7 years

We were married August 21, 1999 and he died June 26, 2012.

We had almost 13 years married.

We were together from Feb 1, 1998.

So.. 14 years.

I’ve reached the halfway point of the number of years without him vs the number of years I had him.

This year is supposed to be my 20th wedding anniversary.

Instead, I’m observing 7 years without him.

My life has changed… so very much.

I’ve changed homes. My home has almost nothing I used to own in it.

I’ve changed careers.

I’ve changed towns.

I’ve gotten remarried.

I have new friends.  Friends who’ve never met Mark. Friends who Mark never met.

Friends who would have fit so well with him and his life.

It’s been 7 years and I’ve completely changed my life.

There’s a myth that the body and it’s cells completely regenerate every 7 years.  It’s just a myth. But that’s where I am.

My life has completely regenerated.  Everything I am is different. Everything around me is different.

The only thing that remains the same is the deep, forever love I have for Mark and how much I miss him.

Forever loved.
Forever missed.
Forever remembered.
Family 6

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Happy and Sad

My Facebook feed is full of two types of posts today:

I’M SO HAPPY AND IN LOVE AND I HAVE THE BEST SPOUSE EVER!

and

I’M SO SAD BECAUSE I MISS MY DEAD SPOUSE

interspersed with the occasional:

HAPPY SINGLES AWARENESS DAY!  and the memes that go along with that.

And on one hand… I am so very happy with my husband (who is currently making me breakfast as I type) and very much in love with him.

On the other…. I miss the guy who first told me 21 years ago that he loves me. 21 years. That’s how long we’d have been together. That’s how long I’ve loved that man.

6 years ago he woke from his coma, remembered it was our “in love” anniversary and told me.

Today… a completely different man loves me and tells me that every day.

So it is a happy/sad day. A good/bad day. A day of love and a day of grief.

But that’s the way it always is…

Happy 21st anniversary my Love.  I will love you for the rest of my life.

Life vs Death

Tonight at work a husband became a widower.  His wife took her last breaths.

A few hours later a child made his way into the world. He took his first breaths.

This is the nature of my job.

Neither of these two (three) people were my patients, nor was I directly involved in the death or the birth moments.

I can’t help but think about what children were born into the world while my husband was taking his last breaths. The children who are 6 1/2 years old now, in grade 1, their parents marveling at the fact that their children growing up so fast?

I think about the moments that have happened since that day… the things I’ve accomplished, the new members of our family, the changes to the people in my life.

I think about the moments that are going to happen in that husband’s life. The new things he’ll do without her, the new people he’ll meet who don’t know him as her husband, the new life he’ll live.

I think about the firsts that the new baby will bring to his parent’s lives.  The first smile, the first steps the first day at grade 1….

Mostly, I think about how life changes, how much life and death I am surrounded by.

I think about how life is not static, how it changes and how we are not ready for any of those changes no matter how much we prepare.

I’m sure I’ve written about this before – it’s a part of my job and it affects me.

But I’m still amazed at how fast life changes so dramatically. In the space of 3 hours, one life ended and another began.  And nothing will ever be the same for those people again.

Nothing is the same in my life. 7 years since he went into the hospital.  6 years since my life changed dramatically and keeps changing.

This year, the pain of losing him seems particularly hard. I don’t know why.  I’m in my 7th year since it all began and the memories and grief seem to be overwhelming me more than they have the past couple years.

There’s an old saying… time heals all wounds.  I suppose time does, but the wounds in my heart, much like a deep, surgical cut.. will leave a scar that is nothing like the surrounding skin. The scar will always pull and hurt when I move it the wrong way, unlike the skin around it.

I will forever hurt and for some reason, it hurts more right now. For some reason… I’m grieving harder.

I’d like to tell the new widower that it gets better – but it doesn’t. It gets different.

I’d like to tell the new mom that life has just gotten better – but it hasn’t. It’s gotten different.

Life doesn’t stay the same, it changes. And change can be painful.

And because my writing of this has been interrupted by my patient’s needs – it feels disjointed to me.

I miss Mark with all my heart and soul. So much so that the grief spills over into other parts of my life.

I grieve for the man who’s name I don’t know who lost his wife today. I cry happy tears for the new family.

And every day I get the honour of being a part of, no matter how peripheral, moments like those.

Merry Christmas 2018

Every year it becomes more and more apparent that you’re gone. Stupid eh?  I mean, I know you’ve been gone from the moment you took your last breath.

But pictures don’t lie.

I’m taking new pictures, creating new memories, and everything is changing.

But the pictures I have of you are all the same.  There’s no new ones. No Christmas 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2015, 2017 and now there won’t be a Christmas 2018.

Seven fucking Christmas’s without you. Without making memories with you. Without sharing the life we planned.

Seven.

It’s hard to believe it’s been seven Christmas’s without you.

But here we are again, my Love.  A Christmas without you, without the traditions we had, without you sharing in the joy of being a Daddy, and now a Grandpa.

Thank you for the dime I found today. Thank you for reminding me that you’re still here and still around.

I miss you.

Merry Christmas.

Nobody Knows

7 years ago everyone knew me as MarkandJane.

They knew that Mark and Jane were an entity.  They knew Mark’s love of fishing, flyfishing especially. They knew that he had disabilities (although he was careful not to show anyone else how bad it could get).  They knew he adored his kids, and they knew that he was the primary parent in our household.

They knew he was well read, articulate although they might not have known he wasn’t formally educated.

They knew he liked to play World of Warcraft.  I was the only one who knew that he waited until he was alone to do so. He’d tuck me into bed, snuggle for a bit, then get up and go do his thing while I slept.

They knew he was passionate about the environment.  He was angry beyond belief when the train derailed and sanitized the Cheakamus River. And he was heartbroken over it.

They knew he was the go-to guy for all things fishing.

They knew he was an amazing cook who made incredible Bailey’s latte’s.

They knew he and I had an incredible connection, an incredible Love that spans time, distance and death.

And now… I am married to Ryan.  And no one I know up here knows anything about Mark.

How could they? I moved up here a year after he died. I knew no one up here when I moved.

NO ONE KNOWS.

So how the FUCK, if they don’t know… am I supposed to explain to them why I’m crying randomly? Why a stupid song will reduce me to rubble? Why I start leaking for seemingly no reason?

How am I supposed to explain to anyone who sees me in the middle of a grief storm how much it still hurts every. single. day. that he’s gone.

Widows always feel the need to explain… “I DO love my living husband… but…”

It’s horrible. Unless you’ve lived it, how do you explain to someone how much you miss the dead husband even as you’re snuggled up to the live one?

I don’t go looking for grief triggers – but lately they’re finding me. And the leaking has started again.  Randomly, without warning or control.

And at 6 1/2 years out… I look like a mentally and emotionally unstable person instead of a grieving widow.

Which really sucks.

I miss this look:

IMAG0026134-SCAN0203

I miss the love that shone out of his eyes whenever he looked at me. I see it in all the pictures.  Times I didn’t realize he was looking at me like that.

And so I grieve in this new world of “Mark who?” and hope that the people who catch me at it understand that I’m not emotionally unstable – I’m just missing him.

Birth and Death

My newest grandchild was born two weeks ago at 10:17am.

She was a perfect 9lbs 2oz.

One minute, there was a pregnant daughter with one child… the next, there was a new little human being.

Ok, maybe longer than a minute.  But you know what I mean. It was a shift in our worlds.  She went from momma of 1 to momma of 2.

It seems somewhat surreal… just like when he died.  One minute I was a wife, the next?  A widow.

Life happens in moments.  The moment of birth. The moment of death. The moment of “I do.”

Life happens when you least expect it.  And it’s all intertwined. Changes happen and life continues and you miss someone so fiercely you can’t breathe and you love someone new so fiercely you can’t breathe and it’s ALL THERE AT ONCE.

I miss Mark with every fibre of my being.

I love my grandchildren to the moon and back.

I love Ryan with every fibre of my being.

None of these are in conflict with the other. None of these cancel out the other.

One moment I was a wife, the next a widow.

One moment I was a widow/girlfriend/fiance, the next I was a wife.

One moment my daughter was pregnant, the next I had a new baby granddaughter.

Birth and death and everything in between. Everything changes in a moment.

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I Fucking Forgot

19 year today.

I forgot. Sometime last week I had remembered – but this morning I woke up and the date didn’t register.

Until I looked at my phone and saw the memories.

I tried to put it out of my mind… my husband was laying in bed with me, getting all frisky, and I wanted to get frisky as well.

Except he’s sometimes incredibly perceptive and asked what was wrong.

I’m like.. yah… I’m fine… and tried to kiss him… and then he asked again…and there, in the middle of getting frisky with my new husband, I’m crying over the dead one.

Did I mention how amazing my Sexxy Chef is?

He held me close. Loved me. Let me cry.

And I spent the day in and out of tears and sadness.

But he let me cry. He loved me. He held me while I cried over my dead husband.

Truth is… I’ll never stop loving or missing the dead guy. I’ll never stop missing him or wishing he’d not died.

Especially on days like today.

Happy (would have been) 19th Anniversary my love.  You will always have a piece of my heart. I will love you as long as I live. Thank you for loving me and allowing me to be your happily ever after, until death do us part.

Mar & Jane Wedding