Monday, November 29, 2010

Big Events and Lots of People

The biggest event was Ryan's first birthday without him. This might have been the hardest day yet. I feel like I keep saying that, which is a bit scary, but it was a very empty day. All of the other "big" days we've been able to try to focus on the event as well, on Talyn and on our family's rituals that will always continue. But this day has always been and will always be all about Ryan - so it was hard to try and create anything new. But we did anyhow.

Last year, a couple of days before Ryan moved into the hospice, we surprised him with a nice dinner out and some close friends. We all shared our favourite story of him and then he shared his favourite story of each of us. In Kevin's words - it was truly a magical evening. So for his birthday, we tried to re-create this evening. But with him not there of course, this year I brought Talyn and asked everyone to share their favourite stories of Ryan with him.

We all shared some laughs and some tears, as Talyn asked everyone to put their hands up if they had a story about his daddy. Then he would choose the next person to share their story. Everyone was really good about trying to talk right to Talyn and "edit" the story where necessary. So Ryan wasn't really "drunk" in any of them...just really excited! It was another magical evening and it made the day seem full.

The Rethink Romp was another huge success. Because of the hard work by an amazing group of volunteers here, we raised $35,000 for support programs in Calgary! My work with Rethink is so fulfilling because we know that we are impacting people positively, while they are going through a terrible time. I strongly recommend some type of community involvement in everyone's lives, so that you too can feel the feeling.

In general, life feels a bit like it's slipping by. We have had some amazing huge moments, but most days I am happy to just make it through with a smile on my face. This single parenting thing is very busy (as some of you are knowingly smiling right now) and since my energy is still building again, I find that most days I get through the "need" to do's, some "nice" to do's for Talyn and rarely any "nice" to do's for me. I know that I need to put on my own oxygen mask before everyone else's, but much easier said than done.

Then the next big event is obviously christmas. I'm sure this will be another huge punch in our guts, as Ryan was a BIG christmas guy. For the last 10 years, I've watched him absolutely light up (even more than usual) during this time. Then when we had Talyn, the joy morphed again. We are planning to try and keep things as "familiar" as possible since the biggest part of it all has changed.

For the last several years, we've spent the holidays in our home together as a family, with visitors passing through and my family here with us. I feel it's important for kids to experience Santa coming to their house and somehow I feel closer to Ryan in our home filled with all of our memories. There is no way to get through this that will be easy, but I think this way will be the most comfortable for us this year.

At a time when everyone is busy shopping for gifts and preparing for the holidays, my mind always goes to those that don't have much. At work we are adopting a family for christmas and I'm sure someone on my list will be getting some amazing gifts offered through the World Vision catalogue ( If you're struggling on what to get someone that really doesn't "need" anything, please consider making someone else's christmas dreams come true somehow!
Thinking of others who are clearly going through a much more difficult time than we are really helps me turn my thinking around again. I know what Ryan would say - it's okay to be sad, but please live life because you know I would have! Cheers to that everyone.