Wednesday, July 29, 2009

home to roost

My babies are back. We've had lots of snuggles. Lots of kisses. Lots of giggles.
I so love these little people to bits.....

Monday, July 27, 2009

strike one

I dropped the kids off at my mom's on Saturday with the intent to have the house to myself, sort through some of Jeff's stuff, and move the bedrooms around (I'm tired of stepping on dinky cars when I step out of bed, finding boogies wiped above my headboard on the wall and having the kids and their friends use my bed as a tent/trampoline/table).
I drove away with a list of productive things that were going to be accomplished while they were away. I started the hour and a half drive home excited and nervous. As I drove, I grew progressively more....angry and sad. Bitter.
I was going home to an empty house. Quiet and desolate. I was going to be moving a king sized bed. Alone.
No matter how loud I turned the stereo, I knew it wouldn't drown out the palpable silence. No amount of hot water from the shower would soften the ache and need to be touched. No promise of organization and unclutteredness could outweigh the sadness I was feeling removing Jeff's 'stuff'.
I know all this thinking was not positive thinking. I realize that I was not giving myself 'happy thoughts' and that I was actually feeling quite sorry for myself....and angry.
This anger made me feel reckless and wild. I brainstormed things I could do to release some of this furious energy. Unfortunately, it's hard to find ways to be reckless while attempting to keep yourself alive. As a mother of two kids that needs to preserve her life in an effort to preserve some sort of life for them, I with my gas cap open? Walk with traffic rather than against? Paint the house puce (I don't actually know what colour that is. I think it's pink but it sounds more like something you'd vomit up.) Eat cold cuts past their due date?
Visions of racing a motor bike, picking fights with larger women, writing rude and descriptive words on the cop shop, flashing my baseballs-in-socks breasts at drivers while standing on a overpass, fire up the chainsaw without the proper safety gear, jumping from a ferry to see if I make it to the water and am able to swim flash through my head.
All these tantalizing ideas are dashed. Too risky. Too embarassing. Too cliche.
Instead, I went home. I stared at Jeff's dresser and told him he was an ass. That at this moment, I was again mad enough to spit nails at him. Why didn't he listen? Why didn't he go to the doctor? I know I come to this place often. I know I should redirect my thinking. But I can't. I need to feel this or the melancholy emptiness will break me.
I sat in the house for an eternity (which in real-time must have been about 1 hour) and screamed this song along with Martha Wainright. *lots of swearing in this one - don't listen to it if you are offended by swearing.*
Then, I got in my car and I drove away from my quiet and empty house. I drove until I got to the town where I feel safe, close to Jeff and comfortable. I found friends. I found peace. I found peace.
I'm home now. I can't wait for my little ones to come back. To wrap my arms around their warm little bodies and see their drawings of tigers and hear their stories of Daddy playing ball in the sky with Eli making the lightning and thunder come. To listen to their noises as they obliviously crash through the house. To be needed. To be wanted. To be loved.

Friday, July 24, 2009

a few things

Before I left for SD, I had meant to write about a couple of things that had happened recently.
I met a truly wonderful Canadian widow, Debbie, who is still in the early stages of widowhood. She and her sweet boys came to visit us on the island after a very hard task. The kids LOVED her boys and have been asking when they'll come visit again!! Wicked sense of humour that lady has!!!

Freckles got a haircut! His summer haircut is in full swing (that's a mohawk and a poodle tail he's sportin'). Although he loves the cool air touching his skin and I love the lack of dog hair swirling around my ankles throughout the house, he is embarassing to take out in public.
Lucy hatched out four little eggs!!! No incubator or brooder for Freckles to break into and cause chickicide...Let see if it works better having a mama chicken to guard her little 'uns.
We had a visit from Jeff's son, Glenn. Since Jeff's death, he has been a real support for us and has really helped out with firewood, etc. I am so proud that I have been able to see him grow into such a good man!
And this picture is just for fun......

quick update

So we made it through the huge stack of VHS tapes. I'll save the DVDs for another day. Managed to sort his huge collection of jackets but completely lost is when I opened his drawers. Sobbed like a crazy person with his indigo rinsed loose fit Gap jeans hiding my face as I sniffed through copious amounts of crying snot to try to smell him....Small progress, though. One step at a time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

it's time....i think

If you had asked me before last weekend when I'd start moving out some of Jeff's stuff, I would have said, "Never....Or maybe in a year or so." But bouyed by the strength and support from other widows met and spoken to about this subject, I feel capable of doing this. At least some of it.
The stress and pain I feel about the removal of Jeff's things is that it feels as if I am removing 'him' from my home. That I am discarding him and our life together. That it will be thought that I am getting rid of him. But NO! I want to cling to him, hold as much of him as I can to us and not let go. Although I know that quite literally he is not his stuff, telling my emotional side this is close to impossible.
I, also, quite irrationally worry that he may need his socks...or his lobster claw lamp...or his 'hat tree'....
So, I am going to start small. My sister is coming over this evening to help me. Jeff had close to 600 videos. Since he has died, I have not even watched one. His addiction to buying DVDs was always a source of annoyance for me. I knew he watched them while at sea, but the accumulation of the media took up space and cost a small fortune.
I am nervous. I am going to try to be methodical and unemotional. I am hoping that many of his things can go to people who loved him and will know just how important all of his stuff is *smirk* but I know that it is possible that things like his bottle cap collection will end up unappreciated....which in turn may make it impossible for me to remove from my home in the near future. It's not that I love the copious amounts of yogourt containers with bottle caps (the man was a bit of a pack rat, people), it's that I love him so intensely that it hurts me to think that no one else will see the love he had for such crap. Crazy?
Anyhow, I am trying to keep my eye on the prize. Space. A job that is inevitable that is started and that much closer to completion. A sign of healing and acceptance.
Yesterday, I spent some time on the phone with some of my rockstar widda friends looking for tips that will ease the pain of the task:
1. Don't do it alone.
2. Start small.
3. Get that someone else to take the things away - seeing them land in a heap at the local Sally Ann could cause me to frantically clutch everything to my chest while screaming, "You bastards!!!! You don't know what this is!!!! You don't deserve it!!!" and sprinting away with plastic Stanley Cups and large tinfoil balls falling from the pile as I run....
4. Try to think of the good things that will come from this -, etc.
5. Give myself a pat on the back and a drink in the hand for a hard job well done.

And, just for anyone who may think it, I am not sending 'Jeff' away. He is still held so dear to my heart. I would cling to him and bury my face into his chest and cry that he was not allowed to leave me if I could. I would tell him that I will love him for all eternity. I would tie myself to him to prevent our seperation by death. But I can't. I need to crawl an inch forward....and unfortunately, his five pairs of gumboots are blocking the way.

The National Conference on Widowhood

A year and a half ago, I would have laughed thinking I would know just how dry (not in tears - but in uninteresting info) and boring this conference would be. You wouldn't have found me within 500 km of it. Now, not only was I nervously excited to attend this conference, I would have been completely wrong in my assumptions if I had judged in my pre-widowhood life.

Being with other people who totally understood the dark humour, the sadness, the hilarity and the struggles that go along with the loss of a spouse was so cathartic and freeing, that I feel refreshed and, literally, lighter from meeting and growing friendships with these truly stellar people.

They get it. They know. They don't shy away from it or compare their loss to others. It is all loss of someone we hadn't expected to lose so young. Our support, our best friends, our loves, our security, our life.

To not have to measure my words, to cease to quiet the morbid humour that others don't get, to release all those strange bits of info that go along with this loss and to hear the odd, sad, humourous and crazy stories that unify us in return was amazing. Truly amazing.

Admittedly, I drank more than I usually do. I swore more and spilled more of my 'guts' than I had planned to, but it was okay. We were all there to catch each other.
I met Matt, who hates March 25th, 2008 as much as I do and who has included me so kindly in the foundation that will help others in our situation. Being with him, provided me with so many laughs and a complex about being Canadian surrounded by Americans. ;)
I met Abigail, whose amazing book helped me to feel not so alone and to feel so understood when I read it soon after losing Jeff. She is fabulous and hilarious. Amazingly, she can still bestow upon me words of wisdom and understanding that I didn't think possible.

Candice was great and, although, she received some unexpected and sad news during our stay, she managed to troop on.

Andrea felt like a long lost friend. She's quirky and sunny and I would have packed her home in my suitcase if I thought we could have got away with it.

Melodie was SO wonderful!!! I am so 'blessed' to be able to call her my new cosmopolitan friend with her unexpected hilarity and supportive kindness.

Rachel, although, she fortunately lacks the 'widow' status, is a rockstar and I love her to bits. Man, can she dance!!!!!

And, Kim, the jet skier extraordinaire, who went on a CRAZY adventure with me all over the harbour resulting in swimming after a wayward jet ski that didn't stop after I threw us from the back with my wannabe pro manuevers, a wayward boob that wanted to see the sights out of the left armhole of her lifejacket and a lost room key that forced a sopping wet me to run through the fancy hotel lobby in search of a replacement in the hopes that she could make her flight in time! Fabulous!
See? Who knew that widows were such a great group?

One thing that I noticed over and over is the realization that we all share, not just in the cognitive sense, but in the 'lived it' sense, that life is short. Don't waste it. Don't regret it. Don't shy away from it. Cry when you need to. Laugh when you can. And keep moving. And, hopefully, as Kim says, I hope that all of our lost loves are looking down at us and laughing and shouting, "Yeah, babe!!!"

While away, I found myself often thinking, "Oh! Liv would LOVE that! Briar would think that was SO cool!!!!" I took so many pictures of things for their viewing pleasure....Now that they've seen them, do I just delete them??

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

gone and home again

Since you last heard from me, I have been to the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation Conference in San Diego and home again. I am headed to bed to rest after a long day of travel home, but I wanted to let you know that

it ROCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Who knew that widows would know how to have such a fabulous time!!

I had such an amazingly fabulous time and will update and upload pictures in the next day or two. I want to say thank you so very, very much to all of you who made it possible for me to go and to all of the amazing and HILARIOUS people that I met. My face STILL hurts from all the laughing.........and my bum aches from a crazy jet skiing adventure (I'll fill you in later).

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

nervous nelly

I'll be heading to San Diego on Friday. I've started planning. I've started packing. I have lists of things to do, get and accomplish. But all I seem to do at night is worry.
The kids will be going camping with lovely Marnie and her kiddos. I am concerned that the kids will be too much for her for such an extended period of time. I'm worried my kids will miss me and won't sleep. I'm terrified that Briar will run unnoticed into the lake, fire, or road. I'm anxious that Liv won't be able to curb her need for order and things to be 'just so' in an enviroment that won't be able to cater to these wants. I'm worried that I won't be able to relax and stay calm without hearing the sound of their soft breathing beside me in the night.
I'll be flying. I'm afraid of travelling so far from the kids. I'm worried about plane cancellations and rerouting causing me to not get to my destination, or worse, not get home to my kiddos. Although it's not very creative, I am terrified that something will happen to the plane and I will end up as decoration on a redwood thus leaving my kids as 'orphans'.
A good friend will be house sitting while we're away. We have a batch of chicks due to hatch out under Lucy. What if Freckles decides he still has a penchant for 'chicken nuggets'? What if he chews through the baby gate or the doorknob again? What if the house burns down or gets broken into and I lose all the photos and tangible reminders of Jeff?
Should I take my computer? Should I take my compact camera or my SLR? What should I pack for clothing? Will I be too hot? Should I bring my own pillow?
All of this worry makes me worry that my trip is a gratuitous use of money, time away and even, jet fuel just for ME. Maybe I should be staying home, doing childcare and sewing dresses, not spending a dime so I can save for braces and university and therapy for the kids rather than myself.
I know that most people will say that I deserve a break too. That I will benefit from the various workshops on widowhood and from being with people who get it. Hell, I would say that to someone else too...And really, rereading this, I sound like a nervous neurotic freak. I'll go, but maybe I should get some Ativan before I go?

Saturday, July 11, 2009


This morning I woke up with a seven year old in my house. I don't know how this happened. It seems such a short time ago that I was being ferried to the hospital over bumpy construction filled roads by my very concerned Jeffrey while I spouted off every obscenity I had ever heard or thought of.

I had hoped for one of those calm, serene births where everyone talks in hushed voices and between contractions, you smile lovingly at your partner....But, alas, Liv's labour and birth was so very different than I had imagined.

In it's own way, it was beautiful. It was terrifying, comical and hard. I was afraid and allowed this fear to infuse itself into labour. I fought against the pain. I writhed and pushed away from what my body needed to do. I was selfishly attempting to 'flee' from the pain, instead of breathing and allowing my body to do what was necessary to birth my baby.

But her birth was not solely the birth of a wonderful, sweet and amazing little person; it was also the birth of a mother. Right from the first moment I saw her, I felt changed - protective, warmth like I have never felt before, fear of 'wrecking' such a perfect little being and love, love that filled every molecule within me. I grew up. She needed me to grow be her mommy.

As I've watched Liv grow, I imagine her as a small bud, unfolding and revealing this breath-taking being. She is spunky, wise and funny. I watch in amazement when she fearlessly stands up and belts out her feelings of injustice to whomever she feels is the culprit. Her laughter swells my heart and forms tears of joy that splash down my aching cheeks. She is so curious and so aware of everything in her vicinity. I am shocked by what she sees and impressed by what attracts her attention. Her kindness and gentleness to those smaller than her including spiders and snails fills me with pride and that hope that others will learn from her fearless devotion to justice. Her bright and joyous smile releases any fear or hesitation I possess.

There are times that we bang up against each other and that our horns 'lock' in frustration. These moments sadden me and scare me....But I am also gladdened by the thought that she is able to be herself enough with me to let her wants and needs go noticed and spoken. I am pleased that she has enough self-worth to say 'no' and mean it....No matter how frustrating that can be at times.

I feel the time that she is completely dependant on me slipping away. She is growing into a girl - not a baby needing everything to be provided for her. She is her own person and as such, has her own destiny and direction that she must follow. I do not feel that I am directly a part of my mother and it breaks my heart to know that she will bear the same feelings of seperateness towards me....even though for me, that bond will never be severed. She will always be my small child who held my hand and stared at me with wonder and joy.

I love you, my baby girl. I love you with all my heart. Until you were born, I don't think I was truly alive. And I thank you for blessing me with your presence and for sharing the beginning of your journey with me. You are truly a wonder, my sweet. I love you always....the whole pie.

Happy Birthday, Liv!!!!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
By Max Ehrmann

*I am sure most of us have read this poem before, but I stumbled across it recently and was again wowed by it's message and clarity with which it is delivered.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

happy birthday, my beloved home

Happy Canada Day!!!!
Although this isn't Canada's national anthem, it reminds me so much of my country and of campfires in the summer( and it drives my brother-in-law insane...once you've heard it, you can't get it out for a minimum of two days, like some crazy-ass patriotic chant. Your brain happily sings away while you are trying to sleep....Double bonus.)

Silver Birch

Land of the silver birch home of the beaver
Where still the mighty moose wanders at will
Blue lake and rocky shore, Iwill return once more.
Boom-diddy-boom-boom, boom-diddy-boom-boom, Boom-diddy-boom-boom, bo-oo-oom
High on a rocky ledge I'll build my wigwam,
Close by the water's edge, silent and still;
Blue lake and rocky shore,I will return once more.
Boom-diddy-boom-boom, boom-diddy-boom-boom, Boom-diddy-boom-boom, bo-oo-oom
My heart grows sick for thee here in the lowlands
My heart cries out for thee, hills of the north;
Blue lake and rocky shore,I will return once more.
Boom-diddy-boom-boom, boom-diddy-boom-boom, Boom-diddy-boom-boom, bo-oo-oom
Land of the silver birch, home of the beaver,
Where still the mighty moose wanders at will;
Blue lake and rocky shore,I will return once more.
Boom-diddy-boom-boom, boom-diddy-boom-boom, Boom-diddy-boom-boom, bo-oo-oom
Boom-diddy-boom-boom, boom-diddy-boom-boom, Boom-diddy-boom-boom, bo-oo-oom

wordless wednesday - go fly a kite