Saturday, May 31, 2008

On being a "sudden" single parent

There are two things that I miss that are constantly on my mind about parenting on my own.

The first is when one of my kids does something really funny, says something really funny, does something out of character, etc and having Joe to experience that with me fully. It's an empty feeling to see/hear these things and not have him to tell.

The second is having that united front with Joe as "the parents". If he ever heard/saw one of the kids talk to me in a way he didn't like he was on their case immediately (DON'T talk to your mother like that!; "DON'T do that to mommy!") and I was the same way in terms of teaching them to respect him. Now it's just me and it doesn't exactly have the same effect when I tell them they are not treating me nicely. (Spare me the comments of what good kids they are....I know that....but they are still kids, learning how to behave.)

On another happy note, today I'd like to take a bat and break every new window that I just put into my house. And then maybe burn the place down. Yes, that sounds pretty good right now.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


People sometimes tell me of dreams they have had of Joe.

I have had exactly 5 dreams of Joe since last summer. In every single one of them he is leaving me or has left me for someone else. I am desperately in love with him in my dreams and he is just walking away to be with someone else. I wake up feeling awful and confused and PISSED and wishing I hadn't had the dream.

I cannot explain to you how absurd that it is for me to be dreaming this, it is not something that I worried about (him leaving me/cheating on me,etc) EVER since we got married. Before we got married I was more jealous but honestly every year that went by in our marriage I just had this feeling deep inside that he would NEVER leave me EVER. He was so loving and always telling me that I was everything he wanted and made me feel so loved. I am not saying that he never looked at another woman and didn't say she was hot, etc or joke around with the guys but I knew that he wasn't going anywhere. So for me to dream this is just so weird.

I have tried to figure out why my subconscious is thinking this and what I can get from it but I come up with nothing. After the first dream I thought....maybe the other "woman" was his motorcycle (something that I did actually tease him about) but come on, 5 dreams?

Does anyone have any ideas on this?

Would it be so much to ask for a dream in which I can tell him how much I love him and thank him for all that he gave me? A dream in which we could just be regular, like nothing ever happened? A dream where he tells me he is fine and he knows I am taking care of his children? This is making me more angry just writing about it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

"...Smack in the Middle of May..."

Nine years ago Joe asked me to marry him. I want to write this down for my children so they know the story of how daddy asked mommy to marry him.

It was a beautiful HOT Memorial Day weekend. When I say hot, I meant H*O*T. We were at camp and sometimes on these types of days we "barge", which is having all the boats go out in the middle of the lake and tie up together and just hang out. People swim, eat, laugh, drink. So on this particular day I became more than annoyed at some point, not mad, but like "what the heck is going ON??? Why are we not barging??" and every time I turned around someone had a different excuse as to the delay. Finally we went. My whole side of the family was there along with our whole "camp family".

While we were out in the middle of the lake the song Pocketfull of Miracles by Frank Sinatra started playing and I watched as Joe got up and started dancing, which was nothing new. However all of a sudden I realized that there was something different about how he was looking at me...... and that he was dancing toward me. When he got to me he pulled out a ring and opened the box and asked me to marry him. I said yes, the champagne came out of nowhere, and corks flew. At some point before we went out to barge Joe had made huge letters and put them on the roof of the camp that said Say Yes.

What a great guy.

For the next eight years, every time we heard that song Joe would come to me and hold my hand or kiss me.

I spent this past weekend at camp which is what Joe and I have done every year for the past 10+ years. I missed him a lot. On this particular weekend there is a lot of work to be done to get ready for summer. Of course Joe was always in the middle of it. At one point over the weekend I looked down at the lake from my bedroom window and saw my father perfecting this year's installation of the dock. He was in the water, alone, and I stood there staring at what I did not see. Joe. He should have been there.

Monday, May 12, 2008

"It's not always rainbows and butterflies,
.it's compromise that moves us along."
,,,,,,,,,,,,,- She Will be Loved, Maroon 5
People often comment to me about what a wonderful marriage Joe and I had together and it is true that it was great.

People also, with all the sincerity, talk about our love as a "once in a lifetime" type of love. I know that this is said with only the nicest thought for me, but I've got to say, really that it hurts to hear that. I am still (kind of?) young and it's hard for me to think that all my best days in terms of marriage and love are in the past. That's a depressing thought for me. Great, wonderful, fulfillling, YES, but once in a lifetime, for me, I hope not.

I would also like to acknowledge that Joe and I also had our share of hard everyone has.....especially when our kids were babies. We had the kinds of days when I wanted to run from our house screaming as far as I could get.....and I am sure there were days that he didn't want to come home from work. We had fights where we yelled so loud our neighbors could probably fill you in on the details. That's just life I think.
I remember standing on the deck one day with Joe, both of us basically pissed off at each other and the world, and we had this conversation about not wanting to focus anymore on what we didn't have "because of" our choice to have kids (mostly TIME for each of us to do things that we wanted on our own) and we would consciously start to focus on what we did have, which was each other, two great, healthy kids and basically a great life. That conversation was one of many turning points in our relationship that we both committed to personally through our own thoughts and actions.

In other words, we expressed to each other in lots of different ways "this is what you give to me and add to my life" instead of "this is what you take from me and what I am living without".

I also remember that early in our marriage I heard someone talking about an idea that relationships have in Spring/Summer/Winter/Fall. At the time I heard this concept I think that our marriage was in a gray state of Winter and I just kept in mind that soon would come Spring and then Summer. Summer did come again. I would say that when Joe died last year we were in extended season of Summer in terms of our marriage. We were totally in love as you all know. That's why I am so focused in this blog on all the good things that he brought to my life in terms of being his wife. But it was not perfect. It was not all rainbows and butterflies. It truly was compromise that moved us along.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

On Mother's Day my kids always came to me with cards, first thing in the morning, that daddy had made with them and hid until the big day.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Small steps forward

I remember one day soon after the accident sitting on my couch and my mother and father were in the living room with me. I was in terrible pain, TERRIBLE TERRIBLE pain, crying, with my head back and moving from side to side. I remember thinking completely seriously and saying out loud "I just want someone to beat me with a would hurt less".

I don't feel that way anymore.

I am sorry mom and dad that you had to see your daughter that way.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

On being a widow

I never talk about this kind of stuff here but I could write a book on being a widow and the crappy things about it that are administrative. When you are husband and wife all your "stuff" is intertwined and if you are crazy enough to not have a will (like we were) then everything you own is scrutinized as being "your's" or "his" or jointly owned, and all of this baloney has to go through the court system. It's a pain in the ass and I remember on the days after the accident I looked at my To Do list sitting on my desk and there on the list was "will", as it had been for months. It was stupid not to have gotten it done.

Anyway, my life for the past 9 months has been full of administrative duties that I NEVER thought I would do. I carry around a death certificate because it seems that every time I turn around someone else needs it for something that I need to change in an administrative sense. I can't believe I have a death certificate for my husband, much less have to face it so often. I still get mail addressed to Joe, still get phone calls, I still deal with things that were left undone. Every day.

So, today I answered the phone and the guy on the other end asks to speak with Joe. I give him my standard response which is "Who is this?" and he says it is a courtesy call from the police association or something to that effect. Okay, I thought.... my kids are right here, what will I say....I said...."He is deceased" and the guy says to me "Okay then, I'll call back another time". I FREAKED OUT! I yelled into the phone "DID YOU HEAR WHAT I SAID?" and the guy had already hung up. I was PISSED. What the hell is wrong with people? As a widow you *do* *not* get used to saying these phrases, or at least I haven't in 9 months time, and when someone doesn't even acknowledge your loss and disregards it altogether, well, that's basically cruel.

SO, I am W-A-I-T-I-N-G for that guy to call back and he or whoever else from that organization makes the call is going to get an earful.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Yes, hello to my peeps. I am alive and I am okay. I thank you for all of your email.

We spent the day at Meme and Papa's house with the Chalifour side of the family. The kids had a good day as they always do over there. My day was..............good?.....considering the circumstances, though I was dreading coming home to an empty house, and the night-time hours by myself. That part just isn't fun, but, what can I do?

When I got home I really wanted to go to the cemetery and I had the phone in my hand to call my friend up the road to watch my kids. But then I decided if I went I would be there for an hour and it was too late. So I went outside to my little tree and cried til Alyssa tromped out to find me in her bug rainboots with an umbrella. Funny at age 4 I can still divert her attention so easily away from my tears.

All things considered, my weekend went okay, and there were some definite bright spots.



Saturday, May 3, 2008

Today would have been Jordyn's Ride 2008. Jordyn's Ride is a charity motorcycle ride that was dreamed up by my husband to support our niece, Jordyn, who was battling leukemia back in 2006. The money raised was donated to Jordyn and other brave children in our area that were fighting cancer. Jordyn's Ride was executed by Joe on the front end, in charge of all things public and visible, and me the back end, in charge of all the logistics/details/administration to make sure the ride happened. I can honestly say that neither of us knew what we were doing when we started this....and we mostly made it up as we went along. It was not perfect and we were learning and we were driven ONLY by one thing, and that was to help Jordyn and other kids like her. We had a lot of plans for the future of Jordyn's Ride.

There were lots and lots of people that helped to make it happen and many of those people worked very hard and were extremely dedicated and personally affected.

There is so much to say about this topic and I can't even begin to do it justice here. However, one thing that is pertinent to this blog is that this project is one that Joe and I worked as a team on and it was something that bound us together very tightly. I don't know how to describe how we enjoyed working together on this, even amidst the stresses that arose. We would get a babysitter and have meetings outside of our house to plan the event, and people would say to us "Can't you just do that after you put the kids to bed?" or "Can't you just do that planning at home?"...And he and I would look at each other and say "No" and only the two of us would know why and neither one of us would even dream of trying to explain it. I loved working on this with him.

The other thing about Jordyn's Ride is something that I want to write down because I never, ever want to forget it. The first year we did this- and again, we were completely flying by the seat of our pants- at the very beginning of the ride Joe decided he would call all the bikers together to make a little speech. I stepped out from behind my table and walked so I could see. There I saw my husband standing at the front of the crowd, sunglasses on his head, Jordyn's Ride Tshirt on, happiness on his face. He had all of the riders attention as he talked about the ride and the ride route with excitement in his voice. As I watched him I felt like the luckiest woman the world to be married to this guy. His presence was so awesome; full of confidence and spontaneity and goodness and a willingness to try new things in the hopes that maybe, just MAYBE, it might work and we might be able to do something worthwhile. I have always carried that vision of him from that morning of the first ride with me since the moment it happened. I tried to explain to him many times how proud of him I was and how much I loved him for all the goodness that was inside him.

That morning as he made that little speech I fell in love with him fully and totally, all over again, after knowing him for 10 years. I don't really have the words to explain it properly.

After the riders were back and the festivities were over, Joe and I would leave and go away for the night to celebrate his birthday. This also was a very special time for us. It extended our bond so that we could relax and enjoy each other without returning immediately back to our house and kids and more responsibilty. Those were special times for us.

Thank you mom for watching the kids for 3 days straight each time so that we could do what we needed to do for the Ride and also to be able to de-stress and unwind after it all. That was a real gift to us.

This year Jordyn's Ride will go on in June. Joe's family and friends will be organizing it. I wont be involved this year.

On another topic- tomorrow, May 4, is Joe's birthday. I have struggled with this for weeks. What do I DO on that day? I would wonder. It felt so painful. However, in the past couple of days I have come to a small amount of peace after so much thought on the topic. I will describe how I feel now the way I will describe it to my kids when they ask me about it tomorrow, as they surely will. To them I will say:

"Yes, today is daddy's birthday. It is sad, isn't it that he's not here?...and it hurts because we miss him so much. BUT we are HAPPY that daddy was born 38 years ago because he was the BEST daddy in the world. We love daddy's birthday because we love daddy. We are grateful that he was born. Without his birthday there would have been no daddy, so today we can still feel happy that he was born, even though we are sad he is not still with us".

And finally, to George and Diane: I can not imagine your pain and I am so sorry for all the sorrow that comes with this day. However, please know I am deeply and eternally grateful that you gave life to this baby who grew up to be such a wonderful man, and the father to my children. He was a person beyond words, as are all of your children. I love each one of them. Thank you for each of their birthdays. ~Robin


Thursday, May 1, 2008


First, regarding Luke, I still do not know what is up with him. The first blood tests came back showing that he probably does not have mono. They can't be sure though until one more test comes back which will hopefully be tomorrow. He still has a sore throat but the thought of sleeping with mommy had his spirits up at bedtime. So above all, I am **hoping** that we get up tomorrow and he's feeling a little better than today.

Second, things have gotten so bad lately that I think I have hit some sort of breaking point. Right now, at this very moment, when I have so many HUGE things to worry about, for some reason my mind feels light and carefree. There is just no logical explanation for that, and if you knew all the things I have on my mind right now, you would know, that there is no logical explanation for it. But all of these things have led me to focus on #3, below.

Third, the title of my post is "spoiled" for this reason: I know that people think of me and pray for me and love me. I have friends and family that can't possibly understand but accept my crazy widow-ways of endless babbling/changing my mind/forgetting what I was talking about/being impatient and on and on. I have people that email me all throughout the day and late into the night sometimes when I feel like I need someone to talk...even about stupid everyday types of nothingness. I know that I am so lucky in that way, and at times I feel "spoiled" for all of this love coming my way. I also have many people that email me, whom I do not know, who read my blog for one reason or another and tell me that I help them. This is just over-the-top for me and I feel humbled sometimes to think of how deeply my words are felt. This is a gift to me, truly- something good coming out of something bad. Thank you for all for hearing me, and for caring. Your time, thoughts, letters, phone calls, emails, and love are what is carrying me through this time in my life. It is because of you that I know that the last lines of what I said at the funeral (below) are true. For some reason right now, with the largest weights of stress that I have carried in the last nine months on my shoulders, for no reason which I can explain, I know that this is true:
.........."I want everyone to know that although today I stand here a broken woman, you can be certain that I will take care of my children and they will flourish and thrive. They will be great like their father. We will soar together to the life that Joe would want us to have."
The pain in this world is not going to break me. It is making me brave.