So it has come and gone again.  The anniversary of Kevin’s death.  Year two in the books.  Not easier at all.  I don’t know if it was harder, but I do know it wasn’t easier.  This year Easter fell similar to the year he died.  Kevin died on the Sunday before Easter.  I pushed to have the funeral on the Thursday before Good Friday.  Deliberately so it wouldn’t wreck anyone’s long weekend plans.  It likely/probably did, but at least they didn’t have to go to a funeral on one of their days off.

This year, just the way it fell, I found it hard going into the weekend.  And it wasn’t just me, his sister, my kids, we all felt it.  The memories sit in your heart and hurt with each beat.  But more than ever I realize that this is it, what I have now is on me, and I need to appreciate what I have.  This is what Kevin fought for, why he went through chemo, what he was so desperately trying to hold on to.  Life: to watch his grandkids grow up, to enjoy his family and friends, to explore, create, attempt new things.  To see and to be; to wring every bit of enjoyment out of every single day.  It’s all right there for anyone who wants it.

So, I just have to figure out how to want it.  So far I am not applying myself very well.


It’s All About Choices

Life can be relentlessly demanding.  It takes no heed of any special circumstances.  It’s like a landslide or a volcano, things start in motion and they will carry through until they stop.  These things can be good things or not so good things. It is the reality of life that time keeps passing, events continue to occur and the sun comes up and the sun goes down.

The thing is that when our lives are going well, we don’t notice how unstoppable things truly are.  It’s like getting married.  There are so many things to do and in such a set period of time.  Usually they are good things, so despite the fact that life is pushing us forward, we enjoy it.   Like starting a family – again, life pushes us and makes demands but usually they are overshadowed by the resultant joy.

Let’s flip this on its head and consider the person who is being pushed forward by life and time but without any joy or desire.  These are the people who get lost or worse, overwhelmed by demands they are ill equipped to respond to.  They simply lose hope.  I imagine it to be like quicksand, you try to move, but instead it pulls you deeper into the mire, paralyzing further efforts.  Or like that solitary tree on a windswept hill, unprotected, it is battered day in and out.  It may survive the harsh environment but it becomes bent and weathered by nature and time.

These are the types of thoughts I have been mulling over since I discovered that my identity had been compromised.  I realized that no matter how I feel, life is going to go on.  The good aspects and the bad aspects, they happen each and every day and will for the rest of my life.  My life is going to push forward, just like everyone else’s, and how that plays out depends on me.  This is just the beginning of a thought process for me, writing words and saying words are not the same as living the ideal behind them.  Life makes demands and we choose how we respond, how we will live.

So yes, I had a bad thing happen to me.  The timing was lousy, but this was an arbitrary event, a wide net was cast and I got caught in it.  Fortunately I had a friend by my side that made me deal with this thing head on and quickly.  I made the calls and set the protective mechanisms in place to protect my personal identity and found out in the process how common this occurrence is.  Cyberspace, like the universe, is infinite.  Any information offered up to it gets swallowed and disseminated in manners that we have no control over.  Scary stuff.

It’s Father’s Day – Just Relax and Go With It

Venus - a good listener.

Venus – a good listener.

I woke up to an overcast day.  It’s a shame really, this is one day that I would have loved to see sunny and bright.  Thoughts flow through my mind about my father-in-law, my father, my own husband.  The memories: my father-in-law with his ever present pipe clenched between his teeth, rocking with my eldest son, puffing away on his pipe while he recited, “horsey, horsey, don’t you stop….”  My own father playing  cards at the kitchen table, slamming down his hand to win the game – we changed the name of Canasta to Ca-nasty just for him.  Then my own husband …

I see him in my mind, at the school across the street from one of our earliest homes, the three kids in tow.  Teaching the youngest to ride his bike, trying to prevent the eldest from jumping off a climber that was too high, all the while attempting to control our whirling dervish of a daughter.  I picture him at our dining room table giving my eldest son and his first serious girlfriend the “talk” about the birds and the bees – unfortunately, animated speaker that he was, Kevin also used hand gestures.  Funny, it was so funny.   I remember how excited he was to take our daughter with him to the UK.  Granted it was for a funeral and under sad circumstances, but he so wanted her to meet his family.  Then there was the youngest son who watched and observed how the elder two fared trying to get around their father, he’d try to outsmart his old man – but it never worked.  Kevin would always laugh saying, “What a rookie.  He has no idea about most of the crap I did when I was a kid.”

Our kids, his pride and joy – they put us through the rigours of parenthood, the highs and the lows, the pleasure and the pain.  As they got more independent and less receptive to his guidance and instruction (the kids might call this interference) he’d turn it up a notch.  The conversations could be quite stimulating, and in our house you either stood up for yourself or got steamrollered.  The kids learned to challenge assumptions and defend positions, how to debate and how to communicate. That’s the legacy of having Kevin for a husband and a father. Their father was not passive when it came to anything in life.  Even as his health was failing, his mind was not.  As he got frailer, he took on an oversight role.  When anyone was doing anything Kevin would have to supervise; it slowed progress down immensely since he would chatter incessantly – a 20 minute job could take hours.  Actually, that last statement applies to when Kevin was healthy as well.  He simply loved to talk.

These were the types of thoughts that I woke with today, on Father’s Day.  On this day last year he still was my Kevin, no idea that he had lung cancer.  A year ago, the phone would be ringing and he would get that contented smile, knowing one of the kids was calling to chat.  The food would be purchased and he’d be double checking to make sure I had everything for an incredible meal.  Then he’d take his coffee and go sit out on the deck, I’d join him, and he would reflect on how great life was.  That’s where I am headed now, to the deck, cup of tea in hand.  I’ll have a little chat to no one in particular, perhaps with the statue of Venus, a Father’s Day from years past.  I will try and count my blessings, and let love be the order of the day.

Where to go from here?

It’s a beautiful day outside but things like that are irrelevant at this point.  I’ve been told that the most important thing to do now, is to try and make things as normal as possible. Do what you would normally do, not shut down.  But really in the last three days I have been told a whole bunch of things, my head is swimming.  Obviously each situation is unique, each individual is unique.  So today we are going to do what we had planned for a few months now.  When I made that decision, everything seemed to lighten.  Let’s hope it was the right one.

About a Shooting Star

K. Batchelor, 2010

K. Batchelor, 2010

Life should be vibrant and full.  Our interactions with people are the sources of growth, joy, happiness, sorrow and fear.  Without the emotional range and scope there would be no highs and lows, just monotony.  But sometimes the lows are too low, and the highs aren’t anywhere in sight.  It is a challenge to find a reason, any reason to help make sense of the things we face.  This is perhaps where faith has its foothold, where faith comes into play.  People with great faith seem to find an ability to move with the flow of the situation, and a contentment that somehow life will gain its balance back.  I am not a woman of great faith, however, I do have a strong belief in the collective power of all.  So I continue to reach up to the collective universe and ask for answers or at least for assistance in helping me face the challenges ahead.  Challenges that cancer and its unpredictability can throw at a family.  Like a shooting star we shine bright while it is meant to be.  How sweet to see the colours and flame of that star.  I will enjoy it while it lasts.