Control

I have been feeling very lost and overwhelmed. Some moments I feel like I am regressing in my grieving process, if that is possible. I don’t really know what to expect and I know there is no right or wrong way to feel. But, I decided I needed to fix how I am feeling so I examined my situation. Part of my disconnectedness is because I lost my husband. I had no control over that. No one did. It’s horrible. My life is completely different than it was eight and a half months ago. I have no control over that. Nothing can change that or bring Evan back. We didn’t break up, there is nothing to fix in our relationship. He had cancer. He tried everything to stay with me and Addi as long as possible. He had no control over his tumor though. It was reminding myself about that that made me realize I need to look at things that I do have control over and focus on those and let that empower me.

When we found out about Evan’s first tumor we both felt helpless. I was three months pregnant with our first, and only, child. We were about to celebrate our first year of marriage. I didn’t know what to say or what to do to comfort him, let alone myself. I knew this was something Evan had no control over. There was nothing he had done to cause this. This upset him, but it provided some relief to me. I knew it wasn’t self-induced harm. Evan wanted something or someone to blame, which is why I think he wanted to have a reason for why he got brain cancer. I can understand that. Now, that’s what I seek sometimes, but there is no reason, no anger. Anyway, when we found out he needed to start radiation he had the option to start treatment immediately at Chapel Hill, which is where they conducted his biopsy, or he could meet with new doctors in Wilmington, NC and get set-up for treatments where we were living. Starting them in Chapel Hill meant he would have to stay at the SECU family house close by the hospital and we wouldn’t see each other every day as I was teaching in Clinton and Chapel Hill was an hour and a half drive from there. Evan and I both felt helpless again. But I told him, you can’t control that you need radiation. What you have control over is where and when you start it. You need to focus on what you can control and make a decision and go with it. If you focus on the things you can’t control you won’t be able to do what you need to do.

Yesterday as I was thinking about this I realized I need to take the advice I had bestowed on my amazing husband. He decided starting treatment right away was the best course of action so he could have the best outcome. He began treatment at the beginning of September, just after labor day.

There is so much I don’t have control over right now. My emotions particularly. But, I there are some things I can control. It is important that I take ownership in what those things are and embrace them. Hopefully that will help me figure out who I am now.

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help me figure out who I am now.

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Worth It

Eight months. Six hours. Two minutes. It’s hard to wrap my mind around everything, around anything. I am trying to be present, but I feel so disconnected…

Addi and I just got back from seeing our family and friends in Maine—those we obtained thanks to Evan. I was talking with someone that was close to Evan about the last few months, the almost year, and I couldn’t believe how distant I felt from my own memories. I have been pushing myself and my moments aside in some ways because I don’t want to lose stories about Evan. I don’t want to lose those memories so it is almost like I am blocking other things from entering my memory bank. I am living in the moment, trying to enjoy every second I have with Addi, but when I look back on last week, last month…I just don’t feel like I was actually apart of any it in some ways.

I’m thinking about Addi and I’s trip to Maine: we just got back yesterday. We stayed for a week. I drove us up the coast and back down. We had a blast. I know it. I can give examples and explain why we had fun and what we did, but at the same time I don’t feel it. I don’t feel like I was there fully…reflecting on it, keeping record is all I can do right now I suppose…

So, I decided spur of the moment to take Addi to Maine. We haven’t seen Ev’s mom or brother since September, just after Evan passed.  I knew it was going to be hard but I felt that the timing was right—I just finished my spring grad courses and I was about to pick up more hours at my part-time job, but before I did I wanted to see more people that were connected to Evan.  I didn’t want there to be any pressure for planning Evan’s celebration of life or anything of that sort, just a visit.  I am not too familiar with Maine and I wanted to get more of a feel for it before I figured out where to host the celebration. I wanted to hear stories about Evan that I didn’t know or couldn’t recall and I wanted to reminisce with his old friends. It was a success. It was hard too, but that’s a daily struggle. It was worth it. Addi and I made new memories and I was able to tell her about places and things Evan and I did when we had come up to Maine. His mom and friends got to tell both of us lots of stories from when he was younger.

I want to have his celebration of life on his birthday because that’s what you do on your birthday—you celebrate. I don’t want to be at home upset because he isn’t here. I want to embrace his/our family and share stories. I want to celebrate the life he had, not mourn the life he was deprived of. Again, something I struggle with everyday. This August I am going to take Addi to Washington to celebrate Evan’s life with the friends and family we have there. It will be hard, as all of this is and has been and will continue to be, but it will be worth it.

I will eventually post about the actual trip to Maine and maybe even some pictures, but for now I just wanted to throw out there that Addi and I’s next trip will be to Washington in early August.

Plans never go as planned…

I never thought at 27 I would have to plan my husband’s celebration of life. I put off doing a funeral for a number of reasons.  Number 1 being that I didn’t want to have a funeral for Evan.  He was such a unique and amazing man I didn’t want anyone, myself especially, to feel like they are saying goodbye.  I’m not naive enough to think that by allowing myself to put off having a service of any kind for him, I haven’t faced the reality that he is gone.  You see, I face that reality every morning when I wake up and he isn’t beside me and when Addi is crying for her daddy and when I go to pick up my phone to tell him about my day or ask him a question that only he would know and after Addi falls asleep and the house is quiet and I am alone.  You see, this happens daily; multiple times a day the reality hits me.

A celebration of life will allow me to record stories and memories of Evan and put them together for Addi. I have just waited to feel like I can deal with seeing everyone and hearing all of their stories.  I am worried it will feel like the only time I will see them and hear them and I don’t want that.  I want to talk about Evan daily with multiple people.  I want to see his friends and family; I just don’t want to do it without Evan.  It is inevitable. It is out of my control. But, I want to honor him and I want others to do so as well. So, it is time to start putting some things together. I want to have a celebration in Washington, Maine and North Carolina. He had friends and family in each and I want everyone to meet Addison. I want to get together with everyone to honor my husband, who was much more than just that. Details will come and I am sure I will write about the process as it develops. I felt like if I write down that I am going to start planning it I will have to start planning it. So, here it is…

There is a war that rages inside of me.

There is a war that rages inside of me.

There are two parts to my life.  That is how I think.  My life is now divided in two.  Part of me lives in the memories of Evan.  I want to stay there most of the time.  But I can’t.  I have Addi.  I can’t do that to her.  I can’t do that to our daughter.

The only way that my current self can function sometimes is to not think about those memories.  They hurt.  They linger.  They remind me of what is no longer.  They are hard because they are just…memories.  I hate that I have to make new memories that don’t include him.  I know I have him with me through Addi, but I don’t have him in the way I once did.  I cherish the memories and moments I have of him, but sometimes, after Addi is asleep, it is enough to tear me apart and swallow the current me.

Something as simple as eating Addi’s Easter candy, Starburst, is enough to flood me with memories and emotions. I remember last year, Evan dying eggs with Addi and then hiding them the next day in our tiny backyard. She was one. Most were scattered about in the yard and a few hiding around her Little Tikes slide. She had a ladybug basket and opened the plastic eggs I filled with trail mix in the middle of the hunt. Evan loved Starburst. He knew I loved the pink ones and always saved some for me, although they were his favorites too. Then, we discovered Starburst minis and it was all she wrote on our road trip necessities. I preferred the yellow ones of those. Evan always got two bags of them when we drove back to Brunswick County to see my family. I dyed the eggs with Addi this year. After we watched videos of her and Evan doing it from last year.

There are now two mes.  Before. And After.  And there is no going back.  No matter how hard I wish I could.

ER visit

Well I knew it was bound to happen at some point.  Addi is a two year old in daycare and last night was the night.  Emergency Room visit.  This was the first time she had to go, but a temperature of 105 is no time to mess around and develop anxiety over my fear/memories that await in a hospital room.

Evan was in and out of the hospital ever since I was three months pregnant.  The last time I went to the emergency room was the last time Evan went to the hospital.  It’s been over six months and I could feel my anxiety build as I drove to the ER.  Addi was fine, not even awake really so I didn’t need to speed like a bat out of hell, although I am sure Evan would have wanted me to.  I was able to stay calm and collected…until Addi, in the middle of crying, exclaimed that she wanted her daddy.  I just smoothed her hair down and told her I did too.  I am sure the nurse thought I was reacting to my daughter being in the hospital. I didn’t feel the need to make myself cry harder so I didn’t say anything. What is there to tell a stranger? Sorry I am freaking out over here, it’s just that she’s never been to the emergency room and I could really use her dad but he can’t be here because he had cancer…yeah, that would have really calmed me down…I pulled it together before the doctor came in. Addi’s temp was down and the symptoms seemed to reflect a bout of the flu. I waited for the discharge papers to be drawn up and rocked Addi in the spare chair in the room. I couldn’t help but be overcome with emotions just looking at the damn bed. I don’t know how many times I stared at the stupid lever that controls the bed. I would often rest my forehead on the rail and hold Evan’s hand when he was in the hospital. Addi heard me crying and looked at me, took both of my cheeks in her hands and told me “it’s ok Mama, just breathe.” She then gave me a kiss and put her head back on my chest.

That little girl never ceases to amaze me. She got a dose of temaflu, which she promptly regurgitated once we were back on the road to our house in the wee hours of the morning. I was told to take her home and let her rest and to monitor her temperature, which has been up and down all day.

I knew a trip to the hospital would come. I knew it would be difficult, but I am strong because of everything Evan and I went through. And so is Addi. We managed to get in and out without too much trouble. We are a force to be reckoned with; that’s for damn sure.

Jogging?

I actually ran on the beach today.  I moved back to live around family after Evan passed and Addi and I recently got our own home around them.  It is an awesome little pad.  Top floor of a duplex beach house.  The beach is five houses down.  And I actually went for a jog.  On the beach.  Of course this was a short affair, but nonetheless I did it.  It ended with me laying in the sand listening to the waves, and who am I kidding that is how the majority of my time “jogging” went, but I did get my adrenaline pumping.  I did think of Evan.  And Addi.  And I got sad, but then I got to thinking of the times Evan and I went jogging together.

There were that few of occasions, but man were they funny thinking back on them.  Let’s just say that the first one was supposed to be an athletic date of sorts when we were still getting to know one another, I mean obviously since I went on a jog for a date (who does that), but he showed up with his two nephews and his niece’s boyfriend.  I mean I don’t jog so this was a bit intimidating to begin with, let alone adding more people to it…and the second one was mostly me getting to stare at his physically fit form as I walked behind him until he took pity on me and turned us back to our apartment.

I actually wrote these memories in my journal, which I haven’t picked up since I sewed my fancy cover around Christmas.  And by the time I was done writing them down I was smiling.  Maybe I will try this elusive jogging again…

I am so tired of talking to his picture.  I wish it were him.  But, I know he is listening.  I know what he would say in response.  I know he is with me.