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.

Monday, October 29, 2012

At Home?

Family, friends and acquaintances ask me how I’m enjoying my new apartment. This is a very good question. I have a nice set-up. As I sit in my living room, drinking a coffee as a freighter sails by on Burrard Inlet, it occurs to me that this scenario should make me feel good. I’ve always wanted a place with an ocean view. Often, the sound of an eagle complements the setting. And the apartment itself is just as I’d want it. Yet, when the question comes up, I have a very difficult time with it. I could just say “I love the place; thanks for asking” and be done with it. However, I can’t seem to bring myself to do that. This is something that I’ve thought a lot about. Perhaps the apartment has taken on the role of the Petri dish in which I consider the effects of the impact of losing a loved one to cancer. It sucks to be my apartment.

I look around my place. I watch the boats go by. I hear and see the beauty of nature all around me. I do want to feel that elusive happiness. I’m also very aware that 90% of the world’s population would very much appreciate any decent housing. Add to that the Buddhist teachings of life - your existence being what you make of it, happy or sad. All that being said, the apartment lacks a Kirsten. Perhaps it’s a matter of accepting that at this time I have a low ceiling of joy and happiness and to be present in the now is to just accept this space as is. My apartment just needs to hang in there.

Occasionally, I get glimpses of how I might live as someone who, despite or because of experiencing loss, comes out of it as a stronger, more focused person; the idea of having a new appreciation of life, living each day to the fullest, carpe diem, living la vida loca or “insert cliché here”. Admittedly, these fleeting moments of “seize the day” usually occur after a couple of India Pale Ales. I enjoyed the love of Kirsten; I have amazing memories; I have her influence; I have gained perspective. So, can I use these things to inspire a meaningful, enjoyable life?

I read Kirsten’s blog sometimes. It’s a powerful way of reconnecting with her. It makes me smile and cry, usually at the same time. Of course, reading some entries is more difficult than others. When I read her last entries, I do so with all of the feelings of Kirsten’s last moments. I read about how all she wanted to do in the end was to have the ability to take Finnegan for a walk. This encapsulates how life is for me after her passing. I’m living with both the debilitating sadness of losing her and the realization that I do have the ability to take the dog for a walk. Kirsten fought so hard and so well to live. My grief makes me question the reason for living. Kirsten would probably let me know that I’m over-thinking it and that Finn needs to go out.
Ocean, ship, no Kirsten