This month all across the country, people in the LGBT Community are celebrating pride. I haven't attended any of the community parades and block parties this year. Mostly because crowds and anxiety are a bad cocktail.
I spend a lot of time looking back at the things Candice and I did this time last year. Last year, Candice and I celebrated the repeal of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). The Federal Government would now recognize our marriage and with this came a number of benefits. This was of particular importance given that Candice worked for the Federal Government. I must admit that I have often taken for granted that everyone accepts my marriage. However this is not the case and there are so many people across this country who are still fighting for equality.
I also assumed that when I started this blog, people would look at Candice and I just like any other married couple. This is definitely a benefit of living in Boston. I have since learned that my blog hasn't been just a place for me to reflect and heal but also a place for some people to come to understand/learn about the gay community. If this blog has had that impact, I know Candice would be so thrilled.
So I wanted to take a moment to share some of my PRIDE about my LGBT community. When Candice was in the hospital, a whole community rallied and they taught so many people from doctors, nurses to family how amazing we are. Our friends were by our side nonstop. They haven't left after my loss. Friends continue to keep me strong - texting, emailing, calling, visiting and constantly trying to keep me moving. The love and support has surpassed any that I could have imagined. I know I am as strong as I am from the strength of my friends and this community.
So Happy Pride to everyone! It is really simple: LOVE CONQUERS HATE.
If you would like to learn more about Marriage Equality (by States), please visit and consider donating to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) at: http://www.hrc.org/
It seems impossible to believe that it has been three months today since Candice passed away. I miss so many things - but today I miss her face and all the expressions she would make. It has been hard during this time of grief to remember Candice's face when she was healthy. I hate that part of this process but I know in time I will focus on the 14 years of healthy Candice.
I think about this blog all the time and what to write. I have so many things that I think about and that I am learning through this process. However I am turning more inward and holding these closer to my heart. As time moves forward and not all days are filled with heart-ache, anxiety or sadness- the guilt sets in. Getting into a routine and starting to do activities again and getting out socially all make me feel a place in this world. It also makes me feel angry that Candice isn't on this journey with me and I feel guilty being here. I know she wouldn't want my days and nights to be full of a emptiness. As I do "firsts" - playing Stump Trivia, Kayaking, Trips, Book Club - I begin to form new memories. Memories without Candice by my side. It feels like omitting photos from an album because those pictures pronounce a vacant space. I do these activities because I know in time, I will start to feel more than numbness. (at least I hope this is the case)
Today I went to three of Candice and my favorite "haunts" - the Arboretum, Jamaica Pond and the Forest Hills Cemetery. She made her presence known. When I pay attention, she makes me laugh out loud and offers some sound advise as I continue down this road of identifying our new relationship. I will always take her with me, but I am also learning to find my new me too.
I love you Candice and mIss you. You are always with me.
I know, it has been a while. The truth is that I wanted this site to always be positive and show my strength (much like how I felt Candice was during her time in the hospital). But as time goes on, my heart aches more as the reality sets in. The truth is that I didn't have time to process what was happening at the time and even after the first month that Candice died., my adrenaline was in overdrive and I was not able to fully comprehend my loss. Reality hits in waves and with a rainbow of emotions. I started back to work last week and the transition was much more difficult than I could have imagined. The first time since February, I started a routine again and it feels like I am starting at square one with the grief. My second day at work, my office phone rang at noon and I instantly thought, Candice is calling me to check on Parker's status. She would go home at lunch everyday to take Parker out. This was my "first" moment when I thought Candice was calling. I go by where she worked to get to my job and I wonder who will pick me up on those rainy days after work. I am faced with the reality that I have lost my other half-my better half and my life as I knew and loved it is over.
I feel unable to move past this pain-Frozen if you will. So I naturally rented "Frozen". I had wanted to see this movie badly this winter and so did Candice's Aunt Maureen. We were suppose to go see this movie Feb. 16th-the day of Candice's stroke. So I watched it this weekend, and I noticed the coincidence in the last picture Candice took on her cell phone (above). It was a cold winter and the first time Candice and I had seen the pond freeze over. Candice wrote in her diary "So lucky to have such beauty around me in this city. Jamaica Pond, snow covered, is a gift from God!"
Anyway, the movie "Frozen" was not the traditional Disney ending where "prince charming" saves the princess's heart from freezing, but instead it was her sister. I took great comfort in that. Thanks Heather-for taking the sword on days where I am at my lowest.