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Just keep swimming, just keep swimming

It's been five months today since Amanda died.

Grief continues to evolve. In the beginning, I had a mix of relief and bitterness with the sadness. I was very busy handling things. Then I transitioned into a period of expansive optimism. The past month or so, though, I've been feeling kind worn out, and new flavours of sadness have sprung up.

I've still been pretty busy. Some highlights on the up side?

Halloween with Batman Gordon.
Raffi at Centennial Hall.
Sharon & Bram at Aeolian Hall.
First snow meal of the season.
Dudes with fresh haircuts.
And on the work side, ratings results just came in for the radio station, and there are welcome signs of improvement. My bosses have put me on course to improve my management skills, which I'm grateful for -- I was sent away for a two-day class that was very educational. I've been busy as heck at work. I have enough vacation time left to take....well, until the end of the year off. With all that I've been through this year, I've taken nearly no time for myself. I'm so grateful for Gordon's sleepover nights with nana & grampa -- those nights have given me opportunities to feel like a well-rounded, vital human being in ways that being a dad and boss don't.

I've been hit and miss with my time with G. We've been spending too much time watching TV in the basement (at his urging, though I'm the grown-up), but I try to ensure we're doing special things as well.

Still, for all the good times G and I have been having, we're both feeling sad from time to time.

It hit me suddenly as we put up the Christmas tree. Putting up the tree was not the problem. It was when I opened the box of "good" decorations and pulled out the first one.

A set of ceramic mittens that Amanda glazed and put on the tree for our first Christmas together back in Halifax. I started crying. Gordon saw. That set off a week of one or both of us missing mommy. I think Gordon feels like he's starting to lose her memory. I think he's a little angry at her for not being around any more. He wants her to play with him. For a long time, he seemed pretty static about the whole thing, but it to me like seeing me cry over the decorations opened something up for him that he's not sure how to process.

It took more than a week to get back to it, but we finished decorating the tree. Lots more memories there, including decorations Amanda and G made together last year. Decorations commemorating his first Christmas. Others from the years gone by.

I'm carrying on a blend of traditions from our families -- Christmas PJs for him, a big present from Santa, cleaning up the living room before Santa comes, an advent calendar made of little tins on a magnetic board, a gingerbread house, and I will attempt to make the Land Of Nod Cinnamon Buns that made Christmas morning smell so good these past years.

So, is it the weather, having a cold, fatigue, routine, or something else that's caused my enthusiasm to dip? Or maybe I'm actually depressed and handling it well enough that it's not bad enough to interrupt daily functioning too much?

My therapist has put it to me very directly: I need to make some time for myself, or I'm going to burn out and get very sick. I've already had a nasty lung thing for more than a week. I don't want to get sicker than that.

I'm also still feeling a drive to do something creative to help Gordon and family remember his mom. I'm working on one thing that will be revealed at Christmas. I'm considering another project that will involve a trip to Halifax with Gordon, probably in the Spring. And, I'm still hoping some folks will send in their Amanda memories as I requested back in July. So far, I've had one submission.

Oh, what's the title of this post about? Well, Gordon has been enjoying the heck out of Finding Dory and Finding Nemo. They're lovely movies, though the tale of a nervous dad fish who has to raise his headstrong little boy fish after the death of his wife kind of punches me in the feels every time it's on. Dory's parents teach her to just keep swimming ... just keep swimming ... just keep swimming.

Sometimes I don't know where I'm headed or what's in the waters, but I just keep swimming. If that means we have KD and hot dogs for supper once again while I get my feet back under me, that's what we'll do. I want to serve G well and give him the life Amanda and I imagined for him, but I can't always do that every day. When I can't give Gordon an A+ day, I at least try to give him a B with extra credit for love. And just keep swimming.

Thanks, as always, to everyone who's been in my corner. I feel down but not out. Just kind of bleh and more cautious than a couple of months ago. Y'know what? That's okay. The key is not to make "bleh" my new normal.

So, TL;DR: Bleh for now, some boo-hoo, with an eye toward getting back to the recent yay and future woo-hoo.


  1. It's a tough time of year, buddy...grief is sneaky, it recedes and returns. Be kind to yourself, and let others be kind to you. Hope we can connect soon, and take care of those cruddy lungs!


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