Did you ever feel so consumed by your own grief that you have forgotten that others grieve too? That they grieve not only for the loss of your spouse, who may have been a friend to them, but possibly they grieve also for other people that you may know absolutely nothing about? Do you find that during this time of all consuming grief, you have forgotten that other people have suffered loss too?
Recently that realization has hit me hard.
For the last 19 months I have been consumed by my own grief and I didn't have room to consider the possibility that anyone else in my life could be carrying around a similar, agonizing grief from their own past. That wasn't on my radar at all. Lately though ... lately my eyes have opened a bit to the world around me as I have slowly started to awaken from my drugged slumber (figuratively drugged, not literally), and I have been surprised to discover that others - not random strangers but actual people who are a part of my life - have suffered their own agonizing losses that I knew nothing about. How could I have not known??Read more
I was scrolling through my personal blog recently, because I like reading what I wrote while Ben was still alive. Re-reading my words allows me to remember certain days with clarity. For a moment I can close my eyes and feel myself back in my real life when Ben was alive. And even though those days were terrible for him (pain, chemo, radiation, more pain), the saddest day with Ben in my life was still better than any one day could ever be without him.
Towards the end of summer in 2015 I was getting desperate. I knew that it was only a matter of time before Ben died, but he made it clear that type of thinking / talking was off limits. That meant we didn't get to discuss anything about what life would look like without him. I didn't get to tell him that we would remember him, and honour him, and talk about him. I didn't get to tell him that he would always be my number 1, and that I would miss him every single second for the rest of my life. I didn't get to tell him that my heart would break and would never fully heal, that scars would remain that would remind me constantly of a life I would no longer have.
So I wrote him this love letter, in a way that we would normally banter back and forth. In a way I hoped wouldn't scare him. In a way I hoped would let him know the depth of my love and how deeply I would miss his presence when he was gone.Read more
Summer is winding down and I have no idea where the time went. And when I say I have no idea, I mean it both figuratively and literally. Figuratively, because the time has flown by as it always does, and literally because I cannot remember what I did for the last two months. Honestly. I feel like my brain doesn’t work anymore at all. Is this to be a life long by product of Ben’s death?
Ben’s gone forever. Did he have to take my brain with him?Read more
Last week I was anxious and annoyed (raging, actually) over the seemingly endless list of things I thought I could not do without Ben. At the time, the top of my list of stressors was the fact that I was headed off to Camp Widow where I would be attending a Saturday night Masquerade Ball, and I realized there was no one to zip up my dress. It sent me into a full blown panic.
Well, one week later and I’m here to tell you that I survived. Not only did I survive, but I thrived. Yes, I said it … I thrived. And I’ll let you in on a secret I have always known on some level but often refused to admit …
My Mother Was Right.Read more
I have recently discovered the latest in a list of annoyances caused by being a … (I still choke on the word “widow”) … alone.
As I write this post I am preparing to board a plane tomorrow for San Diego … Widows Camp. There. I said it. I don't fly back in until Sunday night so I have to write the post early.
I’m sure that many of you who read these blog posts are already aware that Widows Camp is this weekend (or, by the time you read this, has just finished). Many of you are probably attending (or attended) it yourselves and are / were even looking forward to it. As for me, well, I am forcing myself to go despite the almost unbearable amount of anxiety it is causing me. I know, I know … I am going to meet with people who may actually understand me and all the shit I’ve gone through, and I should not be anxious about it. But sometimes knowing how I should feel is just not the way I actually do feel, and this is one of those times.Read more
This week my daughter and I caught the ferry over to The Sunshine Coast in southern BC and toured Gibsons and Sechelt. Gibsons was home to the filming of the television show “The Beachcombers” from 1972 to 1990. It was also the first hometown to Wendy and Ben from 1993 to 1997. It’s where we lived when we got married, it’s where we built our first home, and it’s where we had our first baby.
Raegan and I played tourist and she humoured me while I drove around and told her a hundred stories that all started with “I remember one time, right in this very spot, Dad and I (insert memory here) …” She was a good sport. We ended up on the beach in Sechelt at the exact spot where Ben proposed to me.
I'm finding it a bit lonely, this whole “being alone” thing. Back in my real life I often craved alone time. Just one hour of peace and quiet was like winning the lottery, because the last time I had such a thing was somewhere around 1992.
The last couple of decades have been filled with career and intermingled with babies, followed by toddlers, followed by teens. Several of those teen years were particularly difficult, even before Ben got sick, so it has been a long, long time since I experienced peace and quiet.
Now it seems that all the hours are quiet. Not much peace, just endless quiet.Read more
I do not know how to be a Dad.
I believe that most who know me would refer to me as “capable.” Since Ben died, I think I have adequately learned how to manage things I have never before needed to know how to do. I have learned how to bank online, get my vehicle repaired, hang a picture using a level and hammer instead of the heel of my shoe, use a drill, update the computer and now, as of tonight, I know how to re-hook up the Apple TV.
I did not have to do any of those things in my real life because, after 25 years together, Ben and I had come up with a division of labour that worked for us. Bills, banking, electronics and cars were Ben’s job. Appointments, sports scheduling, registrations, keeping an eye on the kids' social media, yard work … those were my jobs. We were good at our jobs, and that division of labour made us both happy. (Plus, I never had to worry about paying the bills after I spent the money.)
Since Ben died, I feel as though I slid as seamlessly as could reasonably be expected into those foreign roles that I never wanted, and I think I have done a fairly decent job for the most part. I haven’t yet lost all our money, I’ve managed to pay the bills on time, and currently everything in the house is in decent working condition, including this computer. I think Ben would be proud of me.
But here’s the thing ….Read more
I have struggled with this question since the moment Ben received his diagnosis. Those are usually the first words out of someone’s mouth when they see me, and then a look immediately crosses their face and I suspect they are thinking one of two things:
“God. That was a stupid question to ask. Why did I ask her that? How the Hell do I expect her to be doing? Dumb, dumb, dumb. I’m so embarrassed.”
“Please don’t answer me honestly. I was just asking out of habit. Please, please, just say “ok” and keep going. Maybe if I keep walking away she won’t really answer. God, I don’t want to hear her answer … it ‘s probably sad.”Read more