It’s been two years since Chad’s been gone and I remember Saturday, November 28th, 2009 like it was two days ago.
I miss Chad everyday. I think of him several times a day. I wonder how much he knows about my life or if he knows anything at all. I think about what our life was like together and what the life we were building together is like now. I think of all the changes that have happened and everything that has stayed the same. I think I think I think.
November isn’t an easy month for thinking – especially this last week. It’s hard not to replay the events of 2009 over and over in my head. All the details that stay dormant throughout the year start popping their little grey heads again. I think of the last day more than I usually do and I think of saying goodbye.
However, admits the thoughts of 2009 hospital rooms, hand squeezes and unbearable discomfort, I’ve also been thinking about the people who have gotten me through the last two years.
Before and after Chad died, the support of people around (virtually and physically) has been incredible. I felt I could fall back into a sea of people and feel confident I’d be softly caught. But, naturally as time goes on that number of people available (or prepared) to catch you, hold you and rest your feet on the ground becomes less.
As Chad said (and I hate that he’s right AGAIN), “Life doesn’t stop once you’re dead. Life goes on.” In two years, I’ve seen his theory become a reality. Some people made promises that they’d be around for the long haul, yet they’ve drifted the furthest away. Some people never made promises and have been closer than I could have ever asked them to be.
I am so indebted to those who have stayed around. Those stuck it out in the bad times and have stayed for the good.
I’m thankful for my in-laws. Chad’s “Parentals” (as they were listed in his phone) have left their front door open for me every week since 2009. Without judgement they listen to me cry as often as they listen to me laugh and are as much apart of my weekly routine as I am of theirs. There are so many different ways our family situation could have played out and I couldn’t be more thankful for how ours has evolved.
I have a sister (in-law) who makes an effort to stay in touch while living a province away. Whether its a giggle-fest Skype call with her, Ben and Lauren or a tearful, memory filled conversation just the two of us – she’s around, and similar to her parents, our relationship could have dwindled without Chad to keep us together but it’s gotten better with time.
My closest friends from far away, Devora, Xtina, Mesi, Lena, Inga, Lizzy, Alyssa, Cami and Kelli who make it clear in their subtle texts and Facebook messages that they’ve got their eyes on me and ready whenever, if ever, I need a call.
I have Chad’s brothers who have taken me on as their sister – Jesse, Bren and Justin. We don’t to talk often but I know I’m under their protective wing, making sure their boy’s girl is taken care of.
Chad’s tennis and poker friends have continued to invite me to their nights together as they did when I was Chad’s plus one. They are such loyal friends to Chad and have extended that same friendship to me; although I never mention it, their effort to include me never goes unnoticed.
There are new friends who I run, brunch, work and cocktail with, who listen to my stories of life with Chad without ever having met the man who is the source of countless conversations. Through calories burned or calories consumed, they participate in each conversation intently; regardless whether or not my blabbing makes sense.
My family. Two years ago they lost their son, brother, cousin and nephew in-law . I know they hurt, I know they remember time spent together, dinners on the back deck, Chads favourite foods and what kind of car he’d suggest they buy – yet if I’m missing him, if I’m needing a Mom-hug, they harbour their tears and embrace mine.
The Bubble has been my pillar; before Chad and after. They are all strong and provide structure to life as I knew/know it. We all have moments when tears drop, random memories are shared and sentences are interrupted with, “If Chad were here.” And when someone needs a rest from standing strong, the Bubble will relieve them without judgement. Gratitude is the best word that comes to mind.
Brad. 18 months ago, he seamlessly joined my life. He filled the cavity in my chest with love I never thought I’d have again. He has understood the fragility of the Bubble and the Warren-Williams family dynamics and embraced them as part of his own life. He has willingly taken on my tears, stories and life, offering unconditional acceptance of Chad and I – prepared to continue a fairy tale that was once interrupted.
As I finish writing, I’ve had a warmth wash over me and a feeling of Chad making sure I say thank you from him. Thank you for sticking around, for not going anywhere when life got bad and staying around to celebrate when life has been good. Thank you from Chad and thank you from me.
If everyone had friendships and family like the ones I have been so fortunate to have, happiness would be far less difficult to come by.