I Grieve For You

I didn’t expect to.  You are a stranger to me.

You weren’t my patient.

You weren’t my friend.

I didn’t know you.

I wasn’t part of the team that tried to save you.

But I grieve for you.

A life cut short.  Similar age to my children.

For what?

Parents cry tonight.

Siblings mourn.

Cousins and extended family are brokenhearted.

A family is torn apart – a vital piece of it missing, gone forever.

I grieve for them too.

The family with the weight of your loss forever etched in their minds and hearts.

I grieve for the friends who are left behind.

The ones who saw the friend who died, the friends who saw the one who could have been, should have been.

I grieve for them.  The family. The friends. The acquaintances.

I grieve a referred grief.

You could have been my child. I could have been the mother. The sibling. The cousin and extended family. I could have been the friend or acquaintance.

I was the wife.

And I grieve for the losses no one expects.

I grieve for you tonight.

The First…

There’s not too many firsts left after 4 years gone.

This past weekend was two firsts.

The first wedding I’ve attended since he died.

The first “Smith” family gathering since he died.

This was the wedding of his nephew. It’s hard to believe that he’s missing out on so much.

Kids growing up, getting married, having kids…

The ceremony was beautiful.  The bride and groom were gorgeous. The setting was amazing…

And all throughout, there was a golden thread of sadness in my heart. What he’s missing out on.

I didn’t bring my Sexxy Chef with me.  I had RSVP’d before he was on the scene, didn’t think that was the best place to introduce him and ultimately, I needed to go through the wedding without Mark on my own.

I spent a lot of time with my grandson, dancing with him while he fell asleep. He gave me an excuse to be kind of anti-social and off on my own. He allowed me to just be… to feel and allow the emotions to wash over me without affecting anyone else’s good time.

It was a day of joy.  They don’t get the sorrow.  They don’t get how the sadness is always there like the sunburn that hasn’t yet healed and you go to scratch an itch and it suddenly flares up and HOLY FUCK THAT STILL HURTS.

That’s what the wedding did… it was the scratch on the burn. The joy of seeing Austin and Maddie get married scratched the pain of missing Mark.  And holy fuck does it still hurt.

Maddie and Austin

I’m so very happy for them. They are so beautifully in love, so incredibly happy. And I’m glad I was able to be there to share in their day.  I know Mark was there in spirit.

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

“I’m Pretty Sure You’re Worth Waiting For”

It’s been a while since I’ve had something hit me out of the blue and devastate me.

It’s been a long while since the grief overflowed, ripped through my chest and left me gasping for air.

It’s been a while since the last ugly cry.

If you are up to date on Grey’s Anatomy, you know Derek is dead, and it’s been 2 years and Meredith is trying to navigate widowhood.  The writers are doing an amazing job of portraying a young widow with children and portraying her realistically.  Ellen Pompeo is beyond amazing at this role.

Meredith has had some moments.  Some good, some bad and some ugly.  It’s to be expected.

In tonight’s episode, she had a moment where she took a step… and realized it was too soon.  And she freaked out.

And the guy she freaked out on simply worried about her.

He showed up at her house later that day and she apologized and explained and his answer was “Ok, you’re not ready, I can back off. But I’ll still call and I’ll be waiting because I’m pretty sure you’re worth waiting for.”

And that moment ripped me apart.

And the ugly cry hit.

I woke the baby. (Grandson visiting)

The crying baby woke the teenager.

And the teenager… OMG I have such an amazing young man.  The teenager came over to me and asked if I was ok and did I need a hug.

I took the hug.  And cried some more.  And explained to him that I just missed dad very much right now.

Because to him, I was worth waiting for.

Mark in Fruitvale

Time Passes Slowly

11.30pm, June 25.

2012?  I was sitting with the amazing nurse Robert.  Listening to my son play guitar for his Dad one last time.  Sitting with Adriana and… someone… fuck… I hate when my memory fails me.

Crying.  The realization of the last night was overwhelming.  Shortly after, I would go back to his bedside, and ask him… “If I asked you to try harder, to give it one last go, would you?”

And him saying no.

He, who would move mountains for me, said no.

He had used up his last spoon.  He had no more. That was it.

And I cried.

2015?  I am so very awake.  I just want to sleep through the next 2 days.

Is it coincidence?  Or syncronicity that my acceptance letter came in the mail today?

I don’t know.  But today, I am overwhelmed with the memories of the silent passing of time.  The last moments of his life.  The night I got that many others didn’t get.  The night I got to say goodbye.  The night, that amazing, incredible night where, for one last night, I got to say everything I needed to.

Not many get that last night of lucidity.  Not many get those last moments of clarity.

And for that…. for that I am grateful.

Mark's Urn

The “Perfect” Widow

WTF does that even mean?

Seriously?

I was accused of trying to be the “perfect” widow – go to all the widow camps, connect with all the widowed people, have all the widowed friends, blog about what it’s like to be a widow, hold on tight to the memory and love of a dead guy…. ?

I *have not* dealt with the death of my husband.  Not in any *meaningful* way.

I have adjusted to the pain and the grief.  I have found joy again.  I have lost that joy.  It still sits there, the pain and grief, snuggled up just behind my heart, waiting for a moment I least expect it to claw it’s way to the surface again.

I am living a full, rich life.  I am living it alone, but it’s me and my boys against the world.

So WTF?  What does it mean to be a “perfect” widow?

I’m not perfect at anything.  I wasn’t a perfect wife.  I wasn’t a perfect girlfriend.  I am not a perfect mother.  I fail to be perfect at as a sister, a daughter, a friend, an employee, a co-worker or a human being in general.

I am not perfect.

I am just me. 

I myself, am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.” – Augusten Burroughs

I am just me.  I am broken.  But I am healing.

Kintsugi My_Bruised_Heart_by_murtada_king (1)

And I will not deny a part of me, a life that was forced upon me, an event that irrevokably changed me.

I am a mother, I am a sister, I am a daughter, I am an employee.  And I am a widow.

It is a badge I wear with pride.  I loved someone until his last breath.  And that, my widowed, non-widowed, about to become widowed friends… is a magical fairy tale they said did not exist… I loved him as long as he lived. 

And I will love him as long as *I* live. 

Mar & Jane Wedding

 

This Week

I’m somewhat surprised I’m not more emotional this week.

Mother’s Day 2015.

Alone-ish.  I was with someone I love in the morning… a lovely snuggle and time together.  He wished me happy Mother’s Day.

My kids got up.  My oldest-at-home made me breakfast.  No cards, no big to-do, just a simple breakfast, a hug and a lot of love from all my kids.

I miss the time and effort that was put in before.

And then Thursday morning.

Mark was an avid fisherman.  Loved everything to do with fly-fishing.  Loved watching shows.  Loved doing it.  Was going to teach me how the summer he died.

One of his favourite shows was “Sport Fishing On the Fly”

And then I saw this:

Sport Fishing

And the host.  And there was this instantaneous “OMG-I-HAVE-TO-TELL-MARK-FUCK-HE’S-DEAD” punch in the gut.

And right there… at the gas station… grief storm hits.

Crying on the way to work.  Big ugly sobbing tears.   Wishing I could talk to *someone* about it.

But really?  Who gets it?  Who understands?  Who would be able/willing to just let me lean into them… and be loved while I cried it out?

It’s been close to 3 years.  Specifically it’s been 3 years less 40 days.

I get things like… “why do you still grieve so hard?” and “shouldn’t you be moving forward?”

So who do I talk to? How do I tell someone that a fucking BOAT reduced me to tears?

I don’t even want to talk.  I just want to be wrapped up in his arms and cry until I’ve cried out and then move on with my day.

Instead… I cried my way to work… cleaned up my tears… put on more make up… and went in and smiled a lot.

And in 2 days… 2 more days.. it would have been his 52nd birthday. The man who was supposed to be 50 before I turned 40 will forever be 49…  Gawd… 52… I’m 41… we’ve got one grandbaby and another on the way… and he’s forever 49.

I had wanted to go to visit with his brother for his birthday.  His brother shares the same birthday as he does.  3 years apart.  (and there’s a sister in between!  Their mom must have lost her mind… LOL)

Unfortunately – fire season kicked in and I’m sitting 5 mins away from work in case I get a call.   So no camping with the brother-in-law and nephew for me and my boys.

Between Mother’s Day, the stupid boat, the birthday, and the relationship that is unsure and unsteady with a dash of WTF is going on mixed in… I’m feeling incredibly lonely.

I want the dead guy I love back (but don’t change my life because there’s lots about it I like).

I want the live guy I love to just pull me in his arms and love me until I’m ok again.

I am sitting, waiting for work to call.

The summer before Mark died, he went to visit with his brother on their shared birthday.  I was a little put out that I couldn’t go, that I wouldn’t be around to help celebrate his birthday, but overall, it was a good thing.

I insisted that they take a picture of the two of them on their birthday.

It has been Wade’s profile pic on Facebook since that day.

It reminds me… to take the moments.  Don’t say “next time” because next time, you might be saying goodbye.

Mark & Wade

Happy Birthday Mark & Wade.  I love you both.

They Did It Again…

****GREY’S ANATOMY SPOILERS CONTAINED BELOW****

I am a huge fan of Grey’s Anatomy.  It’s the only show I have watched since day one.   The show has never been formulaic, never been repetitive in how the plots are carried out, it has been fairly realistic and at the same time enough fantasy to keep things interesting (because lets face it, sometimes real is boring)

In September of 2012 – they killed off Mark Sloan.   He was in a plane crash, had some undiagnosed internal bleeding, and ended up on life support.   The entire season opener was watching him while it crept to the time where the machines were going to be shut off.   And then they shut them off.  And I fucking BAWLED because it was so close to home….  we turned off life support for my Mark only 3 months prior.

I figured I was in the clear.  They wouldn’t kill off another major character like that.   Then the next week, the episode was all about the month leading up to him being in the coma.   And the turning off of the machines.

Ok.  Done.  Again.  Can we get back to the story line please?

Seattle Grace Hospital recovered.  The people recovered.  The storyline became less dramatic.    I enjoyed the show again.

And then… last night…. OMG last night.  They fucking did it AGAIN!!!  Derek was in a car accident.   The doctors at the hospital screwed up, and he was on life support.   And Merideth had to turn off the machines.   And… almost 3 years later… I’m pretty sure this is just about fucking killing me.

How do you explain to someone who’s not a widow, who didn’t have to watch their spouse die how a TV show can rip you apart?  How it can take you right back to that moment when the doctors are telling you there’s NOTHING MORE THAT THEY CAN DO??

The show managed to emotionally devastate me.    All I wanted was to curl up in someone’s arms and bawl.  That’s still all I want to do.   But I get to carry on… because I am the parent for my boys, I am strong, I survived this once and I will survive it again.

Tears are healing.  I knew that when I started watching Grey’s Anatomy a couple weeks ago.  And I’ve healed a lot of the pain from my ex.   I just wasn’t expecting this… dammit.

Heartbeat Grey's Anatomy

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