Why I am Choosing to Leave Social Media. And Random Thoughts…

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I made a post on my facebook wall. I told all of my friends, old and new, all of my family, and Mitch’s family.

I’m deleting facebook, snapchat, instagram, and so on. I won’t delete this blog, though.

Here is why:

That Wednesday morning, of January 25th, after my mandatory meeting, at work, and before going to the elementary school to send home flyers inviting moms to come coach Girls On the Run with me, I sat at my desktop (really a tower hooked up to our big screen tv in the man-cave) with the mouse hovering over “delete account”.

I was in that state for a good 5-10 minutes.

During those 5-10 minutes, I thought of all the things I have said, or have discussed with people.

When I was small, like 8-9 years old, I told my dad, “computers are the devil, and are going to ruin families!” Out of the mouths of babes, am I right?

Mitch and I discussed our social media obsessions, and how we were addicts, through and through. I was worse than him, but we were both bad.  We used to get pissed at each-other because he would be trying to talk to me, but my phone was in my face, or I would say something to him, and he would “acknowledge” it, but not remember what I had said. Any time Meg wanted to show me something, I would be like “hold on I’m doing something!” Know what I was doing? Reading a meme, or someone’s post on Facebook, or something that was definitely less important than what my DAUGHTER was trying to show me. And, we wonder why the kids of that generation seem to seek attention, regardless of what kind of attention it is. So many think that the responses you get on social media is more important, because look at how most of us react when our kids talk to us. I see it happen every day. I even catch myself doing it. We act annoyed that our kids want to talk to us, or show us something, that they’ve shown us at least 450 times, already. We, as parents, should make it a point to make everything our kids show or tell us, seem important. It may be the 900th time they’ve shown you, but when they’re teenagers, and NEED to tell you something that IS important, they won’t, because they will believe they are a bother, and that’s the last thing you want to happen. So many reasons exist that you should WANT your kid to talk openly with you.

When it comes to being with your friends, in person, it’s annoying when social media interrupts.

When I am sitting in a living room, restaurant, or out with friends in general, and they all have their faces stuck in their phones, I feel like I am unimportant. I was SOOOOOO guilty of “hold on!” so I could finish a status update, or respond to a silly comment on my post.

I want to reconnect with PEOPLE. Real people. I don’t want to live my life watching photos of friends who live down the street. I want to make time, and visit, in real life, and hug them. Human interaction is healing, and my experience shows me that actual interaction, rather than virtual interaction can ward off depression. It is great for our souls, to surround ourselves with people who love us, and who we love, and enjoy being around.

I don’t want to post whatever I post, and feel expectant of discussion. I would rather call my best friend, and talk to her on the phone.

I really feel like social media has made people socially awkward. Really though.

I went on a date with a guy, last week. He was so worried about his “shitty” car, that he didn’t want me to meet him outside. I don’t care about your car. When we met, inside the restaurant, he couldn’t look me in the face. He dodged my eye contact, like it was flames. Once he started acting all weird like that, I started talking about how I’m not looking for a boyfriend, and how my expectations in a man are really high, because my husband was amazing, and it will be hard for a guy to meet those standards.

I mean, really? When I told my friends about how he wouldn’t look at me when we were talking, and how it made me feel odd. Really odd. I deleted the dating apps first.

Bye, Tinder!

Bye, Bumble!

There’s nothing like meeting someone, in a good, face to face manner. I always felt like those apps were weird. You swipe though still photos of people, and you’re supposed to determine if you like them or not, based on photos and a tiny bio? I tried it. I met some pretty rad people. Back in the beginning, I met a lawyer, so I can ask lawyer-type questions to, if I need to. I met the couple, who are awesome, and I still chat with, once in a while.

But, to determine dating qualities? Nah, not so much. There is a connection that can only happen, standing right in front of another human. There is a spark, or there isn’t a spark. I can stand in front of the sexiest guy I know, and I have no desire to mess with him. And yes, I am talking about a real person, and he is gorgeous, but he isn’t “my type”. Hell, when I really first met Mitch, he was not my “type” physically. When he opened his mouth and started talking to me, he quickly became my type. His smile. The way he spoke with confidence, without being cocky. The way he walked. And his sense of humor, that I missed a lot of jokes from, in the beginning. All of those played a huge role in my attraction to him. Y’all think I have a dirty mind? Guess who taught me? Yeah, you got that right. HA! And when I found out that Meg had stumbled upon it, naturally, dear goddess, help me! She is her father’s daughter.

I’m a firm believer in spirit-people. There are people who are meant to be in your life. I’ve said it a million times. When you meet them, you just know. They could be meant to be a friend, significant other, or a shoulder. they could simply be there, just to help you through a short phase of your life.

I also believe, with all of my heart, and deep, deep into my soul, that everything happens for a reason. Everything.

Mitch dying so young, from something that would be considered an old person’s death, made a bunch of people go to the doctor, and many found out they had issues that they were unaware of. It even, possibly, saved a few lives.

Mitch passing, oddly enough, has shown me how independent I really am. I used to always say, “Mitch, you can’t leave me! I wouldn’t know what to do, without someone making sure our bills are paid, regularly!” Mitch also cooked, and did most of the laundry. When I tell people he was perfect, I do not exaggerate.

EVERYTHING happens for a reason.

My mind is swirling with thoughts right now. I am having memories flash to the front of my mind, like when Mitch was laying in bed with me, and Meg was only 2-3 months old, and she woke up, hungry. He gently shook my shoulders, and asked if he could do anything to help me. He was upset that he couldn’t be of more help, since I was breast feeing, and not pumping or using bottles.

Little things like that bombard my brain every once in a while.

We were talking about how I planned to rid myself of social medias, and a coworker said “I could never do that! The things my kids said, when they were little, I posted about, and it pops up in my memories.”

That’s why I wanted to hang onto social medias. I was terrified of losing Mitch. But, the reality is this. I will never LOSE the memories of Mitch. I will forever have those, stowed in my mind, and deep in my heart. There are memories from everyone else, that can be talked about. I have lost Mitch’s physical form, but his ideas, and his love, and everything he ever was, will, forever, be with me, and with everyone else, who was truly a part of his life.

I actually tried to delete facebook, and it kept giving me an error code. So, instead, I have logged off, and removed the apps from my phone. I haven’t been on Since 6 o’clock, yesterday, and don’t plan on using the account, until I need to create an event, to send invites through. (I wish there was a separate type of event app, like how messenger is a separate entity.) Basically, I feel trapped in facebook. It’ll be okay. If I can quit smoking, and quit drinking soda, I can quit social media, too. (except this blog!)

Oh! I touched briefly on why I think social media has made people socially awkward, in real life, but I really think its made conversations strange, too. I think the “listening to respond” is so much worse than it has ever been before. I can say something, and no one actually hears it. Back to that ridiculous date I had, I said “Oh yeah! I am racing this weekend.” When he asked, for the 4th time, what my plans were, coming up. We had discussed my obsession for OCR, and I had mentioned the 3-Race weekend, and most importantly, how I never do Spartan or Tough Mudder.

He asked, “So, any big plans coming up?” And I responded “Yeah. Next weekend is a 3-Race weekend!”

And he asks, “Oh. What is it? A Tough Mudder?” Did he listen? His body was there, but his brain was elsewhere. I felt like I did a lot of repeating myself, and if you know me, you know I can’t stand that. I can’t stand it so much, that if I don’t hear you the first 2 times you say something, I say “never mind” and leave it at that. If it was important, you’ll ask me why I didn’t listen, and I will tell you how I am going deaf.

 

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!

You Have No Idea How I Feel, So Do Not Assume You Do.

Please forgive me as I rant.

You. Do. Not. Know. EXACTLY. How. I. Feel!

Never, ever say that to a widow! NEVER! I don’t care if you’re a widow, or if your ex husband died, or if your boyfriend died, or if your cousin’s cat died, you will never know exactly how I feel.

I am astounded by the people who have the audacity to say this, straight to my face!

1: If you know “exactly how I feel” you would never utter those fucking words.

I am NOT angry all of the time. So, please don’t assume that is an accurate statement. It actually takes a LOT to make me angry, and even then, I rarely react, outside of becoming silent, because I don’t want to say something I can’t take back, or I slam doors. Yes, I am aware that slamming doors is childish, but, I do it. Well, I DID it. I chose door slamming when I was young, because no one gets hurt, unless it’s me, because the door bounces back at me. Yes, that has happened. You won’t see me slamming them anymore, since I built up so much strength, and managed to put a hole in the wall last time.

So, here is the deal, and this doesn’t just apply to me. Hell, it doesn’t apply to only widows either, but it didn’t bother me until I became one. Never EVER assume you know EXACTLY how anyone feels! You don’t! And you never will.

I lost my husband-best friend-father to my child-hero in January of this year. It’s been a crazy year so far. I have gotten MAD 1 time. ONCE!

As I type this, I am not angry, I was irritated/annoyed when someone told me they knew how I felt, and have been in my shoes… When actually they haven’t. They were in their OWN shoes, under their own circumstances. Just because YOU were angry all of the time does not mean that’s how I feel.

Just because I disagree with how something is done, doesn’t mean I am mad about it. Disagreeing is a perfect part of life. It means freedom! Just because I am annoyed or not satisfied, does not equal anger. It means I don’t like it. Big deal.

And for the record, anger is a real emotion. It is an acceptable emotion. It is something everyone on this earth should know and feel every once in a while. Without knowing anger, you cannot fully understand all other emotions. It’s a part of who we are. It is a part of you that lets you know that something isn’t right! I mean, to be honest, if you never get angry, you might possibly be getting walked on.

I FULLY recognize that slamming doors isn’t really a good idea. Sure. Duh. But, it happened, and I am here, and I’ll be taking anger counseling for it, until I am cleared by the therapist. Good times.

Don’t slam doors, because you could damage property.

But ALWAYS stand up for yourself! ALWAYS! Do not let anyone make you do something that isn’t right. Just, handle it with grace, like I NORMALLY do. ❤️

Spending the Holidays “With” Your Deceased Spouse.

I’ve dreamed of Mitch, nearly every night for the last week.

In these dreams, we are discussing what to buy for Megan for Christmas, and “Has she ACTUALLY been good, this year?” (The answer is yes. She has been amazing, especially under the circumstances!)

I had one where we were ACTUALLY Christmas shopping. He was being his normal self, throwing things into the carts of unsuspecting strangers. He was also picking up ugly sweaters, and talking about how much he wanted one, this year. (Talked to a friend, and she suggested, without knowing this dream, to get a tiny ugly sweater for his urn! OMG! AMAZING IDEA!) He also got Michael (his brother) something that was ACTUALLY at Target, yesterday! So, naturally, I bought the damn thing for Michael Dale! So, brother-in-Law, your gift was ACTUALLY from my dream-Mitch. I hope you like it!

Last night’s dream was weird! It reminded me of a cross between Home Alone, and the movie that Kevin watches in home alone, along with something that has happened to me a few times, and Meg once. (Keep the change you filthy animal! Bang bang pew pew pow!)

Real: When I was in Nebraska, we were driving down the street, and the street lights flickered as we went under them, and then went dark.

Real: When Meg and I were driving down 95th street, the street lights went out as we drove under them! It was crazy!

In my dream, I was at a bar, it was decorated for Christmas, and we were drinking, and dancing, and having a good time. Meg was at home, with friends, and sent me a text. “Mom! Check the string of lights around the bottle of alcohol in the corner of the bar!”

I have no idea how she knew to look at it, but, I followed her direction, and looked at it. All the lights were out, except the red ones, Mitch’s favorite color. The red ones were flashing. (Maybe a mix of Stranger Things, too!) a stranger came up, and said “That’s Morse code!” And wrote it down. The lights were telling me to GO HOME NOW!

So, I paid my tab, and got an Uber. As the Uber drove towards my home, the street lights flickered and went out, as we went under each light.

I get home, and run inside, and up the stairs, to find Meg in her bay window (yes I have a house in this dream and it is huge and gorgeous!) pointing outside.

There is her father. Riding a bicycle, in circles around our culdesac (Mitch always wanted to live on a culdesac) He was carrying something. He looked kind of scary, then I realized it was because he looked exactly like his bitmoji cartoon. He pulled out a big gun, and started shooting up the neighbor’s home. He was laughing! Meg and I were horrified!

Then, he was gone! We ran outside to go see if the neighbors were okay. And when we stepped out, we looked up, and the neighbor’s house was decorated for Christmas, so beautifully, with no signs of gunfire. It wasn’t decorated prior to him “shooting” it up.

The gun was a special, Christmas gun. And I know, if Mitch were alive, and that thing were real, he would own it.

So, as far as the title of this blog goes, I feel like I am getting more time with Mitch, than I have been getting. We’ve been Christmas shopping, and going over Christmas lists, and he even reminded me to buy something that I had forgotten to get, for Megan! (I am aware these are dreams, so don’t go calling the crazy house!)

Life has been so busy. And it’s just going to keep moving. I have been blessed with the ability to remember my dreams, so I will cherish each and every dream I get to have of him.

Happiest of Holidays to you all.

10 Months

It has been 10 months since I received the horrible news that my husband was found dead.

10 months of wobbly emotions. 10 months of trying to figure out how to maintain his part and my part of parenting. 10 months of looking into my baby girl’s eyes, and seeing so much of her father. 10 months of pain, and heartache intertwined with happiness and pride.

For the last 10 months I have made great strides in improving who I am, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I joke about being “absent” with friends and family, who don’t work out with me, but I am actually not. I make it a point to text, call or visit family, whenever I can. I course, I am busy, quite often, and I won’t give up my workouts for anyone other than Megan. (Unless important things come up, like weddings, etc.)

Every time I feel like I don’t want to do that workout, I remember that I CAN get sick. I CAN leave this earthly body before “my time”, (whatever THAT means). If I don’t take care of ME, who will take care of Megan?

I would be the ghostly mother, haunting the shit out of whoever Megan’s caregiver would be, (Brady…) because that’s who I am. I wouldn’t be done yet. I need her to know all of her dad, and all of her momma. I need her to know that life has it’s serious downs, but, damnit, there is ALWAYS something good, somewhere, if you look hard.

Sometimes the good is so obvious that you miss it.

Don’t miss it. Don’t take the good for advantage. Appreciate it. Revel in it! Be the good in someone else’s life, too! Don’t do it for YOU. Don’t do it to see what you can get from it. I promise, it’ll feel good, just putting a smile on someone else’s face.

Mitch was the guy that always held the door for whoever was walking in or out behind him. He would open the door and stand aside, if he came upon a door someone was walking opposite him, through. He was always trying to be the good, without expectations from other people (except a simple “thank you”. When people wouldn’t say that you, it would piss him off.)

Say thank you!

Say please. Say thank you. Don’t assume that guy wants in your pants, just because he held the door open for you. Don’t assume that woman wants to jump you, just because she is nice to you.

Ten months a widow.

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.

A Life Unplanned For

We all know, no one plans to lose a spouse. 

No child plays house, pretending their spouse dies. It’s just not something we do, as a human race. 

I attended a wedding, last night. It was an absolutely beautiful wedding. There were so many people there, and we dressed up, and looked great. 


As I sat, and watched the bride and groom’s first dance, I thought about how Mitch and I didn’t do that. We never had a “first dance”. 

There was supposed to be the father-daughter dance, and my chest started to hurt, as they started a video, and explained why her dad wasn’t there.

 My mind went into hyperdrive, skipped to the future, and I saw Meg, standing there, in her wedding dress, without her Dad. 


For a moment, I was broken. 

I probably cried more than the average person. I cried out of joy for the actual bride and groom, and the promise of a beautiful future together. And, I cried out of sadness, for Meg, as she won’t have her daddy to walk her down the aisle, or to have that first dance with her. My heart felt the joy and the pain, simultaneously. 

One year ago, if anyone tried to tell me I could feel such opposite feelings, at the same time, I would have laughed, and said “Yeah, right! One feeling would totally overpower the other!” 

I would have been wrong. 

Aside from that part of the night, I had a good time, with great people. We celebrated the marriage of two people who fell so deeply into love, and decided to spend the rest of their lives together. 


Absolutely beautiful! 

I drank a bit, and after an evening of drinking and hanging out with friends, I had an overwhelming feeling. I don’t think I want to ever be married again. Maybe that’s just my widow-mind, right now. My marriage was perfect. Well, perfect for us. 

 It’s been less than a year, since Mitch passed. Sometimes, the days drag on, and other times, I can’t believe a whole week has gone by. 

Less than a year. 

Holidays are coming

This will be our first Thanksgiving without Mitch. Without his cucumber salad. I will make it for the McAnany family Thanksgiving, but it won’t be MITCH’s side dish. I’ll be the one making it. 

Christmas, I’m sure, is going to be the worst for me. I am terrified of December. 

One week before Christmas will be one year from the day everything started going bad. 

The day Mitch slipped and fell, and sprained his wrist. 

New Years, without that kiss. 

And then we move into January. 

I don’t want to.