My photo
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.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Here's the story.

Sooooo. . . . .  In 1995/1996, I dated a guy named John. I met him at my first full-time job after I graduated from college. We got along awesomely and dated for about six months. We were in love - or at least I thought we were. As soon as he got the job he dreamed about since middle school with the police department, he dropped me like a hot potato. I was pissed and heartbroken. It happened right around Valentine's Day... Since it was during the days before cell phones, I decided to go to his house so I could have the last word. His mom let me in, I stormed into his room, whipped his gift at his head (a bottle of cologne) and said, "Happy Valentine's Day, asshole." and stormed out. Never talked to him again. For 22 years...

A couple of months ago I was at my friend Connie's house for a party - she's one of my best friends since high school, and her family is like my family. I was talking to her Uncle Tony and his girlfriend Christine, and Christine said to Tony, "We should tell John about her!!" and right away I said, "NO! Don't tell anybody about me - I'm good!! I DON'T wanna be fixed up."

This past year has been the most peaceful one since Matt died. I stopped dating altogether, stopped entertaining any thoughts of moving again, got a puppy, and have been primarily focused on the kids and myself and our sweet new addition. Life has been pretty darned good, and I got to the point where I didn't want to bring anyone in our lives and risk rocking our peaceful, pretty boat.

Tony started to tell me about his friend - "He's recently retired from the police department, is 49 years old..." and then I interrupted him and said, "Johnny Glaze?" Tony looked at me like he saw a ghost and was like, "How did you know?!?!"

Lucky guess, but the name popped in my head so vividly that I couldn't NOT have said it out loud.

A few days later, Johnny friend requested me on Facebook. I accepted, and I knew it was only a matter of time when he'd be sending a message. Sure enough:

"So I was talking to Tony over the past weekend. Pretty weird how you came up. I'm sorry to hear about your husband. Listen, I feel a little awkward saying this, but I apologize for doing what I did to you in the past. I would like to meet you out sometime, but I would totally understand if you say no. I guess at least I had the chance to talk to you again and say I'm sorry."

My reply:

"I appreciate the apology, John. I'm not sure about meeting out tho. I've always been of the thought that if it didn't work out the first time, then why would it be different the second time? I'm flattered, tho. Again, I sincerely appreciate the apology. Small world, isn't it? Tony's a good guy."

And that was pretty much the end of it. Until a couple weeks later when I started thinking back to when we dated. We never fought, always had fun together no matter what we were doing, and it was really wonderful up until he got the job, and then boom. It wasn't like he was a jerk while we dated, he was always sweet to me. It just ended abruptly and without explanation. I started looking at his pictures on his Facebook page and saw his adorable kids. I also noticed pictures of him with a woman who I assumed was his ex wife, and they looked so much in love. I felt bad for him because obviously, they weren't together anymore. I had to ask...

I'll keep his story private from this public platform, but long story short, his kids were the best thing that has happened to him in all those years, and he's been through some stuff, too.

We continued to catch up a little bit online and over the phone, and then decided to meet in person, but I was adamant that we didn't call it a 'date.' By the time the day rolled around that we were meeting, it was a full-fledged date.

He told me he remembered something else I said to him after I whipped the cologne at his head: "I hope that every time you wear this, you'll remember that someone cared about you." He said he never forgot those words (even though I apparently did)!

We've agreed that it was for the best that things didn't work out between us way back then for many reasons. One big reason is that I wouldn't have met Matt and had the ten wonderful years I had with him, and had our two amazing kids. I wouldn't have traded that for anything in the world. And he needed to do what he did so he could have his wonderful children, too. These four little souls needed to be in our lives, and lord knew I wouldn't be able to pop out four kids! If Matt was only going to live to be 39, I'd like to think I made him happier than anyone else could have during his short time here. Plus, John and I both had a lot of growing up to do between then and now.

There have been so many crazy signs that have all pointed to this, including the simple fact that he and I were both at the very same point in our lives - pretty much resolved to the belief that there wasn't a living person out there that we could feel this way about, and neither of us were willing to settle. We were actually ok with being alone. For me, it was the first time I felt that way since losing Matt, and it's where I wanted to be for years. I really wasn't gonna let John mess with my boat... (What's that expression about when we make plans, God laughs?)

It's amazing how when we came back into each other's lives, how quickly and strongly the feelings came flooding back. The history he and I had way back then gives us a sense of security that we already know each other pretty well, and we haven't had a moment since coming back into each other's lives that we have felt any apprehension or doubt that this. is. it.


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Have you ever been told to get over it?

"When you die, do you want to be forgotten...or do you want the people you love to create a life for themselves with life, purpose and meaning?" ~Kelley Lynn
Why we still and always will talk about our loved ones! Wonderful talk for anyone who has lost a loved one and been told to "move on" or "get over it." I have had the pleasure of meeting Kelley at Camp Widow and am grateful to know such a sweet and loving soul. Take a listen to this lecture in its entirety...SO good!


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Transitions.

Lately my energy level has been so low, and has seemed to get even worse. It's a struggle to pry myself out of bed and function with the basic day to day things. All I want to do is sleep. I'll get a burst of energy here and there and can get a ton of things accomplished in that little window, and muster up the energy I need for my Tae Kwon Do class, but the fatigue I've been experiencing has been very unusual and has started to worry me.

I've been trying to come up with common sense reasons for why I could be experiencing this. No, I don't feel depressed (for once), and I have a physical coming up with some blood work planned that could shed some light, too. But I had an epiphany while in the shower this morning that makes sense to me. Whether or not it makes sense to anyone else is questionable, but I don't need validation for that anymore, either (which brings me to my epiphany).

Since Matt died, I've been angry. Anger has been the default emotion for me for pretty much everything. If I get hurt physically or emotionally, I get angry. If I am sad, I get angry and don't actually feel sad. Anger has given me the energy to move four times in five years (including two cross-country moves), start and dissolve two different businesses, and all the other stuff I've had to do over the last eight plus years. I've done a lot of things over the course of the years to distract myself from dealing with a lot of what's been going on inside me which has been good and not so good... But one of the things I was doing, I hadn't even realized I was doing until very recently.

I always thought I was an honest person. Honest with myself, honest with others. What I realized recently was that I haven't been. I was ignoring my own truth many times. Saying yes when I should have said no. In most cases, I didn't even know that "no" was an option. I was always so concerned with what others thought about me and doing what I thought was expected that I denied myself. When I say it "out loud" like this, it almost doesn't make sense.... Helping my mom so much over the years that I enabled her and burned myself out and now can barely get myself to go see her. Trying in vain to keep a relationship with Matt's family because I felt it was my obligation to do so on his behalf. Holding on to friendships that because of the longevity of the relationship, I felt I had to, when there was no genuine depth because it was primarily based on getting drunk together.

Feeling so hurt by others close to me so much recently and wondering what I've been doing wrong that caused it, when it was really because of expectations I have put on myself AND them that weren't exactly fair to any of us. And it could also be God's way of showing me who belongs in our lives and who doesn't.

Just because people are related to us, whether by blood or by marriage or by years of friendship, doesn't make it mandatory to hold onto them at any cost to keep them in our lives. Sometimes the most fair and healthy thing to do is to let them go, also letting go of any expectations from them or yourself for them.

We've been very low-key recently with all these transitions taking place - especially since my energy has been in the pooper. Distancing myself from the world in the process, but I realize that THAT is exactly what I've needed to do. Stop distracting myself with busy-ness, people, dating, everyone else's needs, get-togethers, etc. I've learned to say no.

I've stopped going out for the most part (but I realize I do need to keep some balance so I'm kind of forcing myself to go out maybe once a month). I've learned to accept and love my life, just the way it is. Being more present for my kids instead of spreading myself so thin among everyone else has been what they've needed, too. No one else can give that to them and they need me more than anyone else in this world does. Being home with my children is more valuable to me than doing anything else. Even if we're not actually doing anything, just being under the same roof with them, knowing they're safe and happy is what fuels my soul. Everything I need in my life is right here under my own roof and has been all along. It's a relief to not feel like I need to seek it elsewhere, trying in vain to find a missing piece that's wasn't actually missing.

It's been in this quiet transition that I've learned the most. I've spoken my truth to those who've needed to hear it, including myself. I simply haven't had the energy to filter and weigh words. There were resentments I had been stifling for so long that I didn't even know were in there, but it's eventually all come spilling out to those who needed to hear it. It may have hurt some people, but sometimes the truth is painful. I know it's been painful for me for a long time, and I've finally stopped trying to protect everyone else from it, too. That's required more energy than I have to spare. I've learned that there have been people in my life right along that I overlooked for a long time that have genuine love for us. We've made new friends during this time, too. I'm learning to connect more with the people that I have a genuine connection with.

And it just hit me that that I've let go of a lot of anger and resentment as a result of this process. Some of that anger is what has fueled me for years. Now that it's not there anymore, I'm tired. Tired from relief, and from the work I've been doing on myself that I didn't even realize I was doing. Thankful that some of these situations I'd been so bitter about have finally come to a head and popped like a festering boil. The relief is intense and exhausting. I'm now in the process of building myself and my energy back up and will try to remember to be patient with that process, too. (Or, could just be that my iron is low...) ;)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Worth a shot!

Gonna sound like a total hippie freak (that I am deep down), but bear with me for a minute... I think with everything that's going on right now- personally, nationally, globally, one of the most helpful things we can do starts in the quiet of our own space.

Instead of focusing on past conversations, how someone hurt us, all the crazy shit happening in the world, anticipating the next strife, what we or someone else could've/should've/would've said or done (because our minds naturally go there- we're human), let's try this instead:

With genuine intent, pray (or just wish if you don't pray) that everybody's hearts are filled with so much love that it doesn't leave any room for hate and anger. That everyone has patience, tolerance and empathy for each other and their unique selves and situations. That everyone's first response is borne of love and forethought and not a knee-jerk reaction. For themselves as well as others... That we always strive to do what is right and have common sense, and stay focused on the good. Peace and love in our hearts...

When I practice this, I instantly relax and become more calm. I would think it could result in better health- physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually doing this on a regular basis. 

I'm posting this also as a reminder to myself to practice this regularly and refer back to it when I forget.

Let's all have a great day and a better tomorrow! 💗

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Hello, 2017!

Happy New Year, Everyone!!

2016 was a very successful first full year as a Foundation, and our primary goal was achieved - to award two students who lost a parent with a $2,500 scholarship toward their college tuition. Thank you to everyone who was involved with that - Run for Row attendees, volunteers, our Board of Directors, and all the love from family, friends and strangers. This could not have been achieved without each and every one of you, and it's our hope that 2017 is just as successful!

The updated Scholarship Applications for 2017 will be accessible as of the beginning of February, and we will introduce them with a blog post.  Thank you for your patience!  

Some goals for this year:

* Develop an official website for The Matthew R. Row Scholarship Foundation
* Add two additional members of our Board of Directors
* Meet and exceed donations for funding, and increase attendance for the 9th Annual Run for Row
* Reach more people in the Western New York area to not only provide them with the opportunity to apply for the scholarship, but to make sure they have access to any grief/peer support that might be helpful to them.

Wouldn't it be amazing if we had so many donations that we would be able to provide scholarships to even more high school students entering college?! <3 nbsp="" p="">
Let's all strive to have open minds, hearts, spreading love, and making 2017 a great year!

Love,
Andrea