Your Scent

The scent of you. Burts bees skin cream. She would put that on after every shower. The steam and humidity of the shower carried it all through the house. It would permeate everything in the mornings. If I had been given the lucky draw of sleeping in it was one of the smells id wake up to. That and coffee. Mel would make a pot of coffee before starting her hour long preparations of getting ready in the morning. She would carry her coffee into the bathroom and start her day. Her time in the shower was not much longer then mine, but her preparations after seemed to go on for hours. I would never begrudge her that time. She was beautiful without doing a thing to her appearance but she still liked to go through her routine and I really did enjoy just laying in bed and hearing her fuss around behind the closed bathroom door. Know she was there.It would be shortly after I heard the shower go off that the smell of fresh coffee would be overtaken by the scent of Burt’s bees body lotion. It would come through the hallway and into our bedroom. I don’t know how much she used but it was enough for her to go from head to toes in it. I’m not so reserved to mention that along with smelling it the image of her applying it would also enter into my thoughts at times too. She had dozens of different products that were used through her morning ritual. A five pound bag of just brushes and applicators for whatever different things she had picked up over the years that she brought into her routine. But for all of them there are a select few that just engulf my thoughts and bring me back to a a multitude of different moments simultaneously.

Tom Ford Tobacco. We had been watching some television show and Tom Ford was mentioned. He’s a designer and from what I gleaned from Mel a pretty cool brand to own. She had told me she loved his perfumes, specifically one called Tobacco.So on the first birthday we celebrated as a couple I thought it would be a nice gesture to get her something from him. I went to Holt Renfrew. As a bit of a back story Mel had worked there for a few years way back in the day and apparently never took home a pay cheque because she spent every cent she made there. When she passed away I went through her closet and she had at least fifteen purses and dozens of shoes that when purchased retailed for between a minimum of five hundred dollars up to ten thousand. Keep in mind she got a staff discount so it was really only two hundred and fifty to five thousand dollars. Each. Anyway I can say that at thirty eight years old I had never bought perfume for anyone. The last scent I had bought was probably Cool Water. For anyone who’s of my age, they should be able to back date that time to the early nineties and probably remember it from the pages of Stuff magazine. Or maybe Maxium?

I went through the perfume department looking for this Ford fellows stuff. I also might need to point out generally I really hate perfumes and unnatural scents. Like I really hate them. Nothing irritates me more then someone coming into my restaurant with a cloud of smells on them.

But being as I really wanted to do something special for Mel I was going to give it a try. I went up to the counter and explained was looking for something for my girlfriend. “Do you have Tobacco by Tim Ford?”. “ Tom Ford?” She corrected me. “Yes, that guy”. They did. She showed me some smaller bottles and when she let me smell it I was so relieved to find it was pleasant. I fell in love just a bit more knowing Mel had such good taste and liked one of the few perfumes I had encountered that I liked. Being as I had no clue as to what constituted a reasonable amount of a bottle I went with the “bigger is better!” Approach and asked her for their largest bottle. It was a two hundred and fifty mil bottle. Around eight hundred dollars I recall.

When I gave it to her she was touched and also laughed at how huge it was. She explained that that bottle will probably be around for Tuesday to use, and maybe her kids too. I didn’t know, I thought it was like deodorant. A bunch under each armpit and you’re good to go. It is one of the few perfumes I love. Its subtle but mostly it was what she put on whenever we went out together. I don’t know if she did it because she felt guilty I had bought so much but either way I love it.

Pikake flowers. Mel would wear that scent often. I didn’t know what it was at the time just that I knew I liked how she smelled. I was only after a few years of living together that I realized she loved this flower from Hawaii. I knew the smell from childhood because of all the time I spent in Maui. It was a common thread that we shared. She loved Hawaii and so did i. I don’t remember ever seeing a bottle of it anywhere but I knew when she had put it on. It’s an amazingly beautiful scent. After she passed I found the little blue bottle she had of it and sprayed a little puff in the air. It was like being hit by a truck of memories. I was so overcome with emotions just smelling it. I missed her so damn much. Ever memory I had of her coming downstairs or walking into the room wearing it hit me. It just floored me. I keep it beside her ashes now and will mist a little on her spot when I feel like just being with her. It probably sounds a little weird to do that but its just something that connects me to her so I just do it.

And the Burts Bees. Tonight Tuesday had a little eczema spot on her elbows and I didn’t have the usual cream we use so I just grabbed what was in the bathroom and put it on her. To be honest I had forgotten about that one. Tuesday got real excited when I put it on and said “that was what mommy would used for our massages!” . Her and Mel would do this thing after Tuesday’s baths where they pretended to have a massage business in Tuesday’s room. Mel and her would lay out towels and set things up then Tuesday would run downstairs and tell me they were going to be busy for the next while and to not bother them. Tonight she told me all about how her and mom operated there massage parlour. I was trying not to get choked up because Tues was so happy and excited telling me all about it. I’m so glad she has that same reaction to this scent of her mother. I know as she gets older the memories are going to fade, but that one is hopefully going to stick with her forever. She remembers every detail of her mother holding her and touching her in those moments and I’m so glad she has that.

I should stick to Netflix l

Three are these times when I’m watching tv and some commercial for laundry soap or toilet paper or some other household item  and it shows a mom running around doing all the work, getting her kids together, mopping up whatever mishap may have occurred and I litterally mumble to myself ” fuck off”. I get that advertisers know the people they’re marketing too. I’m not expecting that they sat down and thought “hey, what about the small amount of dads out there doing this? Shouldn’t we waste our time focusing on them?” No, I get it. Hell that mom in the commercial probably has a husband too. We just caught her in a moment when she was cleaning up on her own. The dad’s probably just run off to the grocery store get more paper towels. I guess what makes me say fuck off is not the commercial isn’t sensitive to my situation, I honestly never give too much thought about whether something on the tv is talking directly to me. I also think that’s a healthy way of watching television “The tv is NOT talking to you” . It’s that now I have to see all these things that once passed by without any thought as a reminder. I mean a paper towel commercial now mocks me? Seriously?

Not that I’m going to get into my whole backstory here, but I am not the type of guy who used to think to deeply about silly crap like that. If you asked me two years ago about how many television commercials I didn’t  feel properly expressed themselves to me I would have just stared at you blankly until you went away.

There’s some other commercpial for a stationary bike where we see this super fit young mom coming down the staircase of some huge modern open area home with giant floor to ceiling windows showing the beautiful forested yard this mansion is inhabiting. She’s wearing her workout clothes and has some small little top on showing her ripped abs. And listen, I like that. A beautiful fit woman getting her sweat on to start her day? Sure, why not. I can accept that happens. It even makes me jealous. I wish I could work out and get in shape Good for you lady on the tv. But it ends and she’s off the bike, rehydrating and still looking awesome and low and behold, a little boy comes walking down the stairs carrying his teddy bear and blanket. What?

She sits him up on their fifty thousand dollar breakfast nook and there he goes just eating away at a bowl of cereal, or granola or whatever whole foods nourishment she had same day delivered to the compound and that really pisses me off. You got up before your kids to do that!? Did you sleep in your workout clothes just so you could get an extra five minutes of sleep in? How big is this house? My kids wake up if I drop a sock on the floor to loudly. Now obviously it boils down to a deep seeded jealousy on my part, but fuck me. If that’s who’s buying that workout bike, then it is not for me.  I think I’ve seen Mercedes Benz commercials that made me think “maybe I should trade in my F150 for that” when they were over. But the super stationary bike? No sir, that is not for me. I don’t think the basic service wifi we have would even pick up the online instructor that pops up on the attached screen. It would be locking up intermittently and I’d never be able to really feel the burn anyway.

I don’t think this is even a result of my widowhood.  I think it’s a basic parent thing. And I’m a dad.  I bet there are moms out there who saw that and after saying their own “fuck off” to the television wanted to see her slip on some organic milk her little boy spilled and crack her hip on the reclaimed mahogany floor.  I’m sure the six pack abs three or four years after pregnancy were all any mom wants to see to get her to say “she is soooooo much like me” .

The thing is I find myself identifying with the mothers in these ads now. Like I want to say “you dads have it so easy, look at what we have to put up with”. Do you have any idea what I do to keep his house in order and take care of the kids!? I am jealous of my friends who are dads and have a partner. I won’t lie, it was so much easier. Just the idea that there was someone else out there as invested in my children as much as I was was so comforting. If I got sick or hurt myself, the whole parenting machine wouldn’t come grinding to a halt.  That I could go out one night and know I would be able to sleep off whatever I did to myself was great. That Mel would be able to take care of the kids in the morning and give me a few hours to sleep in.  It’s not like it’s so bad that I can never go out and drink in excess anymore. I mean one of the brighter spots of this whole mess is that I’m forced to behave now. Not that I was out there ripping it up every night, but now i just don’t have the option.

But in sixteen years Levon’s going to be off to college and then there’s going to be unlimited options! I’ll be peddling on my stationary bike watching the sun come up and sweating out all the toxins I injested just like I always wanted. Sixty one and flaunting  my washboard abs!

Why me?

You’re gonna ask why me and you’ll never get a good answer. I hated asking why. I knew there wasn’t any reason for why she died apart from just a shitty confluence of events. Did it have to happen on Mother’s Day? Would her birthday made it any worse? Would any day? The result would have been the some. I’d still be a widow and our children would be motherless. Why did it happen in Maui? It was so god damn beautiful there. I loved that place. It was where I spent every Christmas I could remember as a child. I knew every inch of our condo. I knew every beach and palm tree. The smell of the island is unforgettable. The beautiful damp cooling breeze that comes off the ocean at night. The sound of the waves and the chirping of the geckos. It was all so perfect for us. Then I had to wake up early in the morning to her having a seizure. Everything went so black and dark yet the place was still sitting there in all its beauty. Inviting us to still enjoy the days and take in the beaches and ocean. I stared out at the other islands everyday as I drove to the hospital. Passing all the places I remembered from childhood. Evoking all the fun and happiness that I had enjoyed as a child but painted now with this black brush because Mel was going to die here. She was going to fucking die in the one place that was perfect in my mind. How could something so cruel and unforgiving happen here? Our kids were supposed to form the same attachment to this place as I had. This was supposed to become a yearly ritual like I had as a child. Why did this have to happen? In what hell does this dark and painful event take place here? It was like god had decided to erase everything I wanted and had in the most painful way. We were robbed of a future, why did fate decide to slam its boot down on my past too?

It’s so fucking hard not to ask why. It’s so hard not to see all the events pulled apart like an elastic band then snapped in my hand leaving every fond memory now shattered when her death stamped itself down.
She died in my arms as I frantically tried to revive her while waiting for the paramedics. I saw her stiffen and then go limp. Her eyes rolling back as she gasped then nothing. The awful realization of what was actually happening is a memory that will never leave the forefront of my thoughts. The deep sickening panic I felt as I struggled with her and yelled at my mother in the living room to tell them to hurry while she was on the phone with the emergency operator. The paramedics arrived and revived her but it was too late. Her brain was damaged to the point she would not make more then a week. God she was so stiff and then so limp. It is nothing like the movies. Time moved so quickly in reality but now so grindingly slow when the memories come in. It’s all so detailed and sick now. The emotions boil up and are impossible to avoid. The final seizure was the worst, but she had had two previous ones that had been traumatic as well. Our daughter screaming for me to come upstairs only to find Mel on her stomach, frothing and shacking. Six months later the same event accept she was now pregnant and all the fear that our child was going to be harmed.
I do not know how many people have had to endure what I have but I am certain I have seen something few have. This wasn’t like a grandparent passing away at the hospital. This was not that. This was not a long drawn out death due to cancer or some other terminal illness. I did not get to talk with her for weeks or months or years leading up to this. We did not get to discuss the future without her. Her death was not some final act of mercy that ended a long drawn out painful experience. This was a shotgun to the soul that gave no time to even ponder what was happening. It was shock. Pure as it can be. I don’t know if it would have been better to have just been told she died somewhere away from me. To have to get a phone call and be told she is gone. Maybe. Maybe that would be more merciful act. I would not have the visions of her and all that took place. Would I be haunted by thoughts of what her last moments were? Would I be tormented by not knowing how she was as it all happened? Again, I don’t know. Would an doctor or police officer telling me ” it was over in a second, she had no idea or feeling it was happening” give me some peace? I doubt it. I think I would always think about it. What happened to us was a violent and sudden event that will never leave me. I can say now I have been able to find some peace. I can now walk through life without the immediate and haunting memory intruding into my daily existence. I can let my thoughts drift to her without having that night crash through them. But it still happens. It happens less now but the trauma of it will still rear up and knock me down. I know now how to deal with it. I let it overtake me but try to watch it all from above. Let it all play out as a spectator. I can catch myself when I feel it coming. Like hearing the sound of a freight train coming down a track I can’t get off of. The train won’t kill me, so I just let it come. Breath and stay calm knowing it will pass. In some sick way I do not dread it now. It’s still a connection that I have to her. That her and I did something that only we will ever know. That I could bear witness to what would be her final moment before her mind was lost forever. It is a horrible thing to watch. Knowing now, in hindsight, that she was leaving us at that moment.
We were at the beach a while back with friends and while I was walking alone on the beach I had a flashback. It doesn’t come on like some instant explosion of emotion. It’s more like realizing too late that you’re sinking in quicksand. I had taken my flip flops off and was walking through the sand just looking down at my feet and not really thinking about anything. I started to focus on the feeling of the sand in my feet and then I was back on the beach in Maui. It wasn’t a “this reminds me of there” feeling. I could see the beach and the pathway that runs along the beach from our condo. I walked that path everyday. I felt the same confusion and fear and sadness like when it happened. Part of me knew where I actually was but I needed to walk off the beach and up to the parking lot because I really felt that the condo parking lot was up there. Up where the rental car was parked, beside the building our unit was in. I could get in the car and drive to the hospital and see Mel. It’s like a waking dream. It’s also confusing because while I could see where I was in reality, it still made sense that I could be back in Hawaii. I walked for a bit and eventually it faded away, but it’s fucking weird when it happens. It’s called PTSD. It’s happened when I’ve knelt down to do something and the feeling I’m back performing cpr comes on. The floor will become more like the carpeted floor we had in the bedroom. The feeling that I’m in between the wall and our bed. It’s odd because I can talk about the event and everything without any raw feelings popping up, but some small inconsequential thing will trigger it. I don’t really like saying it’s PTSD because in my mind that’s for people who’ve been through war and experienced a constant bombardment of shock and traumatic instances. I feel like my experience is not worthy of being in the same diagnosis.
She did not want to go. I can take comfort in the fact that this all took place while she slept. I imagine that she would have been having a beautiful dream where we were all together. That the smells and sounds of Maui drifted through into her thoughts as she slept. That because it was Mother’s Day she was thinking of our children. She would have been dreaming about us all playing on the beach. Tuesday laughing and running in the sand while her and I sat on a blanket with Levon. She would be showing him little seashells and making him giggle as tuesday called out for her to watch her try to do a cartwheel. A perfect day on the beach that would never end. Where the four of us were so happy together. Feeling that complete contentment that this was as good as it gets. I want that to be where she still is. That she drifted off holding Levon and watching Tuesday and feeling my arms around her as the sun radiated warmth all around us.

July 4 2017

Tuesday started her day camp today. It’s hosted by her kindergarten teacher and the bus driver from her school and is held at the church her school is associated with. It’s a huge property near the school and is on a lot that takes up half the block. Half a block in this city, which is probably worth fifteen to twenty million dollars i’d guess. There’s a very large garden area where the kids hang out and on a day like today was, it’s beautiful. Things always seem a bit easier when the weather is nice. Getting up to the sunshine, making breakfast and packing Tuesdays lunch, saying “let’s get going” and out the door is as easy as both of us putting on our flip flops grabbing Levon and walking out the door. I seriously hate the winter when it comes to getting going in the morning. Dressing everyone up, packing extra clothes, trying to find mittens and toques and all the other shitty shitty weather crap. Plus now that Levon’s a bit older the routine has gotten easier and Tuesday knows how to help me out and get her brother ready. I dropped Levon off at daycare and drove Tuesday to camp. While we were driving there I thought about how i’ve done this drive every week for the past ten months and just how dark and grey it was for most of that time. Both in terms of the weather as well as how I was feeling. I was honestly happy today thinking about how far we’ve come. Tuesday got through her first year at school, Levon’s walking and eating on his own. I’m not a walking wreck just hoping to get through the day. The long nights of waking up and feeding Levon are over. The whole drawn out routine of packing a diaper bag, trying to get clothes on Levon, carrying that shitty heavy car seat out to the car and yelling at tuesday to hurry up are for the most part, done. Everything really does seem better. Whether it’s the fact we’re a fine tuned team now, or that there’s not so much to do to get out the door, it is easier to do now.

 While we were driving Tuesday pointed out a car that looked like Mel’s. That used to be something that would make me too aware of her passing. It would give me a tinge of panic because I would be worried I’d start thinking too much about it all and would be set off on a less then happy road for the next few hours. But today the first thing I thought was “fuck, I really have to get rid of that car”. You see it’s been sitting right where she parked it. Right outside our house on the other side of the street. It hasn’t moved. The first few months after she passed it killed me everytime I came home because it would evoke the feelings I used to have seeing it. Coming home and knowing she was home. All those memories just flashing up as I turned the corner to see it. I couldn’t go near it until about 4 month ago. When I did finally get in it I broke down and went back inside the house. A few weeks later I did it again but was able to keep it together. Of course after sitting there for so long the battery was drained. So I jump started it and got it going. Unfortunately the battery wasn’t going to keep it’s charge and I knew i’d have to get a new one. The idea of spending another dollar on her car was out of the question because, frankly, it’s a piece of shit car and as sentimental of a guy I am, i’m not so lost in emotion to waste money on a wreck. So I figured i’d just call a wrecker and get it towed away. That was four moths ago and I just kind of put the whole idea on the back burner. Maybe due to the emotional side of letting go or maybe just because I was hoping someone would walk by one night and set it on fire. 

Anyway, today when tuesday brought up the car I decided it had been long enough and when I dropped her off I would call the wrecker. I spoke to a guy and was going to meet him this afternoon. After I hung up I started looking for the insurance papers. I had put them in this large accordion binder Mel had. All the things in it were hers so I put in a few more of her things as well and the important documents that had come our way since her passing. When I dug out the insurance papers I saw this little piece of paper in the bottom on the binder and pulled it out. 

I’m not one who believes in spirits speaking to us from the after life or anything like that, but this really made my day. It got me pretty choked up but I did take time to say “thanks babe”. I think she’s probably right

May 16 2017

I didn’t think a year would go by so quickly. Maybe it’s because I can’t really remember the first 6 months or so after she passed away. Without question I am changed, hopefully for the better. Despite being known for being a tad cynical, i’ve always tried to make something positive out of even the shittiest of situations. The “learn from your mistakes” school of thought. Granted this wasn’t a mistake, it was a life altering atomic bomb that I had absolutely no idea of how to deal with or handle but that beig said, even right after it happened I wanted it to mean something. For it to make me, us, my family better in some way. You can let this destroy you or you can grab onto what little there is that makes sense and focus on that until the clouds start to disappear. Fumble around in the darkness that enveloped me and try to find a light. I’ve been told I did a good job. That I should be proud of how we dealt with this. That I’m a strong man for being able to get back up and keep it together. But I don’t feel like I had any other choice. As fucked up as I was/am I didn’t have a choice in how I proceeded with life. I had a four month old son to care for and a four year old daughter. They made this choice for me. I guess I could have given up, but could I have? Really? There was no way I would have let them down at the best of times and I certainly wasn’t going to fail them when now all they had was me. That just wasn’t an option. As painful and horrible as it was for them to lose their mother I knew the only thing worse would be for them to lose their father because he couldn’t stand on his own two feet. If there was any singular thought that I knew to be certain, it was that I had to be there for them. It would be the greatest insult and disservice to Melissa that I would take her death and let it be the cause of my failure. 

So that’s what I kept at the forefront of my thoughts. In all the emotional and psychological trauma I was going through I kept going back to the fact I had to be a parent.

I don’t ask why me. I don’t look for reason in anything that happened. It’s pointless and always ends with the fact, “I’m still here and we have lives to live”.

It isn’t easy. It isn’t anywhere near easy, but it’s not impossible. I have around twenty thousand words written down about how hard it is and was. 

Mel died in my arms. I watched her pass away as I tried to resuscitate her. I yelled at her not to die. That I loved her. Please do not die. That’s fucked up. That’s not anything I ever thought would happen. She was revived by the paramedics. Straight out of a movie. The defibulator shocking her, the checking her, the shocking again, and again until they said “she’s got a pulse”. And for a few days I thought she was going to be alright. 

Then I had to make the call that it was going to end. I had to sit with her for a final time. Lay in bed with her and kiss her. Tell her how much she meant to us and to let her know we’re going to be alright. There are no words to convey how much I was wrapped around her soul on that last day. I played her videos of Levon laughing and Tuesday jumping and singing. Over and over. I thought that if she was traveling through to some other existence I wanted it to be one where she heard her kids laughing and having fun. Maybe somehow those sounds would resonate into the world she was going to. I don’t claim to have any idea of what happens to someone when they die. Nor do I feel it’s my place to tell anyone their thoughts on the matter are false. I just hope she still hears them. 

I’ve seen a therapist. Something I had always thought was a sign of weakness or for people who just can’t get their shit together. I was wrong. There are people out there that know more then me, and I can accept that now.

I’ve been to a state of depression I never knew was real. I had always thought it was just someone’s way of whining or complaining. That all they needed was to cheer up and stop looking at things so negatively. It’s clear to me now, it’s not their fault. I always said suicide was such a selfish and weak thing to do. I get it now. I can attest to the fact that there can come a time where all you want is for the pain to end and make it all stop. I never truly thought of ending my life, but I can understand the feeling of being so down and in such a dark hole that you figure the world would be better off without me. Thankfully, Levon and Tuesday kept me from dwelling on those types of thoughts for more then a few moments. Also, i’m lucky enough not to have any chemical or brain imbalances that would have compounded the situation. There are people who are not so fortunate and it’s not anything they wish they had or can do anything about without help. 

Mel’s passing has made me far more empathetic and sympathetic then I was ever before. She made me a better father and a better man. She has left me changed for the better. I only wish I hadn’t had to go through hell to learn those things. 

During our “you’re too good of a friend, I don’t want to risk losing that” phase of our relationship Mel and I would occasionally go up to my friends place near Apex mountain for the weekend.

It’s a four hour trip and we’d just listen to music, talk and drive. These weekend trips would always end up in frustration because try as I might, I wasn’t able to convince her of my sincerity. So the drives back were generally just the driving and music. Very little talking. The silent treatment that I somehow thought was the smart way to go. I’d also put on sirius xm “outlaw Country” because if you’re not going to love me then I get to pick the music! Again, really mature. 

There’s no cel coverage for a large part of the drive so we’d just sit there, uncomfortably staring out at the mountain road and letting the tension sit between us. 

On one of our trips we had just come through fog on a steep uphill part of the drive and it opened up at the top into sunshine and the vast vista of mountains and trees all around us. It was breathtakingly beautiful. This song came on. 

 Neither of us had heard it before but when it was over, we started talking again. We both loved music because of they way it can sometimes say things you feel but can’t eloquently put into words. I have an endless playlist of songs that speak to her or from her. 

Months later after we had gotten together I texted her a link to this song. Her reply was “the things you remember Mr.Tyson! I love you babes!” 

Melissa’s love of music will constantly stir up memories and emotions for me. She had Mathew 6:21 tattooed on her back. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”

She has left me with two very special treasures and her heart is still with them. 

We’re doing fine, thanks everyone.

January 8 2017

One year ago today. We watched the final 2 episodes of that seasons “House of Cards” and then at 1:08 am he was born. There’s not enough space to ever write just how much has changed in the last year. One of the things that has been constant though is Levon. He has grown in this new time like any newborn would. He has progressed through all of this bringing nothing but happiness. The tiniest developments have given us a hint of what the future can hold. Good things happen in time. He learned to crawl, then slowly pull himself up and now he can stand. Soon he’ll take his first steps and then he’ll be running. The fact that in retrospect, his physical development has gone on while being an exact mirror of my emotional one leaves me hopeful and proud. Right now he is oblivious to how much he is loved by those closest to him, but in time he’ll realize it, and I’m certain he’d say a huge and sincere thank you. Xoxo ,

October 10 2016

So Tuesday and I decided we’d spend this weekend away from everything up at a friend’s place far from the reaches of electricity, cel phones and all of that stuff. I knew this day was coming and just needed to get away. Last night, after everyone went to bed I went outside, built a fire, drank some Guinness and waited for midnight so I could say happy birthday. The ciders were gone so I couldn’t toast her with one, but Guinness was our second choice. When the thought of Melissa comes through my mind it always starts where the sun is behind her and she is smiling. The light surrounds her. Golden. She is always smiling, her eyes squinted slightly with that comforting “I love you” look. I could live in that moment. Make time stop and just look at her. Her smile alone was enough to make me fall in love with her. She was beautiful. She would tell me of her flaws. The things she thought were wrong with her appearance. How she felt her chin was too pointy. She wished she’d never plucked her eyebrows when she was younger. Her hair was graying. She didn’t like her legs, her ass her blah blah blah..I never understood what she was saying. They never existed when I looked at her. I would never believe her. No matter what she said was flawed, I never saw it. This monday she would have turned Forty. She was NOT looking forward to that. For the past year or so she would ask me “do you think I could say thirty four? Or thirty six?”. I would laugh at the fact she was asking me in a serious manner. Seriously? “Oh babe, who cares?? Look at you, you’re gonna be forty and you look fucking amazing! You should brag about being forty and looking so hot. Look at me. In the time we’ve been together you’ve had one kid, about to have a second and you haven’t changed at all. I’ve put on twenty five pounds and lost half my hair. My back is screwed up, my knee is screwed up and I’m starting to get up in the middle of the night to pee!” 

Then she’d tell me how great I looked. Me. How good looking she thought I was. The fat bearded redneck. That alone was a reason to love her until the end of time. 

A small part of me, a very small part, thinks she’d somehow be glad she never had to turn forty. She gets to live on now with time stopped. In forty more years she will still be thirty nine. Or thirty four if you want to believe her. Going out looking good. Going along like a Neil Young song. Unfortunately you can’t separate the reality of it all. The sadness and loneliness far surpass any of the 70’s rock melodramatic and semi-romantic “live fast die young” story lines she loved. “We all gotta go sometime”. Maybe babe, but it shouldn’t have been this time. You had a lot more to do before the lights went out. Our children should have had the chance to grow up with a cooler then cool mom. Xo Babe.

September 21 2016

The first time I actually took Melissa out on an official “this may be happening” date was in the summer of 2010. She was still going back and forth on what her true feelings were but agreed to go to dinner with me and we could call it a “date”. Yipeee! At this point she had decided it was also ok for us to have sleep overs, but absolutely nothing ever happened. I think part of it was because she got a free ride to work and could sleep an extra half hour. We would go to bed and while she slept I would lay there, awake most of the night, thinking “oh God, am I supposed to try to kiss her now? If I do is she going to kick me out? She did say we were just friends right? So why are we in bed together???”. It was like being back in highschool, where I was in love with the beautiful popular girl, like everyone else, and was lucky enough to be able to hang out with her.

 She was living in Kits at the time so the evening of the date I drove to her place and we walked over to Maenam, a Thai restaurant. When we sat down and the waiter asked us about drinks I said that since I had to drive home, I better not. This was a ploy. She said go ahead, you can stay over. Ploy executed perfectly!. So we got a bottle of wine and went through the menu. Now to give you a bit of background, I can’t handle spicy food. It’s not that I don’t like it, but my stomach has a different feeling about it. Mel was unaware of this at the time and I certainly wasn’t going to let on that I was some kind of wimp who needed the “mild version” of any dish. At the time, I was pretty much doing everything I could to show her how much we had in common. Regardless if we actually did or not. 

So we ordered. Nothing mild. Nothing close to mild. We ate and drank. We drank a lot because I couldn’t let on that I needed water. So wine would have to make do. 

When we were done she said we should go for a walk because it was such a nice night. Around twenty minutes into our walk I started to feel like my stomach was realizing what I had done to it, and things were about to get “moving”.  

Mel was oblivious to the fact that I was starting to panic. We just walked and talked and I tried to hold a conversation while the whole time thinking I have to get to a washroom. But where? The idea of getting back to her place and somehow suavely excusing myself to foul up her bathroom was out of the question. Her place had walls as thin as paper and since we’d be coming home after midnight it would be as quite as a church in there. No TV on or music to cover up any sounds. 

So I said we should grab a nightcap and since we were standing right by the Smoking Dog, a restaurant near her place, I said how about here?!. So we went in. The chairs we up on the tables and the bartender told u they were closing up. Mel insisted he just get us two shots of bourbon and we’d be gone. Two shots, basically a minute. I said pour them up, and do you have a washroom?. “Wait here, i’ll be back in a second to do that shot babe”

The washroom had one stall and one urinal. I opened the stall door and I kid you not, the toilet was filled to the brim. Like a previous me had just been in there. At this point I was in full on panic mode. Here I was finally taking the girl of my dreams out, showing her how cool and easy going I was and I was going to shit my pants. She was sitting at a bar with two shots in front of her, an annoyed bartender wanting to close up and I was weighing the idea of using the urinal for a toilet or looking for a plunger. Luckily they had a plunger under the sink. So I went to work. Of course, since the night was really turning out great, I got splashed. Yep, I now had to deal with that, along with my original reason for being in there. Anyway, I got to the point I was able to use the facilities. The only thing that would have made it any worse would be an empty toilet paper roll. And yes, it was. If you want to picture that moment, imagine a tight close up of a panicked face then fast zoom to an empty paper roll and “dun dun duhhhnnnnn!!!” music . So I did what we alll would do, I scurried out of the stall, grabbed the paper towels and scurried back. Then I realized why this situation had been created. Someone had flushed hand towels down the toilet!! At this point I knew that I had been in there long enough that unless I had sever prostate cancer, I wasn’t in there taking a pee. 

There is some unwritten code that bowl movements don’t happen when you first meet someone. They are deal breakers, and anyone who is vulgar enough to actually have one in your presence is clearly a disgusting pig and should be left immediately. 

After washing myself from head to toe with paper towels and hand soap I finally got out and back to the bar. Mel asked if I was ok. She said I looked all red and sweaty. I told her I got a call from work and had to deal with it, plus “red wine, you know…” Very smooth of me. We did our shots, I left $40 on the bar and said Let’s get out of here and let this guy close up. (and before he does his bathroom check). 

When we got back to Mel’s she invited me in but instead I kissed her goodnight at the door and said I had an amazing night and would like to do it again. In hindsight It was quite chivalrous of me really. The reality was I knew the fresh air was keeping her from realizing I had been splashed with feces and felt it might make a bad impression once we got inside. 

She texted me later and saying she wished I had stayed over. I replied “one day we’ll be together and we won’t have to kiss each other goodnight in an entrance way ever again xoxo” 

Now I share this story not because it’s a shining moment in my dating career, but when I told Mel about it eight or nine months later she thought it was hilarious and remembered thinking that night that maybe I was someone worth her time.

It’s also proof that good things come to those who wait, even if the reason to wait has been forced upon you. And seriously, DO NOT flush paper towels down the toilet!!

August 3 2016

When Mel first got pregnant neither of us were aware that the first trimester can cause the woman to experience some rather dramatic mood swings. For us it was generally not the “super dooper happy” side of the mood swing. Anyone who worked at Deacons during that time they can probably attest to this. It got to the point that I had or regulars coming up to me and telling me they were afraid of her. My response was “well she’s having our baby and there’s no way in hell i’m telling her to improve her work, because I’m scared as well” 🙂 One evening I came home and she asked me if I knew where her almonds were. She had some cravings, one of them being almonds, but I didn’t know we had run out. So, being in fear for my life I said i’d run to the corner and get some. When I got to the store I couldn’t remember what kind she liked. Now at this point I knew that if I brought the wrong type home it would immediately signal to her that I was completely uncaring and further more probably unfit to be a father. So I bought one of every kind of almond they had. I think I spent $70-$80 on them all. When I got home she was asleep. To this day, I have one bag of frozen plain almonds in my freezer and a pound of tamari almonds still in our cupboard. The picture below was taken 5 years ago near then end of her second trimester, hence the smile and glow 🙂 One of the many things she’s left with me, apart from a fear of almonds, is that when you love someone and they’re pregnant, just do whatever the hell they want you too. Because when you’re holding her hand and leg and watching your child slowly appear from her body, you’ll realize that apart from every almond costco sold, you should have bought her an almond farm too. Xo babe.

June 25 2016

So i’m gonna share one little personal moment here with all you facebookies that i’ve come to realise. Obviously it’s because I see the world in a whole new light. Mel’s purse still hangs in our bedroom door, her pj’s still lay on her pillow, all her man many many boxes of jewlery still clutter our bedroom. I have a small space where I could pile my clothes. It’s still used even though I boxed up a lot of her things and have lots of storage space. Thing was when she was still with me I always wished I had more room. Our fridge is still covered with family photos, mostly of her because, well she just looked a hell of a lot better on it then any pic of me. I opened that frisge 20 times a day, never really looking at then. It happens, those types of things just become another part of the furniture. Aside from the tv and our couches every other thing in our home was hers. Or hung up by her. Or arranged by her. It’s all very nice and organized and looks beautiful but if you came over 3 months ago it’d just be a nice house and that’s it. Because she’s gone now, it all breaks my heart. It breaks my heart because she did it with love and care and made our house a home. I never thought much about it. I mean realistically we all get to that point. The flowers on the counter start to get in the way. The pictures on the fridge keep falling off when i’m just trying to find the mustard. The pictures on the wall might as well not be there for the the fact that they’re just there. 

There’s a million things in our home that are just ingrained into it now. I used to call it clutter. 

The same thing happened as time went by with us. The excitement of coming through the door and seeing her became just another thing that was there. It not that we stopped seeing each other, it’s that life took over and instead of excitement I just thought “oh shit I forgot to call our bookkeeper” or fuck I need a new jacket. Or what’s tuesday gone and done now. 

Life takes over. Everyday routines, stresses, new problems or plans start to overtake the beautiful romantic love story that drew us together. That’s just life. Nobody is immune to having to change focus and adjust their life.

Instead of falling asleep in each others arms with that electricity burning between us, you just go to bed and try not to wake her up. 

I don’t think anyone can ever hold onto those first moments when everything revolves around your loved one. It has to change and evolve and mellow out.

What I can say is all those things that seemed so mundane and matter of fact now stir up all the beautiful moments we had. Why did I play candycrush beside her when I could have just held her in my arms? Whay did I stay up after she went to bed so I could watch 20 more minutes of some show? Why did I waste so much time when I should have just been holding her and talking to her and just being one with her?

I did it because that’s what happens after a while, and I can tell you that if you do have someone in your life still, you need to try and think back to what it was first like. Because now when I go into the fridge and that picture falls of the fridge door I pick it and treat it like it was a priceless piece of art and I wish to god she wasn’t just an image in our kitchen instead of the real thing.