It’s the strangest things that are hard now; I didn’t really notice the shift. It use to be things that make sense, like people having babies, seeing kids on Facebook turn another year older, movies, songs and ham and cheese sandwiches (her favourite). But now it’s different. it’s also any shift in my life, any new chapter or closing of an old one. Sometimes it’s the things that would probably have happened if she were still alive, and other times it’s the things that are only happening because she died. It’s become moments, and not objects. Experiences and not memories. And now I face another change. A commitment. And it tears me apart because its one more thing that solidifies a life without her. One more thing that reminds me I’m not in limbo, I’m not waiting to go back to a different life. One more thing that makes it harder to run.
When I left my perfect little home on Sandringham, the one I shared with my perfect little daughter, I thought, optimistically that I was leaving to grow, to heal and to find myself. I think in some ways I was. But with our friend hindsight being what it is, and with a depleting desire for optimism, I know the reason I left was to run.
Did I want to stay there, stay in that home, stay surrounded by the people who loved me most, supported me, lifted me, took care of me, KNEW Lilee knew me? Did I want to segregate myself from the world of pediatric oncology, not be able to go and support causes that gave me 2 years with my daughter? Did I want to leave everything I worked so hard to create? No. I really, really didn’t.
So why’d I go then? I knew that if I would have stayed I would have had to get a job like what I have now (I didn’t have the luxury of doing something I was passionate about to bring in income), that probably would have paid less because it’s BC,
If I would have stayed I would have a constant reminder of things I needed to be removed from, because I could still feel disdain from 3rd parties, I felt like I had to be on the defensive and that I somehow had to continuously claim my roll and importance, as something that could not be matched, throughout Lilee-Jean’s life. I would have had to navigate through a town, city, province where she once walked, and talked and laughed and played. I would have had to see her absence from it all.
But if I would have stayed I could have been involved with the hospital. I could have been involved with Canuck place. I could be utilizing this pain to help others, to do something GOOD with her memory. I feel like shit for sitting quiet, nestled in the mountains, practically ignoring the world I use to be a part of. Maybe if I would have stayed I could be doing more.
I told myself that leaving was for me, that it was imperative to survive, and I still believe that, but that doesn’t mean leaving wasn’t also running. I ran from that world, I ran from the reminders, I ran from Lilee’s dad, and the complications that came with having a friendship with him. I ran from being a poster girl for the worst case scenario. I ran from having to show resilience in the face of adversity, from having to be strong, from having to be wise and courageous, I ran from all of it.
So now I am living a life 180 degrees from the one I use to have, the one that use to revolve around my daughter and the fight. I’m living a life where I have to choose to share a story that is just that; A story, a moment lived long ago, one I wish I could go back to.
But as I sit here and write I realize the importance of what will come next. The melding of the two lives, The young (ish) single aspiring writer, and the mother with no child. The Woman with a wanderlust, and Lilee-Jean’s memory keeper. The introvert, and the advocate. What is coming will be the beginning of who I am meant to be. Both my past and my future together, blended. Both a fighter for the ones who can not, and a protector of my own heart.
It is the strangest things that are hard now. Like moving my things from storage in BC and signing a lease for an apartment in Alberta. Like trying to find the balance between having her around my home and building a shrine. I would not be where I am if she did not die and I would not be where I am if she did not live, and for each happiness, for each moment of joy, pride, excitement, there will be sadness and there will be pain, and because of all of that, there will be Lilee.
Closing a chapter,
Starting a new one,