A Sigh and a Few Tears

Today we buried Brad’s ashes.

It was a small, intimate event. Immediate family and very close friends, exactly how Brad wanted it.

When we planned this, Brad had a few things he wanted. We made sure it happened.

Now it’s time to pick up the pieces. Face the music. Live the life…. it’s time to figure out how to navigate what happens next.

This is the first time in 16 years that I’ve purchased an artificial Christmas tree. The littles are ok with it. At least for now. I’m asked a lot if they are ok. They aren’t.

Grieving looks so different for everybody. It literally morphs and changes into what we need it to be. Sometimes it’s loud wails and gut wrenching cries. Sometimes is cleaning or baking or sitting alone.

Tonight I needed a distraction from all of the questions and emails and phone calls and love. I had to leave the house for awhile.

I woke up this morning at 4 am terrified that I’d missed a medication dose or that I hadn’t heard Brad in need of being adjusted or moved or needing something. Then, of course, I realized that I hadn’t missed anything. That it was all real and shitty and sad.

Above all else when you are caring for a loved one, you’re also sleep deprived and so stressed that you don’t remember what is up and what is down. I can’t remember the last night I slept for more than two hour periods of time. That’s how often Brad could have pain medication.

I remember when I was nursing my babies when they were newborns. They would wake up every two or three hours and need a diaper change and be very hungry. Brad got up almost every single time to get the baby and change them and have them ready for me to feed them. He knew that if I got out of bed I wasn’t gonna go back to sleep for a while, so he could make it easier by getting the baby ready and then bringing the baby back when I was done. He loved that I wanted to nurse them and he loved seeing them in little snippets when they were sleepy and loving and wanting mama. These last few weeks, I’ve done everything I can to make him more comfortable, just like he would have done for me, and our babies.

Grief hit me like a brick wall tonight. I was coming back home after being gone for a few hours. I came home to a completely empty, quiet house. There weren’t any lights on or things like laundry waiting or shoveling to be done. I was alone.

Right now it feels unbearable. All of it does.

Tonight grief is the wracking sobs and bottomless wine. It’s soaking in the tub and crying so many tears and wanting all of the pain to go away.

6/20/72 – 11/12/20

Today Brad left us.

He fought hard to make it through Ailee’s birthday.

There is something to be said with knowing death is imminent. We all had a chance to say goodbye. We all showed him how loved he was and we all did our absolute best to give him all of the warmth and respect and care he needed.

Brad finally isn’t in pain anymore.

I don’t know what comes next. I hadn’t thought that far ahead.

Fuck Cancer.

🖤🖤🖤

The other day I was sitting in the basement watching the television and I could hear somebody walking upstairs and I thought for sure it was Brad coming down to tease me about what I was watching on television or say goodnight to the kids. It was just the dog. Brad hasn’t been downstairs in over a month.

The hardest part about these last days and moments is seeing all of the others in pain. Brad has had family and some really close friends by his side this weekend to say goodbye. A constant river of tears and love and defeat.

Brad has very little time left in this earthly place but if he’s ever known anything before, he knows how very loved he is.

For the L🖤ve of Hockey

Today I was completely surrounded by love.

A giant crew of men, women, kids and Flash came together to make my kiddos wishes come true.

About a month ago, Beckham gently asked me if we would still have our backyard rink this winter. It was a question I knew was coming, and one I knew I didn’t want to answer. Through a lot of tears, I had to tell him “no,” that I was not going to be able to put up the rink this year. I think that was the first time I saw big kid cries come from my baby boy. It’s the kind of sad that knocked the wind right out of me. It absolutely broke my heart.

A year ago when it was time for the rink build, Brad had already been suffering with symptoms and had been doctoring for a few months with no answers. I remember it taking him longer than usual to finish. Brad only skated on the rink last year a few times, and it was always painful…. we still didn’t know.

Beckham learned so many things on the ice with his dad. He learned to be confident. He learned that he was so loved. He leaned that adults can have just as much fun as kids. He learned hockey rules. He learned what it means to have and be a great dad… I hope Beckham always remembers playing “pump” with his dad, and the first time he actually beat him.

Today Beckham learned what it means when all the Hockey Dads know yours is sick and you really needed them to come together for you.

I wish Brad had been strong enough to be able to watch out the window. The tumors have grown enough that Brad isn’t able to sit, walk or move. I shared pictures and tears through the morning build with him.

I am forever grateful for these people.