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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

HIS LIFE MATTERED.  MY LIFE WITH HIM MATTERED.  THE PAIN MATTERED.

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.

FML.

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.

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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.

HE LEFT ME.

HE DIED.

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…

DON’T THEY GET THAT I’M BARELY HANGING ON?  CAN’T THEY FUCKING SEE I’VE HIT THE EDGE AND THEY’VE JUST PUSHED ME ONE LAST FUCKING TIME???

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…

WTF ARE YOU DOING WHY WOULD YOU ASK ONE MORE FUCKING THING OF ME!!!

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

Memories tearing at me…

I have been working close to Squamish for the past 2 weeks. The place where we met.  The place we fell in love. The place we raised our kids. The place he died.

The place I left when I thought I’d found my 2nd chapter.

And while I’ve come back here before… it didn’t seem to affect me the way it had before.

Now. .. the memories are ripping and tearing at me.

*blink*

Where we got married.

*blink*

He’s fishing at the river.

*blink*

He’s walking with our dog.

*blink*

We’re going for a family bike ride.

*blink*

Celebrating a friend’s birthday.

*blink*

The way he looked at me.

*blink*

The morning he had his first heart attack.

*blink*

His brother visiting.

*blink*

Teaching our daughter how to tie flies.

*blink*

Our children’s Christmas concert.

*blink*

Our life.  Our future.

The memories hitting me hard and fast in disjointed sepia and black and white and grey but with the vivd red of his hair….

*blink*

I am here alone.  Without him.  Living a life I never wanted.

The tearing at my soul… all the memories I’d shoved down into the box… he reality of *BEING ALONE*

I am jealous of my repartnered/remarried wid friends.  I am pissed off because the man who waited for me for 23 years gave up on us so easily

I am hurting because at the end of the day. … I go to bed alone and I was supposed to have a forever love and both of the men who promised to love me forever…. both left.

One by death.  One by choice.

And I’m here… alone… missing my life.  Missing my past.  Missing the future promised to me.

And the memories continue to shred my soul.

Reason for Everthing

I’ve been in Squamish for the past 2 days.

Well, sorta. I’m an hour north of Squamish in the rain forest.   There’s a massive fire up here and I’m part of the team that is working to put it out.

I’m living in a camp. It’s nice. Camping, but food is supplied and cooked, there’s showers and bathrooms, and a place to hide out from the rain if it happens.

But I’m *this* close to Squamish.

I went for a walk this morning before work started – sat on the river and meditated.   Realized that this was one of the rivers Mark fished.

For the first time… there wasn’t an overwhelming sadness, a grief storm, there was only a tug of longing that made me wish I could be sitting there with him.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be camping right there? Quiet and peaceful and listening to the river?

I miss him. Every day. I don’t have a day that goes by that I don’t think of him or what our life could have been.

And I wish, every day, that I had gotten to share my life with him.

But I loved him to his last breath. And I know he’s still with me. I know he’s still around, checking up on me, loving me.

There was a post on Facebook by a widda sister who had someone tell her that “things happen for a reason” and a lot of the other widows agreed that that was one of the most insensitive, throat-punch deserving comments that could be made.

I believe that things DO happen for a reason.   I may not like the reason. I may not WANT the reason. I may not SEE the reason, but there’s always a reason.

If my husband hadn’t died, I wouldn’t have reconnected with Mike. If I hadn’t reconnected with Mike, I wouldn’t have loved him and his kids. If I hadn’t loved him and his kids, I wouldn’t have moved to Quesnel. If I hadn’t moved, I wouldn’t have found the job at BC Wildfire. If I hadn’t had the job with BC Wildfire, I wouldn’t be in school. If I wasn’t going to school, I wouldn’t be working towards nursing.

Everything happens for a reason in my life. I truly believe that. I met Robert and Patricia and Ellen and they inspired me to be better, be more, be who they were for me.   And because of where I am in my life and my job situation – I can be.

The relationship with Mike – I love him and I miss him. But there’s things *I* need to do, things I need that I don’t know if he can give me – at all, or just not now. There’s a reason we’re not together, I’m just not sure what the reason is. (yes we can go on all the reasons that things failed but they are not the *reason* why we’re not together. There’s another reason, a deeper reason why all the minor reasons caused the relationship to end) I want to get back together with him – but I think if that were to happen right now, we’d both end up miserable again. There’s some things we both need to do.   My TimeHop showed me a status that I made a year ago about how grateful I was that he had the faith and the conviction that we’d end up back together. That he’d held on to that belief for so long. I have a hard time believing that he held on to that belief only for us to not end up together.   There’s a reason for what’s going on right now.  I just don’t know what the reason is, yet.

The broken-ness is healing, I think. I’m at just over 3 years, and a lot of the broken parts of me feel whole… some of them for the first time ever.

I don’t know where my widowed journey will take me – if I will always identify as a widow. I’ve met a couple widows who don’t identify as widows any longer. They’ve remarried and they say they are a ‘former widow’ because of it. For me, that makes no sense.   But for them, it makes perfect sense.   And so, I don’t know.

But I do know that I get to find out.   There’s a reason for everything… I just have to be patient and wait to see what it is.20150727_071513[1]

The view as I sat contemplating my world, my widowhood, my life….