Monday, May 30, 2011

"Keep Holding On When My Brain's Ticking Like A Bomb"

Title of post is from the song Coming Undone by Korn.

The bedtime struggle seems to be the time that gets to me the most. By 8:30, when it's time to wind the kids down, my nerves are usually already frayed and I'm simply holding on by a thread. It's during this time that several things happen at once. 

My 11 year old turns on his selective hearing. I say go brush your teeth, and he walks into his room and shuts the door. I say put the cell phone away and he continues to text. Tyler, my adorable 9 year old daughter, decides that everything that she didn't do when I asked earlier in the day, HAS to be done when I say bedtime. It's then that she pulls out that homework assignment that she conveniently couldn't find, or she has to hunt down a particular shirt she wants to wear the next day. When I tell Mason that it's bedtime the next two words out of his mouth are always "I'm hungry". It doesn't matter that I begged and pleaded with him to eat dinner just an hour or two before. It doesn't matter that I offered him an apple or banana just 30 minutes before. He will scream that he is hungry and that he therefore can not brush his teeth or get ready for bed.

It usually takes a good 45 minutes to an hour to get baths and showers done, all three in pajamas, with teeth brushed, and in bed. Maybe it was always this hard and I'm just feeling extra worn out because now it's all me. I don't know. What I do know is that by the end of that hour, I'm not even hanging on by a thread. That frail strand of sanity has broken, and I'm in a free fall towards desperation. It's at this point that I drag myself outside and sit on the porch. With tears streaming down my face, I light one of Mike's cigarettes. I haven't picked up smoking, but if I close my eyes and sit very still with the faint scent of his Camel cigarettes blowing through the air, I can almost feel him beside me. For that one deep breath the world is right and I can imagine that he is simply at work, and that this nightmare we are living is nothing but that...a nightmare. I allow myself this moment of delusion night after night.

I get that I'm not the only mother out there doing this alone, but this was never how it was supposed to be. It was never supposed to be just me raising these kids. This was not part of our master plan, and I am furious. I don't blame my kids for these hard times. They are dealing with losing their dad, and I know this is unbelievable for them. I hear it in their voices every time they ask about what happened to him. I can't wrap my head around it, how are they supposed to. 

Here is to another night, and many more to come.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Life Is Beautiful Around The World"

Title of this post is taken from the song Around The World by Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Okay, I promised something a little happier for this post. My darling niece Mikayla is getting a wish granted from the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She has decided to go swimming with the dolphins in Florida. She gets to take a friend with her, and she picked her BFF Tyler :). I'm super excited for her, what an incredible opportunity. Before Mike passed I had talked to him about driving down with the boys that same week and meeting up with them. After everything the kids have been through I couldn't just cancel this trip, so my dad has decided to fly down with us. We have a lot of fun things planned and the kids excitement is contagious. 

Mikayla is a force to be reckoned with. Never have I seen this child give up on anything. She puts her mind to something and she accomplishes it. She is fierce and she fights for what she wants and believes in. How many of us are able to do that? She is sensitive to the needs of others, compassionate and kind. She is patient and selfless. She sets an example for everyone around her, and I am blessed to have her in my life. 

So, the plane tickets are bought and soon the final details will be nailed down. June 13 - June 18 we will be on vacation. As Sebastian said, "What a great way to start summer break!" It's bitter sweet for me, but I'm going to do my best to put all my energy into making sure the kids have fun. 

 I am also truly blessed to have the world's best sister. She deserves a post all of her own so I will leave all my gushing over her for another time. However, I'll end with a video she made of Mikayla and my kiddos when they were younger. She is such an inspiration, and I heart them both so very much...Mikie I love you too :).



Monday, May 23, 2011

"Never Was And Never Will Be"

Title of post taken from the song Everybody's Fool by Evanescence


My days are all wrong and so is the way I present myself to the world. I fake every smile and every "I'm okay."  Everything you see has been carefully planned to give the illusion that I am doing better than I am. You don't see the tears, anger and pain as I attempt to sleep each night. You don't see the sobs I swallow when I'm overwhelmed, or when I realize I have no one to share that with. You don't see my heart breaking as I watch other dads play with their kids at the park. 

I've never been a very open person, and that was one thing that always bugged Mike about me. How ironic that he's gone and I'm putting all my feelings and emotions out there for everyone to read. That's okay because there are things that only Mike knew about me, and for that reason I will never share them with anyone else. I feel like that's one of the last threads holding me to him. 

I'm struggling. It's as simple as that. I'm not looking for sympathy, just stating the facts. I turn down invitations to hang out with friends, because it's to hard to be around people, even if they are friends. I drift through my days looking for the quiet moments when I can let down my guard and be engulfed by my misery. Believe me I know I have things to live for, because I'm reminded every moment that I'm taking care of our children. It doesn't make it any easier.

This sounds stupid. I think I should end this post before my inability to express exactly how I'm feeling makes me even angrier than I already am. I'll try for a happier post in a few days, I do have happy things to post about.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Torch



I listen to this song way to often. It depresses me, but it's exactly how I'm feeling so I can't help but listen to it. Even the title is fitting for Mike, his nickname at work was Torch. It's not getting easier, every day is harder.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Why Am I Seething With This Animosity?"

 Title of post taken from the song Terrible Lie by NIN

I'm angry today. There is no way to sugarcoat it or wrap it up in a cute little box with a pretty little bow, I'm simply angry. I'm not sure who I'm angry with or where to direct it, but I am.

I'm angry that Mike is gone. I'm angry that I'm alone. I'm angry that he promised me he would always be by my side and now he's not. I'm angry that all those talks of growing old together and all the things we were going to do, were really just lies. I'm angry that, just as things were falling into place for us, he is gone. I am angry that my kids will not have their dad here to show and teach them all the things that I can not. I'm angry that when they ask me a question I can't say go ask your dad. I'm angry that I have to comfort my 4 year old when he looks up at me and says "Daddy broke my heart." What can I possibly say to that when my heart is broken too. I'm angry that Sebastian feels like he can't cry because he thinks he needs to be the man of the house. I'm angry that Tyler has to ask me over and over again why her dad had to die, and I want to scream that I HAVE NO IDEA WHY!

I hate when the realizations of things that will never happen again hit me, and I hate it even more when they hit the kids. I can see it when it happens, and it's almost as if someone has smacked them in the face. It happened when Sebastian realized that I may not be at every soccer game this fall, because I'm only one person, and Tyler and Mason are involved in things as well. It happened when Tyler realized that riding rides at amusement parks would be difficult because I can't ride with them and stay back with Mason. It happened when Mason said, but dad always read that book to me. It happened when the kids asked who would shovel the driveway when it snowed, or who would fix things when they broke. It happens all the time and it makes me angry that they have to go through this.

I'm angry that I can't seem to take off my wedding rings because I'm not sure how NOT to wear them. I'm angry that while I can't take them off they are a constant reminder that he's gone. I'm angry that I have to put the kids to bed by myself. Good cop, bad cop doesn't work so well with only one parent and I'm angry that he's not here to play one of those roles. I'm angry that I don't sleep more than two hours each night and as a result I don't dream about him, or anything for that matter. I'm angry that family prayer no longer feels like family prayer, because there is a huge void where Mike SHOULD be. I'm angry that I'm angry!

Please don't tell me that it will be okay, and that everything will work out. Don't tell me that it's all part of a bigger plan and that everything happens for a reason. Don't tell me he's in a better place. I can logically recognize all of those things, but RIGHT. THIS. MINUTE. I don't believe he's in a better place, because what could be better than him being with his family. WE need him!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"May You Stay Forever Young."

Title of this post was taken from the song Forever Young by Bob Dylan. 

Age is just a number and I truly believe that. I have no problem telling people how old I am. I'm 31 or half way to 62 whichever way you want to look at it. I do not want to celebrate my 29th birthday year after year, I like the idea of growing, progressing and learning with age. I will always be young at heart and I think that is what matters.

 Mike would often complain about the aches and pains of getting older, and I would tease him about his receding hair line, but it never kept him from being a kid at heart.  As I go through things in the garage I can't help but smile and wonder what I'm going to do with the thousands of Star Wars action figures he collected, or the boxes upon boxes of D & D stuff he had. Comic books, action figures from his childhood, his dice bag, I guess I'll store it all right next to my giant stuffed Elmo and Disney comic books.

 This is what made him an incredible father. He loved getting in the floor and helping the kids build Lego creations. He had his own DSI and would share gaming strategies with them. He loved taking them to the park and flying kites, or chasing them around the play ground. He never let adult responsibilities keep him from being with the kids, and when he had to tend to those things he always included the kids.

We loved being silly and having fun. We never worried about what our silly moments looked like to anyone else, because they belonged to us. His ringtone on his cell was of R2D2 and mine is the Unicorn Song from the movie Despicable Me.  Do you remember touchable bubbles? They came out several years ago, and I love bubbles. Mike would buy them for me and we would spend hours outside blowing bubbles with the kids. Okay, I say with kids, but really it was for me. The Darth Vader Mr. Potato Head, um that wasn't really for the kids it was for Mike to play with. This won't change for me. I will still blow bubbles and enjoy my cartoons it will just be different because I don't have Mike to share those moments with.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"We Met In The Springtime At A Rock-And-Roll Show."

Title of post taken from the song New York City by TMBG

I've always liked music that would be considered a little odd. I mean my favorite band is They Might Be Giants, and you are thinking who the heck are they, am I right? As a teenager I listened to their music while everyone else was listening to. . .well I don't know what everyone else listened to because I didn't care.

The longer Mike and I were together the more eclectic our music collection became. What I loved was that no matter how different our music was we always respected what the other liked. He didn't listen to TMBG in his spare time, but he knew the songs, and Pantera is not my favorite band, but I know all the albums and lyrics to some songs.

I love music and thus I heart going to concerts. I haven't been to a lot of concerts, but Mike and I were working on remedying that. Here's my concert list thus far.

No Doubt, Goo Goo Dolls and Bush

Nickelback

Montgomery Gentry

Jane's Addiction and Nine Inch Nails

Jonathan Coulton and They Might Be Giants

Jon Schmidt

Augustana and Counting Crows

Paul and Storm, and Jonathan Coulton

Okay, so not a lot, but I hope to keep adding to the list. I want to continue going to concerts and taking the kids as appropriate. It seems kind of lame to go to a concert alone, so I'm struggling with not having Mike here with me. I can't even stand the thought of going to the movies alone much less a concert. I will deal with that as it comes. Anyway, I got an email yesterday that They Might Be Giants will be playing at The National in Richmond on September 29! I'm so super excited! I asked Sebastian and Tyler if they would be interested in going with me, they did not share my enthusiasm, but finally nodded their heads and said they would go. It will be bitter sweet, the last time I saw them Mike was with me. I even have several pieces of confetti from that concert. Maybe I'm sentimental to a fault, but it works for me. TMBG in September and who knows what else.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Time, where did you go?


 One Month = 4 Weeks and 2 Days
4 Weeks and 2 Days = 30 Days
30 Days = 720 Hours
720 Hours = 43,200 Minutes
43,200 Minutes = 2,592,000 Seconds
2,592,000 = 25,920,000 Deciseconds  
25,920,000 Deciseconds = 2,592,000,000 Milliseconds
2,592,000,000 Milliseconds = 2.592 x 10^15 Picoseconds

We can put parameters around time, and make it into anything we want it to be. We can measure it and form it into something that logically makes sense. However, this last month has not made sense to me. How is it possible that a whole month has gone by. I can't account for the hundreds of hours, thousands of minutes, and millions of seconds that have gone by since Mike's passing. I know that a lot of this time has been spent simply walking through the motions of day to day life, but I honestly can not remember a lot of it. I find myself late at night looking at the clock only to realize I've been sitting and staring at nothing in particular for an hour. There is only one hour that is so clear to me I could probably account for just about every second, but like I've already mentioned I'm not sharing those particular details. That hour is for me, and me alone, to relive and agonize over. From that one hour on, the details are fuzzy, like I've been watching someone else live this alternate reality for me.

Now there have been a few exceptions. I seem to remember quite vividly all the things that have happened in which Mike should have been here for. He should have been here for the JoCo concert. He should have been here for Tyler's talent show. He should have been here for Mason's music program. He should be here with us all the time, and not just in spirit. I remember the feelings of emptiness when those moments come along.

I'm well aware of the fact that one month will quickly turn into two, then four, and six, and before I know it a year will have gone by. People say that time heals, but I don't believe it. I'm going to miss him just as much one year from now as I do right now. I will miss him even more as our children meet milestones that he will not be here to witness. Every would be father/son outing or father/daughter date will be as agonizing then as it is now. Time will not heal, it will simply be a constant reminder that he is no longer here with us.


"Time, where did you go?
Why did you leave me here alone?
 Wait, don’t go so fast
I’m missing the moments as they pass."

Time by Chantal Kreviazuk


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday's Gone

No, I'm not talking about Lynyrd Synyrd's song Tuesday's Gone :) even though I do like it.

Mike was an incredible artist. He could work with just about any medium and create beautiful pieces of work. He was a modest artist. I would often tell him how incredible he was and that he should make a career out of it, or go to school and major in art just so he could have time to work on something he loved. He would shrug his shoulders and tell me it wasn't a big deal, that anyone could do what he did if they tried. He lied. Our two oldest children seem to have inherited some of his artistic ability. He was always showing them how to draw, or he would give them tips as they worked on various art projects.

In the last few years, Mike mostly worked with pen and ink or pencil. He didn't often take requests from other people, but he would always take time to draw something if I asked him to. He didn't like working under timelines and often drew spontaneously when he felt like it. He would take time to draw pictures for my students. At one school I worked at he would come and teach art classes.

Tuesday, April 12 was like any other day except that Mike was on vacation. I took the kids to work with me. I'm famous for leaving things at home, and that day was no exception. I had forgotten to bring Tyler's gymnastics suit. She was trying out for the school talent show that afternoon, and sure enough I had left it at home. I called Mike and he said he would bring it to me. When he got to the school I asked him to draw something on my board for me, actually it was for one of my students. This child had asked several times if Mike would draw him a cobra. Mike picked up the chalk and started to draw. This would be the last piece of art, that I know of, that he created. Two days later he passed away. A coworker took a picture of it before it was erased, and she sent it to me.


Mike drew a lot at work and would often text me pictures of his work. Here are our initials.


Here is a mural he painted as one of my school projects.


This one he drew for a friend years ago. It was always one of Mike's favorites, he drew a lot of different versions of this.

 Mike loved to draw comic book characters, and anything science fiction/fantasy related. So here is one last picture.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just Breathe

The human body does not need to be reminded to breathe. We don't physically tell ourselves to inhale and exhale with every breath.It's all automatic until something goes wrong, and then it's not so automatic anymore.

Just Breathe Melanie, Just Breathe

Most of the time, when I feel on the verge of losing it, I repeat those words over and over and over again to keep my mind focused on that simple act, simply breathing. By focusing my attention I can often pull my pain inward even further, and stretch my fake smile for just a little longer.

Just Breathe Melanie, Just Breathe

There are times when some unexpected random thought hits me, and it takes my breath away. I freeze unable to move, think or function until my thoughts take over and I hear myself repeating...

Just Breathe Melanie, Just Breathe

Thousands of times everyday those words run through my mind.

Just Breathe Melanie, Just Breathe

I need this to control my pain, anger, and hurt. I needed those words to keep me from yelling at the little boy who made fun of my daughter tonight at gymnastics. I needed those words when someone asked where my husband worked. I need those words as tears stream down my face while trying to drive.

Just Breathe Melanie, Just Breathe

If ever I'm talking to you and it seems like I'm not paying attention, please don't take offense. It could be that I'm simply focused on telling myself to just breathe.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Just The Four Of Us

On April 14, 2011 my husband, Mike, passed away at the age of 35. We had been married for almost 14 years and together for 15. We have three beautiful, talented and incredible children.

I can not, nor am I ready to, go into all the details behind his passing on this blog. Maybe at some point in the future, but right now those particular memories are to raw and I just can't do it.

I've been writing a lot over the last few weeks as a way to deal with how I'm feeling, and to share a side of Mike people may not have known.

I love you Joseph Michael...to infinity and beyond