I haven’t written on here for a while. I got caught up in trying to create a life post Kevin’s death. Last year, I decided to move houses, and once the decision was made it happened very quickly. I sold the house that we raised the kids in, and it wasn’t an easy decision to do that. The house was so full of memories and, really, of Kevin.
I’ve moved into a much smaller house, perfect for one person. I am starting to make it my own, and anticipate the spring weather so I can discover the gardens. I have new neighbors, they don’t know me and I don’t know them – absolute bliss!! And I am toying with giving the house it’s own name. A sign nailed to the tree in the front yard. I am leaning towards something like “Safe Haven”, because that is what I envision this place to be. My little nest tucked away from the chaos of life.
Now I need to get back to the business of writing. It’s been too long since I sat down and let my thoughts flow. I feel like perhaps I am closing the circle of grief just a little, I can’t explain what that means, just that there was an intensity and drive for expression right after Kevin died, and then a lull or void where it didn’t matter. Now that apathy has passed and my interest is back and it just feels good. It could be because it’s spring, it could just be time, it could be the imminent birth of another grandchild; it could be all of those things.
I reflect though on how everything has changed and yet the things I feared through change didn’t come to be. I survived it. Family stayed strong, memories remain, love remains, friends remain. Life goes on, smaller and bigger at the same time, but always moving forward.
Another heavily promoted day to share with those you love. Coming out of Christmas and heading into Valentine’s, it just keeps the wound open.
For the three of four years before he got sick, Kevin and I would celebrate Valentine’s Day. We would do it in style, with another couple we were friends with, actually it was a teacher he taught with. The males would coordinate the meal, serve us and always there was a ridiculously expensive bottle of wine that went with the meal. That was Kev’s contribution, anything less than $40 a bottle was ‘swill’, and it wasn’t unusual to have a bottle that cost a whole bunch more. It was always a fun evening, especially if Kevin had a drink, he was not a drinker at all and so things could get pretty outrageous if he had a glass or two. These are the memories I have of Valentine’s Day.
Fast forward to the present, and all around me people are planning their special evening. At work there is a fundraiser for the United Way, buy a bouquet and support the Way. All I can think of is the reality that my husband isn’t here to buy me flowers anymore. Not that he did often, he had a thing about buying something dead (flowers) and giving it as a gift. Early on in our marriage he’d tell me that he could hear the flowers scream in pain as they were being picked. Still, occasionally he would get me some. He’s the only one I ever wanted them from. No one else.
That’s what Valentine’s Day does for me, reminds me of sadness. A dull throbbing sadness now, still just as deep, just not as sharp. I don’t think I’m the only one. I see people all around me who are on their own, with no one to make their day ‘special’. I doubt that they get a warm fuzzy feeling about the day. I suspect it wouldn’t be so bad if big box store marketing campaigns hadn’t made it into such a pressure to celebrate. It’s really not fair on a multitude of levels, but I never ever thought about it until I was one of have-nots watching from the outside.
Imagine that in life there was this amazing repository where we could store the best days of our lives. A sort of bank of those outstanding days where the world is right. It was only open one day a year for you to deposit your days, and you could only access what you’d stored on that same day. What would you put in there?
I think about things like this all the time. How incredible it would be to have a few of those days back, safely stored in all their dimensions. To relive as they occurred: in my youth and in my middle age and in my future when I am aged. A fantastic escape to what was, a reinforcement of all my life and experience.
Memory provides the shadows, this would give all the colours. Imagine that all those days are stored in space and time. Imagine. Love is never lost and youth is never gone. Joy surrounds us and serenity is within our grasp. Imagine.
Our imagination and our memories are gifts, for most of us anyway. Sometimes it’s good to relax and let go and just let your mind wander. That’s what I’m doing tonight – remembering and imagining.
It’s a new year and that means a fresh start. In theory. It’s not like something magic happens and all the baggage and stuff from the previous year(s) goes away. It is a crazy notion that some people really believe – “I’m glad to see the end of that year!” – they say, like the slate’s been wiped clean.
So new year’s comes and goes and finally we are through the madness of Christmas. I don’t remember Christmas 2015 – but made an effort to try and be more “Christmas-y” for 2016. It was better but still hard. I envy those families that have no sorrow or stress at Christmas – and I know a few of them. Perhaps they never will experience loss to the extent that others do, that I did. Perhaps they will, who knows and what does it matter really. What is hardest is trying to maintain the false bravado associated with the day, for that matter, with the whole season.
So I was asked what my resolutions would be for the new year. I actually do think that it is a good thing to engage in some retrospection. It’s important to look at habits, opinions, tendencies and figure out if they are beneficial or not. So I did make one resolution, after much thought, for this year – to put more effort into my interactions with others. I find it so easy to retreat, and I am comfortable with being on my own, but I don’t think it’s always healthy.
I will never be that outgoing person that everyone wants to hang out with, but not too many people are. Most of us are the periphery that orbit around the star to grab bit of the glitter that they spin. It can be fun, but it takes some effort. I lost my star in 2015 when Kevin died, and at the same I lost all interest in people other than my immediate family. I had limited capacity. So maybe what my resolution really is, is to exert more effort in my relationships, to work on building my capacity and to start caring again.
Not much more to say. This would have been Kev’s birthday. We would have started celebrating days ago when he planned out exactly what he wanted. The kids would have all been here. Family and friends, helping us enjoy the day. Enjoyment for Kevin, work for me. What I wouldn’t give to be complaining about how much work it was.
Today’s reality was it was an easy day for me work-wise, but one filled with silent tears. Great memories, but memories that are overshadowed by heartache and sadness. Maybe one day I will be able to wake up on the 28th of August and not feel the sorrow, but that day isn’t here yet. So for today it is Happy Birthday thoughts and wishes for a man whose melody continues on in the great cosmos as stardust, magical beautiful stardust.