This month is not getting any easier. It is as expected – very emotional and very difficult. Every night I find myself in tears. Every night I make the same simple request:
Kevin, please come to me in my dreams tonight. I need you honey.
When I was younger I used to wonder if I would marry. When I had a crush on a boy I would write my name out over and over using the last name of the boy I liked. I worried that I would never get married, that I would never have children. I met Kevin when I was 21 and he was 28. As he would later tell me, he was just coming off of the seven year weekend. Seven solid years of partying where the weeks blurred together as he travelled across Canada and back, playing keyboards for a bunch of different bands.
We met at a bar, the Caribou Club, a place where Newfoundlanders went to hear “music from down home.” I was with my mother, a Newfoundlander. Kevin was in the house band. Two years later, after an unorthodox proposal – “you’re what?” – we were married. His mother had our wedding planned within weeks of learning that I was pregnant. At our wedding some of the guests made bets as to how long it would last, not for any reason other than the fact that we were polar opposites in almost every way.
So 33 years after meeting, getting married, raising three children and welcoming three grandchild, he’s gone. Full of dreams right to the end. He dreamed large and he lived life to its fullest. Kevin was close to retirement at the time of his death. He’d already planned his next career, or two. He wanted to paint and exhibit his paintings; he also wanted to teach at a local university. He’d put the wheels in motion for both of these aspirations. It was a devastating realization for him that he simply would run out of time. Thus, to keep his love of art alive we set up the endowment fund. Thanks to all who generously supported it, the first Kevin Batchelor Award for Painting will be given in October of this year.
I talked through this with my daughter tonight at dinner, about how hard it was to work through the details of this award. How final it all is. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. When Kelly and I are together we inevitably find lots to cry about. Tonight it was exercise. Kevin was committed to exercising all through his illness. He was riddled with bone cancer but through sheer determination he would find a way to incorporate exercise into his day. When the weather was too cold or it was too icy to walk outside, he’d wait for his sister to come over to watch the Y & R and he do exercises at the kitchen bar with her during commercials. I wonder how much pain it caused him, I know it hurt. He could hardly breathe but he’d still push himself.
Every day I visualize his eyes, such a deep blue, and so very sad as he progressed further through the stages of cancer. His eyes that finally lost their intensity when the doctor told him the cancer had spread to his lymph. There was defeat in his eyes and that was perhaps the hardest thing for me to see. I think everyone in the family realized that Kevin had let go of all hope just by looking in his eyes. The interest and fire had been replaced by a sadness and longing, it was like he was memorizing every detail of our faces to imprint them forever in his mind. I hope it worked.
So now all I have is the man in my dreams and only if he answers my request: Kevin, please come to me in my dreams tonight. I need you honey.