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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 30, 2009

Are you out there, God?

My sister is having major back surgery later this morning. She's got spinal stenosis, bulging discs, and other issues that will hopefully be mostly, if not all resolved as a result of the surgery so she can stand upright and walk without agony.

It occurred to me when I woke up in the middle of the night tonight and found myself asking God to get her through the surgery, and to get her through it with successful results, that it's been some time since I asked God for anything. I used to say prayers with my kids at night and end it with, "and thank you God for this day and for keeping us healthy and happy." After Matt died, I revised it to, "and thank you God for another day" because he didn't keep us healthy and happy.

I used to ask him for all kinds of things. "Please God, take Jacob's fever away. Please God don't let us crash. Please God, don't let it rain for the party tomorrow..." You get the idea. I should have been thankful for feeling like I needed to bother God with some of those mundane requests. Hindsight blah blah blah... Is that the reason I've stopped making the requests, or is it that my faith has been shaken enough that I don't think it would make a difference anymore? I honestly don't know the answer to that question. Maybe a little bit of both.

I guess I have been angry at God this whole time and didn't consciously admit to it. Why ask him for anything? Do I really think that after everything that's gone down the past ten months that he'd actually listen to our prayers to have my sister come out of her surgery successfully, and to continue to keep what's left of my little family safe, healthy and happy? Hmmm... perhaps I should have included the word "safe" in my prayers all along.

I hate to bash God after everything he has done for us, like giving me ten years with Matt in the first place and giving us two beautiful kids, helping me to survive after the most crushing blow I could have ever experienced, and to keep my kids healthy and mostly happy since, and have everything work out so that we could get a fresh start in sunny California. I must have him to thank for putting so many wonderful people in my life that if it wasn't for all the incredible support I've gotten from my family and friends, my new network of peers who unfortunately can relate, and complete strangers who keep us in their thoughts and prayers all the time, I maybe wouldn't be making it. It seems sacrilegious and scares me because I don't want to sound like I'm challenging him that he'll end up giving me some other devastating blow to have to get through just to prove a point. That must be the "Fear of God" that I've had instilled in me since my childhood being raised Catholic. Not enough, though, to have me go back and revise this post to capitalize all the H's in "he" and "him."

Well, enough pondering the major questions of life. I should get back to bed and get some sleep... In the meantime, I just might take my chances and ask God again to keep my sister safe, healthy, and happy with the results of her surgery, and to keep Matt, Maddy and Rachel safe with their upcoming journey to the other side of the world. Who knows... maybe he is listening.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Random thoughts...

This is the quietest place I think I've ever lived, even for a suburb. It's the first time in years that I don't live right near a fire whistle, in the middle of a flight pattern, or on a busy road. Love it! Plus, I won't be hearing the sounds of plows this winter. =)

Sydney calls Jacob "Jacobi," and she says to me, "I love you Mommy Dear." What a little sweetheart! She has been so incredibly well-behaved during the hundreds of errands we run while Jacob is at school, too.

Jacob is such a wonderful big brother to his little sister... He is patient and sweet with her. For instance, he indulges her desire to help and will even undo something he's already done just so she can have a turn at it.

Haven't found a hairstylist yet, or a babysitter to watch the kids while I go anyway, so I ended up taking matters into my own hands. I lopped off the dry, split ends myself, and man - what an improvement. Usually just cut the kids' hair, not my own.

The kids and I really enjoy the spur-of-the-moment walks around the block with Jacob on his bike and Sydney on her tricycle.

I'm making some good friends out here. Enjoying living near my brother and his family. Loving this beautiful neighborhood, weather, house, peacefulness of it all. It makes me feel like I am functioning well in between those bad moments.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I miss him.

I miss my husband. I miss him with every part of my being. I hate being a single parent when I had such a wonderful father for my kids, and the best partner for life. He was the whole package, and then some. I hate living my new life without Matt. I miss my old life. My old life that included him. Nothing will ever be the same. I can never be as happy and fulfilled as I once was. My heart hurts so much that it's hard to breathe sometimes. I hate that my children don't have their daddy. I hate that I go to bed without him anymore, and don't get to wake up to his sleepy face. I want to talk to him so badly. I'm so thankful his company didn't completely cancel his phone service so I can at least call and hear his voice say his name. I'm having a hard time being thankful for the wonderful things I still have in my life right now.

I'm having a moment, a moment that will pass, but in the meantime, I'm holding on to it and wallowing in it. Just for the moment.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New stages...

Jacob dropped a bomb on me Friday.

"I want to die."

My first inclination was to say, "Don't say that!!!" but I don't want to shut him down. At all. I'm so thankful that he can, and is willing, to express his thoughts and feelings to me - especially something like this.

So after a brief moment of thought, I replied,

"What?? Why would you say something like that?"

He said, "I want to die so I can be with my daddy."

Wow. I had no idea that a five year old could come up with something like this.


I said, "I know just how you feel, sweetie. I felt exactly the same way. We're all going to die someday eventually, but we don't want to have it happen anytime soon. Daddy would not want us to die - he wants us to live and be happy and have fun. He went to college for a really long time because he wanted to be a good example for you and Sydney so you guys will go to college someday. We have a lot of living to do yet. I'm really glad that you can tell me what you're thinking, Love."

I have no idea what a five year old could be capable of. He doesn't seem depressed or consumed by thoughts of death, but you can be sure I will be calling a counselor tomorrow.

If I was to analyze Jacob through his artwork, I'd say he's a relatively happy kid. His drawings usually consist of smiling faces and hearts. The other day he brought home a few pages of artwork, but one in particular worried me. It was red and black angry scribbles and felt dark and different than what Jacob usually produces. I asked him what this was a picture of, and he said, "I don't know - I didn't do that one." Ha! What a relief!

I'm constantly amazed by his memory... during his bath yesterday, he poured the water over his head to rinse his hair, letting the water go over his face. He has never been comfortable with getting water in his face, but he told me he got used to that because that's how his daddy did it. No wonder he's been challenging himself more with that lately.

We talk about Matt all the time. I work him into our everyday activities and conversation... For instance, I'll say something like, "Daddy would/wouldn't have like this" or "do you remember when you and Daddy did that?" or any other way I can work him into our daily lives. I don't want Jacob to forget, I want Sydney to learn as much as she can about her wonderful daddy, and I want to remember everything, too.

If anyone out there knew Matt and is reading my blog, I would really love it if you would leave comments with your memories of Matt when you think of them - significant or not. That would be such a great gift to me and his kids.

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.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Changed my name...

Well, just my blog name from Always Remember... too many associations with 9/11 that don't relate to me. Other than that, everything else is still the same. Except that I'm living on the other side of the country now, and everything else in my life has changed... I'll be posting an update very soon now that I'm starting to get unburied from all the boxes from the move. It was a good move, by the way, and we are happy to be in Southern California!