I feel like I’m starting to forget what your touch feels like… and I hate it. I don’t want to ever forget. Why can’t you come back one last time so I can make sure I remember all the little details to keep with me forever.

I didn’t have any warning. I didn’t know the last time I saw you would be it. I didn’t take note of every tiny action, thought and feeling…. and now those that I did have are fading, against my wishes, and I hate it.

A letter from heaven

When tomorrow starts without me, and I’m not here to see,
If the sun should rise and find your eyes, filled with tears for me.

I wish so much you wouldn’t cry the way you did today,
While thinking of the many things, we didn’t get to say.

I know how much you love me, as much as I love you,
And each time you think of me, I know you’ll miss me too.

When tomorrow starts without me, don’t think we're  far apart,
For every time you think of me, I’m right there in your heart.

- Alena Hakala Meadows

A friend sent me this. It resonated. I know this is what James would tell me, even though I know he wasn’t religious, it’s a letter from the heart.

Money doesn't bring him back

Didn’t end up spending time with James ashes yesterday. But it was a nice lunch and arvo with his parents and sister.

When I went to leave they gave me an envelope. Inside was a cheque they made out to me from James life insurance. As we weren’t married, his parents were his next of kin. Me and his parents hadn’t had any conversations about the money as it’s awkward and always seemed inappropriate, it’s insignificant in the scheme of things. No money is going to bring him back.

But they have given me a generous amount and when I saw a cheque I started to cry, then we all teared up. A cheque and life insurance, it makes it real. He really isn’t here anymore. I got in my car to drive home but had to pull over soon after. I cried. Ugly cried. I don’t want money. I want him back.

I am grateful that his parents really thought about me. It will help me to go back to the USA and be less stressed about being able to afford rent etc. I took a big paycut to start this job in Chicago, but it didn’t matter because James could support us. Now I have to do it on my own, so this will help pay my rent and also will allow me to hopefully go on a trip or two when I can to do some of the things James and I wanted to do together. I obviously would prefer to not have this money and have my James, but I know he would want me to be looked after… even without him here he’s looking out for me. Part of me doesn’t want to cash the cheque. I think I’ll hold off for a while, again it’s another step making it real :(

Then to top off the emotional drive home, Celine Dion’s song “Because you loved me” came on. More ugly crying…. particularly to the namesake phrase: “I’m everything I am, because you loved me”.

Oh my dear James. How I love you and miss you. I really am a better person for having known you, loved you and been loved by you. I miss you so much.

Forever loved, forever missed xoxo

Dumb Sh*% People Say

Inspired by the chapter of the same title of Tre Miller Rodriguez book “Splitting the Difference: A heart-shaped memoir” (tumblr: whiteelephantintheroom)

Although I am grateful to have very understanding friends who have been great support and I have been lucky enough to not yet be told to “get over it” which I’ve been horrified to hear isn’t that uncommon to be told when your grieving, I have had a few comments that have taken me aback that I thought I’d share.

  • 3 days after the accident: Merry Christmas!
  • 9 days after the accident: Happy New Year! Wishing you and your family a happy new year for 2014!!
  • 11 days after: Try to relax. Chat soon, and don’t forget we have the rest of that TV series to finish.
  • Around a month after: My mother in law recently lost her husband and has been having ups and downs too. After 61 years of marriage I think she just intensely misses her husband.
  • A month after: Keep being awesome
  • A month after: I just broke my ankle so I’m cooped up inside feeling the fomo [fear of missing out] of everyone enjoying Australia day
  • 2 months: I hope you’re finding some normalcy again
  • 2 months: [from HR personal of my work] If you are unable to return to work by XX date we will have no choice but to terminate your employment [yes actually used those words]. You would be eligible for rehire and you would be provided the same consideration as all other applicants.
  • 3 months: Hope all is well and life is starting to resemble something normal for you.
  • 3 months: I’m sorry to hear that it has been so tough for you
  • 3 months: I miss my gossip buddy so if you’re even in the mood to hear me talk about my own personal dramas let me know
  • 3 months: Have you ever thought of it from this angle.. From what I hear he was a truly good person. Maybe so good that God whisked him away to a higher place.
  • 3.5 months: You’re doing remarkably well for only just over 3 months in (see recent post about said comment)

Although not nearly as shocking as some of the things Tre experienced (it’s still early I may get some doozies later on), I still just find that people don’t really think sometimes. I completely get that most people have no idea what to say and I’ve let these types of comments wash over me a little bit more, I know they don’t know how it affects me and are usually trying to be supportive. And thankfully I’ve had way more positive experiences than negative during this difficult time. But really, just pause for a second before you open your mouth or write a message of support. Please!

I just read the ‘Dumb Shit List’ by foreverlovedforevermissed and it brought back memories of all the times we’ve compared notes by phone. I am proud that you are helping other people deal with mourning and death issues…and with the many people who, for lack of knowing what to say, make such insensitive comments. Love you, Nene.
—  — Alberto’s mother, Hilda

You can shed tears that he is gone
or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray that he’ll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him
or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he’s gone
or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
or you can do what he’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.

—  Edited version of “She is gone” by David Harkins
6 years

Today should have been our 6 year anniversary.

Instead today is the hearing to set the date for the preliminary hearing against the man in the car who hit you.

And today I fly out to go back home, without you.

Last night I went to dinner with friends to the place I had planned to take you last year for our 5 year anniversary. It was a fancy steak house restaurant in a speak easy style. As soon as I entered I knew I’d picked the perfect place. We often went to steak restaurants for special occasions because they are fancy but still big portions so you don’t go starving!

It was a great night, lots of laughs and I’m glad we went, as it was one of the last things that I had planned in my old life that I had yet to do. It was good to keep me busy as I usually do my processing the night before. The only time I got upset was when I arrived before everyone else and had ten minutes to sit and wait and reflect that I wasn’t there with James. When my friends arrived I cried, but after that I was ok.

Boy I miss him a lot. But my heart doesn’t feel life it’s been ripped out like it did this time last year. This time last year on our anniversary was the hardest day, as hard as the funeral and at the end of the day was my first depressive cycle where I ended up having very dark thoughts.

I know I won’t end up there today. But my heart is heavy knowing I will never get another anniversary with him and I’ll never get the wedding I know we were going to have.

I love you James.

Forever loved, forever missed xoxo

A small gesture

This week I’ve changed the way I walk to work. On this new path for the last three mornings I have seen a man sleeping next to the bridge I walk over. It breaks my heart, so today I decided to do a random raok, not one that falls on the monthly anniversary of James death.

After work I went to the supermarket in my building and made a little care package including apples, bananas, protein bars, tuna and snickers bars.

Then on the way home I left it beside where he sleeps, in an area he has made his home, next to his drying socks. I was a little worried what to say if he was there, but he wasn’t around so I just left it tied up in a plastic bag with my little note indicating the act was done in loving memory of James.

It’s not much, but I wanted to do something that might make a small difference.

I sure hope he gets it.

Well it happened. My close friend told me that she misses the way that I was. Although she acknowledged that she knows that I’m not going to be the same person, she misses the old me.

Yeah me to. Me to.

I look at old photos of me and wish I could be that same person, the girl with no worries, the old fun, happy, carefree Karen.

But I’m not. And I’m never going to be that person. I’m changed for life, the depths of my soul have been ripped out and I know pain more intimately than I ever imagined.

I will eventually get to a place where I can be happy again and where I don’t think of him every single day. But I’m not there yet, and I’m sorry that you miss the old me and wish that I’d hurry up and stop grieving, but this is who I am.

I miss being happy too. I miss the life I had. And I will miss it for a very long time; I will grieve indefinitely.. and I can only hope that people will stay by my side during this journey and be able to adapt to being able to stay friends with this new Karen