Hey, Mitch.

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Johnny got married this past weekend. Hopefully you saw. His bride, Tina,  was stunning. Megan went, and she even wore a dress. She was wearing her Vans, but,  still in a dress and looked gorgeous.

Our OCR group took over the bar area, and served everyone drinks all night, because we can never just sit still, and we always seem to have our hands in everything, helping wherever we can. I wish you were able to meet these people, babe. They’ve become some of my closest friends. They encourage me to keep going, and most of them only knew of you, what I told them, and they all love you, too. You were definitely a keeper, that’s for sure.

I think about how I hit the jackpot with you. I know you always claimed we were like the couple from King Of Queens, “I’m the fat guy with the super hot wife!” I love you. I love how you loved me. I love how we loved each other. It was beautifully meant to be. No question.

I was telling someone yesterday, about how I used to HATE when you shaved, because you would always leave a huge mess with your little red beard hairs all over the bathroom. I loved that red beard.

I followed that up with how I ran out of shaving cream, recently, and decided to use your shave bar, and how I sat on the floor of the shower, as the water blasted me, and cried my eyes out, because your little red beard hairs were still in the shave bar and dish. It smelled like you, and there was a little piece of you right there, like you were still here. But, you’re not. You’re no longer here, in my realm.

I survived that bout of tears, as I will survive many many more. I don’t fear my tears, anymore. I don’t fear crying in front of anyone. I don’t fear the reactions I may receive in the event of crying in the oddest of places. I just do. If someone asks if I am okay, I always tell them “I will be. Give me a minute.”

Race season is coming up, and it’s coming up FAST! I am hosting a workout with a few other KCOCR admins, this Saturday to help the general public get ready for Warrior Dash. It’s so cool, because it’s a free workout, and Warrior Dash posted it on their social media pages to help spread the word! Remember when I would get up at ungodly hours, and go work out at different gyms, with our tiny group? That tiny group is HUGE now. There’s almost 1,000 of us, and now I am one of the moderators, alongside some amazing people.

My strength and conditioning coach got an amazing opportunity to put his degree to use, and make some pretty great money (I am guessing about the money), and will be moving to New York! I’m super happy for him. He’s created a monster in me. HA! I’ve lost weight, built muscle and strength. I haven’t looked this good in decades!

OH!! You won’t believe this! I am down to a size 6! I can even fit in some 4s. It’s crazy! I haven’t been this small since before I got pregnant with Megan.

Speaking of Meg…

I’m at a loss. I can’t get her to clean her room. Her room, sadly, looks just like your basement bedroom always did. Moldy dishes, bottles of drinks all over. Goldfish crushed into the floor. Trash, clothes, and hangers EVERYWHERE!! Towels all over. You get it. You know what your room looked like. That’s what her’s is like, and it’s driving me insane. I mean, I get a little messy sometimes, now, but not dirty messy. Just stuff like a basket with 13 loads of clean laundry that needs to be folded and put away, or dishes after a big meal prepping day. I know. You probably think I’m crazy. I just can’t stand having a messy home anymore. I’m less exhausted this way. I don’t have to think too much about where my things are, and that makes me a happy person.

I also can’t get her to improve her grades. She is, well, lets just say it isn’t looking good.

I wish you were here to help me help her. I try. I try hard.

She is smart. I know she’s smart. She knows she’s smart. But, some stuff, she just doesn’t DO and it’s causing her to get bad grades.

She’ll get it. I know she will. She’ll figure out how badly failing classes will be for her, in the future.

If there is a God, please, tell her I need guidance, because she isn’t listening to me. Or him?

I have decided to attempt actual dating, now. Although I love you with so much vigor, and will always love you, whole heartedly, I have come to realize that there is a growing chamber of my heart that is going to allow me to love another person, some day. I’m not saying anytime soon, and it’ll never be the love that we shared, because that cannot be duplicated. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a great love, too. Right? I know you’d want me to be happy, and you wouldn’t want me to be alone forever.

Oh! When I went on a date the other day, I ACTUALLY let him open the truck door for me, and accepted help in and out, like a lady should. Remember when I threw the feminist shit at you? “do NOT open my door for me! I am fully capable!” I’m so sorry. I was so young. I didn’t think about it being a nice gesture, or an act of respect. I’m growing more to understand the things I didn’t know while you were here. In some ways I am so sad that I didn’t figure these things out, while you were still alive. I wonder how I never realized some things. I should have let you be the man you wanted to be for me. I mean, you were definitely the man for me, but I didn’t allow you to be a typical gentleman, from the very beginning. There is so much Love and so much respect for you, that I wanted you to see me for the independent woman I really was.

I wasn’t “independent” then. I mean, sure, I could do this or that by myself, but I had no idea what was happening with bills, the bank account, or anything else, for that matter, for many many years.

Our 16 year wedding anniversary is coming up. It’s crazy to think we would have been married 16 years. Together for 19, come August. If I didn’t live the beautifully tragic love story of us, I wouldn’t believe it. Or I would, but I wouldn’t believe that the widow is still sane, and functioning for every day life. It’s like a story someone made up, so they could sell books or tickets to a movie.

But here I am, babe. You’d be proud, as you ever were, that I am not only an independent woman, raising one hell of an amazing daughter, but, I am helping to run our obstacle course group, working full time, keeping myself in shape and our home under control. I am making more time for friends and family, and I am living this life I was granted.

I miss your beard hair in my sink. I miss all of your nearly gone body wash and shampoo bottles in the shower. I miss the way you smelled after mowing the grass or rolling around on the floor playing with the dogs. I miss the way you would try to lock Megan or myself into a room by tying things to door knobs, or trying to play pranks. I miss all the things that made you who you were.

Forever love is forever, and that’s what we share. No matter the shift I feel within myself, It’s not a change in my love for you, at all. It’s a growing change. An amazing,  unbelievable growth within myself, that I never ever would have thought possible.

Until we meet again,

With all of my heart,

Tabbie

Hopefully the quality of my video is okay. I had to screen-record because I cannot download it. This was at The Life Celebration.

I Used to be a Christian

“The other day, when I was reading something you posted, it hit me. YOU are the writer!”

 

I know, the title is going to get everyone’s panties in a wad.

Chill out.

Read it.

You’ll get it.

I am 36 years old.

I have one HELL of a story to tell.

I’m not sure I’ll make money off of it, but it I do, I’ll have to A: change the names of the people so I don’t have to get their consent to tarnish their names, or B: Get consent from people I love dearly, to drag their names through the mud, because it’s a part of my story.

I remember when I was little. I remember going to church and loving Sunday school. I remember coloring and playing with other kids, praying at night for all of my loved ones and even all the strangers I never met, and never would meet to be safe. I was naive. I believed that if I prayed for EVERYONE, everyone would be safe. Then, one day, I was in shorts and a t-shirt, accepting Jesus into my heart as my lord and savior, as I was dunked into a pool of water in front of a congregation.

I was 7.

I remember, because I remember the look on my dad’s face when I told him I wanted to be baptized. It was a look I craved. A look of acceptance, of love, pride and happiness. I believed that Jesus was good and God loved all of mankind.

The older I got, the more confused I became. It wasn’t because of outside influences. It was because of everything I had read in the Bible.

I’m not going to bash the Bible, or God, or Jesus, or Christians.

I guess, I am writing this to say a few things. I am one of those “think outside the box” types of person. I know. You probably never would have guessed it, am I right? ha!

I have read the Bible. I have read it cover to cover a few times.

It. Makes. NO. Sense. It’s about as contradictory as anything could be.

But that’s okay. MOST of it is good guidelines for how to be a good person.

Jesus was this totally rad dude, who helped poor people, sex addicts, drug addicts, thieves and more! He totally loved them and taught them how to be good people. He proved to them that the choices they were making weren’t the only choices set out for them. He showed them that, although a rough road, a possible road. Right?

Totally cool guy. Loving, accepting, nurturing.

One of those guys you aspire to be like. Right?

Well, you don’t have to BELIEVE the Bible, to believe in the main character. Right?

Either way, my “faith” is different than it was when I was a child.

I have lived. I have observed. I have survived, and have stayed pretty damn level headed in the process.

At the point where one would finally break, I, instead,  keep striving for better. Not to GET something better, but to BE something better.

When I was a child, I believed that I would forever be protected. Nothing bad could happen to cause heartache or sadness, or the things that I have experienced through my 36 years of life.

Boy, was I wrong.

I say something that I know may piss off a lot of people, but I believe it one hundred percent.

Everything happens for a reason.

I’m sure many people who are grieving right now want to reach through their screens and slap the ever-loving shit out of me, right now.

I believe it. You do not have to. But, I do. I always will.

I REALLY met Mitch at a point in my life where I was really ready to call it quits with dating. I honestly never wanted to see another man in a dating manner again. (That was my dramatic teenage mind)

He walked into McDonald’s, smiled his brilliant smile at me, and told me I was coming to his birthday party.

You read that right. He didn’t ask if I’d go. He told me I was going.

“Hey, What are you doing this weekend? Oh? going to my birthday party. Okay, We’ll pick you up at 6!”

I was stunned. I was shocked. I was ALREADY in love with that boy, and he didn’t even know. We were both 17 years old.

He walked into that McDonald’s on the most perfect night, with the best “invite” to a birthday party I had ever received.

I think if God is real, he laughed when I swore to all things holy that I would NEVER name my child Megan, when I was 15 years old…

Que the laughter…

My favorite human, aka my daughter, is Megan. I can’t even imagine her with a different name.

Just as I remember the first time he “asked” me out, I remember our last night together. I remember what he had for dinner. I remember what movie we watched. I remember the words he spoke, as if they were gospel.

I remember his hand as he held mine during that movie.

I remember the next day, when I walked… ran to the doors of the FedEx Hub only to be dragged into an office and told that he was gone. I remember thinking “There’s no way there is a god. There’s no way a god would take such a man from this earth. No way!”

I always joked with Mitch about how I didn’t remember life before him. I think I phrased it wrong. I remembered life before him, but it felt like another lifetime. Like everything was happening as it should .

When he died, I had that same feeling. Everything is falling into place. Everything is exactly as it should be.

I hate it. Megan hates it. Our families hate it.

But that feeling. Gawwwwwd that feeling.

I’ve thought so many times that if anyone knew how I felt, how I felt as thought this is meant to be, I’d be looked at as heartless.

Now, though, I know I am not. I know my family and my friends, my coworkers and my past coworkers know that I am not heartless.

Mitch, I believe, completed his mission here. Whatever his mission was, he completed it, and he did it FAST.

I can tell you that whoever was supposed to learn from him, learned well.

Whatever it was he taught, he taught it without knowing he did.

I feel like I was a part of his mission, but definitely not the whole of it.

He taught me to be kind, even when I didn’t want to be. He taught me to see everyone’s point of view, and not take sides. He taught me that I have the ability to be amazing, I just needed to put forth the effort. (still trying, babe!) He taught me, most of all, that good men did still exist. He taught me that there were really still good fathers. He taught me that I am so much stronger than I ever imagined I could be.

I could write a book about how much like Jesus Mitch was. He never “laid hands on” and “healed” people like the Bible says Jesus did, but he sure did heal people with his words, his kindness, his acceptance, and his love. He talked to everyone, and he helped everyone.

So, again, I say: I used to be a Christian.

Now, I no longer align myself with any one religion, but, I believe that something is out there. Something is in charge and we are mere pawns in a game.

Am I winning?

Am I losing?

I guess I will only know when I pass on to the next realm.

Until then, I will continue my path of love and acceptance. I will not intentionally harm anyone. I will cherish my family and friends. I will teach kindness, empathy, and happiness through example.

 

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What Is Life, Without A Little Death?

Here death strikes again.

So many people, such a short time.

It has happened since long before any of us, and will continue with us and way after us.

Death

It’s inevitable.

We all live our lives. We go and go. Some of us are moving so quickly through life, that we are missing out on the things that really are the more important things.

I was guilty of this. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I have since figured out a better balance, though.

I love my family.

I love my friends.

I love racing, and birthdays, and listening to my people talk about their lives, and the things that they are passionate about.

I’m not very good at asking the questions, or initiating conversation, but that’s because I will listen to you tell me about your passions, your grief, your day at work.

When Mitch died, in January of 2017, I was confused. I wasn’t angry, I didn’t really wonder why, so much as “What the Fuck?” It wasn’t an angry wtf, so much as a confused, how could this have happened type question. Once we knew the science and biology behind, I stopped asking. I knew.

That question was answered.

You hear people say, all of the time, “god only gives you what he knows you can handle.” If you believe in God, this has to be true.

You may not know you have it in you, until LIFE (or death really), slaps you in the face.

Wednesday, after I ran 10 miles and was in my car, headed to get some food, I received a phone call. My father in law lost his girlfriend. (They might as well had been married. They had that connection, and that unconditional love. They were only missing the legal documentation).

Let me throw out a little back story on this man, without going too deep into details, or anything.

This man was married to my husband’s biological mother. He adopted my husband, and had 2 more children with his wife, Megan.

When Megan was in her early-mid twenties (I don’t want to screw up on the details), she was murdered in a bar, by a crazy man.

This man, Mike, became a widower father to 3 children, one of which was a tiny baby girl.

He did not handle that well. I mean, who could blame him, right? His wife was murdered. What was he supposed to do?

Fast forward through some addictions and runaways, some verbal fights, and a bit of time in jail, a couple of marriages, divorces and a couple more kids, grandbabies and sobriety.

Here we are, he’s the father of 5 now. He’s gotten his head together, he’s trying very hard to be a good man.

His eldest son dies. The son he adopted, when the son was just a boy, and had his mother ripped from him. The father who may have had his problems surviving this life, lost his son.

He had an amazing woman by his side, to help keep him together. She was there to keep him steady, and remind him that he would be okay. He would make it through this.

Fast forward a little over 2 years, and his girlfriend is now with his first wife, and eldest son.

If god is real, and only gives people what they can handle, he sees something heroic in Mike.

I’m so devastated, for him, and can’t even begin to imagine how his mind is processing.

I’ve been told I’ve handled all of my adversity with grace, and I don’t know. It’s what everyone on the outside sees, when my insides are a screaming and tangled and threatening escape.

But death. Death is one thing we are all going to face.

Death is inevitable, and I don’t think we should fear it. I’m not afraid. I don’t want to die, and I’d never do anything to speed up the process, or invite it sooner. I want to live into my old age, maybe meet a second soulmate, and grow old together with them. I want to have grandbabies and a son-in-law (or daughter-in-law. I’m not picky)

I want to watch my daughter grow into a woman, and watch her find her soulmate, fall madly in love, marry, and grow into her adulthood.

I really love living. I think that Mike is realizing that he loves living as well. Even through the grief that seems to keep being added to his plate, he becomes just a little bit stronger, each round.

I wanted to share his story, because many people judge. Many people do not KNOW. People will never truly understand. But, just the briefest summary of the shot hand this man was felt, and he’s still here. He’s still standing. He is STILL putting one foot in front of the other.

The world we are on is still spinning.

The bills still need to be paid.

Our work here isn’t done, yet.

Death: The only thing guaranteed of life.

Live while you can!

Find happiness!

Be who you are!

Never stop saying their name!

Mary. Megan. Mitch. Sandra. Annie. Gramma and Grandpa McAnany.

Only their bodies are gone. We are forever able to remember them through our pictures, and our memories. We have videos, and voices recorded, now.

On the days we miss them the most, I think their spirits are the closest. Our human form cannot process their presence without their human form, so we interpret their spiritual presence as sadness, and yearning, and missing them.

We FEEL them, but we cannot touch or see them.

May all of our loved ones be partying like rock-stars.

Annie.

Has.

Arrived!

We will miss her, of course. But she is definitely in good hands now.

I See So Much Mitch, in My Daughter’s Face.

The other day, my daughter says “Mom, you should check your photo album, because there are some pretty sweet pics I took for you.”

I knew it was going to be a ton of selfies. It’s what she does. I finished my workout, and checked my phone, and there were 30-ish photos, of her, most in black and white.

I’ve always known Mitch’s traits were stronger in her, than mine. But, seeing these particular photos, really REALLY proves it.

I may or may not have cried, looking at these photos. My little (who is clearly taller than me) is absolutely beautiful, inside and out, with a LOT of her father’s sense of humor.

Looking at her does NOT make me sad, like I’ve seen it does to other people in our situation. Looking at her, and seeing him live through her brings tears of joy to my eyes. Absolute, joy, that he will live on, through her.

There are things that make me miss Mitch more than other things. Like all this snow we’ve had recently. He would have been BEGGING me to go sledding.

I would have said no, and suggested he take a friend, and kids.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with snow. I hate when it touches my skin, but I think it’s absolutely beautiful! I’m about to sound like one of THOSE kind of women, but seeing all the glistening snow reminds me of all the happiest Christmas, and romance movies. I love standing outside and spinning in circles, taking in the beauty of the snow covered tree branches and rooftops. I feel a bit of hope, when I look at it. The smell of snow, is the smell of happiness, and purity, innocence, and clarity. If all of those could be smell, it’d be the smell of fresh snow.

I do love sunshine and beaches more, because, well, I enjoy outdoor activities that don’t involve snow touching my skin. Sand is a welcome touch though. Sunshine, and ocean water, bbqs at the park, and trail running on mountain bike trails. Most of my races are in the warmer climates, and traveling is easier.

But, none of those summer things give the feeling if hope. Maybe that’s why there’s been all this snow. Maybe it gives a lot of people hope, and whoever is in charge of snowfall, (god, goddess, Mother Nature, whatever you believe) decided “It’s time!” And has been dumping on us, consistently for 2 months now.

Every time the snow melts completely, it snows again. This is our spring snow. It doesn’t look too bad, today.

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I feel as though my posts are fewer and fewer theses days, but I realize, maybe it’s because I talk about Mitch every single day. I make social media updates, see all the pictures, and have accepted my fate, as the woman widowed at 34. The widowed mother of a teenage daughter, who couldn’t be any easier to have a child, than she is exactly how she is.

I think, daily, about how proud I am of myself, for fighting to get paid what I was worth, in October of 2016, because if I didn’t, I’d be making $10/hr less than what I make now, and most likely be living the roommate life, or living in a tiny, uncomfortable apartment, somewhere that I don’t want to live. Megan even mentions it, once in a while.

Well, it is time for me to get my day started, so until next time, friends and family.

Much love to you all. And may anyone suffering from such a loss, find hope of happiness, and laughter, in things around you. Remember, there’s always a silver lining, and if we focus on the beauty, rather than the ugly, we can keep on putting

One foot in front of the other.

And always remember, you aren’t moving on, or forgetting anything. You are only moving forward, and making progressive movement.

Dear Mitch,

 

I know you are probably looking down at me wondering “what he hell are you DOING?” OR “Don’t! Not him! He’s a moron!”

Don’t worry. I’m not.

Not with him, or with him.

It’s okay. You remember, I like guy friends. I always had more male friends than female friends, growing up.

I think I have an equal amount of guy/girl friends, now.

But I do like dating. I like meeting all the new people, which is weird, but not too weird, since you know me.

I miss you, tremendously. I have this empty spot in my bed, that only you could fill. I prefer not sleeping next to someone, even if we have sex. I send them home, or to the couch. No, I’m not whoring it up. I just have sex every now and then with one guy.

You’re probably laughing at me, or wondering what the fuck is happening in my head because he’s so much younger. But, you also know, I have always said “If he’s old enough to buy me a drink… Legally… then he’s old enough for me!” Of course, back then, I was referring to the celebrities on TV (cough cough Zac Efron cough cough). haha!

I miss talking about the hot guys on TV and having your unnecessary, jealous stare. It was so funny. You would get so offended about the celebrities I would never meet. I would do it on purpose, just to get a rise out of you. Why? Because I LOVED that you were jealous. Your slight jealousy was comforting. I knew I’d never lose you. At least not to another woman.

I appreciate you. I appreciate all of the patience you held when I was freaking out, right after we got married. When I got “cold feet” post wedding vows. When “forever” sounded like a life sentence. You were there, but not all over me. You allowed me the space I needed, to clear my mind and really figure out who I was, and what I wanted.

Can you even believe that I thought I was a lesbian? I still laugh at that! I was REALLY freaking out about being married. Then, I reminded myself, it was you. YOU. The best of the best. No one other human on this planet could handle me. Not like you did. You spoiled me, in so many ways. Not materialistically, either.

You spoiled me with love. You showed me that good men DO exist, and let me tell you, I can spot them. You spoiled me by doing for me. After a long day at work, you made me mixed, fruity drinks, and ran me a bath with epsom salt. Not because you were trying to get in my pants, but because you loved me. You wanted me to be happy and felt that I deserved to relax.

Oh, remember when we gave each-other massages? That was so long ago. Like in our early 20s! haha! it got to a point where you would give me a massage first, then I would fall asleep and never give one back. Big mistake on my part, because you finally quit giving me massages, and I developed carpal tunnel.

Remember the Christmas 2003, when we decided it would be funny to tell everyone that we were having a baby? hahahahaha!! Oh man! That was so hilarious. Then, in January, we were pregnant. Easy as that. We found out March 3rd, but, still. It happened so fast.

I remember the conversation we had. We were on I35 in 75th street exit. It was Christmas, 2003. We decided we were strong enough, together, to handle ANYTHING. We decided to stop PREVENTING pregnancy.

Oh man. It happened so fast. We had the most perfect little baby. Oh,  I bet you’re freaking out, when you see her, now. I do have to say, at least she’s covered! She has a mouth like her mother, and the wit of her father. She will go far in life.

I am so glad you were able to stick around long enough for her to know, and remember how amazing you were. I am so glad that I won the bet that got me a baby before I turned 22 (actually 18 days after my 22nd birthday, but who’s counting?) If you won that bet, I would have been a widowed mom to a 4 year old! It goes to show that my belief in “everything happens for a reason” is real. I needed to have a preteen. I needed a well rounded kiddo. I needed a kid who understands far beyond her years. And that’s what we had. We had the perfect-for-us child. Weren’t we lucky? Aren’t I lucky, in that way?

Everyone always says, “I’m so sorry for you!”

I bite my tongue, because I want to ask why. “Why are you sorry that I was able to spend all that time with the most amazing man on earth?” I got 16.5 years with you! That was half your lifetime!

There are so many women who don’t have the luxury I have, of saying, “I found my perfect match. My perfect love. Someone who loved me unconditionally.” I have that! I had that. I was able to feel that. I was able to live that. I was so fucking lucky!

It’s so weird to say that, though. People are always so good at twisting words to make things sound bad.

I was so fucking lucky in the way that I met you, had you, loved and was loved by you.

I was unlucky that you died.

But the beauty is that I was able to know you. I was able to have and to hold you.

You taught me how a man should treat a woman. Hell, you taught Meg how a woman deserved to be treated.

Amazing.

You will forever live in my mind and heart, and the hearts of so many who knew you, as amazing.

Ah

Maze

Ing!

My inspiration to be a better human.

My everything.

I miss you.

I am so glad that I had the opportunity to be graced with your presence.

I am so happy that I had the ability to be loved and spoiled by you.

Thank you.

Thank you for teaching me.

When you died, I thought I was done. I would never get to a point in my life where I could allow feelings for anyone again. It isn’t worth it, I would think to myself. I was mentally crippled by the loss of your presence in my life.

My mind said “WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING??? How do I DO this?” I also had thoughts along the lines of “no one will want me.” But I didn’t care. I bought baggy clothes and hid my body so no-one would even WANT to look.

Those thoughts are pointless.

More importantly, I want you to know, that I hope you are proud of who I am, who I have become. I hope you are proud of my strength and ability to find happiness in such an awful experience.

There are days when I wake up in the morning, and really try to wrap my mind around the fact that you’re no longer here.

Every time I have that thought, my entire body reacts. It’s like I KNOW it is true, but my mind and my soul still refuse to believe.

That’s the impact you’ve left in my life.

With that, I must go to bed.

I will love you always.

I will forever cherish the memories we shared.

You will forever be in my mind and heart.

Love you always,

Ms. Tabbie Wood

 

 

 

 

Toxic Humans and Me.

Today, I did something. I deleted and blocked a person from my life, that was toxic, to me. I decided to test the person first. I was right with my suspicions. Even though I know there’s no respect for me from said person, I will respect their privacy, and not share their name. But here goes!

Hello? Who the hell would come at me, expecting to have even the slightest chance at mentally abusing me? Who. The FUCK. do you think I am? Let me spell it out…

I’m the woman who had a rough start at life, being pulled from my parents and put into foster care, in first grade.

I went to 13 different schools, and didn’t graduate.

Lived on my own from age 15-17, couch surfing, and working, trying my damndest to stay alive.

I am the woman who met the man of her dreams, married him, had a baby, and Created a BEAUTIFUL family.

I took my adult ass to get my GED, then went to college, so I could set a better example for my baby girl.

I never gave up on my career. When I wasn’t being respected and given the pay I knew I was worth, for my position, I left.

When I felt as though I wasn’t getting paid my worth at my next job, I applied elsewhere to see what I could be making, and fought for it. I got it.

I am the woman who lost her husband, unexpectedly, on a Wednesday morning, while he was at work, my child at school, and myself too busy to realize he never read my text that morning.

I have been through hell. I walk through hell regularly. I don’t need toxic people in my life, and I WILL remove you.

I am a positive, uplifting, forgiving human. I love people. I love my family, my friends and my career. I believe everyone deserves a second chance.

I ALSO believe my opinion matters. Your opinions matter. Even if I disagree with them, they matter, because they are YOURS!

But know, I don’t fucking play.

New Year’s Event

One year.

Not since the death of my amazing husband, no. One year ago was the last holiday I got to spend with him.

Facebook assaults or blesses me with “on this day”, every single day. As I see pictures from last year, I see how pale Mitch was. I believe, that he was already in a downward fall. Not last year. I didn’t see it a year ago. If I did, or if he did, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Or we would? I’ll never know, and with this, “what ifs” can’t tear you down, so I try to avoid the “if only” and “what if” thoughts.

In the photo, before the countdown, he is smiling. His beautiful face, pale. (He tried avoiding the camera all night, because he didn’t want the splint in any pictures. He hated that thing!)

These were the two photos from our last holiday together, that screamed at me, today.

New Year’s was a fun time, we spent with family and friends, every year. We loved bringing in the New year, surrounded by those we loved.

Mitch was always the life of the party. He made everyone around him feel good, and filled the room with laughter. It never failed.

I wish he was spending this new year’s holiday with us, too. I wish I could hear his big laugh, and wrap my arms around his big shoulders, and tell him I love him, over and over and over.

This year, he will be spending his New Year’s Eve with someone he hasn’t spent it with in many many years.

His mom. But, with all the family that has passed, he has a party going on, wherever they all are, and we all know it!!

Megan, Sandy, Paul, Scotty, and many many more.

Party On, Mitch. We miss the fuck out of you!

How To To Treat A Widow On Christmas…

That’s easy. Treat her like family. Treat her like a friend.

Maybe get her a gift. Nothing extravagant, of course, but something that says “I’m thinking about you.” Keep in mind, in most cases of married couples, they are typically the ones who buy for each-other. It’s strange to think, right? (Not me, really. I don’t care about gifts. I gave Meg $65 to buy me stuff, because I was more curious about WHAT she would pick out for me. 😂)

My best friends have gotten me gifts, and I love them dearly (and I also got gifts for them, just like every year).

A new widow, who is used to being with their husband, or wife, during the holidays is probably feeling more lonely that ever. Overwhelmed is a great word to use, for how I’ve felt. I have to remember EVERYTHING! I am not used to that. Mitch would always remind me “we forgot… insert family member here!”

He was my other half. He picked up where I slacked and slacked where I picked up. We were partners.

Remember, if it seems like your widowed friend remembered everyone but you, it wasn’t on purpose, or out of dislike. It’s because their partner isn’t there reminding them. This time of year is hectic, even for 2 people working together!

Hell, Mitch and I forgot people every single year. 2 were his freaking step siblings! EVERY SINGLE YEAR! He made a trip to the ATM to get them $20 each.

And know, when you are celebrating the holidays with your loved ones, your widow-friend is holding their shit together, with all of their strength. This is the time of year to be with the ones you love most, and they can’t have that. You don’t need to “feel sorry” for them, or look at them with pity in your eyes. That’s not desired. Just be yourself. That’s all I want from my friends and family.

Love me, like you always have. Hug me, like you always have.

Be present. And don’t be afraid to mention their name!

Mitch fucking LOVED Christmas! This was his FAVORITE holiday! He didn’t care about presents, but damnit, I tried every year to top the previous year’s gifts. Last year took the cake! I bought him the LAST XBOX1 in Kansas City. The last one! He bought me an inversion table. We spoiled the shut out of each-other.

I will miss spoiling the shit out of my man. I will work on topping each year of Megan’s Christmas gifts though. ❤️ I will carry on the tradition of making Grandma Kathleen cry with cards, and getting a goof ass card for his Uncle Paul.

Just remember, the holidays are so very bittersweet for anyone struggling with loss.

It’s hard, but, we have to put #OneFootInFrontOfTheOther

Thank you to all of my family, and all of my amazing friends, for being here, For sticking by me, even when it might have been the last thing you wanted to do. I appreciate you all! ❤️

Spending the Holidays “With” Your Deceased Spouse.

I’ve dreamed of Mitch, nearly every night for the last week.

In these dreams, we are discussing what to buy for Megan for Christmas, and “Has she ACTUALLY been good, this year?” (The answer is yes. She has been amazing, especially under the circumstances!)

I had one where we were ACTUALLY Christmas shopping. He was being his normal self, throwing things into the carts of unsuspecting strangers. He was also picking up ugly sweaters, and talking about how much he wanted one, this year. (Talked to a friend, and she suggested, without knowing this dream, to get a tiny ugly sweater for his urn! OMG! AMAZING IDEA!) He also got Michael (his brother) something that was ACTUALLY at Target, yesterday! So, naturally, I bought the damn thing for Michael Dale! So, brother-in-Law, your gift was ACTUALLY from my dream-Mitch. I hope you like it!

Last night’s dream was weird! It reminded me of a cross between Home Alone, and the movie that Kevin watches in home alone, along with something that has happened to me a few times, and Meg once. (Keep the change you filthy animal! Bang bang pew pew pow!)

Real: When I was in Nebraska, we were driving down the street, and the street lights flickered as we went under them, and then went dark.

Real: When Meg and I were driving down 95th street, the street lights went out as we drove under them! It was crazy!

In my dream, I was at a bar, it was decorated for Christmas, and we were drinking, and dancing, and having a good time. Meg was at home, with friends, and sent me a text. “Mom! Check the string of lights around the bottle of alcohol in the corner of the bar!”

I have no idea how she knew to look at it, but, I followed her direction, and looked at it. All the lights were out, except the red ones, Mitch’s favorite color. The red ones were flashing. (Maybe a mix of Stranger Things, too!) a stranger came up, and said “That’s Morse code!” And wrote it down. The lights were telling me to GO HOME NOW!

So, I paid my tab, and got an Uber. As the Uber drove towards my home, the street lights flickered and went out, as we went under each light.

I get home, and run inside, and up the stairs, to find Meg in her bay window (yes I have a house in this dream and it is huge and gorgeous!) pointing outside.

There is her father. Riding a bicycle, in circles around our culdesac (Mitch always wanted to live on a culdesac) He was carrying something. He looked kind of scary, then I realized it was because he looked exactly like his bitmoji cartoon. He pulled out a big gun, and started shooting up the neighbor’s home. He was laughing! Meg and I were horrified!

Then, he was gone! We ran outside to go see if the neighbors were okay. And when we stepped out, we looked up, and the neighbor’s house was decorated for Christmas, so beautifully, with no signs of gunfire. It wasn’t decorated prior to him “shooting” it up.

The gun was a special, Christmas gun. And I know, if Mitch were alive, and that thing were real, he would own it.

So, as far as the title of this blog goes, I feel like I am getting more time with Mitch, than I have been getting. We’ve been Christmas shopping, and going over Christmas lists, and he even reminded me to buy something that I had forgotten to get, for Megan! (I am aware these are dreams, so don’t go calling the crazy house!)

Life has been so busy. And it’s just going to keep moving. I have been blessed with the ability to remember my dreams, so I will cherish each and every dream I get to have of him.

Happiest of Holidays to you all.

10 Months

It has been 10 months since I received the horrible news that my husband was found dead.

10 months of wobbly emotions. 10 months of trying to figure out how to maintain his part and my part of parenting. 10 months of looking into my baby girl’s eyes, and seeing so much of her father. 10 months of pain, and heartache intertwined with happiness and pride.

For the last 10 months I have made great strides in improving who I am, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I joke about being “absent” with friends and family, who don’t work out with me, but I am actually not. I make it a point to text, call or visit family, whenever I can. I course, I am busy, quite often, and I won’t give up my workouts for anyone other than Megan. (Unless important things come up, like weddings, etc.)

Every time I feel like I don’t want to do that workout, I remember that I CAN get sick. I CAN leave this earthly body before “my time”, (whatever THAT means). If I don’t take care of ME, who will take care of Megan?

I would be the ghostly mother, haunting the shit out of whoever Megan’s caregiver would be, (Brady…) because that’s who I am. I wouldn’t be done yet. I need her to know all of her dad, and all of her momma. I need her to know that life has it’s serious downs, but, damnit, there is ALWAYS something good, somewhere, if you look hard.

Sometimes the good is so obvious that you miss it.

Don’t miss it. Don’t take the good for advantage. Appreciate it. Revel in it! Be the good in someone else’s life, too! Don’t do it for YOU. Don’t do it to see what you can get from it. I promise, it’ll feel good, just putting a smile on someone else’s face.

Mitch was the guy that always held the door for whoever was walking in or out behind him. He would open the door and stand aside, if he came upon a door someone was walking opposite him, through. He was always trying to be the good, without expectations from other people (except a simple “thank you”. When people wouldn’t say that you, it would piss him off.)

Say thank you!

Say please. Say thank you. Don’t assume that guy wants in your pants, just because he held the door open for you. Don’t assume that woman wants to jump you, just because she is nice to you.

Ten months a widow.