Sunday, February 27, 2011

Death Statistics

So here are the stats breaking down the ages of the people who die each year. These are American stats (couldn't find any available for Canada) but I'm guessing it's about the same:

Age--Percent of People dying at that age

Under 1 year--1.2%
1-4 years--0.2%
5-14 years--0.3%
15-24 years--1.3%
25-34 years--1.7%
35-44 years--3.7%
45-54 years--6.7%
55-64 years--10.0%
65-74 years--18.4%
75-84 years--29.1%
85 and over--27.4%

All I have to say is, 1.7% - wtf. Almost 90% of the people who die are at least twice his age. Stop and think about that - how unnatural it is to die so young.

Even amongst the dead Craig was a rarity.

How stupidly unfair.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Two Little Memories

Had to quickly jot down these two memories before I forgot:

1. Craig used to pick me up and drop me off at my parents' place just about every day when we first started dating. We would linger as long as we possibly could on the doorstep right up to the very minute it was my curfew. My parents have one of those doors with a window at the very top part of it and I can't tell you how many times we would be making out or hugging or whatever and I'd look up to see my dad's face looking all stern and telling me to hurry the hell up with his eyes through that little window. I even remember a few times where he would flicker the lights to get us to hurry up. Craig and I never managed a quick goodbye once in nine years. Even with my dad's 'scary' face and the flickering lights, it would still take us another ten, fifteen, or twenty minutes. Except the one time he farted on the doorstep and took off running, shouting goodbye over his shoulder. I had no idea what was going on until I smelled it. He'd kill me for sharing that. Sorry, Craig.

2. My mom likes to call me her little trailmaker. It's true, I have a problem with this. I'm a generally tidy person, and am actually somewhat anal when it comes to arranging furniture and decluttering knick knacks and having things just-so. But for some reason, when I come home, I drop the shoes right in the middle of the doorway, the backpack or purse wherever I am standing, and so on and so forth. You can tell which rooms I have been in in the house on any given day by the half-drunk glasses of water I leave in each one. Used to drive Craig bonkers. My worst one? I would take off my jacket and leave it on the back of a chair. Either the couch, or a dining room chair, or his recliner. Didn't matter how many times he yelled at me, I couldn't kick the habit of dropping it on the back of a chair as soon as I walked in the door. We had a huge closet right beside the front door and STILL I couldn't remember to hang it up there. In the last couple years he just started meeting me at the front door whenever I came home and would take my coat from me and hang it up in the closet while we said hello. I didn't even realize he had started doing it for months and months, I was that oblivious. Just one of those little things I loved about him.

Anyway, was just reminded of each of these today. Don't want to forget, have to write it down.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

One of Those Days

Ever have one of those days where everything just sort of seems to come crashing in on you, where you can see your whole life played out before you, where you know the ending long before it happens?

I'm having one of those days.


Technically it's been 2 days.

The phrase that keeps coming to mind for me is, 'It's just not fair.' Because it's not.

Nothing is.

It's not fair that Craig died. That someone else was dumb and Craig and I, of all people, paid the price.

It's not fair that we were good people, worked hard, paid our taxes and still had to suffer so much.

It's not fair that we didn't get to have kids of our own, that Craig's neices and nephews will never remember him, that he will be forgotten so much sooner than he should have been.

It's not fair that I know so many jerks who took his death as an opportunity to take out their frustration on me, to berate me, to judge me, to show off how stupid they could be.

It's not fair, it's not fair, it's not fair.

I sound like a three year old having a temper tantrum in the candy aisle. Maybe I should be.

Some people in life really do seem to get it all... perfect house, perfect kids, perfect life. And then there are the people like me. My life is one big tragedy. If Craig's death is the climax, what does that mean for the remainder of my life?

It sucks.

I want off this ride now please.

I just want a normal life with normal people in it. Is that so much to ask for?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I Miss Our Talks

Hey Craiggie,

It's just me again.

I don't know how to reach you. Still.

I'd talk but it mostly just feels like talking to the air. Writing seems more concrete. I hope you get my messages anyhow.

I still need to talk to you, every day. It's almost been a year, Craig, and still, still I want to tell you about my day. Remember when you'd pick me up from work? We'd have to time it just right so you wouldn't get a ticket for parking illegally and so I wouldn't have to wait more than 10 seconds because I was always dressed innapropriately for the weather. 13 years in Calgary and I still haven't figured out the right clothing-to-weather ratio.

Then I'd talk your head off the whole way home. Sometimes I'd have to change my outfit in the car because I hated wearing work clothes out to the movies or dinner or anywhere else. You'd be cracking up and grabbing my leg or bum while I was trying not to giggle or let some random pedestrian see I was stripping in a moving vehicle.

Or in the mornings, over coffee. You hated mornings. I didn't. But you'd sit there, wrapped in blankets like an overstuffed coccoon, just sipping your coffee patiently while I yammered on. I miss our mornings. I drink tea now. I don't like coffee anymore. It's too much like us. And I surf the web while I drink. Sometimes I turn the t.v. on so it feels like someone is there. But sometimes I just like to feel alone.

Most days you'd come home from work and I'd be cooking dinner. Our little kitchen that always felt two feet too small. I hate other people in my kitchen. But not you. You'd sneak up behind me and grab me and I'd yell at you not to spill anything or get burned. But I'd still be laughing. Then you'd sit at the counter all earnestly and demand I do a cooking show for you. I'd start out with insructions on how to properly saute mushrooms and would end up disecting the psychology of bosses who micromanage all day. You'd just sit and listen, sipping out of your Transformers cup, looking like an overgrown kid.

I miss our talks.

Even though it was mostly me talking and you pretty much just listened. You always were a good listener. Did I ever tell you I loved that about you? I hope so.

I wish we could talk just one more time.

Just one more.

I have so much to ask.

This time, I think I'd be the one mostly listening.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Beautiful Lies

It's pretty unusual for me to read something these days that makes me tear up. Call it numbness or denial, I'm not really sure which.

But today I came across some widows posting about lies that got to me. They were talking about the lies we tell the ones we love to set them free. Several posted about their spouses losing battles to cancer and other illness, how they sat by their bedsides in those final minutes, holding their hands, watching them suffer and finally whispering in their ears, it's ok, you can go now, I'll be alright. Beautiful, brave, selfless lies.

I wish I had the chance to lie to Craig. To tell him it was ok, that he could go, that I would be alright. It would have taken every ounce of strength I had, but I would have lied to him, for him, in a heartbeat.

I told many other lies after Craig died.

I told family and friends that I was ok.

I told them they could go, that I would be alright.

I faked smiles and put on make-up, lying a thousand times over about how I felt, that I wasn't being eaten alive from the inside out.

I lied about eating so my mother wouldn't know I hadn't kept a single meal down in months.

I lied at work to my bosses about how much sleep I was actually getting and how much work I was pretending to do.

I lied about just how much time I was spending at home, alone, crying on the floor.

I lied about how often I sat on the floor in the closet, smelling Craig's clothes over and over again, until they had lost all traces of scent.

I lied about what I was doing, when I was doing it, why I hadn't answered my phone.

I pretended I was functioning, breathing, okay.

I lied for everyone else but I also lied for me.

I lied to let them go. So they wouldn't have to worry or intervene or do anything at all. I could see it in their faces, that begging look, imploring me to wave them off with a quick smile and an 'everything is ok' to alleviate their conscience.

And truthfully, it was usually so much easier than telling the truth.

We all lie.

All of us.

But sometimes, I think, it's ok.

Because sometimes lies can be beautiful too.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Arguments, Purses, and Little Red Hearts

I have found myself lately struggling to hold onto my good memories of Craig. I had a problem with this early on after he died and it seems to be cropping back up again - I can remember all these awful fights and horrible things he did, but seem to struggle to remember all the wonderful moments we had, which I know far outweighed any of the bad.

Why does this happen?

Is it because the emotional pain associated with the bad memories is that much stronger than all the feel-good butterflies that came from the happy moments? Am I only now analyzing a relationship that wasn't as good as I had previously thought? Or is it simply because the anger is easier to deal with than the sadness?

My guess would be the latter.

Anger gives us focus, it gives us energy. Anger leads to outrage and outrage leads to rattling of sabres and, ultimately, action. It can spur you off the couch and give you the energy and motivation you need to get that paperwork done, clean the house, and start checking things off that never ending to-do list.

Well I just realized the other day that Valentine's Day is coming up and it got me pondering all sorts of things, including the above sentiments. You see, I have mixed feelings about Valentine's Day.

I used to insist Craig buy me flowers and a card or something, anything. Craig wasn't so great at the 'planned romance' - he was more of a spontaneous kind of guy. It wasn't unusual for him to leave getting me a gift or making a dinner reservation for Valentine's Day (or birthdays, or anniversaries, or any other special occaision) until the last minute only to have it all fall apart, leaving him looking like a jerk and me mad as hell.

But then out of nowhere, on a random January morning he'd send flowers to my work with a note just to say he loved me. Or I'd come home to my favourite chocolate bar sitting on my pillow and a note taped to the door that he couldn't wait to see me when he got home. C- for planning but A+ for winging it.

Over the years I realized it mattered less and less what Craig got me or where we ate dinner on Valentine's Day. In fact, it wasn't unusual for us to curl up on the couch with a couple movies, a bag of chips, and an unnecessary amount of ice cream.

Last Valentine's Day wasn't all that different. I reminded Craig a few times in January to make a reservation somewhere so he could take me on a date. It was a super busy time of the year for me at work so even this was pretty hit or miss until the day of as to whether or not I'd even be able to make it. As usual, Craig never got around to making a reservation and didn't find much more than a card for me. A rather obnoxious one covered in little red hearts and a cutesy puppy dog that I'm pretty sure was designed for an eight year old ready to confess his love to a pretty blond classmate.

Given that Valentine's Day fell on a Sunday and I was actually able to celebrate it properly, I was a little miffed about his lack of planning this time around. There might have been some serious wifely pouting and cold shouldering going on.

Having been married for over four years, Craig knew trouble when he saw it. In what has to go down as one of the smoothest recoveries of all time, he announced to me that he was actually going to buy me a Coach bag (something we definitely couldn't normally afford and that I was constantly drooling over photos of online). I had been begging and begging for one for months to no avail. I knew Craig was more or less pulling this one out of his arse as a gift simply to save himself, but I didn't care, I was getting a Coach!

We spent hours at the mall (something both of us hated in equal measure under normal circumstances) pouring over all the glorious bags at the Coach store. I oohed, I ahed, I wept for joy. Craig stood patiently, shuttled from one bag to another amidst my squeals of 'Look at this one!' and 'It's so gorgeous!' in the most good natured way possible. He was a saint. Not once did he complain or sigh or beg me silently with his eyes to please hurry the hell up or put him out of his misery.

In the end I practically skipped out of the store with my brand new Coach, excited beyond measure. I ended up forking over my credit card for it, not Craig, but that hardly mattered to me since we shared all our accounts anyway.

I love that Coach bag. I have used it ever since. It is beyond precious to me. Not just because it's gorgeous or because I waited what felt like eons to get it (which it is and which I did).

I love it because every time I hold that bag I remember my poor Craig, so intent on making up for his gift oversight, that he stood patiently in a girly girl purse shop at the mall for hours on his one day off, just to make me smile. That he wanted so badly to make me happy for just one day that he didn't just shell out some cash for flowers or chocolates but spent hours in misery, pretending he wasn't, just because he loved me.

And that is one damn good memory.