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.

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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.

That Next Chapter…

No one looks forward to what may come, after the loss of their spouse. I know, from experience. I find myself, quite frequently, looking back. Because, back there, that’s where the best memories of my life lay.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that Megan and I are going to create many more amazing memories, but, right now, my favorite things are the things that happened when Mitch was right here, next to me. Next to us.

And, that’s okay.

Someone told me, today, “It takes about 2 years to really feel like you are starting that next chapter, in your life.”

I disagree, but totally understand why that may be the understood perception of grieving, or how the majority feel. I’ve never really been part of the “majority”.  I am a very matter-of-fact. I already feel like my “next chapter” is being written. I am very aware that this is really happening. Even as I wish it weren’t true, and that I was actually stuck in a very bad nightmare. I get it. I know THIS is my life now. THIS is OUR life. (Meg and I).

It doesn’t make it hurt any less. It doesn’t really change anything, except my ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Life demands that I keep moving. I don’t do it for distraction or because I need something to do. I do it, because I have bills to pay, and a roof to keep over our heads. I do it, to put food on the table. I do it, because it is what Mitch would have wanted me to do. I do it, because I want to be happy, although, if and when I am happy again, it won’t be the same. It will be with a  new take on life.

I can tell you, I already see a difference in my attitude towards certain things. Today, I am almost positive they were talking about me, and only because, before I lost Mitch, it would be an accurate statement, I overheard someone say they were glad the one person was in that case, because “another person would be freaking out.” 2 Months ago, that would have been true. Now, I have bigger things to freak out about. I am not mad or hurt by that assessment. I am not even positive it was me they were speaking of. But, ya know, “if the shoe fits…”

Today was the monday-iest, monday ever! I was late to work, had to do total joint surgeries (meaning we had a lot of things to open, to even get that party started), and our OR was missing many essential items. Normally, I’d be freaking out. Now, I was complaining, no lie, but, I told myself, “It could always be worse.” Because it can. I can’t get TRULY mad, because someone had an “off” night, especially because I was having such an off day. I dropped instruments, and had to make my nurses run and grab more. My reps were probably ready to strangle me, because of an issue with a rep tray. But, what can you do? The shit already happened. Is dwelling on it going to make it better? NO! It’s going to cause me unnecessary stress, that I don’t need in my life, right now. I will choose to learn from what happened, and try to prevent it, next time, but really, most things that happened today, aren’t really preventable, by myself or my circulating nurse.

Shit. Happens. PERIOD.  In most cases, there is always tomorrow. So, on the crappiest days, instead of dwelling on the crap, I am going to vow to make tomorrow better.

You have two choices, really. YOU decide your own happiness. You can choose to laugh at your mistakes, and try not to make them again, or you can beat yourself up and not move on. Who do you think is going to be a happier person, in life?

On how we are doing:

I am doing. I am coping. I am working through the emotions that I didn’t plan on having until I was senile. I am throwing all of my heart at my daughter. I am making sure we are keeping our friends and family close, for our sake, and for theirs. I know having us around makes people sad, sometimes, but it also brings joy to them, because we are like having a little piece of Mitch around (mostly Meg, because she is TOTALLY her father’s daughter.)

 

Megan is doing good. I know she is hurting, just like I am. Mitch and I were never really ones to wear our feelings for the world to see, because our feelings are just that. Ours. Meg told me that she had many nightmares that one of us (Mitch or me) died, and in the dreams, we couldn’t afford to live. We couldn’t afford food or rent. She said “It still sucks and it hurts really bad, but, it’s not as bad as my nightmares. At least we can afford to pay our bills, and buy food.”  She is so matter-of-fact. Like her father and myself. She’s lucky like that.

She knows that my “door” is always open. She can talk to me ANYTIME she feels ready, and that she isn’t being rushed to talk, or pushed to stay quiet about it.

 

We talk about the things that daddy would do, in certain situations, and laugh, because most of the things he would do, were hilarious, ridiculous, and absurd. I will miss that, so much! Things like walking into Target, and he would pull his pants up as high as they would go, and tuck his shirt in, just to embarrass Megan. Or, when we would go to the mall, he would flap his arms and “Kaw! KawKaw!” like he was a bird. And one of my favorite Mitch Memories, was our VERY FIRST trip to Victoria’s Secret, as a couple. I was talking to him, and I turned to look at him, and he wasn’t right beside me anymore. He had fallen back, waiting on me to notice. And when I found him, we had pulled a mannequin bra down and was groping the breast. I nearly died of embarrassment, but was laughing so hard I nearly peed my pants. That moment, was the one that shaped me into the woman I became. ❤

Live Freely.

Laugh A Lot.

Love Fiercely.

Forgive Often.

Make an impression!

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This was the first annual Framily Picnic that Mitch created, so family would stay in contact through the “non-holiday” seasons.
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I have no idea why he taped his hands together, but, I do recall him asking me to help get the tape off, and I was laughing so hard because he was trying to eat the pizza without his hands.

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…

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