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. 

5 Months Without Mitch.

While Mitch was alive, I was always worried that I would die before him. I was afraid that I would die, and leave him a single father, caring for our daughter. I was afraid he was cursed, you know. I didn’t want to die and leave him a widower. That wouldn’t be fair. He lost his mom, when he was very young. He grew up, pretty rough. 

That day, when I drove out to FedEx, exactly 5 months ago, and the officer dragged me into an office, and told me he was found, unresponsive, I was broken. I was broken, but, I was also relieved that I didn’t die, and leave HIM broken. 

I can’t say that he would be doing better or worse, right now, in this position. I CAN say, that I am so glad he doesn’t have to be the one going through this. That would not have been fair for him, at all. And, yes, I know that life isn’t fair. 

Someone posted this photo, on Facebook, and they said “thoughts?” 

I responded with this: 

“I’ve been widowed for almost 5 months. I am breathing, standing, walking, climbing, running, sprinting, hurdling, etc. it sucks so so so bad! But here’s my reasoning: My husband was the kind of man who made the BEST of EVERY situation. It didn’t matter what the situation was, he looked at the silver lining. He found the good that came from every bad thing. He taught me to do the same. With my husband’s death, at the young age of 34, of natural causes (heart failure), many many family and friends flocked to their doctor, to have their hearts checked. Some found they were healthy as could be, others found they needed further checking, because their white blood count was off, or their whatever was bad. It’s been a hell of a ride this last 4.95 months, and I am heart-broken, but I have a 12 year old daughter who NEEDS me! My husband has passed on, so he no longer NEEDS me. He would NOT have wanted me to screw up my and our daughter’s lives, because I am sad, or heartbroken, or have depressed days. He would have said “look, Tabbie, my death saved my dad’s life!” Because it DID! So, I will sprint, and breathe, and walk, dance and stand. Some days I may wobble, or fall, but I will keep putting one foot in front of the other. I hate this, but I will SURVIVE! We all will.”
I feel like people believe I make widowhood look easy. I don’t try to. This isn’t easy, at all.  I try to live each day. I try to make our lives happy, even when we are sad. I go through times where I feel guilty for thinking other men are attractive, or if I have sexual thoughts about them. I also know that having those thoughts and feelings are totally normal. I am only 34! I am a HEALTHY 34. I am not acting on each thought. That’s where we would have a problem.  But, thinking about things is not a crime. It’s just something that happens. 

Again, not easy. 

One income. I’ve had people say, “Well, there’s one less person, so one less income shouldn’t be too bad.” Well, when you are used to living with double the money you have, it is a TOTAL adjustment! 

I know, that the things people say, are meant to be comforting, and coming from some people, it is comforting. When it comes from someone I am not close to, it doesn’t come out like that. It isn’t taken like that. For some reason, it really is irritating. 

I have always known that I adapt to change pretty well. I typicallyvadapt to change better than most people I know. However, I didn’t realize how well adapted I am, until it was brought to my attention, that I am USED to sleeping alone, already. I have no desire to have someone sleeping next to me. I thought I was going to need friends to sleepover, in the beginning, and I never did. Meg and I slept on an air mattress together for nearly 3 weeks, and both of us got so uncomfortable, she started sleeping on the couch, until we moved into our apartment. I have reverted back to being a bed-hog. I am regretting my decision, to buy a queen bed, rather than a king. I had a king bed, when I was a teenager. I think when Meg gets a “new bed” it’ll be my bed, and I’m getting a king. All that room! 

Now, unrealistically speaking, I would give everything I own away, if it meant I could share a floor with Mitch. But, that’s unrealistic. I can’t BRING HIM BACK! No matter how much I want it, it doesn’t work like that. No matter how hard I cry, or how much I miss him, it just doesn’t work that way. 

Maybe, when my time comes, I’ll see him again. He was a good person. I try to be a good person. Maybe that means our afterlives will be good, if there really is an afterlife. 

I could totally see Mitch and I haunting people, together. Hilariously haunting family and close friends. 

Honestly, I still don’t get signs from Mitch. I haven’t dreamed about him, except the only 2 dreams I had. Maybe he leaves me alone, because he is afraid I’ll lose my shit? Maybe he leaves me alone because I am “doing just fine”? Maybe he thinks I need to continue to “be the inspiration” that I have become? Maybe, he doesn’t visit me, because he is afraid I will be committed to a psych ward, and leave Meg without a parent? Maybe he doesn’t visit, because I told him he wasn’t allowed to haunt me? Jokingly, of course, because when one dies, they can do whatever they want. 😉 And maybe, JUST maybe, he doesn’t visit, because he can’t. Maybe that’s not a true option, after death. Whatever the case, he doesn’t visit me or leave me signs, like I hear everyone else talk about. I have little tidbits of “oh my, Mitch would have said that!” But, nothing too ghostly. 

So, here I sit, 5 months without my Mitchell. I am stronger than I have ever been, in all of my life. I am happy in all areas of life except the part where I am a widow. I still truly believe that EVERYTHING happens for a reason, even if we haven’t figured out that reason, yet. 

Maybe it’s something so simple as my words, helping someone get through THEIR grieving process, just a little bit easier? Who knows if I’ll EVER know the reasoning behind Mitch’s death, outside of the scientific, biological part. 

Keep Living. 

One. Foot. In. Front. Of. The. Other. 

Skip. Hop. Run. Jump. Walk. 

Keep going. 

A Bad Day

I feel like I have been on the verge of tears all day.

Every time I have a moment of time, to myself, I picture Mitch during those last few days. He was coughing, and was really down about having a cold. He needed cough drops, so I picked some up for him, on my way home from work. I keep picturing him in pain, and not knowing that it was something more. (there’s more about his last few weeks, here, in a previous blog)

It hurts so bad.

All I want is for this to not be real. It isn’t fair!

I know, it’s just a bad day.

I will get through it.

But, it still hurts.

I picture him the way they say he was found. Peaceful. And even that hurts! He may not have known he was dying, but we are here, living, without him, and it hurts.

I worry that he was mad at me for not knowing that something was wrong. What if his last thought was “Damnit, Tabbie!”

Hell, that Tuesday night, his employee said he was feeling unwell, and was worried that he caught a “stomach bug” and revealed that one of his parents was in the hospital with C-Diff. I told Mitch to tell him not to come in, until he is cleared, because if he has it, it is no joke and HIGHLY contagious.

Mitch planned on wiping his truck down with bleach wipes, just in case, that Wednesday.

He was going to check the tires, to make sure they were all up to code, Wednesday morning.

He wasn’t feeling well.

Why didn’t we SEE it?!

I miss him so much.

This isn’t fair!

But, life, nor death are fair. We don’t get to pick our genetic makeup, or the illnesses that we succumb to.

But. It. Still. Hurts.

I can’t change the fact that he is gone, and I know that. I wish it were possible to reverse time, and save him, but I can’t.

How did we not catch this?! My god!

Aside from the pain, I feel ashamed. Guilty. I feel like we SHOULD have known!

Fuck.

I know, it isn’t my fault. I know it isn’t his fault. I know it is the fault of no-one.

But I still feel it.

And it really fucking hurts.

And I think Wednesdays are my worst days.

Today marks 6 weeks without the love of my life.

Tomorrow is a new day. 17098659_1645371092146040_1498079249884706989_n

 

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…

dsc05485
Smiling, even though he was pushed, fully clothed, into the pool, with his phone in his pocket. THIS is the man he was!