My Blog

I do not start this journey lightly. The idea of writing and sharing my thoughts and experiences is a powerful one. I'm doing this for several reasons, the first has to be for my own therapy. With such an immense loss in my life, I need to give myself every chance to feel a purpose.

Last summer I told Kirsten that, despite her ongoing fight with refractory Hodgkin's lymphoma, I was happy. I was deeply sad, depressed, and struggled with the meaning of it all. But, I was happy. Being with Kirsten made me content. Not having her with me leaves me with a void of true happiness. As I've mentioned to many, I can laugh, have fun, enjoy the moment, even look forward to something, however, that satisfaction of inner happiness is not there.

I am so grateful for the people and dogs in my life. My son, mother, family, Kirsten's family (including the four-legged variety), our friends, and, of course, our Lab Finnegan. Many of you will hear your own voices echoed in my writing. I needed and will continue to need the tremendous support that has been offered to me. Thank you.

I also write for Kirsten. In life, Kirsten, let's say, guided me. She still does and always will. Having said that, I can not guarantee that any future clothing purchases will be entirely fashionable.

As Kirsten was a champion of the healing power of writing, I hope to pay tribute to her. Kirsten has a tremendous legacy because of who she was and how she lived. I wouldn't speak for her, although if I tried, there would be a strong chance of a visitation, but I hope to add to her story.

If my sharing helps anyone who may relate to some of what I'm going through, that would be the best tribute to Kirsten I could give.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back To School

Heading back to school is always an adjustment from the sweet freedom of the summer. This year I was looking forward to getting back to more structure in my day, the incredibly supportive staff (more like an extended family), and the necessity of being in the moment with the students. A paycheque would be nice too. However, just as I was anxious about starting summer holidays without Kirsten, I have also been anxious about this change. 

Entering September seems to have brought the pain and sense of loss to the surface. It probably has to do with going back into routines that I'm so used to sharing with Kirsten. The mornings before work, coming back to the house and talking about our days, and looking forward to all of our plans. Difficult. 

What also brings a heavy feeling is thinking back to this time last year. We had decided that I would only work three days a week for the dual purposes of taking off some of the pressure I felt and for us to spend more time together. 

Over the five years, I have had periods of time away from work and have had great flexibility to be with Kirsten when I needed to. Again, so much appreciation for my friends at work. Despite the flexibility, five years with the trauma that Kirsten, and those around her, had to go through took a toll. Also, one of the great challenges of supporting Kirsten was trying to find a balance between being there for her and dealing with “normal” life, such as making money to pay the mortgage. I was never able to find that balance to my own satisfaction. There were periods of time when I felt removed from Kirsten's health care.

Last year, it felt right, despite the added financial burden, to have more time at home. We had such amazing plans to take advantage of our extended weekends. Taking our laptops and books to coffee shops around town, small getaways, adventures in Suzy Spitfire, dog-friendly walks, kayaking, finishing touches on the house, photography jaunts, and so on. So, I feel deeply sad that we didn't get to do those things. In September, with the exception of getting her to appointments, Kirsten's health pretty much prevented her from leaving the house. 

I certainly have a feeling of being cosmically ripped-off from having a long life with Kirsten. I know that we only scratched the surface as far as our experiences together. Not to mention that the plan was for her to be wheeling me around in my twilight years. I feel specifically gypped that we didn't get those days together last fall as we planned. 

At this point, I'm really struggling not to feel crushed by the grief and somehow get enough strength to get through the fall. I'm overwhelmed with the sense of being alone. It's daunting to think I have birthdays, Christmas holidays, and a year of not having Kirsten all ahead of me.

My next blog will be about puppy dogs and cotton candy.