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.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy Holidays

Well, my Christmas break has started and Kirsten's birthday is coming up on December 24th. It's the latter that's the most daunting. Leading up to the break, I've been really anxious. Usually, being at work demands that I'm in the moment and that I'm “on” as far as being together around the students. However, during the last few weeks leading up to the holidays, it was increasingly difficult to feel in control. The anticipation of dealing with the holidays without Kirsten has been rough. It's not that Christmas makes me realize what I'm missing; I already know that. I suppose it's just one more time, event, season that focuses my loss. Again, it's been critical to be surrounded by so many understanding, thoughtful, and caring friends and family. I'm very grateful for that.

Kirsten had her favourite store in Deep Cove where she encouraged me to shop for her presents. Something along the lines of it would be difficult for me to buy something there that she didn't like. This time last year, and for the last several years, I'd be heading down to shop with a rare confidence. Most likely, Kirsten would be getting something with birds, elephants, inspirational words, retro 20's imagery, or stars for her Christmas and birthday gifts.

In recent years, Kirsten organized giving gifts to a family in need. I was really happy that her mom carried on that tradition and know Kirsten would also like that we kept it going.

I don't know how I'm going to handle Kirsten's birthday. It helps reduce my anxiety knowing that I did get through our anniversary, Miles' birthday, and my birthday. It also helps that I'm going to be at my brother's in Calgary. With my brother and his wife, it will be a low-key time of watching movies and having a beer or two. It also feels right to be in a different setting.

Christmas holidays, birthdays, or any given Tuesday, I suppose it doesn't really matter. I'm feeling more and more a heaviness that Kirsten is actually gone. 


A happy birthday PET scan - Yes, they booked it on the 24th.
Kirsten was amazing at keeping her sense of humor

2009 Christmas as is should be

What Happened In Vegas
The trip was as predicted. A distraction, fun, enjoyable and sad (ranging from mild nostalgia to overwhelming heartache).

Before I left for the airport, I had a morning meeting at school. I had an opportunity to share my vision and ideas concerning what the North Vancouver School District's alternative program might look like in the years to come. My opinions seemed well received and the discussion was affirming and exciting. I left the meeting feeling hopeful about the program, good about myself, and positive about my career path. All good, except for the simultaneous feeling of deep emptiness. I desperately wanted to share the experience of the morning with Kirsten and listen to her feedback and words of support. She was so good at being there for me.

This set up an emotional drive to the border and on to the Bellingham airport. In our Jeep, feeling the immense emptiness of not having her next to me, I was compelled to say out loud “I miss you Sweet Pea”. Seconds later, as I was trying to hold it together enough to keep driving, Eddie Vedder started singing "Hard Sun". This was the song that Kirsten requested to have playing while those that loved her placed flowers in the ocean in her memory. Nice one, Kirsten. I like to think that she was letting me know that she was still there for me and I could still use her strength and love to go on. Of course, there was the thought that she added, “Vegas again? Really?”

Perhaps not a typical passenger on a flight to Vegas, I spent my time thinking about my life's purpose, what I'm going through, Kirsten, not having Kirsten, how it is that my suffering can seem so immense when, universally speaking, I'm so insignificant, how much life and death occurs in a relative blink of an eye, and what the point of it all is. Yay for vacations.