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
Our culture, I think, is filled with contradictions. In general and most certainly when it comes to grief. Here's a few I've encountered.
People love a good love story. The public especially seems to admire and go awww when a couple long married, die within hours of each other, unable, even unconsciously, to face life without one another.
When we're widowed, and speak of not wishing to go on without our loved one, there is an immediate rush of but you must he/she would want you to be happy, you have to live for both of you now you can't give up it isn't healthy to think that way!
I wonder if I'll ever wake up again. Wake up to the point where I feel anything besides numbness or pain or his absence.Read more
Maggie kept the beat in our relationship when it came to social engagements. She injected me into a lively social world that held me captive to weekends packed with activities, most of which were not optional. Now, without her overwhelming influence, I find myself woefully disengaged with what I think most people would consider normal life.
We had no children so I don’t benefit from the continued social pressure that comes with little ones. The lack of children also often filters me from events in which I’d otherwise be included. Well-meaning friends intentionally don’t invite me to birthday parties and other kid-thick events “to protect my sanity,” so they say.
Except for the brave and determined, friends who only knew Chris as half of Maggie and Chris have had difficultly making the transition. Most fell aside quickly after Maggie’s Angel Day. My guess is that they were battle-weary from the 850-day fight. However, for me that was just the climactic end of one major battle in the still on-going war.
So here I am with my solitary habits but now with fewer friends. Fewer friends mean fewer easy opportunities to be social. Gravity has temporarily dragged me into a lonely world.
The other day, a post-Maggie friend asked how I became so well adjusted, having put all the stuff that happened behind me. I was careful not to snort my drink through my nose upon hearing her well-intended question; such a reaction might have been confusing to her. When I asked what she meant, she described how she thought I had such a great perspective. Ah, perspective, my consolation prize.
It’s been more than five years now since the last day I kissed my lovely wife. She’s been physically absent from my life now more than half the total time we were together. That makes me sad. How can it be possible for my heart to hurt still so much? Of course (and thankfully), it hurts now less than it did. And it hurts indescribably way less than it did watching her slowly grow ill and eventually die. That’s perspective, too.
( I'm filling in for Amanda because the storms in Australia have knocked out Internet access. She'll be back again next week.)
I’ve got a battle-axe that I carry with me everywhere I go. I’ve had it since Jan 5, 2007 when it was given to me by a doctor who said the words “cancer” and “urgent.” Its blade is sharp and still bloody from previous use.
It's that time of year again. I've marched towards today for the past month and a half. Grumpy one day, fine the next - I think most of my family has felt the uncertainty of my moods but they have hung in there. This year was different for a couple of reasons - one, I forgot the day the march starts. Let me clarify that though, my conscious mind wasn't thinking about the day, but my subconscious was right on target. I was obviously in a sour-ish mood and I couldn't explain why. It was only a couple of days later that I realized the dates and figured it out. I think your entire body chemistry is changed by grief. My body grieves even when my mind isn't fully engaged - I have less energy, I'm more prone to getting sick. It's just weird.Read more
Maggie died in May 2009. I’ve been writing on Widow’s Voice since April 2011. I don’t write as often as the other bloggers because I guess I’m the quiet one. Yet I hope that my infrequency has been inversely reflected in the intensity of my posts; I’ve been open and honest and shared all that I’ve been working through. My path – the same path you are on – sadly leaves only one set of footprints in the sand. Yet, for some reason and maybe you feel the same, I’ve felt that my job is to keep drawing another set of footprints.Read more
New Year’s Eve is my #1 most difficult holiday. More than Christmas, more than Halloween and more than Maggie’s birthday weekend (2nd weekend in December.) Saturday will mark the third without a midnight Maggie-and-Chris lip lock. It’s difficult to imagine kissing someone else on that day and at that time since her lips are the only ones I’ve kissed at that special moment since 1999. Because of tradition and love and respect, it seems like that special moment is reserved, forever and ever, just for her. But this year I was going to try it and see how it went. I’m pretty sure my intended date had no idea the significance of the place she stood because she’d have no doubt bowed out for that reason alone. But it doesn’t matter; for unrelated reasons I’m going stag…. Again.Read more