My Next…

I feel like I have been hyper-active on social media lately. I feel like I get like that when I have something that I want to say, but just don’t know how to say it.

Instead, I say everything except the one thing I wish to say.

I write privately, now, to try to understand myself a little more. It’s not quite the same as writing and sharing with everyone who cares to read it.

I enjoy sharing my mind, my feeling, my everything with people. I am still in the mindset that maybe, just maybe someone out there needs to understand that they are NOT alone.

Did you know that I do want love again?

I can’t remember if I’ve shared that in a private journal, or on this blog, but it’s true.

I know I will never have the same kind of love I had with Mitch, but, I know that I have so much more to give. It bubbles and glops over at times.

I love life. I love everything that comes with living.

I don’t want to have sex with people, just for the sake of having sex.

I want to be with someone who looks at me in a way that says he’s not able to get enough of me. Soak me in, and miss me when I am gone.

My next husband will be kind, yet assertive. Hell, we all know I’m pretty indecisive about things, like where to go for dinner, or what movie to see first. (PICK the scary one, and tacos… oh! or burgers!)

My next will have his shit in order. He will love me for everything I am, and everything I am not.

He will take me by the hand and lead me into a better version of me. He will encourage me to succeed. He will invite me out with his friends. He won’t want to hide me.

My next will almost surely have kids, because I am a sucker for an amazing father.

He will know that I am always here. I won’t leave in the bad times. And he won’t leave me in my bad times, either.

I know it won’t be the same as it was with Mitch, because I know that in the wake of his death, I have learned that you cannot take for granted the things that people do for you. The things that usually go unnoticed or aren’t hyped up, anymore.

Opening doors, and paying for dinner.

Driving us to our dates, rather than meeting places.

To be 37, and widowed, is not for the faint of heart.

This.

Shit.

Sucks.

But I have learned so much. I have learned about me. I have learned about men. I have learned about dating. I have learned that dating sites are the fucking devil.

And most of all, I have learned my worth. Of course, when you’re with someone for half of your life, you just kind of know your worth with that person.

When you are, essentially, abandoned, you’re left questioning your self-worth. You’re left wondering if you’ll ever be good enough for another man, again.

You’re left in this mindset that you’re broken, and no one is going to want to walk into that. I’ve seen the faces of the men I’ve gone on dates with, when I mention that my husband died. It always comes up, because they’ll say something like, “What’s such a great woman, like you, still doing single?” And I am 100% honest, even if I really like a guy. ESPECIALLY if I really like a guy. “Well, sir, my husband died.”

Side-eye.

Deep breath.

Release of air.

“Wow. How? Is it okay if I ask?”

Every. Single. Time.

Then, I never see them again. I’m okay with that. It’s better than them pretending to be okay with me, and then breaking things off down the road.  I am a seriously complicated woman. It’s going to take a hell of a man to understand and accept me.

My next will understand that I’m an absolute wreck 3 days every year. 1/25, 5/24, and 8/18. 4 days if you count the day I put the Christmas tree up. I may want to lay in bed all day and cry. I may want to run 20 miles and then come home and cook enough food for an army. My next will understand.

One day, and I believe this, whole-heartedly, Mitch will shove him in my direction.

My next will have a lot in common with me, but still have his own thing.

My next will love sports, but not be too crazy about them.

My next will love his career, so he doesn’t come home super cranky all the time.

My next will be vulnerable around me, open with his feelings, and let me comb his hair with my fingers as he lays with his head in my lap, to tell me about his shift.

And most importantly. The most important thing about my next. He will not be threatened by my love for my husband, for I have plenty more love to give. He will understand that without my husband, I wouldn’t be the person I am, today. He will not replace my husband, nor will he want to,  but he will pick up where Mitch left off, and that’s okay.

I see him, in my mind’s eye. Not a physical him, but a spiritual him. A beautiful soul. Someone who is the other half of my very soul.

 

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Hey, Mitch.

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Johnny got married this past weekend. Hopefully you saw. His bride, Tina,  was stunning. Megan went, and she even wore a dress. She was wearing her Vans, but,  still in a dress and looked gorgeous.

Our OCR group took over the bar area, and served everyone drinks all night, because we can never just sit still, and we always seem to have our hands in everything, helping wherever we can. I wish you were able to meet these people, babe. They’ve become some of my closest friends. They encourage me to keep going, and most of them only knew of you, what I told them, and they all love you, too. You were definitely a keeper, that’s for sure.

I think about how I hit the jackpot with you. I know you always claimed we were like the couple from King Of Queens, “I’m the fat guy with the super hot wife!” I love you. I love how you loved me. I love how we loved each other. It was beautifully meant to be. No question.

I was telling someone yesterday, about how I used to HATE when you shaved, because you would always leave a huge mess with your little red beard hairs all over the bathroom. I loved that red beard.

I followed that up with how I ran out of shaving cream, recently, and decided to use your shave bar, and how I sat on the floor of the shower, as the water blasted me, and cried my eyes out, because your little red beard hairs were still in the shave bar and dish. It smelled like you, and there was a little piece of you right there, like you were still here. But, you’re not. You’re no longer here, in my realm.

I survived that bout of tears, as I will survive many many more. I don’t fear my tears, anymore. I don’t fear crying in front of anyone. I don’t fear the reactions I may receive in the event of crying in the oddest of places. I just do. If someone asks if I am okay, I always tell them “I will be. Give me a minute.”

Race season is coming up, and it’s coming up FAST! I am hosting a workout with a few other KCOCR admins, this Saturday to help the general public get ready for Warrior Dash. It’s so cool, because it’s a free workout, and Warrior Dash posted it on their social media pages to help spread the word! Remember when I would get up at ungodly hours, and go work out at different gyms, with our tiny group? That tiny group is HUGE now. There’s almost 1,000 of us, and now I am one of the moderators, alongside some amazing people.

My strength and conditioning coach got an amazing opportunity to put his degree to use, and make some pretty great money (I am guessing about the money), and will be moving to New York! I’m super happy for him. He’s created a monster in me. HA! I’ve lost weight, built muscle and strength. I haven’t looked this good in decades!

OH!! You won’t believe this! I am down to a size 6! I can even fit in some 4s. It’s crazy! I haven’t been this small since before I got pregnant with Megan.

Speaking of Meg…

I’m at a loss. I can’t get her to clean her room. Her room, sadly, looks just like your basement bedroom always did. Moldy dishes, bottles of drinks all over. Goldfish crushed into the floor. Trash, clothes, and hangers EVERYWHERE!! Towels all over. You get it. You know what your room looked like. That’s what her’s is like, and it’s driving me insane. I mean, I get a little messy sometimes, now, but not dirty messy. Just stuff like a basket with 13 loads of clean laundry that needs to be folded and put away, or dishes after a big meal prepping day. I know. You probably think I’m crazy. I just can’t stand having a messy home anymore. I’m less exhausted this way. I don’t have to think too much about where my things are, and that makes me a happy person.

I also can’t get her to improve her grades. She is, well, lets just say it isn’t looking good.

I wish you were here to help me help her. I try. I try hard.

She is smart. I know she’s smart. She knows she’s smart. But, some stuff, she just doesn’t DO and it’s causing her to get bad grades.

She’ll get it. I know she will. She’ll figure out how badly failing classes will be for her, in the future.

If there is a God, please, tell her I need guidance, because she isn’t listening to me. Or him?

I have decided to attempt actual dating, now. Although I love you with so much vigor, and will always love you, whole heartedly, I have come to realize that there is a growing chamber of my heart that is going to allow me to love another person, some day. I’m not saying anytime soon, and it’ll never be the love that we shared, because that cannot be duplicated. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a great love, too. Right? I know you’d want me to be happy, and you wouldn’t want me to be alone forever.

Oh! When I went on a date the other day, I ACTUALLY let him open the truck door for me, and accepted help in and out, like a lady should. Remember when I threw the feminist shit at you? “do NOT open my door for me! I am fully capable!” I’m so sorry. I was so young. I didn’t think about it being a nice gesture, or an act of respect. I’m growing more to understand the things I didn’t know while you were here. In some ways I am so sad that I didn’t figure these things out, while you were still alive. I wonder how I never realized some things. I should have let you be the man you wanted to be for me. I mean, you were definitely the man for me, but I didn’t allow you to be a typical gentleman, from the very beginning. There is so much Love and so much respect for you, that I wanted you to see me for the independent woman I really was.

I wasn’t “independent” then. I mean, sure, I could do this or that by myself, but I had no idea what was happening with bills, the bank account, or anything else, for that matter, for many many years.

Our 16 year wedding anniversary is coming up. It’s crazy to think we would have been married 16 years. Together for 19, come August. If I didn’t live the beautifully tragic love story of us, I wouldn’t believe it. Or I would, but I wouldn’t believe that the widow is still sane, and functioning for every day life. It’s like a story someone made up, so they could sell books or tickets to a movie.

But here I am, babe. You’d be proud, as you ever were, that I am not only an independent woman, raising one hell of an amazing daughter, but, I am helping to run our obstacle course group, working full time, keeping myself in shape and our home under control. I am making more time for friends and family, and I am living this life I was granted.

I miss your beard hair in my sink. I miss all of your nearly gone body wash and shampoo bottles in the shower. I miss the way you smelled after mowing the grass or rolling around on the floor playing with the dogs. I miss the way you would try to lock Megan or myself into a room by tying things to door knobs, or trying to play pranks. I miss all the things that made you who you were.

Forever love is forever, and that’s what we share. No matter the shift I feel within myself, It’s not a change in my love for you, at all. It’s a growing change. An amazing,  unbelievable growth within myself, that I never ever would have thought possible.

Until we meet again,

With all of my heart,

Tabbie

Hopefully the quality of my video is okay. I had to screen-record because I cannot download it. This was at The Life Celebration.

I Used to be a Christian

“The other day, when I was reading something you posted, it hit me. YOU are the writer!”

 

I know, the title is going to get everyone’s panties in a wad.

Chill out.

Read it.

You’ll get it.

I am 36 years old.

I have one HELL of a story to tell.

I’m not sure I’ll make money off of it, but it I do, I’ll have to A: change the names of the people so I don’t have to get their consent to tarnish their names, or B: Get consent from people I love dearly, to drag their names through the mud, because it’s a part of my story.

I remember when I was little. I remember going to church and loving Sunday school. I remember coloring and playing with other kids, praying at night for all of my loved ones and even all the strangers I never met, and never would meet to be safe. I was naive. I believed that if I prayed for EVERYONE, everyone would be safe. Then, one day, I was in shorts and a t-shirt, accepting Jesus into my heart as my lord and savior, as I was dunked into a pool of water in front of a congregation.

I was 7.

I remember, because I remember the look on my dad’s face when I told him I wanted to be baptized. It was a look I craved. A look of acceptance, of love, pride and happiness. I believed that Jesus was good and God loved all of mankind.

The older I got, the more confused I became. It wasn’t because of outside influences. It was because of everything I had read in the Bible.

I’m not going to bash the Bible, or God, or Jesus, or Christians.

I guess, I am writing this to say a few things. I am one of those “think outside the box” types of person. I know. You probably never would have guessed it, am I right? ha!

I have read the Bible. I have read it cover to cover a few times.

It. Makes. NO. Sense. It’s about as contradictory as anything could be.

But that’s okay. MOST of it is good guidelines for how to be a good person.

Jesus was this totally rad dude, who helped poor people, sex addicts, drug addicts, thieves and more! He totally loved them and taught them how to be good people. He proved to them that the choices they were making weren’t the only choices set out for them. He showed them that, although a rough road, a possible road. Right?

Totally cool guy. Loving, accepting, nurturing.

One of those guys you aspire to be like. Right?

Well, you don’t have to BELIEVE the Bible, to believe in the main character. Right?

Either way, my “faith” is different than it was when I was a child.

I have lived. I have observed. I have survived, and have stayed pretty damn level headed in the process.

At the point where one would finally break, I, instead,  keep striving for better. Not to GET something better, but to BE something better.

When I was a child, I believed that I would forever be protected. Nothing bad could happen to cause heartache or sadness, or the things that I have experienced through my 36 years of life.

Boy, was I wrong.

I say something that I know may piss off a lot of people, but I believe it one hundred percent.

Everything happens for a reason.

I’m sure many people who are grieving right now want to reach through their screens and slap the ever-loving shit out of me, right now.

I believe it. You do not have to. But, I do. I always will.

I REALLY met Mitch at a point in my life where I was really ready to call it quits with dating. I honestly never wanted to see another man in a dating manner again. (That was my dramatic teenage mind)

He walked into McDonald’s, smiled his brilliant smile at me, and told me I was coming to his birthday party.

You read that right. He didn’t ask if I’d go. He told me I was going.

“Hey, What are you doing this weekend? Oh? going to my birthday party. Okay, We’ll pick you up at 6!”

I was stunned. I was shocked. I was ALREADY in love with that boy, and he didn’t even know. We were both 17 years old.

He walked into that McDonald’s on the most perfect night, with the best “invite” to a birthday party I had ever received.

I think if God is real, he laughed when I swore to all things holy that I would NEVER name my child Megan, when I was 15 years old…

Que the laughter…

My favorite human, aka my daughter, is Megan. I can’t even imagine her with a different name.

Just as I remember the first time he “asked” me out, I remember our last night together. I remember what he had for dinner. I remember what movie we watched. I remember the words he spoke, as if they were gospel.

I remember his hand as he held mine during that movie.

I remember the next day, when I walked… ran to the doors of the FedEx Hub only to be dragged into an office and told that he was gone. I remember thinking “There’s no way there is a god. There’s no way a god would take such a man from this earth. No way!”

I always joked with Mitch about how I didn’t remember life before him. I think I phrased it wrong. I remembered life before him, but it felt like another lifetime. Like everything was happening as it should .

When he died, I had that same feeling. Everything is falling into place. Everything is exactly as it should be.

I hate it. Megan hates it. Our families hate it.

But that feeling. Gawwwwwd that feeling.

I’ve thought so many times that if anyone knew how I felt, how I felt as thought this is meant to be, I’d be looked at as heartless.

Now, though, I know I am not. I know my family and my friends, my coworkers and my past coworkers know that I am not heartless.

Mitch, I believe, completed his mission here. Whatever his mission was, he completed it, and he did it FAST.

I can tell you that whoever was supposed to learn from him, learned well.

Whatever it was he taught, he taught it without knowing he did.

I feel like I was a part of his mission, but definitely not the whole of it.

He taught me to be kind, even when I didn’t want to be. He taught me to see everyone’s point of view, and not take sides. He taught me that I have the ability to be amazing, I just needed to put forth the effort. (still trying, babe!) He taught me, most of all, that good men did still exist. He taught me that there were really still good fathers. He taught me that I am so much stronger than I ever imagined I could be.

I could write a book about how much like Jesus Mitch was. He never “laid hands on” and “healed” people like the Bible says Jesus did, but he sure did heal people with his words, his kindness, his acceptance, and his love. He talked to everyone, and he helped everyone.

So, again, I say: I used to be a Christian.

Now, I no longer align myself with any one religion, but, I believe that something is out there. Something is in charge and we are mere pawns in a game.

Am I winning?

Am I losing?

I guess I will only know when I pass on to the next realm.

Until then, I will continue my path of love and acceptance. I will not intentionally harm anyone. I will cherish my family and friends. I will teach kindness, empathy, and happiness through example.

 

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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.

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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.

Dear Mitch,

 

I know you are probably looking down at me wondering “what he hell are you DOING?” OR “Don’t! Not him! He’s a moron!”

Don’t worry. I’m not.

Not with him, or with him.

It’s okay. You remember, I like guy friends. I always had more male friends than female friends, growing up.

I think I have an equal amount of guy/girl friends, now.

But I do like dating. I like meeting all the new people, which is weird, but not too weird, since you know me.

I miss you, tremendously. I have this empty spot in my bed, that only you could fill. I prefer not sleeping next to someone, even if we have sex. I send them home, or to the couch. No, I’m not whoring it up. I just have sex every now and then with one guy.

You’re probably laughing at me, or wondering what the fuck is happening in my head because he’s so much younger. But, you also know, I have always said “If he’s old enough to buy me a drink… Legally… then he’s old enough for me!” Of course, back then, I was referring to the celebrities on TV (cough cough Zac Efron cough cough). haha!

I miss talking about the hot guys on TV and having your unnecessary, jealous stare. It was so funny. You would get so offended about the celebrities I would never meet. I would do it on purpose, just to get a rise out of you. Why? Because I LOVED that you were jealous. Your slight jealousy was comforting. I knew I’d never lose you. At least not to another woman.

I appreciate you. I appreciate all of the patience you held when I was freaking out, right after we got married. When I got “cold feet” post wedding vows. When “forever” sounded like a life sentence. You were there, but not all over me. You allowed me the space I needed, to clear my mind and really figure out who I was, and what I wanted.

Can you even believe that I thought I was a lesbian? I still laugh at that! I was REALLY freaking out about being married. Then, I reminded myself, it was you. YOU. The best of the best. No one other human on this planet could handle me. Not like you did. You spoiled me, in so many ways. Not materialistically, either.

You spoiled me with love. You showed me that good men DO exist, and let me tell you, I can spot them. You spoiled me by doing for me. After a long day at work, you made me mixed, fruity drinks, and ran me a bath with epsom salt. Not because you were trying to get in my pants, but because you loved me. You wanted me to be happy and felt that I deserved to relax.

Oh, remember when we gave each-other massages? That was so long ago. Like in our early 20s! haha! it got to a point where you would give me a massage first, then I would fall asleep and never give one back. Big mistake on my part, because you finally quit giving me massages, and I developed carpal tunnel.

Remember the Christmas 2003, when we decided it would be funny to tell everyone that we were having a baby? hahahahaha!! Oh man! That was so hilarious. Then, in January, we were pregnant. Easy as that. We found out March 3rd, but, still. It happened so fast.

I remember the conversation we had. We were on I35 in 75th street exit. It was Christmas, 2003. We decided we were strong enough, together, to handle ANYTHING. We decided to stop PREVENTING pregnancy.

Oh man. It happened so fast. We had the most perfect little baby. Oh,  I bet you’re freaking out, when you see her, now. I do have to say, at least she’s covered! She has a mouth like her mother, and the wit of her father. She will go far in life.

I am so glad you were able to stick around long enough for her to know, and remember how amazing you were. I am so glad that I won the bet that got me a baby before I turned 22 (actually 18 days after my 22nd birthday, but who’s counting?) If you won that bet, I would have been a widowed mom to a 4 year old! It goes to show that my belief in “everything happens for a reason” is real. I needed to have a preteen. I needed a well rounded kiddo. I needed a kid who understands far beyond her years. And that’s what we had. We had the perfect-for-us child. Weren’t we lucky? Aren’t I lucky, in that way?

Everyone always says, “I’m so sorry for you!”

I bite my tongue, because I want to ask why. “Why are you sorry that I was able to spend all that time with the most amazing man on earth?” I got 16.5 years with you! That was half your lifetime!

There are so many women who don’t have the luxury I have, of saying, “I found my perfect match. My perfect love. Someone who loved me unconditionally.” I have that! I had that. I was able to feel that. I was able to live that. I was so fucking lucky!

It’s so weird to say that, though. People are always so good at twisting words to make things sound bad.

I was so fucking lucky in the way that I met you, had you, loved and was loved by you.

I was unlucky that you died.

But the beauty is that I was able to know you. I was able to have and to hold you.

You taught me how a man should treat a woman. Hell, you taught Meg how a woman deserved to be treated.

Amazing.

You will forever live in my mind and heart, and the hearts of so many who knew you, as amazing.

Ah

Maze

Ing!

My inspiration to be a better human.

My everything.

I miss you.

I am so glad that I had the opportunity to be graced with your presence.

I am so happy that I had the ability to be loved and spoiled by you.

Thank you.

Thank you for teaching me.

When you died, I thought I was done. I would never get to a point in my life where I could allow feelings for anyone again. It isn’t worth it, I would think to myself. I was mentally crippled by the loss of your presence in my life.

My mind said “WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING??? How do I DO this?” I also had thoughts along the lines of “no one will want me.” But I didn’t care. I bought baggy clothes and hid my body so no-one would even WANT to look.

Those thoughts are pointless.

More importantly, I want you to know, that I hope you are proud of who I am, who I have become. I hope you are proud of my strength and ability to find happiness in such an awful experience.

There are days when I wake up in the morning, and really try to wrap my mind around the fact that you’re no longer here.

Every time I have that thought, my entire body reacts. It’s like I KNOW it is true, but my mind and my soul still refuse to believe.

That’s the impact you’ve left in my life.

With that, I must go to bed.

I will love you always.

I will forever cherish the memories we shared.

You will forever be in my mind and heart.

Love you always,

Ms. Tabbie Wood

 

 

 

 

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! ❤️

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!