Friday, January 31, 2014

To Jason

Today,  I let myself actually miss you. Truly, I miss you all the time... but I push it away, because that longing quickly becomes way too much and it overwhelms me still.

But today, well, I'm a mess anyway.  I have a nasty cold, I can't remember the last time I took a shower, I leave the house only if I absolutely have to. I've worn nothing but pajamas.... even to see my new doctor. I sit and stare when I try to work on things, my attention span is laughable.  So today, I layed in bed "reading" and I thought about you.

And it hurt. It really, really hurts. The farther we get from the day you died, the more surreal the nightmare seems. You are so far away from me, shrouded in a protective layer of fog. But I can glimpse your smile in my memory now. It makes me cry when I think about your laugh. I don't allow myself to wish you were here because you just aren't- you never will be again- and I'm not strong enough to think about what might have been. I'm too busy trying to grasp this new reality.

We are doing ok. We are all struggling, in our own way, but we talk about you all the time. It keeps you near. I look at your picture every day.  You were so beautiful and I loved you so, so much. Your babies love you so much and they miss you terribly.  But we are making small strides. We are keeping it together, trying to move forward.

I keep thinking that one of these days I am going to wake up and "be myself" again but I'm slowly accepting that that isn't the entirety of me anymore. She was your wife, you were her husband and you held the moon and stars. That part of me has to be quiet now, she has to sit down and let the tougher parts of me emerge. Sometimes I sink down and she rises up, wailing. Maybe she just needs to for awhile,  so the other parts of me can recharge. (I know I sound crazy. I am.)

I missed you today. I love you always.

Thursday, January 23, 2014


January 17th marked 11 months since Jason's death. The 19th was my birthday and despite a fun filled weekend,  I spent a good portion of the day sobbing. My mom won tickets to see Justin Timberlake and we didn't go. We both felt lousy. Greg came over, we bbq'd steaks, drank a few beers and I went to bed early.

You see, despite trying to distract myself (which worked somewhat... we had a lovely time, honestly) all of a sudden I heard a song that was playing in the car the day they did Jason's "exploratory" surgery and that was that. I couldn't stop thinking about that day. After a failed colonoscopy,  he was directly admitted to the hospital across the street but he refused to take an ambulance when he could very easily get in the car and have me drive 45 seconds to the hospital. We got in the car, him still woozy, and he made me pull over. "Lets take a minute" He said. We listened to the song and then he told me that while he was under, whatever they found, he trusted me to make the right decision, but he didn't want surgery twice. "If there is something in there, just tell them to get it out. I have too much going on, I can't be layed up for weeks." He was still in charge, still so vital... despite being in exhaustive pain all the time. We held each other, foreheads pressed together, whispering things that neither of us wanted to hear. He was scared. I was terrified, but I went into caregiver mode immediately, building him up, joking about sneaking him in a homemade cheeseburger once he was out of surgery.  He would never eat one of my meals again. We would never make love again. He slipped from me like he was drowning in quicksand... slowly and much too swiftly,  all at the same time, while I watched helpless from the shore.

I'm a mess right now.  My kids are a mess. My house is a mess. My Grandma Margie's dementia has progressed to the point that she can no longer be cared for in her home and she is moving to Idaho to be cared for in a (hopefully) expert facility that will give her the qaulity of life we can no longer give her. I know it is the best thing for her, but it's breaking my heart.

She is and has always been a huge part of my life. Every dance recital, every game my brothers played... she was there. Her home has always been my second home... watching Golden Girls and Grand Ol Opry at her house was a mainstay of my childhood.  She would tell us stories about growing up in Missouri,  make up bedtime adventure stories starring us that topped any book we were reading. She let me decorate her checks during church and her jewelry collection was my toy chest, dressing up in her snazzy dresses from the 60's. I lived with her for two years after high school and she was the best roomate I ever had. We would drink our coffee in the morning and she would pretend not to notice that I had been out till 3am the night before.  She is a sweet and fiery old bird, a fiercely independent woman who raised 5 incredible children all on her own in a time when that was just not done. She does not deserve what her brain is doing to her and it is horrifying to watch. I am terrified that the next time I see her, she will not know me anymore.

So this  is another of those ride it out times. Forgive me if I cancel plans and don't answer texts. I'm over here, gritting my teeth and just getting through the day. But I've been here before, and if I've learned anything from this last year it's that I will make it through.  Maybe not with grace, and not without some fresh scars, but I'll be there on the other side.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Writing Your Dreams

Ozzie had a really bad dream last night. The kind that wakes you up in terror, sweaty & shaking.  I sat with him,  holding his hand until he went back to sleep... and the dream came again.  And then it came again when he tried to take a nap later.

He's had a heavy heart the past week or so. He is acutely aware of what was happening this time last year and he is dreading his birthday,  which is just 3 says before his dad died.

We talked about his feelings and memories... the helplessness and terror he felt watching his beloved daddy slip away. How cheated he feels. How it just isn't fair.

But talking it out-while essential- just hasn't been enough to give his dreaming brain a rest. So, I thought we could try something different.

We went through the aspects of the dream, but we replaced each negative, scary thought with something positive.  Being chased in a dark room became a walk in the forest, enjoying the sights and sounds. A skeletal Jason collapsing in a heap became a healthy Jason, opening up his arms for a big hug and surrounded by light.

I had him close his eyes and take slow, deep breathes as we went over the new dream together. He is keeping it under his pillow in case he needs to find himself in that safe place again.  So far, it's working.

Monday, January 13, 2014


I have been having a weird thing happen lately. I will be going about my day and suddenly my heart is beating too fast. My breath catches. There is a pounding in my ears and an overwhelming wave of panic hits me. Every time, the same phrase comes into my mind: Where is he?

It doesn't matter, really. He's not here. And suddenly the tears come, the ache settles in my chest and it all hits me, again and again.

Not Here.

I talk about him all the time. With my kids, my family,  my friends. I cry and talk about him with my (endlessly patient, amazingly wonderful) boyfriend. With my therapist. With the women in my support group. With complete strangers, who somehow manage to touch upon a subject that brings him to mind.

I talk about him joyfully. I talk about him with awe. I talk about him while my mending heart breaks again, bleeds a little more.

As the one year mark of his death gets closer, I get flashbacks of this time last year. I think of all the things I could have... should have... done differently. I think about all of the moments we stole before he slipped away.

And I still hear it, every time. Where is he?