

I don’t have all the answers as to how it will work out just yet – but I feel like if I can survive losing you (as I have done at least so far) this, is no big deal.  It’s a long road ahead without you.  Like it or not, I’m on it.

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

July 2, 2010

There’s Only an ‘I’ in Team

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

January 17, 2010

No need for a plumber . . .

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 11:17 am by letterstoelias

Hello My Love,

It feels like forever since I’ve written, though it’s only been a week.  It’s been an exhausting week in many ways.  Perhaps that’s why it’s felt so long.

This was my last week of Aspire workshops, so now I have three weeks of working on my business plan from home before it’s due, then one more week to prepare to present it to the committee.  It will be nice to have the freedom to work at it from home and not be tied into going to Sechelt every day (the 23min commute each way is a killer =), but I’m worried it may be tough to find the time to focus on it with the girls running around.  Still, it will be good to have a little more time around them again for a bit.  The workshops were incredibly valuable though, and we had such a great group of participants.

C and I have been sick all week, as was my Mom, which made it much harder on her to babysit.  She trooped it out though (with a little help from Mary Poppins and the like).  We’re down to just a nasty cough left, but the other night I had such a major coughing fit so bad I thought I cracked a rib.  My abs have been sore for two days now, and I sure hope that, if nothing else, I get at least a little more definition in my stomach muscles out of this.  The cough is exhausting.   Thankfully E seems to have passed most of it by.

Missing you has been strong this week (as usual), but being exhausted and sick doesn’t help.  I get tired of being tired.  The pain of missing you is terribly wearing.  A few other things this week just magnified it too.  Ryan’s condition has recently worsened recently, and that hit home hard.  I feel so much for his family, knowing too well what going through all that is like.  He’s still keeping that amazing outlook though – just as you did.  He even went on the news to share his story and try to encourage people to enjoy their lives and be thankful for what they have.  Again, not unlike your mission.

I found out I can fix a toilet – and for only $0.66 to boot!  Ok, so it was an incredibly simple fix, and my Mom was at the ready to jump in with her assistance as she’s fixed the odd toilet in her days, but I was glad to look after it myself.  At the time it broke I was annoyed that it was just yet another thing to deal with, but in the end it is a bit of a sense of accomplishment.  And today, as it wasn’t raining, I ‘patched’ the holes in the fence that the neighbor’s little dog (and bunny) keeps getting through.  Cleaning up Cali’s poop is more than enough for me.  I don’t need extra.  There were a few holes at the bottom, so I just moved some big rocks and scrap wood in front of them, and for the smaller ones i just piled up a little extra dirt to cover them.  I know it’s not a permanent solution – the fence looks like it will likely need a lot more work one day, but hopefully it will be enough fro now.  C seems really bothered every time she sees that dog (she starts yelling ‘white ‘og away!’) so perhaps it will at least put her mind at ease.

I’m hoping with this free time I’ll be able to get the house back in some sense of order too.  It worries me trying to figure out how I’ll keep up when the store opens, but I’m planning on getting a small deep freeze so I can spend the next few months making lots of food to freeze for easy dinners, so at least that will be taken care of for a bit.

There are many other things I wanted to write about, and I wanted to put up photos from Christmas but I can’t seem to get it working just now, so I’ll have to save that for another time yet again.  For now, I suppose then, I will leave you with a song.  I remember dancing with you to this song in your parents family room, not long before you died.  I could never have known exactly what it was like for you in the last month of your life – struggling with declining senses and physical abilities, but I hoped you felt you weren’t lost with me by your side (I know the first few lyrics are more like a break up song, but that aside I felt the rest applied at the time).  I remember you telling me how you felt safe as long as I was near.

Now when I hear the song, I think of it in a different way.  All the lyrics seem to apply as if it could be your words to me – unfortunately, including the part where you wouldn’t recognize the girl I am today.  Though I don’t have you here with me physically and I don’t get to feel you and your love first hand, which hurts, I still feel your love with me, and know that I am not alone.  When I look hard enough, I can find you.  Thought it often feels that way, I am not lost.  (not completely anyway)

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

August 13, 2009

Certifiable

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , at 11:55 pm by letterstoelias

Hello My Love,

I started letters to you a couple of times this week, but have been so tired the past few days I seem to doze off before getting them done or just haven’t found the ability to write. I hate that. I love writing to you. It’s often what gets me by. I’m just so tired. I also believe that I’m crazy. Potentially certifiably crazy.

I tried to sit down today and map out my likely schedule for Sept – Nov, then from Dec – Feb if I get into the Aspire program. Not to mention how I will manage if I do actually open a store. I’m crazy. I don’t know how I can possibly make it all work. It seems like no matter how I look at it, it’s insane. The really crappy thing is, even if I didn’t do the Aspire program and open a store, I still don’t feel like I could make it all work.  But, I need an income.  Therefore, I have to work.  And, I want the girls to be able to continue in their classes.  I have no choice but to figure something out.  But I can’t.  At least not in a way that seems like it will fit everyone’s needs, let alone my own expectations of myself/hopes for myself and the girls. And the thought of letting you down kills me. I couldn’t help but start to cry as I lay in bed with the girls tonight, waiting for them to fall asleep. Luckily I kept it quiet enough that they didn’t catch on, but I so often feel like I’m letting them down too. They completely lost one parent, and they lost me is a sense as I’m not the way I used to be with them. It sucks. We had a decent morning, but I was just grumpy this afternoon. They were also in ‘fine form’, not helping matters. I didn’t yell or get angry – but I was short, boring, easily annoyed. Just grouchy. I wanted to have a conversation on the phone with my sister – in part to help ease/vent some of my frustrations about parenting and such – but of course I picked the wrong time (close to bedtime) and as the phone is such a drama magnet as is, my hopes for a nice chat were thwarted by C’s relentless screaming about pyjamas (this of course was just one of the many interruptions, but it was the final tipping point).  They are what gets me out of bed every day (and often many times at night), albeit with reluctance some mornings.  They are what keeps me going more than anything.  Everything I do is for them and because of them, but still, it’s exhausting.  I don’t want it to affect them, but it’s hard.  Parenting is no easy road as is, no matter how much we love our kids – but parenting alone, and under these circumstances is ridiculously tough.

I think some of the grouchyness started as I was staring at this crazy, colour coded calendar scheduling in work, aspire, pre-school, 3 dance classes/week, 2 music classes/week, as well as trying to keep it as easy for my mom as possible. Right now it’s at 12 hrs a week for her (4hrs/day 3 days/week). Fortunately, with E’s preschool, it works out that she will only have C for most of the time, but it still feels like it’s a lot. It’s only 4 extra hours then what we needed in the past when you were here, but maybe because it’s less spread out it feels like even more. It would likely stay at 12hrs if I get into the Aspire program, but who knows what it would be like should I open a store.

Anyhow, the crazy making only gets worse by the fact that the fridge has started ‘acting up’ even more than usual. It’s started making this incessant ‘clicking’ noise. Initially it would only happen about once a day, and last for a couple of minutes. One of the first times it came on was about 4am in a night where C had already been up every hour. Generally it’s not that loud, but the house was so quiet and I guess I was in light sleep as is it sure jumped me awake. It took me a few frightened minutes to figure out what the sound was (for a moment I thought one of the girls had made their way to the computer room and was hitting the space bar on the keyboard – either them or an intruder . . . . ), but relaxed when I realized it was just the fridge. I called an appliance repair shop and they suggested trying cleaning around the bottom and back of the fridge as much as possible in case there’s any dust clogging something up. So, the other day I pushed the fridge out, took the back off, vacuumed everywhere as instructed, moved the fridge all around to get as much cleaned underneath as possible. I also wiped the sides down for good measure. When I had it back in place I was surprised to see that the temperature display had come back on (I can’t even remember how long it’s been now since that stopped working . . .), though it only lasted for a few minutes and then the ticking started again. Now it seems to happen more often, not less. Probably at least 8 times a day. And sometimes for longer periods of time. The other day it went for over 15 minutes before I had to take the girls to dance class so I don’t know how long it ended up going for. I really hope it’s not expensive to fix.

I also had to laugh at myself the other day. There are a number of light bulbs now out in this house. At least 4 I believe. I can’t remember the last time I changed a light bulb. It’s not that I can’t. It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s just that it was always something you did. Not a big thing, but just another thing. I’m thankful that, after being out at the Aspire application workshop all day yesterday, I came home to a freshly mowed lawn – I’m not sure who did it, but perhaps it was Greg again? Anyhow, I have to thank the ‘lawn fairy’ I suppose, as I had been happy that we had a few days of rain and I didn’t need to worry about watering, but the lawn had finally started to grow again and I knew I’d need to get out there soon, so it was sure nice to come home to it done. The rain has been a dramatic change from the heat wave we had recently – I don’t mind it, though it can be tougher to entertain the girls. E was really enjoying riding her bike again recently (with much thanks to Rob for helping adjust the training wheels – you and your need to have screws so ridiculously tight). She had some moments of frustration and a couple of near falls where she almost decided to quit, but she pushed through and kept trying. She worked so hard at it. She was trying to ride up our driveway, and tried about 50 times until we had to go in so I could make diner. Of course, she wasn’t happy about going in, which started the floodgates, which turned into disappointment in herself for not making it all the way up and almost falling, and finally a decision to ‘never ride her bike again, ever’, or at least until she was older and bigger. I let her know that I was very proud of her, and that you were too, because even though it was hard, she kept trying and didn’t give up. She would have tried another 100 times if she didn’t need to come in while I made dinner. I also assured her that even older people need to learn how to ride a bike if they’ve never done it before. Shortly thereafter she asked me if she could try again tomorrow.

I also had E enrolled in acrobatics class this week for dance summer school. She was very excited because Dan, who played Captain Hook in the dance show, was going to be the teacher, and since the show she has often requested to learn to do flips like Dan. She talked about it with great anticipation and as we were getting ready to go she was dancing around exclaiming she was going to acro. She even wrote Dan a little letter that said, ‘Acro class, Dan, E’. Very cute. When we arrived, however, she was a little taken a back by the obvious excitement level by the rest of the class, that also included some girls a little older than she was. She was one of the smaller kids in the class and I think the crazy level threw her off a bit. She spent the first half of the class by the wall or sitting in the corner watching. Finally towards the end she warmed up a bit and joined the group. I plan to enrol her for the class in the fall, so hopefully it will go ok.

C is as crazy as ever. The biting has toned down a fair bit (fortunately for E), but she’s definitely expressing a desire for more independence in many ways, as well as her extreme frustration at lacking the capability to attain said independence. She likes to be heard, that’s for sure. She also loves to laugh, and spends a lot of time doing so. Sometimes seemingly for no reason at all, which is great. She still really has your laugh. I worry all the time about keeping her connection to you. I hate that Daddy isn’t in her regular vocabulary. She’s at a stage now where she really likes to ‘name’ everyone. And she will randomly repeat names. I’m happy that two of her favourite words are ‘Nana’ and ‘Papa’ – I think that’s great – but at the same time it makes me so sad that ‘Daddy’ isn’t included in that way. When I show her a photo of you, she often won’t have ‘Daddy’ as her first answer when I ask who it is, but I also know that she gets lots of people mixed up in photos still. As much as she loves her locket, her favourite response is becoming ‘Me!’ when I ask her who’s in it. It can take a bit of prompting for her to say who else is in it. I don’t want her to loose you. I don’t want her to forget her love for you. I just have to keep reminding myself that the connection to you will show in different ways, and is permanent, but it doesn’t change the hurt otherwise.

I love that E still refers to you when speaking of our family. And when she draws pictures and writes, you are always included. I forgot to mention, I also managed to take the girls to Melody’s birthday party on Monday (after spending 2 days trying to bring back my ‘crafty genes’ and make a birthday present). It was just a short, small party. It was still tough as on the way there E decided to start talking about your viewing and funeral. . . . nice timing for that conversation. It can also be tough to be in a room with women chatting about their families – their husbands – and wishing I could talk about you in the same way. I don’t want you to be ‘past tense’. I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. And I’m not bitter to those who have happy, complete families – it just hurts to miss out. It hurts so much. Talking pregnancy and babies, when I know now I won’t have another, as I had once hoped to. We had never really decided on having a third, but I know it was because deep down we knew what was coming. I believe if that wasn’t an issue, we would have had another. You always said you liked growing up in a family of three, and you wouldn’t mind giving a shot at having a boy.

It is said that I shouldn’t dwell on the future that will never come, but instead celebrate what we had . . . yeah. Sure. Let me get right on that. Rip away all our hopes, dreams, plans, goals. The love of my life, my soul mate, the father of my children, one of the few things in this world I was passionate about. Time to celebrate! I know, I know – I get what the point is and maybe even one day I’ll get to that point. But right now I can’t. And it’s not to say I don’t celebrate what we had, as I feel I do that every day in some way – but I can’t pretend that not only losing you, but what would have been our future hasn’t shredded me. That said, I don’t often think too far down the road as I’m too busy trying to get through the day. But, it’s been a common thread on the widow blogs I’ve been reading lately, wondering about how things would have panned out in the relationship. So many marriages fail. I know we would have made it to a ripe old age if given the chance. I don’t just like to think it – I believe it. We’d been through so much in the 13 yrs we were together. How could we not have survived the long haul? We weren’t perfect. We fought. We were both incessantly stubborn. I can’t sit here and proclaim we had the perfect marriage all the time – but we were pretty perfect for each other.

This is getting pretty long and it’s not even that late yet! I should go, but before I do, I’ve been thinking about this time last year a fair bit. We would have been in Venice right now. I think back to how much I pushed you to go on the trip – if it wasn’t for your parents chipping in to help pay for it, I don’t know if I would have convinced you – but I know none of us could be happier that we went. It was the trip of a lifetime. Still, it was right about this point that I started to really realize that things were not going well with your health. After a wonderful six months of no tumour growth, which included a 3 month break from chemo, we were knocked back by news in June of a ‘small’ amount of growth. But, it was back on chemo and an ‘all clear’ from the docs to go. What was the worst that could happen – a seizure. Besides, the chemo had worked before, surely it could work again. I know you hate it when I bring it up, but when we were in Venice I could see you had problems reading your watch, figuring certain things out – and there were other little things that a wife notices. Something just wasn’t right. About a week later I found out that you had kept from me that you had started seeing the light aura’s. The next night you had the seizure. The 4 month anniversary of your death falls on the anniversary of that night. The night we then really knew that things could not be good. Still, I NEVER would have guessed that 8 months later you would be gone. That I would be left here, alone.

After cleaning the fridge, I decided to start writing positive messages on the white board again (even though sometimes I hate the idea now). Right now it reads, ‘It’s a new Day, It’s a new Hour, It’s a new Moment’. I’m trying to remember that it’s never too late in the day to change your mood/attitude, as well as what was so important to both of us before you passed away about living in the moment. It’s so much harder now, but I have to keep trying. For you. For the girls. We have no way to know what lies ahead. All we have is THIS moment. And we have the power to choose how to spend it. I’m trying to spend it wisely. It may not always be happy, but hopefully wisely.

I’ll keep trying to make you proud.

~C~

P.S. I Love You

August 7, 2009

Uncle Elias

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

Hello My Love,

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

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

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

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

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

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

My ❤ is yours,

~C~

P.S.  I Love You

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