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.

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…

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.

Doctors…

You go to the doctors looking for answers. New symptoms? Get a diagnosis. Everything still running right? Get a checkup. When you hear something is abnormal/wrong it is bittersweet. You think well, at least that explains symptoms XYZ, but then comes the reality that holy shit something is abnormal/wrong. Then the mind takes off in a million directions depending on what information the doctors reveal…or don’t.
With Evan’s appointments we are looking for an all clear for the next part of treatment, but there’s this anxiety built up because the next step is chemo. I feel like there are a million things to do or say to Evan to help him but nothing comes out because there is no right or wrong thing to do or say. Aside from I’m here and I love you.
If you are a family member or friend…or just want to send good vibes…that wants to reach out to let Ev know you’re thinking of him but don’t want to bother him then tell him that. I know people want to know how he is but don’t want to bug, but it is nice to hear you’re thinking of him. I found an article that lists some things you can do to reach out to cancer patients. There’s some good stuff, including things I’m going to try to do. Check it out here. Feel free to contact me too and ask questions here. If it’s too personal, send me a PM on Facebook or something along those lines.
Just waiting for doctors to come in…I know I am helping Evan and am doing everything I can to do so, I just wish there was more I was able to do.
Not to mention that he feels worse today than the day after his shunt surgery…

Accidental Activist

I’ve always wanted to be an activist.  When I was younger I imagined chaining myself up to trees, in college I could see myself joining PETA or advocating to stop the slaughter of dolphins…or the inhumane treatment of circus animals (I could go on with my ideas)…now that I am the wife of a cancer patient in a southern state I have begun to really explore my true activist calling: medical marijuana.  I just can’t get over the stigma that comes with the word marijuana.  Sure, there are those who use this plant to get high, but there are true medicinal benefits.  Specific strains are created and cultivated to aid certain symptoms.  This medicine certainly has more use than a recreational high.

Imagine seeing your significant other in pain, defeated, depressed and overwhelmed.  Then, seeing your child running up to him to try to hug him but he is too weak to even pick her up.  Your partner tries to distance themselves because they don’t want to snap at you or feel guilty because you are going through this too.  One thing can help all of that.  Yes, the pain is there, but it’s manageable.  The anxiety and depression: gone, at least temporarily.  Their mood becomes uplifted and they can close their eyes without worrying about pills or chemo or the future.  Because in that moment everything is easier. 

Inspired by Killing Cancer TedTalk