BEFORE and SINCE

I’m no stranger to blogging, but it’s been a very long time since I’ve written anything for a public view. I’ll be sharing things that I’ve been going through, am still going through, and future happenings. It’ll probably reveal things about me that people have no idea I’m experiencing because I don’t share my personal life much. This is more for my catharsis than anything else.

On September 15th, 2015, I gave birth to my second daughter. It was a wonderful day. My husband, J, and I were so happy to welcome E into our lives and our family. Q wasn’t so thrilled at first, but then again, she had been my whole world for almost two years so sharing her momma was a huge adjustment. My family visited me, all very excited about their new granddaughter/niece. My mom watched Q during the day for me so she brought her to visit me every day we were still in the hospital. My mother-in-law watched Q in the evening so she brought her back then. On the day E was born, my dad texted me that he had just picked up K from school and wanted to know if I was up for visitors so he and K could meet E. I responded with an absolutely because I was excited to introduce my newest little girl to my dad and other brother (as everyone else had already met her). He texted when he got to the hospital, but I was busy discussing some post-labour complications so I asked him to wait a couple of minutes. Finally finished with my nurse, I invited them in. He was so happy to see me and tell me how proud he was of me. He focused on me first then on E. The pride on his face when he held her for first time is something I will never forget, which I’m thankful for because I have absolutely no pictures of him with her. None. There are none that exist. But, I’ll get to that.

We spent the next two and a half weeks getting to know our daughter, adjusting to life as new parents again, and shopping for a new van. J and I went out for breakfast for his dad’s birthday then he and his dad stopped at a dealership to find me a van. J brought one home to test drive. The dealership let us keep it for a week while we negotiated the price. The first day we had it to test drive, we went to my parents house. That was September 26th, 2015. We spent the evening with my family and they all snuggled with E and played with Q. Dad was excited because Q was starting to warm up to him since she’d seen him a lot since the month prior to E’s birth. She was playing with him, laughing and giggling with him. He got some good pictures and videos of her playing with him. I was getting tired so we headed home. For some reason, I picked up my sister CN, on Monday, the 28th. Dad texted me asking when I’d be back by the gym because he wanted to see the girls (and me). I drove her back over to the gym and visited with him and K for a bit. Before he left, he gave me one of his side hugs and said, “Love you, kiddo.”

On October 3rd, 2015, my world was split in two. J finalized the purchase of our van. I texted my parents to tell them that we were the proud owners of our very first mini-van. My dad responded with “Welcome to parenthood.” A little while later, J asked me to call them and ask for their neighbours phone number because there was a small rock chip in our windshield. I talked to Mom while they were on their way down the monument on the circle. I heard Dad in the background answering my question. Maybe a half hour later, Mom texted and said she might need my help. Dad wasn’t feeling well. Shortly after that she called and said they were on the way to the hospital. Dad was in an ambulance with chest pains, Mom was following in their car. I told J and we quickly got all the kids to his parents (minus E) and headed to the hospital. She called again while we were headed there and said his heart kept stopping. She was crying. I was starting to get really worried, especially when she told me that they were having to do CPR to get it started again. We got to the hospital and I rushed in by myself while J parked. Mom was in the waiting room by the cath lab. There was a hospital pastor with her. I felt sick to my stomach, but didn’t assume the worst. Maybe five minutes later, a nurse came out to get her. J was in the lobby with us and had E, so I went back with Mom to talk to the cardiologist. We waited for a minute with nurse, then the doctors came out of the lab. That’s when my world split in two.

“I’m so sorry. We lost him.”

Words burned into my brain.

Mom broke down immediately. I made the doctors explain to me EVERYTHING they did. I will not be sharing those details, but they did everything they possibly could. 

On October 3rd, 2015, at 4:44pm, my dad died of a massive heart attack. My life was now forever split into BEFORE and SINCE. My youngest was 2.5 weeks old. I never got a single picture of him holding her.

The week following his death is a blur. The funeral is agonizingly crystal-clear. The grief is still intense with bits of happy mingled in.

I was diagnosed with PPD, post-partum depression. Six months later, I’m still struggling with the grief and PPD. I’ve been in grief therapy for about five months which has definitely been helping. School has been difficult, life has been difficult. I’ve been making Dean’s List each quarter, will graduate in December, likely with honours, but it’s hard to care. I don’t want to receive my diploma without my dad there to share in my happiness. I don’t want to celebrate E’s first birthday without my dad there taking lots of pictures and making corny jokes. I don’t want to keep experiencing milestones in my life and not be able to share them with my biggest cheerleader, my biggest supporter.

But life goes on. I have to go on. I have to keep moving forward for my family, for my girls, for my marriage. Yet, I feel stuck in October. I’m living in the SINCE when all I want is the BEFORE.

 My dad and Q.  

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