Addi is now five.  I have married again and have a son now.

I remember thinking about this and being in disbelief that it would happen; however, life has continued on.

Addi has been gaining a better understanding of death lately.  Or at least she is more cognizant of it.  I knew this would happen, and yet I didn’t prepare for these conversations.  How do you talk to a five year old about death? Especially when not religious?  I have been thinking a lot about this, but often fall short of how the conversation should go until I am looking at a teary-eyed little girl that misses her dad.

I decided to look up glioblastomas just now.  Addi knows that Evan died because of a growth or bump in his brain.  I was just curious as to what the actual survival rate was.  I looked this up once after he was diagnosed and I remember sitting beside him and reading two years with treatment.  I walked out of the room bursting into tears and talked to my sister, who was four hours away, on a hill in my backyard just bawling.  I never brought it up to him.

I was so naive to think the outcome would be different.  8%. 8 % is the chance of being a 5-year survivor with a glioblastoma.  And now I spend the nights when Chris, my husband, is at work and it is just Addi, me and my nine-month old, telling her Daddy Evan is always with us and in our heart.  I am not writing this from a sad perspective, just thinking about how important it is to be informed and realistic.

I remember writing an entry about being an advocate for yourself or your loved one; you must also be an informed advocate.  This should be obvious advice; however, sometimes in situations like terminal illness we forget the obvious.



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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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…


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…

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.