Saturday, July 19, 2014


Right after Robert died, I lost a lot of our common friends.  I know this isn't something that I only went through, but seems to be a common thing with people who have gone through loss.   I mourned Robert and then I mourned the loss of people who were staples in our lives for years.   Some of these people who disappeared, I know that the did it for their own self preservation...I am a reminder that bad things happen.  At the time, I didn't get that.  I do now, although for me it was hard fought understanding.  

Don't get me wrong, not everyone left.  Some came from the shadows and took bigger roles and my Best Friend and her entire family filled along with my entire family filled out our needs.  I have written many times on how grateful I am for my family.  This is something different.  Something more subtle, that I didn't quite notice at first. 

Time has given me perspective that I did not see right away.   In my effort to get up everyday and function and rebuild a life for myself and preserve and defend childhood for Munchkin, people have come in droves.   Many were curious--how did he die?  how did you live?  I learned to deal with those people with a silent grace.  I politely answered questions and moved on.   At first it seemed like I did a lot of that.  Answer and move forward.  After time, I realized I didn't have to answer.  

There are new people.  People that I didn't know, many who never knew Robert. 

They have carefully planted themselves in our lives and are sticking around.   The ones who call or text just to say hi.  The ones who are really getting to know us.  Some of them have kids around Munchkin's age, other's don't. 

Some began as Robert's friends and have found their way into my inner circle.  They help me keep his memory alive and talk about him often.  Some of them even share stores with Munchkin.   Those that knew me before and after---they are special.   But this isn't really about them.  

This is about the unexpected friends---the ones that have made themselves more like family, and when they say you can count on them--they mean it. 

Our Taekwondo family is many of the parents and instructors---I cannot even begin to describe my gratitude for everything that they have given us.  From providing fantastic non-family male role models, to teaching Munchkin qualities of character.  They are there---they are there when he or I am sick and if we need anything, there are many of them that are a text away.  

One of these Taekwondo instructors has become one of my closest friends.  She is there to laugh, cry, hang out or whatever.  With or without kids.   She steps up and listens and she is just an amazing woman.  She loves my Munchkin as one of her own and we get along very is hard to imagine that I have only known her a few years--our friendship is natural and easy and I am grateful. 

There is another woman---one who over time has shown that we have very similar values and attitudes toward a lot of things.  She is sweet, kind and funny and I could not love her three boys more.   Our son's get along well and she is just such a positive calming influence.  I treasure her friendship.  

There are so many more...but the common theme here is that I would not have connected with these people if my life hadn't taken such a drastic turn.   Time has given me the ability to find *my friends* instead of our friends. 

So for those friends both old and new--thank you for being a part of our life. 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independance Day and Missing Robert

It is the Fourth again.  A time for families and reflection and celebration of our country.   I will celebrate today with Munchkin but today, the void that is always there stings just a bit more than usual. 

The world is missing a great Patriot.   Robert was one of those men who loved his country to his core.  He took his responsibilities as a citizen of our nation to heart.   He voted in every election and made sure that he was informed on the issues and candidates.  He knew in his core that he loved his country and that the principals that the USA was founded on are far bigger than any one person, office or season of politics.  That at the end of the day, the country was designed to allow change by the people via means of an election.  It is idealistic, but that was him. 

Many people don't know this, but one of his dreams was to be the Conductor of the President's Own Marine Band.  That was what he wanted to do with his career--however, he was ineligible for the military.  Given that, he never passed an opportunity to play in or conduct an ensemble that played patriotic music.   I wish that I had more video and recordings of him playing.    

I am not sure why I share these details other than I think it is important for his dreams to be known to someone other than me. 

I loved hearing him play his trumpet and his piano when he played anything, but honestly his rendition of the Star Spangled Banner on trumpet always gave me chills.  It saddens me that his trumpet has been silenced way before it ever should have been.  I do take it out and polish it because the thought of it being marred by tarnish is far too much for me to even entertain in my brain.

I am finding that words are failing to do justice for me that end, enjoy your celebration today and I will do my best to teach Munchkin all the reverence and respect for our Country that Robert and I would have done together.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Top Ten Experiences of Being Widowed

Six years ago, I could not see the light of day.  I could not fathom that I could accomplish anything by myself.  I depended on my family for a sounding board for EVERY little decision that had to be made.  Seriously, I was paralyzed in my grief and I put up with a lot from the world around me that I should not have. 
I have learned and grown over time, but honestly there are some things that still suck.  So being the positive person that I am-here are 10 things that I have learned in the last 6 years. (Yep, a little tongue in cheek here, but bear with me.)
10. You get to care for your house all yourself--in addition to a "girly" master bedroom that you don't have to compromise on, you also get all of the bills, repairs and manual labor that goes with a house
9. Eat whatever you want--just know that you are usually doing it alone
8. Parenting choices are not up for debate-piano lessons--done, not playing tackle football--done and done, however, know that you are on the sidelines by yourself amongst other traditional family units and it is isolating and suffocating all at once
7. No one steals the covers in the middle of the night--but there also isn't anyone else to check out the noises in the middle of the night, or change batteries on smoke alarms that go haywire, or shovel the snow "one last time" before bed.
6. Sleep in as late as you wish--as long as you are up before the kiddos and dog, because there is no one else to corral them into something more useful than making "squirrel soup" in the kitchen while you snooze (seriously, don't's far worse than it sounds, I promise!)
5. Schedule parent teacher conferences to accommodate only one schedule--although there isn't another person to help you remain sane while dealing with a bureaucratic system that is failing your child (and the majority of kids in that classroom) I strongly suggest calming techniques that don't look passive aggressive, don't cross your arms or clench your jaw...let me know if you find something useful!
4. Your brothers step up and do things with you and your kiddo--but then they get mistaken for your husband--AKWARD!
3. Vacation wherever you want-provided that you can afford it on one salary and it takes you to a place that feels "safe" for a woman and child by themselves, and that you can schlep all of the luggage that you need by yourself and still manage to keep a free hand to hold onto your small child because the thought of letting go of the hand of a five year old in an airport is enough to make your heart stop!
2. Pick the redbox movies, DVR settings and shows to watch all on your own-all the time-know that death/dying/visits from the grave are very "en vogue" right now and will remind you that life is not fair 
1.  You don't have to share cuddle or movie time with your kiddo-but know that there is a big void where there once was three and now there are two. It is an icy elephant in the room that you and your kiddo both feel at times
Ok, maybe most of these things aren't so great---but hey, we all have to try and find the positive at times right? What I can tell you is that even though it is horribly unfair and lonely to walk this path alone, there are bright spots--you just have to focus on finding them and hold on to them for dear life.
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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Memories and Maps

This weekend my cousin and his family posted that they were at a restaurant.  The map showed up in my Facebook feed and it stopped me in my tracks.   They were a few miles from the accident site. 

After all these years, seeing the coordinates on the map still caused my heart to stop.  All I could think of was how close their beautiful family was to the site that shattered my family.  It was a Sunday midmorning.  They were out as a family.   I knew in the rational part of my brain that the similarities ended there--but my mind played the "WHAT IF" game.  And as if that wasn't torture enough for me, I started having flashbacks of the accident. 

I texted them to have safe travels home--I am sure that they probably knew why--all of my family knows where the accident happened.  

I spent the rest of the day telling myself that everything would be fine for them.  I knew that lightening doesn't strike twice in the same place so to speak.   In all honesty, I think it was just seeing the street name after all these years.  It isn't like I have forgotten-but sometimes the reminders just reach up and grab me.

The accident played through my mind for the better part of the day.  It took all of my concentration to focus on today, on the here and now.  I did but this time it was harder and I am not quite sure why.  I know that it is ok and I know that there are  some things will always be hard--perhaps I should just learn to expect the hard every once in a while.