Thursday, April 04, 2013


Twelve days to go. Twelve days until the anniversary of the day when grief struck like I never knew it could.  Twelve days until I relive that day and what I felt.

April 16, 2012 was a very sunny, unusually warm day; shorts and sandals weather.  I was at home with Oliver because I was on maternity leave.  At about 3:00 p.m. my cell phone rang and on the display was a recruiting firm from Kitchener.  I didn’t answer because I initially thought it was a wrong number. 

After I thought about it for a bit, I realized my cousin, Kevin, worked for a recruiter and that maybe it was him calling. We had been exchanging emails about some baby furniture he was looking to pass on. I checked my voice mail and Kevin had left a message to urgently call him.  My heart raced and a sense of panic overwhelmed me. I called him back and he told me he had a message for me to call Dr. Blank (can’t remember his name) at St. Mary’s hospital in Kitchener.  He said, “Jen, I’m sorry, but expect the worst”. 

I frantically dialed my sister, Bev’s number and all I can remember asking is, “Did he die? Did he die?” to which she responded, yes.  She had received the same call from Kevin and had spoken to the doctor already.  From there it’s a bit of a blur.  I know that Brayden had come home from school at some point and I started to cry out for him.  I needed him to take Oliver while I crouched on the floor crying and shouting, “No, No, No!”  I also somehow called my husband and my mom and shortly after Bev and Luigi arrived at my house. 

Luigi drove Bev and I and Brayden to the hospital in Kitchener so that we could see Dad one last time and make arrangements.  I’ll never forget walking into the room where he lay.  I relive that moment almost daily. It looked like he was sleeping, but he wasn’t.  He was lifeless.  His skin was grey.  He was cold to the touch.  But he was my Dad so I hugged him and kissed his cold forehead and sobbed.  From there, this happened.

That was a Monday.  The rest of the week was a blur and was very overwhelming.   Time flew by and stood still all at once.  Funeral arrangements, phone calls, emails, etc. filled my days.  My sleep was filled with dreams of Dad.  My waking hours were filled with thoughts of Dad. 

And then it was my birthday that Thursday, April 19th.  I received sympathy cards instead of birthday cards.  I shopped for an outfit to wear to a funeral instead of to wear to a birthday celebration.  I was angry at Dad for ruining my birthday, but at the same time grateful that he had sent a card and gift ahead of time that I had already received.  That was so unlike him; he usually had to ask Bev when my birthday was and was rarely on time with wishes and cards.  Maybe he knew…

This year as the first anniversary of Dad’s passing approaches I’m feeling anxious, sad and, I don’t know, weird, I guess.  I am determined, however, to have a good birthday. I am taking the day off and treating myself to a pedicure and a great big cupcake.  I’m going to do what I want to do and thoroughly enjoy the day.  I know Dad would want it that way.