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.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

An Update For You


It’s coming up on two years and two months since we lost you - that is, you died. Not so much that you were misplaced. Perhaps stating that you died might be a cathartic thing for me. Most of my dreams of you, regardless of the scenario, have a tension - I become aware of the fact that you died and I don’t want to let you know. That’s when the dreams end.
Now that I’ve started down this particular path, maybe this is a new and effective way to deal with the grief. I could see you being strong enough to take the news and darkly humorous enough to be both laughing and crying.
I have many positive, even life-affirming, things going on. They give me a sense of accomplishment and fulfill fundamental needs beyond those for basic survival - such as having fun. What seems inescapable, however, is the accompanying feeling of emptiness, of being not-quite-happy. I feel like I need to be satisfied with the idea that I’m happy in theory. 
I have many examples of this state of near-happiness. For instance, the band is going into a recording studio for three 10-hour days starting tomorrow. This is an epic rock & roll dream-type moment in our young lives. I am planning on enjoying it fully and savouring the experience. That said, I am aware that I won’t be sharing this with you - reporting back on the day, having you come in and check it out, and you won’t hear these new songs.

At this point, my career is really fulfilling, which, as you know, was not always the case. There were some difficult times along the way when I seriously considered a job change. It was you who gave me so much support and the strength to go on, including your sincere OK to walk away from teaching. So, now that I’m at such a good place, it’s, again, bitter-sweet. 

This quasi-happy way of living isn’t just about the big things. I was downtown this morning and decided to have brunch at the new convention centre. The “having coffee, reading a book, doing some writing and generally having quality time at different places around town” experience was supposed to be one that we shared during that fall when I decided to work part-time. I will always feel sad that we didn’t get to have this time together. So, as you can imagine, even something simple like having a coffee at Coal Harbour is emotional. During my breakfast this morning, I thought a lot about you. I wondered if you would have been warm enough to sit out on the patio. I watched the floatplanes land and take off, remembering when you surprised me with a flight to Salt Spring Island. I thought of how great it would be for us to fly to Tofino for a long weekend. I figured you would have ordered the BC Benny. I know conversation would have included the nearby Olympic torch. I watched an older couple walk hand-in-hand and thought, “if only”. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about what our lives might have been like in other circumstances. I imagine that we would have sold the house and there is a good chance that we would have ended up in the same complex that I moved to. “Suzy Spitfire” would have been a major part of our lives - lots of motoring up and down Indian Arm (yes, we would have bought a new motor to avoid any more video of me paddling or us being towed). One of my favourite memories was when we actually got the boat going and went to Deep Cove for dinner.  We met Miles and we all motored back to Cates. I would have loved to have done that trip many times over. 

I found this prose of yours on your desktop:

I am

I am writing to you now from this place of strength. From this place of heart-thumping, heart-held tenacity. I am writing to you now to remind you of the spirit that lives and breathes, rises and falls, deep within and beyond these walls of the body. That lives out there, amongst the woodland owls, the ancient oaks, the cherry blossom petals that dance as if ballerinas poised in a slow curtsy to the ground. I am writing to you now so, should you need me in the future, at a time when struggle overtakes you, to say this: You are the owls, the oak, the cherry blossoms. You always were and you always will be, no matter the body that holds you now.

I’m not sure when you wrote this. Perhaps during that last summer we shared when you were feeling so good. I think that you wrote this as a message for yourself in anticipation of when you might need it. However, I’d like to use it for myself and offer it to anyone else who may need it. If you don’t mind. Thank you. Your words are beautiful, poignant, profound and comforting. They are you.

This is the "Suzy Spitfire" video snip before the infamous "1KM an hour" video: