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

 

I Dreamed of Him, Last Night

Last night was the first dream I’ve had of my husband, since he passed. I woke up wishing it to be real.

I dreamed that he never sprained his wrist, never caught that cold, and that he never had the gout flare-up. I dreamed that he still had the crampy legs, and the chest pain.

I dreamed that I MADE him go to the hospital. I dreamed that he was going to be just fine.

Why did he have to have  a sore throat before the cough started? Without the sore throat, it wouldn’t have seemed like he caught my cold, and the chest pain couldn’t have been attributed to the cough.

Why did he have to fall and sprain his wrist? Why did he have to have a gout flare-up?

I am angry! I am so mad that he had all of these things that would point the heart symptoms away from the heart. I am so sad, because I am SURE we, even him, would have taken it more seriously, if he didn’t have something to blame each symptom for. My heart aches, because I know, there’s nothing I can do about it now, but help spread the word, and pray no-one else suffers what we are all suffering.

I thought about Mitch all day, at work yesterday. I found myself “dazing off” multiple times. I was between surgeries, and lost it. I cried, out loud, body shaking with each sob. There were a few unfamiliar faces in the OR, who didn’t know my story, that I am SURE I scared the piss out of. I am sorry if I scared you. I am sorry if I ever scare anyone with my body wracking sobs. Sometimes, it just comes, and I don’t even try to control it.

I miss him terribly, and every morning, when I wake up, I wish I was waking up in that crappy house, with my big stinky dogs, and my big teddy bear husband, with his arms around me, or with him trying to press his morning boner into my thigh, because that’s more like something he would do.

So, today, I will wear his Gray Seattle Seahawks hoodie, that I stole from him, long before he passed, and think about him more.

 111wwmdbracelet

This is a bracelet stands for “What Would Mitch Do?” It means, if you feel like dancing, dance, because that’s what he would do. He wouldn’t care who was watching. He would also keep calm in any event. (Unless the Seattle Seahawks were involved. He was never calm about football.) My friend had them made, and is selling them for $5 each, so we can put money into savings for my 12  year old daughter. Friends are the best, but I wear my bracelet, every day, as does Meg. ❤ If you are interested in one, just message Lisa. She will take care of everything! If you’re not interested, that’s fine too.

You can still ask yourself, “WWMD?”

Autopsy Results and Back to Work

You, often, hear people say, “Everything happens for a reason.”

Do you ever wonder what the reason is?

I find myself searching for the reasons, more and more.

Initially, we were told my husband suffered a “black widow” heart attack. I found out today, that it was three blocked arteries. I am unsure, right now, which three they were. We were also informed that there was no abnormalities in his toxicology screening.

I hear this. I see the list of symptoms.

I SAW the symptoms, only, they WEREN’T “those”  symptoms.

Let’s go back to the weekend before Christmas. Wait, no. Let’s go back to summer/fall. I am going to briefly share something, but, I am only sharing this so others know not to brush it off as “stress related” side effects.

1: Erectile dysfunction

Through the summer and into the fall, there were a few times where Mitch and I would attempt intimacy, and either A: there was no erection, or B: It went away before anything was really started. Please forgive me, for sharing such personal information. He told me that one morning he woke up, and there “was no morning boner”. (his words, not mine). I told him, “Babe, it could be so many things. It could be so small as stress, or it could be so big as heart issues.” We scheduled a doctor’s appointment for a regular checkup along with whatever screenings were going to be necessary, to make sure his heart was healthy. They couldn’t get in new patients until February 6th. We were excited to get to the bottom of that issue. We moved on. We were intimate when we could be, and that was great. Our love for each-other surpassed the sexual infatuation. We just loved to be around each-other.   We still held hands. We would be walking through the mall, and he would put his arm around me. Or he would slap my ass. (same thing, right?)

2: Elevated Blood pressure.

The weekend before Christmas, Mitch was taking out the recycle bin to the larger bin in the driveway. We had freezing rain the night before. He fell. his wrist swelled up so big, and was purple. I was so worried, and had him go to the ER. They found that he had high blood pressure, and a sprain. They prescribed him pain meds and blood pressure meds.

He saw a specialist, and they said it was totally normal to have higher blood pressure when you are in as much pain as he was in.

3 Extremity pain

Mitch had a sprained wrist, and during the very long healing process, he had a pseudo gout flare-up, in his knee, on the SAME SIDE! Couldn’t this perfect man catch a break? He didn’t deserve the pain! After a couple of weeks of the pain being so intense, it finally started to stop hurting. The meds for his gout were working!

But wait! His opposite leg was “feeling weird, almost weak, and cramping sometimes”.  We thought it was the over-use of the leg, since he was putting all of his weight on that leg, and planned to give it a couple days, to see if it cleared up.

It either stopped feeling bad, or Mitch quit talking about it. My guess, after knowing that man for most of my life, is that he just quit talking about it. That was the kind of person he was. “Talking and complaining about it doesn’t get it fixed or take care of the problem.” (Mitchisms)

4: Chest pains

This one is what pains me the most. Mitch had caught a cold. That’s what we think. Now, I’m wondering if he was coughing because he was short of breath or something, but I will never know. I had a cold prior, as did half of the people I worked with. Mitch started coughing, and, naturally, we thought it was a cold.

Monday, January 23rd, Mitch told me, when I got home from work, “My chest hurts.” And I asked “like, we need to go see a doctor hurts or what? Does it feel like it’s on the inside or the outside of your ribs?” He made the motion you make when you cough, and he said, “I’m pretty sure it’s from coughing.”

He didn’t mention it again.

He went to work, Wednesday, January 25th, and passed away, somewhere between 7:30am and 8:30am.

Now, keep in mind, all of these symptoms weren’t together, at the same times, and they all had other “reasons”. I mean, what 34-year-old is thinking “I should get my heart checked!”

I’m stressed over bills. My blood pressure was high because I was in so much pain, every time they took it. My leg was overworked, and it’s going to hurt, because of that. My chest hurts because I have been coughing for a week. So simple, yet complicated. I wish I could have put the puzzle together, before I saw the “big picture.”

BACK TO WORK

I went back to work, yesterday. It was okay. Lots of hugs, and “welcome backs”, and “we are so happy to see yous”. I was surrounded by my work family. These people collected (including the donation of Paid Time Off) over $4,000! I was able to take 3 weeks and 2 days off, to get everything taken care of.

One of the most commonly heard phrases lately, has been “You are so strong. I don’t know how you’re doing it.”

If I didn’t have Megan, I wouldn’t be this strong. Yes, I cry. Yes I break down, when I hear silly songs, or when I am doing something that Mitch would usually be there for. One of the surgeons I work with, wrote me a check, to help make sure we are getting by with our bills and everything. The first thing I went to do, was text Mitch. I wanted to tell him about it, and tell him how amazing that was. I almost put his name in, then told my brother instead.

I used to get silly, dirty text messages from him, when I was at work. I don’t get those anymore.

Again, I am this strong, and this put together, because I HAVE to be. I have things that need to be taken care of. I have a 12-year-old daughter who NEEDS me. I can’t not be here for her, just because MY heart hurts. Her heart hurts too.

So, I am going to be THAT parent, who is ALWAYS there. Megan is my everything, now. I can’t crumble and stay that way. So, I won’t.

I love Megan too much, to fade away, into my own mind.

I don’t typically do this, but, I want you all to share this. The first part is so important. SO IMPORTANT.

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Here is a Silly one, from our friend’s wedding.