All over

Today was an all over day.  I had to go see the financial advisor and sign the papers to start our relationship with the firm.  Then I ran to Fairfax Hospital to get a copy of the medical records.  Driving to the hospital, parking in the same garage, walking in the same hallways, brought back a slew of emotions that I was not ready for.  Thankfully it’s not a strange thing to see people crying going up and down the hallways of hospitals.  It was just too much, too many emotions at once, I couldn’t deal, so I had to shut down, pretend it wasn’t happening.  I had to go into my la-la land where all is okay, all is doable, all is normal.

After crying several times on the way home, I felt a little better, a little more like I could manage the day.  I had to get a couple more things gone in the afternoon, when I was about to make the last phone call of the day, I had to stop.  I just couldn’t do it.  It’ll have to wait.  The words “my husband passed away almost two months ago”, just weren’t coming out of my mouth anymore, I couldn’t utter them anymore.  I was done, so I left it where it was, the papers are still on the desk, waiting for me to go back tomorrow.  The things that I will have to go do tomorrow, are sitting and waiting until tomorrow, there was nothing else I could do today.  My body and brain literally froze, they were done, wouldn’t move anymore, there was overload going on in there, things had to be processed before continuing.

My body gave out, I had to take a nap, like I said before, being tired is the worst that can happen to me, I become week and vulnerable, and I have to shut down.  But then today was playgroup reunion.  The moms got together and started talking as if we were not apart for a long time, like some of them hadn’t seen each other for years.  It’s like it was just yesterday that we were all sitting on the floor of one of our homes and the older kids were just learning to crawl!  Having the girl time did me good.  I’m sure the vodka had a lot to do with it, but there’s something about girl time, and laughing at the silly stuff, spending hours talking, hanging out, and feeling the support of everyone even when it’s not spoken aloud.  That is the best, the comfort that comes from all this is indescribable.  To see my kids hang out with friends they don’t remember, but they still get along and gel so good together, it’s awesome1

I will continue to say, no matter the malady, the best remedy is my girls.  And I’m so lucky to have so many girls, so many different groups of friends who are there for us, and are praying for us, and keeping us in their thoughts, their positive thoughts.  I’m now relaxed, I can go to sleep  and not be extremely stressed.  I can definitely say that I will go to bed, I will sleep well all night and I will wake up refreshed and ready to face another day.

All day I kept thinking of the get together tonight, no matter how hard it was, all the things that were going through my brain, I knew the playgroup reunion, seeing all the kids all grown up and seeing all the moms who have been part of my life for the last 12 years, would make for a better end of day, than the beginning had been.  It was true, the end of the day was great.  I’m thankful for friends and friends who are not just like family, they are family.

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Love vacation

I’ve decided that I’d like to be on permanent vacation.  While we’re away, I don’t have to make phone calls, I don’t have to go to meetings about the uncertain future, I don’t have to answer mail or phone calls or emails.  I almost don’t have to be a grown up.  All I have to do is wake up, take care of the boys and take them around places where they have fun, so much fun that there’s a smile on their face all the time.

Being a grown up isn’t all that fun lately.  Being the only responsible one around isn’t fun at all.  Making decisions alone that will affect the rest of mine and the boys’ lives is a little daunting.  I know I’m lucky that I have a lot of people helping, and that I’ve hired people who do know what they’re doing and whom I trust.  But ultimately, it’s still all on my shoulders.

And for as much as I try to pretend that this is all a dream, soon, very soon I’m going to wake up and it was just a horrible nightmare, I don’t seem to be able to wake up.  Some days, to maintain my sanity and to prevent from falling apart, I do pretend that it’s all a bad dream.  It’s the only way to keep going.

But on vacation none of this exist, we’re away from home, from reality, from the computer, and the phone, and the mail, we’re going around having fun.  Pretending that the world still is a wonderful place, when I know fully well it’s not.  But making it be for my boys, because I don’t want them to feel like there’s no future worth living with a void this big in our lives.

On vacation we’re living in pretend land, in fun land, in “I don’t have to deal with reality” land.  It makes coming back to reality hard, because reality sucks, there’s no way around it.

I’m tired, I’m home, and home means I go to bed late, because there are so many things to do.  It’s after midnight again, I finally got done with all I had to do to be ready for tomorrow.  When I’m tired, everything feels more real, more raw.  I’m going to rest some now, not too much because my furbabies have missed their walks with mama, and of course I’ve missed them terribly and will get up early, thought I’m exhausted, to go walk them and make them happy.  But even with just a little sleep, I know I’ll wake up feeling better and ready to take on the day.  Because that’s how I always wake up, that’s how I’ve decided I have to wake up everyday.
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Puppies are the best!

It’s been a long day.  Lots of emotions, as usual, some good, like Hake raising his glass at lunch and saying “to daddy”. Some not so good, like when I see a “complete” family, which means a mom and a dad with their kids, it always breaks my heart. 

Then there was the friend I got to visit tonight, she’s a dog rescuer, we got to go over to her house and play with ten puppies before going out to a wonderful dinner with her. There’s something about puppies, just like newborns, they make the world a better place, put a huge smile in my face and for those precious moments that I’m with them the world is a better place. 

There have also been a couple of friends over the last week who have become separated, not of their own choice, but by the husbands choice. It’s a hard subject to talk about and understand if I’m not the one in the situation. I won’t pretend to know what they’re going through or that their pain is any less than mine. The only thing I can say is I’m sorry, I’m here for you, and most importantly, while there’s life, there’s hope. 

It’s been a good three days away from us. I think the range  of emotions I’ve been through has helped. Being alone with the boys has helped. It’s shown us that though we never wanted this, we can do this. We will be a great team of three.  It’s not what we wanted, but we have no choice, so we will continue forward and make it the best we can. 

It’s time to go home and see my other two babies, I miss them terribly. 

   
   

My babies make it all better

Today was a lot better.  I slept almost nine hours last night, that helped a lot.  And today Josh was a lot better with Jake, he didn’t pick on him nearly as much, wich made both Jake and I a lot happier.

I asked them this morning, both of them to please take it easy on me, I’m just one me now, no more daddy to help when they’re acting up, and when they do it all day long (and yes, they mostly is just Josh), I can’t take it.  So today was a lot better.  

I woke up feeling rested and good, I can’t remember it at all, but I had a dream where Aires was in it.  I so wish I could remember it, because I remember laughing with him and I remember being happy, that’s the feeling I woke up with, a peaceful happiness.  I guess I was down and beat up enough yesterday that he decided to pay a visit and make it better.

I believe today was the day that it started to really sink in for all of us that we are just us, but we also realized, that though we have to adapt, we can do this.  It’s never going to be the same thing again, we just need to figure out what the new reality is and start living it.  The boys went on all the rides by themselves, and they were fine.  Jake is now tall enough to go without needing an adult with him, so they can do it by themselves.  It was better to have daddy there, but they realized that it’s doable without him, and still fun, not as fun, but still fun.

We also saw butterflies all day long, here and there we’s spot another one.  It was like daddy was there with us, all day, watching over us, making sure we were okay, making sure we knew he was there in spirit.  At the end of the day, Jake turned to me and said “thank you for bringing us mommy”, then he looked up and said “thank you for bringing us daddy”.  It made my heart smile.  He’s including daddy in the conversation, he felt his presence too!

Today wasn’t easy, but it was much better than yesterday.  I do think that these days doing vacations alone, vacations that we used to do with daddy, are a good adjustment for all of us.  We need the time alone, to figure ourselves out, in every situation.  Company is great, but we are a team of three now, and we need to learn how to do things, all things as three.  We need to learn how to live life in every situation as a team of three, with the fourth just watching, protecting and helping from above.

  

Not the same

Not the same at all!  Being on vacation at the beach without Aires was hard, and it continues to be so hard.  There is a void in the threesome, we were a foursome for so long, a threesome just isn’t the same thing.  

Daddy was missing as the co-pilot, because mommy is not good with directions.  Or maybe she is, but she’s lazy because daddy was always there ready to tell her where to go.

Daddy was missing as the ride partner for the boys, the standing in line referee and awesome person to hang and pass time with until the ride was upon them.

Daddy was missing at lunch when there were two on one side of the table, but only one on the other side.

Daddy was missing in all the pictures that mommy took of the boys, doing the rides, just the two of them.

Daddy was missing when mommy had had enough and was about to lose it with the hyper, picking and poking at each other boys.  Instead mommy had to hold it together, take deep breaths and keep going.

Daddy was missing at the hotel, where there was a bed with two, and a bed with one.

Daddy was missing next to us, all day long, every second of the day, he was on our minds, and in our hearts, we so missed his presence with us today.

Daddy was missing today… It was hard to vacation without him.

   

Packing

It’s now the second time I pack for three instead of four.  I packed the boys in the morning, that was not a big deal.  But I didn’t pack myself until I absolutely had to, just a few minutes ago.

When we went to the beach, it was very strange to pack for three instead of four, but everything was still so new then still, and my head was in the clouds, I couldn’t really grasp what was going on, it was hard enough to function at a normal level around the boys.  But today, I’m fully aware of what I’m doing, I’m fully aware that certain drawers will not be opened at all to take clothes out.

Because I was so aware, all day, and even for the last couple of days, I didn’t want to do it, because it’s like if I didn’t do it, it wasn’t true.  But I finally had to pack, I did it alone, in our room with the door closed.  The realization that I will never pack for four again, just one more thing to add to the pile.

I used to do the packing for everybody, like I used to do the laundry for everybody, I took care of everything.  So now I miss it even more.  If Aires had packed for himself, I wouldn’t find it as strange I guess, I wouldn’t have another hole, another missing piece.  The puzzle will never be complete, too many missing pieces.

This is our first trip truly just the three of us, and we’ll be fine, I know we will.  But we will miss daddy by our side, it’s just not complete without him there, going along on all the rides while I stay back and take pictures.  There won’t be the daddy/kids alone time while waiting in line, talking and goofing off.  There won’t be the tales to tell of the awesome ride and how “he did this” or “he did that”.  I grieve for my boys, for the fun experiences they will never have again with their dad.  For the boys only moments that mom just wouldn’t understand.  They lost their partner in crime, I grieve for their loss, for their pain.

All these firsts are going to be hard, I know that, and having August approaching fast isn’t improving my mood much when it comes to first and grieving for mine and the boys’ loss.  For having to adjust to our new life without him.  For no matter how much fun we have, it will never be the same.

We will hang tough, we will hang together, we will enjoy every minute, we will remember daddy and all that he did with them, we will smile and have good memories of years past when we went to the same places, the same rides, but it will never ever be the same.

 

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Single parent life

Being a single parent isn’t easy, in any way.  Some single parents are single parents because they didn’t have a significant other from the beginning.  Some are single parents by choice when they got divorced.  Some are single parents because their spouse passed away.  I obviously, am in the latest category.   For 12 years I was not a single parent, I was the stay at home parent, the 90% of the time parent, but I had back up.  But then I abruptly became a single parent, and it’s not easy in very many ways.

I’ve talked before about how there’s no sounding board for me anymore when it comes to parenting issues, how to deal with the boys, what to get them involved in, how to discipline them, etc., etc., etc.  But then we come to the day to day things.  For instance, yesterday two friends came and took me out to dinner.  We went to a restaurant in the neighborhood, I was five minutes from home.  I left the boys alone, they are old enough to be alone for a couple of hours, they were fed, the alarm was one, we have the dogs.  But still, I’ve never had to leave them home alone to go to dinner with friends.  And I certainly didn’t have them still be up when I came home.

Today, Josh had a sleepover, but I had a girls night.  It was at a friend’s house, it was with girls that I wanted to spend some time with.  All of them have helped me in one way or another, some of them have helped me in many, oh so many ways in the last month and a half.  Jake had to come with me.  Though he had fun playing with the kids who live there, it was not what would have normally happened.  Aires would have been home in time for me to go, he would have taken care of Jake, and I wouldn’t have to be worried about him, and how it was getting late, and was he okay.

It’s a different life now, it affects us all in every way possible.  When I think that we’ve gone through every way that Aires’ passing could affect us, another situation comes up.  It’s not that we can’t deal with it, or work around it, it’s just the realization over and over again, by all three of us, that things are different, that we have to adjust, that we have to learn how to live as three instead of four.

It’s hard enough to do all this adjusting as an adult, as a child it’s much harder.  It’s been hard for the boys to understand why I have all these plans.  I’ve explained to them, that when I say that I will try to keep our lives as normal as possible, I will try to do that in every way.  One of those ways is that I have girls night every once in a while.  I won’t be able to go out alone at night as much as I used to when Aires was home with them.

But for me to survive this, I need my girlfriend time, it’s a time when I can talk to people about all that is going on, but also a time when I can let go and laugh.  Girlfriend time is good for the soul, it helps to relax me, it helps to recharge me so I can go home and continue to stand strong.  It’s part of who I am, and it’s something that I’m used to doing alone, without the kids.  I guess things will change from now on, I’ll probably be having more get togethers at the house, or going to someone’s house, with the boys.  It’s not the same thing, but it’s better than nothing.  Girlfriend time is a necessity for the soul, for sanity for a well adjusted life, at least in my case it is.

Just one more way in which we have to adjust.  And given all the adjustments we’ve gone through lately, this is a minor one, really.  But at the same time, a very important one.
  

Time

A couple of days ago I got my first “time heals all wounds”.  I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later, I’ve been expecting it.  It probably won’t be the last time I hear it…

The person who said it had the best of intentions, I felt like answering “no, it doesn’t”, but it wouldn’t have been nice, the person meant well.  That phrase however, felt like a knife cutting through me.  I just smiled back, but in my head I was yelling “no it won’t, try it, then you’ll understand!”  This was an older person, she said it out of kindness and probably hope that time would heal all wounds, nonetheless it didn’t feel good.

It’s not even been two months, that’s not “time”, I don’t think it’ll ever be “time” to move on, I just don’t see it, not yet, not ever, not now.  What time does is make me get used to the pain, it’s still intense, but I’ve learned how to better deal with it.  Time gets me tired, so much going on, so much to do, so many people to talk to, so much to deal with, so much stress, time adds up into exhaustion.  Time has forced me to get used to the fact that Aires is not here, not now, not in the morning when I wake up, not when I make everyone’s breakfast in the morning, not when I pack lunches, not after work, not on the phone, not at dinner, not on the weekend, not on vacation, not on special days, not ever.

Time has allowed me to be able to hold my tears when talking about Aires with the boys.  Time has brought us to smile and laugh when talking about daddy, it wasn’t an easy process, but we made it, not even that much time, but I wanted to talk about daddy again, in a happy way.  Time has shown me that being numb to life is the only way to survive some days.

But time is not healing anything in me, the wound is still as raw, if not more, than it was a month and a half ago.  Everyday that time goes by, I miss Aires more and more.  I miss his smell, his voice, his touch, his gentle way, his sneaky humor, his company, his presence, the fact that he was on this earth with me, my partner, my children’s father, my soulmate, my other half.

I’m moving on with life, the living have to continue living.  We have plans that we are keeping for summer fun, school will start, I will get a job, we will adjust to our new normal, time doesn’t stop, time will come and we will have to do all those things.  But time doesn’t move the heart, time will never have anything to do with how I feel about the love of my life.  Time will not heal the whole in my heart, in my life that was left by Aires.  Time can not change the emptiness I feel in my life because there’s a huge part of it missing.  And this is the part of time heals all wounds that people refer to.  Maybe time does heal some people, but not all people are the same.  I don’t want to be healed.  I want to remember forever.

Time has shown me that the people around the boys and I are staying true to us, they are supporting us and loving us everyday that passes.  Time has shown me that I can do this, I knew I could, but time has confirmed it. 

Time has given me no peace.

Time grinds me down.
  

At a loss for words

Today I’m at a loss for words.  I decided what financial advisor to go with, it’s a local one, given that some things right now have to be done in person, it’s easier to have a local one.  Friends gave me good recommendations and I’m grateful to have found someone I trust and had a good gut feeling about.  I’m feeling a little more at ease now, since that is the one thing I know nothing about.  So the day started on an okay note.

And then I was reminded once again how Aires for the longest time would say “I’ll die when I’m 40”.  It started when he was in his late 20’s, at first I would just ignore him, as he got into his 30’s I would joke and tell him he couldn’t because who would keep me in the lifestyle I had become used to.  When he turned 40, it wasn’t funny anymore, I would tell him I didn’t want to hear it, I didn’t want him to say it anymore and several times I get upset.  He had been saying it for so many years, it was like he was foretelling the future, and it started to scare me.

As usual, whenever I’m dealing with all the changes and uncertainty of the future, then I start to think about the past, and the whole wave of emotions comes rushing in.  It wasn’t okay anymore, but I was still holding up.

But then there’s the news on facebook of the father and two children, from South Riding, who were in a car accident in Charlottesville and both boys died.  That hit hard, just yesterday I was writing about how you always think of how it could be worse, and then it’s easier to move on.  But how do you move on after losing two young boys, about the same age as mine?  There’s no moving on from that!  It’s weird that I just wrote about it, and then this happens.  I’m stuck, I can’t begin to imagine what that mom is going through!  I can’t imagine anything worse!  Where do you go from there?  I don’t know that I would have the strength, my strength right now comes from my kids, from wanting the best for them, from wanting to make them succeed in life, even when they were given a hard turn in life.

I’m at a loss for words, there’s nothing that can be said after something like that.  It’s just sad.  It’s maddening.  It’s unconceivable!

What if

I don’t “what if” things anymore.  I used to, when I was younger, it would take me weeks, even months to get over stuff because I kept what ifing it.  It consumed me, I could not get over it.  What I realized one day was, I can’t change the past, it’s happened, no matter how much I want to go back and change it, I can’t, it’s done with.  What I can change is the future, that has not happened yet, that I can mold and change.

What the “what if” and “why” do is to keep you in the moment of when the bad event/thing happened, you keep reliving it, and wondering about it, you are not able to move on from it.  It also gives you unnecessary stress, anxiety, panic attacks, it can mess your whole bodily function.  And for what?  For something you can’t change no matter how much you want to!

I think realizing this in my early twenties, has helped me a lot in life, as soon as something happens, I go straight into, “what can I do to fix it/what comes next” mode.  I think this does a lot for me, it helps me to move on from whatever it is right away, and plan what the next step is.  It’s become such a part of me that I don’t even think about what might have been when I’m faced with a situation, I just go into situation control mode.

This attitude has helped me a lot lately, from the beginning I knew that I’m all these boys have now, I have to stand strong for them, with them, I have to be their example.  If there are things that need to be done, they get done, it may only be one or two a day, but they get done.  Eventually they will all be done.  If there are things I need to deal with, and face even if I don’t feel like it, I still do, because that’s the only way to change the future.  Moping around dreaming of what could have been won’t get me anywhere except depression, maybe.

The key here is, you’re not forgetting what happened, or ignoring what happened, or pretending it didn’t happen, or not give it the importance it needs.  Obviously things happen, and they affect you, and they are part of you life forever, they shape you into who you are, but in my opinion, if you’re able to move forward from a bad situation, you’re much stronger for it in the end.  It has become second nature to me to do that, seriously, try it.

And along with that, no matter how bad it is, here’s another one of my motto’s for you, “it could be worse”.  I’ve thought of this one a lot lately, as you can imagine, it’s very hard to imagine how this could be worse.  But if you can do it, think of how it could be worse, then realize that what happened is not actually “that bad”, even when it’s the most horrible thing that has ever happened to you.  And this is a hard one when it comes to events like this… But I had to do it, it’s part of what I do to keep myself from falling apart, it’s one of the things that keeps me going.  So imagine, what if Aires and Josh has passed, or Aires and Jake, or Aires and I?  See, it could have been much worse.  Not to undermine in any way the devastating place I’m in right now, but it could be worse.  This can be used in every situation in your life, if you’re feeling horrible, think of how much worse it could have been, then you start to feel a little better, and you have a little more strength than you had before, and you can keep moving forward.

For the people who have been amazed at how I just keep going, and I’m not falling apart, this is part of the reason why.  Years of just “what’s next” and “it could be worse”.  In this situation the boys are the biggest thing that is keeping me going.  I would love to just lay in bed some days and cry, sleep, reminisce, cry some more and maybe even sleep.  But that would not be good for my babies, my furbabies need their mommy to walk them, play with them, feed them, moderate their “playing”, spoil them.  My big boy babies need me to be here, functioning so they feel safe in their future.  Crying and falling apart will not instill confidence in them, that I got this and they don’t need to worry.  They will worry, and I don’t want them to worry, I want them to feel safe in our future.

Today a friend dropped off a painting full of sunflowers.  She gave it to me to put a smile on my face when I look at it, but when I first looked at it, the feeling I had was of a “bright” future, a happy future.  It will never be happy the way it was supposed to be, I’ll always be happy and sad at the same time, but looking at this painting was like looking into a window to the future.  It will be a good future, a happy future for the boys and I, I will make sure of that.