It’s a journey

Life goes on.  A week ago I was worrying about my sister-in-law.  Another surgery in the books, and not an easy one.  A full five hour operation, so a lot of anesthesia that can make for a lousy recovery.  She came through it okay, but nothing is ever easy for her.  By day two there were some issues and worries, but here we are just over a week later and she’s home and on the mend.

It was tough walking into the hospital again.  The last time I was there I was with Kevin, my Kevin.  It didn’t end so good for him.  Fortunately, the outcome was better this time.   Still, it was an emotionally draining seven or eight days riddled by recollections of Kevin and worries about June.   And so the memories are all back up and fresh in my mind.  This has been a week of tears.  A week where I have said his name so many times, hoping for a sign, a message, anything.  I miss him.

It doesn’t help that there is also emotion and sadness in my workplace as one of my co-workers goes into her final decline.  Not someone I worked with, but a person I knew of and admired for her spirit and determination.  Her immediate team will be pierced by loss, and that loss is imminent.  I recognize that this news has destabilized me, I feel so deeply for the family she will leave behind, even though I have never met them.  My loss is old, their’s will be new.  It has nothing to do with me, and yet it has the power to make my heart ache.

Kevin used to say he was a man of extreme highs and extreme lows, and he was.  But really isn’t that what life is, a series of highs and lows.  Sometimes it feels like the waves will pull you down and drown you and other times you just float on the surface and bask in the sun.  We are all at different points and that’s all it is.

 

 

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.

A Question or Two

It’s odd how few people feel comfortable asking the things they really want to ask.  It takes a brave person to do so.  I mean, how often have you been in conversation with someone and in the back of your mind you have a question you would so love to ask, but you know it would likely be overstepping the bounds of good taste, privacy, or appropriateness, and so the question goes unspoken.

Interestingly, last week I had a conversation with a woman who dropped the pretence and asked me some of those questions.  It caught me off guard, but nevertheless, I answered her as best I could.  By way of background, she is married, does have children, and whether her marriage is ideal or not, I don’t know – I don’t  know her well enough.  Maybe that’s why she could ask me those questions.

She asked, “What do you miss the most?”  I answered, “A number of things, intimacy will always be high on the list, but there are so many other things.  Having a warm body to snuggle into when I am cold, exchanging a knowing glance about someone or something absurd, the warmth and banter of debate and discussion, silent companionship, having a reason to rush home … so many things.”

She asked, “What do you find the hardest.”  I answered, “Simply adjusting.  Sounds like a cop out but it’s not.  The adjusting never seems to stop.  I had to adjust to living alone, to living on less, to looking after everything – and I still am.  It all takes effort, and it gets tiring having to work at things especially when you don’t have the energy or inclination to do it.  The hardest thing for me has been adjusting: physically, mentally, emotionally.”

She asked, “Don’t you find it less stressful only having to worry about yourself?”  I answered, “It’s not that simple. I still worry about my family and friends.  I especially worry about my family; because I have had such an intense loss, it feels like at any time someone else could be wrenched from my life.  That sense of grief is indescribable, and as close to unbearable as anything I’ve ever faced.  So I do still worry.  Is it less stressful being on my own?  Sure, in some ways.  I don’t have to factor in another person’s views, needs, feelings, calendar.  It’s just about me, so that’s easier for sure, but I don’t consider this a glamorous or desirable state, because I didn’t ever want to be here.”

She asked, “Would you ever join a dating site?”  I answered, “If you are asking –  have I joined one, then the answer is no.  And, for the future, I can’t see me joining one.  Right now I’m not looking for a relationship, and I have plenty to keep me busy.  I’ve heard so many stories, and from people I know, about the predators on those sites, chatting you up and then asking for cash.  It just isn’t worth it for me.  I know that there are some good, strong relationships that can come out of them and so they serve a purpose for some, but just not for me.”

She asked a few more questions but the conversation ended pretty soon after with me gently admonishing her.  “The grass isn’t always greener – just like the saying goes.  I bet your life is a little chaotic right now and by comparison mine looks pretty good.  But trust me, I’d give so very, very much to have that chaos back.  Don’t wish your time and love away.”

And I didn’t cry once through the whole conversation.

I’m Okay You Know

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.

 

February

We move into a month that has mixed emotions for me.  I think of the birth of my grandson, my daughter’s little boy, one month before my husband’s death.  I think of the shocking news we received on the same day as baby was being born.  While Lennox was arriving one of my husband’s good friends was dying, in the same hospital on the same day.  Tom, died suddenly of a heart attack that had been giving off warning signs for days.

The warning signs had been mistaken for heartburn.  We all hear about the similarities between the two, yet sadly can’t recognize the symptoms when they present themselves. Tom died and Kevin was devastated.  He resolved to do what he could for Tom’s widow and helped with the musical arrangements.  He also wanted to go to visitation.  And he did.  Barely able to walk, a friend of his phoned ahead to the funeral home and they held everyone aside as we arrived.  Kevin walked with a walker, no wheelchair for him that night.  He consoled Tom’s widow and left every single person, and there were plenty, absolutely dumbfounded that he had attended.  He was just that kind of a guy.  You give a 100 percent to those you love.  He loved his friends.

Three weeks after Tom’s funeral, and just a few days before Kevin died, Tom’s widow stopped by.  She brought flowers.  A quick hug and a word of thanks, and a sad smile as she told me privately, as she got ready to head back home, that there were some big black birds hanging around my house.  She couldn’t help but think that one of them was her Tom. ‘He had no sense of direction, so he’s probably hanging around waiting for Kevin to help him on his way.’  Funny if anyone else had of said something like that I would have been upset, but with her I wasn’t.  You see, I needed those small comforts, like the thought that there was someone Kev could hang out with as soon as he left me, and Tom was a pretty great guy.  So I laughed with her and told her I hoped Tom wasn’t in a hurry because Kevin, even after he died, was likely to want to stop and check out everything on the other side as he passed along the way. He always did.

So February is a month with mixed memories for me.  The highs and the lows of being alive.  I look at my grandson and think how lucky we were that he arrived in time to be held by his granddad. Although he won’t remember it, I do, my daughter does.   I just wish that there had of been more – more time to make memories, more days to share, more opportunities to talk and more importantly to listen.  I miss him.