Monday, April 17, 2017

Enough

 Today we would've been married 18 years. Sometimes it seems like that was a lifetime ago. Robert has now been dead longer than we were ever married and I find that very hard to swallow.   At this point I don't know what life would be like if you were still here. I have been an only parent so long that it is hard for me to imagine it any other way.

 We were married just a few weeks short of nine years a few weeks ago it was nine years since he died. The world is different now very different.    As time is past some memories have faded thankfully however, it is still hard to believe that he has missed so much .

 In the last few months we really could've used him.    Don't give me wrong I do miss him every day and I wish she was here often but the last few months have been exceptionally hard.    Hard not just on me but on munchkin as well.    Don't get me wrong my siblings are awesome and they've really  it It has been 18 years since we were married. It has been nine years since he died. These last few months have been hard really hard. Hard not just for me but for munchkin as well. My siblings have been there for us-but it is almost comical when your brother or brother-in-law gets mistaken for your husband.    It is even more amusing because we really do look alike there's no way to not know that we are related in someway shape or form.  

 On munchkin's last hospital stay he was actually well enough to go to the toy room and they had a PS4-something he doesn't have at home. The game he picked was need for speed and he played that for several hours over a few days. I am not a video game person but I did sit next to him and cheer him on and try to  stay engaged.   I couldn't help but wish that Robert we're here to play with him. As hard as those few weeks of been I know that the two of them would've bonded over It and it made me miss him all the more.

 I was reflecting on all of the things that Robert is missing out on  and all of the things that munchkin is missing simply because he is not here.   Munchkin is of the age where video games and cool cars rule. He is constantly looking up stats on cars and deciding what He thinks is "sweet" and I know if Robert were here he be doing that right along with him. Don't get me wrong I can holdk my own I know what American muscle is and I certainly do enjoy cars  but I know that Robert would've loved this. He was built to be a father and yet he has missed out on nine years of parenting the easy stuff and the hard stuff and it simply is not fair.

While 18 years is a long time these last nine have been a lifetime, munchkins lifetime.   It isn't lost on me how much he is missed. All I can do is hope and pray that I am enough, that I do enough, and that munchkin knows  just how much he is loved.


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Nine Years

9 years ago this morning, my life changed.  It shattered. For several years I could not see the daylight, I saw the world rushing past me and moving on and it hurt and ached and it was painful.   I had lost Robert and I could not see how it was ever going to be ok.  Fast forward to now.  It isn't ok that he died, it will never be ok.  BUT I have found a way to do more than just function, I have found  ways to find joy and gratitude in everyday life.  I have worked hard to let go of the negativity that consumed me after the crash the reminder that horrible things, unexplicable things happen every day and they are tragic and life altering.  That is a lesson that no one wants a reminder of (including me).  so for today--for all of you who knew Robert, I ask you to smile, think of his big kind smile and do something unexpected and kind in his memory.  For me, please do not leave things unsaid--tell the people around you that you love them, that they mean something to you.  One of my most grateful things is that my last words to Robert were "I love you".  Not by choice or chance, but because we said and expressed it to each other daily.  There is comfort for me in that.  This year-he has been gone longer than we were married-I have been an only parent for longer than I was his wife.  I know how much he has missed--our boy is almost TEN--which seems unimaginable when I catch a glimpse of a picture of Robert holding our sweet baby boy. For all of you who are still with me today--friends old and new, thank you for sticking by my side.   For my family--I would not be where I am today without you <3

Sunday, September 11, 2016

More than a mug

December of 1998 he and I were in the Disney store. We were preparing to move in together and getting odds and ends done before our wedding coming up in April.  We both loved coffee and Disney--and Disney mugs are just huge!
I was admiring this burgundy one with Eeyore on it.  We paid for some ornaments and Christmas gifts and went on our way.

Christmas that year was was stressful-trying to get two completely separate traditions merged was a feat and that is putting it lightly.   My family is huge and gets together-loud and joyful and very very IRISH.  Aunts, uncles, cousins--it is a gaggle of joy and love. His family was literally just his mom and dad-his siblings lived far spread and even though my parents invited his parents to Christmas none of the three of them knew what to do amongst the chaos.

Late that night I opened my gift--inside were the two mugs--mine of Eeyore and his of Goofy. Those mugs have followed us and now follow me.  They have been filled with coffee and cocoa and tea-and his with cereal--he liked his cereal in a mug and declared it the perfect size.

Through the years we had two more sets of "normal size" Disney mugs-but one of each of those pairs has broken over time.  His Goofy mug is still in use.  It fits in my hand warm and familiar.  There are times in the wee hours of the morning that holding his mug I swear makes my body remember him.  I can hold it in two hands and look out the window and take a sip of coffee.  I can almost feel his arms around my waist and his warm lips kissing my neck.   When my eyes open, I remember that I will never feel that again--but I can still hold his mug.  It is a poor substitute for him-but for now, for now it will have to do.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Clutter

I have started cleaning and decluttering and letting go of "stuff".  I'm tired of having junk everywhere and I'm working hard to find joy...and teach my child that the"stuff" isn't important.

The funny thing about stuff is that it is there for a reason.


I had a shoebox of body sprays in my cabinet in my bathroom.   They were dusty and haven't been touched since I left Houston 8 years ago.   I picked them up one by one and looked at the bottles.   Bath and Body Works doesn't even have the same labels anymore.   I held each one in my hands and then took a breath and remembered my old life.  
The County Apple, Strawberry Lemonade and Japanese Cherry Blossom transported me out of Chicago and back to Houston.


I could see him in my mind and I could almost feel him.  



It still amazes me that so much time has past, but that my sense of smell can still take me back.  


Then it hit me.   I don't really want to be back.   I rather like my life at the moment and I have worked hard to get where I am.   





Don't misunderstand me.  I miss him fiercely.  He was the love of my life and our souls are forever entwined.   He taught me how to be loved-which was no small feat I assure you.   

Missing him doesn't mean I want my old life.   I can still miss him and be happy and with that thought, the "baggage" went into the recycling bin.   It's odd how getting rid of nearly empty bottles has given me a sense of calm.




I feel like getting rid of more clutter...I  wonder what else I have laying around that gathers dust but brings no joy? My memories are in my heart, not in dusty things.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Memories of a Proposal

In the last few weeks, one of my brothers has gotten married and another has gotten engaged. It has been a whirlwind of family and celebrations and I have been soaking up every moment of it!


This past weekend we were together and had the joy of hearing proposal stories.  My soon to be sister in law is a nurse, so when my brother surprised her by getting down on one knee and calling after her as they were walking--her response was "OH NO!" because she thought that he had fallen and was trying to get up--she didn't see the ring in his hand!  We laughed at it and she is actually mortified that it was her response! 


I laughed so hard at that!  The reason I laughed is because we had our own proposal story.  18 year ago yesterday he asked me to marry him.  We were in our favorite gazebo on the campus where I went to school.  What we didn't know what that it had been taken over by hornets, and when he was on one knee--we got SWARMED!  I am very allergic to stings, so we RAN full steam out of that gazebo to the truck--I escaped stings, but he sadly did not.  We laughed about that for years.  I have not thought about it in years, but it was funny for me to rethink.  My soon to be sister in law who never had the pleasure of meeting Robert actually had the kindness to ask me how he proposed.  I was so touched that she asked while she was celebrating her own engagement--there are not words for my gratitude!


She was even kind enough to ask my sister and I to participate in the planning of the wedding, and I am excited to help in any way that she needs! We were searching pintrest for wedding dresses and looking at ways to merge Irish and Italian traditions. 


In all, we had a wonderful weekend of celebrating and I wish both of my brothers very long and happy marriages, I wish that they will get to grow old with their wives and see their children have children.  I pray that they never have to join our widowed club here---but if they do--any of them, well at least there are many in our family who have walked this path.  I just pray they never need our wisdom--I will happily pledge my love and support to their marriages!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Happy Heart


Robert LOVED woodworking.  He learned from his grandfather and used to tell me how sad he was when his grandfather died.  One of his early memories was putting a thing that he made into the coffin at his funeral and then seeing the funeral director remove it and throw it away (he did go rescue it from the trash at the tender age of 6). 

Given his love—I had kept most of his woodworking tools—the power newer ones and the hand tools (mostly his grandfather’s) that he used.  

Munchkin is 8—and wanted to build his own pinewood derby car.  I decided that it was the right time to pull out the tools. 

I hauled the big bins out to the garage—and we looked at what he had.  Munchkin had drawn the model for his car and then carefully marked the cuts. I only had one minor issue that I needed to call my brother to figure out—but other than that everything is still in working order!

Munchkin is big enough to reach the work bench.  I used the scroll saw to make the big cuts and Munchkin carefully and meticulously used the hand tools to shape and sand his car.    He has earned his whittling chip in Scouts so he knows how to safely use tools and cut away from himself.  I was relegated to a space outside of his safety circle. 

I stood there and watched him.  He was careful and smiley and did things the way that he wanted to do them.  He carefully touched the wood to ensure that it was smooth enough and sanded away any rough spots his little finger found.   As I watched, I realized that the connection to Robert is starting to come full circle.  That even though he wasn’t here to teach Munchkin himself, by using his tools and answering his questions, that was connection between them.


It is nearly eight years since the accident, and Munchkin was a baby-so it sometimes hurts my heart on all that they missed together.  Today—instead of hurt, I was able to see the joy of a young boy using his father’s tools.  That joy—that joy makes my heart happy.  

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Family Reunion

This weekend is our family reunion.  Four days of family, food, shenanigans and laughter.   All of my father's living siblings (they are down to 7 out of 10 now...) will be here either themselves or through proxy and most of their cousins too!  We will have mass on Sunday in memory of the family members who have died.  There are "families" within our family that are missing someone for the first time and we will surround them with love and compassion as they walk their road. 


I have four siblings and for the first time since the summer Robert and I were married, we are all at the beach together.  Here is the thing, earlier in the week, I felt an ache--we are all here except Robert.  It took me time to identify the ache. It wasn't a sobbing mess of missing him--that happens so rarely now, I can't remember the last time. 


Last night, Munchkin was in bed watching a movie and my brother shared with him that he was watching one of his daddy's favorite movies, and I realized I am not the only one who remembers. 
We are all feeling it.  But at the same time, the hole in the fabric of our family that was created, is now a part of the family.  It no longer reduces us to tears.  I no longer stare into the dark of night wishing the pain away.  It is just a part of me and a part of all of us. 




The life we live now is NOTHING like the life Robert and I had with Munchkin. 


Munchkin and I have figured out our two person family and it is our normal. I have been "only parenting" so long, I don't remember what it was like to have that extra set of hands. I don't remember what is it like to have someone else to do things--we are just normal now. Part of that normal is enjoying our family and family reunion.