The other day I was cleaning up and I stopped for a moment to watch our digital photo album as it flipped through some photos. I saw a few birthday pics flash by and I had to sit down and catch my breath as I suddenly realized that all four remaining Saint-Onge’s have had a birthday since Ben died. I mean, obviously I knew this, but it really hit me hard at that moment. The rest of us are all one year older. And then I really thought about the fact that Ben will never know me at 46, Zak at 20, Jaime at 17, or Raegan at 15. Never. How could he already have been gone long enough that we are all one year older and he wasn’t here to see it happen? Time is stealing him further away from me.
It has occurred to me in the past that Ben and I are now officially the same age (he died at 46, I just turned 46), but I don’t recall really thinking hard about the fact that in a mere 6 1/2 months, all of us have changed ages and Ben doesn’t even know it. Two of my kids have begun new romances since Ben died, and those new boyfriend / girlfriends don’t ever get to know Ben. They don’t know the super cool dad of their current crush. My kids have turned into the “girl/boyfriend-who’s-dad-died.” Which is now the way it will always be, unless they are to date and marry someone from their early youth, which is unlikely. That means that my kids don’t get to reminisce about their Dad with their significant other, because that significant other will never have known him. (Well, of course they can reminisce, but the other person won’t have had that shared experience. You know what I mean.) How could that happen in such a short amount of time?
As life has moved along I find myself discovering that being a single parent is not fun. Before Ben and I ever had kids, we talked about how we saw our lives going as far as career vs kids. We both felt very strongly that having a parental presence at home as much as possible was a priority, and so I have spent the majority of my career working part time. (Don’t make the assumption here that it was a no brainer back in 2000 that I would be the one to reduce my hours – in fact, at one point in time we came very close to doing just the opposite. Ben was very supportive of my career and was fully prepared to take on the role of primary care giver, but due to various things that happened around the time of making that decision we ultimately decided it would be me to spend more time at home. So we ran with it and both of us have been reasonably satisfied with the way that worked out, except for the recent shitty ending to our story. Pretty sure I can speak for Ben here when I say that he was less than impressed with how everything turned out in the end. But I digress….)
Back to single parenting … not so much fun. There have been a few instances of late where Ben would have simply walked out of the home office and into the family room and given “the look.” That usually solved whatever the problem of the moment was. And if the “offence” was great enough and say, a phone or car was taken away, he would never, ever give in or renege on the original consequence. Never. And no one would dare to try to wear him down.
I’m discovering that even when a parent has died, teens still manage to be teens and there is no one I can fall back on for a break. No one to step in with “the look.” No one to say to the other parent “hold onto those car keys and don’t give them back for a week. It’s the right thing to do.” Instead it’s just me, second guessing myself and getting worn out and run over at times. The last two days haven’t been the best, to put it mildly. And amidst all the drama poor Raegan was hit with the worst migraine ever. Nothing stopped this bad boy. The poor girl vomited for hours until she was spitting up blood, holding her head and telling me how much it hurt. It was horrible and I really needed Ben, but alas… well, you know.
Raegan is feeling better now and tomorrow night she goes for her MRI to see what, if anything, is going on in there. I hope they find something very tiny, non life threatening and super easy to resolve. I suspect that they will find nothing, which is good but frustrating because that doesn’t really help her pain. Knowing you are “OK” doesn’t make the pain go away.
In other news in the Saint-Onge household, we were unable to secure our first pick of burial plot for Ben but we did get our second choice. In hindsight, when Raegan and I went back to look at it, we actually preferred our second choice so I suppose it all worked out. The purchase of the plot etc is now being dealt with directly between the City of Surrey and the RCMP, so for once I just get to sit back and wait until it is all done. Then I will start thinking about when is a good time to say that final farewell. I’m not ready yet.
I had intended on writing about our recent trip to Hawaii, but since the girls and I are going on a further adventure down south in a few days, I think I’ll wait. This pretty much sums up our next trip:
OK, the truth is that I actually don’t feel like writing about Hawaii right now, because as I was putzing around here on Ben’s computer I found a post he wrote on a guitar forum about ten months ago. I have read it before but I had forgotten about it, and now that I’ve read it again I don’t feel much like talking about sunshine and travel. Instead I’m going to link the post he made. Hopefully it works. Hopefully I didn’t already post it sometime earlier.
In any case, reading his words made me both sad and proud. What a man he was. Click on the link below to read: