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.

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.

I Choose To Smile. 

10/14/2017
If there is one thing for certain, it’s this. I share everything. I tell you of my pain. I tell you when I’m happy. I don’t hold back. 

I do, however avoid sharing too many details. 

Some readers may have read my blog titled “he”. I am seeing someone. I’m not going into detail again, you can check out the blog that talks about him. I say it here, to drive home the fact that I blog about everything. 

Tonight, I am at a bar, as I type, in Lawrence, Kansas. It’s called RBar. The last time I was here, Mitch was here. 

It was snowing. 

Kody was our driver. Roni sat shotgun. Mitch and I rode in the back seat. 

I’m here. 

As we walked in, from the lot across the street, memories flooded me. Mitch was so bored here, that night. (Until he got some drinks in him, and lit up he room) We people-watched and laughed at people. Not very nice, I know. But, that’s what we did. We didn’t laugh at anything that couldn’t be controlled, but we were laughing at the drunk ones that were acting like fools. His pseudo gout was starting to flare up, and he was annoyed with it. No-one knew, but me, because that’s the kind of man he was. That is the kind of man he will always be remembered as. 

I am, literally, sitting at a table, by myself, right now, to type about this. 

I was asked if I was okay,  just now, and had to convince the girl that I blog, and the urge to write hit me, right now, so I HAD to do it! 

She said okay, and went on about her drinking. 

So, the last time I was at that particular bar, (in an Uber, now!) Mitch was there. He was annoyed. He didn’t like hanging out with super young people. He just wanted to sit down, and have a drink. He wanted to be an “old man” as he referred to himself, more often than anyone would realize. 

He was 34,  yes .

He complained, often, that he felt like he was 69, because of his pseudo gout, and everything making living incredibly uncomfortable. 

But, damnit, if Mitch wasn’t one of the most positive human beings in the world…

When I think about Mitch, I think about him, the way he wanted me to: Alive, Funny, and happy. 

Sometimes, like I’ve talked about before, it throws me off, because, out of the blue it’ll slam me, right in the chest: “no more…” 

No more. 

Two simple words, that have such a huge meaning. 

Two simple words, that can break me, if thought at just the right moment. 

Two words…

Two words that, I am sure, will randomly pop into my mind, for the rest of my life. 

I often wonder what goes through the minds of his family, when they think about him. And I mean, I wonder what their phrase is, that catches them off guard. I know, it is fact, that when we think of his living being, it’s always happy.  Always funny. There’s always a joke, a movie line, song lyric, or an action that makes us all laugh or cry. That’s fact.

 I choose laughter. Sometimes, tears choose me, though. I try not to stop the tears when they do come. I just let them flow. 

I choose to miss him, and continue to love him, and remember him. I choose to carry him on, through memories, and talking about him. No one who ever met him will ever forget him. 

No one I meet will leave without knowing him, through me, and/or through Megan. 

His life was one full of love, laughter, and fun. 

I choose to remember. 

I choose to put one foot in front of the other, every single day. 

I choose to smile. 


 

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.