I've made it a year without him. It doesn't seem
possible or even probable, yet here I stand a testament
to "making it."
Whatever that really means...
It's not really the kind of anniversary I ever imagined
I would be having in my life. It's kind of a crummy
anniversary to have to "celebrate". (Have? Remember? I
don't even have a good word for this...and PLEASE
do not say "angelversary" to me, not even once....)
I remember sharing quiet, intimate moments with family,
friends and loved ones during his last 6 days of his life
in the hospital last year.
Time moved slowly around us.
Time is a funny thing.
We all gathered around him in love, for what would be
his eventual last days of time in the here and now.
There was so very much love and tenderness and sweetness
in those moments. As crazy as it sounds I will treasure
those memories forever, they were truly beautiful in
so many ways.
Life without Kyle is achingly familiar, yet hauntingly
My pain and loss are so all encompassing and huge that
I expect everyone who loved him, like I loved him,
to feel it like I feel it. The depth of pain and loss.
And not everyone does.
I've learned we all do this so differently.
For many others, life moved on quickly without Kyle.
It wasn't that they didn't love him, or miss him, it was
that the heartache wasn't as all consuming.
As it was with me.
Yet there I was frozen in time, all the while having
time continue onward (how was that possible?)
carrying me forward with it, caught somewhere between
reality and fiction.
I remember sitting in the hospital on Kyle's last day,
family was coming and going as Christmas Eve Day slowly wound
down. The frenzied rush and frantic race to get everything
done was put on the back burner for me and mine and
in the hush of the hospital room, Christmas seemed some
far off distant ghost of a memory. Something that was
happening for everyone else in an alternate universe,
just not the one I was living in at the present time.
It feels much the same this year to me.
We lived from breath to breath and quietly spoke around him.
Watching his chest move up and down in the darkened room.
People moved in and out to touch him quietly, they kissed his
face, held his hand and whispered that they loved him.
I sat, barely moving from his bed, holding his hand in mine.
His time here was coming swiftly to an end and no one could
stop it, try as we might.
Or as much as we wished it were not true.
It was happening right before our very eyes.
His body, and everything that made it alive, and Kyle,
We would occasionally place our hand on his chest to
feel the beating of his heart, which was still going strong.
Of course it was, it was his heart.
When his last breaths came, I knew what it meant.
And then he was gone from us.
Ripped from our lives, it seemed so cruel.
My children like to remind me that we still have
the love he left us, the things he taught us
and the memories we shared with him--yet it's not
the same as having HIM.
Having him HERE, in the moments that are yet to come.
That has been the hardest part for me, missing his
physical presence in all of our lives.
And selfishly, especially mine.
This isn't how it was supposed to be in every
scenario I had ever imagined for my life.
None of them included a husband dying from cancer
at age 46.
But that's how it went, life had other plans then
the ones in my mind.
And so it was.
Some of the great lessons I have learned in the past
year I would not have learned with him here, yet I
would gladly trade them ALL, just to have him here again.
I have learned that indeed life does go on.
All of it.
The good, the bad and the ugly.
Then some more good mixed in too.
Yay for the good!
I have learned that human beings are so so so so so
amazingly resilient when we CHOSE to be.
We can do hard things. (Dammit it's true)
But just because we can do them, doesn't mean that
it's easy. It's not easy by any stretch of the imagination.
I've learned we take SO much for granted, especially
relationships. That is a dumb thing to do, trust me
on this one.
If you have good friends? (Who can also be family)
Love them, make time for them, cherish them.
They are GIFTS to you. Do NOT let them go, tell them
you love them, and be there when they need you.
I have learned that being a single mom is
exhausting and overwhelming and you NEVER get a break.
You are "on call" ALL the time. Your partner in crime
is you and yourself and when you're tired or sick or lonely or
sad--it's STILL you who has to go to work and cook
and clean and shop and go to school and do homework and
take care of kids and do everything that two people
used to do.
It's Hard. Hard. Hard.
Did I mention it's hard?
I've learned that I have AMAZING friends who have
been there for me.
They may be few in numbers, but gosh darn it, I would
not trade them for the world.
I have learned that I have some great family members
who have also stepped up in a big way. I am grateful
for extra mommy's for my kids and love and support
that has carried my four through this past year.
I have learned that I have PHENOMENAL children.
That is not to say that it hasn't been a rocky road,
a very rocky one, at times, but I cannot look at
each of them, Josh, Grace, Eliza and Olivia, with
ANYTHING but pride at the way they've come through
They have stepped up to the plate in BIG and amazing
ways to support me and each other. They have grown
and hugged and wept and hurt and loved and lived...
...and continued on when they haven't wanted to at times.
I have the utmost respect and love for my four and
am PROUD to call them my own. They are especially unique
and not cookie cutter and in loosing a dad this has become
more apparent. They are deep thinkers, all of them, and
each is older then their given years on earth.
Yet, I am glad for their unique perspectives and
different outlooks on life, it has led to many
lovely conversations between us and deeper trust
and intimacy and a bond that I believe is very special.
They have huge wings they are waiting to spread and
big ideas that will take them far.
They will also fall and get hurt and that's okay too.
We sometimes forget that's what life is about, it's
about the journey and learning. It's not about being perfect.
In many ways they are more prepared for the realities
that life will throw their way, because as we've
learned, life doesn't always go as we like to imagine it will.
I have learned that life is also still sweet and tender
and lovely and beautiful. And that there are still
MANY good things to cherish. That is also a gift.
I have learned that love is still the most important
thing we have. It can change a heart, a human and indeed
Love. Simply love.
I have learned that I still have a whole lot
of learning to do.
So today on the one year anniversary of Kyle's death,
which will forever be on Christmas Eve, hold your loved
one close, don't sweat the small stuff (so much
wasted energy), make good choices, chose life, love
with your FULL hearts and find joy in the little things.
Like pink sunrises over the mountains and fall breezes
blowing leaves and laughter with the ones you love.
Tell a joke, see a movie, make time for each other.
Live in the moment, the here and now. Quit waiting
for tomorrow, you never know what it will bring.
That's what we get, we get now, none of the other stuff
really matters anyway.
We are still here, life continues onward. Some days
it is joyous and beautiful and some days are still hard.
The thing is "this" never goes away. We are changed
people forever because of what came into our lives
and then what was taken from our lives. Time helps heal
our hearts, but there will always be a piece, the piece
we called Kyle, that is not there. The hole will
wax and wane, depending on so many factors and the pain
will certainly diminish--that we can count on.
But the fact of the matter is that a husband, father,
brother, son, nephew, grandson, friend and co-worker is
still gone from our lives.
And we miss him.
That's what I've got for today~
Which was awfully long winded.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from our house to yours~