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

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Is Near

I am sure there are many people who question, “What do you have to be thankful for?” Because my husband passed away. I am definitely not thankful for that. That’s for certain!

But, I am thankful for quite a lot, actually.

I am thankful for my current health.

I am thankful for my family and friends. (to be clear, alllllllll of Mitchell’s family, is now MINE! I kept them all.)

I am thankful to have the daughter that I was so lucky to have. I could have ended up with a complete A-hole, but, she’s pretty cool.

I am thankful for my employment. I have a work family that has also been by my side, through this journey.

I am thankful that I fell into OCR, prior to Mitch passing, and really found out how AMAZING the OCR community is. Every one of them stood by my side, ready to be there when I was ready to get back into high gear.

Good gracious, I am so thankful for everything else in my life. If Mitch passing has taught me anything at all, it is to be MORE thankful, and appreciate it all.

All of it. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I am at a point in my journey as a widow, where I have been told many people will have already tapered away. This is not how it’s working for me. I am happy that everyone has stuck by me.

I had a very bad day at work, the day after I put up the Christmas tree. I cried through about 10 minutes of a total knee surgery, and the surgeon was great to me. He didn’t get mad. He didn’t ask what was wrong. He just offered me a little break, by allowing me to get it out.

Everything was silent around me (as they kept working, I fell away), all I could do was think of Mitch. I thought about how he always begged to put the tree up early. He would sneak a Christmas decoration in, and see if I would notice. It was more of a game with us. I would get sick of looking at the Christmas decor, where he loved it. If it went up Thanksgiving night, It came down New Years day. If it went up early, it came down December 26th. It was just our way. It’s how we rolled.

I was able to pull myself together and rejoin the surgical team, in what seemed like a very long time. Come to find out, it was really only about 10 minutes.

Oh! One of the many things I am so very thankful for is the videos Mitch left on the computer. I feel like everyone needs to hear his voice.

This was last year, our Ugly Sweater party. Caution: Foul Language was used in the making of this video… For those of you who know his voice, his laugh, this is for you. He isn’t shown very much, but you sure can hear him, and it’s beautiful.

 

Here is a family game night. ❤

 

Be Thankful for the laughter.

Always remember that beautiful sound.

 

 

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. 

It’s Really Been 8 Months and 1 Day. 


8 Months and 1 day. 

Mitch and I would always joke about how we couldn’t remember life without each other. Like we had been together forever. Our minds may have blocked all things prior to our getting together. 

It’s strange though. I mean, the sensations are awkward for me. I remember every single thing, about him being here. I remember his laugh. I remember his voice. I remember how he would try to be all sexy, and fall off of the bed.  I remember everything. It is how my mind works. 

I am so lucky to have been blessed with the life, and love of Mitch Wood. 16.5 years of being loved like I was a queen. 16.5 years of being doted on, of always being right, of bliss. 

For the last 8 months, I have learned that there are people who you thought you could trust, who you absolutely cannot trust, and there are people who you think are something they are not. I have found that some of my favorite people are, obviously, my and Mitch’s families. (They are all my family, but, for clarification purposes, I’ll say Mitch’s fam). 

There have been times where my intuition was wrong. I was guided into the wrong direction, because I felt like it was right. I haven’t really had to rely much on intuition, or my “feelies” as I refer to them, in a very long time, because I didn’t have anyone trying to get close to me, intimately. My feelies are rusty. They’re getting better. I am reading people better and better every day. 

8 Months ago, I was absolutely terrified of living alone, as I had NEVER lived by myself, let alone caring for another human life! 

Now, I am doing it. I am paying the bills, I have savings. I pay for Meg to play sports. 

I. Am. Doing. It!

I even remember to feed the cat! 

As hard as the last 8 months has been, physically, emotionally, and mentally, I have learned so much! 

Some things are things I didn’t want to learn, ever, in all my life. (Hello, being a widow isn’t something I wanted to learn how to do!)  But other things, like learning that I can be independent. I am good at being independent. 

I have learned that, because I went to college, and then fought for a raise, so that I was being paid what I was worth, I can afford to pay ALL of my bills, save money, AND play. I never would have imagined that would have been possible. Not in a million years. 

Now, please, don’t get me wrong. I know that money doesn’t create happiness. But, paying the bills, without worry, relieves stress. 

That was one thing that we worried about more than anything. We always worried about it. We had enough to pay the bills, and started to figure out how to keep some extra, but, some new debt collector would pop up, and there it all went, again. That was the story of our lives. 

Now, I only have one after me, and they’re stupid. An old apartment complex I lived at had a horrible flea problem, prior to me having any animals, ANNNNND some water damages caused by the pipes in the apartment, and they are charging me $2000, for the carpet. I called multiple times about the fleas, and when I called about the water leaking from my lights, it took them 3 days to come out and fix it. I told them to send it to collections, because I’m not paying it. Crazy bastards. 

I learned that I can negotiate like none other! It took all night long, but I got a new car, and got the price down to what I wanted it to be. I also got he interest as low as I could get it, with my crappy credit. But, I learned I could do it! 

When I cry, now, it’s for less time than before. It’s at the memories of Mitch, that, first, make me laugh, then I cry, because he is gone. 

I look at pictures, and sometimes, they kill me. Other times, I laugh and retell the story behind the photos, inducing laughter from anyone who is around. 

Megan has even started saying things like “remember when daddy would do *insert goofy shit here*,” and start laughing. 

Within the last 8 months, Meg and I have had so much personal growths, and have had to deal with things we never wanted to deal with. 

We have cried. 

We have broken down, to where we had to pull off the side of the road, and hold each-other. 

We have been immensely sad, and heart-broken. 

We have learned. 

We have grown. 

We have found some semblance of happiness, in this post Mitch Wood world. 

We are moving, ever forward. 

One step at a time. 

One day at a time. 

One week.

One month. 

Each day, we put one foot in front of the other. But we never forget the life Mitch gave us. We never forget his huge heart, or his goofy faces. We never forget the pride he showed, any time Meg accomplished something she was working for, whether it was a math problem, or catching in softball. 

Keep moving, but never forget anything.

#OneFootInFrontOfTheOther

#MitchWood

#LoveAlways

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I can be happy, without feelings of guilt. 

I can have fun, without guilt.

I can keep taking steps, forward, without guilt. 

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

I can be myself, an individual. 

I can be a mom.

I can be a friend.

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

POST-widowhood Happiness

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

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

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

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

But, I promise you, it is possible. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s the best I can give. 

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

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


#DontWorryBeHappy

#OneFootInFrontOfTheOther

7 Months After…

On January 25th, 2017, the best thing that ever walked into my life, fell asleep, and never woke up. That was 7 months and 2 days ago. 

Many people tell me:

 “You are so strong!” 

“You’re an inspiration!”

 “You’re doing so well!” 

“I don’t know how you go on. I mean, I don’t think I could do it!”

My strength is something I absorb through all of my friends, family, and support system. I have the best group of people, out there, to encourage me in the things I want and need. 

I hope to inspire many, who are grieving. It’s NEVER easy! There is NEVER a day that goes by, where I don’t think of Mitch. He and Meg were my EVERYTHING. This kind of loss isn’t something anyone “gets over” or “moves on” from. This kind of loss is something you LEARN AND GROW with. 

I do well, again, because of my amazing support system. And I love every single one of you! 😘

You really don’t know how you can go on, until you are here, and HAVE to keep moving. It’s not something I wish anyone to even TRY imagining. It’s terrifying, and guy-wrenching, to say the least! But, moving forward is a MUST! Nothing great ever happens, living in the past. We must all live, in the now. One step at a time, even baby steps count. Leaps and bounds may set you back a bit, but you will learn. And, learning, my dear, is good. 
Inside my daily mind:

Every day, I wake up, I think “damn, it’s raining, or damn it’s sunny!” Reach across my empty bed, to a place that should hold my husband. I don’t cry, when I do this, anymore. Well, I don’t cry EVERY time. Some days, the sense of loss is heavier than others. And that is just fine! 

I get up, make my coffee, and try to relax into my day, drinking my cup of dark roast. I think about how Mitch would always complain that I kept buying dark roast, because he was a blonde roast kind of guy. I bought the kind I liked, and when he shopped, he ALSO bought the kind I liked. I did start buying both, to be fair. 

I jump in the shower (most days) and get ready to start my day fresh. While I am enjoying a hot, cleansing shower, I think about how Mitch used to get giant cups, or even pitchers, sometimes, and fill them up with ice and cold water, and dump it on me, from over the shower curtain. I would get so mad, and laugh, every single time! It never failed. 

I dry off, and start my moisturizing routine, and think about how Mitch would ALWAYS walk into the bedroom, as I started putting lotion on. He would walk in and be like “oh! You’re not dressed yet? *wink*! He would then either be very obvious that he was watching me, or try to pretend he was doing other things, and “bump into me” as he passed me. 

I get dressed, and get my lunch packed and think how proud he would be that I USUALLY take my lunch to work. Saves me so much money! 

As I leave for work, I always feel like I am forgetting something. Every time. This sensation of forgetting something, is because I would kiss Mitch, every morning, while he laid sleeping in bed. We never left without saying goodbye. It was our thing. So now, I don’t have that sleeping husband to kiss goodbye. 

I’ll be at work, and something funny, or great, or terrible will happen, and I remember how I would always call, or text Mitch throughout the day, and he would be a smart ass, and make me laugh. 

When I get off of work, I think about how I would call Mitch, and ask him what he was cooking for dinner. Ever single day, I would call him and ask. Then I would say “oh good! I’m starving!” Or “Okay, what do you want me to pick up?” And I remember that Tuesday night, January 24th, when he told me he was craving the turkeylicious chili from Eat fit go. His last dinner. His choice. 

When I get home, and chat with Meg about her day, I think about how she has been here for however long she is there (depends on my call schedule) alone. I think about how this wouldn’t be a thing if Mitch were here. I think about how, before, she would tell me “Ugh! Daddy already ASKED me these questions!” 💙

When Megan tucks me into bed at night, she kisses me goodnight, then goes to her bedroom. This was the routine before her daddy died. She would tuck me in, and kiss me goodnight, then she would go to bed, and daddy would tuck HER in, kiss her goodnight. After tucking her in, he would come into our room, kiss me goodnight, and attempt frisky business, every night. Then, we would either get frisky, or I’d go to sleep and he would go watch sports or the news or the history channel. He’d come to bed at 11 or so, and go to sleep, and our routine would start all over again, when we woke up. 

These are, obviously, not the only things that affect me, but these are the regular routine things that get me, more often. 

Friday, before we left for Tulsa, Meg was looking for clothes to pack. As she was digging through her closet, she found this:


Those are her tiny handprints. This was a Father’s Day gift from her, quite a few years ago. 

She started bawling. 

It’s little reminders like these, that jump out, when they’re least expected, and tear us apart. 

Honestly, though, I would RATHER have these little reminders that tear us to shreds, than no reminders at all. I think no reminders would be so much harder to handle. 

Megan:

Megan, as a new middle-schooler, is now a part of a “grief group”. There are 3 or 4 other kids who have suffered significant loss, as well, and the social worker is working in getting them together, on a regular basis, to connect on a deeper level. I am SO happy about this! I am so glad she has an outlet, now, since she didn’t even want to try therapy. (She got that from her dad, no joke! He didn’t believe in therapy or psychologists!)

Megan and I:

So, as we grieve, we take each step, one at a time. We remember. We talk about him. We still love him. We will NEVER “get over it!”, and we are okay with that. We will never “move on!”, and we are okay with that, too. 

We are so unlucky in the way of losing Mitch, and so very lucky, in the way of our support system. 

We appreciate all of you! ❤️

17 Years…

If Mitch hadn’t have died, we would be celebrating 17 years, OFFICIALLY, together, today. 17! 

Now, I’m widowed. 

Today. Fucking. Sucks!

I avoided most of my Facebook “on this day” posts, so I could make it through the day, without losing my shit. 

I held myself together until about 3:30pm. I’ve been crying off and on since. 

It hurts so bad. So fucking bad. My chest hurts. Like it’s cracking open, all over again. 

I’m going to share the Facebook posts I’ve made throughout the years, wishing Mitch a happy anniversary. 


8/22/2010

OMIGOSH!!! With all that has been going on, I almost forgot! HAPPY 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY Mitch Wood! ❤ YOU

8/22/2011

11 years ago, today, I asked this guy, “So, are we, like, a couple now?” And he responded, “Sure.” We have been together ever since. And. Happy bday Zaida!!!

8/22/2012

12 years ago, today, I stood outside of Mitch’s white mustang, as he sat in the driver’s seat, getting ready to head home. I leaned in the car, kissed him, and said, “So, are we, like, a couple, now?” And he said, “Sure.” We have been together since that day! Happy 12 years, Mitch McCullough Wood! I love you!!! 
And, HAPPY BIG 18 Zaida Wood!!!!! So, growed up, now!!! =( Love you Sis!! =D
8/22/2013

13 years ago, Mitch and I had a conversation, that went like this:
Me: So, are we, like, a couple, now?

Mitch: Sure.
And we’ve been together ever since. 😉 

8/22/2014

I got lazy:


Just kidding. I posted:

Mitch McCullough Wood. 14 years! Holy cow! We were 2 and 3 years younger than Zaida is now, when we made our relationship official. 

It feels like forever, in the way that I don’t remember a life without you. I can’t even imagine what life would be like without you, and your giant, confusing, crazy, fun family. And I don’t want to imagine that. 
I am the luckiest lady in the world to have you. 
The most significant word in our vocabulary: sure.
It’s amazing how one little word changed our lives, so incredibly.
I love you, and cannot wait to see what fun we can create in the future. 
 I know some people don’t even acknowledge their “dating anniversary”, but, most people don’t have their little sister’s birthday the same day, as a yearly reminder. 😘 
Speaking of that…
Happy birthday, Zaida. You have grown into such a beautiful woman, with an amazing heart, and I’m so very proud of you. I’m especially proud of you for figuring out a hairbrush. There for a while, I figured it was never going to happen. 😉 
❤💋💙💋💚💋💛💋💜💋
8/22/2015

No posts. 😔

8/22/2016

No posts… 😳
I bet you can’t guess which one threw me over the edge… 
I still don’t feel like this is really real. I feel like I’m in the Truman Show, and everyone is watching me cry for a man that’s not really gone. 

But, that must be a defense mechanism, because my HEART feels like he’s gone. It’s a feeling that I cannot describe to anyone, no matter how many words I use. 

I’m lucky to be a realistic woman, who understands the whole reality of this situation. 

Someone asked me, today, if going out on a date was weird. My immediate response shocked me! 

“No,” I responded, “It was almost natural.” 

I Baffled my own mind! 

It was. I’m a great people-person. I love talking to people. It’s always been one of my favorite things to do. You can ask my mom. 😜

So, The other night, on this date, he asks, “so what is it you’re looking for?” 

I think I finally know the answer! 

It’s not to fill a void, because I’m smarter than that. Trying to fill THAT particular void would have horrible, horrible consequences! Not me. Too smart for that. 

It’s for distraction! It seems like it was for a little distraction from my life. It was fun. I was definitely distracted, and I smiled. I laughed. I made jokes. And,  I had fun. 

Little distractions, here and there, are great. 

So, thanks, Mr. H, for giving me a distraction, I so badly needed. 👌

August is HARD. 

Football starts.

Mitch’s bday.

Our “official couple” anniversary. 

August is the feeliest of all feely months. 

I’m tired. 

I miss him. 

Fuck “tired”!

I am fucking exhausted! 

I am mad, but not in a dangerous way. 

This is not fair, at all, for any of us, especially Megan and myself. 

My chest hurts. It has hurt so much this month. Not in a medical way, but in the way that my breath catches, and I hold back tears to appease those around me. I don’t lie, but I don’t over-share anymore, either, because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Which, is fine, because I feel worse hurting feelings, than than I do holding it to myself, and 2-3 very close girlfriends. 

Life is still moving. It’s going up, and down, and infinite directions. 

It’s time to really grab hold, and see where it takes me. 

I love life, but I don’t love everything about it. 

Without the bad, you know not, how truly good the good is. 

Sleep well, friends and family. 

Another Dream of Mitch! 


I dreamed of Mitch, Thursday night! I didn’t want to wake up. It was a very “normal” dream. 

He was here, at my apartment, like he had never been gone. He was laying in my favorite spot on the couch, and we were discussing whether or not, he should go get a job, since we were doing so well, without a second income. 

I told him no. I told him to stay home, take care of home stuff, and we would be okay. 

He told me I should probably change my tax status, back to married, instead of widowed, because he didn’t want us to get in trouble on outer taxes, ever again. 

It wasn’t a sexy dream. It was as if he really was here, discussing the crap that we discussed on a regular basis, before. Money, paying bills, Megan and school. Like he had never left. 

In my dream, though, I KNEW he had been gone all this time, yet, there he was, looking mighty alive.

 However, I never saw his face. 

What in the world could that mean?! I haven’t forgotten what he looks like. I haven’t forgotten his voice or anything. His voice is crystal clear in my dream. Except that one, where I couldn’t hear him at all. 

I miss him so much, and all I want is one of his big bear hugs, where he smothers me in his chest. I want to breathe in his scent, one more time. Breathe him deep into my soul. Every now and then, I’ll get a quick whiff of him, but as quickly as it comes, it’s gone. 

I RARELY dream about him, and when I do, it’s strange. Once, just his voice, like he was trying to find me, and nothing else. Once, just him, but I couldn’t hear him, even though he was talking to me, right in front of my face. And this latest dream, where I could see his waist, legs and feet. The details in his feet, like his veins, and bones, the way they looked when he sat with his feet propped on the arm of the couch, one foot crossed over the other. It’s all in there, in my brain. I remember every detail of him. 

He is my soulmate. There’s no question about that. We were put together so many times before we realized we were meant for each other. 

At age 17, I knew, the first time I kissed him, that he was my forever guy. Forever wasn’t as long as it was supposed to be. 

When I moved into his house 2 weeks after we started dating, everyone said we were nuts! Horrible idea! (In their defense, in a normal teenage situation, it would have been a horrible idea. I don’t recommend it to everyone. We KNEW!) When we got engaged a year and a half after we started dating, (2/2002), everyone said we were being ridiculous! No one realized how perfectly we were made for each other. That’s okay, though! We knew! When we got married, at age 20, not even old enough to LEGALLY drink our champagne, we were congratulated, yes, but also told we were crazy! “You’re too young! It’ll never last! Bad idea!” Again, in most cases, statistically, these are all true statements. In our case, they weren’t true. We. Fucking. KNEW! 

I was slightly annoyed, when we were younger, about people continually telling us we were doing things wrong. But, the older we got, the closer we grew together, and the more everyone else saw it. They KNEW! They KNOW now! 

I miss him. I miss my partner, my best friend, my biggest cheerleader, my lover, my husband. 

It hurts, but, I’m healing. I know that’s what this is. I can’t, and won’t be “broken” forever. Scarred? Sure, absolutely! 

Beautifully, and uniquely scarred. So unlike anyone else. 

I really hope there is an afterlife. I hope Mitch was welcomed by his momma, and family and friends that passed before him, and that he welcomed his grandma Sandy, with that big, bear hug, that I miss so much. 

May they be partying it up, in the happiest of afterlives.