Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Letter to My Loved One (the first of many, I suspect)




Dear Trina;

I find I miss you the most late at night and early in the morning. I find I am having a hard time returning to my old self. I know it has not even been two weeks yet since you have been gone, but gone you are. I feel like a very important part of my heart has been shattered. I find I am not able to piece it back together by sheer force of will and so I guess I am going to have to let time do its thing.

My mind keeps going over all the things we have done together. I remember you in strange ways at strange times. When the light hits a building just the right way, I think of balmy evenings cruising down the road with you. Nobody is talking. We are just soaking up the view and the open road. Remember when Gram lived in Back Bay and we would take the car and drive to Saint John? I can't tell you how free I felt in those moments. It awakened something in me that made me feel a sense of joy that I never experienced at home. Do you see now why I wanted to be here? It reminds me of the good old days when we could escape our miserable lives in Simonds for freedom and the ocean air. Do you remember how I would sleep for days at Gram's house, once I left all that stress and craziness behind? Do you understand now why I wanted to move? There are so few moments for us to go back to that we could consider to be good. But, those moments were good. I feel so much better now that I can step outside my door and travel a very brief distance to meet the Bay of Fundy. The ocean has always soothed my soul, but my initial introduction to all of this was with you as you drove down the highway in the summertime. And of course, who can think of St. Andrews-by-the-Sea without thinking of you? You are the sea now, aren't you?

I think of you when I eat good food. I think of you when my daughter says something funny. Who will I tell these things to now that will love to hear them as much as you did? I thought about that the other day and it hit me so hard that you are gone. My biggest champion when it comes to the raising of my children. The one person in this world whom I know will not forget their birthdays, who will not let Christmas go by without a gift or a card or something altogether delightful. Who will care about us now? I can't tell you how lonely this makes me feel. I am so wrapped up in these kinds of fears. I have asked Ian to make a better effort at making friends here in the city. I have asked him if he might not call his mum more often. I need something to connect me to the rest of the world.

All this has made me feel afraid to hope. Right before all this happened I was flying so high on leagues of confidence about my art and its place in this world. I had come to terms with the fact that there are certain places in this world where I do not and don't want to fit in. I am not a 9 to 5 girl and I hate schedules. I see that I am very much meant to be an artist. I had made the commitment to follow my dreams and my art very recently. I know, that sounds so cheesy, but it's who I am. For good or bad, that's me. But, you know, since you passed away, things seems to have shattered. My confidence is gone. My desire to create is gone. I feel like a deflated balloon. I feel like I will never rise up again. I feel like an integral part of me has died along with you. And I cannot believe you died. I cannot believe it is over. I cannot believe I won't have you in my corner, cheering me on. I can't believe I won't be able to call you or talk to you. I can't believe you won't be around to hear me gush about Olivia's talent as an artist. I can't believe you won't be around to hear about Isaiah's wit and humour. Who will care for us like you did? Who will round out our lives and give meaning to things?

We live in a time when people do not pick up the phone to call each other. We live in a time when people run to social media to get their fill of the goings on in this world. I am guilty of this. I do it all the time. I have tried to reach out to S, but she doesn't seem to want to hear from me. I have called and talked to mum several times, but it is not the same. I don't think she is going to make me a part of her life in the way that you did. So, you know what this means, don't you? It means we are on our own. Sure, we have family. We have friends. But they don't come around. They don't call. And we are the same way. We isolate ourselves and I really think this is a disease of our modern world. I hate it. It is just the four of us against the world now. Or so it seems to me. Even though things between us had declined in the last year, I always knew I could call you at any time if there was any thing I needed. Now, I have nobody. Perhaps that is not entirely true, but it sure feels that way right now. I have nobody outside my husband, my son, my daughter. And, I grant you, this is enough and I am thankful beyond measure for them, but you know we all always were a clan. The more the merrier. I love to be surrounded by everybody. But those days are over, I guess. Is this true? Can it be? Are we really so isolated in this world? It feels that way this morning. I am up before sunrise because I could not sleep. When my eyes open, I immediately think of you.

I am full of fear, too. I hate to admit this, but it is true. I am afraid I will be next. Or one of my kids. Or Ian. I fear that and it paralyzes me. What would I do? How on Earth would I ever get through that? Especially without you.

My future seems bleak. I feel so adrift. I am almost 40 years old. I am still trying to make something of myself but you only lived for 41 years. It is hard to see any sort of future right now. It feels like reality has come crashing down around me and it makes me wonder if all the good times are not behind me. I guess you could say I am in some form of despair, which I suppose is part of the grieving process. I think, if you could speak to me right now, you would tell me to snap out of it. You would tell me to get going, to live my life. You would tell me to be free because you knew my struggles, you knew my sorrow and my pain, and you also knew how hard I worked to overcome it all. You would tell me to enjoy my family, my life, my time.

Are you able to see me? Are you in heaven? Are you going to take the position of my stalwart Guardian Angel now? Protecting us? Helping us for all eternity? Or are you just gone? Are you swimming with whales? Are you soaring with eagles? Are you surrounded in all the glittery pink shoes you could ever possibly want? Where did you go and how am I going to go on without you? There has always been a sadness and a void to my sense of self. I can't bear the thought that that emptiness will be made heavier. I can't bear it. I can't. Are you with Dad? Karl? Sherri?

So. It will be two weeks since you've been gone by this time tomorrow. Two weeks since we got that call that everybody dreads yet it comes to us all just the same. Two weeks. Two months. Two years. Ten years. Twenty. How much time do I have? It begs the question. You always talked about death like it was a fact of life. You always did and it made me so angry. I don't want to think about death. I want to think about life. I especially want to think about my life because I am finally feeling like I would truly like to live it. I feel healthy and I feel good. So, don't make me think about death. I have thought about death for years. I haven't been able to escape it, you know. Not really. I know you know this so please, don't take away my future. Don't cause me to dwell on the thing that takes the joy out of the joyful. Please. I beg you.

I don't want to go down under the waves of my grief. I want everything that I had back. I want my creativity back. I want my success. I want my joy. I want vibrancy and I want hope. I want a future. I want the best to be ahead of me, not behind me. And, you know, I wanted you there. Yes, we moved. But, oh ye who loves to travel, you could have come here to visit, you know. I realize now how unwell you were, so it must have seemed like we fell off the face of the Earth. Yet, we lived in Bristol for three or four years. You drove by our house all the time and even then, you did not come inside. So, I did what was best for us as a family. I never dreamt you would never visit us here. I never ever considered that to be the reality we faced. Yet, here we are. And you will never see our place. Never know us in this new life we are trying to build.

Healing needs to occur here. Big big healing. That part of me that made me sit up straight is crooked and bent. My heart is bruised and sore. My brain feels like it is on fire when I try to think too far ahead. I am broken. I can feel it and I am scared. But, I have to tell you that I do not plan to stay broken. I cannot do it. Not for you. Not for anyone. You know how hard I have fought for my health and a peaceful state of mind. I will not so easily relinquish it even in the face of death. Just so you know, when I feel better, if I ever do, I plan to live a life you would be proud of. Right down to the very last detail. That's one thing I have determined in all of this. Please, give me strength to actually pull that off, won't you? And also, could you send us lots of cash so I can maintain the crazy momentum of traveling all over the place in honour of you? I don't think I can continue to swing that on my current income, you know. If you can. If you can.

Anyway. Please just know that I love you. I miss you and I love you. I miss you so much.

Jo

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