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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.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Home Depot

When we were building our house, Matt and I made a million trips to Home Depot. While we were there picking out things like PVC pipes, 2 x 4's, power saws, nails and light fixtures, we also got ideas from looking at their displays of kitchens, tiles and carpeting... Home Depot was filled with promise and of things to look forward to putting into our new home. It was so much fun dreaming of what the finished product of our home would be like while looking around the store.

When Matt's brother Chris was out to do the plumbing in my new house a couple weeks ago, we also made several trips to Home Depot. While we were there, memories I hadn't thought about in years came flooding back, complete with vivid images in my head of Matt perusing the isles knowing exactly what he was looking for, and me following behind him totally lost but ready to help if needed. As I watched his every move (when I wasn't drooling over cabinets and flooring), I admired his confidence at what he was doing, and sometimes simply admired him from behind... I would get a kick out of him as we were in the isle with the power tools - his pace would slow considerably as he would gently stroke one of the power tools he dreamed of owning with a look of longing on his face. I could just see the wheels turning, and I know he was imagining all the things he could fix and create with a new tool.

One of the purchases Chris and I made was so large that I decided to go ahead and sign up for the Home Depot charge card so I could save $50 on the purchase. It took forever for the transaction to go through, but I didn't mind. As I was waiting, Chris loaded the truck and I watched the door, imagining Matt walking through it. It was easy - I'd seen it a million times, and I imagined it over and over. It was great. I didn't mind the wait at all. 

When Matt's brother Greg was out to put the access door in, we also made a few trips to Home Depot. More memories flooded back. But the real pain came from seeing a man with his son at the store. He was pointing out to his approximately seven year old son the differences between a 2 x 4 and a 2 x 6, etc., and his son was listening intently. I could only imagine that being Matt and Jacob. 

I don't cry easy, believe it or not (which is probably a good thing since I would have permanently puffy eyes). I prefer to save my moments for after the kids go to bed and I'm alone, and even then I can't always just let it go. But I had a hard time holding it in, standing in the wood isle of Home Depot. Matt had so much to teach Jacob, and Jacob would have loved every second of it. Hell - he did love every second of it when Matt was here, even though he was only four at his oldest with his daddy around. His mind works the same way as Matt's. Matt would have been so proud of how Jacob picked up on the things he taught him, and Jacob would be challenged in ways that he needs and wants to be. In ways that I can't do for him as well as his dad could.

It hurts me more than anything to know what Jacob and Sydney are missing out on by not having their daddy around. Their dad who was totally involved and present in their lives, and who enjoyed every moment he could soak up with his children. They were his pride and joy, and it filled my heart with gratitude and love to watch him with them. I guess the only saving grace is that they won't really know what they're missing out on - not to the extent they would have had Matt died when they were older.


Kris said...

Knowing what our children will miss out on is one of the hardest parts for me. Shane was 3 when Chris died and my thoughts and feelings are the same as yours. They all deserve better than the hand they've been dealt. It goes to show how truly unfair life can be.

Thinking of you, Andrea.

Suddenwidow said...

Knowing what my boys are missing by having to grow up without their Dad is what I find the hardest most days. I feel that I could cope more easily with the loss of my wonderful husband if somehow my kids still had their Dad. I have no idea how that would work, but I wish there was a miracle that would make it so. And no matter how old our kids are, there are pros and cons to being that age when losing their Dad. No child should have to grow up without a parent, especially a loving and devoted parent.

I'm so impressed that you made it into Home Depot so many times without crying. The first time I walked in and smelled the lumber, tears welled up in my eyes. It seemed so unimaginable that I was there without him. I've since managed to shop without tears, but it still feels wrong.

Hugs to you Andrea. I look forward to meeting you in San Diego!


erynn said...

Sometimes I don't know what's greater- my pain or the pain I have for my kids; knowing what they are missing out on.


Heather said...

I cannot imagine what it would be like to go through this with children. But your children have a HUGE blessing-they have you for a mother.


Anonymous said...

My Matt drowned the day before his Jacob's 18th birthday. we were so excited for the kid to turn 18. On the edge of a whole new adventure - just didn't know this was the adventure we were getting. Now, Jake has been gone for 6 months, moved to his mother's in another state. I hope has enough of his dad in him to last.

Anonymous said...

After reading your blog I want to put this out there for thing I think you should remember is you can teach your children like Matt did. Look at the time when Jacob helped you with the front yard. Matt married you because you loved life like he did. You can teach your children the same things!!! Just BELIEVE..Your a GREAT TEACHER!!! YOUR A GREAT MOM!!!You may not be able to teach them exectly like Matt would have but you have the same love for life as he did or he wouldn't of married you! And that right there is a blessing that you can pass on to your children.


Shannon said...

Whoever Tracey is, she is a wise woman, with a way with words! She IS right! I can't imagine being in your situation and moving halfway acrossed country, by myself...and making it work! You are a rock, even if you feel like a slug. Your kids will envy you someday for taking on the role of mom and dad. I know it's not how you had your life planned, but you are doing a KICK-ASS job! Shannon