‘Twas the Night Before the Wedding…

Can this be the only time I write this blog?  The night before my wedding?

Because I don’t believe in divorce.  And I sure as FUCK don’t want to be widowed twice…

So tonight, before I marry my Sexxy Chef, I’d like to make sure this is the only time I write, on my widows blog, that this is the night before my wedding.

I am full of conflicting emotions.

Excitement to be his wife.

Sad to let go of the name I’ve had for the majority of my adult life.

There was a conversation between my future sister-in-law and me tonight while we were decorating.

In the “memorial” for those who have passed… we included Mark.

She asked, somewhat hesitantly, “Is Ryan ok with this?”

Yes, yes he is.  He’s ok with it. He knows that I’m not coming into this marriage fresh and free with no past. He knows that part of my heart forever belongs to Mark.  He’s ok with it because Mark was my past and he is my future.

I don’t stop being a widow because I’m getting married.

I don’t just turn off the feelings about my dead husband because I’m about to have a live husband.

Changing my name doesn’t change how I feel about the men I love.

But I am blessed to have someone who loves me enough to walk through fire with me, to weather the grief storm with me, to build a future on a foundation of love with me.

So on the night before my wedding… sleeping alone in my bed for the first time in a long while… I get to reflect on how lucky I am to have loved, not once, but twice, enough to wear the title of wife. How lucky I am to have been someone’s happily ever after. How lucky I am that tomorrow, I get to marry the man I will spend the rest of my life loving.

Part of my vows to him:

I can’t promise to love you for the rest of your life, but I promise I will love you for the rest of mine. 

I will love Mark for the rest of my life.  I will love Ryan for the rest of my life.

My heart is big enough to love them both.

18 Years

Today would have been 18 years married.  We were together a year and a half before we got married, so we were coming up on 20 years together.

It has been 5 years since I’ve seen him. Touched him. Heard his voice. Listened to his heart beating.

I am afraid, most of all, of being without him longer than I was with him.  I am jealous of those people who had 30, 40, 50 years.  One client I talk to was a few months shy of 60 years before their spouse died.

Every day, every month, every year, takes me that much further away from when I last saw him and that much closer to the day when I’ll have been without him longer than with him.

I’m not destroyed today.  But I am sad.  And I am doing a lot of self care. And my lovely sexxy chef has been amazing in supporting me and helping me through this day.

Happy Anniversary to the dead guy.

Mar & Jane Wedding

17 Years

As I write this, my new Love is in our bed, sleeping peacefully because he has to work in the morning.  I have no where to be; I have some stuff to do at home but for the most part, my next 3 weeks are my own.

I snuck out of the bedroom. I wanted a few minutes to myself to write this post and I haven’t managed to get them today.  It’s been a busy day.  My friend from Vancouver Island was up visiting this weekend.  My daughter was over printing pictures of my grandson. The drive to the airport was just over an hour and when I got home, there were extra people in the house.

It’s hard to just feel when there are people around.  My house was too people-y.

On the way back from the airport, I had a cry. I talked to him. I yelled at him.I raged against the unfairness of it all.

I was supposed to have 50 years with him and I got barely 14. Not quite 13 married.

There’s a part of me that still rages about that.  Because, yanno, I miss him.  I miss his smile. I miss his laugh.  I miss the look in his eyes when he thought I wasn’t noticing.

But there’s the part of me that doesn’t.

I have a beautiful life in so many ways.

I’m going  back to school – and able to make a difference in other people’s lives.

I’ve met people who are amazing and fun and make a HUGE difference in mine.

I’ve got a new love who loves me intensely.

I’ve got a good life.

And none of it.  NONE of it would have happened if he was still here.

I miss him. I miss my Mark with so much intensity that I don’t know how to breathe when I think of it.

I miss him.  And I’m grateful for every. single. day. I got with him. He taught me so much and allowed me to become more myself than I would have been able to without him.

I wish I could be celebrating the end of an amazing day with Mark. I wish he were here to see his grandsons.  I wish, with all my heart, that we had gotten those 50 years.

But as the saying goes… if wishes were horses…

I can’t change the past. I can honour him, honour our life together, do good for other people, but I can’t change the past.

Happy Anniversary my Love.  I will love you for the rest of my life. You left me with beautiful memories, four amazing children, and a lifetime of love. I was your happy ever after. I got the fairy tale of “until death” and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’d love you and walk that journey with you again if I were asked – even knowing that our paths would diverge.

I love you.

“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

Nights Are the Worst

I have four children.

They are 25, 23, 15 and 14.

The 25 year old has a son, and he lives in Edmonton.  His baby lives in Kamloops.

The 23 year old is due with her first baby in December.  She lives in Edmonton.

My 15 & 14 year old boys live with me.  They’re teenaged boys so they live in their bedrooms – and might as well be in Edmonton.

I live in Quesnel.  It is a min 8 hour drive from Edmonton – but in reality takes 10 hours with pit stops, gas fill ups etc.

So around 7pm, the boys vacate to their room… and I’m left sitting alone in my house.

There’s no other around. No adult to talk to. No one to share my day with (although some days are very boring, like today).  No one to just look over at and know that they’re THERE.

I don’t know how to live alone.

I never have.

But now, I’m alone.  Very alone.

I can feel the depression setting in. I’m silent, my ability to have conversations feels stunted.  I watch my widowed friends, my single friends all couple-ing up.  And I live in a town where I don’t have a circle of friends so I don’t have people to do things with.

I think that’s what makes the *alone* worse than anything.  Not only did I lose my partner, my spouse, my other half; I left my friends.

I don’t, for a moment, regret my choice to live here. My Metalhead Poet was worth taking a chance on. Love always is.

But I’m lonely, and struggling with the time and patience it takes to build a social circle.  Last time I had to, I had Mark with me to stave off the frustrations.

The loneliness is one that is understood and commiserated with by widda peeps everywhere.  But they’re all… elsewhere.

And the nights are the worst.

Grief Is Like the Ocean

It Was Meant To Be…

When I was in employment flux, between my first and second seasons at BC Wildfire, I went to a career counsellor, jumped through some hoops and decided on Licensed Practical Nurse as my upgrade/career path.

My reasons:

  1. The amazing nurses who inspired me.
  2. To be of service
  3. To be there for other people going through what I went through (simliar to #2)
  4. Employability.
  5. Mobility OR stability.

What I didn’t remember… was it was something I had thought about a long time ago.

This was part of an update post on April 13, 2012.  Almost 3 months after he initially went into the hospital.

Mark Healing Community Post

I can’t do a point/arrow/highlight on a picture in a wordpress blog, but right in the middle… It says..

“If I could do it over again I would go into nursing or surgery because that was AWESOME to watch.”

 “I would go into nursing”

And yah.  In 2 months, I will be in nursing.

It was meant to be.  It is happening.

I know for a lot of widows/widowers, the phrase “everything happens for a reason” is cause for white hot rage, seriously offended, going to throat punch the speaker reactions.

For me?  It’s the truth.

Everything happened.  For. A. REASON.

I am exactly where I should be in my life.

I am doing what I am supposed to.

All avenues, all options have closed off and the path towards nursing is brightly lit, clear and safe.

Path

I know where I’m supposed to go from here. I can see the way, and without EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED…

I wouldn’t be here.

I’d be in Squamish still (miss my friends!) working with Co-operators, selling life insurance and probably doing an amazing job at it.

I’d have a husband who requires round the clock care with a recovery measured in years not months.

I’d be exhausted.  My kids would come second to my husband’s needs.  My husband would feel guilty about that.  He’d feel helpless and hopeless and lost and a burden.  I would probably spend more time trying to make him understand that he’s not a burden than just loving him, because he’d need that from me, from us.

The reality is, life would have amazing beautiful moments.  I would still be Mrs. Mark Smith.  I wouldn’t resent it for a moment.   But it would be my life, focussed entirely on my husband.

But now, I’m allowed to shine.

A friend of mine blogged a long time ago… he gave me my life back.  I know that he’d be here if he could… but in the end, he loved me, loved his family enough to let us out of the limbo we were in.  He loved us enough that he would have fought if there were any real options left.  But there weren’t.  So he let go, and let us move forward.

And now… where I’m supposed to be is coming to fruition.

I love him so much more for being willing to let go.  For doing what’s best for EVERYONE, instead of holding on and keeping us in that holding pattern.  It shows how amazing of a person he was.   And I wish everyone who reads this could have met him.  Could have known him.

He was so incredible and I was so blessed to have been loved by him.  So blessed to have been his wife for 13 years.  So blessed to be the mother of his children.  So very blessed to have loved him to his last breath.

Content

I am content these days.

I miss my Mark every day. He was my love, my sexxy man.  Had a lovely conversation with his brother last night… was feeling so incredibly lonely and then out of the blue Wade calls me to catch up.

I miss Mike every day.  He was mo chroi. It’s so weird to know he lives 5 mins away from me and we’re just *not* together. I don’t know if we’ll find a way back to each other.  I wish him happiness either way.  I hope he finds what he’s looking for, even if that’s not with me.

I have a tattoo for each of them on me.  They are both forever a part of me.

But overall, I’m content with my life.  I am more or less happy with the direction my life is going.  I have amazing opportunities appearing in my life.  I’m slowly building a circle of friends who I enjoy spending time with.  My boys and I are getting along and I think I’m doing fairly well with this whole ‘single parenting teenaged boys’ thing.

I said to someone about 2 months after he died… “If he wasn’t already dead I’d kill him for leaving me to raise teen boys by myself!!”

But I think I’m doing ok.

I’ll be ok.  I still grieve.  I still cry.  I still have moments/days of intense loneliness.   I curl up on my couch those days and pretend I’m being snuggled from behind.

But mostly… I’m content.   It’s a weird place to be, content.  It hasn’t happened in at least 4 years.

Peace

Grey’s Anatomy

I have been watching this show since inception.

After my husband had his heart attacks, he couldn’t watch it anymore… too much close to home.

After my husband got sick, I kept watching it.

And then my husband died.

And then they killed off Mark Sloan – an entire episode of watching a major character die.  And then another episode of the lead up to it.  And they turned off the machines, withdrew life support and watched him die… exactly the way my husband died.

And I kept watching.  Because they wouldn’t do that again, would they?

And then Derek died.  Meredith had to decide to turn off the machines.

Fuck, again?  Another major character.  Dead.  The same way my husband died.  Hooked up to life support, care withdrawn.

So for the last 3 or 4 weeks, I’ve been watching the ENTIRE series.  All of it.  Including Mark Sloans death.  And Derek’s death.

You have to ask.. why watch a show that brings up so much pain? Why watch something that causes me to relive those moments?

Why hurt myself that much?

Because I need to feel.

Because every time I watch a character I love die…. I’m reminded that it’s ok to feel.

It’s a form of therapy.

I’ve had one other revalation lately.

I want a Derek. *jump to 1:39 for the part of the scene that I’m talking about*

I want to be loved enough (again) that being together – finding a way to be together despite differences and arguments and stresses – being willing to WORK on those things because the love is more important than holding onto a grudge or a hurt or a mistake or 10.

And I keep watching Grey’s Anatomy, because despite the fact that it is a fictional show with fictional characters, that kind of love exists.  I lived with it for 14 years.  And I know I can have it again.

And I still torture myself by watching Grey’s Anatomy.   Because watching Grey’s means that I can’t hide from the grief.  I can’t pretend it doesn’t still exist.  I can’t ignore that a part of me is still missing, will forever be missing even when I find my Derek again.

I WANT my LIFE back!!!

… oh wait.  No I don’t

I mean I do.  I want HIM back. I want to feel his ARMS around me.  I want to see his face when I kiss him into insensibility.  I want to hear his laugh.  I want to be bored to tears as he passionately talks about all things fish and rivers.  I want him to sit with me and help me study for an exam on a subject that bores him.

But… I want all that NOW.

But… I wouldn’t have my NOW if he were alive still.

I want my life back… but I don’t.

It doesn’t make sense.  I miss him. I hurt over him. I can have grief waves where his absence makes me wonder how I’ll survive another minute without him.

But I love the direction my life is going.

I love the options I have.

I love so much about my life NOW… and I wouldn’t have had it if he were here.

But I want my husband back.

But… I want to keep my life as it is…

It’s so conflicting… being on the verge of “LIFE IS AWESOME” while still being pulled by “BRING HIM BAAAACK!!!”

There’s so many weird thoughts… the missing him never stops.  The memories still tear.  The pain still haunts.

But the anticipation for the future beckons.  The excitement for what will be is overwhelming.  The world of “what will be” and all the possibilities…. I feel GOOD about what could be.

And I feel slightly guilty that I do.

I will always love and honour my Mark, my Love, my sexxy redhead.

I will always wish for a different outcome.

I will always grieve for the loss of what could have been.

I will always have trigger moments as things happen and life happens and he’s not here to share it with me.

But I will share them with my Chapter 2, whoever he will be.

I am excited about the possibilities of building a life with a new Love.

I am giggly with anticipation with the “what could be’s” with … someone… whoever that may be… who wants to share my life with me, and let me share their life with them.

I look forward to being someone’s last love, or someone being mine.

I’ve been someone’s last love.  I have loved until death parted us…and I will always love… and I will love again.

Learning to be alone?  Kinda sucks.  But it’s kinda exciting as well.

Loving and knowing that I’m loveable?

Beyond priceless.

I want my life back… but I want my life as it will be.

Kintsugi

Widowed Twice

I can’t imagine.

I literally cannot imagine going through it again.

The shock.

The pain.

The numbness.

The numbness wearing off.

The pain.

OH my gawd the pain.

I can’t imagine being in a place where you’re happy, your heart is full, you’re moving forward…. and just like that…. the rug is yanked out from under you again.

I can’t imagine.

And yet… a member of the widowed community… has had that happen.

She found her chapter 2.

She was engaged.  Blending families.  Looking forward to a life of love after the loss she experienced prior.

And just like that, her fiancé died.

My heart goes out to her and her family.   I can’t imagine.  But I can offer her love and support.

It's Too Late