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Monday, January 31, 2011


I'm lying awake feeling like I'm going to vomit with a flutter in my chest that can only be described as the beginnings of a panic attack. I've just had a flashback of the night Andie died and can't go back to sleep.

I'm trying to think what triggered this tonight and it must have been a conversation I had with my mom earlier in the weekend. I told her that I had known Andie was not going to make it before the ambulance even got there. She was surprised that I had never shared this with her; she too knew he wasn't going to make it then, but had never shared that with me. I've never spoken it to anyone really because to admit it feels like I gave up hope somehow. It's the same reason I couldn't tell him I loved him that night- It was like admitting defeat if I told him I loved him for what I instinctively knew would be the last time. And that by somehow doing that, I would be the one to seal his fate. Not a responsibility I was willing to accept. So I held out a tiny sliver of hope, but something deep inside me just knew...

So tonight the flashback is about that night and me trying to figure out the exact moment when I knew that he was going to die. Replaying it moment by moment to see if I can pinpoint when the "knowing" came. I don't recall having a conscious thought that he was going to die but I knew it on an intuitive level. It was purely gut instinct, but I knew. It washed over me at some point. I remember when we finally got in the ambulance and I thought I should pray, but for a split second I wondered if it was worth it because I knew it wouldn't make a difference. I was already angered with God and feeling resigned to the fact that he wasn't going to help me...though that too was not a conscious thought. Just a feeling deep inside...but I prayed anyway holding on to that tiny sliver of hope cause my mind could not accept what my instinct already knew.

I had the same gut level sense of "knowing" the day I learned my father died. I had gone to school like a regular morning that day. The few days prior my dad had been having some heart problems but the doctors had sent him home- everything was going to be okay. The assistant principal came up to me in the cafeteria and told me to go get my things because my mom was coming to get that moment, though no other details were given to me, I knew my dad was gone. Again, I didn't have the conscious thought that he was dead but I intuitively sensed it.

It's a feeling of deep foreboding that comes with this sense of knowing. It's painful, gut-wrenching, and literally heavy. It's something that is very hard to even put into words. It's intuitive, instinctual, primal. There is a millisecond of extreme focus and peaceful acceptance of fate when the "knowing" creeps in but then your mind takes over again, trying to will it all to be different, fighting to make the impossible possible. Your mind is the last to catch up, but your body knows, your soul knows.

Your heart knows...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Beautiful in his eyes...

I was updating the apps on my phone today, something I hadn’t done in ages. Some of them were ones that Andie had put on his phone and when I combined our plan together, his apps became mine. Since they were tied to his account it wanted his password to perform some of the updates. I tried several passwords that I thought it might have been, but none worked and it asked me if I would like to change the password. It said I could answer the security questions that Andie had set up or have a new password sent to his email account. I figured I had a pretty good chance of being able to answer the security questions correctly so I proceeded with that option. First it asked me for his date of birth. This is going to be easy, I thought. Then the second question appeared:

“Who is beautiful?”

I entered my name and “presto!” - I had instant access his account. I thought it was so sweet that he had set this up as his security question. It literally made my heart smile and brought a moment of pure joy that I haven’t felt in over 7 months. I’ve never doubted his love for me, but in that moment it was affirmed so strongly. He was always thinking of me in all that he said and did. He never saw me as anything but beautiful; even after the ravages of pregnancy and childbirth when I became the most insecure about myself. And even after he is gone I still have these little affirmations to reassure me since he can’t actually reassure me himself anymore.
Seeing that question pop up today was almost as good as hearing him actually say the words himself.

I was always beautiful in his eyes.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I’ve been feeling adrift, floating around with nothing tethering me down. No one to anchor me. I feel myself grasping for connection with others yet it always leaves me unfulfilled. As people continue to move on with their lives and I become less central to their focus, I feel starved for attention. More disconnected than ever. I’m checking email and the blogs more often- hoping there will be a gift in my in-box or a new post someone has put up that will validate me. But nothing fills the emptiness.

The only one who could really be the connection I always needed and wanted is gone. Nobody gets me as well has he did. I will never find another who needs me the way he did. I will never want to be with someone as much as I wanted to be with him; he was just so comfortable to be with. He made it all okay. He gave me purpose. He anchored me and gave me a direction to follow. Now my line has been cut and I’m floating without direction because there is no one to guide me.

I never believed in soul mates when he was alive. I always believed that there were several people we could come across in our life paths who we could settle down and make a happy connection with. I believed that it all had to do with timing, and if each person was ready at the right time then it would work. Most of the time I still believe that, but more and more these days, as I feel adrift and like nobody gets me the way he did, I entertain the idea that perhaps he was my soul mate. My one and only.

Nobody can fill the void. Nobody leaves me satiated.
I’m always clinging and wanting more, and what I realize is that I’m just wanting more of him.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I have a great friend from highschool who makes beautiful jewelry. After Andie died she made me a necklace with several charms on it that had significant meaning to me. Recently I commissioned a new one to add to the collection. It is a charm with the date of Andie's death on the back and the word "PUSH" on the front. A daily reminder for me that I can push on, I will push on, and I have to push on.

Check out my friend's website at and get some of your own inspirational jewelry made... and tell her I sent ya!

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Allie got sick today. I think she'd been working up to this for a few days. She'd been fussy and not sleeping well and I couldn't really figure out what was wrong. Today she made it abundantly clear exactly what was wrong.

After church we went to a restaurant for lunch and before we could even be sat at our table she vomited all over me, all over herself, all over the bench in the waiting area. My father in-law ended up having to drive us home so I could bathe her and get her in bed. I had to ask my father in-law to stay with me and feed Addie lunch while I got Allie and myself cleaned up.
A couple of hours later we went for round two and she threw up all over me in the recliner. She remained lethargic all day. Not taking an fluids and just wanting to be held. Addie still had to be cared for and I couldn't drop everything for Allie's sake and just let Addie suffer. So my in-laws stayed with me all afternoon and until I got the girls in bed tonight. I literally could not have made it through the afternoon without my in-laws.

And it's not until now, in the quiet and calm of the evening when I am once again alone that the tears come. Because I realize I simply cannot do it all. Because I shouldn't have to rely on my in-laws to sacrifice their entire day to help me. I should have a husband here, who though he would gag at the smell of their vomit, would be in the midst of it all with me. Who would be yelling at me from the kitchen while I'm bathing Allie, "Babe, what am I supposed to feed Addie for lunch?" And I'd yell back, "Give her a hotdog, a cheese stick, and some fruit." And then roll my eyes to myself that he couldn't think of a simple lunch to put together while I am busy washing the chunks of vomit from my daughter. And when she vomited in his favorite recliner he would be disgusted and want to spray it with lysol. I'd tell him to put her clothes in the washer and he would, but he wouldn't know to rinse the vomit in the sink first and I'd be annoyed again. He would've wanted to be helpful so he would've gone out and picked us up dinner, cleaned up the kitchen, picked up the toy room, fed the dogs, and taken out the trash, all without me asking. Then he wouldv'e held those babies tight and cuddled them til they fell asleep in his arms, all the while, telling me to go take a shower, knowing I would need the 20 minutes to myself.

I want him to be here so I can be annoyed at the little things again. So I could have someone who knows me so well that I wouldn't have to tell him what I want from the fast food restaurant, he would just know. I want him here so I can crawl into bed at the end of this night, sigh, and chuckle with him about how crazy he was to spray the furniture with lysol. I would kiss him and tell him that I loved him and that I really appreciated all his help today. He would've said, "But all I did was make a hotdog."

And that would have been enough...

Friday, January 21, 2011

3 days later...

The healing is creeping in. Ever so slowly. As though all the crying I do is wringing out the pain from my soul and tear by tear, drop by drop, it is making room for peace to soak back in and settle in its place.

I know this because I forgot to go to the grave this month. I go on the 18th of every month without fail. It has been so important for me to do this that I make special arrangements to be able to go. Getting up early so I have time to go before work, or asking the nanny to stay a little late so I can make a detour there on my way home from work. But this month, it didn’t consume me. This month, I simply forgot. It didn’t even cross my mind.

Until today… 3 days later.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


but·tress   [buh-tris]
1. any external prop or support built to steady a structure by opposing its outward thrusts

–verb (used with object)
2. to support by a buttress; prop up.
3. to give encouragement or support to (a person, plan, etc.).

I have my own buttresses in the form of some very important friends in my life. Every 18th of the month we get together for dinner as a way to get my mind off of the sad emotions of the anniversary. Not all of us are able to make it every time being that there are kids/spouses/jobs/ etc. to tend to, but there is usually no less than 4 of us. I look forward to this day the whole month and am always sad when the night has to end. They all bring a unique perspective to my life and understand me in a unique way. There is…

“The other half of my brain” –She thinks like me, knows how I tick, and gets me in a way that nobody else does. We can finish each other’s sentences or know what the other one is thinking with a simple look. She is the sister I never had. She has been there with me every step of the way, and no matter how small or slow I might be stepping- she’s behind me 100%. She epitomizes what a true friend is. I don't know how I'll ever live up to her example.

“My sister in-law”- she understands the family dynamics from the inside out. She knows the wonderful joys, and sometimes frustrations of being part of such a close knit family. She is one of the most patient and giving people I know...and she can always make me laugh!

“My light”- she is always in a good mood, kind to everyone she meets, and a true inspiration with her gentle, caring soul. I want to have a disposition like hers. I want to make everyone I come in contact with feel special, and worthy, and awesome like she does.

“The straight shooter”- the only other single mom in the group, she understands the tribulations of flying solo. She really gets what it’s like to not be overwhelmingly happy for others who are getting married/having a baby/in a new relationship, etc. because we know that life just isn’t always so grand. She keeps me grounded and has great perspective; never letting me get worked up over the small stuff.

“My fireman”-You know that fireman saying that they "run in when everyone else runs out"? Well, when everyone else ran out she ran in… okay, not everyone else ran out, but she is the happy surprise in all of this. Someone who has become closer to me through this because she stepped in and wasn’t afraid to do so. She didn’t avoid me like some people have. She was the casual friend who has become a true, close friend. I’m so thankful for people like her and for her courage- something I admire.

“The cheerleader” - She’s been my biggest cheerleader for writing a book about my grief and using the experience for good. Always ready to lend a hand with offers of help and support. And never afraid to tell it like it is and give me her honest opinion.

“The seen it all from the beginning friend” - married to my husband’s best friend, she has been around me the longest and knew Andie and I both before we were a couple. She is the only one to have known us as a couple for the entire time we were together. She knows the full history.

All of them give me something I need, and I can only hope that in some small way I am able to return the favor for them. They fulfill me, sustain me, prop me up, and support me…

Being an introvert, I’ve never been one to form lots of friendships. I remember in middle school when cliques and being left out was commonplace. I took on the stance that I didn’t need friends. I was perfectly happy being alone. And for the most part I was, and still am. But I distinctly remember a heart-to-heart talk with my father during that time in which he said, “Brooke, you need people. You can’t go through life alone.” And he was right.

And thank God for these wonderful angels that have been put in my path to help me learn that lesson once again. I do need people. I need them.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Word play...

Yesterday at the grocery store I handed the cashier my coupon. She was a young, pretty girl- probably no more than 20 years old if I’m being generous. She noticed my wedding ring, complimented me on it and asked to see it again. I obliged her though I could feel the anxiety rising…I knew the questions were about to start rolling off her tongue. She oohed and aahed over how pretty it is and asked if he had picked it out himself. I replied simply, saying he had- offering no other details. “He must have really good taste in jewelry,” she said. “Yes he does,” I reply. Choosing to refer to him in the present tense because that is easier than explaining that he “did” have good taste in jewelry, that he “used to”, that he doesn’t anymore because he is dead. She continued to gush about how she and her boyfriend just recently went ring shopping and she was so excited….blah, blah, blah. Honestly I didn’t hear another word she said. I was lost in my own thoughts by then.

It was the first time since all of this began that I actually wished I hadn’t worn my ring. Not because I’m not proud of it, but because sometimes it’s just easier to not have a reason to talk about my husband. Sometimes I don’t want to do all the explanations, and occasionally I find myself making a split second decision about whether or not to let someone believe my husband is still alive, or jarring them with reality and telling them the truth.

Ironically, this young cashier is the same one who many weeks ago noticed the necklace I wear with a replica of his sheriff’s badge on it. In that interaction she asks where my husband works and I awkwardly stumble through the explanation that he used to work at Guadalupe County Sheriff’s office but doesn’t anymore because he passed away. She gave me the “I’m so sorry I asked” look and profusely apologized. To which I profusely apologized to her for making her uncomfortable. We both pretty much abruptly stopped talking to each other, and avoided each other’s gaze through the awkward silence of the guy bagging my groceries. Though she obviously doesn’t remember this interaction as she continues to talk about rings, and how lucky I am to have a husband who has such great taste in jewelry. This wide eyed, young girl, so in love, would be shocked to know what real life can do to you.

So I referred to him in the present tense. Letting her (and me) believe for a second that I was going home with my groceries to the man with “great taste in jewelry”. Letting her believe in happily ever after. No need to ruin her dreams. No reason to let reality come crashing down around her just because misery loves company.

I was her once. Excited and eager about sharing my future with the love of my life. I was young and in love, and didn’t know that it could all slip from my grasp so quickly and stealthily that it would leave my head spinning and my heart empty without the slightest warning.

He has been gone 7 months today. But I guess he still has great taste in jewelry.
Yes, he does…

Monday, January 17, 2011

Make a choice...

Today the weather was beautiful for the first time in what seems like forever. I had the urge to get outside and move. To breathe. To feel the sun. To feel alive. I haven’t been exercising since Andie died but today I needed to run. I had the itch. I loaded the girls in the stroller and off we went. The sun was shining but it was still a chilly day. I wasn't able to run as far as I used to. My body hasn’t been use to that kind of abuse lately.

As I ran, Andie’s ring which is on a chain around my neck, bounced up and down on my chest, stinging my skin. The cold air burned my lungs and my chest tightened. My muscles tensed and strained with the weight of the girls. I wasn’t acclimated to the cool weather and it took a minute for my body to loosen up and give in to the pressure. I wondered if this was how he felt when we went running and he complained that he couldn’t catch his breath and his chest hurt. I push this thought from my mind. I push the girls up the next hill. I push myself to keep going. This moment is not about him, I tell myself. Every other moment of every other day is about him. But this moment, on this day is mine. Right now it is about me.

It’s about pushing myself to take my life back. To not be defined wholly by the fact that I am his widow. It's about living in the moment and accepting it for what it is. Not wishing it was something different. It's surrendering to the fact that I don’t know what tomorrow holds, or the next day, or the day after that- but it doesn’t really matter anyway. What matters is being present and engaged with my children, being true to myself, accepting the blessing of being alive- right now.

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about creating an acronym for my mantra…”push.” I’ve come up with many but none of them ring true to me. I tossed around…

Sometimes in life, Pretty Ugly Shit Happens (too pessimistic)
Persistence, Understanding, Survival, Hope (not bad, but still not the true essence of what push means to me)
Pain, Undone, Sadness, Heartache (blah, too depressing)
Prayer, Unity, Salvation, Healing (too sappy and idealistic)
And the list goes on and on...

The one that I keep coming back to time and time again because it conveys what push means to me in those moments when I have to push myself is:

“Perseverance Unleashed, Strength Harnessed”

Because for me, in the moments when I need a push it’s about unleashing the power within myself in order to persevere. It’s about harnessing emotional, physical, and spiritual strength to survive.

So today I made a choice. Today I pushed.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Note to self: read the fine print...

Today at snack time I feed the girls at the table and the monotony of the task hits me. It feels like I have prepared their meals, fed them, and cleaned up after them all by myself a million times. Then I realize that I have. They were still in high chairs with trays when he died. They were still eating pureed foods and drinking out of a bottle. So much has changed that he does not know about. In the few short months, our lives have dramatically changed in a myriad of small but significant ways. I ponder all the things he never got to see and doesn't know about.

He does not know that:
They can eat with a fork and drink out of sippy cup, all the while eating table food exclusively- no more pureeing veggies
They can hop like a bunny, moo like a cow, and hoot like an owl
They have natural rhythm and love to dance just like me
They love pizza as much as I do
They are able to identify with startling accuracy almost all of the animals, shapes, and many objects in their books, which they look through incessantly
They love each other and often hug and cuddle- their bond is unique and special
They know him; they recognize him in most pictures they see
They love to brush their teeth
They know how old they are and proudly raise their index finger when asked
They love to ride in the car and get excited repeating “Go” over and over when we say we are going somewhere
They give high fives and make silly faces on command
They crawl on everything, and open everything....everything
They follow simple commands and directions
They try to put their own shoes and socks on, and at bath time try to take their pants off
They build towers out of blocks and are able to do simple big board puzzles
They love to flip the light switches on and off
They love to eat ice like him, and when they see an adult drinking out of a cup they say "ice" over and over until they are given a piece
They love to rough house and get tickles, something I always imagined him doing with them
They squeal with delight and clap whenever they are proud of something they have accomplished

All of these beautiful, unique things that make them who they are and he has never experienced them. He's never had the joy of seeing them giggle with delight when being chased. Never seen them hug and kiss each other. Never watched with amazement as I have when they aren't sure how to do something and they just keep trying until they get it right. He's never walked into their room at night while they are wide awake, only to have them pretend to be asleep as though they can fool us. He's never had them cling to his leg and demand "up" because they so desperately want to be held.

It is with penetrating sadness that I realize this is all only the tip of the iceberg. He never got to be a part of shaping who they are, and who they will become. The sole task of instilling values, morals, life lessons, and personality traits is left to me.

When I said "til death do us part" this isn't what I had in mind.
This isn't what I signed up for.
I sit here heaving and sobbing, asking God if there is any way I can re-negotiate the contract.
Surely, there is an escape clause in the fine print somewhere.
Then I realize, this IS the fine print...I just didn't read it.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Glutton for punishment...

Last night I cleaned off the dresser in our bedroom. All of the sympathy cards that were in a pile, all of the newspaper articles about his death, the flags draped over his casket, the little mementos gathered over the past several months. I boxed up all the cards and newspapers and things I wanted to save. The flags are still folded and on the dresser. But everything else was put away. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I had been dreading this task and defiantly refusing to do it for so long- as usual, the anticipation of the event was worse than the reality. Mom was there to lend moral support, which helped a great deal.

Mom told me that she was listening to a CD in her car the other day and one of the songs from me and Andie’s wedding came on and she had to stop listening to the CD because it made her so sad. I’m the exact opposite- I like to listen to songs that remind me of Andie.

In fact, I have created a “soundtrack” to my life with Andie. There are over 30 songs on it and I continually add more. The songs all hold special meaning and remind me of different times in our life from the start of our friendship, through dating, marriage, kids, his death, my grieving, etc. Some of the songs are really happy. Like the ones that remind me of when we were dating and hanging out at bars on the square of San Marcos during our college days. And of course our wedding songs. Songs that remind me of the drives we’d take through the hill country on sunny days early in our marriage dreaming about where we’d love to buy land and settle down. There is one that reminds me of the last time we spontaneously (rarely happens with twins) “re-consummated” our marriage…I had been cooking one of his favorite meals for dinner and was listening to my ipod in the kitchen. He came into the kitchen and danced with me for a few seconds- a rarity in itself. Then we both started acting goofy, laughed at ourselves, kissed, then…well, you know the rest of the story. These cherished memories- sacred glimpses into how we were when no one was looking and we just had the comfort of each other. One of the songs reminds me of the triumphs over the difficult times in our marriage; how we continued to persevere and made it through and our commitment was stronger for it. The songs that we played at his funeral are on there, and some other songs about losing someone you love. Some of his favorite songs that he would turn up and sing to every time they came on the radio are on there. This playlist is basically the story of my life...of our life together. The good, the bad, the easy times, the hard times, the fun we had and didn't have, the daily grind of life...all of it.

Anyway, I listen to this playlist most days in the car on my way to work and on my way home. Sometimes it brings me comfort and makes me smile. Most times it is heart-wrenching and makes me cry. I tell Mom about this last night after she shares her experience of the song making her sad, and she says she can’t understand how I can possibly put myself through that. I wonder the same thing and come to the conclusion that it’s cathartic. It makes me face the grief full on. It floods my mind with memories of him and though painful, it is also strangely comforting.

I guess I force myself to do these painful things like look at sympathy cards and listen to sad songs because the alternative is to feel numb. Hurting is better than not feeling anything at all- though I never understood that view point until I was put in this position. Most days I’m still so detached and in denial that I’m walking around in a fog. Can you actually still be in denial if you acknowledge that you’re in denial? Probably not, so I guess what I am is: bewildered, dumbfounded, in utter disbelief that my husband is never going to walk through that door again and give me that “I’m so glad to be home” smile. He is still so real to me. My mind can't make sense of all of this.

So why do I push myself to confront the painful stuff when I could just as easily avoid it and stay in the comfort of my fog?
Well, because as the saying goes
It just hurts so good…

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Allie had a follow up appointment with the dermatologist today to look at her birth mark. The clinic where he sees her is in downtown San Antonio- a place I venture only occasionally. On our way home, the usual route, I see graffiti on a wall that I’ve never seen. The reason I’ve never seen it is because usually at this point in our drive home I was always on the phone to Andie to tell him how the appointment went, only this time I didn’t have him to call.

I wasn’t on autopilot while talking on the phone like usual; this time I was completely aware of my surroundings. Hyper-aware. So aware of all the details I had previously failed to see that it was all grossly unfamiliar. Suddenly I was in a different world. A place I didn’t recognize, and for half a second I actually thought I had taken a wrong turn and was lost. It was disorienting and just one more reminder of how his absence impacts me in ways I never would’ve imagined. Ways I can never prepare for because they hit me out of nowhere. These moments blindside me.

Here I was thinking that the past few days had been going pretty okay. I hadn’t been feeling too sad so maybe I was hitting the “acceptance” stage. Just maybe, I had finally convinced myself that I could acknowledge that this is permanent. That I’ve developed a new normal, and this is just the way it is now. Just when I was starting to think that maybe I'll actually get through this...

I am blindsided once more.
Grief scores again and takes the lead...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Balance Beam...

I realize that all of my relationships are very one-sided right now. They should be reciprocal but they’re not. I’ve never been great at reaching out and making an effort to stay connected with people, but right now it’s worse-it’s just more than I can handle. It takes all of my mental energy to just exist and I don’t have the ability to think about connecting with others, much less actually follow through.

It’s like when you’re a little kid learning how to walk on a balance beam. Each step precarious, and requiring great effort. One little distraction that breaks your concentration sends you tumbling and you’ve lost your balance. After giving birth to two children at one time my equilibrium was off for a while. My focus was on learning how to incorporate two humans into my life who depended solely on me and my husband to exist. Just when I was back on my feet I lost my husband and once again I’ve lost my balance. Now those two little humans depend solely on me and me alone. My confidence has been shaken, and I have to focus and concentrate very hard to just make it through the day. Each step, no matter how small, is scary. One little distraction and I go tumbling…

I know I’m pushing people away, or at the very least not pulling them in my direction. I don’t want people to forget about me. I don’t want people to forget about Andie. I don’t want people to quit talking about him, or sharing things about him. Now that I’m on the back side of a year, past the first 6 months, and this is no longer considered “new” or “fresh” by most standards, I’m terrified that people will forget. I don’t want people to stop checking in or making the effort, but I also understand it’s hard to be on the giving end all of the time…

I wonder if this is why the theme of losing old friends and making new ones is so big in the widow world; lots of widows talk about how the very people they thought they could depend on are suddenly nowhere to be found. We simply don’t have the mental energy to devote to keeping up with friends, and I wonder if they fade away because they get tired of making all the effort. Because they don't understand that they are requiring too much from us. Because just when things are getting back to normal for them, our lives are hit with the full gravity of the situation just as the shock has worn off. Yet, there are those who never give up and keep checking in. I truly thank God for them, and am blessed to have many people like this in my life. I'm just terrified that they too will eventually tire of shouldering all the responsibility to keep our connection going.

I guess what I’m trying to say is…I promise I’ll get my balance back. I'm working on it.
Just please, don’t give up on me...

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I've recently read some books written by mediums describing how our loved ones send us signs from the other side. I've also just finished a book written by another widow chronicling her grief story and the many ways that she received signs from her late husband. So maybe my subconscious mind is primed to be seeing signs, or maybe I'm just more aware of them now that I'm more educated about how to see them.

Nevertheless, I have had several signs come my way in just the past couple of days. A couple of them are slightly obscure and would only mean something to Andie and I, so won't go into describing those, for it would take way too long to give you all the background information for them to seem relevant. But I will share are some of the more obvious ones.

You may remember my post about a week ago where I discussed my desire to maybe move and start fresh somewhere. My mom and best friend had encouraged me to change some things here before I jumped into such a big decision like building a new house. The advice givers say widows aren't supposed to make big decisions the first year anyway- perhaps I should give myself more time. After that conversation I asked Andie to guide me in the right direction, to help me know what he would have wanted, to basically give me a sign. Should I stay here, build a new house on our land, try to find a house on the lake...?

Well, before Andie died we had been talking with a company that helps you be your own contractor to build your house. We had been trying to set up a meeting with them, but our schedules never jived and we never got around to it. Very shortly after Andie died, the rep from the company called me to follow up and see if we could set up a meeting. I explained to him that since the last time we had talked Andie had passed away and I was just not in a position to even consider building a house...I wasn't even sure at that point if I would be able to afford holding on to our land. I told the rep that I needed some time to think about the big decisions and that I would get back in touch with him if and when I decided to move. He expressed his condolences and took me off his list of potential clients. I hadn't heard from him since....

Three days ago I was at work and decided that maybe I should call this guy back and set up a consultation meeting just to see what he had to say. I got online to find the number for their office, but then got busy at work and never called him. Later that evening I got a phone call at home. I didn't recognize the number so I didn't answer. Turns out it was the rep from the company. He left a message and said he hadn't heard back from me and just wanted to see how I was doing. I thought it was a strange coincidence that just hours earlier I had been thinking about calling him but never got around to it. Later that evening I checked my email and he had also emailed me. He asked how I was doing and said he understood the holidays had probably been rough and just wanted to check on me. I responded to his email and told him that it was such a coincidence he had called and emailed because I had meant to call him earlier in the afternoon. I told him that I was interested in coming to one of their seminars or setting up a meeting with him to get some specifics on home building, and see if this was even feasible for me.

Over the next day, I started second guessing myself. Wondering what was I thinking? Building a house is a ton of work, especially when you do it yourself. Where was I going to find the time to devote to overseeing a project of that magnitude, where would I find the money to build the house I really wanted, etc. All of these doubts were flooding in and I started to think that there was no way I should consider building this house on my own.

Then, the guy emails me back. He says I couldn't have picked a better time to want to come to a seminar because the next one they are having is in 2 weeks and the guest speaker who will be discussing her experience is a single mother who was widowed after her husband was in a motorcycle accident. She will share her experience of building a home by herself, and then after the meeting she is opening her home up for a tour. I couldn't help but think that if she could do it, I could do it too.

And maybe, just maybe, this was Andie's way of sending me a sign. Or was it just a coincidence that the very day I had thought to call this company that the rep called me? Then when I had doubts, he made it all the more clear and gave me a second sign that was almost a direct answer to my doubts. Here was another widow on a similar journey. Was it Andie's way of saying, "You can do this babe. I believe in you. You just need to believe in you. Push yourself." Do I want to push myself in this direction because building this house was our dream together and I don't want to let one more part of us die? Or is this the path I'm supposed to take? I choosing to believe the signs because they are pointing me in the direction I think I want to go. If they were pointing in a different direction would I choose not to heed them- would I even see them at all? Are they really signs or just simple coincidences that I'm rationalizing (which I'm pretty damn good at) as signs because they are telling me to do what I want to do?

Oprah says, "Coincidence is God working in your life" Maybe. Maybe not.
What it boils down to is choice...whatever we believe is of our own choosing.
If I want them to be signs from Andie then they are...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

I couldn't have said it better...

I have felt rather uninspired in terms of having things to write about...all of the feelings, thoughts, and emotions are coming full circle and I've already discussed them so there is not much I feel needs to be shared again just for the sake of having something to post.

I saw the following post on one of my fellow widow's blogs and it perfectly describes how I've been thinking and feeling. Rather than reinvent the wheel, or plagiarize, I've included a link to her post. If you're curious about how I'm doing, take a gander....

One Day At A Time-The Behavior of the Bereaved

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Can you hear me?

"Address in the Stars" by Caitlin & Will

I stumbled across your old picture today
I could barely breath
The moment stopped me cold,
Grabbed me like a thief.
I dialed your number, but you wouldn't be there
I knew the whole time, but it's still not fair
I just wanted to hear your voice,
I just needed to hear your voice.

What do I do with all I need to say
So much I wanna tell you everyday
Oh it breaks my heart,
I cry these tears in the dark
I write these letters to you,
But they get lost in the blue,
'Cause there's no address in the stars.

Now I'm drivin'
Through the pitch black dark
I'm screaming at the sky
Oh cause it hurts so bad
Everybody tells me
Oh all I need is time
Then the mornin' rolls in
And it hits me again
And that aint nothin' but a lie.

What do I do with all I need to say
So much I wanna tell you everday
Oh it breaks my heart,
I cry these tears in the dark
I write these letters to you,
But they get lost in the blue,
'Cause there's no address in the stars.

Without you here with me,
I don't know what to do.
I'd give anything
Just to talk to you
Oh it breaks my heart,
Oh it breaks my heart,
But all I can do
Is write these letters to you,
But there's no address in the stars.

There is so much I want to say to you and share with you. I talk to you throughout the day in my head and imagine the things I think you would say back to me. I carry on these imaginary conversations and somehow it keeps you alive for at least a little while, a moment here and there. It seems almost anything can make you cross my mind. Here's a sampling of how my thoughts went today.

I miss you. I wish I had been able to dream about you last night.

I got to work and my laptop was stolen over the holidays. I had to file a police report and when the officer pulled out his little notepad it made me think of you. I must have a dozen notepads just like them that you used on duty to write down tidbits of important information...sometimes I look through them just to see your handwriting.

Allie stood up on her own yesterday and walked 3 teensy tiny baby steps- she was so proud of herself. I was so proud of her. I know you would have been too. Wish you could've seen it.

I've been amazed by the genuine concern that some of your friends show me. I am so touched when one of them calls or emails to say they have read the blog, are thinking of me, or just to share how they are doing or what they're feeling. It is so comforting to know that they have been thinking of you and that they still haven't forgotten you. I can hear you saying, "Yeah, he's a pretty good guy"...

I've also been amazed by some of them who are out of touch or just do the obligatory "check in" text every now and then. I think it would surprise you too so see who is looking out for "your girls" and who doesn't so much. You would've expected more from some of them...I'm sad to think of you disappointed.

I've developed a deeper level of respect and admiration for your brother. He is so good with the girls and I can tell they love him. They've all developed a very special bond. Watching him play and interact with them in a fatherly fashion is almost as good as if you were here. Almost.

I love you. I wish I still had the last voicemail you left me on my phone. I really just want to hear you say you love me.

The car needs air in the tires and has for weeks but I just keep forgetting to do would've taken care of it already. I'm getting better about checking the gas gauge and not letting it get to empty- I think this would make you proud.

These are just a few of the things I think to tell you today, but you probably already knew all this somehow in the realm you now exist in. At least I hope so. I hope that you can hear me and know when I am thinking of you. I hope that you can see all of the wonderful things the girls are doing each day. I choose to believe that you can because what else do I have, really?

So can you hear me? Can you?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Time capsule...

I've heard it said that your house reflects your state of mind and this is so true for me. I used to be pretty organized and now there is clutter on every surface because I can’t focus long enough, or care enough to put things in their proper place. My thoughts are jumbled and chaotic- never staying in one place for long. I want to get organized and clear the clutter, but I can’t find the energy. The other way this house reflects my state of mind is that I think of Andie all the time, and I haven't changed one thing in this house since he died. Having him on my mind all the time is probably why I don’t want to change anything, or maybe because I haven’t changed anything is why I think of him all the time. The proverbial chicken or the egg? I don’t know. I just can’t believe that this is my life- I don’t know how this happened to me. So most of the time I pretend that it didn't, that he's going to come home soon, that this is all just a bad dream.

I feel a tension and irritability well up inside me when I'm in this house. I don’t feel it when I'm sitting at the lake and I didn’t feel while on vacation, and I wonder if it’s a sign that I should start fresh. Close the door on this house and all it holds, and start new. I've considered building a new house on our land, or trying to find a small house on the lake to move to. I mentioned this to Mom and my best friend the other day and they suggested I make some changes here first to see if that makes a difference and helps. Like rearrange furniture, redecorate, paint, etc. There is a visceral reaction deep inside me that is vehemenently opposed to this- though I hide that emotion from them at the time. Trying to be reasonable and hear them out. Later that evening Mom suggests cleaning things out, reorganizing, and maybe giving some of his things away to people who will find them meaningful/useful. I immediately cry when she brings this up- thinking about getting rid of his possessions cuts me to the quick. The thought of changing anything can reduce me to tears faster than almost anything else, which tells me I'm not ready.

The problem is that this house is like my time capsule. I don’t want anything to change no matter how small because to move things or get rid of things, especially things that were his would feel like erasing him and I don’t want to feel like he didn’t exist. I want proof that he was here and left his mark. His hat collection still hangs in the entry hall, his uniform shirts are pressed and hanging in the closet as though he will come home to wear them, his handcuffs, keys, pens, etc. are all where he left them on the valet. I don’t even want to throw his shoe polish away though I have absolutely no use for it. It's like anything he touched is sacred. I feel like the only way to truly hold on to him is to live inside the space he inhabited, touch the things he touched, breath the air he breathed, yet...
I want a change. I want a different life somewhere else, not a different life here. Because to change things here won’t make it better- just different. To get rid of his things or move them won’t erase the pain, but I’m afraid it will erase the memories. I don’t trust my mind to hold the memory of how things were so I want to preserve it all like a time capsule…so I can look back and know that my life with him was real. That I really had him for a time to call mine. That this all isn't an illusion.

I want to leave this place just as it is in my mind, so that when I look back in years to come I can open the time capsule in my mind and nod with comfort to myself,
"yes, yes...that is how it was. it all was true-the good and the bad."