Saturday, November 19, 2016

Everyone Belongs

I got this button today at the anti-racism rally at Stan Wadlow Park, beside the arena where I played house league hockey as a kid, and the place where last week racist posters appeared.

There was a good-sized crowd there, over 100 people. There was poster making for kids and a few speeches. It was nice to have a feeling of solidarity. There is a Facebook group.

I went because, what else could I do? The world has entered a new era, post the Nov 8 US election. Hate has been emboldened. Rallies, buttons and posters won't be enough, but where else to start?

Since Kate died, I have been clear in my thinking that, if I am to live, if I have to live without her, then I will be committed to living in the world as I want it to be, as she would want it to be, a world of hope and love and blessedness of all sorts.

Sometimes it's hard to believe how difficult that is.

But there is a new Jane Siberry album out this week. I've just downloaded it, and I'm going to go listen to it now.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

And out of the void swam

What?

I've had a couple of thoughts lately that I haven't had before. Right now, I can only remember one of them.

I have a lot of repetitive thoughts, little cycles of thought, cycles of memories, going back over and back over things that happened. Sort of like PTSD.

Well, PTSD.

Nothing new ever happens. It can get more than a little boring.

Then a couple of days ago as I was drifting off to sleep I thought, oh, that's new. That's the one I can't remember. I didn't write it down. I fell asleep.

The other thought came to me in the day. It was sort of new, sort of not, but it was a different take on an old cycle of thoughts, so I've decided it counts as new. It was this:

Kate told me she wanted me to get married again. That's not new. What was new was I suddenly said to myself, That's sort of like saying go ahead and have an affair.

Except it isn't, really, but it sort of is. If I still feel married to her, which I do - but also don't.

One of my main cycles of thoughts is, Is it over yet? That is, the grief.

It's not over. Will it ever be over? Maybe not. Probably not. Basically, no.

So how do I move on? I have to move on within the context of still grieving, or ... sort of like having an affair. Starting something new while also being part of something old. Having both the future and the past.

The metaphor stretches. I don't want both. I want one or the other.

How can I have both? That's a new question.

See what I'm talking about!

*

Earlier this month I had two separate dreams that Kate was kissing me. Those were nice dreams to wake up from. I haven't had a dream of her presence since last winter. Dreams like this are like a visitation. I don't expect them, but I enjoy them. I think, Okay, I'll just keep going then. Right-o.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sunny Days

Well, today is a sunny day, anyway, except I'm home with a head cold feeling a minor shade of miserable. Yesterday set an all-time high for temperature in Toronto for October. Nice, but not so nice. Weather patterns breaking down aren't good news.

I went outside to pick up the mail, and the kids were out in the schoolyard across the street. Recess. Every time I hear that, I think of Kate saying how nice it was to hear the kids playing in the schoolyard. But then, she did because she was home with cancer. The good and the bad, inextricably mixed.

It is 10 years since Kate and I met, a fact I've noted a lot recently, and five years since the metastases. I wish I could remember the former without also thinking about the latter. In the not too distant future, she will have been dead longer than we were ever together. A crazy thought.

Sitting at home, feeling sick, feeling miserable, watching the bright sunshine outside, I feel both okay and unsatisfied.

Apart from that, I don't have much to say.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

#ourmoment

I'm going to highjack the Blue Jays 2016 hashtag for a title.

Because it's about 10 years since I met Kate, and that was our moment. (You can go back to the beginning of this blog and read how it began....)

I see last month I also wrote about it being 10 years. I haven't stopped thinking about that all month, but now it is upon me, the anniversary, and I was lying in bed this morning thinking 10 years ago I met her, 5 years ago she found the metastases.

The proportions seem impossible!

So ... #ourmoment. And now the other thing I think about all of the time ... what next?

My grief has faded into a peaceful blah. I realized how much today, when I saw someone had linked to my blog post about Camp Widow two years ago. How heightened my feelings were then! How dull they are now!

But I'm back to 170 lbs, and my cardiologist says I'm doing great.

And my employer seems satisfied with me, and the kids are moving into new grades at school, and ...

... so what?

There's got to be something else for me. I'm sure there is. I have followed the general advice of not making any major decisions while in a state of crisis. Now that my state of crisis has faded, what?

#mymoment

Not sure yet ... not even getting any early ripples ... about what that might be. Maybe I should have gone back to Camp Widow. I think maybe I will next spring, when it's in Florida, I think. It would be a good excuse to get out of town, and I know those are my people. (And I need to have my chakras read!)

I don't think I've ever been so underwhelmed with everything. I can't even say I'm bored. I used to have access to rivers of feeling, and now my feelings are like mercury, settled into deep crevices.

Which is maybe why I find myself turning to the past, and focusing on what it felt like to lie next to Kate and what we were feeling in #ourmoment, this time, that time, all of the times.

And, yes, these thoughts lead me again and again to words from her that I should marry again. How insistent she was about that! But even now I can't imagine it.

We have survived losing her, and the kids are transformed, miracles of perpetual motion. I must do some transforming too, I know it.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ten Summers

Back today from YMCA family camp, my fifth with the kids. Coming home today was the first time I  wasn't transported back to 2011 and the day we returned from the cottage.

It had seemed that every time I went away, I would go back to 2011 upon my return.

That was the summer of cancer, our last summer together, though we didn't know that yet. We spent three weeks at a rented cottage in August, and it was glorious. We were just living - and not thinking about the risks we were living with. But when we returned home, it was all waiting for us.

It wasn't bad, what we came back to, it was just a hard reality, one that soon got worse.

Today, though, when I came home, I just thought, oh, I'm home. What's next?

But as I look forward, I look back.

Ten summers. Five with Kate. Five without. One can make too much of the math, but what I experience is a drifting into the new. When Kate died, I just wanted to keep on with our life, and I have, but it's not our life any more. Not the life we had any more. The kids are not the wee ones they were. They are transformed, and I'm thinking more and more about what the next chapter in my life should be.

In the past week at camp, I put on five pounds. I went up to 175 lbs. Last summer I put on five pounds at camp and went up to 190 lbs, which shows my dedication to my new regime ... the one I'm going to get back to tomorrow.

My life is different, is what I'm saying. Different from what it has ever been before.

Over the next ten summers, I expect more change than continuity. I'm okay with that.

That's new.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

If This Is It

I was going to call this post, Lazy Summer Day, but wanted a song. Lazy summer day song = If This is It by Huey Lewis and the News, released July 1984. I was 15 going on 16, that pivotal year yet again.

I had a long sleep in this morning and eventually got up and went to the gym. Ran 5K. Came home. Ate, um, supper.

Soon we will be driving towards September and back to school and all of that.

1984 was maybe my longest summer ever. Maybe that's why it keeps coming back. Not that I remember anything about it specifically.

I imagine we played a lot of baseball and watched music videos.

It is five years since the summer of 2011, when Kate's cancer treatments had ended, and we were trying to pivot to Life After Cancer. We got about three months of that, and I don't think she ever believed it was true.

I wanted to believe it, and I want to believe it still. I never wanted out of that life, and I still can't believe it's gone. It kept me in bed a long time today.

That was it. It really was.

*


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Refugee

You don't have to live like a refugee, sang Tom Petty.

Well, okay. But what does a refugee live like?

I saw a segment on TV about some folks who want to create a new country for all of the world's displaced people.  One of the journalists asked something like, won't this just be a place full of traumatised individuals? Some, yes, said one of the proponents, but many folks just want a chance to get on with their lives.

Oi, I thought. That's how I'm starting to feel.

Grieving is like being a refugee. You become emotionally stateless, removed from the "normal" of your peers. As much as you may want to go back to that "reality," you can't.

But are you then cursed to wander like Job?

There is no going back, but there is the possibility of going forward. Even for refugees.

*

Yesterday was the grade six grad for N. I was happy. I'm glad we've reached this milestone. I'm glad both of the kids are out of that school as of the end of this school year. It was a good school for them, but I'm ready to leave it behind. I'm ready to accept the possibility of the new.

See how this links to what I said above?

Today, I'm sad, though. This ending. So many ending. A reminder of all that's been lost.

The school asked for photos of the kids for a grad ceremony, and I sent along a photo of Kate and N from the first day of junior kindergarten. They included it in the slide show. I was glad, but I was sad. Kate should have been here, in the flesh, in totality.

Of course she was here in other ways. But, you know. It's not the same.

I've had a lethargic day. It's hard. I try to turn my head to new days to come. New things are going to happen, things that cannot be predicted in these moments of the here and now.

I have focused so much on living in the here and now, as Kate did through the cancer, but it's the future days that I look forward to, it must be said.

Some new land, somewhere.

*