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.

_________________________________________

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.

Solo Parenting

I am so super stoked about Megan’s bday presents! I need to grab one more thing, and it’ll be complete! I hope she likes it all, as much as I think she will! ❤️ FYI, I cannot believe it is happening! Next Saturday, I will be the mother of a TEENAGER! 


Parenting alone is hard, sometimes. 

I can’t bring myself to refer to myself as a “single parent”, because I am not. I am a widowed parent. I am the mother to an amazing girl, who has lost her dad. 

I still have to make all of the decisions, alone. Sometimes, I ask the sky, the air (Mitch) what I should do. 

I don’t get answers. 

But I try to focus, really hard, to find the right answer. To make the best decisions. 

Megan is my number one. She is my everything. I just want to raise her the way Mitch wanted her raised. Well, to some length. If it were up to him, she would wear long dresses with long sleeves and high collared necks. This is where I would step in and say “it’s okay, Mitch. She is covered, and not sweating her face off.” 

The first time he saw her with lip gloss, ready to leave the house, he nearly pissed himself. 


I had to explain that the gloss was CLEAR just glittery and shiney. It was okay. Not like red or bright pink. He settled down. 

I encouraged Meg to play in makeup at home. Never to leave the house with it on, but to play in it, so she could learn, for when she got older, and WANTED to wear it. Because, let’s face it, she will want to wear it at some point, and I don’t want her walking out of the house looking like a two dollar hooker. 

Half of the time, Meg would get the makeup out, and make herself look like a monster, or a clown, or something incredibly strange. So I was even more okay with it. She was having fun, experimenting with makeup. 


Who knows? Maybe she will do makeup for a television show like the walking dead, movies, or actors like Johnny Depp, and directors like Tim Burton, when she grows up. It could happen. 

But, being the only parent means I have to be the bad mom and good mom. Or mean mom/nice mom. 

So far, I’ve been pretty lucky with Meg. We have a very open mom/daughter relationship. At least I encourage the openness. Some days she talks, and others she is silent. 

She did tell me, any time she holds the urn necklaces, she gets a severe, sudden headache, that goes away as soon as she sets it down. So, I no longer ask her where her “dad” is. 

I know she has her necklace safely tucked away, somewhere. 

I know she loves and remembers her dad. I also know it hurts her to talk of him in the past tense. She has done so, more and more, but not a lot. That’s okay,  too. We all grieve differently, no one way is better than the next. 


Megan is a one of a kind kid. She is beautiful, talented, and smart. She has the world in front of her, and a whole life ahead. 

My main concern is making sure she knows her voice is heard. Her ideas are important. Her opinions are hers, and no one should force her to change. I want her to know how amazing she is, not because I am her mom, but because she IS amazing! 

But, really, being the mean mom is my least favorite thing. I’m not good at it. This is where I feel like I might fail. Discipline. 

Well, wish me luck, as I enter this brand new work of parenting a teenage daughter, alone. 

Solo Parenting

I am so super stoked about Megan’s bday presents! I need to grab one more thing, and it’ll be complete! I hope she likes it all, as much as I think she will! ❤️ FYI, I cannot believe it is happening! Next Saturday, I will be the mother of a TEENAGER! 


Parenting alone is hard, sometimes. 

I can’t bring myself to refer to myself as a “single parent”, because I am not. I am a widowed parent. I am the mother to an amazing girl, who has lost her dad. 

I still have to make all of the decisions, alone. Sometimes, I ask the sky, the air (Mitch) what I should do. 

I don’t get answers. 

But I try to focus, really hard, to find the right answer. To make the best decisions. 

Megan is my number one. She is my everything. I just want to raise her the way Mitch wanted her raised. Well, to some length. If it were up to him, she would wear long dresses with long sleeves and high collared necks. This is where I would step in and say “it’s okay, Mitch. She is covered, and not sweating her face off.” 

The first time he saw her with lip gloss, ready to leave the house, he nearly pissed himself. 


I had to explain that the gloss was CLEAR just glittery and shiney. It was okay. Not like red or bright pink. He settled down. 

I encouraged Meg to play in makeup at home. Never to leave the house with it on, but to play in it, so she could learn, for when she got older, and WANTED to wear it. Because, let’s face it, she will want to wear it at some point, and I don’t want her walking out of the house looking like a two dollar hooker. 

Half of the time, Meg would get the makeup out, and make herself look like a monster, or a clown, or something incredibly strange. So I was even more okay with it. She was having fun, experimenting with makeup. 


Who knows? Maybe she will do makeup for a television show like the walking dead, movies, or actors like Johnny Depp, and directors like Tim Burton, when she grows up. It could happen. 

But, being the only parent means I have to be the bad mom and good mom. Or mean mom/nice mom. 

So far, I’ve been pretty lucky with Meg. We have a very open mom/daughter relationship. At least I encourage the openness. Some days she talks, and others she is silent. 

She did tell me, any time she holds the urn necklaces, she gets a severe, sudden headache, that goes away as soon as she sets it down. So, I no longer ask her where her “dad” is. 

I know she has her necklace safely tucked away, somewhere. 

I know she loves and remembers her dad. I also know it hurts her to talk of him in the past tense. She has done so, more and more, but not a lot. That’s okay,  too. We all grieve differently, no one way is better than the next. 


Megan is a one of a kind kid. She is beautiful, talented, and smart. She has the world in front of her, and a whole life ahead. 

My main concern is making sure she knows her voice is heard. Her ideas are important. Her opinions are hers, and no one should force her to change. I want her to know how amazing she is, not because I am her mom, but because she IS amazing! 

But, really, being the mean mom is my least favorite thing. I’m not good at it. This is where I feel like I might fail. Discipline. 

Well, wish me luck, as I enter this brand new work of parenting a teenage daughter, alone. 

A Rough Couple Of Days

Yesterday marked 5 months that Mitch has been gone. 

Yesterday, we were informed a family member has 2 weeks- 2 months left with us. 
Today, Megan had softball. 

She had a rough day behind the plate. She felt like she was screwing everything up. 

She started to cry. She cried hard, and for quite some time. 

The girls almost had to forfeit the game, because without Megan on the field, we didn’t have enough players to finish the game. 

I didn’t tell her to go out there. I told coach that I could never tell her to do that. Her emotional health is far more important to me, than any win or loss. 

Watching her cry, uncontrollably, for so many other reasons, outside of softball, hurt so bad. When she stood up, and walked out onto the ball field, by her own choice, was heart wrenching. Everyone out there watching the game, cheered for her. Even the other team’s parents were cheering for her. 

As the only person out there, that really understands what she is dealing with, and not being able to do anything to make it better, it sucks. I am her mom. I am supposed to comfort her when she is hurting. I can’t.

 All I can do is hold her until the tears stop.  When her tears stop, and she steps away, my heart breaks a little. Tears well up, and I fight them down.  

I have my good days, and I have my bad days. But, I don’t think my worst days hurt me as badly as Meg’s bad days do. 

I love her, so very deeply, that I can’t handle it when she is hurting. I mean, I CAN but I don’t like it, at all. 

It hurts. Bad. We miss him. 

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!

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This was the first annual Framily Picnic that Mitch created, so family would stay in contact through the “non-holiday” seasons.
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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