3 day weekends are the worse. I used to love spending the extra day with Eddie and the boys but now it is just one more day to find something to occupy my time. It is even worse coming off our first week long vacation without Eddie.
When we started talking about the family trip last year, Eddie had not been diagnosed but then life changed in an instant. Even though things changed we longed to give mom a vacation with all her kids, so we really got serious back in December and Eddie was feeling great. He had finished his radiation and first chemo, all scans showed no cancer and life was somewhat back to normal. We had a future we could dream about again. We never talked much about a future that did not include him. A trip that he would never see. It just was not something we could ever imagine but it was always the big pink elephant in the room. Now all these months later, here we are traveling a road that quiet honestly stinks. It seemed like I I missed him more on vacation than I do at home. He was our leader, our safety net, our driver. He was my next breath. He was my cheerleader and my protector.
After I had the boys, altitude has always caused my migraines to be worse. He understood that and helped me manage them. After all these years he could see them coming on almost as well as I could. So every morning at 4 am I woke up with a migraine, took medicine and spent time with Eddie. In the quiet, cool Colorado morning I felt him and missed him terribly.
This trip has been about our family loving on mom, my boys getting to know my brother and family from Georgia and to give us memories with my mom. But it is harder on the boys and I than we thought. This was Eddie's and the boys kind of trip. They loved the outdoors. We all feel closer to Eddie in the outdoors and the pain is bigger there. His absence if more evident there but he is more present there too. Probably because all the distractions are not there. No mindless tv or places to go just fresh air, God's beauty and quiet.
We are so thankful for our family and the opportunity to love on each other, to begin to build a new normal and to create memories that will last a lifetime with my mom. As our vacation comes to an end and life enters a new season I feel the loss of Eddie with every breath. As Fall moves in so does hunting season, TTU football, cooler weather and holidays. All the things we love and all the things that make us miss Eddie more. I find myself struggling to take deep breaths and I look for signs of Eddie everywhere. Sleep does not come easy and neither does peace in my heart. It is crazy how the smallest thing can bring on crippling despair.
Saying goodbye to our dog, Mogey before vacation was hard and took a lot out of me. We lost another friend to this stupid pancreatic cancer this past week and I received word today that another close friend who has been battling a different cancer is not doing well. Another husband, father, brother, son, wife, mother, sister, daughter. All these young people who have so much to give are being taken way too soon. It all seems too much most of the times.
I am not sure how it is for other people but for me the months leading up to Eddie's death and the couple of months after, I felt a peace that got me through. Now as I learn to live again, each day becomes harder than the one before. It is like I was living in a fog and as the fog lifts real life begins to set in. Whatever real life might be, I guess we will have to see.
Even with all this despair, God keeps giving me the grace to see the beauty in each day and I see glimpses of healing in my boys. I thank God everyday for the path he is helping me walk even as I find it harder to breath each day I am without Eddie. I am so blessed that God trusted me for this journey even on days that I do not understand. I live with the knowledge that God is walking beside me and will carry me through, even on the days I am filled with anger and days that I fail him.
Make memories, take silly pictures and laugh with each other. Thank you for walking with me.
I find myself longing for one more connection, one more touch, one more kiss, one more hug, one more breath, just one more of everything. I have never been the kind of person who longs to be alone or the kind of person who wants time away from my family. I love being surrounded by people and to feel needed. I love having a purpose and a way to serve others. But, when you loose someone, especially after an illness, the quiet, the stillness, the need to do something and to be needed is overpowering.
I lost my identity on the morning of May 28th. I no longer belonged. I became a widow instead of a wife, single instead of a couple, a single parent instead of co-parent and a party of 3 instead of 4. I have noticed that no matter where we go out to eat, there is always an empty seat, Eddie is always missing because you don't find a table for 3 or a table for 1. The seat next to me in the car, that I used to occupy, now sits empty. The moment the lights go out at night I no longer hear "Are you through pulling the covers?" or "Can you move over a little bit more so I am not falling off the bed?" I just hear silence... For 25 years that was our nightly conversation. Laundry for one person is stupid. Cooking a meal is too much so I either don't eat, eat junk or pick something up. Calling people to make plans to eat is overwhelming. Simple task take extreme energy because you are doing everything that 2 people used to do. Every decision falls on your now.
In my case, life was easier the month following Eddie's death. To be honest, I was probably in shock and I was needed to make decisions and plans. But as life moves forward I find reality setting in and the despair is greater. Most days I make a conscious decision to live or at least fake it because lets face it, life moves on for everyone. It has been 3 months since I last held Eddie's hand, 3 months since I last felt his heartbeat, 3 months since I was a wife and 3 months since I belonged somewhere.
Life can seem overwhelming. Life can seem like you are pulled in every direction. Life can seem like there are not enough hours in the day. And life can see loud. THEN...Life seems overwhelming but in a totally different way. You find yourself doing the pulling just to have connections. And now there are too many hours in the day and it is way too quiet.
Love your people and be grateful for those loud moments...quiet is not all it is cracked up to be!
It has been a couple of weeks since my last post and I kinda left you all hanging. Sorry about that but the words just would not come.
A little update, I did make it to Dallas and back without any trouble. The drive down was just like I thought it would be, hard. The memories came hard and fast and I cried the whole way there. I immersed myself in the grief and I healed a little along the way. I am so glad I went. Thanks for the encouragement, prayers and love.
We are down to days and Zachary will be back home. We will have survived 41 days of him being gone. I am so proud of him for making this bike ride and super excited for him to get home. Kade has been a blessing and my rock over the last 6 weeks. So thankful for him and all he has done to help since Zachary has been gone.
Our family has a lot of plans for the next couple of months. The first and most important thing will be my brother and sisters are taking most of our kids on a family vacation with my mom for the very first time. It will be good for all of us to be together and love on each other.
Second, when we get back, I will be starting a new workout program. Anyone who knows me, knows I hate to workout and sweat! Honestly, I am excited about this. I am joining with some really good people and friends so it should be fun.
Third, the boys and I have a trip planned to a part of the country we have never been too and cannot wait to explore. This one will be stepping WAY outside of my comfort zone but we are excited. It is how I have decided to spend mine and Eddie's anniversary.
Fourth, I have a birthday trip planned with one of my most favorite people in the world.
After that the holidays will roll around. I know they will be hard but honestly I love the holidays so we will make the most of it and make our way through. Exciting months ahead!
"It was only a Dog!"
But after 12 years, they are a part of the family. I watched Mogey watch over Eddie the last year. I watched him lay beside Eddie in the final days. I watched him mourn Eddie after his death. And, I have watched him look for Eddie everyday for the past 3 months.
This past year we have had to say goodbye to 2 of our dogs at times when our loss was already overpowering. We have had to make the decision to end the suffering which is hard to do when you are already broken. It took me weeks to make the decision.
Mogey was one of those dogs that was easy. I never had to put him on a leash because he would stay right with me. He had free rain of the house because it was rare for him to have an accident. He was low energy and loved to lay beside you. So yes, Mogey was just a dog but he was our dog just like we were his people.
I grew up on a farm where dogs roamed free so they did not always last long. If we lost one, we usually got another dog pretty quick. This is one of the reasons I got Lucy after Eddie died because I knew that having no dog was not an option. I could not bear the thought of coming home to an empty house.
So for now, it is just me and Lucy but we are on the lookout for our Ricky or Ethel to join our family. I think it will be funny to name our next one, one of these names. It makes me laugh.
Go out and be great today! Love your family, fur babies and friends!
Thanks for loving me so well,
I will warn you...this one is heavy and hard to write so stop now if you need too.
This week has been exceptional hard, not sure what is different but I feel the loss of Eddie with every breath. I re-live the past year with every waking hour. I long to go back in time, to cherish the days even more than I did and to change the ending.
But unfortunately, life isn't that way. I want to be brave and live life as best as I can and make Eddie and my boys proud but moving forward is a challenge. I am going to attempt to get out of town this weekend and visit some family. The problem I have is that the last time I drove these roads I was driving Eddie home. We both knew it would be the last time we travelled together, the last time he saw the West Texas sky, the last time we would hold hands as we drove for hours. Most importantly, We both knew I was driving him home to die. We did not speak about it but we knew our time was limited. We weren't going to get our magical healing this side of heaven so we just drove both lost in our own pain.
My heart breaks thinking about making this trip. I am not sure If I am ready to do it but I am going to try. I may only make it to the edge of town but I am going to try and if I fail I will try again another day.
Over the past year we made multiple trips to and from Dallas and each one was emotional and life changing. This trip will be no different. Kade can't go with me and I know there are others that would gladly ride along but I have many reasons for wanting to take this journey by myself. The biggest reason is that I refuse to let fear and grief rule my life. Eddie would not be pleased that I am doing this by myself but he would understand.
Learning to do these kinds of things will give my boys the freedom and the comfort to know that I am going to be ok. It will help them move forward with their dreams.
So as you start your weekend, do something for yourself, be brave, make memories and cherish the ones you love.
I have had some really good days this past week, physically and mentally. But with grief it can come out of no where, taking your breath away, causing physical pain and overtaking your whole day. I sometimes feel like I am loosing my mind and it takes everything I have to crawl out of bed and face the day. I do most of my grieving when I am alone. People continue to check up on me. They ask how I am, they call, they text and most of the time when I answer I really am doing good and then some days...well I am just not. Each day, I find that God is good and faithful. He has kept his promise to carry me when I cannot walk. And I am learning that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be and that is only with Gods grace.
The boys and I picked out and ordered the headstone for the cemetery last week. Now let me tell you, if you want a reality check, approve a marker that has your name on if for a grave. It hit me pretty hard to see that. I am not saying this has not felt real but that sure made it all come back in a rush of black clouds. So I took some advise and went all in on my grief. I gave myself a day for just me. I gave myself permission to feel it all or feel nothing whichever fit in that moment. I shut out the world and spent time doing nothing, stayed in my pjs and slept. And you know what? I found out that the world did not stop, I did not stay in the despair and I began to heal just a little bit. 1 step forward...2 steps back but continuing to take that 1 step forward is important.
I am working really hard on putting myself, Zachary and Kade first, finding joy in each day and learning to navigate all the things that Eddie spoiled me with by taking care of. Eddie and I worked really hard to make our home a sanctuary for our family as well as other people. And soooo, I spent last Friday doing what I love and cooked for a few of my people. We sure missed Zachary but I sent him pictures of the food which went over really well. Ha Ha When all you are eating is pasta and grains seeing a home cooked meal is jut plain mean but at least he knew we missed him.
If you did not know, Zachary is on a 1000 mile bike ride from Wyoming to New Mexico writing his own story. This trip is physically, mentally and emotionally hard for him but it is what he needed to do and I love that he was brave enough to take it on. It is one of the hardest things for me not to have him here but time is moving along and he will be home just in time for our big family vacation with my family. My brother, sister and me had decided to plan a trip for my mom last Christmas. It will be the first time we are all together in a long time. Most everyone will get to be there we hope. It will be just what everyone needs after this past year. We have all had a rough year. So getting together to love on each other and heal is just what we all need.
Kade and I are holding down the fort here at home. He is being a good sport and allowing me to hover more than normal and I love him for that.
I ask you to find joy in each day and don't sweat the small things. Give God the glory and love on those you hold close.
If I have learned anything over the last year it is to not live by fear but in the moment. Some of my earliest memories are of being so shy it hurt. I remember feeling pain from the fear that came with being afraid. I was that child who hid behind my parents and cried if someone spoke to me. I was not always comfortable in my own skin and usually felt better if the attention was not on me. Now if I knew people and felt comfortable around them then I usually found myself in the middle of everything. I have always been comfortable running things from the sidelines and letting others have the spotlight. I am a doer. I like to do things for others rarely needing conformation just glad to help others do better.
Eddie and I were determined to not let our boys grow up insecure. We did not want them to feel the same pain I felt. We wanted to make them confident and comfortable going out into the world, living life and exploring all God's amazing creations. But in the same sense we wanted them to know how important family is and being present in each others lives is one of the greatest gifts you can give and receive even if you are not in the same place. We have to make an effort because time can get away from us.
Everyone grieves and heals in different ways. Some need the comfort of home, some may need to surround themselves with good friends and some may need to ride a bike 1000 miles through the mountains all while finding his way back home.
It is not easy to watch your child leave for a month and a half but knowing that having him stay would be the worst thing for him, makes it easier. Trusting him and his 3 good friends to take care of each other is not easy thing for this mom but I am confident that God will watch over them, keep them safe and bring them home better than they left. It is still hard to send him off knowing that the road he will travel, physically and emotionally, will be brutal but so worth it.
Sometimes, staying here and embracing your pain can be just as brave as venturing out into the world. We all find our way in our own time and in our own way. All I can do is say, "Zachary and Kade" live boldly and always find your way home. I love you both!
Thanks for listening,
Anyone that knows me or has been around my family, knows that I am a "crier". I cry when I am happy, sad, sentimental or just because. The boys always roll their eyes and smile when it happens and Eddie used to take it all in stride. Having that release has been helped but the past couple of weeks I noticed that as life moved forward the tears did not come as often, which is good and bad. I have found myself moving along each day without feeling much. I am the type of person who does what needs to be done and what is expected. An example of this would be that I came to work 1 day after Eddie died to do my End of Month reports, not because my company expected it but because I expected it. I go to work because what else am I going to do. In my mind, I should go to work because what kind of a person calls in because they are sad? What kind of a person would I be if I sat on my couch and did nothing because a part of me is missing and I don't know how to move? What kind of person would I be if I allowed myself to feel EVERYTHING?
I was told this week by our grief counselor that this makes her sad for me. I have been told that I need to allow myself to feel the grief, to be all in my grief. If I am sad, be sad. If I am angry, be angry. If I need to hide away from the world, do it. Don't wallow but do allow myself to feel, which will allow me to heal. I am not sure I am ready time will tell. Sofor today...I choose to be happy and maybe tomorrow I will choose to be sad, who knows.
Okay, I am going to try and post something positive and upbeat because even I am sick of me. That is one of the drawbacks to suddenly being alone, no one to talk too and no one to call you out and say that is enough. I guess one of the things I want you to know is that even when I am in the dark debts of grief, I see my blessings in our boys, in my family and in the wonderfully faithful friends.
As a parent you always hope you are raising good people, who love the Lord and respect others and I can say with great confidence that Eddie and I have raised GOOD PEOPLE. Our boys have shown so much grace and love throughout the crappy cards they were dealt and we are so proud of them. They are learning to move forward in our new normal and write their own story. I am excited for their futures and all that they are doing. God has great plans for these two.
For any parent, a right of passage is an Empty Nest. We should want that for our kids and ourselves. It is part of growing up and moving on. Well, that happened this week in our house. It is hard on all of us but it is something Eddie and I have wanted for Kade for a long time. The timing just stinks and yes I have cried but really there would never have be an easier time even if Eddie was here. I would never ask either of the boys to stay home. The end goal has always been for them to move out and live their lives and experience the world. So that is what I want them to do, find a way to love life again and have happy moments.
Zachary and Kade, you are two of my GREATEST blessings that allow me to push through the darkness. I love you both more than you know. Be happy and live life...
Everyone, be safe this weekend!
Today marks 1 month since Eddie died. Today is no different than May 28th. It does not hurt any less and is not any easier.
But life does go on and summer is in full swing for us. Kade is moving into a new house with Zachary and his roommates this week. Zachary is preparing for a 1200 mile bike ride from Wyoming to New Mexico from July 15th - August 24th. (I am a liitle nervous about this one), Then my brother's family is meeting Caryn's family, Mom, boys and me in Colorado for a week. This is a trip we planned at Christmas when we thought Eddie was cancer free and we are so excited about it. Life is moving forward...
I never realized how grief could overtake your whole being. I watched my mom go through this and I remember thinking all she needs to do is get up. That seems to be getting harder as the days go by and I am sorry I was not more understanding with Mom. Throughout Eddie's diagnoses, surgeries, treatments and death my migraines stayed under control but fast forward one month after his death and I have one almost every day, pain in my neck and everything is more severe. I have heard people talk about this but I have never experienced it first hand. I am at a loss on what to do to make it better. Mentally, I think I am coming along, good and bad days. Physically, I am struggling. I have tried massages, chiropractor, meds and nothing seems to work. Every part of my neck and head hurt almost 24/7. Truly relaxing is a daily struggle. I would love to stay home and sleep but I won't let myself do it. For me, part of moving forward is getting up everyday just like always, making plans and doing the small things. I know the day is coming when my body will say enough...no more. All of the meds that I take wreck me emotionally as well as physically. So I am working on letting myself heal, mentally and physically as well as allowing myself to grieve and giving myself permission to have bad days and stay home if I need too.
I know that part of the problem is this weekend coming up. It is a hard one for me. Eddie and I always surrounded ourselves with the boys friends on the 4th of July, hung out at the house and relaxed. Last year, this was the weekend Eddie started feeling bad and on July 6th our whole world changed. I remember how normal our weekend was before and how crazy the following week was. I am so thankful for the symptoms that he had and that he did not make the trip to Haiti with our youth group and that we got 11 months but at the same time, I hate that we only got 11 months.
So I am focusing on surviving 1 month and 1 day without Eddie. Thanks for reading and loving us.
Let's face it death makes us uncomfortable. There is the sadness that surrounds those left behind. No one knows what to do or say. I have felt that way. I have used every excuse in the book because I was uncomfortable around the family of those that have died.
There is the awkwardness when someone does not know that he has died and ask how they are doing.
You don't know what to say so you say nothing.
You want to give space and before you know it life takes over and months pass.
You don't want to call because it might bother them or they might be having a bad day and it will make it worse. Or they might be having a good day and it might make it bad. Every day is a struggle so always call. Who knows that maybe God giving you a nudge that that person needs you.
God is showing me that being uncomfortable is ok. It stinks but it is ok. I remind myself that God, Mary and Joseph were not comfortable watching their son die on the cross for me. So why should I think Eddie's death would be comfortable. Nothing about Eddie's death was comfortable. Nothing about his illness was comfortable. Nothing about living without him is comfortable.
I don't want anyone to think that people are not reaching out to me because they are. But there is almost always a note attached to the text or voicemail that says something like...I have been thinking about you but just did not know what to say or sorry I have not called but I...
I promise that most people in my position have not noticed who has not called or how long it has been since you reached out. I am just thankful that you continue to reach out, that you continue to remember me and that you continue to love me. Grief does not come with a handbook and it does not come with a time table. It just takes over your life and becomes a part of who you are.
So the next time one of these excuses comes to mind, remember that doing nothing is not what I need. Most days all I can do is make a decision on what to wear to work and everything else gets decided on or not. I read every text message, every facebook message, listen to every voicemail and I love everyone of them. Some I answer and some I don't. But I can promise you that if I can or if I want too I will answer but know that I am feeling your love no matter what. Don't stop because you think it is a bother, some days it is more than I can handle and others it is not.
Have a blessed day and love those around you.
I knew it would happen one day. I tried to mentally prepare myself. 24 days after Eddie died, I left work and picked my phone up to call him just like I have done for 24 years. So I pressed his number and listened to his voice and cried out for my husband. Wishing with everything I have that he would pick up and talk to me about nothing and about everything. Oh how I miss Eddie. The little things that I took for granted are what I miss the most. Each day has its own struggles but each day has its own victories. I long to share my thoughts, my days, my nights...my life with him.
Wouldn't you know that the first holiday that we have without Eddie would be Father's Day? It has always been a hard one for me even after 26 years but celebrating Eddie and my grandfather made it easier. Now with both of them gone too, it will be even harder. The boys and I made the best of it but it just was not be the same of course. We never really made a big deal out of mother's day or father's day, just spent the day together as a family and that is what we did. The boys are going to celebrate a little late by going to watch the USA men play Argentina Tuesday night. Eddie would have loved to do this with the boys. He would have complained about the money being spent but he would have loved it.
Life is continuing and memories are being made. I think that is what I am trying to learn.