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.

I Don’t Remember

I don’t remember the feel of his skin.

I don’t remember the way my arm rested across his chest.

I don’t remember the way he held me close.

I don’t remember the way he felt next to me.

I don’t remember the hardness of his penis.

I don’t remember how it felt to have him enter me.

I don’t remember.

The tactile memories are gone.

I don’t remember how it felt to hug him.

The only thing I remember is how it felt to kiss him and I don’t want to lose that as well.

I’m almost 5 years out.  It’s been 5 1/2 years since I last held him outside of the hospital.

And I don’t remember what it felt like.

January 2010 036

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

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.

I Just Found Out…

4+ years.

And I get a message:  I’ve been thinking about Mark a lot lately and thought I’d look him up and just found out he’d passed….

4+ years.

Shouldn’t the times of having to tell people be over by now?

Shouldn’t the moments of having to console someone while I’m crying be over?

They aren’t.  And that’s ok.

I was given a gift this morning.  A gift of someone who wanted to talk about Mark. Who remembers Mark.  Who can tell me stories I didn’t know of Mark.

That, my fellow widows, is the most amazing gift of all.

Yes, I cried.

Yes, I was sad.

But OMG…. to be able to hear someone talk about Mark and tell me the stories they remember… that is a gift.

And then I was given another gift… the gift of unconditional love.  The gift of my Sexxy Chef loving me, holding me while I cried, kissing away my tears, then making me smile because he is *that* awesome.

I’m blessed in so many ways.

I love my life.  I love the life Before … and the life After…

But thank you to whatever part of the universe that blessed me with the gift of memories of Mark… even if they weren’t mine.

Random Grief Storms

This one wasn’t so much of a storm as it was a bit of a shower.

In the middle of class, talking about the family of patients, and a classmate talks about her experiences as the daughter being there for the mom in an actual setting.

I know her mom died.

I don’t know why… but flashbacks.  Random memories. How the amazing nurses treated me vs how the competent nurses treated me vs how the ok nurses treated me vs how the awful nurses treated me.

And tears.  In the middle of class.  Nowhere to hide.

But I managed to get them under control, because do I really want to explain to everyone how devastating it was and how amazing it was to be in that position?

Nope.  Not today. But the grief storm hit anyhow.  And I dealt with it.

It’s nice? to know that the randomness will still hit me. Without warning.

YAY! for random grief storms. *sigh*

Really okStages-of-Grief

I Miss You

It has been 4 years since you took your last breath.

It has been 4 years since we gathered around you, held your hand, and allowed you to move on to another place with love and laughter surrounding you.

It has been 4 years since the grey Vancouver sky opened up for one moment, and sunlight streamed in your window as you left us.

It has been 4 years since I crawled up on you to snuggle you one more time, because I knew it wouldn’t hurt you and I hadn’t been able to do that in 6 months.

It has been 4 years since I broke down on you, and finally realized… it wasn’t you anymore.

It has been 4 years since I kissed your cold forehead one last time and walked away from the hospital one last time.

It has been 4 years since our lives changed.

It has been 4 years.

And I love you as much today as I did that day.

I miss you.  Your children miss you. Our lives are not the same without you.

4 years.  4 fucking years without you and I want to reach out and touch you and talk to you and hold you again.

This song.  Every. Fucking. Time. 

I Watched You Die Again Last Night

I went to bed (alone) like I do (almost) every night.

I kissed the pendant and said good night to you again like I do every night.

I asked you to come visit me in my dreams like I do every night.

I woke at 630am, having not dreamed of you again like I do every night.

I forced myself back to sleep – it’s the weekend and I have been ill and I need the rest.

I woke 2 hours later, gasping, in tears, because I had just watched you die.

In real life, you died from complications of pancreatitis.  You made the choice to let go. We said our good-bye’s and loved each other the best way we could one last time.

In my dream, your heart stopped. I called 911 but they were stupid on the phone and I had to scream at them that you were having a MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION!! And they still just pretended they didn’t know what I was talking about. They didn’t send help.

Your heart stopped.  And I couldn’t get it going again.

I was surrounded by all my new friends, with all my new knowledge, and it wasn’t enough.

I watched you die again.

And then I woke up, alone.  Again.

It’s your birthday in 4 days.  Could you not have brought me a dream where you were happy?  Maybe have me “join” you in your memories of your last birthday with Wade?

I watched you die again last night.  And this morning, it feels like it did the first time.  Except I know how I’ll live without you.  I’ve been doing it for almost 4 years.

Mark in Fruitvale

Are You Ok?

Three simple words.

Sitting at the afterparty, a derby girl I’d just met, just played with for the first time that night, sat across from me at the table I was sitting at and asked me, “Are you ok?”

She saw that I was teary when I came into the dressing room.  She wanted to check in with me that I was ok.

She asked, and was genuinely concerned.  She genuinely wanted to know.  And so I told her.

And she… she listened.  And understood.

She held space and let me talk for 5 minutes.

Because.. she truly wanted to know.  Was I ok?

I was. And having someone just take those 5 minutes, take that time to be genuine, I was even MORE ok when we were done talking.

Really ok

If you randomly read this, for whatever reason, Amanda… thank you.  Thank you for that moment of just being genuine and holding space and allowing me, for one moment, to just not be ok… before I was ok again. Thank you for that moment.

Be Grateful

I’m sure you’ve seen the meme on Facebook or wherever.

Don't Cry

I was at a derby bout this weekend.  Northern Mayhem vs Terrace.  In Terrace.

Terrace is the place where Mark and I moved a month after we got together. It’s the place he proposed to me.  Where we conceived our first… and lost it.  It’s the place we had our marriage blessed by the church we belonged to. It’s where our Andrew was conceived, and born.  It’s where we solidified our relationship and who we were as a couple. It was the start of MarkandJane.

And I was there, driving around the town, ripping off bandaids, picking at the scabs, allowing myself to bleed a little.

And then I get to the derby bout.

I had planned to ignore the last weekend and just have an amazing fucking time, learn new things and play hard.  But one of the North Stars came up to me and offered me more.

“You’re my buddy.  You and I are going to work together all night.  Last weekend was last weekend and tonight we’re going to have fun.”

I started crying. Apparently it took someone just being nice and supportive (damn you Mark for dying and taking that from me!!!) after the day of picking at the emotional scabs for the tears to finally come out.

I had to explain that this (tears and emotions) had nothing to do with this (the derby stuff that happened last week and I was ignoring it this weekend regardless of what happened)

And she said to me…

Be grateful for the town.  Be grateful for what it gave you and the memories you have because of it.

And somehow… for the first time… I’m able to see that.  I’ve seen the “Don’t cry” meme before and in my head I’m like.. DUDE.  Do you not GET how fucking PAINFUL it was to lose him? (yeah, I yelled at the meme a few times)

But grateful.  I can do grateful.

Grateful doesn’t mean I’m not sad.  Grateful doesn’t mean I don’t cry.  Grateful doesn’t mean I ignore the pain.

Grateful means that even when I’m crying, I smile because of everything we shared.

Grateful means that even when it hurts so much I can’t breathe, I still hold on to the love we shared.

Grateful means that I can look at the town here we started and smile at the memories even as they’re ripping me apart.

Grateful means that picking the scabs and ripping the bandaids means the healing can carry on… even if it leaves a scar in the end.

I can do grateful.  And I am incredibly grateful for her for saying it in those words.

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The top image is Mark and Me and Kyle and Katie at the mouth of the Shames on the Skeena River.

The bottom is Mark and Chi-wen & Simon and someone I don’t remember hiking Terrace Mountain.