My Love

My Love

If my light starts to flicker, don’t make me stay.

If my heart can’t keep beating, then let it away.

A subtle smell or sound and my sorrow consumes me.

Memories flood of life changed, a soul now set free.

I am tired and lonely and my mind deceives me;

What I want is not, and what is not can’t be.

So I grieve, while I hope, for simple mercy my way;

And I rest, but not sleep, to pass yet one more day.

Kevin used to call me “my love.”  After work he’d say, “Come out on the deck and have a cup of tea with me, my love.”  Precious words made more precious with time.  I wrote the lines above a couple of weeks after he died, at a time when I didn’t care if I ever woke up.  I found them today as I looked through my journal.   Perhaps words can transcend time, they certainly can withstand it.  In a sense they can deliver immortality, a comforting thought for me anyway.

Tomorrow is two months since Kevin died; a measure in time of something that can’t be measured.  Try to put a value on a person’s life, then try to imagine how precious the memories are that you have created with that person.  This is my dilemma, I’ve lost the flesh and blood; all that is left is intangible.  Thoughts and memories are things that are but are not at the same time.

These are the types of things I worry about. What if I start to forget? I don’t ever want to forget.

How Can You Drain Something Already Empty?

Sometimes I feel like I am surrounded on all sides by mountains whose tops are in the mist; I know they are high, but I don’t know how high.  Somehow, and at some point I have to scale those mountains, but right now all I can do is feel small, powerless and ineffectual and let those mountains loom large in my mind.  It is almost paralyzing how much has to be done.  So my title stands, how can I feel drained when I was empty to begin with?  It’s definitely one of life’s mysteries.

Today I tackled one of the tasks that needed to be done, and that was acknowledge the kindness and generosity of family and friends.  We had a large turnout for the visitation and funeral.  We also had a great response to Kevin’s Endowment Fund.  Necessarily, then, I need to make a point of thanking people.  So today I got the thank you notice prepared for the newspaper and it will be published this Thursday in our local paper.  I also started on the individual thank you cards.  These are much more emotional.  I don’t know how many I will do today, but I do know, that however many I get done, it is that many less I have to do.

For those interested, here is the text that will go in the paper on Thursday:

BATCHELOR, Kevin – I would like to extend my sincere thanks and gratitude to family and friends for the love and support you provided throughout Kevin’s illness.  We were blessed to have the right people come into Kevin’s life at the right time – our family doctor, Dr. Kathleen Michalski, whose compassion and concern for Kevin helped us immeasurably as we faced the inevitable.  Our visiting nurse, Annie, Kevin anticipated your visits so much; he appreciated your advice, kindness and care.  Many thanks to our friends who steadily maintained their support in a myriad of ways as Kevin’s health declined.  Special thanks to those dear friends, Karin and Betty-Ann, who got Kevin to that one last opera, it was one of the best gifts ever.  Steve, Stu, Pat and Joe, long-time friends – your regular check-ins with Kevin were always bright spots for him, even on days when he was tired.  To his nephews and their children: Todd, Glenn, Symonne, Jakob, Alex and Liam – you know he loved you and it brought him great joy just to have you around.  Thank you to my sister Marilyn who worked her magic at RVH whenever we had a visit, it made a huge difference to our stress levels knowing you were there for us, as well as your support outside of the hospital.  A special thank you to June, Kevin’s sister, who has her own battle with the “c” word yet still made a point to join us almost every day after Kevin’s diagnosis, bringing tasty treats to tempt Kevin into eating and exercising with him during commercials for the Y & R.  And thank you to my children, Jesse (Donna), Kelly (Ian) and Christopher (Justine) and grandchildren Troy, Gareth and Lennox – it was a tremendous gift to your father spending time with him throughout this ordeal, talking about everything under the sun while you gave your love freely to him.  I know he values and treasures you still.  And lastly thanks to all those friends, coworkers, family members and former students who contributed to the Kevin Batchelor Endowment Fund administered by the Orillia Museum of Art and History; the response has been overwhelming and demonstrates how one man’s passion for the arts can bring a community together for a common good.

The Lovely Card

From Valentine's Day in 2014.  Crazy dreamer.

From Valentine’s Day in 2014. Crazy dreamer, no wonder I miss him.

It was Friday night and I thought that I’d get busy and do the avoidance thing.  Clean, organize, do mindless tasks to avoid thinking about how different things are now from what they were.  It was a nice day today and I had set up the patio furniture outside, washed it down and swept the deck.  When Kev was healthy and finished work for the day this is where I would find him.  He would sit on the deck, drinking his coffee and smoke his Friday night Colt (cigarillo).  He was always home before me and this particular routine was set – as long as it wasn’t storming outside.  Today was a day where I could almost feel him with me.

Once he got sick, the days of the week blurred together and our routine was guided by the television shows he would watch.  Bless his sister, she got him hooked on the Young and the Restless.  She’d come over every day and they’d watch it together.  They’d do exercises on the commercial breaks, drink a cup of tea and have one of the delectable pastries she always brought.  After the Y & R was Family Feud.  Prior to his illness he could barely tolerate the mindlessness of television, but game shows and soap operas – to anyone who knew Kevin this in itself would be an indicator of how sick he had become!   During his illness the television became a necessary distraction as well as a social event he shared with his sister and me.

So today, along with my daughter, I watched the Y & R and followed it up with Family Feud.  It was a little too close for comfort and the tears flowed.  It is the saddest reality for my daughter that her father died almost a month to the day after she gave birth to her first child.  She is heartbroken, but I do believe that her father would have been gone sooner had she not been pregnant.  He was so determined to meet that little baby and to make sure his girl came through it okay.

After my daughter left, and rather than mope, I decided I’d clean up the area we call our office; I had been rather lax over the last few months about filing the bills.  I had filed paperwork relating to Kevin’s illness and death as it arrived and also kept it in a separate folder in the dining room.  Consequently, I thought it unlikely that I would handle anything that would set me off, and that more than anything else I would simply be filing bills and general correspondence.  I got almost all of it done.

Until I found the card, the lovely card.

Take A Moment

Just a brief blog at this point, not meant to be depressing or gloomy, rather meant to be honest.

Take a moment and look around you at the people you have in your life – and just appreciate them for who and what they are.   If you love them let them know.  Don’t assume that your actions are enough, say the words.

I was very fortunate to have the time to love and enjoy Kevin right up to his death.  For me and the kids there was nothing left unsaid.  We had the privilege of closure.  Others I know have not been so lucky.  I think of my friends and my workplace and I know several people who lost a spouse or a child way, way too suddenly.  Because it wasn’t supposed to happen.  There is a complacency that we tend to get when we are comfortable and happy.  Things happen to other people, not to us.  And this is the way it will continue to be, until it does happen to you.

For some they will coast through life to it’s end, but even then, at a ripe old age a partnership will be dissolved.  I hope that most of you are able to coast, but while you do, take the time to ensure that the people that are important to you know that they are.