On His 15th Birthday

The last birthday my son got to share with his father was his 11th.  The pictures are amazing.  I was, as usual, the picture taker, and caught an amazing picture of Andrew and Mark hugging over the shiny new bike.

There have been 4 birthdays since then. His 12th was spent in a hospital room with his dad.

His 13th, 14th and now 15th…?  As a fatherless child.

I’ve tried to make birthdays something special.

I’ve tried to live and love and parent as if Mark were still here.

I don’t know if I’ve succeeded.

I don’t know if Mark would have approved of the double bladed sword-type thing I gave Andrew for his 15th.  (Honestly I’m not sure if *I* approve LMFAO)

But I’m doing my best.

3 birthdays without his dad.  3 birthdays where he’s had to grow up, learn to be a man, figure out what adult men are supposed to be like and for the most part, aside from a year with my ex, he’s had a woman to try to teach him.

I wanted different for my boys.  I don’t know how to raise boys.  Hell – when my oldest was going through puberty (and there WAS a male figure there) I got a book on puberty to try to understand what the hell was going on with his body.

Boys are icky and weird and I’m supposed to be the mother of girls.

But I wouldn’t trade my son’s for anything.

Somehow, despite me, they are growing into amazing young men.  Not a lot of initiative (yet) but responsible when given a list.  Caring, loving, kind.

And my baby… my husband’s first (biological) born… is now 15.  And he’s turning into an incredible young man.

I wish Mark were here to see it.

Andrew 15th Birthday

(double bladed sword thingy – untwist the handle and it’s got a chain between it – bladed nunchucks?)

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Happy Forever 49….

Happy Birthday Mark.   Today you would have been 52.  But you are forever 49.

We miss you – all of us.  We all miss you so incredibly much.

The immediate, can’t breathe, don’t know how to function pain has lessened, but the sudden can’t breathe, forgot he was dead for a moment but OMG he really is, hits me more often.

The grief storms are much shorter now.

Triggers that take me back to the moment keep me there for a day or two, instead of a week or two or three.

The moments of “I want to tell Mark…” that sucker punch me in the gut send me in a grief storm that lasts for an hour or two at most.

The grief is changing.

I’ll never *get over* losing you.

I’ll never *move on* from you.

But I will move forward.

I will grow.   The pain of losing you becoming part of me.  I will be the tree that grows around the object.

Tree growing around motorcycle

And I will thrive, despite?  because of?  the pain that your loss caused.

You are forever a part of me.

Happy Birthday my Love.

Falling Apart

I am falling apart right now.

Big, snotty, can’t breathe, can’t see sobs.

It’s a good thing I can type without looking, without seeing because I can’t right now.   I apologize for any spelling errors.

I hurt.

My dad died, did I tell anyone here that?

He died in April 2011.

A year before my husband.

He and I weren’t particularly close.  He lived 8 hours away, and didn’t seem to know, despite his incredible intelligence, how to pick up a phone and use it.

And then when he finally did call… it was to tell me he had stage 4 lung cancer.

That was October?  November? of 2010.   We went to see him at Christmas.  My brother, my sister, me.  My sister’s husband.  My husband and kids.   And then we didn’t expect to see him again.

I managed to go for another visit in March – saw him in the hospital.

And then he died in April.  I remember – I was at work when I got the call.   My husband came to get me.

I had a cry.   I mourned.   We spread his ashes that summer at Duggan Lake.   I cried again.

And that was it.

Less than a year later, my husband went into the hospital.   159 days after – he died.

My dad and I weren’t close.   I always had a feeling of I would never *quite* measure up.   I got an A once on an English Essay and he said to let him know when I got 100% on an essay like him.

I’m in English right now – my essay marks have been 97%, 97%, and 98%.  Not quite the 100%.  And yes, each mark, I’ve thought about him when I saw that it wasn’t perfect.

So Saturday I went to see 50 Shades of Grey.

The main female character graduates from college.  Her dad shows up.   She’s super happy.  And then it hits me.

HE WON’T BE THERE.

My dad won’t be at my graduation.

He won’t be there for me at that moment.

He was at almost every other major event in my life.

But he won’t be at that one.

And so there I am… in the middle of a sexxy movie… crying.

Fuck me.

And tonight?  I can’t stop.  It’s like all the grief I didn’t know was there has just bubbled the fuck out.

And I can’t stop crying about it.

I miss my Daddy.  I miss him.  And I’m never going to be able to share my grandson with him.  He’s not going to see me graduate.  He’s not going to be a part any of that.

And I can’t stop crying about it.

So much fucking lost time.

July & Aug 2009 048

The Club No One Wants To Join

I saw on Facebook today that a former co-worker’s husband lost his fight last night.

She’s joined the club that no one wants to join.

It hit hard.  Along with the grief of losing my husband, the grief of losing my relationship, I have this “empathy” grief for her.

I’m sitting here, 1/2 hour past my bedtime, tears streaming down my face because I know what she’s going through. I know what it’s like to wake up one morning as a wife, and go to bed as a widow.   I know what it’s like to look at the hours and days and months and years and wonder HOW THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO THIS???

And I’m crying for her.

Because it sucks.

It sucks hugely to know that he’s NEVER. COMING. BACK.

I want to hold her close.  I want to just sit beside her while she talks about him.  I want to be there for her.

I have offered, but I don’t know if I would be able to without bursting into tears.

But I’ll be there.   I’ll show up, hug her, love her and let her know she’s *not* alone.  Because I’ve been there.

She’s not alone.  She’s got a community.  She just doesn’t know it yet.

It's Going to be Ok Someday

I Miss My Friend

I miss being able to talk to him.

I miss being able to share anything with him.

I miss being able to have any hairbrained idea and he had enthusiasm for it.   For as long as mine lasted.

I miss having a champion.

I miss having someone who got all my stupid jokes.

I miss having someone who I’ve heard all his jokes a million times, but they were still funny.

I miss the easy companionship that came with 14 years of getting to know each other.

I miss his memory of people and places.

I miss the way he would look at me.

I miss his ability to be remarkably goofy and laugh at himself.

I miss how he would put everyone before himself… until he ran out of “spoons.”

I miss how he would listen to me as if I were the most important person in the world.

I miss how much he loved his boys.

I miss how he would do anything for his family.

I miss playing cards with him.

I miss the easy familiarity.

I miss him.

January 2010 039

Waves of Grief

This weekend, my defenses have been down.  I’ve been unwell, fighting off a cold which finally took me down last night.

I went with my guy (what do you call the guy who you thought was your 2nd chapter, only to break up, but are now attempting to work things out with?) 45 mins away to pick up his friend to come for the weekend.

We got there about 1/2 hour before his friend got off work, so we hung out in the store.   I wandered, looking at magazines, drinking my coffee, until finally I made my way into the video rental section.

I haven’t been in a video rental section for a long time.  Since before Mark died.  Long before Mark died.  It was how we met, working in a video store.   I still have very awesome memories of going through videos… before we were officially “together” and choosing a theme for the “Manager’s Favourites” and bugging him with various movies.

So I’m standing there, picking up each dvd case, reading the back, then putting them back.  And the memories washed over me.  The happy, the sad, the innocent brilliance of a new relationship…  and my heart hurt.

The cold I’d been fighting off started taking over.

By the time we got home, I was fully ill… and not totally in a good mood.  I had put up walls and defenses.

I sat upstairs with him for a while, but then went to bed.  Tried to sleep.

I hate having a cold.  I hate the feeling of my whole body being heavy.

I messaged a friend of mine, told her what was going on.    But I couldn’t tell him.

You see, one of the sticking points in our relationship is my widowhood.  He has an issue with me crying over another man (albeit a dead one) while he’s standing there comforting me.   He thinks I should be looking towards the future, that my grief and widowhood is holding me in the past.   I disagree.

But I couldn’t tell him.

I probably could have stayed upstairs with him, had I not been dealing with emotions.   I didn’t have it in me to split myself three ways… grief, illness, maintaining a facade of a good mood.   One had to go and since the grief and the illness were beyond my control at that moment… I opted to go to my own bed, to my own room and hide where I didn’t have to pretend I was in a good mood.

This morning, I went upstairs, had a coffee, then came back to my room to sleep.  I slept, I painted my bathroom, I slept some more.   And I put on a movie.

If I Stay.

OMG good movie.   And at the end… I bawled.   I cried, big deep sobbing tears.  Painful, gut-wrenching tears.  Curled up in on myself, not knowing how to stop hurting kinds of tears.

Good movie.   But yeah.  The end just about killed me.

And I couldn’t tell him… again.

I couldn’t share that with him.  And I wanted to.  But I couldn’t.   I put up a wall again.   Waited for after dinner, went up for our weekly “Walking Dead” date.    Came downstairs… and read a blog that s

I’ve been following this blog for a while now.  And tonight’s post… on Grief… spoke to me.

Because of past relationships, because of frustrating, horribly abusive relationships… I dont’ quite trust myself when it comes to how I feel.

When you’re made to believe that what you feel is wrong… over and over and over… even 20+ years later it still affects you.

So I read the blog.

And I read it again.

And I read it again.

And I realized… I have a right to my grief.   I have a right to my feelings.  I am functioning. I am moving forward.  I am just moving forward in MY time, in MY space, at MY pace.

And I realized again… I need to learn to trust myself.

I grieve because I loved.   I grieve because I lost not only my past, but also my future.  Because it HURTS with all my being to wake up and realize that those dreams are NEVER COMING TRUE.     And I grieve for them.

I’m looking forward to my life over the next few years – I have plans that will take me in a direction I never expected to go.  And for the first time ever… I feel like I have options, like I can choose my life.

For the first time ever… I don’t feel trapped.

But I grieve.  I mourn.  I am sad for what I have lost.   Even as I’m happy for what’s coming, I’m sad for what’s been lost.

That’s my truth.

Tucked In MY Heart

Grief Is Like the Ocean

Their Pain…

I can’t take away their pain.

I raised my older two kids to be strong, independent and self-reliant.

I forget, sometimes, how very young they still are.

At 22 and almost 21, my oldest children have lost not one, but two fathers.

Their biological dad died when they were 5 & 3.      I married my husband when they were 7 & 9.  We had been together a year and a half at that point… so he had been in their lives since they were 5 &7.

My husband may not have been their biological dad – but he was *dad* in every way that counted.

Last night, I got a glimpse of my son’s naked pain.   He does a very good job of hiding it, but if you listen to his music, you can hear it.

I got to hear it in a way I don’t think he expresses very often.

And I wanted to take away the pain.  I want to heal the hurt.  I want to make it better and show him that it really can be ok.

He’s going to move through this… but it breaks my heart that he has to.

As a wife, I’ve lost my husband, my partner, my soul mate.

As a mom, I have to watch my children navigate life without their father.   The older ones were blessed with being raised to adulthood by Mark.  The younger ones?  I’m going to have to figure out their teen years without his guidance.   And it breaks my heart that they will miss out on the amazing person he was.   He had a way with the kids that I don’t.  He was their confidante.  He was the one they knew they could talk to.   He was an amazing role model.

I want to help them… but the older kids won’t let me.  They don’t want me to have to hurt more than I am.   But I hurt knowing what they’re going through.