Archive for September 2010

One year, Day two

22 September, 2010

The dreaded one year mark.

It was two days ago.

I had all of these thoughts going through my head two days ago and I just couldn’t write all of them down because I didn’t think that I could stop the tears long enough…Yesterday felt like a recovery day and so this morning on one year, day two, I feel like writing.

Several months ago, I started thinking about what I wanted to do on the one year mark. I poured over maps, closing my eyes and picking a spot. I poured over places we had been and whether or not that is where I wanted to be. I made plans to go to a wedding three weeks after the one year mark before I could make any plans for myself…Then I decided that the one place that I wanted to be on the day it happened was where it happened. Not the city where it happened. Not near where it happened. Exactly where it happened.

I know some people will think I’m crazy and may not understand but through all of this I am beginning to feel okay with people not understanding my actions or putting another twist on them. I’m not searching for peace or closure because I will never truly have either. I may have moments of peace but closure – this is something that will never have closure no matter what the psychologists say.

I had decided that what I wanted to do was stand where he died. Have two cans of Guinness and a pack of cigarettes with me. I would drink one, have a few smokes, open the other for him and leave a few smokes for him. I would talk to him. Tell him about the past year. Everything that his son is doing. What I am doing. Tell him I miss him. Just talk to him like I used to talk to him. I guess in a way I consider this place a grave site. People visit the graves of their loved ones, to feel closure to them, to talk to them, to do exactly what I did two days ago. Over this past year, having a grave site, or anything is what I have been missing. A place to talk to him, to feel near to him, to just sit.

Of course, going out to the site, I got lost. Not surprising. But I found my way there and managed to buy the beer and smokes and a hazelnut latte (for him as well), and get there prior to the time of the crash. I parked my car next to some farms fields and got my boots on (learned from a previous jaunt out there) and I started walking. As I got closer the tears started pouring. I turned in between some trees and made the final walk to that place. The grass had grown pretty tall where the helicopter had been. It was extremely green and new looking. The field in front of it had been cut recently. I’m glad for that because I doubt I would have been able to get there easily. Around the time of the crash I opened my Guinness and sat and cried, not able to say anything to him. The one thing that I wish could be changed was that I had been there with him. I wanted to hold his hand, even if I lost him. I wanted to be there for him. So this day, on the year mark, I was there. At the time of the crash.

A helicopter flew past this spot not too far away, around that time…

Eventually I talked. And talked.

And as I talked, the wind gently blew.

And as I talked, two eagles flew overhead.

They stayed the entire time I was there…showing up at the time…the time they would have died.

There came a point where I felt, not peaceful, not sad, not tired…just that it was okay to go. That we had a good talk. That he knew I was there. That it was time. My heart did not feel as heavy and it was easier to put one foot in front of the other, in many ways. Maybe it was the eagles. A sign. A sign I had been begging him for, for months.

This feeling carried over to yesterday. I felt like I could move again after many months of struggling…of just writing lists so that I got some things accomplished. I hope that it lasts a little while. I could use it.

So many people contacted me that day with words of love and encouragement. Phone calls (all to voice mail…sorry) that helped me through the day. I heard their pain, that it is still hard for all of us. I think he knows and those eagles that were there…strength.

It has been hard to celebrate life…his life, our life. To remember the our time together. In a way, I can’t remember. Or haven’t been able to…the mind’s way of protecting. I remember more and more everyday. I recently went back to a journal I kept when we first started dating…it has reinforced that this really did happen – that I did find this person.

In an attempt to celebrate what we had, here are some words from both of us:

For some reason I was compelled to write in this journal as if I was writing to my child or children:

October 6, 2003

Thee is so much to write and to tell – about how it all started. It appears that the question of when it all started could be answered two different ways. I suppose I must tell you both ways. I met your father about seven years ago. He was the brother-in-law of one of my close friends. I liked him then and got to know him a bit at their wedding and he was at KU while I was there. That is where I got to know him the first time. We ended up dating for a bit but it didn’t work out that time. Probably because we were both going thru things at that time – and we probably would not know love if it hit us on the head (well, maybe he would but not me). I know I was not ready for anything, I was still trying to figure myself out. As for your father – that is his story to tell.

The second time we met was September 26, 2003. He walked into the bar where I was hosting a social gathering. My jaw dropped and I went right up to him. He was in shock just as much as I was. You see, I never forgot about him and always inquired as to how he was doing. I came to find out that your father never forgot about me – things and situations would remind him of me.

We exchanged numbers and went our separate ways. That Sunday, your father called and we made dinner plans for that evening.Now you must understand that I was not lookign for any relationship. I was tired of relationships. So having a man step int o my life right now was just not going to happen. When we went out that Sunday it was so comfortable. It was easy but not because of our history together because both of us had changed so much – but it just was. When he dropped me off it was difficult to leave – especially when both of us leaned in to kiss goodnight. It was electric but not the electricity that you feel when you kiss someone for the first time – it was an electricity – a connection that told me I was home – that this was the person I was meant to be with – a familiarity as if he and I were in love in a past life.

Later that week, it became more apparent. I could see this path before me. It felt right and comfortable. It was like my heart was waking up (your father’s words) and it felt like a homecoming all at the same time. It only amazes me – I feel lucky.I must tell yu that I opened this journal today to write my feelings down but felt that I needed to write to someone – and that someone are my children or my child. I know that I am going to marry this man and I want my love story to be shared. So here I am – writing to my children that don’t exist about a man who I have only know for a week – well, one week and seven years.

My heart has woken up and I have come home.

The following is the full letter that Doug wrote to me, some will sound familiar:

October 19, 2003

For my Goddess,

I have always felt hat the saying ‘things happen for a reason’, or ‘it was meant to happen’ were nice sentiments, or a pleasant way to look at things, but I have never thought of them as true. I don’t always believe in simple coincidence either. Sometimes things have just felt too juxtaposed, and I think that maybe I was really supposed to meet this or that person , or this was really supposed to happen in this way. This is how I think about running into you at Boozefish. Having met you almost makes me believe that there is a god, or fate, or that things are somehow planned out for us. You said it so well when you said it felt like a homecoming when we kissed. I feel like I’m destined to be with you. It’s only been a matter of weeks but I feel like I’m meant to spend the rest of my life with you. I know that some of this is that feeling of euphoria that hits a person when they realize that someone else cares deeply for them and wants to touch them and be near them whenever they can. I have felt that feeling several times before, and this time it’s that feeling again, but there’s so much more.

When I am with you it feels like I finally have it in me to realize my full potential as a man, as a human being. I feel like I can be gallant and noble when I’m with you, and I don’t even have to try. I don’t have to “try” anything when I’m with you, I just “am”. I am alive, I am filled, I am completed. I am silly and goofy and honest. And I am True, to myself, and to you, and to everyone near me in my life. I am. And I don’t even have to try.

There are definitely parts of me that are intimidated and even scared by these feelings. Parts of me are worried that I’m jumping in too quickly and setting myself up for another big fall. I have not ignored these parts of me, but in listening to them I’ve noticed that they don’t sound the same as they have in the past. It sounds a bit silly to refer to them this way but it’s as if they’re much less sure of themselves this time. It’s almost like these worrying parts of me are merely going through the motions of trying to do their jobs. They’re just performing the only function they are meant for while at the same time knowing they are wrong and wishing they could cheer me on and tell me not to bother with them this time.

This time. This time the worry in me is not needed. This time I don’t have to rationalize the love I’m feeling. IN the past I’ve had to kind of convince myself that I really was in love with this or that woman. My brain has tried to make up for what my heart was lacking. This time, with you, my brain can hardly keep up with the leaps and bounds my heart is taking. This time, it is not my brain in command, it is my heart and my soul. Together, I believe they know what they’re doing. They’re telling my brain “This is it. This is the one. This is who you have been waiting all this time for.” My soul knows I belong with you. And my heart knows I belong to you. My brain is just trying to stay the hell out of the way.

On occasion I’ve found myself running some scenario through my head, some hypothetical dialog as if from a book. I think it’s the wannabe author in me. One of these scenarios has recurred from time to time over the years. It’s a dialog between me as an older man and someone who may be my son, or perhaps just some young man I might give advice to. It always plays out that this young man asks me if I have ever been in love. I would respond with a chuckle and say “of course I have, many many times. I’ve been in love with many different women, and in many different ways.” He would give me this funny look, like that’s not the way he thought it was supposed to work. I now know that my part in that dialog must now be completely different, because that young man was right, that not how it works. Now I will tell him, “I have loved many people, men and women. I love almost all the people that are close and important to me. But I’ve only been in love once. With a woman named Jesika.” Then I smile, like I’m smiling now, thinking about you.

I don’t know how many times I have found myself smiling when a thought of you passes through my mind. There’s a funny thing about that smile. It is not a smile of satisfaction, or of being content, like I would expect it to be. It is not a smile of accomplishment, either, as if I have achieved some goal. It is a smile of wonderment. It is a smile of awe. When I smile like that, I taste beauty and glory. I taste dharma and I taste hallelujah! When I smile, thinking “I am in love with a wonder named Jesika,” I smile because I can feel the wheel of the universe spinning inside of me and I think “I am back again in that place where I belong. I am home. I am here to stay.”

My life and my love are yours, in this life and the next,

Always,

Doug

Well my darling, my life and my love will always be yours, in this life and the next. I love you and I miss you so much. Thank you for loving me and giving me this gift of you.

Us celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary with a quick stop in Yellowstone where he proposed…on our way out to Portland to live…

Here…

17 September, 2010

I’m here where we spent our last weekend together. I’ve stopped at the coffee shop that we love so much for a latte this morning…It was the first thing that I did intentionally that I knew would remind me of ‘those times’. Kind of funny that it I’ve been avoiding things but I’m right here in the middle of it all. Yesterday, I ended up in a store that we had stopped in one trip here. I think that was about the only store we ever went into here. At first I didn’t recognize it, then I stepped back outside and remembered getting to the beach at the end of the road…we had walked there. It took me until today to walk down to Haystack Rock. I’ve been here for 3 days. It isn’t like I can’t see the fucking thing.

I brought part of you with me. My plan was to give some of your ashes to the ocean here. I can’t do it. I can’t say that it doesn’t feel right or that I don’t want to…I’m really not sure what it is. I feel like I need a sign from you. I keep hearing you say to me that it isn’t a big deal, that whatever I’d like to do is fine. I really wish we had talked about this more. I wish we had talked about a lot of things more. Those things that you think you are going to have years to talk about. No one wants to talk about these things.

So, right now a part of you is still in tupperware (sorry about that – the only thing I could find that would pack easily). Maybe I’ll step outside tonight and release a little bit of you.

It has been a hard month and now as I get closer to the one year mark, I don’t know what to do with myself. I am glad I decided to come back out here but at the same time…well, I guess I just don’t that there is a place for me right now. I haven’t figured that part out yet. I haven’t figured out a lot of parts.

I miss your touch. Yesterday all I longed for was for you to hold me again. I guess each day I long for that. But especially here – the place where I really got to hold you for the last time.

My heart is heavy.

I love you.

Happy Birthday – The big 2

16 September, 2010

My Dearest LiDo,

You are two today…technically at 11:09pm tonight but this is the day.  The day that you were brought into this world with both of your parents eagerly anticipating your arrival. It took several days to get you here (plus 9 months) but you were in our arms on this day.

We are spending your birthday in the pacific northwest at the coast. It is raining (of course) but we had a really good day today. We took our time getting out the door which meant we were out by 9am instead of 7am…We headed for a little bit of shopping to get some fun candy stuff and I needed to find a raincoat for you. We accomplished both and walked around a little bit and then I decided we would head back to the hotel and get our gear on to head to the beach and explore. However, within 5 minutes your were asleep so I decided we would drive south and go to Pelican Pub for a birthday lunch.

How you have grown! You call me Momom and you have started saying ‘I love you’ and you are just the cutest thing. Right now you are climbing over me and taking my hat off and saying ‘my hat’ and putting it on your head backwards. You love all things mechanical (still) and anything sugary. Trains, trucks, cars, buses, airplanes, helicopters…all you.  Today we went to the Air Museum in Tillamook and you went wild. I wasn’t quite sure whether or not you’d be into it or not but I shouldn’t have worried. You ran in there and at the first plane you saw, you ran to and stood in front of it and told me ‘picture, picture’. And that is the way it went the rest of the time – you running to the next plane or helicopter and standing in front of it demanding your picture be taken. I loved it.

You’re a fun kid. You are a happy kid. I love when you give me your sly look, you look so much like your Dad when you do. You have the greatest smile. You go for things but still hold back at times, still need your Mom. You are just simply amazing.

This past year has been tough. It was only 4 days after you turned one that your Dad was killed. I wonder sometimes what you would be like if your Dad were still here. Would you be doing the same things you’re doing now or even more? But it is just us. For the, almost, past year it has been just us. I hope that I am doing a good job with you. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed and feel like I’m not doing the right things for you. Then I sit back and think that I’m doing the best that I can. Some days it is better than others granted but it is still the best that I can do. I can’t change what has happened to this family and losing your Dad but I can try and give you the best life possible and one that he would have wanted for you. One that we both would want for you.

A year ago we were a family of three. We were sitting in our dining room singing to you and giving you your first cupcake. Your Daddy took video and I took pictures and we laughed and smiled and loved you. We talked about how wonderful it was – this life, our family, you. We were amazed that we were parents…Amazed that it happened to us. You got a sugar high and extremely tired all at once and your Daddy got you cleaned off and put you to bed. He and I laid on the sofa, watched a movie and relaxed in each others arms.

Your Dad would have given you a great big hug today. He would have laughed at your antics and sang to you and taken video. We would have gotten you a cupcake and waited for the sugar high and put you to bed afterwards. He would have said how awesome it was that you were two already and how great it was to be a Dad. I want you to always know how wonderful of a person and Dad he was. How much he wanted you and how much he wanted to be a Dad. He loves you still. Wherever he is…

I am so proud of you. I love you so terribly much. Keep growing my little bug…

Always your Momom,

In this life and the next.

Today…

12 September, 2010

Today was the day we spent at the beach.

Today I’m throwing a birthday party for our son.

Today

Today I’m just going to enjoy.

Today I’m just going to try to enjoy.

Today I wish I was lying on that beach next to you again.

Today sucks.

Today will be fun.

Today will bring joy and happiness.

Today is the part of the roller coaster goes up and down close together…

Our last…

10 September, 2010

Our last weekend that we spent together is almost upon us.

On a Friday, sitting at my desk, I decided we needed to get out of town. A great pulling urge to go somewhere. So, I called and got a great deal at a hotel at Cannon Beach. I called him up to see if he could leave early from the airport that day. He was so happy that I made this last minute decision and in his typical way when everything was right he breathed out a sigh (good sigh) and just simply said “great, I’ll cancel the ground class that I have and babe, this is just great”. He left early that day, packed a bag for us, picked up Liam and I simply drove up and picked them both up and we headed to the coast.

Our drive out there was nice. It was great weather and we stopped at one of the road-side water fountains to fill up our water bottles. For all the times we had driven on that road, we never did this. This time we did. And it was the most refreshing, clean water I had ever tasted. We ended up needing to refill the bottles before getting back in the car…

We spent a wonderful night and day out there at the coast. We took LiDo to the park and he took his first slide down a big slide with Doug, he loved swinging and they ran through the wet grass. We laid on the beach and took an almost a two hour nap. Although, I didn’t sleep much. I just laid there on the blanket with him beside me. Laying partly on top of him, my leg draped over his, his arm around me, my hand on his chest. I felt the rise and fall of each breath. LiDo was asleep in his stroller at our side. The tide was out. The tide was really really far out. This was the weekend when they had the lowest tide of the year. It almost looked like something you would see prior to a tsunami striking…I think that is part of the reason I could not fall asleep. I could feel that tide being pulled out further than it had been all year. A sense of foreboding…especially coupled with the nightmare I had the previous night.

After a long day spent on the beach, we headed home.

And headed into what would be our last week together. Headed home to await the tsunami that would strike.

Headed home with happiness and peace. Looking forward to our son’s upcoming 1 yr. birthday and our combined birthday party the following weekend.

We had a small celebration for LiDo on his birthday. I remember it was raining out that night and after I picked him up from daycare, we headed to a local bakery where I got a few cupcakes for us. Doug got home in time for dinner and we got the cupcakes out, sang to LiDo, took video and pictures of his first birthday experience. It was just the three of us.

We were so full of life, of happiness, of completeness.

This weekend, on the same date that we spent our last day at the beach, I am celebrating our son’s birthday with family and friends. This past week I go from being excited about planning his birthday party to complete tears.  I feel like the tide is slowing creeping out once again…

I wonder how I will get through even just this weekend let alone the next 10 days. For all of the things that have come up this past year – getting through things – I’m too clear headed to do this…I don’t want to feel the pain. I want to be back in the fog and just manage through without really realizing what is going on around me. I will not celebrate my birthday. I refuse to do it. Because that does mark THE LAST DAY we were together. My birthday. Our last day.

It fucking sucks.

Sometimes, I wonder if he would still be hear if we would have gone home from the hospital and waited a few more days to have LiDo. Already a week and a half past due, we were relying on a little bit of medical intervention to get him going…but at one point, one point, we were asked if we’d like to just go home for a few days and see if I progress anymore and then come back and we’d try induction again. I wonder if that moment we decided that we would stay and have this baby then – sealed Doug’s fate. I had a feeling that if we went home then he would come on his own in a few days – more around my birthday – the 19th or 20th…or we would have been induced then again anyway. If we would have made that choice, Doug would not have been flying that day. He would be alive today.

I wonder how that one choice, one that was wrapped up in excitement for getting this baby in our arms, would have made a difference now.

Then, I do know, that our choices were ours. We made them together. If I had to do any of this all over again, I would. I would because I had a lasting love. I would because I was given a gift of having that one person choose you – that one person who completed and filled in all the gaps in you and gave you more. We have a beautiful son.

So for this weekend, I will try to not mourn for our loss but embrace what we do have. We have people who love us. We have people that hurt for us. We have people that remember us and him and are affected by us. We have stories about how he changed their lives or added so much to it. We have people who think about us every day. I need to live life as Doug would have wanted us to live it. To live like we lived.

For our last ten days that we would have with each other, we did so much, loved so much. So for this year mark of our last ten days I will celebrate one birthday right alongside one deathday. And I will do it with open and loving arms. Because life needs to be lived. People need to be embraced. Memories need to be shared. We will live and love for as long as we are meant to.

It will be fucking hard.

Back at the beginning?

7 September, 2010

I feel like I’m back at the beginning.

The beginning of this nightmare.

The beginning of living a year without him. Not knowing what I would do.

I was a person of action at the beginning though. Someone who felt with her whole body and spirit that I must get something together of a life for my son. I got the bones of a life together. Found a house very quickly because there was no way I was moving away from our home of three years into another apartment. I didn’t want to move twice in a year and I was terrified that if I did move into an apartment or rental then I would never get anything done. I would dread having to move again….

I know I was right about that choice I made. I couldn’t imagine finding something now – a year out. Not with everything happening again, or so it seems. I have already had to live a year of firsts and unfortunately a lot of those firsts come all around or within a couple of months of his death. I had to celebrate (or not) what would have been our 4 year wedding anniversary two weeks after his death and in between and a few days after, I attended two services for him. I don’t recommend doing that…I remember waking up two days after our wedding anniversary to attend his second service and I just didn’t know if I could do it again. I don’t know how many of us did two services…

I celebrated the first Halloween without him, the first Thanksgiving and Christmas, his birthday, 4th of July…The only firsts I have left is our son’s birthday without out him, my birthday without him and of course the year mark of being without him. Well, and all of the other firsts that come with having a small child.

This year though I don’t have the luxury of being in a foggy state over the holidays. Of being able to go on auto-pilot. I know I will miss that to some degree. However, I know exactly how I want to spend those holidays. I don’t want to put on a brave face or do what is expected of me. I want to feel all of it. The happiness and the sadness and I want to be alone. At least that is how I think I would like it. I want to be able to sit back and feel all of this and not work on autopilot anymore. I need to feel it more and make myself remember everything about our life together…it isn’t as if I don’t remember. My brain has just shut those parts down in order to cope with the day to day tasks.

I still feel back at the beginning though. Like I’m on this constant downward roller coaster that still has its peaks and valleys but it is still going down none-the-less. I guess part of me is starting to search for the up-road. For the meaning in life again.

It is September.

A month of beginnings and ends.

September

6 September, 2010

The month is upon us. I have so far survived six days of it. But my stomach aches thinking about how many more days I must go through…not just in this month but in my life.

I’ve been thinking a lot (of course) about this past year. The things that have changed. Losing your spouse tends to make you think about things like this. Right now I am thinking about all of the things that we did in the almost 7 years we were together. We were engaged within 9 months, bought a house, got married, decided to move to pursue your dream, renovated the kitchen, sold the house, packed up and started somewhere new, and then had a baby. Looking at all of these big items, makes me think that we were supposed to pack it all in to a short amount of time. After all, we did most of it within 2 years. It was only once we moved that things settled down and big decisions or moments were left to one – having a baby.

Then I think about that baby and how he did so many ‘firsts’ before his 1 yr. birthday. He did all of the firsts that to me are some of the most important ones – maybe because they all come so quickly…after all you have this floppy thing given to you to take home and within 3 months he is rolling over…it all happens so fast. I’m glad that he did his firsts while you were alive. You got to see all of that. I can handle the other firsts (to some degree) because they will come with more time in between…It still breaks my heart that you are not here to see it and to be a part of your son’s life – a life that you wanted so very much.

These past few months have taught me that we did it right. There is no doubt in my mind about that. It has shown me that I depended on you so much more than I thought I could ever depend on someone. I have learned to be dependent on myself again. I have learned that I don’t like the silence this life brings. I have learned that I can only sleep in the middle of the bed for so long until I roll to my side and stretch out to reach for you once again…

I have learned that although I want LiDo to remember you and know you for himself, he most likely will only remember you through others. I have learned that your heart can really truly break.

I have also learned that it is okay to cry every minute of every day. It is okay to cry in front of others for any reason what-so-ever. I have learned that people are not so comfortable with this but I’m okay with that.

I have learned more about you. I learned that you bought lottery tickets on a more regular basis than I ever thought you bought them. I learned that you were not the only person in our house that horded water glasses next to the bed. I learned of how you touched peoples lives in big ways and in small ways that had a big impact. I learned that I miss your beard trimmings on the bathroom counter. I also learned that I contribute to a lot of the laundry and it wasn’t just the fact that you always wore two t-shirts at once and changed two times a day that contributed to the majority of our laundry pile.

I learned that our love and my love for you will never diminish.

I have not learned a lot about myself. I expect that will come in time. And I only say this because I feel like I have just been managing these past several months. I have been focused on making it through each day. Without you.

In a month that always brought me happiness and a sense of new beginnings, I hope to just make it through. I smell the fall air that is coming in and it takes me back to a year ago, when we were together and we were happy. We were married in the fall, moved in the fall and I lost you in the fall. I love you and hope to see you in the fall breeze…