Monday, March 30, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
But time has continued its' slithery journey. I look back over the time without my love and see that 365 days have gone by and no time at all seems to have passed. But it has and I have grown stronger.
I will try to look forward to the future. To make plans. To smile more often. To remember my sweet, loving husband but without so much of the ache that goes along with the remembering. To rejoice that he was, not cry that he is now gone.
I am going to hold my head up. I have no more firsts -which fills me with both relief and sadness. It is time to go forward and hold my head a bit higher. I know that my path will be full of potholes and the occasional mudpit but I am going to stop crawling. I will walk. I will walk tall and hopefully be able to jump over the puddles now and then. I'll stop and rest when I need to but I refuse to be as broken as I have been. I refuse to be crushed. I refuse to remain broken and beaten. My children need their mommy to be strong and to show them that tragedy is hard but it will not defeat us. That daddy would not want us to fall. He would want us to smile again one day and notice the sun on our faces. I will try....I will try my damnedest. I am not and will never be 'over' this terrible loss, but I will carry it, like a scar and it will shape who I am now. And then maybe, I can use it for 'good'. Maybe something I can manifest something 'good' from this. Maybe I can help someone. I would so love for there to be some 'meaning' to this nightmare. So, here I go....
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
8am - had a shower
8:30 - scheduled an appointment for Jeff at the doctor for 9:30
8:45 - climbed back into bed with Jeff for a quick cuddle and a reminder that he had an appointment to get to.
9am - Chased naked kids around the house getting frustrated that we were going to be late.
9:15- Chased Jeff out the door and drove like a maniac to the doctor's office.
9:30 - Sat with Jeff and the kids while the doctor listened to his heart, took his blood pressure and wrote out orders for blood work and an x-ray.
9:45 - chased the kids around the mall while Jeff waited to get his blood drawn.
10 am - Took some forms back to the doctor's waiting area to get signed while Jeff chased the kids around the mall.
10:11 - Got the last phone call ever from Jeff cell asking where I was.
10:15 - Sat with the kids in the waiting room while Jeff went out to smoke.
10:20 - Walked outside with kids and forms to find Jeff struggling to breath.
10:20 - Ran to get the doctor while phoning 911.
10:21 - Ran back......Started CPR.....
10:45 - Torn away from Jeff by the doctor and the ambulance attendants....Sedated by the doctor. Called Jeff's mom, Kirsten and Marnie. Not sure what I said.
Picked up by my sister after she brought the kids to Marnie's. Noticed large round rocks in a passing rock wall. Saw a horse galloping along field. Called Jeff's phone repeatedly to apologize for not being able to save him and to tell him what happened. Stared into space. I don't remember much else....Just a broken emptiness. A fear. An ache.
I surfaced briefly to tell Liv that her daddy had died. She didn't believe me. She thought I was joking and ran off to play.
I retreated back into the dark, emptiness...I don't know when I started to emerge again. I sometimes don't know if I have yet. But I'm here. My kids are here. And we are together. I only hope that one day, we will all be a family once again....together.
And that the ache won't hurt so badly.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
A year ago today, I didn't realize what a gift life is.
A year ago today, I wasn’t alone.
A year ago today, I was someone’s ‘other’. Someone’s wife. Someone’s love.
A year ago today, I went to sleep with my husband by my side, his hand to hold with his snore ringing in my ear.
A year ago today, I would have complained about that snore.
A year ago today, I was most worried about the amount of gas in my tank and the amount of $ in my bank account.
A year ago today, I didn’t think my kids would enter therapy until they were pimply and angry teenagers who despised their weird parents.
A year ago today, I felt whole. Not a broken fragment or shell of who I once was.
A year ago today, I was naïve and pompous enough to think that I knew what terror, trauma, loneliness and loss really meant.
A year ago today, I had the luxury of being judgmental and concerned with minutia.
A year ago today, I made my choices based on the decisions of two - there was such comfort in knowing that we both agreed.
A year ago today, I could soothe my children’s fears without carrying that worry on my shoulders as well. I could tell them with real, although perceived, conviction that nothing ‘bad’ was going to happen.
A year ago today, the man who cut me off, the teenager who dropped their butts in my driveway, the woman who cut into the line, would drive me around the bend.
A year ago today, I didn’t know how to use a table saw, load a gun or deal with a car salesman alone.
A year ago today, I didn’t understand how every person’s positive actions has a ripple effect and that one smile could hold a stranger up at the end of a day.
A year ago today, I wasn’t as understanding of others.
A year ago today, I didn’t realize how infinitely deep love runs.
A year ago today, I didn’t realize how much strength and bravery we all possess.
A year ago today, I didn’t care as much as I do now.
A year ago today, I hadn’t yet received the ‘blessing of tragedy’ (as my friend, Nan, calls it) and all its’ hard lessons.
A year ago today, I don’t believe I was as good a person and I didn’t know just how much I had to learn and would continue to learn.
A year ago today, I thought I had so very long…..
A year ago today was my last day with the love of my life. And I didn’t even know it.
A year ago today, I had no idea all that I took for granted.
A year ago today, I had no idea how much you could miss someone.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Sorry for the blurry pictures, it's hard to get a clear picture under the heat lamp and I was afraid of startling our little buddies with the flash. Each child had picked an egg and we had written their name on the top. Amazingly, those were the eggs that hatched.
Each child has named their chick and gets to 'keep it' here. The favourite name for me is Briar's chick who he named "Antarina". I have no idea where he got this but I love it! So original!
Happy Spring everyone!
Friday, March 20, 2009
As Diane suggested, I am posting my email address ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) and if you feel that you would like to you can send some help through Paypal.
P.S. I hope that this post does not sound awful or greedy or wrong as it is a luxury - not a necessity....But, oh, how I want to connect with others in the same boat....AND meet Matt in person.
Thank you again.....
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
It was wonderful! I used a completely different pastry recipe and I must say that not only was it easier, it was delicious!
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I grew up in a house without any weapons. When my brother eventually made a gun out of scraps of wood, my mother explained to us that guns were for killing and that he was NOT to ever point even his toy gun at another human being.
I have held onto this for my whole life. I have always felt that it is SO very odd that these things were made into 'toys'. "Here, kiddos, go outside and pretend to massacre your buddies!" I realize that I have very strong views on this and that these views are not shared with much of the population. And that's okay with me when no one is pointing these imitation firearms at my little ones.
Anyhow, to my surprise and joy, Jeff felt the same way about guns. He did not feel that they were for 'playing with'. He wanted our children to realize that guns were dangerous in the hands of someone who did not understand the safety 'rules' and what these weapons were capable of. He would say, "Guns are for killing, not for playing." Who knew? The hippy and the redneck thing go well together!
Anyhow, after Jeff died, I didn't give much thought to his guns that were locked up in a safe, with trigger locks and ammunition stored seperately in a locked metal tool box. Recently, however, I have received a few letters from the RCMP reminding me of the presence of the guns and forcing me to take some form of action on behalf of these weapons.
Unsure what to do, I have weighed all the options - give them away, register them in someone else's name and send them to their location until I decide what to do and if the kids will want them one day, or surrender them to the RCMP OR get my own firearms license thus allowing me to retain them legally. I have felt unsure about sending them out of my 'hands' because I am afraid that I'd forget to get them back and ,really, when do I deal with things if they are out of sight. I think Jeff would be upset if I just 'got rid' of them. One of Jeff's four children may have want for them one day. So.....*insert ominous music here* I have decided to get my Possession and Aquisition License (PAL).
I am actually chuckling over the ironic twist of fate that has forced my hand here. Me, the one who is so extremely nervous of the message of guns as toys, with a license to possess these firearms. Jeff would laugh. He would tease me over this, I am sure.
Last night, I began the course. On Jeff's birthday. It ends on the anniversary of his death. Four classes three hours long. Although much of the course seems to be common sense, I'll be learning the difference between various types of guns - semi-automatic vs bolt action, ammunition, how to load and unload, but most of all, HOW TO BE SAFE. (Did you know that it is illegal to ever aim a gun - loaded or not - at another human being?) It makes me laugh to think that I will know anything more about a gun than that they are dangerous.
Some of the facts surrounding guns have been interesting; such as, the fact that the gauge of ammunition is measured by how many BBs within a cartridge it takes to make a pound. I don't know who thought that one up, it's tad odd. Also, how the first guns were made and how they functioned. But, I am finding that the most interesting thing so far about the course, is watching the people and looking around the Fish and Game Club where it is held....
Let's just way that mine was the only mini-van in the parking lot. I was one of the few not wearing some form of clothing not emblazoned with camo. I didn't nod my head and grumble with approval when the instructor made various comments about 'bleeding heart' people who believe in gun control. I am in awe with how many times the words "nipple" and "cock" are used when speaking about firearms as well and of the ability of these people to not chuckle each time it is mentioned that the "cock hits the nipple". Myself, I think maybe I am not as mature as these hardened hunters.
I loved that the sign above the men's bathroom door says "Pointers" and the women's says "Setters". The clubhouse smelled like a cub scouts meeting hall and was decorated with laquered plywood.
I felt like a spy. Like an impostor. But I do have to say that the people all were very kind. This kindness, however, came with a slight *note sarcasm here* bit of sexist condescention. In fact, when I called about the course, the man on the phone replied that they do not allow women to have licenses as they may shoot their husband. Calmly and quickly, I replied, "Oh, that's okay. Mine's already dead." The man on the other end of the phone continued to talk but after a few minutes, he stopped and apologized for his comment. I laughed wickedly thinking "Touche!" Jeff would have found this whole interaction hilarious. But I do hope that this interaction stops the grandfatherly 'Mr.Shootsalot' from making this 'joke' again.
Also, I am finding out things about Jeff that I had no understanding or appreciation of before. I had no idea that Jeff was absolutely ultra-safe when it came to storing his guns. He had them locked up far beyond the federal guidelines for firearm storage. It just shows me how much he took care of us and how much he cared about us.
Monday, March 16, 2009
I am so very thankful for this day as it is the day that brought this funny, sweet and loving man to us. But I am finding that it is so very hard remembering last year and how I screwed up so badly. I had planned to make him a mug with the kids picture on it, a t-shirt with their handprints or some equally cheesy but completely loved by Daddy personalized gift.
Instead, Liv and I made him cupcakes, iced some of them and left them on the counter. Briar threw all but two of the uniced ones in the dishwater in the sink. I didn't make more.
I had a card for him. Evidently, my brain suffered from memory issues then as well and I forgot to give it him. I figured I'd give it to him the next birthday.
He was so disappointed. He told me that all he really wanted was a blueberry pie and a card. At least, we did manage to plant a blueberry bush for him as we had every year. (He was a HUGE fan of blueberries.)
So today, the day that I thought I could fix it, I can't. His last birthday, nine days before he died, was a crappy one. And it was my fault that it was a crappy one. If I had known it would be his last, I would have shown him how very loved and important he was to us. I would have shown him how special that day was for us too. It wasn't just the day of his birth. It was the day that brought him into a world where we were lucky enough to share it with him.
If he is somewhere 'out there', I am sure none of this is important to him in the grand scheme of things. But to me, stuck here without him, it is a big deal and I hope he knew that I wish I had done it differently....better. Filled with my love for him.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Friday, March 13, 2009
I am finding that on this journey, although your family and friends care so deeply and want to help and understand so very much, the only people who truly 'get it' are other widows/ers. And the thought that I could be in a room filled with people who know what it is to struggle to live after the person that you lived for and with is gone....It makes me want to...well, it makes me want to go too.
Anyhow, I found this site that matches widows as penpals. Immediately, there were three widows around my age, with kids whose husbands died in the same time frame posted in my inbox. I don't know what it is about this, but it has made me sob. A year ago today, I would have never guessed that I would be reaching out to other young widows via the internet out of loneliness and a desire to be understood and unjudged. I feel for these other women and wonder if they feel as lost but forcing themselves to wear a brave face. Are they as scared? Scatterbrained? Lonely? Does everything cease to have meaning to them? Do they force themselves to pretend that it's all okay in the hopes that they will believe it too? Do they worry that others feel that they would deal with this loss differently? Do they throw themselves into life and all that is entailed to cover and hide? Do they feel exhausted and fed up? Do they want to run away? Do they feel like no one else knows?
I have so many plans, though, and seem to have this ludicrous idea that if I can get all these things crossed off my list, my life will be easier and less chaotic. I can't seem to stay on track, remember my tasks from one day to the next or lack the time or money to do these things.
I had been thinking of getting a blackberry so I could schedule in all the appointments, childcare days, shopping lists, etc. A brain in my pocket as it were. But then, I wonder if this would make the problem worse. It would allow my brain to rest on its' laurels and not force it to attempt to be fully functioning once again. I have a bit of a mistrust of technology anyhow.....And I'd probably lose the bloody thing. If they had a set of post-it notes that could be mounted on your belt-loops, I'd be set!
Recently, Eileen from Little Acorn Learning sent me her monthly nature-based childcare guides. They have a weekly theme, grocery and supply lists for the week, lists of books that support the theme and stories, crafts and poems all with a natural/Waldorf bend. All the kids here are LOVING the stuff we do and I am adoring feeling organized and the sense that I know what to expect for the next day. Thanks so very, very much, Eileen.
For the rest of my plans and hopes for organization, I think I'll just have to stick to the very non-technologically advanced method of paper and pen for lists. I'll add:
- build greenhouse (probably not going to happen any time soon)
- get a load of soil for the garden (need to borrow a truck)
- get a load of gravel for the mud-filled driveway (still need that truck)
- get a load of firewood (bloody truck)
- clean up garden beds and add the new soil (that I still need a truck for)
- sow seeds indoors
- set up the brooder for the eggs that are set to hatch next Wednesday (19th) as long a Freckles doesn't find them
- CLEAN OUT THE GARAGE (this one I should have put first on the list - it HAS to be done, yesterday)
On a side note, out of curiousity, I checked back in my blog archives to a year ago to see what life was like back then - before Jeff died. It seems that I was doing much of the same things that I do now....with a much lighter heart. I was still feeling busy and overwhelmed. Maybe this is just my personality or maybe I didn't know what the hell I was talking about before.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
I love the sweet, carefree, uninhibited attitude of my boy. Imagine heading out half-naked to the backyard in the light of day to go 'hammer' the snow with a croquet mallet while wearing your pajama shirt and your sister's pink cowgirl boots; all the while not giving a rat's ass what anyone cares or thinks about these actions.
If I could do this, smiles would come more easily....
If I'm honest, I'll admit to being caught outside naked carrying a load of firewood into the house after swearing that I turned off the motion-censor light a few nights ago. In my defence, I hadn't been planning to go outside when I ran downstairs to throw a log on the fire before my shower only to find that the wood box was empty. It's a quick trip outside, right? No one will see me, right? It's just so odd that the light that I am sure I REMEMBER turning off only 'noticed' my movements when I was headed BACK from the wood pile with my arms full thus making it impossible to cover my shockingly white, saggy body from anyone who happened to notice the light suddenly illuminate the backyard.....Okay, those smiles, laughter in fact, came pretty easily.
I see his eyes again and again and watch him slip away once more. I remember the conversation we had in the car the night before and cling to his words. I hear myself screaming at the 911 operator.
As you know, those first few months these thoughts were what occupied my mind most. Like a broken record, they replayed to the point that I thought I was going insane. They had slowly eased to the point where I could remember the day if I wanted to, but I chose to remember Jeff in life more than at his moment of death.
Now, it's all coming back. What is it about the anniversary of his death that makes any of it different? He is still gone. He still died. I am still lost without him. But I seem to need to remember all the most terrifying bits all over.....I don't know why. Is it the guilt I feel for being the one left behind? Is it the reminder I think I need to remember it all? I am afraid I'll forget my last seconds with him. That I won't remember how it all happened when my little ones are old enough to understand. That, somehow, I am not honouring him by replaying those moments forever. I know it's fucked up. I know that it is completely irrational and mildly insane....But I can't stop.
Sunday, March 08, 2009
You should have seen the trombone player! He was indangering the lives of the musicians around him with the wild swinging of his instrument. He was absolutely hilarious!
It was also interesting to look down over the sea of heads in the audience to notice that the predominant hair colour was white.....
It was a blast! Thanks, Kirsten!
Saturday, March 07, 2009
At the farmer's market, a woman was selling bonnets like the ones they wore long ago....and on 'Little House on the Prairie'. Liv LOVED hers. She would wear it every chance she got.
After many comments about her hat and 'Little House', we started to read "Little House in the Big Woods". She was hooked. Everything having to do with how settlers managed to exist daily was absorbed and sought after. Their clothing. Their tools. Their homes. Their toys.
We soon started to read "Farmer Boy" without much success or interest because Liv wanted to get on to another book with Laura in it. So we began "Little House on the Prairie". She was entranced by the journey and the loss and return of Jack, the dog. She was intrigue by the building of the house and the digging of the well. But when the Natives were introduced, she was hooked. She was aghast at how Ma 'spoke' about these people. She would bring it up in the car drilling me about how Ma could feel that way and how the First Nations people had lived at this time. She wanted to know MORE. We read about Sacajawea and that night could hear drumming and singing coming from the reserve close to our house. She stayed up late listening at the window asking me to describe how the people were dancing , what they were wearing, what they were saying. We've now been reading books, building popsicle stick longhouses, doing crayon rubbings of the petroglyphs close to our home, learning about the symbols behind each of the animals, creating stories for our toilet paper roll totem poles, listening to music, and taking in anything that may possibly have some form of information about the Indigenous People of our area. She talks nonstop about how she wants to find a longhouse, how she thinks that the First Nations peoples have been treated unjustly and asks about the myths and reminds me "How Robin got his Redbreast" when we see one of the little birds hopping by.
I am so pleased that she is able to find what interests her. What lights her fire of learning and is free to let it burn. I see her growing into who SHE is meant to be and it is humbling to be able to watch her growth and the evolving person that she is.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Liv has been very interested in sewing these last few months. She has watched some of the small projects I have been doing with rapt attention and occasionally sitting on my lap while pressing the pedal for me. She stares at my fabric stash and announces her favourites in descending order. I realized that this attention and interest offered the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill.
I asked Liv if she'd like to make her very own dress. She chose some of her favourite fabrics (she has inherited my love of matyroushka doll prints) and we started cutting out the pattern. We had to alter the pattern slightly...okay, quite a bit, when there was not enough fabric to use for the body of the dress.
Then, she sat on my lap as we pinned and sewed her creation. Much of it I had to help with the 'steering' but I left her to herself to do the overlock stitch to ensure she felt that she had done a sufficient amount of the dress to feel that it was her creation. She's decided that it is her Spring dress and that she'll wear it to celebrate the first day of that most longed for season. I think it turned out fabulously and am so pleased with the grin on her strangely toothed mouth!
Monday, March 02, 2009
I went to Seedy Sunday yesterday. Last year was one of the last days that the kids spent the day with their dad without me. I remember enjoying the day and the freedom of having Jeff stay home with the kids while I went to do something that I wanted to do.
This year, I brought the kids. It was a frenzy of little hands touching plants and running up and down the aisles while I quickly scanned the various tables and attempted to remember the seeds that were on my shopping list. It wasn't awful at all but I couldn't help but remember that day one year ago with a sad fondness. Oh, how I miss him. How I miss being a team. How I miss having someone in these little people's lives who love them just as much as I do. How I want someone to come home to who loves me. Someone who knows where the ketchup is kept and what Liv's favourite food is....Not just someone. Him. His laugh. His jokes and his teasing. His once annoying habits that have become such fond memories.
I am dreading that day. The worst day ever. March 25th is coming. I can't stop it, just as I couldn't stop Jeff's death. Somehow, after a year, I wonder if I will be 'expected' to be over it. To not talk about losing him as often. To be healed more than I am. A year to an outsider must seem so long. To me, it seems like yesterday.