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:

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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.

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The Month of Changes

So much has happened in the past 37 days.

It started with a bachelorette party. On my dead husband’s birthday. Weirdness and shit. But fun.  Glitter dicks everywhere. Drunk me danced the night away. Drunk me decided to walk home late in the night with one of my bridesmaids.  Drunk me had a good time.  Hungover me was not impressed with drunk me. It was a weird thing, celebrating my upcoming nuptuals with a new guy on my dead guy’s birthday. My daughter planned the day and it was fantastic.

Then the wedding.  What a glorious, fantastic day. It was amazing and magical and incredible. My Smith family showed up which made it so much better. I stood there at my reception, staring at what is now all 6 branches of my family. The Smiths, the Cavanaghs, the Teichmans, the Mortimers, the Leylands, and the Beech’s. As I said then… some people are blessed to find one great love in their life. I have been blessed to find two. Loving my Sexxy Chef does not mean my love for my dead guy has changed. The heart expands and grows to encompass more love. And I am blessed far more than I feel I deserve with all the love that surrounds me.

Fairy Tale Wedding
Photo credit Throughout Time Photography

Last night… my 3rd child graduated. Mark was watching, somewhere, I know. The tiny baby who was smaller than our cat at the time… is now a grown up adult. Graduated from high school.  Ready to start life as an adult. But in that face… I still see the tiny baby. I still see the tiny human who kept me up for an hour every hour. And I remember all the plans we had, the promises we made, the hopes and dreams we had for the future and our children and grandchildren…

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Andrew Grad 2018

My heart hurts for all that he’s missing. But my heart is full of love and life and laughter at the same time. It’s a strange dichotomy.

It is June 23. Typically the time between May 18 and June 26 is a slow progression of increasing stress and pain and fighting to convince my brain that suicide is not an option. With all that has happened it has kept me distracted from that. It’s amazing how much LIVING can keep me from wanting to die.

I still hurt though. I sat in my living room last night, fighting tears, fighting the pain of him not being here, not really succeeding but holding it together enough.

The excitement is all done.  The planning/preparation for the wedding is complete.  Graduation has passed. And I’m faced with 3 more days before his angelversary.

I’m left with my thoughts, my feelings, and the reality of somehow balancing my love and excitement of being married to my new husband with the abject, overwhelming pain of not having my dead husband here. I’m not sure how to balance that. Any suggestions would be fantastic.

On the drive up to decorate the hall for my wedding, my graduate asked me why we had a picture of Dad. I said it was to go on the display of people who we miss and wish were here.  He was like… …ok… and I laughed and said… of course if Dad was here, we wouldn’t be doing this.  He laughed as well…and we carried on.

Such is the strange dichotomy of a remarried widow, a new wife, who has been blessed with a man who loves her enough to accept all of her… the past, the present and the future.

I am blessed.

Holding Hands Ceremony
Photo credit Throughout Time Photography

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to the newest member of my family!!

My daughter gave birth to a beautiful little man on December 21. He is my second grandchild.

This is also my fourth Christmas without him.

It seems so unreal that he’s not here for his grandsons…

I don’t even know how to fathom that.  He wanted grandkids. I wanted more kids, he kept saying that we’d wait for grandkids.

He’d play Santa.

He’d play with them.

He wanted grandkids so very badly.   And he’s not here… Zeddicus Wellington

 

I’m told there will come a point where the pain, the stabbing reminders that he’s NOT HERE will eventually subside and be replaced with joyful memories and gratitude for a happy life shared.

I’d like that for Christmas this year please.

That’s all.  All I want is to smile because it happened, not cry because it’s over.

I want to remember him and honour him and be joyful in the life we shared… while I’m living an amazing life I’ve built.

It hurts… as much as I am joyful, as much as I am in love with my grandsons, it hurts that I can’t share them with him…

I am a Grandma without a Grandpa.

At some point, I’d really like to have my life be about all the things it IS, not what is NOT.

Peace

I am not at peace… not yet… not all the time…

But it is a happy beautiful Christmas this year.  I got a grandson. I got to be there for his birth.  I got to be with all of my children, and my children’s grandparents for “our” Christmas – which we did 2 days early – and I got to see my older grandson over Skype.  And I’ve found 2 dimes from him these last few days.  So I know he’s been around.

It is, it was a beautiful Christmas.

I still miss him.  I still miss our life. And I miss the Metalhead Poet.

But it is an amazing Christmas – even if it didn’t feel very Christmas-y.

It’s All Good… but…

A strange thing happens when your spouse dies.

There’s this hole in all your conversations.

Robin Williams died…and I wanted to tell Mark about it.  Mark was such a big fan.

Grandbabies… grandbabies everywhere…and I can’t talk to him about them.

Justin Trudeau getting elected… and Hunter Tootoo being the Ministry for Fisheries and Oceans.  OMG the conversation about that.

Everything the Harper government did to decimate the environment… he would have been talking about that… not just hours, not just days… but I’d never stop hearing about it. Ever.  He was so passionate about it.

And the adorable throatsingers at the swearing in ceremony.  He probably would have shown those to me before I had a chance to show him.

Things are good… but there’s a hole in my conversations.   I miss the indepth, passionate debates we’d have about various topics.

I haven’t found someone else who will talk about those things with me. Who has that same passion for conversation.

There’s just a hole where the conversations used to be…

Christmas 2011

Who’s Going to Remember?

Besides me?

Who’s going to remember that he was doing SO well today 3 years ago.

Who’s going to remember that the doctor got the bleed and things were going in the right direction?

Who’s going to remember how tomorrow night I would call after blowing off my visit only to be told that the doctor’s needed to talk to me tomorrow?

Who’s going remember how guilty I felt that out of the last 4 days of his life, I only was there for him 1 of those?

Who’s going to remember that I was in a panick, and that Jeanne showed up to help me stay calm after that call tomorrow?

Who’s going to remember that tonight, 3 years ago, I was NSO’ing a derby game, oblivious that this would be my husband’s last few days?

Who’s going to remember how awful I felt for stealing a tiny bit of joy for my week only to discover that it was his last few?

Who’s going to remember besides me?

Who’s going to care besides me?

Who hurts because of what they missed besides me?

Who, besides me, hurts so much they can barely breathe this week because the angelversary is coming up in 3 days?

I don’t want to be the only one who remembers him.  I know for some, it’s a birthday or just another day, but for me… this is the day my life changed.

Who cares about that besides me?

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Missing Someone I Love

“I am ok with being sad about missing someone I love.”

These were words I said to my ex when I was talking to him this morning about how TimeHop was pulling back status’ and pictures from past years and they were either about him or Mark.

The one that got me was one where it was Father’s Day and we’d had a lovely cuddle, amazing conversation and beautiful connection and how much I love him.

And it made me sad.

And the ones about Mark made me sad.

Because I miss people I love.

AND THAT’S OK.

I miss him.  I miss the good times, I miss Mark, I miss all of it.

I’m a single, widowed woman who is raising 2 boys on her own.   My daughter is begrudgingly here, helping out the best she can, but she feels like I don’t need her (I DO!! I NEED MY DAUGHTER RIGHT NOW).

And I miss those lazy Sunday mornings where I’m snuggled up to someone I love, having those amazing conversations and beautiful connections.

I miss them.

And I’m ok with being sad because of that.

I know the day will end up being a good one.  I’ve got an extra day off, I feel better, sort of, and my kids are all here.

And it’s all good.

I am a beautiful, emotional, vibrant woman who loves deeply, who grieves hard, who misses those she loves.

And that’s ok.

It's Going to be Ok Someday

Took It Off Again

When my ex-boyfriend and I were trying to work things out, I took off my ash pendant.

For a while… I forgot that I had taken it off. It didn’t cross my mind that I had taken it off.

And then a couple days ago, I found it on my end table.  I wanted to put it away but was in the middle of something else, so I just put it on again.   I forgot about it… wearing jewelry just becomes part of my skin.  If I wear it long enough I feel naked without it on.  If I take it off…after a while I don’t notice its absence.  (ask me about my wedding rings – i haven’t noticed that my fingers are bear in months)

So I put the ash pendant on.

And it bugged me.

It’s heavy.  I don’t know how I didn’t notice that before. It’s REALLY heavy.

And it sits right in my cleavage.  Right where my heart is, right between my boobs. So as I move around it bounces against my boobs.

And… it wasn’t comfortable.   I love it.  It’s beautiful.  It’s a lovely reminder of my dead husband.

But it didn’t *feel* right being on my body again.

I wear him in my skin.  I wear him in my heart. He is forever a part of me.

Maybe, just maybe, I am coming to that place of accpetance and moving on?  Almost fully at the “don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened state of mind” that would be so lovely?

Peace

I’d like to think that I’m coming to a place of peace.   To a place of… yes, I am a widow.  Yes, it’s part of what defines me much as being a mom did, being a wife did, being a student does.  It defines me, shapes the way I look at the world, but it is no longer my WHOLE world.

It is a big part of it.  Until I get married again, I’ll still check “widow” on the box, even if I have to write the box in because someone didnt’ think to put it there. Because it is so very much a part of who I am.

But it is no longer the focus of my entire world.

I miss him with every breath.  I wish with ever fibre of my being that we could have had the life we planned.   I think though, that I’m coming to a place of acceptance of what is.   Of the change in our relationship, in the change in my life, in the story I am writing for my own life.