Today, I Put Up Curtain Rods and Curtains, by Myself.

I’ll start with admitting that I love power tools. I do not own any power tools, though. 

I went to IKEA, to pick up curtains and rods and things to hang the rods and everything. 

I get home and have been super busy, until tonight. 

I put up those curtain rods, and hung my curtains. I don’t even have a leveler! 

It’s just another thing that I took for granted. I never had to do any of the stuff that a man would “typically” do. 

But I did it, today. I’ve done it, for eight months, 2 weeks and 2 days. 

I built a book shelf. I’ve hung shelves. I have gone to the car dealership, and bought a brand new car. I’ve hung photos, and art. I have hosted a party. 

I have done the cooking, the cleaning, the driving, the nurturing, the punishing, the praising, and the caring, when it comes to Meg. 

I have been playing the role of 2 people for these 8.5 months. 

I used the winnings from a scratch-off ticket (that my awesome, amazing brother bought me for my bday), to buy all of my adult-like curtains. 

I work. I pay the bills. I rarely sit down. 

This life is go-go-go! 

I am learning, and will continue to do so, how to find the happiness. I will always find the silver lining, sure. Being truly happy is something that can be tricky. I have to tell myself, “It is okay to laugh, Tabbie! It. Is. Ok!” 

Not all the time, but sometimes. You may catch it on my face, every now and then. I will have a thought, and my face feels like it loses all the blood supply. My mouth goes slack, and my heart skips a beat. I, sometimes, will cry right after, or the feeling will pass. 

It. Is. Okay. To Smile! 

It is. 

I know it is. 

Sometimes, there is a memory that makes my chest ache, because I know, I’ll never see or hear Mitch again. I’ll never sit and listen to him tell jokes, or watch him make a whole room of strangers fall in love with him. 

I’ll never lay with him, again. I’ll never hold his hand or kiss his lips. 

I’ve, honestly, come to terms with all of  this. But, every now and then, it sneaks up, and bites me, right in the heart. 

How could it not? It’s only been 8 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days! Not even a whole year. 

The way my mind has worked through all of this, completely surprises me. I never knew I had it in me. 

I lost the man who had my whole heart, for longer than any other person in my life. 

Before he died, I thought, many times (because, again, we had some pretty fucking morbid conversations, during our life together), that I would lose my mind, if he died first. 

I used to tell Mitch, “there are three people on this planet that their death would put me in a mental ward.” I believed it would be him, my brother Brady, and Megan. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’d be devastated if I lost any of my brothers. But, throughout life, Brady has been through almost every journey, WITH me. From foster care, to our mom’s not-so-great choices of boyfriends, high school, the loss of our step brother, our uncle, and most recently, the loss of his best friend, his “brother”, my husband. 

We have a closer bond than any of my other siblings and I.  It’s just how life worked out. 

But, now. I think back to those conversations with Mitch, all those times, through the years. 

I had no idea I had it in me, to carry on, to keep moving forward. 

Everyone at work knows about Mitch, obviously, but when I meet new people, be they reps or new docs, or new nurse hires, I tell them “Hi, my name is Tabbie, and I was widowed in January. My late hisbabd’s name is Mitch, and I tell you this because I openly speak about it, regularly.”

After the initial shock and stumbling over their “I’m so sorry!” everyone asks! EVERYONE! It’s okay! It gives me a chance to talk about how awesome he was, and how it’s so important to know your family history, and to have yourself checked regularly, if heart disease runs in your family. 

It really opens people’s eyes, because after we chat, they’ll ask me “how old was he, if you don’t mind?” And when I tell them he was only 34, their jaws hit the floor. It never fails. It CAN happen to you! 

This birthday, 10/10/2017, my 35th, was the first birthday I spent without Mitch, since my 17th birthday. I was with him for my 18th bday, through every birthday after, until this one. I did okay. Much better than expected, on my birthday. 

Megan’s bday is coming up, and I’m not quite sure what to expect. We are going to worlds of fun, again. Last year, Mitch and I took 6 or 7 girls to worlds of fun, for Meg’s 12th bday. Now I’ll be taking Meg and 3-4 friends, by myself. I’m positive memories are going to bring me to my knees, but, I guess I won’t really know until we are there. I’ve surprised myself before…

With that, I wish you good night. I’ll tell you sweet dreams. 

Memories


Memories can be good and they can be bad. 


I’ve, recently, been reliving that Wednesday, in my head for a few days now. 

Every time I lay down, and close my eyes for the night, memories bombard me. 

If you were a hot dog, would you eat yourself? I know I would! Smother myself in mustard and relish! I’d be DELICIOUS!”

Me calling, over and over, hoping for an answer, so I could yell at him for whatever he was doing, while not answering his phone. 

Me, driving like a bat-outta-hell to get to the fedex hub, HOPING to catch my beautiful, amazing, perfect husband cheating on me. 

Seeing the cop cars. 

Being pulled into an office.

The officer telling me that my husband was found dead. Then, proceeding to question me, about his medications, and any illnesses, etc. 


Making Brady drive to Mitch’s  biological father’s house, so I could tell them, in person. 

Making Brady drive just down the street, so I could tell Mitch’s younger brother. 

Driving back to Brady’s house, all while I’m trying to figure out how I am going to go on. How was I going to pay my bills? How was I going to be a single mother to a TEENAGER?! How?! Not even a why! I don’t think I’ve every truly wondered why, because I know, there will never be an answer that satisfies me. I am selfish. I want him with me, but in some spirit world, or heaven, or hell. HERE! I want him HERE! 


Sitting on my brother’s couch, discussing how we were going to tell Megan. That was my biggest fear. Far more terrifying than figuring out how to pay our bills, and keep a roof over our heads. 

My brain telling me “If you do this wrong, it will scar her, for the rest of her life!” 

Sitting on my brother’s couch, for the entire day, staring out the window, waiting for a “got ya!” 

The “GOT YA!” that never came. 

The “got ya” that haunts my dreams. 

I cried, silently, most of the time. The mornings after he passed, I cried aloud, in my brother’s kitchen. I would find myself crouched on the floor, hands wrapped around a coffee cup, trying to just BE. Not be normal, not be happy, but to just BE. 

I have read many responses to the question “Once you’re a widow, are you always a widow?”

Not every Widow agrees on this one. 

I say yes. No matter how you deal with widowhood, no matter how you get through each day, you become a stronger, wiser version of yourself. That’s something that stays with you forever. So, yes. No matter I I get married in 10 years, or become an old cat lady, I will forever be a widow. At least that’s how I feel about myself. I don’t take anything for granted, anymore. I cherish every minute I spend with family, friends, OCR family, and work family. It’s important to me, that they know they are appreciated. Everyone for their own things. 

Some push me to be physically stronger, and show me how to accomplish my goals. Some push me to be mentally stronger, more confident, and to continue to believe in myself. Some reassure me, that it’s okay to be myself! If someone doesn’t like me for being myself, they aren’t worth my efforts. 

Maybe I have been an emotional wreck, this August, because we are in Leo time, and it’s tearing this Libra to shreds? Maybe it’s because Mitch’s bday, followed by the anniversary of our “couple” status, are both this month. Maybe it’s just normal to have awful months, mentally, when this happens? I don’t know. I’ll just flow with it. 

#OneFootInFromtOfTheOther

Days that are “More”.

There are days that are “more” than other days. They aren’t worse, or better. They are just MORE.

It’s hard to describe many of the feelings, or emotions that I feel with on a daily basis.

Today, I sat down, and I FINALLY cleaned out these two boxes that have been sitting next to my desk, since I moved into this apartment. I have, honestly, avoided it, because I figured it was just full of bull-shit bills, and crap I wanted to avoid, or maybe stuff I have already taken care of.

It was all a bunch of crap I had already taken care of.

And two sets of handcuffs.

Two of Mitch’s old Driver’s Licenses.

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I sat on the floor of my bedroom, because the boxes were there. And I laughed so hard that I started to cry. I laughed, because I had JUST finished reading my “on this day” on facebook, and Mitch had posted a link, trying to coax me into anal sex, 2 years ago.

Then, right after I read that, an old friend shared one of MY status updates from 7 years ago, where Mitch and I bantered back and forth about how badly he wanted me.

After reading those, I was a little broken, again. (regularly occurring theme in a widow’s life.)

So, to occupy my mind, I sit down to clean out those boxes.

Mitch was there. I am sure he was there, and he was laughing at me. At me? Maybe with me? Most likely, though, he was laughing at me.

It’s THESE things that make days like today, MORE. I feel so much, yet I never let it control me. Today, was so much more, than an average “I miss Mitch” day.

Today, I ugly-snot-cried, in the shower, for a good 20 minutes, before putting on my make-up and doing my hair.

And, I looked GOOD today. No puffy or tired eyes, like I normally have when I cry.

MORE.

I was able to hear my Aunt tell me about the dream she was able to have about Mitch.

Before I decided to have a party for Mitch’s birthday, she dreamed that I threw a party to celebrate Mitch’s day. She dreamed that he walked into the party, and had no idea he had died. She got to talk with him, during the party.

I am so happy that she got to dream of him. I am also a bit jealous, because I still haven’t had more than the 2 dreams of him. I don’t try to dream of him, because I know it’s futile.

I can dream about things I want to dream about, sure, but having a REAL dream of Mitch, has to come naturally. It’s not something that can be forced.

Sometimes, I wonder if my mind blocks it. I have had 2 dreams, in which I feel as though I have RIPPED myself out of the dreams. I ended the dreams, before they were supposed to end. I clawed myself from dreamland to being awake. I use these words “ripped” and “clawed” because I feel like that is what best describes how it felt. Traumatic.

It’s so hard to describe these types of things, and not sound like a loon. But, describe, I will try!

I am so thankful to have family, and friends, who are open,and talk to me. I never want Mitch to become a subject that anyone feels too afraid to bring up, or talk about. If you want to talk about Mitch, and tell me how much you miss him, please, DO IT! I know we all miss him, and my guess is that not a soul misses him more than Megan and myself, but, this is NOT  competition to be won or lost. We ALL have lost, here. We have ALL lost Mitch. I would NEVER try to “one-up” anyone about it. Ever.

In the beginning, maybe. I wasn’t thinking about anyone other than Megan and myself. I felt horrible when it all came flooding me. Because, I didn’t think about my brother, being the first person Mitch talked to every morning, to the last person he spoke to, before bed. They were so close. I didn’t think about that, in the beginning, but now, I do.

I think about how his baby sisters and brothers could ALWAYS call him, and he would talk to them about ANYTHING. Zaida would call any and every time she had any kind of issue she didn’t know how to handle.  Katy knew she always had Mitch in her corner, always, no matter what! Michael and Mitchell had gotten much much closer over that last few years. Heather, oh man. Heather. Heather was Mitch’s personality twin, on all levels. I always joked that “If I were a lesbian, I’d try to turn her!” haha! To be completely honest, I am not sure how often Summer and Mitch talked, or how often John John and Mitch talked. I know Jack and Mitch didn’t get to hang out, or talk much, because of the huge age gap. But, I know Mitch loved every single one of his siblings, and would have done anything for any one of them.

He was NEVER good at making the first phone call. Not in all of the years I knew him. I gave him MY phone number, and I was the one who called him, first. I’m not even sure how I got his phone number, either.

I know he loved Brady, like he was his real brother. Hell, I am pretty sure, if Mitch ever left me, he would have moved in with Brady, and Brady would have LET HIM! ha!  He was so glad that they were able to be close. He loved Nate, too. Nate always impressed him, with his speed, and drive to get stuff done, when he “jumped” for fedex drivers.

Can I just say, I am sorry, family, for not thinking of YOUR loss, right away. I’m not sure it would be different if it were to all happen again. I am not sure my brain would be able to process in a way that allowed me to think like that, that soon. But, if I COULD change it, I would. Know that I do think of each and every one of you, on a daily basis.

I also want to tell everyone, again, that as our hearts heal, there will always be scars. Let’s make the scars beautiful. Let’s make them gold, like the Japanese fix old pottery, that crack or chip. Use gold to mend the broken pieces back together. It will never be normal, again, but it CAN still be BEAUTIFUL!

If you are curious what I mean, check out this post, that a friend shared with me, in the very beginning. It talks about how

 

Father’s Day Without Dad

So, today has been such a bittersweet, heart happy/wrenching kind of day. 

Let’s talk about the good, because, we all already know about the bad. My heart has been so heavy, today, but we managed to have so much fun, as well.

Today started early. 4:30am, up and making breakfast for my 2 brothers, my mom and Megan. 

My two brothers and I went out on the ocean, to do some deep sea fishing. It was amazing. 2 hours in, my little brother started to puke. We told him to take the Dramamine, but he refused, saying he would be fine. HA! He puked like 5 times, and I got the first one recorded! I laughed so hard! 
And I said “I told you to take that stuff!” 

He hugged the palm tree when he got to dry land. 

Since he wasn’t going to make it the remaining 4 hours, Brady and I swapped him out for our mom, and went back out there. It was so amazing. Mom caught fish. I caught fish. Brady caught fish. And before the swap, Nate caught some too! 

I caught a Cobie and had to throw it back, but it was pretty cool! It looked like a mini shark! He held it because we had to keep it alive to send home, so it wouldn’t be too hurt. 


Here were the ones we caught and got to keep. Plus the two Nate caught before his barfin’ party. 


We used Brady’s GoPro to record us sending Mitch’s ash into the ocean. And of course, the wind changed and blew his ash right into our faces! That definitely lightened the mood. 

Megan didn’t want to go out that far in the ocean, so she lounged around, all day, until we got back, and Brady decided to take her for a Helicopter ride! Yes! You read that correctly! Meg went up into a helicopter, and proceeded to “squish” things below, just like her dad would have done. 

When we arrived, we went straight to the beach, and sent Mitch out. He would have loved every little bit of this vacation.

 Every. Little. Thing. 


Please, excuse my face. This was immediately after our 16 hour drive. 

I hate that Megan has to spend this, and every following Father’s Day, without her amazing father. It isn’t fair. But, LIFE isn’t fair. Thank the gods we already know and understand this, because if we didn’t, we would be angry. We would be defeated. We would be far more broken than we are. 

Happy Father’s Day, Mitchell John. We miss you. We love you. We will carry on your laughter, and your positive attitude toward life. We will continue to live our lives to the fullest, and never miss an opportunity to be kind to someone.  Our lives have been forever altered with your passing, but we will make it! You were the most amazing father, husband, and friend. You gave us the greatest gift (outside of your love) of all! Your family, who is OUR family, still. I am SO happy that Meg was old enough to have that bond with you. It’s such an amazing thing. 

What Do I Want?

Good news. Bad News. News.

Yesterday, I found out a friend’s step-father died. This morning, I found out a woman I know, the mother of a little girl I coached, died. these people were not old! They didn’t die from old age.

People are passing away, left and right. It’s insanity! We will never know when our time comes, until it is upon us.  It got me thinking. What is it I want from this life?

So, here it is.

In life, I want to be energetic. I want to inspire people to do good. I want people to look at me and say, “Damn. I want to be like her, when I grow up.”

I want to be like Mitch. Everyone wanted to be like him. Right?

In death, I want people to say, “We really lost a great one, with her. The world will never be the same!”

I want love, in life. I want to give and receive all of the love, I can endure. I want to be a great friend. I want to truly listen when people talk to me. I want to be there.

I want to be the kind of mother that makes other kids jealous of Megan. (no offense, mom-friends.) I want to make Megan’s life easier, but, not restrain her from her full potential. She’s going to be amazing! (she already is, and she’s only 12)

I want to be everyone’s big sister, in the way that Mitch was everyone’s big brother.

I want to navigate through life, similar to how Mitch did, only MORE.

I want to be the Aunt that nieces and nephews can confide in, happily.

I want to live beyond my years.

I also want to be the type of Mom that Megan wants to be like, when she grows up. I want to set an example worth following.

I want to pay my bills on time, and maybe, one day, buy a condo or a loft.

I want to be the kind of person that can walk into a room of strangers, and walk away with a room full of new friends.

I will.

I can.

Who’s going to stop me? IMG_20150401_170454

Only I can stop ME.

Brady

I’m not sure how to start this one off. It’s almost a brag post, about my brother. I have been meaning to share this, for quite some time. It is long overdue.

Growing up, we were always at each-other’s throats. There was even a time, in which, I went door to door, through our neighborhood, and asked someone to come babysit us, because he was being so mean, and I was fed up with it!

He always makes fun of me, because I have the “weirdest memory!” I “remember things that no one else remembers.” And I “must make that shit up.” ha!

There was a time, when we were kids that we were in foster care. Parents fighting for custody, bull shit system we were thrown into. We were separated. I cried every night. Every. Single. Night.

Until one night, I crawled into my 16-year-old foster sister’s bed (Her name was Jenny, and she was BEAUTIFUL! I remember wanting to be just like her, when I grew up), and she told me, “Tabbie, I understand that you miss your family, but, what is crying doing for you? Does it make you feel better?”

“No.” I would say, every time.

She would respond with, “When I cry, I ALWAYS get a headache. Do you get headaches when you cry?”

“Yes.” I said. I did. It always gives me a massive headache, even today.

So, maybe this is why I don’t cry as much as I think I should? Will I ever know? Probably not.

Anyway. Back to my brother. One of my heroes.

Separated, in foster care. I was in longer than he was, because my grandmother was able to get Brady out, and get custody, or become his “legal guardian”. I, however, bounced from home to home, for another 3-6 months. Time is not the same, as a child.

I missed him. I missed him picking on me, and making me cry. I missed him chewing his food, with his mouth open. (if you know me, that’s a huge thing!)

Fast forward to middle school. We were both going to middle school together. I started dating one of his friends. The drummer of the band he was in. SSV. ;P Man, I just wanted to be friends with my brother. Sure, the boy was “ohhhh sooooo cuuuuuuute!” But, dating one of his friends, was going to allow me to hang out with my brother more, too.

High school. At this point, I am SURE no one knew my name. I was commonly referred to as “Brady’s little sister.” I had one girl ask to have her picture in my locker, so that Brady would see it, and asked if I would tell her if he mentioned it. (ew! gross! NO!)

I dropped out of high school. Brady continued on, and graduated. He was in bands, and played concerts, and I met Mitch, and got married, had a baby, got my GED, and went to college! Brady had some low times, through the early years of my marriage, and motherhood. We weren’t as close as either of us wanted to be.

Then, he started working for FedEx. Our apartment was on his route. How convenient? We gave him a key to our apartment, so he could go poop, comfortably, during his busy days.

Then, he told us he bought a truck/route or whatever it was. I didn’t really think much of it. I had NO IDEA what it even meant.

He started to kick ass at life!

I remember when Mitch started to work for Brady. He was running a route, and being a fedex delivery guy. I HATED it! I rarely saw him. He had the WORST route. Of course, this is my unappreciative, jealous self. And holidays! I NEVER saw him, until the DAY of Christmas. It was crazy!

Then, my brother said, “We need to get you out of truck, so you can be home more.” He didn’t even know (that I know of) that I was a whiney, complaining bitch about never seeing my husband. I missed him, and I was JEALOUS OF HIS JOB! Seriously? I never said I was perfect.

So, Brady and Mitch worked very hard, to get him out of that truck, and managing the routes. And I feel like I MUST say this, because there was a bit of controversy about him becoming manager. People were saying “Oh yeah! Give your brother-in-law the management position.” Or “He only got the management job, because he is family!”  He was ALWAYS an amazing employee, no matter where he worked, and he ALWAYS got offered a management position. He had this way about him, that made people WANT to do what he said. It was strange, and amazing, and his employers, even my brother, saw that in him.

Managing the FedEx routes was not an easy task, at all.

Mitch wanted everything to be perfect. He wanted everything to run smoothly. That’s not how it works, though. He still tried.

Brady and Mitch became very close, and talked every single day. I think it even got to a point where they talked more to each-other, than I talked to either of them.  MY brother. MY husband.

So, now that you know Brady and Mitch’s history, I will tell you why Brady had become one of my heroes.

The day we found out, he was there. He hugged me, and tried to be strong for me. He cried with me. He sat with me, when I had to tell Megan that she wasn’t going to see her daddy again, because he passed away.

The day after Mitch passed away, Brady said, “You need to make a list!”

I said, “Of what? I am not in the mood to make a list.”

“Tabbie, you need to make a list of your bills, and what you owe, and what’s in your name. You need to open a new bank account, and close the accounts with his name on them. I understand you need to grieve, but, life is still going on.”

I stayed at his house for 2 or 3 weeks. I can’t recall, completely. He let me stay in his home, sleeping on his living room floor, and my daughter on his couch, for 2 and a half weeks. We bonded again.

As great as my loss is, Brady’s also lost a lot, in losing Mitch. Mitch was Brady’s best friend (no offense other friends, that’s just the way it is.), his brother, and the manager of his company.

 

With such a great loss, he stood by me. He made me (and helped me) take care of everything that I needed to take care of. He is here for Megan. My brother even came over, to help me put my TV up, on a mount, and get my apartment together. I am SO GRATEFUL that I have him in my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better human being, to call my brother.

Thank you. I love you. You keep being the great father to your baby girl (and hopefully more babies), and being a great guy for Katy. I know you will be a fabulous brother, for all of our days, and an even more awesome uncle for Megan.

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