Four.

There’s this moment that happens when I first wake up on a Sunday morning when I can swear for a breath of a second that I hear him breathing next to me.  And for that fleeting moment I am warm and my heart feels again. And just as quickly it comes, it’s gone. And he’s gone, and I am left cold and lonely, mourning the loss of him all over again.

I haven’t written in a few weeks because I haven’t been able to collect my thoughts in a cohesive manner worthy of blogging about. I just rounded the four month corner, and my mind is running at 1000mph thinking about how I’ve even made it this far. It’s been four months, and I miss him more everyday; he’s on my mind as often as I breathe and his absence in my life is noticeable with every single heartbeat.

I miss you, Andre. I miss your eyes and the look you saved just for me. The look that gave me butterflies. The look that made me know that the connection between us was so undeniably real that there was no circumstance that could tear us apart.

No circumstance except this one.

The rest of our lives became the rest of yours.

I miss the life that we had.

My heart hurts so much without you. 

I miss you.

“With you, I fall
It’s like I’m leaving all my past and silhouettes up on the wall
With you, I’m a beautiful mess
It’s like we’re standing hand and hand with all our fears up on the edge”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Change

 

Transform. Adapt. Modify. Convert.

They all mean the same thing.

They are all different ways of saying change. And nothing quite changes your life like the death of your spouse, especially when you’ve spent most of your adult life with them.

So here I am, suddenly and unexpectedly widowed at age 37. In the blink of an eye, I am single. In a moments notice, I am half of an equation. And when you’ve been a part of the “you + them” equation as long as I have, I feel like an identity crisis is called for. When you spend 18 years with the same person who has seen you at your best (young, tight, wrinkles, well rested) and your worst (stretch marks, C-section scars, totally exhausted  and  a thicker mommy bod), and that person accepted you regardless, it’s hard to start over.

He accepted me every step of the way, and loved me often more than I loved my self. Each stage my body went through;  weight loss and gain.

Every failed hair experiment.

Every scar.

Every shift.

Now, I am supposed to start over.

Now is the time for change because there is no other choice, my hand has been forced, everything is different. Beyond the drastic haircuts and new clothing that saw me through breakups past, I am a new person. A woman who drinks a little too much, and curses too often. A mother who is striving everyday to make sure my kids are happy and healthy, and if nothing else, clean and fed.  I am surviving as best I can and sometimes that will mean being in a hole so deep and wide and dark that it seems I am unreachable.  Sometimes I am okay,  able to smile, laugh and enjoy myself.

This is my journey, and I don’t care what anyone thinks,  if they approve,  or are happy with my choices. Until you’ve spent even a few moments in my shoes your judgements mean nothing to me.

So if I drink too much, get tattoos, have things pierced, stay up too late, curse too much, party too often, cry, yell, laugh, have bad days or good days, it’s none of anyone’s concern as long as I am caring for my kids and showing up to work.

I am a phoenix rising from his ashes.

I am changed.

Eight.

My oldest daughter, Isabel turns eight today. We’ve been planning part 1 and part 2 of her birthday since the week after Andre died

When I spoke at Andre’s funeral, I mentioned a part about “Andre the father” or daddy as he is most commonly known in our house. The strange thing about deciding to have kids is that you have no idea what kind of parent you are going to be. Before you have kids, you have all of these amazing expectations for both you as a parent and for what your kid will be, but only when the child is actually here do you really see that there are no guarantees in parenting, and nothing is ever like you expected it be. For Andre this was the case all along. Being an only child, and very little experience with babies, he was terrified. He never really showed it to me, but as the days counted down toward my due date with Isabel, the intensity ramped up. And then the due date came and went, and she was finally born 2 weeks past her due date. Andre was a rock. He was my rock.

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So on April 8th, 2010 at 7:33pm Andre became the most amazing dad to a beautiful baby girl. I clearly remember the moments at the hospital when he would hold her, I could see all the hard lines and edges that he always used to protect himself suddenly softened and blurred and we went from being him and I, to a family.  In what felt like an instant, he became the dad that all little girls should have. He held her like he had been waiting to hold her his whole life. The joy he had was only ever matched by the birth of our next baby girl. 24764_1391520064823_1721280_n

I don’t know if I will ever be able to tell either of my girls the love he had for them because I don’t think the right words exist to do any justice to amount of love he felt for his children. But here’s what I do know:

As they grow, they will  face challenges and doubt themselves, and he will be there cheering them on and encouraging them at every turn.

When they graduate high school and college, he will  beaming with pride and cheering the loudest from the back of the room.

And, if  they are lucky enough to find a love like I had with Andre and they chose to marry, he will be there to walk them down the aisle. 24764_1391516184726_1560269_n

It breaks my heart that he’s not here to tell them all of these things himself, because I know he wouldn’t want to miss any of this for the world, and that the choice not to be here for even a second wasn’t his own. But, if I do nothing else after his death, I will make sure my girls know that their daddy loved them deeply and he will watch over them and keep them safe each and every day.

Happy, happy birthday, my sweet Isabel. Mommy and Daddy will always love you. 376538_3943651026502_711819676_n

Exhaustion

For three months you’ve been gone, and just the three of us are left. We seem to be getting along just fine, seem being the operative word.

Yesterday, somewhere between driving from work and home, I had a thought. And it’s not a new thought, but it was the first time that it felt that my thought was something real and not just some awake version of a of a nightmare. Driving on the roads I have driven on countless times, I relived the day Andre died. All I wanted to do is call one of my people and ask, “Did you know Andre died?!”, because it feels unbelievable. How is this even real?

Once again the thought of him being gone took my breath away, my heart was pounded out of my chest, the tears were uncontrollably pouring from my eyes, and I couldn’t get to the safety of my home fast enough. And once I was there I was able to lock myself inside, lay in our bed, hold pictures of my dead husband, cradle the urn where his remains are and cry.

And I relived it all over again.

And again.

And it happens everyday. And it gets harder everyday. Each day I wait, thinking that I’ve been living in some awful twisted and torturous world where people are tested by having to live through their worst nightmare in some fucked up version of fear factor. And everyday that I wake up alone, I think to myself, “today is the day it’s going to be over, I have to have won the game by now” because I am honestly not sure how much more I can take.

Every night I lay in my bed with the pillow vertically beside me and I pray for sleep, because when I sleep sometimes I dream, and when I dream, he comes to me. And these are only moments of comfort and peace I am afforded, so I pray for sleep.

And each morning I wake up with an inexplicable heaviness all over as though I have been picking up and carrying the weight of the world for the last three months, and I’m exhausted.

I got a good look in the mirror yesterday. A deep long glance at myself. If you had asked me six months ago about my best feature, it would have been my eyes. They were bright, full of hope and happiness. They knew what looks to give when I wanted him to fall in line or fall for a line of BS. They knew how to flirt with a batting of my eyelashes, and they even looked good filled with tears. They changed colors for the better when I wore different colors, and even when I was sick.

That’s not how they look now. All of the sparkle and hope have dimmed and now there is just blue surrounded by all the sadness and bags that three months of broken sleep can give you. You, Andre were the life and sparkle in my eyes. You were the life behind them, and each day I recognize my eyes less and less, but have come to begin to accept the lifeless blue pools looking back at me in the mirror. I miss the lightness you made me feel and the happiness you brought to my life.

So, as I continue my search for a way to bring back the brightness in my eyes, and lightness in my heart, the best I can hope for is a good nights sleep.

One.

The number one has a whole new meaning to me these days.

One.

As in singular.

Alone.

Solitary.

(GASP!) Single.

But also surrounding the word “one” is me wishing begging the universe for one more. One more minute…fuck that, this greedy bitch needs a least one hour.

One more hug.

One more smile.

One more conversation.

One more sexy time.

One more laugh.

One more sleepy-time snuggle.

One more day.

One more kiss.

If knew that when I left him that night that it was the last time I would see him alive, I would have kissed him differently; longer, deeper, with all the love and passion that 18 years together brings.  But then again, if I knew, I wouldn’t have left. My last memory of kissing my soulmate should not be me leaning over his casket kissing his cold, made up lips. Nope. It should be long and wonderful, and all the stuff that “Last kisses” should be made of, and goddamn it, I deserve a do-over. I deserve one more kiss.

One more lifetime.

He promised me a lifetime and he never broke his promised to me or my girls (not willingly anyway) so I am completely aware that this was not his choice. We talked about retirement and old age and dying notebook style hand-in-hand, (Okay that was me, he was never really into Nicholas Sparks).

We deserve one more chance. One more chance to fight less and love more. To appreciate each other all the time. To never take for granted the time we have together. To stop stressing about money. To show our girls the meaning of true love and give them something to aspire to. One more chance to believe that through our almost 20-year relationship and watching our friends wade through failed marriages and sadness that the universe had a reason after all the hardships we face that we are were still together.

Just one more moment. To smell him near me. To feel his arms around me. To be able to run my fingers through his well-groomed beard. To look into his beautiful deep dark brown-hazel eyes. To hear him say he loves me one more time.

One more second to feel anything but numb.

 

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Apology

***I should probably preface this entry with somewhat if a warning that I am probably going to use some colorful language, so this likely will not be suitable for work nor reading to your children as a bedtime story. Or, ya know do and see what happens. I mean, Little Johnny must learn from somewhere, why not from his parent(s), right? ***

Did you know that there is such a thing as anticipatory grief? Well, I didn’t, but having entered the expansive world of Widow-hood, I have learned all about anticipatory grief. The concept being that you grieve even before you’ve lost the person you are grieving for. This usually occurs under circumstances of long term illnesses with a prognosis of death, and mostly involves the caretakers of the person who is ill. It’s grieving the inevitable loss. Death is going to happen, and when it does, it’s almost like you’ve prearranged your grief.  And although some people may see it as ‘jumping the gun’, it’s almost the bodies defense mechanism knowing that the hardest times are yet to come.

But I digress, that is not what this is about. Call this my anticipatory apology. I am likely to be a very bad friend over the course of the next few months, ahem, years. It’s possible that I have declined your offer for plans, flaked at the last minute, didn’t return your text, or pick up the phone when you called. And If I haven’t done one of those things to you yet, it’s highly fucking likely that I will. And if by some chance I did accept your invite to do something it’s also just a likely that I will go and look miserable at some point. And for that, I am sorry.

It’s not that I don’t want to be there with you. It’s not that I don’t want to talk or respond to you. It’s not that I don’t want to be there to celebrate with you, be a part of your milestones, or even just be happy for the sake of being happy.  It’s simply that I  can’t talk to anyone, go anywhere or do anything. I haven’t felt like getting out of bed or getting dressed or breathing. And unfortunately, since I need a paycheck, getting up for work is not optional. And God, I am trying really fucking hard to be there for you the way you have been there for me over the last few months. I have not forgotten the love and kindness my family has been shown, but every time I go out with friends, go to a birthday party, attend a school function, or do pretty much anything, it’s another reminder of how much I miss Andre. That half of me is missing and that I have changed and that scares the shit out of me. It’s like having woken up to someone having hit the reset button and all that’s left of my previous life is my two beautiful daughters and memories. Most days I need to coach myself to put one foot in front of the other, so the idea of doing something as  simple as going to party is so overwhelming that disappointing someone seems easier than the effort it takes me to walk out the door.

I am sorry. I am sorry that I chose sitting at home alone to drink wine alone instead of being somewhere with you. I am sorry that I left your kids party early. And I am sorry that I declined on all the plans you offered. And I am even more sorry for this next part, because I have no right to ask for a favor, especially on the tail end of me explaining what a crappy friend I am, but here goes: Please don’t stop asking me to hang out. Please don’t stop inviting me over. Please keep inviting my kids’ places. Please ask me to get a drink or dinner. Please don’t give up on me, because I hope in time the heaviness will lift and the fog will fade, and the sadness will be ever so slightly less paralyzing, and I will say yes.

 

“All in all is all we are”

Falling

You know that feeling  where you just start to drop at the top of a roller coaster ride  from its highest point? The feeling of your stomach dropping, your heart racing, and you feel like you can’t catch your breath? It only lasts for a moment, and then you reach the bottom and the feeling subsides as quickly as it came. For the last 60 days I have been living with that feeling. I have been feeling as though I have fallen into a dark and endless hole with no bottom in sight. I haven’t been able to take a deep breath or sleep through a night,  or eat properly or perform pretty much any simple, normal function that most people just do without a second thought.  I mean, breathing isn’t something the average person has to even think of. But somewhere around 1, 440 hours ago, I became no longer average.

Approximately 86, 400 seconds ago my husband Andre died suddenly and very large part of me died with him.  I feel as thought i have been free-falling ever since. Falling down a hole filled with fog and darkness. I can’t see where I am going, or where the bottom is.  I do however,  see my life for the last 18 years playing in my mind. With each foot I fall, my sense become more heightened; moving images of my husband smiling at me , the  sound of his laugh, the way he smelled, the burning of the skin around my eyes from wiping away my tears the days after he died, the  butterflies in my stomach when he kissed me, and the pride I felt watching him perform.

As I continue to fall, I replay the moments of the last minutes I saw him alive. Did I miss something? Did I kiss him hard enough? Did I remember to tell him I love him?

Falling further still, feeling pieces of my heart disintegrate and slip between my fingers like grains of sand. I grab at the air in front of me, trying to hold onto anything I can to stop falling and wake up in a sudden jerk from this nightmare.

On December 29th, 2017 my husband died suddenly of unknown causes. He took with him most of my heart. I have no idea when the falling with stop, but I am even a little more terrified of finding out what it’s going to feel like once I have hit bottom.

“As the pain sweeps through,

Makes no sense for you

Every thrill is gone

Wasn’t too much fun at all,

But I’ll be there for you

As the world falls down”

– David Bowie

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