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.

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.

_________________________________________

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.

Toxic Humans and Me.

Today, I did something. I deleted and blocked a person from my life, that was toxic, to me. I decided to test the person first. I was right with my suspicions. Even though I know there’s no respect for me from said person, I will respect their privacy, and not share their name. But here goes!

Hello? Who the hell would come at me, expecting to have even the slightest chance at mentally abusing me? Who. The FUCK. do you think I am? Let me spell it out…

I’m the woman who had a rough start at life, being pulled from my parents and put into foster care, in first grade.

I went to 13 different schools, and didn’t graduate.

Lived on my own from age 15-17, couch surfing, and working, trying my damndest to stay alive.

I am the woman who met the man of her dreams, married him, had a baby, and Created a BEAUTIFUL family.

I took my adult ass to get my GED, then went to college, so I could set a better example for my baby girl.

I never gave up on my career. When I wasn’t being respected and given the pay I knew I was worth, for my position, I left.

When I felt as though I wasn’t getting paid my worth at my next job, I applied elsewhere to see what I could be making, and fought for it. I got it.

I am the woman who lost her husband, unexpectedly, on a Wednesday morning, while he was at work, my child at school, and myself too busy to realize he never read my text that morning.

I have been through hell. I walk through hell regularly. I don’t need toxic people in my life, and I WILL remove you.

I am a positive, uplifting, forgiving human. I love people. I love my family, my friends and my career. I believe everyone deserves a second chance.

I ALSO believe my opinion matters. Your opinions matter. Even if I disagree with them, they matter, because they are YOURS!

But know, I don’t fucking play.

Learning and Growing

 

As a widow, I know, it’s something we must all do. We must all learn and continue to grow as humans.

Our attitudes towards life and all that accompanies it, it what gets us to who we are, as humans. We can be good or we can be bad. Some of us are bad, and don’t even realize it. Some are so good, and don’t realize it.

Learning from the past is the best thing about being human. We know the outcome, once we have done something.

Think back to when you were a kid, and you heard someone say “if you mix vinegar and baking soda, it’ll bubble up, all over the place!”

Every single one of us HAD to try it out, as soon as we got home. It wasn’t something we were going to believe until we saw it with our own eyes.

As adults, it’s the same and its different. We learn how to balance our social life, family life, and work life. We have to LEARN it. It doesn’t come naturally, and it is not easy. So many times something or someone gets the shaft. It’s never intentional, as we are human, and we are continually learning. It’s a never-ending cycle of life, living and being.

Will we ever be who we are supposed to be, completely? Will we ever achieve complete self?

I don’t think so. I think with every part of life, we continue to grow.

I met a couple, recently. I was on a dating app, (yes, please don’t give me hell. It totally passes the time, and mostly makes me laugh, because some people are so incredibly ridiculous. But that’s a story for another time), and I matched up with this guy. He was kind of cute, and I swiped that I thought he was cute. He already liked me, so we matched up. I had to send the first message, and I did, because what could it hurt? I asked what he was looking for from that site, he said a friend with benefits. I chatted a bit more, and realized he was funny. He was kind of interesting. Then, a bomb was dropped.

“I have a girlfriend and we are in an open relationship.”

*GASP*

“I’m not into couples, man, but we can be friends.” Was what I told him. I was so curious, and always wanted to ask someone about how and why they chose to be in an open relationship. I asked so many questions, and he answered. He said “it’s human nature to want to have sex with multiple people.” I interjected, there. I told him that I was with the same man for sixteen and a half years, all the way up to the day he died, and never had the urge to actually step outside of our marriage for sex, so this boggled my mind.

I have zero interest in having a boyfriend/relationship with anyone, but making friends is fun. No kidding. They texted me one night, and asked if I wanted to meet them for dinner. I said sure, and headed to the restaurant.

I met her and him and we are all friends, now. I went out with them the other night, and ended up with them while they met another couple.

I promise. This is about growing. No, I am not sleeping with this couple, so no worries.

Here I am, the 5th wheel, curious as hell, about this new couple. Those of you who know me, know I can’t keep my mouth shut for too long, especially after I’ve had beer, and even worse, when I am curious. I really am curious.

This couple was cute. Adorable even! They seemed to be even more curious than I was. I could tell they were new to the “open thing” but didn’t want to ask, outright, because I am not dating these two either. ha!

I listened as the 4 talked about this and that, and life and their jobs, and all the small talk.  I was giggling inside. My friends were asking their new friends how long they had been together and how long they had been married. No one asked the question I was dying to know! So, I asked.

I leaned forward in my chair, and asked, “and, how long have you been open?”

All four heads swung my direction, like “did she just ask that?” After I asked, I wondered if it was a question you aren’t supposed to ask. Then, I realized I didn’t care if I was or wasn’t supposed to ask. I was curious, and they were adorable, and potentially going to date my friends. Or maybe just sleep with them? I don’t know? So, they responded.

They said, almost shyly, “um. one month?” So, I asked another question.

“How many dates have you had since becoming open?”

She had one, and he hadn’t had any.

I feel like, the encounter with these people, all four of them, is allowing my brain to grow, and become more accepting of a human beings.

I have learned that people can legitimately be in a relationship, and be completely committed, yet still have sex with other people. It may not be my idea of a perfect relationship, and it may not be your idea of a perfect relationship, but who cares? They are honest with each other, and they are honest with everyone they meet. If everyone knows everything, and everyone is agreeable, then why can’t they do what they want to do? Right?

I had never even thought of an open relationship as something people can manage to live with, however, after meeting this couple, and learning their ability to be 100% honest with each-other all the time, it made me believe that there are actually honest people in the world. And that’s fucking amazing!

I am not saying that my friends aren’t honest, or anything like that. So don’t get me wrong.

I just come from a group of people who are with one person, and sleeping with people outside of your current relationship is frowned upon, or looked down on. If one of my friend’s husbands slept with another woman, it would be considered “cheating” because it wouldn’t be known by both parties.

It is such a touchy topic, I know. But, I am a learner, and I am growing as a human being. I thoroughly enjoy other humans and learning the why behind who they are. I do not judge them, and I don’t degrade them. I embrace them. Of course, there are lines, ya know. Being of age and of the same consenting species are big musts. So please, don’t try to use that with this.

My favorite thing, in life, is meeting people, and hearing their stories. It’s fascinating to learn why people are the way they are.

I highly suggest, next time you encounter someone who believes differently than you do, or lives a lifestyle you can’t even imagine, to ask them questions. Learn about it. Open your mind to understand that just because they are different from you, doesn’t mean they are wrong. If it isn’t illegal, and isn’t hurting people, why should we get mad? Why should we have such strong feelings opposing people’s lifestyles?

 

Learn.

Grow.

Be a better human today, than you were yesterday.

Kindness Matters.

 

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!

Anger Management

I did my therapy session… for anger management… because I am “so angry all of the time!”

My therapist was on her phone the whole time. Even answered a personal call about where and when to meet for dinner. 👎

Any of my therapist friends out there have any advice?

PS: I have to continue until I am cleared, if I wish to keep my job.

And she muttered those 6 irritating words… “I know exactly how you feel!”

Then didn’t seem to believe me when she asked if I was ever mad at Mitch for dying. Hell no I’m not MAD, nor have I gotten mad at him for dying! He didn’t CHOOSE to die. He would have chose LIVING if offered that choice. She even rolled her eyes at me, when I said that!

We are in a circumstance that wasn’t chosen. Why do people assume I am angry? I get mad when I am told to do something that is wrong, and that is OK. I get irritated or annoyed when people tell

me “I know exactly how you feel.” Because, honestly, no you don’t.

Did you grow up with a father who basically walked away until you were 6 or 7, then decided to fight for custody, causing your brother and yourself to go to foster care? Did you grow up in my situation? Did you drop out of high school, live on the streets and not know when or if you were going to eat every day? Did you get a job and pay your way at age 16? Did you get married, then have a child, THEN decide to get your GED and college degree, while working at blockbuster on minimum wage? Did you struggle to make ends meet even though you KNOW you made enough money to cover everything? Did you have a slum-lord who refused to have the plumbing fixed? Did you finally get comfortable, and start seeing the bills fall away, because you went to your boss and said you don’t make enough money for what you do, to get a $6/hour raise? Then, did your HUSBAND (or wife) pass away, unexpectedly at age 34, in what was the PRIME of your lives? Have you balanced everything from your time to everyone else’s time, going out of town for races, and staying healthy, and making sure your child knows they are so loved? Have you REALLY been in my shoes? Do you REALLY know “EXACTLY” how I feel?

I’m not saying you don’t know how bad it hurts to lose someone. But every situation is NOT the same. That’s TRUTH!

I do not get mad about things I cannot control. I have all of my feelings in check, 99% of the time. Everyone is entitled to one loss of control in their life, and no one was harmed in my situation.

I was asked the same question, over and over, and the responses I got were mostly “uh huh” and “yeah?”. Barely looking up from her phone.

I am unhappy with my session. I felt like it was very unprofessional.

Until next session… on a day I told her wouldn’t work for me… but she scheduled it anyway. Okay… GREAT!

I can tell you all one thing. I have had many opportunities to become an angry, pissy, grouchy, horrible human being, and I CHOOSE happiness. I choose NOT anger, as often as I can.

I. Feel. GLORIOUS!

So, before you get mad and hate me for feeling glorious (I don’t really see that happening), let me explain.

Tonight, I went outside to run, for the first time in a while. I had it in my mind to do a 10 minute 30 second mile (average). I’ve only been running on treadmill, recently, and am averaging 9:30 minute miles. (Because it was inaccurate). I figured it was about a minute off per mile, but went with it, thinking, “okay. If my treadmill mile is 9:30 consistently, my outdoor mile will be about 10:30 consistently, and an unpaved trail will be closer to 11-12 minutes. Anyway.

I was listening to Macklemore.

So the lyrics to Macklemore’s songs strike me, quite often as

A: my thoughts.

B: Something Mitch would have said, or HAS said.

Here is one example:

🎶 I feel glorious, glorious

Got a chance to start again

I was born for this, born for this

It’s who I am, how could I forget?

I made it through the darkest part of the night

And now I see the sunrise

Now I feel glorious, glorious

I feel glorious, glorious 🎶

I feel like I was born to be strong. Period. In every way, imaginable. I am finally working on my physical strength, and I. Feel. GLORIOUS! My “chance to start again” is with my health. Mitch passing so young, from a natural cause, really woke me up, and made me get the fuck off of the couch. I am currently making it through the darkest night (the loss of Mitch) and there is sunrise! I find a ray and hold onto it.

I am here, hoping with all hope that I am helping one person see that the end of a life doesn’t mean the end of the world. It only means that we must grow stronger, and feel with everything we have. We must keep moving forward, because forward movement is progressive movement, and progressive movement is the only good movement.

Memories are great, and fantastic things. Pictures, videos, and scents.

Sometimes, I want to get lost in my memories of Mitch. I want to remember how warm and safe I felt, when he wrapped his arms around me. I want to feel his warmth, when I am cold, and tell him to get his stinky feet off of me.

Remember him, I will. Get lost, I will not. It’s very important for me to keep a level head, and a warm heart. It’s important to me, to be a person children can look up to, and see, that with the worst of changes, everything can and WILL work out. I want other widows or widowers to see that it is OK to find happiness, in whatever way they need, as long as they aren’t hurting people in their pursuit of happiness.

You want to speak to a crowd of people about your loss? MAKE IT HAPPEN!

You wish to write a book? MAKE IT HAPPEN!

You want to sign up for those races?! DO IT!

Life is too short for WHAT IFS!

Be the strong you see in your heroes. Be it mental, physical, or whatever other forms of strong there are. Find it within yourself, and nurture it!

You Got This!

9 Months A Widow

A lot can happen in 9 months. Hell, you can conceive a baby, have it grow from one cell into a newborn baby in that little of time. 

Your heart can break over and over and over, in that amount of time. 

Your daughter can experience her first boyfriend AND first breakup in that short of time. 

Good god, I miss the crap out of you. Your easy laugh. Your bright smile. Even your stinky ass feet. 

I miss random, goofy Facebook posts, and random texts. 

I miss it all, but I am trying to find my “happy”. 

You’d be proud of Zaida, Katy, and Michael! They’ve done SO good these last 9 months. Hannah is beautiful, and Katy and Bobby are doing so good with her!! Zaida is going to Emporia! Michael has the same job, and he’s killin it. 

Summer and Boni, Heather, John John, Savannah, and Jack are all doing well. (I haven’t heard anything bad really) 

John and Tracey, Mike, Dee, grandma Kathleen and Aunt Cindy, and Grandpa Parsons all keep up with us, and haven’t lost touch. 

Every single one of us misses you. 

That will never change. 
I am working out, regularly. I am COOKING! I am making it a point to hang out with my friends, new and old. 
It’s been exactly 9 months, since you’ve gone on, to whatever came next for you. I really hope that wherever you are, you are happy, pain free, and hanging with all the greats! Going by the life you led, here on earth, you deserve the best, wherever you have gone. 

You were one HELLUVA human being! I am so proud that you chose me, out of all the choices you had to pick from. 

I was one lucky bitch! 

I think you’d be proud of me, too. I mean, that’s what everyone tells me, and I am starting to believe it. 

I am more serious than ever to eat right, work out regularly, and am already signed up for 10 obstacle course races for next year, and am about to make it 11. Meg joins me for all of the CTG races, because she is AMAZING in the merch tent. Good God she is fantastic with people, just like you always were! 

Her teachers (most of them) love her, and she jokes with them on their level, but also as a child. You know, like the Shrek movies! PG enough for kids, but funny for adults too. 

I am trying to encourage her to be more physically actuve, but, it’s not working, right now. 

I am terrified of being a solo mom, to a teenage girl! I was TOTALLY relying on you to be around for the “daddy’s girl” part, because it’s inevitable, all teenag  girls hate their moms for some portion of their teen lives. I don’t want to do it! I will survive it, but it’s going to suck when that time comes, and kicks me in the ass. 

But I’ll keep moving. I’ll keep “mom-ing”. I’ll try to be everything I can be, and everything that you were for her. 

I am only human. But, I will try. 

I hope you are proud of me. I make sure I’m a good person, and always am considerate of those around me. I really do think about all the ways you were a better human than most people I know. And when I say better than most, there are a very few humans who are equally as good as you were. But, when I meet one, I acknowledge them. 

Oh! And another thing you’d be so proud of!! 

I cooked dinner tonight! A super healthy, tasty dish, and even made a healthy bread to go with it!  I wish I knew how to cook like this, before, because I’m slaying the kitchen, now! 

I made chicken “ala King”. Onions and leeks and coconut cream, and red peppers and spices! I am so excited about this new food adventure I am on! I never want to stop! Not kidding, I’ve spent so much on groceries this week because I didn’t have the staple ingredients for healthy cooking/baking. Now I do. 

It.

Is.

On!

Not only did I make a meal from scratch, I freaking cleaned the kitchen afterward! This is where you’d pat me on the back and say “welcome to my world!” That’s what you did all the time! It may not have always been healthy, but, by god, you could cook! 

I remember the day I overheard you tell me friends that you enjoyed cooking. I though, “Holy damn! JACKPOT!”  I didn’t like cooking. Now, however, it’s another way to release the stresses of everyday life. I am learning, from an amazing human, about cooking, and eating clean. No one has ever taken the time to say “get this brand, over this because *insert reason here*” it is so much better when you have the reasons as to WHY one is better than the other, and CHEAP is always a favorite word! 

So, I am here, in this world, missing you, in your new world, but, I am O K. We are O K. It sucks, but we will live, until it’s our time to exit this world, and possibly,  join you in your world. 
 

So much love to you, Mitchell John. No matter what EVER happens in THIS world, my new world without you, I will NEVER stop loving you. No matter who I date, if I ever fall in love again and wind up remarried, I will NEVER. STOP. LOVING. YOU! Never. You are my number 1, and most notable love of my life. 

You are my Mitch. 

My hero. 

My soul mate. 

Love you always, 

Tabbie

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. 

He. 

I like him. 

It hurts, but it is also amazing. 

I like him. 

He isn’t afraid of Mitch. 

He isn’t afraid of my grieving process. 

I like him. 

He isn’t jealous of Mitch.

He understands.

Not completely, but he underatands enough to allow me to grieve. 

He is kind.

I like him.

He cares.

I like him.

I won’t tell everyone his name, for I am afraid not everyone will be okay with my liking him, but, I will tell you, he is kind, understanding, affectionate, and caring. He doesn’t want to replace Mitch, he is 100% okay, coming after him. He thinks Meg is an awesome kid. He thinks I am amazing. 

I don’t know how long we will last, but, I’d be okay knowing I met a man as amazing as he, after knowing and being with Mitch for so long. 

I will say I was unlucky to lose Mitch, no doubt! I was, however, lucky to have gotten half of his lifetime. Half of it, with me. I grew up with him. I learned from him. I taught him. We loved and lived for each other. He shaped me into the woman I am. 

This new one. He knows that I wouldn’t be the woman I am, without those years with Mitch. He would thank Mitch, if he could, for helping to shape me into me. 

How can I be so unlucky, yet so insanely lucky at the same time? 

Trust me, saying, to myself, that I’m “lucky” is a very hard, strange thing. I have to separate the things that are unlucky (Mitch passing away), and the things that count as “lucky”: having 16.5 years with one of the most amazing men on the planet, followed by someone who is amazing and awesome in his own way. I must have been one hell of a saint In My previous life, because, to deserve the men who walk into my life, and choose to stay, (the good ones) I must have done something amazing, right? 

I have to admit, that I am a bit on the odd side. I am not afraid to share how I feel, and for me, that makes them uncomfortable. Luckily, I have learned that the ones who feel uncomfortable with how I feel are the ones that aren’t worth my time. The one who sticks around and understands, or at least tries, is someone worth trying for. 

He texts me, every night, “good night, hottie! Sweet dreams”

And every morning he sends me “good morning! Hope your day is amazing!” Text. 

That, in and of itself, is quite amazing to me. 

I like him.