NW Sarcoma Foundation

Sliding Doors

There’s a movie made in the 1990s called “Sliding Doors”. It stars Gwyneth Paltrow and I think it was done before she was a big Oscar winner. In any event, the story is about a woman who has a moment in life that has the potential to change everything. She simply misses her train. The movie tracks both sides of her life; the one side showing what happens in her life because she misses the train; the other as if it didn’t. And the moment isn’t life altering itself. She misses her train. The chain of events that is shown indicates that interesting paths her life takes depending upon which “sliding door” you are viewing. In the end, her lives come back together in another life altering moment. The doors close in a manner of speaking. It’s a movie that didn’t win any awards, or probably wasn’t that well known. Yet a movie that always stuck in my head, and for whatever reason, started appearing on TV last year right after Ed passed away (I was doing A LOT of mind numbing TV watching at that time). The movie came on recently as well, and it’s one of those that I always seem to watch as I am surfing.

I rarely play this “what if” game. Even after watching this movie, I never have thought about what a view through my own “sliding door” would look like; until last Saturday morning. I was going through my very usual morning routine, when I walked over to where Ed’s urn sits (no ashes as we scattered them ceremonially in the San Juans last August, but the urn itself is beautiful so I keep it out in view), and I looked at it as I usually do. And while I would never forget his birthday, I was acutely drawn to the engraving of the dates on his urn. Yep, his birthday is coming up, and then his death date seared in my head. And it hit me; not only is it his birthday, but it would have been his 50th birthday. And like a bolt of lightning, I had a clear view through the “sliding door”. In that split second, I saw what would have been happening had we in fact been celebrating this major milestone of a date.

Had Ed not gotten sick and not lost his batter with synovial sarcoma, the past year would have been filled with intense ribbing on how “old” he was going to be. Hell, since he turned 46 I’d been telling him he was closer to 50 than 40. His age had always been a running joke between us. When we met I was in my 20s to his 30s. Never mind I was 29 and he was turning 34; not a big age difference but back then, 20s vs. 30s was a big deal. He would have continued to refer to himself as a “cantankerous old fart” and no one would disagree. Josh would have taken immense pleasure out of the entire “giving his old-man- dad crap” year, and Jenn would have continued to do so in a sweeter way. I would have planned a huge party to celebrate surrounded by all of our friends and family that could make it. Maybe we would have even taken that trip to Italy that we always talked about but never got around to doing. The glimpse through the “sliding door” was beautiful. It was brief and it was something I have not experienced before. I was grateful to have it for that fleeting moment.

Then I looked through the current “sliding door”. The one without him. The one where birthdays stopped just shy of 49. The one where we are all moving through life without him, creating newness that we never asked for. I realize how funny it is that in this “sliding door”, 50 seems incredibly young to have lost his life, yet in the other “sliding door”, 50 would have been considered old. I look back to the fog I was in a year ago at this time and realize that perhaps I can now look through the other “sliding door” because I can handle it. I hate every moment of every day without the love of my life being here with me, but I have gained strength to withstand it. I even managed a smile as I looked through the other “sliding door”.

The view was allowed in for a moment, and it’s not something I dwell on. Life “is what it is” and what happened happened. I couldn’t change it when he was here, and I can’t change it now. I can only continue doing what I am doing; trying to figure out life without him honoring him as best I can every day.

Today, on what would have been Ed’s 50th birthday, I continue, we continue, to honor him. I try to be the person he saw me as being as he always saw me better than I saw myself. I see changes in Josh and Jenn that reflect the same; being the young adults that their dad would have been proud of. The three of us will raise a glass to him today, probably taking a look through the “sliding door”, but more likely just sharing the memories we created as a family.

I invite you all to do the same at some point today; remember my wonderful husband. Honor him in some way by looking back at your favorite memory of him. I have to think it will bring a smile to your face…which is what he’d want for each of us.

Strength, Courage, Wisdom…Faith, Love, Hope – it’s all I need to get through every day.

XOXOXO,
Tracey

 

The New Normal…

It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a blog as it’s been hard to figure out what to really write about. We, and when I say “we” I am talking about Ed and I, started this blog to keep everyone up to date on his battle with sarcoma. That was the purpose. Well, as we all know, his battle is over. So do I end the blog especially since it’s no longer “we”? Or how does it evolve and serve a different purpose, along with the entire “Team Blackburn” website, Facebook community etc.?

I’ve written a few things to keep people informed about how Jenn, Josh and I have been doing, but I just can’t imagine writing to everyone letting them know about how we are all dealing with our grief of not having Ed here any longer. Many keep up with the goings on of the PNW Blackburn’s mostly by Facebook posts, emails, phone calls and the occasional Skype happy hour (my personal favorite). It’s in these vehicles that I can share my feelings one on one, share my tears and laughter, and I appreciate all of you that have been on the receiving end of those conversations. They are never easy for either of us, but as true friends and family, you have been there. And I am thankful.

So here we are on October 3, 2013. It has been eight months since Ed has passed. Eight months to the day. It’s hard to believe, and really the biggest indicator that the time has passed is the changing of the seasons. I had this notion that I was going to get through the summer with all kinds of projects and goals, that many of you have seemingly “been with me” in enduring. The biggest was of course was my quest to skipper my boat with the ultimate goal of scattering Ed’s ashes out in the waters surrounding San Juan Island. I wouldn’t say my boating skill building went exactly as I had expected but I did it. I managed to successfully, and with some level of confidence, tow the boat with the truck, skipper the San Juans and lay Ed’s ashes to rest exactly where he requested.

In addition and on a more day-to-day pace, many of you have kept up to date on my new lawn mowing expertise and the love of new lawn grooming toys (my next purchase on the docket is a powerful leaf blower), my scooping up and disposing of dead creatures in my yard, and the ever so famous HUGE spider in my garage that I had to call my neighbor to kill (I just don’t do spiders). And finally, let’s not forget the bird getting inside of my chimney stack and then fireplace. Not my biggest moment of strength as I “called the people” to come help, as even I realize my limitations.

And the most recent thing that happened was last weekend during the torrential rains. Turns out my gutters need to be cleaned, something I was aware of but had not yet scheduled. Well unfortunately, two of my gutters were majorly clogged so much so that rain was pouring off of my roof, creating a pool of water in an area near vents to my crawl space and inevitably letting water into the crawl. Not a good situation. One of the gutters I could reach. There I was on a ladder, with gloves on, scooping out leaves and crap from the gutter. The other one was one that I just couldn’t get to without help and thankfully; one of my friends came over and took care of it for me.

I was telling a friend of mine about this whole gutter situation which lead to talking about how I hate when this kind of thing happens. Ed took care of all of these things related to the house. I never took it for granted, but at the same time, it is always such a reminder of not only how hard some of this stuff can be, but that he is just not here. And he’s never coming back. As much as I half expect him to just walk through the door with his familiar “hey babe”, it’s just not going to happen. And I know this. I hate it, but I know it and I accept it. I’ve never been in denial about his being gone. I watched it happen. The entire 18 months of his illness to his very last breath.

And people say time helps. It does. And with the change of seasons, I have become acutely aware of the change as well as my own changes; my “new normal”. You see, as much as everyone thinks my going back to work and/or getting back to some sort of routine that I used to keep, will have things start getting back to normal, there is nothing about my “old life” that I can do today that is “normal”. Because in what version of my old life was scooping shit out of gutters, shoveling dead critters, mowing lawns, killing spiders, fixing fences, driving a Chevy pick-up truck, towing a boat, skippering a boat, packing a gun etc. EVER normal? It wasn’t. This was not my life and there is nothing that I did in my past that will ever be normal again. Not even writing and sharing my thoughts in this blog. Oh and btw – I was pretty happy with my old life and what I considered “normal”. I didn’t ask for this “new life” and “new normal”.

So what is this “new life”, “new normal”, and what is this blog now? I can think of a few things I do want it to be:

1)      Do –honor Ed and keep his memory alive, as well as create his legacy.

2)      Do – live intentionally and with purpose. Still working on this, and right now, getting through each day is the best I can do, but I know there is some purpose for me. Probably related to number 1.

3)      Do – continue to drive sarcoma awareness. NOT just cancer – SARCOMA. And end this disease. Probably related to items 1-2.

4)      Do – inspire. Not sure what to inspire, but I want to use mine and my families experience to inspire others. See items 1-3 :-)

So that’s it for now, but there’s more to come. While Ed is no longer with us, I am still here. Josh and Jenn are still here. Skip and Zena are here :-) It is my job to continue leading this family and Team Blackburn. While we are no longer “fighting” if you are reading, then you are still here. Living. That’s a great starting place for the “new normal”.

Strength, Courage, Wisdom. Faith, Love and Hope. It’s all I need to get through every day.

Tracey

XOXOXO

  • Grow Where You Are Planted….
    …is something I heard for the first time about two weeks ago. I was at Trader Joe’s picking up some groceries. As the woman in the checkout line in front of me was finishing her purchases, she was picking up her bags and looked at the young, male cashier and said “Grow where you are […]
    Traceyb
  • What do you do for fun???
    I was having a conversation with a friend of mine last night and was asked “what are you doing for fun”? And I had to really think about that one as I’m doing a lot of “stuff” but I’m not sure how much fun any of these things are. But the overall question got me […]
    Traceyb
  • A Reason, a Season and a Lifetime
    There is a saying that was shared with me about a year ago where someone told me that “people come into your lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime”. It was interesting to me as I had never heard this before, and it was something I needed to hear in that moment. I […]
    Traceyb
  • Sliding Doors
    There’s a movie made in the 1990s called “Sliding Doors”. It stars Gwyneth Paltrow and I think it was done before she was a big Oscar winner. In any event, the story is about a woman who has a moment in life that has the potential to change everything. She simply misses her train. The […]
    Traceyb
  • What’s Next???
    This time last Saturday, I posted an update to Facebook letting friends know that I had officially resigned my position from Microsoft. Resign isn’t actually the right word. I had been on a personal leave of absence (LOA) first to care for Ed, and then of course to care for myself and my family after […]
    Traceyb

TEAM BLACKBURN

Purchase a TEAM BLACKBURN "Cancer Sucks" wristband and support the Sarcoma Foundation of Amercia!

Help us fund a cure for Sarcoma.
Choose Quantity

Archives