It’s Your Birthday.

I’m writing this a day early.

You see, tomorrow is your birthday.  But it’s also date night. And while it’s your birthday, you’re DEAD and I have date night with my LIVING fiance.

I had to think this morning. I had to count the number of years you’d been gone vs how old you were when you died in order to remember that this would have been your 54th birthday.

It’s not that I don’t miss you – I miss you with every fibre of my being. It makes me cry when I stop and think about it.  I keep myself so busy that I don’t have time to stop and think a lot of the time.  I don’t want to miss you that much when I’m snuggled up to him. I don’t want to be laying in bed with him and wishing it were you.

I don’t want to be sad about you and have him make jokes to cheer me up when I just want to miss you.

I need those things to be somewhat separate. I need to miss you when I miss you and love him when I love him. They do intersect – he’s freaking amazing when it comes to my grief over you.

But there’s a shame, a guilt about missing you when I’m so happy with him. I don’t want to make him feel bad for not being you – but I don’t want him to be you – I want him to be him.

But it’s YOUR birthday tomorrow.  My 5th without you. My 6th without you at home. Actually my 7th without you at home – you were with Wade on your 48th, remember? You spent that birthday with Wade, the next birthday in the hospital and then you were gone.

Happy Birthday my Forever 49 Love.  You are missed. You are loved. You are always remembered.

 

I Don’t Remember

I don’t remember the feel of his skin.

I don’t remember the way my arm rested across his chest.

I don’t remember the way he held me close.

I don’t remember the way he felt next to me.

I don’t remember the hardness of his penis.

I don’t remember how it felt to have him enter me.

I don’t remember.

The tactile memories are gone.

I don’t remember how it felt to hug him.

The only thing I remember is how it felt to kiss him and I don’t want to lose that as well.

I’m almost 5 years out.  It’s been 5 1/2 years since I last held him outside of the hospital.

And I don’t remember what it felt like.

January 2010 036

Anniversaries

4 days ago, it was the 19th anniversary of Mark telling me he loved me.

4 days ago, it was Valentines day.

I’m not big on the “hallmark” holiday that is Valentines Day.

He loves me… he tells me daily.  He shows me in the little things he does.  I don’t need a holiday to celebrate our love.

I have our anniversary.

I have the anniversary of the day he first told me he loves me.

I have those little days and moments and memories.

And now I don’t share them with him.  I remember them. I remember that on the anniversary of the day he told me he loved me, he told me “Happy Anniversary” 5 years ago.  Only 4 months before he died.

I remember the day he told me… how everything in my world tilted on it’s axis.

And I have my Sexxy Chef who works on Valentines…. so the day for us is fairly meaningless. We did have a dinner a couple nights before, he gave me the most beautiful purple rose, and he gave me some chocolates.  It was sweet, romantic and amazingly beautiful.

But Valentine’s Day? I spent a couple hours being sad. Remembering Mark and the love we shared.  Missing him.  Missing the connection we had.

I love him still. I always will.

February 14 is a day on the calendar. It’s also the day he first told me he loved me. But it means nothing in terms of the hallmark holiday that generates so much income for local businesses….

Long-Live-Love

Dreams

I dreamed about him the other night.

It was the first time in… I don’t know how long…

He was sick. I had already met my Sexxy Chef.  Fallen in love.  We knew he wasn’t going to survive. I don’t understand how in the dream I could have fallen in love with someone else… but there it was.

So I went to see him again as they were taking him off machines.

Then… weirdness… he woke up.

They disconnected the ventilator.  He started breathing on his own. He started talking to me.

And suddenly, I found myself stuck in the position of having to explain to my husband… that I was engaged to my Sexxy Chef.  Showed off the ring and everything.

In my dream I was crying because how? How am I supposed to love someone else when my husband is RIGHT THERE?

He spoke to me. He let me know that it was ok, that he loved me and that it was ok for me to be in love with someone else.

Which made waking up next to the Sexxy Chef even more … discombobulating?

How do I go from hugging and holding my dead husband to hugging and holding my live fiance?

The dream didn’t make me cry – but I did have difficulty processing that one.

I struggle with just being “happy” about my future.  I feel the need to modify statements like “I’ve never been so happy” with things like “… since Mark died”

Or if I’m blogging here about how very happy I am, there’s always got to be some “but that doesn’t take away from my life with Mark” type sentence or paragraph.

I loved Mark, with all my heart and soul. I will always love him.  He was the love of my life… then.

I love my Sexxy Chef… with all my heart and soul.  I will always love him.  He is the love of my life… now.

The two can co-exist.  And I think he came to me in that dream to let me know that I don’t have to modify my love for the Sexxy Chef with something about Mark because the one does not cancel out the other.

Long-Live-Love

Why is 5 So Hard?

In the various widowed communities I belong to, there seems to be a common thread of “year 5 is hard, why is year 5 so hard after everything has been going so well?”

I have a theory, as I enter into year 5 and things are starting to get hard.

You see, things are going incredibly well in my life.

I’ve met my Chapter 2 (the Sexxy Chef).

We’re engaged.

His family loves me and vice versa.

I’m in my last semester of the Practical Nursing program.

I’m buying a house.

I’ve got good friends.

And I’m sad.  I’m weepy.  I’m leaky.

So why is 5 so hard?

My theory is that because not only do we have the dates as triggers, we have the DAYS.

Mark got sick on Thursday, January 19, 2012.  This year, after 5 years, January 19 falls on a Thursday.

So everything that happened… every change in health, every decision, every thing that affected the outcome… will trigger on the same DAY.

So on Thursday, January 19, 2017, I will remember that at 9pm-ish 5 years ago… I woke up from a nap on the couch to find him in the bathroom vomiting.  That about 10pm we’ll have called and had the ambulance there.  That on Friday, January 20… 5 years ago, the diagnosis will be given.  That on Saturday, January 21 it will have been 5 years since he went into ICU. And 5 years ago, on a Sunday, January 22, I will be sitting with the charge nurse and the surgeon being told that my husband had only 5-7% chance of survival.

Not only are the dates the same, but the days are as well.

That’s my theory as to why year 5 is so hard.

It may be bullshit.  But it is what it is.  And this is year 5.

Grief Is Like the Ocean

Sucker For Punishment

I read the Facebook and blog posts of many of my fellow widda’s.

They all have something in common that I don’t share with them:  they avoid the triggers.

I don’t think they go out of their way to avoid them, more of a matter of if they know a movie will make them cry, they’ll choose a different movie or wait until they’re alone to watch it.

I’m different.  I deliberately, on occasion, put myself in situations where I know I’ll be triggered.

I think I do it for two reasons:

  1. I want to see how much that particular thing still affects me – am I still grieving as hard? Am I sensitized yet? Am I ready to let go of that sadness yet?
  2. I truly believe that if I allow myself to FEEL, then I won’t be caught unawares, and I wont’ be stuck in a situation where I’m bawling because I thought I was OK.

And it’s interesting how it’s evolved.

Take Twilight: Breaking Dawn Pt 2 for instance.  I blogged about this back in 2012, about 5 1/2 months after Mark died.

The theme song gets me. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. It was sent to me by a friend shortly after Mark died.  He said it reminded him of me and Mark.  So this song is played at the end of the movie.  It’s on my iPod. I listen to it a lot.  When I’m in my car, driving, unless it’s a trigger day or something that hits me… I can listen to the song and enjoy it for what it is.

If I watch Breaking Dawn Pt 2, the song makes me bawl. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

So today, I’m hanging out, and Twilight comes on.  I decide..what the hell. Haven’t seen it in a few months, lets try this again. Cue happy family, cue disgruntled vampire who goes to the mean vampires to make a complaint, cue epic fight between mean vampires and good vampires, cue happy ending.

Cue theme song… and I start bawling.

I could feel it building. I could feel it coming.

The question became… let it build, let it out and cry?  Or shut it down and change the channel.

Well.. I don’t know how bad it will be.  So lets go through the process.

And here I am.  Hiding in my bedroom while my youngest son watches my grandson while I cry and listen to that damn song again.

Clearly I am not ready to watch Twilight: Breaking Dawn pt 2 without tears.  Even after 4 1/2 years, I still break down and bawl. It is one of the things that will make me cry.

I still miss him.  So very much.  Despite how happy I am. Despite how excited I am for my future.  There are days when I just want to curl up on my bed… and submerge myself in the “fuck I miss him” feelings that overwhelm me. Because they’re always there.

I miss you Mark.

End of Another Year…

Here I am, 6 hours away from the calendar flip over from one year to the next.

I am alone, sorta.  Hanging with my youngest son and his friend.

My Sexxy Chef is working, my older son is with his girlfriend.

While my Sexxy Chef will be off work in about 3 hours, I’ve volunteered to DD to help raise funds for my roller derby team.  We’ll spend maybe half hour, an hour together on our first New Year’s Eve together.

I will spend the evening with my daughter.  My oldest is in another town, and I’ll send him a text around midnight.

This is not the New Year’s Eve I anticipated.

I accept… that the Sexxy Chef has to work. I accept it. I understand it. I understand that the nature of his job means that he can’t join me in volunteering because of tomorrow’s work schedule.

I accept that.

I don’t like it.

I have spent too many New Year’s Eve’s alone in the past 5 years.

Before Mark went into the hospital, New Years was puzzles. Drinks.  And after I met Kathy it was a party.

It was surrounded by people.

This alone thing… feels weird.

New Year’s 2012 – Party at the Dunlops’
New Year’s 2013 – New relationship, don’t really remember New Years – was in a relationship that ultimately failed and posted *nothing* about what was going on on Dec 31, 2013
New Year’s 2014 – single, quiet evening.
New Year’s 2015 – single, went to a party. Won (?) mother of the year award by dragging my kids to said party (it was kid friendly) and let them have a couple drinks.  Sent them home, stayed and tried to make myself feel better about my life by hooking up with a random.

This year, I’m in a fantastic relationship with a man I love.  I am looking forward to our life together.

I’ve cried less over Mark.

I’ve cried more intensely over Mark.

I’ve found someone who will hold me and keep me together while I fall apart over Mark.

Christmas came and went… no tears shed, although it felt like I was going to on several occasions.

So another year has gone by.  Every year marks one more that I’ve been without him. Every year is one closer to longer without him than I was with him.  That frightens me.

It’s been almost 5 years since he got sick.  4 1/2 since he died. And while my future looks fucking amazing… I miss the future that isn’t.

But it’s a happy New Year.  Despite being mostly alone, I’m surrounded by people who love me… I am blessed with many friends and a whole ‘nother family.

I hope your New Year shows promise of joy and laughter.  If you’re reading this, fresh out from the loss of someone you love, know that it doesn’t get better, but it gets different. The pain you feel now will become a part of you, and you will feel joy again. It’s not the same as before…there’s always a thread of sadness and missing your person that will run through everything, but it becomes a part of who you are and the laughter and joy will be genuine.

You’re not alone, no matter how alone you feel right now. There’s a whole community you can reach out to – starting with me.  And I can help you find someone closer if you’re looking for someone in your time zone.

Happy New Year to all my widda peeps and to all the friends and family who have been there for me the last 5 years.

happy-new-year-wishes