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Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Death Sucks.

This one is really jacked up. Not only does this day fall on the same day of the week as it did when it happened (thus producing some vivid flashbacks and triggering major PTSD), but because it is now six years, this means I've been widowed as long as I was married.

Fuck you, Death.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Oh boy...

I've been trying to expose my kids to all the great movies I loved while I was growing up; so far, some of the ones we've watched Karate Kid, Back to the Future (all three), Goonies, E.T., and Adventures in Babysitting.

Tonight the kids and I were watching Hook (with Robin Williams and Julia Roberts). We got to the part where Hook stabs Rufio with his sword, and Rufio's last words to Peter Pan were, "I wish I had a dad like you."

Sydney chimes in, "I wish I had a dad."

Ugh. Here we go...


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

November.

For the first time since Matt died, I don't feel the urge to run by moving. For the first time since Matt died, I don't feel the need to put a band aid on by getting involved with a man. I've come a long way over the last six years. In fact, I've gotten further along in the nearly two years I've been living in our current home.

I've realized something for a long time - I've been a serial dater. Even being fully aware that this is what I have been doing, I wasn't deterred. There were many reasons for this - although I never in a million years would have thought I would ever want to be with another man other than my wonderful husband, I found myself going from relationship to relationship. I passed judgment on women like me in the past, so I guess this is another learning experience I may have needed to make me more understanding of others... Part of the reason for this was for the temporary thrill- the euphoric feeling you get when you start something new and different; when sparks fly, it's like a high. Avoidance of dealing with grief has been another big part of it... And part of it was also because I didn't want to be alone and let myself feel the painful pangs of loneliness. Before Matt came along, I was alone most of the time, and I didn't think I would ever have to be alone again now that he was in my life. I got spoiled.

A string of some pretty bad relationships, and then finally one of the worst ones being the last, have finally cured me. I'm actually grateful that the last one (which ended a few months ago) was SO lousy, that it makes me cringe when I think of getting involved with another man. I know I won't always feel this way. I know there are lots of good men out there and I shouldn't let a few bad apples spoil it for me. And it wasn't all bad apples; one of the things I learned was that I was seeing something in these guys that I WANTED to see - not necessarily something that was actually there... But I'm finally where I've been wanting to be for this whole time - not feeling the NEED to be involved with someone. I don't feel a sense of urgency to fill the void, or because I'm at the outer edge of my prime and feel like I need to make the best use of my youth before it slips through my fingers. Nope. I'm using all that good stuff for my kids and me - the way I should have from the very beginning.

I feel a lot of guilt that I "needed" more than my children to fill any void or create more distractions for myself, but what's done is done. Everyone deals with this stuff differently, and I guess that's how I had to deal, so I shouldn't apologize. It all got me through to this point. If I was looking at this objectively as if it was happening to someone else, I'm sure I would be a lot easier on them about it than I have been on myself. Isn't that how everyone is, though? I feel like every bad experience I have has taught me a very valuable lesson; although I'd like to take a nice, loooong hiatus from education.

If by some miracle, some really spectacular, deserving man comes into my life, and I'm open to the possibility of a relationship at that point in time, and the moon and the stars are all lined up to make it all a possibility, I will entertain the idea of letting love back into my life.

In the meantime, I am truly at peace with my life as it is at this very moment, and it's an amazing feeling. My children, my wonderful network of friends, and my family fulfill me. I have everything I need and want. At this point, anything beyond this would be considered a bonus. 

But ay, there's the rub....

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Sweetest Thing

The play structure in our back yard includes this cool play house - almost like a fort. It's set about four feet off the ground, has stairs leading up to it, two little windows, and two little entrances. It's pretty darn cool.

Sydney asked a couple of times to spend the night in it this summer, and it just never seemed to work out. The other night, she asked again... I told her that it definitely can't happen on a school night, and that I would think about it if we had good weather this weekend. 

Then after some thought, I decided to just come out with it: "You know what, honey? I'm just really not comfortable with you sleeping in there by yourself.

Fully expecting to hear a bunch of whining and opposition, she surprised me and quietly let me continue.

"When I tuck my children in at night, I lock all the doors to the house. I like knowing that my children are tucked away safely in our home, all secure under the same roof with me. If you're in the play house, you're not only under a different roof, but those doors can't lock. In fact, one of them doesn't even close all the way. I just don't feel comfortable with that unless I'm in there with you, and we both can't fit. So I'm really sorry, but I'm just not okay with you sleeping in there." 

She looked at me and said, "That is THE SWEETEST THING I have ever heard you say, Mommy!" (She speaks very animatedly, so she said it just how it looks - haha!)

This girl is something else - she never ceases to amaze me with the things that come out of her wise and articulate little mouth every single day. She's seven years old! 

Fortunately she not only accepts my decision, but even agrees with me. I felt the need to record this; especially since I know there will be many times that I'm going to want some proof that she did agree with me about something!  =P

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Defining "widowhood"

Those who have been reading my blog for any amount of time know that I have been involved with a group called Soaring Spirits which is a top-noch organization for widowed people. They bring people together who have suffered the life-altering loss of the person they intended to spend their rest of their life with. "Diverse, inclusive, and secular" are some of the words they use to describe themselves. Positive, happy, full of love, and non-judgmental are just a few more words to describe them... I've been involved with Soaring Spirits right from the very beginning - merely months out of widowhood - and they have helped me and so many others immeasurably. I've also had the opportunity to give a little back to them in different ways over the years. I've made lifelong friends through them as well.

In addition to Soaring Spirits, I have become a member of a few other Facebook groups that also deal with the issue of widowhood - one is specifically for the younger set, one is for people with young children. I had also recently joined a local group from a different website (the only local group I could find) that was relatively new that I was so excited to find. I suggested to the organizer that he create a Facebook page since Facebook offers a much easier platform for the members to communicate than the original site they were on. I was worried members' messages would be easily missed - especially in a time of need. Messages would spontaneously delete halfway through typing them which made it frustrating and discouraging to communicate at all. He was very receptive to that idea and needed help setting it up, and I was happy to assist. I had only been a member for a couple of weeks at that point, and not very active because I was having such a hard time with the original site. 

While creating the Facebook page, I was also asked to assist with membership approval. At that point, I began to learn that inclusion into the group was likely limited to only those who were in a "traditional" marriage. My heart sank. As gently as I could, I suggested that unless the group is titled something more specific and that intent is made known upfront, I felt they should include anyone that has lost the person they expected to spend the rest of their life with - married or not. That kind of loss (aside from losing a child) is possibly the worst pain anyone can experience. If I am going to be involved in membership approval, I could not, in good conscience, turn anyone away grieving that loss. Unfortunately, that suggestion was received with ambivalent reluctance, and no clear decision was made, which made me believe he wasn't open minded to that idea. 

At that point, another member of the group also wanted to talk to me, quoting from the Bible for probably a solid ten minutes to give evidence of their now more obvious intention of excluding certain potential members. I ended up giving her a little speech that went something like this:

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

More Father/Daughter dance stuff...

Funny all that took place yesterday considering it ended up helping me when dealing with a situation that came up tucking Sydney into bed last night...

Remember how I posted about Sydney's first Father/Daughter dance and how I agonized for about six months leading up to it? Well, last night I was tucking Sydney into bed and out of the blue, she said to me, "I wish Daddy could have taken me to the Father/Daughter dance. I wish someone could take me. I really want to go."

Of course, I'm caught only slightly off guard since I might be finally getting used to this. At least it doesn't take me as long to catch my breath and think of a response. 

She's on the verge of tears... My first response is, "I know, sweetheart- I'm so sorry. I wish that for you, too," being careful to not minimize her sadness, or try to "fix" it right away. But then I remembered something... 

I'm part of a widow's group (actually a couple different ones) on Facebook, and a lady had posted a couple of days ago about the Father/Daughter dance at her daughter's school and asked for some advice about how to handle it. Her final decision was to just go with her. That thought had crossed my mind very fleetingly last year, but I dismissed it thinking I would be the only mom there in a sea full of dads and I shouldn't go. Knowing that she went made me think of that as a possible option for Sydney. 

Keeping that Facebook post in mind, and the other conclusion I came to of giving Sydney the decision as to how we handle it this year, I asked her, "How would you feel about ME taking you? I mean, I have to be Mom and Dad anyway, so why not go with you to the Father/Daughter dance?!" 

Her face lit up and she said yes!!! She even said, "Now I don't have to cry!" My sweet baby girl. I'm so excited that I get to go with her! I'm sure a nice pants suit would be appropriate, right? I'm going to email her teacher tomorrow.

Judie...

I wrote a post titled "Something" a little while back about my friend Judie. One of the things I'm also helping her with is her blog... She gave me the honor of writing her latest blog post - I think you'll like it.



Monday, September 22, 2014

Newest member of our family....

When we were living in California, the kids and I adopted a couple of kittens. There were only two in the litter, and I didn't have the heart to separate them. Plus, my cousin who has worked at the SPCA for years told me that it's best to adopt more than one cat at a time since they are social creatures, despite what most people think.

One of my favorite cartoons growing up was Pepe Le Pew - the little lovesick skunk who always pursued the unwilling black cat (Penelope) with the white paint stripe down her back. Since our kitties were a boy and a girl (the girl being a black cat), I decided to name them Pepe Le Pew and Penelope.

Pepe Le Pew took off during one of our moves and never returned, and I decided from then on that Penelope would be strictly an indoor cat.

I always had dogs growing up, but our lifestyle is really not conducive to the needs of a dog. I've never had cats before this, so I think because I treat her like a dog, she acts like one; she comes when we call her, jumps on our laps, gives kisses, loves treats, and comes bounding down the stairs to greet us when we get home.

For as much love as she gets from us, I was getting the feeling that she's been lonely for another little furry companion; especially when the kids and I aren't home. When the kids and I get home from a weekend trip, she comes running to us and meows constantly the rest of the day like she's yelling at us for leaving her and trying to catch us up on all we missed not being here.

When I had broken my wrist in March, I started thinking more and more about getting a kitten. After one of my orthopedic appointments in April, I decided to go to the SPCA since it was near the office and check out the kittens. I met with my cousin Gina and told her what I had in mind. They didn't have any kittens available for adoption on their site, but she told me of a few that were available at their Grand Island location. As I was walking through the offices to leave, one of the ladies peeked out and said, "I hear you're looking for a kitten..."

Broken Bones.

Last winter was loooong, cold and snowy. Between living in warmer states the last several years and the fact that it was an unusually wintery winter even by Buffalo's standards, we were getting Spring fever pretty early on. We decided to take up rollerblading for something fun and different that we could do indoors (and eventually outdoors).

When I was growing up, my mother would take my sister and I to the roller rink and would skate our hearts out. Many times it would be just my mom and I on these outings. She made friends with an older lady that would go with her grandson, Jimmy. I was about six years old, and Jimmy was about twelve... He would roller skate with me while my mom and his grandmother would visit, and I pretty much fell in love with the kid. The last time I went roller skating with my mom, he was there... The song "Reunited" by Peaches and Herb came on, and he scooped me up and sped around the roller rink. We were going so fast that it felt like we were flying. I had my arms around his neck and was in my glory. I even got up the nerve to give him a kiss on the cheek! (I know, I know - I was only six, but love knows no age!) It was a day I will never, ever forget.

The next time my mother went roller skating, it was just her and my sister. In an effort to give each of us kids our own special time with mom, I couldn't go that time, and boy was I not happy. Jimmy was there with his grandmother, and he had given my mom a little blue stuffed octopus to give to me. How sweet was that?? My mother ended up falling and breaking her wrist on that outing, and we never went back. I still have that little blue octopus (I wrote on the bottom of it, "Jimmy 1979 Reunited"), and it was years before I could hear that song on the radio and not cry. By that time, they really didn't play it on the radio anymore, anyway...

When I started taking my kids roller skating, I promised them out loud that if I ever fell and broke my wrist, I wouldn't let that stop me and we will STILL go roller skating.

Absence...

I probably have mentioned this before, but Sydney talks about her daddy every single day. She incorporates him into her daily life and talks about the daddy she hasn't seen since she was 18 months old as if she hasn't missed a day. Jacob thinks about him all the time, too, but he is less likely to say it out loud. Sydney rarely has an unexpressed thought, while Jacob has so many...

She says random things like, "You know what's really sad? Daddy won't be able to go to my wedding." She is seven years old and thinks of these things. I know in my heart he will be there, but my heartbreak for her is that he won't be the one to walk her down the isle.