He’s around

These last couple of weeks have been hard, to see what happen to our family, happen to another family just down the street.  In the span of about a half mile, we have three families who in just over a year lost their husband and father.  The myriad of feelings that I’ve experienced is overwhelming.  This is the kind of thing where you need that person you talk to, you confide in.  The person that you don’t even have to say anything to for them to know that there’s something wrong and they get you through it with just one word, just one hug.  The only person who knows you even better than you know yourself, who loves you more than he loves himself.  The only person who understands you even when you don’t understand yourself.  The only person who is not here to be all those things, to say all those things, to do all those things.  And nobody else will do, you need that one person.

This morning I went for a walk, I had to let out some energy, and these were the kinds of thoughts in my mind, like I said, I’ve needed Aires here to talk to, somehow conversations inside my head are not the same…  As I started out all the songs on the playlist somehow meant something, until when I was about half way through the walk, our song played.  Love of a Lifetime.  As I silently moved my lips along with the song, the tears just came rolling down.  Once the song was over, not even half way through the next song, I ran into a lady with a puppy, a seven month old full of energy puppy.  I stopped, I pet the dog and the lady and I talked about dogs and puppies and too much energy.  I told her about OffLeash K9, she was happy to have the information and we said goodbye.  I left that conversation and puppy interaction with a smile on my face.  And all of the sudden all the songs were uplifting and I had a smile on my face and I had a feeling that Aires had done that.  He had told me that he missed me, he had told me that he was still here with me, he had told me that we had the love of a lifetime, and then he sent a puppy my way to make me happy again.

As I continued to walk, more and more things kept coming to my head, like how once the butterflies were gone because of the cold, I started to see more Cardinals than I’ve ever seen in my life.  I had one almost charge the windshield of the car, it was coming straight at me and pulled up at the last minute, as if it get my attention.  Usually it happens when I’m driving, Cardinals just cross in front of my car all the time, several have come towards the car.  Then I thought of how the other day, when I went to drop off some items for the family who just lost their husband/father, I stopped and talked to their good friend and neighbor for a few minutes.  As we sat there talking on the sidewalk, behind her a butterfly showed up.  It kept flying around, flying low, not going away, not landing, just being there for me to see.

And the most comforting of them all, Apollo.  Since the beginning, he’s always slept in bed with me.  Rocky starts off on the floor next to my side of the bed, and most nights will come up to the bed when it’s almost time to get up, but she sleeps on the floor most of the time.  Apollo however, is my bed bug.  I’m usually cold when I get into bed, but if I keep the pajama bottoms on, then I’ll wake up hot and have to take them off.  So I go to bed, freeze for a while and then I feel better.  Aires used to always start off on my side of the bed, he would warm it up, then he’d wait for me to get into bed, wrap his arms around me and wait for me to be warm before moving to his side of the bed, and I’d be all warm and cozy.  It took me a while to realize what Apollo was doing (or maybe it’s just wishful thinking, or a comforting thought to keep me going without falling apart).  Apollo will jump on to the bed as soon as we get upstairs.  He lays down on my side of the bed, and lays there until I get into bed.  Then he moves over, leaving the spot where he was warm, I get into bed and the bed is warm.  He lays next to me, he puts his head on Aires’ pillow and we fall asleep.  Apollo also snores and makes weird breathing noises that will wake me up and I have to wake him up and make him move so the noises stop, I used to push Aires on to his side all the time so he’d stop snoring and wake him up and move him so he’d stop with the weird breathing.  Apollo is more than just my bed bug, he is his daddy.

By the time I got home, I felt a little better, I’ll never feel great about any of this, about him being gone, but every once in a while he comes through for me and tells me to quit it and get on with it!  I need a good kick in the behind sometimes, he’s usually there when I’m at my lowest to bring me back up.  I think I will need another one of those beat me up massages soon.

As always, at the end of the day, at the end of every thought, every feeling, every lonely moment, every crying, missing, desperation, at the end of it all, I go back to the only thing that keeps me going.  My babies, I will keep going for them, I will pick up myself and go forward every day, every moment that I feel like giving up, like giving in, I will continue because they deserve the best of me so they can be the best they can be.  Daddy is here with us, sometimes it’s harder to find him, sometimes we go days without “seeing” him, or feeling him.  But he’s here with us, the best he can be.  It’s not nearly the same, it’s never going to be what it was, we know that, we complain, we say it’s not fair, we hate that he’s not here, but we can’t change it.  So after we blow off some steam, we keep going, and we try to keep going in a way that we would if he had been here with us.  In a way that will make him proud of us.  In a way that we will honor his memory.

 

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At a loss

I’ve been running around without stop again.  Going to bed late, waking up early, feeling exhausted.  All month has been hard and different, starting with my birthday, it’s just felt off and wrong, more than usual.

Like I mentioned on my birthday post, it hit me like a block of concrete dropped on my head.  It was a slap in the face that nothing, nothing at all, not one thing will ever be the same again.  For as much as I try to make things the same, for the boys, to keep things as close to what they used to be, nothing will ever ever ever be the same again.

Josh’s birthday was okay, he was allowed to do what he wanted about school.  I had told him he could go into school on time, go in late, leave early or skip altogether.  He decided to go in late so that we could go and have breakfast together, just the two of us.  It was a very nice breakfast, he then went to school and stayed until the end of the day.  After school we went to dinner at his restaurant of choice, we had cake when we got home.  We cut a piece of cake for daddy and set it on the table with a fork next to it while we ate our cake.  We took the family picture with the birthday cake, but when I asked for the family picture we took every year on birthdays on the stairs, nobody was really wanting to do it.  I didn’t either, it was the end of the day, and all day long, there had been a huge void, a hole that nothing could fill.  Not the presents he so wanted and loved (mostly daddy’s old iPhone), not the presents that were surprises and he was absolutely blown away by, not the extra attention and spoiling, there was nothing, there will be nothing, ever, that can fill that hole.  We talked when he went to bed and he said how he missed daddy all day, but mostly when he would have been there for sure, like at dinner he was sitting alone on his side of the table, daddy would have been sitting with him.  At the singing happy birthday and eating cake at home, daddy would have been there.  First thing in the morning when he came downstairs, daddy would have been filming while I took pictures, there was nobody filming.  Even if there was, someone doing all the things, there would still have been a void.   After the boys went to bed on Josh’s birthday, all I could do was sit.  I know the tv was on, the dogs were next to me doing something or other, the phone was close by, I just sat there, feeling like I was in an alternate reality, it felt like I’m looking at what life would be without Aires, but feeling like I’m just looking at it, not living it.  Reality was too hard to deal with, and I shut down from it.

Then the world turned even more upside down, of all the things that are still surreal to me, of all the things I’m still very mad about, things that I refuse to accept and deal with, I will be mad about them forever.  Now more to add to that list.  Mandy, the lady who lost her husband to a heart attack two months after Aires passed away, took her children on vacation, her little two year old baby girl got sick, went into the hospital, was there in bad shape for about a month and then passed away.  How is this fair?  How is one to understand something like this?  Some people can, they can explain it in ways that makes them feel better, I can not, I get more and more angry.  What did this poor child do that was so wrong that she had to pass away before she even really lived?  Why do her mother and little brothers have to deal with so much loss in the period of about six months?  How are the little brothers to understand what is going on?  All I can think about is them being so sad that everyone they love keeps getting sick and passing away.  And how they must be so scared that mom or one of them is next.  It’s too much, too not fair, too overwhelming.

And now, today, another family loses their husband and father, it’s too sad, too hard to understand.  All week, I’ve been in a state of deja vu.  I don’t want to make this about me, not by any means.  This is someone else’s loss, my heart hurts for them.  But the way it all happened, it had a lot of similarities with the process that I/we went through at the hospital.  I’ve been reliving those days over and over again, in my mind, the feelings, the images, the smells, the things I learned and never wanted to learn.  The desperation of what will be of us now.  How will I live without the one person that is half of me, how do I go on half empty?  The decisions, the realizations, the… everything!  It just kept coming at me, over and over again, I couldn’t stop it.  And it’s Spring Break, the boys are home, we are going around doing stuff, I have to put on a happy face for them, I can’t show them how I’m truly feeling.  In fact, all I wanted to do was curl up in bed, it felt exactly like it did nine months ago.  All I wanted to do was hide in bed all day, but I had to keep going the best I could for the boys.

I can’t explain what it’s like to know exactly what someone else is feeling, to know the depth of their pain, the desperation for their present and future.  All I can do, and have done is offer my help in any way I can possibly help.  I think, if I’m ever throughout the rest of my life be able to help anyone suffering the loss of a husband, in the end it will help me more than them.  I wished I would never have to find out, or that it would be many years before I would find out whether my theory is true.  This was not at all how soon it was supposed to happen.

March used to be my favorite month of the year.  From the time I was little, being my birthday month, I loved it more than all others.  However, this year has proven to have a horrible, sad, painful March.  And I’m a loss.  I find myself having many conversations with myself, inside my head, and they all end with “I can’t, I just can’t…”

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Nine months

Here we are again, these stubborn milestones keep happening.  I was actually able to not think about it until mid morning.  Josh had his X-ray first thing this morning and I had a dentist appointment, the morning was getting up early, shower, rush around with getting lunches ready, breakfast ready, the kids ready, Josh’s X-ray, take him to school and get him situated.  Then I came home to finish getting ready to go to the dentist.  That’s when it hit me, what day today was.  The last few days, with both boys and Apollo being sick all at the same time, I really have been missing my partner, the good listener, the one, the only one who was able to calm me down.

This month is full of reminders that life is different, not better, never better, I wouldn’t say it’s worse, after all there are still a lot of things I have to be thankful for, but definitely different.  My birthday was different, oh so different.  Tax season is different, I have to be collecting things to send to the accountant, I don’t even really know what he needs because I never did the taxes.  Josh’s birthday, he’s going to be a teenager, he’s going to start turning into a man without his father around, it’s going to be his first birthday without daddy.  Spring break will be different, we always did a staycation, but Aires would take off a couple of days out of the week and spend it with us having fun somewhere as a family.  Different.

Events around me have once again made me very angry.  Not even anything to do with us, I’m thankful for that, but it’s hard to see the ones who suffer, and suffer hard to be the ones who are given more suffering.  I know there is a lot of suffering in the world, many many people in way worse positions and conditions than us.  But then there are also the criminals and the mean people, the not so kind hearted, the outright horrible people, and they it seems, go through life without as many hardships, burdens, or trials and sadness as some of the good people.  Good people should not have trial after trial and sadness after sadness bestowed upon them.  I personally don’t think it’s fair, and it angers me when I see it happen to people who already lost and suffered so much.

We’re still in the middle of paperwork and waiting for things to be transferred to me, the process takes forever!  And if you forget to put one thing on the application/paperwork, they can’t just change it over the phone, they have to send you a whole new application/paperwork.  It’s the classic case of one step forward, five steps back.  Every month that passes I hope that this is the month when it all gets resolved and I can stop making phone calls and answering emails, making copies, signing forms, faxing things, mailing things.  It’s emotionally exhausting, to not be able to just go on with life without having to be in the middle of the process, the never ending process.

Now that Spring is upon us, my life/our lives are going to turn insane.  Josh is going to start his Spring soccer season, and he’s also going to play flag football when it doesn’t conflict with soccer.  Jake is playing baseball, which is very busy in itself.  I will be running around from practice to game to practice to game like a chicken without a head.  I know I’ll have carpools, and I will find a way, but the prospect of having no help, even when I’m surrounded by help is very sad.  When I say that I’m sad and I have no help, I’m referring to Aires not being there of course, he would always pick up the days/shifts that I couldn’t be two places at once.  And he loved to watch his boys play, he was so proud of them.  Him not being there for any of us, that feeling is total loneliness.  I can be surrounded by people and I still feel alone.  It’s very hard to explain how alone I feel, knowing that he will never come back, nobody can fill that void, it’s always there.

Happy is a relative term right now.  I’m happy that I have the boys, they’re healthy, they’re healthy, they’re mostly well adjusted even with everything that’s happened.  I’m happy about their lives and their accomplishments, I’m very proud of them, which makes me happy.  I’m happy that we are surrounded by so many people who loves and show us all the time how important we are to them and how we are not alone, they will always be there for us.  I’m happy that I’ve been able to keep most if not all of the promises I made the kids when I came home to tell them that daddy had passed away.  Basically I’m happy of what surrounds me.  I, myself am not happy, I’m sad, alone, exhausted and feel a constant void in my life.  There’s not a second when it’s not there, not unless I’m asleep.  I tried to be happy and enjoy the trip to Key West, but there was no real feeling of joy, no happiness.  There are two me’s now, the inside me and the outside me.  The inside me is the “just me”, I deal and cope as I must to keep going.  The outside me, is the mom, the friend, the daughter, the sister, that me can deal, can laugh, can enjoy some things, can function like a normal person.

None of this is easy, it’s all a huge adjustment, I knew it would take a long time, and it has.  I know how to live day to day, I know how to do things to keep me going, I’ve learned how to live and adjust to the new normal.  I’ve also learned how to live with the pain and the void, it’s there, it’s part of me, I don’t have to wear it on my shoulder, on my sleeve, but it’s not ingrained in me, it’s part of who I am now.

Nine months have gone by, I still feel like that door will open and Aires will walk in through the door at any minute.  I still feel like he’ll be here to go with us on vacation.  I still feel that he’s just on a work trip and will be back soon.  I still hear noises that I quick turn around with a smile and then realize that no, it’s not him, I still walk out into the garage and expect to see the Cadillac there.  No, it’s not easy to “move on”, it’s a lot easier said than done.  Part of it maybe is because I refuse to let go of him, of really moving on.  He’s mine, he’s here with me, he’s inside my heart, he’s part of my life.  I still talk to him, I still say goodnight and I love you before I go to sleep.  I won’t let go, maybe it hurts more this way, but I don’t want to ever let go, I don’t want to move on, moving forward and moving on are two different things.  I will move forward for my sake and the sake of the boys, but I will not move on.

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My birthday

Today was way more difficult than I thought it would be.  For some strange reason I’ve been thinking, more like trying to convince myself that today would be okay.  After all, I’m a grown up, I should not fall apart just because it’s my birthday.  Right?

I’m used to being the doer, my love language is acts of service.  I go around and I do as much as I can for everybody.  I think of others, I’m constantly trying to think of ways to make people around me, even people I don’t know, feel better, feel loved, feel happy, feel loved.

Now, I’m low maintenance in many ways, but on my birthday, it’s the one day out of the year that is “my day”.   I’m like a little kid, the day is about me and me only.  I want attention, I want to be spoiled, I want everything to go my way, I’m Queen of the Day.  I don’t want lavish presents or parties, I want some attention, I want a day when I do what I want, when I want and have no responsibilities.  I want to be pampered with attention.  I guess we’re seeing the problem arising here…

The day started off great, the boys joined the dogs and I in my bed, we hang out for a little bit, I got happy birthdays and kisses, Jake had a card and a little present for me.  He was actually very thoughtful, he bought me a little leather covered notebook for me to “write things on when I don’t want to blog, but still want to write things down”.  We got up, came downstairs and they boys wanted to make me breakfast.  They worked together, needed some help but not much, got me all set up.  All I had to do was feed the dogs, they even made their own breakfast.  After breakfast I was left to clean up… that was the first clue that nothing is what it used to be.

The boys didn’t have school today, they went downstairs to play video games, I checked out some Facebook posts of friends wishing me a happy birthday, I texted with some people, I was moving slow and purposefully.  This is how it’s supposed to be on my birthday, none of the rush rush that goes around here on a daily basis.  I showered and then I had to make a phone call to Etrade, we’re still in the middle of transferring things around, not the thing I wanted to do on my birthday, but the faster I do it, the faster it’ll get resolved, first real non fun and rude awakening of the day.

I called the boys to get dressed while I was on the phone, I decided we’d go to the movies, since they were home and it was my birthday.  Josh came up giving me teenager attitude, he didn’t want to go, why did we have to go, etc., etc.  He dragged his feet and made us almost late to the movies.  At this point I was pretty much starting to feel like crap, there were a lot of tears while driving to the movie theater.

After we got back home we probably had about half hour before I had to take Jake to the dermatologist.  He was dreading going, and complaining about how it wasn’t fair that his whole day off from school was being taken away by so many things he had to do!  I reminded him that it was also my birthday, he wasn’t supposed to have been off from school to begin with, so he was lucky that he had a day off and I was trying to make it at least a little fun.  After we got back home I got dinner ready, yes, we ate leftovers.  I had planned to go out to dinner, but after the scene in the morning to go to the movies, I didn’t want to feel that I was a burden to them, so I just warmed up leftovers.  They took their food and their iPads and sat at the table eating dinner.  At this point I was defeated, I ate standing up at the counter, I couldn’t open my mouth to say anything, I was angry, I was sad, I was hurting, I was feeling unappreciated and ignored by my own children.

Once dinner was over they just started to go about their way, putting their dishes away, and were getting ready to just continue with their own entertainment.  I lost it.  I grabbed the recycle, which had been in the small sink all day.  It’s part of their chores to take it outside, I normally have to remind them, today I just grabbed the trash bag that was full, I grabbed the recycle and I went out to the garage mad and mumbling about how on my birthday I’m doing recycle that they were supposed to have done.  When I came back inside Josh asked me if I was mad, and I just let them both have it.  It was wrong, I felt bad, but at the same time they are old enough to understand, they’re old enough to know what we do on birthdays!!!  Is it so wrong to want my children to wonder, hey, are we going to have a birthday cake for mommy?  Or are we going out to dinner for mommy’s birthday?  These are things that we do every year!

Of course it’s wrong that I yelled, and cried and rushed out the door to take Jake to basketball practice.  I felt bad that they were the ones here for me to blow up at, it’s not their fault, they’re kids.  It’s my fault for letting things get to me, I could feel it piling up all day, starting to boil, coming to an explosion.  I should have kept my mouth shut, but I didn’t because I’m human, I have feelings, I was feeling ignored and unimportant on my birthday.  I do everything everyday for them, I do way more than I should but I love them and I spoil them, and the one day, the one day out of the whole year that is mine to be spoiled, I was treated as any other day.

All of this comes down to one thing, just one thing alone, Aires is not here.  This is the only reason I just kept getting more and more angry and more and more sad during the day.  I was spoiled, I’ve said it many times.  One of the days that I was spoiled rotten, in the past, was my birthday.  Aires always took off from work on my birthday.  I had breakfast in bed, I did what I wanted, when I wanted.  I didn’t have to do anything with the boys, he took care of them all day, food, activities, sports, whatever was going on that day, he was in charge.  We usually went to lunch while the boys were at school, and we went to dinner as a family.  The rest of the day I could sleep, play games, watch tv, to shopping, sleep, whatever I wanted to do, I had no responsibilities, no to do lists on my birthday.  There was a birthday cake bought for me, there were cards from both boys, he made sure of that.  There was a present from the boys and one from the dogs.  I was the true Queen of the Day.  I loved it, I felt like it truly was MY day, everything revolved around what I wanted.  Today was nothing like that, and the more things that went “wrong” the more I thought about how it used to be, the more the hole in my heart got, the more pain I was in, the more I missed him, the more I felt alone.

We all talked about this after practice, I apologized for yelling at them, it wasn’t their fault, we’re just missing a huge piece of the puzzle, and without it everything fell apart.  They apologized for not being more considerate to me on my birthday and promised to do better next year.  I felt really bad for making them feel bad.  In reality I was dreading this day and I can’t wait for it to just be over and done with.  I’ve never felt like this about my birthday, but this year I did not enjoy my birthday and I really wanted to pretend it wasn’t my birthday.

This has all been piling up, it wasn’t just today, it was the girls trip, the trip that Aires and I should have taken last year for our anniversary, the trip that was all booked but we never made it.  We were finally going to Key West, we had talked about going there for years, it was finally happening and then… nope!  Going down there, with the girls, toasting him, was very sad, no closure at all, just sadness.  I took a sleeping pill every night while I was in Key West, otherwise I don’t know that I could have slept.   Then when I came home I found out that the little baby girl whose dad passed away unexpectedly a couple of months after Aires, was in the hospital in real bad shape, nobody wanting to think the worst, but maybe headed that way.  How is that fair?  To her mom, to her brothers, to herself?  How is it that the people who have a huge loss like the loss of their father and husband, now may be losing a sister and daughter?  I got very angry, all my feelings of anger surfaced again.  But we won’t go into that now.

Today I was like a time bomb.  I cried and cried.  I think that today and the day that I was born were the two days I’ve cried the most on my birthday.  I don’t cry on my birthday, I’m happy on my birthday.  I miss Aires every second of every day, the void in our lives is huge, irreplaceable.  We’ve kept moving, we’ve started to adapt to the fact that he’s not here, we’ve had to continue living and doing things without him.  It’s a very hard thing to do, it’s a struggle everyday.  It’s not easy in any way, the pain remains the same, but living with it has become the new normal.  Days like this, the pain becomes more like it was at the beginning, before I got used to it.  Before it was just part of the new me.  Days like this show once again how the void is so big, so intense.  It’s a first, a first that I apparently wasn’t expecting to be this hard, or maybe I was trying to cheat myself into believe that it wouldn’t be so hard, after all I’m an adult, I should be able to not overreact to my birthday.

The only saving grace to this day, was as usual all my friends and family, my support system, my friends that are more than friends now, they are family.  I felt the love, the support, the special treatment there.  I felt appreciated, loved, not alone.  Without all the messages, cards, flowers, presents, little reminders that I’m surrounded by a village of love, without these wonderful people who keep me going when I’m ready to fall and crash, without it all I would probably be curled up in a puddle of tears right now.  I’m not saying that’s not what I feel like doing, but I was given the strength to not do it.  There have been many tears today, many more than most days since June, it’s been a cry fest around here today, something I’m not used to, I’ve mostly been able to hold myself together all day, having my morning shower and after the kids go to bed as my times to fall apart if I need to do so.  Thank you all of you who showed me the birthday love today, as usual it meant more than you’ll ever know.

I did a lot of dealing with feelings today, some of these feelings I didn’t even know I had until today.  It was therapeutic in a way, not a good therapy feeling, but therapy that I needed to go through.  I can pretend that things aren’t going to bother me, but in the end the feelings have to come out, I have to deal with them before I can put them away.  Like I said before, in order to function, I let things out a little at a time, this way I don’t crash and fall apart, I can deal.  But today all came out at once, there was no keeping it back, it was too much all at once, it took me by surprise and it took me for a rollercoaster of pain, loss and missing my husband by my side.

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Last year’s birthday dinner.

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Last year’s birthday… mouse 🙂