A Tip For Sleeping Better

For anyone out there who may be looking for some advice on how to sleep alone and actually get some sleep, here’s my best tip…

Snuggle a T Shirt.

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On the nights where I really need to feel Ben close I just open up that cabinet in the picture above where I store all his favourite T’s.  Unwashed.  And I inhale deeply.  And I can smell him again. It’s Heaven.  I don’t do it every night because I don’t want to lose that delicious smell, but I have done it a few times over the last two weeks and it was absolutely dreamy.

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Smelling those unwashed shirts is pretty much what helped get me through the last couple of weeks.  I believe I mentioned in my last post … The Worst Blog Post Ever … that Jaime’s grad was right around the corner.  I was feeling rather down in the dumps because Ben had to miss it, but those t shirts helped keep him close.  Well, that and the fact that I had this brilliant idea…

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She got to have her dad there anyway!  Awesome idea, I know.  I patted myself on the back for that one.

Jaime had a good time at her grad and it was slightly easier than I had anticipated.  Lisa O and I reminisced about our own grad together twenty nine years ago (yikes) and how we had looked better then our kids did.  Here’s a picture of Jaime and Jack O:

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It’s weird to see our kids graduating together.  That wasn’t something I saw coming all those years back when we were toilet papering our high school like the dangerous rebels we were.  Mind you, I never saw a lot of things coming.  Life likes to surprise us, it seems.

Here’s Jaime and I together.  Prom buddies …

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I was way more fashion forward, with much better hair.  🙂  God I miss the 80’s.

Since it was such a momentous occasion I’m going to throw in a few more pics of my sweet girl who has shown more resilience in the last two years than adults twice her age. That will carry her far in life.  I’m very proud, incase you couldn’t tell.

And last but not least, the Saint-Onge quasi-adults posed together to take a big ol’ “Fuck You, cancer” picture.  (With a small “c”)

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Ben would be so proud.  Damn right.  I’m pretty proud of what we made together. Thanks for that, Ben.  I will have this picture framed because it just screams “We are Ben’s kids!”  I love it.

Grad was not the only momentous occasion that took place around here in the last couple of weeks.  One of those momentous occasions was the day I officially surpassed Ben in age.  I am now 47 and The Titan was a mere 46 years young when he died. Suddenly 46 seems so much younger than it did not long ago.  Now it seems that he was just a baby.  Now it really seems fitting that we chose the line “And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief” for his grave stone.  His life really was so brief.

I was digging through some memories and found the last card he ever gave me.  My 45th birthday card, not long after he found out he was dying.

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Ben, if you ever read this I just want you to know that I know how hard you worked at being there for me.  I know you would have stayed forever if you could have. Thank you for trying so hard. I read a quote the other day that said, “You were my greatest hello and my saddest goodbye.”  That pretty much sums up the beginning and the end, but it misses the middle part, which was the best part.  I’ll always be grateful for the middle and those memories will forever make me smile.

Anyway, the other momentous occasion that took place since The Worst Blog Post Ever was a happier one.  Our boy turned 21 years old.  Wow.

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We did what we Saint-Onge’s do best.  We threw a BBQ.

And that’s the last couple of weeks in a nutshell.  Now here we are on June 8th, exactly two years after Ben’s surgery.  You can read about that scary day if you click here, but personally I think I will just skim past those memories, myself.  I don’t feel like going there right now.  Instead I will pack it in for the day, curl up with a t-shirt, and look forward to some sun (hopefully) and another celebration this weekend. (Yay Kirby!)

I love you too.

 

So It Begins

The first day of school.  This is the first time Ben has ever missed the first day of school. Yes, that’s the kind of Dad he was …. always present on that first day, even if it meant leaving for work late when they were a bit older, or zipping home quickly when they were younger just for photos.

Today was the first day of Jaime’s grad year, and Ben is not here to see it.  Such a loss for Jaime, but oh how my heart breaks for Ben.  How thrilled he would have been to help her navigate through scholarship applications this year.  He would have loved going to University open houses, and he even would have loved the search for a grad dress because that’s just the kind of Dad he was.  Present and involved.  How cruel life is that he will never have those experiences that he so deserved …. that he had earned the right to enjoy.

And so begins this school year, where every day is a day closer to Jaime’s grad without her Dad.

                                                 Jaime and Jonah – Grade 1, Grade 7, Grade 12.

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                                             Raegan and Jaime – Grade 10 and Grade 12

My goal this year is to do everything I can to try to be everything the girls need.  To be present for them as their ever patient Dad was, and as I promised him I would be.  I’m not entirely certain that I’m up for that task – Ben was the homework helper, the driver, the motivator and the pep talker.  (One might read this and wonder exactly what I did, since Ben did so much.  I don’t blame you really.  Since Ben died I have wondered that too.  At this point in my life I cannot remember exactly how I fit into my daughter’s lives while Ben was alive, because his absence has left such an overwhelming void that it feels as though he must have taken care of everything.  I know that’s not true.  I know I’ve been involved because the girls insist I smother them.  So the good news is that I obviously participated in some fashion, but I just can’t remember how.)

As I write this, Jaime has just come upstairs to ask me how to hook up the speakers to the television so that she can watch tv with her boyfriend.  (Remember the boyfriend?  The one Ben never got to meet?)  The speakers were unhooked because of the painting, and I don’t know how to hook them up again.  Ben would know.

Clearly it seems as though I cannot in fact be everything for the girls after all.  But I hope I can be enough.

 

Profound Sadness and Extreme Joy Can Co-exist

It has been a long and exhausting week for Ben, but finally he received a blood transfusion in time to attend our son’s graduation.  Unfortunately, the transfusion was too late to provide him with any real energy for the occasion and he needed to use a wheelchair, but at least he made it.  (On the plus side, we got rock star parking and got to bypass the line, which is always a good thing!).

Here is what some of the evening looked like

And then there were these people who showed up to celebrate alongside Zak.  The handsome fellow second from the left is Peter.  Peter saved our son’s life.  Simple as that.

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Pete…if you are reading this, we want you to know that we owe you everything.  You not only gave us our son back, but you gave us the best version possible. (I have considered the fact that you may actually possess some weird voodoo power, but at least you aren’t using it for evil so I won’t investigate).

You have given Zak what he needs to make it through this difficult time in his own life, and because we have our son back, the rest of us are also able to face this challenge with one less worry.  United.  As a family.  We would never have had that without you.   We truly can never repay you for what you have done.  Thank You.

So after the Commencement ceremony was a grad party, and then the next evening (tonight) was prom.  By the time Zak was ready for prom, the sizzling Latino vampire blood that had been transfused into Ben yesterday was finally kicking in and giving him some new found energy.  Which resulted in this:

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And this:

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And then just because we are so super proud, I’ll add a couple of these:

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(Pay particular attention to those smashing purple socks in the picture above)

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(Boutineer courtesy of Mama)

So there you go.  Watching Ben in constant pain breaks my heart, which was made worse when he was so low on energy.  But watching our son close a chapter on his life and step forward to start a new one filled me with joy.

As a parting note, I will point out that by 7pm tonight that donor blood was doing such a number on Ben that he asked me on a date, and off for Thai went we.  Check out the color in his face now!  He’s baaaaaack….


Hug your families.  Xo