Full preparations are under way for Hawaii. I am looking forward to the time with my kids in the place Ben loved best.
The days keep passing by and I find myself remaining exhaustingly busy. Lately I have taken to wondering why I am so busy, especially since I’m not working right now. I thought it was because Ben left so much unfinished business behind, but that’s no longer really applicable. I have pretty much straightened everything out.
So I asked myself what I have been doing with my time. Well, I have been getting the floors re-done (they look spectacular) and arranging for the cabinets to be sprayed, redoing my bedroom, planning our holidays, working out a lot … the list goes on. But when I put it all down in writing I realize that none of those “must do’s” have anything to do with Ben. It all has to do with me. Just me. But why?
The working out part is a no brainer. The kids need me healthy and I also need myself healthy. But why the rest of it? Why am I in such a hurry to take on so much, so quickly, especially when I often find myself overwhelmed and exhausted by the end of the day? And why am I in such a hurry to change so many things around here?
I have come to the conclusion that there are two reasons. Here they are:
Reason Numero Uno is because I love my home which also happens to be filled with memories of Ben. Really great memories for the most part. But in addition to all the years of great memories, I am now haunted by 9 months of horrifying memories which seem to have taken over everything. I want to stay in this house and hold onto the good memories, but the ones from Ben’s diagnosis to death are indescribably unbearable. They hurt so much that I desperately want to erase them from my brain, but I have found that impossible to do.
I can’t walk into our ensuite without seeing Ben fall and hit his head and cry out for me while he was unable to move or get up. I can’t stand in my kitchen without hearing him cry out “I have cancer. It’s in my kidney and my bones.” I can’t enter the house without seeing him sitting on the seat of his walker, completely dejected and exhausted from trying desperately to get to the front door so he could drive his truck just one more time. (Which led me to think … when exactly was the last time he drove his truck? Did I know it was the last time? Did he?) I can’t walk into the family room without seeing him sitting in his chair, feet horribly swollen and asking Dr B “am I going to die?” and seeing Dr B’s sad face as he said “Yes Ben. You are going to die.“ You get the picture. (I want that chair out of here. I know that is such a waste of money but I hate it. I can’t stand sitting in it. Too bad Mom already bought the same one – she could have taken Ben’s.)
So basically, I need change without selling my house because I no longer want to remember the tears and desperation. I want to be able to envision Ben playing guitar, or cooking in the kitchen, or laying beside me in bed in better times. (Strangely, our bed is the only thing I don’t want to sell. I find that odd, because I think many people wouldn’t want to sleep in the same bed where their spouse died. But I do. It’s the only way I can hold on.)
Reason Deux for doing so much around the house is because when I’m overwhelmingly busy I don’t have much time to dwell on all that I have lost. And much like the first reason, it allows my mind to stay off of the horrifying memories that torment me. I’m not sure what I’ll do when there are no longer any new things to fix or change around here. Anyone need help?
Raegan’s birthday is fast approaching, and it is not lost on any of us that her 15th birthday will also mark exactly six months since Ben died. And only six short months before that, this was happening:
That picture was taken July 13, 2015. Look how wonderful and happy Ben looked! Ben was presenting her with a very special necklace. I remember how he thought about waiting until her 16th birthday to give it to her (which was when he gave Jaime her necklace), and I held my breath because all I could think was “you won’t be alive on Raegan’s 16th birthday.”
At the moment I clicked the camera to take this picture I was thinking how it would be the last birthday where Raegan would sit beside her Dad opening gifts. I remember really, really appreciating that moment, and knowing that even though I knew it was the last time, I still wouldn’t be able to adequately prepare myself for how unbearable it would be for her next one. How quickly time passes.
I miss his voice, and his smile, and his steady, calm strength, and the knowledge that he always seemed to know the right thing to do. I sure do miss having him around to calm me as I freak out as per usual in the pre-travel days.
However, we have in fact found some laughter in our lives again.
The picture in the back yard was from when we were toasting Ben on Canada Day. The others are the girls and I out for brunch, and all of the kids mooching off of me in the mall. (Who doesn’t need a new pair of flip flops for the beach? Am I right?) And speaking of the beach …
My nails are Hawaii ready! So are the girls’ nails …. we made a day of it but I don’t have any other pictures because I was too enthralled with my own.
Speaking of nails … Jaime had to pay a visit to the doctor the other day and he told her that her chipped toe nails were disgusting. Hahaha. I knew better than to go there with a bad pedi, so I wore shoes. While I was there we had a discussion about why my foot keeps randomly swelling up, and he decided I should donate some blood just to rule out a blood clot since my calf was fairly tender too. I donated the blood and left the office, and then it occurred to me that there would be a problem with me flying to Hawaii if I had any signs of a clot. So I sent this:
OK, that’s good. I wouldn’t want to have to cancel.
By the time I went to reply again, I happened to be standing in front of my microwave which always messes with my texts for some unexplainable reason. My phone literally develops a mind of it’s own, and “I” replied with this:
Whaaaat???? I SCOTT u? What the heck is that? So I quickly moved away from the microwave and sent this:
And good ol’ Dr B, ever with the quick sense of humour sent this:
So you see …. laughs.
And one other thing that made me smile was an Instagram chat with guess who ….
He remembered me. And I still love his hair.
A little further chatting and he told me he is coming to Seattle in November and likely Vancouver. Anyone want to join me? That is one concert I do not want to miss!
Hug your people.