Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Crazy holiday griever...

The holidays are supposed to be filled with such joy and wonder. And for the most part they are. That is if you aren't grieving. I wouldn't call myself an Active griever. If there is such a phrase. But I am not a passive one either. I am in the middle. I am a learned to live with loss and heartache while moving forward into the next stage of my life griever.  However the holidays make me feel like a full fledged all in griever.  In moments where there is supposed to be joy and wonder I find myself looking out the window thinking and wishing he was here to physically see it. It's another Christmas without him. It's another Birthday without him, its another new year without him.
   The holidays are also full of so many emotions that leave me feeling confused. One minute exuberant and giddy the next angry and sour. Yelling from one end of the house to the other and then sitting on the couch crying my eyes out. And yet, I am still happy to be where I am. Happy that I am not where I was three years ago and happy to have learned to let in love and be loved by another.  My children are happy, they have  have found once again their sparkle and wonder of the spirit of Christmas but also of being a child as well.  So why in all of this happiness should I still ache for him?  It's simple.. I always will. No matter how many holidays, birthdays, seasons, or monumental events I will still look out the window and miss him.  This idea I think escapes many. Those who have never really loved. with their whole heart. Or. have never really known or felt true, pure love. It is because I have had it, known it, tasted it, and lived it. Do I know the sheer and rare beauty of it.  It's why I can learn to live with the pain, and love again. Its not the same love. And why would it be. I am not the same person that I was then.  I have learned much, and I am still learning every day.
    Lately I feel that my anger gets the best of me. I am mad at him. Still mad!  Pete, I think always knew he wouldn't grow old. Its why he lived his life the way he did. The things that make me so mad, are the questions that I cannot ask him. So many things that he didn't tell me and I want to know why. Why did he leave me here to figure them out. No heads up, no warning.  A "hey, if I die before you, some of these things will be really hard, and this is why..."  I had an idea about some of these "ideas" mostly because I watched his relationships and how he interacted with people. What he expected and what made his heart hurt when he was misunderstood.  Most of them though, he protected me from. And while I am grateful, I am also really mad too.  I knew him better than anyone else. He was the inside of my heart and the air that I breathed. We were a team in raising kids, in marriage and most of all my best friend. He was calm when I was over the edge, and I was calm and reasonable when he was being stubborn and bull headed.   However I still feel like he left me here. With each step forward, I realize something new. With each perspective I see with new eyes, and yet I still find myself yelling over my shoulder Damnit Pete! Why didn't you tell me how to do this.
      When I met Pete he was my knight in shining armor. That is exactly what I needed. I needed rescuing. I needed someone to show me that I was needed. That there was more to me than just a pretty face. That I was smart, charismatic,  funny, and witty. He gave me the strength I needed, and I helped him see a new perspective as well. To see wonder, to look outside the engineering box and believe in things unseen.  He helped pave the way  for what was to come.   When he passed, I couldn't see. I was in the dark. Completely blinded. I got up every day for my kids and for the baby that I was growing. I pushed forward. It was as if I put on a harness hooked myself up to the front of my van and pulled everyone in it along. Through rain, through, snow, sleet, mud,  heat, sweat, tears,and blood. Empty, lost, lonely and needing him so badly that I thought the van would crush me. I still thought to myself that what I needed is to be rescued. However in these last couple days, I have realized I don't need rescuing. I am THE Warrior. What I need, is another harness. Another harness, for someone to hook themselves to this van, and pull it with me. So that we the warriors do it together. " I need man that stands beside me, not in front of or behind me, I need a man that stands beside me" (JoDee Messina)       I take that pain, and that anguish of a heart that was fragmented into millions of pieces. With all those fears, angst, worry, anxiety, and tears.  I learned how to put my heart back together. I learned how to put my children's hearts back together. I learned, what we were and are made of and with all of those things that we saw and tasted and tested together I learned  and we learned to love again.
   Its not easy to let go, "I'm holding my heart out by clutching it too." (NickelCreek)  However its the way one survives. To learn, to grow, to gain a new perspective  With each Christmas that passes, with each of his birthday's that goes by. I miss him still, with such intensity that it takes my breath. But my heart still beats, and I still breathe in and out.  I still remember the man that I loved. The man that loved me. The man that picked me to love for always. He married me, and we have three beautiful children. He may not physically be here but I rejoice in the fact that I had him in my life. These two harnesses that now pull this van. This love, this life that we are weaving together.  It makes up every strand that is my life, that was his life that he is not physically capable of living right now.  His heart lives in me. It lives in his children. With his memory., his path, his essence we grow. The man that has been blessed in our lives now, that wears this harness to help pull this van. My children look up to him. He helps them heal. To be like a father in a way that their daddy just can't do right now. I am grateful that CL calls him Dada. That Petey refers to him as his dad to his friends. That Aryanna can look into another man eye's and know love.   What healing has taken place in this house and in our hearts. While I still have many moments of intense grieving,  moments of anger and frustration along with so many questions.  I also have many moments that make my heart smile. With tears in my eyes I look to the heavens, I thank God, for courage and strength that he gives me every day. I reach my left hand over to my right shoulder and pat the place where I feel Pete's hand.  I nod my head and whisper  I am grateful, I am grateful.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I can do nothing but think of the heart break of all those parents and loved ones that lost their child, spouse, friend, and teacher. The things that they all witnessed and heard make me physically ill. I can't seem to shake it.  The endless questions and the only thing I keep wondering is why? I am sure many of you, who have had such a major loss cant help but feel similar  My children are the same age of those who passed. It takes everything I have not to just strap my kids to me so that they are never out of my sight.  Since I learned of this horrific event I can't seem to compartmentalize it. I think  about it often throughout the day.  I have nothing inspiring or thoughtful to say. I have an awful ache in my heart.   May all those who are grieving be surrounded in love, may the images fade from your memory and know that you are surrounded in angels wings all over the land.   

Monday, November 19, 2012

Angel-versaries are Crazy..

I have gone around and around in my mind. Over and over about "What do I want to do for the upcoming angel versary. A part of me wants to go out with friends for dinner, but the other part not so much. A huge part of me just wants to let it pass me by. To come and to go. This year it feels like I don't need to make its presence known. I mean. I will know its "the day"  since I cant stop thinking about it. But right now it feels like What difference does it make. Its not like I don't miss him any less. I don't need a certain date to remind me with every breath that I take; that he isn't  here. Its a Crazy place to be in. Happy and grieving. What does that look like? This. No amount of moving forward with ever take the place of him. My heart will forever have a hole in it. I mean, its not a gaping wound any more (thank goodness) but what remains is a hole. A hole in my heart and a hole in my core. To know that I will never have that love again leaves me empty. That love, my Pete is not physically here. And on this upcoming Nov 21, I want to just let it wash over me. To come and to go. I want J and my kids with me. And i want to just be. Just be in tears, just be in laughter, just be in memory, just be Crazy, or just be sat on by Aryanna, Petey, and Chase Leo, with J holding my hand. I am grateful and full, yet empty too. Its not something the average person could grasp. Its a special place for those Crazy Widows, and Widowers to understand.
         Sometimes, I want to shout, at the top of my lungs, to all of those who have so much animosity towards me for moving forward. I can't stand still. I wont. They didn't know my Pete the way I did. Not in the same intimate way. He would never have wanted the kids and I to stand still. At some point I have to just let. it. go. I cant please every one, and after three years I am tired of trying. No amount of trying to see or explain to those on the outside looking in what the big picture really looks like. I loved Pete with every ounce that I ever was, and I will never stop loving him. Its just different now. I cant go back, I can only go forward. It's not moving on.. Did you hear me? Its not moving on.. It's moving forward. One angel-versary at a time.
            My sister mentioned to Aryanna the other night that she was so proud of her and that her Daddy would be so proud of her too. Which I tell her all the time. But I think, it was good for her to have someone else tell her  that they too thought her daddy would be so proud of her. She also mentioned that it would be almost three years since your daddy died. I cringed of course. I felt like "NO, why did you tell her that?"  you think she doesn't know that? You think that in her bones she doesn't know that? Why, did you bring it up? Does she really need to know that? She is already starting to put two and two together. That the age of CL is the number of years that Pete has been gone. She doesn't need to know dates. Someday when she is older I will tell her. But not at 7. She doesn't need a date to remember when her whole world turned upside down. With every step she takes, she remembers. She and Petey will never forget. Like me they too are healing but they also have a hole in their hearts.     I know I have heard it a million times. Kids are so resilient  Yes they are. But they are also the most sensitive little beings on the planet. And My kids are so in tune with their own emotions, as well as every one else in the house. They feel it. So they don't need to know whats around the corner they already know. So why mark it on the calendar. I know,  I can't protect them forever, obviously. But I can protect them for a little while.
       I wish I could just see his face. I really would like to talk to him. So many questions. Some random and bizarre  like.. Did you like your service? Did you like what I wrote about you? The music; what did you think? And some not so random.. Did you see your son being born? I know, I felt you there with me.  Can you believe how big Aryanna is? And Petey can you believe that he looks just like you, isn't that so Crazy? As if I could just call him up on the phone, like two best friends that haven't talked in years. Knowing that since he lives too far away  he can't come for a visit. But just to hear his voice. Most of all I want to know is he proud of me too. I know in my heart that he is. I just want to hear him  say it with my physical ears that he is.  I often feel his hand on my shoulder. Like he is sitting beside me as if I could just reach out and touch him... It never goes away the missing him. It just gets more bearable. I have learned to live with out him physically here. I never wanted to, but I had to. For me, for my children and even for him too.  
      I still don't know what I want to do on Wednesday. I do know that I will be surrounded in love, joy, and  tears. However with those tears comes remembering moments that are too scary to recall with sanity in tact. But the ones that are so abundant in love they drown those scary ones out. I am grateful to look upon my beautiful children that he blessed me with. To feel their arms around my neck, the strong steady hand of J's hand in mine and a unseen hand on my shoulder who has been here the whole Crazy time encircling us all in Angel wings.     

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Craziness escapes from photographs.

The closer it gets to "those dates." The worse it gets. The memories, the questions, the grief.  I was online today and a family member posted an up-close picture of Pete. Its a beautiful picture of him. It captures his smile and his laughing eyes. However, I wasn't expecting to see his face and all the sudden there it was! It was like a punch to the gut.  It stole my breath. I almost dropped the computer and burst into a million tears.  It's unimaginable to think that seeing his picture could cause that kind of reaction. His beautiful laughing face., full of so much happiness and joy. I marveled in looking at his face and pictures of him and I together when he was alive. 
   Right after he passed I could NOT look at his pictures at all. It hurt too much. It made me nauseous. At the funeral home they had this huge life size photo of him. And I couldn't even look at it. It made me want to run around screaming.  I mean. I am sure that if I did, no one would have blamed me for doing that. But I couldn't move.  In many ways after seeing that picture, I feel in this moment that I have lost him all over again. Why does it have to be this way? Memories that flood my body and make it impossible to do anything but weep in missing him. I had hoped that by three years I could enjoy looking at pictures of him and sharing "good" times and stories together.  And I can, normally.  But since it is about a month until the Angel versary, and only a few days from the anniversary of him going into the hospital.  I can't seem to do any of that.  
     A friend of mine made photo albums for the kids, full of pictures of Pete and the kids and I.  I remember when she asked me to get some pictures together for her. I made myself do it because I knew how much the kids would love it. I could only glance at pictures of him. I ended up just handing her a box of pictures and said "I can't pick out any, feel free to just put which ever ones you think they would like." She made such a beautiful album. When she first gave them to the kids they really couldn't look at them either. Aryanna flipped through the pages, mumbled a thank you and put it on her shelf in her room. However as time passes she brings out her album more and more. It comforts her and she remembers moments when they were together. The pictures make her laugh and she remembers the fun things that we did together. I am forever grateful to my friend for so many reasons, but also for making these amazing albums.   The other night after I tucked the kids into bed I went back in to check on them. I found Aryanna asleep with hers. It was open to page of him with her sitting on his lap. It was propped up beside her and she was on her side. She had fallen asleep looking at a picture of him. I closed the album, pulled the covers up over her shoulder, and prayed that he came to visit with her in her dreams.
   I don't know why I had expected that at three years I wouldn't hurt as bad. I mean yes, in lots of ways We don't hurt the same. I think most widow's would say, that it truly doesn't ever go away. You just learn to live with the pain. And that's truly it. I have learned to live with his loss. And My kids have learned to live with his loss.  Everyone's grieving process is different. No one can ever understand your exact pain. But with grieving comes understanding for the other person's pain.  Like when I hear about a person who has lost a brother, or a parent, or even a grandparent. I have learned to be honest when I give my condolences. I usually say that while I don't understand your exact pain, I can sympathize with your loss and I am sorry for your pain. For each person grieving, the memento that they can't handle is different. For me it is a photograph. While others, only want to surround themselves with their loved ones pictures.
   I am grateful for all the lovely pictures that we have of Pete. I hope that someday I can pull out those pictures of him in frames that we had on our walls when he was alive. Someday I hope to surround myself in his handsome face again.  To look at his pictures  in length. Taking in every aspect of it. The place where it was taken, and why.  For now, looking at our children with his eyes looking back at me is enough of a reminder that he was here.  The memories I have of him in my mind, his eyes, his laughter, his smile. While this time of year is full of unexpected Craziness. I know that I am blessed for everything. His life, his love, and even tragically, his loss.  It was his life that blessed me. It was his life's exit that changed me. While I miss him every day with every breath. I have learned to live with the pain. Aryanna, Petey, and Chase Leo have learned to live with the pain. We don't want to, but we know in our core that he would want this for us. His life taught us to live.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Music for the Crazy...

I came across a CD that Pete and I used to listen to a lot. This time of year it seems to call my name. As if I crave it. Something about it draws me in and I cant stop until the sound of it touches my ears. There are many songs on this album that touch me for different reasons but one in particular seemed to stir my senses and be just what I needed.   The intricacy of this piece of music speaks to me in a way that words just can't. It touches my soul, my breath, my heart, my core. It comforts me and keeps me company. It shares my breathing space. I can focus only on it's complexity of each note and similar instruments. To the point of complete organized chaos. It distracts me and I get hypnotized by it. I can only think of  the vibration and how the sound touches my body. It Fills my brain, and I don't have to think. I don't have to feel. I can just be. There is no need for words. The is just beauty in rhythm and sound.
      The bass vibrates my chest. So that I can feel it thumping inside of me. I tap my foot in time with the music. Its powerful in its simplicity and complexity all at the same time. Maybe that is why I like it so much. It's like me Crazy and yet Sane. I leave behind my worries, and my fears. The unanswered questions that may never have answers. Time passes and stands still. Each time the bow is pulled across the strings it creates a new dimension of calm and complex. Key changes and  tempo changes, send chills through my body and I feel whole.
     What must it be like to have no knowledge of music. There is no need to see only feel. The bass, the treble, the feel of your hands on the guitar. The beauty of the violin. How it touches you and you don't even have to put your hands on it. I already know how it feels under my fingers. The strings smooth yet grainy. The depth in the instrument itself. Not just a single note but a cluster of them together in one slide across the strings.  The way it touches my ears, heart, and mind. To never play it the same way every time. The glory in listening to it live. It's always different  It's never performed the same way every time. Something you lose when a piece is recorded.  The power, the majestic sound rings in my ears. The tenacity in the performance, sheer joy and love that is portrayed in each musician. Their instrument is like their heartbeat. Like tunnel vision. Only the music breathes life into your core.
     This particular song has so many layers to it. Along with so many instruments. The mandolin, the violin, the guitar, how many can I focus in on at one time. It's the perfect kind of crazy. Organized and timed perfectly and in harmony. Complex, in tune, and layered with passion and heart.  Learning a new instrument is like grieving  At first it's a big old mess. Nothing makes sense. Everything is out of tune and sometimes you just don't know which end is up. However with practice, and patience. Your fingers get calloused to protect your fingers on the strings. Kind of like your heart. It builds its own callous. So you can learn to function again.  Callouses make your fingers tough and callouses on your heart show you what your made of. With each practice session you learn something new. How to hold the instrument so you don't strain your neck. How to tune it so you no longer hurt your ears and every one else around you. You learn to read the music.
Soon you play a very short yet simple song. The pride you feel in accomplishing that small task is enough to propel you forward to keep going back to your lesson.  Each week, something new. Often times you can get stuck. The piece is too hard. The rhythm is all off, and you break a string.  There is yelling, crying and possibly throwing things. Yet I remember why I loved to begin with. With tears in my eyes, I sit down to play. This time as I play I can feel myself settling into the piece. Passion fills my song and I play as if I have never loved or played before.
     This life takes patience and time and most of all love. Love for myself, love for my children, love for the man who now has angel wings and love for the man that angel sent to me.  For it was he who started it to begin with, when he left me here. I know, he never wanted to hurt all of those left behind. However. I now see that it was in his leaving that I had to learn to find a new song. One that would toughen me up in ways I never thought possible. Surprisingly,  it also showed me love, a new perspective, and a life I never thought I would have.  So while I sit here at times crying over the out of tune and lack of rhythm.  I know I find peace in its complexity and simplicity. Its the best kind of music around. Its music for the crazy, performed by the crazy.   Nickel Creek  "House Of Tom Bombadil"
* Complex and Sane* Nickel Creek "Pastures New"
*Close your eye's, breathe deep, and feel*

Monday, August 20, 2012

Free and Crazy...

 I finally took a break for a couple days. I went to Story Indiana. If you have never been, you should go. Take the whole family. Or just take yourself and go.  A hidden treasure in the woods. I felt free, and safe. Like a little kid, I saw the open fields and I wanted to run as far as I could. Fill my lungs with the wind and the trees, feel the sun touch my skin. Breathe in the new and exhale the old, the exhausted, the completely worn out.  I could picture myself standing in the middle of the field surrounded by trees. My arms stretched up high and my eyes taking in the beauty of the sky. I close my eyes and I see a golden ball of light drop down from the heavens and into my soul. It fills me with warmth and wraps ribbons around my body. The sense of peace and joy is overwhelming. Finally a sense that its really OK. I am safe. I can breathe easy here. No worries, no grief, just love.  The wind whips through my hair and lifts it off my neck. My curls fly wild in every direction. It fills me with laughter and I can't help but smile. The sky is blue and the clouds look like big pillows in the sky. I am happy, I am free.
   It was an amazing experience unlike one I have had in almost 4 years.  I didn't worry about my kids, I didn't worry about the places I needed to be, the things I should be doing, or the networking I should be doing.. Nothing. I didn't even have cell service. Which at times was hard when I wanted to talk to the kids. I was seriously footloose and fancy free. The food was amazing, the people were friendly and treated J and I like family. It's no wonder my dad runs away to Story every chance he gets.
     The one problem, Now it's time to come back to reality. And I really don't want to. I mean I understand that people love vacation and say that it's so hard to come home. But, this was more that just a vacation. This was a break. Can you imagine never having a break in three years. Never slowing down? Never stopping to smell the roses? I am a constant worrier. I wasn't worried. I enjoyed my life in that moment. Right. Where. I was. We were two people running around not caring about the rest of the world.  I finally stopped. I stood still, and I didn't fall down. I breathed. I finally came to understand what it means to breathe and just let go and enjoy. Everything else just melted away. No pain, no anxieties, no utter and complete gaping wound, just peace. I felt it. I really felt peace. Not just putting a band aide over my heart. But, I found the salve to put on my heart and allow it to sink in fully. To absorb and heal the spots that still feel raw and irritated  For a moment I didn't hurt.  I left it all behind.
    The question remains, How to take that salve and serene and apply it to this reality?  Back to the hustle and bustle of this every day life. Doctor appointments, bills to pay, people to call,  make dinner, do 2nd grade home work. Put out fires, break up fights. referee the children. on and on it goes.  I sat in my kitchen tonight looking at the floor just wishing for it all to just slow down. I feel as if I just learned to breathe over the weekend. I want to embrace it and pull it towards me and into my body. Along with three squishy wiggly kids and their sweet smiles.  I want it all to just stop for a minute. I don't want it to go backwards or forwards, just stay right here.   How can I be back in this space where he isn't? How do I remember to let go of the worry?
     I keep jumping back and forth in my mind to that place in the field with my arms stretched out. I want that and I want this too. I like my freedom and I love being a mom.  I didn't understand the fullness of really letting my hair down. I haven't stopped to just let the earth heal me. I feel that I have been in constant  motion for 2.5 years. constantly moving, just keep moving. To me there is only one way to get through it. Keep going, don't stop! Like trudging through snow. I cant feel my toes, but I know that if I just keep walking I will be home soon. Where a warm fire, hot chocolate and smiling faces await me. Move forward one step at a time, The uphill climb starts to even out and for a little bit I can catch my breath. For a little bit the cold air that I breathe in doesn't hurt my lungs so bad.  However my toes are frozen, I hit a rock and fall on my face. I stand up and my forehead is bleeding. I am hurt and frozen but I know, I know, my house isn't far.  If I can just keep going. Keep going for me, and keep going for those who are counting on me.  I feel that in this past weekend, for a couple of days, I found that warm home. It didn't have the same faces, and these people didn't count on me for everything. These faces came to serve me.  I found a place to relax, warm up, and feed my soul from the inside out.  I left the cold and the snow outside. I took off my heavy wet clothes and snow covered boots and hung them up to dry by the fire. I washed my cut on my heart, put my FC5 conditioning oil on and allowed it to sink into every layer. To ease, and heal one layer at a time.   I am forever grateful for the experience not just for the cabin the woods but for all of it. The walk in the snow, the bruise on my heart.  If it weren't for the excruciating pain, I may have never known what it was like to breathe and feel full.  I know, I am crazy... But for a little while I  found a new kind of free that I didn't know I had and it touched me in a way I won't soon forget.

*Free* By: Zac Brown Band

So we live out of our old van
Travel across this land
Just me and you

We'll end up hand and hand
Somewhere down on the sand
Just me and you

*Just as Free
Free as we'll ever be
Just as free
Free as we'll ever be

Drive until the city lights
Dissolve into the country sky
Just me and you

Lay Underneath the Harvest Moon
Do all the things that lovers do
Just me and you

*Just as free
Free as we'll ever be
Just as free
Free as we'll ever be and ever...

No we don't have a lot of money
No we don't have a lot of money
No we don't have a lot of money
No we don't have a lot of money
No we don't have a lot of money
No we don't have a lot of money
No we don't have a lot of money

All we need is Love.....

*Just as free as we'll ever be
Free as we'll ever be
Just as free
Free as we'll ever be

So we will live out of our old van
Travel all across this land
Just me and you

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Crazy wishing and learning..

Today I have found myself having many "Pete Moments." I will explain. Earlier today I was talking with a friend about being pregnant with Chase Leo and how I ate mostly Halloween candy.  I told her that I remembered my OB saying "why don't you try some more protein." I joked with my doctor and said "well there are Peanuts in a lot of the candy!"  Halloween candy was my comfort food for awhile, while Pete was in the hospital. My "Pete Moment" came when I remembered thinking... when Pete gets home we will laugh about my Halloween candy fetish. The problem was he never came home and I never got the chance to re tell him that story.. I found myself having that thought again.. Wait, he never came home did he. As if the reality of that story and all the things I wanted to tell him are sinking in. I can't just say to him..  hey, remember that time when you were sick..
   Another Pete Moment came after dinner. I was talking with J about his day and he was telling me about this cold that he has. How he had been coughing so much today that his back hurt. I must have had this look on my face, he looked at me and said "What, what are you thinking?" I said "Thats just how Pete started out, with a cold."  It was a very strange feeling.. I was taken backwards, I had to get away. I went outside to get the mail. The tears flooded my eyes. My tears didn't last long but it was enough to make an impact and leave a wound.
  Why so many moments? I have to chalk it up to Back to school time. Another school year, another milestone. It means fall is coming and so is 3 years.   Someone asked me the other day if I was looking forward to school starting. I said yes, and no. Yes, because it will be nice to have a more set schedule, and a little more freedom to myself. I will have two kids in school this year. Aryanna all day and Petey half day every day. So, for a few hours of the day it will be just Chase Leo and me.  On the no side of the question.. because it means that summer is over, and it means they are getting bigger. But, I know that they are ready to see their friends, and learn new things. I Guess for me I didn't realize how much getting everyone ready really does affect me too. It's another trip to the bus stop at the beginning of the school year. Looking at her thinking My girl is so big. and wishing with every ounce of my being that he was here to see her walk down to the bus. See her put on her new school clothes. Wishing he could physically go to her school and meet her teacher, see her classroom, and her desk where she will sit. All of these things may seem so small to the average person, but to me, and to her, they are huge. God, I wish he was here. And still for the life of me I cannot believe that he hasn't physically held her little self to him in almost 3 years. She was 4 and a half when he died and now she is 7 years old, going into the second grade and he is not here to see it! I know she feels it. But I wish I could see him, see her so big. Yet I know he is so proud of her, i wish she could hear him say that to her.
  Its in this moment, I sit here with tears pouring down my face. I wish I could tell him so many things. I wish I could vocalize to him all the hurts, and the scared of everything, but also all the joys and the laughter too. it's more that just missing him. It's wishing I could just see his face, hear his laughter and look in his eyes. I want to see him look at the kids and see the wonder of who they have become. To hold them and laugh with them. I still find it so baffling that even in all the moving forward and building a new life, cherishing the small accomplishments  and seeing the world through new eyes, he really didn't come home from the hospital.  Really? Really? Will it ever sink in?
  The thoughts keep going through my head tonight.. I wish, oh but I just wish....  I am so grateful for where I am today. It is so much better than the beginning of last school year. I walk with more confidence, a new strength in the things that I have seen, and created for myself. I know that God was right there with me. And I know that Pete was too. However I still wonder so many things. The thoughts that creep in, the places we wanted to go and the memories of the things I wanted to share with him. Sure I still talk to him as if he is physically standing right beside me. But,, I miss his advice, his laughter, and the way he loved me.
     I was trying to explain to another friend of mine yesterday that I felt that my widowhood felt very much in my face.  I had started out my day with a prayer. Bring people into my life that I may be able to help and serve in some way. However it ended up that random people helped me instead.  Chase Leo walked away from me while I was unlocking the car.  One minute he was in the stroller the next he wasn't. I freaked out.  I looked away for a split second and he was gone. I called for him three times,  the woman across the way said "he is over here." I looked at her with such gratitude. I wanted to run over and hug her. I said" thank you, so much, I am incredibly grateful. She said "It's OK. I have been there myself." I hugged Chase Leo so close. and then looked at him and said  Don't walk away from Mommy like that. you scared Mommy. I got the kids all buckled in and I sat in the car not remembering where we were driving to next. It took several minutes but I finally felt calm and off we went. We went to pick up some lunch.  I got all the kids back in the car and realized I forgot the silverware. I knew we weren't going home, so I needed to go back in. But I didn't want to take them all back inside with me. I stood there while a woman and her three children came out to their car. I had just seen them in the restaurant. I said "Oh shoot I forgot the forks." The woman looked at me and said" I would be happy to wait with your little ones while you run in."  I thanked her a million times. Ran like lightning, into the restaurant got a fork and ran out. When I came out. she said "I have been there." I talked with her for a few minutes. found out that her girls were twins and her son was 2 years older than the twins. Her children were in middle school. But she looked at me and said Yes, I remember having three little ones at home, I am happy to help."   When I had explained all of this to my friend she said "I don't understand why you feel the way you do, just because someone helped you?"  The problem is that she wouldn't understand it. And thankfully, she doesn't. For me being in the thick of widowhood. I was constantly needing help from random people. It was as if I had a sign on my face that said "yes, I am a widow and a bit out of sorts, feel free to help me."  However, I don't want to be in that position any more. I want to be the one to help someone else. I want to be that helping hand, I don't want to be the damsel in distress. I want to stand on my own and raise my children without someone looking over my shoulder to make sure I am doing it right. I want my Widow Wear back but instead I want it to read "Widow survivor, how can I help and serve you."  or  "Widow! Seriously, I have been there"
   I feel insane. I know I may even sound that way. Maybe I should be the insane red haired lady. I wish for him here, but I want to stand on my own.  The thing is that after everything, all the pain, and the scared, and the questions. I am now in this moment learning who I am.  It really is a journey of endless questions, memories that haunt me, and moments of just wanting him to hold my hand. The thing is that before Pete passed I was happy with him doing everything. Now, I want to do it too. I don't want to follow anymore, I want to lead. I would have wanted him to "Stand beside me, not in front of or behind me, I want a man to stand beside me" (*JoDee Messina*)  Maybe that is what all of these memories, and moments, and realizations are about.  For me, I lost my whole world.  However I am now learning to build a new one. I miss Pete beyond anything I could ever put into words. But, I am stronger, I am smarter in ways that I never knew, and I am more confident than I ever thought I could be.  Most of all I am grateful.  I still wish he was here for me and for the kids. I will probably always wish that. I may always be crazy or insane for that matter, But I have learned much and through that I hope that someday I can live up to my original prayer to help and serve others.. I would love to be able to help someone the way that so many have helped me. I guess that no matter you're loss, or our crazy life circumstances. Maybe we all long to be that helping hand. Like those women who remember what it was like to have their child walk away from them or to constantly have their hands full that they often forgot something.  I know that I am grateful for random kindness in people, and  for the love I had with Pete. For the amazing man, father, and friend that he was.  The time we had with him will never have been long enough.  I wish it could have been more. However, The new school year brings, a new year of learning not just for Second grade, and Kindergarten, but also in our new and crazy life as well. With Wonder and band-aides we step forward. We walk in Faith, Love,and the whispering sound of Angel wings. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Another Crazy Insight.

What is it about milestones that make me feel like I have taken three steps back? The hollow and the empty of what once was and will never be again seem to haunt my thoughts this evening. All these ideas of growing and changing along with doing our best to emotionally and physically  move  forward, seem to come to a screeching halt when a milestone comes and then passes. Aryanna turned 7 years old on Monday. It seems crazy to think that Pete hasn't seen her in 3 years. It's amazing how big and grown up she is. The way she talks with her hands like I do, or the way she explains things, or even the way she invents new concepts to old ideas. She is like her daddy, and she is like me. I hope for her sake there comes a time when her birthday's aren't so anxiety provoking for her. She spent most of Monday following me around and wanting to be held. She was like my own personal shadow. By the time that her party rolled around in the evening she was better and ready to play. But by evening when the thrill of the party was over, she was needing extra cuddles. It wasn't until the next day late afternoon that she said it "I miss daddy" All I could say was "I know bug... I do too."
    It's in these moments of reflection when I think of her first birthday without him. She was turning 5 years old. I went looking through some old photo's to see if I could find some baby pictures of her. I stumbled across pictures from her 5th birthday. He eyes so vacant, and empty. She was here but emotionally she wasn't. Looking at those pictures took my breath and hurt my heart. I then clicked on a photo of her now. Her bright eyes shining, and her smile filled with laughter. It makes my heart fill with love and pride. For the big and courageous girl that she is now and has always been. Even though I am so grateful for all of these things, there will always be a part of me that longs for Pete, for the love we had for each other and for our life we had with our children together.
   Unless you are a window or widower you can't understand this kind of longing. That no amount of moving forward, changing, and growing will ever take away from that part of you that died right along with your spouse. In recent days I have been confronted by other people who don't understand my choice for loving again. I have come to the conclusion that what they think doesn't matter. It's not about them. It's not their life to live. It's mine. It's also realizing that these "friend" never really knew me to begin with. They never really took the time to look inside of me and at the core of who I was, and am. It was just only on the surface. Again what is it about time and reflection that one can really see other's true motives when they finally meet them head on. It's in these last few days of change, and milestones that I have found  new insights about myself and to the future that I hold in my hands, in my heart, and in my children's lives.  I don't owe an explanation to anyone. They have not walked in my shoes, they have not walked my path, they are not me. They don't see the world through my eyes or my children's eyes for that matter.  With change comes new relationships, new perspectives, new motivations, and new joy.  And yet the emptiness remains. Another milestone come and gone, an old relationship that is forever changed due to lack of insight, information and pride.
  So what do I do with this new insight? I do what I usually do. Absorb it, feel it, and then let it pass. Realizing I cannot stop the milestones from coming, but I can stop allowing others to push me down in ways that make them feel better. It's letting go of the "old" ways. It's moving forward again one step at a time. Even though on this day I feel like I am walking through molasses carrying a 2.5 year old on my hip and holding hands with a now 7 year old and a 5 year old. Its turning my eyes back towards the sun and feeling its warmth on my face. It's being able to know that I am blessed with not having to walk this journey alone. To have some one to hug me tight when I feel that I just can't go forward today. It's that gentle nudge that I feel from Pete's spirit whispering in my ear, I believe in you , I always have. But most importantly it's knowing that I have courage in myself, that I believe in myself, and I will continue to push forward, to look into the future with hope. It's that feeling I hold onto that I have learned to hold my ground keeping it steady for Aryanna, Petey, and Chase Leo.  So what to do with this day of molasses and empty feelings? I remember that tomorrow is a new day full of hope and new beginnings. After all it is my crazy journey and I am learning to enjoy the moment.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Crazy loud...

I hurt today more than I have in months. Like my insides have been ripped out. It doesn't matter how they fell out, its the after math. I struggle today with picking up the pieces. I want to sit and lick my wounds. Something I am not prone to doing. Sometimes it doesn't seem to matter how big the picture is, it's realizing you can never please everyone. even in grief. It's my pain. It's my path. And while it may have not been ment to beat me with words or to slash at me, I am an easy target.  I also realize that in a few days I will be able to find a compromise and do so with love and joy.  But for now, I feel the loss as if it happened yesterday. I want to shout and scream that If only he had lived. But he didn't and how long are we going to argue about doing things the "old way" He is not physically here!! I won't stand still and live my life around what if he had lived, or what would he do if he was here. I will not shut off myself, shut out my heart to love. I will not stop happiness from flowing. I will not do that to my kids and I will not do that to this family. It doesn't honor him in any way.  While the rage and frustration of what is,  boils up inside of me and wants to just explode all over the situation doesn't do anyone any good.
   The fact remains the same., I hurt. I miss him. I wish to God he would just step down from the heavens and talk to me. I don't want some one else's opinion about what they think is right. I want Pete. There is only one me. And how it hurts me, is my path and my lesson.. I don't feel that I am entitled by any means. I am just tired of being the punching bag for when things go wrong. Whether is is by my own mind or by someone else,  grief is hard. It's all hard. My hurt is not worse than any one else's. . It still hurts 2.5 years later. It still hurts, and moving forward is not easy, but I do it for Pete, I do it for my children.  To grow, to live, to love, to see the beauty of what once was and what is now. However on this day I feel so sad and so lonely for him that I want to shout until I am hoarse.  I want to run so fast away from all this hurt. leave the parts of me that are aching and scarred on the sidewalk. The parts of me that are full of anger and frustration. Just run To feel only the my ragged breath inside my lungs. Wishing for rain to pour from the sky washing those parts on the ground soothing the red and raw, leaving them peaceful and cool. So that on my way back to where I dropped them I can pick them up, dry them off and put them back in place. Refreshed and ready to start again.
   I know that in time I will get out of my corner, take a deep breath. I will turn around to the music that is on full blast that vibrates me to the core. I will do it with love in my heart, and a sparkle in my eye. With kids in hand and one on my hip. I know that through all the crazy loud there is a soft sound in my right ear. It's the sound of Angel wings. It's those wings that wrap around us, it's that hidden strength the propels us forward. To honor him and life he wants us to live. For he lives through each of us.   

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Crazy Reflections....

Many people find funerals as a time of reflection. One remembers the life of that person and how they changed your life or changed those people around you. Often people think about their own mortality. For me, it has brought up things that I have blocked out about Pete's funeral. It seems the more I remember about the day of his service, the more I remember other things about the days before.  I have often thought to myself, "Why can't I remember those things?" Now that I am having these flashback moments, I wish I wasn't seeing them and feeling them again.  However I do feel blessed not to have the same reaction. That whole feeling of "Why am I here, and How can this be happening?"  Although, I do still have that disbelief feeling  as I watch these memories replay in my mind of "how did I really stand there and not fall down?" 
   My mom's husband passed away on May 26th.  His memorial service was held on May 31st. It was a nice service. The music was beautiful and words that the minister spoke of, a life in reflection.  I thought at the time that I was prepared for the funeral. Wrapping myself in a protective wall around my heart and soul as to not take on any one else's grief. Being the empathetic and sensitive being that I am, I have to prepare and protect, to remain in the present moment. So that I could be there to support my mom in her time of loss and heartache. I was doing a great job at first. I walked into the parlor of the church. I said hello to my sisters and gave my mom a hug. I gave my condolences to his side of the family. I smiled and nodded, trying to remain light and cheery. I was doing great until my eyes fell upon an 8 week old baby and my step faltered. My breath caught, my heart skipped a beat, and I remembered....  It was like falling down a hole similar to Alice in Wonderland. 
   All the sudden, there I was. Standing in a purple, white and black outfit resting my hands on my big belly. Standing next to a life size picture of Pete, and next to that life size photo, was a closed casket. Even now my heart races at this memory. I want to run away, as if I am not seeing it. Like in a scary part of a movie wishing to hit the fast forward button but I can't find the remote. I stood there smiling and shaking hands. My eyes empty. I would see people that I know I knew but I couldn't remember their names. I was standing next to a chair that everyone kept trying to get me to sit in. I couldn't understand why they wanted me to sit so badly. As if sitting was going to make it any easier. I would still be inside of that damn mortuary beside my husband who should have been alive! Why the hell would it matter if I sat down. I can see it so clear now. And yet I cant tell you who was there. I still sometimes will see people I haven't seen in a few years and they will mention being at his funeral and I will be like "You were there?" Where was I? 
      While all of these things passed through my mind in mere seconds, it felt like another life. I pulled in my heart, my thoughts, and did the best I could to slap that wall back up. That wall that now had a crack in it, right down the middle. I put on a smile and walked into the church with my sisters, family and close friends. I sat there and tried not to listen. Of course one knows what happens when you try hard not to do something. You listen and think anyway. Finally the service was over and back into the parlor to meet, greet, and thank. This time I stayed on one side of the parlor and tried not to wander over close to the adorable and yet tiny baby on the other side of the room.  As if avoiding her was going to make it any better. The problem was, that it had nothing to do with the baby. It was me. It was my memories that I have been running from. Or blocking out and refusing to see. But really I don't think that's it either. I was not refusing to see them. I just wasn't strong enough to absorb them. I guess that says something. I am strong enough now to "see" them and feel them. 
    I came home after the service changed my clothes and hugged my kids. I talked to J about my experience and the tears that couldn't flow at the time of realization, now were falling freely. J held my hand as I talked about reliving my moments. The fear is still there, the sad, the despair, and some of that terrible creepy feeling I had. That I Would not stand too close to that casket. I mean I didn't even want to look at it. I remember thinking "Why, he is my husband. My whole world, my other half." I know why, I couldn't absorb it. I couldn't let the reality touch me. It was too much and I was trying my best to make it to term with this baby.   
    One of the major things I realized however, is that no matter when you remember or how far out you get from the Angelversary, those moments will always be hard. They will always be scary. Which surprises me and baffles me at the same time. I am happy now. The kids and I have come through an amazing, life altering and epic experience. My kids and I feel as if we are finally healing. Why the pain? Why be scared?  For me I feel that I am figuring it out. Its scary for me because, I couldn't feel the scared at the time. I couldn't feel anything other than complete, utter, and total loss. He died and I did too. I was just a shell of a woman. I looked like Kathryn, but she wasn't there, Not. At. All.  I was that song "When you're lost and alone and you're sinking like a stone, carry on, carry on" (Fun. "Carry on")   It's because I can feel again, I can live again, I can laugh again, I can breathe, sing, and feel joy again.  That's why. I can feel, so I can heal.  I am in a place that is safe. My daughter can look at me and say "I miss Daddy" and I can say "I know Bug, I do too." But it doesn't break us the same way it did before. We can still miss him, but we don't have that same terrible gut wrenching moments of complete despair that we are all constantly feeling and thinking. I can hold her close and whisper in her ear, I know your Daddy would be so proud of you.  These are things I never thought I would be able to say to her or to him without throwing up, from the fact that I had to say them at all.  It's knowing that we can, heal, grow and learn to love, in all aspects of our life. 
    These two funerals I have been to, they were a month a part. They have brought up many emotions, and memories that I thought they wouldn't.  I should know better to always expect the unexpected. And while these last few days I have been pushing out my thoughts and trying to push forward at a "gung ho" pace. It's in this moment that I can see what a blessing these were in disguise. I learned to feel new and old things. I learned that I could go to a funeral and not be a big panic mess. (which is what I always thought would happen) And I learned a new form of healing. 
    In every breath I will always think of Pete. With every smile and milestone my children make and reach I think of him. I see him in them, and I can smile.  My heart still breaks when I think of a moment that he is not physically here to see it. I still long to touch his face, hold his hand, or rub his goatee. However I am so blessed to have loved him and unfortunately to have lost him. I know though that in every breath I take from this moment on, I am healing.  A,P, and CL, are healing.  With every memory that is brought forward, with every tear that drops from our eyes, and with every time we open our hearts a little more we accept love. Love from a man who once was, Love from a man who is now, combined with the four of us into one. We will reflect, live, and heal.  

Monday, May 7, 2012

Flying Crazy...

I wrote this while flying to Las Vegas. I am just now getting a chance to post it.....

Nothing like missing my alarm, and receiving a phone call from my ride, that she is in the driveway.  Maybe that should have been my first clue that something about the day was off.  I was running around my room at 4:30 am trying to find something to wear. I felt like everything I tried on made me look dumpy. Finally I put on my old "stand by" At least my jeans were new. However they do need to be hemmed or else I need to grow. Maybe taller shoes would be better. But I didn't feel like wearing heels to hoof it all over the airport, at a sprint. So I opted for my dressier tennis shoes, if there really is such a thing. Alas everything is ready and zipped into the suitcase. Throw my make up into my purse. Since I am not driving I can put it on in the car. That way I don't look completely like I just rolled out of bed. Off to kiss the kids good bye.
      Kissing the kids good bye has been something that I have been dreading. At 5am they are still in a sleepy state. I tip toe into the boys room. Aryanna is on the floor in her pink princess sleeping bag, Cl is in his bed and Petey in his. I whisper in Aryanna and Petey's ears, I Love you so much. Be good and help with Chase Leo. I will be home in a few days. I lean over CL and give him lots of kisses and whisper I love you!  I hug my mother in law, and give J as kiss. I pull my suitcase behind me and out into the driveway with my friend patiently waiting for me in the car.  Load my bag, close the trunk, get in the car and away we go to the airport.
    Arrive at the airport, check in, print my boarding pass. Thank goodness for being able to check in via my iphone. I have about an hour and a half to kill before needing to be at my gate. So, I wander around to find something to eat and some cold medicine. I managed to get CL's cold.  For me I enjoy being at the airport. All the people coming and going. I feel like a grown up when I am there. I know odd right? I only have me to look out for. I feel very independent, and in some ways very proud of myself. Which may sound Crazy... but for me I never did anything with out Pete. I never would have gone on an airplane without him. I never would have thought that I would be flying off to a Global Business conference.  That I would have my own business, or have the opportunity to be a part of something so amazing. Being at the airport is almost my way of stepping back into who Kathryn is. As if I am looking into a picture window of my own life. Here I sit, with three healthy happy kids at home. My mother in law is with them, so I know they are safe and will have an amazing time. I look back in my mind to where I have been, to where I am now, and I see strength and growth. Along with Guidance from God and Pete.So I guess one could say the airport is my gown up spot.
     I realize that my time for reflection is over and I need to get moving. Off to the security check point. Luckily the lines aren't long and I make it to the other side without much trouble. Other than the fact that I had to give the security people my water. Since I can't take water from the outside onto the plane. Once on the other side of check point I buy more water, some cold medicine, some Kleenex, and a People magazine. Finally, ready to board. The flight attendant starts the boarding call and we all line up in reference to our boarding pass. It sort of reminds me of cattle in a cattle chute.  Once I am on the plane it is time to find a seat. This is the first time for me to be on a plane that is open seating. I am hoping for a window seat. After scanning the seats I come upon a window seat next to a nice young couple. However I now have to put my carry on in the "overhead bin" and crawl across the nice couple to the window seat. After the excuse me's and thank you so much for your help. I am buckled in and ready to fly.
    We are sitting on the run way and I make small talk with the woman next to me. I ask her if she is from Las  Vegas or if they are visiting. She says they are from LA but have recently moved to Indy and are headed to Vegas to celebrate their wedding anniversary.   After listening to her I realize something that hits me like a fist to the gut. Today is my wedding anniversary. It would have been 9 years.  I got hot. And restless. I felt the anxiety creeping in and the feeling of wanting to shout! "Oh my gosh...Today? Why today?" I mean I remembered that, when I booked the flight and I kept thinking 'what a great way to start a new beginning. New business, new relationships, new moving forward. However, it was in this instant I found myself wanting to run around the plane. That feeling that I really needed some air.  Why hadn't it occurred to me sooner?  It never settled. I mean, I thought about it, but the thought didn't actually touch me or absorb into me. In this moment the planning is over, the schedules have been written, clothes packed, orders in my carry on. House semi clean not as much as I had wanted, but at some point  there just isn't enough time. All the preparing is behind me. I sit here in this minute having a mild panic attack over just absorbing my reality.  It takes my breath, and it hurts, still. I mean why wouldn't it? I still find myself surprised. I wished I could have cried, but the tears wouldn't come. The plane started to move and the anxiety increased. As we got faster and faster I kept feeling the knots in my stomach get tighter and tighter. The bafflement of the situation. I love to fly. I have been looking forward to being on the pane and in the air, and here I am with this rage of emotion of nervousness and anxiety.
       My mind wandered to the kids and missing them, wishing I could hold them and kiss their sweet faces. I was home sick and I was only 100 feet off the ground.  Why? fear? Guilt?   Sometimes I feel like people are waiting for me to fail so they can say "I told you so." I just want to live and be free from this box. I don't ever want to forget Pete, or for anyone to think that I am trying to do that in anyway. I just don't want to constantly have this "widow tag" hanging around me all the time. Yes, I am a widow. But it doesn't define me.  It's not who I am, it's where I have been.  If you have known a widow or are a widow, you know the crazy you have been through or have been around. Its a survival word. I am a widow. I have lost the essence of who I was, the life I had, and the future I thought I was meant to have.  I may have lost all of those things. But I gained a new perspective. I gained a new identity, a new normal, and now, a new life for myself and my children. I have learned that impossible is possible, and that beauty can come from something tragic.  I know and feel that outside of the "widow and loss" box, I can peer around it and embrace the fun and light that we are meant to have. The fun that Pete would want for us to have.  To feel it, and absorb in and bring it into my being and into my children's lives as well.  I know my Pete, and what he would have wanted  for  us.  I just wish others wouldn't be so strong with their idea's of what's right and what's wrong according to them. They aren't any more of an expert than me at grieving.
       Yet, it makes me wonder, why can't I just say "Don't you want to see whats on the other side of grief? There is laughter, beauty, and life. And really Thank Goodness!!!  I need joy in my life. I need it for my kids to show them the beauty out of something horrid. What's wrong with saying  what I believe is right for us as a family? It may not be what you would have done, but for me it is how I  move forward. To change, to grow and to live. I don't want to stand still, and I am done with being surrounded in darkness. I still have moments that take my breath, but luckily I am at a place now where they are just moments and not constant. And luckily these moments aren't filled with the other extreme of not feeling anything and being completely numb. That blank spot in my memory where there is no computing. Remembering a time when there was too much crazy, too much sadness, and just too much. I couldn't see it, I couldn't absorb it.
   I told someone last night that I feel like I am finally waking up to my life. I couldn't see it before. I would meet people, but they didn't register in my vision of actually being there. Memories of things I can only vaguely remember if I push myself to do it.  I find myself thinking, that while moving forward is how you get through it,  I do have moments where I would rather just go to sleep. Just for a little bit. To rejuvenate, to revive. I can remember when things with Pete would be too over stimulating, and I would just check out. I would find a chair and sleep.  I find myself in this moment of remembering my anniversary along with those blank moments of wanting to sleep and just check out for a little bit.   I have been sleeping on the plane. So peaceful up on the clouds, but with every decrease in altitude I am feeling more anxious. Like again coming back into my reality. The worry, the scared, the materialistic ideas of not fitting in. I feel again like crying but can't find the tears. They seem to be lodged under my anxiety. I need to change my focus. To remember why I am here on this plane.
   Today 9 years ago I was at the beginning of one amazing journey. A journey I would not have traded ever! Although, I never thought I would be here without him. In this 9th year I am at the beginning of a new journey. To search and find my path. What I stand for, what I want for my future, for my kids, and for our family. I am so grateful for the timing. When I step off this plane, adventure, and personal growth await me. I can't wait to see how this experience changes me emotionally and mentally. It's been one crazy journey so far... but I move forward in faith  and in love, but most of all with Pete. I know he is standing behind me with a smile. I know I will achieve greatness for me, and, for the legacy he left behind.

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Crazy glance at an amazing woman...

My Nana passed away on April 29,2012 She was 89 years old.  I wrote this for her and read it at her service yesterday. I wanted to share it with you.

Nana was brilliant. She did so many things to help others. One of her amazing gifts was teaching. She could teach in a way that kids and adults could understand. She taught me. Which is saying something. For those of you who don’t know me very well. I have a tendency to be a bit impatient, along with being very distractible. Especially when it came to subjects, such as math.  I hated math with a passion! My Nana, loved  math as much as I hated it. But, bless her. She took it upon herself to tutor me in math.  Nana said “math is like a puzzle, you just need to learn, how to fit the pieces together.” One summer, when I was probably in Jr. High. She would come to my house and work with me, in math and in history. I remember, she made a map of the different countries and put them on poster board. Then she got stickers (she loved stickers) that were of  kids dressed in clothing that represented the country they came from. After we would study about a country we would put the corresponding sticker on the corresponding  country.  I always enjoyed this part of the lesson. It was when we came to the math part, that I would start swinging my feet or want to go and get 18 cups of water. But, Nana would rein me in. She had that “School teacher look” usually that left me shaking in my socks. When that look came out I knew that my trips to the kitchen were over and that we needed to get down to business. Nana was patient with me, and Nana was kind to me, when I didn’t understand. While I may not have understood it then, I understand it now. She wanted me to succeed. It didn’t matter if I never loved math the way she did. She wanted me to know that I was smart and with her help I could accomplish anything. 
        Nana, not only had a passion for teaching math but she also had a passion for teaching music as well.  When I was in my mid 20’s I wanted to take up  playing the piano, again. So, I asked Nana if she would be up for teaching me. I would drive to Nana’s house once a week. I would sit at her piano and she would go over all the scales and the pieces she wanted me to work on. My favorite part of our lesson was when we would play a duet. Nana loved to play duets. I think that  was also her favorite part of our lesson. I loved to watch her play. She had such a light touch on the keys that I totally understood the phrase tickle the ivories. Her passion and excitement for music was contagious. After my lessons, I was often inspired to play like Nana did.  On more than one occasion I attended her mu fi meetings. The one that I remember the most was when Nana and Shirley Humfeld would play a fun and light hearted duet. I was in awe of how the two of them could play on one piano and not bump into each other.  Nana made it look so easy. For me she portrayed a side of her talent of classical music that was whimsical and vivacious.
         As kids Nana used to drive us all over the place. From grocery shopping to taking us to piano lessons. She would drive us down town for lunch, then back to her house for sleep overs. When we were with Nana we were always well fed. Nana was a marvelous cook. However Nana often made things in small quantities. For example her choc chip cookies, (a personal favorite) were about the size of a silver dollar. So you usually had to eat twice as many to equal an actual size cookie. Nana also had “Little” things in her house. Like the worlds smallest ketchup bottle, or teeny tiny Tupperware containers. When Nana would come to our house for dinner she always brought Pepridge farms dinner rolls. These were rather tiny rolls.  Nana seemed to be drawn to all things tiny in size. Which for us, was exceptionally handy, since we all were tiny in stature.  My sisters and I started referring to things as being “nana size” We used to tease Nana about her “Nana rolls” and her “Nana size” ice cream sandwhiches. She never seemed to take offense, She would just laugh along with us.  
       Nana loved to send post cards. It was always so fun to get my own piece of mail. Often times it was hard to read her wirtitng because it too was “nana size” yet, I was still very happy to have reicieved her post card. She continued to send them to me in all stages of my life not just when I was living at home. She sent me some while I was in college and eventually when I got married. When I started having children, I remember she sent me a card in the mail telling me how excited she was to meet the new baby. ( I still have it)
         Life changes but  to me Nana always seemed timeless. Nana encouraged me always. She marveled in my children and often told me how smart she knew they were. She loved talking to Aryanna. (My oldest). I think she was drawn to her because she was very “Nana size.”  I enjoyed being with her. Whether it be lunch at Applebee’s or polishing her nails. When tragedy struck in Novemebr of 2009. I can remember my Nana calling just to say Hi. She again helped me in ways that I will never forget, and I am grateful.
         To me, It doesn’t seem real. I know that my Nana, did live a long and fruitful life. She may not have been recognized enough for all the good that she did. She may not have changed the world, but she changed my world. She changed the world for all of those who couldn’t read or write. For all of those little lives that she touched when teaching music to elementary school kids.  She inspired me,  she encouraged me, and she loved me the way only a Nana can. Thank you Nana for all that you did for me. For all the unseen things you did, and for supporting me always. I love you and feel truly blessed and grateful to have been a part of your amazing life. We celebrate you.   

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New and old Crazy..

I have been meaning to blog for some time now. Yet it always seems that when I would start to write the first paragraph in my head it would be in the middle of the afternoon. Not the best time for me to blog. It's almost impossibly to write something meaningful when three kids are constantly climbing on me.  The more days that past the more I felt myself pulling farther away from my blog. Not wanting to write. instead I wanted to just live my life for a bit. Then I decided to do some cleaning. More like cleaning out of some "old" things. Old ideas I guess. Not just in the physical sense but also in mind and even in heart as well. As I did my cleaning out, I kept thinking to myself. "You need to write about this." By the time the end of the day would come, I found myself just dropping into bed. To tired to move, to tired to think, let alone type. Now that the clutter has been decluttered on the outside... and some of the dust has settled, I find myself wanting to write about my recent experience.  It feels almost like closing a chapter of old grief, only to open a new chapter of grief... This grief is new to me, and old to me. The memories are the same but the way I feel them is different. It's old crazy and new crazy all at the same time.
     Two weeks ago Aryanna asked me to get her bike out of "jenga." Some of you may know this was no small feat.  For days I had been telling her " Later Aryanna" or even " Mommy can't reach it" But I knew that I couldn't avoid it any longer. Spring had sprung, which meant kids wanting to be outside, riding bikes, blowing bubbles, and sidewalk chalk. Those are all great things. However, they are not so great things when one has to climb under, over and through the random chaos of my garage tagged as "Jenga." With the help of *J, we started what ended up being a 9 day process. We spent 9 days inside the garage. Taking things out and going through them one by one. One box after another. Things to get rid of, things to throw out, things that were meant to be kept, and things that were meant for someone else to keep. Many truck loads to the good will. Many truck loads to the dumpster.  One day I came home from taking Petey to school and there were two men standing in my driveway just looking around at all the stuff.  I came to an immediate stop in my cul de sac and was like "uh hello... what are you doing?"  They looked at me and said "How much for this?" I said... " I'm not having a garage sale.. I am cleaning out my garage!" Then they got all embarrassed "OH!" they said, So I looked at the driveway full of the many random piles, and thought well, I will show them the good will pile: it will save us a trip. So, they ended up taking a car seat and a sit and stand stroller. Believe me, they weren't the only ones who stopped to ask about the stuff in the driveway. At one point I wanted to put a sign out that said "NO, this is not a garage sale.. Keep driving!"
  This was 6 years worth of stuff. 6 years of my life with Pete, and two years without him. It was all the stuff that he had with me, and it was all of his stuff that I couldn't go through, after he died. Stuff of his that I just put in a box and put in the attic, or out in jenga, to go through at another time.  Box after box of things of his I had never seen. The questions, and the wonders. Thinking things like" Roo, what had you planned to do with 30 years of magazine subscriptions. Seriously! Why did you keep all of these magazines.. what were you going to do with them?" So many boxes that we opened were full of just magazines. Go Kart magazines, Model car magazines,  Mini Trucking magazines, Engineering magazines, Art catalogs.. really the list of magazines goes on and on. Boxes of just these magazines. Then there were questions like "When did you build this model car? Why didn't you finish it?" Those were some of the hard ones. Seeing the things he had started to build or create. Knowing that he wasn't coming back to finish them. There were boxes of pictures of people that I didn't know, and he wasn't there for me to ask "How old were you when you did this?" or "Who was this guy? How did you know him?" Some of the pictures I came across I knew who they were and it made me smile and laugh. There were things from his college years. Books, notes, and people; parts of him that I didn't know about because I hadn't met him yet.  They were like opening boxes of him. Pieces that I didn't know and wished I had.
    Not only were there things in those boxes of places and people that I never met. But, there were things in some of those boxes that I didn't know he kept. Little notes that I had written to him when we were first dating. Pictures of us, notes that he had written to me and then scribbled out. At one point I found his glove box from his truck. It was locked.. which again I found myself asking "hey Roo, why would you lock it, it's not even in your car. :)"  We broke into it, and I found spark plugs, a tire gauge, a mileage log and a poem he started writing to me. A poem about the way I made him feel. It were these notes that I had so wanted to find right after he died. I can remember writing about and thinking about notes that I knew he had to have written. I wanted so badly to see something, feel something, hold something that he had written to me about the way he loved me. But I couldn't find them then. I was looking in the wrong places. I was looking in places that I thought if it were me, I would leave them. Not where he would leave them. He life and his creations took place in that garage. I am not saying that these things were just out in the open. I had to dig for them, but I found them. I knew they were there, I just wasn't meant to find them then. I was meant to find them two weeks ago.  It was after he died that I needed to just go by faith that he loved me. To remember then how hard he worked to stay alive. But it was in those 9 days did I learn so much about Pete the layers of him that I knew and yet I didn't know the depths of it all.
   There are two boxes that stand out the most to me. And I have been through  many boxes. The first box was of things that I had kept of Pete and I when we were first dating. Ticket stubs to a baseball game, notes, a photograph of us, just random odds and ends. I remember sitting there opening that box and taking things out and just looking at them. After going through that box the tears came. There was no warning,, they just started falling from my eyes. Tears that were warm and wet rolling down my cheeks like drops of rain. I stood up and walked into *J's arms and I stood there with him. Nothing to say. No words, just memories that flooded through me and out of me. It was these memories  that were now tears dripping down my face.  I wiped my face, took a deep breath and said.. "bring me another box."
     It wasn't until the next night that we started in on the boxes in the attic. We waited until evening to work in the attic. By night time it had started to cool down so the attic wasn't like a sauna.  *J said to me "these boxes say wedding on them.. do you want to go through them?" I knew these boxes were up there. I had been prepared for it all day. So I said "Bring em on down. I'm ready.   The first box of "wedding stuff" wasn't too bad. I was feeling confident. It was the next box that did me in. I opened the lid and looked inside. Everything in it was wrapped in newspaper. So I picked up the first object and started to unwrap. As I opened the last piece, I sucked in the whole room. I felt light headed. It's that feeling you get when you watch a scary movie and something catches you off guard. The feeling where your whole body goes completely numb and yet is all tingly, its scary but you can't look away.  It was a figurine I had given him after Petey was born. It was one of those Willow Tree figurines of a Mother and a Father holding a baby. It felt hot in my hands as if it was burning a hole in my palm. I carefully dropped it into the box. The memories of what was in that box started coming into my mind  like the opening of flood gates. I remembered. I knew what was in this box. I knew what was wrapped inside of those newspapers. But I couldn't stop myself. I was unwrapping them, I had to see them, I didn't want to, but I couldn't look away. Another Willow Tree was a father holding a baby on his lap. Another Willow Tree of a couple dancing. There was a maroon bear that had a bow in her hair that Pete had given to me for Valentines day. I finally stopped, I wrapped up the last item put it back in the box put the lid on and said "put this box in the keep pile, and hand me another one." On it went. The next box was of his clothes. I pulled out my favorites and things that I knew he loved. I would pull out the things I wanted and put them in a box close the lid on the rest and move onto another box. I was on auto pilot. I didn't let myself feel. I had felt enough for that night. The stimulation was too great, the loss to monumental, and yet I felt like I was just thinking, :just one more box and then I am done, like if i could just keep swimming I might reach the shore. Just one more box, just one more box.
   I finally went to bed. The next morning after taking the kids to school. I looked at *J and said "I can't go through another box of his today. I want you to go through it, If you see something I might like pull it out for me. But I can't go through another box today. I had, had it. I just couldn't stand to be inside that garage any longer. I needed to get out. Go through another section. I didn't want to look through the things, and feel the loss of the life I had before. To feel, to think, to wonder, to worry, to whisper, to question. I couldn't process, any. more.  Maybe that is why it has taken me almost two and a half weeks for me to write about it.
      After 9 days in the garage. I now have a very nice and orderly garage. Jenga is no more. My attic is even clean. Aryanna, Petey, and Chase Leo can now get all their toys out without the fear of something falling on their heads or something crashing to the ground. It may still be the same garage but it does't look the same. It doesn't feel the same..
    The way my body handles stimulation over load is for my skin to break out into hives. It's like I have so many emotions and toxins all at once. It doesn't know what to do. So since I can't seem to let out the emotional side of it, it does it for me.  These days I am feeling extra crazy and extra itchy. However, I feel good about the things I went through. I made it!  I am still breathing! I am not a puddle in the corner. *J didn't have to resuscitate  me. I still made dinner, and bathed the kids, and played outside, and did the laundry, and fed the dog. I cleaned out the garage!!  But I also cleaned out my stuff too. The things I didn't need to hold onto. I just kept thinking of all the people I was blessing while getting rid of the things I no longer needed to hold on to. It's the standing on the other side of it that makes me go "Ya know.. I didn't break."  It was hard emotionally and physically, but I learned some things I didn't know. And I found the things that I needed to find. Not only did I find the love and passion of a man that I loved so deeply. I found the proof, to the things that I already knew. I held them in my hand and I breathed in the scent of them. I felt like I had found the key. But it's the realization, that I already had the key. I knew he loved me and yet I didn't know to the depths of his love for me. But, it's finding those things of his and finding all the ways that he loved me. It makes me feel like maybe, I am not so crazy after all. I was crazy before, during, and after the time he knew me, and he loved me anyway. I was lost and vulnerable. I didn't know how to stand on my own. But he saw it in me then, and I know he still see's it in me now. Because I see it now too. I just couldn't see it before.
   After losing him I couldn't see anything. However, after going through all of those boxes, feeling those emotions, and those memories with such intensity. I see a lot more that I ever did before. I am proud of me, I am proud of *J and I am proud of Pete.  I may be the same kind of crazy, but it's mixed in with new crazy. It may also be the same old grief but it has a new flare to it. It's like layers and some of them are crazier and weepier than others. But, I need them all to make it through. This journey, this crazy, this Pete, and this life are what make up the essence of me. I am realizing that I have the infinity of strength. It's written inside me,and  it's written on me. Pete knew it, and now I do too.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Crazy worth?

If Pete would have just lived... What? Would I  have learned anything about myself ? I wouldn't know what it was like to bleed from the inside out and still remain breathing. I wouldn't have had to watch my kids suffer so much from the loss of their best friend and Daddy? I would still have him, to look into his eyes, and hear his laughter. But he didn't live. he died.
   Today feels like the kind of day where I feel like all my hard work at moving forward feels like I am standing still. Trying to constantly look at the positive can wear a person out at times. The constant motion just to keep going, to learn, to grow, to change to make it different and make a difference for that matter.. to remember who I was. to grieve the lost and try to just keep pulling, pushing, and tugging on those around me to keep moving forward. Cause there is no going back. I can't just keep re living those days in the hospital.. the days after that I only remember in fragments or from memories of what others tell me. I have to at some point just put them in a box and Label them 2009.
  Today I am angry, sad , and feelings of being worthless and not measuring up surround me. It seems that no amount of telling me that I am loved, will I hear it. cause right now I can;t feel it. I feel irrational, and lost a bit. like I just can't continue on today. I can't pick up the house, I can't keep in organized, and can't even paret, I feel angry at myself. and really that's what it boils down to. Angry at myself;  and really needing to figure out how to forgive myself. It's no ones fault, no one did anything, it's that I can't hear the love, I can't feel the love until I learn to love me.. And right now I don't see anything when I look in the mirror that is worth accepting of love... And weather its being mad at Pete, or for all the emotions and fears that I never allowed myself to feel, because there wasn't time before. I had to take care of my kids and stay pregnant. Then it was all about taking care of an infant and keep moving, and keep doing,  and learning how to do it on my own. And take care of the house and pay the bills, and worry about the money, and where it's coming from, and where its going, and, and, and. Its  not until recently that I have found love again and realizing how much I had missed it. With love comes fear, fears that are irrational or maybe only rational to someone like me who knows what its like to lose the love of your whole world.
     I loved Pete so much, I needed Pete in away that may not have been the healthiest. And I thought that he had saved me. And when he died I thought that I would NEVER have that again. I would never be safe again. I was so completely unaware of how I would live my life without him. Yet here I am two years later living my life. Being in charge of all the things that he did, along with doing the house and being a mother, a friend, a sister, a girlfriend a co worker the list goes on. Things that I never thought I could do, or would do. And while I should be so proud... it's in this moment I don't feel any of those.
  I know it is not rational. But it"s the hurt inside that take over and kills the rational side of me. It makes me stand still and feel like a concrete statue in my living room. I yell, and cry, and scream at myself on the inside. I berate myself and tell myself over and over that I am a bad parent. And the worthlessness creeps in and makes me feel like I just don't matter. Or that if Pete had  just lived... But that in itself is a whole other crisis. What if he had lived. Who know what all of the medicines and sickness would have done to him. Who is to say he would have been the same man.. and if he couldn't do the same things, that he had always loved, or if he couldn't move in the same manner he always had, would have changed him. Made him frustrated and mad to be in the position that he was in. Who is to say weather I wouldn't be grieving, but over the loss of a great man who once was and in his place was a man who looked just like Pete but acted nothing like him. The questions of if only Pete had lived... would he have really lived in the same manner? Or the question of What if he had healed completely and been the same happy go lucky man.. what then.
    I get that there is a reason.. though many say there isn't. I guess for me and my healing I have to believe that  there is a reason. If I think of the woman that I was before and the woman I am now.. it;s like night and day. I think I finally grew up. I was so scared to before...  If I could just look at how far I have come in these two years one would think I wouldn't hate myself so much. But for some reason and some issues that I don't want to talk about here...I believe that I have failed. The thing I have felt since I was a child, failure.. And I realize in this moment that is my next hurdle. Learning to forgive myself and learning to realize that I am not a failure.
   But in this moment.. I cry, for the pain I couldn't feel before, for the anger that seems to at times consume me. My "failures" to be the best mother, the best house keeper, the most organized, the best in my business, each thought crushes me and makes me feel unappreciated, and feelings of being worthless. However. I can say, that I know in the right and sane mind. I am not these things. I have to hope and know, that I strive not to be these things. That I am worthy of love, and acceptance. But it's not the acceptance from others that I need. It's the acceptance from myself. To believe in me, to love me, to trust in me. Only then can I hear, taste, feel, and breathe in the love and light that is surrounding me now, always has been and always will be. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A cranky and Crazy heart.

I wanted so much to make this a fun day, for myself and for my kids. I think I did a pretty good job. But I had my moments of sheer frustration. For one I couldn't seem to stop chanting over and over in my head that this was the day that Pete proposed to me all those years ago.  It was like I wanted to shout to my psyche "Thanks, I got it. You can shut up now!"  So for a part of the day I had this inner battle going on. Trying to be happy and appear that today is a fun day on the outside. While on the inside the anxiety and the dumbness of it all was taking a hold of my heart. Squeezing it and making it hard to feel anything other that agony. I had to get out. So I took the boys to get their haircut.  It was the distraction I needed not only from my own head but it also stopped my from eating too many Valentine m&m's. :)  I am realizing that sugar makes my grief and my crankiness go through the roof. So often it was my "happiness" and now it's my frustration. Lovely!
  When Aryanna got home from school we ran an errand then home to make Aryanna's favorite for dinner. Since for some dumb reason her school didn't have a valentines party I thought that we should have a Valentines party at home then. So Pig's in a Blanket, Chicken nuggets, and Valentine muddy buddies (or puppy chow, which I also ate too much of  as well.) The kids had fun and I gave them their Valentines. It was as the evening was winding down that the cranky's came in and took over. So much for my hard work at trying to block them out. Thinking that the more fun I made the night, the better it would be. I mean I had been planning this for days. I was surprised at how I felt this morning. At one point I finally got my rings out of my jewelry box and put them on my finger for a few minutes. Then felt weird like I always do when I put them on, and put them back in the jewelry box next to his wedding band.
  I don't know what I thought would happen. I guess nothing. The day was hard. It had its ups and downs like any other day but this one was jaded with thoughts of what was. I remember so much of that day. Isn't it crazy? The first year he passed my friend gave me a charm bracelet. And when I opened it I kept thinking "what am I forgetting about this day?" It seriously took me like all day to remember what it was. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks to the chest. And I thought to myself and out loud "How could I forget something like that?" While it's been two years since he passed and its all I could think about today. Chalk it up to another "Crazy" moment  I guess. But if I sit and really let myself think about that Valentines day in 2002 I smile at the memory.
   I was dog sitting for a friend of mine. She had this beautiful Irish Setter. Her dogs fur and my hair we almost the same color. I brought her over to Pete's apartment. She was very well trained. I had worked at the salon all day, but I had arranged for one of those cookie baskets to be delivered to his work. I had one of the cookies say I love you Roo! So Penelope and I went over to his apartment where he decided to make homemade pizza.  Sadly the pizza didn't turn out very well but, it was OK cause we had cookies! :)  After dinner we cleaned the dishes and such and I remember looking around like "OK where is my present? I spent 80 bucks on a cookie basket you better have gotten me at least something." lol!  After the dishes were done he suggested we watch a movie. So I went to go and look at the movies. and he said I forgot something.. So silly me still wondering where my gift is I see him come out of the bedroom with a small white fuzzy teddy bear. The teddy bear was wearing a white knitted sweater with a red heart on it. He hands me the bear and gets down on one knee, I look at the bear to realize that around the bears neck on a ribbon is my ring. He says "will you marry me?" I was so surprised that I forgot to answer.  He said "Are you going to leave me down here?" And I said "OH!. Yes, Yes, I will marry you!"  I was speechless. And So surprised. Funny how I can still remember that feeling. I remember I tried to call my mom and my sister and no one answered. finally I got my middle sister on the phone and I said "Guess what?" and she said "he proposed?" I was like uhhhh yeah he did.. and I thought, hello you aren't supposed to guess if you know the answer you are supposed to let me tell you!! But it was all so exciting.
   I remember the look on his face, the excitement of finally being engaged to this man. I also remember being scared too. Cause what if I wasn't ready to get married. I remember asking him that a couple days later. I said "Would you wait for me if I am not ready to get married right away?" So scared of what he would have said "He said, I will wait for you, if you're not ready yet that's fine we can wait." That was all I needed to hear from him. cause then I was like OK lets get married! :)  Ready, set , plan. And we did. We planned an amazing wedding. And we had and incredible life together.
   So why be cranky on a day that changed my life forever? Who knows... Why not celebrated and be happy? I guess on some level it still seems so hard to believe that he's not physically in his body anymore. That everything happend the way it did and that I would only get 7 Valentines days with him. Isn't it crazy the places your mind goes.. On the flip side I am still grateful for those Valentines that I had. And even though i was angry, and cranky at times today I wouldn't change it. I am where I am supposed to be and he is where he is supposed to be for now. While one never knows what the next Valentines day will bring. I know for sure of one thing. My Roo, will always be my First Valentine.