Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I get an email every day from the grief group that I went to over the winter. This one came yesterday and was very appropriate for my day.

A part of who you are is gone. Your identity is shaken to the very core. You wonder if you will ever feel normal again or if you will ever enjoy life again.

"When you lose a mate, you lose part of yourself," says Dr. Jim Conway. "It's as if you've had an amputation of an arm or a leg. I think that you don't really recover; you adjust, and the process of adjusting varies with every individual. There's no formula."

The pain that comes from the loss of a spouse is much deeper than most people realize because in a marital relationship two people become one flesh.

When part of your flesh is abruptly taken away, there is a ripping and a tearing that leaves a huge, open wound.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

July 29, the day we got married

8 years ago Joe and I had the time of our lives at our wedding. It poured rain that day, unbelievably hard. My friend Jody has told me several times she's never seen it rain that hard in her life. People told me that it is good luck to have rain on your wedding day. I never had a reason to dispute that. We danced to a disco band and we left for 2 weeks in Hawaii the next day. Times were unbelievably good.

1 year ago I sat under a tent in my yard for a while in the afternoon and visited with friends that had traveled to be with me and my family after the accident. Then I walked in the house and sat at my desk and I wrote my husband's eulogy.

Today I sat on the ground at my husband's grave.


Sunday, July 27, 2008


Tuesday is my wedding anniversary.


Friday, July 25, 2008

July 25

July 25th was the last day I ever saw my husband.

It was the worst day of my life.

It was the only time I ever saw him laying in a hospital bed.

It was around 7:30 at night.

I went into the room and I was there for maybe 60 seconds. I could not believe my eyes, what I was looking at. I cried and touched his forehead and his hair. I told him two things, that I love him and I will take care of our children. Then I left, frantically.

I don't have any regrets about not staying in there longer. Joe was not there anymore to me. That image of him in the bed is one of the things that haunted my mind for months, and it still does at times. I hate that image. I don't have any regrets of not seeing him at the funeral home either. I don't want to have those sights in my mind....I want to remember him alive.

And today, that's what I am going to try to do.

God please take care of my husband.

Joe I love you. I will never stop missing you. I will never stop loving you. Your children will know who you are.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A year ago on July 24th Joe worked all day and came home and called me. He told me about his time out to dinner the night before with our friend Liz. Then he went to play hockey.
All regular stuff. Nobody knew what was going to happen. It should be a lesson to us all that none of us knows what will happen next to the people we love.
I have started to go through some of Joe's things while the kids are away. I'm not throwing anything away, just organizing and getting bins ready to deal with. I don't want help with this at this point. I need to do it alone.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I dropped my kids off with my sister today for a few days. The reason is that I feel like I don't have the patience that I need for them right now and my fuse is short. I hate that every other word that comes out of my mouth to them is "no", still it doesn't seem to stop me from saying it. When I was driving to meet my sister I kept tearing up because I felt like such an awful mother....leaving them....because I feel overwhelmed. What mother does not feel overwhelmed? I don't know. Part of me also feels like I should be with them on Friday, and I will not. Even if they don't know what day it is. There is a small chance that Luke will remember if he realizes the date. But I don't know, how does a boy process the one year anniversary of his father's death? Does it hurt him like it hurts adults? Does it hurt more than it does any other day? Or is it just another hard fact in his life?
Luke and Alyssa, if you ever read this, I want you to know that I am just doing the best that I can right now. I love you both more than anything in this world. Half of the time I don't know what I am doing....but I do try to make good decisions so that you can have happy lives. Me losing your dad is the most painful thing that has ever happened in my life, and although I am not perfect for you, and you surely will have memories of days when I was not a happy mother, I loved you through every second. I have anticipated so much of your grief that you have not even felt yet, and I hope that when the time comes and you can explain to me how you feel about the loss of your father, I can provide comfort for you. Right now, at this one year anniversary of his death, I am trying to find comfort for myself. So that somehow I can heal and be there for you in the future, when you need me.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July 22nd was the last day I saw my husband alive.

It was a Sunday.

He left the kids and me at camp that evening to go home to work the next day. It was a beautiful day and my family sat on the deck for a long time talking. It was the kind of day when no one wants to leave, when people stay way later than they intended, and get home late after the long drive.

Joe and I sat on the steps next to each other while we were on the deck. There is a very short video that my sister JoAnn took of us sitting there. I don't know why she felt the need to video at that time, but I found it on my camera after the accident. It is the last moments that we were ever together.

Soon after he left, he realized he had forgotten to take Alyssa's car seat out of his truck. So he drove back into the driveway and dropped it off to my car.

My last vision of him is of him walking away from me toward his truck, with his head turned looking at me, and his lips in the air. Blowing me a kiss goodbye.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I hate everything.


Thursday, July 17, 2008


There is an article in today's paper about the cross that was put near the road where the accident took place. I am not directly involved with this issue but the reporter did call me to talk about it. It is important to Joe's family (meaning his parents/siblings) that the cross stay there until the one year anniversary is over, and also, that they are the ones to remove it. Personally I feel that this is not an outrageous request. The cross is small, as I said before in an earlier post I went to it one day and I almost missed it because it was so unnoticable. I would like to point out that most people do not know what it is like to lose a son/brother/husband in such a tragic way and no one should judge what is meaningful to others. Although the cross is not a place where I find comfort, I do not judge where other's do. I remember after the accident people going to the scene of the accident and I thought that was so crazy....I wanted to get as far from that spot as possible. But this proves that we all deal differently and we all need to make sense with what happened in our own way. When I think about this issue, two questions come to mind and then one complex image....the questions are:

"Who complains about a cross?"


"Why can't there just be no drama and just leave it in until the one year anniversary is over and let George and Diane take it out and let it be peaceful?"

And the image that I have is of Jeff beside the road pounding that cross into the ground for his brother.....not once but twice.....and I wonder how on earth he did that. I can't imagine the physical act of doing that, and I have always pictured Joe watching him do it. The whole image makes me feel so profoundly sad, but also I feel a bond between brothers that is deep and courageous and powerful. Those bonds are what make life meaningful.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Every day this month I wake up and I think "this time last year I had X days left with Joe". It's hard not to relive those days in my mind. I am dreading reliving the last day...I don't want to do it. I don't know how to stop myself from doing it either. I do not know what to do with myself on that day.

Last weekend we went to my niece's birthday party which was one of the last things that Joe and I and the kids did together. There is a funny story that happened with Joe on the way home from that party which the kids have talked about for the entire past year. Alyssa still tells the story even now. I felt so sad when I woke up on Saturday morning because it feels heavy to do the last things that we did with him, again, without him. It's hard to explain.

Luke's birthday is also coming up on July 19. I had one "celebration" yesterday for him. The truth of it is that I put off thinking about his birthday for so long that I literally began the weekend with no solid plan in mind, no presents, no cake, nothing. Then I started to feel so guilty and I still do to some extent. I am sure I have said on this blog before that in the past I would spend weeks thinking about my kid's birthday parties...and planning them......and this year we literally opened gifts and ate cake in the parking lot of an amusement park. As it turned out, Luke had a great time and it was fine, but still, I feel selfish for not putting more into it. I just feel like I can't deal with anything but myself and my own thoughts right now and I find myself letting things slide.........things that I never would have before.

Honestly, I don't know how my son can turn 7 without his father. One of the last videos that I have of Joe is of him eating a piece of Luke's birthday cake when he turned 6. Five days after that video was taken was the accident. I still can't believe it.

I feel like I am constantly trying to keep myself and my mind busy, and the slighest insignificant thing could send me spiraling downward. When I went to camp last week for vacation I could barely make it up there. It is so difficult for me to pack things up and leave my house. I feel like I am leaving him every time. By the time I got to camp I was in such a bad mental state that I went to my room and cried and my mother sat with me. I hated how I was feeling. My sister asked me if I wanted her to watch my kids so I could go home and be alone and my response to that was no....that there was no comfort anywhere. There is just no place that feels okay sometimes. The truth is that this is a struggle for everyone who loved Joe, and some days you just have to get through. Some days are not pretty at all.

Another thing that happened while I was at camp was that I made a sly remark to two of my sisters....I would call it kidding but in mixed company it could seem that I was being a real bitch (but between sisters it was just kind of mean spirited fun). Both of them basically told me with a smile that I was a bitch and I told them, "Look..... I am angry and I am using you guys to take it out release some of my anger." One of them said to me completely seriously, "That's why we're here Rob, give us all you've got". I really can't describe how I felt when I heard those words. I looked at my sisters and my mother and I knew they were serious....that they expected and were willing to take my shit, no matter how rude or irrational, whatever I gave them, and they would love me put themselves and their own feelings aside because they know my mental agony and they want me to feel better. THAT my blogging friends, is family.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

This is the time of year when Joe and always went on vacation. It is weird for me this year being by myself in this. Truthfully, since I stay home with my kids I always have done all the planning/packing/shopping/getting us out the door type of stuff. I used to tease Joe because he literally would come home from work on the night before we went (sometimes the day of) and pack a bag and be like "I'm ready!". I remember wanting to strangle him at those times (in a nice way of course) because going away with 2 kids is VERY involved when the mother insists on being very organized and packing everything that could be possibly needed and thinking of all the details. So logistics-wise this is not that much different, but in reality it is very much different.

I miss Joe a lot when I am at camp. I think of him almost constantly. There are so many memories there.....really good, fun memories and some of the best times of our life together. I miss him and I miss the help with the kids. A 4-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy do not want to do the same things up there. And they need to be watched all the time. I do have help from my family and especially my sister Kim, and I am thankful for that, but I miss the help from Joe in a deep way.

Joe and I also took a trip to Montreal in the summer, just the two of us. I have been thinking about that a lot lately. That is something that still has a sting to it....that those trips are done. We never had a bad time there. Both of us were always happy and always very very in love when we were there. The other day I pulled a bottle of Tylenol out of my bag and it was in french. I have had it in there for a couple years because it always made me smile to look at it. One morning in Montreal I woke up at about 5am with a REALLY REALLY bad headache out of a sound sleep. (Yes, this was probably invoked by too much alcohol consumed only a few hours before 5). I woke Joe up and told him how bad my head hurt, basically looking for some sympathy. Without me asking him, he got out of bed and got dressed and left. I remember thinking to myself..."where the hell did he go??" He came back about an HOUR AND 15 MINUTES later...with this bottle of Tylenol. Since it was so early the store in the hotel had not been open, so he walked the streets (of this city that he knew only as a tourist) looking for a store that was open so early that sold something for my headache. It took him a long time but he found one. Even then I couldn't believe that he did that for me. Lots of people would have headed back to bed and said it was too early for stores to be open. But not him towards me. He was so nice, so good at taking care of me. I miss that a lot.