New Year’s Event

One year.

Not since the death of my amazing husband, no. One year ago was the last holiday I got to spend with him.

Facebook assaults or blesses me with “on this day”, every single day. As I see pictures from last year, I see how pale Mitch was. I believe, that he was already in a downward fall. Not last year. I didn’t see it a year ago. If I did, or if he did, we wouldn’t be in this situation. Or we would? I’ll never know, and with this, “what ifs” can’t tear you down, so I try to avoid the “if only” and “what if” thoughts.

In the photo, before the countdown, he is smiling. His beautiful face, pale. (He tried avoiding the camera all night, because he didn’t want the splint in any pictures. He hated that thing!)

These were the two photos from our last holiday together, that screamed at me, today.

New Year’s was a fun time, we spent with family and friends, every year. We loved bringing in the New year, surrounded by those we loved.

Mitch was always the life of the party. He made everyone around him feel good, and filled the room with laughter. It never failed.

I wish he was spending this new year’s holiday with us, too. I wish I could hear his big laugh, and wrap my arms around his big shoulders, and tell him I love him, over and over and over.

This year, he will be spending his New Year’s Eve with someone he hasn’t spent it with in many many years.

His mom. But, with all the family that has passed, he has a party going on, wherever they all are, and we all know it!!

Megan, Sandy, Paul, Scotty, and many many more.

Party On, Mitch. We miss the fuck out of you!

How To To Treat A Widow On Christmas…

That’s easy. Treat her like family. Treat her like a friend.

Maybe get her a gift. Nothing extravagant, of course, but something that says “I’m thinking about you.” Keep in mind, in most cases of married couples, they are typically the ones who buy for each-other. It’s strange to think, right? (Not me, really. I don’t care about gifts. I gave Meg $65 to buy me stuff, because I was more curious about WHAT she would pick out for me. 😂)

My best friends have gotten me gifts, and I love them dearly (and I also got gifts for them, just like every year).

A new widow, who is used to being with their husband, or wife, during the holidays is probably feeling more lonely that ever. Overwhelmed is a great word to use, for how I’ve felt. I have to remember EVERYTHING! I am not used to that. Mitch would always remind me “we forgot… insert family member here!”

He was my other half. He picked up where I slacked and slacked where I picked up. We were partners.

Remember, if it seems like your widowed friend remembered everyone but you, it wasn’t on purpose, or out of dislike. It’s because their partner isn’t there reminding them. This time of year is hectic, even for 2 people working together!

Hell, Mitch and I forgot people every single year. 2 were his freaking step siblings! EVERY SINGLE YEAR! He made a trip to the ATM to get them $20 each.

And know, when you are celebrating the holidays with your loved ones, your widow-friend is holding their shit together, with all of their strength. This is the time of year to be with the ones you love most, and they can’t have that. You don’t need to “feel sorry” for them, or look at them with pity in your eyes. That’s not desired. Just be yourself. That’s all I want from my friends and family.

Love me, like you always have. Hug me, like you always have.

Be present. And don’t be afraid to mention their name!

Mitch fucking LOVED Christmas! This was his FAVORITE holiday! He didn’t care about presents, but damnit, I tried every year to top the previous year’s gifts. Last year took the cake! I bought him the LAST XBOX1 in Kansas City. The last one! He bought me an inversion table. We spoiled the shut out of each-other.

I will miss spoiling the shit out of my man. I will work on topping each year of Megan’s Christmas gifts though. ❤️ I will carry on the tradition of making Grandma Kathleen cry with cards, and getting a goof ass card for his Uncle Paul.

Just remember, the holidays are so very bittersweet for anyone struggling with loss.

It’s hard, but, we have to put #OneFootInFrontOfTheOther

Thank you to all of my family, and all of my amazing friends, for being here, For sticking by me, even when it might have been the last thing you wanted to do. I appreciate you all! ❤️

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.