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…..my 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.