Thursday, April 21, 2011


Do you know what today is? Do you ever remember?

We had plans, you know.

Last year was Vegas. You had never been. We were going to have so much fun. Shows and walking the strip and non-stop eating. How was I going to out-do that one? I was kind of pondering Disneyland. Don't act like you are too old for that. We both know better. You are fooling no one.

We had lots of plans, you know. Five year plans. One year plans. Next week plans. Hawaii for our five year anniversary. I just stayed at home instead. Big family Christmas. I didn't really see either family this year. Bet you never saw that coming. You'd probably be in your new job now. I might still be at E+. Enjoying my bonus. We'd have put in our new fence, finally. Paid off some more debt. We'd probably still be fighting over which cupboard the cereal should go in.

Sometimes I let myself fantasize that you chose this. That there was some sort of epic decision you got to make. Stay and struggle or speed on up to heaven and leave a better life for me. I imagine that you would have known it would almost destroy me but that I would somehow be better off one day. That it was some sort of sacrifice on your part.

But I know you know I'd have killed you myself for pulling a stunt like that, so there's no way it could have gone down like that.

I think I'm still just wishing there was a reason. Or some kind of choice in any of this at all.

Do you remember when we talked about dying? Sitting at our kitchen table. I was telling you which song I'd want at my funeral and you got huffy with me. I asked you which one you'd want at yours and you went from huffy to downright annoyed. You hated talking about death. Because of Fred. Today is the anniversary of his death too. Do you remember those kinds of things? I still do. I remember him for you. Just in case.

We agreed that if one of us was to go, it would have to be me. Because there was no way I could survive you going first. Even then you knew that it would change me. That the sadness would drown me. That I would never be me again. We agreed on that. AGREED. I promised I'd come back and haunt you. That I would never be far away, that you'd always know I was still around, looking out for you.

Then you promised you'd do the same.

But you haven't, have you? All this time, I have never felt you near. I don't get any signs from you, I don't see your ghost hovering out of the corner of my eye. You don't tell me you are ok. So much for promises, I guess.

People think that because I'm engaged now I'm 'fixed'. All better. They don't understand that there are some things you cannot fix. Some hurts that are so deep you can never reach the bottom of them. I still feel sliced in half.

Especially today.

If I had a superhero costume I'd dress up in it and hold a party of one. I'd find you some funny card, the kind you used to secretly stash in your little memory shoe box at the bottom of the closet. If I had the energy I'd get a cake and light some candles. But it's lame when you have to blow them out yourself.

Just know that while the rest of the world keeps spinning away, I will be remembering. I never forget.

Happy 28th birthday, babe.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


by Lifehouse

The broken clock is a comfort, it helps me sleep tonight
Maybe it can stop tomorrow from stealing all my time
I am here still waiting though I still have my doubts
I am damaged at best, like you've already figured out

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
With a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain, there is healing
In your name I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on
I'm barely holdin' on to you

The broken locks were a warning you got inside my head
I tried my best to be guarded, I'm an open book instead
I still see your reflection inside of my eyes
That are looking for a purpose, they're still looking for life

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
with a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain, is there healing
In your name, I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on
I'm barely holdin' on to you

I'm hangin' on another day
Just to see what you throw my way
And I'm hanging on to the words you say
You said that I will be OK

The broken lights on the freeway left me here alone
I may have lost my way now, haven't forgotten my way home

I'm falling apart, I'm barely breathing
with a broken heart that's still beating
In the pain, is there healing
In your name, I find meaning
So I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on, I'm holdin' on
I'm barely holdin' on to you

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Life After Death

I read somewhere about the Near Death Experience Research Foundation and decided to check it out this morning. I have more than my fair share of questions about what happens when we die and I was curious about what they had to say. Their site mentioned a few books on the topic and, ever the scholar, I made my way over to the Chapters website to check them out.

Now many widows have told me about times when they were thinking about their deceased spouses and a particular song would come on the radio and they would take it as a message from them. I never paid much attention to these because I figured if Craig wanted to talk to me he better do a hell of a lot better than some song on a radio. Call me a skeptic, but I just don't know if I fully buy into that. I think when we are desperately seeking for meaning in events, we can find it almost anywhere. However, that doesn't make these types of incidences any less comforting or reassuring.

With that in mind, I typed 'life after death' into the Chapters search box, expecting a few books talking about near death experiences and the like. Instead I get:

That's right, the first result is "Batman: Life After Death".

I nearly pissed myself laughing.

Craig, ever the comic book lover and action hero nut, would have enjoyed that immensely.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The New Ring!

I know a lot of widows/widowers who have struggled with wondering what to do with their wedding/engagement rings from their marriage. Wearing them on your ring finger on your left hand signifies that you are married to the rest of the world. I wore mine for the first few months because, as I told so many people at the time, I still felt married. Then I wore them off and on for another few months, depending on my mood each day. Sometimes just the sight of them was enough to reduce me to tears so if I had somewhere to go, off they came. I also noticed people commenting on me not wearing them and that would bother me as well.

For awhile I tried just moving them over to my other hand but it never quite felt right for me - it was a beautiful white gold set that Craig had bought me for our fourth wedding anniversary. He had beeen promising me a new set for years since my original wedding and engagement bands did not match (we couldn't afford much at the time we were married). Part of the heartache associated with my rings was from not being able to wear them for very long. And they were just so beautiful and he had spent so much time with me carefully picking them out so I would love them and wear them forever. But they were very clearly and obviously a wedding/engagement set so wearing them on my right hand just seemed wrong to me.

I thought about keeping them to pass them on but I don't really have anyone I'd pass them on to since we didn't have any children. The idea of letting them sit in a jewellery box somewhere collecting dust just made my stomach churn - Craig would have been so disappointed to see that. And while I may have desperately needed the cash, the idea of pawning or selling them was totally out of the question. I'd rather eat Kraft Dinner for a year than have to do that.

So I did some research and hunting around and found a jeweller in Calgary who does beautiful custom pieces, many of them memorial rings like this one. I met with him and had a three hour heart to heart about loss (he'd had his own share of it in his life) in what was was supposed to be a fifteen minute appointment.

Long story short, we came up with a design together to melt down all five rings (Craig's original wedding band, my original wedding/engagement set, and my new wedding/engagement set) to make one gorgeous new ring that I can wear on my right hand. He is using all the gold and all the diamonds to make me the perfect memorial ring.

Attached are some pictures for you to check out for those of you thinking about doing the same thing. I won't have the finished product for a few more weeks but once I have it, I'll be sure to post those photos as well.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Missing in March

Well, the month of March is finally over and I have to say, I am more relieved than I would have thought to have it behind me. I knew this would be a tough time of year but the fluctuations in my mood caught even me off-guard.

I would have days of total elation and joy and days of all-out misery and overwhelming sadness. With the time that has passed, the constant sharp onslaught of grief has passed, but that isn't to say it doesn't still reappear whenever it feels like it. I often will go for several days at a time with this overwhelming feeling of misery and grief and it takes just that long to process it, experience it, and wait for it to be over.

One of the things I do is try to pinpoint exactly what it is that I am missing most that day. Do I miss Craig's laughter that day? Is it the sound of his voice? His physical presence? I try to find the thing that is biggest and focus on it, remember it, invest in it. I find this way of bringing it out of my peripheral and into my line of sight might be more painful at first but in the long run helps me get through these periods of sadness a lot quicker. Sometimes you just need to lean into your grief.

I have felt very beat up by the world this last year and particularly the last few months. Seems every time I turn around somebody is upset with me for something (sounds melodramatic, I know). I've had more disagreements with friends and family than is necessary over the course of a lifetime and I think that is what has been getting to me. Not so much that I feel like I'm constantly in the doghouse, but because I miss having someone on my side. I have truly missed the way Craig was always in my corner, no matter what. Even when he thought I was being ridiculous. He had this way of letting me vent and cry and get upset and being totally supportive but still making me laugh and see if I was the one in the wrong.

I don't remember ever feeling like he was ganging up on me along with everyone else. I used to love how I would vent and get louder and more pissed off and he would jump in enthusiastically and sort of egg me on. At first it would be stuff like, 'yeah, she is so rude!' and then he'd get louder and even more exuberant and it would escalate into, 'yeah, and she has fat ankles!' until I started to realize how ridiculous it was and would start laughing. God, I miss that so much.

I often wondered with Craig and I if we were really all that good for each other. We were such opposites. SUCH opposites. He was athletic with this quiet, dry sense of humour. I'm a couch potato who likes to be loud and make everyone laugh. he was usually slow to anger but, man oh man, when he exploded, look out. Whereas I am quick to take offense, explode, and then simmer and be over it by morning. He would analyze and analzye before making any kind of a decision while I would barrel ahead and refuse to look back, usually with him hanging on for dear life as I plowed forward. These differences often drove me crazy and would frustrate me into wondering how on earth we had ever ended up together.

Now when I look back, and I hope it's not just the distance clouding my vision, I think maybe that was what made us work so well. We were such a balance for each other. I changed so much while I was with him, as he did too. We sort of adopted many of each other's personality traits- something I didn't really notice until after his death. While often we seemed to bring out the crazy in one another, we did keep each other in check as well.

I have come to learn that a relationship like that takes years to form. That type of familiarity where you sort of meld into one another. There is a level of comfort and and trust that stays with you for a lifetime.

So this last month I have missed that ying to my yang, that wonderful listener, and, of course, our little Team Garvin ('It's us versus the world!' as Craig liked to say).