5 Months Without Mitch.

While Mitch was alive, I was always worried that I would die before him. I was afraid that I would die, and leave him a single father, caring for our daughter. I was afraid he was cursed, you know. I didn’t want to die and leave him a widower. That wouldn’t be fair. He lost his mom, when he was very young. He grew up, pretty rough. 

That day, when I drove out to FedEx, exactly 5 months ago, and the officer dragged me into an office, and told me he was found, unresponsive, I was broken. I was broken, but, I was also relieved that I didn’t die, and leave HIM broken. 

I can’t say that he would be doing better or worse, right now, in this position. I CAN say, that I am so glad he doesn’t have to be the one going through this. That would not have been fair for him, at all. And, yes, I know that life isn’t fair. 

Someone posted this photo, on Facebook, and they said “thoughts?” 

I responded with this: 

“I’ve been widowed for almost 5 months. I am breathing, standing, walking, climbing, running, sprinting, hurdling, etc. it sucks so so so bad! But here’s my reasoning: My husband was the kind of man who made the BEST of EVERY situation. It didn’t matter what the situation was, he looked at the silver lining. He found the good that came from every bad thing. He taught me to do the same. With my husband’s death, at the young age of 34, of natural causes (heart failure), many many family and friends flocked to their doctor, to have their hearts checked. Some found they were healthy as could be, others found they needed further checking, because their white blood count was off, or their whatever was bad. It’s been a hell of a ride this last 4.95 months, and I am heart-broken, but I have a 12 year old daughter who NEEDS me! My husband has passed on, so he no longer NEEDS me. He would NOT have wanted me to screw up my and our daughter’s lives, because I am sad, or heartbroken, or have depressed days. He would have said “look, Tabbie, my death saved my dad’s life!” Because it DID! So, I will sprint, and breathe, and walk, dance and stand. Some days I may wobble, or fall, but I will keep putting one foot in front of the other. I hate this, but I will SURVIVE! We all will.”
I feel like people believe I make widowhood look easy. I don’t try to. This isn’t easy, at all.  I try to live each day. I try to make our lives happy, even when we are sad. I go through times where I feel guilty for thinking other men are attractive, or if I have sexual thoughts about them. I also know that having those thoughts and feelings are totally normal. I am only 34! I am a HEALTHY 34. I am not acting on each thought. That’s where we would have a problem.  But, thinking about things is not a crime. It’s just something that happens. 

Again, not easy. 

One income. I’ve had people say, “Well, there’s one less person, so one less income shouldn’t be too bad.” Well, when you are used to living with double the money you have, it is a TOTAL adjustment! 

I know, that the things people say, are meant to be comforting, and coming from some people, it is comforting. When it comes from someone I am not close to, it doesn’t come out like that. It isn’t taken like that. For some reason, it really is irritating. 

I have always known that I adapt to change pretty well. I typicallyvadapt to change better than most people I know. However, I didn’t realize how well adapted I am, until it was brought to my attention, that I am USED to sleeping alone, already. I have no desire to have someone sleeping next to me. I thought I was going to need friends to sleepover, in the beginning, and I never did. Meg and I slept on an air mattress together for nearly 3 weeks, and both of us got so uncomfortable, she started sleeping on the couch, until we moved into our apartment. I have reverted back to being a bed-hog. I am regretting my decision, to buy a queen bed, rather than a king. I had a king bed, when I was a teenager. I think when Meg gets a “new bed” it’ll be my bed, and I’m getting a king. All that room! 

Now, unrealistically speaking, I would give everything I own away, if it meant I could share a floor with Mitch. But, that’s unrealistic. I can’t BRING HIM BACK! No matter how much I want it, it doesn’t work like that. No matter how hard I cry, or how much I miss him, it just doesn’t work that way. 

Maybe, when my time comes, I’ll see him again. He was a good person. I try to be a good person. Maybe that means our afterlives will be good, if there really is an afterlife. 

I could totally see Mitch and I haunting people, together. Hilariously haunting family and close friends. 

Honestly, I still don’t get signs from Mitch. I haven’t dreamed about him, except the only 2 dreams I had. Maybe he leaves me alone, because he is afraid I’ll lose my shit? Maybe he leaves me alone because I am “doing just fine”? Maybe he thinks I need to continue to “be the inspiration” that I have become? Maybe, he doesn’t visit me, because he is afraid I will be committed to a psych ward, and leave Meg without a parent? Maybe he doesn’t visit, because I told him he wasn’t allowed to haunt me? Jokingly, of course, because when one dies, they can do whatever they want. 😉 And maybe, JUST maybe, he doesn’t visit, because he can’t. Maybe that’s not a true option, after death. Whatever the case, he doesn’t visit me or leave me signs, like I hear everyone else talk about. I have little tidbits of “oh my, Mitch would have said that!” But, nothing too ghostly. 

So, here I sit, 5 months without my Mitchell. I am stronger than I have ever been, in all of my life. I am happy in all areas of life except the part where I am a widow. I still truly believe that EVERYTHING happens for a reason, even if we haven’t figured out that reason, yet. 

Maybe it’s something so simple as my words, helping someone get through THEIR grieving process, just a little bit easier? Who knows if I’ll EVER know the reasoning behind Mitch’s death, outside of the scientific, biological part. 

Keep Living. 

One. Foot. In. Front. Of. The. Other. 

Skip. Hop. Run. Jump. Walk. 

Keep going. 

Father’s Day Without Dad

So, today has been such a bittersweet, heart happy/wrenching kind of day. 

Let’s talk about the good, because, we all already know about the bad. My heart has been so heavy, today, but we managed to have so much fun, as well.

Today started early. 4:30am, up and making breakfast for my 2 brothers, my mom and Megan. 

My two brothers and I went out on the ocean, to do some deep sea fishing. It was amazing. 2 hours in, my little brother started to puke. We told him to take the Dramamine, but he refused, saying he would be fine. HA! He puked like 5 times, and I got the first one recorded! I laughed so hard! 
And I said “I told you to take that stuff!” 

He hugged the palm tree when he got to dry land. 

Since he wasn’t going to make it the remaining 4 hours, Brady and I swapped him out for our mom, and went back out there. It was so amazing. Mom caught fish. I caught fish. Brady caught fish. And before the swap, Nate caught some too! 

I caught a Cobie and had to throw it back, but it was pretty cool! It looked like a mini shark! He held it because we had to keep it alive to send home, so it wouldn’t be too hurt. 


Here were the ones we caught and got to keep. Plus the two Nate caught before his barfin’ party. 


We used Brady’s GoPro to record us sending Mitch’s ash into the ocean. And of course, the wind changed and blew his ash right into our faces! That definitely lightened the mood. 

Megan didn’t want to go out that far in the ocean, so she lounged around, all day, until we got back, and Brady decided to take her for a Helicopter ride! Yes! You read that correctly! Meg went up into a helicopter, and proceeded to “squish” things below, just like her dad would have done. 

When we arrived, we went straight to the beach, and sent Mitch out. He would have loved every little bit of this vacation.

 Every. Little. Thing. 


Please, excuse my face. This was immediately after our 16 hour drive. 

I hate that Megan has to spend this, and every following Father’s Day, without her amazing father. It isn’t fair. But, LIFE isn’t fair. Thank the gods we already know and understand this, because if we didn’t, we would be angry. We would be defeated. We would be far more broken than we are. 

Happy Father’s Day, Mitchell John. We miss you. We love you. We will carry on your laughter, and your positive attitude toward life. We will continue to live our lives to the fullest, and never miss an opportunity to be kind to someone.  Our lives have been forever altered with your passing, but we will make it! You were the most amazing father, husband, and friend. You gave us the greatest gift (outside of your love) of all! Your family, who is OUR family, still. I am SO happy that Meg was old enough to have that bond with you. It’s such an amazing thing. 

That Next Chapter…

No one looks forward to what may come, after the loss of their spouse. I know, from experience. I find myself, quite frequently, looking back. Because, back there, that’s where the best memories of my life lay.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know that Megan and I are going to create many more amazing memories, but, right now, my favorite things are the things that happened when Mitch was right here, next to me. Next to us.

And, that’s okay.

Someone told me, today, “It takes about 2 years to really feel like you are starting that next chapter, in your life.”

I disagree, but totally understand why that may be the understood perception of grieving, or how the majority feel. I’ve never really been part of the “majority”.  I am a very matter-of-fact. I already feel like my “next chapter” is being written. I am very aware that this is really happening. Even as I wish it weren’t true, and that I was actually stuck in a very bad nightmare. I get it. I know THIS is my life now. THIS is OUR life. (Meg and I).

It doesn’t make it hurt any less. It doesn’t really change anything, except my ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Life demands that I keep moving. I don’t do it for distraction or because I need something to do. I do it, because I have bills to pay, and a roof to keep over our heads. I do it, to put food on the table. I do it, because it is what Mitch would have wanted me to do. I do it, because I want to be happy, although, if and when I am happy again, it won’t be the same. It will be with a  new take on life.

I can tell you, I already see a difference in my attitude towards certain things. Today, I am almost positive they were talking about me, and only because, before I lost Mitch, it would be an accurate statement, I overheard someone say they were glad the one person was in that case, because “another person would be freaking out.” 2 Months ago, that would have been true. Now, I have bigger things to freak out about. I am not mad or hurt by that assessment. I am not even positive it was me they were speaking of. But, ya know, “if the shoe fits…”

Today was the monday-iest, monday ever! I was late to work, had to do total joint surgeries (meaning we had a lot of things to open, to even get that party started), and our OR was missing many essential items. Normally, I’d be freaking out. Now, I was complaining, no lie, but, I told myself, “It could always be worse.” Because it can. I can’t get TRULY mad, because someone had an “off” night, especially because I was having such an off day. I dropped instruments, and had to make my nurses run and grab more. My reps were probably ready to strangle me, because of an issue with a rep tray. But, what can you do? The shit already happened. Is dwelling on it going to make it better? NO! It’s going to cause me unnecessary stress, that I don’t need in my life, right now. I will choose to learn from what happened, and try to prevent it, next time, but really, most things that happened today, aren’t really preventable, by myself or my circulating nurse.

Shit. Happens. PERIOD.  In most cases, there is always tomorrow. So, on the crappiest days, instead of dwelling on the crap, I am going to vow to make tomorrow better.

You have two choices, really. YOU decide your own happiness. You can choose to laugh at your mistakes, and try not to make them again, or you can beat yourself up and not move on. Who do you think is going to be a happier person, in life?

On how we are doing:

I am doing. I am coping. I am working through the emotions that I didn’t plan on having until I was senile. I am throwing all of my heart at my daughter. I am making sure we are keeping our friends and family close, for our sake, and for theirs. I know having us around makes people sad, sometimes, but it also brings joy to them, because we are like having a little piece of Mitch around (mostly Meg, because she is TOTALLY her father’s daughter.)

 

Megan is doing good. I know she is hurting, just like I am. Mitch and I were never really ones to wear our feelings for the world to see, because our feelings are just that. Ours. Meg told me that she had many nightmares that one of us (Mitch or me) died, and in the dreams, we couldn’t afford to live. We couldn’t afford food or rent. She said “It still sucks and it hurts really bad, but, it’s not as bad as my nightmares. At least we can afford to pay our bills, and buy food.”  She is so matter-of-fact. Like her father and myself. She’s lucky like that.

She knows that my “door” is always open. She can talk to me ANYTIME she feels ready, and that she isn’t being rushed to talk, or pushed to stay quiet about it.

 

We talk about the things that daddy would do, in certain situations, and laugh, because most of the things he would do, were hilarious, ridiculous, and absurd. I will miss that, so much! Things like walking into Target, and he would pull his pants up as high as they would go, and tuck his shirt in, just to embarrass Megan. Or, when we would go to the mall, he would flap his arms and “Kaw! KawKaw!” like he was a bird. And one of my favorite Mitch Memories, was our VERY FIRST trip to Victoria’s Secret, as a couple. I was talking to him, and I turned to look at him, and he wasn’t right beside me anymore. He had fallen back, waiting on me to notice. And when I found him, we had pulled a mannequin bra down and was groping the breast. I nearly died of embarrassment, but was laughing so hard I nearly peed my pants. That moment, was the one that shaped me into the woman I became. ❤

Live Freely.

Laugh A Lot.

Love Fiercely.

Forgive Often.

Make an impression!

10458877_891341704215653_7547159440007083675_n
This was the first annual Framily Picnic that Mitch created, so family would stay in contact through the “non-holiday” seasons.
10521531_931176563565500_751498562412625209_n
I have no idea why he taped his hands together, but, I do recall him asking me to help get the tape off, and I was laughing so hard because he was trying to eat the pizza without his hands.

Life After

Today makes 3 weeks. It’s been 3 weeks since the day I was told, by an officer, that my beautiful, perfect, husband had been found, deceased.

A lot has happened from then to now. We had a life celebration, and honored him the only way we knew how: CELEBRATING HIM. The place we were able to secure for his celebration of life was beautiful. It was HUGE. I remember acting like a spoiled rotten child, when everyone asked “Are you sure? This place is REALLY expensive. Are you sure we can’t do it somewhere else?” I did everything short of stomping my feet, telling everyone “YES! THIS IS THE ONLY PLACE THAT WILL DO!’ It could hold over 500 people! I needed the room for everyone to fit.

This was no funeral! This was a big-ass party! Mitch didn’t make you cry, he made you laugh. He doesn’t want us all moping around, crying for him, although, I am sure his ego is boosted, wherever he is.

I hated that I had to have this kind of party, but I am happy that it turned out EXACTLY how he would have wanted it.

I stayed with my brother for 2 weeks, and some days. I slept on an air mattress and my kiddo slept on the couch. During this time, we planned everything out. We made lists. We checked off each thing we did, that needed to be done.

My life in word form:
Close the joint checking account. Open a new one.Breathe. New one is already open, deposit all money into new checking account. Can you afford that house? No. Breathe.  Should we find a new place? Yes. Breathe.  Want to look at apartments? Yes. These are close. They were tiny. Breathe.  Get Megan back into a routine. Look and lease an apartment. Breathe.  Pack. Get boxes. Breathe. Pack more. Sell things. Find home for dogs. Breathe. Pack more. Sell more. Still looking for home, for my dogs. File taxes. Breathe.   Start moving boxes into apartment. Megan’s social security number (which wasn’t really hers) was already being claimed by someone else.)  Sell more stuff. Finish packing. Buy furniture. Pick up furniture. Breathe.  Watch my brother and friend put furniture together. Bring more boxes to apartment. Moving Day. Breathe. Move everything in 2 trips, with 5-6 vehicles. Unpack. Organize. Unpack more. Breathe. Keep routine. Megan’s 6th grade mixer, at school. Dinner with family monday. Shop for Valentine gifts for Meg. Dinner with family Tuesday. Skating party Wednesday. Breathe. Cat to the Vet tomorrow morning…

I’m go go go, and there doesn’t seem to be a stopping point. S0 during each thing I must do, I stop,  take in my surroundings, and breathe deep. I remind myself that I am still alive. I am still here.  I have 2 songs that run through my head on a regular. One by Greenday  and the other by Sia.

 

Tonight, I got to sit and talk with a friend, who also lost her husband, young. We chatted about how every journey is different, and, not one of us really knows exactly what the other is feeling, or experiencing. I talk a lot. I talk about Mitch. I have to hold on to those memories, because that is what keeps me sane. She can’t talk about her husband, because it makes her so very sad, because he had cancer.  Her journey is different. My husband passed suddenly, and her’s was a much slower process. I didn’t see my husband after, and she was there for the entire process.

I can’t IMAGINE what she went through. Not even in the least. I won’t even pretend I can fathom it. All I do know, is that we lost our men. The fathers of our children. I know we both ache for our children. I also know that we are both fierce, strong, smart women, who know exactly how to do, what we need to do, to protect our children. And, protect our children, we must! Its us against the world, and if I placed bets, I’d put my money on the “us”.

and I leave you with this oldie but goodie.

daddymeganxmas
Daddy’s Girl