Breaking Through

I was handed an arrow.  An honest to gawd, wooden arrow with a metal tip and a notch in the end to connect it with the bow.

I was told to place the metal tip against the softest part of your throat, place the other end against the wall, and walk forward.

I did… and I took a step forward.

The arrow shattered.

If there’s nothing else I’ve taken from this weekend at Camp Widow West 2013 – it’s that moment after the arrow broke and I realized I could do anything.

We had spent time meditating, visualizing, and finally, we broke an arrow. Courage

Knowing that I can change anything… knowing that the pain will be temporary… making that shift from the pain to focussing on what I want… That was priceless.

And to think, I almost ditched that workshop in favour of the pool.

The workshop was so worth it.  I cried… in ways that were not so much debilitating grief, but more a release of the emotions and allowing the joy and the love to bubble up from the depths of where they were hiding.

In making that shift… I was able to see that there’s nothing I can’t do.

 

I’m Not Broken

I get it now.  I get why people keep telling me how strong I am.  I get why people have expressed admiration for my will to keep moving forward.

I get it.

I’m not broken.

Today is a beautiful day.

Today I honour a man who gave so much, who loved so deeply, and who is now at peace.

Today I honour a man who introduced me to more family, who gave me two amazing young men and who gave my older kids an incredible example of what a husband and father should be.

Today I honour a man who taught me to love unconditionally, who loved me unconditionally, who taught me I was worth loving.

Today I honour a man whom I was blessed to have known and loved for more than 14 years

I’m not broken.  I am blessed because he loved me.

“Because You Loved Me”

For all those times you stood by me
For all the truth that you made me see
For all the joy you brought to my life
For all the wrong that you made right
For every dream you made come true
For all the love I found in you
I’ll be forever thankful baby
You’re the one who held me up
Never let me fall
You’re the one who saw me through through it allYou were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ‘coz you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

You gave me wings and made me fly
You touched my hand I could touch the sky
I lost my faith, you gave it back to me
You said no star was out of reach
You stood by me and I stood tall
I had your love I had it all
I’m grateful for each day you gave me
Maybe I don’t know that much
But I know this much is true
I was blessed because I was loved by you

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ‘coz you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

You were always there for me
The tender wind that carried me
A light in the dark shining your love into my life
You’ve been my inspiration
Through the lies you were the truth
My world is a better place because of you

You were my strength when I was weak
You were my voice when I couldn’t speak
You were my eyes when I couldn’t see
You saw the best there was in me
Lifted me up when I couldn’t reach
You gave me faith ‘coz you believed
I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

I’m everything I am
Because you loved me

 Dont-cry-because-its-over-smile-because-it-happened

The Beginning of the End

One year ago today, at 10am, we were all gathered around, listening to the doctor tell us what could and couldn’t be done for Mark.

He wasn’t getting any nutrition.  Anything they were feeding him through his tubes was leaking out his drains.  Slowly he was starving to death.

There was an experimental TPN treatment out of the UK that could be tried but it would take a few days to get here and there was no guarantee that it would work.

If he had another dip, it would not be in his best interests to bring him back.  

And still, Mark said he wanted to fight.

We settled in for our usual routine of visiting, chatting and care.

Around 1pm… Mark looked at me and said, “Take me home”

I told him that if I took him home, he would die.   Yep, I used those words.  He. Would. Die. 

He looked at me again, and with more determination and force… he again said “Take me home”

I held his hand and said to him… “Do you understand?  You won’t survive.  You’ll die.  There’s no getting better if we go home”

He nodded and said “Take. Me. Home.”

I said… “ok, I’ll go talk to the doctors.”

And that… was the beginning of the end.

It was always his choice.  He put me in charge of his care, I was the one making the medical decisions, but it was because he trusted me to make the choices based on what was best for him.   I always knew what the best decision was because I knew what HE wanted.

And he was done.   He wanted to go home. 

One thing that needs to be known… he would have moved MOUNTAINS for me if it was possible and would make me happy.  He would have pushed himself as far as he could… just to make me happy. 

In our wedding video, and in the memorial video, he said to the camera “You make me happy.  I want to make you happy.”

At the end… he had no more to give.  

So when he said he was done, when he said he wanted to go home, I knew that was it and I supported him fully.

Today is the anniversary of the beginning of the end. 

New Beginnings

All Good Things…

I’m going to post this a few times on Facebook at various times over the next few days, so if you see it several times – it’s on purpose.

As of June 26, I will no longer be posting my widow blog to Facebook.    There will be one more post about the last year, but I’d like to leave my Facebook to the promise of the future,  and the beauty of the present.

I will, however, still be blogging, so I encourage you – if you’d like to continue reading my blog – to follow me either through email, or through your WordPress reader.   I will continue to post through my twitter account as well – but since I only have 9 twitter followers…

I will continue to blog.  I will continue to share my journey through grief and widdowhood and healing.  I am simply choosing to publicly focus on my fitness, my health, and my family.   My blog Walking a Different Path is where you’ll find that.

Life is changing for the better.  I feel stronger, I feel more positive, and I can see a bright future for us as we walk the paths before us.

Thank you, all my Facebook friends and family, for all the love and support you’ve given me and my kids over the past year.  The outpouring of love and support from people I’m close to, people I know, people in the peripherals of my life and people I’ve never met before has shown me how truly amazing the world is.

Come walk with me as I continue down this path….

New Beginnings

(PS: The link to follow me via email is right over there

<<<< on the left)

Blessing of 159 Days…

I’ve started re-reading the notes I took, the chronicles of the 159 days Mark spent in the hospital.

It makes me cry.   A lot.

I’ve had 2 separate people ask me… why?  Why do you want to relive those days?  Why do you want to remember him like that?

I don’t.

I don’t want to remember the scary moments.   I don’t want to focus on the sadness.

Why I need to remember those 159 days is because of the blessings.

What, you might ask, could POSSIBLY be a blessing?   What could there POSSIBLY be in those painful, stressful moments that would be worth remembering, worth reliving, worth thinking about?   Why wouldn’t I just choose to remember the times before? The birthdays, the Christmas’s, the celebrations where he was truly WITH us??

Each moment past midnight January 23, 2012.   Each moment past the point of being told that he had a 5-7% chance of survival.

The moment he opened his eyes for the first time and really truly SAW me.

The moment I could only get his attention by asking if he wanted to see my boobs.

The moment he was able to talk to me and his first question was “WTF happened?”

The moment he looked at me on February 14 and said “Happy Anniversary” to me.

The moment he got out of the bed for the first time and WALKED out to the hallway.

Each and every single moment right up until he looked at me, with trust and love in his eyes and said for the last time “Take me home”

The moment he trusted me to listen to his wishes and tell the doctors that he was truly done.

The moment he was comforting me as I cried on his chest because in the morning we’d be turning off the machines.

Each moment that we got to love each other.

Those moments are worth remembering.  Those moments are worth honouring.  THOSE moments are what give me peace, what bring me joy, what makes it possible for me to keep moving forward.

Despite the pain, the sorrow, the sadness… there was incredible joy, incredible beauty and an incredible amount of love in those 159 days.

Those moments were a blessing.  Those moments were worth remembering.

I was blessed with those 159 days.

Turn On the Light

 

Some Things Are Meant To Be

Yesterday, I randomly texted my daughter and asked her if I could have a day with her.  Due to some things going on in my life, it was brought to my attention that I wasn’t the Mom I wanted to be to her – and so I set out to fix that.

I left my boys at home with instructions, and headed out to see her today.   It was a truly girlie day.   Hair, nails, shopping for a dress for the party I’m going to be at next weekend, and lunch.

It was awesome.  Chatter, and hanging out.   Lots of connection and an apology for the lack of involvement in her life to date combined with a promise of more.

At the end of the day, I needed to hit one more store in downtown Vancouver.  I realized, as I headed in along Kingsway towards Davie, that I would be passing by Vancouver General Hospital.

I had sent messages out to Robert and Patricia and Ellen and had tentative plans to try to see them on the angelversary.

Robert wasn’t working – he wasn’t even going to be near VGH.

Ellen was going to be out of town.

Patricia was working (how perfect was that? she was there the last day and to see her on the angelversary….)

So I made a call.   Robert was, indeed, working dayshift (it was 6.30 – he’d be there until 7.30).   He told me that Patricia was there too… it was perfect.   Two out of the 3 nurses I’d kept in contact with were there – they were the two I hadn’t been able to see in the past year.

I got there, was invited INTO ICU… sat with Robert at his patient’s side, and we caught up.    After a bit, we went down to Patricia’s bed.   And then Robert surprised me with “Hey Ellen’s here too!!”

I got to hug them all.   I got to talk to them.  I got to connect with them.  I love them, all three of them, for the amazing amount of compassion and love and caring they gave Mark and all of us during his stay there and right until the end.

Two of them weren’t supposed to be there, and it was a random happy accident that I decided to call and see if Robert was there.

It was meant to be that I’d get to see them.

I walked into the hospital, walked into the ICU, walked around ICU like I belonged there (it feels so incredibly familiar and comfortable there) and I walked out without ever being triggered or anxious or upset or sad.

It was the right time.  It was meant to be.

As I was walking out of the ICU, I saw two women in the hallway hugging, crying, comforting each other.   I wanted to hug them and tell them that no matter what, no matter the outcome… it would be ok in the end.

It's Going to be Ok Someday

One Year… in One Week.

I have no idea what’s going to happen.  I don’t know if there will be any celebration, ceremony, or anything.

All I know is that the closer it gets, the more I hurt.

I’ve been told by others that the actual day doesn’t hurt as much as the anticipation… but the anticipation sucks major donkey balls.

I can’t believe it’s been one year…. almost.

Mark's Urn