It’s been a little over a month now since Mike proposed. I’ve had a few hard triggers. Trying to think about planning a wedding has been tough at first. The last time I was going to marry someone, he died before we ever got to the big day. He died before we ever even got into the true planning. So needless to say, that part of me that remembers is very aware. I’ve had a few moments of just bursting into heavy, deep sobs because sometimes it feels like reliving the past and it gets very scary to imagine it all disappearing again.
I’ve worried this whole process would be too much to handle, and too emotional to deal with, and that I wouldn’t even be able to manage the idea of planning a wedding ever. But aside from those moments where the fears get big and scary, most of the time, I’ve felt a new awareness of time and a new appreciation for each day.
Just last week, I told Mike, “I’ve gotten to be engaged to you for a whole month now! That’s more than I ever got to before!” And it’s true. Just as with each anniversary year we have hit (4 YEARS next week, wow!)… there is a feeling of thankfulness that we’ve somehow gotten this far. Part of me is still expecting it all to fall apart at any moment like it did when Drew died. But instead of being so afraid of that, I just feel excited for every small piece. Excited to ask one of my best friends to make our wedding cake. Excited to ask another of our closest friends to be the one to marry us. And honored, so honored, that I get the privilege to have had one whole month of planning such a special day, so far. Even if all went wrong and it didn't happen, I still got this part. I still got to spend all this wonderful time dreaming of the day - which is something that was taken from me the last time I was going to marry my person.Read more
We’re a week into the new year, and I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and reflect. Holiday travel definitely takes a lot out of you and we’re only just beginning to get settled back in at home. The thing that I am reflecting on right now as I write to you is mostly, my gratitude, and the big event I wrote about last week - Mike proposing to me.
A lot of people don’t know that Drew never officially proposed to me. He was planning to as soon as he returned from the work trip he was on - only he never returned. But he had sort-of asked in a roundabout way before that… because I was the queen of avoiding large milestones like these. Basically, he wanted reassurance that if he did ask me soon, I would be happy about it and not feel pushed or pressured. In the conversation, I started to overthink and freak out about the idea of it, as I do with most milestones, and then I stopped myself and I told him “Whenever you ask me, I will say yes”. So that’s as far as we actually got. A few weeks later, he was gone, without warning.
I’m sure most understand how painful it is to have not gotten to the proposal, or the wedding, or the first year, or the fifth year, or your first house, or children, or grandchildren… to not have gotten to some milestone. Or a lot of milestones.
This has been my story for the past 6 ½ years. A story I unknowingly settled into. Even though I referred to Drew as my fiance after his death, truly, no one had ever proposed to me. No one had ever said those words to me. And these years since his death, I have been a woman who has never been asked. I think a very old part of my damaged self worth liked to feed off of that sometimes. Like I didn’t deserve it. It’s not rational, and it doesn’t make sense, and I know it isn’t true, but it’s still there… somewhere in the dark corners of my heart, this whispering thought that I don’t deserve to be asked that question.
Only now, that story has been changed by someone new...Read more
In my 38 years, I have never once not been with my parents on either Christmas eve or Christmas day. Even when I was in the military, I lucked out in that I wasn’t deployed over Christmas, and I was able to drive from North Carolina to Ohio, even if only for a 48 hour visit. Since 2002, I’ve added Megan’s family to that tradition, always ensuring that my second family was part of the holidays, but simply splitting time between both.
It was convenient that both my family and Megan’s family lived within 15 minutes of each other, and we never lived farther than 30 minutes away from either. Christmas Eve with my family, Christmas day with hers.
Since Megan’s death, that tradition has remained the same. Now, however, there’s a third and fourth family.Read more
And so the countdown begins...
In 56 hours or less (not that I'm counting or anything), I will be holding a new little life in my arms. One small person I helped create. One tiny little reminder of what life is really all about.
My sweet little baby boy has no idea what his life represents already in this world. In a place that can be so cold, sometimes stabbing, unfair, and down right hopeless...my little miracle is a reminder that life can and will go on, and that it can and will be beautiful again.
The moment I walked out of my front door in Michigan for the last time, tears fell without warning and without permission. It was as if my body knew what my mind wouldn't allow me to think about or dwell on - that I was leaving behind a huge history and pieces of my heart that would never be found in any other place (cue Monica from Friends screaming as my inner dialogue, "It's the end of an ERA!")
Today is my birthday. I am 42 years old, three years older than Phil was when he died six years ago (crazy to think he would be 46 right now!). My first birthday without him I remember wishing time could just stand still. I didn't want to age without him;I didn't want to celebrate being alive with birthday songs and presents; and I didn't want to continue on a forward path that moved away from the life I loved with Phil. Overall, December 29, 2005 was not my best birthday.
Truthfully, finding a way to appreciate the opportunity to live another year took some time. I moved from being down right pissed off about my repeating birthdays to being a bit ambivalent about the passing of time to finally accepting the fact that until my number is called my job is to seize the day.Read more
I'll start today with a few toasts to the holidays! Cheers! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year! and drum roll please.....Death still Sucks!
Two more days til Christmas, and as usual....I'm not ready yet. I still have a shopping list, I've still not wrapped my gifts, and I haven't watched all the movies I want to see or drank all the eggnog in the fridge. BUT, I'm working on it!
I am in the 7th year AD (after Daniel). The 6th anniversary was in November, and this will be our 7th Christmas without him. I was thinking the other day, as Carl, the kids and I decorated the Christmas tree, that I could never have imagined this life that first Christmas in 2005.
That Christmas is a dark blur in my mind's eye. I vaguely remember shopping (on-line, no way I was going to the stores). I remember trying to pretend like it would all be okay, and I vividly remember having to take a cry break in my bedroom after we opened presents. My mom found me and sat with me while my brother entertained Grayson with his new toys.
About four months after Phil's death, I returned to my nail salon for the first time since being widowed. As I sat in the chair trying to keep it together while idle chatter swirled around me, my manicurist looked up and asked if I was going to take off my rings. Absently I handed them to her (my engagement ring, my wedding ring, and Phil's wedding ring were all crowded together on my finger) and she set them down awkwardly on the table next to us. Then she looked up at me and said, "Isn't your husband dead?" At first I was sure I heard her wrong. "Excuse me?" I said. Turns out my hearing was fine, because she repeated herself.Read more
Filling in for Jackie today with a post I wrote almost four years ago. Even today, I can clearly remember the feeling of wanting to be dead. It would have been terrifying if I were capable of feeling anything besides empty, but in that moment all I wanted was to be with Phil. Of all the words I have written over the past 5.8 months the ones I share here remind me most powerfully of how far I have come since the day that one life ended, and another unwillingly began.Read more