With a Smile

Like a freight train, time is bullying its way forward. Come February, which feels just around the corner, I will have been five years without Mike. I sit here in his chair on the lanai we shared in this house, looking down on the ocean view he loved so dearly, wondering how that is possible.

 

Because in this moment, and so many others, it feels like yesterday. The pain feels raw and real and the missing him hasn’t stopped. And yet I have been forced to continue to deal with life in this world all this time, without him.

 

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Ghost Dancing into Our Forever~

I will sing you to me.

As the days and moments and years pass by,

I will sing you to me.

As I gaze up at the mighty Universe each night,

From wherever my pink trailer happens to park,

I will sing you to me.

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Vows

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.

 

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Tattoos And Zippers

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. 

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Knowing Them Deeper after Death

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?

 

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Three Divorces and a Funeral

There’s a phase of grief that is seldom spoken of that I think all of us visit at one point in time or another: annoyance.
 
I hate comparisons. Don’t get me wrong. I understand people’s wont and need to empathize when they hear my story. I do. I know that most of them, for the most part, mean well.
 
I also understand people have experienced loss, and on whatever level, that brings them a bit closer to knowing how I feel. Even closer still, I understand that people have lost their spouses just as I have.
 
There’s a difference between empathizing, however, and comparing. What I won’t understand is people’s need to compare.
 
Someone’s pet dying was just as hard on them as me losing my wife. Someone losing their grandfather they hardly ever spoke to supposedly carrying the same weight as my wife who I sat and watched take her last breath. Someone losing their childhood friend, or a sibling, or...insert anything, the list is endless.
 
In my head, I make attempts to rationalize their meaning and why they’d feel it was on the same scale and sometimes I can get my head to wrap around it. 
 
The one comparison that irks me the most out of all of them, however, when being stacked up against the love of my life: divorce.
 
I had someone close to me, not but a few days following Linzi’s death, say to me, “I feel like my pain is so much worse because I have to live with this rejection and watch this person live on and be happy without me, whereas what you had was beautiful, ya know?”
 
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Decisions, Decisions

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.

 

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A Day Like Every Other. Except~

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.

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Damn the Torpedoes

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.

 

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I Shouldn't Have Come Alone

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.

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