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.

_________________________________________

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.

A Beautifully, Lopsided, Christmas Tree

So, I cry every now and then. It’s bound to happen. I don’t try to stop it. It usually doesn’t get horribly bad.

I hurt. I feel the loss at every turn. There’s no denying that.

When I am happy, there’s always a little trace of sadness. Also, very normal. I am ashamed of nothing.

I brought all of the Christmas stuff out of storage, this Monday. It’s been sitting in the hallway of my apartment.

Just a bunch of totes of Christmas stuff. So much Christmas stuff.

It was one of Mitch’s favorite holidays to decorate for.

We hit every store we could, last year, after the holiday. We have so much stuff. We have 4′ gingerbread men for outside. But I live in an apartment now.

Every time I’ve walked by the Christmas stuff, sitting in my hallway, my chest would tighten.

I knew it was going to hurt, but I was only guessing at how bad.

As I was clearing out the corner, where the tree is going, it hit me. I hadn’t even touched the Christmas stuff yet. My chest felt like it was ripping wide open, and my breath caught.

I, literally, crawled between my 2 shelves and started to cry. I scared the crap out of Megan, but, I can’t help it. She came out of her bedroom, and my baby girl put her arm on my shaking shoulders, and said “Mommy, just breeeeathe. It’s okay.” My little girl.

This. Fucking. Hurts.

I sobbed, I snotted. I. Cried. Whole body shuddering.

I cried for a Christmas without Mitch.

I cried for a daughter without her daddy.

I cried for a wife without her love.

I cried for the day I learned he was gone.

I cried for the loss of this man. My husband. Meg’s father. This best friend, son, and big brother.

I settled down, and wiped the tears away.

Together, Megan and I got the tree out of the damn box, and decorated the shit out of it.

That’s his most worn Seattle Seahawks hat.

I started going through the decorations, and came across a box of cards. I thought “SCORE! I don’t have to buy any cards, this year!”

And then I started opening them and what do you know?

Pre-signed cards, from a time before, in my handwriting.

From a time when we never would have expected to only have 2 names on cards this year. A time when everything wasn’t perfect, but everyone was happy and together, and alive.

I started to cry again. Not quite as noisily as before. I sat the cards aside, and decided to look, later. I needed to sort them out, because I didn’t want to give those out this year.

Later came, so I started going through the cards. Then I came across this…

I nearly lost my shit. I curled into myself, again, and began to wail, body still shaking from the first cry.

That’s Mitch’s handwriting.

These were the last Christmas cards he filled out.

I remember the day I decided to start signing the cards. I said, “Mitch! You have GOT to fill out some cards, or people are going to think you don’t like them.” I was TOTALLY kidding, of course! He laughed, and filled out some cards.

But I sorted those cards. I kept the ones he signed, and am tossing the ones I signed.

But we did it. We made it through, over, and under this obstacle. We climbed it, we dragged it, we rolled it, and rang the damn bell.

The. Tree. Is. Up.

I might cry, every time I look at it, but it’s there. It’s beautifully lit, and decorated.

I also did something he told me I needed to work on. I let Meg decorate most of it. There’s a whole side of the tree without ornaments, but it’s staying that way.

It’s beautifully lopsided, kind of like my life.

9 Months A Widow

A lot can happen in 9 months. Hell, you can conceive a baby, have it grow from one cell into a newborn baby in that little of time. 

Your heart can break over and over and over, in that amount of time. 

Your daughter can experience her first boyfriend AND first breakup in that short of time. 

Good god, I miss the crap out of you. Your easy laugh. Your bright smile. Even your stinky ass feet. 

I miss random, goofy Facebook posts, and random texts. 

I miss it all, but I am trying to find my “happy”. 

You’d be proud of Zaida, Katy, and Michael! They’ve done SO good these last 9 months. Hannah is beautiful, and Katy and Bobby are doing so good with her!! Zaida is going to Emporia! Michael has the same job, and he’s killin it. 

Summer and Boni, Heather, John John, Savannah, and Jack are all doing well. (I haven’t heard anything bad really) 

John and Tracey, Mike, Dee, grandma Kathleen and Aunt Cindy, and Grandpa Parsons all keep up with us, and haven’t lost touch. 

Every single one of us misses you. 

That will never change. 
I am working out, regularly. I am COOKING! I am making it a point to hang out with my friends, new and old. 
It’s been exactly 9 months, since you’ve gone on, to whatever came next for you. I really hope that wherever you are, you are happy, pain free, and hanging with all the greats! Going by the life you led, here on earth, you deserve the best, wherever you have gone. 

You were one HELLUVA human being! I am so proud that you chose me, out of all the choices you had to pick from. 

I was one lucky bitch! 

I think you’d be proud of me, too. I mean, that’s what everyone tells me, and I am starting to believe it. 

I am more serious than ever to eat right, work out regularly, and am already signed up for 10 obstacle course races for next year, and am about to make it 11. Meg joins me for all of the CTG races, because she is AMAZING in the merch tent. Good God she is fantastic with people, just like you always were! 

Her teachers (most of them) love her, and she jokes with them on their level, but also as a child. You know, like the Shrek movies! PG enough for kids, but funny for adults too. 

I am trying to encourage her to be more physically actuve, but, it’s not working, right now. 

I am terrified of being a solo mom, to a teenage girl! I was TOTALLY relying on you to be around for the “daddy’s girl” part, because it’s inevitable, all teenag  girls hate their moms for some portion of their teen lives. I don’t want to do it! I will survive it, but it’s going to suck when that time comes, and kicks me in the ass. 

But I’ll keep moving. I’ll keep “mom-ing”. I’ll try to be everything I can be, and everything that you were for her. 

I am only human. But, I will try. 

I hope you are proud of me. I make sure I’m a good person, and always am considerate of those around me. I really do think about all the ways you were a better human than most people I know. And when I say better than most, there are a very few humans who are equally as good as you were. But, when I meet one, I acknowledge them. 

Oh! And another thing you’d be so proud of!! 

I cooked dinner tonight! A super healthy, tasty dish, and even made a healthy bread to go with it!  I wish I knew how to cook like this, before, because I’m slaying the kitchen, now! 

I made chicken “ala King”. Onions and leeks and coconut cream, and red peppers and spices! I am so excited about this new food adventure I am on! I never want to stop! Not kidding, I’ve spent so much on groceries this week because I didn’t have the staple ingredients for healthy cooking/baking. Now I do. 

It.

Is.

On!

Not only did I make a meal from scratch, I freaking cleaned the kitchen afterward! This is where you’d pat me on the back and say “welcome to my world!” That’s what you did all the time! It may not have always been healthy, but, by god, you could cook! 

I remember the day I overheard you tell me friends that you enjoyed cooking. I though, “Holy damn! JACKPOT!”  I didn’t like cooking. Now, however, it’s another way to release the stresses of everyday life. I am learning, from an amazing human, about cooking, and eating clean. No one has ever taken the time to say “get this brand, over this because *insert reason here*” it is so much better when you have the reasons as to WHY one is better than the other, and CHEAP is always a favorite word! 

So, I am here, in this world, missing you, in your new world, but, I am O K. We are O K. It sucks, but we will live, until it’s our time to exit this world, and possibly,  join you in your world. 
 

So much love to you, Mitchell John. No matter what EVER happens in THIS world, my new world without you, I will NEVER stop loving you. No matter who I date, if I ever fall in love again and wind up remarried, I will NEVER. STOP. LOVING. YOU! Never. You are my number 1, and most notable love of my life. 

You are my Mitch. 

My hero. 

My soul mate. 

Love you always, 

Tabbie

17 Years…

If Mitch hadn’t have died, we would be celebrating 17 years, OFFICIALLY, together, today. 17! 

Now, I’m widowed. 

Today. Fucking. Sucks!

I avoided most of my Facebook “on this day” posts, so I could make it through the day, without losing my shit. 

I held myself together until about 3:30pm. I’ve been crying off and on since. 

It hurts so bad. So fucking bad. My chest hurts. Like it’s cracking open, all over again. 

I’m going to share the Facebook posts I’ve made throughout the years, wishing Mitch a happy anniversary. 


8/22/2010

OMIGOSH!!! With all that has been going on, I almost forgot! HAPPY 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY Mitch Wood! ❤ YOU

8/22/2011

11 years ago, today, I asked this guy, “So, are we, like, a couple now?” And he responded, “Sure.” We have been together ever since. And. Happy bday Zaida!!!

8/22/2012

12 years ago, today, I stood outside of Mitch’s white mustang, as he sat in the driver’s seat, getting ready to head home. I leaned in the car, kissed him, and said, “So, are we, like, a couple, now?” And he said, “Sure.” We have been together since that day! Happy 12 years, Mitch McCullough Wood! I love you!!! 
And, HAPPY BIG 18 Zaida Wood!!!!! So, growed up, now!!! =( Love you Sis!! =D
8/22/2013

13 years ago, Mitch and I had a conversation, that went like this:
Me: So, are we, like, a couple, now?

Mitch: Sure.
And we’ve been together ever since. 😉 

8/22/2014

I got lazy:


Just kidding. I posted:

Mitch McCullough Wood. 14 years! Holy cow! We were 2 and 3 years younger than Zaida is now, when we made our relationship official. 

It feels like forever, in the way that I don’t remember a life without you. I can’t even imagine what life would be like without you, and your giant, confusing, crazy, fun family. And I don’t want to imagine that. 
I am the luckiest lady in the world to have you. 
The most significant word in our vocabulary: sure.
It’s amazing how one little word changed our lives, so incredibly.
I love you, and cannot wait to see what fun we can create in the future. 
 I know some people don’t even acknowledge their “dating anniversary”, but, most people don’t have their little sister’s birthday the same day, as a yearly reminder. 😘 
Speaking of that…
Happy birthday, Zaida. You have grown into such a beautiful woman, with an amazing heart, and I’m so very proud of you. I’m especially proud of you for figuring out a hairbrush. There for a while, I figured it was never going to happen. 😉 
❤💋💙💋💚💋💛💋💜💋
8/22/2015

No posts. 😔

8/22/2016

No posts… 😳
I bet you can’t guess which one threw me over the edge… 
I still don’t feel like this is really real. I feel like I’m in the Truman Show, and everyone is watching me cry for a man that’s not really gone. 

But, that must be a defense mechanism, because my HEART feels like he’s gone. It’s a feeling that I cannot describe to anyone, no matter how many words I use. 

I’m lucky to be a realistic woman, who understands the whole reality of this situation. 

Someone asked me, today, if going out on a date was weird. My immediate response shocked me! 

“No,” I responded, “It was almost natural.” 

I Baffled my own mind! 

It was. I’m a great people-person. I love talking to people. It’s always been one of my favorite things to do. You can ask my mom. 😜

So, The other night, on this date, he asks, “so what is it you’re looking for?” 

I think I finally know the answer! 

It’s not to fill a void, because I’m smarter than that. Trying to fill THAT particular void would have horrible, horrible consequences! Not me. Too smart for that. 

It’s for distraction! It seems like it was for a little distraction from my life. It was fun. I was definitely distracted, and I smiled. I laughed. I made jokes. And,  I had fun. 

Little distractions, here and there, are great. 

So, thanks, Mr. H, for giving me a distraction, I so badly needed. 👌

August is HARD. 

Football starts.

Mitch’s bday.

Our “official couple” anniversary. 

August is the feeliest of all feely months. 

I’m tired. 

I miss him. 

Fuck “tired”!

I am fucking exhausted! 

I am mad, but not in a dangerous way. 

This is not fair, at all, for any of us, especially Megan and myself. 

My chest hurts. It has hurt so much this month. Not in a medical way, but in the way that my breath catches, and I hold back tears to appease those around me. I don’t lie, but I don’t over-share anymore, either, because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Which, is fine, because I feel worse hurting feelings, than than I do holding it to myself, and 2-3 very close girlfriends. 

Life is still moving. It’s going up, and down, and infinite directions. 

It’s time to really grab hold, and see where it takes me. 

I love life, but I don’t love everything about it. 

Without the bad, you know not, how truly good the good is. 

Sleep well, friends and family. 

Another Dream of Mitch! 


I dreamed of Mitch, Thursday night! I didn’t want to wake up. It was a very “normal” dream. 

He was here, at my apartment, like he had never been gone. He was laying in my favorite spot on the couch, and we were discussing whether or not, he should go get a job, since we were doing so well, without a second income. 

I told him no. I told him to stay home, take care of home stuff, and we would be okay. 

He told me I should probably change my tax status, back to married, instead of widowed, because he didn’t want us to get in trouble on outer taxes, ever again. 

It wasn’t a sexy dream. It was as if he really was here, discussing the crap that we discussed on a regular basis, before. Money, paying bills, Megan and school. Like he had never left. 

In my dream, though, I KNEW he had been gone all this time, yet, there he was, looking mighty alive.

 However, I never saw his face. 

What in the world could that mean?! I haven’t forgotten what he looks like. I haven’t forgotten his voice or anything. His voice is crystal clear in my dream. Except that one, where I couldn’t hear him at all. 

I miss him so much, and all I want is one of his big bear hugs, where he smothers me in his chest. I want to breathe in his scent, one more time. Breathe him deep into my soul. Every now and then, I’ll get a quick whiff of him, but as quickly as it comes, it’s gone. 

I RARELY dream about him, and when I do, it’s strange. Once, just his voice, like he was trying to find me, and nothing else. Once, just him, but I couldn’t hear him, even though he was talking to me, right in front of my face. And this latest dream, where I could see his waist, legs and feet. The details in his feet, like his veins, and bones, the way they looked when he sat with his feet propped on the arm of the couch, one foot crossed over the other. It’s all in there, in my brain. I remember every detail of him. 

He is my soulmate. There’s no question about that. We were put together so many times before we realized we were meant for each other. 

At age 17, I knew, the first time I kissed him, that he was my forever guy. Forever wasn’t as long as it was supposed to be. 

When I moved into his house 2 weeks after we started dating, everyone said we were nuts! Horrible idea! (In their defense, in a normal teenage situation, it would have been a horrible idea. I don’t recommend it to everyone. We KNEW!) When we got engaged a year and a half after we started dating, (2/2002), everyone said we were being ridiculous! No one realized how perfectly we were made for each other. That’s okay, though! We knew! When we got married, at age 20, not even old enough to LEGALLY drink our champagne, we were congratulated, yes, but also told we were crazy! “You’re too young! It’ll never last! Bad idea!” Again, in most cases, statistically, these are all true statements. In our case, they weren’t true. We. Fucking. KNEW! 

I was slightly annoyed, when we were younger, about people continually telling us we were doing things wrong. But, the older we got, the closer we grew together, and the more everyone else saw it. They KNEW! They KNOW now! 

I miss him. I miss my partner, my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, my lover, my husband. 

It hurts, but, I’m healing. I know that’s what this is. I can’t, and won’t be “broken” forever. Scarred? Sure, absolutely! 

Beautifully, and uniquely scarred. So unlike anyone else. 

I really hope there is an afterlife. I hope Mitch was welcomed by his momma, and family and friends that passed before him, and that he welcomed his grandma Sandy, with that big, bear hug, that I miss so much. 

May they be partying it up, in the happiest of afterlives. 

6 Months, 5 Days

On the Morning of the 6 month marker, of Mitchell’s death, I woke up, tears fell for an hour, as I scrolled through facebook’s “on this day”, showered and got ready for work. 

I made a post on Facebook, about how I was feeling, and a lot of what I miss about Mitch. 

I didn’t write a blog, or really talk to very many people. I didn’t tell Megan what the day was, until we were having dinner. 

I mostly kept to myself, and tried not to project my sadness onto anyone else. 

Everyone says it gets easier, as time passes by. 

Everyone grieves differently. 

It’s not easier. Each time I wake up, and Mitch isn’t here, it hurts just a little bit more. Each time some man, that I don’t know, hits on me, like I’m some “single chick” it kind of makes me angry. 

I have “ignored” so many people on messenger, “restricted” so many people on Facebook as well. 

On the 6 month-marker, a man tried to tell me he “wanted to know me”. I also posted about it on Facebook. He claimed he wanted to know me, yet, he didn’t take a second to scroll through my Facebook profile, and see that I just made a big, long, emotional post about how much I miss my deceased husband, and realize how inappropriate his messages were. I see through the typed words. 

I don’t feel bad about not wanted to know people. I don’t feel bad about blocking old acquaintances, or ignoring morons on Facebook. 

One thing I realized recently, is that I feel alone, a lot more than I realized. 

I asked a ton of people to go out with me, Friday night, and so many people just said no, or couldn’t go (kids, other plans, etc). It’s okay. I understand if you don’t want to or can’t go out with me. But here’s where the loneliness sets in. If Mitch was here, he would have gone with me, no questions. (it would have been his idea to go, even) I would not have gone to a concert alone, and we would have had an amazing time. Sure, I had fun. I was surrounded by people, and made “friends”. No. I was surrounded by people, and made more acquaintances. Sure it was fun, but my heart was still broken, and empty. As I danced and listened to the songs Mitch so often played for me, my heart was tearing open, shredding apart, again. 

It’s things like going out alone, or figuring out who will take Megan home from a ball game, if I get called into work, that make me feel alone. 

It’s little things that set me off into a crying mess. I feel like I cry MORE now, than I did in the beginning. Like it’s more REAL now, than it was. Maybe it’s because school is getting ready to start, or something? I don’t know. I don’t care why. It just IS. This is the way it is, now. 

I know, I have Megan, and that’s a MARVELOUS thing. I’m not alone when I’m with her, but I cannot take her everywhere with me. 

Maybe now, I’ve hit the point that everyone has warned me about. The point where everyone believes I am fine, and fall away.

 The scariest part about being a widow, is feeling alone. 

I miss him, so so so much. I miss his presence. I am so angry and sad that he is gone. This is a nightmare. He was such a beautiful soul. We needed him, more, here.

 The world needs more Mitches. 

Tears Fall Freely

I have noticed that I cry more often, now. Little things set me off.

I feel like the numbness is ebbing. It hurts a little more often, now.

I am still able to go about my days, and enjoy myself, so no worries there. I am still putting one foot in front of the other, even if some days my feet become tangled, and I trip and fall on my face.

Today, I woke up, and my mother and father in law were here, and my two nieces and Megan. We made a big breakfast buffet, with pancakes, sausage, bacon, eggs, and all kinds of pancake toppings. The kiddos love the “pancake bar”.

After the family left, and it was just Megan and I, I cleaned up the dishes, and did some laundry. I ordered meat from Omaha Steaks, and just went on about my day.

Normal.

Meg and I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things for the week, since the meat won’t be delivered until Thursday, or so. I needed healthy snacking options, carrots, celery, cucumbers, and fresh fruits. When I got home, I put all the groceries away, and I was going to cut the fruits and veggies.

Before I started cutting veggies, I was putting Megan’s spaghettios with meatballs into the pantry, and started to tell Megan where they were. The biggest case of DeJa Vu hit me. I remembered, very clearly that moment. I had dreamed it. I mean, full on simplistic nightmare. I knew, in that dream, that Mitch had passed away, and that’s why I was in another home. I woke up from that dream, so many years ago, and was so distraught that I woke Mitch up, just to have him hold me, and tell me everything would be okay. Just for him to tell me he was still there. I told Megan about it, today, as soon as I had that deja vu. No tears, just in awe of how I had dreamed about this day, long before it ever happened. This is why my dreams scare me. Some, even the bad ones, actually come true.

I start pulling the celery stalk apart, so I can wash and cut the veggie. I lay them out to dry, and grab my knife. I start cutting.

Then, out of no-where, for no reason, I hear it, in my mind, “You know, you’ll never see him again.”

I started crying. Sometimes, the mind can be a terrible thing.

But really? Chopping vegetables? It’s such a regular part of my weekend. It’s nothing special. Mitch didn’t really eat the veggies, so it wasn’t like it was something I would do for him, really. However, I did make enough for him to have snacks as well. Why didn’t the memory of the dream throw me into a fit of tears? Shock?

I got my shit together, and decided to put the pictures into their new frames, and then remembered I had this super cute flip-photo album that my sister-in-law, Zaida bought me for Christmas. I needed to add photos to it. So, naturally, I sit down and start going through my gigantic box of photos. Old photos, newer ones. I wanted to put good ones into this flip album. I started crying again. Pictures of Mitch haven’t caused me to cry until tonight. I was looking at our wedding photos, and the look on his face was amazing. He was the happiest man alive! I was glowing. We, the youngest couple, married, starting our life together. Little did we know, our time together would be much shorter than expected.

I cannot express, fully, how important it is to live like there’s no tomorrow.

I know I have said it before, but I am saying it again.

Tell  your loved ones that you love them, every single day. Never let someone you love, walk out the door, without telling them you love them. Never let them wonder. Make sure they know! It really helps the ones that are left behind. I know that he knew my love for him. I know that he knew Megan’s love for him. I know that Megan knows he loved her so much! And I know, he loved me, so much, too!

wedding2003 001
It the top photo, He was whispering, “I love you, like a fat kid loves cake.” In the bottom photo, That kiss, though. ❤