Sunday, May 31, 2009

another reason I need you

Dear Brian,

Holy Cow! Do I ever need you?!

Two terms that came up this evening:

penis boogers
wiener mustache

I am not even kidding. Apparently both are complications of muck on the private parts of males. The former is something that can happen just about any day. The latter is something that happens as a phenomenon of playing and sliding around in the mud.

Seriously?

And I learned of BOTH these complications at dinner tonight. It seems they were both discovered as the boys avoided eating their corn.

And while I feel ever more educated, honestly, I could do without this knowledge or conversation. I know you would answer and handle the topics with just the right amount of rudeness and ridicule dignity and grace as you handled everything. I just want to know what they are talking about. And then I want them to wash their hands.

I miss you, Brian. I love you.

KEEP BELIEVING

Friday, May 29, 2009

the nightstand

Dear Brian,


As you know, Gavin is a collector. He gathers and hoards all sorts of "treasures" and keeps them either in a box in his closet so his brother will not touch them or lined up on his dressers for a proud display of his most recently acquired nuggets of nostalgia.


For him, this is an expression of himself and part of something he can control in his life. And Gavin likes to control the little bits he can around him. I have learned to accept this about him despite the fact that it looks junky and it encourages him NOT to share. It is Gavin.


However, every so often, I go on a rampage cleaning out his "treasures" when they begin to overrun his room or when the collections under the bed overflow into NOT under the bed causing me to step on them or when I can no longer find room in his closet for a pair of little boys' shoes (which are 1 size away from fitting me, by the way).




The other day, on his nightstand, I was tired of looking at this, and was a few minutes away from forcing him to find a different place less conspicuous:




Before I said anything, I noticed a small memo pad with a pencil inserted into the spiral binding at the top. I looked at it and asked Gavin what he was writing at night when he was supposed to be sleeping. He said, "a list." A list of what? "A list of everything on that table."




So not only is he collecting, he is compiling lists of his collections.




This list said the following:


Cat hat


trofy (trophy)


Cat dumptrukc (dumptruck)


cros in a bag (cross in a bag)


goo


bake pak thing (back pack thing)


shrt thing (shirt thing)


neclis (necklace)




And I realized that this particular collection, the only one thus far worthy of a list, was a collection of all things YOU. His nightstand is a little shrine to some "treasures" we have found around the house that were yours or that remind him directly of you.




Your hardhat


Your BMX racing trophy


A Caterpillar dumptruck


The cross keepsake that matches the one we placed in your casket


The putty you used for your occupational therapy to regain some hand mobility


A Caterpillar luggage tag


A magnetic shirt nametag with your name


One of your lanyards from the Diavek diamond mine you visited in Canada




And this is one collection that I can live with. It no longer looks like clutter and chaos.




It looks beautiful.




I miss you, Brian. We all do. I love you. We all do.




KEEP BELIEVING

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

quit it

Dear Brian,

Okay. It is time to cut out the joke. I am ready for you to come home now. It no longer feels like you are just on a trip or away for a while. It's been too long. I miss you so much. I am ready for you to come home now. I just want you back. Why can't you just come back?!? The party is over. Everyone is moving on and forgetting. I miss you. The boys miss you. We need you. Just come back. I don't know where to go from here.

I love you!

KEEP BELIEVING

Thursday, May 21, 2009

before and after

Dear Brian,


One of the things that has changed quite a bit since you passed away - the garage.


Before:




After:




KEEP BELIEVING

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

breakthrough

Dear Brian,

Tonight, I had a breakthrough. I did something I have not yet felt comfortable doing without you.

I watched some of our favorite TV comedies on DVR (from March) on your my 60 inch big screen in the basement. I have not watched TV in the basement on your my TV since your death.

And you know what? It didn't totally suck. I barely even cried.

That's a small breakthrough, right?

I miss you terribly, Brian. I love you.

KEEP BELIEVING

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I don't feel like it

Dear Brian,

Some days, for no apparent reason whatsoever, are just hard.

Some days I don't feel like being a single parent. I don't feel like being the only one taking the boys to and from the sporting events and every other errand. I don't feel like cheering at another soccer game. I don't feel like playing catch. I don't feel like wrestling. I don't feel like driving. I don't feel like making dinner. I don't feel like putting the kids to bed. I don't feel like punishing. I don't feel like rewarding. I don't feel like talking.

I just don't feel like doing any of it, let alone by myself.

Today just so happened to be one of those days.

I miss you, Brian. I love you.

KEEP BELIEVING

Monday, May 11, 2009

a glimpse into my future

While some days our pictures look like this:





Most days they are like this:






So, this is a glimpse into my future, I am convinced.










I just can't stop watching it.



KEEP BELIEVING

Sunday, May 10, 2009

You have constantly modeled for me....

To my mother-in-law, living her first mother's day without one of her sons, supporting her daughter-in-law without her spouse:

You have constantly modeled for me....

Integrity.
How to redirect a mischievous toddler.
Honesty.
Intelligence.
That a good book is worth sharing and discussing.
That taking a wrong turn simply means a more scenic route.
Life is what you make of it.
Choosing a negative reaction to a circumstance takes a LOT more energy than a positive reaction.
The satisfaction of a job done right.
Being your child's role model and parent is WAY more important than being their friend.
There is a lot of world to explore and experience.

-------------------------

To my mom living this first mother's day without her son in law and supporting her daughter without her spouse:

You have constantly modeled for me.....

The importance of being consistent.
How to be a gracious hostess.
The reward of being a servant.
Time means way more than things.
The best eggs are made over easy in bacon grease.
Family comes first.
Letting a child win is way more fun than winning.
Planning ahead makes life much easier.
Hard work is admirable and necessary.
Cook for your visitors. They will keep visiting when you make them feel welcome.
No one is too good for any activity or above any other person.


I love you both on this painful "first" milestone for you. Thank you for being who you are to my kids. Thank you for being who you are to me. Thank you for being who you are.

KEEP BELIEVING

Thursday, May 7, 2009

my darkest secret...confessed

Dear Brian,

Did you know that I stopped believing you would be physically healed on earth a long time ago? I stopped believing it in April of 2008 when we had to start a new chemotherapy after the Temodar stopped working. In fact, I think I stopped believing it when you were diagnosed with the Grade IV in 2007.

To what extent?

To a strong extent.

I tried to stay positive like you always did. I tried to share your enthusiasm for total and complete healing and restoration. I tried, but I failed. I failed because I watched as your boys learned to stop asking you to take them on a bike ride after you once tried and fell. Grant still talks about it today. I stopped believing because I saw that you could barely walk across our own lawn, let alone play soccer in a field with the kids. I stopped believing because I selfishly would wallow in pity when you would talk about how you needed to exercise to restore your strength and your right side function, yet you couldn’t even cut your own steak or tie your own shoes. Instead, I believed it was an insurmountable mountain to climb. You believed you could improve, Brian, but I stopped and I am so sorry.

I am so tired of hearing how strong I am, how my faith inspires. I am merely a flawed human. I didn’t believe you would be healed on this earth. I put up a fa├žade like I did, but I didn’t believe it. I prayed for God to give us as long as possible, but I didn’t pray for total healing. I asked others to do it for us, feeling incredibly hypocritical all the while.

Do you think people would still think I was so inspiring if they knew that last fall, as I was buying you some vitamins, I SERIOUSLY contemplated whether to buy the 180 count or the 360 count, thinking strongly you may not be here in a few months? As if that lousy, stinking $8 means a damn thing right now. Sometimes, though, I wonder if my lack of faith and that blasted $8 contemplation sort of killed you. It haunts me.

Do you think people would still think I am admirable if they knew I discouraged you from buying an expensive pair of dress shoes in the fall? You see, I saw you deteriorating. I saw it slowly happening, but you didn’t. I saw it and in my gut, I knew the next test result was going to be the one that told us to stop treatment, and there would be no reason for those shoes. I didn't want to see those shoes sitting in your closet reminding me of your hope and my lack of it. You never bothered to bring up the shoes again. Did you forget or did you know I didn’t think you would need them?

Do you think anyone would still respect my strength if they knew I avoided you the last couple weeks of your life? I turned over the night shift so I could still sleep and spend the days refreshed going about life. I went to girl nights out. I volunteered at the school library and spent hours on the computer and in the basement working out while you were slowly dying in our family room. I even went to Wal-Mart just 30 hours before you died for absolutely no reason at all. I was obviously very distracted that day as this is what I saw when I looked down in the store noticing that my right leg seemed shorter than my left.



What I wouldn’t do to have one more day with you. What I wouldn’t do to reverse the clock and spend every single moment of every single day of the last few months with you. Every single moment breathing you in and memorizing your every feature. Every single moment holding your hand and watching whatever TV show you possibly wanted to watch. At the time, I just couldn’t watch my knight and my hero unknowingly decline and die. How incredibly selfish of me. It is my own tragic loss.

You see, Brian, I was not so strong. I was not so faithful and not so vigilant. I was weak and faltering and unbelieving. I am sorry. I am SO SO sorry. Sometimes I wonder if my faith had been stronger, would it have made a difference? Was this a test of faith that I failed? Am I failing now? Am I partially responsible for your death?

I miss you, Brian. I love you.

KEEP BELIEVING

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

bright side of life

Dear Brian,

You always taught me to look on the bright side of life.

So today, I thought of something-

LESS LAUNDRY -

the only positive impact on my life I can think of without you in it.

I miss you, Brian. I love you.

KEEP BELIEVING

Monday, May 4, 2009

loss of words

Dear Brian,

I have been thinking lately that there are a few words in the English language that do not do justice to what I am feeling. I have searched in the thesaurus to try to find an equivalent that can measure the magnitude of what I am feeling, but I have come up short each time.

First of all, "gratitude" and "thank you." Those words are completely inadequate for trying to appropriately thank people for their generosity and support in the last two months.

Secondly, "sad," "depressed," and "grief," are words that don't touch how low I sometimes feel.

Third, "never." The word NEVER is overused in our English slang today. We have butchered and desensitized ourselves to the true finality of the word NEVER. We say things like, "I would NEVER do that," or "You're NEVER going to catch me," etc. We say things like this, but we mean them figuratively. I will LITERALLY NEVER see your human body again. I will NEVER feel you sleep next to me again. Your parents will NEVER see you grow older and successful. Your brothers will NEVER play cards with you again. Gavin and Grant will NEVER have their Daddy to read to them or play catch with them. NEVER. It is so final and yet it lacks magnitude.

Other words and phrases that seem insufficient to capture the true essence of how I am feeling:

lonely
guilty
awkward
pathetic
lazy

Lastly, to say, "I miss you" is like describing outer space as "vast." The word could be used to describe the Grand Canyon as well as Outer Space yet the Grand Canyon is a spec in the scope of that analogy. The words "I miss you" fall pitifully short.


But because I cannot find another word to use on earth, I will say it again:

I miss you, Brian. I love you.

KEEP BELIEVING