Thursday, January 10, 2013


Winter is a difficult time for me.  The holidays were obviously difficult with Jon no longer here, but it's more than that.  I mean, every part of the year is difficult knowing Jon isn't with us.  Winter is just particularly brutal.

As happy as I've been, I can't help but remember how difficult last winter was.  Not only was it sad because Jon and I didn't do much celebrating, but the winter itself seems to spark vivid memories I wish I could erase.

The cold wind reminds me of trying to bundle Jonathan up for our trips to the clinic.  It reminds me of struggle.  Struggling to get him out of bed and dressed.  Layer after layer, hoping to shield his frail body from the bitter Manhattan wind.  Struggling to walk down the steps with him leaning on me while simultaneously trying to hold the door open.  Struggling to make sure he was sitting or leaning somewhere steady so I could get us a cab. Struggling to get into the cab.  Struggling to get him out of the cab.  Struggling to run and get a wheelchair or try and arrange a nurse to meet us with one.  I would often push Jonathan to try and walk the few steps inside.  Looking back, I feel incredibly guilty for that.  I was just so sure he'd get better, I didn't want him to stop trying.  It seemed like a small feat... just a few steps into the lobby, but I know now it must have seemed like a daunting task for him at the time.  And he usually was willing to try, just for me.  It makes my eyes well up with tears just thinking about it.

Part of me thinks if I had known, maybe I would've been easier on him.  Maybe I wouldn't have EVER mentioned how hard things were for ME.  Maybe I wouldn't have let him see me cry as much as he did.  But then I stop and think, he knew me better than that.  I have to believe in my heart of hearts that he knows I only wanted the best for him, that I only wanted him to have the life he deserved, and that when I seemed upset or frustrated, that I was so angry at cancer, not at him...  never at him.

I have to remind myself I am only human.  Last winter, my life shattered piece by piece... I think I was allowed to cry.  I think Jon would've known I was faking it if I hadn't broken down in front of him.

Starbucks in the winter reminds me of my small window of free time where I'd run to get a latte while Jon's parents or friends would stay with him.  CVS in the winter reminds me of the daily visits to pick up new prescriptions.  Coats with fur lining remind me of Jon's awesome jacket I bought him for Xmas (and gave him early).  Slippers remind me of the slippers he insisted on wearing inside and outside of the house. My plain back heels just remind me of the cemetery, the sunny February day of Jon's funeral.  I have, without a doubt, some form of PTSD.  The hardest part is people.  Certain people remind me of last winter... certain people bring me back to a place I just can't bear to go all the time.  And I hate it, because it's not their fault or intention.  Then again, I'm sure I am the trigger for some people as well.  I hope someday that will change.

Last year for Xmas eve, Jon couldn't come with me to see my family. Last year on New Years Eve, Jon had a seizure.  Last year, my birthday came and went.  And I was such a brat... so pouty that he wasn't feeling well for my birthday.  That he wasn't "with it" for my birthday.  Never really letting myself believe the reality that was before me -- that at some point in the future (which came more quickly than I ever imagined), I'd wish to never celebrate my birthday again if it meant Jon would be alive.

There are little things I've come to miss that seem sort of silly.  Almost a year without Jon, and yet I dialed his phone number the other night.  It just rang and rang and this silly, hopeful part of me wished he would answer.  I would've even been satisfied with hearing his voice mail message, but obviously that's gone, too.  I know it doesn't make any sense, but I just wanted something concrete, something real to make me remember that he was here, not too long ago.  Pictures help, but as I've said before, sometimes when I look at them I feel like I'm looking at someone else's that's not me in the photos with him.  What I find myself mourning more and more as time goes on, is the life Jon will never get to have.  Even if you take me out of the equation, there's a part of me that wishes he was off living some great life like he should be.  It would make me smile to know that he's happy somewhere.  I tell myself he is.

I know this post is heavy and I apologize if it brings you guys down. The truth is, I feel pretty torn.  On the one hand, I am UNBELIEVABLY in love... and grateful for an amazing Christmas and winter so far. I think about last year and how it felt like things would never get better.  And then Jon didn't get better... but somehow, my life has gotten better.  Little by little the pain has lessened and I feel like I've found myself again.  I feel calm and excited at the same time for everything to come.  I finally feel like I'm myself... like I am capable of making rationale decisions again (haha)... like I'm getting my life back together.

 But there's always this little part of me, pulling, tugging at my heart, bringing me back and flooding my mind with painfully sad memories.  And most of all, forcing me to remember who I was and the life I had... as well as the life I'll never get to have. I imagine it would have been a beautiful life with Jon.  I KNOW it would have been.  I grieved his death and with it the death of that imagined life we might have had.

 I also have come to realize, for reasons I might never understand, it is not the life I was meant to have.  I also know without a shadow of a doubt  that the one I WILL have will be equally as beautiful.

With the one year anniversary of Jon leaving this earth coming up, I know the rest of the winter will be hard.  I am grateful for the beautiful life I had with Jon, the beautiful memories that I know will someday soon overshadow the sadness.  I am grateful for the beautiful life I am living right now.  RIGHT NOW is amazingly perfect, honestly beautiful, warm and sparkling.  I am surrounded by love every single day... on earth and from up above. I feel lucky.  I feel like what I have experienced, what I've gone through, has only made me stronger and able to love more deeply. I am also so lucky to have someone who understands why I'm sad sometimes, listens to me talk about Jon, and even laughs at some stories.  He loves me completely, even in my fragile moments.  I'm honestly not sure if the tables were turned I'd be strong enough to be that unselfish.

 So when the cold wind blows, I will close my eyes and remember the love that surrounds me and keeps me warm.  I will try to remember Jonathan smiling at me for that always warms my heart.