Friday, December 30, 2011

Ringing out the old ...

Friday ... the last Friday of the year.

The snow fell, work continued, and at the end of the day ... our children are safe.

Bill respected this ... and as I climbed into my car at the end of the day ... I said thank you for understanding that I need to know that for those children I can make a difference ... they are safe tonight.

I was rewarded with a lovely evening with family and friends who understand.

Tomorrow is a new day ... the dawn of a new year, and I am thankful for knowing Bill and his support for this need in me to make a difference in the world I so dearly love.

See you all tomorrow ... the eve of 2012 ... another year where Bill is not, yet strangely is!

Breathe my tender hearts ... for I will surely be taking gulps!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Breathing in the moment ...

This has had to be the loneliest Christmas since my very first Christmas when I could not make it home for the holidays. 

As it should be, my family has found new interests and new friends, and they took advantage of a break from work to explore these new interests and join in the festivities of their new friends' families.  Last year, we found comfort in being together; this year was not the same.  The ghost of things to come came and I had a glimpse of what is to come - minus the tombstone.  I know that my life has had an impact and that I will continue to strive to be all that I can be for others - but for this year, I felt the full impact of being by myself.

I did not accept the few invitations to join other families in their festivities, feeling that I was most certainly not in the right frame of heart to partake in their merriment.  I knew that what is in my heart would only portray me as the "poor widow" ... or "old auntie" in the corner.  Maybe next year, I will not base my own happiness solely on my little family and will come to a place in my life where I can join in the festivities of others.

For now, I sit in this in between time,  Christmas and New Year, and go back to the simple basic need, reminding myself to breathe.  This too shall pass.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Memories ...

What a beautiful gift I received this Christmas Eve morning ... the sharing of a memory.  Bill's sister forwarded this to me in eMail.

A Christmas Memory!

"Growing up, I remember the times that Bill and our brother would run downstairs first to see if Santa had come through the night.  I don't think Bill slept much Christmas Eve.  My sister and I would talk to the walls and ask the boys if they thought Santa had filled our stockings.  Our brothers would walk slowly down the stairs and disappear around the corner.  We would wait with anticipation, waiting and waiting.  Those little buggers would make us wait until they had their own peeks at their stockings then we would whisper down, asking if we could finally come down.

We had wonderful Christmas memories.  Bill loved Christmas.  He got such a kick out of it.  Mom and Dad always did well to instil that in us all.  I can't help but think of so many memories this time of year."

Thank you dear sister for this wonderful gift.  Bill lives on in our memories and in our hearts.  He is missed and lives through so many of us!

Good Christmas Eve everyone.  Remember to breathe gently through each moment.

Friday, December 23, 2011

He is with us ...

The weather network reports that many will have a green Christmas this year.  How sad.  We have enough snow to have the picture perfect scenery.  The air is crisp and last night, returning from a shopping trip with my son, I noticed that everything was made just a little more magical by the ice crystals floating in the air, capturing and reflecting the moonlight.  I half expected to see the glass globe around us for it truly felt like we were standing in a snow globe.  I called this one Mom and Son Coming Home. 

Part of our purchases was a couple of bunches of baby's breath.  After spending time wrapping gifts and sharing happy chatter, my son and I started placing the baby's breath through the tree.  I watched as he broke off a branch after another and placed the flowers in the tree realizing that he had not been there when I put up the tree.  My heart warmed and I was pleased that he seemed to be finally content in the moment.  He too is struggling with his grief, he too is missing Bill, he too is struggling with the lack of the Christmas spirit.  In that moment, we were not alone.  In that moment we found a little sparkle in our hearts.

Today, my oldest son is coming home for the holidays.  Where he comes from, they will have a green Christmas ... we will take pleasure in rushing into our beautiful home to sit by the tree knowing that the house is wrapped in beautiful snow and our home will feel that much fuller, safer and warm! 

The Christmas Season has finally reached my heart.  We miss Bill, but we have each other because of him.  We are with him and he with us ... in our hearts!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Dear Bill ...

It is always such a treat to have a couple of moments alone with you in the morning.  The house has been decorated and the gifts are under the tree.  Everything is so different and very much in keeping with the year.  Many changes, more decisions and although on the outside I seem to be dealing with the hussle and bussle of the Christmas Season, inside I continue to miss you so very much.

If I was granted just one gift this year, I would ask for an evening with you in my dreams!  An evening of gazing into your eyes, listening to the story of your journey in Heaven.  An evening of being held and laying my head on your chest; an evening of feeling safe and carefree.  How I miss this my dearest love.

I often think of you in Heaven and wonder if time seems as long for you as it does for me here on Earth - until we meet again.

Thank you Bill for your continued presence and for watching over us.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I remember when ...

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more? ~ Dr. Seuss

Christmas – it wraps itself around your heart and sooths even the grinchiest of Grinch’s!  Christmas is about something so intangible that it is like a fragrance that always seems to bring you back to ... “I remember when!

I was taken there today when I came across a drawing of an older gentleman sitting by the fire with his grandchildren in his lap and trusted dog at his feet.  The hearth is draped in holly, the fire offers a warm glow to the image and the children are listening with great intent.  The gentleman is reading the Christmas Story. 

I once had this same image of Bill in a dream.  I used to tease him with this image of the day he would continue his tradition of reading the Christmas Story with our grandchildren.  The teasing part of this is the fact that Bill never liked being associated with growing old. 

I remember making our way up to bed one night, the house quiet because the boys did not want to end up on Santa’s naughty list and taking a last peek over the banister at our beautiful tree.  Bill whispered that it was time to get the fireplace built in the living room so that he would not have to wait until we had grandchildren to realize my dream.  I remember the feeling of conspiracy between us ... and the house was filled with that Christmas fragrance.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Magic ...

One week from Christmas!  *Cripes* ... so much to do, and no emotional energy left to do it with!

I put up my real tree last night.  The first in 20 years.  The last year Bill was with us, he had promised that the next year, we would all go out as a family and pick the perfect tree to come home with.  He so wanted his boys to know what a real tree was all about.

As I watched my purchased real tree fan out last night, I could not help but think that this would be the first real tree my boys will really remember ... Christmas #2 without Dad!  Mom fell over and bonked her head and said, "We will have a real tree this year!"
I was up at 5:30 a.m.  I went downstairs and made a strong cup of java and strung my lights in the tree.  I then let the ribbon guide me through this beautiful tree - et voila!  I often threatened Bill that I would one day let the tree be the tree and let only the lights and simple ribbon adorn it!  This is the year.  I sat back with my second cup and enjoyed the peace of looking into a simple, elegant and meaningful tree!

I then called and chatted with my sister.  I relished in sharing my success story of yesterday's shopping when I found the perfect gift for one child ... she chuckled and I chuckled and when I got off the phone I cried.  I cried because with Bill, by now, I would have the whole house decorated, the gifts purchased and wrapped and I would be looking into how best to spend Christmas Eve!  I cried because the realization that this is it ... this is what it will always be ....

As I shared with my niece, from November 26th on ... the boys' morning alarm would be Christmas music blaring through the house.  From November 26th on ... mornings were illuminated by the decorations throughout the house ... from November 26th on ... everything was about Christmas magic - the Bill magic?  No, that was my magic!

Hmm... are you thinking what I'm thinking?  Indeed - tomorrow morning is Christmas music ... full blast!!!!  arrr matties ... my new treasure!

Hopefully, my boys will remember to tell our grandchildren, just how magical Christmas was growing up ... hope that they will tell our grandchildren that grandma was strong and kept us going as a family ... and hope that our grandchildren will know that they come from love ... come from magic!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Compassionate Friends ...

Tonight, at 7:00 p.m. across the world, parents light a candle in memory of a lost child.  This wonderful group is known as the Compassionate Friends.

For the past 8 years, I have had the privilege of lending my talents to this amazing group of grieving parents as they hold a candlelight vigil.  It is a tough spot, seeing the pain in their eyes and before last year, only imagining what it could be in their hearts.

In the previous 6 years of the 8 years, I had Bill waiting for me at home.  The vigil was over, I would pick up my technology, load up the car and drive home where I knew Bill waited for me.

Last year, I continued my support to these wonderful people and in a different way, had a deeper understanding and appreciation for their "loss".  Last year I came home having prepared my heart that Bill's arms would not be there.  This year, I came home unprepared for the emptiness. 

My heart is both full with being able, in some small way, to be there for these grieving parents ... and empty because I truly want Bill's comfort back.  I see him smiling, I know he continues to support me as I support those in need ... but tonight, well I simply need.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Jingle bells ... all is well ...

We have always held to one book, one piece of clothing and one special toy for each child.  As I go down the list of things to get, I am reminded of my new reality. Bill so loved filling the stocking!  The rest came easy, simply listening all year round ... but the stocking was always so very special. 

I was not raised with filling a stocking and I am wondering if it is time to come full circle and leave the stocking stuffing behind.  I have such a difficult time with this ... Bill loved to spend so much time over the stockings ... we took as long to stuff those socks than we did buying gifts!  Magazine ... check ... candy ... check ... socks ... check ... underwear ... check ... toothbrush and special toothpaste ... check ... one special toy or thing ... check ...

As I drove home today with my treasures, I just happen to think that this is "forever" ... I wondered why God was in such a hurry to come get this beautiful man ... this wonderful human being; why I feel that my stocking will be empty this year, in so many ways!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Home sweet home ...

This has been quite the week of meetings after meetings and travel.  I am finally home, settled in for the evening and while others are dreaming of sugar plum fairies ... I am panicking, for much is left to be done.  More meetings, more writing and more of everything not family.  We are already December 9th and anyone who knows me well, knows that the "old" me would already have the house decorated, baking done, Christmas music blaring every morning to wake up the household, the gifts purchased and wrapped.

New habits, new expectations ... new being me.  I have written before of the unexpected of the second year.  There is so much of your life that resumes after "one year"; you have little time to anticipate what's coming up.  The day gets there and WHAM!  No buffer for what you are feeling! 

Thinking back to last year this time, I had already planned Christmas.  There would be luminaries for Bill, there would be an ice candle at his gravesite, there would be a little message from each one of us in his stocking ... and the list goes on.  This year, I have put up some garland and lights, purchased one gift and it will take quite the effort to resume and finish my preparations. 

My heart is becoming so very aware that this is "forever".  For every moment spent saying to him, "I love you" my heart screams, "I miss you."  For every thought that says, "Thank you Bill for ... ", my heart screams, "I am so angry with you!"  However, at the end of the day, I slip between the sheets and whisper, "Until we meet again.  Good night love."

PS - Happy Birthday Dad ... miss you too and until we meet again.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My baby turns 20 ...

At this time 20 years ago, I was in labour.  I had been for a while not realizing that I was.  All through the day before, Bill and his Mom were busy setting up the Christmas lights outside and my parents were with me.  For the first time, I was overdue by 5 days and my back was killing me.  I remember sitting on the living room floor, strings of lights all around me as I tested each one, replacing those that were burnt out.  All the while, tears were streaming down my face as I felt sorry for myself; no one seemed to understand that my back was so sore!  No one seemed to care for the mood was festive in the house.  My Mom and Dad left that evening to return home ... but wait!  I need you! 

I kept thinking of just how mistaken I was about the difficulties of being overdue.  As a Lamaze instructor and labour coach, I remember promising myself that I would be extra kind to those who are overdue!  My two first were premature ... this having a sore back and heightened emotions sucked!  I called my doctor as promised to check in with him about being induced the next day.  He apologized and said he had not realized that the floor would be busy, too busy for an induction.  More tears!  I wanted to be done with this sore back of mine.

Off to bed we went knowing that the next few days would be busy.  Sleep eluded me.  I was up often to go to the bathroom and I thought, "Oh great!  Now I have some kind of flu bug!"  The alarm went off and Bill got up to get ready for work.  I told ... okay, I whined about my miserable night!  I followed him like a puppy dog expecting the pat on the head in acknowledgement of how miserable I was feeling.  Just before it was time to get ready to leave, I asked Bill if he would wait a bit to help me in and out of the bathtub.  I wanted to s..o..a..k.. and get back to b..e..d.. to grab some s..l..e..e..p.  In my mind, I still see him leaning up against the vanity, patiently waiting for his very pregnant wife to finish her soak. 

Intermittently, I would wince as my back squeezed the breath out of me yet again.  He smiled and proudly announced, "Ginette, you are in labour!"  "No way!  I know what labour feels like; I've been through this twice before.  This is nothing like that." 

He finishes his toast all the while his smile going from easy going to concern.  He is checking the time between "squeezes".  "You are in labour and they are getting closer together."  I still shake my head and he disappears.  He comes back with a phone and plugs it in *no portables back then*.  He dials and is speaking with my sister ... "Yup, ummm ... yup again!  Here, talk to her."  I hear my sister's voice at the other end of the line and the tears start up again ... I can't respond - another squeeze.  It is now a little past 8:00 a.m.  Bill had disappeared again and comes back into the bathroom with my clothes.  He all but scooped me out of the tub, was frantically patting down my body with a towel all the while had started dressing me ... amazing! 

We rush to the hospital and fortunately find a great parking spot.  We walk into emerge just as another "squeeze" knocks the breath out of me!  All faces turn to me and the security guard is quick to get a wheelchair.  Bill often recounted that moment in the emergency room ... he chuckled every time.

The elevator doors opened and my sister's beautiful face appeared.  She was chuckling and Bill was too.  I was still not convinced I was in labour!   My doc is sitting at the nurse's station.  He said, "Guess we won't be needing to induce you ... the scare of it sent you into labour."  All the while, in my mind, I kept shouting, "I'm not in labour!"  The internal exam did confirm that I was in labour ... and the squeezes - dah - contractions were now coming 1 minute apart. 

The floor that day was indeed quite busy and I found myself labouring in the hallway behind a little white screen.  I laboured for a little while more and it was finally time to push this sucker out!  Two and a half hours of pushing ... and our 9lbs 11oz beautiful blue-eyed, strawberry blond baby boy was born!

All cleaned up and brought to my room, I slipped between the sheets content.  Bill turns on the little TV set to music and the first Christmas song of the season played.  I looked up into my beautiful husband's face and saw in his eyes what I had missed the day before because I was so busy being miserable.  I saw and felt all the love and admiration a person can ever want!  He was beaming.

Since that day, when I hear my first Christmas tune on the radio, I am brought back to that wonderful moment, that wonderful day!

Happy Birthday my baby boy ... know that your father is always with us.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bitter Sweet ...

So I took the plunge today!  My first major purchase ... a new car!  It was a difficult decision on many fronts.  Financial ... making the decision between continuing to invest in a dated car and emotional where I am giving up Bill's car.

After bringing the car in to get the "clucking" sound looked at and other "clinks" and "clangs", the total amount to fix it all was impressive!  I happen to look in the show room and came across a car that I had once test driven with Bill and the price was right.  I came home contemplating my next move and all I could think is that Bill would want me to be safe.  I called my sister, hoping to get support for this major expenditure and she said the same ... Bill would want you to be safe and independent.  All night I fretted about the decision and as I got up this morning, I could almost feel Bill tapping the back of my head saying, "This is a no-brainer!"  Actually, the thought had been knocking around in my brain for a little while, recognizing the age of the car and the feeling that I had not felt safe for a little while driving it.

I sat down with paper and pen again, doing the math, weighing the pro's and con's always reaching the same conclusion.  This is doable with some life changes and I will have confidence in my vehicle to get me from point A to point B;  no worries about car repairs for the next five years.

I dropped off my plates tonight and said I would be back tomorrow to pick up my car .... bitter sweet!  I will also be dropping off Bill's car as a trade in.