Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Checkbook…

Ok. I’ve begun balancing my check register. No biggie right? Wrong. I have the last six months to do. I know many of you are probably thinking that is insane. But honestly…it is not bad. It could be much worse, believe me. Bills are getting paid. Alec is being cared for. I am doing what I can and surviving the days. Some things have gotten lost along the way. Many things probably. But I am making sure that Alec is getting the love and attention he needs. And doing what I can for myself. Check registers…yeah they are important. But they will get done. And they are not crucial to daily survival. And far worse could have gotten neglected.

At first it never got done because I was consumed with taking care of the important things like David and Alec. Then, after David passed, there were always so many other things to do. I knew the account was fine…so I just kept putting it off. Well. I began tonight and it sucked. Probably not why you think though. Going through and checking each item off. It was like taking a stroll back through the past couple months. The days following the stroke. The daily visits to the cafe to get David his coffee and bagel before he went off to PT, OT and speech therapy. Those long weeks in the hospital in rehab. The never ending trips to the pharmacy for the continually changing and increasing medications. All of this was captured by that little check card. And I had to relive it all.

Some were fond memories. Memories I will now treasure in my heart forever. But many were bittersweet. There were the many outings we crammed into this summer. Trying to embrace and capture every single second. But many would end up being our lasts. Our last dinner out. Our last art show together. The last piece of artwork David would ever buy. That little check card also captured moments in time. Like the beautiful necklace David bought for me at a bead shop. He was on the way back from the hospital after an outpatient therapy visit and he cajoled his family into stopping. And for some reason the store actually had completed necklaces there and not just beads. And even with the stroke…and at that point the beginning of renewed tumor growth. He still remembered Mother’s Day and was able to get me something. And later the chocolate cake he would have another friend help him get for my birthday. He was able to do it…simple things. But they meant the world to both of us. He hated having to rely on others to do these simple tasks. But he did it. Because it was so important to him. With the help of our remarkable friends he was able to do the final things that he wanted to do. The final legacies he would leave for Alec and I. They took him wherever he needed and wanted to go, for he had a “plan” and there were things he wanted to do before he passed and someone was always there to help. And looking back through these registries I am reliving those days. And reminded of all the amazing support we had and continue to have.

I only made it through two months tonight. I know that I will have to do the rest… and probably soon. But those remaining months will be tough. They will recount the final days of David’s life. The things that had to be bought to make him comfortable and happy. All the final requests he had. And then the after. The days that I have forgotten. So numb and lost. Going to buy an outfit for his celebration of life. Finding the glass piece for his unique vision. All the preparations that were made in the days following david's death. The celebration. The obituary. All the end of life crap.

This is hell. I know that the body is a highly evolved and amazing piece of equipment...and that we are numb for a reason. I have been told and also read that if one were to experience grief all at once, it would literally kill you. The pain would just be too much. So your body doles it out…slowly. Letting you process it at a rate you can handle. Which means the grief and pain tend to come in waves. Crashing over you. Taking your breath away and smothering you. And once you pick yourself up…another wave will come again.

Your body knows what you physically and emotionally can handle. So it lets you process the grief. Experiencing the loss in stages you can survive. But when they hit, like they did tonight, the pain and loss is debilitating. And I swear it is going to kill me. Just break my poor little beaten heart in half. And unfortunately there is not a damn thing I can do when these tidal waves hit...slamming me to the ground. It is futile to fight it. You can not avoid it. It is going to come whether you like it or not. So I just sit down...or curl up...and let the pain wash over me. And know that I will come up for air again. Someday. But sometimes it is so difficult to pick yourself up…knowing that there is another wave. Waiting. Not knowing when it will hit. But knowing it will. And knowing that I will have to stand up and face it again and again. Hoping that someday those waves won't be as big and won't knock me down quite so hard.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

No one ever said life would be easy...

Earlier in the week someone asked me, “So, you’re ok now, right?” Ok? You’re kidding me right? I have been hearing this lately and it’s beginning to really piss me off. David died nine weeks ago…basically in my arms. I am now a single mom. A widow. And essentially trying to get through the days, be a good parent and mourn the loss of my lover. I’m not ok. I’m far from it. Just because I am not huddled in the corner in the fetal position or hysterical doesn’t mean I am fine and “getting on” with my life as I have been told to do so much recently. I’m living. For David. For Me. For us. Because David didn’t get the chance to live out his dreams and his life. I’m trying to continue on for the both of us. But that doesn’t make me ok. It makes me a survivor.

And onto other ranting…I figure I’m on a roll and I might as well get it all out now. Mind you, everyone does not need to freak out about how they have been to me. Or begin pulling back and rethinking how they interact with me. People have been amazing and if you are sitting here wondering if it was you...then it probably wasn't. So many of you have been phenomenal and I wouldn't be here today without all of the love and support I have had. But here's where I am having a problem...

I am so tired of the people who avert their eyes when they ask me how I am. Give me a break. Get some balls. If I can survive this, these people can muster the strength to look me in the eyes when they talk to me. And for those that decided to completely remove themselves from our life after David was diagnosed and the others that dropped off as he was dying or after he died. They missed out. And I mean that.

Some have sent letters saying that it was too difficult. Too painful. So they have stayed away and continue to do so now. Too painful for them? Are you serious? Try living a day in my shoes. But ya know, I didn’t walk away. Never would have. And I will forever be glad I didn’t. David was amazing and taught me so much about love and life. Precious gifts. And the last two and a half years have forever changed me…for the better.

No one ever said life would be easy or fun all of the time. Part of life is pain. But life has many things to offer. Life is also full of joy, exhilaration and passion. Life just is. The good and the bad. The balance. You can not pick and choose which things you will or will not experience. Because then really…you truly aren’t living. David chose life with all of the crazy crap that went along with it. So I am choosing life as well. Embracing the pain and loss…because I too have all of the beautiful memories we shared. The laughter. The love. Our wonderful life together.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Undertow...

Why is it that the weekends are so difficult?
Friday nights, basically the entire 24-hour period of Saturday and all of Sunday as well. There is so much more time to think. More moments of quiet. And all the holes that David has left in our life are more apparent as well. All the things he did. All the things we did together. All the beautiful moments that made up our life.

Weekends were not only the time to get the crap done that you never had time for during the week. They were also playtime. Time to do art, work on the house, play with Alec or just have a nice stroll through the park together. And now there are all of these holes. My life is like a wedge of Swiss cheese.

Today was tough…but Saturdays always are. But tonight was the kicker. As I put Alec down for “night, night” and we were talking about Sunday and what fun plans we had for the next day…he asked if daddy was coming back tomorrow. It stilled my heart. What the hell do you say? These moments come at you like an undertow. Sucking you down and smothering you. And you have to stop the horrible heartbreak and tears that want to come. And you have to calmly explain to your son that…”No, he’s not honey. Daddy died, remember? He won’t be coming back again. His body just couldn’t fight the Cancer anymore and his body stopped working. He loved you so very much and wanted so much to stay. But he just couldn’t. So he won’t be coming home again. But he loves you so much. And daddy is here, watching over us. Although you can't see him, his presence is always here…with us. But I know it’s not the same. And I know that you miss him. It’s ok to be sad honey. I miss daddy too.”

And to see the sad little look on his face. It just tears my soul out. He just doesn’t understand the permanence yet. He is too young. But at least I’m grateful that he has begun to talk about daddy again. He talks about David’s favorite Backyardigans character or what he liked to eat. He’ll point him out in pictures and he’ll talk about how much fun daddy was or how much he loves him. And I try to bring David up in conversation regularly. Showing Alec that it is ok for him to talk about David and ask questions, as well.

And he smiles when he talks about daddy. Which is a big improvement from just four weeks ago, when he would not refer to him at all and wouldn’t even say the word ‘daddy.’ And if David was brought up in conversation…a shadow would come over Alec.

But he is doing remarkably well considering. He is confused, scared and sad. Which is completely normal. And if he wasn't, I probably would be even more worried. Not to say that I am not constantly worried about Alec and what this is doing to him now and in the future. But all I can do right now is love him, be there for him in every capacity possible and continue to keep the lines of communication open with him as he continues to process all of this, which he will…just in small doses his little body can handle. The main thing is to be there for him. Talk to him. And listen. And hope like hell that I'm doing and saying the right things to help him heal as well...

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bother Me…

I just wanted to say that although I may not always respond to your voice mails, emails or cards. They mean the world to me…more than many of you probably know. I find that I don’t seem to have enough time in the day lately to get done the insurmountable paperwork and crap that continually awaits me, along with being the mom Alec needs me to be…and mourning the loss of David. And sometimes, honestly, I just am too damn sad to pick up the phone or reply to that email.

But I wanted everyone to know how very much all of your continued contact has made a remarkable impact on my life. Those calls, letters, blog comments and emails mean the world. They make a huge difference in my life. Making those hours of solitude a little less lonely, bringing smiles or at least strength in those dark hours.

Hell, just seeing that little counter on my blog slowly ticking upwards makes a difference. It means I’m still in people’s thoughts and that although the world may seem empty and lonely right now. It reminds me that I am not alone…and for that I am forever grateful.

Thank you for the smiles, the tears and the beautiful words of wisdom and encouragement. I need them and appreciate them, although I may not have gotten back to all of you…

And for those of you who say you don’t want to bother me…I say, “Bother me. “ Please. Because it isn’t a bother. Many people deal with grief differently. But I am a social person and the only thing some days getting me through the hour…and then the day…is all the love around me. Helping bouy me. Keeping me afloat. Without it I would have gone under long ago.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

My heart...

I went out tonight. Saw Cirque du Soleil and it was wonderful and amazing. And as I watched the performance …all I could think of was how much David would have enjoyed it and how very much I wish I could have shared it with him. And as we left, everywhere we went there were reminders of him. Places we had been so many times before, restaurants we had kept wanting to try but had never gotten the chance. So many memories lost. So many moments that will never be shared. That knowledge weighs on me tonight. It is weighs on me so heavily I feel as if my heart will break…shattered from the pressure.

There are so many things we will never get a chance to do now.
So many things that we will never get to experience…

We will never go to the theatre…or dinner…or a café again.
We will never have another date night again. Ever.
I will never see that magical twinkle in his eyes when he looked at me.
We will never walk in the rain again, like we did so many times before.
I will never feel the warmth of his body beside me or feel his touch again.
I will never get to hear him say I love you again or hear his wonderful laughter.
I will never drift off to sleep, hearing the beautiful rhythm of his breathing.
I will never again feel the peace and love I felt when he walked into the room.
Alec will never get to snuggle with his daddy again on the couch.
I will never again see the love on his face when he watched Alec sleep.
We will never make art together again.
David will never grow old.
And I will never get to see those beautiful laugh lines around his eyes deepen.

All these things…and so much more we will never again have together. And it just seems too much to bear tonight. I don’t know how to survive today…yet alone a lifetime without him. David is gone. And with him I think went my heart.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Message

Late last night I was sitting on the couch, trying to read but finding myself unable to focus. I decided to turn on the TV and see if I could find something mindless to watch. Within a few clicks I found myself on the history channel and “Tombstone” was playing. My initial response was to click away from it as fast as possible. David loved that movie. I can’t tell you how many times we watched it. Before Cancer (BC) and after his diagnosis. Whenever David was hospitalized and I would pack up the portable DVD player…that was always the first movie he requested. In the end I used to just keep it in a bag with the DVD player.

But for some reason, last night I decided not to click away. I watched the final scene of the movie where Doc Holliday was dying. I kept thinking to myself, why in the hell are you watching this? And yet…I stayed. And as the scene played out, I saw it like I never had before. Firstly, as Doc was dying I kept thinking to myself…it’s not like that at all. As someone dies, it’s just not like that. Or maybe it is like that for some, but just not David. David went very peacefully…but it was still different. The body movements…the breathing. All of it. And yet, compared to the way many movies do it…it was much closer than some. But still…the final moments were wrong. But they always are, aren’t they?

But I digress. What really captured me was what they spoke about before he died. They were talking about life and here’s what they said:

Doc: "What do you want?"
Wyatt: "Just to live a normal life."
Doc: "There is no normal life Wyatt. There’s just life."
Doc (again): "Now get on with it."
Wyatt: "I don’t know how."
Doc: "Sure you do…Live every second. Live Wyatt. Live for me."

It doesn’t sound as poetic as it did as I watched the scene. But what resonated with me is that it sounded so much like David. How he used to speak and what he wanted for me...and I know that if David were here right now he would be saying the very same thing as he had said so many times before. And the message is that there really is nothing normal about life. There is no normalcy to get back to. Life just is.

I get the message my love and I know that you want me to live. I will try. Try to live for for you. Hopefully someday I will be able to enjoy life once again...enjoying it for the both of us. Doing the things that we never got a chance to do together. Someday I will my love. Just not today.