It was three years on March 29th. Kevin died peacefully at home, with all of his immediate family around him. How silly was I ever to think, to worry, that the memories I cherish would fade, that I would lose them. They are all still there, the good memories and the tough ones. It’s magical how the mind can transport you back; how real and fresh the images are, how sharp the pain still is. He was, for so long, the heart, the breath and the soul of this family, that I still struggle to move forward. Kevin was, quite simply, my purpose for being, he was my world.
I read the posts our friends put up on the anniversary of his death, and I received messages from friends and family. I reflected on what a huge loss it was when he died, what a tragedy that someone who lived life so fully lost the privilege of ‘being’ so early. Kevin had so many plans and dreams, so much passion and love – we were so blessed to have had him in our lives. He did the things he wanted to, without regret. Never could it be said that he let an opportunity pass by, he believed that you had to get out there and make things happen. I am a better person for having loved him.
I truly believe the person we are is the result of the paths we’ve chosen and the people who have crossed them or join us on them for a time. We can either learn as we travel or we can blindly go forward, that’s on us. For the last three years I have blindly gone forward, out of necessity since it was just too painful to look for any lessons to come out of this. But they are there, lurking around in my mind, waiting for me to sift through them. Maybe soon I will tackle that process, because those lessons are important and it is the final legacy of my journey with Kevin – so I owe him that, to learn from him one last time.
I hate the last week of March, it has such strong memories and my emotions are quite unpredictable at times. My wedding anniversary was March 24th, and more pointedly Kevin died on March 29th – two heart rending events that I still mourn. I know I go a little offside at this time, and so I have booked the week off work to save my peers the agony of having to deal with me, and to save me face since I know I go a little nutty. The plan, when I booked the time off, was to travel someplace, anyplace just to take my mind off things.
This leads to my current dilemma. After my last outing (November 2017) on the cruise, I didn’t fare so well. Got sick day one and actually stayed sick until Christmas. A head cold that morphed into the real-deal flu (despite my flu shot prior to the cruise) and then on to pneumonia. After this experience, I told my sister, who is my travelling partner, that I had no plans to go anywhere by plane or by ship for a while. A staycation was what I was going to do in March. Well a few days of minus 30 degrees Celsius weather had put paid to that. My sister suspected the extreme chill might change my mind and had sent me a few emails highlighting some sunny warm resorts. Now I find myself scanning the all inclusives, looking to spend that week someplace warm.
And so it is decision time: where to go? I am leaning towards Cuba. I’ve been there a few times before and am favouring it because of the beautiful beaches and the fairly consistent good weather. I recall from previous vacations there that the food was not spectacular, and the hotels rate themselves a little more generously than I would (a four star in Cuba is more like a three star in the Dominican and Barbados). However, it is a direct flight and there are a few good hotel chains located there. I want an all-inclusive where the biggest decision I make in the morning is whether to lay by the pool or out on the beach. And where nobody cares if the woman in the lounge chair behaves a little peculiarly – they just figure I may have had a bit too much to drink.
Will I pick up a bug on the plane? Maybe, but at least this time I will have packed a small stash of remedies to see me through!
Sometimes after I write a post I figure that people think I am sad, depressed or down. I’m not really. I am actually pretty far past that. I have my days, days where I would have to say I am feeling lost and alone, but overall I feel that I have adjusted to my new world order. And I think that, in general, everyone has those types of days. I’m not special. Life for all of us is complicated.
I believe that for the balance of my life I will feel a foreboding going into the winter months, because so many losses are condensed into that timeframe, because my anniversary and Kevin’s death are just five days apart. How could I not feel blue about that? But I believe that I am justified in my feelings and I accept them.
I also feel comfortable in being a little withdrawn during this time. In recognizing the hole in my life that developed when Kevin died. It exists and it is my reality, and to pretend that everything is the same as ever isn’t honest, because it’s not the same. I live in an altered state, and that’s okay, because I am living, breathing and moving forward in life. It’s my choice as to how I will grieve for the things that I have lost, so if I do it quietly, so be it. It’s a matter of getting by, just getting by. And I am.
That’s what I woke up to in the middle of the night. Two thirty in the morning and an intense pounding pain in my head woke me up. It was one of those headaches, if you’ve ever had a severe headache, where I could hear the blood rushing through my veins, hear and feel my heart beat. It hurt more to lie down than it did to sit up. Sit up in the dark because the light hurt my eyes too much.
I haven’t had a migraine for a long time now. I suffered with them before in the past, but literally when Kevin got sick, most of my ailments went away. It was like I didn’t have time for them anymore. A lot of things happened when Kevin was diagnosed. Shock does crazy things to people, for me, I literally went through menopause. Not long and drawn out for me, nope, I was done completely as of that moment in June of 2014 when we heard the words “you’ve got advanced cancer”. Last night’s migraine was a surprise to me, I thought that they’d been banished forever too, but evidently I got that wrong. Fortunately I had my meds, although expired, I’d kept them and ended up taking three doses before I settled the thing down.
I’m not really surprised by the migraine, things have been building up as I get closer to the one year anniversary of Kevin’s death. I find that I am crying almost every day, small things set me off. I’ve got no interest in going out or doing anything. It’s even a push to sit down here and write out my thoughts. I’m not eating great, not sleeping well; all of these things are likely contributors to the migraine. I imagine myself right now as a plane that is trying to land but bouncing from wheel to wheel, precariously off balance. I don’t have confidence that I can land without some sort of damage. That’s how I feel, off balance, out of control.
There’s no magic answer or proven coping techniques that I can use to get through this. I have great family and friends all around me, but I am afraid that for these next couple of weeks we are in parallel but separate worlds. I know that they are there, but I am in a different space altogether. I am back in the world of loss and sorrow, flying through a mist made of tears. Not a journey I’d wish on anyone.