My Broken Children


This morning the kids and I went to Bailey’s therapist for her weekly cognitive behavior therapy.  Reagan was in a dark place, so I asked if he could also receive some light counseling, just for today, to see if he would not be resistant to it.

He was very resistant, and got increasingly louder and louder. He didn’t want to talk about his father to anyone, and it was “no one’s business”. Everyone “was stupid”. All of these protests aside, I completed his paperwork, and the doc came into the waiting room with her service husky, and took him into her office.  He only went willingly, because he wanted to pet the dog, so I thank God for that beautiful animal.

Reagan has been diagnosed with PTSD.  He is 11 years old. The events leading up to his father’s untimely death, and how Reagan woke up, right next to his father’s body… he screamed and worked hard to revive him….it is too much for a child.  It is too much for a grown man or woman.  He needs more help, and I have known this for some time now, and though he has been receiving counseling via the school district, there have been no resources during the summertime.

I am hoping this doctor can continue to Reagan manage his grief in productive manners, and make him feel like his sadness is normal, and that it is okay to cry, and it is okay to miss his father.  I can talk to him about this every single day, for the rest of his life, but I am too close, and he tends to lend a deaf ear in my direction. Reagan needs help.  He feels guilty for not waking up his dad, and for not breathing life back into him.  Bailey needs help.  She is lost and confused, and she doesn’t know what to do with this huge pile of sadness, but to grow increasingly agitated with all of her usual triggers, but struggling even harder now, to come down from them. Our family is in distress, but I am getting help, and that is all that I can do, but to be a constant force of stability.

How does this happen to our CHILDREN?  We lay down our LIFE for them, and they still get wounded. Something like this happens suddenly…..and their entire world is turned upside down. Something like this happens gradually…where they have time to process….but their world still crashes down.  They are defiant, disrespectful, and they push down all of that pain, and walk forward without a scratch, but they are forever broken.  The only relief that you can offer is an embracing hug, and a reassurance that they are loved.  You can’t give them the reassurance that you will never die, because that would be a lie, and what a cruel one it would be, if you died tomorrow, and they had no parents at all.

Bestill my broken heart.  Today has been the death of me.  Ever since Ross passed away in his sleep, I have always said, “as long as my kids are okay, then I am okay”, but they are not okay.

Please pray for my little family.


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Being broken isn’t just a state of mind.  It is the feeling of instability, an aching fear of change, the terror of letting go, when all you want to do is stay under your rock, where it is dark, but safe and familiar. Being silly with your children, laughing with the outside world, but crumbling slowing inside.  Reassuring everyone that all is well, when it is not.  Once you have seen death, everything that you see, feel, and touch, is never the same.

It is a different journey for everyone, and there are different shapes and shades of grief.  There should never, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, be any judgment placed upon those who are weighed down with grief.  If you do not wake up with that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach every morning…. if you do not physically ache to your very core, for that one person that completed your circle :'(  If you HAVE had these feelings of despair, then judging someone else is even more damaging, because you are familiar with a tiny FRACTION of how brutal that loss is. What you don’t know, is what is bubbling at their surface, while they are living, and appearing to laugh, when their insides are decaying and fighting for survival. That is grief in a nutshell.  Survival.

You can never recover from being broken.  You will never get over it, nor will you ever be healed from it.  It is now a part of you, and it will always live inside of you.  There is no coming out of that dark place, but there are candles, stars, and there is almost ALWAYS, that one hand, reaching up, grasping for anyone that might grab a hold, and pull them out, even if just for a moment.  Perhaps those moments will come more often, and that dark place will not be so tender and raw.

Ross was such a happy man, full of such love for his family, and such a joy for life.  It is beyond my comprehension, that he was suddenly taken away, and I will never believe he is “better off”, because I need to visually see that he is better off….but I can’t even FEEL that he is better off.  All that I can see, is that he missed his firstborn’s college graduation, his younger son’s 11th birthday, and he is going to miss Bailey blossoming into a beautiful young girl.  He is going to miss everything. I can say that he is with us in spirit, but physically, he is not.  In reality, it is the kids and I, and we are left to pick up all the pieces that were left behind.  We are expected to take the hits as they come, and just survive, because Ross is “in a better place now”.

Yes, I am bitter.  Yes, I am lost.  I have struggled to find any and all ways to feel better, and at peace, with what has happened.  It is a constant push and pull.  A never ending battle with myself, and a war that I will never win.  And still, my prayers never stop, and my motherly arms never leave my children, and their aching empty hearts. I would give my life to take away all of their pain, but I cannot.

I miss him so much.  I miss hearing his voice every day, and making wisecracks to each other, and laughing so hard that my sides hurt.  I miss his goofy expressions, his crazy little dances, and that out of control laugh during tickle fights.  Mostly though…..I miss the reassurance, security…..and I miss the way I knew he would never leave, and never hurt me.  Right in this moment, I cannot fathom ever trusting another soul this way again.  I have had a tiny taste of this life of isolation, and I am not wanting to take another step towards anyone who means me any harm.  I pray that isn’t true, because I want to find love and happiness, but it is what it is….and it is a whole lot of NOTHING right now.


10 Months In

I try to wake up early enough on the weekends so that I can catch just a tiny bit of quiet time. I will take any amount of quiet time that I can soak in. But then here I sit, and I feel completely broken, my mind is racing with worry, and my quiet time becomes a chaotic hot mess. Everything about me has changed now.

There are days when I am a huge sloppy mushy mess, and days when I am stoic, yet I never seem to miss any of the beauty that used to race by me at top speed. I see everything, and I embrace it….I am gripping so fiercely that my knuckles are white, and my arms are shaking from the hold. For fear of losing it, and never feeling it again.

Last night I sat outside on my porch, and I watched the storm. Storms always scared me, and though there are justifiable reasons as to why, last night I sat in this cool breeze, listening to my wind chimes, and staring into this creepy sky with this wicked lightening, and found it beautiful for the very first time. I found myself crying, and didn’t even realize that I was. This storm was taking everything out of me, pulling and tugging at buried sorrow, when before, it would have chased me back inside the house with my shaking dogs. I felt every little moment, and I allowed myself to cry, because I am not very forgiving with myself, and for once…I just wanted to be.

What do I do with all of these uncontrollable emotions, tears, and unrelenting helplessness?  I am terrified of dying. I have completely changed how I eat, what I eat, and everything about the actual physical act of eating. I don’t have anymore enjoyment in the tastes that I did before, because it only makes me feel sick to my stomach, and it only makes me feel disappointed in myself.

My children are terrified of me dying in my sleep, and they are hovering over me with such a desperate and frantic need, that it breaks my heart into a million pieces, more than anything. And every day I come to the same conclusion. My children and I, will always be, my children and I. There is no man out there strong enough to embrace all of our brokenness, and there is no man out there strong enough to hold us up, band-aide our wounds, and make everything right. Last night it hit me like a ton of bricks, and had my daughter not come out looking for me, I would have been shattered. I don’t WANT anyone to swoop in and make everything right. I don’t WANT someone to take Ross’ place, and for us to just resume our lives as if nothing ever happened, and there isn’t this huge gaping emptiness inside all three of us. That emptiness exists like the elephant in the room, and it is looming and haunting….and turning away from it is moot, because it is never going away.

I want companionship. I want to be able to fall apart, and know that “he” will not move from that spot. I want to be able to have fragile days where I need to aggressively clean as I like to do, and to FEEL him there, and know he will be there, no matter where my emotions take me. I don’t want help with my household, or help with my parenting, but encouragement, knowledge, experience, and partnership. Most of all, understanding. Understand that I am a mess, and yet have no choice, but to stay strong. Understand that my son is a tender hearted soul, and needs to be gently coaxed into wanting to be a better person, by watching others around him, and feeding off of their work ethics and their empathy for others. Understand that my daughter will have these horrible days that are fierce and physically nerve racking, but that it shall pass, and she will feel peaceful, once I lay with her and make her feel safe.  Understand that I have each and every one of these dogs for a REASON. They are family, and they are everything to me. They have carried me through the most heartbreaking days, when there was no one else there. Absolutely no one. What I have done within the community, and what I am doing matters. Laugh with me when they are goofy, and cry with me when they pass, because they will always pass, and every time that they pass, a little piece of me dies with them.

I am too exhausted from all of these twists and turns and bruises on top of bruises. Whatever happens will happen. I will always wake up, and miss my laughter with Ross, and miss the friendship that he showed me, and miss that daily companionship that was always so comforting, and made me feel safe. I can’t say that have I nothing, because that would be inaccurate. I have more than many others don’t. I value everything with such an overwhelming protectiveness, that I can barely function at times, but thankfully, these times are fleeting now.



Soak It In

We are coming up on the one year anniversary of Ross’ death.  July is going to be the hardest month yet, though it can’t hold a candle to our first Christmas without him.  We have Reagan and Bailey’s birthdays, Ross’ birthday, our 16 year anniversary, and the day that Ross died.  July 2nd, July 8th, July 14th, July 19th, and July 24th. It would be really cool to skip July altogether. But I cannot fast forward or check out. I would NEVER desert my children, nor leave them broken or in pain with the loss of ME, after I have watched them reel from the loss of their dad. The way their eyes went dark when the front door would open, and it was a dog pushing through, and not their father. I will never be able to comprehend the grief of a child, and the loss of a father, not one that has been so present in their lives, and been such a force of nature, and one day just gone forever. How does something like this happen?  How can someone just be alive one day, and gone the next?  Years will pass, and I will NEVER be able to wrap my mind around death.

I have connected with other widows and widowers. My heart hurts SO badly for them, that I want to reach out and hug them, and make them feel loved and safe.  Though they are so far away, for the most part, I feel protective of them…..each of their journeys are so different from the next, but each journey holds such pent up anger, loneliness, and raw bleeding sadness.  If we could all live in a community together, where we were side by side, maybe we could heal faster, and in a more healthy manner. We could talk openly about our spouses, without any of the judgement or insecurity.  But this is our reality, and we have to survive in our own world, with our own demons. We have to function with other humans, answer their questions, and we are held accountable with how we respond to these cold waters that we have been thrown into unexpectedly. I have so many fears, so many regrets, and I am a completely different woman now, because of what I have been through, and what my children have been through.

I feel like I haven’t thanked everyone enough.  How do I thank my family, and my friends, that have been there from day one?   I am still finding Facebook messages that I missed, especially that week that Ross died.  I was in a haze, stumbling around, hardly eating and sleeping.  I am still struggling.  I can still feel it, but I want out of it.  It is stifling, suffocating.  I don’t want to be unhappy, and I don’t want to be alone, but at the same time, I know my whole package is a tall order.  I am a realist.  I am trying to not think too far ahead, and focus on the only thing that is important… children. Rebuilding.  Providing for my family.  Making them feel safe.  Giving them what they need emotionally, and replenishing everything that has been stripped from them.

We are facing summer time now, and it will be the kids and I, 24/7.   I am so exhausted already, but determined to help them reach a whole new level of growth. They have to reach a whole new level of growth.

I have Bailey signed up for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and Reagan signed up for counseling throughout the summer.  I don’t even know what CBT is at this juncture, but I know that I have to investigate this resource before I ever resort to medication, to help alleviate her anxiety and pressure that she puts on herself each and every day.  Our family cannot function anymore with these meltdowns. Bailey is getting older, and stronger, and she is still taking me off guard.  And I have yet to master the hold where we don’t get ourselves hurt, and we are not reeling from physical and emotional turmoil.  Reagan lacks confidence, assurance……he needs to know that he matters, and that he is different than Bailey, and more is expected of him, and this is a GOOD thing, not a sentence or punishment.  How can I do this for him, as a sole parent, when I cannot replenish myself fully?  I ask myself that question every morning, and yet still find that tiny bit of strength.

I will ask for help.  I will reach out.  And I will be responsive to those of you who are wanting to embrace our chaos.  I am already making grand strides in the right direction, and though I have so many moments that knock the wind out of me, there are no other options. This is our life now.  This is something that has happened to us, but this does not define us.

I am still broken in so many ways.  But I want to say his name, and honor everything that he was, because his legacy meant something to me, his children, and everyone that he touched. It was so evident at his service, that he was loved and cherished, and that he brought so much laughter to everyone he encountered.  I am so blessed to have had 17 years with this man.  I will never glorify our marriage, nor will I tell anyone that everything was perfect, but I knew that he would never hurt me, and at the time, I knew he would never leave me.

I look around, and I get so frustrated…..angry….and I want to grab people and strangle them.  Why are they taking advantage of this person, who has offered everything they have?  Why are they settling?  Why do they continue to feel just CONTENT, instead of giddy, on cloud 9, with everything at their feet?  Why are they not racing to the finish line, each and every day, and grasping every straw of happiness that they can?

We can only do this once.  This is it, people. Let’s not let another moment fly past us, without grabbing the hell out of it, and soaking in every single detail of it. Please learn from me.  Please take what I have to offer you, because it is all that I have left.



Just Want To Be


Today you wrapped your arms around me, and I could feel your warmth.

You have been gone, and everything has been cold and distant, though I have these fleeting moments of happy, and fleeting moments of hope. They are fast, though, and I can never catch them. Maybe they don’t want to be caught yet, but I am too tired to chase them.

But today, you chose to sit with me, and let me feel your presence. Why?

Do you feel my brokenness?  Do you still know me, the way no one else did…..losing my way so many times with all of these twists and turns, and yet, you always knew how to bring me back.

Losing you suddenly feels a lot like falling.  I am spinning and falling, and I can’t seem to grab a hold of anything, or anyone, to brace my fall, but at the same time, falling is so much easier than fighting.

I have so many regrets, and left so many things unsaid.  I tell you everything today, because they have to be said out loud, but I will never forgive myself, for not telling you while you were alive, and standing in front of me. You deserved better than that, and you were such a ray of sunshine for so many lost souls, that I cannot bear that you are no longer here to light their way, and embrace them with your words of comfort. I cannot stand that you are not here to hold your sons and daughter in this dreadfully dark place they are in, where they are alive, but aren’t living, because they miss their father so desperately.

It is all a game, pushing forward, and laughing, but not truly laughing. Some resemblance of happiness. I am still in this same spot, even though I am getting help for our children, taking care of our home, fumbling around in the dark, and trying to catch my breath every time that wave hits. I don’t want to be in this spot anymore, but I don’t know how to be happy.  I need for you to know, that the loss of you has reshaped me completely, into this hot mess of forgiveness, empathy, compassion, and such a yearning for more than what I probably deserve. And I don’t want to push and pull anymore, I just want to BE.

#whatismeanttobewillbe #pleaseguideme



It’s a beautiful day :)

This is the most beautiful day.  I opened all of the windows, and watered my flowers, and filled the hummingbird feeder. All of these moments…..I am trying so hard to take them in, and embrace them.

I don’t have many great days, but I have a lot of really great moments, and after this past year, that is something. I am eating healthier, exercising, and doing more fun things with the kiddos…..being more active is uplifting, and makes me feel better inside and out. My kids are always going to try my patience, drain my energy, and these autism meltdowns do break me down, but then I revel in my children’s laughter, encourage them to be outside on days like this, and hug and kiss them as much as humanly possible, even when they are rejecting me.

I feel changed, as if something has switched over in me. Loss, loneliness, bitterness, and exhaustion, have all been my demons, but I am working so tirelessly to  continue changing for the better.  I cannot wrap my mind around it……it feels as if I have missed so much all of these years. I was living in the shadows, and never even knew it. How does that happen?  Is it being the parent of a special needs child, that has taken my drive?  Feeling sorry for myself?  Ross dying suddenly, when he had so much light and positive energy ?

I am sappy, and tearful, and I love and adore my pain in the ass children.  I miss my friends, my family, and I miss having that special connection with someone, yet still being grounded and true to myself. I am a hot emotional mess, and am terrified of someone rushing in and taking away this new light, because everything is so raw still, but I love this feeling, and hope it doesn’t go away again. I am not dwelling on being alone anymore. It takes away the joy from these moments, and that dark place is so haunting and painfully addicting. Besides, what is meant to be, will be, and I have always believed that.  I will carry that with me.

That is all.  I wanted to post something positive for once. Thank you, everyone, for all of your support, prayers, and I love you all like  crazy.

Breaking Point

This morning Bailey didn’t want to go to school, so she took off running in the parking lot, screaming bloody murder, while children flinched and parents cringed for me as I broke out into a full sprint, before my first cup of coffee.  If this had been the first time, then I could write it off as a bad morning, but it was not, and this is my reality now.  Autism sucks, and only intensifies everything else that my little family has endured.

All I wanted to do was come back home and sit in silence, and feel nothing at all, but I have a million things pulling at me, and keeping me up every single night. My head is cluttered with What Ifs, self doubt, and more insecurities than any one person should have. Am I making the right decisions?  How long can I run on empty, when I’ve been depleted of almost everything that made me who I am.  What was it, that took my husband’s life while he slept, and was there anything I could have done, to have prevented this?  Did he die because of me??  Are my children forever scarred with the memory of him, laying there lifeless, as I pounded away on his chest and screamed for him to wake up?  How does life get taken away so suddenly, without warning, leaving you in this small, tight, suffocating bubble of isolation?  I have no answers, and maybe I never will, but I am trying, and surely that counts for something.

Everything is a battle now.  I am fighting to dig my heels into something that resembles a life.  I am fighting to parent our children in a manner that would make Ross proud, and at the same time, give me some peace of mind that they will actually be okay, and live emotionally healthy and productive lives. Fighting to let go of pride, and ask for help, and then fighting to actually get that help. Why all this fighting?  Why does everything have to be push and pull?  Why can’t someone walk up to me, and tell me that everything will be okay, and that good things are coming my way, and why can’t I believe it and embrace it?

A big, huge, and sloppy thank you, goes out to that mother that picked up Bailey’s backpack for me this morning, as I did the walk of shame, taking Bailey into her school, looking straight down at my feet. “You are doing great, mama”, she said, and I busted out into tears, because sometimes, it is all too much, and it builds and builds, until I am volcanic and have no control. And these are never my finest moments, though I can usually hold on to it until the kids are out of my sight.

I am tired of feeling isolated, sad, lost…..I am tired of staying up all night long, and letting these demons beat me down, and take me to dark places. I need more, and I don’t know how to get it. So I am reaching out right now, for any words of encouragement, solace……whatever you can give me, because I will take anything that you have, and I have surpassed my breaking point many moons ago.

#attheendofmyrope #throwmeabone

It’s Time To Let Go


I am exhausted from all of the goodbyes to those I have loved.  I am exhausted from saying goodbye to my home that held so many dear memories for me and my children.  Tomorrow I will close yet another chapter.

But I am happy that I made my way back home, and that I soaked in all of the love, and all of the laughter, within those walls. I had to pack it all away, though, and take it with me, with my heart in a million broken pieces, as I frantically try to tape it all back together.  All I can do is put on a band-aide, and a smile, and maybe one day, time will have healed…..and this will all be bittersweet, and not raw.

What can you do, though?  Brush yourself off and trudge forward.  Try to search out little glimmers of hope in the smallest moments.  And remember.  Remember all of the glorious sunsets, baby deer peeking in my windows, the peaceful solitude that surrounded me, and all of the treasured stories of my childhood, and then my adulthood, when I fought my way back there, only to say goodbye yet again. Remember those I have lost….my husband, my mother, my Grandpa, and my precious furry babies. My lost friendships and lost “what ifs” and dreams that were too hard to reach.  I will remember how they were when all was beautiful, and life was grand.

So this is it, all bundled up tightly with brutal goodbyes and yesterdays, with only the memories to stew over in the late night hours when sleep won’t take me.

I have my babies, though, and we will find a different happy place, where we feel secure, and free to express our sorrow with abandonment. Laugh with no regrets or guilt. WRECKLESS laughter! Another home, another life, and hopefully, a renewed DIFFERENT happiness, where all three of us can find our own sense of security, and our own pathway to another chapter.

I take solace that another family will love this property as much as we did. They will be staring into the same beautiful evenings in awe, and be living their lives to the fullest, just as we did. I take solace in this goodbye, and though all of these goodbyes haven’t graced me with closure, this one has, and I am grateful for that.

#thereisalwayssomethingtobethankfulfor #herestonewbeginnings

I want popcorn

Here is a weekend morning, where I normally get up and make the kids pancakes, scrambled eggs, chocolate milks, or whatever the flavor is that morning. We appear to be a normal functioning family. But we are not a normal functioning family.

Bailey wants popcorn for breakfast. She hates pancakes today. Bailey is a nine year old girl, and very tall for her age. She is also very strong. She is on the autism spectrum, which changes the game completely, though there are many family members and/or friends who do not agree with how I parent her (or Reagan, for that matter!). And that is fine, because I am not this perfect mother, nor do I want to be the perfect mother, because that would be too much pressure to live up to. I am flawed, broken, and many times, I make decisions by the seat of my pants, instead of contemplating them in advance.

For me, for my family, and only for my family……my kids need a few minutes to collect their thoughts. They need to stew in their own words, and reflect on their behavior, which takes some time and patience. Threats makes them shy away, makes them defiant, and puts them on the fence, which does not sit well with me. I have my own methods that work for me, and that is all there is to it. And yes, I do get hurt often, but I do have a plan in place, and I am getting help, and that is a big deal for me, to accept external help. I have taken that first step in doing so.

If I cannot calmly explain to Bailey, how it is unacceptable to have popcorn for breakfast, and give her other more nutritious choices that she can pick from, then we have a meltdown. The meltdowns  can just be a few minutes of flying toys, and choice words, but they can also be the extreme, with hitting, throwing, and self harming.

Ross was always the one to grab her arms to make her stop swinging. He was always the one to hold her in place. Now that there is only me as the sole parent (not single parent), I have to ensure she isn’t hurting herself or anyone else, though it isn’t always in the cards to be fast enough, or alert enough, to keep her from hurting me. This is something that I have grown accustomed to, and I recognize that I should not have to. I make mistakes, yes, and many times, I fall victim to those mistakes.

Will I always ensure my children’s safely, above anything else? Most definitely. Will I threaten Bailey with no electronics mid-meltdown? No way, Jose.  After a meltdown, yes!

Mid meltdown threats sent her into a frenzy, where she cannot slow herself down, and her arms and legs are out of control. That is not a good place for any of us, and there is only one way to stop it.

Wherever we are…..we lay down, and I hold her arms and her legs the tightest, safest way possible. I let her break out her strongest screams, and squirm until she is absolutely exhausted. After some time, she finally quiets down, and we are both laying there, emotionally spent, and at times, physically sore. This is very consuming for me, as a parent, and I often struggle with the after effects. Families that do not have an autistic child will never understand, or relate, nor are they in any position to place judgments. Honestly, another family with an autistic child, should not place judgments, either.

Every child is different. Every family is different, and there is not ONE WAY to handle a situation. Every child and every family function differently, and they have to function with the dynamics of their bubble, not against their dynamics and bubble.

I did not let Bailey have her popcorn until she ate some bites of her pancakes and drank her milk, but I enforced this AFTER I laid with her, let some stillness pass, and spoke to her gently about how she was feeling, and that she is not allowed to speak to me in such a manner, that her behavior was not acceptable, and would she like to have another chance? Granted, sometimes this is very time consuming, and as a sole parent, my mind is meanwhile racing……I need to get laundry done, I need to pack their lunches, OMG my cookies, etc….but it is what it is, and it is how Ia choose to parent my daughter. She does not respond to threats or physical confrontation during a meltdown, like some children would, in normal functioning families. She does not respond well at all, unless she is in a calming state of acceptance, and this is only after she is held tight and still.

And there you have it, a look into our household, and a look into my daily battles of having a child with autism, and a child that I have tried may different tactics with, only to strike out, and escalate the situation with the wrong decisions. Like all other parents, I have grown and learned, and adapted my responses accordingly, and though it is not always a good outcome, it is the a solution that works for us.

So if I am not answering your texts, your facebook messages, or most importantly, if I am not answering my phone. There is a viable reason for this, and there are bigger matters that I need to attend to. Please do not assume that I am ignoring you, or that I am discounting what you need from me in that moment of your phone call. I am taking care of my children, and I am all they have now. Forgive me….please, if I cannot take care of your needs right then and there. And that sucks many times, believe me, because I love to make others happy and give them what they need, but this is my life now, and it is just how it is. Please be forgiving with me.

Thank you so much for all of your kindness, words of advice, and most of all, thank you so much for your support. It reminds me that I am not alone, and that something that I am very familiar with these days.

All I have learned

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I don’t want to post another sad, hopeless blog, but here we are. I send out my apologies for depressing or bringing anyone down, but this is what I am feeling, and I don’t know what to do with it all. It is bottled up to where I am almost suffocating from it. So here it is, all of it, so brave of me, to put it out there, and subject myself to judgement at every turn. But after all that has happened, maybe I don’t care what others think about me as much anymore? Because really…..being happy is all that matters, and I am hoping to reach that peak, as soon as I know that my kids are okay, and essentially happy.

My grandmother’s house is on the market and has had a million offers. I am not at all surprised, because I always recognized the value, from a sentimental standpoint and from a location, location, location standpoint. The offers came in like wildfire, and sent me stumbling backwards, because it all happened so fast, and I never had a chance to say goodbye to my home.

I haven’t had a chance to say goodbye to anyone, or anything, and yet, here I am, pushing and pulling myself from day to night, night to day, not sleeping or letting myself become too aware of all that has taken place.

Ross was a rock for me, always there and essentially, my best friend. One day he was gone, and it has been a downhill spiral of events for my children and I. And life doesn’t stop or slow down for you, so you have to keep shuffling your feet, no matter where your head or heart stay. And children… do they process that they will never see their father again? I don’t know how to protect them, and make them feel confident that I am here, when it is apparent, I could die tomorrow! I have learned from this. I am making plans, so that my children aren’t lost in this vicious cycle of LOSS. I will NEVER have them feel this way…..alone, isolated, and with this cold reality in their hearts, that anyone can die at any given moment. No wonder they are holding on so tight. No wonder they stay close at night, and wander looking for me, when I am up, and I can’t sleep. No wonder they panic if I disappear from their sight. Why haven’t I comprehended their loss to the full extent?  Is this the time to be enforcing strict rules? Maybe, but slowly, and not overnight. And I made lots of mistakes, in my own world of grief, and I owned those mistakes, and I am back pedaling, and trying SO hard to undo any of that damage. My kids are really all that matters, now more than ever, and I can’t imagine putting anyone or anything before them.

When Reagan snaps at me, or is moody when I pick him up from school, I remember……today was Donuts with Dad. When Bailey is in full fledged meltdown mode, and starts swinging and punching out of frustration, I may get hurt, but I remember……her dad isn’t coming home to her, or hugging her and tickling her as he walks in. He is just gone, and Bailey thinks everyone she loves will die now. My heart is broken into a million pieces, because my babies feel this tremendous pain. I would do anything in the world to make that go away for them, but I can’t, and I think that is the hardest part of parenting. Not being able to protect your children from pain.

This downhill spiral of events has come fast and furious, and it has been brutal and unforgiving. My husband DIED. He didn’t leave me, or disappear one day, he DIED. This leaves me with a confusing mess of emotions, but mostly fear and sadness for our children. Is it really true, that he has gone to a better place?  Why is that so hard to understand?  Was it so bad here with his family? I can’t imagine he would have wanted to be away from his children. Never.

And then I have to leave home, which was the right decision, given all the circumstances, though it has been a slow and painful crumbling of everything that I have come to know and love. My Grandpa watched birds and squirrels with his binoculars in the back room. He would water the bird baths every morning in his Gilligan hat. My Grandma would sit outside almost every evening, staring into the sunset. That same sunset that I stared into years later, as I found my way back to this home, as an adult. But every night the sunsets were different, and every night, they spoke different words to me. They brought me peace, solitude, and they brought me to tears, happy and sad, but mostly happy, because I was finally home. I can’t believe that I will never see those sunsets again.

Bailey said her first sentence in this home. SIX words, all at once, and without skipping a beat. I wasn’t prepared for it, and I had to catch my breath and process what had happened. Had she just said, “I had cupcakes, they were yummy”, or was I dreaming?  But she did. She TALKED to me, as if it were nothing, but it was EVERYTHING, because all of the days before, she would get off the bus, and I would take her hand, and tell her that I missed her, and did she have a good day? And she would mumble or smile, sometimes grimace, but she would NEVER tell me about her day. But she did that day, right there in the driveway, and she did from that point on, moving forward. It was the most beautiful day ever.

Reagan had his video games and love of sports. He knew all the players names, and their records, and his dad and him would talk about sports non-stop. Playing video games was their thing, and talking trash to each other. I can hear Reagan’s giggle right now, and the way his dad would taunt him, and sometimes even fall asleep during a game, and still make basketball shots! How?? They laughed so hard during these games, that Reagan would wet his pants. I never made any negative comments about how often it was, these video games, because Reagan was so HAPPY. He doesn’t have anyone to play with now, but an online friend that he never sees in person, and though he laughs with this boy, and they enjoy each other’s company, it will never be the same. All in our home. The video games, laughter, barking, and bonds, all working together in a chaotic manner, but a manner that made sense to us. All of that, gone overnight, and now the kids and I are in another home that is unfamiliar, and though they are acclimating, I cannot leave my home, because it is forever tattooed in my soul……where I lived as a child, and then again, as an adult, for seven wonderful years.

And it was all sentimental, sure. My mother and I had laid in the hammock in the back yard, and shared some memories of when we were together, and it was comforting to have her so close, and for her to be so nurturing towards me. It was pleasant and warm, and just RIGHT, like a real mother and daughter. And that was my last memory of her, in my home. She was on life support after that. My grandpa had died at the VA, and I was curled up in bed with him, despite the looks from the nurses, because they wanted to take his body. I had left home with my Bandit, because she was sick, and I had waited too long to put her to rest, because I was being selfish, and couldn’t let her go. I remember Ross kissing her face, as he fought to not cry, and then he turned away as I walked out the door, because he could bear to see her disappear out the door. That dog was the vain of our existence, and yet we loved her to the ends of the earth.

So many memories. I still cannot register, that I will not be back there. I won’t be feeding the deer and their babies, feeding the stray cat, and all of the wildlife critters that made our house their home. I cannot register that I won’t be sitting next to the pool, watching my children splash, and watching my Cowboy huff and puff in a small circle around the pool, barely making it back to the steps, to catch his breath. I cannot believe that I HAVE to register all of this loss, and yet, those hits kept on coming. There was a terrible dog fight, and my Star was injured to the point of being in shock, and I went racing towards the vet, knowing the whole time, that this was it, and I was having to let her go. Had Ross been there, maybe she would still be alive, and no one would have gotten hurt, but there I was, arms and legs all splayed out, keeping each dog off of one another, not even feeling the teeth on my neck or hands, because it didn’t matter, in all of the frenzied turmoil and my frantic yelling at the kids to close their door. And having to leave my Star’s body in a rush back to the kids, and never really grieving for her, my firstborn dog, that comforted me during some of the saddest points in my life, and stayed with me with such an undying loyalty.

I have learned everything there is know about life, what I want, and how I want to live. I want there to be no doubt, that my children feel protected and loved, and at the same time, feel confident to embrace others with kindness, and to be forgiving with themselves, when they have fallen. I have learned that every single day is a blessing, and every moment should be remembered and appreciated. I have learned that loss is crippling, catastrophic, but you have to take the punches, and push through deafening tears, so that you can find strength for your children, and for a completely different life, that honestly, you are terrified of.

Be grateful, appreciative, and don’t take anyone for granted. Pause, and remember…..hold on tight, because life is so damn fast. It can all be over, literally, in the blink of the eye. Thank GOD I have pictures, blogs, and thank GOD I have MEMORIES. Happy memories. That really is all that matters, is fighting to be happy, and fighting to remember.