Tuesday, July 29, 2008

return of the numbness

I don't know if it's normal to have the vague fuzzy feeling like thinking through a pillow re-emerge four months after a death happens. But it has. I feel as if I'm trying to catch glimpses of things as I spin in circles. I can see that things are there but the edges blur and smudge together. I'm late for things all the time...okay, even later than I was before. I can't keep my bloody mind 'on task' and forget where/what I was doing or going.
It was getting better. Maybe it was the large whiteboard that I stationed in the living room to help remind me of the obligations that need attending to. Maybe I was beginning to heal a minute amount (this is what I was hoping).
But whatever reprieve I had from the chaos and confusion of a muddled mind has ended. Fuck. It makes me crabby. I always think I am forgetting something (which I am) and I can't rest or let my mind cease the constant flurry of thought. It's a numb, yet intense feeling. Like walking barefoot through really deep, COLD mud. Slow but sharp.
My only reasoning for this is that grief is not a steady road upward. There are twists, setbacks and road-blocks. I've hit a big-ass speed bump.

Monday, July 28, 2008


We're all home from our week away. The kids spent the weekend with my mom and I headed up alone to the town where Jeff and I met. Fell in love. Had history and many stories. Our town.
The last time I was here was the day before Jeff died. I picked him up and brought him home to go to the doctor.
I avoided the dock where the boat had been docked that day but visited many of the places that contain so many memories...the lighthouse we went to so often in the middle of the night when I had finished my shift....
The pub where we met, that I worked at for so many years and the scene of many of our hilarious stories...
Went to some of the beaches with friends...
Watched some old favourite activities...
And scoped out various things that I remeber looking at with Jeff...so long ago...a different life, it seems....Now all alone.
I felt the lack of his physical presence constantly. I went out dancing with friends...it felt fake and forced. I enjoyed seeing friends. Trying to laugh. But I carried this cynical angry feeling with me as I watched everyone moving and laughing. I tried to pretend to be feeling the same things. The joy. The lack of loneliness.
Don't get me wrong, it was soothing to be there. Like coming home. Feeling wrapped in the familiar. So many memories to relive....
But feeling the hole where all the memories of our future together should have been...
I sat in places that he and I would sit and talk. Crying. Wishing he was with me. Wishing I could have prepared myself for the loneliness of my life without him before he was gone...and it was too late.

I know nothing could have prepared me in all actuality...But I would have sat here with him longer. I would have held his hand harder. Now there is just me. Just me and this lighthouse. In the wind and the sun. Not in the dark watching the strobe of light from tower, listening to the melancholy sound of the 'can-boy' off in the distance while coccooned within Jeff's arms and his jacket.
I saw some of the fisherman and boats that we knew. It was comforting to share the burden of the loss of Jeff with someone else. To have someone who missed him too be close to me.
Someone that I hadn't seen in about six months asked me how Jeff was. Fucking painful and awkward. I didn't want to do this. I didn't want to have to tell the story yet again. But I did. I tried not to cry. I told him it was okay. He didn't need to apologize for not knowing. But I just wanted to leave. I wanted to curl up in my bed with my sweet little ones and sleep. Forget. Disappear.
But this difficult encounter was made up for by the constant presence of loving friends who I am so very grateful for...
The reconnection with dear old pals who I hadn't seen in awhile...
And the comfort from those who miss Jeff so very, very much as well.

I will go back 'home' soon now that I've 'ripped the band-aid off'. Liv wants to get up there too and see people we're close to. I want to bring my beloved Eli up there for one last visit to the village he and I spent so very many years in to get his big old paws sandy on the shore he loved to tear around on and to sleep on the lawn of our favourite restaurant while I eat my lunch on the porch.
It was a wonderful, bittersweet weekend. I'm glad I went...It was another 'first' I've conquered without Jeff. I am hoping that subsequent trips won't as painful.

Friday, July 25, 2008

part ll: the next leg

We were home for one night in between the two parts of our 'journey'. Just enough time for a shower, two loads of laundry and to pack up again. Here are some pictures from the first part of our week. The kids are having a great time and I'm enjoying the company of friends. See you in a few days! I love sitting by the lake and listening to the silence while gazing at the moon. So condusive to sorting out problems...causes a few tears though...
It was fabulous having extra hands everywhere to cuddle kids and make sure they weren't lost in the woods...
It was awesome that Penny was with us!
Sleepin' in the car...
Look! I put up the tent all by myself....even faster than Jeff. He DIDN'T throw out the instructions afterall and I USED them. Easy as pie. Really.
Liv's fairy house...The lakefront of our campsite...
Diesel, the wonder dog (Marnie's)...
Liv has been in constant motion for the last few days...
DUSTY car....
Kirk in the boat with the kids - on land....
Serious snorkeller...(is that a word?)
Making of the fairy house...
A tonne of lake fun...
Lots of walks...
Briar's buddy for the trip, Mickey (Marnie's too)...

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Me and my Marnie. She's the best. I am so stooked that she and I will have almost a whole week to hang out 24/7 while we're camping. I, honestly, don't know what I'd do without all my friends, family, supporters and commentors during this time. Thank you so much to all of you. Thanks for letting me lean and sway.
I'll be back soon...xox

Saturday, July 19, 2008

heading out

So tomorrow is the big test...Can I really camp without Jeff? With two little ones AND sanity partially intact? I'm dreading/excited about it. A bunch of us girlfriends and their kids are going....plus, one husband. I don't know if he knows that no other men are going. We had a similar camping trip last summer with Jeff as the token husband. I didn't actually tell him that his camping companions for the week would be all female or under four feet tall until we all arrived and were setting up the tent. *snicker* He wasn't impressed at first but soon had a great time. He had us all giggling and we, in turn, had him shaking his head at some of the conversations that he found himself privy to.
So, wish me luck putting up our ridiculously large tent (it even has a lightswitch!) without his help or any instructions (he threw them out). I'll take pictures of the finished product.
I'll update in a week when the camping laundry is in the machine and the campfire smoke has been washed from our hair.

Friday, July 18, 2008

if you don't want to know for real, look away

My posts have sucked lately. I know. They aren't about anything. Just bullshit that happens around here. Not what really happens around here.

I am trying to be upbeat. Not so melancholy. Not so pissed off. I am trying to do what everyone tells me is 'appropriate' behaviour at this fucking time. "Keep your chin up. Don't wallow. Don't cry in front of the kids. Find things that make you happy." It reminds me of an article I read when I was about 13. It said that if you feign confidence and self-assurance, you'll one day begin to believe it. I am really trying. I take pictures of myself shelling peas and intend to write a post about the 'joy' it brings me to eat food from the garden...My former self found real satisfaction in this. I try to find ways to look at the various occurrances around the house with humour....It's just not funny. (Fuckles got ANOTHER goddammed batch of newly hatched chicks and just hatching ducklings a couple of weeks ago. It's just not funny anymore. It's sick.) I attempt to plan camping trips with the kids and our good friends...I find myself completely stressed over packing, printing off maps, grovery shopping and finding dog sitters (I am NOT taking that asshole, Fuckles, camping or anywhere else right now. In fact, I wonder if the vet will give me a 2-for-1 deal when I have Eli put down....Okay, I wouldn't really do that, but I do fantasize.) I end up imagining myself in the dark, damp quiet of the tent crying over the fact that Jeff isn't here with me and the kids and neither is Eli.

I feel consumed with anger. I want to lash out. I'm not talking the "Oh, poo! Am I ticked off!" anger. I am talking the sort of rage that makes you want to push sweet old ladies into traffic, kick soft, floppy eared puppies and scream obscenities at three year olds blowing bubbles. There is no rhyme or reason to this fury. I just want to reach out of my body and explode. Like a large burning blob of lava. Burning up everything in my path.

There is no specific target and no apparent reason for all this anger....Other than the loss of Jeff. The aging of my sweet Eli. The unresolved illness of my beloved Bub (grandpa). Life in general.

I know this wrath does not assist anything or anyone...but it's there and I can't chase it away...no matter how many pictures of garden vegetables I take.

I want to kick at those who suggest I behave a certain way. Do a specific thing. Take up a particular action. Who the fuck are they? How the fuck do they know? Why the fuck do they care?! I want to be left alone.....But I am so lonely.

My emotions are like the things you find in the garbage bin. Things that would never find themselves in the same location except when they are being thrown out. A cucumber peel. A toenail clipping. A snarled up ball of wire. A bra tag. They don't make sense when they're together. I don't make sense.

It seems that I am alone in this. I AM alone in this. There are so few young widows. Matt and I speak on the phone regularly and I come away feeling understood and almost hopeful that I can carry on conversations one day without trying to pretend to be okay...Just really actually being okay. For real. For me. Not for anyone's expectations of me or my actions. Knowing that someone can hear me and have no judgements because they do truly know what it is like is amazing. Everyone is an expert, it seems. It's easy to be an expert when you don't have to stare this reality in the face every waking and non-waking moment.

I hate everything. I don't want to deal with anything. I want to curl up in a ball and cry/sleep/die. I get the 'you're so strong.' I'm not. I've fallen into a million pieces but I have to stand here with the kids. I am a vacant void and I feel awful. If you had no one, you'd have to get up too. I don't have the fucking luxury of becoming comatose. There is no one else. I am alone.

I try to comfort myself with my memories of my love. I am told that I should put those thoughts out of my head. I don't want to! I want to remember him. I want to hold onto any tiny fragment of him that I can and cherish it. Protect it. As long as I have those memories, there is proof that he was. My kids can know him. I can feel loved. I can attempt to not feel so alone. I can giggle at things that he did or said. I can pretend that all isn't lost.

So, anyhow, here are the fucking peas. I am oh-so-happy that I can eat from my garden. It means so fucking much. It's all so fucking special.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

playing with the moon

Up again late last night....Saw the moon. Tried again to take some pictures of the bright moon setting the fog on the lake aglow. Not hugely successful (no tripod and the wash line was in the way of my shot when I tried to anchor my elbows on the deck railing)....but then, I discovered that I can paint with the moon! Liv was pretty impressed when I showed her in the morning. Other adults may not find it as interesting, but to me, anything that makes me smile right now is like gold.

I think this one makes the moon look like a UFO...

like a hole in the head

Jeff had promised Liv that she could get her ears pierced for her sixth birthday. I could have said 'no'....But how could I deny this sweet little face this joy? (How can having a small metal post thrust through your ear lobe be a 'joy'?) It makes me shutter to look at those tiny little ear lobes and see those holes. I had to try to not focus on the technical side of the piercing. (I once passed out when friends talked about another friend's labour.) But we both made it through the experience. Liv even made it without tears....
I still feel so bloody ripped off when we do things that we were supposed to do with Jeff. Will the feelings of injustice ever subside? I realize that these feeling don't serve any positive purpose and that they just cause me pain, but I can't help but to feel pissed off.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

big city, big world

To celebrate Liv's birthday this year, we went to the 'big city'. As always, one of the highlights of the trip was the ferry ride. I remember being SO excited as a child to catch the ferry. It didn't matter where we were going, I just wanted to ride the ferry! My kids seem to have the same infatuation. The wind, the expanses of deck to run around on, the card games brought aboard, the special snacks, occasionally seeing people you know travelling to the mainland as well. What's not to love?! The two hour ride went too fast for the kids and we had moans of "What? We're here already?"
My wonderful friend, Erin, and her girls came over with us to spend the day. I am so glad they came! It made the trip even more special.
We saw many of the varieties of fish that Jeff caught and I remembered stories and info that Jeff had told me about some of them. It made me feel close to him.
Liv has been completely tranfixed by the live web cam of the baby beluga that was born at the aquarium. She begged to go see Qila and her calf in person...er, whale. I'm a bit torn since I appreciate the educational purposes of the aquarium but I am loathe to see these animals out of their environment, in relatively puny tanks just for the enjoyment of people. But we went anyhow. Liv was so stoked. So was Briar.
My brother, Adrian, met us there and thankfully carried Briar around the majority of the time in the Beco (Have I said how much I love this thing?!) I find it fun hanging with my siblings. I find now that we're older it's like being with good friends who share many of the memories I do and have the same interest in dorky science-y stuff. Also, the same sense of humour.

Liv's favourite part of the aquarium ended up being the jellyfish. I had to tear her away numerous times to keep up with us. They are mesmerizing with their undulating, glowing movements. But jellyfish?! I brought you here for the whales!
After the aquarium, we took a trip to Ikea. Erin had never been there so it was quite an experience for her. I only went for a duvet cover...Came home with a few more things. Bloody hell.
Getting back to the ferry after our excursion was interesting. I have to say that I am SO glad that I live on the island. I don't know how people handle that traffic everyday. I find it all so loud and there are too many things I want to look at. I feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Maybe I'm just getting old. I remember soaking it up as a teenager when I'd skip school to go to the city for the day. Now I just find it stressful.