Some of you may have noticed that I have made some modifications to the website (added videos, music, a footer, a favicon and a new section of my blog called "Love through Art"-(which will be expanded) Additionally I have consolidated "like" concepts to reduce tabs at the top. I have done these things because sometimes it is easier to focus on these details than to write too much. You see I am mostly overwhelmed each day. I spend my days trying to make a list of tasks that I hope to accomplish. Some days I don't do one and some days I do a few. It is hard to believe the number of administrative things that need to be completed when a person passes away and many of them require an ability to make pretty important decisions or not be filled with anxiety. Decision-making was not something that I was particularly good at prior to this. For example, Candice and I spent 5 years looking before we purchased our condo and at least 2 years buying our new car. I always made decisions with Candice as a team and although we were slow, we were never regretful. Some things I have time to handle but others I feel a sense of urgency because it provides a sense of closure or acceptance of the loss I deal with each day. Candice is on my mind every second of the day. The is no absence of how everything reminds me of her. Parker and I run or walk 4 to 5 miles a day and I speak to her out loud. Honestly, I really don't care if it looks crazy and given all the people walking and talking on their cell phones, I don't think anyone notices. I am much like this website right now. I am morphing and trying to navigate and sometimes re-navigate my life. I appreciate all of you who follow me on this journey and appreciate all the feedback, love and support. There is so much to share and so many people who have held me up these past few months. I continue to feel the love and light so thank you all for carrying Candice's torch.
The three days leading up to Easter were the worst days of my life. I cannot put in words the level of despair that filled my whole being. However on Easter morning I awoke with an urgency to get into my car and drive with Parker to the very place I spent last year with Candice: Provincetown. For some people, a spiritual moment can happen among a congregation in between walls with great human-made beauty. For me, I knew I would find my spiritual connection in nature's beauty that connects me with all of God's creations. I arrived at Herring Cove Beach and changed into my running gear and ran 5 miles with Parker along the coast and into town and then back to the beach. We played and then I sat and stared at the ocean for a few hours. It was a clear day and the ocean was full of a million sparkles. In the not-so-far distance I watched several whales playing and a small crowd enjoyed the free show with excitement. I felt Candice everywhere and I didn't feel alone nor did I feel grief in that moment. As I sat on the beach, I opened my phone and saw an email titled "Today". I read it and cried and smiled and knew I was blessed to have so many profound and amazing people in my life. All of you who have reach out- although I may not respond, your words move me, lift me and keep me going. Thank you for your love and know that it is embraced and reciprocated.
Today was a hard day for me, but I was determined to go with Auntie Maureen to the Peabody Essex Museum. Although most of today was a challenge, when I entered the room with the birds, I smiled and felt happy for a brief time. It was a beautiful 20 minutes.
Yesterday (April 1oth), I sat on the edge of my bed and looked at my running shoes. They were placed next to Candice's. I sat there for some time and started to weep. I was inconsolable in a way I have never felt. I thought of a Bruce Springstein song "If I Should Fall Behind". The truth is Candice always ran a little ahead on our runs, but on this day; her running ahead felt so profound. Some of my fondest memories are running with my best friend, and although we ran barefoot on some beaches-we always traveled with our sneakers. Her latest pair were purple.
Well, I eventually put on my sneakers, tied them, placed my Ipod in my shorts and sat down and tried to compose myself for my first run in 8 weeks. Suddenly my Ipod came on and the radio started playing a "Pink" song with the chorus ending with "You gotta get up and try and try and try". Well needless to say, I got up and went for a run. I never listen to the radio on my Ipod (I am still not sure how it turned on), BUT I changed it back to my random playlist of over 500 songs. Needless to say the first song that played was the same Pink song just on the radio. I took it as a hint that Candice wanted me to run and that Pink would give me the strength. I ran 3 miles with Parker. We stopped frequently so he could sniff and I could sniffle, but we tried.
Today I went to Harvard Square to get discount tickets to the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in Salem. You see when Candice was in the hospital, a Buddhist Priest would visit often to meet with her. Although she was not a Buddhist, the spiritual beliefs of this religion were closely in line with how Candice lived her life and so she found great comfort in meeting him. During one of his visits, he asked that I stay so that we could reflect together. At this time, he mentioned that he went to the PEM to see a special exhibit where birds play spontaneous music with electric guitars. Candice's eyes lit up and she looked at me and said: "We have got to see this!". So I am going to go this Friday and I am sure that Candice will be there too!
Well on the way home from getting the tickets in Harvard Square, I had an accident with a cyclist. I am a cyclist and ride to and from work and all over during normal times. So I am very diligent about cyclists! Needless to say I turned right and we collided. I pulled over and got out. He was staring at me in shock and shaking. I looked at him and started to cry. I apologized and explained that I didn't see him and that I am just not myself these days. I told him that my wife just passed away and I should NOT be driving. He stared at me with compassion and said he was a Pastor at Harvard and asked if he could pray with me. I told him I would like that very much. I gave him my name and number and told him to let me know if there was any damage. He texted me later that day and told me he and his bike were fine but that he would continue to pray for me. Needless to say, our meeting ended up being "no Accident" at all. Thank you Aaron!
My days are lonely and I miss Candice's physical presence, but I feel her spiritually in much of my day.
As much as I am filled with love and I am comforted by support, I am overwhelmed and heart-broken. I know this is part of the process and I am letting myself try to find resources to cope and heal. It will be a long road. I have taken some small steps to ensure that a "signature" Candice is captured. In going through old cards I received over the years from Candice, I noticed a few very specific trends. She always curled her name at the end, drew a heart (she always said "I heart you") and she always included a smiley face. I was therefore inspired to create Candice's "logo" now reflecting as the new header. I will be using this logo for T-shirts at the upcoming race in May 18th. Join the Team!
This post is a little late. Our friends have been so supportive I haven't known how to begin and I certainly did not want to exclude anyone. The truth is, I have not been able to keep up with the amazing generosity of Candice and my friends (past and present).
We are blessed with such a rich and diverse group of friends from so many parts of our lives. I have realized in Candice's battle that all parts of our lives collided and we spent a great deal of time in a fish bowl. Amazingly through it all, it never felt forced, unwelcome or stressful. I love you all for your support and being part of our lives. You are equal in my eyes to my family. We are all one family in the end.
Special thanks -
My brother and sister (David and Heather) - You guys are not just siblings but Candice and my best friends and your support is beyond words.
My father John and Carrie for their love and support.
Kristine - an old and dear friend who shared 35 years of laughter with Cancice.
Maria - a best friend in every sense and who truly defined the meaning of food is love!
Jen - a rock, a listener and loyal visitor and friend who came with fresh juice and coconut face wipes:)
Diane and Carol - took care of the furry loved ones and constant visitors.
Nikki- the vegetarian who came up from FL and bought Candice several burgers and didn't leave until the last Irish step dance. I love you, daughter!
Katie-Candice's mini-me, played guitar with Candice, introduced me to Spotify, and fostered Parker
Amy-All things needed at BIDMC. My constant go to and doer!
Pam W.- A spiritually divine friend who needs to follow her calling!
Michelle- the producer of " a little jar of love: apple sauce"
AC and Kim- bear hugs don't quite capture it!
Catie Curtis- Amazing act of kindness!
Melissa- Reiki master
Shannon - I heart Candice bracelets and coffee runs.
and the list goes on: Pam L (fellow muppet), Kellie, Naomi, Marie and Rebecca (who traveled far to see Candice), Danielle, Sherie, Jenna, Jean, Anne Marie, Mary Anne, Anne, Joann, Rodney, Carly, Mo, Clea, Sinead, Heather, Tracey, Teri, Tracy....
From New Bedford, Cathedral Camp, BSC,Sorority Sisters, Northeastern, VA, ASHA, Harvard, JP support- Thank you all so much