Family picture

A client gave me a gift certificate to a fancy photographer sometime in October, she found it when we were cleaning out her closet, she was never going to use it so she gave it to me.  At first I was happy about it, how exciting, we would never ever do something like that for ourselves.  Maybe one of the people we see on Facebook, but not this guy.

Then reality hit, this would be a fancy and expensive picture of just the three of us.  No Aires, just us.  And then I wasn’t sure I wanted to do it after all.  For about two weeks, I didn’t call the photographer, I almost gave up on it altogether.  Then, instead of calling, I just sent an email, that email was answered with a “call us to set up the session”.  So, that one sat there for another couple of weeks, I kept making excuses of why I didn’t call, I didn’t have time, but seriously, it only takes a few minutes to call and make an appointment.

I know we’ve taken pictures of just the three of us, but this one was different, it was a picture at a photographer’s studio, and it was just three, not four people.  It’s like I had to accept the fact that there are only three of us, when I’ve known fully well that there are only three of us.  For some reason, this was a big step for me.

To make me feel better, I was thinking of taking a picture of Aires with us, and I could hold it, he could still be part of the picture.  But then I talked myself out of it, I need to accept the fact that it’s three, not four.  That even though Aires will be with us forever, he will never be here again.  And I have to move forward and doing everything as three.

Mine and the boys’ clothes had to match as much as possible.  They both have black dress pants, I got them dark gray shirts, I didn’t want to buy them black shirts.  I knew I would wear a black dress, but I hadn’t decided which one.  Like with everything else, I was in denial until the last minute, going through the  motions but not really making them real in my head.  So, when I went up to get ready, I decided to wear the same dress I wore for the funeral.  I hadn’t put it back on again since then.  It felt like the right dress for the way I was feeling.  It almost felt like a funeral picture, it’s another concrete piece of proof that it’s only three of us.

Some things are harder than others, and I never know which are going to be hard and which are not.  A simple picture created a huge wave of emotion and denial in me.  We’ve taken lots of pictures since June, but this one was not just a picture, it became a monster that I had to deal with.

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Thanksgiving

So… Thanksgiving, here it is.  I’ve been dreading it for weeks now, it’s another first, another holiday that the three of us feel alone, and it is the sign that Christmas is just around the corner…

Thanksgiving is an American holiday, growing up in Portugal we didn’t celebrate it.  The first year my family and I were in the United States we got invited to a friend’s house.  They too were Portuguese, but had been here long enough to adopt the holiday.  Let’s just say, we had turkey, but the sides were very different, they were more of a fusion between Portuguese food and Thanksgiving.  The longer we lived here, the more I learned about Thanksgiving and I really liked the idea of giving thanks, I had a lot to be thankful for.

After Aires and I got married, we hosted the first Thanksgiving at our apartment, and many more after that.  We’ve had some large get together and some core family only, but every year I was always so thankful for my life, our life, what we had created together.  With the years came stability, children, dogs, happiness and love were always there, life was good.

This year, though I still have a lot to be thankful for, my children, my dogs, my friends and family, our health, our house, I can’t say that life is good.  I can’t say that I’m happy.  I can’t say that I’m in love.  I can’t say that I love my life.  I’m very thankful for what we do have, and half my life has a huge amount of love from all different sides, but the other half is empty of love, the only thing there is sadness.

We started the day by running the Turkey Trot, we’ve done it now the past five years.  It’s become our tradition, Aires loved it.  But today, as I got the boys up and Jake was getting dressed, he called me to his room, closed the door and hugged me while crying because daddy wasn’t here to run with us, daddy wasn’t here period.  I cried along with him, there was too much pain in that little boy at that moment, I was crying for him, for me, for us.  That kind of set the tone for the day.

I made cookies to take to my sister in law’s, where we went for lunch, but that’s all I could master.  I had two other things that I had pulled the recipes to make, but I just didn’t have the energy.  I didn’t want to celebrate anything, I didn’t want to have to go through yet another first, I was trying to forget that it was coming closer and closer.  I think one of the reasons why I do a lot of things last minute lately are because I don’t want to plan for them, because I don’t want to do them if Aires isn’t here.  It’s an internal fight all the time, to get myself together enough to make it through these days in a way that the boys still enjoy themselves.  We will never stop celebrating any holiday, we will always celebrate, but just because I’m celebrating it, doesn’t mean that I have to want to celebrate, or that I have to be happy about it.

When we got home from lunch, we were supposed to just let the dogs out and go to the movies.  But none of us were in the mood.  We weren’t hungry much either.  We just hunkered down for the night, nobody wanting to go anywhere or do anything.  We had survived the day, and we were all three emotionally exhausted.

But the saddest holiday is yet to come.  The one that I’m dreading completely.  Christmas.  Christmas was the big holiday in our house, I went all out, I made it fun, I enjoyed everything about it!  I would start Christmas shopping in September!  I made plans and more plans to fit as much Christmas fun into the month of December as I could.  This year I don’t feel the joy of Christmas, nothing in me is giving me the will to put stuff together.  I have made some plans, because I will keep on pushing forward, and I want the boys to see that we will continue to celebrate, but the face they see is a facade, the happy emotion they see is fake.  I’ve not looked at their Christmas lists, though I’ve made sure they’ve made them.  I’ve not even looked at any deals, black friday used to be my thing, now I have no willpower to even consider going shopping tomorrow.  I know we’ll be here for Christmas Eve and Day, but I’ve not even thought of what the menu will be (yes, I planned that far in advance).  I’ve kept up with our traditions, the things we’re used to doing.  I’ve bought the Hallmark ornaments for the boys, one for me as well this year because it’s a special ornament.  I’ve gotten the White House ornaments for the boys, I know at some point I’ll get the gingerbread houses for us to put together Christmas Eve, as we always do.  And I will look at the lists, and I will go shopping at some point.  I will come up with a menu and I will cook.  I will wrap presents, we will wear Christmas pajamas and so will the dogs.  We will take pictures.  We will do Christmassy things.  I will smile and be happy around the boys.  I will not truly enjoy any of it.  There is no joy, no happiness can pass through the amount of pain and sadness that is there and gets even stronger during these celebrations.

Days like today, for right now, are dreaded, not happy, not exciting, not much more than just going through the motions and getting through them.

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On my mind

A few things that have been going on in my head in the last week or so.

Saturday night I went to a friend’s 40th birthday party.  I had a couple of drinks, great company, talking and laughing all night, meeting new people, catching up with old friends.  Two things that I noticed as I was driving home.  When I drink now, I don’t drink more than one or two drinks.  We all know that I can take a lot more than that and still be fine, but after having the second drink, I stop, automatically.  In the back of my head now is always the “you are the only parent”, it’s constant, from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed.  But at times it’s almost in flashing lights.  Not that I need it there to remind me to behave, it’s just there.

The second thing, was, when I left the restaurant, it was not late, but it wasn’t early either.  It had been a long day, I was tired, and my feet were hurting from the heels and standing all night.  As soon as I got in the car and started driving, I immediately had this prompt awakeness.  I was no longer tired, my feet didn’t matter anymore, I was alert and focused.    This of course comes from the way Aires passed from an accident.  From day one, as soon as I get in the car, the first thing that goes through my mind is “what if”.  I have to push it out of the way, because I refuse to give in to any fears, and also I kind of need to drive to function.  But I think this kind of thing affects us all who have lost a loved one, mostly in the way that we’ve lost them.

Of course that now with that “you’re the only parent” in the back of my mind all the time, I worry about getting sick, getting hurt, etc., because I am the only parent.  But the biggest trauma comes from the idea of getting in an accident.  I think if it had been a plane crash, it would probably be very hard for me to fly again, if it had been cancer, I would probably freak out at every little pain I felt.  The fact that I am the only parent, weighs heavily on me, I have to stay safe, I have to be here and healthy for many years to come.  I’m sure it’s something we all think about at some point in our lives, I know I did, but it was never as real as it is now.

On a different note, Jake asked last night, as I was putting him to bed, if it’s okay for us to have fun.  He didn’t say anything else, but I’m sure he’s had fun at several events, or at school, or even at home and was feeling guilty from enjoying himself.  As I’m sure a lot of people go through this.  This was one of the things I was very aware of right at the beginning.  I spend many hours alone, and I’m sad most of them.  If I’m not dealing with the kids, or the dogs, or out doing something, if I’m alone inside my head, then no, I’m no longer the happy person I was.  I’m sad and alone, I’m fully aware of it, and I’m okay with it.  I don’t plan on this changing any time soon.  BUT, when I go out with friends for instance, I’ve made it a point of making it about having fun.  I’m still me, I want my girl time to be what it used to be.  We can talk about me, and how I’m doing right at the beginning of our time together, but then I want to change the subject, I want us to be the same way we used to be.  I want to talk about things that don’t really matter, I want to laugh at our silliness, I want to enjoy myself.  It’s very important for me to have that outlet.  It’s a time that I feel safe, around people that I know, people who know me, and get me.  I can be myself, the old me, not the new me.  I can pretend for a bit that all is well.  It’s a huge release to be able to feel “normal” around people.  My friends give me that, I can not thank them enough for doing this for me since day one.  Even in the hospital, they came to support me, and we sat and talked and laughed about the silliest things.  We all knew exactly what was going on, and the pain that I was in, but they came to support me and show me that I could do it.  By being there, supporting me, loving me, but distracting me and making me laugh, they saved me from going into a dark hole I couldn’t crawl out of.  That laughing and telling stories, was the perfect prescription to keep me sane, keep me being me, keep me going, when all I wanted to do was curl up in the corner.  So, for me anyway, it has been a huge escape and release to be able to go out, or stay in  with friends and still be me.  I don’t feel one ounce of guilt about having fun.  Life goes on, my life goes on, if I allow myself to be depressed and not function, that will not do any of us any good.  This is what I need to keep going.

I told Jake that it’s totally okay to have fun, it’s necessary to have fun.  First and foremost, daddy would not want us to be going around crying and not enjoying life.  He loved us all too much to want us to go into depression and not be happy.  I told him that it’s normal to still be sad, and be happy at the same time.  Just because we laugh and play and goof off and enjoy life, does not mean that we aren’t sad about losing him anymore.  We will always be sad that he’s gone, we will miss him forever, everyday, but we can’t be sad everyday.  They have hopefully what will be very long lives ahead of them, I want their lives to be happy.  It’s hard to explain this double contradiction to a ten year old, but I think by the time we were finished talking, he had understood the concept.  Guilt about living his life, loving his life, enjoying his life, should never be something that he should worry about.  He’s not forgetting daddy, or disrespecting daddy by having fun.  On the contrary, by living his life and being happy he’s honoring daddy’s memory, he is doing what daddy would have want him to do.

It’s very hard to have to answer questions like this.  A ten year old should never have to think of things like this, or go through situations like this.  A ten year old should never feel guilty about having fun.  Nor should he ever have to ask why God never answers his prayers, why is it mommy that I pray every morning, but nothing of what I ask ever happens?  But that’s a whole different subject.

To all my friends to give me support, distraction, love and laughter, thank you.

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Wrap up

I know I’ve not written in a while, it’s not that I don’t need it, but I’m trying to keep the promise I made myself to go to bed at a decent hour.  That hasn’t really happened much, I’m always going up after 11:30, rarely before.  I’m tired, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel tired.

I’m tired physically, mentally, emotionally, I’m all around tired.  It’s exhausting still having issues to deal with, still having phone calls to make, still having to go back and forth with people.  It’s only a couple of things left, but after five months of going at it, I’m tired.

Last weekend the boys and I went to Richmond for a soccer tournament.  It wasn’t our first trip alone by any means, we’ve had several since June.  It also wasn’t the first time I felt alone and missed having my husband by my side and the father or my children by their side.  But somehow this weekend, whether it was the soccer, or maybe I was so tired, I couldn’t keep it stuffed down deep, or maybe I allowed myself to let some of the stuffed deep issues to come up and out a little bit.  The weekend was very hard, being at the field, there were a couple of alone dads with their kids, but mostly it was all families, father, mother, kids.  By dinner time I was feeling very alone, everyone hanging with their significant others, single dads hanging together and I was just there, trying to talk to a mom here and there when they weren’t talking to their husbands.  Then we got seated (the team sat separately because there wasn’t enough space for everyone to be together) and I was sitting at a table.  Alone.  The boys were finishing the games and exchanging tickets for prizes, while I sat very alone.  And I felt alone, deep deep down, so very alone.  I had to hold down the tears so hard, I didn’t want to spoil the dinner and the fun for the boys, and I didn’t want to be the weirdo crying alone in the restaurant.  But it was very hard, I felt more alone on this trip than on any other before.

Something else that’s new, I’m having to answer questions that I never thought would come up.  Case in point, a couple of weeks ago:

Josh: Mommy, why are you wearing those shoes?  Don’t we have money for you to go buy new shoes?

Me:  I love these shoes, I know they’re not perfect anymore, but they don’t make them anymore and I just love them, I hate to get rid of them.  I could buy a new pair, but I don’t want to, I like these.

Josh: Are you sure?  You’re not lying to make me feel better?  Because I know you like to shop and you love shoes.  Are you sure we have money for you to buy new shoes?

These are the kinds of conversations that I have with my sweet boy.  Had I answered like that before (and by the way, I told him the truth), he would had just moved on.  But now I can see the worry he carries in him for our future.  We don’t talk about specifics on finances, but I do say every so often that we have to be more watchful with money now.  He is worried, and this is how I know, by these kinds of questions.

Another example, this one from Jake, a very innocent question, but:

Jake: Mommy, does your status on Facebook say widow or single?

Me: Well, I never changed it, so I’m sure it still says married.

Jake: But you’re a widow now, you’re single, right?

Me: I guess you’re right, but I don’t like the word widow so I’m not going to use it, and I don’t consider myself single.  Technically I guess I am, you are correct, but to me the word single means you’re looking for someone.  I’m not looking for anyone, I don’t want anyone, I don’t want to get married again.  So I’m going to just leave it as married.  Does that make sense?

Jake: Yeah, I see what you’re saying.

This would never have come up before either, but now it does.  Jake is a rule follower, in his mind I should change my status because apparently it’s a lie right now.  And he’s always thinking of something in his head, he asks all sorts or questions about anything and everything.  I suppose I better get used to things like this popping up here and there.  But not something I ever thought about or even thought I would have to discuss with my child!

I recognize that with the holidays approaching, I’m probably a lot more vulnerable and sensitive about things.  I’m also little by little starting to deal with the things I’ve stuffed down deep.  This is all making me a lot more emotional and sad.  And tired.  I need to find the time to just sit on the couch with my shoulder heat pad on, but I keep putting it off.  I still don’t spend a lot of time on the couch.  I do it, but it’s not something I can just do and relax like I used to do.  It still bring a lot of sadness and loneliness, even though the whole couch is taken by the furbabies.  I’m still very alone.   I can be in a room full of people, and I still feel alone.  Every time something happens, I feel alone.  I had to make the decision on the HVAC, alone.  I’ve had to make countless decisions, alone.  Let’s face it, I probably would have made the decision of which I thought was best, and Aires would just have gone along with it anyway.  But I wouldn’t have been alone in making the decision.  I feel this alone, because I’m not alone by choice, it was never my choice to be where I am.

This is a little wrap up of what’s been going on since the last time I wrote.  I couldn’t take it anymore, I had to sit and write.  I feel better now.

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Last day of five months

It’s the last of the five month days that I don’t want to remember, don’t want to count and I wish didn’t exist.  All day I had images in my mind, memories of the coffin at the church.  I stared at it almost the whole time during the funeral, it was so weird, it was the last time I was “with” Aires, but he wasn’t there anymore.  But I kept looking at it, because he was in there, even if he wasn’t, and it was just incomprehensible, just like the rest of the whole situation still was to me at that time.

Now it’s a little more comprehensible, not because I want it to be, but because I had a crash course in how to be a single parent, how to make all the decisions, how to deal with life not having that support that only a spouse can give.  It sometimes feels like I’ve been thrown into a pool of ice water, it’s a shock, followed by a hyper awareness of all that is happening, followed by a numbness to it all.

Some things I’ve realized so far,

– I am stronger than I ever thought I was.  I’ve always known I’m strong, and I can take a lot without going down, but I had no idea I could take as much as I have and still keep going.

– I was also always good at “if you can’t make it, fake it”, but now I’ve become an expert.  Some days it’s the only thing I can do to survive the day, but I do survive it and with luck I wake up in a better place the following day.

– I’m still in denial, many days I still don’t believe it, I refuse to, and I keep waiting for Aires to walk in the door.  I know he won’t but some days it’s all too much, and I just pretend that he’ll be home at the end of the day.

– I miss talking to Aires.  At first I thought I just missed adult conversation, but then I realized that wasn’t it.  I could meet up with friends, talk for hours and still feel this way at the end of the day.  Then I realized that it wasn’t adult conversation, it was Aires conversation.  That of course was a special kind of conversation, the kind you have with only your spouse, it’s special, private, silly, loving, it’s everything.  I will never have that again.

– I can only take care of my kids and myself.  This process of grieving and figuring out our lives without Aires is overwhelming.  I can take care of us, do my best to make us succeed, have the boys continue to have as much of the same life as they had before, do the same things they did before, have them turn out fine, grow into awesome adults.  That is my only goal.

– I’ve become way way way more aware of the news.  I used to watch the news, see all the bad things going on, but it just kind of flew over my head.  Now it hits me every time I hear of a car accident where someone with a family died, or someone was murdered, or a fire, whatever.  Every time someone dies, I know what they’re going through, I know what their families are going through, it makes me sad, makes me relive that phone call I got from the hospital, all.over.again.

– Whenever it rains hard, and it’s dark out, I remember the time of night when Aires passed.  Rain storms and thunder will never be the same to me again.

– If I was a crazy momma bear before, watch out now!

Time keeps moving forward, the months keep passing, the celebrations and occasions keep coming, I keep putting one foot in front of the other, that is all I can do.  I don’t know how long it’ll be until I don’t just live day to day, when I can put one foot in front of the other without thinking about it.  When I can accept my life as it is now, and actually make plans for the future, like I used to do (this one may take years).

All I know is that I’m still here, I’m still standing, I’m still holding it together.  My kids are doing okay, my dogs are doing good, we will make it.

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Some perspective

I try to find perspective in things now, granted, it’s a lot harder for me to find any positive, but given that I can’t change our present, our future, our situation, I try to find perspective.  Today was one of those days that I found some perspective when I wasn’t even looking.

I took dinner tonight to a lady who lost her husband to a heart attack.  I actually posted her meal schedule on my page, for the ones of you who are friends with me on Facebook, you probably remember.  I was a little early, she arrived home and I walked over with the food.  A little six year old boy comes out of the car so happy to see me because I came with goodies.  Then the nine year old comes out, and they were both so happy showing me the pictures they drew while mom was obviously at a meeting at the bank (that’s where they were coming from), and strapped in a carseat was a little two year old girl.

The mom was herding them into the house, but they were too happy to see me.  I stood there and talked to them and gave them a minute or two of attention before I said my goodbyes and left.  And then I cried all the way home.

That little two year old will never ever remember her daddy.  She will hear about him, she will see him pictures, but she will not have one single memory of him.  And all of the sudden, I was “happy” that at least my boys were a little older when they lost their daddy.  Still way too young to go through such a great and traumatic loss, but they fully knew their daddy.  They knew everything about him, they experienced him fully, they knew what buttons to push, they knew how to make him smile, how to make him happy, how to make him mad.  They knew everything about him.  They are old enough to remember him well, to never forget him, to have him be part of their lives forever.  Unlike this little baby, they knew their daddy.  And that gave me perspective.  I have to find some positives in this whole horrible situation or I will go mad.

And then I also cried for her, Mandy, and for me, and for all the other women and men and children have have gone through this horrible and unbearable loss.  Mandy had a smile in her face, and was speaking to the kids in such a sweet voice, but looking at her, I could see the sadness, the desperation in her eyes.  I’ve seen those in the mirror for five months now, they are way too familiar.  I could see the roots of her hair that have not been touched up since she lost her husband.  I could see that she is just doing her best to survive, to take care of the kids, the hair doesn’t matter, the clothes don’t matter, it’s all about one foot in front of the other right now, it’s all about just surviving the day.  Her pain, my pain, everyone who’s gone through this, our pain is the same.  We deal with it differently, but the pain is the same.

I wanted so bad to give her a hug, to tell her that she’s not alone, to tell her to reach out anytime she needs, but I couldn’t, not in front of the kids.  Looking in her eyes I could see that she’s at the brink, right there where we are almost falling apart, and all we want to do is fall apart, have a breakdown, but we can’t, because the kids need us.  If I gave her a hug, I think we both might have fallen apart.

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Five months

I know I say this every single month, but I can’t believe it’s been five months since Aires passed away, most times it feels like it was just yesterday, but sometimes it feels like it was so long ago.

I decided we needed a “daddy day”.  I didn’t tell the boys that’s what it was, but I knew what it was.  It was luck that we had a race in the  morning, a race that Jake and daddy ran together last year.  Aires loved running, he loved exercise in general, and he loved to run these races.  He would always say that even after running club is over and both boys moved on from elementary school, we’d still run some of these races, as a family.  So, the first thing we did for daddy day was to run a 5K.

For lunch we went to a restaurant that was on our list to try out.  Aires and I had a list of restaurants we wanted to try.  These would be date night places, most of the places on the list were restaurants Aires found/heard about and wanted us to go.  There was a groupon for it the other day, as if it was meant to be.  So today, we went there for lunch.  I told the boys that this place had been on our list of places to try, nothing fancy or special or out of the way, but it was on the list, so it felt good to go.  It wasn’t date night with my husband, it was my new kind of date night/day with my two babies.

After lunch we went to the movies.  Once again, we went to see a movie that Aires would for sure have gone to see, would have enjoyed it and would eventually buy the DVD.  We went to see the new 007 movie, Aires was a big 007 fan.  We have the whole collection of movies, including all the old ones.  If there was a marathon on TV, he would watch it all day (or as much as he could given whatever else we had going on).  I reminded the boys how much daddy would have loved the movie and that this was a privileged for them, because if daddy was here, I would have gone with him, alone, they would not have gone with us and watched the movie.

The whole day the boys didn’t know what today really was, what it really meant.  I have not ever, since day one reminded them of what the days of the month are, or what they mean to us.  They don’t need to be extra sad, or remember the specific dates and the events of said date.

But I do like the idea of keeping daddy’s memory alive not just by remembering what he used to do/say/etc., but also by doing things he liked to do, going places he liked to go.  Expose the boys the “experience” daddy, since he’s no longer here to take them himself, I will do it myself.

As for me, Jake’s situation yesterday put me into mama bear mode.  I’ve stayed in it, which in a way made today easier.  It pushed the pain back into the hole, the one that I only allow to open for a millimeter or two at a time, but that sometimes it opens wide by itself.

All I can think of is that next month is both six months, Christmas, New Year, and vacation time between the two that Aires used to be home with us.  It’s waking up without daddy, opening presents without daddy, and everything else without daddy.  I want to honor his memory and include him in our day, but at the same time I want to take as much pain and hurt away from the boys as possible.  I know it’s an impossible task, it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to try.  My break down has been replaced by overprotective mom, I will have to find a balance.

For now, we are where we are, we are at five months, we are past Halloween and before Thanksgiving.  Jake and I talk every night when he goes to bed, we have for a few weeks now, and it’s good to see him talking about things, sharing and feeling better after letting things out.  Josh has his moments, but then moves on, we deal with it at the moment and he goes on.  I will say it again, he’s more like me.  It’s not that he doesn’t hurt, or miss daddy, but he has accepted it for what it is, he’s not coming back, no matter how much we want him to, he won’t.

Fortunately and unfortunately, life goes on.

   

Missing daddy

Today very quickly became about Jake.  I of course have known since day one that these games were going to be hard for both boys, but mostly for Jake.  Jake is my sensitive boy, he feels harder, shows it harder, suffers harder than Josh.  Their ages are different, their understandings are different, and their personalities are completely different.

With both boys having games, it wasn’t a given that both Aires and I would be at their games all the time.  But Aires always made an effort to go to every single game he could make.  I sometimes would stay home when I could have gone, but he never did, unless he absolutely had to stay home to do some work.  So it’s to be expected that the boys will miss his presence at the field.

And today, towards the end of the very last flag football game, Jake was on the sideline and was crying.  The coach called him back into the game and he said he didn’t want to go.  I was on the opposite sideline and thought he was either hurt or upset because they were losing, they were undefeated until today.  But when he crossed the field and got to me, I knew it had nothing to do with the game.  I asked him and he didn’t want to talk about it until we got to the car, then I knew for sure it had nothing to do with the game.  And sure enough, with big fat tears running down his face, sobbing, he told me that he missed daddy being at his games.  My heart sunk, it hurts when I miss Aires, hurts like nothing else has ever  hurt, but when I see my babies suffering because they miss their daddy, it’s such a bigger and more hurtful pain.  I can’t explain what it’s like to see my babies suffering, and not be able to “fix it” in any way shape or form.  All I can do is be there for them.

I also think that having people come to watch the games, who never came before, made them in a way more aware of the fact that daddy wasn’t there.  I was still there, of course, but having family come to the games for the first time, made them wonder why they were there all of the sudden.  And obviously the answer was because daddy wasn’t there, so they wanted to show support.  In the end I think that was a double edged sword for them especially Jake.  Josh is more of a brush it off kind of kid, Jake analysis and scrutinizes everything.  I don’t know, I’m guessing here, but it’s what it felt like in the car when they would ask “why did so and so come to the game today?”

All I know is that it all very quickly became about Jake, taking care of him, talking to him, making him feel better.  By the end of lunch and the car ride home he was feeling better.  He had cried and talked about it, it had let it out, he was feeling some relief and release.

I can take any amount of pain myself, I wish I could take all the boys’ pain as well.  I can’t and I hate that they have to go through this at such an early age.  That they’ll miss having that huge figure in their lives from such an early age.  And for as much as people step in, and for as much as I totally appreciate it, nobody can ever fill that void.

I want to hug them tight and not let go, at all ever.  I know that I can’t do that, but that’s what mama bear wants to do.

  

 

5 Months

Last night I went to bed and couldn’t sleep.  Since last weekend I’ve been ignoring the date, for a couple of days there, I really didn’t know what day of the month it was.  I didn’t want to know, I wanted it to pass without me knowing.  But of course I know, and of course it won’t pass without me knowing.  So last night, I went to bed, and all I could think of was that today was the 6th.

It’s been five months since the accident.

And today for some reason, out of all the months so far, today was the worst of them all.  I seriously didn’t want to get up, but I had to.  I didn’t want to deal with the kids, but I had to.  I didn’t want to deal with the dogs, but I had to.  I didn’t want to function at all today, I didn’t want to be up and moving, I didn’t want to live life today, but I had to.

Before, the questions I worried about from the kids were, does Santa really exist, how are babies really made, things like that.  Instead now I get questions like, mommy, why do you wear black every day, do you feel sad everyday, is that why?  And, mommy, how long until I get over it?  I mean, not really get over it, but you know, until I feel better?  And, when will I stop missing daddy so much?  These are just a few of the questions I get.  I never thought I’d have to answer these kinds of questions, these were not the questions I worried about, but these are the questions I find myself answering nowadays.

And on top of it all, life keeps going, and things keep happening, and we keep having more and more celebrations and events and things that daddy should be here for, but he’s not.  You put all of these together, and I just want to not move.

I cried and cried this morning, driving to and from the dermatologist, going to dinner.  I’ve been going in slow motion all day, my brain not really there fully, not at all.  I smiled for the boys as if nothing was wrong, I told the dermatologist everything was fine and dandy.

All day I kept being reminded that it’s just me now, and I have to get up and move.  I have to keep going, even when I don’t want to, I have to just get up and go.  Yeah, some days are better than others, but to answer my son’s question, yes, I am sad everyday.  I’m sad all day everyday.  I used to be happy, an all well rounded happy life.  There’s always something we would like to improve on, but my life was happy.  Now I’ve had to compartmentalize my life.  I’m happy when it comes to my kids, my dogs, my friends, but my life in general is no longer happy. Parts of my life are happy, my life as a whole is not happy.  The “me” in my life isn’t happy, the me is in fact very sad, with no hope or even desire to get happy again.

Today I tried to drown my sorrows in food, it didn’t work, but I still feel like I’m going to blow up because I ate so much.  I wanted to drink, but of course didn’t, until dinner, when I did have a margarita… and it came with two straws…  I tried to think about stuff that wasn’t important, but my mind wondered back to five months ago, every.single.time.  I tried to take a nap, that is the only thing that worked, but only for about ten minutes.

I don’t know why five months was harder than every other month.  I don’t know why I was so out of sorts today.  I don’t know why I almost lost it completely.  Maybe I was feeling sorry for myself, maybe I’ve had too many “strong” days in a row.  Maybe I just needed a day like this to then be able to keep going strong.  Maybe I had a mini breakdown.  I don’t know, I do know that today was very very hard, and I can’t explain why.

I still feel like I’m not really here, that the day is just going by around me and I’m functioning but not really participating.  Thank goodness that the day is almost over.  I don’t think that I can take much more of this day.

  

 

Not for me

Getting out of town was great, it made the days pass really fast, the boys had fun. And though we missed daddy, because he always went with us on these fun adventures, they were distracted enough and enough fun to not think about it as much as they would have if we had been home.  The time away was nice.

The boys love to cuddle with me, they used to love cuddling with us.  On weekends, they would always wake up early, run to our bed and just lay there and talk and cuddle.  With the arrival of Apollo, things changed.  He likes to be on the bed all the time, and takes up a lot of space.  When the boys come in, Rocky comes up too, and then she starts fighting with him, “protecting” us from him, and sooner or later I can’t take it anymore and we get up.  It’s not the same thing. They look forward to time away from home, when the dogs aren’t on the bed with me, so they can come and hang out and cuddle.  We did a lot of that, at night, in the morning, in the bed, on the couch, it was awesome.  Yes, I know I can lock the dogs out of the bedroom and still cuddle at home, but it’s not the same thing, after all, they are my babies too.

It was a little strange being in Williamsburg at this time of year.  It’s not high season for tourism, the town is full of college kids, it’s just a different feeling than what we’re used to.  And then it hit me.  There were older people everywhere too, older couples, visiting, shopping, walking around.

It hit me like a boulder to the heart.  I will never have that.  That, the one thing we planned for so many years, the one thing Aires kept counting the years until we could do, we will never have, I will never have.  I will never grow old with him, go on fun trips with him when all the families and high season craziness is gone.  We will never sit and have ice cream in the middle of the afternoon, just because.  We will not drive without aim and just see where the road takes us.  Seeing all the old couples, everywhere, made it very hard not to just start crying right then and there.  And they were everywhere.

One more thing I’ve been dealing with since the beginning, I mean, when we went to FL two weeks after the accident, I was dealing with my future plans all having gone to hell and for me to have to remake my life, my future, our future, from scratch, because everything had changed.  But this, for some reason, just hit me in the face, like I had faced it, but not really faced it.  This was my “old” future, right there in front of me, and it was gone, all at the same time.  I could see the old couples, happy, talking, smiling, enjoying themselves, no more kids around to worry about, just enjoying their lives together.  And then a big NO, NOT FOR YOU!!!!

I guess it’s going to keep happening, here and there, I’ll get slapped in the face with things like this, things that I fully know, and am aware of, but suddenly something makes it way more real than it was in my brain.

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