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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.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Why.

Feeling isolated tonight. I've made wonderful friends here, and my brother is near, but even if I was back "home," I would still feel isolated because night time is the worst. Kids are sleeping, and even the bunny doesn't want to be bothered. Everyone told me, "call no matter what time of night." I just can't do that, no matter how bad it is. Call and say what??

"Hi, I'm so sorry to bother you at this hour, but I'm lonely. I miss Matt. I don't know what else to say."

Then I'd feel worse waking someone up, or disturbing their peaceful "family" time.

At least I'm getting something done. Finally getting caught up with laundry (freaking laundry gets insane if I don't do it for a couple of days, and there's only three of us!), and listening to music. Normally I'd be pretty satisfied with that, but I've had a couple glasses of wine. It gets me thinking more than I want. Actually, more than that, it makes me FEEL more than I want. You'd think it would do the opposite. Sometimes it does...

I'm lonely. But not for just a warm body. I'm lonely for the one man who really, truly got me. He knew me better than I knew myself sometimes. He accepted me for all my quirks, and appreciated some things about me I didn't even know until he pointed them out. He loved me unconditionally, even though I could be a major bitch sometimes. I miss the comfort he brought me just being here. The feeling of wholeness. Belonging. I miss his voice. I miss his face. I used to stare at his face all the time, memorizing every single line, freckle, scar, hair, everything. Thank GOD I did that. I miss every, single thing about him. I wrack my brain trying to figure out WTF happened. WHY?  I don't understand. I don't understand why I had to have my life ripped out from underneath me. I don't understand why this had to happen to my kids. It makes not one little bit of sense.

I really try to think of the bigger picture, like maybe there's some higher purpose in all of this. I'm doing my best to fulfill whatever the fuck that is, but honestly, I still don't really get it. Maybe someday I will, but it's been a year and a half, and as much as I'm trying, there are times when nothing makes sense to me, and I think, WHY???????

Friday, May 28, 2010

Some Sydney Quotes

Waving her imaginary magic wand, she says:
Csh - You're a princess!
Csh - I'm a princess!
Csh - Jacob's the daddy!

Sydney put her hands on my face and said, "Cute little mama." HA!

"Sometimes it's scary in my room, but it's not."
She's afraid of dinosaurs and penguins. For a while, she was having bad dreams about penguins, and that has to be the only explanation of why anyone would be afraid of a cute, waddly penguin. She wanted to watch Happy Feet recently, so maybe she's getting over her fear...

"Mommy, I have a question for you. What was God born from?"
I was completely stumped by this - my answer was, "I don't know." What a question from a kid not even three years old yet!!!

Randomly - usually when we're driving:
When I grow up, I dance with my daddy.
When I grow up and get taller than you, I marry my daddy. That's who I marry.
When I big Sydney, I get married and dance with my daddy. 

I honestly don't have a clue where the heck she gets this stuff, but it absolutely breaks my heart.

You da best mommy in da world. Jacob da best bruda in da world.

She is SO animated when she talks, too - using hand gestures all the time and so much inflection in her voice.

She sometimes takes her hand and gently strokes my cheek while she looks lovingly into my eyes.

Sydney's third birthday was May 23, and I had a party for both her and Jacob on May 22. Lots more to write about!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New bed.

Matt and I shared a king sized bed. The bedroom in our house in Buffalo was much bigger and the bed fit in there comfortably. Since he was always so good at making furniture out of wood, he had planned to make our headboard.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A year and a half.

May 15, 2010.

I hadn't thought too much about the date until I picked a date between Jacob and Sydney's birthdays to have a party, and when it occurred to me the date it fell on, my heart fell right along with it. It's hard enough celebrating my kids' birthdays without Matt, let alone on the day that marks a year and a half since his death.

I thought I could do it. I was feeling strong and positive leading up to the second week in May. However, the toll of the recent drama with Cameron (times two) - not to mention all the stuff that's happened that I haven't posted about (which usually is a lot), two sick kids, putting the plans for my business in motion, burning the candle (I can get SO much more accomplished when the kids are asleep at night), all completely ran me down mentally, emotionally, and physically. Ended up with a sinus infection on top of it. I postponed the party until the following weekend.

In my usual style (you'd think I'd recognize the pattern by now), I get raging angry before I can cry. I've gotten so good at stifling my emotions, faking my own self out in the meantime, that I don't quite recognize  when it's building up. Or maybe I do and I just try to ignore it... Between all the above, Jacob's birthday, the approaching Mother's Day that I almost successfully forgot about, and having to plan a party, I was a ticking time bomb.

I got through Mother's Day like a champ in my opinion. Everyone keeps telling me I need to do more for myself, so the day before, I hired a babysitter and finally got my hair cut after about eight months. Since I still had some time before I had to come home, I also got a manicure and a pedicure. I was feeling pampered and pretty (all dressed up and no where to go, as they say). All prepared for Mother's Day. My kids even drew some sweet Happy Mother's Day pictures for me with the babysitter (thank you, Celia!).

Jacob came into my room the next morning and hopped into my bed and wished me an enthusiastic, "Happy Mother's Day, Mommy!!!" How sweet of him to remember! Then, my brother's wife had made appointments for her and I to get a half hour massage while my brother watched all the kids (bless his soul). I was really looking forward to a little more human touch, even if I had to pay for it (boy that sounds terrible). However, we got there late, so my half hour was more like 20 minutes. Afterward, my sister-in-law and I went shopping, so I got to do some retail therapy - found some really great clothes that in reality I'll hardly get a chance to wear, plus I feel guilty about what I spent. But they're SO pretty... What the hell - I'll wear them while I'm picking weeds.

Thinking I was able to stave off negative emotions, it all sneaked up only to blindside me the next day. Monday morning was the start of yet another week of failed morning routines that give a lousy start to the day. After the past few weeks of consecutively shitty mornings, I totally lost it when both kids were melting down on me at the same time. I lost it on the kids - yelled, screamed, whipped Jacob's bagel clear across the kitchen, then ran into my bedroom bawling (loudly). My poor kids. I still had to get Jacob to school, so I managed to get them into the van, brought Jacob to school, and cried the entire time. In front of everyone.

What's so strange and frustrating is that as I'm going through those peak moments of uncontrolled rage, sadness, insanity, I can see myself objectively as if an observer, but yet I don't have the ability to control myself.

Thank God for some of the moms I'm friends with who, once again, came through for me. After school, the kids and I went to a play date at my friend Claire's house, and though I cried most of the time we were there, I smiled and laughed a bit, too. They probably think I'm certifiable (hell - I probably am), but they still seem to like me!

So a year and a half later, here I am. There are times I feel like I'm getting a handle on grief and this new life I've been forced into, and a lot of times when I'm still completely lost, just trying to function to meet our basic needs. I'm still in disbelief a lot of the time, though. When I read the words, think them in my head, hear my kids say them, etc., I'm struck with the reality all over again somehow (yet I can turn off the connection between brain and heart when I say them to someone else). When I see his clothes in my closet, or his shoes on the floor (even in my new home), I have to stop and think to remind myself that he's not coming back. I could take his clothes off the hangers, and it wouldn't make a difference. He's not going to wear them again. Sometimes I have to remind myself, sometimes it just hits me. All over again.

What's odd, too, is the past couple of weeks, my life has been flashing before my eyes. Lots of little details. My life with Matt, and just about every moment since. Not so much the stuff that happened before he came into my life, though. It's almost like I have a hard time remembering what my life was like before he entered it. I think after he was in it, I didn't really want or need to remember what it was like before.

Saturday, May 15, 2010 came and went. No party, nothing significant. In fact, the whole morning passed before I remembered the significance of the day (as embarrassing as that is to admit out loud).  I felt Matt so close to me that whole day. It wasn't until after I tried to think about what was so special about the date to figure out why he was with me so strongly that I actually remembered. A year and a half, to the day. He made the day easier (or harder?) by being at the forefront of my mind and heart, like he was standing with me the whole time. Thank you, My Love.

I think a small part of me is probably holding onto the pain, as if it keeps him closer. Like, if I let go of the pain, I'm letting go of him. I know that's not true, but I think that's a small part of why I hurt. A very small part. Funny how I can think of this shit so objectively, yet it doesn't change it. I guess understanding is something, anyway.

If there's anyone out there who thinks that I should be "over it" by now, I'll have you know, it ain't happening and I have doubts that it ever will. I'm still learning to push through, one challenging moment at a time.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Camp Widow

I recently wrote a review about my experience last July at the first national conference on widowhood by the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation (SSLF)

It's an annual event (currently dubbed "Camp Widow"), and I'm so looking forward to the next one happening this August. Not only will I get some insight into why the second year of widowhood seems harder in a lot of ways than the first (a subject for another post), but I'll also get to meet some people that I've talked to (and some I've become friends with) - either by phone, Facebook, blog, etc. - and haven't had a chance to meet yet, and see some of my friends from the last conference. Plus, I finally get to meet and hang out with my friend Sarah!

The SSLF also has developed the Widow Match program in which they match up widowed people according to their circumstances. NOT a dating thing at all, but just helping people connect so they have someone to talk to that can understand where they're coming from so they don't feel completely alone in this hell.

For my fellow widowed readers, not only do I recommend that you attend Camp Widow, but I also recommend that you take a look at Widow Voice, which is a blog with several writers, who all give a different perspective on widowhood. Some posts are humorous, some take you into the depths of emotion, but all will touch you. I've had a lot of "AHA!"  moments reading some of their posts.

Thank you, Michele Hernandez, for putting this all together and helping so many of us!


(Talk about a whole lotta links!!)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Seaons of Solace.

This is a book of poems and pictures, written by Janelle Shantz Hertzler. Janelle had asked me to do an interview with her a while back, and she asked some thought-provoking questions that I was happy to answer. This is one widow that is making a difference in other widowed people's lives, but I should speak for myself and say she has made a difference in mine.

Her poems have the ability to express such immensely deep descriptions of emotions in such few words. It's truly amazing. She is able to express in just 75 pages some of the things that I have been feeling right along that I haven't been able to express in all the posts I've written so far on this blog. The pictures she took to accompany her poems are just as touching, too.  It's incredible how a loss like ours can inspire some spark of creativity and talent that may have been dormant all along.

Janelle is truly gifted, and she is sharing her gift with everyone through her book.  I know I'm not doing any justice to what she has done with my description, but I feel that anyone who has lost a spouse or suffered the loss of a loved one, or who wants to attempt to understand what a widowed person might be feeling, can benefit by reading her book. It shows in such honesty her evolution from trying to make sense of a senseless situation to the peace and wisdom attained by it.

I've read it a few times, and will keep reading and rereading it, because I still have so much to learn. Thank you, Janelle. I am grateful for your gift, but I am deeply sorry for what it took for you to give it to us.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Jacob's birth.

Matt and I were married for a year before we decided to start our family. When we decided it was time, I was so excited at the prospect of getting pregnant, having a baby and being a mom. For some reason, though, I had this seed of doubt that I would be able to get pregnant - not sure why, except that you don't know what that journey will be like until you're on it. I know many women who struggled to get pregnant. As excited as Matt was at the prospect of me becoming pregnant, he was also pretty nervous. I assured him, "Don't worry Babe - it doesn't always happen on the first try. We could be at it a year before anything happens."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Jacob's birthday

Today is my sweet little love's 6th birthday. Unfortunately, my kids' birthdays are a major "grief trigger" for me. This is the second time Matt is missing Jacob's birthday, and it's not any easier. We have to be happy, sing, and celebrate - without his daddy.

When grief is triggered for me, I struggle to function, and this is when I need to be at my best. It doesn't help that I'm getting sick on top of it. I need to pull myself together, bake a cake, bake cupcakes for his class tomorrow (today is a half-day, so his class will have more time to enjoy their cupcakes tomorrow instead of today) and put on a happy face. I was going to take Jacob bowling this weekend, but I couldn't get it together enough to get out of the house yesterday, let alone take the kids bowling.

Since Sydney's birthday is at the end of this month, I usually combine their parties into one. I'm planning on having it on the 15th, but haven't sent out any invitations yet or made any concrete plans. It occurred to me yesterday that May 15 is exactly the year and a half mark of Matt's death. Great day for a party, huh. =(

I'll write a happy post related to Jacob's birthday, recounting the joy his birth brought Matt and me. But right now, I need to pretend I have the energy to get off my chair and bake when all I really want to do is bury my head and sleep.