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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.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Thank you!

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank everyone who took the time to write a review for Soaring Spirits. As I read the reviews that poured in today, my heart overflowed and tears streamed down my face. I loved reading all the beautiful things that my family and friends wrote on my behalf and on the behalf of the organization I believe in wholeheartedly. I will let you know if we won as soon as I find out!

Even though the contest for the grant is over (as of midnight PST, I'm guessing!), if anyone is still compelled to write a review, please feel free - it's so nice to hear how the organization helps to shine a light during some of the darkest times.

=)

One more time...

Remember when you wondered what you could do to help after Matt died? Here's a perfect opportunity to do something else for me that doesn't cost a thing and will only take five minutes.

Michele Neff Hernandez and I have been working our tails off to get the word out about the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation so that it's less likely that someone going through the devastating loss of losing their spouse will feel alone in their journey. One of the things we're doing is calling every Hospice office in the country - yes - every single one (956 to be exact) - to verify names and addresses so we can send them brochures about SSLF and Camp Widow. The mailing alone is going to be expensive. Our long term goal is to be able to sponsor anyone who needs to go to Camp Widow who can't afford it. That's way trickier, but either way, there is a LOT we can do with the $5,000 grant we're hoping to win from Great*Nonprofits.

Please help Soaring Spirits win this grant by taking five minutes to write a brief review (
http://www.greatnonprofits.org/reviews/profile2/soaring-spirits-loss-foundation-inc) about how you have witnessed how much the organization has helped me (and still is) since Matt's death, and how they've helped anyone else you know, or how they may have helped you.

Today is the actual deadline, so please don't hesitate. Thank you so much for doing this, and for all the support you give and have given (seen/unseen, heard/unheard). Every bit of it helps! Really!!

Love,
Andrea

PS - If you already did this, THANK YOU!!! =)

Another widower friend...

Meet James Pinnick and please welcome him into our unfortunate but fortunate community...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Revelations...

I am inspired and intimidated....

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Things my kids say...

Newest to oldest............
_____

Jacob: "Momma, I hope you're still alive when I'm a grown up."

Me: "I'm gonna do my very best, sweetie."
_____

Jacob: "Mommy, when I grow up and build my house and have all my furniture in it and babies, I wanna go here (pointing to Mekong River, Thailand on the map in his Animal Planet magazine) and see the giant stingrays."
_____
Sydney
: "Jacob claused it."

Me: "You mean 'paused'?"

Sydney: "No - it's not 'paused,' it's 'CLAUSED!'" (When talking about the movie that Jacob PAUSED to go potty.)
_____

Sydney: "I had my tonsils out, and I can't breathe through my nose STILL!" (She's got a runny nose that she refuses to blow.)
_____

Sydney: "I wish I could have my daddy back." Her wish when blowing on a dandelion.
_____

Sydney: Helicopter is "Helidoctor"
_____

Sydney to Jacob: "You need dad and I need mom."
_____

When I was giving Sydney her bath today, I noticed she's got dark hairs growing out of the birthmark on the back of her leg... She asked me what I was looking at and I told her, and she grabbed her leg to look and said, "What da HECK?"
_____

Jacob: "I don't want you to die." "Mommy, as soon as you die is as soon as I wanna die."

Me: "We're all going to die someday - some just die sooner than others. If I die before you, I would want you to live. You have a lot of important things you need to do in your life. I think I'll be alive for a long time, though, so you don't need to worry, sweetie!" Such a heavy thing for a six year old to ponder.
_____

Sydney: "When can we have a baby?"

Me: =0 (she's asked this several times - I keep telling her not to hold her breath. She wants a little sister in a bad way.)
_____

Jacob: "I love you more than trains..."
_____

Jacob: "Momma, I have a question for you." - this is his opening line every time he asks me something.
_____

Jacob to Sydney: "I miss you when we're not together."
_____

Sydney: "Mommy, zero is not good."Me: "Why?"Sydney: "Because it's not a winning number."
_____

Jacob to Sydney: "Sydney, you know how to say 'What the heck' in Spanish? 'What the heckA'!"
_____

Jacob: "Hey Mom! When I wake up in the morning, you know what's gonna be on my face?" Me: "What?" Jacob: "A smile."
- This is what he said after I tucked him in the night I set up the plywood on his train table so his Hogwarts Express train could fit on it...
_____

"Santa's not a baby, he's a big boy!" - What Sydney said after hearing the Santa Baby song...

_____

Sydney calls Marmaduke "Marmadude"

_____

Sydney's taking a bath w/a barbie. She's pretending the doll is a mermaid with a tail and "ribbons." She proceeds to go into a long schpeel, including telling me the doll has ribbons like I do, and that I can ask Santa for more ribbons. I'm stumped because the doll is naked. "Sydney, where are her ribbons?" Sydney proceeds to point to the doll's boobies.

_____

Gotta remember this stuff............

Friday, February 18, 2011

Need your help...

To my dear blog readers,

Please help the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation win a $5,000 grant from Great*Nonprofits by taking five minutes to write a brief review about how you have witnessed how much SSLF has helped me since Matt's death, and how they've helped anyone else you know, or how they've helped you.

They need only need 135 more reviews to win this
-what an opportunity!! Thank you so much for your help with this, and for all the support you give and have given (seen/unseen, heard/unheard). Every bit of it helps!

Love,
Andrea

PS - Almost forgot - the deadline for this is February 22!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

February 16

This day was probably even worse than the day before...

It was dreary - cloudy, cold and raining (I've become quite spoiled with the beautiful Southern California weather), and after dropping the kids off at school, I had to go to a doctor's appointment. Californians make such a huge freaking deal out of the rain. It took an hour to go ten miles on the freeway because everyone was crawling. Sitting in the van gave me too much time to think, and all I could think about was Matt, Jacob's grief, my grief, how for the first time I'm actually thankful that Sydney doesn't remember him just so she doesn't have to mourn his loss, and on and on. The van is a good place to cry with no witnesses. When I finally got to the appointment, all I heard in the waiting room were the news reports all about the rain. Well, I suppose there's nothing else to report on for the weather out here....

I parked across the street from Kaiser in a parking lot for a plaza. There were signs that indicated that Kaiser patients are not to park there, but you could park there if you are a customer of the plaza. Since I planned on becoming a customer as soon as I was done with my appointment, I left the van there.

Had my allergy testing done, discovered I'm allergic to grasses, some trees and dust, and headed back to the parking lot. Van was still there, and I headed into Payless to look at some shoes for the kids, but the awful Mexican music forced me out sooner - couldn't find anything, anyway. I was going to head to lunch at Fat Burger, also within the plaza, when I discovered that in the five minutes I was in Payless, my van had been towed. Apparently, "they" saw me walk across the street to Kaiser, but didn't see me walk into Payless??? I think the part that made me the angriest about that whole ordeal is that the fact that they took away my ability to get to my kids.

Rather than relive the ridiculous sequence of events immediately following, I'll skip to the part where I called Carlos who came to my rescue and picked me up. His friend Chris, at that very same time, was finishing up fixing my computer, so after we picked up the van (which cost $200), we headed to Chris's house. Chris probably saved me that amount of money that I might have paid to take it to a computer store to have fixed, so I really shouldn't complain. I would have rather given it to him than a stupid towing company, though.

The three of us went to lunch, where I was able to get some food and relax for a bit before getting the kiddos from school. Good friends and good food saved the day. I was also relieved to have my babies in my arms after all that.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 15

Tuesday morning, Jacob and Sydney were both very emotional and clingy, and I had a hard time getting them to let go of me to go to school. Several reasons for this I'm sure - first, they were totally loaded with sugar the day before from all the candy they got at school and brought home. Second, I was in a rotten mood because my computer had a virus and all my pictures on my hard drive were threatened. Of course, I hadn't backed them up yet - that was something I had intended to get to but didn't make the time to figure it out. Plus, just being without internet access (other than through my phone) was making me twitchy, and I couldn't get the work done that I needed to for SSLF. Oh, and it was the aftermath of Valentine's Day.

That afternoon, I went to pick up Jacob from his after school program and a few of his friends were hanging out with him. He got more goodies for Valentines day, and I don't remember what brought up the topic, but one of his friends asked something like, "Is your dad coming? Why can't your dad come?" Jacob ignored the question and threw himself more into his goody bag, so I answered for him and told his friend that his dad can't come because he's not alive anymore. His friend said, "Oh, that's so sad."

That evening, it was bed time and I had tucked the kids in. I went to bed early, too, to put as fast of an end to that miserable day as I could, and a little while later I heard Jacob whimpering in his room. I went in there, and he was crying hard, but trying to be quiet about it. My poor little love. I asked him what's wrong, and he said, "I miss Daddy so much!" This is only the second or third time (that I know of) that he full-out cried about missing Matt.

There's nothing I can do to fix this for him. There's nothing anyone can do to fix this. So I held him tight and we cried ourselves to sleep.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A good start to the new year!

So much has happened the past few months - I've been busy "doing" and haven't taken the time to write about any of it.

The preschool situation is resolved for the remainder of the school year, Social Security is up to date, and all of my ducks are finally lining up. Even all the toys have been washed and de-germed, and I moved the kids into their own separate bedrooms. Since Jacob is in the smaller bedroom, I got him a bunk bed - he sleeps on the top bunk, and uses the lower bunk as a train table. He is in his glory! It took Sydney a little more time to adjust to not sharing the room with her big brother, but now she's cool with it. I ended up rearranging every room in the house, and organized the garage by assembling two large shelves that now hold ALL the storage bins, and even hung the bikes from the rafters. I'm even getting to the little things I'd been putting off like fixing broken toys and hanging hooks and pictures.

The kids had their tonsils and adenoids removed a couple of weeks ago (five days apart). There's already a remarkable difference in them!

Sydney had sleep apnea and snored like an old man, was a mouth breather even during the day (to the point that she had to chew with her mouth open so she could breathe while eating), choked on her food all the time because of that and the fact that her tonsils were so big that they were touching each other. Her poor little lips were always chapped and bleeding because they got dried out even worse at night, then she'd wake up crying and screaming because she stopped breathing (she could never get into a good, deep sleep), and her lips would split and bleed. She also had a chronic sore throat. The doctor that did her surgery said that her tonsils and adenoids were abnormally large and filled with puss. My poor baby girl was being poisoned by her own body.

Sydney now sleeps through the night peacefully (and quietly!), and wakes up happy and rested. She's in a better mood throughout the day (she was miserable and cranky so much before), and has way more energy. She's even eating better and speaking more clearly! I never would have thought that her speech could be affected so much from her ailments, but it was. She even looks better - her cheeks appear to have filled out a little, and her dark circles aren't as noticeable.

Sydney had her surgery first, and in the short five day span between her surgery and Jacob's, she was sleeping more quietly. It made Jacob's nighttime breathing much more noticeable. He was starting to have a slight bit of apnea, and snored louder than I thought. In his case, his tonsils and adenoids weren't as large as Sydney's, but his airway is more narrow. His tonsils and adenoids weren't filled with puss like Sydney's, either. I think Sydney may have been the carrier, and Jacob was getting sick from her most of the time (Sydney wasn't sick as often as Jacob somehow). He says he feels better now than he did before his surgery, too.

As a result, I'm also sleeping better! My house has never been this quiet at night, and I didn't realize how much my sleep was being affected by theirs.

I am so, so happy and relieved that this is behind us. The closer the scheduled dates got, the more nervous I was getting at the thought of my kids going under the knife. Now, maybe, we can be among the living again - getting together with friends, going places and doing more fun things, and enjoying better health!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

...And if I really want to be true to myself and write this blog uncensored, then I can say,

Fuck Valentines' Day.

Ahhh... that felt good.

Another dream.

Matt's dad and I were sitting next to each other in a restaurant booth with a whole bunch of other people - it was really crowded, mostly with people we knew. There was a bar in the middle of the restaurant, which was also next to the booth we were sitting in.

Matt was at the bar with his back facing us. I could hear him talking to the bartender - something about grapes. It was so noisy in there that I couldn't really make out exactly what the conversation was about, but I could distinctly hear his voice.

I turned to Roy and said, "It's so nice to hear his voice again!" and he said, "What?" As I began to repeat myself, it occurred to me that he might not be able to hear Matt talking, and if I finished what I was saying, he'd probably think I was nuts. I carefully finished what I was saying since I was already halfway through saying it as all this was going through my head, and then Roy noticed Matt at the bar next to us. Roy and I looked at each other, and I could tell from the look on his face that he could see him, too! He was wearing his camo shorts and ratty Corporate Challenge tank. A sight for sore eyes!

After a few minutes, Roy got up and walked across the restaurant to where Ginny was sitting, sat down next to her and told her what was going on. The four of us walked out of the restaurant into a narrow hallway, and I just watched and listened as Matt talked, walked, moved, smiled...