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.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


When Kirsten's mom and I were talking recently, we both arrived at a potentially powerful realization. I say potentially because it's one thing to realize something and another to actually accept it. What we concluded was that Kirsten would not want us to remember her as someone who was sick. Moreover, the more our thoughts are of Kirsten dying of cancer, the more our thoughts of Kirsten being full of life are pushed out. Kirsten did so phenomenally well in dealing with the incredible challenges that the cancer and the treatments put in front of her. It would be a discredit to not think of her as the strong, creative, and beautiful person she was (have I mentioned how awful it is using past tense).

Having said all of that, it's very difficult to get there. So much of my life with Kirsten was concerned with all things cancer. Life decisions, vacations, celebrations, dinners, walking Finn, waking up in the morning; we were never without it. So, even when I remember the wonderful moments over the last five years, those times still have cancer.

I will find comfort and strength in remembering Kirsten as an amazing part of my life. However, I struggle with the loss. Most of the time I'm trying not to drown in depression and a sense of pointlessness. I do have moments when I feel strong and that's when I feel Kirsten's presence the most. She fought so hard to have quality of life. I do want to honour that.

I will, when I'm ready, look at our wedding video and photographs from before Kirsten's diagnosis. And, I will cherish memories of Kirsten throughout our relationship. I will remember her as the strong, creative, beautiful, and life-affirming person she was.

Much the same as it felt when Christmas and Kirsten's birthday were coming up, I've been anxious and very emotional as February approaches. Going to Calgary in December felt like the right thing to do, and it was. It also feels right to spend the week in February when Kirsten passed last year away from our house and on my own (with dog). Kirsten's friend, Zoe, and her mom were gracious enough to offer the use of their cabin on Vancouver Island, so, that's where Finn and I will go. I will be facing another ferry ride, a trip in the Jeep, driving on the same road we took to get married, walking on a beach, having a pint in a pub, watching a DVD, contemplating the future, making everyday decisions, all without Kirsten, yet entirely with Kirsten.

Sometimes I feel a need to look at photos or hear Kirsten's voice on video. It is mostly painful. Excruciatingly so. I cry, I feel sick, I feel the depth of my sadness. Yet, I laugh, I smile, I remember with such fondness. And, it's OK that I remember that I wasn't always totally receptive to her patented "slow panning/with commentary/ending with an often unflattering shot of Ian" videos. One of the hardest aspects of looking at these photos is that I know what Kirsten was going through when they were taken. A photo of Kirsten sitting amongst flowers was taken during our stay in Montreal. So much of that time was incredibly difficult for her and those that loved her.  However, what I can already see is how important it is to realize she was happy, we were happy, and she was an amazing part of my life.