Busy, Busy, Busy …

I have been a busy girl this last month.  Vegas, Commencement ceremonies for Jaime, a Canada Day celebration that went on for two days, an anniversary party, a visit from Cameron (Ben’s brother in law), Raegan’s 16th birthday, a weekend in Lake Cowichan and … the pièce de résistance … a driver’s licence for my baby.

I will confess that while down time is nice, those are also the moments when I feel the solid punch in the gut of memories that I don’t care to think much about.  That is when I remember … Ben is dead, and he’s missing out on all these moments.  So I prefer to keep busy.

Vegas was a great weekend getaway with old friends and new.  I had a lot of anxiety leading up to it because I find it a challenge to push myself to do things that I never would have done without Ben.  In the end I had a really amazing time.  I flew home with significantly less money than I went there with, but also with some new art work.

 

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I returned home just in time to watch my “baby” cross the stage and accept her diploma. I had anticipated that the evening would be very difficult and filled with tears.  Ben should have been here.  He would have been so, so proud.

In the end it was so flippin’ hot in that arena, and the ceremony was so flippin’ long that I could only focus on my discomfort and therefore didn’t embarrass Jaime with loud, snotty sobbing from the stands.  (You try sitting on a bench for four hours in the heat.  I came out of there looking like I had just run through the sprinkler.  Not pretty.)  By the time Jaime actually walked across the stage I was silently cursing Ben for having a last name that had destined all of us to be near the end of every alphabetical list.

This is what the early part of the evening looked like, before everyone melted.

I have no idea how we got here so quickly …

Time waits for no one, right? One day you’re 22 and eating take out for Easter dinner on the floor with your new boyfriend, and the next minute you’re watching him fade away and die while your children look on.

But, I digress …

In addition to watching Jaime reach a major milestone in life, I also watched my actual baby turn Sweet Sixteen.  My head is spinning just trying to keep up with life.

We planned a birthday dinner for Raegan and I cooked her requested meal.   Afterwards I retrieved the specially made DQ ice cream cake from the freezer,  made with extra fudge in the middle exactly as she had asked, lit the candles and started to walk outside with it where everyone could sing Happy Birthday.  Unfortunately, the tray was quite slippery and the entire cake slid right off, hit the back of the couch and landed on the floor.  Oops.  We ate it anyway … damaged side and all.  It was not lost on me that if these were normal times Ben would have laughed his head off while I freaked out.  I have clearly learned from him, because I laughed this time and carried on.

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I kind of wish we had The Great Cake Topple on video.

We wrapped up Raegan’s birthday with a weekend trip to the lake.  The picture on the left is Marley waiting for Jaime as she went paddle boarding, and the one on the right is Marley on the board with Jaime after she took him out with her.  He has a human life jacket on.  He was not happy.

There was some skiing, knee boarding, bocce ball …

And because she is so darn adorable I cannot help but throw a quick pic of my niece in there.  She looks like me, no? I feel like there is a strong resemblance.  🙂

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Once we got home, Miss Raegan went and took the big test and we now have yet another legal driver in the Saint-Onge household …

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I definitely do wish Ben were here for this.  Not just because I miss him so, but because I literally cannot stand the thought of being the parent who has to sit white knuckled in the passenger seat with yet another brand new driver.  I think I will just bring in a driving instructor.  Lol.  If I don’t there will be a good chance that Raegan and I may end up discovering which one of us can hit harder.

How many times did I have to listen to Ben announce to all of us that in his “previous career” he was a driving instructor?  (Previous “career” being before he turned 23 years old.)  I laugh every time I remember his frustration over the fact that I didn’t quite take that “career” of his very seriously.

Anyway, I made it through what was a challenging few weeks and I’m still here to write about it.  Oh, and speaking of writing, there was actually one more significant event that took place this month.  Today, in fact.  (Or possibly it will be yesterday by the time I hit “publish” on this blog post).   I just had my very first piece of writing published on an International blog.  Yes sirree.  I wrote a blog post for Soaring Spirits International, and if you click here you can read it.

I’ll be writing for them once per week, so if you want to follow along please do.  I believe there is a “Follow” button on the website, but in any case my posts will be published every Monday so you can just check back each week if you choose.

Have a sunny week.

Wendy

Psych-ick

I have a confession to make.  But first I need to give you a little background info.

This is Theresa Caputo. aka: The Long Island Medium

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She’s had a “reality” show for five years, and cameras follow her big blonde life as she is “spontaneously” forced by spirits to stop and pass messages onto strangers from their dearly departed loved ones.  I used to watch it quite a bit while Ben sat in the office and yelled out things like, “I can’t believe you watch that crap!”  He wasn’t a fan of “reality” tv unless it involved cooking.

But many times over the years when I would watch her and Ben would freak out, I would say, “Listen, if you were to die I would hunt that woman down and you had better come through loud and clear!!”  Seriously.  We actually did have those conversations long before Ben ever got sick.

Anyway, a few weeks after he passed away I was scrolling through Facebook and there she was – coming to Abbotsford.  (Here’s where my confession comes in).  I actually looked around the room guiltily while I contemplated buying tickets.  I knew what Ben thought of “psychics” while he was alive, but maybe this was a sign?  (I will also admit to hearing Ben say “It’s not a sign.  You are finding meaning where there is none, because you desperately want there to be some meaning.”  Sigh.  I know him so well, and he was so damn practical.)  Anyway, I shoved that little voice out of my head and bought two tickets before I could change my mind.  I think I heard him weeping quietly when I entered my credit card information.

Since that moment I have been waiting anxiously for June 5th.  I constantly told Ben to make sure he mentioned the burned out spotlight in the back yard, because that was the only thing I could think of that I haven’t mentioned on social media.

Please, please come through to Theresa Caputo and tell me you are ok.

Well, June 5th finally rolled around and I tucked one of Ben’s Titan guitar picks in my bra (just incase he preferred to have her mention that) and off I went with high hopes to see The Long Island Medium.  Out loud I said I was just going for the entertainment, but deep down I hoped….

Anyway, as you can tell from the title of this post, it was not all that it was cracked up to be.  Not even close.  It wasn’t even entertaining because my heart broke when I saw all the desperate people (much like myself, I suppose) who were there holding their breath for any type of sign from the person they had lost.

Within about 90 seconds of the start of her “readings” I could feel the embarrassment creeping up the back of my neck for having spent money to watch a woman who can only be referred to as a complete and utter fraud.  I can’t even be bothered to relay the ridiculousness of her “readings” but I will say that I could have done a way better job than she did.  She merely utilized basic interview techniques and and the knowledge that people want to believe.  Every person she “read” handed her everything she needed.

I think I could have tolerated it a bit better if I believed that she believed what she was saying.  But she doesn’t.  Anyone with any  any skill at all in eliciting information from people would agree that she is not hearing spirit voices.  She isn’t hearing anything except the “ka-ching” of the register as she spends all the cash she sucks out of sad people on bling and Louboutin shoes.

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If I had five minutes with her I would be interested in asking her if she has lied to her own children all their lives, or if she has forced them to be complicit in her fraud.  Either way, she’s a shitty person and Ben is saying “I told you so.”

Sigh.  I really wanted it to be real.

Shortly after that incident I did a little grocery shopping, and while I was in the store I tripped over my own feet and broke my finger.  Of course I did.  I had to breathe deeply for about 10 minutes while I struggled not to toss my cookies all over the floor.  I knew my finger was broken, but since I’d been wrong about The Long Island Fraud I thought that maybe I was wrong about this too, so I didn’t go to the doctor.  Instead I went to work the next morning and fought back tears anytime someone so much as glanced in the direction of my finger.  Just the ripple of air caused by their eye moment made my finger hurt.  I swear.

By 10:30 it was too much and off I went to the hospital for an xray.  While I was there the nurse decided she needed to review every medication that I had ever taken.  It was a long list that she had extracted from the computer and I didn’t even remember ever having taken most of them.  Finally she got to the end of the list and said, “Mirena?”  Mirena?  Mirena?!  I looked at her and said, “A Mirena is an IUD.  I did not break my vagina, I broke my finger, so I doubt it matters if I still have a Mirena.”  I swear I said that.  Not even making it up.

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The xray results came back.  Broken.  What a surprise.  I was right.  (Did I ever mention that I recently asked Dr B to just give me a prescription pad so I can write my own prescriptions, since I always diagnose myself anyway?  He didn’t give me one.  No idea why.)

Anyway, the nurse went to splint my finger, and as she cut the tape straight across and wrapped it around the splint she smiled and chuckled.  I asked her what she was chuckling over and she told me to look.  So I did, and this is what I saw:

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See that perfect little heart sitting right on top?  I swear she did not do that.  She just peeled the roll of tape back and cut it straight across.  I was watching the whole time.

Theresa Caputo be damned.  I’ll take that as a sign from Ben.

My tattoos are healing nicely …

… and I broke every proper parenting rule and allowed Jaime to do this …

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That is her very fresh tattoo.  Do NOT tell my parents!  Lol.  It has healed nicely since this picture was taken and looks really good, especially the “Love Dad” part.  That is Ben’s signature transposed forever on Jaime.

And now we await Father’s Day. Last year we were here.  I wish I could have that day back again, despite how sick Ben was.  And now we await Father’s Day.

Raegan turned me onto this song.  

We miss you Ben.  We love you.  The house is empty without the sound of your guitar.  xoxoxo

Post script …. I just realized that I broke my finger before the psych-ick show.  Wierd how I have lost all track of time and can’t keep these things straight

Almost Finished …

It seems the never ending “To Do” list since Ben passed away is finally dwindling.  I’m not getting too excited about that yet, because I have thought I was close before only to find that unexpected things pop up and suck up further endless amounts of time.  Still, I feel like I am finally almost there and that makes me slightly happy, which is a pleasant break from the crap feelings of the last 135 days.  Yes, one hundred and 35 days.  Holy. Shit.  When I actually counted I could not believe it has already been that long.

The old saying “time flies when you’re having fun” does not apply here.

This past long weekend we (and by “we” I mean just Raegan and I, since Jaime worked and Zak did whatever those on the cusp of 20 years old who are solidly sober do with their time) went to Brett and Lisa’s cabin for a little getaway.  I will admit to having had a panic attack at the thought of going further then a two block radius from the house, but I managed to get it together and off we went.  I was greeted by this view, which helped slow my breathing:

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It looks like a painting, doesn’t it?  That is the actual view off of the end of their dock. Taken with my Iphone.  You know it’s a beautiful view when an Iphone can take a picture like that.

The last time I was here was less than two short years ago for Dad’s 70th-but-looks-55 birthday:

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I suppose I need to adjust to the fact that unless I plan on moving out of province (I do not), I will have to get used to a lot of “first time here without Ben” moments.  I might as well get them over with, and what better way to do it then with those I love most.

The weather was iffy and Raegan was actually quite sick, but here’s a few pics of our time:

I am still waiting for Jenna to send me the rest of the pics.  Hint hint.

The rest of the week thus far has been rather mellow.  A few moments of anxiety and freaking out that were tamed by the Lovely Lisa Opsahl, interspersed with taking care of Raegan who cannot seem to shake this sickness, along with some actual normalcy.

This day last year (yes, that is how I still continue to think) Ben wrote this.  (<< click there.) He had received the most thoughtful gift from a complete stranger who still remains near and dear to my heart, despite having never met him.  He really brought Ben a lot of joy after several weeks of anguish.

Today I did this:

One on each shoulder.  Excuse the bruising and the bleeding … that will go away.  The left shoulder is a vague replica of the picture on the urn that holds My Beloved’s remains.  The words are mine – well, mine after I stole them off the internet.

The right says “The love and the laughter will live on long after all of the sadness and the tears.”  That is a line from the song that Jeff chose to play at Ben’s service.  When I sent him a picture of the tattoo he took the opportunity to remind me that I had mocked him mercilessly for choosing a country song to play for Ben as he was dying.

Ah, Jeff.  Our relationship is one of sarcasm and insults, with an underlay of pure understanding for how we both loved Ben.  I am very grateful for him.  I wish he lived closer, but don’t tell him I said that.

This morning he also told me to check out a particular song by Miley Cyrus.  I thought I would hate it (not her biggest fan, plus it is called “The Twinkle Song”  WTF?) but it turns out I loved it.  I’m never going to hear the end of it.  I’ve tried to post the song several times but it doesn’t seem to work, so I’ll link it.  Click here.

I was also checking out a FB group recently and found that someone had posted a remake of The Sound Of Silence.  It was done by one of my son’s favorite bands … Disturbed. (Never heard of them?  Me neither until Zak went to their concert.  Pretty sure that no one over the age of 21 knows who they are.)  In any case, I normally have an automatic dislike for the bands that my son covets – must be the generation gap – but I actually loved this remake. Mostly for the passion with which it was sung.  Take a look / listen:

When I told Zak I had found a song by Disturbed that I loved, he said “Sound Of Silence?”  I said, “Yes.  I loved it.  Can you believe it?”  He said, “Meh.  I didn’t like that song.”

Apparently the generation gap cannot be closed.

In a few days our son will celebrate his 20th birthday.  Another first without Ben and I’m so very, very sorry for him that he will miss it.  I wish our story had a different ending.  In the meantime I will continue to swim through this shit storm that landed on the Saint-Onge Five.  I’ll keep looking for that crack of light and remain grateful for the time we had together and for what he left me.

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One last thing … since it is one year to the day that Ben received an unexpected Happiness Bomb from someone he never met, I want to do the same in a small way.  I want to take a moment to give a shout out to a man I have never met.  A fellow Lower Mainlander who has found himself in the same unenviable position that Ben did.  G. William Gould is his name.  I can tell from reading his blog that I would really like him, and so would have Ben. He has started an amazing foundation – a Make A Wish For Adults, if you will.  I’m going to link his blog to my home page, but in the meantime I want to share the link to the words he wrote today. He got some great news, and you can read about it here.  I have a pretty good feeling he has discovered his real purpose in life (forgive him …. he was a lawyer previously.  Lol) and will be around for a long time helping others in similar positions.

I love good news in the fight against crappy cancer with a small ‘c’.  If you want to spread some random love and good wishes, give his post a ‘like’ and let him know that strangers are rooting for him.  The comments Ben received on this blog really kept him going.  Pass on those feelings to someone else.

And in the words of G. William Gould, shamelessly stolen directly from the Welcome page of his blog, I would also like to say that “If you enjoy or otherwise find any value in my writing, please take the time to share, tweet, reblog and like your favourite posts.”

Have a great rest of the week, friends.  Hug your families, spread the love, and take a moment to remember The Titan.

How A Day Can Turn On A Dime

I finished that last post, and then wandered half heartedly around my back yard thinking about whether or not I had the energy to water my plants.  (I’m trying to grow vegetables this year.)  I decided I didn’t have the energy but had better do it anyway or I will go broke paying Save On prices for organics.

Anyway, when I finished that I walked out the front door to go pick up Raegan, and discovered this sitting on my front step:

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A random gift presumably left to cheer me up.  I have no idea who dropped it off, but THANK YOU.  You brought a smile to my face on an otherwise semi-dreary day.

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OK … that does look slightly like a grimace of sorts, but I’m a bit out of practice.  I do love that I caught the photo of Ben and I from Christmas in the background though.  Now that was a smile!

I picked Raegan up from volleyball and then stopped to get the mail.  I found this:

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Sniff.  Forty people donated to the POG program in Ben’s name.  The program which Dr K referred to as “the future of oncology.”  And here just a couple of hours ago I admitted to having cancelled my automatic donations each month.  Well, didn’t you all just show me! Forty people!  And there were also a lot of donations made to The Last Door in Ben’s name also.  They sent me a list.  There were a few names I didn’t even recognize.  A true testament to how much My Man was loved.  Even in death he continues to make a difference.

I am humbled.  Because he was so loved, I feel loved, which makes me feel warm and fuzzy.  A pleasant alternative to the feelings from the last few days.

Thank you to the random person who left me flowers, and to all the people who found ways to make a difference in people’s lives and remember Ben at the same time.

Last thing … does everyone recall this tattoo on My Man?

Those are fuzzy pictures taken when the tattoo was pretty fresh, hence all the redness surrounding the shadowing.  Anyway, this is how our beautiful son arrived home tonight:

That’s right … a copy of Ben’s tattoo now sits forever on his son’s arm.  Done by the same artist.

Here they are side by side:

                                          Ben                                                              Zak

Ben would be so proud to share the same tattoo with this boy!  Now I will go to sleep smiling.  How a day can turn on a dime.  xo