Good bye but not gone forever

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Dear Kevin,

It’s been five years since you were suddenly taken out of my life and every time I think about you it’s like my heart breaks all over again.  I will never forget the mass of emotions that ran through my body and mind when I received a phone call from your Mom telling me that you were no longer with us.  I know that you are in a better place and I know that the horrible disease left you in pain, but for completely selfish reasons I wish that you were still here.

Gone way too soon

After only seven years of friendship I was not ready to say good bye.  When our time together was coming to an end I wish that I could have said farewell in person.  I will never forgive myself for not visiting you in the hospital a day sooner because if I did we would have had the chance to say our good byes in person.

I pulled up to the funeral home not knowing what to expect from the service, not knowing what to say to your parents and not knowing how I would feel about seeing you.  I walked in to a room full of flowers and it was very nice to see all of your family and meet your parents for the first time. I was happy to see you without a hospital gown because it was as if you were no longer sick, but then I realized that this was the very last time that I would ever see you.

Our last day together

There was something very comforting about seeing you lay peacefully at rest and I immediately starting talking to you and updating you on my life as if we were having our routine French toast at Sunday brunch.  I left you a letter apologizing for my absence during your illness and I reassured you that I will never forget you.

Kevin, you were a really good friend to me.  It’s so weird because I didn’t tell you this when you were here and now that you are gone I can’t tell you enough.  I just want you to know I think about you all the time and five years later your name still brings tears to my eyes.  I can only hope that you are happy and that you are making friends in your next life, I just hope that you don’t forget the lifelong friends that you made while you were here.

I miss you.

Love Always,

Photo by mcsanc

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Finding My Place in the World

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Dear Diary,

For the first time in a long time (almost 4 years) I am actually starting to feel normal again, and all I can think about is how I wish my friend Kevin was here to see me now. As the four year anniversary of Kevin’s death approaches I have been reflecting on the past few years of my life, all of the mistakes that I have made, and all of the paths that I chose not to take.

I lost my friend Kevin suddenly in August 2008 and it seems that I have been in a downward spiral both personally and professionally ever since.  As I tried to continue on with my life without my friend I had trouble finding my place in the world.  I started to blame everything and anything that was wrong with my life on my boyfriend, I started spending money compulsively, I lost all interest in my personal appearance, I started fighting (literally) with my family, and I changed jobs five times in the last four years.  It is hard to find your place in a world without your best friend.

There are many emotions that people experience while dealing with the tragic loss of a friend or family member and those emotions are magnified when the loss is sudden.  When a friend or family member is suddenly taken out of our lives we can’t seem to see life clearly. We don’t have time to say all of the things that we wanted to say and we don’t have time to truly deal with our feelings.  Therefore we are blinded with several different emotions such as anger, regret, and sadness.  We end up floating through life without really paying attention to and focusing on any one thing in particular.

After one and a half years at the same job and finally knowing where I want to go in life (at least for now) I have decided to stop talking about all of the things that I want to do in life and I have started making changes towards accomplishing my personal goals. I am returning to school to study Journalism, I have started editing my first novel, and I am also searching for publishers and book agents to help get my career as an author off the ground.  If being a world famous author whose books are made into blockbuster movies isn’t in my life plans at least I can say that I tried and I will humbly accept my professional fate.

I am extremely happy that I am finally focusing on myself and all of the things that I want to accomplish in life.  I am happy that my head finally seems to be a little less clouded with emotions and I am happy to be focusing on my priorities.  However, I can’t stop thinking about the fact that my friend is not here to share this experience with me.

Kevin was the first friend that I ever made when I moved from London to Montreal and we definitely did a lot of growing up together during our seven years of friendship.  We shared good times and bad times, happy times and sad times, and I just wish that he was here right now to share my happiness. But who knows, maybe if Kevin was still in my life maybe my life would be completely different.

There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think about Kevin, about how much I miss him, and about how much I wish that he was still here. Happiness just doesn’t seem as rewarding when you don’t have your best friend to share it with.

Love Always,


One More Down, 17 More To Go.

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Some of the other volunteers

Last Sunday I accomplished another “to do” from my personal Bucket List.  My Bucket List is a list of activities that I want to experience or accomplish in my life.  I prefer to accomplish them sooner rather than later, but some of them are expensive and some of them require the need to build up courage.

To date I have accomplished two items on my personal Bucket List, last November I donated blood for the first time and last Sunday I walked in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  I have always wanted to be in a parade so when the opportunity came up to walk in support of Ovarian Cancer I jumped at the chance to participate.

I have not attended the St. Patrick’s Day parade since my friend Kevin passed away in August 2008.  Every St. Patrick’s Day Kevin and I used to go out for breakfast and then complain about all of the people who were drunk by noon and being overly obnoxious due to their intoxication.  Kevin and I always complained about the massive crowds, but yet we still attended the St. Patrick’s Day Parade every single year.  I am sure that the option of having food before attending the Parade had a lot to do with our St. Patrick’s Day commitment.  Kevin and I could find any excuse to go out for a meal.

Over the past few years I just couldn’t bring myself to attend any events or participate in any activities that I used to share with my friend Kevin because the memories were too painful.  I know that I have to try and move on with my life but honestly I do avoid anything that may bring back memories of the happier times spent with Kevin.  I don’t want to forget all of the great years that Kevin and I spent together as friends, but at the same time it hurts so much to remember him that I often avoid thinking about it.

My St. Patrick’s Day Parade experience was bitter sweet. I am happy to have accomplished another “to do” from my Bucket List, but the number of people at the parade was overwhelming and so was the pain of the void in my stomach from missing my friend Kevin.

Unfortunately the two activities that I have accomplished to date from My Bucket List have not been very fun.  It’s actually making me reconsider the Tattoo.

Love Always,

 


Music Helps Me Deal With My Emotions

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqfLVDIZcP8&w=560&h=315]

Happy Remembrance Day Everyone.  As we get ready for our moment of silence at 11 am I started to think about all of the people who I have lost over the past few years.   Over the last 3 years I have lost my best friend Kevin, my step brother Michael, and also my Grandma.  May we remember all of the people that we have lost over the years, and may they all rest in peace.  I guess that it gets easier over time to deal with the fact that my best friend Kevin is no longer here, but that is only because I try not to think about him every day.  It is painful to remember my time with Kevin and it hurts me inside every time that I wish he was here.

There is really no easy way to get over or deal with the loss of a loved one; I actually don’t believe that we can ever fully recover from the loss of a friend or family member. After Kevin passed away I listened to a lot of Mariah Carey. The song Bye Bye really helped me cope with Kevin’s death because it allowed me to express all of my emotions and regrets; this song also helped me reminisce on the happy times that I shared with Kevin during our 7 years of friendship. I wish that I could tell Kevin every single thing that Mariah sang in the song Bye Bye; this is really ironic because Kevin hated Mariah Carey.  He didn’t like her as a person because he thought she was too much of a diva; and he didn’t like her music because her high pitched squeals hurt his ears.

Throughout our lives music changes as our lives change; but there are always a few songs that bring back memories of a certain time in our lives.  Music can make us feel happy or sad; it can help us express our anger or joy.  Music is a big part of my life and I try to incorporate it into everything I do because music, singing, and dancing are all a form of personal expression.  Think about the last time you were sad, what song did you listen to? Think about the one song that always puts a smile on your face no matter how bad your day is, doesn’t that one song always make you feel better?

Three and a half years after Kevin’s death I still get emotional every single time that I hear Mariah Carey’s song Bye Bye.  Sometimes when I think back on my friendship with Kevin I watch the Bye Bye video on You Tube; sometimes it makes me smile, and sometimes it makes me cry.  Either way it helps me express the emotions of missing Kevin.  I am trying to continue on with my life without Kevin but it is hard. I want to talk to him, I want to hear his voice, and I really want to spend time with him; but unfortunately none of this is possible.  If you have ever lost a friend or a family member then you understand what I mean.

Below are some videos about losing a loved one and trying to deal with the grief and move on with our life.  Just a quick suggestion, but if you are really going to watch the videos and listen to the lyrics then I suggest that you have a Kleenex box in your hands.  Remember, keeping emotions inside is not good because eventually we will erupt with overflowing emotions; so go into your room, watch these videos, listen to the music and let out all of your emotions.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw6_B9qHNGw&w=420&h=315]

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8CXUzepL6k&w=560&h=315]

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXxRyNvTPr8&w=420&h=315]

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What Happens After Death?

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Dear Diary,

With the recent passing of my step brother Michael  in April, and the 3 year anniversary of my best friend Kevin’s  death in August, I started to think about the Afterlife.  What happens after we die? Where do we go? And will we really be reunited with everyone who we lost during our life on Earth?

One of my biggest fears is being alive in a coffin.  Sometimes I have a reoccurring dream when everyone thinks that I am dead, but I am really alive.  After my own funeral service my coffin is moving on a conveyor belt into an incinerator for me to be cremated, but I am not dead.  I am actually trapped inside the coffin (alive) and I can’t find a way out.

I am sweating from the heat of the fire and I am screaming for help, but no one can hear me. The coffin just keeps moving forward into the hot fire.  In my dream the Afterlife starts before my life on Earth ends, but after my coffin goes into the fire my dream (or should I say nightmare) is over.  I never know what comes next. What happens after we die?

We are brought up to believe that heaven is a happy place up in the sky with big pearly gates, white fluffy clouds, and lots and lots of angels.  We are told that we have to be good little girls and boys if we want to go to Heaven. But what does that mean? What do we have to do pass through the pearly gates and live happily ever after in heaven? Maybe we have to make peace with all of our personal demons, maybe we have to right all of our wrongdoings, or maybe we just have to live a good life where we try to help, and not to harm, others.

Maybe in order to get into Heaven we don’t have to live a “perfect” life.  Maybe living a good life means that we learn from our mistakes.  Maybe in order to get into Heaven we have to find personal redemption for our wrongdoings during our time spent on Earth.  But forgiveness and redemption are personal saviours; no one can forgive us for our wrongdoings but ourselves. Maybe upon death all wrongs are righted and maybe everything is forgiven.

Maybe our time spent on Earth is preparation for what comes afterwards in Heaven.  Maybe the trials we face now in our daily lives on Earth will prepare us for what comes next in the Afterlife.  My version of Heaven is a place where the weather is always warm and the sun is always shining.  I would love to spend my eternal Afterlife with my friends and family, and my childhood dog Sasha.  I lost her almost 10 years ago, but I still miss her every time I see someone walking their dog.  Sometimes when I dream about her I can still smell her fur.

If I was reunited with my step brother Michael in Heaven I would tell him how much his family misses him and how important he was (and is) to them.  If I saw my Grandpa in Heaven I would apologize for our misunderstanding, and I would tell him how much I miss playing cards with him at the kitchen table.  I would tell him that he was a joy to live with, not a burden.  If I was reunited with my friend Kevin in the Afterlife I would tell him that he should have fought harder to stay on Earth, and I would tell him how much it hurt to lose him.  I would apologize for not being a better friend, and I would hug him and told him tight and never let go.

Maybe living a good life means saying all of the things that we want to say to the people we love and care about.  Maybe if there is nothing left to say we can go into Heaven without any regrets.

Love Always.

Photo by Kevin Dooley


Dear Kevin, Three Years Ago I Lost You!

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Dear Kevin,

It was 3 years ago from today that you were suddenly taken away from me, and I still miss you.  Every single day something happens to me or I see something that I want to tell you.  Some days I even want to pick up the phone and call you; I pretend that you are still living with your parents, and that you are only a phone call away.  However, the truth is that you are much farther away than a telephone call.

I hear our conversations in my head and I remember the sound of your voice.  I wish that I could talk to you, and I wish that you were here.  The last time we went to IKEA together we bought a computer chair; even though it broke a year later I only recently threw it out. I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it because I felt that as long as I still had that broken chair in my corner I still had a piece of you with me.

I recently went to IKEA and I saw a man who looked just like you, well the Latino version of you.  It was like you were right there with me again in IKEA, you just had darker brown skin instead of your normal light olive skin tone.  I stared at the young man as I remembered our last trip together to IKEA.  I wanted to talk to him to hear his voice; I wondered if his voice would sound the same as yours.  I wished it was you.

Time has not healed the wounds of your death for me.  Every day I miss you and every day I wish I could talk with you, but I can’t. Sometimes I forget that you aren’t here, I think that you are just out of town.  Then I wake up and I realize that you are actually gone. Every day when I wake up I relive the experience of losing you over and over again.

I don’t want to forget you, but it hurts to remember.  It’s painful to remember the fun years we had together, but I don’t want to stop thinking about the good times we had.  I don’t want to forget you because it would be like losing you…again.  I don’t know what to do about the pain, and I just wish that you were here so we could talk about it.  You always had good advice for me.  If I was going through this pain with someone else, you would know exactly what to do.

Kevin, I want to say that I am sorry.  I am sorry that I didn’t visit more when you were in the hospital, and I am sorry that I didn’t call more when you were away at your parent’s house.  I am sorry that I was not a better friend, and I wish that I could tell you that.  I wish that you could come back to me and that everything would just go back to normal, back to how it was before you got sick.  But that will never happen, and I don’t know how to deal with that.

Love Always.


Good Byes and Good Friends

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Last Wednesday was my last day at my old job, and I start my new job on Monday.  When I woke up the morning after my last day, I realized that I am going to miss my co workers who became my friends.  I will miss Jamie my science fiction book friend, and I will also miss my co-worker who became my suspense and thriller book friend. The last day at my job made me start to think about the bonds that form friendships. 

Sometimes we bond with friends over similarities, and sometimes the bonds of friendship are formed over time.  I became friends with my co-worker Tony over our mutual love for food.  I became friends with another male co worker over our mutual love for celebrity gossip and teenage drama television shows.

The strongest friendship bond that I formed at my former job was with the co worker with whom I spent the most time.  I met EM just after all of the drama that happened with my family.  It was easy for me to talk with him because we didn’t really know each other very well.  I am not sure what it is about total strangers, but it’s easier to open up about my life when I don’t know someone very well.  Through brutal honesty and complete openness we became close friends.  He was an ear to listen to me, and a shoulder for me to lean on, and sometimes cry on.  I will definitely miss him in the short term, but I know that he will be in my life for a long time because of the close bond that we formed. 

I am going to miss all of my former co workers, but I know that they will still be in my life as my new friends.  As I miss my new friends, I started to think about all of my old friends.  People come into our lives every day, and sometimes, over time, they also have to leave our lives.  Maybe it is because we grow apart, maybe it is because we change, or maybe it is because we outgrow the friendship.  Sometimes people are taken away from us for reasons that we will never understand and for circumstances beyond our control.

Kevin was the first friend that I made when I moved from London Ontario to Montreal Quebec.  He was my boss who became my best friend.  Almost 3 years after his death, I still miss Kevin every day.  Now that spring is here, I wish Kevin was here too. We always kicked off spring with brunch during the St. Patrick’s Day parade.  We would enjoy the semi warm sunshine along with the brisk, but refreshing air, that springtime always brings.  As I walked around alone yesterday on St. Laurent and St. Denis, I couldn’t help but wish that Kevin was there with me.

I only have one friend that has been in my life longer than Kevin was. Kevin was taken away for reasons that I have yet to understand or accept; and I am thankful that Yolanda is still in my life.  Yolanda and I have been friends since we were very little.  We have remained close friends over all of the ups and downs that 25 years of friendship can bring.

Yolanda is the one person who really understands me.  She always listens to my dilemmas, no matter what time of the night I call her to discuss them, and no matter how small they may be. She listens to my problems because they are important to me, and she is my friend.  She never judges any of my mistakes, no matter how much damage they cause, or how much backlash they bring. I love Yolanda because she is always honest, and she is always there for me, even though she is 800 kilometres away in London. 

Yolanda is the only person who understands why I had to leave London.  In a small town like London everyone has dreams of bigger and better things.  However, people rarely leave the comfort that a small town provides for the uncertainty of a big city.  Yolanda understands and more importantly, she accepts my choice to leave London.  The other great thing about Yolanda is that her door is always open for me to come back home.


I Miss My Friend

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Almost 3 years ago my best friend Kevin was taken away suddenly by a horrible disease.  I still think about Kevin all the time and I wish he was here with me.  I miss Kevin everyday, but I especially miss him during the winter holidays and into spring.

I can’t believe that Kevin is gone.  He will never see a first snowfall again, he will never experience another cold winter, and he will never have to buy another pair of winter mittens.  This is my third winter without Kevin and I miss our traditions together.  I miss walking up and down St. Denis Street in Montreal, I miss drinking Hot Chocolate from Starbucks, I miss shopping for our winter accessories at Simons on Ste. Catherine Street, and I miss being harassed by the perfume ladies at The Bay. Kevin loved shopping at The Bay during Christmas because the decorations always put him in the Christmas spirit. 

I (despite the fact of being Ukrainian Canadian) hate the cold. Kevin never complained about the cold.  On the contrary actually, he said that walking in the cold was like getting free Botox from Mother Nature.  Kevin could always bring a smile to my face; I miss that because I could definitely use a smile right now. 

For anyone who has ever lost someone close to them you know how I feel.  I can’t explain it.  It is the little things about having Kevin in my everyday life that I miss.  I go to sleep at night missing him, and I wake up in the morning wanting to see him. 

Kevin was the first friend that I ever made when I came to Montreal.  It was hard to lose him and I have to say that almost three years later I still haven’t said good bye to my dear friend Kevin.  I am trying to deal with the fact that Kevin is gone, but I haven’t fully accepted it yet.  Sometimes, I just pretend that Kevin is away from Montreal living with his parents in their small Eastern Quebec town. 

When something happens in my day I get the urge to pick up the phone and call Kevin. But then reality sets in.  I can’t call him and I can’t talk with him.  I can’t ask his advice. Kevin’s phone number is still programmed into my cell phone. But I am afraid to call it in fear of hearing someone else’s voice.  I am afraid to erase it because it will be like erasing a part of Kevin from my life.  I am just not ready to do that.