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.

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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

Bereavement

When I look at your pictures, it takes my breath away.  I am hit with the overwhelming feeling of missing you and then it happens again because I am reminded of the love we share and how evident that is.  Addi is a constant reminder.  My heart is a reminder.  My memory is a reminder.  And I am torn.  For that moment I am torn because I love you and I miss you but I don’t want you to be here and in pain…but damned if being without you isn’t the hardest thing possible.  I am tempted to say it is harder for me than it was for you.  It is so hard to go on without you, but I know you are with me still.  I believe it in my heart.  I see it in our daughter.  I have to believe it because it is the only way I can go on.

I finally went to see a grief counselor last week.  She just let me spill my heart along with everything that had happened since losing Evan, since we found out about his cancer…hell since we met.  To be honest, I cried before she even asked me about Evan.  We went into a room and she handed me a form to fill out while she went to grab something.  The form was for HIPPA and a quick questionnaire that asked me things like if I had been dealing with drug/alcohol abuse, weight loss/gain, suicidal thoughts, etc. (which I haven’t been thanks to my daughter).  When I was done I sat there and looked at some of the books on her shelf and got teary.  I was just so anxious.  I had only been to a therapist a few times when my parents separated when I was nine.  I am twenty-seven dealing with the loss of my spouse.  I didn’t know what to expect, or how to feel.  I just had such an overwhelming feeling of so much all at once so when she entered I just started to cry.  I couldn’t help it.  I was just so anxious and my emotions were so built up that the tears just sprang forth.

And then, she let me talk about everything that happened for nearly two hours.  I was exhausted.  I picked Addi up from my grandma’s after and begged Addi to nap with me.  It was so much all at once, but it was helpful and I am thankful to the bereavement counselor and for my friend that got me the info to start going.  I am signed up for a group session that will meet at the end of June and discuss losing a spouse.  I am sure I will have similar overwhelming feelings, but I know all of this is “normal” or at least my new normal–the type where everything is out the door.  I am just happy I have Addi with me to give me strength.  It is a reminder of the love Evan and I have and the strength that that has always given me.  I hope she can be a reminder for everyone else that loved Evan.  I know that is a lot to put on such a little girl, but Addi is a beacon of happiness and love and strength.  She will draw her own power from that.  This I know, just as I know Evan will always be with us.

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…

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.