Sometimes It’s All Just A Little Too Much

I am writing this post from Hawaii.  To be a little more exact, I am writing it from the bathtub in the condo in Hawaii, where I am hiding and trying to breathe.  It’s one of those moments.

Sometimes it’s all a little too much and I couldn’t explain why if I tried. I don’t even know.

The trip has been beautiful and peaceful for the most part. We have swam and kayaked (Lisa paddled, I sat there), relaxed in the sun, drank wine, gone down a water slide and even swam in the ocean with dolphins. I have also enjoyed 100% Kona coffee.  That’s a big deal for me.


All that beauty is not lost on me, and yet here I am hiding in the tub remembering Ben saying “I think I pulled a muscle” while I nurse my own extremely sore lower back and think about how Ben’s “pulled muscle” turned out.  And cry.

Yes, I know, I know, most muscle aches do not turn out to be cancer. But apparently sometimes they do.  If I could turn off the shitty thoughts I would. Sometimes I can. Occasionally I can’t. This seems to be one of those moments.

You know what I wish for more than anything at this moment?  I wish that all of my kids be gifted the ability to live in the moment and not in the “what ifs.”  I hope that when terrorists commit atrocities and innocent people are killed, and when men and women who protect our communities go to work one night but don’t come again because some asshole figured that they wore a uniform so they should die for that, and when another student or their mom’s aunt is given another sad cancer prognosis…..that they find a way to cope and understand that those are not their stories.  I hope that they can understand that no one knows what life holds for them, but at that particular moment that is not their story. And that if it ever becomes their story in any way, they will cope.

I hope they emulate their Dad.  I hope they don’t crawl into a bathtub to cry. Or, if they do, they only do it for ten minutes and then they remind themselves of all the beauty in the world, get up, towel off and move on.

How I miss Ben right now.

It’s time to get out of the tub.

Ben, Let Me Sleep!

Today is my sweet Raegan’s 15th birthday and we will be celebrating here in Hawaii. Not a bad birthday present, am I right?

We arrived two days ago to beautiful weather and beautiful accommodations. We have already swam beside a massive turtle and watched the Dolphins swim. I have sipped a little bit of Heaven in the 100% Kona coffee at Starbucks  (although I did accidently drop the first one all over my sister after only having had about three sips) and we have plans today to go paddle boarding.  There is nothing for us to do for the next week or so except enjoy the sunshine and each other’s company. Life is good, right?

So why am I wide awake at 3:32 in the morning, feeling like I just sat through a three hour movie of Ben being tortured by the fear of dying and feeling like he had no one to share that fear with? I am exhausted.

Ben, please, get out of my dreams. I’m tired and the dreams like that hurt me.  Come back  to my dreams when they can be happy, not this way.

I want to enjoy Raegan’s birthday and our vacation. I know it has been six months without you. I know today marks the day. Believe me, I know. And it’s ok for you to live in my head but not like that. Please stop making me suffer through those memories time after time. I just want to remember you laughing.

Two Reasons

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:

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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 …

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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:

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 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:

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Whaaaat????  I SCOTT u?  What the heck is that?  So I quickly moved away from the microwave and sent this:

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And good ol’ Dr B, ever with the quick sense of humour sent this:

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So you see …. laughs.

And one other thing that made me smile was an Instagram chat with guess who ….

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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.