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.

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…