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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rear view...

My computer crashed over the weekend.  Fortunately the hard drive was salvageable, but I had to buy a new computer. The computer whiz said they could transfer all the data from my old hard drive to the new one and it would take a day or two. I  picked up the new computer yesterday, and last night was going through the files to make sure everything got transferred.  I of course was most concerned about pictures and videos, I had almost 7000 photos...most of them from my former life. Many of which I've avoided looking at because it is so hard to do.

I'm always finding myself awed at how quickly the girls change and grow, and am always saddened when I think of how much of them Andie has never known.  But actually looking at pictures that feel like they were taken decades ago struck me with a force much stronger than I expected.  I had saved the pictures in folders according to their ages at the time...1st birthday, 13 months, 15 months, 16 months, and so on.  Literally seeing how much they have physically grown and changed in such a short time, and realizing he never knew them at so many stages had me on the verge of tears.  And then I found the video folders. I opened one of me when I was pregnant; Andie was filming so I couldn't see him but he was talking, and hearing his voice brought back so much. His voice was almost unrecognizable, and had I heard it out of context I might not have recognized it as his after almost 3 years of not hearing it at all.  It didn't sound like I remembered and it broke my heart; it made me feel like I've let him down in not even being able to accurately conjure up the sound of his voice from memory.

Naturally, this morning on my drive to work (when I do most of my thinking and reflecting) my thoughts drifted to him and memories of our life. Some tough personal things have been going on for the past 6 weeks and I've felt his presence, seen his signs, and talked to him a lot lately.  I was kind of in my own world thinking of him when I realized a hearse was in front of me, and because I was behind it I could see there was a casket in it. I thought it was odd to see a hearse before 8 in the morning that had a casket in it.  There is a small cemetery on the way to my school and I thought perhaps it was going there- though again, odd at this hour and no funeral procession with it. Just a lone hearse.  As the road opened to two lanes I passed the hearse and got ahead, as did a couple more cars. I almost forgot it was there because it had fallen so far behind me.  After we passed the cemetery I looked in my rear view and the hearse was right behind me.  I couldn't imagine where it was going, but it felt strange for it to be following me. 

Such a perfect metaphor for my grief; in the early days it was front and center, it led me, and preceded every thought. I eventually caught up to it and passed it, and  now it's still there behind me- always.  At times it's very near and other times farther in the back of my mind, but always present if look for it. 

As I got near my turn off to get to the high school I pulled into the left lane and was astounded when the hearse pulled in directly behind me to turn left also- the only thing down this road is the high school and was as if the universe was trying to tell me I can't out run the grief, it will always be there.  It actually turned in to the main entrance to the high school and that's when I remembered that the school was putting on one of those demonstrations for the students where they see the effects of drunk driving, (i.e. a wreck and actual students pretending to die, etc.).

 But I still couldn't help thinking that there was some message there for me in seeing that hearse this morning.  Some reminder that he is always with me, he is always there...if I just look back.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

I said "Yes!"

I'm engaged!! I'm going to marry the most wonderful man, the answer to my prayers, the perfect fit for me. He proposed in a place that is very special to me, and was very special to Andie. The place where I go when I need to connect with Andie and find peace.  It is one of my happiest places in the world.  He wanted to do it there because he wanted me to know that Andie will always be a part of our lives.  We will always honor him and welcome memories of him, and teach the girls about the kind of man he was.

Before I even met my fiance, while browsing for ways to redesign my original wedding ring, I found a morganite ring.  I fell in love with the soft pink color and was smitten.  I decided then that if I ever got married again this was the stone I wanted.  I didn't want anything traditional or ordinary, as I knew that anyone who I could choose to share my life with again would in no way be traditional or ordinary.  It would have to be a unique and extraordinary love for me to open my heart up again. I had never heard of morganite before so I did a little research and found this...

"Morganite is known both as an angel stone and a heart stone. It can bring love to one's life or rekindle old love. As an angel stone, it is known to help with communicating with angels. Morganite also brings compassion, empathy, self-control, and patience. It can also balance emotions and ease the pain of separation."

"Morganite helps to you attract a soul-mate or to deepen the emotional bonds already present in a relationship. It can also assist you in breaking the ties of destructive relationships, by bolstering your self-confidence and self-love. It assists you to release old emotional patterns freeing you to begin love anew. Its energy also brings peace and acceptance in times of grief and loss."

It sounded like it was made for me, and for where I imagined I would be at the time in my life when I would be ready to heal and accept the loss of Andie, while moving forward with someone new.  Luckily, when I shared my thoughts with him about the kind of ring I wanted he was totally on board and found the perfect one for me!  And he loved the symbolism of the stone also.  The ability to incorporate my past as it made me who I am today and the person he fell in love with, while also incorporating our deep love for each other and who we will grow to be, is something we both value.  Honoring the love I had in my life with Andie is an integral part in allowing me to accept new love in my life again.

I have to say that I feel I have found my soul mate.  I feel a deep emotional connection and intimacy with him that I have never experienced with another person.  I have allowed myself to be completely open and vulnerable so that he knows every part of me.  I can not imagine being able to find this kind of bond ever again.  I am so blessed to be able to have this kind of love in my life.  He is an exceptional man who adores me and my children and I couldn't be happier to continue the journey with anyone else.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It's still hard

Two and half years later and the holidays are still hard.  They are still full of tension and white knuckling it for me.  Trying to put on the happy face for my kids and those around me...I don't want anyone's pity or sorrowful expressions, I don't want to break down and cry, I don't want to be a scrooge.  I truly want the holidays to be happy, but they still hurt so much.  It's still hard to see how much he has missed out on with the kids.  It's still hard to go to his parents' house and be surrounded by his family without him there.  Knowing how much I still hurt and wondering how they are holding up, but nobody wanting to bring it up.  Mostly, it's still hard to acknowledge that it will always be hard.  This pain will never not be there.

This year was especially different because we have my boyfriend's three children with us. Knowing they were coming was exciting, it was the first year I've actually looked forward to the holidays because I had someone to make it fun for, and it was the first year my kids understood the concept of Christmas and were actually excited themselves. It has been great to have them all here- it's been a happy distraction to have five kids in the house.  They have been so much fun to have around and it's been great for my kids to have some others to play with.  There has been lots of smiling and laughing.  They all get along beautifully which is such a blessing.

But it brings up for me just how much my life has drastically changed in two and a half years.  I feel more and more like I have lived two separate lives and it still is all so surreal.  I'm grateful for this beautiful new way of life I'm creating with a wonderful man and his beautiful children because it means that I'm healing, and it means I'm able to find joy and provide happy experiences for my kids, but I still miss Andie so much.  I still hurt for how much of him my children never got to know.  I still hurt for how much he and I never got to share together as parents.  I still can't believe this is all really true most of the time...I hate that the happiest times will always be tainted with the bittersweet pain of loss.