Hey, Mitch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking of Meg…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until we meet again,

With all of my heart,

Tabbie

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

I Used to be a Christian

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

 

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

Chill out.

Read it.

You’ll get it.

I am 36 years old.

I have one HELL of a story to tell.

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

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

I was 7.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Totally cool guy. Loving, accepting, nurturing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boy, was I wrong.

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

Everything happens for a reason.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Que the laughter…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But that feeling. Gawwwwwd that feeling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Am I winning?

Am I losing?

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

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

 

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What Is Life, Without A Little Death?

Here death strikes again.

So many people, such a short time.

It has happened since long before any of us, and will continue with us and way after us.

Death

It’s inevitable.

We all live our lives. We go and go. Some of us are moving so quickly through life, that we are missing out on the things that really are the more important things.

I was guilty of this. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I have since figured out a better balance, though.

I love my family.

I love my friends.

I love racing, and birthdays, and listening to my people talk about their lives, and the things that they are passionate about.

I’m not very good at asking the questions, or initiating conversation, but that’s because I will listen to you tell me about your passions, your grief, your day at work.

When Mitch died, in January of 2017, I was confused. I wasn’t angry, I didn’t really wonder why, so much as “What the Fuck?” It wasn’t an angry wtf, so much as a confused, how could this have happened type question. Once we knew the science and biology behind, I stopped asking. I knew.

That question was answered.

You hear people say, all of the time, “god only gives you what he knows you can handle.” If you believe in God, this has to be true.

You may not know you have it in you, until LIFE (or death really), slaps you in the face.

Wednesday, after I ran 10 miles and was in my car, headed to get some food, I received a phone call. My father in law lost his girlfriend. (They might as well had been married. They had that connection, and that unconditional love. They were only missing the legal documentation).

Let me throw out a little back story on this man, without going too deep into details, or anything.

This man was married to my husband’s biological mother. He adopted my husband, and had 2 more children with his wife, Megan.

When Megan was in her early-mid twenties (I don’t want to screw up on the details), she was murdered in a bar, by a crazy man.

This man, Mike, became a widower father to 3 children, one of which was a tiny baby girl.

He did not handle that well. I mean, who could blame him, right? His wife was murdered. What was he supposed to do?

Fast forward through some addictions and runaways, some verbal fights, and a bit of time in jail, a couple of marriages, divorces and a couple more kids, grandbabies and sobriety.

Here we are, he’s the father of 5 now. He’s gotten his head together, he’s trying very hard to be a good man.

His eldest son dies. The son he adopted, when the son was just a boy, and had his mother ripped from him. The father who may have had his problems surviving this life, lost his son.

He had an amazing woman by his side, to help keep him together. She was there to keep him steady, and remind him that he would be okay. He would make it through this.

Fast forward a little over 2 years, and his girlfriend is now with his first wife, and eldest son.

If god is real, and only gives people what they can handle, he sees something heroic in Mike.

I’m so devastated, for him, and can’t even begin to imagine how his mind is processing.

I’ve been told I’ve handled all of my adversity with grace, and I don’t know. It’s what everyone on the outside sees, when my insides are a screaming and tangled and threatening escape.

But death. Death is one thing we are all going to face.

Death is inevitable, and I don’t think we should fear it. I’m not afraid. I don’t want to die, and I’d never do anything to speed up the process, or invite it sooner. I want to live into my old age, maybe meet a second soulmate, and grow old together with them. I want to have grandbabies and a son-in-law (or daughter-in-law. I’m not picky)

I want to watch my daughter grow into a woman, and watch her find her soulmate, fall madly in love, marry, and grow into her adulthood.

I really love living. I think that Mike is realizing that he loves living as well. Even through the grief that seems to keep being added to his plate, he becomes just a little bit stronger, each round.

I wanted to share his story, because many people judge. Many people do not KNOW. People will never truly understand. But, just the briefest summary of the shot hand this man was felt, and he’s still here. He’s still standing. He is STILL putting one foot in front of the other.

The world we are on is still spinning.

The bills still need to be paid.

Our work here isn’t done, yet.

Death: The only thing guaranteed of life.

Live while you can!

Find happiness!

Be who you are!

Never stop saying their name!

Mary. Megan. Mitch. Sandra. Annie. Gramma and Grandpa McAnany.

Only their bodies are gone. We are forever able to remember them through our pictures, and our memories. We have videos, and voices recorded, now.

On the days we miss them the most, I think their spirits are the closest. Our human form cannot process their presence without their human form, so we interpret their spiritual presence as sadness, and yearning, and missing them.

We FEEL them, but we cannot touch or see them.

May all of our loved ones be partying like rock-stars.

Annie.

Has.

Arrived!

We will miss her, of course. But she is definitely in good hands now.

I See So Much Mitch, in My Daughter’s Face.

The other day, my daughter says “Mom, you should check your photo album, because there are some pretty sweet pics I took for you.”

I knew it was going to be a ton of selfies. It’s what she does. I finished my workout, and checked my phone, and there were 30-ish photos, of her, most in black and white.

I’ve always known Mitch’s traits were stronger in her, than mine. But, seeing these particular photos, really REALLY proves it.

I may or may not have cried, looking at these photos. My little (who is clearly taller than me) is absolutely beautiful, inside and out, with a LOT of her father’s sense of humor.

Looking at her does NOT make me sad, like I’ve seen it does to other people in our situation. Looking at her, and seeing him live through her brings tears of joy to my eyes. Absolute, joy, that he will live on, through her.

There are things that make me miss Mitch more than other things. Like all this snow we’ve had recently. He would have been BEGGING me to go sledding.

I would have said no, and suggested he take a friend, and kids.

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with snow. I hate when it touches my skin, but I think it’s absolutely beautiful! I’m about to sound like one of THOSE kind of women, but seeing all the glistening snow reminds me of all the happiest Christmas, and romance movies. I love standing outside and spinning in circles, taking in the beauty of the snow covered tree branches and rooftops. I feel a bit of hope, when I look at it. The smell of snow, is the smell of happiness, and purity, innocence, and clarity. If all of those could be smell, it’d be the smell of fresh snow.

I do love sunshine and beaches more, because, well, I enjoy outdoor activities that don’t involve snow touching my skin. Sand is a welcome touch though. Sunshine, and ocean water, bbqs at the park, and trail running on mountain bike trails. Most of my races are in the warmer climates, and traveling is easier.

But, none of those summer things give the feeling if hope. Maybe that’s why there’s been all this snow. Maybe it gives a lot of people hope, and whoever is in charge of snowfall, (god, goddess, Mother Nature, whatever you believe) decided “It’s time!” And has been dumping on us, consistently for 2 months now.

Every time the snow melts completely, it snows again. This is our spring snow. It doesn’t look too bad, today.

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I feel as though my posts are fewer and fewer theses days, but I realize, maybe it’s because I talk about Mitch every single day. I make social media updates, see all the pictures, and have accepted my fate, as the woman widowed at 34. The widowed mother of a teenage daughter, who couldn’t be any easier to have a child, than she is exactly how she is.

I think, daily, about how proud I am of myself, for fighting to get paid what I was worth, in October of 2016, because if I didn’t, I’d be making $10/hr less than what I make now, and most likely be living the roommate life, or living in a tiny, uncomfortable apartment, somewhere that I don’t want to live. Megan even mentions it, once in a while.

Well, it is time for me to get my day started, so until next time, friends and family.

Much love to you all. And may anyone suffering from such a loss, find hope of happiness, and laughter, in things around you. Remember, there’s always a silver lining, and if we focus on the beauty, rather than the ugly, we can keep on putting

One foot in front of the other.

And always remember, you aren’t moving on, or forgetting anything. You are only moving forward, and making progressive movement.

Dating, Alcohol, Sex, and the not so Average Widow.

I mentioned before, about how a majority of men are either scared to date a widow, or they are all about it. I talked about how they are scared, because a widow will be attached too quickly, because she is used to being married. And I talked about the ideas that a lot of men have, about widows and being horny, or “thirsty” is the term I’ve heard.

For me, I dated a bit, because I wanted to have fun. I am still young. I am still a sexually functioning human, and I do quite enjoy having sex. However, I am not “thirsty”. I can live without it, for a while. Sex isn’t a necessary thing.

Now, I know, I may turn some heads, or upset people, or I may have people say things along the lines of “OMG! Yes, girl!” With this blog. I have to make it known.

I went into the dating scene, with my head on, a little askew. I was fine with that, though. I wasn’t looking for a replacement for my husband (I never will), I wasn’t looking a boyfriend, (so much work involved with that), and I wasn’t trying to keep any one guy for very long. I wasn’t interested in “catching feelings”, so the way to avoid that, was to not sleeping with the same guy for a long time.

Now, I had a “young one”, who was good at keeping things separate, for sure. He was around for about 7 months. Then, one day, my feelings were hurt, when he paid no attention to me. *GASP* right? I had to remove that situation from my life.

I met another man. A very sweet, very dorky man. I liked him. A lot. He, quite literally, was the opposite of everything I look for, physically, in a man. We met at a race. We all met up after a race, at a brewery, and had a few drinks. I had 2 and needed to sit a little while longer, before driving home. Everyone left, except him. He said he would stay with me, so I could drink my water and get home safely.

I should have never started anything with him. I knew it would be a bad idea. It was fun, while it lasted, though.

I honestly remember laying in bed with him, with my head on his chest, thinking, “I should call it off, right now. RIGHT NOW!”

I didn’t listen to my inner voice. Sometimes, I am not very bright. That’s okay, though.

One night, we were texting (because that’s the only way anyone every communicates these days), and he told me that he met a couple online, and they wanted to meet him… And he was seriously thinking about doing it.

I was hurt. I couldn’t understand why, if a person tells you that you’re great, fantastic, perfect, love spending time with you, etc, someone would continue looking elsewhere for sex. I still don’t understand that. After I told him he could go to them, or he could continue with me, but he couldn’t have both, he swore I was enough, and he’d rather just chill with me anyway.  We hung out, one more time, and I knew were weren’t going to continue the benefits part of our friendship. He was weird, like I trapped him or guilted him into hanging out with me. (how I felt he behaved) He didn’t answer his texts like he normally did, and when he would answer, they were 1-4 word responses (not normal for him). I called it off. I said no more and told him to go live his life, and not to let me hold him back. (there’s more to this story, but it’s getting too long). So, I chose to end the benefits part of that friendship, before he did something stupid, and we are still friends.

I felt a bit unworthy after that happened, simply because I was made to feel like I wasn’t enough for someone. I really started to feel down about it. Like, I even cried a couple times. Ugh. I hate admitting that.

So, the point to the very long story was this. I came to a realization. I realized I have a part of me back, that I didn’t think would come back. I didn’t think I would ever want to be in a relationship again. Not after losing Mitch. Not after having my heart shattered into millions upon millions of pieces, with his death.

But I do. One day, I do. Coming into this realization, I decided to stop seeing people, at all. I deleted the dating apps from my phone and  I am not pushing the dating scene. I am just focusing on my health and my family, and my career.

Sex is great, but sex with someone who cares so very deeply for you, and wants to be with you, regularly (and the feeling is mutual) is so much more satisfying.

I know, I put alcohol in the title. I had gotten to a point where I was drinking every weekend, and sometimes during the week. Not because I felt like I needed to be drunk or anything, but just because I had someone to drink with. It had become so frequent, though. I felt like it was a bit much.

I quit drinking so regularly. My last alcoholic beverage was at midnight New Year’s eve/New year’s celebratory champagne. I may have a couple at bigger events, like our big KCOCR season kickoff party next weekend. But, I’ll only have one because I found spiked sparkling water! (low sugar, low carbs, low everything!) Since I am focusing more on my health and ocr training, alcohol isn’t a thing I feel like I need. It hinders the ability to become a better athlete, so, as little as possible is best.

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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

 

 

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

 

I Choose To Smile. 

10/14/2017
If there is one thing for certain, it’s this. I share everything. I tell you of my pain. I tell you when I’m happy. I don’t hold back. 

I do, however avoid sharing too many details. 

Some readers may have read my blog titled “he”. I am seeing someone. I’m not going into detail again, you can check out the blog that talks about him. I say it here, to drive home the fact that I blog about everything. 

Tonight, I am at a bar, as I type, in Lawrence, Kansas. It’s called RBar. The last time I was here, Mitch was here. 

It was snowing. 

Kody was our driver. Roni sat shotgun. Mitch and I rode in the back seat. 

I’m here. 

As we walked in, from the lot across the street, memories flooded me. Mitch was so bored here, that night. (Until he got some drinks in him, and lit up he room) We people-watched and laughed at people. Not very nice, I know. But, that’s what we did. We didn’t laugh at anything that couldn’t be controlled, but we were laughing at the drunk ones that were acting like fools. His pseudo gout was starting to flare up, and he was annoyed with it. No-one knew, but me, because that’s the kind of man he was. That is the kind of man he will always be remembered as. 

I am, literally, sitting at a table, by myself, right now, to type about this. 

I was asked if I was okay,  just now, and had to convince the girl that I blog, and the urge to write hit me, right now, so I HAD to do it! 

She said okay, and went on about her drinking. 

So, the last time I was at that particular bar, (in an Uber, now!) Mitch was there. He was annoyed. He didn’t like hanging out with super young people. He just wanted to sit down, and have a drink. He wanted to be an “old man” as he referred to himself, more often than anyone would realize. 

He was 34,  yes .

He complained, often, that he felt like he was 69, because of his pseudo gout, and everything making living incredibly uncomfortable. 

But, damnit, if Mitch wasn’t one of the most positive human beings in the world…

When I think about Mitch, I think about him, the way he wanted me to: Alive, Funny, and happy. 

Sometimes, like I’ve talked about before, it throws me off, because, out of the blue it’ll slam me, right in the chest: “no more…” 

No more. 

Two simple words, that have such a huge meaning. 

Two simple words, that can break me, if thought at just the right moment. 

Two words…

Two words that, I am sure, will randomly pop into my mind, for the rest of my life. 

I often wonder what goes through the minds of his family, when they think about him. And I mean, I wonder what their phrase is, that catches them off guard. I know, it is fact, that when we think of his living being, it’s always happy.  Always funny. There’s always a joke, a movie line, song lyric, or an action that makes us all laugh or cry. That’s fact.

 I choose laughter. Sometimes, tears choose me, though. I try not to stop the tears when they do come. I just let them flow. 

I choose to miss him, and continue to love him, and remember him. I choose to carry him on, through memories, and talking about him. No one who ever met him will ever forget him. 

No one I meet will leave without knowing him, through me, and/or through Megan. 

His life was one full of love, laughter, and fun. 

I choose to remember. 

I choose to put one foot in front of the other, every single day. 

I choose to smile. 


 

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