Ok

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.

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…

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.