It’s Your Birthday.

I’m writing this a day early.

You see, tomorrow is your birthday.  But it’s also date night. And while it’s your birthday, you’re DEAD and I have date night with my LIVING fiance.

I had to think this morning. I had to count the number of years you’d been gone vs how old you were when you died in order to remember that this would have been your 54th birthday.

It’s not that I don’t miss you – I miss you with every fibre of my being. It makes me cry when I stop and think about it.  I keep myself so busy that I don’t have time to stop and think a lot of the time.  I don’t want to miss you that much when I’m snuggled up to him. I don’t want to be laying in bed with him and wishing it were you.

I don’t want to be sad about you and have him make jokes to cheer me up when I just want to miss you.

I need those things to be somewhat separate. I need to miss you when I miss you and love him when I love him. They do intersect – he’s freaking amazing when it comes to my grief over you.

But there’s a shame, a guilt about missing you when I’m so happy with him. I don’t want to make him feel bad for not being you – but I don’t want him to be you – I want him to be him.

But it’s YOUR birthday tomorrow.  My 5th without you. My 6th without you at home. Actually my 7th without you at home – you were with Wade on your 48th, remember? You spent that birthday with Wade, the next birthday in the hospital and then you were gone.

Happy Birthday my Forever 49 Love.  You are missed. You are loved. You are always remembered.

 

Anniversaries

4 days ago, it was the 19th anniversary of Mark telling me he loved me.

4 days ago, it was Valentines day.

I’m not big on the “hallmark” holiday that is Valentines Day.

He loves me… he tells me daily.  He shows me in the little things he does.  I don’t need a holiday to celebrate our love.

I have our anniversary.

I have the anniversary of the day he first told me he loves me.

I have those little days and moments and memories.

And now I don’t share them with him.  I remember them. I remember that on the anniversary of the day he told me he loved me, he told me “Happy Anniversary” 5 years ago.  Only 4 months before he died.

I remember the day he told me… how everything in my world tilted on it’s axis.

And I have my Sexxy Chef who works on Valentines…. so the day for us is fairly meaningless. We did have a dinner a couple nights before, he gave me the most beautiful purple rose, and he gave me some chocolates.  It was sweet, romantic and amazingly beautiful.

But Valentine’s Day? I spent a couple hours being sad. Remembering Mark and the love we shared.  Missing him.  Missing the connection we had.

I love him still. I always will.

February 14 is a day on the calendar. It’s also the day he first told me he loved me. But it means nothing in terms of the hallmark holiday that generates so much income for local businesses….

Long-Live-Love

End of Another Year…

Here I am, 6 hours away from the calendar flip over from one year to the next.

I am alone, sorta.  Hanging with my youngest son and his friend.

My Sexxy Chef is working, my older son is with his girlfriend.

While my Sexxy Chef will be off work in about 3 hours, I’ve volunteered to DD to help raise funds for my roller derby team.  We’ll spend maybe half hour, an hour together on our first New Year’s Eve together.

I will spend the evening with my daughter.  My oldest is in another town, and I’ll send him a text around midnight.

This is not the New Year’s Eve I anticipated.

I accept… that the Sexxy Chef has to work. I accept it. I understand it. I understand that the nature of his job means that he can’t join me in volunteering because of tomorrow’s work schedule.

I accept that.

I don’t like it.

I have spent too many New Year’s Eve’s alone in the past 5 years.

Before Mark went into the hospital, New Years was puzzles. Drinks.  And after I met Kathy it was a party.

It was surrounded by people.

This alone thing… feels weird.

New Year’s 2012 – Party at the Dunlops’
New Year’s 2013 – New relationship, don’t really remember New Years – was in a relationship that ultimately failed and posted *nothing* about what was going on on Dec 31, 2013
New Year’s 2014 – single, quiet evening.
New Year’s 2015 – single, went to a party. Won (?) mother of the year award by dragging my kids to said party (it was kid friendly) and let them have a couple drinks.  Sent them home, stayed and tried to make myself feel better about my life by hooking up with a random.

This year, I’m in a fantastic relationship with a man I love.  I am looking forward to our life together.

I’ve cried less over Mark.

I’ve cried more intensely over Mark.

I’ve found someone who will hold me and keep me together while I fall apart over Mark.

Christmas came and went… no tears shed, although it felt like I was going to on several occasions.

So another year has gone by.  Every year marks one more that I’ve been without him. Every year is one closer to longer without him than I was with him.  That frightens me.

It’s been almost 5 years since he got sick.  4 1/2 since he died. And while my future looks fucking amazing… I miss the future that isn’t.

But it’s a happy New Year.  Despite being mostly alone, I’m surrounded by people who love me… I am blessed with many friends and a whole ‘nother family.

I hope your New Year shows promise of joy and laughter.  If you’re reading this, fresh out from the loss of someone you love, know that it doesn’t get better, but it gets different. The pain you feel now will become a part of you, and you will feel joy again. It’s not the same as before…there’s always a thread of sadness and missing your person that will run through everything, but it becomes a part of who you are and the laughter and joy will be genuine.

You’re not alone, no matter how alone you feel right now. There’s a whole community you can reach out to – starting with me.  And I can help you find someone closer if you’re looking for someone in your time zone.

Happy New Year to all my widda peeps and to all the friends and family who have been there for me the last 5 years.

happy-new-year-wishes

How are You Feeling?

Four years ago I wrote this post about how I was feeling, 2 days before Christmas, 6 months post-loss.

Yesterday, when the post popped up in my “On This Day” memories feed… I looked at it and thought how drastically my life has changed in the past four years.

Four years ago I was devastated, and trying to put on a “happy” face for my children.

Three years ago I was in a new relationship… it was our first (and only) together, and we had been fighting and it was MISERABLE.

Tree Decorating night  2013

Two years ago my boys and I made our Christmas together. We created happy-ish memories.

christmas-tree

Last year, I was in Edmonton, welcoming in a new life.  I was witness to my grandson’s birth, spent a Christmas with all my children (although missing one grandchild), and while there was some misery/crappy bits about it, being able to be there for my daughter and enjoy the time made it incredibly awesome.

This year?  This year I’m engaged. I have two days, one of which I’m spending with my lovely little grandson, to complete Christmas crafts, do my Christmas baking, finish decorating the tree (and house if I want to go there), and get things cleaned before my future in-laws arrive. There is SO much joy in my life right now.

It’s amazing how much life can change.

And yet… there’s still part of me that misses… that’s teary… that wants to succumb to the sadness.  I won’t.  Not this year.  But I may take a few minutes… just on my own. To remember.

That moment when…

… Christmas is coming and the stress of missing him is getting harder to handle.

… you’re focussed on everything Christmas and every single moment is blocked off between Christmas crafting and school stuff.

… you’re getting more and more on edge… snapping at those you love.

… your amazing fiance calls you on what is really bugging you… pokes the “Mark box” you’ve been trying to keep closed inside your heart and emotions.

… you fall apart… in his arms…

… he just lets you cry

… he spends time doing all the amazing things that make you feel incredibly safe and loved…

… he tells you he loves you and that it’s ok, the grief storms will always be there and he’ll be the shelter you need.

I finally told him about my nightmares. And the visitation.  And he held me while I cried.

I am so very grateful for the man who will weather my storms.  I am so incredibly lucky to have found a man who loves me to pieces…and picks me up and puts me back together when I fall apart.

20160807_145635

 

Dreams and Visits

He’s all around me lately.

I had several nightmares last week.  In one of them, I watched him die again.

Why can’t I have a dream about him where we’re happy? Why do I have to watch him die over and over and over and over?

I wanted to talk to my Sexxy Chef about it, but this is his crazy season and he’s distracted with work.  So I’ve left it… for now.

And then, last Saturday, I’m in bed.  By myself. I can hear the Sexxy Chef out in the living room. I know my boys are in bed at the other end of the house and that there’s no one else in the house.

I’m curled up under my covers… reading…and suddenly… someone sits on my bed. There’s *no one* else around. I’m not gonna lie. I was a little freaked out.  Because I’m not sure that it’s him. I mean… it must be. I don’t think I have any other spirits hanging around. So I closed my eyes… put my phone away… and said “Good night Mark.”

And went to sleep. Dreamless, peaceful sleep. First time in a week.

I see him, in the corner of my eye lately. I see him around me.  I’m hoping it’s him. I don’t know for sure…but I’m hoping. I don’t feel like it’s another presence…but I’m not 100% sure it’s him, either.

I miss him.  I miss his presence. I miss his smile, his laugh, his outlook on life. I miss the way he could calm me at a moment’s notice.

I appreciate that he’s come visiting… it makes me smile.

But could I have a happy dream please?

Mark in Fruitvale

 

Is it Okay?

Is it okay to have moments, hours, days where I am so incredibly happy that I don’t think about him?

Is it okay to enjoy my life so very much that I don’t have a moment of breathlessness because he’s not here to share it with?

Is it okay to have things in my life happen that I DON’T want to share with him?

Is it okay to miss him, but be okay with him not being here?

A year or two ago, someone dear to me asked me “Why are you grieving so hard?” and I was flabbergasted that he would even consider asking me that.  After all, I lost the love of my life!  I had everything I knew turned upside down!

Today, I ask myself, “Why are you not grieving as hard?” Does this mean I didn’t love him as much as I thought I did? Does it mean that I don’t miss him as much as I said I did?

How could I spend a day, being ridiculously happy, and not want to share it with him?  How could I have moments that don’t belong to him?

The guilt, that I should have a life that I don’t want him included in all the parts, it confuses me.

How could I not want him included in all the parts of my life? How could I have pieces of me that I want just for me?

I don’t understand it.

But I’m pretty fucking happy, even if the happy is tinged with guilt.  And the only thing I want to share with him is that I AM happy.

I didn’t die with him.

A piece of me did, but that piece?  The part that is growing back?  That’s mine.

Don't Cry

This is becoming more and more real for me.  It happened.  It was beautiful. It was amazing.  It was painful and awful at times.  We weren’t perfect but we were perfectly imperfect for each other. And I’m getting to the point where I can smile… because it happened.

New Beginnings