I don’t handle change very well.

I get cranky.

I get snappy.

I get grouchy.

And in the end, I realize there was change afoot and I level out.

4 years ago I had a life.  It was solid. My husband and I, raising our children, surrounded by friends and family, I had a good job, he was the primary parent, we had a plan for the future. (mostly involving a lot of fishing and camping and grandchildren)

Then… He got sick.  And was in the hospital.  And then he died.

Since his death… there has been a series of changes.

Dead husband.

Wife to widow.

Back to work.

New relationship.

Quit work

Moved to new town.

New job

Full time step-parent to boys who desperately needed structure and routine in their life.

Mental crash.

Lost my job.

Got new job.  (summer job)

Relationship ended.

Living on my own.

Back to school.

Back to summer job.

Amazing summer job.

Enter into a contract to buy a house.

Summer job ends.

And here I am.

My last 2 years in a nutshell.

Likely, I am not going back to the summer job.  The summer job rocks.  I am sad to leave the summer job.  It is hard.  I worked my ass off to gain the respect of the people I worked with and for.  And I did.  But I also worked my ass off to get to a point where I can go to school and become a nurse.

The change is killing me.  I like stability.  I love my job.  It’s not sustainable, but I love it. In 3 years?  I could just keep going with it.

But I can’t right now.

So I”m in the midst of some huge changes.  Changes that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for my husband’s death. Changes I wouldn’t have even IMAGINED if he were still here.

And I hate change.

But I love where my life is going.

Best advice given by one of my co-workers: “Time to grow up and get a real job”

There’s dreams I never knew I had that are coming true.  People I can’t imagine my life without.

And with every change that takes me further away from the dream I had with my husband… I get to grieve again.  I get to go through the days and days of crying and trying to adjust my brain to “things are different”

And I’m reminded over and over again…  life is never constant.  It always changes.  I’m rolling with it much better than I have in the past, but I’m rolling with it.

And I wouldn’t change things if I could…

Well.  Maybe I’d be skinnier.  But that’s in my control.   So meh.  It’s all good.

I miss him though.  These are celebrations I miss being able to have with him.  Celebrations of what’s new and exciting and I’m celebrating them on my own.

WIdowhood sucks.   But widows rock.

I WANT my LIFE back!!!

… oh wait.  No I don’t

I mean I do.  I want HIM back. I want to feel his ARMS around me.  I want to see his face when I kiss him into insensibility.  I want to hear his laugh.  I want to be bored to tears as he passionately talks about all things fish and rivers.  I want him to sit with me and help me study for an exam on a subject that bores him.

But… I want all that NOW.

But… I wouldn’t have my NOW if he were alive still.

I want my life back… but I don’t.

It doesn’t make sense.  I miss him. I hurt over him. I can have grief waves where his absence makes me wonder how I’ll survive another minute without him.

But I love the direction my life is going.

I love the options I have.

I love so much about my life NOW… and I wouldn’t have had it if he were here.

But I want my husband back.

But… I want to keep my life as it is…

It’s so conflicting… being on the verge of “LIFE IS AWESOME” while still being pulled by “BRING HIM BAAAACK!!!”

There’s so many weird thoughts… the missing him never stops.  The memories still tear.  The pain still haunts.

But the anticipation for the future beckons.  The excitement for what will be is overwhelming.  The world of “what will be” and all the possibilities…. I feel GOOD about what could be.

And I feel slightly guilty that I do.

I will always love and honour my Mark, my Love, my sexxy redhead.

I will always wish for a different outcome.

I will always grieve for the loss of what could have been.

I will always have trigger moments as things happen and life happens and he’s not here to share it with me.

But I will share them with my Chapter 2, whoever he will be.

I am excited about the possibilities of building a life with a new Love.

I am giggly with anticipation with the “what could be’s” with … someone… whoever that may be… who wants to share my life with me, and let me share their life with them.

I look forward to being someone’s last love, or someone being mine.

I’ve been someone’s last love.  I have loved until death parted us…and I will always love… and I will love again.

Learning to be alone?  Kinda sucks.  But it’s kinda exciting as well.

Loving and knowing that I’m loveable?

Beyond priceless.

I want my life back… but I want my life as it will be.


Not a Hummingbird but a Butterfly.

Happy Anniversary to my Love, my forever 49, my sexxy redhead.

I spent a couple hours today at a waterfall.  I have made it my mission to spread some of his ashes at places where he might have wanted to fish.  I want to leave a piece of him in all the spots he would have liked to spend time at.

I feel closer to him beside a river.  I feel his presence more than at any other time, when I’m by the water.


I stood on the shore of this creek, at the base of the waterfall, talking to him for about an hour.  Yelling at him.  Crying big heaving sobs that threatened to tear my soul out.

Asking, forever the question… WHY?  WHY did he have to die?  WHY did I have to do this on my own?

The only answer I can come up with is… so he didn’t have to suffer anymore.

He was in pain a lot of his last couple years.  Especially with the heart attacks, the ankylosing spondilytis, and then the last 6 months in the hospital due to pancreatitis.

He hurt.  All the time.  Every day.

And I get to be alone, so he doesn’t have to suffer anymore.

I always said I’d take the suffering, take the pain for him.   Well… I have.

I get to deal with, not the physical pain, but the emotional pain of not having him physically here.  And in trade, he’s pain free.  He’s not hurting anymore.

When I thought I was done crying, when I knew I was done yelling, I walked back towards my truck and sat beside the creek in the sun.


And of course started crying again.   And as I was crying… not a hummingbird, but a butterfly stopped and sat on my bag.  It moved too quickly and flitted off again before I could take a picture.

Usually he comes to me in a hummingbird; today he was a beautiful dark brown and orange butterfly.

I smiled… thanked him for showing me he was with me… and cried some more.

And the butterfly came back.  Flitted around my head.  Slowly enough that I could see the colours, feel his presence, wash over in the love.   And just know that he was there.

I have been asking him for several days now, to come visit me.  Show me that he’s there.  Show me that he’s around.  Begging him before I fall asleep to visit me in my dreams, wake me before he goes so I’ll remember him.  And each day I wake up from a dreamless sleep.

He’s listening though.  He just waited until I needed him the most.

Not a hummingbird, but a butterfly….

Happy Anniversary my Love.  Thank you for the visit, the cleansing tears, and the beautiful afternoon by a waterfall.


My Widow Card

Someone I admire, I look up to, I have on the *teeniest* of pedestals wrote a blog today that resonated with me.

Especially given that I thought I had a chapter 2.  That I thought I had a forever love again.  And especially given that that ended and here I am, once again, on the eve of my wedding anniversary, alone.

Tomorrow I will go to a waterfall near where I am working and spread some of my husband’s ashes into the river that leads to the water system my husband so dearly loved to fish.

I am deliberately taking two people with me whom I have very little knowledge of who make me laugh while I’m at fire camp.

I’m on purpose not doing this alone.

I may cry.   That’s ok.

But the blog that was written – it expresses how I feel.  I am a widow.  I would have been a wife to the man I love, had it not ended. I would have been both.

I can love the dead guy, at the same time as loving the live guy.

I will not give up my widow card.


Everything I went through with my husband, through his illnesses, 6 months in the hospital before he finally died with me at his side… IT MATTERED.  And I will not pretend that he is replaceable or that loving someone new means I am no longer in love with him, or that the life I shared with him, the love I shared is irrelevant because I love someone new.

I am a widow.

At some point in the future, I may be a wife again.  I will still be a widow.

None of those facts exclude the other.

Take a moment to read Michelle’s blog.  She’s an amazing woman who I was blessed to meet accidentally in San Diego at Camp Widow 2013, and whom I am sad I won’t get to see in Toronto at Camp Widow this year.

I am a widow.  And I am not revoking my widow card.   Because that part of me MATTERS.

Well Loved 2014

His Life Meant Something

Working in the field I do, I don’t work with the same people forever.

Being deployed means I’ll end up working with and meeting a plethora of people from different backgrounds and different lives.

And none of them know my story.

How do I express to people that I’m not an only parent by choice?  How do I tell people I just met… “Yep, I have 4 kids, a grandbaby and a half and a dead husband” without the expressions of sympathy?

Expressions of sympathy are the best way to get me crying.  But people like to do them – a lot. “You’re so strong for talking about it.”  “I’m so sorry” “You’re too young”

Yep. Yep. and Yep.

But his life had meaning.  He loved to fish the waters we’re working to protect here.  He loved this area.  He was an amazing dad who loved his boys and dammit they deserved to have more than 11 & 12 years with him!!

But I have conversations with people and over and over I get to say “My husband died 3 years ago”  “my children have no living father”

And if the conversations get deeper… then we get to bring up how my 4 children have 2 different fathers and… THEY’RE BOTH DEAD.


But his life had meaning.   And he was (and still is) important to us.   So I NEED to honour him.  I NEED to remember him.  I need to tell stories and bring up memories and share experiences because he fucking MATTERED.

I just wish it didn’t shatter me so much every time.


Widowed Twice

I can’t imagine.

I literally cannot imagine going through it again.

The shock.

The pain.

The numbness.

The numbness wearing off.

The pain.

OH my gawd the pain.

I can’t imagine being in a place where you’re happy, your heart is full, you’re moving forward…. and just like that…. the rug is yanked out from under you again.

I can’t imagine.

And yet… a member of the widowed community… has had that happen.

She found her chapter 2.

She was engaged.  Blending families.  Looking forward to a life of love after the loss she experienced prior.

And just like that, her fiancé died.

My heart goes out to her and her family.   I can’t imagine.  But I can offer her love and support.

It's Too Late

The Anger Surprises Me

After 3 years… the sudden onset (or maybe not so sudden, I just try to ignore it until it spills out) of rage.

The fury.



Exacerbated by the other changes in my life… my job ending, career change, the ex moving out, my daughter moving to Edmonton…

And then the anger hits because someone wants something from me…


Of course they can’t.  Why would they?  I’m good at seeming OK.   At times, I genuinely am ok.  Sad about the man moving to his own place.  Angry at him for not fighting for me.  Excited about the change in careers.  Looking forward to a new challenge…


Yeah.  Just like that… happy… relaxed… slightly on edge… and *BOOM* I’m a fucking lunatic.

Let’s add in just over a week until my wedding anniversary, my period is about to start, I’m exhausted, I’m processing new changes, I’ve got money stressors (it will all work out, it will all work out) and teenagers.

But the anger surprises me… because it’s not their fault.  The fault lies in the situation which I have no control over.

He died.

He left (after I left him – but dammit he wasn’t supposed to LET me).

She’s building a life for herself.

The boys are growing up.

Can things just STAY THE FUCKING SAME long enough for me to catch my breath? Please?  Just for a while?

tired of being a fighter