Mother’s Day

Bittersweet day.  A very difficult day for the family.  For my sister-in-law, it is loving the children that are here, but mourning the one that she lost.  For me, it was acknowledging how big of a part my husband played in making Mother’s Day an ‘event’.  This year it seemed as though the two of us hit the crazy zone at the same time and were absolute nut cases going into Mother’s Day.

I know I was a little crazed.  I didn’t really even want to celebrate the day.  I went to bed the night before thinking about how hard it must be for many people, not just for me.  For those women who had lost children, women who never had children, women and men who never knew their mothers, or who had and had never liked them, for those who suffer or suffered abuse at the hands of their mothers.  This ‘one size’ day of celebration could be a nightmare for many.  Fortunately I woke up to the smell of eggs benedict and sausage cooking, an effective way to banish such thoughts!

Through the years Mother’s Day has typically been an awesome day for me.  Because I had my children and their father to make it special.  With Kevin gone it has lost a lot of its lustre, it carries a tinge of sadness that it shouldn’t. Now, what I hope is that my children, each with their own spouses, will make each and every day special for them, for their partners and their children.  Look to their future, love what they have.  I loved what I had and I am thankful that I had it.  But now for me, as to Mother’s Day as an event, meh, I can do without it.

One foot in the present, one foot in the past

I think about the challenge it is to have a long term relationship end.  In my case it was my husband’s death, for others it may be divorce.  But loss is loss, and who’s to say how it should be, what one should feel, how one will cope. The thing is managing the memories.  Memories that weave through families: in children, in places, in events.  They are invisible, those ties, strands of emotion that can tangle you up before you know it.

I was worried after Kevin died that I would forget.  Forget the times we shared, the life we led, his voice, his laugh, his presence.  I realize now that I will never forget.  The ties are just too strong.  I’ve mentioned before that I hear him in my head, and I do.  Sometimes not loud enough, sometimes too loud.  Just like in life.  Last night I had a dream and I woke up knowing he had told me to do something.  But I couldn’t remember what it was he told me to do. If it was important then I suspect that he’ll be back to remind me tonight. I’d  better put paper and pen beside the bed because I don’t want to piss him off by forgetting again!  (It’s humour folks, I’m not losing it.)

These next couple of weeks will be tough ones.  Our anniversary on the 24th, his death on the 29th.  I find myself flashing back and forth between the present and the past.  Unavoidably.  I never would have ever thought he would have been my past, that wasn’t the deal, and yet now he is.  But he is still my future, because life with him made me who I am, because I will always know how he thought and what he felt.  Because the lives he and I created together continue to grow, more grandbabies – twins.  Because he would have loved that.  So I send you my love Kevin, and I say: ‘How I wish, how I wish you were here….’

So that’s it then

That’s another big event down for yet one more year.  Not as many tears but still a few unexpected moments.  Like tonight, when we dropped off my oldest son at his in-laws place, when my daughter-in-law’s dad said, as I was hugging the grandkids, “So sad that Kevin isn’t here to see them.”  My grandkids, my son’s three boys, now five, three, and a year and a bit – growing like bad weeds.  Full of fun and laughter and energy.  Lovely children, who, along with my daughter’s son, are sweet little imaginative boys that granddad could have told tall tales to and spun yarns about when he was a boy.

My Kevin.  He’s been in my mind and heart all through this Christmas.  Images of him have popped into my consciousness, of times long ago when the kids were little; from when we first met; our last Christmas. I am afraid that I let him down this year and that’s why he’s been so active in my mind.  I didn’t get many Christmas cards out.  You see, I have one final sketch that he did that I was planning on using.  But it felt like if I used it then that was it – finality.  There would be emptiness after that.  So I didn’t – I sent out a few pre-printed cards and then left it at that?

Perhaps next year I will be braver or stronger or more accepting.  But not this year, maybe next Christmas…

Happy Birthday to me

I had a birthday earlier this month. Not a big affair for me ever, and even less of an event since Kevin died.  A nice dinner, lots of well wishes and an early night.  The day passed and I went in to work as usual the next day.

Always my day begins with a trip to the cafeteria for my cup of tea.  That day, as I stood at the cash to pay for my tea, the cashier said to me, “You know there’s something written on your shoulder.  You’ve got chalk on your shoulder.”   I had on a royal blue sweater and I glanced at my shoulder but I couldn’t  quite read the word there.  “It says ‘love’.  Someone wrote love on your shirt.”  She’s a sweet girl that I see everyday, so with familiarity she pulled me over and tried to brush off my shirt.  Finally satisfied, she let me go, laughing that someone would do such a thing.

i walked back to my desk where I was stopped along the way by yet another co-worker who said, “You know you have the word love written on your shoulder, don’t you.”  She, too, tried to brush it off but I stopped her, saying “Don’t bother, Liz already tried to get it off, that’s as good as it gets.”  Frankly, I didn’t want it brushed off at that point, I felt like it was a message for me.  You see I had originally planned on wearing that top on my birthday but opted at the last minute for a heavier sweater since the day was so darn cold.

Who has chalk around the house?  That’s what it was written in, nice white teacher-type chalk.  Kevin was a teacher.  So in my crazy world, to me, that message in chalk was a gift from my husband, from Kevin, for me on my birthday.  Love that I can wear everywhere and anywhere.  It was a visible mark, a written word for the world to see, and a reminder to me that I carry his love with me for ever and always; love that is there whether I see it or not.

Crazy story, puzzling coincidence, and absolutely true. The best birthday gift ever.

Shine On

i am heading into the hard part of the year.  January to March – hard for a multitude of reasons.  Deaths, lots of them, close and personal: my mother (January), father (February), father-in-law (February), mother-in-law (March), husband (March) topped off with what would have been my anniversary (March) – significant events that loom ahead of me.   I can’t remember last year’s Christmas it was overshadowed by the impending sadness. All I could think of was what I had lost. Loss, over and over again.  My mind, my thoughts consumed by the pain of death.

Now we head into Christmas again, marking, for me, the onset of a dark period.  That’s how I think of it – those life events that will be with me for always – sadness, darkness, heaviness.  I know it’s coming, can’t escape it and actually don’t want to. It’s part of my family history now, of who I am.  I know I can move through it, my family beside me, where I need to be with the people that matter the most.  I know it will be hard; I am keenly aware of the uncertainty of being, we all are in this family.

Twenty months after Kevin’s death and I think I am resignedly moving on in this loss journey from the “what ifs” to the “what is”, but that I will always carry the “what was” in my heart and in my mind.  Otherwise, what was the purpose of being if not to be remembered, of love, if not to be mourned.  Kevin’s star will always shine bright in my universe.