Saturday, 29 November 2014

End of grief?

Lately I feel like I have forgotten that my father has died.  It is going on seven months now and I feel fine....ish.  Some fleeting moments I feel like I should be more sad, like I shouldn't be able to function.  I feel as though I am being a bad daughter for not hurting more.  Tears spring up and feel like the end of the world but they are gone and dried up within minutes.  No more hugging myself, crying into my pillow for hours.  People tell me it is because I am so busy with my baby and being pregnant that I have no time for grief.  If that is the case then I am storing it up somewhere and I am not looking forward to when the dam breaks.  It will be ugly.  I think it is because I had the time to tell my father everything.  There wasn't much to say since I don't really keep to myself but I had the time to muster up my courage and tell him I was going to miss him. (here come the tears)  It was only months that lead up to his death but he was able to go through the emotions of anger, resentment, fear, and acceptance.  Once he accepted his fate he started to assure that my mother was going to be ok and divvying up his personal belongings.  I think because there was time for this, I am able to accept it.  I'm not a person who could or would want to change the past.  I know I cannot, so I don't dwell.  The future is hard to imagine sometimes without my heart aching, knowing that he will not be there, but he walked me down the asile and he saw my first child.  He will not see me raise my child, but I feel like he doesn't need to because he raised me right and would have already known what kind of parent I would be.

 He was in my dream last night, helping mom pack up the apartment to move in with us. Jayne was in her crib crying for attention (not waa-waa, but hey look at me cry) and I told my father to go and get her but my mom distracted him with some object.  I believe my waking mind refuses to let my father go about his 'normal' life, should he have been alive, because I know that it is not possible.  I am trying to let my dreams be dreams and to see my father pick up Jayne at 10 months old would be well a dream.

I also have this beautiful baby that smiles all day.  She mimics tone and sounds, she's brave and well reckless.

Oh, and my mom is moving in.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

John Travolta and Ellen DeGeneres

I just woke up from a nap with my darling daughter and dreamt about my dad.  He came into the apartment where we lived in laval, looking like he used to, strong, shaved head and busy.  He handed me a newspaper article and there was a picture of dad in between John Travolta and Ellen!  He said "Now you'll believe me."  Mémère was there telling me which page to turn as the picture was in the table of contents of the newspaper.  I looked to the wall near me and there was two pictures stuck in between the picture frame and the glass. Ones I had never seen before in real life but that look so familiar in my dream.  Mom and dad are dressed as cowboys.  The first picture on the right has mom looking down at something or at dad and her face hides dad's face; in the second they are smiling right at the camera.  Then I am standing with my dad and to his left is Simon Cowell with a huge smile.  During this dream I am trying to understand how my dad met Ellen and John Travolta (why do we say Ellen and not just John?).  So I asked him questions.  I can't remember the order as the dream is fading but the gist is I thought he was in a movie and then figured out that they went to a movie premier and got dressed up.  I don't know how he met John Travolta and Ellen though.  The actors of the film were coming out of the back of the room dressed in their movie costumes. It was like a sci-fi/cowboy maybe a Spaceballs kind of movie (can't remember the director so funny).  The crowd booed the bad guys and shot  the aliens with their lasers aliens.  Through the whole dream I kept leaning on dad in a half hug and then I would be fifteen feet away from him.  There was no one between us but I never understood how I got so far from him each time then  zwoopp like I was on a conveyor belt a I would wind up back next to him, then the belt would send me away.

Weird.  I think I know what I did. As I can seem to figure out the name of the director I mixed up Spaceballs and shit, I forgot the cowboy movie he made......grrr.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

First my dad now my dog.

I thought I was fine.  Monday night we put our dog to sleep.  I cried as I held her on my lap on our way to the vet.  So trustworthy, so unassuming.  She thought we were going on a road trip and she was invited.  I felt like I was betraying her.  My husband brought her in as I wept in the back seat with my seven month old smiling at me.  I watched our dog through the window as she willingly followed the technician to the back of the office.  Then my husband came out and we drove home silently.

I thought I was fine.  But everything I do reminds me that she is gone.  She is not following me everywhere I go.  There is no more barking to let me know that someone is passing in front of our house.  There is a truck parked in the front neighbours driveway and I didn't know in was there. She would have let me know.  No one asking for the door in the morning, no one greeting us at the door when we come home.  It is so easy now to pull the covers over my shoulders at night because she is no longer sleeping at our feet.

I thought I was fine.  I told myself that an animal is not like a human.  You don't plan a future with them. I didn't expect her to be there for my daughter's first day of school or wedding......but I guess I planned for her to be here today and tomorrow.

But she was there.  When my husband found her, he was living with his parents.  When I went to sleep over on the weekends, our dog would kick me in the back because her spot in bed was in my husband's arms.  I quickly let her know that when I was there his arms were mine and then she would spoon behind my knees.

We taught her to sit, give her paws and roll over.   We taught her to take treats slowly and not snap.  She taught me to appreciate every little thing that you are given.  Some weeks I wouldn't take her out for walks and when I did, she never threw the times I didn't in my face. She was just grateful that she was going out.

She went from dark black to grey.  You would swear that she was smiling.

I miss her more than I thought I would. After all, she's just a dog right.....wrong.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Now is Good

Last post I think I mentioned that I watched a Dakota Fanning movie called Now is Good.  A story of a  teen diagnosed with Leukemia who dies in the end.  Touching movie.  In other previous posts I have mentioned how shitty the idea of my father is watching over us makes me feel.  I felt that it was unjust for him to just be hovering and not being able to interact with us. Also as frustrating for us to feel him around and not knowing if he is stuck watching us or if he enjoys it.  I my past posts.  My point is that in the movie, Dakota's friend is pregnant and she is hopeful that she will meet the baby.  It is an unrealistic thought since she has weeks to live by then and the pregnant woman is at the beginning of her pregnancy.  Once she died, Dakota was able to meet the baby in a "dream".  Dream would be the only way I could explain it because the mother of the baby was there and Dakota was able to pick up the baby and interact with both people.  This sits better in my heart.  Maybe the times that we dream about someone who has passed is the only way that that person could interact with us.  Perhaps when we sleep and we do not remember our dreams is because our consciousness has left (the building) and is playing with our dear ones on another plane.  This makes me smile and hurt less.

Thats all I've got for today.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

I Miss You

There was a tractor on my street today, one with a shovel on an arm, it was not being used, maybe the driver was stopping in for lunch or something.   It made me think of when you would stop by when I was home on vacation.  It made me think that this year, this year you would have rearranged your work schedule just so you could have stopped by to see your grand baby.  Why couldn't we have had this summer to enjoy your visits.  Just one last summer.

I keep thinking of the last thing I told you on the phone.  After that last thing, I was ready for you to go.  I said "I'm going to miss you Dad," and you said "I'm going to miss you too".  The last thing that you said to me was, "your mother wanted me to tell you that I am proud of you, but you already know that."  I didn't know that in so many words.  I just knew.  But even though I was ready for you to go, I was never ready to miss you.  I feel like I am caving in.  I feel like I am imploding.  I feel like I can't breathe.  I feel like I will never be able to watch a movie in which someone dies.  I just finished a movie with Dakota Fanning, who has Leukemia.  Her father breaks down and tells her not to go, that he wants her to take him with her.  I watched the movie to the end, knowing that I would cry.  I needed to cry. I haven't cried in a while, but now I feel like I will never stop.

I want to see him again. I need to hug him again.  God I miss him.

Friday, 25 July 2014

New meanings

I'm listening to Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" and a line that I have sung so many times holds a new revelation.  She says "we can dance until we die," - I've sung it, I've felt it with my husband.  Wanting to lie in each other's arms "until we die".  Now I realize, unless the girl in the song is lucky enough (yes I said lucky) to die at the same time as her love, she and he will never feel the pain of losing someone, of being alone all of a sudden every day, until she dies.  The revelation every day that my father is gone is crushing. Every day something reminds me of him.  I cannot believe that I used to think of him this much when he was alive but he now haunts every waking moment.  I don't depend on him, but I need him.  I miss him so, and the simple remedy of just going over to see him and my mom is gone.  Now when I miss him, I cry.

I look in the mirror,
My cheeks are stained with tears,
My eyes are red and puffy,
My lips are shut tight and my chin quivers,
The adult I am looking at wants to stop crying.
She goes away and I am staring at a little girl,
Eyes welling with tears,
She holds her breath,
One blink is all it takes to start crying again.
The little girl weeps with her mouth open,
She runs to her room
Throws herself on her bed and cries into her pillow.
I want my daddy.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Holding Back

Every day, every hour, maybe even every minute, I hold back.  I hold back the pain, the tears the devastation.  Every day, every hour, maybe even every minute I think of something else.  The baby is a constant distraction, my husband, the guilt of a mother not having done this and not having done that.  Every day, every hour and maybe even every minute there is something else to do, breakfast lunch and supper for the baby, for myself, supper for the husband, laundry, cleaning oh a walk....did I go outside today?  Every day, every hour and every minute I ignore my grief.  I wall it up with some grout and brick.  Every day I make a new wall.  The space gets smaller and smaller.  I'm so tired from building walls.  It gets harder to breathe in this small space.  It gets harder to hide from my thoughts pouring out of my broken heart.  Oh GOD! My daddy, my dear daddy is gone.  Tears escape from my eyes.  I wipe them up and look somewhere else for a distraction, but the walls are so close there is no where to look.  I leave the inside of my head and search for a distraction admits reality.  Ah my baby girl, what a smile, Grandpa would have loved to make you smile. Damn!   Quick my husband is coming in, I don't want him to see me cry.  There is nothing he can do about it anyway.  It's not like he can take away the pain of losing my father.  Damn! Why did I have to think it!  I'm a mess and I don't feel like it will get better.  I will just be the master of holding it back.  What scares me is that I don't know when I will lose it.  I can feel when I start to get tired of building my walls.  A day or two after I realize that, thats when I lose it.  The only thing that can save me is an ugly cry.  Fists balled up, face in my pillow gripping the sides and a silent wail escaping my open mouth.  Then the walls crumble, I clean up and prepare my grout and brick for when I will be building my walls again.  My aunt told me that it is not something a person ever gets over.  She lost her daddy 20 years ago.  She was crying on the phone with me as she was trying to comfort me.  I don't want to deal with this for the next 20 years.  The only way I could stop dealing with this would be to erase the memory of his death, but then I'd be looking for him.  Would this be frustrating or a false hope?  Now it is just to definite, no wiggle room.  He's dead, gone, I will not be seeing him again.  Or if I erase the memory of him altogether......I never want to do that but  for he sake of arguing, I would have to erase all those  lives that interconnected with his, including my husband's and my daughter's.  No, I have to deal with this pain.  This pain is the deepest, most devastating pain I have ever known.  How is it possible to feel so empty with longing yet so full of love for the one you've lost.  I must have been so very loved by him if it hurts this much.  I must have loved him so much more than I ever thought possible, for it to hurt this much.  I never want to feel this pain again.  That is a selfish sentiment. Because if I never feel this pain again, then my loved ones would have lost me first, and I would never wish this pain on them.  Moments like this is when I realize just how strong I really am.  For me to decide to shoulder the pain of losing others instead of them losing me, helps me understand that I CAN survive the death of my father.  He would want me to stop crying for him, thinking that he doesn't deserve all these tears.  But he does deserve every last tear that will fall from my eyes.  I just want him to hug me and to tell me to get over it.  I just want my daddy.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Cemetery

This cool July morning, after breakfast, I fastened my baby into her carriage and went for a walk. Destination: the cemetery.  I find the cemetery both quenches my curious nature and helps me get some quiet time.  I didn't always like cemeteries.  I remember feeling so very uncomfortable.  A fear that the ghosts, or zombies or whatever, the dead would rise and.....well I didn't really think of what they would do, for all I know they might have invited me to a tea party....haha....  I think now what I might have been feeling is the weight of the sadness, not understanding exactly what death and the cemetery was for.  I used to walk in the middle of the rows of the tombs to go visit Grandpa with my mom and I would have to walk where I estimated the coffin would end. The first time I was comfortable in the cemetery was one summer a long while ago, my best friend and I walked over 5 km visiting my old neighbourhood.  We walked through the cemetery and I had her visit my grandfather's tomb.  We sat on the ground in front of it and shared a sandwich. It felt like he was there while I spoke of him and of the memories I had with him.  Since then I love cemeteries.  Today, I walk through the cemetery looking for the oldest date I can find.  Today was 1900. A family of four, last name Martin, all died within months of each other. So sad, the two children died first, then the father and finally the mother, but so curious.  In large cemeteries like Mount Royal, you can see 10 to 20 tombs with the same dates and you can get a picture of the time and what happened. Well when I got home I called the church to inquire if they had information. Unfortunately they do not keep records on the reason of death.....bummer, so I jumped on the internet and figured that around that time there was a smallpox epidemic in Montreal..... I think that was it.  Curiosity, satisfied, I strolled some more and found a second part to the cemetery, that I didn't know existed, and sat down under the trees next to the little river, stream...small water way and lay the baby on a blanket and watched her watch the leaves in the trees.  So nice. Then I had a thought.  I thought that maybe I went to the cemetery to find my dad.  My mom has his urn in their office...her office, and though mom likes to force moments (why don't you touch the urn) it just isn't dad.  I feel like I've been neglected a mourning place. A place where I could lean against the tomb stone and just talk.  Even though I know he would not be there, it would be somewhere to go to, to leave flowers or tears.  I didn't feel closer to him there....I felt like I was honouring those who didn't get any visitors, and myself.  I gave myself time to relax, to try to empty my mind (I'm going to need practice) and to enjoy my baby away from the house.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Dreaming of you

I took a nap this morning with my baby girl.  I was tired so sleep came easy.  I fought to keep looking at my sweet angel soothing herself to sleep, snuggled in my arms.  I let sleep win.  I dreamt that I was dreaming and in my dream I was hugging you.  In my dream, I remembered verbally how your body would feel in my embrace.  Not at all like the body we said goodbye to in the hospital.  I think I was remembering how you felt while my dream's dream was acting it out.  While I was sleeping, this dream put a smile on my face, and warmth in my heart.  I woke up with energy and went about my day.  But my mind would not put it to rest.  'I dreamt that I dreamt that I was hugging my dad.' were the words my mind would not stop repeating.  At first, it would repeat it with a joyful lilt, but as it wore me down, it now repeats it as though it were wailing.  It just hurts so damn much.  I sometimes wish that we had a fight, so that I can apologize to him and have him back.  But then I am proud that I have never fought with my dad.  I wish he abandoned us, so that I can go look for him, but that would taint his honour.  I wish he decided he would travel the world, at least this way I can wait next to the mailbox for a post card.  Instead he is gone-gone.  I am not ready for the bullshit that people like to say 'he's watching over you.'  How is that a comfort when I want him here?  How is that a comfort when I want to call him.  How is that a comfort when I have his car in my driveway and I just know that the day we sell it or send it to the scrapyard, it will kill me again.    

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Difficult decisions.

Today I feel kind of empty.  Empty feels a lot like sadness, only lighter.  Sadness weighs down my every fiber and threatens tears, emptiness feels a lot like sadness....or maybe I'm bored.  For the past year and a half, if I wasn't thinking about my mom being sick, my mother in law being sick or my dad being sick, I was thinking about my pregnancy and new baby or of a friendship that I had to end without explanation.  So, my mom got better, my mother in law is in remission, and my father died....suffice to say, I no longer have the stress of my father dying, or planning his funeral.  My baby is four months old and I haven't really stressed about her in a while since she is an easy baby and so great.  So the last thing that was constantly on my mind was the friend that I missed so much.  It hurt how much I missed her.  The pain of missing her was crushing.  Every song, t.v. show or drive would remind me of her.  Anyway, I decided to give her a call.  I decided that I did not want to regret not reaching out to her.  So I texted her (coward) and we met for breakfast.  The afternoon before our meeting, I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest.  I started to panic and make scenarios in my head.  What if she said this, I would say that, and if she reacted like this well...I would just tell her how it is. There, that's it, I will just march up to her and tell her like it is.  Well it did not go that way at all.  The drive there reminded me of so many good memories I started to get excited to see her, like I used to.  When I saw her, the only thing I could do was reach out my arms and pull her towards me for a hug....I didn't realize that that might have been my closure hug, and not a new beginning hug.  We told each other what had happened in the past year and a half and in between told each other how much it hurt to miss each other and how we handled it with tears.  But when I left, when I gave her a hug goodbye, I felt nothing.  No missing her, no pull to see her again, just nothing.  The last thing I said to her when we "broke up", I stood beside her, not looking at her sitting and told her that I would have loved to give her a hug, but I just couldn't. I said that "I just can't,"  That is why I think that the hug I gave her when I saw her was my closure hug.  After that hug, I could hardly look her in the eye while we talked.  I was fidgety and distracted by my blessed baby.  When I left, I understood.  I needed closure.  I got my closure.  And whatever happens happens.  It is going to be weird for a while, not missing her.  I don't think I know how not to miss her.  But it won't hurt anymore, I'll miss the fun we used to have, but my life has changed, I have moved on, and I have to be a good role model for my daughter.  I am proud of myself and I wouldn't change a thing.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Not there anymore

I was going to write about something and I decided not to.  It is a touchy subject and it is still raw.  I wonder if I'll end up writing about it anyways.  I'm still struggling with the loss of my father. I haven't cried in.....a week.  I might cry today though.  I just can't believe that he was there and now no more.  He's not across the globe, or working away from home, he's literally not here anymore.  I was speaking to my father in law about windshield wipers.  He said that  "In the late 1950s, engine vacuum was applied to operate the first intermittent wipers, in which mode the wipers were powered by air rushing into the vacuum stored in a small canister, and stopped when the pressure difference between the outside air and the canister became too small to power the wipers."   Laughing at his explanation about going uphill in the rain and the wipers not functioning because the engine was taking too much energy, I immediately thought that I would ask my father if he.......oh, that's right.  I don't know if the pain showed on my face.  I felt a weight drop in my heart.  I cannot ask him about this, and then I thought, why didn't I ask him about this.  I feel like I should have asked him more questions. I feel like I should have listened better.  I felt like a bad daughter because I did not know about this.  I constantly think of him now.  I constantly think of how I wish he could see me now.  I want so desperately to see him with my daughter, to tell me stories of how similar or different my daughter and I are.  I wanted to see my daughter run and scream for 'grandma and grandpa', but now it's just grandma.  We still haven't gone through his things.  It's only been a month but its already been a month.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Split mind, split dreams

I noticed that the older I get I refer to my consciousness as two separate people.  The person in the front is acting on events going on in real time, meanwhile the person in my head is a spectator sitting on the couch with her popcorn or gnawing her nails raw while I maneuver through a harrowing experience or she'll be my cheerleader hi-fiving me when I do something unexpected like stand up to someone and sometimes she'll stare at me with her mouth agape shaking her head....sometimes even laughing (I can never tell if she's laughing at me or with me).  I can't remember when it started, but I often like to take a step back from the environment that I am in and "take it all in".  I do not physically remove myself.  I am not eavesdropping or snooping.  What I do, when the conversation slides away from me, I just look around at the way people are interacting with each other.  Sometimes I am curious as to how I fit in to this picture and I can even take a step back while I am having a conversation.  This is particularly difficult since my mind can take over.......kind of like in the movie The Host, where my mind is having a conversation with myself about the relationship I hold with the person I'm conversing with.  Before all of this, I would be hiding in my head trying to come up with the next intelligent question so that I can keep the conversation going.  I was never really good at it, I realized, because I was not listening. If I were listening I could have let the words guide me.    The only time that I cannot feel that second person is when instinct guides me. Perhaps it is her in the background taking the reins since I consciously don't know what to do but she my subconscious does.  It's like with my daughter.  I just know what to do.  I have a well of patience that I did not know I had.  If you told me I would willingly change diapers all day, I'd say you're crazy, but you know what, I have a hard time passing up a diaper change because I want it done right and right now.  So I mind as well do it myself. Ha ha. 

The point of this post was to talk about my double dream life as I call it.  Everyday I think about how I would just love to wake up, out of this bad dream where my daddy had died.   I want to wake up and see his truck park on the street at lunchtime so that we can have an hour together.  I want to visit my parents and not just my mom.   I want to plan a future with my dad.  But if I wake up from this bad dream does it mean that in my wakefulness I will lose the good dream also?  The good dream of having a baby.  Being a mom and my husband is a father.  The good dream that is taking her nap with a smile while she cuddles her elephant.  If I had to choose, I would choose her and I know that my father would understand.  When I play with her and make her smile and coo, I try to look at her like my father would have looked at me and I understand the love he had for me and I am grateful.

I was watching the movie Beautiful Creatures last night and there's a scene towards the end where they are in church and the pastor is telling his story.  It was about sacrifice.  
"Reverend Stephens: I don't want to preach today, instead I just wanna talk to you, about a word we don't hear much anymore. Sacrifice. It's not what I would call a modern word. People hear the word sacrifice, and they become afraid that something will be taken away from them or that they will have to give up something they couldn't live without. Sacrifice, to them, means loss in a world telling us we could have it all. But I believe true sacrifice is a victory. That's because it requires free will to give up something for someone you love, or something or someone you love more than yourself. I won't lie to you. It's a gamble. Sacrifice wont take away pain and loss, but it wins the battle against bitterness, the bitterness that dims the light on all of the true value in our lives.”

My father had a hard time dealing with the fact that he was dying.  He spent days wondering why him, what did he do to deserve it etc etc.  My mother said, one day, "who would you give it to, if not you then who?" and she proceeded to nominate tributes in his stead.  My father accepted that this was his fate and that he would not wish it on his enemy let alone someone he loved.  This is true sacrifice and just shows what a wonderful man he was up until the very end. 

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Not crying today

Yesterday I decided that I was not going to cry.  That, in part, is why there was no post yesterday.  I always found it easier to write when I am sad.  I can write about anything sad, but when I am really happy, I find my writing is lacking.  I find that sad.  Well yesterday I hid the votive candle with my father's picture on it behind the baptism cards that my daughter received just  3 days after the funeral and told my father that I needed NOT to cry that day.   The wall of sorrow threatened to block me from my happiness but I pushed it away with more and more strength every hour.  Soon I was singing "Hound Dog" by Elvis Presley to my nephew and it did not hurt.  It did hurt but I got used to pushing it away, promising that I will shed tears another day, but not that day.  I think what helped was that I was not going to be alone with my daughter all day.  My husband would be home after work in the early afternoon, and we were going to visit my sister.  I did not want to fall into tears in front of them.  I do not want the comforting "there, theres" and I did not want to plan on where I would hide myself to sob.  Now I need to learn to keep my mind busy, to stop parking my butt on the couch and have FULL busy days and I don't just mean laundry and dishes.  Part of the reason that I wanted to stay home was to get my hands into some projects.  Well my only accomplished project is procrastination and what scares me is that I will never get a chance to try or finish a project.   ok, like I said, I do not know what to write when I'm happy.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Elvis Presley

Yesterday in my fit of tears I bought an Elvis Presley album on iTunes.   It feels so good to hear his voice, feel his words and cry at the memories.  Saying my dad loved Elvis is an understatement.  He knew all his songs, had a framed poster on the wall and cried when he got the news that Elvis had left this earth.  Elvis' voice reminds me of when my dad would sing his songs.  He would mimic the voice  so well that my untrained ear did not hear the difference, but then again I can sing like Whitney Huston......when he would sing, he would mostly have mom in his arms and would sing to her soul.  He looked straight into her eyes, held her close and just spent that moment with her.  I made it through a few songs.  I listened to the Wonder of You, the song he chose to dance with me on my wedding day.  I had never listened to the words..... 
"When no-one else can understand me
When everything I do is wrong
You give me hope and consolation
You give me strength to carry on
And you're always there to lend a hand
In everything I do
That's the wonder
The wonder of you
And when you smile the world is brighter
You touch my hand and I'm a king
Your kiss to me is worth a fortune
Your love for me is everything
I'll guess I'll never know the reason why
You love me as you do
That's the wonder
The wonder of you"

Now that I am a parent, I can understand what these words mean.  They mean the same for my husband, but towards a child it is natural.  This unconditional love, the immediate falling over heals for your child is so beautiful.  I expected to feel overjoyed when I saw her for the first time, but honestly, I was so tired I couldn't even process what I was feeling.  It was a buzz in my brain, but I was in complete awe that we made her and I carried her and she's here! But what I did notice was despite the fatigue, my husband and I did everything we could to make her comfortable.  She hardly cried at the hospital.  We took care of her.  That is unconditional love.  Getting up after a few hours sleep, feeding her through cracked bleeding nipples, changing gross, stinky diapers that not always contain the grossness, and changing the clothes that were attained by the grossness.  Unconditional love is ferocious, terrifying, and amazing.  But unconditional love hurts when the source is gone.  I know I love my father.  I know I would protect him should the time arise.  I never understood what unconditional love was.  I love my husband.  But I fell in love with him.  I learned to love him unconditionally.  But your parents, you just loved them at first sight.  My daughter loves me and I feel it when she looks to my soul when she's having her bottle and I am the only one in the universe. I feel it when she smiles at a silly face I made.  I feel it when she laughs at her father's faces.  I feel it when I miss my daddy.  I have never wanted to cry in his arms as much as I do now.  

Sometimes I wish I had something to blame it on like bad nutrition or smoking.  That way I can say "if only he quit smoking, or he listened to his doctor".  I don't even have the luxury of putting the blame elsewhere, because there is no blame to be thrown.  He had a brain tumour.  Simple.  It spread. Simple.  We have to give thanks for the little blessings (but don't say this to me because it will piss me off).  I had the chance to say goodbye, several times.  I had the chance to say I love you, for all the times I didn't.  I don't regret anything except for the times I said I would do something with him and never planned it.  But it is in the past, and I will not hold on to that.  I will be grateful for the time we did have, and we did have a great time.  I will be  happy that I got to cry in his arms.  I will be happy that I was there when he passed away.  I needed to be there when he passed away.  I don't know if I needed the proof, but I wish I could erase the last picture I have of him.  The picture of the shell that held his soul for 59 short years. I'm happy I was there for my mom.  But I am so very very sad. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014


Today I'm spiralling.  I'm unable to produce this blog, as it is taking effort away from my grief.  The more I turn my back on my grief, the harder it will hit later.  I have a votive candle with my father's picture on it.  It is right under the television. Since I watch a lot of t.v. I am always glancing at it and that is when I realize that he is gone.  Each time I realize that he is gone, my breath hitches and that skipped breath makes its way to my heart.  Each time I realize that he is gone a new hitched breath attaches itself to the last.  Air is not heavy, but the meaning of that air is heavy.  It weighs my heart down until it cannot support the air anymore.  The only means of relief is to cry. No not true, a few tears are manageable. Just wipe away and smile.  What is coming, what happens when you ignore grief for a second, a minute, a day, is that it has to come out.  When it does it is ugly.  Full sob. Lie on your bed with a pillow in your face sob.  A sob that you wish was a scream but this pain is so, so private that I don't want to share it with anyone.

I never thought I would miss him THIS much.  I never thought it would feel like a piece of me is gone.  I never knew I had this piece, until it left.  I don't even know what it was shaped like, or what it was made of, it just disappeared when he died.  When he was dying, I didn't even feel it detach.  I think that is what hope does, it distracts you from your pain, until it can hide any more coins behind your ear.  Until the plain truth, that hope is an illusion, is so evident.  What's more annoying is that I am full of hope.  Wonderful right?  But where did hope lead us?  Last year, January 2013, my mother was hospitalized for her heart.  Fear paralysed my thoughts and all I could do was cry, cry at the thought of losing her, cry at the thought that my father would be alone, cry because I did not have a baby yet and she was going to die without meeting her grandchild.  Hope kicked in when she was given a defibrillator a new diet and lifestyle restrictions.  We grieved her old busy life and accepted a slower paced life.  New hope.  Oops was I standing on that carpet?  It just got ripped out from under me.  My mother in law in April of the same year was admitted for a rare disease.  A disease that only 20 people in Canada have!!! Ya, so she went through an onslaught of doctors poking and prodding her.  Her kidneys almost failed so dialysis for three months was her reality. Etc. Etc. Don't feel like going into all the details but just so you know, this year, she had cancer and was following Chemo! Bam! That felt like a stick in my bicycle spokes just as I was relishing the fresh air on my cheeks.  But right before the Cancer diagnosis, my father goes in the hospital for a brain toumor.  A fucking brain toumor! Really?  I'm running through the steps but you have to realize every step was agonizing.  Every phone call made us sick to our stomaches.  I didn't want to answer the phone for fear of more bad news. And it came.  He had to be operated.  We had to visit this man that no longer looked like himself.  We had to be strong, but I cannot, will not have a poker face so I cried.  The operation was a success, he went home.  Mom had to take care of him, he was weak, she was weak, he went back to the hospital.  The cancer spread, there was nothing to be done.  The other shoe dropped, he would die.  He died.  Everyone keeps saying that at least he got to see his grand baby.  I try to believe this is wonderful, for him.  I try to think that this is wonderful for mom.  I cannot see how wonderful this is for me or for her.  She will never meet him.  He won't pick her up after school as a surprise.  She will never fall asleep in his arms.

I can't continue.........

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The weight of grief

Some days, like yesterday, grief is like a balloon filled with helium that is tied around your wrist.  You know it is there, you have to pull down the string so that you can enter a room, make sure it doesn't get caught when the door closes and it'll probably bump you in the head when you are driving in your car with the windows down or even get between you and the windshield so you have a hard time seeing.  But like a helium balloon, symbol of birthdays or parties, it can bring you joy.  A sad smile will spread on your lips and might even put a little sparkle in your eyes.  This joy is when you remember times spent with your loved one.  Looking through pictures can help this along too.  On these days you can think of what the person might say to you, for example, I was passing the weed eater and I was imagining what my father would say to me if he noticed I was leaning the machine on my hip.  He would have told me if I couldn't do the whole yard without leaning it on my hip, then to separate the yard over a few days. So I removed it from my hip, squared my shoulders and finished the back yard and front yard.  Thanks Dad.  I even read the instruction manual to find out how to get more whip out.  But then days like today, where I overslept, did not find the right breakfast to keep me going, days like today are brutal.  I have no focus and I'm always hungry.  It will not be a superhero productive day like yesterday.  Today the grief feels like a rock the size of a basketball in the pit of my stomach.  This rock has a string tied around it and on the other end is my collarbone.  This string is too short so it forces me to hunch over.  I try to imagine it like an elastic.  I know today I will not be able to remove the rock so the elastic allows me to hold my head up above the grief and see that the sun is shining and my daughter is smiling at me.  But I know, and I am going to agonize all day, that the elastic is going to snap and I will have my face buried in my pillow trying to cry the boulder out of my mouth so I can feel better tomorrow.

Monday, 19 May 2014


They said leading up to his death and after his death that my dad will watch over me.  A simple sentiment meant to comfort me, when in reality it really pissed me off. Another one is "stay strong for your daughter", that one really riles me up.  How can you ask me to be strong when I am planning my father's cremation and funeral arrangements like I plan my birthday parties!  How can you ask me to stay strong when there is nothing I can do and too much to do at the same time.  How can you ask me to be strong when at the same time as I am saying goodbye to the photographer that took amazing photos of my daughter, mementos of her smiling baby face, a UPS truck parks in front of my house to deliver my father's urn! Stay strong.  Is it because you feel that I am not up to it? My daughter is fed, happy, clean....I think I am allowed to cry over her if I feel I need to.  She is my greatest comfort.  She is the best listener.

I suppose the sentiment of being watched over is to remind us that there is no need to feel alone, that we can still talk to that person and somehow this comforts us.  I think it is cruel.  It has been 15 days since his death and we have had a funeral and a baptism since.  I would like to think that he has been there watching us, or sitting next to us.  I like to think that he got to witness, at the restaurant where we had his memorial, the impact he had on others while he was alive, because I don't think he loved himself enough to realize the impact he had on others.  I didn't even realize the impact he had since it never occurred to me to think about it.  You think about impact when you think about the people who volunteer, who get crests, titles or even parties in their honour for the great work done.  I like to think that he would tell us not to fuss, but his tender heart would be filled with love and pride at the hard work his kids put into remembering him and his wife for taking apart photo albums filled with decades worth of photos just to find those photos that summed up his life.  I like to think that he  was watching his grand baby get welcomed into the house of God through baptism.  That maybe he was sitting with the Big Man and getting compliments from Him about how beautiful and perfect she is.  I like to think that he is near me when I weep, I miss his arms so.  He would tell me to "reviens-en" get over it, move on.

I think it's cruel.  I think it would be unfair to be hovering around those you love for.....sounds like as long as you need them.  It's cruel to me to be able to talk to my father and not hear an answer, same for him, he can hear the question but not be able to give me his advice.  How cruel is it that he can watch his widow, crying herself to sleep and he cannot hold her.  He might place his hand on her shoulder to let her know he is there but she'd probably pull up the blanked over her shoulder where he left a cold spot.  Would he be pained to watch that he cannot throw his baby granddaughter into the air and hear her giggle.  Such a beautiful creature made by his daughter and he cannot enjoy her.

I would rather that he move on. Move on away from the mundanity of life, onto the other lie we tell ourselves of better places.  Do we create our own heaven?  I cannot imagine my father living on a cloud with the sound of angels signing in the distance.  I see him watching the NASCAR races from the best seats, having access to the pits, the winners circle and the garages.   I see him mowing endless fields of grass and never getting tired, unless he wanted to feel a good days work.  i see him passing the snow blower on a summer day just because he felt like it.  But these scenarios pull up more questions like if he can pick and choose what his heaven looks like on any given day, how does it affect everyone else's heavens?  Will he be bumping into my grandpa, great aunts that we have lost or are there so many people that it would be impossible to find them.  Essentially I guess my heaven would be a holodeck or virtual reality.  Choosing which space I want to inhabit for the moment.  

Saturday, 17 May 2014

The funeral

Dads funeral service was two days ago.  It is done.  All the stress of having the paperwork figured out finding a venue, picking the right photos for the keepsake bookmark, the photo albums, the board that displayed his life through pictures is all done. Packing the car and setting up the display was fun. Felt like a school fair.  Small talk involved the weather, it was friggin hot!!  Family drove in from out of town and gathered at the restaurant my parents were patrons of.  It was fitting.  The wait staff new him, and kept giving us hugs and words of encouragement and letting us know that there were there for us.  Probably in the sense of what they can do for us in terms of food, chairs, etc. but I got the impression that they meant much more.  When you have a service without using the funeral chain you get to pick the mood and atmosphere.  I found myself racing to the front of the restaurant to greet my family that I haven't seen in a while and couldn't wait to show them their three month old niece. When I got to them to receive and give our hugs of hello, I was assaulted with their red rimmed watery eyes, the tilt of their head and instead of  a hug, hands on my shoulders holding me in place lest I run away when they ask me so softly 'How you doing hon''.  I tell them I'm fine.  But I am not fine. Everyone is sad, and I am bouncing around like my 9 year old niece who is just happy to be hugging my mid section for the umpteenth time.  The family then go to my brother and mother then fold into each other.  I stare dumbly wondering what is wrong with me.  But I don't notice that my eyesight skims over dads pictures and urn.   I make sure my daughter is alright, showing her off to the family members that haven't seen her.  She is my pride and joy.  She is a good baby and I was told countless times.  Then I saw her.  My beautiful younger cousin.  I hugged her and started to cry.  She rocked me and sushed me like a child.  I broke from her hug and hugged her hello.  I was starting to crack.  When people asked me how I was doing, the answer was now, 'it depends on the moment'.  Off again to take care of my daughter.  Funny how everyone wants to hold her but no one wants to change a diaper.  So I break the spell of the funeral by going through the restaurant with a diaper bag, my baby in my sister in law's arms, my niece, nephew and husband.  Why so many people, well the boys had to go to the washroom, my niece follows her little cousin almost as closely as she follows me and my sister in law was starting to take over baby duties so I can have my time to grieve with my family.  Thank you so much for my sisters-in-law.  For a few hours, they took care of her as if she were their own, diapers and all.  Going back into the private room we had for the service, the room was heavy with grief.  Clouds of sadness were accumulating above our heads as if each person brought their own cloud, and the more people crammed into the room, the clouds bumped into each other and threatened to break.  Some would and there would be mini showers in different areas of the room.  Now time for the eulogies.  My uncle spoke about dad as a brother would of his younger brother.  He gave the floor to a family friend, his sister, moms sister who had a hard time reading and made us cry, moms brother and finally my uncle read a poem.  This poem made me sob.  The words were something dad would say if he were a man of words.  Then my husband read the poem my uncle wrote, but in a french translation.  In 13 years I have never seen him cry.  As he was reading, his voice caught, he took a deep breath as his lips quivered.  I can see he is sad but he does not know what to do with this emotion, he didn't expect it to be so strong.  I am sobbing, a comforting hand rubs my back and I am sobbing.  My husband returns to the seat next to us and we sob in eachothre's arms.   We made a line at the back of the restaurant, mom, my brother, and I.  Sometime my sister in law was there and I'm not sure where my husband was but I know he was watching me.  I sobbed in my cousins' arms, uncles, aunts.  Then I was done, and hungry.  The confusion of before the eulogy was gone.  It was time to eat and laugh and catch up.  My dad would have approved.

I don't want to believe he's gone.  But I prepared his funeral, I prepared the keepsakes, I sat with him while he took his last breaths, I saw the shell of the man I knew when I left the hospital room.  I know he's gone.  But how do I live with a piece missing.  I did not know that my parents' love and presence held a physical piece inside of me.  I like there is a hole and it will take time to close up, but it will never completely close up.  Right now it feels like every time I breathe I loose breath to that hole, and when I realize that I need that breath, is gone, like my father.

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

He's gone

Written May fourth

I'm sitting in the dark. The hospital floor is quiet. I've been hoping for some quiet since I got here and now it scares me. I'm sitting in the dark my feet upon my daddy's bed. I lifted his right hand and tucked my foot under it thinking it would reassure me but it is just heavy and not what I wanted. I wanted my daddy's comforting hand, rubbing my foot.  My mommy is on the other side of the bed sleeping on a cot with her hand in his. My brother is probably having a bad night thinking about us and wishing he could get to us faster than he could. I miss my husband and baby. This is the first night I am away from her. I feel like I'm missing my heart. My daddy's breathing is quick. He held his breath once and though I wish this to be over I don't want him to go, but I don't want him or us to be in limbo. I can't decide if this is selfish of me or compassionate. Anyone else I would tell them that it would be completely normal to feel that way, but of course I wouldn't tell them that because it sounds like such shit when you are going through something as terrible as this. When I wake up from sleep that will take me by surprise I don't know what I want. Dad to have passed away while I slept peacefully by his side or for him to still be alive.

He's Gone.

I've had several crazy dreams in the past hour. All were about getting dad back on his bed because he's sick. He kept swinging his leg out of bed like he was getting up and if we did not notice he would be standing at the other side of the room. This was mixed in with other nonsense. Dreaming of a nice bed, eating in a cafeteria all I'm sure was because I was hungry and uncomfortable.  Before I fell asleep mom was lying in bed with dad and offered me her cot. Then she moved to the chair and let me sleep on the cot. I dreamt that dad was on his bed and looked down lovingly at his wife sleeping in his arms.  He looked up at me, then back at her nodded his head to her as if to say it's time to go.  Mom said my name and I woke up. I knew he was gone.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Short posts, most unfinished

I decided to write what I can in the time that I have, so some of my posts will be unfinished.  That is primarily how my day goes. The only thing that I do in a day from start to finish is take care of my daughter, and really that is all that counts.  If she is fed, clean, happy and sleeps well, the rest can go to...... Even though logic tells me this, my need to have a clean house is obsessive.  But how to clean a house, with baby demands, my own demands (food, sleep etc) and a natural laziness!?  Oh! throw in some grieving and planning a funeral as well as a Baptism and voiola!! What I want to do is pushed to the side AGAIN!  But I have to say I am a master procrastinator, so If I had only done my projects pre-baby and pre-family issues, well they would be done.

Today seems to be a particularly awesome day. My bathroom is cleaned top to bottom and I made an original lunch recipe and it tastes awesome!!  My husband will complain, but he always does, so I don't really care, lol I am fearing the end of the day though.  I have no tasks to do in relation to the funeral so far today, I have had happy thoughts of my father, memories of things we did, said, I even used his bbq sauce recipe for my lunch, and no tears, no helplessness.  Tonight I will probably have a meltdown or even question my loyalty to my father if I am so easily moving on.

That is all for today. Just so you know this is my first blog and I am not sure yet what format or what I am bringing to the blog.  Stick around or don't, comment or don't.

Thank you for reading

First post

Some moments are numb, some are painful and others are just wonderful.  All day I cycle through an incredible joy, a devastating pain and a boring routine.  How do I live when my father is lying in a hospital bed just waiting to not wake up.  That is his prognosis.  He will just sleep longer and longer until he doesn't wake up.  As much as I don't want to lose my father, the man in the bed has my father's heart, but that is not the man that I want to keep.  I want the strong man, who worked hard and loved even harder.  He was a tough no nonsense man who loved nonsense.  He was funny and did everything he could to make ends meet so that his family would not be without the essentials.  I grew up spoiled.  Spoiled with love and hugs, activities and stories but nothing materialistic.  I never noticed that we were poor.  I heard one of my parents say that we were $1.00 above the poverty line, I never understood what it meant.  Apparently our apartment when I was a child had drafts in winter that was why we put rolled up blankets in between the windows and door frames. I thought everyone did that.  But my parents made it work.  I digress.  Most days I wake up refreshed from a great nights sleep.  My daughter sleeps from 10 pm until 5:30 am. I am so lucky to have an easy baby right now.  Having a baby is emotional enough add family sickness' (yes plural, I'll get to that eventually) and a husband who renovates but doesn't finish a project along with him having to find a new job, well it puts a lot of strain on a person.