October 17, 2012

What Not to Listen to When You Are Low.

FollowFriday Says What.


I rank 435 in Canada and 48 375 in English ranking.
They tweeted to alert me of this.

If anyone has any idea what the shit this actually means, I would be grateful.
I'd like to know if I have won free tickets to Honeymoon Suite or something.

October 9, 2012

Words with Sadness.

I remember being about 23 years old and writing pages and pages of nonsense. I would start by writing words and incoherent sentences. Sometimes without spaces between the words, because they didn't make sense anyway and it added an interesting element to my experience. I would get about 2 or 3 pages in before a theme would begin to form. Words became sentences and sentences became thoughts and thoughts would become ideas and all of a sudden I would have 7 or 8 pages of back to back scribbling and the world would make sense again.

I wrote a lot back then. I don't write as much now, because it's not 1997 and my typing skills have far surpassed my handwriting. I don't know if typing would have the same affect. I don't know if there was something more personal about holding a pen and feeling the paper press beneath the weight of the words. Like hanging up a cell phone after an angry call, it will never replace the satisfaction of slamming a receiver down and storming away in a huff.
But maybe I could give it a try. See if the damage might come out to play in an environment where music isn't blasting, beer isn't flowing, and people aren't coaxing the laughter out instead. I don't wish to ignore my grief. I don't want to make my despondence feel unwelcome. I just don't know how to talk to them very well anymore. I haven't been this kind of sad in a very very long time. Like learning another language, if you don't use it, you lose it. I have lost my ability to talk with my sadness. To suss her out and make her okay again.

Perhaps the tools I used then will work now.
Perhaps not.

But I figure I have to try something.

You can only drink Gin & sing for so long.

October 8, 2012

Paper Faces.

This guy chose my Twitter avi to use for one of his Paper Faces, using the Paper app on ipad.


I have this app.
I can not do this.

To Be Grateful.

This year will go down in my history as the hardest of my entire life. Learning what it means to have a part of yourself die with the last breath of the most important person to create the world as you now know it is a lesson I will never master.

While I carry an ache now all too familiar and constant, I am filled with gratitude that is immeasurable. The support and love I have felt has been stunning & overwhelming. Recalling the battalion of lovable misfit brats that Greg & I have amassed over these last four years reaffirms that our love was bigger than we ever were.

"I don't know how I am going to do this..."

"With an army behind you."

This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for you.
For your texts. For your messages. For your calls. For your time spent. For your tears. For your music. For your arms. For your poetry. For your laughter. For your talents. For your sincerity. For your care. For your words. For your generosity. For your brilliance.

For loving us.

I would not be who I am today without you all.

I love you.

September 26, 2012


As I wander through this apartment
it feels like walking through time
Not forward, as most believe
Not sideways, as I believe
But backward 
Every morning the world looks imposing
Like I am getting further away
By mere inches
Things seem to weigh a bit more
Lifting them becomes more difficult
By mere grams
Time that used to feel so weightless
Time that used to feel so expansive

It is hunting me now

September 21, 2012

Interview With Sheena: Chapter 1.

"So, what gets you up in the morning?"
"Worry. That is the simplest and most clear answer I can give you. Worry about whether it will be another wasted day. Worry about the things I am ignoring that will be of detriment to the future me that, unless I quit life, will be forced to deal with my fears. Worry that I will slip into the depression everyone expects of me. Worry for my family. Worry that I am creating, out of a good intention that I told Greg on his deathbed, a lie: that I would be okay."

"What are you excited for?"
"Not much. Initial excitement soon gives way to terror as the rest of my life unfolds like a map that has been rammed haphazardly into the glove compartment. And as anyone who knows me can attest, I am not good with direction at the best of times."

"Any events coming up?"
"Music shows. Amanda Palmer at the 29th of this month in Vancouver. Matt Anderson. Dan Mangan. Gaslight Anthem with Hotwater Music. A best friend's wedding. Football games with my dad and pub nights with friends..."

"Oh, my dad just set me up with a therapist. That is something to be both terrified and excited about. Like any relationship."

"None of this sounds like you are planning your next move in life."
"That is not an accident."

"You're not?"

"Not to judge, but what is stopping you? What is the hardest part?"
"Fear makes my decisions for me right now. Not making a decision is making a decision. So, not checking the mail/ phone calls/ voicemail makes a lot of decisions for me. Not checking the bank account keeps the laughter around a bit longer. Hiding creates a cocoon. My next life is a horrifying endeavor. Imagine the strength most people need to clean out a storage closet. I need to clean out my life."

"What do you miss most about Greg?"
"I can't answer that. Their is no hierarchy of love, nor pain. Heightened emotion creates action, and action builds the elements of your life. My entire life is absent from a huge life force that helped to design the blueprints of a building now crumbled to the ground, with all of the architectural plans disintegrating with it."

"That sounds brutal."
"It ain't easy."

"How are you feeling? Does anyone ask that? Is that a stupid question?"
"It's not a stupid question, though it is an idealistic one. It assumes I have an answer or, even less likely, will be able to articulate it. I am numb. Or distracted. Or hidden. Or destroyed. I am only sad alone, though. Very very few people see me at my worst. It is not a natural role for me."

"What is your natural role?"
"Life of the party. Fun beam. Cockeyed optimist. Love addict. Inspirational speaker and motivational role model. Okay, those last things are kind of a joke, but only kind of. My brother used to refer to me as a muse. He said my talent was making others better people."

"And you are not this now?
"I am not comfortable being a source of inspiration for people, as I am not confident I am a role model for anyone. Being "strong" or "inspiring" to people now seems to mean that I am not suicidal or a drug addict or a cutter. The intention is the same, but the filter through which I communicate has changed. There is a prism of sadness, and grief, and regret, and pity that changes my intent. It is not my current strength, let's leave it at that."

"So you don't make people feel better anymore?"
"Usually it is by being the emotional barometer of the room. At the funeral, the wake, pub nights... if I am able to look like I am okay, maybe everyone can believe it WILL be okay, and thus, they can be okay, too."

"Do people still come to you with their problems?"
"Often. Sometimes too much. Sometimes selfishly, saying things like 'We are totally sharing in our grief...' when I assure you we are not."

"You are not sharing the grief?"
"No. Not being able to see a guy that you saw at punk rock shows 6 times a year by accident is not something that can be shared with a woman who had her entire life pulled out from under her and has spent the last few months hiding under it."

"It does seems a bit insensitive."
"You have no idea."

"No names, but I have had a girl say that her pain was paramount because I was prepared, where as she was SHOCKED. I had another compare the death of her 15 year old boyfriend to Greg's death because she also considered him the love of her life. As though a 15 year old and a 35 year old would have the first fucking thing in common when it comes to love, let alone the destruction of a life build on plans and dreams and hope. Hope means something different at 15 than 35. Trust me. I was 15."

"The cake was probably a girl telling me that they know how I must feel because they, too, understand my despondence due to working in a warehouse/trade with men who don't believe in the plight of the female tradeswomen."

"They compared the death of your fiance to their male dominated job environment?"
"It's ongoing, dude. Some days I have to defend my absurd tweets with the hashtag #widowtweets because people believe they have a more depressing story. Like the traffic ticket they got that day."

"I don't have words. I just... that is nuts."
"They say the stages of death include anger. I am in no way angry at Greg, or 'God', or the care of the medical team at the UofA, or Life, or any of that shit. What I am angry at is the insensitive and narcissistic characters I am coerced into dealing with about this tragedy."

"Have you gone off on them?"
"Not yet."


"I would be excited to witness that."
"A few close friends who have been present for many of these situations have shared in your enthusiasm. They feel I am long overdue."

"Can we continue this later? I have a feeling you are getting sleepy."
"I am. But I would like that."

"Thanks, Sheena."
"Thank you."

September 19, 2012

"I look at myself, I did not see me anymore..."

"At the twilight, a moon appeared in the sky;
Then it landed on earth to look at me.
Like a hawk stealing a bird at the time of prey;
That moon stole me and rushed back into the sky.
I looked at myself, I did not see me anymore;
For in that moon, my body turned as fine as soul.
The nine spheres disappeared in that moon;
The ship of my existence drowned in that sea..."

"Better by far you forget and smile
Than you should remember and be sad.."

Thank you, friends. Friends who somehow know I am up at 2:30am in need of sweet words.


September 17, 2012


So, one night, high on Temazapam and loving the world, I decided to start ProjectBee. I thought that due to the overwhelming support and adoration I have received from people all over the world, it would be a fantastic gesture to connect with them in a small way. And who doesn't love snail mail? Might as well use it while we got it.

So, I sounded the alarm (put it up on Twitter and Facebook) and the response was overwhelming. Levels I will have a hard time keeping up with. But I am up for the challenge. All I ask is that you all have patience with me. It may not be the grand opus you were hoping for, and/or it may take a bit longer than expected, but please know that this is important to me. And soon your mailbox will be full of bees!

But in a good way.

Eggplant of Love.

September 13, 2012

"You're my new favourite..."

I do not pity my situation. In fact, I do not pity anyone's situation. More often than not, I am that annoying bastard that sees the opportunities and the silver linings and the possibilities that unfold in front of us all when adversity strikes.

I mean, sure, I probably drink too much, but I am overall a pretty emotionally stable and mentally solid individual.

But I am struggling. And not in the way most people have probably expected.

I have spent the last 4 years taking care of someone else. It was not one sided, as anyone who spent more than 2 minutes around us would have immediately realized, but I think one of the reasons that Greg & I worked so well together is that we found a beautiful agreement: you take care of me and I will take care of you. At the end of the day, everything and everyone was taken care of and we would fall asleep content with the life we had and excited for the life that was consistently evolving for us.

I didn't realize that this was a bit of a cop out for us. It kept us from having to make ourselves the priority in our own lives.

Now that I am left on my own, I realize that taking care of myself and my future is not the reason I do anything.

I get up because if I don't then my family will think I am sinking. I go out because if I don't then my friends will worry about me. I laugh hard and often because I am afraid that one day I might forget how. I have bills in stacks. I have calls to make. I have voice mails left unheard. I have mail left unchecked. I have dishes left to do.

And some days, I get a bit of a lift and I do these things. I do them before anyone really has a chance to realize anything was wrong.

Someone asked my friend how I was doing.
"She's good..." she replied.

I was livid. This is not just a lie, but it is also so destructive to what I am trying to remind myself... that I am NOT okay. That this is NOT normal. That this life is NOT going to sustain itself for much longer.

I have had a couple of amazing people surface and resurface into my wee tangled life as of late that remind me that there is not only pain elsewhere in the world, but also brilliance and love and excitement and hope. Small gestures like a hand held or a compliment or a 6 hour phone conversation like I am sixteen again... there are joys. There are genuine moments of feeling beautiful and adored and loved and desired and included and necessary in someone else's life again.

Is this selfish? Maybe. But it might be necessary.
To remind me that I am not half of something.

Just a whole something that hasn't realized it yet.

August 27, 2012

"Life is Slippery. Here, Take My Hand."

If I put this entry off any longer, I will never write it.

I still don't really know what story I want to tell here. The one about the love I had with Greg, the one that tells the tale of his last days, or the one that describes how it is getting harder to get out of bed every day rather than easier. I feel I may run out of words. Or will.

So this will be part one. The days leading up to his death. The technicalities. Some of the answers to the questions such as 'how did it happen?' and 'how did he go so quickly, he was doing so well?' The moment of his death is a chapter all its own, and I will do my best to summon the emotional strength to delve into that pool one more time for you.

On Monday the 11th he was having a lot of trouble breathing. After seeing his doctors, they upped his anti-rejection meds and steroids and the line between his sickness and his side effects started to blur. It was a hard week. He barely slept. He had to sit down from breathlessness from just going to the washroom. He didn't eat. He was miserable and uncomfortable all the time.
"I have a follow up appointment on Tuesday, Mee. Let's just give it the weekend for the meds to do their thing..."
So we did.

The last photo he ever took with the caption "Good morning sunshine #nofilter #rejection?"
On Saturday evening while he was sitting at our kitchen table, I caught an expression on his face. One I had never seen before.
"Baby, are you scared?" I asked him.
He started to tear up and he nodded.
"I just don't want to leave you."
Leave me. Not die. He was never afraid to die. But this was the first time I had ever seen him afraid that he might not make it. And it terrified me.

On Monday I came home from work at 10am. He was having what I can only describe as an escalating panic attack from not being able to catch his breath. I called the ambulance. Once they came I packed his overnight bag, as I always did when he had to stay at the hospital, and went to meet him in Emergency. On the 15 minute drive to the hospital I saw three dead animals on the road. I started to cry.

When we got in to see him, there was something not quite right. He was agitated. He wasn't faintly smiling like he always did. He looked worried. These are things Greg almost never expressed when he was in the hospital. It was always much more important for him to feign casual comfort for the emotional stability of his family. He would always fake a smile, crack a joke, anything just to see me smile, too. And he could barely look at me.
"It's just because he hasn't gotten any sleep and he has been miserable this entire week," James said. I nodded.
But that wasn't it.

By the next morning the doctor decided it would be best to sedate him while the body healed. This is also known as putting someone in a medically induced coma. It was for the best, they said. It will just be for a couple of days, they said.

This was the last text I ever received from him.

That was the last time I saw him awake. The last time I told him I loved him and knew he could hear me. The last time I felt him squeeze my hand back.

In lieu of telling the same minutia of medical and emotional drama that followed the next 2 weeks, I will share with you excerpts of the Evernote I was sharing with Greg titled "The Hospital Diaries." My plan was to document life as he slept so when he awoke he would have stories and something to fill in a few of the blanks he may have. Excuse the typos. I have left it unedited for posterity.

Note: The Evernote audio files are usually just me singing our silly songs to him and telling him I love him through muffled tears and outright sobs until I compose myself and apologize and tell him I will try to do this again tomorrow. It always ended up the same way.

Note: I still have the plastic piece. I sits on a statue of Thor with a lock of his hair. It took me a week to move it from the floor after he died.

And that was as far as I got before it started to become much too scary for me for carry on. I couldn't conceive of documenting anything as just getting through the day was a feat. There were complications, "set backs", improvements, and the unexpected. It was a fucking ridiculous roller coaster and every day became a bit more grim than the last.
Until the Friday when they said that his prognosis had stabilized and his oxygen was excellent. They took the dialysis machine off of him, they had quit his plasmapheresis and it looked like they could start taking him off sedation by Saturday. The family was so excited we went to the Tymofichuk's for a celebratory barbecue. We raised our glasses for Greg and my heart felt lighter than it had in weeks.

And then James got off the phone with the hospital.

"Greg had a stroke."

By the time we got there, the doctors explained that the stroke may have been bleeding for days. The damage was "extensive." They couldn't guarantee that he would have the brain function to keep himself alive on his own.

I recall standing beside Greg's bed, reading Tina Fey's Bossypants to him and laughing, when the devastating reality was explained to us. Behind me, I heard Marie collapse in wails. I heard Randy, the rock of the family, reduced to tears. I heard James start repeating "no... no..." until they, too, became ruined sobs. I rested my head beside Greg and stroked his hair, softly telling him that I loved him and that I would be okay and that he could go. I didn't even believe that I would be okay, but I knew that the only thing that would keep Greg clinging to this life was his desperation to stay with me and take care of me. I was so intent on making sure he knew he could move on that I don't even think I remembered to cry myself.

"You have to make a decision..." the doctor said. We knew what she was talking about.

As soon as it became clear that the Greg we knew had already slipped through our fingers, we left for a sleepness night only to return in the morning with a unanimous decision.

"I would love that man if the only part of him that remained alive was his left foot but I would never do that to him."
The family agreed.

We were all together the next morning; Randy, Marie, James, Anne, and his best friend Nathan. The shock and sadness was trumped only by the overwhelming love and support everyone had in that room for each other. And for Greg.

"Leave it to Greg to wait until we could all be together before he passed..." I said.
"He was always so fucking considerate."

It was good to hear everyone laugh.
It would be awhile before we would do it again.