Erin's Journals

Monday, April 15, 2024

Just a thought… The whole time, I was looking for someone to grow old with, until I found the one I wanted to stay young with. [@kirkdiedrich on]

Welcome, and thank you for being here today. Especially today.

I stumbled upon that quote on Threads last week and it took my breath away. I mean, here we are with Rob entering a new decade and me nine years behind him and I’m fighting off fear of living without my partner, the one I want to stay young with.

The highlight of our 10-day birthday trip to Henderson, Nevada, outside Vegas, was not a Royal Flush or Four Deuces; it was my absolute ace of a former co-host who flew down from Toronto for four days and made us laugh almost every minute. Bless friends like Mike Cooper, who, like us, has had his share of life’s greatest highs and deepest lows, yet keeps smiling and laughing. We are so truly blessed. (And if you missed the hilarious video and outtakes in last week’s blog, see it here.)

My news now turns darker as we share a development we’ve literally been running away from. In about six weeks, our grandkids and their parents are returning to the city where Colin and Jane were born, where Phil and Brooke met and married, and where our Lauren left this life: Ottawa. Having given it four years here, they’ve decided that they need to go back and start again after their lives were disrupted by Covid and then enhanced by family (us) in BC; back to parents, cousins and friends, school walkability and job opportunities.

More astute followers of my FB posts and journals here probably sensed that I’ve had some less-than-cheery days over the last few months, and you’d be right. So, this is why I’m focussing on letting go. Just for the record, we will not be going with them back to Ontario. Our life is now in BC.

However, coming to terms with losing this family has once again dragged us through the jagged stages of grief we endured nine years ago. But as our therapist pointed out to us about this upcoming change, “You’ve survived worse.” And he’s right.

But here’s where I’m going to ask you this kindness.

Our therapist is allowed to remind us of what we’ve survived; no one else is. Just as I have said repeatedly that at least are two words one never relays to someone in grief (even out of the kindest motives) Rob and I are not in a place to receive gladly the reminders of what we should be grateful for. Don’t worry, we know.

As we did so at Lauren’s funeral in May 2015, now I can list some of the newer “at leasts” that we know:

  • we had four of the best years of our grandkids’ lives, shared just a six-minute drive from our house. Sleepovers with Grama and Toot were a regular event to which we all looked forward

  • Rob got to teach both kids skating, we showed Colin how to ride a bike, and tutored both kids in how to endure being a Leafs fan

  • we were able to take them on road trips big and small: to cabins and amusement parks, restaurants and local wonders

  • we shared hours of silliness, teaching them games and making the most of outdoor play 12 months of the year

  • we listened attentively to their ideas and feelings, their thoughts and opinions, and we got the opportunity to know these amazing little humans, maybe even helping to shape them along the way.

We. Made. Memories. Christmases and birthdays, holidays and ordinary days. And they will not forget Grama and Grandad Banana (aka Toot). We know all of these things.

Finally, let me share a few dreaded “at leasts” that we don’t need to hear:

  • You can always visit, at least it’s not (put faraway country here)

  • There’s always FaceTime and Zoom

  • You’re lucky even to have grandkids

We know, we know, we know. The list could go on and on, but it won’t. We’re done feeling deeply disappointed and sorry for ourselves: we realized and said out loud to them that the kids weren’t doing this to us but for them. The heart doesn’t always hear what the brain is saying, though, and this will take time.

But you know me – I don’t sit in sadness for long. I push through to find it where I can. So next week here I’ll tell you what Rob and I are doing to control what we can change, accepting what we can’t, always with gratitude.

I guess the quote about staying young with the ones we love doesn’t only apply to a life partner, does it?

Rob WhiteheadMonday, April 15, 2024