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.

_________________________________________

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.

Dating, Alcohol, Sex, and the not so Average Widow.

I mentioned before, about how a majority of men are either scared to date a widow, or they are all about it. I talked about how they are scared, because a widow will be attached too quickly, because she is used to being married. And I talked about the ideas that a lot of men have, about widows and being horny, or “thirsty” is the term I’ve heard.

For me, I dated a bit, because I wanted to have fun. I am still young. I am still a sexually functioning human, and I do quite enjoy having sex. However, I am not “thirsty”. I can live without it, for a while. Sex isn’t a necessary thing.

Now, I know, I may turn some heads, or upset people, or I may have people say things along the lines of “OMG! Yes, girl!” With this blog. I have to make it known.

I went into the dating scene, with my head on, a little askew. I was fine with that, though. I wasn’t looking for a replacement for my husband (I never will), I wasn’t looking a boyfriend, (so much work involved with that), and I wasn’t trying to keep any one guy for very long. I wasn’t interested in “catching feelings”, so the way to avoid that, was to not sleeping with the same guy for a long time.

Now, I had a “young one”, who was good at keeping things separate, for sure. He was around for about 7 months. Then, one day, my feelings were hurt, when he paid no attention to me. *GASP* right? I had to remove that situation from my life.

I met another man. A very sweet, very dorky man. I liked him. A lot. He, quite literally, was the opposite of everything I look for, physically, in a man. We met at a race. We all met up after a race, at a brewery, and had a few drinks. I had 2 and needed to sit a little while longer, before driving home. Everyone left, except him. He said he would stay with me, so I could drink my water and get home safely.

I should have never started anything with him. I knew it would be a bad idea. It was fun, while it lasted, though.

I honestly remember laying in bed with him, with my head on his chest, thinking, “I should call it off, right now. RIGHT NOW!”

I didn’t listen to my inner voice. Sometimes, I am not very bright. That’s okay, though.

One night, we were texting (because that’s the only way anyone every communicates these days), and he told me that he met a couple online, and they wanted to meet him… And he was seriously thinking about doing it.

I was hurt. I couldn’t understand why, if a person tells you that you’re great, fantastic, perfect, love spending time with you, etc, someone would continue looking elsewhere for sex. I still don’t understand that. After I told him he could go to them, or he could continue with me, but he couldn’t have both, he swore I was enough, and he’d rather just chill with me anyway.  We hung out, one more time, and I knew were weren’t going to continue the benefits part of our friendship. He was weird, like I trapped him or guilted him into hanging out with me. (how I felt he behaved) He didn’t answer his texts like he normally did, and when he would answer, they were 1-4 word responses (not normal for him). I called it off. I said no more and told him to go live his life, and not to let me hold him back. (there’s more to this story, but it’s getting too long). So, I chose to end the benefits part of that friendship, before he did something stupid, and we are still friends.

I felt a bit unworthy after that happened, simply because I was made to feel like I wasn’t enough for someone. I really started to feel down about it. Like, I even cried a couple times. Ugh. I hate admitting that.

So, the point to the very long story was this. I came to a realization. I realized I have a part of me back, that I didn’t think would come back. I didn’t think I would ever want to be in a relationship again. Not after losing Mitch. Not after having my heart shattered into millions upon millions of pieces, with his death.

But I do. One day, I do. Coming into this realization, I decided to stop seeing people, at all. I deleted the dating apps from my phone and  I am not pushing the dating scene. I am just focusing on my health and my family, and my career.

Sex is great, but sex with someone who cares so very deeply for you, and wants to be with you, regularly (and the feeling is mutual) is so much more satisfying.

I know, I put alcohol in the title. I had gotten to a point where I was drinking every weekend, and sometimes during the week. Not because I felt like I needed to be drunk or anything, but just because I had someone to drink with. It had become so frequent, though. I felt like it was a bit much.

I quit drinking so regularly. My last alcoholic beverage was at midnight New Year’s eve/New year’s celebratory champagne. I may have a couple at bigger events, like our big KCOCR season kickoff party next weekend. But, I’ll only have one because I found spiked sparkling water! (low sugar, low carbs, low everything!) Since I am focusing more on my health and ocr training, alcohol isn’t a thing I feel like I need. It hinders the ability to become a better athlete, so, as little as possible is best.

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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.

Anger Management

I did my therapy session… for anger management… because I am “so angry all of the time!”

My therapist was on her phone the whole time. Even answered a personal call about where and when to meet for dinner. 👎

Any of my therapist friends out there have any advice?

PS: I have to continue until I am cleared, if I wish to keep my job.

And she muttered those 6 irritating words… “I know exactly how you feel!”

Then didn’t seem to believe me when she asked if I was ever mad at Mitch for dying. Hell no I’m not MAD, nor have I gotten mad at him for dying! He didn’t CHOOSE to die. He would have chose LIVING if offered that choice. She even rolled her eyes at me, when I said that!

We are in a circumstance that wasn’t chosen. Why do people assume I am angry? I get mad when I am told to do something that is wrong, and that is OK. I get irritated or annoyed when people tell

me “I know exactly how you feel.” Because, honestly, no you don’t.

Did you grow up with a father who basically walked away until you were 6 or 7, then decided to fight for custody, causing your brother and yourself to go to foster care? Did you grow up in my situation? Did you drop out of high school, live on the streets and not know when or if you were going to eat every day? Did you get a job and pay your way at age 16? Did you get married, then have a child, THEN decide to get your GED and college degree, while working at blockbuster on minimum wage? Did you struggle to make ends meet even though you KNOW you made enough money to cover everything? Did you have a slum-lord who refused to have the plumbing fixed? Did you finally get comfortable, and start seeing the bills fall away, because you went to your boss and said you don’t make enough money for what you do, to get a $6/hour raise? Then, did your HUSBAND (or wife) pass away, unexpectedly at age 34, in what was the PRIME of your lives? Have you balanced everything from your time to everyone else’s time, going out of town for races, and staying healthy, and making sure your child knows they are so loved? Have you REALLY been in my shoes? Do you REALLY know “EXACTLY” how I feel?

I’m not saying you don’t know how bad it hurts to lose someone. But every situation is NOT the same. That’s TRUTH!

I do not get mad about things I cannot control. I have all of my feelings in check, 99% of the time. Everyone is entitled to one loss of control in their life, and no one was harmed in my situation.

I was asked the same question, over and over, and the responses I got were mostly “uh huh” and “yeah?”. Barely looking up from her phone.

I am unhappy with my session. I felt like it was very unprofessional.

Until next session… on a day I told her wouldn’t work for me… but she scheduled it anyway. Okay… GREAT!

I can tell you all one thing. I have had many opportunities to become an angry, pissy, grouchy, horrible human being, and I CHOOSE happiness. I choose NOT anger, as often as I can.

Thanksgiving Is Near

I am sure there are many people who question, “What do you have to be thankful for?” Because my husband passed away. I am definitely not thankful for that. That’s for certain!

But, I am thankful for quite a lot, actually.

I am thankful for my current health.

I am thankful for my family and friends. (to be clear, alllllllll of Mitchell’s family, is now MINE! I kept them all.)

I am thankful to have the daughter that I was so lucky to have. I could have ended up with a complete A-hole, but, she’s pretty cool.

I am thankful for my employment. I have a work family that has also been by my side, through this journey.

I am thankful that I fell into OCR, prior to Mitch passing, and really found out how AMAZING the OCR community is. Every one of them stood by my side, ready to be there when I was ready to get back into high gear.

Good gracious, I am so thankful for everything else in my life. If Mitch passing has taught me anything at all, it is to be MORE thankful, and appreciate it all.

All of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I am at a point in my journey as a widow, where I have been told many people will have already tapered away. This is not how it’s working for me. I am happy that everyone has stuck by me.

I had a very bad day at work, the day after I put up the Christmas tree. I cried through about 10 minutes of a total knee surgery, and the surgeon was great to me. He didn’t get mad. He didn’t ask what was wrong. He just offered me a little break, by allowing me to get it out.

Everything was silent around me (as they kept working, I fell away), all I could do was think of Mitch. I thought about how he always begged to put the tree up early. He would sneak a Christmas decoration in, and see if I would notice. It was more of a game with us. I would get sick of looking at the Christmas decor, where he loved it. If it went up Thanksgiving night, It came down New Years day. If it went up early, it came down December 26th. It was just our way. It’s how we rolled.

I was able to pull myself together and rejoin the surgical team, in what seemed like a very long time. Come to find out, it was really only about 10 minutes.

Oh! One of the many things I am so very thankful for is the videos Mitch left on the computer. I feel like everyone needs to hear his voice.

This was last year, our Ugly Sweater party. Caution: Foul Language was used in the making of this video… For those of you who know his voice, his laugh, this is for you. He isn’t shown very much, but you sure can hear him, and it’s beautiful.

 

Here is a family game night. ❤

 

Be Thankful for the laughter.

Always remember that beautiful sound.

 

 

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

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.