Bitter sweet

Jake and I were going through some albums, the old old ones, from when we were “young and skinny”!!!!, that is according to Jake ūüôā

He kept asking me why I took so many pictures of just us, here and there, and nowhere, but so many pictures.  And why did I want a picture of everything!

Now, now is why I wanted all those pictures. ¬†At the time, I didn’t think that’s why I wanted them, at the time I just wanted to document everything we did so that when we had kids we could show them what mommy and daddy looked like when they first got married, and the things mommy and daddy did before they came along.

But now, now I’m glad I have all those pictures, all those memories, all those smiles and tears at the same time. ¬†Those pictures, just like our house, are all bitter sweet. ¬†It hurts because everywhere I turn in this house, there are memories, which make me miss Aires so much more. ¬†But at the same time, those memories are all I have now, and they are wonderful memories. ¬†Even the ones that aren’t as nice, or as good, they’re still wonderful memories. ¬†Because they are what made us, us.

Our life was wonderful, because a long time ago I realized that life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful. ¬†We had our ups and downs, people grow, they go through stages, life wasn’t great all the time. ¬†I don’t think anyone has perfect all the time, that would be weird, something would be wrong. ¬†But it was mostly good, it was great, it was wonderful.

Memories, pictures, the voices inside my head, that’s all I have left. ¬†They are wonderful, other than my kids, who are a real, a tangible part of Aires, the memories are my hold to what was, and was the best. ¬†It was my fairytale, it was my happy as can be, it was my love of a lifetime, it was my one and only. ¬†I couldn’t ask for more, I had what so many people look for all their lives. ¬†I didn’t settle, I married my one true love, I had a wonderful life with him, and I had to give him back way too early.

Though bitter sweet, these memories, I wouldn’t change them for anything.

(Our honeymoon)

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Fairytale

Wow, it’s been a while! ¬†I’ve been running around so busy that I go to bed late almost every night. ¬†It was great for a distraction, but at the same time, I’m exhausted now. ¬†It’s all good, people loved the cookies, and the goodies, and I love to make people happy with my baking ūüôā

I’ve made myself a promise, if it’s too late, I will go straight to bed. ¬†I will not stay up blogging, unless I absolutely have to do it. ¬†I will not stay up “watching tv”, better known as falling asleep on the couch because I’m so exhausted by the time I sit down, because I don’t want to go to bed “alone”. ¬†So, as a result, I found a solution, I stayed up baking and baking, and by the time I was done, it was after midnight, day after day. ¬†And then I was so tired, I just went to bed and crashed.

I don’t have a problem falling asleep and staying asleep, I have a problem forcing myself to go upstairs and go to bed. ¬†Once I’m in bed, I’m fine. ¬†A parent at Josh’s soccer game this weekend was asking how I was doing, etc., etc. ¬†And I basically said, I’m “okay”, but I’ll never be okay again. ¬†But at the same time, I have a peace inside of me, that is very comforting.

I know that I didn’t leave anything unsaid, I told Aires many times a day that I loved him, and I showed him even more times than I told him. ¬†If we ever had an issue, we talked about it and resolved it. ¬†Our marriage was a good one, we were both in a good place socially. ¬†He was in a great place socially, going out with friends, finally enjoying himself outside of his family life. ¬†He was in a good place at work, he was very busy, crazy busy, but in a good place.

We didn’t leave anything undone. ¬†I mean, all the future plans and things we wanted to do in the future, those are all undone and will never be done. ¬†But the ones we did, we didn’t put off. ¬†We never put off going away once or twice a year, just the two of us, to do it in the future instead when the kids were gone. ¬†We didn’t put off going on date night because the kids needed us at home, we figured it out. ¬†We didn’t put off going all over as a family, vacation, weekends away, a couple of days here, a couple of days there. ¬†Amusement parks, little trips to fun places, celebrations, lots and lots of traditions. ¬†We sometimes didn’t have the money saved that we should have saved to do all these things, but we did them anyway.

I hate to think of it this way, but the same way that Aires “knew” he would die in his 40’s, I had a need to do more and more as a family and as a couple. ¬†It’s almost as if I “knew” that he was right. ¬†I made it a point to plan, plan, plan, and we did, did, did.

I will miss all the things we didn’t do, all the plans that will never come to be, but I don’t have any regrets of the things we didn’t do, or missed out on, or postponed. ¬†Because we didn’t, we lived life as fully as we could. ¬†I have peace in knowing that Aires was truly happy when he passed. ¬†I have peace that we were in a really good place in our lives, family and work. ¬†We were happy, we were in love, we were having fun, we were enjoying life. ¬†I have no regrets, no “I wish I had…”, and that is a very peaceful thing.

I’m not okay with the future, with having to do it alone, with having to change all the plans, or keep them but do them alone. ¬†It’s not the same thing, it’ll never be the same thing, it’ll never be the fairy tale that I had planned and envisioned. ¬†I guess my fairy tale, my one true love, my soulmate, my best friend was loved, lived and terminated. ¬†I didn’t get the happily ever after, but I did get the happiest I could ever be during the time I had.

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Traditions

Today as I sit her like a silly crazy momma trying to get Star Wars movie tickets, for a movie that won’t even come out for a couple of months, I can hear a voice in my head “you’re crazy”.  Which I am, and I love that I am, it’s me.  Being me makes me feel good.

When the boys were going to bed tonight, we remembered something silly that Aires did, we all laughed really hard and talked about it.  The boys went to bed smiling about daddy, it made my heart sing.  Remembering him with smiles and laughs is the best, we make him present with us, in a way.  But eventually it gives way to the bitter sweet feeling that though we love to remember and laugh, he’s not here.

I am trying very hard to keep all of our old traditions, to keep being our traditions.  Traditions have always been something I’ve put an emphasis on.  I think it’s one of the things the boys will remember most when the grow up, because we did the same thing year after year.  We have gone to Cox Farms twice, and going again tomorrow afternoon (and thanks to the generosity of our friends only paid on $5 day).  We’ve gotten the orange Jack-o-lanter bread, which they always get a kick out of taking to school for lunch because everyone is always so curious and grossed out about it.  I’ve bought our ICE tickets for next month, we have done it so many years in a row now, I’ve lost count.  It’s something fun that is part of our holidays and the boys look forward to it every year.

I also realize, that as the years pass, and the boys grow into teenagers, we may lose some of these things.  I hope we don’t, but I can see Cox Farms becoming just a Fields of Fear thing, at which point, I won’t be there with them.  And ICE may be not so cool anymore, after all it’s all about little kid stories.  But for now, I hold on to every single tradition for dear life.  It’s good for them, and myself as well, in a way it says “stability”, everything is the same as it was before, very different, but the same, and that gives us stability, normalcy, assurance that the future will be okay.  I promised them that I would try my best to make sure we kept living our lives as if daddy was here.  I promised them I wouldn’t change anything, unless I had to, I think of that promise everyday, I try to keep it true, both to them and to myself.

Many things have changed to never change back.  For instance, with sports being here, it’s obvious that the divide and conquer thing was HUGE.  Without Aires, I have to go to every game, I have to be two places at once sometimes, and that doesn’t work.  I’ve asked for help, and hasn’t been a problem, friends are more than happy to help if they can, but it’s not what it used to be, never will be, and that, I can’t change.  All I can do is my best to be there as much as I can, if I have to miss a game, or part of a game because I’m driving one or the other around, then it is what it is.

But also, with divide and conquer, I got some time for myself.  If there was something going on during a game, and not another game at the exact same time, Aires would take the boys and I would attend whatever fun event, or meal, or pampering thing I had going on.  Right now, that is not a possibility.  I have to go to the games, all the games, my events are no longer as important.  I’m okay with that, but I can’t say that I don’t miss the old days of divide and conquer.  Like I said, I was spoiled.

On a different note, today I was once again reminded of how lucky I am to be surrounded by so many friends who gave us from day one and continue to give us to this day, so much love and support.  It came to my attention, a lady who lives not too far from us, lost her husband to a heart attack last week (I think).  I don’t know her, but there was a sign up sheet for food.  When I looked at it, there were barely any names on there.  Later on, speaking to two people who had made the list public to where I found it, they told me that they don’t think this family, a mother and three children ages 9-2 really have much support.  In a way it broke my heart, and I wanted to help, because I know exactly where this mother is right now, what she’s feeling and going through.  And I know how important it was to keep me strong, to know that I had so much love around us.  So, in a way, it once again made me feel so loved, it’s a wonderful feeling to feel the virtual hug around us.

  

 

“See”

I don’t know why, but all day today I kept thinking of Aires, even “seeing” him all around me. ¬†I can’t say that it was because I was missing him more than usual, because that’s quite impossible, I miss him like crazy all the time, I don’t think I can miss him more. ¬†I don’t know why, but it’s what it was.

It started in the shower, I looked down and didn’t see any leg hair left on the shower floor. ¬†Usually I showered after Aires in the morning, and there was always leg hair left behind. ¬†I looked down, the shower floor was completely white, and I missed the hair, I could “see” the hair from when it used to be there.

Later on I was at Wegman’s and all of the sudden when I went past the fresh cooked food bar, I remembered how we used to meet there for dinner when the boys had swimming classes right by the Wegman’s, I looked at the food and I could “see” him getting his food. ¬†Aires would make it a point to leave work on that day every week and come join us for dinner. ¬†I know, silly, but the boys really loved it.

When I was driving home from Wegman’s I could “see” his car following me in the rearview mirror, with Jake sitting in the back seat, because he always rode home with daddy in the cool car. ¬†I could “see” him in his sunglasses, smiling and waving at me.

I picked up Box Tops from Lunsford today, when I got home with a huge bag of ten to cut, I could “see” and “hear” Aires telling me to get over it and not be so OCD about everything having to be cut right on the line. ¬†To go to bed instead of staying up late cutting Box Tops. ¬†And then he would remind me that I’m crazy for always volunteering for everything.

And when the boys were having their golf lessons, even though they never had them there when Aires was alive, I could “see” him right there, sitting on the floor next to me, with a huge smile on his face, because not only were the boys taking golf lessons (he loved golf and really wanted them to learn and play with him), but they were enjoying themselves, learning, improving! ¬†I could almost feel his presence and happiness.

I miss him all the time, I think of him all the time, I think of what he would have said and done in every situation, but this was different, I could actually “see” him there. ¬†I don’t know why today, I don’t know why today felt different, it just was.

Maybe my imagination was hyper active today, maybe I miss him so much I just started seeing him in my mind, but maybe he felt that after feeling like I’ve taken a beating lately, maybe I needed to just “see” him happy and smiling.

Yesterday I signed my new Will and Trust, just mine, not ours anymore. ¬†Puts a different perspective on things. ¬†But in case anything happens to me, the boys are taken care of, that’s why I did it, that’s what’s important. ¬†It was a day filled with mixed emotions, maybe that prompted today.

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Another four month date

Four months since the funeral. ¬†Another month added to the count, it’s counting up, not down like when you’re counting to something fun. ¬†This definitely is counting up, to nothing ever fun.

All I can say is I’m still exhausted, all the time, I need naps all the time, don’t have time for them, but need them. ¬†I sleep fine at night, still I’m always exhausted. ¬†I’m not even working out, this constant exhausting is… exhausting!

I still can’t see where I’m going, everything is still in the air. ¬†The future will be what will be, I can’t even concentrate long enough to plan that out. ¬†I need to plan it out, I wan to plan it out, it’s how I feel comfortable, to have a plan, but I’m too exhausted, uncertain, and in ways defeated to do it.

Many times the thought “life sucks and then you die” come to my head, I used to say it when I was mad at something. ¬†But I know that our life didn’t suck, his life didn’t suck. ¬†We had a good life, we were happy, we were in love, we enjoyed spending time together, we still behaved like the little kids who fell in love so long ago. ¬†I not only told him I loved him every day, several times a day, but I showed him in so many ways every single day. ¬†Acts sometimes are more powerful than words, I made sure he knew how much I loved him and appreciated him. ¬†He was spoiled, I made sure of it.

So, life didn’t suck, not at all. ¬†It just ended way too early, that part really sucked.

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Real horror

I don’t know why, it’s not like I was thinking about it on purpose, in fact, I wasn’t at all! ¬†But the image of me holding Aires’ hand at the hospital kept creeping into my mind today. ¬†Here and there, a lot during your drive out to the apple orchard. I still can’t figure out why, but it made me sad.

And then when I went out tonight with the dogs for them to go to the bathroom, and heard all the people screaming at Cox Farms Fields of Fear, I came to a realization.

Not that I’ve ever liked scary stuff, I never have, I’ve never watched horror movies, I’ve never been to haunted houses, etc., etc., getting the daylights scared out of me is not my idea of fun. ¬†Ever.

But tonight I realized I’ve probably seen more than most of the people at the farm. ¬†And I have memories stuck in my head that they will never have from going on a scary hayride. ¬†Memories that I can not erase, ever. ¬†I’ve seen the real thing, it wasn’t only scary, it was horrifying.

I remember the body that was three times its normal size, I remember holding the hand that was so swollen it wouldn’t even bend, I remember squeezing it hard, a lot, because I knew that soon I would never be able to touch it again. ¬†I remember the head and face that looked nothing like the man that I loved, the man that I married, the father of my children, the one that I was lucky enough to love for 24 years. ¬†I remember the blood, real blood, some of it dried up from the accident, a lot of it new as it kept going in and coming right back out of him. ¬†I remember holding that swollen hand, with dried blood on it, having my life flash in front of my eyes and not wanting any of that to be true. ¬†I just wanted to wake up from the nightmare.

The nightmare will never end, it’s always here, it will always be here. ¬†I will live with it for as long as I’m alive. ¬†I don’t get to drive home after a few adrenaline filled hours and get over it.

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Four Months

Four months, every month I think back, it feels like it’s been longer, and it feels like it was just yesterday.  Today it mostly feels like it’s been four years.  It feels like I’ve been through the ringer so many times, that it could only be four years, it couldn’t be four months.  But in my heart if feels like it was just yesterday, last night, that I left the hospital, alone.

I kept busy, very busy actually, so much so that I just now finally sat down!  It was good to be busy, I saw friends, I talked to friends, the boys had golf lessons, it was busy and distracting.  Of course I never forget what day it is, and as soon as there’s a silent moment, that’s the first thing on my head.  But today I was out there for me, to show myself and prove to myself that I could be “okay” today.  It helped that it was the day to get my eye threading and nails done, a little pampering always helps.  I also had lunch with good friends, and a margarita, which is always good for the soul.

As I’m set to do this all day today, I woke up with the plan of dressing up, putting my best attitude forward, and trying to make this day, not a bad day, try to make it an okay day.  What arrives first thing in the morning?  An article, that a friend posted on Facebook and hit a cord with me, not in a bad way.

http://www.nextavenue.org/a-different-script-for-grief/

I’m not going to say that I’m as “okay” as the lady in the article, I think she’s a little too “okay”, but it basically explains a lot of what I feel like.  The difference is, it looks like it came naturally to her, she just kept going and that’s what happened, I had to work at it, make a decision that this was the way my life was going to be, this was the way I was going to live it.  Aires always said if he went before me, he didn’t want me to be sad, he wanted me to be happy, to continue on, to celebrate his life, not mourn his death.  I’m trying to honor him as well with my way of being “okay”.

I am present for my kids, I am the mom they were used to before, I’m not a mess all the time, I don’t go around crying all the time, I don’t sit on the couch or lay in bed all day.  I’ve shown them that it’s okay to keep going, sing, dance, remember, talk about it, laugh, enjoy, and cry too.  I don’t beat the accident in my head over and over, I don’t think of “what if”, I’m not mad at Aires or his friends for staying out late, for driving home sleepy.  It happened, it is what it is, we now have to move on from that and adapt our lives to a new life we’re not familiar with.  But guess what?  Four months later, we’re still here, we’re happy in a sad way, we have our moments and then we move on with life.

I’m pretty much used to our new life, or as used as I’m going to get.  I still wake up many mornings wanting to tell Aires to turn off the alarm (it’s on his nightstand), or expect to clim over him to turn it off myself, then I realize he’s not there.  I still have my alone time in the shower in the morning, it’s part of my therapy to be ready for the day.  But I less and less want to send him a text when something happens.  And I less and less expect him to walk in the door.  It’s hard, but it’s reality, I have to get used to it.

I’m pretty okay with not being outwardly sad all the time, I’m okay with laughing out loud when something is funny, or when I’m with my friends.  I’m okay with singing and dancing with my kids, it’s what we used to do, it’s what we should continue to do.  I’m okay with going for girls nights, dressing up for them, feeling good about it.  I’m okay with going out to events with and without my kids, and have a drink or two when I’m out with friends.  I’m okay with my life as it is right now, I don’t like it, I certainly don’t love it, it comes nowhere close to what my life used to be, but I’m okay with my life.  It’s the best life I can make for the boys and myself right now, and they are happy, which in the end, is all that matters to me right now.

So, I’m not as okay as the lady in the article, but I am resilient, and I am strong, and I am okay with where I am, and who I am, and what I’m doing to live my life, raise my boys and honor my husband’s memory.

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Fog day

It’s fog day, the day in between the accident and the day Aires passed away, every month is fog day. ¬†There’s nothing to do, nothing to mark, just the day that I sat in the hospital and stared at Aires slowly passing away in front of my eyes.

It was a busy day, which I’m thankful for, I worked, then the boys came home, early dinner, soccer and flag football practices, dinner with a friend while Jake was at practice, then bedtime routine and now I just finished decorating the house for Halloween, because I promised I would. ¬†We were waiting for the cleaning ladies to come so I could decorate when the house was clean.

I never know what to do with this day, it’s a nothingness day in the middle of the two most horrible days of my life. ¬†Every month I sit around and wait for this day to go from sun up to sun down, there’s nothing to do, just sit and wait. ¬†That’s why it feels like a fog, nothing going on.

I run through that day four months ago, when I was so scared, so scared of what was going to happen to us all. ¬†I didn’t know if I could go on without Aires, we were a team, I had never done it alone, how would I do this? ¬†This was also the day, that towards the end of the day, I had to start talking myself into finding a way to get… I can’t find the right word, it’s not past, or over, but I can’t find another word… I had to find a way to get past the pain, the hurt, the feeling of helplessness, the feeling of being alone, the all new future ahead, at the new horrible future ahead. ¬†I had to tell myself that the boys needed me, the boys were all that mattered now, and there was no way I could let them down. ¬†I had to be there for them, I had to be the anchor, I had to be the example, I had to instill security, make them feel like everything would be okay, that I could do it alone, we could do it alone.

This is the day I had to become the new me, a single me, find a way to come home and tell my boys that their daddy was going to die. ¬†Have my heart broken into pieces over and over again, and survive it without totally falling apart, like I so wanted to do. ¬†But I couldn’t, and I didn’t because I had a reason to go on strong, I had my boys futures in my hands at that moment and how I reacted was going to affect them for the rest of their lives. ¬†I chose to be the best I could be for them, while dealing with the grief and the pain, but not letting it take over me.

It’s almost over. ¬†Tomorrow is another hard day, but once again I have a busy one planned, busy is good.

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Stories

Four months ago today Aires was in his car accident. ¬†The dreaded time of the month has arrived again. ¬†I’m trying to keep busy as usual, but it only really works part the time, it’s always in the back of my head.

Today for some reason, it’s stuck in my head that I didn’t get a lot of stories about Aires yet, not talking about the family, they will do it in time, but from co-workers, friends, I got some, but not too many. ¬†And for some reason I got upset about that. ¬†It’s not that we don’t have enough memories to last us a lifetime, but how nice to see daddy through someone else’s eyes. ¬†I don’t know why it hit me today, I don’t know why I got obsessed about it.

It got to be too much, all I kept thinking and envisioning in my head was an old Aires, with grandkids on his lap, telling them stories of when he was little. ¬†And that will never happen now, we don’t have those stories. ¬†I had to leave the house, I went for a fast walk, I was out for a half hour, I needed to clear my head. ¬†I was about to lose it! ¬†I cried¬†during the walk, several times.

But the best part is that as soon as I leave home and go around the corner, I get a text from a ¬†friend. ¬†She was at baseball, and remembers the first time she met Aires, on opening day, Jake was little, Josh was playing and Jake was just going on and on as if he had known her forever, as Jake does. ¬†And she and Aires were laughing about it. ¬†She texted to let me know that she was in the same spot and the memory came to her and she couldn’t shake it. ¬†I smiled ūüôā ¬†He came through for me again, telling me it was okay, telling me to calm down, to relax. ¬†(On a side note, I told her “someone” told her to send me the text. ¬†She texted back “you might think I’m crazy, but I really felt urged to text you the moment I sat in the bleachers, staring at that spot. ¬†That memory was clear as day. ¬†I hesitated because I didn’t want to upset you or catch you off guard… but I really felt a nudge.” ¬†No butterfly today, a friend’s text was my angel today).

So I put out another request to the Portuguese friends and family, I will send a request to his office coworkers again when I send in the thank you notes, and hopefully some more stories will come in. ¬†I love the ones who say “you dad was a wonderful man”, but I would love to have more that say “one day we… this one time… ”

I’m keeping busy, as best I can, the dogs and kids are doing a great job at helping me stay distracted, I work tomorrow, first job since I’ve started back up, and I have lunch with friends on Thursday. ¬†Things that bring me distraction and some kind of happiness are the best for days like this. ¬†Thursday I have a marathon day planned. ¬†It’s not getting easier, it’s getting harder. ¬†I miss him more and more each day, it no longer feels like he’s away on a trip. ¬†Or that he’s going to walk in the door any minute. ¬†He’s gone. ¬†It feels like he’s gone.

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Losing weight

It’s very simple. ¬†I’m losing weight, a little bit, but losing, I’m happy about it, though not about the two day cleanse, but I survived it. ¬†I feel better, my bloated belly is gone and I can see myself start to look better.

People are telling me I’m looking better, looking good, I know nobody would tell me I look horrible anyway, I can see myself, I know when I look good, I’m not there yet. ¬†I hope to be there before I need to wear jeans all the time, all winter long, so they actually fit. ¬†Right now they don’t, but I’m getting closer.

Though everyone says I’m looking better, looking good, it just doesn’t register. ¬†There was only one person I believed when he told me I looked good, and he told me that no matter what size I was. ¬†But when I started to lose weight, he was my biggest source of strength and encouragement to stay on track. ¬†He was also the only one I really believed when he said I was looking good. ¬†Because it came with more than a you look good, it came with a twinkle in the eye and a naughty smile, and a naughty touch.

I miss my cheerleader a lot, especially when I’m in real need of the “you’ve got this, no big deal, you’ve deal with worse”, from the one person who can’t say it anymore. ¬†I remember in my head all the other times he said it, all the other times I went on a diet, and lost weight. ¬†I need that voice. ¬†I don’t have that voice. ¬†The memories help, but they’re in no way the same thing.

I feel like the whole world could be telling me right now that I look good, I look great, I look awesome, and it won’t register. ¬†I can recognize it for myself when I do, I know the weight and body shape I have when I look good, I know what clothes fit when I look good, but I don’t have my one “you look good” that I want and that I always believed because it came from the heart, with love, not just for the outside me, but for the whole me that he married. ¬†He never cared what I looked like, what my weight was, what my size was, I cared. ¬†He didn’t. ¬†He loved me for me, and that is the best feeling.

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