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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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.

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…

Six months. Twelve days. Seventeen Hours.

The measurement of time is so misguided.  We look at something and say oh man, an hour, psh, I can make it through an hour.  A day of waiting?  Sure, no problem.

Six months.

Twelve days.

Seventeen hours.

…a lifetime…

It has been so long.  Time has slowly crept by, and yet it hasn’t stopped.  The world hasn’t stopped and I still don’t understand how.  How have I changed so much in the last five years, hell the last six months?  How can I feel and be so different and yet so many carry on as though he was never here. I carry on everyday in some manner; I’ve refused to submit to depression.  Most days I even smile. I have Addi.  But damned if it doesn’t hurt.  Behind every smile and laugh is a jagged knife that is torturous.  A retching in my gut because I can’t share my reasons for smiling with Evan.  I don’t get to call him and hear his voice on my way home from work or when I need to figure out a dinner idea because I am at the store or when I am upset with someone or some injustice in the world…  Where there was his embrace and gentle smile is now a ragged pillow.  Where there was his laughter and stories is now silence.

Addison, our daughter, is now two.  She is the light and the laughter and the only way I draw strength in order to press on.  If it wasn’t for Addi I can honestly say I don’t know where I would be right now.  She is so much like Evan.  She is so much like me.  It is so difficult to see her cut her eyes or make some of her faces because she looks exactly like Evan.  She is so compassionate and caring.  She is so funny and loving.  And one day I have to explain to her the way that the world works, taking those closest to us without rhyme or reason.  I have to share memories and moments in my journal because I don’t get to enjoy them with Evan.  I have to keep my shit together to show her how much I love her and I love her father.  I owe it all to them.  They are and will always be worth it all.  All of the pain and love I feel, this duality that battles inside me at all times…I would do it all again to have them both in my life.  No matter how short my time was with Evan.  And his time with Addi.

Thinking back on the last six months, twelve days and eighteen hours by the time I actually post this…I don’t even know where I have been or who I have been. I have been here, but not really.  It is so difficult to explain because I am not even sure of it myself.  I just feel love toward Addi and then there is sadness.  Where many other emotions should be: I just am.  I don’t know how to grieve. But I think this is part of the process…I don’t really know why I am writing all of this on here…I guess I want those that knew Evan and myself, whoever that is, to know that I have things in mind and in motion to keep his memories alive, to help Addi get to know Evan in the only way she gets to now, to help her understand what I am going through…and to help me understand it I suppose.

I was going to post a picture to go with this post and all of the pictures I have previously uploaded pop up and I can’t help but feel like I am not that person. I have these memories, these great and happy memories, but they feel like they aren’t really mine.  I was there.  I know the details intimately, but I feel so disconnected and disjointed from them, and from everyone and everything.  It is only recently, since I have gotten my own place for Addi and I that I feel like I am her mother again, but it’s not in the same way…

Somehow I have to figure out how to fuse the old me with the one that is left here.  Life as I once knew it will never be the same.  I will never be the same.  Evan changed my life in so many ways, so many times, and the only comfort I can find is in knowing I gave him happiness and love and peace when we were together.

Ev

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Evan Charles Myrtle, age 27, entered this world on August 6, 1987 and departed this world for the next on September 11, 2014.

Evan was able to make people laugh easily, love freely and learn that life is what you make of it.  Come sunshine or stormy weather he was there for those he loved.  He lived loud and wasn’t afraid to speak his mind, which may have landed him into trouble a time or two.  He loved fiercely and held those dear to him close to his heart. Without hesitation, Evan would help a friend in trouble or a stranger in need, and all of those in between.

Evan brought people together from all walks of life.  He was born in Washington, grew up in Maine and ended up in North Carolina after getting married.  Evan’s spirit is carried on through his daughter, Addison Rose, age 2, and in the hearts of those he loved: wife Kari Myrtle, brother Bryce Locke, mother Tammy Craw, father Craig Myrtle, his other mother Mary Jo Myrtle and many in-laws, nieces, nephews, friends and family too numerous to list but not forgotten.  He is reunited with his sister Kyraa Locke, uncle Duane Myrtle, grandma Kathleen Myrtle and grandpa Louis Craw.  

There will be a celebration of life in Maine and Washington for his friends and family to gather and recount some of their fondest memories, with details to come.  Evan will always be deeply loved and sorely missed.   

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.”  He meant so much to so many; please come share your stories.

Blurb

I went to Rome when I was a senior in college.  I was originally going to go with a small class, but due to some health issues I had to postpone my trip.  Amazingly enough my sister and brother(in-law) contacted the travel agency and organized a new itinerary of which they would accompany me on this excursion.  I can’t explain how life changing this trip was.  There was a lot of exploration and laughter, a lot of miles walked and even more memories.  I remember one night after eating we sat down under some gorgeous and historic architecture.  Just right there in the middle of the city.  Locals were walking by like it was no big deal.  That’s purely speculation of course, perhaps one day they had this same moment of awe, but this particular night they were indeed walking by like no big.  All I could do was sit there in awe and think about how insignificant I felt in that moment.  I was in this remarkable city, sitting beside these ancient ruins among all these people.  I was a little blurb in the world and in that moment I felt as tiny as I really was.  It was a feeling I had to shake because I felt so insignificant I couldn’t breathe. 

Evan and I drove down to see my family yesterday.  It was just one day, too quick to reach out to anyone.  I took Addi to walk on the beach with my nephew and sister after dinner.  Before we left I stared out at the Atlantic.  My eyes focused on the line of the horizon where the blue of the sky melted with the blue of the sea.  For a moment that same paltry feeling threatened to overwhelm me, until I decided to embrace it.  It can be intimidating, but at the same time you can reverse that thinking and remember that you are not alone in this world.      

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