Even Better Than Before
August 25, 2015
If you met me in 2010, you would barely recognize me.
I don’t mean because my hair has gotten thinner in the male way, or that my facial hair has gotten more creative to compensate.
Although both are desperately true.
I am talking more about who I am, and what I think about, in my everyday life.
A lot has happened in the past 5 years, which I am sure is true of everybody reading this.
I often play a game with myself, to imagine where I will be, in about 5 year’s time.
I do this, by imagining the different ways I thought about the world, at 5 year intervals. It’s really cool to play this game, and realize how much you grow psychologically, during these time spans.
At 5 years old to 10 years old, there is an incredible leap.
Same for 10 to 15, and so on.
I always imagined at some point, how I feel about myself and the world, would hit a plateau, as I move closer to my own flat line.
But when I consider how I thought about things, at age 35, compared to 40, it still seems like a completely different life.
Which brings me to the past 5 years.
If my life was the Stock Market, it was in the last 5 years that my Self Equity plummeted, due to the crash of December, 2012, and the not so Great Depression, that followed soon after.
And I think about my life, as a 38 year old, before we cared about cnacer, and I realize I was living in a fairy tale, and never had a fucking clue.
My wife Kerri, is an amazing person, if she exists in some form today, that I just can’t see.
She really did organize, and run our household, and bore the brunt of maintaining our family’s best interests.
She was the Mother Earth, allowing me to be an orbiting satellite, deciding when I wanted to beam down, to help chart Kerri’s current course.
She allowed me to maintain my friendships, and exercise regimen, even though truthfully, I let both slip quite a bit.
She championed healthy eating, but didn’t really mind when 2 litres of vanilla ice cream went missing faster than it could melt.
Most importantly, she gave me one dress rehearsal, in how to raise a daughter, as I watched her love our first, in a way that poets only write about.
And she was as patient a teacher, as she was a parent, and I learned, preparing for my next role.
Neither one of us realized at the time, it would be a solo performance.
I remember being told by many people, when life was normal, that I was a good Dad.
I probably was, by most standards.
It is only in retrospect where I realize, at that time, bonding with my Daughter felt optional.
I won’t give you my Freudian opinion, on why that is, even though I am sure you would find it entertaining.
Watching how Kerri loved our Daughters, showed me the level of attachment and attention, that is required to be a truly great Parent.
I am lucky in many ways, even though an unlucky thing has happened to our family.
The four minus one of us, are all currently healthy.
I just knocked on wood.
We have all managed to find happiness, in many shapes and guises.
But I am luckiest for knowing Kerri, and being able to continue many of the life lessons, that she taught me.
These lessons have allowed me to step out of the way of myself, and be a better mentor, supporter, teacher, and at times, humble servant, to my children.
Two of these lessons would surely be to
STOP BEING AFRAID.
The most important is to:
Invest everything, when loving someone.
And she has nurtured the child in me as well, and I now believe in myself in a way that I hoped I would, as a younger person.
While I will never fully recover from what we have lost, what I have gained has made me a better person than I was 5 years ago.
In the next 5 years, thanks to her love, which blossoms in my children’s eyes daily, I am pursuing some of my own new goals.
I say new, because I don’t think I would have ever had the motivation to actually take one of life’s many off ramps, and explore a new neighborhood in how to be myself.
Kerri, thanks to you, I now have higher sights for myself, and our kids, than I could have had, any other way.
That may sound flippant, or quaint, but it has taken me a long time to see things this way.
I spent 2 years in therapy, which I am sure will be part of a future humorous blog, and now, on my own, I know life can be fun.
My future goals include continuing to put my kids before anything else.
Then making sure I stay healthy, and exercise regularly.
I was planning on trying my second half marathon this October, but true to this essay, I’ve decided to see what I am really capable of, again.
20 years ago, I was a decent track and field athlete, and if I played hockey instead, it is quite possible you would have heard of me.
Since you haven’t, at least in relation to running, I won’t belabor the point.
Anyways, I have decided, to race competitively again, inspired by my friend, Jim Dyck, who recently (August 2015) competed in France, at the WMA’s in the 800m, almost making the finals, in the 40-45 year old age group.
There, now I said it, so I can’t take it back.
And please do not worry, I will not be updating you, on my training regimen, complete with squiggly red lines, drawn on a Google Map of your neighborhood, which always reminds me of Family Circus.
I also have been making some music on the side, having taught myself some piano stuff over the past 12 months, and am excited to see where that goes.
Probably nowhere, but even a 43 year old is allowed to dream.
It is hard for me to imagine, that the events of the past 5 years, actually occurred.
Often, I need reminding, and wake up in the morning, reach over, and feel only empty space.
The thought, that my cup will always seem half empty, reminds me of the feeling I used to have, especially after she left.
It also reminds me of the percentage of lifetime tears, I have already spent.
Some people say that when someone dies, a part of you is ripped out.
I would say that it sure feels like that.
I wish that those people that say those wise things that float around, in our Hallmark Meme Clouds, finished the thought.
It is true that a part of you is missing, but as you heal, you get your choice, about how you want to fill yourself up again.
And if you are smart, you fill yourself as full as possible, with the amazing parts of your loved one.
It is in this way, that Kerri is never far away from her girls, and always right beside me.
Simon Trepel, MD
Simon Trepel, MD FRCPC, is a practicing Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, in Winnipeg, Canada. He is an Assistant Professor, at the University Of Manitoba, in the Faculty of Medicine, and the Co-founder of the GDAAY Clinic. He is, more importantly, the proud Father of 2 beautiful Daughters. He writes in his spare time about things he knows something about, and occasionally about things he doesn’t; like Yoga, and Italian flavored coffees. Kerri loved Raisin Bran.
Check out his Blog, called Simon Says Psych Stuff, at