It always comes back to “bite you in the a**”

Everyone has heard the expression, “it’ll come back and bite you in the ass.”  That could not be truer in my case.  My first blog post talked about how I became a single mother (for those of you that didn’t get a chance to read it, check it out here.  I remember I had made a vow back when I was mourning the loss of my husband that I would never cry for him again.  At the time, I needed that so that I could focus on my girls and keeping my job so I could pay the bills.  I was basically in survival mode.

What I didn’t realize until much later was that I really wouldn’t cry for him, or anything else, from that point on.  Sure I cried when I was downing a bottle of wine but I never cried when I was sober.  I felt numb.  No emotions.  I avoided talking about Mike at all costs because I didn’t want to fall back into that depression.  When I did talk about him, I made sure no emotion crept out and if it did, I stopped myself.

Unfortunately, that became true for a lot of things, not just him or his death.  I would see my sister cry constantly when the Sandy Hook shooting happened or when the tornado in Oklahoma flattened an elementary school with kids still inside.  She would cry telling me about the news articles of these tragic events and while I thought it was sad, not a single tear fell from my eyes.  I didn’t even feel sad, it was just a sad event that happened.  I felt disconnected.

For the longest time after that, I kept wondering if something was wrong with ME.  Something had to be wrong for me, as a mother, not to feel sad or shed a single tear over tragic events.  It was at that time that I started to realize that I felt numb to a lot of things.  The only thing I remember feeling was angry and tired.  I was too tired of feeling angry and tired.  Things needed to change.

The light bulb went off and I finally made the call to a therapist.  That started in December 2012 and since then, I had been going every 2 weeks religiously.  I will never forget one session where my therapist pointed out that I don’t cry; that I stop myself before I start crying by looking up at the ceiling or changing the subject.  Having someone point it out really opened my eyes to the fact that I really sealed off all emotions.  I mean, I knew I didn’t feel right since Mike’s death but to have others noticed it just amplified it.

Before I moved from the Midwest, my therapist and I worked on trying to figure out exactly why I feel so numb.  She would ask me and I just didn’t have an answer for her.  I still don’t.  All I know is that I do get a little bit more (not much) emotional now a days.  Since the move, I’ve started seeing a new therapist and this is a topic that comes up often in many different scenarios.

It’s still something I’m working on but I didn’t realize that making that vow almost 4 years ago would cause this much trouble.  I hope to get to that point where I am more myself but how do I know what being myself really is anymore?  Only time will tell….

A Step Back In Time: Journal Entries of a Widow

I was looking for something in my closet when I came across my journal from when Mike passed away.  I didn’t journal religiously but I did write whenever I was feeling depressed or was missing him.  Sometimes I was just so overwhelmed or stressed that I needed an outlet.  That’s where my trusty purple journal came into play.

These entries were raw emotions and anyone reading them could tell when I was in a dark place and when I was feeling hopeful.  As I look at this journal and read the entries, I realize that the biggest emotion that comes up time and time again is anger.  I was very angry.  I was angry at Mike for bailing on me and more importantly our girls.  I was angry at life and I was angry at God.

The questions that kept coming up time after time was “what did I do wrong?”  What did I say that day that turned the day’s events from planning a vacation to planning a funeral?  Did he not think of his daughters?  What do I tell them?  How in the world do I explain to two girls that they’re daddy is gone, by choice?

The truth is that six years later, I still don’t know the answer to those questions.  Sam was only two when he died and now that she’s in school, she sees that kids have their dads and moms.  I won’t forget when she came home one day with a Daddy – Daughter Dance form.  She told me that she couldn’t go to it because she didn’t have a daddy….what the hell do you even say to that??!

It’s something I still struggle with.  I remember having these discussions with my therapist back when I was seeing her and it seems like there’s just no easy way to have that discussion with the girls.  That’s not a discussion I’m ever going to be ready to have. 

As I continue to read these entries, I see the emotions and the stress of adjusting to my regular routine without talking to Mike, crying on my way to work because I couldn’t text him “Have a good day babe. Love you.”  Having to put the girls to bed without him there, adjusting to making EVERY decision.  Then there was the stress of going through all of our things so that I could sell the house.

Like I said,  A LOT of ups and downs but it’s true that it gets easier as time goes on.  The loss isn’t gone, it’s just not as strong as it once was.  

Restless in Seattle (well outside of Seattle)

Ever have that feeling like you should be doing more than you already are?  I know I have.  Being a single mom already comes with its stresses and never ending to do list but I feel like I should just be doing MORE.  I’ve tried to be ok with what I do and be ok with not doing more but then I get this restless feeling.  I love my girls, I really do but I also love my career and my business.  I’m the type of mother that could never be a stay at home mom (props to those who do it and love it!) but I can’t just be satisfied with that.  Then again, I can’t be satisfied with all the balls I’m juggling now. 

I even feel like I’m not doing enough when I’ve got so many things going on.  I wish I could just sit on the couch and have a Netflix marathon but I feel like I should be doing more so I am.  I started working out first thing in the morning, started reading books that are inspirational (currently reading Restless by Jennie Allen and Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey), make sure my planner is as up to date as possible, anything really that helps me get rid of this feeling.  Three weeks in and I still feel that way. 

I also felt that way when I started my business.  I thought maybe this is what I am supposed to be doing, that way I can be satisfied and be around more for my girls.  As a single mom, the flexibility of having my own schedule is like a myth.  There’s no way that I could be able to work a job and have the flexibility to be around for all the activities that my girls wanted to do.  It’s possible but what no one told me was that it wouldn’t be easy in the beginning.  Having your own business is HARD and it’s been slowly growing.  It’s constantly taking care of your customers, making sure they are happy with the products they are receiving, and ensuring I have the inventory on hand.  AND even after working my business (aside from my regular job), I still feel restless.   

Then comes the other ideas to help with this feeling.  For the last 6 months, I had even toyed with the idea of obtaining my CPA certification.  Yeah, I know that by doing that, I’d have absolutely no free time.  My days would be consumed with my regular duties: work, chores, girls activities and homework, and then my own studying.  Oh but it doesn’t stop there….I’ve even contemplated with getting two more certifications that would take almost just as much time studying.

So what do I do now?  I just don’t know.  I want to be happy with how my life is right now, I don’t want to feel this way but I just have to find out why I’m so restless.  That, my friends, is a work in progress. 

Life Unexpected….My Story.

Like many of you, I didn’t plan on being a single mom.  I had my life planned out: college, marriage, kids, grandkids, etc.  What I got instead was: marriage, college, kids, suicide, single mom.  Yes, I said suicide.  Everyone has their story as to how they became a single mom.  I didn’t think I would ever be a single mom, let alone a widow at 27, but it happened. 

I woke up on the 4th of July in 2011 and was planning our first vacation without the girls to NYC.  It was going to be my husband’s birthday present.  We had just finished up the last details of the trip and just a few short hours later, I had police and EMS at my house trying to perform CPR on my husband.  To this day, those events are a blur.

In the days that followed, I went through the motions of planning a funeral and trying to figure out what the hell happened.  See, what most people don’t understand is that suicide isn’t something that comes out of nowhere.  The signs are there, small, but always there.  It’s a comment here or there, it’s the sudden mood swings, it’s the actions that they take.  It’s all there.  But sadly, some of us don’t realize the extent of it until it’s too late.

It took me almost a month of crying and walking in daze to realize that I was a mother.  That I had two beautiful girls that needed the only parent they were left with.  I remember the day clearly, sitting in an empty parking lot during my lunch break crying uncontrollably.  Right there and then, I made a vow to my husband and myself that I would not cry a single tear for him anymore (which btw came to bite me in the ass later & requires it’s own post).  I would move on and focus my energy on our girls and giving them the life they deserved.  Not the one they got because of a choice that was made.

Six years later, therapy, and a move a cross the country, I am finally able to breathe and be happy.  I know I’ve got a lot of growing up to do as a mother and woman but seeing my girls happy is what makes all this worth it <3