Live life

Here we go again.  Another senseless, impossible to understand deaths.  A husband and father, along with his two year old son, gone, in a car accident.  I don’t know the family, I don’t know any details, but I do know some of the pain this wife and mother is going through.  I can not imagine, fathom or even try to understand the full of her pain.  It’s impossible for my brain to wrap itself around it.  She is left with her newborn to face life.  I don’t understand why, and yes, Why is always with me.

I’m also very angry.  I have to say, I have not ever stopped being angry.  I know a lot of people move on from the hard and harsh feelings.  It’s how they can continue to live, they can’t live in a constant state of anger.  Well, that’s where I am, I refuse to let go of the anger.  Because when another senseless death happens, when another family is torn apart by horrible circumstances and pain, I just go back to my anger.  I don’t have to go through the whole process of getting angry again, I’m already angry, very very angry.  I will not be caught by surprise and completely fall apart again, the anger keeps me in one piece.  I know it’s strange to most people, but this is what works for me.

All the feelings come rushing back to me, every time I hear of another family who will forever be hurting in some way, will forever be broken in some way, will forever be missing pieces in some way, every time, it all comes rushing back. And it’s the same process, I’m in denial, then I go around and can’t catch my breath, then I cry and then I get mad, real mad.  I still can’t catch my breath, I’m still crying, and I’m so mad I could do some real damage right now.

And this all reinforces things for me.  I’ve been wavering lately, and not even noticed, until this past weekend.  The boys have been asking to go somewhere, they’re used to going on a weekend get away, or a short get away at some point in the fall.  They’ve been asking to go, and I’ve been thinking about the money.  I keep thinking that we can’t afford it, that we shouldn’t spend money like that, money, money, money.  Then on Friday, as I looked at all the deals online, it hit me.  I’ve fallen into the trap, money.  I’ve stopped doing what I’ve always preached, make memories with the family, we’ll figure out how to pay it later.  I’ve stopped doing what I always did before, we would go somewhere, we would enjoy it, make memories, take pictures, have forced family fun, remember it forever.  Could we always just afford it?  No.  Did we always find a way to pay for it?  Yes!  So, on Saturday, I took the plunge, I bought train tickets, we’re leaving at 5am and coming back at 10pm (back in DC after 1am), but we got affordable train tickets.  I reserved a one night in a hotel, instead of two, which is what I really should have done, but this way we can use that money to go visit places.  We are going to NYC on the 22nd and coming back on the 23rd.  We will see the city at Christmas, it’s magical then.  We’ve been there once at that same time, but the boys were young, Jake doesn’t remember too much, Josh remembers everything when prompted, but mostly remembers the bad things without prompting.  I want to continue to make memories with them, it’s more important than ever now, life is short, life can be taken away in a split second, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  Enjoy today, spend time with the family, love, make memories, be silly, laugh, take lots of pictures, relax, hang out together, live life to the fullest.  Once again, can we afford it?  No.  But I’ll figure it out, if it takes three months, or six months to pay for it, the memories are priceless, the money I’ll figure out somehow.  I’m glad that I made the decision to go, but I’ve also been worried about making the decision, the money… But with these news of this accident and two senseless deaths, I have no more doubts.  I have no regrets.  I’m happy that I have made my boys happy by giving them a trip to NYC.  I’m happy that we will be able to enjoy time as a family and we’ll be making memories that will last a lifetime.  I’m happy that “someone” snapped me out of my trap and encouraged me to just make reservations.  Life isn’t easy, the unknown isn’t easy. Putting things off, waiting until we have money, or time, or vacation, or better weather, or kids are older, or we’re retired, all of those are traps and excuses.  Live life now.  I’m not saying go on a crazy vacation and spend $10K that you don’t have, I’m saying take off for the weekend, even somewhere you can drive to, save money on travel.  Just take the time to make memories with your family, with your spouse.  Death doesn’t wait or discriminate.  You can’t say “it’ll never happen to me”, because look around, it’s happened to so many of us, in just one little neighborhood.

I’ve been so tired that I mostly write these in my head now.  I’m either running around until I finally go to bed, or I crash on the couch and can barely move.  I think of the whole post in my head, I write it all in my head, but never make it to the computer.  Today I couldn’t just sit, I’m too upset to just sit still.  I’m too heartbroken to stop and think.  I had to let it out.

 

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It only gets harder

It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  Everything going on inside my head, inside my heart, it’s still the same as it was before.

Time doesn’t heal anything, time just makes things worse and more painful.  I think the most painful of all is the feeling alone.  I could be in a room full of my closest and dearest friends and I would still feel alone.  There’s a void, a big hole in my life that no one else can fill.  The feeling of being alone, the actual being alone, day after day, it hurts, it hurts real deep.  Every day it hurts a little more, when I wake up alone, when I watch TV alone, when I talk to myself because I have no one else to talk to, when I go to bed alone.  I’m always alone, I always feel alone, even if I’m not alone literally, when I’m surrounded by people, I’m still alone.

I come home at the end of the day, there’s no one here to talk to about my day, no one to listen and let me blab about anything and everything that I need to let out.  Nope, it stays inside, or I talk to myself, either of which is not the same thing as having the one person who always knew just what to say, what to do, to make me feel better, to make me let go, to make me relax, whatever it was that I needed, he knew just how to do it.  This makes me feel more and more alone.

Then of course there’s the emptiness of just not feeling loved.  It’s rough to live from memories, to never feel his embrace again, or to ever have another kiss from him.  The more time that passes, the more I miss him.  Every day I think that it’s impossible to miss him anymore than I do, and yet when I wake up the following day, I prove myself wrong, every single day.

I’ve been putting off writing this post, it feels like every time I put things in writing, it makes it even more real.  But it doesn’t get more real than this.  No, one year is not enough to “move on”, or “get over it”, a lifetime is not enough, this is it, this is my new life.  No, the pain doesn’t get any easier, if anything it gets harder.  It’s not as raw as it was a year ago, I’ve learned to live with it, it’s part of my daily life, but that somehow makes it even more painful, to know that this pain is now part of my life, for always.  No, watching my boys miss their father, just as much as I miss him, doesn’t get any easier, to know that I’ll never be able to fill his shoes, to know that they’re in pain and I can’t fix it, no matter how much I try, or will it, they are in pain, we all are.  Yes, when you see me, I’m functioning, I’m living life, I’m running around with the boys, with life, I’m even laughing and enjoying myself, but don’t let that fool you.  The pain is still there, behind that smile, there are many tears.  I need to be normal when I’m with people, I need to feel like I’m still me.  In private I let the grief out, it’s the way that I feel most comfortable.

I’m tired, I’m so tired.  Some days I wish I could take a vacation by myself, go to a hotel alone, where I could be in bed all day, I could sleep, I could cry, I could just be me, not responsible for anything or anybody but me.  I know that won’t happen, I’m needed at home, I want to be here for the boys.  But I’m definitely tired.  There are days that life is too much, I want to hide and just quit, be done, but that’s never going to happen, I won’t quit, I’ll keep going.  I will however, every once in a while, have a moment where I will have to let it out.  Then I’ll pull myself together and keep going, because that’s what we all do, we have to keep going.

 

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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.

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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.

And just like that, he was gone…

A year ago, June 8th of 2015 was what I can truly say the worst day of my life thus far.  It was so bad, that even though I have blogged about it over and over again, I have tried to put it into words, there just are no words to express the feeling of losing half of who you are.  Having to continue to function, live, survive, take care of others, be strong for others, while completely broken and falling to pieces inside.  It was a day that I think about often, because that day changed my life forever, reshaped my life and the boys’ lives forever, it was the day that ended a dream, a dream I had since May of 1991.  One day he was here, all was well, we went about our lives, he went to work in the morning, went to dinner with friends/coworkers after work and never came home.  Just like that, he was here, and then he was gone.  Snap. Gone.

I had been dreading yesterday for a while, for a few months actually.  I saw it getting closer and closer, it’s almost like I was scared of it.  Like the day itself held some special power.  I didn’t know exactly how to feel about it, all I knew is that it didn’t feel like a year, it felt like it was yesterday.  And I also knew that I wanted to “celebrate” this day.  Not celebrate the day of death, but celebrate Aires’ life.  His words from before kept coming to my mind every time I thought about this day.  The things he would say about his funeral.  How he wanted it to be a celebration of his life, he wanted me not to cry, he wanted loud music and dancing.  I always told him I would do my best to do it all, except the loud music and dancing, I never agreed to that one.

Most of all, I knew that I wanted this day to be a positive one for the boys.  It’s hard to make a very sad event “anniversary” into a happy celebration.  And so I decided to plan a daddy day.  I was going to take them out of school all day, the three of us would go out to the golf range, Top Golf, maybe glow soccer, or just quick the ball at some park, I hadn’t come up with a concrete plan, but those were the ideas coming to my head.  Then the email came from Little River saying that Field Day would be June 8th.  Of all the days!!!!  I couldn’t take Jake out of school on the most fun day of the year!  So… change of plans!  I decided to have a Celebration of Life here at the house, once again I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do, but it felt right.  It felt more right than the taking the boys out of school, I could never get that plan to go too far in my head, make a decision about what we would do.  I sent out the invitation late one night, I only invited the people that I already had contact information saved on Evite.  It was late, I was tired, I decided to wait until the next day to add the rest of the people, I would have to copy and paste email addresses and it would take too long at that hour of night.  The next morning, before I had time to continue to add to the invitation, I got an email from my sweet friend saying that she and another friend, had started a secret plan to have people come to the elementary school field on the 8th to release balloons and butterflies.  It was a surprise, that I foiled by making my own plans to have people at the house, and balloons.  I do this all the time, I’m not a good surprise getter.  I’m much better at planning the surprise 😉   So we decided to combine the two events, and it was a lifesaver because I didn’t have to invite anyone else, they were all already invited 🙂

Like I said, I wanted it to be a special day, a Celebration of Life.  I wanted the boys to see, that even a year later we were still surrounded by love and support.  I wanted them to see how much daddy was loved by so many people.  And I wanted to make this special for Aires, for us, for everyone coming.  I decided to copy something I had seen on Facebook.  It’s a picture story, it’s powerful, it’s emotional, it says it all.  I had my friend Sofya take the pictures, we both had seen this on Facebook a long time ago, and she had offered to take the pictures for us, if I decided to do it.  But I also wanted to share a little bit of Aires.  He was very quiet, he got better over the years, but he was very shy and reserved.  I wanted people to see a different side to him, the real fun loving, silly, goofy, loving, caring person that he was.  I wanted the boys to see a different daddy, a younger daddy, younger than they are now.  A teenager daddy, a skinny daddy with hair!!!!!!  I decided to make a slideshow.  I have never made one before, but with the help of a friend, and having an Apple computer, which let’s face it, makes everything super user friendly, I was able to figure it out.  The scanner is upstairs in the office, the computer (desktop) is downstairs in the kitchen.  I went up and down the stairs over 500 times, I stayed up one whole night because it was taking so long and the day was fast approaching.  But I got them all in.

Going through all the albums, reliving our romance from day one, the fun times we had together, all the vacations, the fun events, the birth of the boys, it was very hard.  Very, very hard.  I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do it after I went through the first couple of albums.  It was too emotional, I was really considering stopping.  But then my angel came to the rescue.  He made me look not at the picture and whatever it was about, but to look at his eyes and his smile in the picture.  He was happy.  He was silly and happy.  He was goofy and happy.  He was tired and happy.  Whatever it was, he was happy.  He had a good life, he loved his life, he enjoyed his life.  And right there it all turned around.  It became a good project, I smiled at the pictures, I enjoyed remembering all the things we had done.  It was sad-happy, there is such a thing.

When the day arrived, I was afraid to wake up.  How would I feel?  I had been trying to stay as busy as I could in the couple of weeks leading up to it, I had been through a roller coaster of emotions.  I hadn’t slept much in the last three days getting everything finished and ready for the party.  I was physically and mentally exhausted, beyond exhausted even.  But as I woke up, I didn’t have any huge flow of emotions.  And I kept going through the day, running errands, picking up food, balloons, setting everything up, waiting for it to hit me.  It never did, I told myself it was because I was running around so much, it just hadn’t had time to hit me.  I kept waiting, dreading it, worrying that it would happen when everyone was here.  I didn’t want to be sad, I wanted to be happy, it as a Celebration of Life, it was to be a good thing.

The party started, people arrived, the kids were very happy and excited to have their friends here.  Josh even asked if he could invite a couple of friends from school, new friends that I don’t really know because he met them in middle school.  I thought that was a great idea, great attitude on his part and really showing maturity and confidence in wanting to share a moment like this with his friends.  People were arriving, so many friends, from all different facets of our lives.  It made my heart smile.  And then it was time to do the first balloon release.  I had bought 60 balloons, in dark green, the green that was Aires’ favorite color because it was the color of his favorite Portuguese soccer club, Sporting Clube de Portugal.  I brought up 20 balloons, I had note cards, if anyone wanted to write a note to send attached to the balloon, and I had Sharpies  if people wanted to write on the balloons.  Josh, Jake and I had special balloons, Jake had a butterfly, Josh had a palm tree and I had a heart.  We all got the balloons ready and took them outside to release them.  There were no speeches, we all had said what we wanted to say on the balloon.  I counted to 3 and we all released.

As the balloons flew high in the air, a sense of peace came over me.  It’s hard to explain, I felt like this was perfect, it was exactly what should be happening, I felt Aires right there next to me looking up, smiling and approving.  After that I didn’t wait for the sadness to come anymore, I didn’t wait for it to hit me anymore.  I just felt peace, there was an inexplicable calm inside me, if you know me, you know the last thing I am is calm, it was a strange feeling to me, but a good feeling.  Throughout the evening, we released more balloons as different people came and went.  We released butterflies, which my sweet friend had planned for before I folded her surprise.  This was very special, the boys and I took pictures and released some the day before, and we released the rest of them at the party.  At the end of the night, we still had balloons left over, the friends that were here with us until the end of the night, we all wrote on balloons again, we went outside released them and toasted to Aires.

It was a beautiful day, the weather was nice, the colors of the ski were beautiful, all the children were happy playing outside with their friends, I got so many wonderful hugs, cards, messages, texts, there was love all around us.  It was a true celebration, there were some tears, from many friends who were not expecting to see the surprises I had made.  They were happy-sad tears though, and that’s okay.  The day could not have been more perfect.

At the end of the night, when I was putting the boys to bed, Jake asked me with tears in his eyes, if it was okay that he had been happy today.  He was feeling bad because he realized that on the one year mark of daddy’s passing he had a great day, at school with Field Day and at home with all his friends.  I told him it was not only okay, it was awesome!  We will always be sad that daddy is gone, it’s not something we will be happy about, ever.  But that sadness doesn’t have to show through all the time, daddy wouldn’t want it, and it’s not good.  Happy is where I want him to be.  I told him that it’s okay to be sad-happy or happy-sad, just because we have an underlying sadness that never leaves, doesn’t mean we can’t be happy about life, things that are happening in our life, good things, vacations, fun times, anything and everything.  I want them to live life to the fullest, to enjoy and cherish every moment, to remember how fun growing up was.  Was it as fun and happy as it could and should have been?  NO, it wasn’t, but there is nothing we can do about that.  If we could, we would for sure, but we can’t.  The best we can do to honor daddy’s memory and his wishes is to live a happy life.

The more I talked about it, the more peace I felt.  After the boys were in bed, I came downstairs, I was exhausted, I was seriously falling asleep as I was sitting at the computer.  I realized that I had a smile on my face.  It was a good day, Aires had made sure of that.  He guided me in the process of planning, organizing, having the party.  It was the perfect Celebration of Life.

Thank you all who came to help us celebrate, thank you all who weren’t able to come but reached out to us.  Your continued love and support made this day the perfection that it was.  You were there for us, and I love you all for that.

A friend made this movie for us, it’s a beautiful synopses of what it was all about.  https-//flipagram.com/f/qcyuyyQty2

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One year…

Well, here we are, one year after life changed forever, to never ever be the same again.  I can’t believe I’m actually typing one year.  I have been trying to not think about it, at it’s coming up, because in all truth time kind of stopped for me a year ago.  Yes, life goes on, and we all keep moving forward.  In what pertains to the kids it does, I’m all for it.  But in what pertains to me personally, I’m stuck on the night before the accident, when I went to bed.  I sometimes live in a land when time stopped and I still have my love of a lifetime.  Life in memory lane is all I have now, pictures, movies, my own memories, that’s all that is left.

A year is a long time, to say that I have been “alone” for a year, it doesn’t feel right.  How can it be a year when I still expect him to come in the door?  When I still have the reaction to call or text him to tell him something funny that just happened.  By a year, I’m sure most people would expect for the “new life” to have taken over, for me to be in the swing of things.  I suppose I could be, but this is where my stubbornness comes in, where I will not move on until I decide that I want to move on, and I don’t want to move on.

I stayed up all last night, I could not bring myself to go to bed.  I went to bed a year ago and the world turned completely upside down.  I could not go to bed.  I was up all night.  As I got more and more tired, the demons come to visit.  “Why didn’t you just call him before you went to bed?  Maybe he would have come home earlier.”  “Why didn’t you call to just say goodnight and one last I love you.”  “Why didn’t you call and change the future?”  I know these are useless questions, I don’t really ponder on them very much, or often, but in the days that I’m down, the days that I’m tired, the demons come around.  I know it’s not my fault, I don’t feel like it is at all.  I don’t sit around and ask “what if”, because I know it won’t change anything, so why do it.  But I’m still human, and there are days when all the demons come to visit.

I’ve been getting a message, over and over I hear on the TV that Muhammed Ali’s heart beat for an extra half hour after they turned off the machines.  I’ve had this voice inside my head, where I can hear “mine beat for over twenty minutes, and it was very badly damaged from the accident.  I didn’t want to go, I didn’t want to give up, but my body just wouldn’t recover… I’m sorry.”  I know he wouldn’t leave us of his own free will, I know that if it was up to him, he would have fought hard to stay, but it wasn’t up to him anymore.  The first Facebook memory that I got this morning when I logged in was the post from last year.  I said it right away, Aires was in a bad car accident, it’s not looking good, he’s probably not going to make it.  It took all I had at that time to type those words, but I had to type them to make myself believe them.  There it was, in black and white, the truth.  My brain couldn’t catch up, it just stayed in a fog of denial for a long time, it still goes there a lot, it’s easier in there.  It’s my own protection mechanism I guess.  I’ve been using it a lot lately.  I truly need to go on vacation, I’m beyond exhausted, both physically and emotionally.

When I walked into the hospital room, I looked at Aires and even before the doctor started going all “he’s going to die soon, say your goodbyes now”, I knew.  Before I looked at the faces of all the nurses, the faces that said it all, I knew.  I knew because I looked at him, and it wasn’t him.  It was an empty body.  He was in the room, but he wasn’t in his body anymore.  I didn’t feel him in his body, I knew, before anybody said anything that he was gone, forever.  He would never wake up, he would never come home, I would never be able to hug him, or kiss him, or talk to him.  My babies were not going to have a daddy growing up, I knew.  I could feel Aires’ presence, he was there, but he already wasn’t there.  I know he wanted to stay, as damaged as his whole body was, holding on for over twenty minutes was a long time.  The huge thunderstorm that all of the sudden developed outside exactly at the time that he passed, I knew he was saying goodbye, but he was definitely not happy about it.  I felt it with the first rumble of thunder and lightening, the heavy wind and rain.   I looked at my watch, I remember doing that, don’t ask me what time it was, but I know I looked, I saw the time.  When the doctor and the nurse came out to tell us that he had passed, I asked what the time of death was, and it was the same time that I had seen in my watch.  I know he’s with us, but it’s so not the same as actually having him with us.

It’s so so very hard to get up every morning and know that the fight will be the same as the day before.  The pain will be the same, the half happiness, half living, half enjoying life, half being here, that it will all be the same all over again.  And then I go on and on until I’m so exhausted that when I get to bed I just crash, my body and brain give in as soon as my head hits the pillow.  I was never a person to fall asleep fast, now I’m asleep in less than a minute!  But this is the trick to be able to sleep, because if it’s not that, it’s Advil PM.

It may be a year, let’s face it, it’s not a may be, it is a year since life changed forever, but to me, it was just this morning…

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Everything comes back

I’ve been busy, very very busy, which is good most days because it leaves me less time to sit around and think.  But the events of the last week and a half have left me at a loss again.  Another young father and husband, taken away in the prime of his life, leaving behind a young wife and very young children.

The feelings all come back up, knowing exactly what this poor soul is going through, brings back all the memories, all the feelings, the desperation, the uncertainty, the pure panic about what the future would hold.  But the pain, the raw pain is what hurts the most, the feeling of having half of you ripped out in cold blood, the feeling of having an open wound from top to bottom of your body.  The feeling of that pain, before you get used to it, before it becomes part of who you are, part of daily life, part of the “new” you where pain is a normal thing.

Remembering the waking up alone every morning, the not wanting to go to bed, I could go on and on, the list is endless.  When it happens to someone else, I know what they’re going through, I feel their pain and my pain all over again.  I want to reach out and hug them, tell them that they will survive, one day at a time, they will make it.  It’s not the end of the world as it feels at the moment, in time dealing with life gets easier, not because it’s easier, but because life goes on, whether we like it or not, and it becomes a routine, a movie we live day in and day out.  We go through the motions, we do it for our kids, we live it one day at a time.  We learn to laugh and really mean it again, we learn to be happy in certain ways again, we learn to really cherish all the memories, every memory, even when it’s a mix emotion of pain and happiness thinking about them.

I wanted to just give her a big hug, a big tight hug and tell her she’s not alone, she’ll never be alone.  She has her family and friends, but she’s also now part of this “club” that none of us want to be part of, but once we are part of it, we are sisters, we are there for each other, we support each other, we love each other through everything.

I guess with the one year mark coming up and the passing of another young dad in the community, I’ve been all over the place.  I’ve been suppressing a lot of feelings, especially last week when I heard of the passing.  I had the need to help out, and thankfully I was given the opportunity to help, it helped me deal with my own feelings and emotions, it was therapeutic.  But being there, helping set up the reception, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to see the wife and kids.  When we heard that they were on the way from the cemetery, I made sure to finish up what I was doing and leave before anyone got there.  I knew my denial and suppression of feelings would not be able to deal with facing the pain that would be in front of me.

It’s too much pain and suffering, too many things that don’t make sense, too many things that just make me more and more mad, harden my heart.

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11 Months

I can’t believe I just wrote down 11 months.  And that in one short month it’ll be one year.  I can’t believe it every morning when I wake up and I can can’t believe it every night when I go to bed.  Time keeps moving forward, things keep on happening, events come and go, milestones come and go, big days come and go, and yet to me it feels like time has stopped.  But it hasn’t.

I am beyond exhausted, I feel tired all the time, I’ve had many days again of not being able to catch my breath.  Nothing has changed from 11 months ago, except the fact that life keeps moving forward, and I have to move along with it.  The feelings I feel are the same, the anger is the same, the sadness is the same, the hurt is the same, the loneliness is the same.  I’ve made it part of who I am, I’ve learned to burry it down deep when I need to function during the day, but it’s there.  Time does not heal, time just passes and moves forward, that’s all time does.

This month I’ve wanted to sit and write several times, but like I said, I’ve been exhausted.  I’ve also been very busy, which is great on the one hand because it keeps me distracted, but on the other hand I run myself to the ground trying to stay as distracted as I can.  It’s no one’s fault, it’s my fault for saying yes to everything, for trying to be everything to everybody, for trying to get myself to the point that I’m so tired that my brain no longer functions when the day is over, the boys are in bed and all is quiet and alone in the house.

Before I start my “rant” of sadness, I want to say how happy my boys have made me since the moment I found out they were in my belly.  Today being Mother’s Day, and after my birthday having been a sad disappointment, they made sure to do what I wanted to do and ask me several times if I was happy.  They were happy, they are happy.  They’re doing good considering their life was turned upside down and is still pretty tipsy turvy.  Their grades and school work never suffered, they continue to have straight A’s.  They never got so depressed that they didn’t want to do sports or activities, on the contrary, life has stayed the same when it comes to their social life.  I can’t even say that they got depressed.  They got very sad, they are still very sad, they too are now used to living with the sadness and the pain.  But they have not let this loss change their lives to the worse, they have continued to fight and move forward, in such a way as to make daddy happy and proud of them.  We know he’s watching over us, we want to always make him happy and proud of us.

Mother’s Day was good, after my birthday I’ve lowered my expectations, I’ve accepted that life will never be the same, and “my” days are no longer my days.  I may have part of the day the way I want it, but not the whole day, and I accept it. As with everything else in life, nothing will ever be the same.   Having said that, today was very nice.  It started very early because Josh had a soccer game and I had to take care of my doggies, two other sweet loving doggies, both boys and myself, and still be out of the house by 8:30.  Both boys had homemade cards and notes for me, presents (that I bought for myself, but I have always done that), and lots of hugs and kisses.  At the field, it’s always fun watching Josh play, I had a real nice conversation with another team mom.  We came home, I took a very long hot shower, there were too many emotions, too many things going on in my head, I had to clear it a bit before continuing with the day.  The boys and I went to lunch, had a very nice time.  We came home, I changed and ran a bunch of errands since I won’t have time to do it this week.  It was also my time to be distracted.  Here’s the thing, having today be both Mother’s Day and 11 months since Aires passing, it was a double whammy.  I knew I would not be able to deal with both at the same time.  So I decided to celebrate Mother’s Day until after lunch, and then deal with the feelings of it being the 11 month mark.  This is when I went shopping, to create distractions, and in a way to reinforce in my mind that I should be thankful for the cards, love and lunch, not to expect the whole day to be about me like it used to be.

My wonderful friends have come through once again though, they never fail me, never ever.  The flowers, balloons, chocolates started appearing on Thursday, all of them so very thoughtful, not only with beautiful kind words, but the thought put into finding balloons and cards that had butterflies or sunflowers.  I can see and feel the love that put into each little thing.  And my inner circle got together and got me the most beautiful and thoughtful gift.  A plant that butterflies love and visit a lot.  It will be planted in the backyard this week, I will forever be looking out the window!  My friends and their love surrounding us gives me such strength.

Now for the things that came up this past month…

I have come up on several forms where the only option that fits me now is “single mom”.  I’m not a single mom, don’t get me wrong, I definitely despise the word widow, but single mom feels wrong.  Nothing against single moms, I’m very proud of them, I’m proud to call many of them my friends, they are strong women who I admire.  Having said that, they are single moms because they chose to leave the relationship they were in because it was a bad one, it was making them sad, making them suffer, eating away at who they are as a woman.  They reclaimed their lives back, reclaimed their happiness and independence by leaving said relationship.  I didn’t leave mine, I wanted to stay in mine, I was happy in mine, it was brutally ripped away from me.  I guess checking the box that says single mom is just another reminder of everything that is wrong.

I think that life for me now is a mix of living in the present for my kids and in the past for myself.  I can’t leave the past behind, because the present is not all that fun.  When it comes to the boys, it’s fine, they’re growing, they are becoming different people, life with them is in the present, I have no issues with that.  I do it without a second thought.  But my life is not growing, and it is becoming very different as a result of everything that happened.  Nothing from the plans Aires and I made about growing old together, nothing from that plan is valid anymore. My life now is a reaction to his passing, everything I’m doing is because I have to do it, not because I want to do it.  I have to do it because both the kids and I need me to do it, but I would never have gone down this path had it not been for him passing.  And this messes with my mind a lot, it messes with my OCD because the plan fell apart, it messes with the planner in me because I literally can’t see my life past when the boys graduate college and leave home.  I find it easier to live in the past, when Aires as here, everything made sense, and life was good.

Along with living in the past, comes this sense that I’m almost in a third dimension.  It’s a weird feeling, I know I’m here, I know I’m living the day by day, I’m going through the motions, doing what I need/have to do.  But at the same time, it feels like reality hasn’t sank in at all.  I guess it could also be called denial.  I still feel like I’m living in a dream, like the last 11 months have just been a long dream, where I have gone through hell, have lived day by day, have been strong but have felt so weak so many times.  It feels like I’m watching from above, like watching a movie, and soon I’ll wake up and everything was just a horrible bad dream and life is back to normal.  I know it’s not, I know this is reality, but I fight accepting it as such.

I’m just tired, I feel like I haven’t caught my breath since June 6th of last year.  I haven’t rested because my brain is always on overdrive.  But the biggest thing is that I’m emotionally exhausted, beyond exhausted.  And I can’t recharge, I don’t know how to, the one person who could do it is not here to do it.  I haven’t figured out how to do it on my own.

I hope all you moms had a wonderful Mother’s Day.

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