Saturday, August 28, 2010

Eleven Years Ago Today

This week has been pretty hard.  Grief is like that though, it comes in waves, and sometimes you get hit by a giant tsunami, and other times just a little wake. I'm not quite sure where I am this week, don't know how to classify how I'm feeling, but it hasn't been an easy week.

Yesterday for the first time in ages, I was sobbing into Barry's t-shirt, my tears soaking the cotton as I tried to calm down but could not. That was the last t-shirt he ever wore, for those of you who don't know. I've never washed it, and I don't think I ever will.

I've also noticed that my attitude has been pretty damn shitty lately. I've been a bit of a cranky bitch to everyone.  Though that could be due to having my period at the same time, but I know that grief is a big factor in my attitude right now.  I tend to get that way before certain days, and not even realize it till the day is upon us, or has already passed.  Even today I just HAD to be out of the house, had to be gone, had to be busy doing everything and anything.

11 years ago today, Barry and I met for the very first time in person, and it was also the day he proposed to me!  At this point in our relationship, I was living in Edmonton AB, and he was in Wiesbaden Germany, stationed there in the Army.  I was visiting my mom in Abbotsford, BC, and he his mom in Port Angeles, WA.  We both agreed to meet in Victoria BC and spend the day together.

I don't remember what time I arrived in Victoria that morning, but it was pretty early on in the day.  I took the ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, and the greyhound to downtown Victoria from the ferry terminal.  I was so incredibly nervous to finally meet him after talking for 9 months.  And the funny thing is, I had never seen a picture of him.  Never! he did send me one once, but it was lost in the mail.  But I was so in love with this man that I knew even if he was hideous, I would still say yes if he asked me to marry him.

As I sat there on a bench in front of The Empress Hotel, I kept glancing across the Victoria harbor waiting for Barry's ferry to arrive.  I waited, and waited, and waited. And then I saw a young man walking down the road.  And I knew it was him. My heart knew it was him. He crossed the street, walked up the path to the front of the hotel, and as I stood up, shoved his military ID card in my face so I would know it was him.  That was a mere moment, as we then hugged and hugged and hugged. Finally, we met.  We had gone through so much to meet that day, and it was finally happening.

We spent the rest of that day together, sightseeing around Victoria and just spending time together.  Towards the end of the day, we landed up in the Rose Garden in front of the hotel.  We were laying there in the grass, and I was getting impatient because Barry hadn't proposed to me yet.  He had told me before we met that he was going to propose to me, and I had waited all day.  We were basically engaged already, just had to make it official.  So, my spunky self finally asked Barry if he was going to ask me to marry him.  I told him I was tired of waiting! LOL  and shortly after that he asked me to stand up, and he got down on one knee.

Holding my hands in his, Barry told me I made him the happiest man on earth, and he wanted to make me the happiest woman on earth (the only two things I remember that he said haha).  And then he asked me to marry him.  And i said yes.

We parted ways shortly after that, unfortunately, as we only had one day together.  And then we both went back to our lives, he  to Germany, and I to Edmonton.  And then 3.5 months later, on December 29th, 1999, we were married in Wiesbaden, Germany.  The day we were married, was the 15th day we spent together in person.  Yes, you read that correctly, we only spent two weeks together  in person before we were married.

The day we got engaged was one of the best days of my life.  I met the man of my dreams, and got engaged in the very same day!  Not many women can say that can they? I truly was a lucky woman to find such a man like Barry.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Always Close To My Heart

I wanted to share about a pendant I had made this week.

Back in January, a lady in my Grief Works group showed me one she had made, and I fell in love with it.  I wrote down the name of the shop, with all the best intentions to go there and have one made too, but kept forgetting about it. Occasionally I would happen upon the paper that had the shop name on it, but then it would slip my mind again, and I'd go about my life forgetting about it.

This week, all four children have had half day camp at our local children's museum, which is downtown in our city.  Monday morning after I had a coffee date with one of my twitter friends, I decided to explore for the last hour that I had before having to pick up the children.  I wandered down the street, and saw this cute shop I wanted to look in.  I fell in love with the items in there, and picked out a few things to purchase for Christmas gifts.  Then out of the corner of my eye, I happened to see a pendant.

I gasped, and asked the owner if this was the store I thought it was.  He replied yes, and I started to cry a little as I explained to him what had happened.  It was fate that I walked into that store on Monday, and I was just so happy that I had finally found it and could get my pendant made.

I picked it up yesterday morning after the kids were done camp. I opened the box slowly, peeled back the tissue paper, and gasped as I saw the pendant laying there on the cotton padding.

Isn't it just gorgeous? 

I remarked to the owner that it was just beautiful. I absolutely LOVE it. The inside circle is about the size of a quarter.  The color is cobalt blue, and its made out of hand blown Pyrex glass.  Its shaped like a bowl, so it's not flat on the bottom.  The back has a star burst design of white, blue and red colors, so the pendant is versatile and can be worn both ways.

The reason I wanted to write about the pendant is because it is very special to me.  Do you see those silver swirls inside? Do you know what those are?

They are a small portion of Barry's ashes.

What makes these pendants so special is that the artist (coincidentally he is also the owner) has developed a special technique for being able to put  these in the pendant as he blows the glass and shapes it. It is not advertised, only done by word of mouth, and  he makes them a priority, which is how I had it back within one day.  

Monday night, I had the very humbling task of putting some of Barry's ashes into a little vial that was provided by the artist. I was somewhat scared to do that, but it turned out to be OK.  I opened up the bag of extra ashes I had, shook it around a bit to separate the bits of bones and ash, and scooped them into the vial as best as I could. My finger tips were covered in ash, as I held Barry in my hands again.  The first time I touched him since I said goodbye to his dead body in the hospital.

I cried a little as I put the ashes into the vial. And then glanced at my finger tips and wondered to myself , "I have Barry's ashes on my hands, what do I do now? Do I wash my hands, do I rub them off on my clothes, what do I do?  But I did wash them.  I washed his ashes off my hands, and down the drain they went amidst a cascade of soap and water.  

Just the act of touching the ashes was extremely humbling. But the reality is, those ashes aren't him.  They are his physical body, but not his essence. It represents him, but it is not how we remember him. Our memories are how we keep him close to us, and not by keeping the ashes around.  However, I can always hold him close to my heart now as I wear this pendant. 

I love it. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Guess I Should Post Today

Today was 10 months ago that Barry died.

I don't remember what I was doing 10 months ago exactly.  It was all a blur to me, and remembering what I did to pass that first evening that Barry was dead is to much work.  I'm sure my mind has just blocked it out, because I remember certain things like having a glass of wine with my mom and sister the next night, and crying myself to sleep each night, and also waking up at 5AM on October 11th, crying my eyes out in my sleep.

Today I experienced something sad that I wished I could have shared with Barry.  Two and a half years ago, we put our first, and only home we owned together, on the market, because we could no longer afford it.  We landed up selling it a few months later, and moved to the house I just moved out of in April.  We loved that house so much, it broke my heart to have to sell it, but we had no choice but to sell.

On our way to dentist appointments in the same town today, I though we would stop by the old house and take a peek.  I had a friend of mine that had never seen it, so I thought we'd show the house and where we used to live.  I haven't driven by there in quite some time, so imagine my surprise when we noticed the house was abandoned.  Abandoned.  The yard was filled with three foot high brown grass, debris everywhere.  The backyard was even worse, it being an acre at least, and so much junk filled it.  We looked in the windows, and were greeted to sights of garbage in the house, old nasty furniture, and just general mess.  This house that we loved so much, was foreclosed on by the people that bought it from us.  Apparently, they left their dog there too, and my old neighbors landed up taking her in as their own.

The things that we loved so much about that house were just ruined. My old neighbor Shirley told me they took a gorgeous house (which was when we had it) and turned it into a crappy fixer upper. It broke my heart seeing it like that, because it was a beautiful home when we owned it.  I'm sad for that house, and I have half a mind to go buy it, but I won't be.  It's not worth it because we've closed that chapter in our lives, and the memories we have in that house would be too painful to relive.  Christmases, birthdays, taking A home from the hospital to that house, the wood stove that Barry loved so much, our 400sq foot master bedroom, my custom oak cabinets in the kitchen.  I wish I could have told Barry about all this, and I knew he would figuratively "roll over in his grave", if he knew.

I don't have much else to write.  I filled up the day without even realizing it, and didn't even realize it was the 10th until 11:30 this morning.  I can't believe I forgot.

P.S...I did get a new car on July 23d.  I landed up purchasing a Silver 2011 Honda Pilot.  I'm absolutely in LOVE with it.  It's fantastic and gorgeous and gets pretty good gas mileage.  I drove it off the lot with 9 miles on it!! I just LOVE it ;)