Today brought another poignant reminder how long Mathew has been gone. It is a summer. The last of spring and the whole of summer. How is that possible? How are the days going so fast? How have I managed to live fairly normal when everything changed in the blink of an eye?
When Mathew died our whole way of life died. From the 24/7 care he required to not leaving him alone because that was the worst thing for him. Being alone. Spending most of the last year; or 9-10 months, hanging out in his room. Reading on my iPad or watching videos with him, watching him play games on his iPad and later his Nintendo Switch. Sleeping on the mattress on the floor. Managing his medication schedule, shower or sponge bath, changing his sheets and trying to keep him dry.
When he died that all disappeared. The last 4 years, since he was diagnosed with cancer, disappeared.
So began the drifting. It is a strange thing to suddenly have a silence in the house and hours of nothing. Life had to halt while his memorial was planned and other details were attended to but very quickly that gets wrapped up except for bits and pieces that show suddenly and without warning. Like mail addressed to “the estate of the late Mathew Bullock”.
John quickly started to fill our days with anything. Anything to keep us going and going until we dropped from exhaustion. In those first weeks it was trading in the truck, buying the camper (and boy did THAT keep us busy!!), trips around Atlantic Canada and to Ontario. Then John’s issue with his health/heart and us going back to work. Eventually it was bound to slow down and fall would be the impetus to slow that lifestyle to a quieter pace.
I need it. I am tired. An awful lot happened this last year and grieving and trying to come to terms with a different life and its subsequent upheaval feels awfully rushed. John and I did go on another trip with the trailer; we went to Maine in the US for 8 days. We brought the cat, Gimley with us. The trailer behaved except we discovered the shower is leaking somewhere when that gray water tank gets full. Gimley tried to be a good sport but on the drive down it didn’t help I neglected to put kitty litter in the truck for him. He had his harness on and sat on the console between the front seats. No he was not happy but was stressed. Anyhow he peed on the back seat of the truck…*sigh*… our fault. Kitty did better when the camper was set up and he could cruise in it. The trip was broken into 2 parts; the 3 nights in Bangor and the 5 nights in Kennebunk. Driving to Maine took unusually long but still not as long as the 8 or 9 hour drive home from Kennebunk. Gimley was very happy to be home. We won’t take him again; he is too old and was kind of drooling from the mouth and meowing a bit on the trip back. Oh yes and he did use the kitty litter twice on the way back (we learned from our mistake!!!!) but barfed on the floor of the back seat area.
John is sure he can clean the backseat so he stripped it out as soon as we got home and has been working on it since, with every product you can imagine. The cover is off and the foam is out on its own. It no longer looks shiny and new. It had what appears to be a burn mark on it but otherwise wasn’t particularly dirty. It is now, with heaps of different chemicals soaking in. I expect it to dissolve at any time. It is about $700 to replace that foam. I doubt it will feel decent or smell good when he is finished with it and it may be its own hazard after this experiment.
Camping is done for the season. It was peaceful on our trip because school started so many families returned home for that. The campgrounds weren’t empty but there weren’t kids crawling everywhere. It was definitely a change from summer crowds!
We ended up doing excursions from the campsite and most days were gone for around 8 hours. We drove a lot, walked a lot, sat on the beaches a lot and ate a lot too. The weather was fantastic and the Eastern coast is absolutely beautiful with stunning beaches and scenery. We won’t mention the freezing water as it is the Atlantic but focus on the beautiful coastal towns instead. Portsmouth, in particular, struck both of us and just lovely with beautiful old buildings, roads and the downtown core looking like you think it would.
We didn’t shop too much while in the States and not because our dollar is weak. Shopping wasn’t our purpose and neither of us felt much like hanging out in factory or outlet stores. We did wander in and out of quaint shops in the towns though, just puttering along.
That trip was early this month. Since our return we have been washing the vehicles, travelling up to Moncton to get my sewing machine back and just running the roads. This weekend I am not going anywhere! As I said, my Pfaff sewing machine went in for a tune-up while I was away and works beautifully now. I started on the quilting again. I also signed up for a camera class.
I have a Nikon D3100; it is a DSLR that I haven’t used much beyond the automatic setting. I want to get into photography and learning about DSLR camera’s was a good place to start. I attended the first class and already know more about my camera than the last 4 years I’ve owned it. I’ve ordered a flash and my tripod arrived today. There are photography classes offered after this course and I’ll probably pick one of those to try. These are hobbies I promised Mathew I would do after he was gone; the ones I couldn’t do while he was so ill. I hope he is smiling at me wherever he is. I kept my promise.
Kristen is coming home for the Thanksgiving long weekend. The airline, Porter, just started direct flights between Saint John and Ottawa (where she lives). It would have helped a LOT if this initiative was put into place last summer….!!! There won’t be a thanksgiving meal in our home as we have no desire to celebrate anything this year. We had an awesome dinner last year and I gave my thanks then, knowing this year was coming. It will be so good to see our daughter but hard for her. It will be her first time home since Mathew’s memorial and it is causing her a lot of sadness and grieving.
I cry when I think of how long it has been since I last heard my son’s voice or saw his beautiful face. Missing him is so very, very hard. We hung out all the time. I haven’t watched a single wrestling ANYTHING since he died but I still catch an advertisement or something in the news and it becomes a few emotional minutes. Yesterday I shopped at our local Walmart but ended up leaving rather quickly when the memories overwhelmed me. It saddens me terribly that there was no available treatment to save his life. Why? What is the justification that not enough is spent on childhood cancer? Wouldn’t better treatment or stopping it in its tracks be far more cost effective in the long run?
I am too busy to sit and blog much. I work fulltime, do regular chores and cooking, etc, and my free time is spent doing stuff. A lot of days I don’t want to write anything, I just want to feel and live. It isn’t easier at all, now that we are almost 4 months past Mathew’s death. It is just a little different.
I miss you son. I always will.