24 year anniversary

24 years ago was one of the happiest days of my life, trumped only by the days when I gave birth to my boys.  On that day, I should say that afternoon, I smiled so much that my face hurt.  We didn’t see each other until I walked down the isle, and then I just smiled and smiled.  I was so happy, I couldn’t stop smiling.  After the ceremony, when we stayed back in the church to take pictures, I gave Aires my bouquet to hold so that I could use both my hands to push my cheeks forward because my face muscles hurt so bad from all the smiling!

Today I celebrate that day again, and the life we lived until it was cut short.  I did not celebrate today in the way that we’ve been celebrating everything else.  This was our day, not the family day, it never was a family day.  There was only one year that we went to dinner and took the kids with us, we had never done that before, nor since, because that day wasn’t our day, not with the kids there.  We usually took our annual trip alone around this time, we celebrated our love as a couple, away from the kids.  We loved and truly enjoyed spending time together alone.

I’m not going to go out to dinner alone, and it just doesn’t feel right to take the kids to dinner, it wasn’t their celebration, it was ours.  So now, I celebrate inside my heart, that’s the only place, the only thing I can do.  I look at the pictures, I remember the good times, the life we lived, what we built together.  I mourn all that we didn’t do, all that Aires is missing and will miss.  And soon the day will end.

I think I’ve kind of replaced the celebration with spending time with my friends.  Last year some friends took me to dinner, this year I had friends over a few days ago.  I realized yesterday, as I thought about today, that having asked people over was subconsciously a way to not be alone.

Just like everything else, this day will never be the same again, but inside my heart, I’m still married, I’m still Aires’ wife, I still celebrate our love, and I cry endless tears for what could and should have been.

Wedding close up 1992

 

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Renewal full body 2012

What should have been.

Tonight  I mourn again.  It’s been in the back of my mind, but now that school is about to start, it really hit me, I’m a little mess right now.  No worries, I’ll put my big girl pants on tomorrow morning and get on with it.  But tonight, I’m sitting here, once again, mourning what should have been.

I’m mourning the life that should have been, the life that we worked so hard to have.  I’m not mourning my future without Aires, that’s not what I’m mourning right now.  I’m mourning the life that should have been for my boys, and specifically for Jake.  I should have walked him to school tomorrow, taken his picture in front of the school and then walked back home.  Instead we’ll be rushing around, I’ll be hurrying them through the morning routine so I can get pictures done before we all go to school, then taking Jake to the school extra early so I can get his picture and dropping him off alone for patrol duty while I rush to work.  Josh got walked/driven to and from school for six years, Jake will only get five.  Josh didn’t take the bus every day to middle school until this year, Jake will have to start in 6th grade.

I’m mourning not being able to go visit Jake at lunch, asking him how his day is going, taking our yearly selfie in the noisy cafeteria.  For five years I went to lunch with Josh, and we got our picture.  Jake gets four years, not five, because life has changed.

I’m mourning not being able to pick up Jake from school, to walk home and hear all about his first day.  Josh got picked up from school for six years, Jake only gets five, because I won’t be able to leave work early enough to pick him up.  He will have to walk home after school.  I’m sure he’ll enjoy that, because he’ll feel so big and grown up, but I will not enjoy it at all.

I’m mourning because I won’t be able to volunteer in class if the opportunity comes available, I won’t be able to volunteer at the class parties, I won’t be able to do anything that in the past I would drop everything and do.

I know that to most of you this is crazy talk, but I really do enjoy spending time with my kids.  I love to be there for them for everything, and I love to do for one what I did for the other.  I’m not worried about them at all, they’re completely fine with me going back to work and with doing things on their own.  I’m the one who is a mess.  It’s just another reminder of how things have changed.

There’s nothing anyone can say that I haven’t said to myself already, it’s just part of the process I guess, I have to go through it.  Just like with before, when life changed forever, I had to go through the process of doing it alone, going through the hard changes that came with Aires being gone.  It’s the same thing now, it’s another huge change, a change to the life that I wanted, to be home for my kids, to do things for/with them.  To be present at every event, every important and not so important little thing.  Life has taken that away, just like so many other dreams, this one too is now gone.

We’ll all be fine, we’ll all survive without any problem, but my heart is broken for what should have been… once again.

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45th Birthday

Another birthday without daddy.  I would say that it’s getting easier but it’s not, it’s just becoming more familiar.  We are more used to being without Aires, we’re used to doing things on our own now.  We think but don’t mention out loud anymore how much it sucks that he’s not here with us.  We’ve become used to missing him, missing having him along side us for all of our adventures, for all our new things, for life.

At the same time, it amazes me how much the boys have grown this last year, and how they have become so accepting of the new way that daddy is in our lives.  Never again in a physical presence, but always in a spiritual presence.  They see butterflies and they talk to them, as if they were daddy.  They get happy when a butterfly shows up while they’re doing something good.  They laugh and say some sort of “I got it”, when a butterfly shows up when they’ve done something “bad”.  They expect daddy to be around, we talk about him as if he’s still around us.  We talk about him every day, we make it a natural thing, doesn’t everyone have their departed loved ones still be part of their daily lives?

I know that part of it it’s me, I made sure from day one that daddy was still part of our lives, I did not want the boys to forget, or to stop talking about him, thinking about him, including him in their lives.  Not having him here with us, is the hardest thing we have all lived through, to hold on to the possibility that he’s still here with us anyway, just in different form, has given them something to hold on to, something to help them in the healing and grieving process.

The best example of us still having Aires as part of our lives, is today’s celebration.  Of course we had to celebrate his birthday, but it’s not just a celebration, it’s a special celebration as it would be if he was here in person.  We went to dinner, we had “cake”, and we did something special for his present.  On the way home they asked about the night in the hotel (in our family, to make your birthday special, one should spend a night at a hotel and enjoy the amenities).  They expect the celebrations to continue to be as they were when he was alive, probably because that’s how I set it up from day one, but at the same time because they themselves have wanted it that way, have accepted it that way, expect it that way.

I saw the sadness and happiness in their faces at the same time as we sat to eat dinner and watched the game.  We are happy to celebrate daddy, but very sad that he’s not here with us.  These two things will never change.

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It’s been a while…

It’s been a while since I last wrote.  It’s been a long, fun and very busy summer, which has kept me up late most days and very exhausted by the end of the day.

It all started at the beach, I was going to blog there, I was going to have time, I had several things in my mind that I had wanted to let out, but hadn’t had the time.  Well, life is very different nowadays, my packing for the beach was basically done right before we left, which is not normal for me.  In the last minute get everything together rush, I forgot to email myself the login for the blog.  I am lazy, I’ve kept the email that has the blog login on my inbox, I’ve not memorized the login, I just always go through that email to get in.  Last year I emailed it to myself on the phone, this year I forgot.  At first I thought that maybe it was meant to be, maybe I should just relax.  Well, relaxing it wasn’t, I couldn’t stop running through things in my mind, the ones that were there before, new ones from being on vacation and slowing down, but with no login, I just had to deal with them.  It was a new thing for me, and it definitely wasn’t as easy as blogging, things kept coming back to my mind, not being resolved, but no login meant no blogging.

Once we came home, we kept running around, I don’t think I’ve stopped all summer.  I’ve not had one night all summer, other than at the beach, when I’ve sat on the couch after dinner and just watched tv.  I’m usually doing something, or at the computer catching up with the days emails, things to do, messages to return.  I’ve been going to bed around midnight every night, until I’m about to crash, then I’ll go to bed at 11.  I’m exhausted, but it’s been worth it, the boys have had a busy summer, they know that life goes on, they’ve seen me keep my promises to them, they feel confident in their future.  This is huge for me, I want them to feel safe, secure, to not be afraid of what tomorrow may bring, to live in fear or in limbo.

Lately I’ve been telling myself “today is the day I’ll blog”, I feel the need for it, but exhaustion takes over every night.  However today was different, today we had another big first.  Though we’ve gone through many firsts, this one was coming, and I knew it.  Today I taught my son to shave.  This was a big one, definitely a father/son milestone, a rite of passage, yet here I was, his mother teaching him how to shave.  He has been asking me since just before school ended, basically all summer.  He has little fuzzes, not real hair, but they are dark, on his upper lip and he wanted them gone.  I asked him if he wanted me to ask a man to teach him, he said no, he wanted me to do it, he said that I had seen daddy shave enough times that I knew how to do it.  But this was yet another reminder that daddy wasn’t here to do what we always assumed he would do.  I put it off and put it off, but he’s going back to school soon, so today, I called him upstairs, we opened daddy’s bathroom cabinet, took out his shaving cream and razor and Josh shaved his “mustache”.

When the time comes for Jake, I’m sure Josh will take over and teach him, but if not, if Jake wants me to teach him, I’m here for him.  It’s very strange and sad to do these things.  The taking care of them I’ve always done, that is not different, these specific things are harder, because these were very specific daddy things, these were the manly things, the bonding moments that they would have as father and son.  It makes me sad for them that they won’t have those moments.  It makes me sad that I could see the sadness in his eyes, along with the excitement of something new, part of growing up.  It’s another reminder, another sad reminder that daddy’s not here to do what we always thought he would do.

We are also reminded daily that daddy is still with us, I mostly love it not when I see the butterflies, but when the boys see the butterflies, especially at important moments.  I loved it when Josh said “I hit a really good ball at TopGolf today and there was a butterfly there right after I hit it” or when we were at Water Country and Jake says “mommy, we see butterflies on every ride!  Every time we’re going somewhere, there are butterflies around, daddy’s still doing the rides with us”.  It breaks my heart every time too, because it’s a hard reminder that all we are holding on to now is daddy being here in spirit, butterflies.  We do not have him here in person, the way we really need him here.

When we arrived at the beach, the first thing we saw was a big butterfly, right as we parked at the rental home.  When we went in the yard there was a decorative butterfly yard stick.  There was a vase in the house, and a book on the nightstand in my room that basically said “I’m here with you”.  It’s comforting, but at the same time it’s also very sad, another reminder that he’s not here with us.  Not that I need any reminders, I live with it every day, every second.  But Aires was there with us, of that I have no doubt.

I’m going to stop here, I’ll go on all night if I keep going.  I’m going to hopefully be able to blog more often now.  I need this, I think I need it more than even I realize.