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. 

The Things I Have Done, So Far, This Year. 


This year has been one hell of a ride, so far.

I’ve done so many things that I never expected I would ever do. 

I, unfortunately, became a widow, at the age of 34, in January. Most already know the details of that, and I won’t relive it, in this post. 

In February, I paid off all of our tax debt, which was absolutely insane. That amount of money was a pretty large chunk of change.  I set up autopay for my student loans. 

In February, I went to Liberty tax and filed our taxes. It was overwhelming. I had never filed taxes, without Mitch there. Never! 

In March, I bought a new car. A brand new car. I never thought I could get a brand new car. I figured I would be stuck with dud cars for the rest of my life. Also, in March, I officially hired JRen Fitness, to whip me into a healthier me. 

In April, I signed up for the Conquer the Gauntlet Lifetime pass. It has been so rewarding!  I’ve met so many people, because of this, who have become friends, some who I consider my race family. 

In May, I left work at 3pm, hopped in my car, with 2 girlfriends, and drove, all the way to Georgia. We got there at 5am, and decided to nap for an hour before racing time. I ran my first official CTG! It was amazing! At the end of May, I released some stress, in a way that I knew how. 

I had sex with someone who ISN’T Mitch. (Definitely, I never saw this in my 2017 plans!) 


In June, I drove to Dallas Texas, for a conquer the Gauntlet. I found out that I can drive, easily, for 8 hours, before my ass starts cramping. I took Meg to the JFK museum, and we left Mitch at a restaurant and in the grassy Knoll. 

In July, we didn’t do much celebrating for Independence Day, since it was my scheduled holiday. That was strange. 

Meg started volunteering for the race Merch tent. She was killing it, in sales. She is doing so much better speaking to “strangers” (customers, and it transferred over to her ordering her own food at restaurants, too!)

I’ve been to Tulsa, and Iowa, for races, as well. 

I went to Nebraska for a workout with some race friends. Just because it sounded like a good thing to do. (It WAS!) 

I never would have thought that I’d be in the place I am, right now. 

This year has been trying. I have definitely had my bad days. I have sat down, on the edge of my bed and cried, for hours, about things I can’t control. Once those tears are released, I feel like it is like letting my worries go. Letting them free into the universe. I can’t worry about the things I can’t control. It’s fruitless. It’s unnecessary stress, that I CAN refuse to have. 

I can be happy, without feelings of guilt. 

I can have fun, without guilt.

I can keep taking steps, forward, without guilt. 

I can be sad, and happy, at the same time. 

I can be myself, an individual. 

I can be a mom.

I can be a friend.

I can say things and do things that most people are too aftaid to do or say. And I don’t do it, for attention. I don’t need that kind of attention, ya know? I do it, so other women and men, who are experiencing the same feelings I have, never feel alone. 

POST-widowhood Happiness

I know that this blog is about me being a widow, but I hope that anyone who has lost a loved one, can get some sort of hope from my story. 

I NEED people to keep hope. Or faith, or whatever you want to call it. 

It’s important to me, that people who are devestated right now, know that happiness IS possible. 

You may not believe me, right now. Hell, I wouldn’t have believed me, either. 

But, I promise you, it is possible. 

It’s beautifully intertwined with sadness, and excitement, anger and love.

 The happiness that first comes, is one heavily dosed with guilt. You find yourself laughing, then you turn around, and start crying, because, you feel guilty about laughing, about feeling that feeling that makes you laugh. 

The happiness that comes after, is pure. It’s a new kind of happy. I don’t know if I can explain it well enough, but I will try. 

Happiness before the loss of someone who is such a huge, positive part of your life, is happiness. It is normal, happy, where you may take things for granted. It’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s just normal. The happiness now, post guilt laden happiness, is so much deeper. 

It’s a kind of happy that starts down in your belly, and moves up, and through the chest, to burst out, and just be. It’s one where you appreciate the things that make you happy. You don’t take for granted, anything, anymore. You know how quickly the happiness and good can go away. 

It’s a kind of happy that I wish everyone could feel, but, for me, it took a terrible, horrible, tragic loss, to open my eyes, my mind, and my heart. And I don’t wish this kind of loss on my worst enemy. 

I feel like putting that into words doesn’t do it justice. I can’t explain it, any better than that, but that’s just not enough. 

That’s the best I can give. 

Another thing I have noticed is that my desire to make people happy, is far above what it ever was, before. I can say “thank you.” I can say “I appreciate you.” I can say many things, but instead, I’ve been more likely to SHOW you, of late. A hug, a kind gesture, or a gift. Something that goes with the words. It’s not a form of “repayment” or “to create equality”. It’s because it’s what I WANT… no… it’s what I NEED to do, to be a happy human. I want everyone who positively impacts my life to know they have. Period. 

It’s about using actions, because they speak louder than words. 


#DontWorryBeHappy

#OneFootInFrontOfTheOther

Feeling Guilty When Laughing

I have to say, it pains me, when I find something funny. I feel like “Oh My God! I shouldn’t be laughing! MY HUSBAND DIED!”

This comes about, because, this morning, I was watching this super cute video of toddlers who were terrified of their shadows, and I was LAUGHING! The kids were just so darned cute, and so afraid and trying to get away from those shadows. It was hilarious.

Pang! I felt so ashamed, and guilty for laughing.

I went to the grocery store with Megan. We have Urn necklaces, so we take Mitch with us, everywhere we go. Megan forgot her necklace today, and she and I joked about how bad she was for leaving daddy at home, but it was okay, because I brought him. (I didn’t forget my necklace.)

Pang!

I go in and start grabbing things that are on my list. I go to the onions, and grab one of the bags, that the store provides, and open it up to put my onions in. THUNK. It landed on the floor. I was like, “wait. huh?” So, I tried 2 more times, unsuccessfully, to put onions in that damn bag, and sure as the sky is blue, there was a whole in that bag! REALLY?! It was a brand new bag! I just opened it! All the while I was trying to put the onions in the bag, I was laughing, Megan was laughing. We were at the grocery store, laughing in front of many people. We even had a bunch of people around us, laughing, too!

Pang! Will laughing ever come without guilt?

I often wonder how I am able to laugh. How I am doing this thing we call living. I know that life and living does go on. I do. I know that it is a MUST for us. So every morning, when I reach across my queen size bed, to that empty space, and realize it really isn’t a dream, I tell myself, “You are strong. You can do this. Megan needs you. And no matter how bad the day may be, you WILL survive it!”

I think, to answer my own questions, I am able to laugh, because that was a HUGE part of our family. Even when we were sick, or in a bad mood, we were laughing. I hope I stop feeling guilty every time I laugh, though. I remember telling Mitch, quite often, “Stop! You can’t make me laugh every time I am mad at you! It’s not fair!” He LOVED to make people laugh. He LOVED laughing. So, with that in my mind, it may help me. It hasn’t yet, but I am hoping it will.

Megan is going to be an AMAZING adult, and I am going to see to that! She will make an impact on the lives of all she meets, just like her daddy. I will be with her every step of the way. I will be there, making sure she doesn’t make the same stupid decisions I made as a teenager. And, I will be there when she DOES make stupid decisions, or has her heart broken, or gets the academic award. I will be there! The only way I can be sure to be there, is to LIVE!

ONE. FOOT. IN. FRONT. OF. THE. OTHER.

BREATHE…

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Smiling, even though he was pushed, fully clothed, into the pool, with his phone in his pocket. THIS is the man he was!