24 November 2014


This Wednesday, the 26th of November, will mark six months since C died and also, two years since the original diagnosis. Add this onto the cusp of Thanksgiving, and the bonus of the only memories that seem to surface regularly are the painful ones from the last two years and this has been a tremendously difficult season so far.

I remember vividly the look on his face when he brought home the diagnosis two years ago..... if I focus on it too long, I can still feel the ice water run through my veins in reaction to the news, the same ice water that I felt the moment I realized I had watched him take his last breath. Almost exactly a year ago, we were devastated once more by the news that we could not travel to Texas for Thanksgiving after learning that the cancer had progressed to his lungs. Beginning the next phase of treatment that, now in retrospect, was the start of a very quick downhill slide that would have him leave our family far sooner than we had hoped. The devastating pain that I feel reliving these truths moment after moment are nothing that words can accurately capture. The reemergence of these memories and feeling the weight of them at unexpected times makes me feel like I will never move forward.

Having my brain constantly going does sometimes allow for some happier memories, but the pain of any of them at all still makes me feel like this gaping open wound will never heal. I finally went back into the church service in the last two weeks..... the first time I really spent any time in there since C's memorial service. I had to leave mid-sermon the first time, there was too much that I couldn't handle after also sitting through some very moving hymns. I went again this past Sunday and made it through the sermon, only to have to leave during the prayer at the end. When C and I would attend services together, this was the moment he always put his arm around me as we bowed our heads in prayer..... and his arm would stay around me for the last two songs. This past Sunday, at this same moment I felt so cold, and alone, and the pain of the memory hit me like a ton of bricks, I ran out of there once again.

The emotional toll this roller coaster takes....... I feel so crazy as I go from feeling so sad I can't get out of my own head, to getting through it and realizing I pushed through the hurt and that I am still standing, that I'm okay, just be knocked down by something as simple as changing the paint color our home in an attempt to move forward.......  I had the interior of our house completely repainted this week. As the primer went up and the paint color changed drastically, I sat on the phone with a friend of mine for hours, completely devastated, feeling like I had made the wrong choice and that I longed for the old color and the memories of C and two of our friends painting that room many years ago..... he had picked the color after completely vetoing my choice.... which did kind of look like battleship gray, he was right, not that I think I ever told him that...... I was newly pregnant with H (we hadn't told anyone yet) and I kept ducking out of the house to avoid paint fumes, attempting to be slick and not give away our secret to our friends. It's kind of funny the lengths I went to since we weren't sure if we were ready to tell, little memories of a happier time that seems so far away.

Now I am trying to focus on the realization that memories don't disappear just because you start to move forward, that changing the paint color doesn't change the memories and the fact that those memories will always exist, they just no longer have that visible reminder. And finding a way to come to terms with realizing that it's not the color I long for, it's the longing for the old life that it represented............

10 November 2014

Happy Birthday Daddy

This past Thursday would have been C's 47th birthday.  I've been dreading his birthday for awhile now, knowing that it marks the start of the holiday season and what is sure to be an incredibly painful and rough two months for all of us.  I reflect on where we were this time in past years, looking for some peace and comfort in good memories that we made as a family and as a couple, but they are steeply overshadowed by the images from the last few months of his life.  As difficult as these few days have been, I want to try to focus on the blessings we were given.

We began C's birthday celebration with a friend bringing doughnuts and coffee.  This particular friend is an incredible ray of sunshine in our lives.  Her strong faith, upbeat personality, and her ability to be present in the moment make her one of the easiest people for me to talk to and I am very blessed with the love she and her family have for ours.  The girls and I then went to the airport to pick up C's sister..... I am thankful she was able to come up for these few days.  Our age and personalities being very similar, she gets where I am and supports me no matter where I sit with my grief.  She listens without judgement and goes out of her way to make my life easier, she was a very strong and comforting element to this rough couple of days.  I am incredibly blessed that my husband's family is truly my family as well.

The five of us then went a nearby restaurant that the girls picked.  C had never been there, but the girls were confidant that he would have liked it.  The meal went really well, anyone who dines out at restaurants with young children know just how quickly these things can go downhill, but we were able to enjoy that time together.  After lunch we went to pick up balloons for daddy, the girls each chose two and I grabbed a few extra just in case.  We got them home and finished our birthday cards to Daddy, attached them to the balloons and went outside to send them to heaven.  Just as we finished getting organized and went outside,  the rain that had been lurking all morning gave way to a hint of sunshine and we were able to release them without less desirable weather threatening our celebration.

The girls were so excited to send the balloons to Daddy, they watched the balloons float up and followed them until they couldn't see them anymore..... that was how we know that Daddy got them.  I am so blessed to have these girls, for as overwhelmed as I get, their innocence and faith bring me back from very painful places in my own heart.  K had a particularly rough day as well, again mirroring my feelings and actions in a less than flattering way.  The weight of it all has had her and I at odds again, but we moved quicker into a place of comfort for each other than we had previously.  I am so thankful for the counselors who are working with us to find our new path together.

November is a month where we focus on the things we are most thankful for.  I struggle with this for obvious reasons this year.   But seeing beyond my pain and taking moments to look at the world around me,  I am so incredibly thankful for the friends I have.  From those who drop everything in the middle of the day because I need an ear or a hike in the woods, friends who sacrifice their own sleep talking to me on the phone late at night because I can't, to those who text me funny jokes at random on the chance that I need a moment of levity.  I am thankful for family who don't let me drift too far into isolation and make sure I know just how loved I am.  I am thankful I am able to be home with the girls and focus on rebuilding all that has been shattered.  I am thankful for those who have traveled this road before me, who take the time to revisit the same wounds that are so fresh for me and help guide me through.  As I look back over the journey that C and I traveled together, I see the blessings that were given to us along the way....  I want to focus on them, but I know that for this year, it is an uphill battle that I feel I am loosing everyday.