Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mi Familia

The very first time I ever met Roger's mom, she called me her other daughter.
And every time she has introduced me after that, she said the same.
In her cute accent and a smile, "This is my other daughter."
Roger's entire family has always accepted me as one of their own.
As their cousin.
Their niece.
Their sister.
Their daughter.

When I learned I was losing Roger, one of my next biggest fear was losing them.
Losing this new found family that was close and fun.
People who loved each other.
People who celebrated each other.
People who were by each others side.
Even mine as Roger lay in his hospital bed those last six days.

The tears fell at the thought of how they were going to hate me.
Blame me.
How I would never see them again.
I did not want to lose them too.

And fifteen months after losing him, thankfully I still have mi familia.
About the only thing I can be grateful for right now during really hard grief this month.
They still care about me.
They still love me.
I am still their cousin, niece, sister, and daughter.

Thursday was the first Thanksgiving I have celebrated in Miami.
Like I mentioned, Roger and I normally celebrated in Orlando.
And in the prayer said before dinner, Roger's godmother said something that almost made me lose my already shaky composure.
She said she was thankful for me.
Thankful that I was still here.

The thing is I am not going anywhere.
This is mi familia.
These are my people.
One of Roger's final gifts to me.
A gift that keeps giving.
I love these people so much.
I am so thankful they are still here.
That I am still invited.
That I am still loved.

My biggest prayer is that as my life moves forward, mi familia will also love who I love.
I pray my children will have their Cuban primos, tios, tias, and of course an abuela.

So to my big Cuban family, please still be here.
Please stay here.
Please celebrate with me.
Please mourn with me.
Please continue to love me.
Without you (along with others), I would not still be here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Flooded, Part 2

I have driven alone to Miami quite a bit now.
Only once or twice before his death and now it is becoming a regular thing.
But there are still a lot of memories attached to the many trips down the turnpike with Roger.
And almost every time I do it, especially when alone, I cannot help but have memories flood me.

The first time I came with Roger was for his sister's birthday get together.
I was meeting his family for the first time too.
At least a preview of his family.
I met his mom and sister.
Some cousins.
A few aunts and uncles.
It was also the first time Roger told me he loved me.
As we pulled into his mom's driveway.
We had been fighting.
I was annoyed.
And I was annoyed that I was annoyed before meeting his family.
So he turned to me and said something he had said to me a hundred times before to make me smile: "You know I like you" in his sweet please-forgive-me voice.
I gave him the you-have-got-to-be-kidding-if-you-think-that-will-work-now look.
He tried again.
"You know I love you."
I smiled.
I had to smile.
I had told those three little words to him four months previously but insisted that he could not say it back to me just because.
But it had to be in the right moment.
That was the right moment.

Another time we hit a huge raccoon on the way down.
I was horrified.
It cost us $2500 in damage to the car upon our return.
Plus the cost of duct tape to make it the rest of the way down.

There were many pit stops along the way.
Usually at Fort Pierce, the half way point.
We would get snacks and something to drink.
Stretch our legs.
And once we got 50 brochures for various tourist attractions for our wedding guests' out of town bags.
It was a game to get the correct amount without looking like we were hoarders and without actually standing there counting.
Although we did return those that were over the fifty mark.
To be nice of course.

Another time we were coming back to Orlando on the turnpike.
Roger had eaten at one of his cousin's house right before we left.
Roger did not eat pork.
His cousins' food was flavored with pork.
We stopped at each service plaza along the way.
About every forty to sixty miles for the entire two hundred and fifty miles back home.
Not to mention some gas stations and pharmacies before and after getting on the turnpike.
I could not help and giggle each time we stopped.
"Umm, yeah. I gotta go."
Followed up with a "I feel better now" comment.

Roger also liked to talk on these trips.
And he would blame me for missing his exit or getting lost.
"Was that 869?"
"I dunno."
"Dammit, you made me miss it."
"How? By listening to you?"
"Yeah" as he would smile.

The times I did not come with him, he would call me.
We would talk for hours.
And sometimes a fight on the phone would lead to me not talking to him for hours.

Lots and lots of memories.
It is weird to make this drive alone.

Flooded, Part 1

As I promised my mother, I put up my Christmas tree.
With Mr. X as my assistant.
I knew memories would come.
I knew memories would be attached to lots of ornaments.
But I hoped it would also help me.
Perhaps make me feel a little better about all this holiday crapola.

Before I handed the ornaments to Mr. X, I looked at them.
And let the memories flood over me.
Good and bad.

My music note ornament from high school.
The ornament my friend Andrea gave me one of the last Christmases she was in the country.
A wooden miniature bird house from an older widower I met on a plane the year my friend Andrea got married.
My superman and wonder woman ornaments from my dear friend Courtney.
Joanne and Javier's wedding favor ornament.
Lots of happy memories.

The bride and groom fish ornaments.
They are held together with magnets to look like they are kissing.
The "brother" ornament.
The "Dream" ornament with his name and the year on it.
I put them in a bag.
Back in the Christmas box.
I figure out what to do with them later.

Ornaments that scream Roger.
Dr. Seuss.
Frosty the Snowman.
I let those be hung on the tree.

After Christmas 2007, Roger and I bought stocking holders to hang in the archway dividing our family room and dining room.
The kind that are super heavy and sit on a shelf so we would not have to put holes in our walls.
We bought several of them.
One for each of us. A few for possible visitors.
Never used.
Still not.
It is silly for me to hang up just one lonely stocking.
Why would I?
To mock me.
To show me how little my family unit has become.
They will stay in the box for now.
Along with Roger's stocking.
For now.

But I did it.
I put up my tree.
I was flooded.
But it is there.
It is all there.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Holiday Stuff, Part 3 (?)

Last year was so "easy" during the holidays.
I remember being shocked.
I did not even cry on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
I felt fine.

This year... it is not so easy.
It is hard.
And it sucks.

I cannot get away from holiday stuff.
It is on sitcoms.
It is on the radio.
It is on the news.
Gift ideas.
Christmas trees.
Christmas lights.

Last night I watched "Grey's Anatomy".
I love that show.
It is one of my favorites.
But it put me over the edge last night.
There was a brain dead kid.
They were using him for a heart transplant.
I lost it.
And I cried for the next hour and half.

I miss Roger so much.
I just want things to be different.
I want him to be here.
I want to set up our tree together.
I want to decorate together.
But I do not want to do it alone.
Or with others.
I want Roger!

And I get why Christmas season is when people commit suicide.
I am not suicidal.
Let me repeat, I am not suicidal.
I just get it.
I get how Christmas, happiness, gifts, family, love, blah, blah, blah, can be overwhelming.
Especially when the grief monster is around the corner.
Especially when I am constantly reminded of my loss.

I do not skip school but this morning I could not function.
I woke up.
Took a shower.
And then crawled back into bed.
My eyes are way too puffy.
I am way too emotionally drained.
I would stay in bed if I could.
But alas I cannot.

I must keep going.
And wait for these holidays to pass.
I just need to get to January and ignore that February will be around the corner.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Ring, Again

Over a month ago, I took my ring to be cleaned.
I am 99% sure my ring was fine when I handed it over.
When the jewelry store woman returned it to me, she made the comment, "Nice design. I love the smiley face."
"Thanks. What smiley face? I've never noticed a smiley face."
To my horror, one of my wedding band diamonds encircling my engagement diamond was missing.
I was shocked.
I know it was there five minutes before.
Jewelry store woman said it was like that when I gave it to her.
But thanks to a warranty on the ring and the diamonds, it would be replaced.
Yeah, replaced with a non-wedding band diamond.
Replaced with a diamond that has no sentimental value.
I tried explaining this to the jewelry store woman.
I do not think she really cared.
But yes, I wanted it replaced.
And it was.
But I lost one of the wedding band diamonds.
It was not just the monetary value I lost, it was more.
I was upset to say the least.

Now, I am scared to wear it.
Great... just great.

Another weird thing is when I do wear it, people have been noticing it.
And commenting.
Mostly just "nice ring" or "pretty ring" is what I hear.
And I mostly just say "Thanks" and keep moving especially with people I am never likely to see again like a cashier but also lately I have also been divulging information about the ring to classmates.
I guess I am kind of proud of it (?).
Of what it represents.
Of how I had a huge part in what it looks like.
But I before I just jump into "Oh, this is my engagement ring and wedding ring combined. See, my husband died and I wanted to keep wearing the ring but just not 'the' ring" I sort of pause but sort of not.
I try to judge if the person can handle hearing this story but only as I start to tell it.
The story almost falls automatically out of my mouth and then I hear the words coming out of my mouth and feel guilty and I want to stop.
But I cannot.
I stumble over each next word.
"Crap, now what will this person think?"
"Great, where will this go next?"

I should just say "Thanks" and keep moving.
I really should stop freaking people out.
What is this newish need to divulge again?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Holiday Stuff

I am about 80% sure what I want to do for Christmas.
At least for today.
I am like a pendulum swinging on this one thing.
I am still seriously debating finding a quarter to flip to completely make the decision.
Two out of three should be sufficient I think.
But I am also afraid of what will happen if I go against the coins.
Like they will be angry if I go against what they "determine".
The pro/con list method is not working either.
I am too afraid I will make the decision and I will need something different the actual day.
And both of these options are not something I can change my mind about easily.

The thing that pisses me off is that these decisions were already made.
We had a plan.
We had a fucking plan.
We discussed our holiday plans in our pre-marital counseling.
It was part of the program to discuss before our marriage.
Thanksgiving would be at our house (which we only had two together, one in the old house and one in this house).
We would invite both our families and friends.
I could use my new roasting pan.
For now/then, we would do Christmas in Miami.
We would make a trip to Virginia to visit my family when we could.
Roger was a bit afraid he may freeze if we went in December.
Which he did freeze in May during our trip.
New Years Eve would be up in the air.
Probably in Orlando.
We would find a friend's party to attend.
Everything was set.
It was a good plan.
Our plan.

I hate that these plans are in shreds.
I do not want to remake these decisions.
I hate that I have to remake these decisions.

Last year, I hid from my holiday life with Roger.
Thanksgiving was spent with my friend Cecilia.
Christmas with my friend Elizabeth and her family.
Things I had done before Roger existed in my life.
Familiar things but no memories associated with Roger.
I could pretend Roger was just missing for whatever reason.
I could pretend he was not dead.
He was just on a separate visit to his family or friends.
Man, I wish.

This year I am going to slightly acknowledge the holidays.
But only slightly.
Warm back up to the holiday thing.

At least I have a "solid" plan for Thanksgiving.
I am going to Miami for Thanksgiving to spend the weekend with Roger's family.
I am slightly excited to see them.
But I am nervous.
Celebrating without him.
This Thanksgiving will be similar yet different than our plan.

But then... then there is Christmas.
Already not my favorite holiday before all this.
Already a stressful month for me.
I am having trouble figuring out what I want.
Where do I want to be?
And I have options.
I have lots of people presenting options to me.
But I am debating between two.
I just have no idea what will be best for me.
What will I want on the actual day?

Right now, I would prefer to just close all the blinds.
Lock all the doors.
And stay in bed.
No shower.
No makeup.
I do not want to do Christmas really.

But I made promises.
First, I promised my mom I would acknowledge the day.
So I pulled down the Christmas decor from the attic.
Now the crap is mocking me from the garage.
Ours. Mine. And his.
His stocking.
His manger scene.
His ornaments.
I need to sort through it.
Something I skipped last year.
But I will put some of it up.

Last year, I refused to decorate.
I had two ornaments hung to a bulletin board.
A friend of mine had given them to me during Christmas last year.
They were the only things to indicate that Christmas was in the air.

The second promise I made to my mother is that I will not wake up alone in my house.
Or alone in any house.
This is the harder promise for me.
If left up to my own devices, being alone would be the option I would choose.
But I won't.
I made a promise.
I just cannot go to Miami.
It is too close to the old way.
The way things are suppose to be.
Not this year.
Not yet.

I hate Hate HATE having to remake these decisions.
They were made.
Our plan was made.
And here I am making it alone.

Where is that quarter?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Paranoia #459

Paranoia comes in a lot of forms for me.
I encounter it a lot while driving.
I guess that one is obvious.

And one that keeps bothering me in the last few days.
One that has been consuming some brain power...
What if my friends do not like Mr. X?
What if they are too scared to tell me?
Maybe they do not want to hurt me?
Perhaps they see that I am happy and do not want to disturb that?

It scares me a lot.
My friends are important to me.
And I want to be able to have both my friends and Mr. X.
To be able to hang out together.
To plan dinners together.
Game nights.
Beach days.
I do not want my friends to stop hanging out with me because of a guy.
And sometimes I think they are already doing this (thus the title of this blog).

I wonder if they would ever say something.
I wonder if they would see something I do not (not necessarily Mr. X but anyone).
I wonder if they would let me marry someone who they do not believe is the right person.

Just more of my paranoia...
More effects of the grief monster.
He has many disguises that do not disappear just because a year has gone by.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One Day...

A fellow blogger and friend wrote me an email the other day about the post regarding Roger's tears at our wedding.
And she hit the nail on the head.
I am thinking a lot about my next wedding.
I actually had a nightmare a few nights ago.
Not that I am anywhere close to having another wedding.
But... I cannot help but think.
To think what if.
To wonder what it will be like.
To dream.
To have nightmares.
To plan, again.

As long as the man is worthy, I will marry again.
I want to marry again.
I want to wear the dress.
Walk down the aisle.
Eat the cake.
Dance the night away.
Be married.

But... I know it will be hard.
I know the planning will remind me.
The first time I planned a wedding.
The first time I picked flowers.
A dress.
A place.

I know that this new person will have to be heavily involved.
I had my day.
I had pretty much everything I wanted.

I dread the influx of memories.
I know they will be there.
I know the grief monster will be there.
I do not know how I will be able to not think about Roger.
About our day.
About our marriage.
I know there will be lots of tears.

I also wonder if anyone will be brave enough to say something.
Either privately or publicly.
Will someone mention him?
Will someone be brave enough to say something to me?
Will someone remember him?
I kind of hope so.
At least that is what I hope now.
I hope that I will not be the only one remembering him.
Thinking of him.

I also know that I will be a mess on the sixth month anniversary.
The one year anniversary.
And especially on August 22nd.
August 28th.
February 23rd.

Luckily, I am not crossing these bridges today or tomorrow.
Or even next week.
I have time.
At least I think I have time...

One day...

Friday, November 13, 2009


This is a side note to today's previous post:

One person mentioned to me one time before the accident I should be careful because God may take all of this away from me.
I was not a gloating person.
I would not have boasted at the reunion.
If anything, I would not have said much at all.
I would have just been me.
I would have been happy.

And uhmm, I am sorry but I cannot believe that for one minute.
I was not ungrateful or undeserving.
I went through a lot of crap in my life.
Why should I always suffer?
Why should I always get the shit end of the stick?
If God is my father then why would a father do this to his child.
Sorry... I really do not think God works that way...
Yeah... a bit of a tangent that still burns me.

I am sure that person never thought I would lose my husband.
But still...
I cannot believe God is like that.

I Didn't...

As many know, the day of the accident, Roger and I were on our way to the airport.
We were going to visit Virginia for my ten year high school reunion.
I was excited.
I was excited to say I was married and happy.
I was excited to say I had a good job with good money.
I was excited to say we had a nice house.
I was excited to see people I had not seen in nine to ten years.

The night before we left, I went to bed early.
I was tired from work and I wanted to be well rested for our trip.
Roger stayed up for a little while.
He was gearing up his iPod.
Downloading songs. Navigating all the features.
I had given it to him on his birthday.
He had not used it yet.
He never used it.

I remember when he came to bed.
I smiled at him.
I was very sleepy.
I rolled over to my side of the bed and went to sleep.
I didn't snuggle with him.

Like most couples, we would snuggle before we went to sleep.
Only for about five to ten minutes.
Then one or both of us would roll over to our respective sides and then go to sleep.

But that night.
I didn't.
We had a million other nights ahead of us.
Something Roger had reminded me of continuously through a relationship.
"It is okay if we do not to , we have time dear."
"Yes dear."

But we didn't have time.
At most we had around 1,000 potential nights together.
And on this last night, I didn't snuggle with him.

It really bothers me.
I have to continuously tell myself that I didn't know.
I did not know it would be the last night.
But it does not help that feeling.
The feeling that I missed an opportunity.
Among so many...

I didn't.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

He Cried

For the last couple of days, I have been stuck thinking about our wedding.
And one moment in particular that keeps coming back to me over and over.

Roger's father died three and half years before I met Roger.
From a car accident ironically.
Six years before our wedding.
Six and half years before Roger was murdered by a stupid driver.

From everything anyone has ever told me, Roger's dad was an amazing guy.
I wish I could have met him.
I wish I could have known him.

Roger loved his dad.
He admired him.
He talked about him often.
And he missed him.
A lot.

For Christmas before our wedding, I gave Roger cufflinks with a locket feature.
I took a picture of Roger's dad and put it inside of each.
Roger's dad may not have been able to be physically present at our wedding, but he at least would be by Roger's sides.
Roger did not react much when I gave him the cufflinks.
It seemed my gift was a dud.
I was a little disappointed in my gift giving ability.

On our wedding day, Roger wore his dad's watch.
It did not work.
But Roger wore it anyway.
He also wore my gift.
Roger asked our wedding photographer to take pictures of him wearing the watch and of the cufflinks.
So he did like the cufflinks.
He was showing them off even.

I knew Roger felt the missing part of his day.
But he did not mention it.
I could feel it.
I felt saddened Roger's father was not there.
The most important day of his life and his father was not there in a physical sense.

Then came the best man's toast.
A toast to the missing man.
Roger started to cry (as did most of the guests).
And there was nothing I could do but rub his leg.
I was trying to be the best wife I could.
Everyone raised their glass.
Roger raised his Heineken, his father's favorite drink.

He cried.
Only the second time I ever saw him cry.
Once happy.
Once sad.

This moment runs through my head a lot lately.
Almost two years later and I cry when I think of his tears.
How he cried.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Run Run Run Away

In counseling, I discovered mindfulness.
A concept Roger had tried to teach me for the entire three years we were together.
I practiced it in the car.
While falling asleep.
In the shower.
And mostly, while running.

When I was running, I would notice the wind.
Describe the wind to myself.
I would notice all the noises.
The dogs barking, the cars driving by, the A/C turning on, the children playing, and some garage door opening.
I would try to describe each particular sound as scientifically as possible.
I would try to notice each and every sound.

When I was running, I would try to feel.
Feel my feet hitting the ground, the wind on my face, my heart rate, the temperature.
I would describe each feeling to myself.

It was a way to calm me.
A way to focus.
A way to de-stress.
An added benefit was exercise.
And weight-loss.

Then in July, I came crashing down.
I fell down a set of steps.
I sprained my ankle.
Severely sprained.

I could not run.
During one of the (many) hardest months, August, I did not have my running.
My one sure way to de-stress.

Four months later, I am in a cast.
For at least a month, maybe three.
It seems my ankle was healing incorrectly.
The pain and swelling I continued to have was not normal like I wanted to believe.
And with the encouragement of my friends and family (READ: forced), I was finally treated right before Halloween.

Again, I am having another really tough time as the holidays approach.
And I cannot de-stress in the way I enjoy.
I have gained five pounds since July as well.
A bit of depression has settled in around me.

I just want to run.
I want to run away from all of this.
And I can't.
I am stuck.
Waiting to heal.
Waiting to heal.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


When I was a little girl, Thanksgiving was celebrated at my grandparents house.
Then my grandparents started to die off.
And so did Thanksgiving traditions.

Then I moved away, and Thanksgiving had even less tradition for me.
I celebrated with various people through the years.
Chicago, New York, Orlando.
But I rarely went back home.

When Roger and I started officially dated, it was only a few weeks before Thanksgiving.
Although we called each other, I celebrated with an old friend from New York and her family in West Florida.
Roger celebrated with his sister and mom here in Orlando.

That was their tradition.
His mom and sister would travel to Orlando.
Roger would make the turkey.
Other people from his family would come to his house.
He was the tradition for Thanksgiving.

By the following Thanksgiving, we were engaged.
Roger cooked the turkey.
I helped with the sides.
I was excited.
It was time for a new tradition.
Thanksgiving was ours.
I was happy.
It felt perfect.

The following year, Thanksgiving 2007, I bought the roasting pan for the turkey.
I convinced Roger it was a good investment.
Instead of buying the disposable aluminum turkey pans, we would have a real pan.
It was on sale and in seven to eight Thanksgivings it would have paid for itself.
We were being green.

We had his cousin and his wife over for Thanksgiving.
And their four girls.
And Roger's sister and his mom.
And Roger and me.
In the new house.
Roger's mom prayed for little pitter patter of feet.
Not just of the cats.

But Thanksgiving is not at my house anymore.
Not last year.
Not this year.
The pan was used just the one time.
One fucking time.
No one comes to my house for Thanksgiving anymore.

I had a Thanksgiving tradition.
Now I am back to being a nomad.
Trying to figure out where I will be for this holiday.
Or the next.
Trying to find my place again.
I feel tradition-less again.


Friday, November 6, 2009

In the Wee Hours of the Night

When I am alone,
I cry.
The tears just fall.
The memories flood.

I cry just to cry.
It is like all the feelings I have been distracted from bubble up.
Deep from within me.

And sometimes I cannot stop it.
Like last night and into today.

But I do not want to call anyone.
I do not want to be with anyone.
I do not want to show anyone.

I just want to release these feelings.
Get them out of my body.

And then I find myself just awake.
In a way, I do not want to go to sleep.
I do not even fathom going to sleep until my eyes will not stay open anymore.
Until exhaustion has completely set in.
Then I go to my bed and just collapse.

I won't even wash my face.
Or brush my teeth.
Just collapse.
Snuggle under the covers.
Burrow into my pillow.
And cry.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Daddy's Little Boy"

Two of my good friends are having a baby.
A baby boy.
I am very happy for them.
I am very excited for them.
This is a planned child and I know they will be exceptional parents.

Because I care about both of them.
I wanted to plan a shower for the mother-to-be.
I felt like after all they had done for me in the last year, I wanted to give back.
The shower is on Sunday so I am in the last minute throws of party planning.

Today I was shopping for my actual shower gift.
I printed out the registry.
Made my way to the baby section.
Navigated through all the baby stuff to the actual gift item on the registry.
But of course I wanted to add some cute outfits for the new baby boy.

And of course, I almost had a meltdown.
A cute blue onesie.
"Daddy's Little Boy."
Tears started to form.
I started to get flustered.

I have been thinking about it all evening.
I know, I know, I know that this can still be a possibility for me.
But it will never be a possibility for Roger.
It will never be a possibility for Roger and me.

Yes, we were not really planning on having kids.
Both of us were heavily leaning toward no.
But I cannot get over his journal.
The one where he wrote about a dream he had.
And how he wrote, "I hope I am a great father someday."

Not that we had time.
We were only married six months.
Six months...

I know he would have been an amazing dad.
And he truly would have had a "Daddy's Little Boy" t-shirt or maybe even "Daddy's Little Princess."