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Monday, September 9, 2019

Cruel package

Today, when I got home, there was a package with my husband's name on it. Inside was a belt that you would use for heavy lifting to prevent a hernia. I felt like this was very cruel and it was a huge trigger for the day. Steve had hernia surgery the day before he died almost two years ago.
I mentioned it when I was at my doctor's office this afternoon and he said that often companies will look at insurance reports and send you items that they think you need or want and then bill you for them later if you don't return them.

It will be sent back and I am going to call them and explain to them how upsetting this was.

Thankful for the support of friends and family.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Rings

For the Christmas a few days after he had passed away, my sister gave me a gold chain so I could wear his wedding ring. I wore that for over a year and then I got my tattoo which is the outline of his wedding ring and decided I didn't need to wear it anymore.
Last week one of the prongs on my wedding band set got caught on something and I realized that it was damaged. I brought it to the jeweler and left it there for a few days while they made the repair. It's been okay not having it on my finger and I've decided that for today I'm not going to wear it. I may change my mind tomorrow or next week and that's okay.
Whether or not I wear the ring does not affect the love we shared and the marriage we had.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Jealousy and anger

As I experience other couples going through divorces or celebrating anniversaries, it makes me angry. Angry that I do not get any more anniversaries related to our marriage. Feeling that Steve dying is really unfair when we had an amazing marriage and relationship with each other. Jealous that other people get to be with their spouse everyday. Anger at those that are not making it work and are going through divorce when I would do just about anything to have him back here with me. Our marriage was not perfect all the time, but we made it work. We loved and respected each other and our marriage and so we put forth the effort that needed to be there so that we could be happy and in love with each other. I know not everyone's marriage is like ours was and that there are situations that the marriage needs to end. I am not angry with either of the people but upset that they are not able to make it work when I'm no longer given the chance.

And I'm happy for those that are celebrating anniversaries especially the milestones. When I went back and watched our wedding video, the priest said that he hoped that we would be standing in the same spot in 50 years renewing our vows. I really thought we would. Even if Steve felt like his grandpa who once said that he said his vows once, he meant them, and he didn't need to say them again.

Sometimes I have to walk away when I am at a store or a restaurant and I see a couple obviously out on a date and holding hands or hugging and kissing. I'm happy for them, but it still hurts.

I hope enough people saw the marriage we had and can use it as an example. I hope my boys know how hard we worked to make sure that our marriage was strong. I hope they know that our faith was a huge part of our relationship and marriage. I hope that they can find a relationship like Steve and I had. And I pray I'm around to witness the weddings and the marriages even though it will be hard without Steve by my side. I know he's always watching over us.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Dream

This afternoon I lied down to take a nap and had the most vivid dream. I felt someone move onto the bed and when I looked it was Steve. I asked him if this was a dream and he said no, that he had been in Alaska. I didn't even know what to think, if I should believe that it was him or if it was a dream.
Then we were out in our living room and our kids were there with his parents and some guy that had brought him from the airport. My son's dog was in the dream and I was wearing the same dress that I'm wearing now.
I was really angry at him for knowing that we were all grieving and yet so excited to see him and have him be alive.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Alone

As I'm learning to be without Steve and as my boys are changing and growing, I'm finding that I need a lot of time to myself. This is really weird because I'm usually such a people person. I like to be busy and be around others. But over the last couple months, I'm finding that I need time to just be me, whoever that is. I'm struggling with figuring this all out and I know others around me are too. Sometimes it's hard to navigate when everybody is in their own place on this journey of grief and has different needs.

I think when you're married and appearance of young children you're needed a lot more and so you are busy and around others.
Now that I'm not being a partner, I use that time to be alone.
Now that my boys are all teenagers and not involved in sports and groups I'm using that time to be alone also.

I do fear that sometimes I'm neglecting things that I've always done but I'm learning how make the change in myself as the world around me is changing.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Just delete

I was in my account today paying some medical bills and came across my list of beneficiaries and of course Steve was still listed as my beneficiary. I called them to find out what I needed to do. The guy that I talked to was really nice and said first of all that he was sorry to hear that my husband had passed away. And that yes, I could just click delete if he was no longer going to have access to my account as a beneficiary. So with tears in my eyes, I clicked delete and added my children instead.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Grief Rulebook

Everything I look at and read says that there is no rule book for grieving. There are no rules on how long you should grieve. How you should grieve. How you will go through any or all of the stages of grief. How to cope with everyone else around you going through their own grief without a rulebook. How to be a widow. How to be a single parent. How to be alone. How to express your feelings.

I think there aren't rules so that when you are grieving you can feel okay. No one knows what you're going through. No one knows what you feel. No one knows if you're upset or if you're living in a moment of joy because it changes from minute to minute, hour by hour, and day by day and is different for each person.

It's been a little over 18 months and I feel like I'm finally coping. I'm feeling joy more than sadness. I'm figuring out who I am maybe more than I ever have. I'm trying to focus on the strength that I'm gaining by being on this journey where there are no rules, no time frames, no rights or wrongs.
I'm trying to not put judgment on myself.

It's all part of God's plan for me to be who I am and if that changes from day to day then that has to be accepted too. It doesn't matter if what I'm doing is right for everyone else, it only matters if it's right for me. That's hard for me to trust that statement. It's hard for me to believe in myself when for so long I believed it myself because of who I was with and the roles I was in.

I'm doing things, thinking things, and praying for things that I never have before. And it's okay because there is no book of rules, there are no guidelines and there is no time frame. There is only love and hope.

Love of the memories. Love of who I was and who I am. Love of and for others. Love without judgement.

Hope in the trust of God.  Hope for the future. Hope for all to be at peace. Hope for acceptance and understanding.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Check boxes

I'm taking out a loan and so I went to the credit union today to sign the paperwork. One of the forms I had to check my marital status and the two check box choices were  unmarried or married.

Friday, June 28, 2019

The lie

I'm a mess today.

"I'll be with you til death do us part", is a lie! They never leave and the love doesn't stop.

22 years ago today we said our vows and became husband and wife. One of the absolute best choices I made.

I always thought we'd be married and together for over 60 years. I believe God had different plans and I trust in those plans.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

License plate

In the state of Michigan your license plate renewal for your sticker and park pass is on your birthday. Since my vehicle was in Steve's name, the sticker expired on Sunday. I went to the Secretary of State today to pay for the renewal and there was a late fee. I know. I said I wish they could all be on my birthday. The man told me I could change it to my birthday if I wanted to. So I did that and now all of my vehicles are on my birthday. When I got out into the parking lot to put the sticker on the license plate I realized that I didn't want it to be my birthday. It's too late now and it's just something I will deal with. But I didn't know how hard it would be to stick that sticker that says March on top of the June sticker.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

18 months

I have been thinking about the fact that today it's 18 months. A year-and-a-half.

At the beginning I counted it day by day. Then we move to week by week. And now for the last while it's been month by month.

Going through grief is like being a child, you count the months and you look for the little things to celebrate each month. I feel like I've been growing just like an infant. I started off not knowing who I was not knowing how to get help and not being confident in myself. Over the last 18 months I've learned to talk to different people, to get the help I need, to gain a little confidence in who I am and what my purpose is for being here and am also gaining some confidence. It's similar to how a child learns to cry when they need comfort not just food or a diaper change.  How they learn to trust the adults around them to guide them.  How they start to take those first steps on their own.  How they start to say things that have meaning.

I'm 18 months old on my grief journey. I know eventually I will get to the point where we just counted in years instead of month by month.

I need to remember to look for the little celebrations like saying my first word of Truth, conveying what I need and not always trying to please everyone else, learning to take steps out by myself and do things for me.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Deed

I am looking at taking out a loan and the bank contacted me today and said that they need some further information to start processing the paperwork again. They need my pay stubs and proof of homeowners insurance which are not a big deal to get. But then they asked also for a copy of his death certificate. I would think after a year-and-a-half that everybody that needed it would have it but I guess not. Just another thing brings it back in your face.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Second year

Everybody told me if its second year was worse than the first year and I don't know if it's worse, but it's really different.

I think it's a first-year you're numb and you're going through so much stuff with the paperwork, the financial part, making decisions about what to do with clothes and body wash in the shower and how it's going to be.

And then the second year starts and you've made it through all of the holidays and the paperwork for the most part is over and a lot of their stuff is gone and you have to figure out who you are without them. I think that's what makes it hard is that your identity is questioned.

I've always been a wife and now that I'm not a wife in person, only in spirit, I have to figure out who I am as myself.

I know I will always be a mom but that's changing too has my kids grow up and start to do things on their own and not need me as much everyday.

Changing jobs was a really good thing for me over this past year but that is changed my identity also.

I know this is all part of God's plan and that he put me here to be a wife, to be a mom and I am still going to be those things, but I need to figure out what else I am. I need to know who I am as a person. Everything I've gone through for my entire life has formed me into who I am today. Being a daughter and a granddaughter, then being a girlfriend and eventually a wife and then becoming a mom and a teacher is all a part of me and that will never go away. I am still all of those things and that's not going to change. What is changing is how I see myself.

Steve was always the one that would talk to me about how I was beautiful and smart and a great mom. I can't hear him say those things anymore and I guess I just need to learn how to believe them for myself. I know I have support of my boys, my family, all of my friends, my co-workers and people in my parish, but it's not the same.

I am learning how to be who I am and finding how to do that without letting go of the past and worrying too much of the future. I am learning to think for myself and to believe in myself, but I didn't get here overnight and I don't think I'm going to find myself overnight.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Different not better or worse

I was watching a TV show tonight and these two lines hit me hard:

"It's not better, just different."

"The more I fall for you, the more I feel I'm letting her go."

I worry that things are changing and are going to be so different and that the more I change, the more I might have to let him go. I don't want to let him go, but I don't know how to move forward without leaving some of him behind. Leaving someone who I was behind.

Being with someone for 25 years, from the time you're 16 on, changes you into someone different. Being without that person for 17 months changes you in to someone different. Not better or worse, just different.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Burial again

I guess I never realized how many anniversaries or dates were tied to death. I think you'll always have the "it's been however many months or years since you died". And now I'm realizing that you have the "it's been one year since we buried you" and "it's been one year since this happened" and now "it's the second time we're doing this without you". I don't think any of these dates make it anymore real. It's still really hard to believe but it's been one year since we buried his body and almost a year-and-a-half since he left the Earth.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The second year

Many people told me at the funeral and the couple months after that how the second year is harder than the first year. I'm beginning to believe this. I think it's because it's not as new any more. You're trying to find whatever your new reality is. You're celebrated all of the firsts and made it through and now you're realizing that all of the seconds are going to happen and you're not as busy or not as numb. Life has just continued on. And somedays seem that way and realizing that makes the day harder and other times that's the hope you get. Is that you too can continue to move forward and create the life you were meant to live.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Widows Day

I guess I missed it last year. May 3rd is considered widows day. I'm not even sure what that means to make a holiday about something that you're not happy about. I guess it's to connect with other people that are going through the same thing you are. I saw a statistic today that said there are 800,000 new widows a year and 700,000 of them are women.

Minneapolis

In Minneapolis for a concert. I'm remembering the time that Steve and I came here for our anniversary and stayed at a hotel for the weekend then went to a Detroit Tigers baseball game.
So thankful for all the memories I have of our time together.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Transfer station

On Saturday I went throughout the house and collected different things for garbage and loaded up the truck and headed to the transfer station. I hate going to the transfer station. It's organized chaos and I don't feel comfortable backing up the truck yet. The whole while I'm there and thinking I wish that Steve was still here to do this. As I was leaving our song came on on the radio.

Friday, April 19, 2019

16 months or 27 years

It's been 16 months today since Steve left this Earth. But tomorrow is the 27th anniversary of the first day he asked me out. I'm choosing to focus on that instead because I know God worked that day having me pullover and him to ask me to the movie. I am so thankful I said yes and that we had all of these years together.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Asking for help

Although I'm not sure I asked for it I was offered help and accepted it. My doctor suggested that in order to help my kids heal I need to make sure that I'm healing as well. I'm going to start a couple new things that he recommended and see if that helps. We're looking at starting some new things after spring break as far as getting the boys to go to school and to do things around the house, ect too.

Asking for help is never been a strength of mine even though I know it's a strength in other people. I've always kind of thought I could keep things together and do it on my own but now I realize that I wasn't ever doing it on my own. I always had Steve there to help me, to give me advice and to listen. He was one of the only people I could ask for help. Now that he's gone I need to realize that I do need people in my life and that is not a weakness to need help and to ask for and to accept it.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Calling home

I'm at a conference this week. And as we were leaving lunch a whole bunch of people said that they were going to go and call their spouses while they had a few minutes before the next session started. It's little things like that that make grief really hard. I'm not mad at them or upset with them. It just makes me feel lonely.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Fixing my truck

We bought a truck in 2015 from a dealership about a hundred miles from home. Because it's under warranty we've had all the work done at the same place. We used to make a weekend out of it. The two of us would come down, sit at the shop, go out to dinner and spend the night in a local hotel.

I noticed that my muffler was making noise and since I was coming to the town with the dealership anyway, I made an appointment for the truck to be looked at and to have an oil change.

After I waited for awhile, the mechanic came out and asked me for my address. That's all it took for me to be in tears. I don't want to be responsible for vehicles. I don't want to be here without Steve. The account used to be in his name and I assume when I switched it, they lost some of the information.

Then a girl came out and was talking to me and she told me that she had been one of Steve's students. She said he was the most gentle person that she ever met. She was the mechanic that did my oil change.

Then when I got in my truck to leave the dealership, "Love of a Lifetime", our song, came on the radio.

Thanks for being with me tonight Steve.

I love and miss you.