Never before have I come to the end of a year and been happy to see it end so much as I have this one.
Tonight’s party represents the last memory my husband had before he got sick. He didn’t remember my birthday, which was only 2 weeks after the party. He remembered the New Year’s party we were at.
I didn’t get Christmas cards out – I didn’t get Christmas calendars out – I will do that at the beginning of January. But in edited form, this is the newsletter I’m sending out with all my Christmas cards:
Merry Christmas from the Squamish Smiths!!
As you all know – this year has not been a very happy one for us. For this newsletter, I’ve decided to focus on all the good stuff that happened – because a LOT of good has happened, and we are VERY blessed to have good people in our lives.
January of course was the month that Mark got sick – but we also celebrated my 38th birthday and Katie’s 21st birthday. Katie had moved in with us at the beginning of January and it was nice to have her back under our roof.
In May, we got a Science World family pass and got to see some really cool exhibits. We bought the pass specifically so the boys would be able to see both the dinosaur exhibit as well as the Lego exhibit. The people who created those exhibits are WAY more talented and creative than I am. However Luke was totally thrilled to see it. He has aspirations of being a mechanical engineer – he loves seeing things that can be built.
For the July long weekend, the boys and I headed over to Bowen Island and Victoria. We spent the weekend on Bowen with a co-worker whose husband was doing work over there and had a place to stay. It was amazingly gorgeous and wonderful. A perfect retreat for us. Victoria allowed us to visit a friend of mine and her family. We checked out the bug museum, and the naval museum at Esquimalt. We also got to meet my new cousins.
Kyle moved back in with us in July. We insulated and dry walled the garage so he’d have a space to sleep. It looks nice in there – when we get the space back it will be good storage.
August we said goodbye to Mark. It’s hard to believe he’s been gone for 6 months already.
September long weekend saw us camping with friend in Upper Squamish at the Pilchuk. It was an awesome weekend with kids building forts in the sand, a redneck hot tub and sand that was really just dust that got into anything.
The boys and I headed back over to Victoria in September. I was volunteering at a roller derby bout there and so we stayed with my friend again.
I am back in the fresh meat program with roller derby. Somehow in the past 2 years of playing, I managed to avoid the fresh meat program – but now I’m ready to skills test and play in bouts in the upcoming season.
Andrew is in Grade 7 – only 6 more months and he’s in high school!! Luke’s in Grade 6… next year they’ll be in different schools. Both are doing “ok” in school. I’ve had some conversations with their teachers about their school work and while they’re keeping up, they’re still adjusting to life without Dad.
Oh! Andrew passed the babysitting course!! He’s now a certified babysitter – and mostly responsible :p If video games aren’t involved, he’s pretty good at paying attention and making sure the kids do what they need to do. I’m also starting to teach him how to cook… that’s a scary thing for both of us since I have to relearn how myself.
October and November have been about routine – trying to get the boys into one and trying to find one that works for our family. I’ll be back at work in January, and the boys will need to have a large measure of independence. They got lots of practice while I was going back and forth to the city in the spring. I think we’re going to be ok in that regard. The boys and I have been taking mental health days together… each gets one a month to spend with me.
Katie & Adam moved out on their own again. They have a very cute apartment just down the road from us. Having extra space in the house and less bodies makes for a much more peaceful place to live. Kyle’s staying until spring, but he’s a good roommate.
I started dating casually. It’s been a very long year of loneliness and sadness, and having companionship and happy times is helping me heal. The man I’m dating is exactly what I need right now. He’s not looking for anything long term or permanent and neither am I. He’s my happy place and I’m learning how to smile again.
Christmas this year was relatively low key. I’ve found some Christmas spirit and the house looked lovely. Usually we spend part of Christmas with the Dunlops – but this year they are off to Abbotsford to see their cousins. It was just us Smiths & Grandma & Papa Bear for Christmas Eve and Day. Kyle brought his new girl down to stay with us and join us in Christmas & New Year’s celebrations.
A lot of good things happened this year. One very bad thing happened, but it brought together a lot of good things and showed me how blessed our family is.
I love you all. I hope your 2012 was full of love and laughter and blessings and that 2013 brings good things to you.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!
Kyle, Katie, Adam, Andrew, Luke & Jane
I took some time with the boys to sit and watch Mark’s memorial video again tonight. I wanted to get tears out of the way – this is an emotional night and my plan is to have a good time. The boys and I spent some time laughing over funny pictures, crying over things that made us sad, and snuggling on the couch.
Mark’s been gone for 6 months… but it’s coming up on a year since he’s been in my home. A year since I became a single parent. A year of loneliness. I miss him, just as much today, if not more. I was looking over some old texts… ones that I sent to my friend where I said “It’s not serious, he’ll be out of the hospital in a couple days” and.. “he’s doing ok, he should be home in a couple weeks” And the last time I saw him at home… we were sitting on the couch snuggling, watching Charmed.
My perspective on life has changed. Life is too short, too fleeting, to precious to waste.
The song that best describes me and my relationship to Mark is Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” He changed who I was… while he was with me, and after he died. Who I am is different now.
In just over 5 hours I’ll ring in 2o13. I’ll hug my friends and join them in a toast. I’ll say a quiet Happy New Year to Mark.
And I know that no matter what – I’m going to be ok. He’s still standing by me… and I was truly blessed because he loved me….