Oh Wait, he already did…

I ended up in the ER last night.

I’m sure overall it was a combination of stress, anxiety and the energy drink I had, but I was having heart palpatations, sweating profusely, shaking, dizzy, lightheaded, and my left arm was achy.

So I went to the ER.   I had a friend drive me.

We were conversing while we waited for tests, doctors, etc.    I mentioned to the doctor and her that my husband had had 2 heart attacks.   I told her that I didn’t think that my kids could handle another parent having a heart attack.

She agreed with me.

I said that their dad had had two heart attacks in 2009.   That he just needed to stop having heart attacks…. oh wait.  He already did.

I don’t know what happened, or why or where that came from.  He’s been gone 2 years.    He stopped having heart attacks 2 years ago.  I have the record of his last heartbeat.

But there it was.

My friend just said, “I don’t know what to say to that”

And I started laughing, somewhat hysterically.   And then I started leaking.   Crying because for one single moment, one slip of the tongue, I forgot that he’d died.

How the FUCK did I forget that?

Seriously?  Even for one moment?

I don’t know.  But there it was.  Something I hadn’t done in 2 years of widow-hood.

“He needs to stop having heart attacks… Oh wait, he already did”

Fuck.

Heartbeat

Finding the Balance

Trying to find the balance between devastating, soul-wrenching grief and the joy and love of a new relationship is a balance that I never thought I would have to find.

I miss Mark.

I miss him in ways that tear me apart.

I still have moments where I feel like this is surreal.  Like any moment someone is going to tell me that nope – this was all a bad dream, that he’s actually coming home.

Those moments are so heart wrenching, so soul tearing they leave me breathless and shaken.

And then… I look at my life.   The man who is my second chapter.   The children who I’m coming to love as my own.

I can’t imagine giving them up.   I can’t imagine life without them.   It would *devastate* me to lose them.

I don’t want to spend my life without them.

I look at Mike and my heart is filled with joy and love and happiness.

It’s a bit of a split personality.

But each day, I’m grateful for what I had, sad and missing what I had but so incredibly happy with what I have.

It’s a balance.

Chubb Lake April 2013

 

Mark & Jane Christmas 2009

So Much Missed Blogging

This is what happens when you go away for a while and don’t take your computer… you can’t blog.

And there’s SO MUCH BLOGGING inside.

So much to say.

So many emotions.

So many tears.

So many joyful moments.

That I can’t share.

But now I’m back!

I’m so in love with this face:

Jeremy

He has my heart.

I got to spend a couple days with him – went out to see him and his Mamma & Daddy. I got to hold him.  I got to coo at him. I got to breathe in his scent.

And the whole 9 1/2 hours away thing sucks major donkey balls.

Mark was on my mind so much throughout that trip.  How he’d have been so freaking excited.  How he would have loved to hold his grandson.  How proud he would have been of Kyle and how good of a Daddy he is and will be.

I spent an entire day in bed just thinking about how much I missed him.

It wasn’t until I got home that the emotions overwhelmed me.

And then I was cleaning my bedroom and a small box of “stuff” tumbled off my bed and opened up and spilled out mementos…

Sucker Punch.

Twisty pain.  White hot searing pain ripping me apart.

My Kyle has told me that he’s surprisingly (for him) not panicked or anxious or anything – he’s just calm.

I told him that’s because his Dad is watching over him.  Proud of who he is, who he’s become and the gorgeous baby boy come into our lives.

Mark’s with him.  That’s why he’s so very calm.

Plus – I think Kyle was just *meant* to be a dad.  Full stop.  He was just born to be a Daddy.

I know this post is kinda all over the place – and I apologize to my readers for that – its just that theres SO FREAKING MUCH inside that I haven’t been able to make sense of for the last while – I haven’t been able to process.

And it’s all jumbled up.

I cried for the first time in a while today – broke down.  I’m on stress leave right now – and not being able to cry has been messing with my head.  I’m in a place where I *can* cry – I have the physical space to – but I can’t.  It’s stuck again.

I hurt, I’m depressed, I go through entire days with anxiety attacks. I can’t focus and I can’t think and this blog was going to help me process again so I could move forward again into life.

The bright spot in all this mess and confusion is my man, my boys, my daughter and my grandbaby.

I don’t want to hurt anymore.  I miss Mark so much… I can see a different future now, but I still grieve for the life lost…. I still hurt.

But damn – this little man is cute:

2014-01-28

Nana Jane

This morning, at 1.15am… Jeremy James (JJ) made his way into the world and I became a Nana.

I’m so freaking excited about being Nana.  I’m so over the moon excited about it.

I can’t wait to see him in person.

Jeremy James

I am so proud of my son and his lovely lady for bringing him into this world.

Mark wanted grandchildren… so very much…  I know he’s somewhere, watching over us.  I know he’s smiling down on Kyle and Holly and Jeremy…

 

 

THAT’s what they meant!!!

Year 2.

It’s been 54 1/2 weeks.

As I approached the 1 year mark, as I moved through the day on June 26, I focussed on the blessings and on the good things that knowing, loving and living life with Mark brought.

I was in a good place.

And now, 2 1/2 weeks later… it’s like someone took the scab and ripped it off.  I’m bleeding all over the place again.

I hurt.  I can’t breathe.  I can’t think.  I am having trouble functioning again.  I cry more often than I have in a long time.  I can’t focus for long periods of time.

And because of the move – I’m going through all our *stuff* and it’s like someone is taking a hot poker and jabbing the wound over and over and over.

More bleeding.  More pain.  More raw grief.

I didn’t know what it meant to have gone through all the firsts.  I didn’t know what would happen when I passed that one year mark. I didn’t know how I would feel.

I sure as hell didn’t think I’d feel like this.

Over the weekend at Camp Widow someone said that becoming a widow is like hitting a wall.  No matter what, that wall is ALWAYS THERE.   I have to figure out how to climb over the wall, go around the wall, move through the wall… but the wall is always there.

Right now it feels like I climbed the wall, most of the way, then fell down it, sliding along the cement and scraping up all exposed skin. 

I’ve heard it said that the 2nd year is when the fog lifts, and that’s why it hurts so much.

I’m moving forward in my life… but its almost like I’m walking parallel paths… one where I’m in love with a new guy, I’m moving my kids and starting a new life with him and the other where I grieve hard and painfully over my dead husband.  Those two people live inside me simultaneously.  Some days, the grieving widow is stronger and in control.  Others, the strong independent woman who is starting a new life is in control.

It’s exhausting.  And I don’t see an end to it.  All I see is the wall of “HE FUCKING DIED” in front of me.    And as I stand there, I’m blessed to be supported, hands held, hugged, loved, and encouraged by my friends and by the man who loves me.  

And faintly… oh so faintly, in the crowd of people standing there with me while I stare at this wall, trying to figure out how to live life without him, is Mark. 

I’m still bleeding.

Tucked In MY Heart

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)

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

Happy Father’s Day!!

Today Mark looks rough, he’s tired and keeps drifting off. Everytime he opens his eyes though, he gives me a super sweet smile. 

Kidney function is improving, lung function is doing well, and they’ve started feeds again. 

Had a ling conversation with his doctor about the measures we’re taking to help him recover and he assured me that we’re still doing everything in Mark’s best interests. 

He is optimistic for Mark’s recovery. 

Surgery today for a wash out and change of sponges. 

Good news, Mark is well enough to be in a double – he doesn’t need one on one care.

This was my Facebook status update for Father’s Day (June 17) 2012.

I find it hard to believe that it has been almost a year.  On Father’s Day 2012 – we still expected him to get better.  He’d had some serious setbacks, but being in a double meant that there was one nurse for two patients.  This meant that while he was still in ICU – he didn’t require as much care as the sicker patients.  He was getting better.

My Dad died in April 2011.   This Father’s Day marks the second without my Dad, the first without my husband/father of my kids and the last of the firsts before we hit the one year mark since Mark died.

I was in the walk in yesterday to get a prescription refilled and the doc asked me about my mood… I told him about my husband, we had a conversation about how the one year anniversary is an emotional time and so given that I’d lost my husband, I should give it more time past the one year and check in with my doctor about my mood.

I told him that no, I haven’t lost my husband, I know exactly where he was….

Yep – morbid sense of humour.

My mood is not really stable – its stable-ish with a side order of mood swings. I’m functional with occasional leaks.

There is so much amazing stuff happening in my life right now, which makes me VERY happy, and full of joy, combined with the grief of losing Mark and all our dreams for the future… which makes me VERY sad.  So my day can go up and down without warning.

I hurt for my kids especially today.  The older two are dealing with the lost of their Grandpa as well as two Dad’s…  My younger two are dealing with the loss of their Dad… and while everyone else in “spoil Dad” mode… we’re just having another day.

And I’m sad for my kids. I want so much to take the hurt away from them…. My oldest is becoming a Dad and he doesn’t have his Dad to  get advice from – I hope that he got enough through example that he can have “conversations” with him and know what Mark would have told him.   My daughter is such a Daddy’s girl… I hope that her boyfriend will be gentle with her today… hug her and love her lots.

And my boys… I am so sad for them because they do not get the blessing of having been raised to adulthood by Mark.  My older two were – but I hope that there was enough influence that they take his example with them through adult hood.

Mark was the yin to my yang.  We balanced each other out and together were a wonderful parenting team.  Without him I am less balanced… but I do my best.

Happy Father’s Day… to all those father’s in our hearts…

 

January 2010 039 112-SCAN0212

 

SCAN0122

 

SCAN0191

Best Birthday Reaction EVER

Today is my son’s 13th birthday.   He was born 9 months and 3 days after my wedding to his Dad.   So if ever I started wondering how long we were married for, I’d just think about how old my Andrew is and know. 

Back when Mark died, I had keepsake jewellry made for me, Andrew, and Katie.  Luke got a keepsake urn, and Kyle got a ring. 

I had them sealed so that they wouldn’t start “leaking” bits of Mark all over the place. 

Someone else told Andrew he had to take it off when he went in water to prevent it from coming undone. 

One day, when Andrew went swimming… late August… he took his off at the pool. 

When he got out of the pool, it was gone. 

Somewhere, in Squamish, someone is wandering around with a fish necklace and my husband’s ashes. 

For his 13th birthday, I got him another one… when he woke up this morning, there was a present beside his head on  his bed.  (hey I rhyme!!)

The card was “Happy Birthday Andrew – Love, Daddy”

So he opened the present… it was wrapped really well, packaged in a bigger box, and in it’s own case. 

He got to the case, opened it just slightly…. dropped it and hugged me and said in a quiet, slightly choked up voice… “Thank you Mom”

Best birthday reaction ever. 

I know that the loss of the fish had been bothering him.   I know that it compounded his grief.  And now he has a piece of his Dad with him again. 

Happy 13th Birthday, Andrew… 

Andrew Birthday