Strange Dichotomy

This is my first Easter without my husband.  My first Easter as a widow.

I have spent much of today crying, sad, lonely and missing him enormously.  I love him with all my heart and losing him has left a hole in my heart that I can’t imagine ever being healed.

I miss him.

I miss his light.

I miss his presence.

I miss his sense of humour.

I miss his strength of character.

Pictures 073


We talked, he and I, a long time ago before we ever thought something like this would happen.   We talked about after.  About what if.

Strange thing is, even with his health issues, even after his heart attacks, I thought I would be the one to go first.  I thought he would have to learn to live without me.

I never once thought I’d have to learn to live without him.

We talked about love after.  About what would happen.   I told him he needed to find love again.   He told me he never would.

He told me I needed to find love again.  I told him I was going lesbian.   I had the best – no other man could ever compare to him.

In the 9 1/2 months since he’s been gone, I had a 2 month tryst with a hot guy…”George” and I’ve gone on 7 or 8 first dates.

None of them were love relationships.   They were convenient, they were fun, but they were not a love relationship.

I  am in a relationship now… one where the feelings are remarkably similar to how I felt about Mark when we first got together.   There is a “love” overtone that flavours everything I do right now.  It’s a pleasant, warm feeling that is also confusing and scary when it comes to trying to deal with the grief.

My biggest fear is falling in love with someone who may be unable to handle the reality of grief.  Who may not get what it means to be in love with him… and still in love with Mark and missing Mark horribly as well.   Someone who doesn’t get that I can love more than one.

In the meantime… the relationship is in it’s early stages.  We’re still getting to know each other.  We’re still working out the kinks of who we are to each other.

And tonight… I miss Mark.

January 2010 036

Words of Grief

Death Leaves A heartache

People tell me I’m a good writer.

People tell me I’m a compelling writer.

People tell me that I write in such a way that my words affect them.

So why can’t I express fully, in a way that makes me feel that *I* understand, how much I hurt and how incredibly devastating it is to be a widow?

I look through thesaurus entries:

Devastated: anguised, cheerless, dejcected, depressed, despairing, distressed, down, heartbroken, heartsick, heavyhearted, hurting, inconsolable, melancholy, miserable, morose, overcome, troubled, unhappy, wobegone.

While some of these come close… none of them *quite* describe the ball of knotted emotions that has taken up residence in my belly, my chest, my heart, my throat.   None of them *quite* give life to the pain I experience, the sadness that overcomes me when I think about all that is lost.

I have a book to write – I need to write it. It needs to be told.  It needs to be expressed – the story of a love that sustained me through 159 days of illness, hospitals, ICU & ultimately his death and the time after.  I need to write that book – but there’s a part of me that’s looking for the happy ending.  The part of me that’s looking for the “this is what I’ve learned.  Look how far I’ve come.  Look at what amazing things happened anyhow”  type ending.   I’m looking for the ending that says “It wasn’t all in vain.  There was a reason” and I don’t fucking know the reason!

But the book is dying to come out.  I’ve been drawn to that journal lately.  I’ve been drawn to the writings I did while he was in the hospital – the details of what happened – but I haven’t gone there yet.

I don’t know if I can.  I don’t know if I can adequately express what I was going through in a way that would make it seem real to my readers.

Probably because it doesn’t seem real to me.

What’s in a Number?

I talked about 9 months yesterday…  and how it was going for me.  I talked about the black hole of grief that hit me when I saw one of my favourite shows and Ted’s few moments of how much he wanted those extra 45 days.

My oldest son has been using his Dad’s cell for the past 9 months or so.  He lived in Squamish, so the number was ok to use.  And then he moved to Kamloops, and requested a new number.  I said… not yet.  I’m not ready to give that up yet.

He’s moving to Edmonton next week.   I asked him if he wanted an Edmonton number.

He said yes, and today was fine to change it.

A 10 minute phone call later, and the number is gone.  Mark’s cell number is no longer.

I had a bit of a meltdown when I changed the name in my phone from Mark to Kyle.   Being able to go back and look at those old text messages where he was telling me how much he loves me… priceless (although they now say from Kyle Cavanagh but I know who they’re from)

The loss of the number though?  It’s hitting me in an entirely different way.  There’s the residual grief from last night.  There’s the sadness of the 9 months.  There’s the pain that seems to be hitting me harder today.

And now the numby, or a feeling or a reality of anything other than a number.   I can’t keep everything that was his, just because it was his.  The *stuff* isn’t going to bring him back.

What’s in a number?  Not much.  Just another memory…

I have 14 years of memories… the best ones coming from the video montage Michelle did for me.  You can see it here… 

I will be watching it again soon.  For some reason the boys have been extremely clingy lately.  It makes it hard to get time on my own…

I will miss that phone number – it was easy to remember…   I miss Mark more though.   The number isn’t important.

Mark in Fruitvale

Black Hole…

The black hole of grief has found me again tonight.

Aside from being 9 months, which I had managed VERY well with yoga this morning, keeping busy at work, healthy food, lots of water, awesome new recipe for dinner, clean kitchen and a walk with my boys to the park at night… coffee with a friend…. I didn’t have any triggers today.

But I did everything right.  I exercised.  I ate healthy. I surrounded myself with people.  I kept my mind occupied.

And then I watched Monday night’s episode of “How I Met Your Mother”

And Ted is talking to his future wife (the episode is Time Travellers) and he says to his future wife, “I want those 45 days.  I want every one of them.  I will love you until the end of my days”

And I started crying.

I want another 45 days.   I want more time.   More time to tell him I love him.  More time for him to watch his children grow up.

I want to be able to hold him again and hear his heart beat.   Gawd how I loved listening to his heart beat.  Especially after the heart attacks.

I will love him until the end of my days.   And tonight his absence hurts more than the day he died…. too many layers of numbness have been peeled away.

I’m going to hide in the black hole tonight… and hope that I wake up in the morning and be able to see the light again.

I Miss You Coloured Memorial Tattoo

Pregnant Pause

9 months. Why do people think pregnancies are 9 months long?  They’re 9 1/2 months if you’re going by a calendar, 10 months if you’re going lunar.   But it’s not *really* 9 months.   Maybe because 9 months is how long it is once you’ve missed that first period… then there’s 9 calendar months after that.

At 9 months pregnant, it’s a fully formed baby, capable of breathing on its own, functioning and surviving out of the womb.

At 9 months old, my youngest son was walking.

9 months ago, I was saying goodbye to my husband.

In the last 9 months, a new life has slowly emerged.  A life of widowhood.  A life of single parenthood.  A life of single womanhood.  A life I neither wanted, nor expected, but is, nonetheless, a life I am learning to embrace.

The pregnant pause of intense grief, intense sorrow, intense numbness… that has slowly melted away, and I emerge … stronger?  wiser? sadder? I emerge a new person, with a new life ahead of me.  The grief still hits me in waves, but the frequency of those waves is lessening, to a degree.  The ferocity with which they hit me seems to be somewhat less as well.

The next 9 months will take me to Christmas 2013.   It will have taken me past most of the firsts… some still waiting to happen… but I will be well into my second year as a widow, single parent and single woman.  It will be interesting to who I’ve become, and what my transformation looks like.

9 months today.

Mark's Urn

It’s Been a Week..

Kids came and went.  I spent time alone, spent time with others, but overall kept busy enough that I wasn’t broken and sad all the time.

Saturday night I had dinner with a friend and stayed at his place.  Sunday Katie came over and split a bottle of wine with me, and another friend came and stayed with me Monday – Thursday.  Wednesday was craft night.  Thursday night I had friends over for dinner and Friday night I got my kids back.

Saturday night I had friends over for a movie, and tonight is a friend’s birthday party.

My week alone was very much NOT alone.

There were a few moments of sadness.  There was a drive from work where I was bawling the whole way down, but that quickly cleared up when I got home to my craft night friends.

There was a conversation with the friend who was staying with me about how much I miss Mark.   About how broken I am without him.

There was an end of a book that made me bawl.

There has been many days of the grief soup where my chest is tight, my throat is closed, the tears are threatening… but it doesn’t spill over into actual tears…

So it’s been a week.   Two more days and it will have been 9 months.  I don’t remember feeling so AWARE of the date at the 7th 0r 8th month… somehow 9 months feels so much more lonely.

Its coming up on the end of the firsts.    I’ve already lost a lot of the lasts… the last time he was at home, the last time he was able to walk, the last time he was able to speak, the last time he held me in our kitchen, the last time he cooked for us….  but the end of the firsts is coming.

And then there will be the nevers… He’ll never see me play as a Siren.  He’ll never see the boys graduate.  He’ll never see our grandchildren.  He’ll never walk our daughter down the aisle.  He’ll never grow old with me.

Life is not fair… but I was blessed with 14 amazing years with him.  Some people never get the relationship I had with him… they never get to experience what we had.  I was blessed.  I am blessed with 4 amazing children who got to be raised by that man.


I’m Scared

I’m scared of what this week will bring.

I’m scared to go to bed alone, wake up alone, and have no one around to take care of but me.

I’m scared of the emotions that will come out because there is NO ONE to keep me in check.

I’m scared the grief will overwhelm me.

I’m scared that my kids won’t miss me while they’re gone.

Tomorrow they go to Clinton (tiny little town in the middle of the middle of nowhere) to spend a week with their cousins.   I’m excited for them. They’re freaking thrilled.  I’m pretty sure if I said they could, they’d stay the entire 2 weeks.

I’m not going home tomorrow night… I don’t think.   I’m staying in the city as far as I know – but as of yet, I have no plans for the evening.

I don’t know that I want to wake up on Sunday morning in my house without my kids or husband.

So tomorrow, I have plans with friends Saturday afternoon, and depending on how those plans go, I will have plans for the early evening and I’m going to bring a change of clothes in case I need to make plans for the later evening.

If necessary, I’m sure I can go crash on my cousin’s couch for the night.  I do know at least two friends who would love to see me, if not put me up for the night.   I’m ok for tomorrow night.

But Sunday night – that’s a different story.  That involves being home, no prep for the next morning and just responsible for myself.   I’m not sure what I”m going to do with myself.  Ok, I’m going to watch Walking Dead.   And I’m going to do yoga.  But I don’t know what I’m going to do without my kids to drive me crazy.

This will be good for them – the making of more happy memories (take some damn pictures Susan!!!)  And it will be good for me too, taking the time to be by myself.

But I’m still scared.