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.

Control

I have been feeling very lost and overwhelmed. Some moments I feel like I am regressing in my grieving process, if that is possible. I don’t really know what to expect and I know there is no right or wrong way to feel. But, I decided I needed to fix how I am feeling so I examined my situation. Part of my disconnectedness is because I lost my husband. I had no control over that. No one did. It’s horrible. My life is completely different than it was eight and a half months ago. I have no control over that. Nothing can change that or bring Evan back. We didn’t break up, there is nothing to fix in our relationship. He had cancer. He tried everything to stay with me and Addi as long as possible. He had no control over his tumor though. It was reminding myself about that that made me realize I need to look at things that I do have control over and focus on those and let that empower me.

When we found out about Evan’s first tumor we both felt helpless. I was three months pregnant with our first, and only, child. We were about to celebrate our first year of marriage. I didn’t know what to say or what to do to comfort him, let alone myself. I knew this was something Evan had no control over. There was nothing he had done to cause this. This upset him, but it provided some relief to me. I knew it wasn’t self-induced harm. Evan wanted something or someone to blame, which is why I think he wanted to have a reason for why he got brain cancer. I can understand that. Now, that’s what I seek sometimes, but there is no reason, no anger. Anyway, when we found out he needed to start radiation he had the option to start treatment immediately at Chapel Hill, which is where they conducted his biopsy, or he could meet with new doctors in Wilmington, NC and get set-up for treatments where we were living. Starting them in Chapel Hill meant he would have to stay at the SECU family house close by the hospital and we wouldn’t see each other every day as I was teaching in Clinton and Chapel Hill was an hour and a half drive from there. Evan and I both felt helpless again. But I told him, you can’t control that you need radiation. What you have control over is where and when you start it. You need to focus on what you can control and make a decision and go with it. If you focus on the things you can’t control you won’t be able to do what you need to do.

Yesterday as I was thinking about this I realized I need to take the advice I had bestowed on my amazing husband. He decided starting treatment right away was the best course of action so he could have the best outcome. He began treatment at the beginning of September, just after labor day.

There is so much I don’t have control over right now. My emotions particularly. But, I there are some things I can control. It is important that I take ownership in what those things are and embrace them. Hopefully that will help me figure out who I am now.

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help me figure out who I am now.

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.

Jogging?

I actually ran on the beach today.  I moved back to live around family after Evan passed and Addi and I recently got our own home around them.  It is an awesome little pad.  Top floor of a duplex beach house.  The beach is five houses down.  And I actually went for a jog.  On the beach.  Of course this was a short affair, but nonetheless I did it.  It ended with me laying in the sand listening to the waves, and who am I kidding that is how the majority of my time “jogging” went, but I did get my adrenaline pumping.  I did think of Evan.  And Addi.  And I got sad, but then I got to thinking of the times Evan and I went jogging together.

There were that few of occasions, but man were they funny thinking back on them.  Let’s just say that the first one was supposed to be an athletic date of sorts when we were still getting to know one another, I mean obviously since I went on a jog for a date (who does that), but he showed up with his two nephews and his niece’s boyfriend.  I mean I don’t jog so this was a bit intimidating to begin with, let alone adding more people to it…and the second one was mostly me getting to stare at his physically fit form as I walked behind him until he took pity on me and turned us back to our apartment.

I actually wrote these memories in my journal, which I haven’t picked up since I sewed my fancy cover around Christmas.  And by the time I was done writing them down I was smiling.  Maybe I will try this elusive jogging again…

I am so tired of talking to his picture.  I wish it were him.  But, I know he is listening.  I know what he would say in response.  I know he is with me.

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.

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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