Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Peace Will Win and Fear Will Lose

The title of this post was taken from the song Car Radio by Twenty-One Pilots.

     I sit in a dark and quiet conference room. I’m ten minutes early for my meeting and no one is here yet. The lights are off and it’s raining outside. I take a moment to just be present. Just breathe. I hear the air conditioner click on and push air through vents causing them to vibrate. The quiet chatter of the office staff adds background music to the otherwise serene atmosphere. My thoughts drift to the changes that are quickly approaching in my life. Sebastian graduated with his associates degree and will be attending JMU. Tyler has her driver’s license and wants to buy a car. This fall will mean moving bedrooms around and reorganizing my current normal. Change is so hard for me. I like knowing what is going to happen next and what life is going to look like. The stress of the unknown keeps me up at night.

A conversation from earlier today:

“Mrs. M? What’s wrong with you today?” Asks a student of mine.

“I’m okay. Just tired. I haven’t been sleeping well.”

“Did you try closing your eyes?”

The simplicity of his answer made me smile.

     I wake up at night thinking about all the things I need to do for the upcoming day or week, and then I worry about the changes that I have no control over.

     I watch the rain fall outside the conference room window. We’ve had so much rain this year that I haven’t appreciated it. I miss the old house when I would open the front door, sit on the couch, and watch the rain as it created a rhythmic melody that would immediately calm my raging insides.

    A flick of a switch and suddenly the conference room is shroud in harsh florescent light. I squint my eyes and look away. The moment is gone and the rush of my day has caught up to me. Maybe another day I’ll find somewhere to hide for just a moment.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

All These Voices In My Head Get Loud

The title of this post was taken from the song Let you Down by NF.

"That Feeling When You're Not Necessarily Sad, But You Just Feel Really Empty."

     I have no idea who this quote is by but it perfectly describes how I'm feeling today. There have been some moments of intense anxiety today.  I took Mason, Jaxon, and Blake to a little bookstore in Lexington. It's a quaint little place filled with books from floor to ceiling. The littles just wanted to run through the maze of books, but Mason methodically looked through them until he found several he wanted. 

Jaxon and Blake


     Tomorrow is the 14th. I don't want to be home tomorrow. I want to get in my car and just drive until I feel better. I know I can't out run what I'm feeling, but I want to try. 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Wasted On Fixing All The Problems That You Made In Your Own Head

The title of this post was taken from the song Little Lion Man by Mumford and Sons.

My Dearest Mike,
      April 14, 2011. It's almost been eight years. Eight years since I walked up our stairs that last night and turned around as you told me you loved me. Eight years since I came home from work, a pit in my stomach because I already knew something was terribly wrong, and found you in our bed the way I left you that morning. Eight years since everything in my world forever changed. Eight years. The grief, the pain, the soul crushing weight is still here. I still have moments of absolute despair. There are nights that I cry myself to sleep. I've carved out a charming life for myself, but my heart breaks when you aren't here to share these hauntingly beautiful and mad moments. 
        Our three beautiful angels are growing up and have changed so much over the last eight years. Our children have insanely exquisite personalities. I love them fiercely. You would be so proud of them. Even at their worst I know how lucky I am to call them mine. Sebastian will be 20 this year, Tyler will be 18 and Mason 13. How is that even possible?! They were 11, 9 and 4 when you died. I can't think about the all the years they lost with you because I'll go down the rabbit hole of emotions and tonight I don't want to take that journey.

October 2011

October 2018

          Life keeps moving on. Everyday I work hard to find the joy in this journey that has become my own. There are always small reminders of you though. I was looking at pictures of you from high school the other day and seeing your hands brought back a flood of memories. I can remember perfectly what your hand looked like as you held a pencil to draw. I distinctly remember the way you cracked your knuckles and played air drums on your steering wheel. It was an overwhelming moment of images and moments. My grief is never far below the surface. I miss you. What I wouldn't give to hear you tell me it was all okay and that you were proud of all that I've done and become. This week is always extremely difficult, watch over us. We love you dearly. You are always in our conversations and never far from our hearts.

                                                            Love Always and Forever,

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Because Death Is Just So Full And Man So Small

The title of this post is taken from the song After the Storm by Mumford and Sons.

My Dearest Mike,
    I haven't listened to this song by Mumford and Sons very much in the last few years. In the months after you passed I listened to this song over and over again for hours on end. I didn't sleep and all I could do was cry. I can't believe the 14th marks seven years since you passed away. Eighty four months since I've heard your voice. Yet, here we are. I still struggle. I often wonder what you would think of this life I've made for myself. Sebastian is the spitting image of you and has so many of your mannerisms. He's making decisions about college and his future. I wish you were here to see the amazing young man he is turning into. Tyler is turning into such a beautiful and amazing young lady. She's started to struggle a little with anxiety. I worry a lot about her, but she's much stronger than I am. Mason, our dearest mason. His anxiety has gotten better, or at least his coping skills have. I marvel at how far he has come. He was so young when you died. He struggled so much more than I realized. He's asked me several times if I remember when he would put his hands around his throat to try and kill himself because he wanted to be with you. He's come a long way and I'm so proud of him. I see you in each of them. In the little things they do. Sebastian came running upstairs the other day to play the new Breaking Benjamin song for me. I'm taking him to see them in Richmond in a few weeks. His taste in music is a lot like yours. Tyler was driving the other day and air drumming on the steering wheel, just like you used to. Mason forever has a book in his hands and every free minute he has before or after school he spends it in the library. I think he may love reading more than any of the other kids and that says a lot. 
     I watched a video of you with the kids the other day because I'm starting to forget the sound of your voice. I find myself looking at pictures more often to make sure the memories don't fade. I recite the same stories about you to make sure they live on. I try to make your memory apart of everything we do. I hate that I don't have new stories to tell. I only have the 15 years of memories we made. No more, no less. I still get super angry that you are gone. Sometimes I feel cheated. I get even angrier for being so freaking angry because if anyone knows that they need to treasure the time they have with their loved ones, it's me. Most of the time I think I handle things well, but the week leading up to the anniversary is especially difficult. I think about all the what ifs. What if I had just tried to wake you that morning. Would I have realized something was wrong? I will walk through every moment from now until the moment I found you. After that things are blurry and memory isn't so good.    
      This letter sounds so sad and depressing. I have some great things going on in my life. The kids keep me motivated and moving forward. I love my job and the people I work with. My own anxiety is better than it has been in years. This week is just hard. We miss you. Watch over us, especially the kids as they travel with the band and choir to Disney this week. I worry about them enough for both of us.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

You Can’t Find The Fighter, But I See It In You So We Gonna Walk It Out

The title of this post was taken from the song Rise Up by Andra Day.

     As I'm sitting here typing this Sebastian is sleeping after slurping down dinner, he had his wisdom teeth removed last week. Mason is playing zombie cat with Blake. I don't even know where they come up with this stuff, but I love that my 11 year old is playing with the almost 3 year old. Jaxon is sick and sitting next to me watching cartoons. Tyler is at the store with John. I'm just taking it all in and reflecting on the year.
     2017 - We've had our ups and downs. It's been a year of struggle mixed with moments of enlightenment. Things came to a turning point for me the day before Thanksgiving. We were all out of school for break and I had a pretty bad panic attack. I was at home with the kids and it kind of came out of nowhere. I don't like to talk about my anxiety. In our society there is such a stigma around the discussion of mental health and those that suffer from it. My anxiety is a part of who I am and I'm able to function with it, but the potential for having more peace in my life is great and that's what I'm working on. Anyway, I had been looking for a therapist for about a month and just hadn't gotten up the courage to call one. That day I did. Honestly, it was the day before Thanksgiving and I really didn't think anyone would answer the phone. Imagine my surprise when not only did someone answer but they had an appointment open for later that afternoon. I forced myself to go. It was the single best thing I've done for myself this year. I saw a therapist after Mike passed away, but I don't think we were a good fit and so I was skeptical about this one. The doctor I found is freaking amazing. I'm still dealing with my grief over losing Mike along with the generalized anxiety that developed after he passed. So, I'm seeing my therapist regularly as part of my self care routine. This alone has given me the courage to work on other parts of my life. I've started meditating each morning. A dear friend had been telling me about how it has helped her stay centered, but I didn't get it until recently. Now it's just a part of my daily routine. I'm ending this year on a very good note full of hope and plans for a wonderful new year.
     2018 - I'm not making new years resolutions this year. Instead I'm focusing on habits I've already started and adding new ones as I feel I'm ready. My focus word for this coming year is Present. I want to live more in the present and not worry about the past or the future. Sebastian will graduate and go on to college this year and while I need to plan and make arrangements I want to enjoy it and live in the moment. I'll continue building on self care even when it's boring self care. I have long term goals for myself, but now I'm focusing on the steps that will get me there and not changing everything all at once.
     Tonight we ring in the new year without any fan fare. Just my small family doing what we do. I'm wishing all my friends and family the very best in the coming year.