Tuesday, March 31, 2009
They have set up the 5K in Matt's honor to help fund the trust, and they are also planning a golf tournament with the same goal. One of the men at the company who is helping to plan the golf tournament, also happens to be the "safety engineer" for the plant Matt worked at. He is the one that explained to us that it was normal for a test engineer to be in the Plenum Room while the compressor was running. He's also the one that told the police that engineers are not allowed in that room when the compressor is running. He is one of the primary people who should have ensured that the proper safety measures were in place so that an accident like Matt's never happened in the first place. He is one of the people I hold accountable.
He is the one that emailed me about the information for the golf tournament.
Seeing his name in my email inbox made my stomach churn and my blood boil. It took me until last night to finally muster the energy and stomach to respond to his email. I just can't bring myself to "thank" the bastard for the work he's doing on this tournament...
I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. I looked over the flyer, and the only thing I can think of to change is Sydney's name - spelled Sydney (not with an i).
Although I really do appreciate all the work that you are doing to help with this golf tournament, I would appreciate it if Scott is my contact person regarding this event. I can't help but feel angry when I see your name in my inbox considering you are the safety engineer, and Matt died because of the unsafe conditions. I wish I didn't feel that way, but I can't help it.
I do know of several people interested in participating in the tournament. I will give Scott the info in the near future.
On one hand, I hesitated to send the email because it does imply I hold him partially responsible for my husband's death and I'd hate to think he's gonna go and slit his wrists now because of the overwhelming guilt that might be eating him up (if he has any conscience), but on the other hand, the S.O.B. got off REAL easy with that email, and in general.
Monday, March 30, 2009
I've always had a tough time accepting help from others - I like to believe I can handle everything myself, and for the most part, I don't do too bad with that, but it became obvious after a while that I did need the help. Somehow without me even asking, everyone showed up exactly when I needed them. Even right down to the party Matt's cousins who live next door had on Saturday night. They sure know how to throw a party, and it was a great opportunity for my brother, sister and I to let our hair down and share lots of laughs.
The relationship the three of us have is pretty amazing for siblings to have - especially when you consider the age difference between us... My brother is 10 years older than me, and my sister is 8 years older than me. Despite having lived apart for most of our lives, we are all very much alike, and compatible as can be.
This past week has reminded me to not live too much in the past, appreciate the present, and to look forward to what the future might hold. If I can hang onto that feeling, there just might be some hope for me.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The first three dreams I had were within the first month or so after he died...
Dream #1: I was in a large room the size of a warehouse with a bunch of people, and the room was divided by a wall of glass. Matt was on one side of the glass with some people, and I was on the other side with some people. I was trying to get his attention - jumping up and down and waving my arms, but he was looking down working on something, although I couldn't tell what he was doing. Nothing I did could get him to look my way. Finally, I asked someone near me, "Why is he not looking at me?!" and she said, "Because he's on the other side - he can't see you from there." Then I thought, "Oh my God. It really is over between us." like we had broken up or something. I cried so hard in my sleep that I woke up sobbing uncontrollably. It was then that I really felt the separation between us for the first time.
Dream #2: In my dream, I was laying in bed just waking up from sleeping in on a Sunday (Matt usually got up with the kids Sunday mornings so I could have a chance to sleep in a little - bless him). I could hear him and Jacob talking in the kitchen. It was so real and so vivid - just like every Sunday morning, and I got SO excited to hear his voice!!! So much so, that I woke up.
Dream #3: Matt was sitting in a chair in front of me, his arms on the arm rests. He was looking right at me. I got so excited to see him, that I woke up. Dammit!!
I saved a lot of posts that I wrote on the message board with the girls, and I've been looking through them lately. I'm amazed at some of the things I wrote - I forgot a LOT (good thing I'm getting better at writing things down now). My heart nearly stopped when I came across these two posts:
10/17/07 - I have an irrational fear of death lately. I'm even having bad dreams more often, too. Last night, I dreamt again of long, skinny tornadoes whipping around, and then black bolts of lightning were all over the sky. This one big, mean black bolt kept following us around (I was trying to protect the kids from it) and hit me. I prayed really hard and then we were OK, but it was terrifying. I don't know if it's the recent deaths of people I know or my upcoming surgery, or maybe a combination of everything that is making me more aware of my mortality or what, but I wish I could shake this awful feeling. How can I get past this? I'm thinking about it way more than I should, and I know it's not healthy. And it's not just a fear of my death, it's the fear of Matt's death or one of my kids.
3/20/06 - Matt nearly broke his neck on Saturday- again! This man is so accident prone! He is always hurting himself either from rollerblading, mountain biking, riding ATV's with his brothers, etc. Somehow he always lands on his head. It's just a good thing he normally wears helmets, but he wasn't wearing one Saturday. He's going to college to get his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, and he's in his 7th year (because of going part time). For his senior project, him and some other guys are building a "mini baja" which is like a doon buggy that they are going to race in May. He was test driving it Saturday, and ended up flipping it over, and he wasn't wearing a helmet, and they hadn't installed seat belts yet. He landed on his head and hurt his jaw, neck and shoulder, and broke his cell phone. No wonder he didn't answer when I was calling him that afternoon to tell him that Jacob finally said "Daddy." I told him he had better be a little more careful now that he has a family (even though he is the most cautious of his brothers - go figure). I also told him the thoughts that go through my head like how am I going to take care of our kids when I'm pushing him around in a wheelchair and feeding him and changing his diapers because he's a quadriplegic. Or, he'll just end up killing himself, and I'll have to raise our kids alone. He made light of it, but I think I got my point across with him finally. The man has no fear, and it's going to get him killed someday.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
One thing I didn't mention to her (I've just recently started feeling this) is that I'm starting to get a little pissed at Matt for leaving me. I know he had no choice - it's not a logical emotion at all.
As crazy as it sounds, one of the hardest things for me to do lately is grocery shopping. Everywhere I look, I think that I would have been buying that for Matt... the limes for his Corona, the lunch meat he liked, Shredded Wheat cereal, the M&M's, the 2% milk, tuna fish, Sun Chips... Matt would get a handful of M&M's after dinner just about every night, and we're just about to run out of his stash. I miss the sound of his hand rummaging through the container of M&M's. As much as I hate folding laundry, I miss folding his (he did his own laundry a lot of the time, though). Did I mention that the Friday before he died, when I got home from work, I found that he cleaned out the fridge?
We ran out of propane, and I realized I had no idea where to go to get more (I figured it out...).
With spring coming, I've got to learn how to open the pool, and get the tractor ready. I have to find out where he went for mulch. I have to find out where he got the annuals he used to plant (I can never remember the name of them! Actually, they're in the last picture with Sydney in that picture post... anyone want to take a stab at it for me?).
I'm just babbling now, so I'm gonna sign off and cut Jacob's hair... and go to bed early so I can make sense when I talk (or write) tomorrow!
The real challenge will be downloading the newer pictures from my camera onto my hard drive (I explain why in one of my older posts).
Today I go for session #2 with the new shrink. I'm tempted to ask her if I can use my hour to take a nap on her couch, and I'll still pay her the $20 co-pay. I'm so tired today... Isn't it funny that she actually has a couch in her office?!
Friday, March 20, 2009
Several of the other girls I became friends with over that period of time decided to get away from the Knot since our weddings had already taken place, and we were starting to switch gears to planning a family. Plus, some of the other girls on The Knot were Not so nice. So, we created our own board called "Gumdrops." In our years of friendship, we’ve experienced joy from the healthy babies born (and gory birth stories), heartache for babies we lost and everything between–divorce, infertility, death, baby poop, entrepreneurship, dinner ideas, dirty jokes… We share laughter, tears and have given each other the strength to get through the hardest times in our lives. We’re often the first to know when one is expecting and eagerly await the news when one goes into labor. We’ve pooled together to give baby showers for those in need, sent necessities to those who endured natural disasters, and pooled our resources to make donations to such charities as Make a Wish, and Big Brother/Big Sister. I really believe that I'm a better mother for having so much great parenting advice.
Each woman brings to the board something special. There are many personalities, but we all get along and respect each others’ differences. We’ve grown very close since becoming friends in 2000 and plan to stick together even after our kids are teens–when we’ll probably need each other the most! Since we’re scattered around the US (and a few abroad), our board is the best way to keep in touch. Those who live close meet regularly. 2005 was the year of our first large Gumdrop get-together. We've had several since then (we try to plan them annually), all in different locations in the country. Not everyone is able to go, but a lot of them are willing to make financial sacrifices to get together with friends we’ve shared so many details of our lives with. I bet people who aren’t familiar with message boards can't understand the bond that can form among members, but we are a very tight group and consider each other "sisters." Several women from this group came out for Matt's memorial service to surround me with love, a few came after for a separate visit, and even more are planning to come out to run in the 5K in August.
There are a few girls that I went to high school with that I am still best friends with 'till this day. Connie and Karin, their husbands and children (who still live in the area), and Jenny and her husband and children who live in Florida. Connie is going to give birth to her third baby at the end of this month!
My best friend from work, Kim, has been an incredible source of support, and is someone I can share tears and lots of laughter with. Matt's best friend Rick, and his wife Heidi who are great friends of mine (I work with both of them, too) have been awesome support, are so much fun to hang with, and our kids get along fabulously. We are like brothers and sisters, and our kids call us "aunts" and "uncles"...
My sister Michelle who is moving in with me, my brother Bryan who's coming out to visit me again next week, my cousins Dana and Lorinda, Matt's cousins Jennifer and Amy (and their husbands and kids), and several other of our aunts, uncles and cousins and in-laws have been awesome friends of mine. It's pretty cool when you can consider some of your family members good friends as well.
Not to mention all the people in our lives that have come out of the woodwork to offer their love and help in any way they can...
I've also made a couple of new friends so far since Matt's death - one near, and one far. It's a shame that we've been brought together through tragedy, but I'm thankful just the same to have these new people in my life. I hope that not only will we be able to support each other through the sadness, but also share a lot of laughter with each other.
I think God knew I was going to need a lot of friends and good people in my life. I certainly have been abundantly blessed in this area, and for that I am very, very thankful.
Every once in a while, he'll start singing with his sweet little voice, "Cruella DeVil, Cruella DeVil, if she doesn't scare you, no evil thing will..." I have to admit, it IS a catchy tune - I find myself singing it out of the blue once in a while. I should probably teach him some other songs so I can hear his sweet little voice sing about something nice...
Right now, his favorite movies are The Polar Express (has been since he was 2 - he's obsessive about trains), Wall-E, 101 Dalmations, Peter Pan, and Mary Poppins (it's my duty to introduce him to the classics!!). His favorite music is the soundtrack to The Polar Express, John Denver's All Aboard CD, and KT Tunstall's 'Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.'
He also likes combines, and gets so excited when he sees one. For those who don't know what a combine is (I didn't know until Matt told me), it's a really big farm vehicle that cuts fields of corn, wheat and oats... Our property is right next to part of Matt's uncle's farm, so it's always a thrill at the end of the season when we see the combine cutting the corn from our house.
Matt and Jacob used to find YouTube videos of trains and combines. Who'd have thought there would be people out there making videos of trains chugging on tracks, and combines cutting fields, but they do - and they even have them accompanied with music! There was one particular video that Matt and Jacob used to like of a combine that played the song Black Betty, so now every time Jacob hears that song on the radio, he says, "That's the combine song!!!"
Sydney has taken a liking to all the things her big brother enjoys, so when she hears his favorite songs playing, she gets just as excited as her brother and breaks out into dance.
Yesterday morning, Jacob said to me, "I have a hundred hearts in my body!" I took that to mean that he's all full of love, because this boy exudes love. He loves everyone, and draws hearts, sunshine and rainbows, and people in his family - I'm sure psychologists would take that as a good sign that he's a happy boy. I'm so thankful he's not drawing skulls and crossbones!
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Every once in a while, I'll have that happen when I come across something. For the most part, I've stopped having that split second forgetfulness when I first wake up in the morning. I hate that I'm starting to get used to it. I actually like to lie to myself sometimes and let myself think that this didn't really happen... that he's coming home. I can almost hear the garage door opening, and then the inside door, and then his footsteps coming into the house...
With spring coming, there are more reminders. He usually took care of our three acres of grass, planted the flowers, plants, trees, and maintained them beautifully. He knew everything there was to know about gardening, and our property looked like we hired a professional landscaper. I have what I consider the opposite of a green thumb (black thumb?), and I can just about keep the hardiest of house plants alive. So far, only one has died in my care since he's been gone, but some others aren't looking too good. Hopefully my sister has a greener thumb than me - then maybe these plants will have some hope of survival after she moves in.
I do want to learn, though. I also want to learn how maintain the tractor, and get the mowing deck on and off. I want to learn how to put those perfect lines in the grass like he did (it always looked like a golf course when he got done with it). I want to take on all these responsibilities he took care of. With everything I take on that he used to take care of, I think of him and hope that he approves of the way I'm doing it.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I'll be missing my family reunion on July 18, but Matt's 5K in August will be like a reunion, anyway...
This is definitely something to look forward to. Thanks, Matt!!
It's pricey, but sounds like it would be awesome. Not sure if I'll be ready to leave my kids for three days, though... Although I don't have a fear of my death anymore (Matt cured me), I fear leaving my kids without a mother and traumatizing them further should anything happen while I'm in route. Realistically, I know anything could happen whether I travel or not (hell - I could bite it on my way to work for all I know, or from an unforeseen blood clot), so I shouldn't worry so much about a three day, much needed trip by myself... right?
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
In brief are 10 suggestions for overcoming grief by the Counseling Center at Western Washington University (www.wwu.edu):
1. TAKE TIME TO ACCEPT DEATH. The only way to deal with death, no matter how painful that might be, is to accept it, not fight it. Yes, our loved one has died. But that doesn't mean that we have to die, too. We have to pick up the pieces and go on from there.
2. TAKE TIME TO LET GO One of the most difficult human experiences is letting go. Letting go takes place when the "we" becomes "I," when we are able to substitute the memories of the deceased for their physical presence and when we are able to change patterns in our lives and in our environment. Letting go occurs when we are able to endure and accept the feelings - anger, guilt, fear, sadness, depression, etc. - that accompany death.
3. TAKE TIME TO MAKE DECISIONS. It is important that the bereaved be patient with himself or herself and gradually learn to make decisions as a way to sustain their sense of self-worth. Making decisions about our lives helps us gain some control over it and increases our self-confidence.
4. TAKE TIME TO SHARE. When you are grieving, you might need someone who looks backward, because the past, not the future, remains the source of comfort in the early stages of grief. Sharing our memories and feelings with people who are grieving themselves is especially helpful and therapeutic.
5. TAKE TIME TO BELIEVE. For many people, religion - with its rituals, the promise of an afterlife and its community support - offers a comforting and strengthening base in the lonely encounter with helplessness and hopelessness. Our faith does not take away our grief but helps us live with it.
6. TAKE TIME TO FORGIVE. The feeling of guilt and the need for forgiveness accompanies many of our experiences, especially those that have remained unfinished. We might feel guilty about what we did or didn't do, about the clues we missed, about the things we said or failed to say. We need to accept our imperfections and make peace with ourselves.
7. TAKE TIME TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF. We learn to be happy by the way we adjust to life-crises and use the opportunities life gives us. We need to be patient and give ourselves time to learn and time to make mistakes. The death of a loved one affects our life-style and changes our self-image. Grief can rapidly shape us and help us discover a new independence and outlook on things.
8. TAKE TIME TO MEET NEW FRIENDS. Loneliness will be present in grief, and it might be nature's way of mending our broken hearts. In the grief process, healing occurs when we take the step to move out of our safe boundaries and interact with others. Old friends might be there to offer security and comfort; new friends will be there to offer opportunities.We might meet these new people through a support group, a card club, or at a class. We need friends on the road to recovery.
9. TAKE TIME TO LAUGH. In life there are as many reasons to laugh as there are to cry. In grief there is a time when our tears come with less frequency and intensity, and we learn to remember without crying. Laughter, on the other hand, helps us survive, and it helps us reenter life. Laughter helps us accept our limitations and develops hope in the present. Laughter defines our movement from helplessness to hopefulness.
10. TAKE TIME TO GIVE. A way to overcome our loneliness and pain is to be concerned about the loneliness and pain of others. Getting involved with others gives us the feeling that life goes on and takes us away from self-pity. Listening to someone, empathizing and sharing over the telephone, providing information or going out to lunch together are ways to give of yourself.
There is a tremendous wisdom that is accumulated in one's encounter with grief, and it needs to be shared. Healing takes place when we turn our pain into a positive experience, and we realize that helping others is the key to helping ourselves. The road to recovery from grief, therefore, is to take time to do things which will enable us to give a renewed meaning to our lives. In grief, no one can take away our pain because no one can take away our love.
The call of life is to learn to love again.For more information, go to www.wwu.edu
Monday, March 16, 2009
I'm 35. I got my beautiful children, and here I am alone. Is this my destiny? To be without a man in my life? It took me 25 years to meet Matt. I was so thankful that I didn't have to be lonely anymore. So thankful I didn't have to be in the hellish dating scene ever again. So thankful I had such a good man to raise my children with, and to grow old with.
I know I shouldn't try to make sense of anything that's happened in the past four months, but I can't help but go there in my head. The only thing that makes sense, is that I'm glad I loved the way I did, and was loved the way I was. Except, the deeper the love, the deeper the pain. I guess I should consider myself lucky to be in such agony, huh? If I knew the outcome would be the same, I'd have still married Matt. I'd have done all of it all over again.
Even though I knew Jeff for six years, I'm glad I got to know him better the past six months so that I could really appreciate the person he was. I wouldn't have learned half of the great things about him otherwise. I probably wouldn't feel the void as much as I do. Should I be thankful for that, too?
Part of me thinks that as blessed as I have been with love, I don't know if I want to set myself up for more pain in the long run. I don't know if I could survive it. There are lots of people out there that never get to experience in a lifetime the kind of love that Matt and I had in our ten short years together. That ten years might have to last me a lifetime.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
ALL FUNDS BENEFIT THE "ROW FAMILY TRUST"
On November 15, 2008 the Cameron Compression Systems plant located in Buffalo, New York, USA experienced a work accident that resulted in the death of an employee. Matthew Row, a test engineer, died at the age of 39 leaving behind a wife and two young children, a son aged four and a daughter aged eighteen months. A Trust Fund has been established for the children to be used for their education.
RACE DIRECTOR: Kristin Leiby, 716-891-3896
DATE & TIME: Sunday, August 23, 2009
Race begins promptly at 10:00 am
LOCATION: Como Lake Park, Lancaster, NY
PRE RACE PICK UP AND REGISTRATION: Friday, August 21, 2009 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm, Cameron Compression Systems, Main Lobby
POST REGISTRATION: Bowen Road Grove, 2220 Bowen Road, Lancaster, NY
Sunday, August 23, 2009, 8:00 am - 9:00 am
ENTRY FEE: $19.00 pre-registered, $20.00 day of race (US Funds Only)
SHIRTS: For first 300 pre-registered participants
CHECKS PAYABLE TO: Row Family Trust
MAIL TO: CAMERON COMPRESSION SYSTEMS
Run for Row 5K
3101 Broadway Street
Buffalo, NY 14225
AWARDS: Trophies to the first overall male and female, plus trophies to the top three in each of the following age groups (male and female): 14 & under, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80 plus.
COURSE: A USAT&F sanctioned and certified 5K course starts and ends in Como Park. Parking is available at Bowen Road Grove and in the park.
POST RACE PARTY: The party will feature the awards ceremony, door prizes, live music by "Joe and the Shmoes" and plenty of food and refreshments.
FINISH LINE: By W.N.Y. Finish Line Services
REGISTRATION ALSO ONLINE AT:
Monday, March 9, 2009
I was wishing Matt was sitting next to me in that church, his hand in mine, me hugging his arm, head resting on his shoulder. I'd give anything for just five more minutes with my love.
I was also thinking there are now five young kids without their dads. Not to mention all the fallen soldiers' kids. There's a lot of dad-less kids out there these days.
Tomorrow, yet another hurdle. I go to a meeting at Cameron about the fundraisers... Walking in that place is a challenge, but I'll do it any chance I get to show my face there. They go about their lives and business as usual, but when I come in, it reminds them about Matt. I don't ever want them to forget. Life as I knew it, and as my kids knew it, will never be the same. I just wish I could stop replaying certain things in my head, like the knock on the door, the look on the officer's face, the words coming out of his mouth...
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Jacob really wanted to make some waffles this morning, and I felt like I could handle it - I've been putting him off with it because it was too painful for me. Fortunately, I've got this defense mechanism that kicked in last night to sort of "turn my feelings off" temporarily. Thank God. I needed a break. I can even breathe a little easier for the time being. I think God knows I need to build up the strength for tonight's wake.
So, the waffles actually turned out half-way decent! I think enough time had passed between Jacob and Daddy making them, that Jacob wasn't able to correct me on all the things I did different than Daddy did.
I had planned to make a few phone calls this weekend to catch up with my friend Jenny to find out the details of Emilio's surgery, and my cousin Dana who was in a car accident (she's fine - just a bit banged up, but her car is totalled), my dad who I haven't talked to in a while, and my mother-in-law to tell her about my most recent conversation with our attorney. Thing is, I can't talk. I've got laryngitis, and can barely squeak out a noise. My kids are enjoying this a little too much I think...
Friday, March 6, 2009
Dear Lord, please give me the strength to make it through the next few days. Please.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Jacob put a smile on my face this morning. As he was rubbing his eyes from the morning gunk, he said, "Mom, I've got some kind of... sugar and cinnamon in my eyes."
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Cliff and Carrie, my heart goes out to you and your whole family. I am so incredibly sorry.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Jacob: "When are we going to God's home to visit my dad?"
Me: =S (not sure how to respond, so there's a pause...)
Jacob: "Mom? When are we?"
Me: "Um.... it doesn't quite work that way, sweetie..."
There was a bit more back and forth, but that was a tough one. Out of the mouth of babes.
When I tucked him into bed last night, he was laying there and said, "Mommy," like he was going to say something profound again after that, and he said,
"Sometimes my butt itches."
LOL!!! I just love that boy.