Missing Him Lately

I spend a lot of time with ALC/LTC patients and residents lately.

Helping them with body care, helping them eat, helping them walk, helping their lives have meaning.

Some of them talk.

Some of them don’t.

The ones that don’t, I try to have “conversations” with them… but I’m not super good and it leaves me with time to think.

Would this have been my life if he’d lived? Or would he have recovered to be independent again? Or would it have been, no matter what, the beginning of the end?

The what if’s get me.

What if he’d lived? What if he’d pushed that one more time? What if?

And WHY THE FUCK DID HE HAVE TO DIE?

Why do I have to navigate this world without him who understood me so well? Why do I (as much as I do love him) have to navigate everything with my new husband who doesn’t *quite* get it? Who I have to work at having good communication with?

Why did other people get to survive what he went through and he didn’t?

Why did I have to be a widow?

Why the fuck?

I’ll never have the answers and this will never be a thing I’m *over* because how do you get over losing someone you love so deeply?

Lately it’s been super freaking hard managing the grief. It hits me out of no where and I always feel like crying.  7 years gone. That’s half the time I had with him. I want more.

Stages-of-GriefMark in Fruitvale

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7 years

We were married August 21, 1999 and he died June 26, 2012.

We had almost 13 years married.

We were together from Feb 1, 1998.

So.. 14 years.

I’ve reached the halfway point of the number of years without him vs the number of years I had him.

This year is supposed to be my 20th wedding anniversary.

Instead, I’m observing 7 years without him.

My life has changed… so very much.

I’ve changed homes. My home has almost nothing I used to own in it.

I’ve changed careers.

I’ve changed towns.

I’ve gotten remarried.

I have new friends.  Friends who’ve never met Mark. Friends who Mark never met.

Friends who would have fit so well with him and his life.

It’s been 7 years and I’ve completely changed my life.

There’s a myth that the body and it’s cells completely regenerate every 7 years.  It’s just a myth. But that’s where I am.

My life has completely regenerated.  Everything I am is different. Everything around me is different.

The only thing that remains the same is the deep, forever love I have for Mark and how much I miss him.

Forever loved.
Forever missed.
Forever remembered.
Family 6

Happy and Sad

My Facebook feed is full of two types of posts today:

I’M SO HAPPY AND IN LOVE AND I HAVE THE BEST SPOUSE EVER!

and

I’M SO SAD BECAUSE I MISS MY DEAD SPOUSE

interspersed with the occasional:

HAPPY SINGLES AWARENESS DAY!  and the memes that go along with that.

And on one hand… I am so very happy with my husband (who is currently making me breakfast as I type) and very much in love with him.

On the other…. I miss the guy who first told me 21 years ago that he loves me. 21 years. That’s how long we’d have been together. That’s how long I’ve loved that man.

6 years ago he woke from his coma, remembered it was our “in love” anniversary and told me.

Today… a completely different man loves me and tells me that every day.

So it is a happy/sad day. A good/bad day. A day of love and a day of grief.

But that’s the way it always is…

Happy 21st anniversary my Love.  I will love you for the rest of my life.

Life vs Death

Tonight at work a husband became a widower.  His wife took her last breaths.

A few hours later a child made his way into the world. He took his first breaths.

This is the nature of my job.

Neither of these two (three) people were my patients, nor was I directly involved in the death or the birth moments.

I can’t help but think about what children were born into the world while my husband was taking his last breaths. The children who are 6 1/2 years old now, in grade 1, their parents marveling at the fact that their children growing up so fast?

I think about the moments that have happened since that day… the things I’ve accomplished, the new members of our family, the changes to the people in my life.

I think about the moments that are going to happen in that husband’s life. The new things he’ll do without her, the new people he’ll meet who don’t know him as her husband, the new life he’ll live.

I think about the firsts that the new baby will bring to his parent’s lives.  The first smile, the first steps the first day at grade 1….

Mostly, I think about how life changes, how much life and death I am surrounded by.

I think about how life is not static, how it changes and how we are not ready for any of those changes no matter how much we prepare.

I’m sure I’ve written about this before – it’s a part of my job and it affects me.

But I’m still amazed at how fast life changes so dramatically. In the space of 3 hours, one life ended and another began.  And nothing will ever be the same for those people again.

Nothing is the same in my life. 7 years since he went into the hospital.  6 years since my life changed dramatically and keeps changing.

This year, the pain of losing him seems particularly hard. I don’t know why.  I’m in my 7th year since it all began and the memories and grief seem to be overwhelming me more than they have the past couple years.

There’s an old saying… time heals all wounds.  I suppose time does, but the wounds in my heart, much like a deep, surgical cut.. will leave a scar that is nothing like the surrounding skin. The scar will always pull and hurt when I move it the wrong way, unlike the skin around it.

I will forever hurt and for some reason, it hurts more right now. For some reason… I’m grieving harder.

I’d like to tell the new widower that it gets better – but it doesn’t. It gets different.

I’d like to tell the new mom that life has just gotten better – but it hasn’t. It’s gotten different.

Life doesn’t stay the same, it changes. And change can be painful.

And because my writing of this has been interrupted by my patient’s needs – it feels disjointed to me.

I miss Mark with all my heart and soul. So much so that the grief spills over into other parts of my life.

I grieve for the man who’s name I don’t know who lost his wife today. I cry happy tears for the new family.

And every day I get the honour of being a part of, no matter how peripheral, moments like those.

Merry Christmas 2018

Every year it becomes more and more apparent that you’re gone. Stupid eh?  I mean, I know you’ve been gone from the moment you took your last breath.

But pictures don’t lie.

I’m taking new pictures, creating new memories, and everything is changing.

But the pictures I have of you are all the same.  There’s no new ones. No Christmas 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2015, 2017 and now there won’t be a Christmas 2018.

Seven fucking Christmas’s without you. Without making memories with you. Without sharing the life we planned.

Seven.

It’s hard to believe it’s been seven Christmas’s without you.

But here we are again, my Love.  A Christmas without you, without the traditions we had, without you sharing in the joy of being a Daddy, and now a Grandpa.

Thank you for the dime I found today. Thank you for reminding me that you’re still here and still around.

I miss you.

Merry Christmas.

Nobody Knows

7 years ago everyone knew me as MarkandJane.

They knew that Mark and Jane were an entity.  They knew Mark’s love of fishing, flyfishing especially. They knew that he had disabilities (although he was careful not to show anyone else how bad it could get).  They knew he adored his kids, and they knew that he was the primary parent in our household.

They knew he was well read, articulate although they might not have known he wasn’t formally educated.

They knew he liked to play World of Warcraft.  I was the only one who knew that he waited until he was alone to do so. He’d tuck me into bed, snuggle for a bit, then get up and go do his thing while I slept.

They knew he was passionate about the environment.  He was angry beyond belief when the train derailed and sanitized the Cheakamus River. And he was heartbroken over it.

They knew he was the go-to guy for all things fishing.

They knew he was an amazing cook who made incredible Bailey’s latte’s.

They knew he and I had an incredible connection, an incredible Love that spans time, distance and death.

And now… I am married to Ryan.  And no one I know up here knows anything about Mark.

How could they? I moved up here a year after he died. I knew no one up here when I moved.

NO ONE KNOWS.

So how the FUCK, if they don’t know… am I supposed to explain to them why I’m crying randomly? Why a stupid song will reduce me to rubble? Why I start leaking for seemingly no reason?

How am I supposed to explain to anyone who sees me in the middle of a grief storm how much it still hurts every. single. day. that he’s gone.

Widows always feel the need to explain… “I DO love my living husband… but…”

It’s horrible. Unless you’ve lived it, how do you explain to someone how much you miss the dead husband even as you’re snuggled up to the live one?

I don’t go looking for grief triggers – but lately they’re finding me. And the leaking has started again.  Randomly, without warning or control.

And at 6 1/2 years out… I look like a mentally and emotionally unstable person instead of a grieving widow.

Which really sucks.

I miss this look:

IMAG0026134-SCAN0203

I miss the love that shone out of his eyes whenever he looked at me. I see it in all the pictures.  Times I didn’t realize he was looking at me like that.

And so I grieve in this new world of “Mark who?” and hope that the people who catch me at it understand that I’m not emotionally unstable – I’m just missing him.

Birth and Death

My newest grandchild was born two weeks ago at 10:17am.

She was a perfect 9lbs 2oz.

One minute, there was a pregnant daughter with one child… the next, there was a new little human being.

Ok, maybe longer than a minute.  But you know what I mean. It was a shift in our worlds.  She went from momma of 1 to momma of 2.

It seems somewhat surreal… just like when he died.  One minute I was a wife, the next?  A widow.

Life happens in moments.  The moment of birth. The moment of death. The moment of “I do.”

Life happens when you least expect it.  And it’s all intertwined. Changes happen and life continues and you miss someone so fiercely you can’t breathe and you love someone new so fiercely you can’t breathe and it’s ALL THERE AT ONCE.

I miss Mark with every fibre of my being.

I love my grandchildren to the moon and back.

I love Ryan with every fibre of my being.

None of these are in conflict with the other. None of these cancel out the other.

One moment I was a wife, the next a widow.

One moment I was a widow/girlfriend/fiance, the next I was a wife.

One moment my daughter was pregnant, the next I had a new baby granddaughter.

Birth and death and everything in between. Everything changes in a moment.

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