Today is the 25th anniversary of the best move I ever made.
It marks the day Patricia and I exchanged vows, put rings on each other’s fingers and had a Lutheran preacher read some beautiful words penned by Chief Dan George. All as a small group of friends and family watched on and our young daughters joined us for the walk down the aisle.
Nothing was ordinary or boring with my bride.
So why am I surprised to be alone today in the house we shared, quietly celebrating our life together while she charts her course through the afterlife?
I shouldn’t be.
My mobile keeps buzzing with the many reminders I left myself to ensure I wouldn’t forget to book a table, to arrange the mother of all flower arrangements and to set up a surprise trip to a spot in Mexico that was a slice of heaven to us. I kept forgetting to turn off the next reminder I’d set up so I got multiple alerts to the celebration that wasn’t to be.
And here we are. Or hear I am.
She’s here, too, in the plants I’ve somehow kept alive, the fall colors in our backyard and the presence I feel in every sight, sound and scent in this now castle-feeling four level split. Please don’t feel sorry for me, though. As sad as it is to be without her, it’s that much more beautiful to have had her in my life to miss.
Last Friday was two months since Patricia’s passing by calendar days, Friday to Friday. By date, the two months will be marked tomorrow. She left this life on Friday, August 5th. At 5:23 pm. But who’s counting?
The first few weeks following Patricia’s passing – after just four weeks from the discovery of the cancer threat to her last breath — I was surrounded by people without effort. There were lots of visitors, planning the funeral, the funeral itself.
Then I got back to work. And my friends and girls have been fantastic calling me, texting and getting together face-to-face. I’ve been in Calgary a bunch scooter-hopping between bars, heading out for meals, and I have trips planned with my buddies and my girls.
It helps to keep the mind busy.
But there’s no avoiding the quiet moments in this house with just the presence of Patricia. And I’ve found it’s all how I frame it that matters. I can let sadness engulf me, or I can embrace the joy that comes with that presence. Whatever you believe or don’t believe about the afterlife, I can tell you the presence is real. Whatever it is.
And it’s heightened my senses to the presence of others I’ve lost, especially my mom and dad.
Oh no, you’re thinking, Seefeldt has lost it. Don’t worry, I wasn’t working with a full deck before, so I should be able to handle a bit more madness. But I’m pretty sure it’s clarity, not crazy, that I’m feeling.
What has started to drive me mad is some of the responses that I didn’t see coming.
99 per cent of the people I’ve dealt with since my bride’s passing have been so fantastic. They’ve lifted me up, cried with me, given my head a shake.
Whatever I needed.
I’m humbled by the folks who’ve reached out from my past and distant acquaintances from my present who’ve offered so much help and support.
But those one per cent?
Fights with the blatantly bureaucratic at Motor Vehicles. Self-serving advice about selling things or not selling things from various ‘experts’ who somehow have learned of Patricia’s passing.
Sheesh. I’m still just trying to catch my breath.
They’re actually helping me too, without realizing it, though. Getting fired up helps keep me sharp and, well, alive. Life is for the living after all. And that’s what I intend to do passionately, for my girls, for my friends and for myself.
As for today, I’ll pour two G&Ts, clink glasses with my bride and smile as I think about all of the great times we’ve had.
Your post depicting your anniversary celebration without your bride certainly brought back into focus very similar situations when I lost “My Love.” In my case I celebrated Doug’s birthday two months after he left for the glories of heaven. And left me to take him out for his birthday dinner without him. I lived in Kelowna at the time, and booked a table for two along the water. The waiter wanted to know if I was celebrating something. “Yes! My husband’s birthday.” “But he won’t be joining me.”
“Just bring me a glass of wine and let me meditate for awhile.” It took a long while that night. The waiter was so kind; I’m sure he didn’t know what to say. Grief is hard work. It takes a long time, so simply take as long as it takes. You are on no one’s schedule but your own Tim. It takes awhile to adjust to a big quiet house, when the only one making noise is you. Love and Prayers, Aunt Rena