4 years ago

Another year.

A moment of silence.

A day to remember.

Like any other?

Do all of my days have silence?  And the chance to remember?

Why mark the occasion? As though my brain will ever forget?

Here I sit.

Silence.

Remembrance.

Another year.

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Addi is now five.  I have married again and have a son now.

I remember thinking about this and being in disbelief that it would happen; however, life has continued on.

Addi has been gaining a better understanding of death lately.  Or at least she is more cognizant of it.  I knew this would happen, and yet I didn’t prepare for these conversations.  How do you talk to a five year old about death? Especially when not religious?  I have been thinking a lot about this, but often fall short of how the conversation should go until I am looking at a teary-eyed little girl that misses her dad.

I decided to look up glioblastomas just now.  Addi knows that Evan died because of a growth or bump in his brain.  I was just curious as to what the actual survival rate was.  I looked this up once after he was diagnosed and I remember sitting beside him and reading two years with treatment.  I walked out of the room bursting into tears and talked to my sister, who was four hours away, on a hill in my backyard just bawling.  I never brought it up to him.

I was so naive to think the outcome would be different.  8%. 8 % is the chance of being a 5-year survivor with a glioblastoma.  And now I spend the nights when Chris, my husband, is at work and it is just Addi, me and my nine-month old, telling her Daddy Evan is always with us and in our heart.  I am not writing this from a sad perspective, just thinking about how important it is to be informed and realistic.

I remember writing an entry about being an advocate for yourself or your loved one; you must also be an informed advocate.  This should be obvious advice; however, sometimes in situations like terminal illness we forget the obvious.

Okay

Today is a day that will never leave me.  One year ago I told my best friend it was time for him to rest.  I told the father of my child I would watch over our daughter and take care of her as long as I lived.  I told my husband I would carry our love with me to help me get through every day after.  I told the most significant person in my life that I had chosen and that had chosen me…I told him it was ok.  That I would be ok.

Here I am a year later.  Sometimes I believe it, but I am not the same; I am not ok.  I spent some time looking back on pictures of Evan and Addi and I from the time when we first moved to Mooresville and he started school: long before he began to fall ill again and we found out about his glioblastoma.  It was such a beautiful life and those memories are so precious.  I will cling to them when those memories filled with sorrow creep up on me.  I will try to.  But, most of the time I feel like I am a completely different person; I feel like there is a front that everyone sees that shows who I was that shows I am ok.  But I’m not.  It feels like that life was never mine because it was gone so quickly.  So much has happened in the last year and a half; sometimes it is difficult to remember those good times.

Here it is a year later.  Sometimes I believe I am ok, but I am not the same and I never will be and that is what is truly ok.  Evan changed me in so many ways.  He changed my life.  He made it have so much more meaning and I miss the hell out of him.  I always will.  And THAT is ok because he is worth it.  All of the pain I feel has a silver lining because feeling this way means I loved someone so passionately and so completely.

Meteors

Well hello there…

Today starts the Perseids meteor shower that will take place over the next few days.  The peak is on the morning of the 13th if you read this in any time sensitive capacity.  I remember the first summer Evan and I lived together and this meteor shower occurred.  I had just gotten off my closing manager shift at the movie theater.  Evan had pulled out our huge blue comforter (the one our daughter is currently sleeping on) and he had it waiting in the grassy area beside the apartment’s parking lot.  It was a little chilly so he had grabbed an extra blanket (yes it was chilly in August-we were in western Washington; it was 2am; I am always cold); he learned my quirks quickly.  We laid there beside each other, holding hands and giggled and exclaimed excitement every time we saw a meteor.  It was beautiful and it was romantic.

I just went up to my crow’s nest (upstairs deck) to see if I could make out any meteors.  It is the first night and it is only about forty-five minutes after sunset, so no luck, but I am hopeful.


My mother-in-law and I were talking about a wedding she was invited to at the end of summer.  It just so happens to be the day after the one year mark of Evan’s passing.  And you see, the thing we have to remember is that that day will come.  I know it will come because the day after he passed came around, some how, it still happened.  I didn’t know how I was going to face the days, the weeks, the months after Evan passed, yet I have, because the world hasn’t stopped.  That is probably the saddest thing because my personal world did, but everything else just kept going, and it continues to do so.

Nothing was going to stop what happened from happening.  Evan did not get hit by a drunk driver.  He did not pass away due to negligence.  It was uncontrollable, as uncontrollable as the world is.  And it is hard.  Yet, here I am facing a new day…thank goodness for Addison.

Jumping out of a plane? Jumping out of a plane!

The week coming up will no doubt be a difficult one for several reasons.  I know Addi’s birthday will always be the hardest day to face the loss of Evan (which is in October), but last year it had been so soon after he passed that I was still numb and in shock.  That is how I have spent the better part of the last eleven months.

Slowly, I have been coming out of this numbness a little and feeling like me again; I am connecting with Addi daily and that is everything.  I have a job and am finishing up my masters degree.  Although I am staying busy and on a path I was on before Evan got sick it is this heavy reminder that now, still on that path, but it is emptier because I am on it without him.

Our birthdays are coming up.  Sunday and Thursday.  We tried to do something on each day, an activity, creating a new memory, and would go out on the 4th to eat.  Last year Evan and I discussed the possibility of going sky diving.  He talked about going several times and had me talked into it, but last year when we discussed it he let me bail out saying we would do it when we turned thirty.  I remember crying to the neurosurgeon that told me Evan wouldn’t be coming home that he didn’t get to go sky diving.  He had let me talk him into delaying it; he let me think we had more time, he let himself think that.

How much do we put off thinking we have more time?  Why do we do that?  It just creates regret in a new way.  Regret that something is left undone or unsaid.  I don’t want to live like that and I sure as hell don’t want Addi or the ones I care about to live like that because tomorrow is not guaranteed.  I don’t want to put off living.  I have to embrace it because Evan isn’t able to.  He doesn’t get that chance or that option anymore and it hurts, and I have to do something about it.

I wanted to skydive on his birthday, but it is on a Thursday and everyone is working and I want Addi to see me do it.  I suppose the day it is on doesn’t matter so much as that I do it.  That I take that jump, literally; that I feel that I followed through on another thing I promised we would do.  I just wish he was here to go with me

Blog-iversary

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Well, exactly one year ago I was laying in a room in the SECU house in Chapel Hill, watching District 9, contemplating the doctor’s appointment I would face with Evan the next day.  He was asleep beside me.  Addi was at our house three hours away with him mom.  We were going to find out what his new tumor was exactly–he had had a biopsy on July 10th and the results were in.  I was feeling overwhelmed and nervous and I wanted to write so I could have an outlet.  I wanted to create a voice for things I felt I couldn’t say and for things Evan couldn’t say or didn’t want to say (relaying news to family across the country was a rough task, let alone when you were dropping the C word left and right).

So, here it is one year later from restarting this blog and repurposing it.  I am sitting here now on a new couch in a new place.  A rescue dog is asleep beside me and Addi is asleep in the bedroom.  I have pictures now.  And memories.  And emotions.  I am so glad I have those memories and those pictures, but I wish I still had him.  Nothing makes this easier and sometimes when I look back on those moments it is harder because I am slammed with the reality that Evan was an amazing man, but he is no longer here.

It’s just a hard fact to have to face every time I open up and think about the memories.  I read something not long ago that said that hardest part about grieving and moving forward is that you want to live in the past. I feel so torn most of the time because that is true: the past holds my life with Evan, but I have our daughter, she is the present and the future…all I can do is try to find a balance

No snuggling to be had tonight unlike a year ago, unless it is with Addi, which at this particular moment sounds like a solid idea.  I remember cuddling to Evan and crying into his back while he slept.  I was so scared of the news we would get.  I was scared of what it would mean for him and for our family.  I was scared of exactly what happened but I never thought it would happen so soon.  Yet here I am.  Sitting on the couch, crying into his old NTI shirt.  So, on that note….happy blogiversary everyone…I’m calling it a night…

Still Here

I want to try to write more.  It is difficult to write in my own journal, let alone figure out what I want to type for others to see.  Grieving is difficult and personal in many ways, so when I decide I am ready to write it is often hard to figure out what to say–probably because it is difficult to figure out how I feel or what I am thinking.  I know this is a “normal” part of the grieving process and I am ok with not knowing how I feel or what I think about a certain situation.  So, you have to bear with my thoughts tonight. They are all over the place normally which is another reason it is difficult to try to write for others, typically I try to have my thoughts progress from one idea to the next….

Evan and I’s anniversary was a couple of weeks ago, July 3rd.  It was a great day of celebrating, just as it was when we got married.  Of course, the day would have been better with Evan, but damned if Addison did not remind me of him in multiple ways throughout the day.  I decided to take Addi to a water park.  Evan and I loved going to water parks when we lived in Washington and went to an indoor water park in Concord, NC last February.  There was a huge water slide called The Super Bowl that Evan talked me into going on at the indoor park while Bryce, his brother, watched Addi.  It was thrilling and when I saw it was at this particular water park I had a feeling I needed to go down it.  Just as I was thinking this I saw a woman and her young son get spit out at the bottom of the slide.  After verifying he was around Addi’s age I asked Addi what she thought and with a huge smile she said “come on Mama; let’s do this!”  So we did…three different times and it would have been more if the line didn’t grow as the sun came out.  It was a blast.  Evan would have had a blast going down the slides with her.

She is fearless just like him.

She is the evidence of the love Evan and I will always share.

Our birthdays are approaching now and I am trying to decide Addi and I’s next adventure.  I am seriously contemplating skydiving-of course Addi will have to sit this out for a while.  This was top of Evan’s To-Do and I talked him out of doing it last year on his birthday…part of me thinks I will make this a birthday ritual….I will [try to] keep you posted, literally, as to what unfolds…

In other news….

I started going to a grief counseling group that is composed of people that have lost their spouse.  It has been helpful to listen to what others are going through and for the next meeting we are supposed to bring in items to explore the importance of reminiscing.  Part of me is dreading this meeting.  I look at photos of Evan and videos and I cry because I miss him so much and I know it is going to be overwhelming listening and seeing others go through that process too.

If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one you may be surprised to find how helpful group sessions like this one can be though.  The counseling group is held by Hospice, and although Evan was not in Hospice when he passed, I am still able to attend the meetings.  I promise to write more about this later.  The rest of the night will be dedicated to Pinterest and Hulu….