He’s dead and I’m not over it.

chinatown and pelican hill 008I’m in the second year of my husband’s death. I have had the memorial service. I have received all the condolences and prayers of the first year. I have his ashes in a box in his office. I have tattooed his handwriting on my wrist. I have answered the question “how are you” a million times. My kids have had grief counseling and I have read one million books to help with the grieving process.

Your life goes on and it should.

My life goes on and it should.

But what you need to know..is that I will never get over it. Every day at some point, something happens that makes me miss him.

Sometimes it’s that moment in the morning when I realize that the kids won’t ever see us embracing in front of the coffee machine again.  (Yes I said embrace! Just go with it!) I was always cognizant of that moment. We were showing the kids that no matter what happens in the day, we were a team. We showed affection. We showed a partnership. I was always proud of that hug in the kitchen. I knew the kids were watching.  I hope they remember it. That hug is important.

Sometimes that moment of missing comes when the boys are fighting and I am at my wits end. I want to hear his voice cutting through the air telling them to “shut it down.” They listen to him. Maybe because they are scared of the hand on the back of neck that grabs hold and guides them up to their rooms. lol My hand doesn’t have that power.

And of course….I miss him during math homework. That’s a given!!

I know when they learn to drive, when they go on their first date, when they graduate, get married, have a baby…..I will feel his absence.

And I am a lucky one.

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I was loved by him for almost 27 years.

My kids have many memories of him.

I believe he is around. I am aware of his signs. And yet I will still miss him.

You guys……his clothes are still in our closet. I know some people think that is weird. But I have shared a closet with him since I was 19 (don’t tell my mom.)  It’s comforting to me to sit in there surrounded by his trendy jeans and beat up shoes. He had an LA homeless kind of style. lol

Since I’m spilling secrets, I’ll go ahead and tell you that his sandals are still in the corner of his office as if at any minute he will slide into them to go out on his porch and sneak a smoke. I hated those sandals. And the secret smoking. And yet they bring me comfort now.

A year seems like a long time and yet a split second all at once. You know what I mean. Doesn’t high school seem like yesterday? Hate to tell you, but it was more than a year ago. (don’t ask me how much more…that’s rude!)

So when you ask me how I’m doing…I’m ok. But it’s different. There’s a heaviness in me that you may never notice. I don’t really want you to.  But I need you to know that I will never be over it.

You can always ask me about him.

I never want to stop saying his name. You won’t be reminding me of something I’d forgotten. You won’t be making me sad.

I am sad.

With great love comes great loss. 

But I choose to focus on the love. I choose to sit in gratitude. What an amazing gift I was given.

I know how to love greatly! And I know I will again! That is a gift.

Life is not supposed to be easy. We came from easy.

We will go back to easy.

Life is meant to teach us…and most of the lessons come from adversity.  I embrace the lessons but it doesn’t mean I get over the loss.

You know what I just realized? I don’t want to get over it. I never want to get over it.

I grow because of it.

adversity

Thanks for listening. It helps.

xoxo

 

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The last real day….

This week it will be a year since Hunter died. On October 1st he went into the hospital and October 5th he died.

I don’t want to commemorate his death. Why would I want to give any focus to the worst week of my life? That’s not how he wants to be remembered anyway. I’d rather focus on his life. His birthday. Our anniversary.

And today.

September 30th. This was the last real day Hunter had. A year ago tonight, sleep apnea would damage his brain and he wouldn’t recover. But let’s not think about that. Let’s focus on the day.

Most weekend afternoons after running kids all over town to different activities, Hunter would be in his office watching football, paying bills, reading. I would be running around the rest of the house, yelling at kids, making lists, pretending to get organized for the week ahead but really just procrastinating on social media. We’d catch glimpses of each other but no real connection. Until the weekly budget talk…which never ended well for me. Then we’d give each other a quick peck on the lips and I’d go upstairs for the night while Hunter binge watched some  20 part documentary on quantum physics.  A typical day without a moment of true awareness of each other. Or what we mean to each other.

But last year was different. We went to the beer festival!  We were out of our routine and out of the house. We held hands. We talked about life. We said I love you a lot. We kissed more.

What a blessing that on the very last real day of Hunter’s life, we were a couple. We loved. We connected.  September 30th will always be a reminder to me that life is short and that daily connection is important.

I was lucky. Not everyone gets a beer festival on the last real day of their loved one’s life. If I hadn’t had it, then we more than likely would have had a typical weekend of passing each other in the kitchen. No hand holding. No kisses. No intentional connection.

So on this day, September 30th, and every day after, I want to encourage you to take a moment to connect with your person. An intentional connection. It doesn’t have to be an afternoon at the beer festival. It can be 15 minutes of coffee, or even 2 minutes of really seeing each other and saying I appreciate you.

I hope you can go for longer than that though.

And I hope you hold hands.

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So…..my husband died.

I know that’s blunt. But what is the right way to let you know? Might as well just say it.

4 months ago my husband died. It was unexpected.

 Who knew sleep apnea could kill you. 

Maybe you did.

We thought it just interrupted sleep and could wreak havoc on your body long term. 

We were wrong.

I’ve always been a positive person. In high school I had to come up with a phrase in theater class. Something like a motto I guess. Mine was “Let a smile be your umbrella and no one will rain on your parade.” My theater friends aka cynics loved giving me a hard time about it. And I do know that I built off of a phrase that already existed. lol But it seemed to fit me. 

And through the years there were lots of times when someone tried to rain on my parade, but it didn’t seem to bother me too much. I knew I was strong. I knew I had something to offer even when someone else didn’t see it right away. I believed that my thoughts create my reality. If you can believe it, you can achieve it! Energy goes where attention flows. A positive outlook can create a positive outcome. <—— I think I just made that one up. It’s pretty good. Can you tell I love self help books? 

And then my husband died. 

Positive thinking was not going to change that. 

So I had to decide pretty quickly….was I going to keep my motto? I never imagined it would be my husband that rained on my parade. He was always helping me hold the fucking umbrella. Can you tell I love metaphors? 

We had a few days with him in the hospital before he died. I remember thinking, “What a blessing. He could have died in a hotel room on a business trip. He could have died at home before I came downstairs and noticed something was wrong. What a blessing.” 

His parents and brother were able to say goodbye. His kids could see him one last time. He became an organ donor. Those are blessings.

And that’s how it started. That’s how I coped. I started looking for the blessings. OK fine… I also started binge reading any book I could find on the soul or the afterlife. It was a problem. I had like 4 books going at once along with multiple videos open to mediums connecting to the dead. I know that freaks some people out. It comforted me. I wanted to talk to him again. I wanted to know he was around. I believe that the soul lives on. I believe that some are more connected to that world than others.  

I started looking for ways to connect with other widows. I needed to see what it looks like 6 months in, 1 year in, 10 years in. So I met some amazing women. And connected. And I thought, what a fucking blessing. To be inspired by them. To learn from them. To connect. Because that’s what my soul wants to do. Connect with people. 

I wear his watch. And his wedding ring around my neck.

I also got a tattoo of his pet name for me in his handwriting. He called me Sweetie. I swear, it takes everything I have not to become the painted lady and get his handwriting all over me. Kind of like Angelina Jolie but maybe a bit creepier. Although she wore a vial of blood around her neck, so maybe not. I can feel him rolling his eyes and saying- stop using me as an excuse to get a tattoo. lol sweetie

I’m not sure why I am writing this out with the intention of posting it. I think it’s partly because I’ve been MIA on my Carpool Confessions page and I wanted to let you know why. I think it’s partly because I feel proud of myself for how I’m handling it and I want to share it. Maybe it can encourage or inspire someone else to look for the blessings. 

In one of the million books I’ve read, it said something like “In the midst of tragedy can come great beauty.” I’m paraphrasing, but I love that idea.  I’ve seen a lot of beauty in the last 4 months. Because of my family, my friends, my community, my kids, my own strength. Connections.

I did have to look for it. The sadness can definitely cloud your perception. But I am holding on to my umbrella. And it seems to be working ok. 

I just wanted you to know.

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A lesson from Young MC

You know him right? The one hit wonder rapper from 1989~ish. young mc

His voice is haunting me.

(Yes I know what the song is about, but don’t you take lyrics and apply them to your life all the time? You do. Don’t you?) So here’s the deal:

My kids are creative. They are imaginative. They are exhausting. crazy kids

If I said yes to half the things my kids asked me to do, we’d never sit down. So I say no and leave the room. And then the words of the prolyphic Young MC come to mind…

Just Bust A Move, Whitney.

“From frustration first inclination is to become a monk and leave the situation.”

Damn straight I want to leave the situation. Hey MC, you are young and don’t have kids. I’m tired and their ideas are elaborate or loud or messy or include me or (gasp) all of the above! I don’t want to bust a move.  So of course the kids “get shot down cause <their> overzealous.”

“A girl runs up with somethin to prove, So don’t just stand there, bust a move”

Shut up, MC! I’m trying to read my Facebook newsfeed. Ain’t nobody got time for a bake sale. But he won’t shut up, it’s like an earworm. Come on Whitney, just bust a move.  Ugh. Damn.  I think of the experience they will get from the yes. I don’t do it all the time but I do try to say maybe instead of no…that gives me some time to think about it.

“You run over there without a second to lose, And what comes next, hey bust a move.”

So the no becomes a maybe…. that many times turns into a yes. My laziness shouldn’t be the reason to not do something. Besides, I gotta get Young MC off my back.

Mom, may we have a car party? Yes! Let’s bust a move!

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Mom, may we have ice cream for lunch?Yes! Let’s bust a move!

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Can we make an obstacle course in the garage? Yes! Let’s bust a move!

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Can we get our pets and our friends and their pets and have a pet parade through the neighborhood? Umm no. What? I’m not Mother Teresa.

So my friends…..

Now you know what to do, go, bust a move!

Don’t say no too quickly. Say maybe. (Unless they ask for a pet parade and then it is totally acceptable to say no.) A maybe that possibly turns into a yes. Because when I think back, the yes made a pretty good memory. xoxoxo

Young MC not doing it for you? Allow Brian Williams to inspire you.

http://youtu.be/vwc9_nqX6Zc