My photo
Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Here we are...

It seems like when the pain of missing Matt is at its peak, he comes to me in a dream... as if he knows I need him badly. Last night, I dreamt we were dancing together, like at a wedding. We had a great time!

Sometimes it's so fresh, like it just happened yesterday, and the wounds are re-opened and raw. But it was ten months ago yesterday. A lifetime ago. An hour ago.

I had realistic expectations about the move - I knew it wouldn't "fix" anything, but I did expect it would help a little. It really has. The sunshine, warmth, the newness of everything, the ease of maintaining the new place... I can breathe a sigh of relief for a lot of reasons. The main one being that I survived getting to this point, and I mean literally. I was sure I would drop dead either because I'd have a stroke or my heart would just simply give out. Stress does horrible things to a body (and mind).

Jacob has started Kindergarten and loves it. Sydney gets more of my attention now since I'm not working. There are a million and one details that I'm still taking care of, but at least I can do it without trying to also keep a full-time job on top of it all.

My home is a sweet little Spanish style bungalow in a beautiful little neighborhood with lots of palm trees around. We have an incredible view of the San Gabriels from our house. The neighbors are awesome- I've met at least five couples my age with kids the same ages as mine, and they all hang out in their front yards on weekend mornings, drinking coffee while the kids play together. They've taken us in like we've been living there all along.

The closest park is within walking distance, and there are sidewalks the whole way there! This is very exciting for me because I used to have to pack up our minivan and drive to the park where we could go for walks and play. Oh - and the mail is delivered right to the house, as opposed to having to pick it up at the post office! Did I mention that instead of mowing for two and a half hours, I can pretty much cut the patches of grass that need cut with scissors, and there will be no snow plowing or shoveling here!

I was excited about the ice cream truck that went down our street the first time it happened, but I'm going to have to hint to the driver that dinnertime is probably not the best time to come around. Ice cream trucks are everywhere around here - at the park, on the street, everywhere... and hopefully in time the kids will get used to seeing them around and stop asking me for ice cream every. single. time. they see one.

Jacob is going through a tough stage right now... I'm sure it's all the changes, missing Matt, starting kindergarten, etc. that are taking a toll, but he's been very difficult to deal with at times. One of the things I learned from the widows conference - probably the hardest pill to swallow so far - is that with each stage of development and with different experiences, children's grief will take on new forms and challenges as they grow up. We're hitting one of those times right now. Jacob is asking more questions, too. Today, it was, "How did my daddy die?" I've explained it to him before, but I think he's fishing for more details. Details I'm not ready to give him yet.

If you would have asked me a year ago where I thought I'd be right now, I never would have imagined I'd be here. Here. That's a loaded word about now.

But the sun is shining, and the air is warm and dry. For now, that's all we need.


Michelle said...

Thanks for the update Andrea. I'm glad things seem to be going as smoothly as possible. I'm still praying for you every single day. Love you!

Boo said...

Oh Andrea, I just bawled. I don't know why. But I think it's because I'm so proud of you.


Tammy said...

Andrea I'm glad to hear you are settling in nicely to your new life and that you are happy! We've all been thinking about you.

Notes From the Grove said...

"...they all hang out in their front yards on weekend mornings, drinking coffee while the kids play together. They've taken us in like we've been living there all along." That made me CRY! Happy tears, of course. Mixed in a little with the sad ones. Why does it seem like the people who deserve to be here the most are the ones who are taken away? I'm just so sorry and wish things were different for you. But I'm glad to hear this has been a positive transition for your family so far.

Warmly, Brittany

AndreaRenee said...

Awww, thanks guys! XOXO

Danielle said...

Oh, I was so glad to see a post from you. I am glad that the area, neighbors, etc are good. I too am so proud of you and your kids.

Glenda said...

So happy everything has gone as smooth as they possibly can! Sending you hugs XX

Supa Dupa Fresh said...

I'm so glad you're in a good place! Yay!

You might find this book helps with your kids:
When Dinosaurs Die by Marc Brown (creator of Arthur) and his wife, Laurie Krasny Brown.

My daughter is 5 and we just skip around to the topics she's interested in (there's a fair amount of info, so it's good for older kids, too).



Island Roys said...

I am so glad to hear that the move went well. I'm sure it is nice to have the newness of things to take up most of your time and the friendly neighbors are a great blessing. I think you're doing great, even though, some days, it may not feel like it.

Anonymous said...

Andrea, I sneak a peak at your blog once awhile, as I do Rollin with the rooneys, where I found you.
I don't even know you and I am so proud of you - what a huge step to move out of ones comfort zone. I Hope you get to enjoy coffee with neighbors sat morning..
Did you choose CA because you knew someone there?
Good luck and if you don't mind I will check on you often.
Deb from Canada.

AndreaRenee said...

Deb from Canada, my wonderful brother and his family live out here, plus I have a few friends out here. Check on me as often as you like. =)

a corgi said...

hi; I started reading your blog right before you moved; welcome to So. Calif.

I'm so sorry about your husband's passing....I can't imagine how hard it must be. My mom raised 3 of us as a young widow so I know how hard it is to grow up without a dad

your neighborhood sounds so lovely :)


Shannon said...

So glad you finally settled enough to sit on the front porch and have coffee in the morning. There is nothing like a good neighborhood to raise your kids in. Mine USED to be that way. It is becoming terrible. We have been looking for property to build. We want out! I want serenity. If you can do it...I can to. And I have help!!! I am proud of you. Matt came to you in your dreams to tell you how proud he is of you. Keep up the great work. I am here if you need me, but it looks like your doing a damn fine job all by yourself!

Rick said...

I am SO HAPPY for you!!!
Your house sounds BEAUTIFUL and the neighborhood sounds refreshing!!! I LOVE palm trees!!

Keep an eye on Jacob as I will be keeping you and your children in my prayers!!


Silindile Ntuli said...

This is some post, sad yet it is filled with new found hope and a lot of heart. I wish you all the very best.

Anonymous said...

Hi Andrea,

It's great to get the update, and nice to hear that there are some things to make life a little easier, despite the ever present heartache.

And though we are much farther north than you, welcome to the west coast! I hope all settles with Jacob soon, and you continue to find more joys with your new location and more dances with Matt - that sounds wonderful.

Carrie Lynn Fazzolari said...

Congratulations on the move, on the strength it took to do it, and on the perspective that you've maintained. You are a remarkable person and Jacob's "anxieties" (for lack of a better word) are something that you are more than capable to handle. Stay strong and focused, and hey, if I need a break - I might come visit you in California with MY kids! Your strength compels me to move toward my goals in spite of all the changes that have occurred outside of my power. You are an inspiration to me!

Debbie said...

Interesting, we are in New Brunswick, near border of Maine. Where abouts are they? I hope you are getting settled...I find your story so sad but at the same time such an inspiration...I know you are still having such hard days but you sound like you are getting it together...I will def check on...while you were moving there wasn't any I just kept checking.
Take care, we will be wearing snow suits soon, bet you won't miss that.
Canadian friend..

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you Andrea. I found your blog just before Matt's run, and I've been eagerly awaiting your post-LA move blog entry. You are so incredibly strong--you amaze me. ♥ Jen (aka Waldy)

Laura said...

Welcome to So Cal! I found you through Matt's blog. My mom raised me as a widow also, so I can relate from a kid's perspective.

On a lighter note, it's interesting to see the area through fresh eyes - I never considered that the ice cream truck man was overdoing it! :)