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.

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. 

Not Like The Rest


I am not normal. 

I am not like you. 

I am not like my mother, father, or brother.

I am not like my best friend.

I am  not like your sister, cousin, aunt, or grandmother.

I am not like my many other widowed friends. 

I am me. 

I am one hundred percent, authentic, and wholly  me. 

And that is amazing!

I don’t try to be anything but better, each and every day. 

I don’t care what is “popular” or if everyone else is doing it. 

I don’t care if my decisions aren’t expected. 

I prefer the unexpected. 

I live for spontaneity! 

I never realized how planned everything was, in our lives, until all those plans came crashing down, scattering across this way and that. 

I was supposed to grow old, and make inappropriate comments at holiday dinners, with Mitch, in front of our grandchildren. It was PLANNED! 

Nothing like making so many plans for the future, only to have those plans snatched away. What way do you best avoid the dashed plans? Don’t make any. 

Don’t get me wrong. Set goals. Achieve goals. Make your plans. 

I’ll eventually make plans again, but right now? No. 

I am going to let fate, or destiny, or whatever guide me. I’m going to go with the flow. I’m going to be spontaneous, and live as happily as I can, for as long as I can.  

I am going to raise Megan to be a better human, each day of her life. I can’t promise it’ll work through the teen years, but I’m going to try. 

I love living. Sometimes I hate that I love life, because Mitch isn’t here, loving life with me. 

In January, I never would have guessed I would be admitting that I love living. 

I love watching Megan grow into the person she is. 

I love going to concerts.

I love going to Royals games. 

I love driving, hours away, to run in races, and have an amazing time with so many awesome people. 

I. Love. LIVING! 

Mitch’s early, unexpected, horrific death opened my eyes. I realized it was time to go to that concert! It was time to sign up for that lifetime pass! 

The. Time. Is. Now! Not tomorrow, next week, or next year. NOW!

There might not be a tomorrow, so I am going to love everyday that I have. I’m not planning for too far in the future. 

I read this quote, or heard it, many times before:

“When you live with one foot in the past, and one foot in the future, you piss on the present.”

Don’t piss on your present! No matter the trials you face, find the good! Be happy! You deserve it! 

Memories


Memories can be good and they can be bad. 


I’ve, recently, been reliving that Wednesday, in my head for a few days now. 

Every time I lay down, and close my eyes for the night, memories bombard me. 

If you were a hot dog, would you eat yourself? I know I would! Smother myself in mustard and relish! I’d be DELICIOUS!”

Me calling, over and over, hoping for an answer, so I could yell at him for whatever he was doing, while not answering his phone. 

Me, driving like a bat-outta-hell to get to the fedex hub, HOPING to catch my beautiful, amazing, perfect husband cheating on me. 

Seeing the cop cars. 

Being pulled into an office.

The officer telling me that my husband was found dead. Then, proceeding to question me, about his medications, and any illnesses, etc. 


Making Brady drive to Mitch’s  biological father’s house, so I could tell them, in person. 

Making Brady drive just down the street, so I could tell Mitch’s younger brother. 

Driving back to Brady’s house, all while I’m trying to figure out how I am going to go on. How was I going to pay my bills? How was I going to be a single mother to a TEENAGER?! How?! Not even a why! I don’t think I’ve every truly wondered why, because I know, there will never be an answer that satisfies me. I am selfish. I want him with me, but in some spirit world, or heaven, or hell. HERE! I want him HERE! 


Sitting on my brother’s couch, discussing how we were going to tell Megan. That was my biggest fear. Far more terrifying than figuring out how to pay our bills, and keep a roof over our heads. 

My brain telling me “If you do this wrong, it will scar her, for the rest of her life!” 

Sitting on my brother’s couch, for the entire day, staring out the window, waiting for a “got ya!” 

The “GOT YA!” that never came. 

The “got ya” that haunts my dreams. 

I cried, silently, most of the time. The mornings after he passed, I cried aloud, in my brother’s kitchen. I would find myself crouched on the floor, hands wrapped around a coffee cup, trying to just BE. Not be normal, not be happy, but to just BE. 

I have read many responses to the question “Once you’re a widow, are you always a widow?”

Not every Widow agrees on this one. 

I say yes. No matter how you deal with widowhood, no matter how you get through each day, you become a stronger, wiser version of yourself. That’s something that stays with you forever. So, yes. No matter I I get married in 10 years, or become an old cat lady, I will forever be a widow. At least that’s how I feel about myself. I don’t take anything for granted, anymore. I cherish every minute I spend with family, friends, OCR family, and work family. It’s important to me, that they know they are appreciated. Everyone for their own things. 

Some push me to be physically stronger, and show me how to accomplish my goals. Some push me to be mentally stronger, more confident, and to continue to believe in myself. Some reassure me, that it’s okay to be myself! If someone doesn’t like me for being myself, they aren’t worth my efforts. 

Maybe I have been an emotional wreck, this August, because we are in Leo time, and it’s tearing this Libra to shreds? Maybe it’s because Mitch’s bday, followed by the anniversary of our “couple” status, are both this month. Maybe it’s just normal to have awful months, mentally, when this happens? I don’t know. I’ll just flow with it. 

#OneFootInFromtOfTheOther

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. 

Days that are “More”.

There are days that are “more” than other days. They aren’t worse, or better. They are just MORE.

It’s hard to describe many of the feelings, or emotions that I feel with on a daily basis.

Today, I sat down, and I FINALLY cleaned out these two boxes that have been sitting next to my desk, since I moved into this apartment. I have, honestly, avoided it, because I figured it was just full of bull-shit bills, and crap I wanted to avoid, or maybe stuff I have already taken care of.

It was all a bunch of crap I had already taken care of.

And two sets of handcuffs.

Two of Mitch’s old Driver’s Licenses.

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I sat on the floor of my bedroom, because the boxes were there. And I laughed so hard that I started to cry. I laughed, because I had JUST finished reading my “on this day” on facebook, and Mitch had posted a link, trying to coax me into anal sex, 2 years ago.

Then, right after I read that, an old friend shared one of MY status updates from 7 years ago, where Mitch and I bantered back and forth about how badly he wanted me.

After reading those, I was a little broken, again. (regularly occurring theme in a widow’s life.)

So, to occupy my mind, I sit down to clean out those boxes.

Mitch was there. I am sure he was there, and he was laughing at me. At me? Maybe with me? Most likely, though, he was laughing at me.

It’s THESE things that make days like today, MORE. I feel so much, yet I never let it control me. Today, was so much more, than an average “I miss Mitch” day.

Today, I ugly-snot-cried, in the shower, for a good 20 minutes, before putting on my make-up and doing my hair.

And, I looked GOOD today. No puffy or tired eyes, like I normally have when I cry.

MORE.

I was able to hear my Aunt tell me about the dream she was able to have about Mitch.

Before I decided to have a party for Mitch’s birthday, she dreamed that I threw a party to celebrate Mitch’s day. She dreamed that he walked into the party, and had no idea he had died. She got to talk with him, during the party.

I am so happy that she got to dream of him. I am also a bit jealous, because I still haven’t had more than the 2 dreams of him. I don’t try to dream of him, because I know it’s futile.

I can dream about things I want to dream about, sure, but having a REAL dream of Mitch, has to come naturally. It’s not something that can be forced.

Sometimes, I wonder if my mind blocks it. I have had 2 dreams, in which I feel as though I have RIPPED myself out of the dreams. I ended the dreams, before they were supposed to end. I clawed myself from dreamland to being awake. I use these words “ripped” and “clawed” because I feel like that is what best describes how it felt. Traumatic.

It’s so hard to describe these types of things, and not sound like a loon. But, describe, I will try!

I am so thankful to have family, and friends, who are open,and talk to me. I never want Mitch to become a subject that anyone feels too afraid to bring up, or talk about. If you want to talk about Mitch, and tell me how much you miss him, please, DO IT! I know we all miss him, and my guess is that not a soul misses him more than Megan and myself, but, this is NOT  competition to be won or lost. We ALL have lost, here. We have ALL lost Mitch. I would NEVER try to “one-up” anyone about it. Ever.

In the beginning, maybe. I wasn’t thinking about anyone other than Megan and myself. I felt horrible when it all came flooding me. Because, I didn’t think about my brother, being the first person Mitch talked to every morning, to the last person he spoke to, before bed. They were so close. I didn’t think about that, in the beginning, but now, I do.

I think about how his baby sisters and brothers could ALWAYS call him, and he would talk to them about ANYTHING. Zaida would call any and every time she had any kind of issue she didn’t know how to handle.  Katy knew she always had Mitch in her corner, always, no matter what! Michael and Mitchell had gotten much much closer over that last few years. Heather, oh man. Heather. Heather was Mitch’s personality twin, on all levels. I always joked that “If I were a lesbian, I’d try to turn her!” haha! To be completely honest, I am not sure how often Summer and Mitch talked, or how often John John and Mitch talked. I know Jack and Mitch didn’t get to hang out, or talk much, because of the huge age gap. But, I know Mitch loved every single one of his siblings, and would have done anything for any one of them.

He was NEVER good at making the first phone call. Not in all of the years I knew him. I gave him MY phone number, and I was the one who called him, first. I’m not even sure how I got his phone number, either.

I know he loved Brady, like he was his real brother. Hell, I am pretty sure, if Mitch ever left me, he would have moved in with Brady, and Brady would have LET HIM! ha!  He was so glad that they were able to be close. He loved Nate, too. Nate always impressed him, with his speed, and drive to get stuff done, when he “jumped” for fedex drivers.

Can I just say, I am sorry, family, for not thinking of YOUR loss, right away. I’m not sure it would be different if it were to all happen again. I am not sure my brain would be able to process in a way that allowed me to think like that, that soon. But, if I COULD change it, I would. Know that I do think of each and every one of you, on a daily basis.

I also want to tell everyone, again, that as our hearts heal, there will always be scars. Let’s make the scars beautiful. Let’s make them gold, like the Japanese fix old pottery, that crack or chip. Use gold to mend the broken pieces back together. It will never be normal, again, but it CAN still be BEAUTIFUL!

If you are curious what I mean, check out this post, that a friend shared with me, in the very beginning. It talks about how

 

<3 Dreams Of a Loved One, Passed <3

If this is the first time you’ve read my blog, I suggest going back to the beginning, and getting caught up.

I haven’t really dreamed much about Mitch since he passed. I don’t know why. I don’t look for him in my dreams, because I feel like that will just set me up for disappointment. The few dreams I’ve had of him, have been of him, being his usual silly self. In the couple that I have had, he was rubbing his penis on me. Not bare penis, but, more like a dry humping with clothes on. He would do that, all the time. It didn’t matter where we were. He would wait for Megan to turn her back to us, and do it. So, those little split-second dream-flashes were funny, and comforting. They would make me wake up, and I would giggle, and shed a tear.

Last night. I dreamed about Mitch all night. It was a strange sensation. My dream bounced back and forth between a house I’ve never seen, and me chasing Megan down Southwest Blvd, near the i35 bridge, where I grew up.

Mitch and I were talking, in my dream, but it was like I was trapped and didn’t know what was being said. I was looking through my own eyes, but, I couldn’t hear what he was saying. I couldn’t even hear what I was saying in response. He would laugh, but I couldn’t hear him. I could see him clearly. He sat on the couch, and there were children between us. He leaned forward, and said something, and I couldn’t understand. Dream Me knew, but I couldn’t hear. He nodded, like “watch”, then it was me, chasing Megan down the street. She ran down into a parking area of a car repair shop. She refused to come with me. She was being very unlike herself. Very rebellious. I was telling her to get in the car, and she kept saying “No, I don’t have to.” There were people, everywhere, staring at us. I started counting.

“1…2…3…4”

Dream Meg said “Oh, how high are you going?” in a very snarky-you-won’t-do-anything way.

“5…6…7”

She started walking to a box full of clothes, in this parking area, and grabs a shirt.

 

“8…9…10!”

And I spanked her. She wasn’t listening. I whomped her right on her butt, in front of everyone.

Then we started giggling.

We were laughing about me spanking her.

Then we were back in this house, I’ve never seen. Mitch was nodding. I couldn’t hear, again.

Then he nods forward, again. He’s showing me something, again.

It’s me, telling him we should have more babies. My exact words were “Maybe we should just quit trying to prevent pregnancy.”

He said, “How about we keep practicing, and wait longer.”

Back in the house, He looks and just gives me the “good thing we didn’t” grin.

At this point, I am almost positive I was sobbing, in bed. I have a vague feeling that I was crying last night, and, kind of remember being partially awakened by my own sobs.

I held on to the dream for as long as I could. It was like he was telling me it was all for a reason, but the reason wasn’t revealed.

Like him showing me our conversation about more babies, and how he said no. He said no, for a reason. He may not have realized the reason, when he was here, and when we had that conversation, but, it was like he realized it, now.

Each day, it gets better and worse. It’s not fair that he’s not with us anymore. It hurts so bad, to think of that. I miss him so much. I miss his laugh. I miss his embrace. I miss his dry humping my leg. I miss him pissing me off, because he couldn’t have a serious conversation. I miss his whiskey nights, and him trying to talk religion and politics with me. I miss his presence. I miss his big headedness. I miss his perfect demeanor. I miss his ability to keep his cool under any circumstance. I miss his way with Megan, his ease at being a father of a little girl. I. Miss. Him.