Being Open About Everything

Since the untimely death of my husband, I have become quite the over-sharer. I mean that in a good way. I talk a LOT. I explain everything.

I know, I know. I don’t need to explain myself to anyone for anything. I know. I don’t care.

However, when I see someone who I haven’t seen in a while, and they ask me where I have been, I tell them, and the shock on their faces and in their whole demeanor is crazy! I don’t mean to be so blunt, but there’s just no easy way to say it.

“Well, I was off of work for 3 and a half weeks, because my husband passed in January, and then I had to change my schedule, so I haven’t been able to work later than 3pm, on a regular basis.”

That’s why you never see me anymore.

I am the friend, that is trying to figure out how to stay healthy, care for my child, and for myself, as well as work full-time, and take care of everything.

Let me get real, real quick. This may be unbelievable, but, keep in mind, Mitch and I started dating when I was 17 years old. Hell, we moved in together when I was still 17. (any young ones reading, please, do not risk it! Not everyone is as lucky as Mitch and I were, and I wouldn’t change a thing about how we got and stayed together.)

I have NEVER, in all of my adult life, lived on my own. Never. I have never been responsible for paying bills, outside of my auto-deposited paychecks. I have never been in this situation before.  This is one hell of a learning curve. And there is no class for this. (well, I am sure there is, but it probably costs money.)

I have allotted dates from each month to have people over for a ladies night. I find these dates by going over my calendar and making sure that I don’t have a run scheduled that weekend, that I am not on call that weekend, and that I don’t have anywhere to be, early in the mornings that weekend. There’s a lot of thought that goes into planning my ladies’ nights. I may even host a poker night, soon. It’s sounding pretty Mitch-like. And poker nights were always a good time. So, Chuck, don’t go spending those quarters! I will take them off of your hands soon. 😉

Again, I just want to ask my friends and family to forgive me, and bear with me, while I figure all of this out. I may not come to your parties, or get-together, or I may plan my ladies night the same night that you have something planned, but that’s only because I only have that weekend free. It doesn’t mean I love you any less.

And for anyone who is reading, that doesn’t know me, but knows someone who is going through what I am going through, give them time to figure it all out. It’s a lot to process, and get through. Your friend doesn’t love you less. Your friend still wants you around. Your friend probably misses you. And your friend is probably exhausted all of the time. It’s okay. It takes time. And for some reason, there isn’t that extra couple of hours in each day, that should be automatic in the event of a spouse’s death.

Every widow should get an extra 2 hours, every night, just to sleep, or finish the dishes, or prep lunches for the next day. All of the things that may have been taken care of by the deceased partner, and the widow is now all on the widow. It’s overwhelming sometimes. It really and truly is.

I remember when we first moved into the apartment, I FORGOT to make dinner! Really?! I jumped up from the table and said, “Oh crap! I need to make dinner!” It was 7:30pm. Mitch cooked. I never made dinner. It was a running joke with Megan and Mitch, that “If Daddy ever left or died, I would starve, because Mommy doesn’t cook!” I cook. It’s another learning curve, but I will master it.

One day, I will have free time, again. It may not be soon, but it’ll come.

I have arranged extra time, for ME-TIME to start working out again. Baby steps in the right direction. That’s all we can hope for. Right?

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Mitch and my brother at my cousin’s wedding.

Unpacking The Final Boxes, With Memories Galore!

I started unpacking the remaining boxes from the move. I’m not sure how I managed to have 3 totes, and 2 boxes of bathroom items.

When I got to the final box, I opened it, and I could smell his Old Spice after shave. My whole body started to shake, but my eyes remained dry. I placed his after shave in my bathroom cabinet. I will keep that Old Spice forever.

I remember when he started buying Old Spice. I teased him. I told him “What are you, an old man, or what?” He didn’t buy, or even really like, the new “hip” version of Old Spice. It was the original, almost sweet-smelling stuff. The kind that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, and safe. I also found his Tommy cologne, Hugo, and a bunch of other smelly good items. I put everything else in their respected baskets, and placed them in “Mitch’s” closet. One day, I will have everything down to one 50 qt tote, but, right now, I can’t decide what to keep and what to save for Meg. She isn’t ready to pick anything out, and says she doesn’t want any of his cologne or anything. (I’m saving one of the old spice bottles for her, too. She doesn’t know it.)

As I was sorting through all of his toiletries, I started to think back on happier memories. Like me teasing him, the day he proposed, and my favorite, The day we found out I was pregnant.

We decided on December 25th, 2003 that we should try for baby #1. And try, we did! February rolled around, and I started feeling weak, and tired, and, the normal smells of my job were making me ill. A little lightbulb went off and I told Mitch, “Let’s stop at Wal-Mart and pick up a pregnancy test.”

His face was priceless. “Really? Already?’

“Yes. I’m pretty sure.” I told him. I was so happy, and so scared, and so excited!

We went to Wal-Mart, on our way to our friend’s house. They were expecting their first baby any day.

I bought a two-pack of pregnancy tests, and told Mitch that I would take one in the morning, because that’s when it’s more accurate.

I couldn’t wait. I knew! I felt it in my entire being. I snuck one of the tests into our friend’s bathroom, and peed on it. It took less than 1.5 seconds for that happy face with “pregnant” in the window to pop up. I did a little happy dance, and washed up and ran out of the bathroom, tossed him the stick and said “Congratulations, Daddy!”

He was in shock! He got up, off the couch, walked over to me, hugged me, and said, “I need to go for a walk. I’m freaking out.” His face! Eyes as big as softballs. Reality hit, and he was so afraid of screwing up. (He could NEVER!)

During my pregnancy, I was fired from the bar I worked at, (surprisingly enough, it was less than 12 hours after I told them I was pregnant), so I went to McDonald’s and worked for an old friend. When I hit 4 months, my ankles hit the floor, and I was put on a very strict diet. That was awful! Mitch was the BEST! He made me steak, and washed my fruit and veggies for me.

At 5-6 months, I developed a rash, from the neck down, that itched like poison ivy and left scabs all over my body. When the doctor prescribed this powder (that was actually supposed to be mixed with water, to lower cholesterol) to me, to be mixed with my “favorite lotion” and rub it all over the rash, Mitch mixed that nasty powder in with some lotion and rubbed it on me. He was so kind, and so selfless. He made sure I had everything I needed.

When I went in for that last doctor’s appointment, he happened to be there, for that one. My blood pressure was high, and my PUPPPS rash was so so so bad. I wasn’t sleeping well, and I itched all the time. I had so many scabs that it opened my body up for staph infections. I was miserable. My doctor decided it was time. I was to be induced, so she told me to go home, have a nice dinner, and be back at 8pm. I did what I was told. Mitch, worried as he ever was about making sure we had enough money for our bills, asked if I thought it was okay for him to go to work. “Yeah, babe. I’m sure I will still be pregnant when you get off of work.” So, I drove myself to the hospital. I checked myself in, and got my room number. This was before text messaging was a regular form of communication, so I picked up the phone in my labor room, and called to give him the room number and such.

I was still pregnant all the way until 1:53, the following morning. I remember being in stirrups, and having my brother there on one side, up at the head of the bed, and Mitch on the other side. He was so scared. He was so worried for me. He was trying to do everything he could to make me more comfortable.

Megan decided she wanted to look the doctor in the face, upon her arrival, so, she was a little stuck. Her nose, my pelvic bone + not very stretchy tissue. Not a good combo. Doc decided episiotomy would be best.  “SNIP”

MITCH’S FACE! Again, eyes bigger than softballs. Face white as a ghost. Mouth agape. He mumbles,

“You’re going to be fine. You’re going to be fine.”

To this day, I am still not sure if he was talking to me, or to himself. He may have been talking to both.

He was the BEST father a man could be. He was Megan’s biggest cheerleader. Her protector. Her friend.

He will forever be remembered as Amazing.

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Mitch, Megan, and the youngest of Mitch’s siblings, Jack.