I take thee, to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health, until death do us part.
If he only knew what those vows mean.
He does though. He always will.
As I sit here thinking about what I want to write, I am struck by the fact that I don’t really want to write about Ben specifically. That’s a first. I had a pretty good week overall, and despite going it alone I was still able to find some joy.
Last weekend was the start of several busy days in a row which left little time for grief to rear it’s ugly-yet-somewhat-comfortable head. My sister and niece came over from Vancouver Island and together with my mom, my eldest daughter and my other sister we all spent the day in a tattoo parlour. (It was my mom’s idea. She’s 73, by the way). By the time we left at the end of the day my mom was sporting her very first tattoo – a small tulip on her ankle. She’s been talking about it for years and now it’s done. Way to go Mom!
The rest of us also left sporting brand new tattoos of our favourite flowers. Jaime and I chose the daffodil which is the flower of March (Ben’s birth month) and of course it is the symbol of hope for finding a cure for cancer.Read more
Today is my Dad’s birthday. It’s hard to believe he died 8 years ago. That eight entire years have passed, and so much more living has happened for me, since he died. It’s hard to believe I’ve been without any parents now for eight years. But it’s amazing to see where things have gone in my life since his death. Not only the good, but also the challenges and hardships. Not only have those struggles taught me more about myself, they’ve taught me so much more about my dad. You see, he was also widowed. It was a journey I never expected to go on that horrible day when I got the phone call that my fiance was killed in the accident. A journey of walking in my father’s footsteps in so very many ways. Of being able to see with new eyes the depth of his love for me.
My dad struggled with depression and alcoholism for most of his life. I watched it periodically destroy him, and strain our relationship in such complex ways over the years. But for a time, when I was between the age of 9 and 17, he was sober. He went to AA meetings weekly. And though I wouldn’t quality our life as normal or healthy by any means, he did create some semblance of stability in my life at a time when his had fallen apart.
The catalyst of his sobriety? My mom’s death. I don’t quite know how it all went down… whether he had begun to stop before she died, or after, or what the main motivator was. I wish today I could ask him those questions. I wish I could know… how on earth did you stop drinking? How on earth, when the love of your life had been ripped from you, and you were certainly plagued with guilt for how your addictions created unhappiness in your marriage and family…. How?
Sometimes, you don’t make decisions. Sometimes, decisions are just made for you. Like that time my husband died. I definitely didn’t decide that. And as a result, a cascade of other decisions I didn’t make happened.
I just had no choice in the matter. All the things you do in life, day-to-day or long term, doing any of those things without the person you expected to be there is not a choice. And on top of that, I had to decide things I didn’t want to decide because he wasn’t here to shoulder the burden, chime in, or provide alternatives.
Today was an ordinary day like every other day has been since Chuck died.
Except that, today, I finally made a decision that I need to move my body. I need to get stronger. I need to move.
I’m 4.5 years since my world incinerated, and every so often I’ve made concentrated attempts at exercising. Honestly, I can always find excuses to not work out, in the best of times. When Chuck was alive, he and I exercise walked, no matter where we were.Read more
The excitement of new.
The knowing of strife.
The frustration of sickness.
The commitment for life.
The determination to protect.
The joy of more days.
The newness of health.
The fear it won’t stay.
The sliver of hope.
The knowledge of none.
The witnessing a demise.
The grief that begun.
As I write this I have just pulled into the parking lot at the office of my urologist, Dr A. I have parked in stall number 61 and I find myself frozen in the drivers seat of my car as unwanted memories come flooding back into my brain. I remember the day I pulled into this parking lot with Ben. I don’t recall what stall number we parked in that day, but I do recall repeating the number out loud and saying “that’s our good luck number today.”
On that particular day in April 2015, which was two and half years ago but feels, smells and tastes like yesterday, we thought we were coming to find out how Dr A was going to help save Ben. How he was going to operate on Ben’s kidney in conjunction with another (as yet unknown but definitely brilliant) surgeon who would simultaneously remove the tumour on Ben’s sacrum. ON, being the operative word.
Sadly, that’s not how that day turned out.Read more
As I sat down this morning to take stock of the week, and search the corners of my mind for what to write about, I realized something kind of surprising, and pretty huge...
I’m not tired.
Holy crap, what? I’m NOT tired? What’s happening here? I mean don’t get me wrong, I’m ready for a nap by 4pm most days, but I’m not talking about that kind of tired. I mean the kind of tired you guys all understand - the heavy-tired of grief. That dull, dragging, languid, energy-sucking kind of tired that I seem to have been carrying around with me ever since he died that summer in 2012. Today, right now, this past month, even in the busiest of times, I’m not feeling that particular tired.
I don’t know what has changed, but something very big has. I think a number of various things have really. Mike and I both started seeing counselors a month or so ago, and no doubt that extra support is helping us both. For me, having that space weekly to care for myself with my counselor has definitely taken a load off of my shoulders. A little daily yoga seems to be helping still too. But honestly, not much else has actually changed, except how I am seeing it all.Read more
This is a late entry. By design.
I wanted to soak in the entirety of this weekend.
For the first time since Linzi had passed…I’d met an entire group of people with whom I shared a very tragic truth: we had, all of us, lost our loves.
There I stood, talking grief, talking life. Not crying or feeling nostalgic. Not making attempts to console the awkwardness of those around me or having to assuage the numerous, automatic and uncertain responses of “I’m so sorry.”
It just felt…normal. And normal is such a weird word if you think about it. Some attribute it to meaning the average of whatever subject to which it refers, while others base it upon the opinion of the general population. I like to think that the idea of normal is very relative to our own perception of what we believe that word to mean.
To me. This was it.Read more