Thursday, February 28, 2008

I guess in order to understand this post you have to know that Joe's brother, Jeff, has been visiting every weekend since the summer, and that he kids love, love, love to see him. Just saying the name "Uncle Jeff" elicits loud screams of excitement and jumping up and down from Luke and Alyssa.

Yesterday morning Luke and Alyssa and I were sitting at the island eating breakfast. We were talking about regular everyday stuff (ie Cars the movie) but then it was quiet for a minute or so. Alyssa asked me in a sad voice "mommy, when is Uncle Jeff going to die?".

I looked at Alyssa and I said "I don't think that Uncle Jeff is going to die for a long, long time. I don't know for sure when anyone will die Alyssa, but most people live to be old". I could barely get the words out and I sat there for a few minutes until the kids started talking about other stuff again. I got up and went outside to take some frustrations out on a snow pile I've gotten to know quite well this winter.

I knew that I should have said more to her, asked her questions, etc but I just could not do it at that moment. All of a sudden I had this rush of knowledge that my little girl is not going to come out of this unscathed. That her wounds will be deeper than the fact that she never got a chance to know her father past the age of 3; that her memories will be few (and precious), but few. Those things are terrible enough, but the loss has the potential to do much more than that. Alyssa does not have the privilege of knowing that family has longevity. Her little mind does not know when a person she loves will leave her.

While I was outside I thought of conversations Joe and I have had since Alyssa was born. He would say to me "there is something very special about what I feel for my little girl". We talked specifically of the unique opportunity a father has to make a difference in the life of a daughter; how his relationship with her could potentially lay the foundation of how she relates to boys and men for the rest of her life. Joe had plans for her. Not the "kick any guy's butts that come within 10 feet of her when she's s a teenager" type of plans. He understood the impact of his love and attention toward her.

Now he is gone. And she asks me "when is Uncle Jeff going to die".

Not only has her father disappeared into nothingness, but now she wonders who else will too. She doesn't often do it outwardly but her mind is being shaped and changed by what has happened.

I am so pissed that this has happened to my daughter. I am pissed that I cannot fill the shoes of her father. I just want to hold her and hug her and cry and tell her a thousand times "I am sorry". But she would not understand, because she doesn't know what she lost.

But I do.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

5 separate people have recommended the same grief counseling program in the last few months. I decided since it has such a good reputation that I would try it. It is a one night a week "griefshare" session for people who are dealing with loss.

Once I decided that I was actually going to do it I really did not give it much more thought until I was driving there for the first time on Tuesday night. All of a sudden I felt like "what the hell am I doing?!" and I ran through the possible scenarios of what would happen if I didn't go. I knew no one would hold it against me, and that I could change my mind and just turn around and go home. "Why do I want to sit in a room with a bunch of strangers and tell them my story? Why do I want to face this right now? Why do I want to re-live this stuff that I am trying to make peace with instead of bringing up the heart wrenching details?"

Then I remembered a conversation that I had with Luke about a month ago. I had mentioned to him that I thought that he and Alyssa are "brave". He asked me why I thought that. I told him "because you and Alyssa have had a terrible thing happen in your lives, something that does not usually happen to kids as young as you are, and you still they keep going on, doing good in school, doing fun things". He seemed to like this version of bravery that I was describing.

So then I heard myself say out loud, "Okay Robin, you're just going to be brave and do this". That was it. End of story and no more thoughts of going home.

I went in and met the three people putting the program on. I was barely on time, but I was the first one there. We waited....but as it turned out, despite many people confirming that they would be present, no one showed. A woman explained to me that sometimes people have intentions of going but then at the last minute they can't find the courage to go.

So it was me and the three very nice people who run the program. They showed me a short movie and then we discussed some stuff and sure enough I was a complete basket case...wondering all the while how on earth I ever got in this seat, in this room, with these people, describing details about the traumatic death of the man that I planned on growing old with, the father of my children.

I am not sure at this point if the program will be held (I guess only if they can get more people to come since it's supposed to be a group session). I don't have any idea if it will help me in any way. I just know and feel that I cannot do nothing. I have to do something. I know that the path to a happy future for me and my children (as much as my mind can not comprehend that phrase-"happy future"), is through a combination of action, hope and facing the pain. Not shrinking away.

I could shrink away. I could deny my feelings, hold stuff in, try to forget the love that I have for Joe. But I know that will get me mediocrity and a lifetime of problems. I did not have a mediocre life and love before. I want the best for myself and for my children in the future, and I intend to take every step that I can find that has a hint of hope to get us there.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Luckily I've always thought Valentine's Day was a stupid holiday.
I don't miss my love any more today than I did yesterday.

Monday, February 11, 2008

How could I become a widow at age 35?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Okay people, stay with me here. I have a story and some people might find it a little nutty or whatever, but I am putting it on this blog so I don't have to repeat it time after time. I don't necessarily like to hash and rehash this stuff, but it all goes into my brain and I "use" various bits of information as necessary.

The story is this....for a few weeks I have been in contact with a woman who lives in California who also lost her husband last year in a motorcycle accident. At night sometimes I surf the internet for "answers" (as if I would find any) and I was looking for bereavement communities, specifically people who were like me. So I found this woman. I emailed her and we have been in contact and by all accounts she seems to be a nice, "regular" type of person, whatever that means, but you know what I mean.

So after a lot of emails over many days she tells me she has something to tell me that she has shared with her own friends and they are stunned when she tells them....and they say she should tell me. So this is part of her email:

Back in August (i don't remember the exact day), I was online in a chat room that was being held by 3 well known "Mediums" one was Rita Berkowitz. People would send in a question and randomly (if you were lucky enough) one of them would respond. There were literally hundreds of people in the chat room so I didn't expect to hear back but about a 1/2 hour into it, suddenly, an answer popped up.

My question was:
I recently suffered a tragic loss in my life. Do you feel any
connection to me from my loved one who just passed over?

This was her response:
I am feeling a male figure very strongly. Someone of deep love for you. I am feeling extreme pain in my head now. There is the feeling of a hard "hit" or slamming down. I'm feeling it is your husband. He is no longer in pain now. He wants you to now he is with someone named Joe who just came. They are together.

At first, I didn't know anyone named Joe... And then the other day, you told me your husband's name was Joe. Could this be true? Are they together now? Was Gary there to help Joe when he passed? Did they bring us together? I believe...yes.

Rita Berkowitz is also amazing in that she draws pictures of the spirits she sees and when she shows them to the loved ones, the resemblance is overwhelming! After you told me his name, I sent her an e-mail with a general question. (she is back east) Since I live on the west coast, do you ever do phone readings? She wrote back, yes just give my office a call to schedule a time. I'm feeling like I want to know more about this experience and I will call her. I hope it was ok that I told you this. For me... these "signs" give me much needed hope.

So that is the story. Take it for what you will. I just listen to what anyone has to tell me and in my brain it goes. At any rate, regardless of what anyone thinks, it is kind of funny for me to think about her finding out that my husband's name was Joe, a fact that I did not tell her until after many emails between us (I always referred to him as "my husband").

And.........I don't need anybody telling me "that's stupid" or "that's crazy" or "Joe's a common name" or whatever. Death is too personal of a subject for me to debate at this time.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I feel like such a loser for this, but here it goes...

Last year on my birthday Joe sent me a few-- I think three-- dozen roses. A "normal" reaction from a wife would have been "oh that's so nice!", but it was not my reaction. I basically put on a smile and thanked him but on the inside I was pretty much annoyed. The reason why was that many, many times I had told Joe to please NOT send me flowers. I am a total loser, I know. When I see them, instead of seeing the flowers I see a couple hundred dollar bills that we could have spent on something else, preferably something that I wouldn't throw out in a week. Every Valentine's Day I would say to him...."Joe I know you are going to wonder if you should give me flowers and I am telling you that...really, don't, please. I know you love me and I don't need flowers to show me that". I am sure he wondered if it was some sort of man/woman trap and if there was a hidden message in there somewhere. But there wasn't. So anyway...last year on my birthday, this gigantic bouquet of red and yellow roses comes to my door and I was annoyed. Later in the day, I hugged him and brought him in front of the flowers and I said, "...those flowers are beautiful Joe..." and he said "You like them?" and I said, "Yes, I love them.....(and by this time I meant it) and then I said (smiling), "I love them because I want them to be the last flowers you ever get for me." He giggled a little and I said (laughing) "OKAY?! Okay Joe?? Those are the last flowers you're going to buy for me okay?" He knew what I was talking about. We laughed and that was it.

It tears me up inside that I said that to him. I wasn't mad, and he wasn't mad but still, now when I think back I think what a bitch I was to say that to him. Before we got married, when we first lived in our house, I used to buy flowers twice a week and bring them home, because I love flowers. The poor guy was just trying to be nice to me and I couldn't appreciate that, I was focused on.....I don't even know WHAT...but it wasn't the right thing. I should have just let all of my uptightness about wasting money fall by the wayside and have just appreciated my husband buying me a gift. It's stupid. And on a basic level, I can't believe I asked for those to be the last flowers that he ever give me, and they were.