Category Archives: Love & Loss

Final Chapter

For those of you that have followed my blog….it has been some time since I have posted.  Thank you so much for your support, and thank you for your encouraging comments and lifelong friendships along the way. I know that I take a great risk, posting such personal crap for the whole world to see, but this is how I heal…by writing, not verbally expressing myself.  Verbally expressing is not something I am ready for, and I may never be.

It is possible to feel too much.  To feel too much, all of the time, and not be able to shut it off.  I have been at war with myself over this…wanting to NOT care, NOT love, and simply NOT worry over the smallest matters.  But the problem with NOT giving a shit…it goes against every grain of my being, and it is stepping into unfamiliar territory.

I wear my heart on my sleeve.  This should be a wonderful characteristic.  I should be surrounded by lovely friends, family, and I should always be in love, and always feel secure in my parenting. I should always feel loved, because I can love so hard, and I can give so much.  In a perfect world, right?

But it doesn’t work out that way.  I will never be able to wrap my head around this.  And I know there are so many other tender-hearted souls out there that feel the same way….as if they being punished for caring too much.  Because that is what it feels like…punishment.

Loss has changed me forever.  If I care about you, I am definitely afraid that you will die.  If I feel happiness, I am afraid to close my eyes, because when I open them, that happiness will be gone.  So many beautiful precious memories, dreams, stories, wishes, journeys….all ripped away without any warning, only to leave me with so many damn questions…confusion…and not knowing how to process my sadness, because I was never able to say goodbye to that person…that  dream, that life, that fur baby, and that perception of what my life was supposed to be.

I had a “new normal” after Ross died.  That first year was the most horrible pain and isolation, but nothing compared to the helpless feeling of watching my own children struggle.  This second year after his death….we are trying for yet another new normal, and we are moving again.

I have stayed awake for hours every night, paced the floors, and did so much soul searching…SO scared of doing wrong by my children, and not having a partner to discuss anything with, but determined to NOT be swayed with the whole “single parenting” stigma, even though this is “sole parenting”, because my children’s father did not choose to leave us.  He died suddenly, and there is nothing that I can do to change that.  But yet, here I am, a single parent, having everyone tell me that I am such a strong person, and yet it makes me want to scream.  I don’t have any choice, but to be strong.  None of us do.  But admittedly, it is comforting to hear those words anyway, because I do look back and wonder HOW IN THE HELL am I still here.

I fight to recreate joy.  I struggle to sing a new song, while at the same time, reflect back on the familiar ones even though they sting.  I feel like I am always searching, but I cannot tell you what the hell I am searching for.  I am still lost, but I am slowly finding my way to a new self.  Not what I once was.  Because I don’t want to go back there.  I didn’t value tiny moments, unspoken words, and I didn’t value long lasting glances, watching my child draw her pictures, laughing with my son and his crazy antics, cuddling with my dogs knowing they will die too soon, and treasuring every single damn color, taste, texture, and emotion.  I am forever changed, but I am better because of it.  I really am.

I can love wholeheartedly.  I accept any and all those with all of their flaws and indiscretions.  I truly listen to empathize, not to respond or even understand.  My heart hurts when you cry, because I have been there.  And when there is something to laugh about….I cannot describe that feeling of gratefulness and appreciation…this life and everything that it deals out…and still, we can laugh!!  And when you have been broken, and you are on your knees, at the deep depths of darkness, you can see that happiness SO clearly, and you wonder why no one else can see it, too.  You want it so badly.  It is taunting and dancing and calling you over, but there are mountains and walls and oceans to swim.  You are exhausted, but you want that happiness.

I don’t want to be bitter, hateful, or resentful.  I should be, and there are days when I have moments of feeling spiteful for the cards I have been dealt.  But they are just that, moments, and thank goodness they are fleeting.

I do know my worth, I just forget it sometimes when someone hurts me intentionally or unintentionally.  And there will always be someone that will hurt you. Because we are all damaged in some way or another, and we will hurt others without meaning to.

I believe most people are good, but we all struggle and we all feel pain.  You have decide who you want to bring into your life that brings you growth, encouragement, and makes you feel loved and valued.  We are all deserving of happiness, but are just too scared to take it, for fear that it won’t stay.

But with the right tribe…friends and family, even if there are only a few…with the right partner…they will fight to stay, and they will not want to be anywhere else.

We are coming up on the 2 year anniversary of Ross’ death.  We are coming up on another Father’s Day.  I am without words, but yet I am not.

Do it. Say it. Feel it.

I posted a new blog the other day, and shared it to my Facebook page, as I always do.  Five minutes later, I deleted the link on my Facebook page. It was nakedly personal.  I am not oblivious to the fact that my life is heavy, and not everyone can relate nor can they comprehend what it is that I live every day. Heck, everyone has their own battles, and they don’t always post it for everyone to see. This is of my own choosing, and my own personal therapy. But I did remove this particular link about my daughter’s meltdowns….because not everyone wants to hear all of the negativity. And guess what?  Neither do I.  I WANT to be happy, and inspired.  I WANT to be in love, and to be a wonderful and perfect mother…..I WANT to have a normal life.  These may or may not be in the cards for me, but there is always something else around that corner.  I find myself happy in little moments.  Why I cannot seem to feel that way 24/7…..I will never be able to wrap my mind around that.  I know that I am deserving.  I know that I am a good person.  And I know that I am busting my ass to follow the path of right instead of wrong.  But sadly, somewhere along that path…..I have lost my way.  I want it all, but not sure that I will ever get it. I am at war with myself every minute of the day.  I don’t want to be.  How about some peace?  All of my life, I don’t think that I have ever felt peace.  Only tiny moments of peace.

My daughter is on the spectrum, as you have read in my other blogs.  My son is in emotional turmoil from the loss of his dad.  We have lost several of our family furry babies over the course of this past year.  Loss hangs over our family like a dark cloud.

I have a lot, and I am grateful for what is still here……but I am bitter about all of the loss.  I don’t want to be.  And I don’t want to be sad, lonely, or lost, anymore.  But mostly……I don’t want my CHILDREN to feel sad, lonely, or lost.  If my children are in distress, then I am in distress.  And I can fight for my new chapter until I am thoroughly spent, but it will not mean anything, if my children are not okay.  We are a family unit, and we all three need to work hard to move forward, together.

It has been a year and four months since Ross passed away unexpectedly.  My family is pushing forward, but we are not okay just yet.  Maybe we never will be, but I am getting help, and I am trying so hard.  Everything in me is so tired.  I am so done, but I cannot be done.  Anyone with children understand what I mean. You do not get permission to check out.

My frustration level is off the charts.  I look around me……I see heartbreak, neglect, and unhappiness.  How can I make you understand……life can be taken away tomorrow, just like that.  There are no second chances.  There is just NOTHING after someone has died……every thing that you always wanted to say to them, will go unspoken.  It will haunt you until the day that you die, and you will leave this world feeling unsettled and unloved.

Do what makes you HAPPY.  Do what makes you feel ALIVE.  Be proactive and forthcoming.  If you feel LOVE, then SAY IT.  If you feel helplessness, then ASK FOR HELP.  If you feel like there is nothing here for you, then GO AND GET IT.  Do it.  Say it. Feel it.

That is all.


If You Are Blessed

I haven’t been here for several weeks, but this morning my heart was heavy and burdened. Life has thrown me into an endless cycle of routine, where I fight to catch my breath every day.  We are pushing and pulling through each hour, only to lay down for bed at night, and then greet the morning with sleepy reluctance.
I couldn’t make a heart big enough to show my love for my children. I love for both of us now. It encompasses every tiny piece of my soul, and delivers a sense of purpose with a big weathered, but beautiful bow. I long to never unwrap such cherished memories, but a part of me goes away, every time they walk out that door. What if they never came back, and what if I lost a child? I would surely die to save them. I would surely die a thousand deaths before I would lose them.
Our family is a wave of laughter and tears, though we have been rained on for over a year now, and we are finally searching for our sun. There is no mercy within our days, and we fight like soldiers to embrace all the happiness that we can, and carry it with us, in those moments of grief and loneliness.
I pile band-aide on top of band-aide….Christmas presents, birthday surprises, cruises…but can never replace those moments where they will come to me, and take me in their arms, all on their own accord. I could live off of their smiles and their warmth for a life time. They are fuel for my barren, aching heart, and all that I have left in this world. I am their quiet, and they are my wild.
I will never be able to embrace all of these first times enough, nor will I ever be able to cherish all of our last times to their full extent.  The last time that I held them on my hip. The last time that I fed them their meal. The last time that I dressed them for school.  And the last time that I helped them wash their hair, when they finally sent me away, because they didn’t need my help anymore. What will I become, when my children have become adults, and my purpose no longer feeds my soul?
Eventually, we lose everyone, or they will lose us.
One chance. Blinking…hesitating…back pedaling….there is no end result that will complete you. There are only regrets and loneliness.
Today I sit in front of your grave site, and the dirt has turned to grass, and there are little white flowers sprouting up above your shell. Time has gone by, but we are still aching for our family of five, and we will grieve for you every single day.
If one is fortunate, one is given a warning, and one can cherish without reservation. If one is blessed, one is granted a new beginning….though sadly, we will not be blessed until we are ready, if we ever are.  And we never find that same love or that same security, but a recreation of a new love story, and a collection of different memories. Hopefully, we are graced with a chance to live for another chapter, because there is no point in having a story, if you have no one to tell it to, or no one to live it with.
You are always healing, one step at a time, though you will never let go completely, and you should not have to.
We miss you terribly.

First Steps

After I got the kiddos to sleep last night, I was feeling extremely restless and agitated. For no specific reason, just many reasons.

I sat right here, and I read every single blog that I have posted from day one, up until last week.  I could feel the sadness, and the weight of all of the loss reverberating to my core.  I read and felt this burden all the way into the morning hours.

There has been this horrible suffocating bubble around me, but instead of making me feel panicked, it is making me angry.  I don’t want to feel sadness, hopelessness, and I don’t want to get up in the mornings, for the sole purpose of being a mother.  I want to be a proactive, loving mother, but I want to stand by my true reflections, and continue to be free spirited, non-judgmental, and have empathy for others and their hardships, because I am not the only one who has suffered.  I am determined to stay true to myself, to be a force to be reckoned with, and at the same time, still be soft and kind.  I want to do this without fear of falling, getting hurt, or failing my children, even if I do get burned or face disappointment in my attempts.

This past year has changed me for the better.  I remember every little detail that takes my breath away, and I hold it so tightly, that my fingers ache, and I find myself wanting to cry from  all of the emotions involved with that moment.  I want to scream at the top of my lungs….YOU ONLY HAVE ONE LIFE, AND THAT LIFE IS SHORT & FLEETING…..and for others to actually hear and feel those words to their very core, and to embrace all of the sweet sounds of family and friends, and to collect all of the intricacies of early mornings and sunlight, and how the world goes to sleep, but the big beautiful moon stands watch over us.  Everything poetic and cheesy, but holding so much power over your perception of life and its brutal daily grind.

Speak with your children, but really listen to them.  Give them reassurance, confidence, and always tell them that you love them, because no child can never hear that enough.  At the same time, use the word “love” sparingly outside of your family nest…..only speak the word when it is clear and present in your heart.

Discovering Ross had died in his sleep…..that has done this to me.  Watching our son hover over his father, screaming, “Dad, Dad, etc.”, and helplessly trying to bring him back… will forever be tattooed in my soul, and our son will never be the same child again….he will carry that weight into adulthood, and there is nothing that I can do to erase it.

It slips away so quickly, but you don’t realize it until it is gone forever, and there is no coming back from death.  Grief is an ugly monster, and it wears many faces of sadness, loneliness, anxiety, anger….and it will strip away all of your hope until you are bleeding and raw.

You have to look around and pay attention to everything around you.  The slight shift in the wind, the sound of your child’s laughter… have to give yourself a break. You have to let yourself feel what it is that you need to feel, because if you don’t allow yourself to feel, then you cannot rediscover and redefine who you are.

I have come so far.  I am proud of myself, and I am proud of my children.  I have admitted to my faults, recognized my weaknesses, and I have been fighting to get both feet on the ground.

Bailey has autism.  Yes, we have so many horrific moments, where I cannot pull her back….it breaks me in a hundred different places, but I try and focus on her spirit…and if she is pushing through her fits and coming back up the the surface fully winded….then I will, too.

Reagan has his own challenges, and I like to put myself on trial for coddling and babying him for so many years….but I recognize that now, and I have no shame in identifying that I have made some mistakes, but will make it right, for the purpose of raising a strong, hard working, and compassionate son.  He will be someone’s husband one day….someone’s father….and he will remember these moments…and reflect back on them with joy, instead of fear and doubt.  I stand on our front porch, and I watch him walk to his bus stop, towards all of the bigger junior high boys….and it makes me want to cry, because he is so tall and strong….and he keeps pushing through, no matter what.  How does he do that, when he has been broken down to his knees, time and time again?

I love my family so much.  I want so badly to make Ross proud.  I want so badly to be happy.  I think that is the first step, after all of the other first steps….wanting to be happy, and allowing yourself to be happy.


Just One Shot


I suffer from a fear of everything falling apart once again, after the kids and I have rebuilt our lives.  Every stick, stone and brick….all to have shelter from the darkness.  Will saying the words out loud, “I will be okay”, ignite a chain of failure and destruction?  Would blogging a post that is actually hopeful, be swept away, as soon as the words hit the screen?

There are many days where I am exhausted from being strong all the time, but in the late evenings, into the early morning hours, my mind is racing, and I cannot stop the abrasive worries, falling down like hail around me, not showing any mercy.  I cannot get what I need, and that is a full night’s sleep. I cannot get that peace of mind that lets me take a breathe, and exhale it slowly…..not without my anxiety ridden heart beating so fast that my chest hurts.  Did I make the right decision?  Am I doing right by my children?  Do I need to move even further away to finally feel comforted and “home”?

I want to do everything, but I know that I can’t.  I want to give everything to my children, but I know that isn’t feasible, and what they need is more important, anyway….my time and love.  I am studying so that I can work, cleaning so that I can decompress, and pushing forward, as violently as I can, without breaking a sweat or letting myself cry.

I am consumed with all of the expectations and judgments from the outside world….what in the hell do they know, anyway?  Every one travels their own individual journey, and their journey can be brutal, but their journey can also be filled with wonderful moments.  These moments are forgotten so quickly, though, and we are all guilty of this.

Loss has taught me to appreciate the little things… daughter’s laughter, my son’s newfound independence as he enters junior high, and forcing myself to walk outside when I am feeling stressed and fatigued…..the sun and the wind sweeps away that first layer of sadness.

Loss has taught me to embrace any happiness that blesses my family… bathe in it and soak in every little drop. I have finally let go of the heavy weight of guilt, and I don’t hesitate or flinch when someone reaches out to me.  I let myself wonder and be fascinated with the thought of new beginnings, and at the same time, soften my guard until I have a reason not to.

I have lost my mother and grandpa.  I have lost several pets that were family members, all around the same time. I have lost my husband and the father of my children, unexpectedly and without any closure or clarity.  I have lost my home.  I have lost my identity.

I have had these stripped away, and yet I still have hope.  How is that possible?  I want success and fulfillment for my children.  I want to fight against all the haters of the dog rescue world, because the voiceless need me.  And I want to feel proud, because pride is alive and strong, and I need to feel alive and strong, after so many months of living in death and weakness.  If I find new friendships, and possibly love, along the way, then I am even more blessed, and I will safeguard and cherish those friendships.  I will cherish anything beautiful that drops in my lap, and anything that I work my fingers to the bone for.

You only get one shot, after all.





Cowboy, you are my third personal dog to lose in a row. You are part of the endless domino effect of death, and you have had such a heartbreaking impact on our family unit. Every single one of us have continued to weep for your bittersweet absence.  Ross would have shed tears for you as well, and my only comfort is knowing that he has his big strong arms wrapped around your big mushy sweet head, and that you are covered with warmth and love, no matter where you might go.

You had thyroid/weight issues.  You were a lumpy dog, but these lumps were not cancerous nor did they put you in any discomfort. You were an older dude, 11……but a bigger lab, so your life span was probably shorter than the average smaller dog. But you still had lots of time, did you not? You spirit was bright and full of life.  Why did you suddenly develop brain cancer, or whatever neurological setback that turned you blind and confused that big beautiful head of yours?

You didn’t want to come inside, but chose to lounge around the back yard, every now and again, changing locations to avoid the summer heat.  I saw you lapping up your water, and I kept ice cubes in your water dishes, because I knew you loved to eat them, and I know that it excited you to find those floating in your bowls.  Anything, and everything, just to see your tail wag in appreciation, and to see those droopy adoring eyes, looking up at me with anticipation.

You were a slower moving boy, unless you saw a squirrel or promised a treat, then hell hath no fury on your speed and power.  But your heart……there is no animal alive, with a bigger heart than yours…..and I can still feel you here, stomping around with those huge bear-like paws…peeking around the corner from the bedroom….you hated the wood floors because they were slippery and unpredictable, so you always paused and looked at me that way…..”seriously, mom?  No rug yet?”……scratching on the back door when you were ready to come back in (more like mauling, to our dismay), to throw yourself onto the floor at our feet with a huge sigh of exhaustion, after soaking in sunlight, and wiggling your itchy back in the grass.

YOU ARE HERE, Cowboy…..and as I sit on the bathroom floor while Bailey takes her bath…..I can feel you barreling in through the door, fumbling for a spot next me, and laying your big sweet head in my lap, and following my hands with your pitiful loving gaze.  And when I would stop petting your head, you would gently touch me with your gigantic paw, though it isn’t really very gentle, because you never recognized your own strength. You loved so hard, and as far as you were concerned, you were a small lapdog, front and center, and the most important family member alive. You were not wrong, Cowboy….you were the one essence that always made us smile and brought such a warmth when our days were cold.

You were handsome, proud, and the most loving soul that I have ever known.  I cannot believe that you have left us.  There will never be another dog that will replace you, nor will I ever forget or stop feeling your beautiful presence of light and love. And I would give anything, just to look into your big sad eyes, and embrace your huge soft body once again, as you lean into my hug, and sniff my hair.

Cowboy, you cast a spell on us.  We will never forget you, nor will we ever stop honoring you.

I love you so much that it hurts.  I miss you so much that I want to cry a river every single day, but I am almost numb and shielded from all of the loss of this year.  I will ache for you forever, but I am so very happy that you graced our family with such a sweet unwavering love. Thank you.  Continue reading Cowboy

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.