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.

One Foot In Front Of The Other

Since Mitch passed, I’ve made my life, the way it is, by taking a day at a time. I wake up, roll out of bed, and put one foot in front of the other. Even on the days I can’t stand it. I still move forward. 

For some, it is so hard, to just roll out of bed. But, in order to pay my bills, and to feed my daughter and myself, it is important, and ESSENTIAL, to do it. 

For my sanity, it is essential to keep moving forward. 

There is no “moving on”, as many like to say. That term, to me, feels like I am leaving something behind. I am not. I am taking what IS, and holding it close, and moving with it. 

I am learning, and growing, and building myself, into a stronger, kinder, more loving, and accepting human being. 

I put one foot in front of the other. 

I do it. 

Yesterday, I went back to my daughter’s elementary school, to run a practice 5k with some of the girls that I used to coach with Girls On The Run.  

The last time I was involved with GOTR, it was the morning Mitch died. 

I had sent him a text, asking about something with our computer. He never responded, but that was normal. 

I went to the school, to make 450 copies of this flyer, that had my cell number, and my personal email address, on it. 

As I was finishing up, and walking out the door of the school, my brother called to ask if I’d heard from Mitch, and I said no. He told me that his drivers couldn’t get ahold of him, either, and that was strange. 

I think it was at this point, I knew something bad had happened. 

I was so busy with girls on he run stuff, that I hadn’t realized Mitch didn’t even OPEN the text message from me. 

That day. That was the WORST day of my life. 

So, coaching GOTR wasn’t something I was going to be able to do, since I had to change my work schedule, and be there, with Meg. 

I might have had some unwarranted hostility towards GOTR. I didn’t realize that I had been AVOIDING it, until I volunteered to come run with the girls. 

When I messaged the current coach, I nearly had a panic attack, and started to cry. 

I was returning, if only for 1 afternoon, to do the last thing I did as a woman who was happily married to her best friend. 

There’s one foot in front of the other, and then there’s diving head first. 

I felt like I was diving head first, yesterday. 

It hurt. 

So, I ran. I ran as long as I could, without stopping, and that was the longest I’ve ever ran without stopping to walk. I was at 2 miles before I needed to slow down. 

I beat my personal road running speed, by one minute for a 5k. 

I started cooking, regularly, healthy dinners, and snacks, and everything. 

The recipes I have been getting, I’ve gotten from the man I am seeing. He has shown me, that healthy CAN taste good. I made brownies without sugar! Taco soup, without beans! 

So much flavor, with very little salt. It’s amazing. I’ve even purchased a food processor, so I can start making my own almond butter for recipes. 

Sometimes, I worry about what other people will think about me, as I take each of my steps, jumps, or leaps. 

Other times, I do not care. 

 I should never care. It’s not up to me, what other people think. It’s up to me, to do what I need to do, to make myself happy, and to make Meg happy, and to keep us well cared for.  

I don’t feel that I have to remind my friends or family that we all grieve at our own pace. Again, I am lucky that I have a family so full of people who know this. They don’t need to be reminded. I am saying it for those of you, who hear the rude comments, from people who are supposed to love you regardless of your grief style. 


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. 

The Things I Have Done, So Far, This Year. 


This year has been one hell of a ride, so far.

I’ve done so many things that I never expected I would ever do. 

I, unfortunately, became a widow, at the age of 34, in January. Most already know the details of that, and I won’t relive it, in this post. 

In February, I paid off all of our tax debt, which was absolutely insane. That amount of money was a pretty large chunk of change.  I set up autopay for my student loans. 

In February, I went to Liberty tax and filed our taxes. It was overwhelming. I had never filed taxes, without Mitch there. Never! 

In March, I bought a new car. A brand new car. I never thought I could get a brand new car. I figured I would be stuck with dud cars for the rest of my life. Also, in March, I officially hired JRen Fitness, to whip me into a healthier me. 

In April, I signed up for the Conquer the Gauntlet Lifetime pass. It has been so rewarding!  I’ve met so many people, because of this, who have become friends, some who I consider my race family. 

In May, I left work at 3pm, hopped in my car, with 2 girlfriends, and drove, all the way to Georgia. We got there at 5am, and decided to nap for an hour before racing time. I ran my first official CTG! It was amazing! At the end of May, I released some stress, in a way that I knew how. 

I had sex with someone who ISN’T Mitch. (Definitely, I never saw this in my 2017 plans!) 


In June, I drove to Dallas Texas, for a conquer the Gauntlet. I found out that I can drive, easily, for 8 hours, before my ass starts cramping. I took Meg to the JFK museum, and we left Mitch at a restaurant and in the grassy Knoll. 

In July, we didn’t do much celebrating for Independence Day, since it was my scheduled holiday. That was strange. 

Meg started volunteering for the race Merch tent. She was killing it, in sales. She is doing so much better speaking to “strangers” (customers, and it transferred over to her ordering her own food at restaurants, too!)

I’ve been to Tulsa, and Iowa, for races, as well. 

I went to Nebraska for a workout with some race friends. Just because it sounded like a good thing to do. (It WAS!) 

I never would have thought that I’d be in the place I am, right now. 

This year has been trying. I have definitely had my bad days. I have sat down, on the edge of my bed and cried, for hours, about things I can’t control. Once those tears are released, I feel like it is like letting my worries go. Letting them free into the universe. I can’t worry about the things I can’t control. It’s fruitless. It’s unnecessary stress, that I CAN refuse to have. 

I can be happy, without feelings of guilt. 

I can have fun, without guilt.

I can keep taking steps, forward, without guilt. 

I can be sad, and happy, at the same time. 

I can be myself, an individual. 

I can be a mom.

I can be a friend.

I can say things and do things that most people are too aftaid to do or say. And I don’t do it, for attention. I don’t need that kind of attention, ya know? I do it, so other women and men, who are experiencing the same feelings I have, never feel alone. 

POST-widowhood Happiness

I know that this blog is about me being a widow, but I hope that anyone who has lost a loved one, can get some sort of hope from my story. 

I NEED people to keep hope. Or faith, or whatever you want to call it. 

It’s important to me, that people who are devestated right now, know that happiness IS possible. 

You may not believe me, right now. Hell, I wouldn’t have believed me, either. 

But, I promise you, it is possible. 

It’s beautifully intertwined with sadness, and excitement, anger and love.

 The happiness that first comes, is one heavily dosed with guilt. You find yourself laughing, then you turn around, and start crying, because, you feel guilty about laughing, about feeling that feeling that makes you laugh. 

The happiness that comes after, is pure. It’s a new kind of happy. I don’t know if I can explain it well enough, but I will try. 

Happiness before the loss of someone who is such a huge, positive part of your life, is happiness. It is normal, happy, where you may take things for granted. It’s not something to be ashamed of. It’s just normal. The happiness now, post guilt laden happiness, is so much deeper. 

It’s a kind of happy that starts down in your belly, and moves up, and through the chest, to burst out, and just be. It’s one where you appreciate the things that make you happy. You don’t take for granted, anything, anymore. You know how quickly the happiness and good can go away. 

It’s a kind of happy that I wish everyone could feel, but, for me, it took a terrible, horrible, tragic loss, to open my eyes, my mind, and my heart. And I don’t wish this kind of loss on my worst enemy. 

I feel like putting that into words doesn’t do it justice. I can’t explain it, any better than that, but that’s just not enough. 

That’s the best I can give. 

Another thing I have noticed is that my desire to make people happy, is far above what it ever was, before. I can say “thank you.” I can say “I appreciate you.” I can say many things, but instead, I’ve been more likely to SHOW you, of late. A hug, a kind gesture, or a gift. Something that goes with the words. It’s not a form of “repayment” or “to create equality”. It’s because it’s what I WANT… no… it’s what I NEED to do, to be a happy human. I want everyone who positively impacts my life to know they have. Period. 

It’s about using actions, because they speak louder than words. 


#DontWorryBeHappy

#OneFootInFrontOfTheOther

Being Open About Everything

Since the untimely death of my husband, I have become quite the over-sharer. I mean that in a good way. I talk a LOT. I explain everything.

I know, I know. I don’t need to explain myself to anyone for anything. I know. I don’t care.

However, when I see someone who I haven’t seen in a while, and they ask me where I have been, I tell them, and the shock on their faces and in their whole demeanor is crazy! I don’t mean to be so blunt, but there’s just no easy way to say it.

“Well, I was off of work for 3 and a half weeks, because my husband passed in January, and then I had to change my schedule, so I haven’t been able to work later than 3pm, on a regular basis.”

That’s why you never see me anymore.

I am the friend, that is trying to figure out how to stay healthy, care for my child, and for myself, as well as work full-time, and take care of everything.

Let me get real, real quick. This may be unbelievable, but, keep in mind, Mitch and I started dating when I was 17 years old. Hell, we moved in together when I was still 17. (any young ones reading, please, do not risk it! Not everyone is as lucky as Mitch and I were, and I wouldn’t change a thing about how we got and stayed together.)

I have NEVER, in all of my adult life, lived on my own. Never. I have never been responsible for paying bills, outside of my auto-deposited paychecks. I have never been in this situation before.  This is one hell of a learning curve. And there is no class for this. (well, I am sure there is, but it probably costs money.)

I have allotted dates from each month to have people over for a ladies night. I find these dates by going over my calendar and making sure that I don’t have a run scheduled that weekend, that I am not on call that weekend, and that I don’t have anywhere to be, early in the mornings that weekend. There’s a lot of thought that goes into planning my ladies’ nights. I may even host a poker night, soon. It’s sounding pretty Mitch-like. And poker nights were always a good time. So, Chuck, don’t go spending those quarters! I will take them off of your hands soon. 😉

Again, I just want to ask my friends and family to forgive me, and bear with me, while I figure all of this out. I may not come to your parties, or get-together, or I may plan my ladies night the same night that you have something planned, but that’s only because I only have that weekend free. It doesn’t mean I love you any less.

And for anyone who is reading, that doesn’t know me, but knows someone who is going through what I am going through, give them time to figure it all out. It’s a lot to process, and get through. Your friend doesn’t love you less. Your friend still wants you around. Your friend probably misses you. And your friend is probably exhausted all of the time. It’s okay. It takes time. And for some reason, there isn’t that extra couple of hours in each day, that should be automatic in the event of a spouse’s death.

Every widow should get an extra 2 hours, every night, just to sleep, or finish the dishes, or prep lunches for the next day. All of the things that may have been taken care of by the deceased partner, and the widow is now all on the widow. It’s overwhelming sometimes. It really and truly is.

I remember when we first moved into the apartment, I FORGOT to make dinner! Really?! I jumped up from the table and said, “Oh crap! I need to make dinner!” It was 7:30pm. Mitch cooked. I never made dinner. It was a running joke with Megan and Mitch, that “If Daddy ever left or died, I would starve, because Mommy doesn’t cook!” I cook. It’s another learning curve, but I will master it.

One day, I will have free time, again. It may not be soon, but it’ll come.

I have arranged extra time, for ME-TIME to start working out again. Baby steps in the right direction. That’s all we can hope for. Right?

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Mitch and my brother at my cousin’s wedding.