Friday, February 26, 2010

the bomb

Image from Heberger

Also posted on Widow's Voice

Occasionally, I will meet a stranger in a line-up or a clerk at the store who notices my oft-perceived masculine purchase of a hammer, a litre of oil or a case of beer. Sometimes, people standing closeby will make a comment about my husband and how lucky he is that I'm buying him this case of beer, picking up the oil or replacing this hammer.

When Jeff first died, these comments hurt. They broke me. They reminded me, as if I needed it, that he was gone. Dead. And I was alone.

I felt hurt and angered at these people. I wanted to scream at them that they were not only sexist but insensitive and nosy. So I'd just simply say, "My husband is dead."

They'd stare at me in shock and search my face for signs of jest. I'd stare back with tears streaming down my face wishing they could understand and hating them for not.

Now, I actually find some form of morbid humour in shaming these people into submission. I find it amusing to watch the horror, embarassment and guilt cross their face. I know I shouldn't enjoy it. But it is kind of....funny.

I don't wear my black veil and dark clothing. I think my eyes have mostly lost their hollow depths. To anyone looking at me, I look like one of them. The 'normal' ones. The intact ones. The married ones. There are no markers to alert someone of the bomb that I carry around. The thing that most people don't want to talk about. Death. Grief. Mourning.

Many people shy from these topics. Steer around these landmines. Avoid discussion of this eventuality.

So when it enters a conversation so abruptly and without forewarning, it's sudden unexpected elephant in the room and no one knows how to remove it.

I find that use of this giant pachydrem to chase away masogynist and preconceived notions is endlessly entertaining.

"What did you do to upset your dog so much that he's on antidepressants? Ha ha ha"

"My husband died."

"Hey Sweetcheeks! Can I buy you a drink?"

"My husband died."

"I am sure your husband will be able to unplug the toilet with this snake in no time flat."

"My husband died."

Dropping the 'bomb' has its' uses and I am finding it so....perfectly perfect that Jeff is still providing laughter and protection to me in death. (Although I realize that this is most likely a cruel and immature way to get my kicks)... Honey, you the BOMB!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Do you know who you are?

When I was a teenager, a friend and I would make lists of things we liked and didn't like. It gave us immense pleasure to see in concrete whispers of who we were. Lately, I have begun playing with this pasttime, but in my mind as I drive, have a shower, make scrambled eggs. My new list is slightly different than the lists of old, but equally as fun.

  • I like the sound that the computer makes when I 'empty' the recycle bin.

  • I take a certain amount of joy in working my way up to fully hot water in the shower - No cold.

  • I rescue earthworms...since I was a kid.

  • I sometimes pretend I'm a spy. I don't do it as often anymore as my kids would blow the cover I REALLY was a spy making my fantasy less realistic.

  • My hands are really vein-y.

  • If I could get away with it, I would only eat the icing from a cake. It sents a bad example for other children, though.

  • If you were to see the record of all the books I get out of the library, you'd think I was extremely well-read and knowledgeable. Unfortunately, I have to return the vast majority of them before I have even opened them. This does not stop me from taking more out.

  • I am paranoid about consumerism, marketing and advertising. I hate that our brains are constantly being told and sold a line of crap. We are 'sheeple'.

  • I sometimes pass roadkill and worry that I will be compelled by some unknown force to lick the carcass. Then I wonder what sort of ailments I would then possess.

  • I dislike it when cats stare into my eyes. I like cats. I like my eyes. I just hate the two together. Creepy.

  • The idea of 'space' and the universe freak me out. Too big. Too empty or full.

  • Melons and cucumbers have a similar 'watery grass' flavour to me. I don't like them much.

  • I adore chopping wood.
  • Once I find something I like, including toothpaste, I will stick with it until it is discontinued.
  • I have eaten dogfood. As an adult. To freak out my kids.
  • I have a thing with numbers. It there is any sort of pattern, I will remember your phone number until the end of time.
  • I don't think of myself as supersticious but if we get five eggs in one day, I believe it will be a good day.
  • I love thick socks. Even better are brightly coloured thick socks.
  • I like it when my nose whistle or my kids talk in their sleep.

Friday, February 19, 2010

fill the void?

Also posted on Widow's Voice

The thought occasionally enters my mind now and then that maybe I should date. I'm lonely. I want someone to talk to. Someone to spend time with. Someone to care about and have care about me. But then, I wonder, am I just looking for Jeff? No one is EVER going to measure up to him. No one is ever going to have his sense of humour, his sexiness, his strength, his gentleness. I don't want to replace him. I know that would never be even remotely possible. And I worry that anyone I find would be exposed as glaringly lacking compared to the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

But I'd love to have someone to hold my hand. Am I too damaged now? How do you date one person when you're still in love with someone else? Would anyone even want to have anything to do with me when I would obviously leave them in a nanosecond if it were possible for my love to return to me? I don't think I would want to be with someone under those circumstances.

I don't think Jeff would want me to live in loneliness for the rest of my life. But what WOULD he want? What is best for the kids? Should I stay solely a mommy and a widow for the rest of my existence...or do I allow myself to feel the comfort of another person. Does this mean that I am less of a wife to Jeff? Does this mean that I am a bad person?

I stare at his picture and weep. I listen to his voice on his messages and attempt to cling to the moment he left it and feel that he would know what I should do. But, it's messed. It's wrong. It's a strange and foreign concept. How do you ask your husband if you should date again?

Monday, February 15, 2010

welcome home Nula

We've acquired a new chicken .... actually we got her a couple of weeks ago. Her name is 'Nula' which is an Irish name meaning "white shoulder or neck". She is a Transylvanian Naked Neck AKA a Turken.
Although I am SO excited to have such a ugly different looking chicken, I am worried what will happen with me beloved little flock of hens when our home sells. Oh, how I'll miss having my girls to gaze at! Chickens are such good therapy!!
So the house is not on the market yet. The landlady still has to get a realtor in. She just wanted to give me the heads up. It sounds as if she'll list it in June or October. I am hoping for October so I can still get my garden in a grow part of a crop....
I am hoping for a miracle. Maybe I'll win the lottery before the house goes up. Maybe someone will want to invest some money into a rental property with an absolutely fabulous tenant. Who knows?
I am now over the shock somewhat. All I can do is prepare. I am starting to think about which things are unnecessary and don't need to be moved to another home. I am hoping to fill five boxes every week with items for the Sally Ann....But what do I do with Jeff's stuff? I can't let go yet. I am trying. But I am not yet ready. Maybe by June....or October.

Friday, February 12, 2010

stinking flowers

Also posted on Widow's Voice

When people die, no one really knows what to do. Call? Visit? Send cards, casseroles or flowers?
I can personally say, that most of the above were very much appreciated. In the fog of grief, many of these overtures were not remembered, unfortunately. So, please, don't be offended if the thank-you card never arrives.
The sympathy cards were kind reminders that other people loved Jeff and missed him too. That we were not alone in our grief and that our family and friends were thinking of us.
The food was a lifesaver. My children were fed. There were all sorts of snacks for visitors to graze on. I never once felt the need to go to the store (even if I hadn't been on sedatives to prevent me from having the energy to scream obscenities into the void).
I found it hard after Jeff died to be at the centre of such hubbub and pain. I had difficulty feeling that I was needed to alleviate other's pain and suffering.
Talking on the phone was unbearable. Speaking face to face was often worse.
I didn't want to talk. I didn't want to communicate. I couldn't get out what I needed/wanted to say. And most often, I didn't want to say anything.
But the flowers were lovely....initially. They were thoughtful and generous. The sentiment was kind.
Then I had to water them. It was more than I could remember and wrap my head around. One more thing I had to accomplish with the energy that I didn't have. I'd sit in the chair by the window staring at the flowers that had adorned the church during his funeral. The happy pinks and purples with the vibrant greens. They seemed futile, smug and ridiculous. They screamed at me, "Life goes forward. We are happy, happy, happy flowers." I wanted to yell at them, "Fuck you, you preppy little losers. I hate you." Instead, I threw wadded up wet tissues at them with the vigor of one who despises something so intensely that thought may just blow it to pieces.
Then they began to wilt. And they reminded me that 'everything dies'. They rubbed my nose in the lesson that I had just learned so painfully. Everything is fleeting. Nothing lasts.
I watched as their once oh-so-smug petals fell to the floor. As their leaves turned transparent and brown.
I felt strangely pleased by their deaths. They deserved it for being so fucking joyful. They knew nothing about life and sadness. Had they even been picked yet when Jeff died? Did they even know what pain was?
But then, I eventually got around to feeling that I should clean them up. And I couldn't do it.
Putting away the vases and throwing out the flowers meant that his funeral had happened and he was indeed dead. That time was still marching on. That I was removing the last vestiges marking the loss of his life from our home.
So those bloody flowers stayed for a long time past their past due date....Always reminding me that Jeff was dead. And that things die. And that life sucks.
I eventually threw the flowers in the composter hoping that this would make me feel that they would be reborn in some other fabulous growing green thing. The vases (aka white cheesy grecian vases adorned with fake plastic ribbons) I held onto until last week. I thought I'd feel guilty releasing these icons of his death. But I didn't. He had never seen them....and it was my last 'screw you' to those stupidly joyous giddy buds.
I will never give flowers to someone mourning again. The care, the upkeep, the reminder and the in-your-face optimism is too much for a person in pain.
Instead, I will send a fabulous casserole with no return address so they don't feel that they need to send a bloody thank-you card for something they would have preferred didn't happen.
(Sorry if I sound ungrateful.....just wondering at the reasoning behind this tradition)

Monday, February 08, 2010

bloody hellllllll

I got a phonecall from the landlord today. She's selling the house.
We moved in here when Liv was four months old. It's our HOME. I can't imagine living elsewhere or having someone else enjoying the basement that Jeff finished or the carport that he closed in.
I am heartbroken. I am terrified. I have no idea where we'll go for such low rent...and how do you rent with a dog, a cat and seven chickens?
Home has been our one constant. Our one security. Now it will be gone. Another connection to Jeff gone. Another tie cut.
I am at a loss. I am so lonely and fearful right now.

Friday, February 05, 2010

fear of losing more

Also posted on Widow's Voice

Jeff's gone. I know that. The kids know that. But he is still such an enormous part of every day, every moment, every breath.
He is thought of constantly. Cherished. Missed.
We talk about him multiple times everyday. To feel close to him. To ensure that my children who were so young when their daddy died, exercise those memories so that they are not lost. So that they can remember who their daddy really them.
But I worry about forgetting. In the days after Jeff died, I made pages of 'Jeff'. This list contained everything from his righthandedness, to his favourite beer, to what he wanted to name our babies. These items were concrete. Firm. Easy to sum up.

How do I write lists including the joy with which he would dance or sing, the way his breath on the back of my neck would comfort me or how he made me feel when he held my hand? These things are sensed. Felt.
I wish that they would know the smell of their father. I always told him that he smelled of wood. Or that they could see the ease with which he shovelled ice on the boat.
I am afraid that they will lose him again....or more, if I don't cling to these memories and relive them over and over.
I want them to know him. I want them to remember his love and devotion to them. I want them to feel his strength, joy and kindness within themselves...because he was a truly great man. And he would be so proud of them. As I was of him.

Monday, February 01, 2010

linking ears

My poor little man has a ruptured eardrum. He didn't seem horribly ill. We were preparing for my sister's wedding so maybe I was too busy to notice. I feel rather guilty that it burst before I realized the extent of his earache.
I have had countless issues with my ears - 15 ruptured eardrums, 9 myringotomy and rather dulled hearing as a result. I remember that my mom has said that she could tell if we were getting sick as children by our breath. Now, as a mom, I agree.
The signs that show up for me with my kiddos are:
  • stinky breath
  • increased water consumption
  • faster breathing
  • crankiness

He's now on antibiotics. I am wondering about the causes of frequent ear infections. I know that I have been told that I have short eustachian tubes which cause pressure to build up behind the eardrum more quickly than if I had more space. I am assuming that Briar has the same thing going on behind his little eardrums. But I am also wondering if lactose-intolerance plays a part? Or some allergy? I'd like to prevent him from having scarred eardrums and the terrible pain associated with earinfections and rupture.

Poor, little monkey.....