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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. Andrea Remembers Copyright (c) 2020 Andrea Renee Row- All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This weekend...

It feels SO fresh lately. The pain is indescribable. I feel like a worm on a hook again - writhing in agony, the hook piercing through my entire body, hitting every nerve. I miss you more than words can describe. I do a great job suppressing these emotions for a while, then they resurface and become beyond my control. Maybe it was seeing the family, maybe it's the holidays, maybe it's our growing kids and their ability to better articulate their grief. Maybe it's just all of the above, combined with a serious case of PMS. Whatever it is, it HURTS. Bad.

The kids and I had a great time with the family for Thanksgiving weekend. Got to Greg's Wednesday night, had Thanksgiving Thursday, Friday we celebrated Christmas, Saturday was New Years' Eve and Heather's Sweet 16, and came home this morning. Your mom is unbelievable. She put all of it together - made all the plans and prepared all the food. Wendell was pretty instrumental in it all, too.... Your mom made Jacob the most gorgeous American flag fleece blanket for Christmas that he totally flipped out over. You should have seen his face when he opened the box - as soon as he got the box open and saw enough of the blanket to recognize it, his face beamed, dropped it and ran to your mom to hug her. He's the most grateful and appreciative kid on the face of the Earth. Well, maybe not the ONLY one... Heather was pretty floored by her surprise party Saturday night, and appreciated every little part of it.

It was SO hard not having you there. For everyone. Each one of us felt your absence painfully. Your brothers lit one of Heather's candles on your behalf. Brandi and I really bonded for the first time I think ever. We all launched more balloons with notes written on them for you. This time, we attached a glow necklace to it (like one of those fluorescent plastic ones that are popular during New Years or the 4th of July...). We were imagining drivers on the freeway catching a glimpse of it (since that was the only part of it that was visible in the night sky) and thinking it was a UFO or something and causing an accident which triggered all of our sick senses of humor and resulted in fits of laughter. I envisioned that one episode of Six Feet Under we watched together where the lady got into an accident from seeing a blow up doll floating up into the sky (I think that's what it was -it's been several years since that episode, but I bought the whole series, so I'll eventually get my memory refreshed).

Lots more to tell from this weekend, but I'm willing to bet you were there with us watching it all, putting in your two cents unbeknown to us... At least I'd like to believe so.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Calm before the storm.

As I gained consciousness after the knock woke me up, I thought how quiet the house was. Then realized Matt wasn't laying next me, then the dread. More knocking. I know what that knock is. I know who is on the other side of that door and what they're going to tell me.

For a moment, I thought maybe if I didn't open the door, it wouldn't be real. Life can remain good if I just don't open the door. I took one look at the officer and knew it was over. My husband is gone. Father of our children. This can't be happening. Nothing will ever be the same.

This morning after getting out of bed, I relived that moment. I generally don't choose to relive this stuff - it just happens. Sometimes I can turn it off as soon as it enters my mind; sometimes it plays out against my will. There are times when I let myself relive some of those moments because it brings me closer to the time when Matt was still here. Somehow letting myself feel the pain makes me feel a little closer to him.

Two years later and I still can't believe he's gone. This kind of stuff only happens to other people. I just realized that Sydney has been without her daddy longer than she had him in her life- for six months now.

And now, here I sit, forced to review our life and the manner of his death in writing.

My date of birth. My address. Matt's date of birth. Our wedding date. Our children's names and dates of birth. His date of death. The location of his accident. The date and approximate time. The room where it happened. A detailed account of the multiple injuries he sustained including the physical and emotional anguish, anxiety, distress, fear of impending death... What he must have endured... These are the thoughts that torment me the most. No one will ever know how much he did or did not suffer, because he was alone the whole time. The fact that he was alone when he died sickens me (along with everything else about it).

I review it in my mind often enough without prodding - little flashes here and there that can come out of nowhere - but there's something about seeing it in print and signing my name to it... This weekend of all weekends, too, but I guess no time would have been good for this.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Some people are inspired to write when things are going well and clam up when they're going through tough times. I've discovered I'm not necessarily one of them. I tend to have the urge to write more when I'm in turmoil. It's not that I don't want to share when things are good... quite the opposite. I'd LOVE to share when things are going well - I know there are lots of people that would be thrilled to hear good news for a change; but I feel like if I write about it, it will somehow jinx that good thing. Or, that someone will be jealous of the good thing (I partially blame jealousy for some of the bad things that happen, so in my mind, if I put it out there and someone becomes jealous, it could sabotage the good thing - I know... crazy). Or (and I think this is the main reason), that there are others that might get the impression that just because there's something new and extraordinarily good happening in my life that I don't hurt anymore. WRONG. I will never be "over" Matt's death. I am, however, beginning to learn to live with it.

I'd like to think that I'm the kind of person that isn't particularly concerned with what people think of me since I know in my heart what's right and I don't feel it's necessary for me to explain, but yet that's possibly one more reason why I haven't written about this good thing. I'm inclined to feel the need to explain, even though I know it's not necessary (and I resent feeling the need to explain myself in any situation), although I do like to be understood. Geez - and I thought I was a pretty uncomplicated person for the most part!

So, despite any negative repercussions of saying it out loud, I'm going to anyway, because it IS something unexpected and great, and I'm going to enjoy it for as long as it lasts and revel in it, and maybe it'll give someone else some hope who is as pessimistic as I was. I met a wonderful man. Before Matt, I was convinced I'd never meet someone like him, then I did. Then when he died, I thought I'd had my time in the sun with love for ten incredible years, and that it would have to last me the rest of my life since it seemed highly unlikely that there could be someone else out there I could be as compatible with. And that if I was ever fortunate enough to meet someone, that I'd have to wait until I'm old and wrinkled before meeting him. But lo and behold, bam! Out of nowhere. I'm so grateful. There - I said it! Now let's hope it lasts a while...

Hence, what I call the yo-yo effect. The up and down of the emotional roller coaster. Especially this month.

It's November. I HATE November. I hate the WORD November. I hate what it means. Another milestone. Two years this month. Honestly, the milestones all feel pretty similar. Two years is just as bad as one year - I still feel the same sense of time warp. It can't possibly be two whole years already, even though there are times when it feels like a lifetime ago. Was Matt really in my life or did I dream him? There's that, but it's more like I can't believe I'm living my life without him. I never pictured my life without him once he was in it. I still don't want to believe this is our reality, but it is. The main difference between this year and last year, is that I've made a conscious decision to live and continue with life. Matt is and always will be a part of our lives, but I need to live like I have a future, and not live for the past (although it's quite tempting a lot of the time).

I just turned 37. Matt was 39 when he died, but to think I'm catching up to his age is scary. He was always supposed to be 4 and a half years older than me. Always. And now there's a good chance I'll end up older than him. It doesn't seem right.

Jacob and Sydney continue to grow and change and thrive. I'm constantly amazed by these kids, and so grateful that they're mine. And at times a bit unnerved by the fact that someone apparently thought it was a good idea to put me in sole charge of them.

I just had Jacob's parent/teacher conference this week, and although I knew it would be pretty positive, I was still pleasantly surprised by some of the things she said. His teacher did a reading test on each child in the class, and the score is out of 100. On average, the hope at this stage of 1st grade is that the kids each score somewhere between 15 and 25. Jacob scored 85. 85!! He gets 100's on his math tests. The only issue is his behavior - that after he's told not to do something, he still tries to get away with doing it and not getting caught, but I'd think that's pretty normal. Heck - nobody's perfect! Sydney's parent/teacher conference is coming up soon, and I'm guessing it'll be pretty positive as well. I can't believe how much she's already learned in preschool. She comes home singing new songs, reciting the alphabet, recognizing more and more letters and numbers, counting with more fluency, and can just about spell her name. She's 3 1/2, and considering that I've done a fraction with her at home (academically) that I did with Jacob, she's picking up on it pretty fast. Jacob is also playing a huge role in teaching her, too. Especially math... Here's a recent conversation:

Jacob: "Sydney, what's two plus two?"

Sydney: "I don't know!"

Jacob: "Listen - Two plus two equals four... What's two plus two, Sydney?"

Sydney: "Ummm, FOUR!"

Speaking of conversations, this morning I overheard a conversation between Sydney and Jacob, and I was so impressed with her understanding of certain concepts, and her ability to articulate them. A little background... Jacob came into my room in the middle of the night last night complaining that his head and stomach hurt. After trying to convince him that going back to bed and going to sleep would help him feel better in the morning, he thought it was a better idea to sleep in my bed. It happens pretty rarely, so I let him (I'm usually falling asleep in his bed tucking him in...).

This morning, this was the conversation I heard while I was in the bathroom, and Jacob was still in my room.

Sydney: "Jacob, why are you in Mommy's room?"

Jacob: "I slept with Mommy in her bed last night."

Sydney: "Why?"

Jacob didn't answer.

Sydney: "Why aren't you telling me? Is it a secret?"

Jacob: "No..."

Sydney: "Then why aren't you telling me?"

Jacob likes explaining himself just as much as I do apparently...

That's all I heard, but to me, it just didn't sound like that was coming from a 3 and a half year old!