4 Years Later

I haven’t written on here for a while.  I got caught up in trying to create a life post Kevin’s death.  Last year, I decided to move houses, and once the decision was made it happened very quickly.  I sold the house that we raised the kids in, and it wasn’t an easy decision to do that.  The house was so full of memories and, really, of Kevin.

I’ve moved into a much smaller house, perfect for one person.  I am starting to make it my own, and anticipate the spring weather so I can discover the gardens.  I have new neighbors, they don’t know me and I don’t know them – absolute bliss!!  And I am toying with giving the house it’s own name.  A sign nailed to the tree in the front yard.  I am leaning towards something like “Safe Haven”, because that is what I envision this place to be.  My little nest tucked away from the chaos of life.

Now I need to get back to the business of writing.  It’s been too long since I sat down and let my thoughts flow.  I feel like perhaps I am closing the circle of grief just a little, I can’t explain what that means, just that there was an intensity and drive for expression right after Kevin died, and then a lull or void where it didn’t matter.  Now that apathy has passed and my interest is back and it just feels good.  It could be because it’s spring, it could just be time, it could be the imminent birth of another grandchild; it could be all of those things.

I reflect though on how everything has changed and yet the things I feared through change didn’t come to be.  I survived it.  Family stayed strong, memories remain, love remains, friends remain. Life goes on, smaller and bigger at the same time, but always moving forward.


A Fanciful Thought

I was thinking about how different this month of June is to every other one I’ve experienced in my married life.  At this time of the year my husband would be counting down the days to the end of the school year.  You see, teachers aren’t that different from the children they teach, they are just as anxious to get to summer break.  Kevin’s spirits would start to rise all through this month.  He’d be busy preparing for the Grade 8 Graduation.  There was always some sort of video presentation that he would do with a couple of the other teachers and that would occupy a lot of their time this month.  There would be the school dance to plan, usually a final dinner at someone’s house and so on.  A busy time, always a busy time.

For at least 20 years my family was subjected to the same routine as we neared the end of the school year.  On the second last day of the teaching year we would wake up to “One Day More,” a song from Les Miserables.  This would be played over and over again as Kevin would stand in the middle of the living room smiling.  The last day of the school year it was always School’s Out by Alice Cooper.  For this song, the volume was cranked as loud as the windows could take.  Kevin would be walking around in his undies, arms over his head, fingers making a peace sign, nodding his head. Played over and over.  Twenty years of this.

This will be the second year where this doesn’t happen, but it is the first year where I really feel the loss.  Last year Kevin went into hospital right before the Grade 8 Graduation.  We got the awful news the last day of school, and consequently none of the usual celebrations occurred.  Neither song was played.  It’s a funny thing – since Kevin has died I don’t recall having heard either of these songs on the radio.  I know I would have reacted if I had.  I wonder if Kevin has a hand in this somehow; a fanciful thought but it does strike me as odd that I haven’t heard either of these tunes in almost a year.

Anyhow, this month will grind its way to the end.  As for me, I suspect that I will be absolutely emotionally spent.  For some reason, I hope that it rains and rains and rains.

I’m Grieving, What Does That Mean?

I had an appointment with my doctor yesterday.  I’ve been off work on sick leave and needed a note to allow me to return to work.  I need to get back to work.  I need the structure in my day, a reason to get up, a reason to go to bed.  Right now I feel like I am free falling – I have no definition to the requirements of my day.  It was ten months from Kevin’s diagnosis to his death.  In that time my world shrank considerably.  There was no easing into his treatments.  He was walloped right from the get-go with the radiation.  It was so debilitating that he couldn’t even lift his legs onto the bed.  My days, necessarily, involved a lot of personal care and attention to Kevin’s needs.  Although there was an ebb and flow to the level of support required, since the end of January it had steadily increased until it became all-consuming.  Consequently when it ended I was literally without a purpose.

Without a purpose.  And so I exist.

Absolutely there are things to do and that have to be done, but that’s just part of existing – we eat, we sleep, go to work and pay our bills.  When Kev was alive there was a plan, goals and aspirations – mine and his.  Somehow they have all lost their lustre.  And so, for now I am existing, no long term plans, no goals or aspirations in place.  I know this is part of the grieving process, but knowing doesn’t make it any easier or any less lonely.

I find that I draw distinctions now about grief, for example, was it a sudden death or a prolonged illness resulting in death? The emotional response is significantly different on several levels.  Obviously the relationship; spouse, relative, friend, child – all very different grieving processes.  The type of illness, the age, the death experience itself.  I have an insatiable need for details so I can compare them to my own experience – however, I’m the first person to say every single experience is different.  And it is different, each and every situation, no family dynamics are ever the same, no two individuals will have had the same life experience.

In my case, my family, friends and acquaintances will know of the singular experience that I am grieving (my husband’s death) but theirs will be an external view.  They may have an idea of how I am feeling, but they won’t ever know what I am going through, how could they?  Just like me with my children, their feelings will be uniquely their own and will be different for each one and different from mine.  I won’t say “I know what you’re going through,” because I don’t exactly.  Who knows what’s going on in another person’s mind?  I do say, ” I miss him everyday.  He loved you very much.”  Because he did, and because they need to work through their own grief in their own way secure in the knowledge of his love.   I won’t say, “time heals all wounds,” or “in time it won’t hurt so much,” because right now it doesn’t feel like it will, because right now it implies that Kevin’s value will lessen as time passes, it implies forgetfulness, it lacks depth.  I will say “yes honey it hurts” and stay in the present tense because that’s where we are now and it is painful and it is personal and he was a huge influence in all of our lives.  Perhaps my sensitivity meter is up or perhaps this is the way most people feel when they grieve.  I do know that I’d gladly miss the platitudes and settle for a simple and genuine “I’m so sorry to hear about Kevin” – it pretty much covers everything.