Thursday, July 20, 2017

Today may be a good day for a blog post.

    I've had many a thought that would have been good to record here over the last... however long it's been since I've actually taken the time to write something somewhat meaningful. I just never actually made it this far. Today is a miracle! Considering it's been six years exactly since my life took a drastic, unexpected 180-degree turn (literally, geographically-speaking), this may very well work. What do I think about when I think about this day? And, of course, I think about "this" day quite often, as there is absolutely no way I would be where I am right now if Matt hadn't died. I don't mean that in a good way or a bad way. It's just a fact. And, with any unexpected path one's life could take at any given moment, totally out of your control, whether good or bad, the way you lead yourself following such an event (namely, in this case, a tragic one), is totally in your control.  I suppose I can say I have mastered that concept over the last six years.

    I am at a point in my life where I respect and remember my battle with grief in that I appreciate what losing my husband has given me, but at the same time, I honor what it has also taken away from me. What does that MEAN?! Those two things are really one and the same. I lost my entire life as I knew it when I was 26 years old with two babies. My kids would probably still have their dad today if the events of July 20, 2011 did not take place as they had... but how do we really know that for sure? Basically, it's the classic "what happened happened and there's nothing you can do about it" but in less of a callous sense as that sounds. This is circling back to the fact that there are certain things completely out of our control, some major, some minor... but it's in our power to rebuild and overcome with whatever resources we have. Let me tell you, I had some major resources to work with following our tragedy.

     First and foremost, my family and Matt's family and our collective mass of kind-hearted friends and acquaintances kept us all afloat immediately following Matt's death. Matt's co-workers and company as a whole was of tremendous support, as well. Secondly, I used religion (Christianity) as a means to get through such a nightmarish emotional event. It provided for me an immediate way to sort of find a "reason" as to why this happened... and it provided for me the comfort I needed regarding Matt himself during his passage from life into death. Maybe I'll do a post regarding my current views on organized religion. I have some strong ones... but today is not the day for that. Finally, I was and am actually pretty damn fortunate, financially speaking. Not to go into too much detail but I am sure many wonder how in the hell could survive without working for the last six years. Between insurance and social security survivor's benefits, I've been able to accommodate a good life for myself and our kids and take my time with my education. I was accepted into the radiation therapy program, which I begin this fall and which will consume my life for the next two years thereafter. Then I will finally get to start looking for a real career with a real paycheck and feel like less of a piece of poop living solely off of the graces of insurance and the government. 😳😳😳😳

     I honor the past, celebrate the present, and anticipate the future. The past is set in stone, the present is a time to live in the moment and be thankful, the future is full of mysteries. I'm good with all of that. ✌

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Feel everything

I returned to that funeral home yesterday in loving support of a classmate whose life has just been unexpectedly shattered, as mine was, five years ago. I get tears in my eyes just thinking (and “writing”) about this shitshow she has been thrown into without warning; the chaos, the unknown, the lonely darkness that is felt no matter how many people wrap their arms around you in the days and weeks following the loss of half your soul. I wish I could take it all away. We were never close, but I can say for certain that I have never felt empathy to this extent. Despite having walked amidst such a tragedy myself, I still don’t know if I did or said the “right” things. All I know is that I took cues from all the love and kindness that was shown to me in the past and hoped that it provided some comfort, even if only for a minute. I just had not stopped thinking about her and her precious children ever since I saw the news and I am glad that I was able to embrace her and speak with her at the visitation. May they continue to be lifted up and comforted during this excruciating process of mourning. :(

“I hold it true, whate'er befall; I feel it when I sorrow most; 'Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.” -Alfred Tennyson

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I went to Tucson over NYE and it was fabulous.

Why Tucson? 

Well, I have a new boyfriend, that's why.  And he lives in Tucson.  We met in Michigan, our common factor being Crystal Lake.  So that's done.  Do I go into what happened with my previous relationship?  I kind of feel like maybe that would be helpful, considering I had shared tidbits about it in the past. Here's the thing - I know I had lost myself after my husband died.  And then I felt as though the journey to finding my new identity as a single mom of two was a lot LOT shorter than I ever imagined it would be.  I credit faith, family, and friends & strangers alike for that.  I would say a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was lucky enough to be able to essentially quit life after my husband died.  I'm also going to have to give running some credit, too.  I've had some of my most insightful epiphanies come to me while I was on a run.  Back to the whole "quitting life" thing... I was able to quit my job (save for parenting although I had and still do have a lot of help with that, too - it takes a village!), and leave what used to be my home behind.  I just left it all and camped out for a while.  That was a lot of time to think and make the decision to go back to school.  That's when I started to feel like a functioning human being again.  A few more months went by and I was already feeling like my old self again.  I had developed feelings for Noah's godfather but I believe those were mistaken emotions rising out of the need to make someone else happy.  I certainly didn't see this then like I see it now, but it was logical and convenient for him to be that someone.  Granted, the continuation of my new self-discovery occurred through the duration of this relationship and I made some important life changes, like buying my house, which has been super challenging and yet refreshing all at the same time.  Those are all good things.  But in the end, I felt as though everything was too planned without the passion.  It felt mechanical to me.  There were parenting conflicts.  Romance was next to non-existent.  I was just missing things that I realized I truly need in a relationship. And, to be honest, (of course that was a very compact explanation) it was kind of a sudden and unexpected realization for me.  There were times here and there over the months (we were together for about 15) where I just didn't feel like I was with the "right" person.  I would have trouble envisioning myself in that relationship for the rest of my life.  We would talk about marriage from time to time and it seemed so "planned"... and I would always find an excuse to say I wasn't ready.  Come to find out, there were quite a few on the outside looking in who also felt he and I were not a perfect match.  I will confess that once it was finally over, I felt nothing but relief, freedom and confidence that I made the right decision.  I will ALSO confess that there is an extra special someone in my life who (unknowingly at the time) was the figurative "cherry on top" of everything I already had going on in my mind.  This person is someone with whom I had always felt an unspoken connection since the day we met (in 2006).  Of course, it wasn't always in a romantic kind of way.  My soul has simply been drawn to him in a way I have never felt with anyone before.  Our personalities just match up so well; we are two of a kind.  I can't explain it, but I felt different after he left to go back to Arizona last summer.  I could only stand it for about two weeks of nonstop texting and Snapchatting before I impulsively and drunkenly (wine tasting) confessed everything to him.  I had wanted to express everything to my then-boyfriend before I confessed to my now-boyfriend...

but wine tasting. 

He knew nothing of what I was feeling for him and so my "confession" completely shocked him.  I was out of town and not returning home until the following night so I sat with anxiety so intense I felt sick all of that Sunday, leading up to the point where I got home and broke up with my boyfriend.  It wasn't an easy thing to do, of course, but I knew it was the right thing to do.  I felt like I was settling in that relationship.  I needed to be happy, too, and I wasn't.  I am happier than ever now.  This man is so expressive, spontaneous, curious, adventurous, open-minded, creative, romantic, confident, patient, communicative, complimentary, funny and much, much more.

I felt it was time I come clean since it has been five months so there it is!

Until next time...(whenever that may be)...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A good example

Bringing up the fact that I am a widow in a normal conversation isn't that much of a struggle anymore.  I used to despise it for the sheer fact that I didn't want to make the other person feel bad.  Now, it has become a normal part of who I am and if I'm having a casual conversation that might lead in the direction of marriage, husband, what-have-you... I can mention it with ease.  Of course, the reactions don't change but I think I have become better able to handle them without feeling like I am ruining their day.  No, it's not ruining their day.  I hope to be a good example of overcoming tragedy.  That's what it is.  And lately, that's become more and more how I feel.  Not a sad story, but a good example.  That's what I hope to be.  No matter how distant I drift from the day my husband died, I want to always remember and respect everything I went through from day one until the present.  I am coming up on two years now.  This Saturday will be the two-year anniversary of Matt's death.  My boyfriend, the kids, and I will head up to Crystal Lake to be with the family and enjoy life.  I anticipate it being a good weekend.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's safe to say I have no idea what I want to do with the rest of my life.

I've been in off-and-on crisis mode for a few months now.  I'm not sure if nursing school is for me right NOW.  I think that completing my rigorous two-week CNA certification course next month will help give me a better idea.  I struggle to perform up to my standards with everything else I have going on right now but everything else I have going on isn't something I'm willing to give up so the question remains... can I handle a nursing school curriculum on top of it all?

The bottom line is, I'm in no rush.  I have also checked out Allied Health and Therapeutic Recreation, both of which would require significantly more time in school but if I'm going to start working... at some point (as a CNA or PCT)... I will be satisfied with that.  Nursing is not completely out of the question though.  I'm just trying to think about all my options here.  Not stressful at all!

 I never re-hashed my Grand Canyon hiking experience on here.  It was amazing!  My boyfriend was the perfect person with whom to share such an experience, too.  After all, it was for his 30th birthday but I love that he is adventurous and outdoorsy.  I can't exactly describe myself as "outdoorsy" but adventurous certainly fits my personality.  I also adapt to change well and obviously that characteristic has served me serendipitously (Google says it's a word) in the last 21 months.

Did I ever share our love story?  I probably didn't.  I was so hesitant about "voicing" what seemed to be a "crush" only 10 months after losing my husband; let alone, allow myself to nurture those feelings in the first place.  Here we are, almost one year later.  I was sure to keep my eyes and mind open to "signs", if you will, that my heart was in the right place.  As it turns out, it was.  I knew how fragile this relationship was; to take a very important friend in your life and cross over to a romance... danger danger!  Once that line is crossed, there is no going back.  I was especially scared not only for my sake, but for Noah and Chloe's sake for Matthew was and is an incredibly important father figure in their lives.  I can be a very impulsive person so to let these emotions simply swim around in my head for a WEEK was torture.  What if he started dating someone?  What if he WAS dating someone and I was clueless (he was very private about that kind of thing)?  Actually, I remember telling my therapist that had I known he was in a relationship (IF he was in a relationship), it would have made things a whole lot easier on me because I was having my own complex about it not even having a been a year since my husband died.  An easy reason to walk away?  Yes, please! Not to mention the delicacy of our friendship, as mentioned earlier.

I have to continue this story at another time... unfortunately, I have things to do today.  Like, an eight-mile run if it ever stops raining.  I was lucky to get four miles in yesterday in between rain showers.  I am running my second half marathon on Saturday!  I also need to get down to the tax office (where Matt works) to sign my documents and bring him lunch. :)  This story WILL be finished... eventually.

Friday, February 15, 2013

It was a good day.  I started out Valentine's Day with Noah's party at his daycare.  That was relatively fun.  He's at the age now where fun things like this become somewhat more interactive.  They passed out their Valentines to all their little friends, decorated cookies (and ate them) and... that was pretty much it.  Still fun. :)  I love how excited Noah gets about fun little holidays like Valentine's Day.

Then I had a dentist appointment... no cavities so that's always a plus.  Especially considering I don't have dental insurance.  I finally made an appointment for Noah to go with me at my next checkup and then he will have his teeth cleaned.  The appointment isn't until August so  I think by then, he will be okay.  I think even now if he were to go to the dentist he would do fine.

I was starving by the time I was finished at the dentist so I thought I would treat myself to something special (the boyfriend was working all day).  I felt guilty at the thought of getting some fabulous Thai food at this restaurant we both love in East Grand Rapids... without getting some for him, as well.  I thought Valentine's Day is all about doing awkward things.  SO I picked some food up for both of us and went to bring it to him at his office... and waited... and waited... and waited some more.  I knew he had clients through the lunch hour and then finally he was finished.  I devoted my time to deliver lunch to my pseudo-hubby after his super busy day.  Complete with a sarcastic/cheesy Valentine's Day card.  Couldn't help myself.

I thought I would for sure bring some flowers to my late husband's grave and say a prayer, meditate, etc.  But I ended up not having time.  We invited my mom over for dinner and Chloe's classroom party was at 4:00 so I went straight back to the daycare from the boyfriend's office.  There are just not enough hours in the day.  I would like to start updating my blog more, as well.  It's something I think about often.

Speaking of the blog, I have been contemplating changing the "aura" of it.  When I started this blog, it was an outlet for me.  A place to express my deepest emotions following the loss of my husband.  It wasn't only for myself, but for anyone else who might be experiencing a loss of their own.  I am so far beyond that point in my life that I've been thinking about changing it ever so slightly to focus more on life after loss.  I would like it to circulate more around the idea that normal life after losing your other half IS possible... and maybe every now and then reminisce about those dark days and share what helped me through it.  I think about July 20, 2011 almost every day, if not every day, and although it was such a heartwrenching day, it was also such a pivotal time in my life.  It's just amazing how everything... every blessing, every tragedy, every challenge, every accomplishment... has brought me to where I am at this very moment and I wouldn't change a thing about it.  God is good.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

hey there.

I thought I would make an entry on a whim.  I think about writing often, but to actually do it... well, I haven't been so great at that part.

I started a new semester at Grand Valley.  In fact, it's my LAST semester before I apply to the nursing program.  If, of course, I'm eligible or they waive my overall GPA requirement.  My grades last semester weren't ideal but I got a B+ in anatomy & physiology II and that was a pleasant surprise (it's not my strong point).  I really wanted at least an A- in microbiology but the last unit proved to be my weak point so my would-be A turned into a B+.  Genetics was disappointing since my professor sucked (there's no better way to put it) so I ended up with a B- in that class which I don' believe is an accurate representation.  If I could re-take any class, it would be that one (with a different professor, of course).

I'm going back to Gilda's Club as a volunteer!  Since I am only taking two classes this semester (although they are difficult), I want to start actually doing something again.  I think I am also going to attend Walker Medical to get CNA certified this summer.

I'm turning 28 this year which is weird because I will then be older than my husband was when he died.  He would be celebrating his 30th this July.  However, my boyfriend will be celebrating his 30th in March, conveniently over my spring break, so we will be doing so in the Grand Canyon!  Life is short, right?  I told him we could go anywhere for his birthday and Grand Canyon it is.  We are so excited to go hiking there and I have a special activity planned on the day of his birthday (which is actually a series of activities).  It is going to be amazing.  The only difficult thing will be leaving the kids behind for five days.  I haven't been apart from them for more than two nights in a row.  I hate to wish away their "toddlerhood", but I look forward to being able to take them with us on vacations like this once they are a few years older.

We are all moved into our new house, now it's just going to be a matter of (a long) time before everything has been settled and organized.  We are still waiting on our couches and I want those before I start to buy other things.  It's a slow process.  I also want work done in the basement... put in a full bathroom and finish the playroom/guest room.  I hope to get that going soon (I'm obviously not DIYing that).

Well, I need to run some errands today and get some study time in so unfortunately this has to be short and sweet.  Overall, life is good and I never could have imagined it as such a year ago!  I'm so blessed.