Monday, March 26, 2012


So where'd I leave off? Oh yes - diagnosis.

I can very clearly remember the day. I had not gone into work (I had been trying very hard to keep my normal 9-5 work schedule, since it was a new job & I didn't want them to think I was being dramatic or that I'd be a 'problem') I went to the laundromat to do the piles & piles of laundry that had built up. Then, I made my way to the hospital. I remember my hair being pulled back in a very messy ponytail. Gord's mom, dad, brother & sister in-law were in the room when I walked in. Gord was sitting up in bed casually sipping from a gigantic Booster Juice cup.
A couple of days before, we had to go to Princess Margaret for a bone marrow biopsy. That is when I started to understand things were serious.
So that day, when I walked in, they had received the biospy results: Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

I cried. I cried & cried. I knew nothing about what Leukemia was, and I certainly didn't know anything about how they treated it. They told us not to google. Gord was sent home a couple of days after that. They told him he'd be admitted into PMH to begin his 'induction', which would last a month. They'd call us when a bed was available.

So he came home, and we hung out kind of like normal - just waiting for them to call us & tell us they had room for him. There were a bunch of appointments he had to go to - tests to make sure he could handle the treatment and one to get his Hickman line inserted. I had no idea what a Hickman was - and I don't think Gord did either. They can *tell* you they are going to insert tubes into your chest that go into your heart, but that's kind of hard to picture until you actually see it. The day I came home from work & he showed me.... I stared. 'Oh, so they LITERALLY inserted tubes into your chest?' 'Yeah, looks like it, huh?'

He was only home for about a week and a half before they called to say there was a spot. Saturday November 3rd, 2007.
The night before, some of his friends from work were gathering for drinks - someone's going away or birthday or welcome back, I forget exactly. But we went out. We went out & drank beer & he laughed & carried on with people & a bunch of them sat & talked to me about how much they liked Gord, about what a great guy he was. It was fun.
The next morning, he got all his stuff packed up & his friend Geordie came & drove us to the hospital.

Weekends at PMH are quiet - everything was so quiet, except for the sounds of his roommate throwing up on the other side of the curtain that separated their beds. The nurse gently told us that 'He's not having a very good day....'

This was going to be home base for the next 4 weeks or so - this room in this hospital that would become something of a second home to us. Geordie left, I went to pick up some things Gord needed, and I came back in the evening. The only other thing that stands out so incredibly clearly to me is that night, Gord was feeling good, he wasn't hooked up to anything, he had all his hair, he was wearing his normal clothes & we were just hanging out in this....this hospital. We found one of the quiet rooms & cuddled on the couch, just like at home. It was so hard for me to accept that he was sick because to me, at that time, he was still so strong, so healthy. We talked about what was ahead of us (or what we thought was ahead - they didn't tell us much) and he cried. I remember exactly what made him cry: "I love Canada so much & I haven't seen all of it". I promised him we would.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

how/where am I?

I write a blog entry pretty much every day. The problem is, they are in my head & by the time I sit down to actually write I feel so overwhelmed by it all. My mind is constantly darting from one thing to another. Remembering. Things he said, the way he did things, a conversation from the past will replay in seconds in my mind. The smell of his cooking, the feel of his shirt on my cheek. Kitchen hugs while waiting for the kettle to boil.
It's been two whole months. Things are okay, in general. I get up every single morning. I have Frankie to thank for that; I can easily understand widows who simply can't. Some days it takes a lot to push myself up. I make coffee - I have finally finally figured out the correct coffee:water balance to make it for just me. Ever since he went into the hospital in November (seems so long ago, doesn't it?) I had been making coffee as I always did. Two cups for each of us. I do find it a little funny to note here that I always insisted to him that you should let the coffee & the water mingle a little before plunging down the filter thing on the bodum, but he would pour in the water & immediately PLUNGE. I no longer let anything mingle. I go straight for the plunge. I make breakfast, we play, she naps, I putter. I knit, she explores, we walk. All day long I think 'I wish Gord could see this. I wish he were here.' In quiet times, when I close my eyes and try my best to communicate with him somehow, the thing that runs through my head is a constant stream of 'comebackcomebackcomebackcomeback. please. just come back.'

It's like half of my heart is this heavy gelatinous blob - jiggling, changing shape, unable to stay within the lines. The other half is light. It is gentle and hopeful and bursting with love. So much love for this man that made me the woman I am right now. Slowly I am going through his things & it's only making me love him more, making me realize what a gem I had in him. We all had.

I am doing much, much better than I imagined I would. I am incredibly pleased to discover that life goes on - I still tell jokes, I still dance and clap my hands, I am still able to do all of my *Nicole* things. I am keeping our life going. I will have sudden, very short bursts of tears or sadness at certain times (Frankie LIGHTS UP when she sees a picture of Gord and while this is a wonderful, wonderful thing & I am so thankful for some recognition there, it is heartbreaking. It is full on crackmyheartinhalf breaking.) but overall, generally, I am OK. And that is very reassuring.

I'll continue to talk about our 'journey' (Gord referred to it as his 'journey' very sarcastically while in the hospital before he died, and he rolled his eyes so much they practically fell out of his head) in the next post. I just wanted to come back, say hello, tell you that I'm still here. I am not curled up in a ball of grief. On the contrary - I take time to stretch every day.