Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lost Within My Plans For Life, It All Seems So Unreal

The title of this post was taken from the song Cemetery Gates by Pantera.
The basics of this post were written back in early May, and I've added to and taken away from it since then. I've written, edited, and deleted this post at least ten times during this time frame. I've struggled with whether or not I wanted to share this and how.  So, hopefully this will make sense and will match the vision I have in my head. Here goes.
      My grandmother, my dad's mom, passed away on October 25, 1982. I was barely three years old. My absolute earliest memory takes place at her viewing/family night. I distinctly remember standing in front of her casket and not really understanding what was going on. My dad came over and picked me up. He pointed to grandma, and asked if I knew who she was. I shook my head no, and he told me it was his mom, and that her name was Sylvia. I don't remember much more of what he said, but I do remember a small tear escaping his eye and gently rolling down his cheek. Until recently this was one of the only times I had seen my dad cry. I wonder now if this event, this memory, was what ultimately caused my fascination with death and what happens after we die.
     Growing up my dad had a series of books titled Beyond the Veil. I remember being around ten years old and reading every one of those books. Not only did I read all of them, I read them several times. I liked hearing about near death experiences. I felt like this was proof of something I already believed on a spiritual level. I already believed in life after death and knowing that others had physically died, seen the other side and lived to tell about it, was absolutely fascinating.
     I've never thought cemeteries were scary, okay maybe at night, or after I watched a horror film with Mike, but in general I find them peaceful. As a teenager I visited them often. I loved looking at the headstones and wondering what a particular persons life was like. Sometimes I'd even pick flowers and place them on a grave. I guess it was my way of showing respect while I was invading the privacy of their final resting place, I don't know. Even in the beginning of our relationship Mike and I would take walks in cemeteries. I don't think this topic ever fascinated him the way it did me, but he would humor me.
      About a week and a half before he passed away, we were in the car going somewhere and we were talking about our funerals and what we would want them to look like. This wasn't the first time we had broached this topic, but now I wonder if we tempted fate, and it sort of creeps me out. I had very specific things I wanted for my funeral, and Mike would often joke with me about them, because they were kind of silly. We also promised each other that whoever died first would come back and haunt the other. Silly, I know. Last but not least I often told Mike that I needed to be the one to die first. I wanted to be selfish, and not have to deal with the pain of losing him. He always promised me he would do his best to grant my wishes. I know that these things were all beyond his or my control. Maybe I thought by talking about what I wanted I could control this part of my life. I was wrong, and I'm angry about that. During that conversation just before he passed, Mike stated that no one would show up for his funeral, because no one would care if he died. I smacked his arm and told him  to shut up that he was loved by many people. During the family night and funeral, I wanted to jump up and yell "MIKE, I TOLD YOU SO! YOU BIG GOOFBALL! Do you see how many people are here!" Mike also told me he thought it would be funny to have the song Fingertips by TMBG played at his funeral. It is an incredibly silly song and he said he would want people to be able to laugh and not cry. It wasn't so funny as I actually planned his funeral, and I couldn't go through with playing that song. No one else would have understood the significance of it, and it was personal to me and I wasn't willing to share that.
     Since his passing I find myself once again obsessed with books on near death experiences. I've read and reread several of the Beyond the Veil books. I've researched others and hope to read them soon. I've also found a love for the TV show I Survived: Beyond and Back. It's real people talking about how they died, what they saw, and then how/when their spirits returned to their body.  I like to think that his grandparents, cousins, and other family members who have passed were there to greet him as he slipped from this life into the next. I like to think that all the earthly worries he had are gone, and that he is at peace. 
     While all of this can be comforting, I still miss him dearly. I still cry for our loss, I still get angry, and I still feel sorry for myself. I'm still adjusting to this new life without Mike. Small things like the soft glow of the "clean filter" light on the thermostat bother me. Mike was the one to change the filter. Waves of grief hit me last week as I read and reread those two little words. It's almost like those words were mocking me. They seemed to get brighter each time I walked past them, as if to say "See you aren't strong enough to deal with this.", and yes it's probably pretty childish that I would stick my tongue out at it every time I walked by. Then after a few days I stood and stared at those words for what felt like forever, willing myself to do something about it. Instead I slid to the floor until my head rested in my lap. I cried until it hurt and I didn't think I could cry anymore. I cried over the finality of my situation. I cried for my children's loss. I cried for all the changes I was being forced to make. I simply cried.  After awhile I wiped away my tears, took a deep breath, and stood up. I changed the filter all the while telling myself that that moment was over, and it couldn't hurt me anymore. I had slain this dragon, and won. Yes, being the grown up child I am I even said "Nah nah nah nah boo boo" to those two little words as I hit the reset button and made them disappear. So now I'm thinking that maybe just maybe my new mantra should be I Survived: Beyond and Back. I will survive, even if I do it kicking and screaming.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

Title of this post was taken from the song Sleep When I'm Dead by The Cure.    

     I feel like my heart is going to pound out of my chest. Is it hotter than normal up here, or is it just me? No, it's hotter than normal. I can't breathe. Holy crap I can't breathe. Just walk away Mel, just turn around and walk away. My inside voice calls me a weenie, and tells me to suck it up, but I can't. Seriously, I can't breathe, and here come the tears. I'm walking back downstairs. This was such an epic fail!
     There have only been two nights that I've been able to sleep upstairs in our bed. The main reason I don't sleep up there is because I feel this need to be as close to the kids as possible, and their bedrooms are downstairs. This means I've slept on the couch just about every night for three and a half months. There are other small reasons I don't sleep up there. One of them being that it's hot. We have a small window air conditioner, but Mike was always the one to turn it on. I haven't been able to force myself to turn that little nob. He did it for 12 years, and I can't seem to do it. I decided this week that I needed to make an effort to sleep in my room, in my bed. I've been talking it up, and telling myself I could do it, and tonight I tried. I walked up the stairs, I stood next to the bed, and I stared at it and the air conditioner. It felt like forever, but I couldn't have been up there for more than five minutes. Like I said earlier, it was an epic fail. I just couldn't do it.
     I'm such a loser! Why can't I do this?! I'm a smart, educated woman but I can't turn a stupid knob, or make myself feel better about this? I guess I'll just curl up on the couch and feel sorry for myself. I just needed to vent. Looking back over this it sounds childish and stupid. I don't care how it sounds though. It's one more piece of this puzzle I'm trying to figure out. It's a really good thing I don't drink.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

With A Dreamy Far-Off Look, And Her Nose Stuck In A Book

 The title of this post was taken from the song Belle from the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast.

"I don't want to read and you can't make me!" I said to my mom. I could see her nostrils flare as she tried to control the anger that was so clearly marked on her face. She took a deep breath. This meant a compromise was about to take place. "Fine have it your way." she said "but, I was willing to pay you two dollars for every book you read." Crap, she had found my I took a moment to think about it so that I didn't seem to eager, "Fine, I'll do it." I said as I grabbed the book about Huckleberry Finn and headed to my room. I hate to read. I mean I absolutely loath it. I would much rather be outside playing on the trampoline or eating mud pies. What's so great about reading anyway?

I must have been around 11 when my mother and I had a conversation something like this. Little did I know, books would play a big role in my life as I got older. There is only one series of books that I willingly read growing up, and I'm saving that story for another time. Otherwise I continued to hate reading right up until my freshman year of high school. My high school was big enough to have three lunch schedules, lunch A, B, or C. I don't remember which one I was assigned, but I do know that I didn't have many friends with the same lunch I did. You must understand that I am painfully shy. I always have been and I always will be, so making new friends just wasn't an option for me. One day I decided I didn't want to sit in the cafeteria or in the hallway, and so I ventured to a corner of the school that I would have never willingly set foot in, the library. I walked in and to my surprise there were a lot of other kids in there. Some were talking loudly in little groups, others were on the computer, and a few were reading. It looked like the perfect place for me to escape the lunchroom. I didn't want to stick out so I decided to take a look around. I happened to stop in front of a shelf of books by Stephen King. I knew who this author was, but I had never read anything by him. I picked up the book Misery. It sounded interesting enough so I checked it out and sat on the couch to read. No one asked my name, no one asked where I was supposed to be. Everyone left me alone. This was the perfect place to hide out. 
     I started going to the library almost every day for lunch. I read Misery in two days, and immediately checked out It. When I brought that one home my mom was not thrilled. This was probably the only time in my life I ever heard her tell me to put a book down. I read It in a week. I then checked out Christine. Most of my lunch periods were now being spent in the library. Sometimes a group of rowdy upperclassmen would be in the library at the same time. I would occasionally watch them pick at each other or play on the computers. One of them had shoulder length blond hair and glasses. He was always the one that caught my attention. I think I liked the long hair. Years later that young man would be my husband. Mike never remembered seeing me there, but I remembered him.
     I became obsessed with reading, but not just any kind of reading. I did however read every Stephen King book that our library had. I was so upset when I finished the last one. Books had become my escape. I could lose myself in the words, and my imagination would run wild. I could hide my face behind the pages and usually people would leave me alone. After Stephen King I moved on to Dean Koontz. I read everything our library had of his. As my high school years passed I moved from one author to the next. By my senior year I was picking up authors in other genres. There were many times I got in trouble at school because I would have my textbook open and propped up pretending to read, but really there was another book in front of the textbook, and I was reading that one. My poor teachers.
    My love for reading continues still. Mike loved to read as well. We helped each other explore authors that we may not have on our own. I have to read every night or I can't sleep, and in college I could be found reading as I walked around campus. I don't think I will ever own a Nook or Kindle, and yes I've tried them. There is nothing like the feel of a book in my hands. I like flipping the pages and feeling the paper between my fingers. I like dog-earing the pages when I put the book down. Mike did not approve of me dog-earing my pages. He always used a bookmark of some kind, and would just shake his head at me. We always wanted a house big enough to have a library. We, well I guess I, have boxes and boxes of books in the garage just waiting for a shelf to sit on. Maybe I can make that happen when we move.
     I went to Barnes and Noble the other day to look for a book, and ended up going through a plethora of emotions. I cried as I stood in the Fantasy/Science Fiction section and wondered what Mike would be reading if he were here. I was horrified as I thought about how we would never again lie in bed beside each other, both of us engrossed in what we were reading. I became angry as I picked up the book The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs by Christina Hopkinson, and read the synopsis:
 "Mary Gilmour feels as though her life is going down a plug hole clogged with cornflakes and Play-Doh. Her job is part time but housework is full time, and she has no time at all for her two young sons. Mary is convinced that there is only one thing standing between her and organized contentment: his name is Joel and she's married to him. Since star charts have worked on improving the behavior of their children, she designs an equivalent for her husband: a spreadsheet detailing every balled-up tissue, every sock on the floor, every wet towel on the bed. Although he has no idea of it, Joel has six months to prove that his credits outweigh his debits. Or else ..."
I put the book down and just looked at it. Then it infuriated me. I wanted to rip every page from the binding and then stomp on it. Really lady?! Really?! Shouldn't you just be happy that you have a husband, and seriously if you are not happy then just leave him, but don't complain to the rest of us about it. Grow up! I stood there just looking at the book, giving it my best evil eye. How dare this book mock me while I'm trying to grieve. I breathe in and out and tell myself how totally irrational I'm being. I pull myself together only to realize there is a lady staring at me. Maybe she felt my anger and was waiting to see if she was going to have to rescue that poor book. I left the book just the way I found it. Maybe it's a really good book, and I mean no disrespect to the author. It's just not something a new widow wants to read. After that debacle I moved on and couldn't help but to smile as picked up the book American Gods by Neil Gaiman. This is a book that Mike would have liked. 
     Books are magical. They are my way of escaping for small chunks of time. They stretch my imagination, and teach me new things. I simply love to read. I will leave you with this quote from the introduction of American Gods. 

"I don't know what it's like to read this book. I only know what it was like to live the writing of it."
This is often what I feel like when I write. I don't know how this looks to the rest of you as you read it, because I only know what it's like to live the life I'm writing about.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Life Is Like A Riddle And I'm Really Stumped

Title of this post was taken from the song Gotta Get Away by Offspring.

    For the love of all that is holy! I can't seem to find a blog design that I like enough to stick with. Sorry about the changes, but it's driving me crazy. Anyway, we are back from the beach, and I have some stories to tell. Hope you enjoy.
Thursday, June 21 - We made it to Myrle Beach safe! It was a long drive, and Tyler and Mason fought a good bit of the way. I am really looking forward to spending some time with not only the kids, but with Mandaly and Michael. Time to read and get ready for bed.

Friday, July 22 - We slept in! The only plans we had for today was to play on the beach. The kids loved it. They were jumping waves, burying each other in the sand, building sand castles, and collecting seashells.  I really want to tell you more about the seashell collecting. There were so many shells on the beach and they began filling up one of the chairs with shells immediately. There were other people around us also picking up shells, but their approach was completely different from the kids. The kids picked up whatever caught their eye, and most often this meant shells that were broken and chipped. Most of the people around us were looking for shells that were whole. They didn't want the broken ones. As the kids ran to show us the broken but beautiful shells, or as Mikayla scooped one up and handed it to me begging me to look at the shape or the texture, I couldn't help but smile. Our kids got it. They understood something basic and fundamental that many adults do not get. They understand that regardless of the outside appearance there is beauty to be found in everything. In every broken, chipped, unpolished shell they picked up, they found something beautiful. They were picking up the pieces that everyone else either overlooked or threw back into the water. It made me smile to watch them. Then I had to wonder do they also treat people the same way? Do they see the beauty in everyone or do they automatically judge someone by how they look? I would like to think that they are able to see the beauty in everyone. I want to think that they look beyond the outside to see the inside. I happen to think these are four amazing kids, and I do believe that each of their life experiences thus far have taught them to be the kind and compassionate people they are. 

Saturday, July 23 - Today we went to Broadway At The Beach. I'm not a big shopper, and so Mandaly probably didn't get to look at everything she wanted to, but there is only so much looking around I can do. Bless her for putting up with me. We did go to an IMAX movie titled Into The Wild. It was about these two women who worked with orphaned animals in Africa. One worked with elephants and the other orangutans. These women dedicated their whole lives to these projects and it was incredible to see their work unfold. They have a true purpose in life, and they live that to the fullest. It got me thinking about what my purpose in life is. If I don't know what it is then how do I live up to it? I'll have to think about this one.
     Mandaly and I sat on the beach tonight after the kids went to bed. We laughed, cried, and spilled our guts about all the things we were feeling. Okay, I probably did a lot more spilling, but she listened. I don't know what I would do without her. Thank you sis.

Sunday, July 24 - We went back out to the beach today to let the kids swim. I've always known how hard Mandaly worked to make sure Mikayla has the same experiences as her peers, but it never fails to amaze me. It takes a bit of work to get my three kids beach ready. We have to get them in their swimsuits, pack up all our junk such as beach chairs and toys, and then we have to physically make it out there. It takes Mandaly more prep time for Mikayla than it takes for all three of mine. The beach access that we had to use was not really handicap friendly. There were stairs involved and then we had to push her chair through the sand. Have you ever pushed a wheelchair through the sand? It's not easy. We figured out that if Mandaly carried Mikayla on her back then I could pull the chair through the sand, which was a lot easier. She carried Kayla, I pushed/pulled the chair, while we carried two beach bags, four beach chairs, all with my three kids in tow. Not to mention the sand was HOT so we are trying to walk as fast as possible so that we didn't burn our feet. So, it was a choir getting everyone out there, but once we did we had a great time! The kids absolutely loved it. Of course getting everyone back to the hotel we had the same issues only we were covered in sand. Just thinking about it now makes me tired, but never did Mandaly complain or question it. She never questions whether or not Mikayla can participate in something, instead she questions how to make it happen, and then she just does it. She does what she needs to do so that Mikayla has these experiences.  She is one of my heroes, and I hope she doesn't mind that I shared. I love Mikayla like she were my own.

Monday, July 25 - Home Sweet Home! Thank you Michael for going with us and for all your help! I love you guys so very much!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Seems Like I Should Be Getting Somewhere. Somehow I'm Neither Here Nor There

Title of this post was taken from the song Runaway Train by Soul Asylum.

     At times I am indecisive and impulsive, shocking I know. How many times have I started a project, I really thought I wanted to do, and then I lose interest or decide I don't really like that project anymore and it all falls apart. I'm sure Mike is in heaven jumping up and down while waving his hand in the air, saying ask me how many times, ask me!
    So, I'm really having a hard time deciding what to put on Mike's headstone. I know I want dark granite and I want a companion monument, because regardless of what my future holds I know I want to be buried beside the father of my children. I also know that I want a Star Wars quote, and I think I'm going to use the one from his funeral program “Soon will I rest, yes, forever sleep. Earned it I have. Twilight is upon me, soon night must fall.” Are there copyright laws with this? I mean if I put this SW quote on his headstone, and then don't put where it came from is George Lucas going to come after me? Maybe he wouldn't come after me, but I guess I should think about these things. 
       Okay, so here are the things I'm not sure about. It's been suggested that I go ahead and put my name on the stone. Wow, I think it's going to be hard for me to see my name on a tombstone. I just don't know. I've then thought about having a picture of us put between our names. That too is a little creepy. I mean we are talking about a picture of me on a tombstone while I'm still alive. Maybe it's not a big deal, but right now it feels like a big deal to me. I've also thought about having a piece of Mike's art work etched on there some where, but then what do I put. There actually is a piece of his work that comes to mind, but I only have a photo of it, and it's not a very good one. Mike drew it on something at work and then messaged it to me. Here is what I have.

Our initials were interchangeable. I used my middle name rather than my maiden name, so Melanie Jean and Joseph Michael. I have a friend who could maybe reproduce this for me and then I could have it etched in. Hmmm....I may have to seriously consider this. There was also a sample stone that had a piano keyboard with music notes on the front. That would be kind of cool being that we both loved music. I also can't stop wondering what happens if in three or four months I look at the stone and think What the heck was I thinking?! If anyone reading this has any ideas, comments or suggestions feel free to comment. I'm open to ideas and especially for those who knew Mike I'd love to know what you think.
     I just have so many mixed emotions. I mean what is the rush right? Why does this have to be done right this minute. Well, I need it to be done. I hate, and I mean hate the fact that there is not a marker for his grave. I can't explain why it bothers me so much, I just know it does. Maybe this is one more way for me to convince myself that he is gone. Maybe this is another way for me to honor him. Maybe this is me being a little crazy and obsessing over something that I shouldn't be. I feel like one of those circus acts where the clown is spinning plates and someone keeps throwing more at him, and in order to keep from breaking them he has to keep them spinning. That's what I feel like. I feel like it's all barely staying together and that at any moment I'm going to drop a plate and it will all come crashing down. No matter what I am determined to have this figured out by this time next week. I need to get this done.
    On another note we are leaving for Myrtle Beach tomorrow and will be back on Monday. I haven't been to Myrtle since I was a little girl, and we took a family vacation there. It will be fun, and I may or may not post while down there. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

I Took A Walk Around The World To Ease My Troubled Mind

Title of this post was taken from the song Kryptonite by 3 Doors Down.
We are home from our trip. I would love to post pictures, but my computer is so SLOW! Seriously it took me five minutes just to load this page so I could write this post...sigh. Each night I wrote down some thoughts from that day. I'm going to use those to tell you about our trip.

Tuesday, July 12 - We finally got settled into our hotel around 5:00. The kids are swimming as I sit here and write. We had a safe trip. The GPS took us on a scenic route, but it worked out okay. I've only cried twice today. Once on the drive here, I got overwhelmed with the thoughts of doing all of this alone. The second time came out of nowhere and I'm kicking myself now that I look back on it. We went to the store once we arrived so that we could pick up some snacks and drinks to keep in our room. As we were leaving a guy had a table set up and was "giving" away tickets to a small water park. I stopped at his table and he said he would give us all free tickets to the park if we could commit to taking an hour tour of one of their properties. The rest of the conversation went like this.

Sales guy: So, is your husband here with you.

Me: No

Sales guy: We prefer that a spouse take the tour with you. Is he still in the store?

Me: No (This is when it starts. I can feel my face turning red as if I have something to be embarrassed about.)  

Sales guy: Well, will he be joining you?

Me: No, I wish. (I can feel my eyes start to fill with tears, and I look away hoping that this will keep them from spilling onto my cheeks.)

Sales guy: Oh, did he have to work?

Me: He passed away in April. (Despite my better efforts, and how hard I'm biting the inside of my cheek, the tears win.)

Sales guy: Oh, I am so sorry. I didn't mean...I didn't know...I'm so sorry ma'am.

I pulled myself together and walked away. Why in the world do I do that?! I can talk about the fact Mike has passed away with my family or friends, but when I have to tell a stranger I lose it. It happens every time. What is the deal? Anyway, I'm enjoying watching the kids swim. More tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 13 - So, today we went to WonderWorks. The kids loved it. They had a lot of really cool exhibits, and I enjoyed a lot of the art work and illusions. The kids played laser tag, and seemed to have a blast shooting me. Now the kids are swimming, and I'm putting down this pencil to read a book. Today, was a good day.

Thursday, July 14 - AH! My birthday. The kids only mentioned happy birthday once, and so we managed to ignore it for the most part. We went to the Dixie Stampede for dinner, had to do it sorry Mikie. The kids found it amusing and fun. They seemed to enjoy eating with their fingers more than they enjoyed the show. I cried this morning as I watched other dads swimming with their kids. I usually block out these picture perfect scenes when I stumble upon them, but it was harder than normal today. 

Friday, July 15 - We went to Dollywood today. Overall it was okay. Not the thrill seeking amusement park that I would have picked for myself, but there were rides that the kids enjoyed. I managed to make myself mad early in the day as we were standing in line for a ride. Mason, my social butterfly, started talking to the guy behind us. The guy asked where we were from and all of the sudden Mason says "Do you know what happened to my dad?" CRAP! I can feel it again, my face starts to turn red, my eyes fill with tears, and I bite the inside of my cheek to try and keep myself from crying. The guy politely asked what happened, and Mason simply said "He died." This leaves me to at least offer a small explanation and this guy had no idea how to reply. So there we were standing in a line that wasn't about to end and there is this awkward silence because what do you say to that. I hate that these sudden moments bring this out in me. I try so hard to keep myself composed in public, and it makes me mad that I do this. I allow total strangers to see a side of me that I don't want to share. I allow them to see me cry, grrrr. 
     My favorite part of the whole day was the Gazillion Bubble Show. Deni Young was the bubble performer. Yang’s family holds the Guinness World Record for the largest bubble wall, which measured 156 fee long and 13 feet high. Many of you probably do not know of my love for bubbles. I've always been fascinated with them. They are beautiful, colorful and happy. Stop reading this like I'm a crazy person. I had so much fun watching him fill bubbles with smoke, and then blow bubbles inside of bubbles, and the bubble machines that filled the stage with bubbles was amazing. I want to be a professional bubble blower when I grow up...and you think I'm kidding :). See this sounds stupid as I type this, but Mike understood this silly side of me and that's part of why he loved me. Most people just give me that look that says "Yep, she's a few fries short of a happy meal." Heck, even my own kids thought I was a little off for enjoying this show so much.  

Saturday, July 16 - We went into Gatlinburg to see the Ripley's Aquarium. It was fun, but after Discovery Cove in Florida the kids really weren't that impressed. I mean who cares about touching a stingray when they were able to swim with them. It was fun enough though. Kids are swimming now.

So, there was a quick run down of our trip. We are heading to Myrle Beach on Thursday, and will return on Monday. This time I'm going with my brother, sister, and niece. The kids can't wait. It's been good to get away. My summer is slowly disappearing, and I'm sad. I must say we are making the most of it, and that makes me happy. I'm determined to make memories with the kids, and give them fun things to talk about once they go back to school. 

Oh! I almost forgot. I wanted to share what was probably the best conversation with Mason all week, and it happened in the bathroom. I had told him three times to try and use the bathroom before we left and he kept insisting that he didn't have to. I finally told him he had to try or we weren't leaving. As he is in the bathroom he screams "Mom, you are always right! I really did have to go! How come you know these things? You are always right." Love it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Oh Simple Thing Where Have You Gone

Title of this post was taken from the song Somewhere Only We Know by Keane.

Yesterday, I realized my birthday is this week. On July 14th I will be 32, or half way to 64 either way you want to look at it. How is it possible that I'm widowed? Did someone not get the notice that Mike and I were supposed to live happily ever after! I'm not strong enough to deal with this. He should be here with me! No one understands how hard it is to hear my precious 5 year old scream that he wants to die, because he wants to see his dad in heaven! Deep breath. Just breathe, just breathe. Kinda going off course... 
                                                Back on track...
                                                              As I got to thinking about my birthday, I realized that I am fairly certain about what Mike would have planned. He would have taken me to dinner and then we would have gone to see the new Winnie the Pooh movie. He knew how much I heart Winnie the Pooh. With him not here what are my options? I'm not going to bake myself a cake, and the kids aren't going to buy me one unless I take them to do it. I'd even have to give them money to buy me gifts, I'm not digging any of this. So last night I decided that we would pack our bags and go out of town. Some place where no one knows I'm a widow. I'll just be a mom traveling with three kids. Some place where no one knows it's my birthday, and no one will have this need to wish me a good one, because who are we kidding it's nothing to celebrate right now. Some place where I can relax with the kids and if we feel like it we may do something, then again we might not. Some place not in Virginia. 
     I did some research and we are heading to Gatlinburg, TN. Why there you might ask, I don't know, it just sounds like fun. The kids are super excited and have even cleaned house. Now the reality of this trip is setting in. My brother was going to go with us, which would have been totally awesome, but Tyler was pretty adamant that it just be the four of us. She's really struggling, so we decided to make this trip alone. I've never taken them so far away for so long all by myself. Am I really going to do this? Oh my, I'm totally out numbered on this trip. They have me three to one. Ummm...what was I thinking. Well, no more time to talk about it, we are leaving in an hour. We will be back on Sunday at some point. I am taking my laptop so I may update while we are there, but then again I may not. Hope everyone has a great week!                         

Friday, July 8, 2011

I'll Keep On Wasting All My Time

Title of this post was taken from the song Over and Over by Three Days Grace.

My mom is a thief. She stole my kids for the night. Okay, maybe I willingly let them go. Mom decided to keep my niece for the night, and of course my three darlings wanted to stay with her as well. They've been gone maybe an hour and I'm not sure what to do with myself. 

 The couch is missing three little bodies.

The Wii remotes are sitting where the kids left them, and will sit lonely until the kids come home.

 It's rainy out, and I'm incredibly sunburned, so I don't feel like going out. I have a few books I need to catch up on so maybe I'll do that. This is only the second time I've been home alone for the night since Mike passed. Three months ago I would have done anything for a night alone at home...well alone with Mike. Now, I'm simply alone. On the upside I have found several great websites for widows and widowers and it's given me the chance to connect with people who understand what I'm going through. I don't have to sensor myself or worry about how I sound. I ache for them and their losses, and hate that we are making connections due to the death of our loved ones, but I am grateful for them.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

I'm A Movin, Groovin, Jammin, Singin Gummy Bear

The title of this post was taken from a silly song Mason likes to listen to, The Gummy Bear Song by Gummibar.

I spent Monday and Tuesday bugging Mandaly, my awesome sister, and her husband Mikie. I heart them both so very much! Mason's birthday was right after we came back from Florida so we decided to wait and have his party when the family got together for the 4th of July. I can't believe he is 5! Where has the time gone?

We had so much fun laughing, swimming, setting off fireworks and talking. Of course there is always a void where Mike should be. He should have been there helping to celebrate. I struggled with how to sign Mason's birthday card. I ended up writing something sappy, that he can't even read, and then reminded him of how much his dad loved him.

I love you Moose Goose! Happy Birthday My Love!!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pain On Pain On Play Repeating

Title of this post was taken from the song Wait It Out by Imogen Heap
    My Dearest Mike,
     Couldn't sleep last night. So, I decided to sit down and write you a letter. We used to write each other all the time. Of course you will never read this, but maybe it will make me feel a little better.
     I feel you in the absence and presence of everything. I see you in our children's smiles, I hear you in the music I play, and I feel you when I'm all alone. My mind can not wrap itself around the fact you are gone. At times it's almost like your simply at work. Sometimes, I can almost hear you in my head, or I know exactly how you would have responded to something. I often talk to you out loud, as if you were standing right next to me. A part of me feels like I'm going crazy. I realize now that a lot of things I've done the last two and a half months have been in an effort to show myself that I understand you are gone. My obsessive need to organize your things and the fact I can't wear my wedding rings, I'm trying to force myself to realize what my heart does not want to acknowledge.
     Someone recently told me that I always look angry. Kind of ironic being that I was always the optimist in our relationship, but I guess it's an accurate assessment. I am angry. I'm also sad, hurt, and annoyed. I used to lump lonely and being alone into the same category, but they are totally different. I have come to enjoy being alone, but I'm not usually lonely. However, the kids need to be out and about, doing things. I try hard for you, because I know that's what you would want.
     I find that things that were once routine, take more thought and effort. Cooking has become a big deal. I have not figured out how to cook for four people, especially when most of the time I don't care about eating. I make to much of everything, and you know how much I hate leftovers. So, I find that I'm just avoiding this task all together. This also means that the kids are eating more sandwiches than they would like, or we order out. You would be disappointed, because you were always on top of what they ate. Trips to the store take a lot more planning and patience on my part. Gone are the days of going by myself. Shopping with three kids who want to be anywhere except the grocery store, is not fun. They pick and fight and then I yell. 
     All of this makes me wonder just how much I'm failing you, how much I am failing the kids. I don't think Sebastian is dealing with any of this. I try to talk to him about it, but he won't open up. Poor Tyler breaks down at night, and every.single.time asks me how and why you had to die. It doesn't matter what answer I give her, a logical or spiritual one, she asks every night. The other night she said that she no longer wanted me to use her nickname T or T Bear. Do you know why? She said that because you had picked out the name Tyler she wanted everyone to call her that so that she had one more reminder of you. When I asked her what she liked most about drawing her response was "I feel close to dad when I do." Mason is dealing with some separation anxiety. He wants to sleep next to me, and often sleeping next to me is not enough, he wants to rest his little head on my chest. When he does this he will often say "Mom, I hear your heart beating." and that is most often followed by "Mom, why are you crying." Mason will often climb in my lap only to say "I want you mom." I explain that he can not physically get any closer to me, but he says it over and over again "I just want you mom." It's like he thinks if he can't touch me then I'll leave and not come back. 
     I am dealing with my own set of issues. Someone said that I talk about you a lot in my blog, well of course, you were a part of everything in my life. There is not one single aspect of my life that has not been affected by your passing. From which vehicle I drive to the number of text messages I send each month, everything has changed. Nothing will ever be the same. I tell myself that we need to find our new "normal" routine. I'm just kidding myself, because nothing will ever feel normal again. Normal was coming home to find you cleaning the house as your music played from the stereo. Normal was watching the kids run out to meet you when you pulled in the driveway from work. Normal was setting a place for five people at the dinner table. Normal no longer exists.
     I often think about wasted moments. How often did we take our time together for granted. Our marriage was like any other, we had our share of ups and downs. For my sanity I can not focus on the lows, if I did I think I would be overcome with guilt and regret. Instead I chose to look at all the ups, but in doing this I also make myself incredibly sad. Why did we let life get so busy, and if I had been a better wife would that have changed anything...would you still be here? Rationally, I know the answer to that is no. Irrationally I have to wonder.

                                                                                     Love Always and Forever,