Monday, December 26, 2011

A Different Kind of Grief

I always think holidays are going to get better.
And in ways they do.
Of course, thoughts of Roger increase this time of year.
Missing him increases.
Especially with a new year approaching. A different year number.
It is quite a concrete reminder of exactly how far away Roger's physical existence is in my life.

And this year I have some new types of grief.
Like the loss of friends.

And I keep thinking about the loss of this particular "best friend".
Like always, hindsight is 20/20.
I keep slapping myself for being so naive.
So gullible. So believing. So stupid.
I should have seen it coming.
I should have seen the red flags over the last year.

We were supposed to be pregnant together.
And as your "best friend" you did not tell me when you changed your mind.
As someone who spent afternoons at your house sharing my life and trying to be the best friend I could be, you waited to tell me in a group of people that you were more than three months along.
And although I was very excited and happy for you, after a little digestion of the new information I kept thinking of how it should have been me.
If Roger had not died.
I did not know I would have this reaction.
I did not even see it coming till it was sitting on my lap in a group of eight people and I swallowed my grief for you.
But you said you knew my reaction would happen.
A best friend would have told me alone.
On one of the countless afternoons at your house.
But you didn't.

You were the one who gave me the title of best friend.
Yet not a single picture of you and me in your house.
Red f-ing flag.

The next red flag was at my graduation party.
My emotions were running high.  I needed you.
I graduated.
In the same room as Roger.
Because Roger died.
Because I could afford to go to school full time.
Because Roger was not there.
You offered your help.
I accepted. Stupid me.
Then you came five minutes before other guests.
Without helping at all.
You barely even spoke with me.
But again I forgave you.
I was the fool once more.

Giving you all I could for your baby shower.
The cake you wanted.
Driving four hours to be with you.
To celebrate you.
And trying to shower you with gifts to show how much I cared.
Stupid, stupid me.

Red flag again when picking out dresses for my wedding.
You could not leave me fast enough.
And when I mentioned coming to help you in your nursery.
I sensed the hostility.
But I ignored it.
Ignored the red flag flying in my face.
I ignored the sirens going off in my head.

Then to find out you did not want me at the hospital when your baby was born.
Or when complications arose.
To find out in a mass email message when others knew the day before.
What a shock to the system.

Then the email came.
All the hurtful things that were said to me.
To know that I was not loved.

What a fool I am.
What a stupid fool I am.
No more. No more.
But I still grieve.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


This Christmas was going to be the first.
The first time I (and Mr. X) went to Miami for Christmas since Roger's death.
The first time we were going to spend this holiday with Roger's family.
I was excited.
I was nervous.
I was looking forward to it.

I remember the Tuesday when the doctor wanted to speak to me in person.
The day when he told me all bets were off.
Roger was done.
"This is as good as it will get."
A million thoughts were running through my head.
And one big thought: I was going to lose Roger's family.
First, they would hate me.
Because of course this was all my fault. 
Second, they would leave me.
This wonderful gift of family that Roger had given to me was going to disappear.
But I was reassured.
I was told that would never happen.
"You will always be my prima."
"My niece, Star."
And I believed it.
Those who loved me before would love me still.
I believed it with my entire being.

In some ways, it is true.
Some of the family is still my family.
Like I feel so connected to Grace.
She is truly a big sister to me.
I can talk to her about anything.
I cannot imagine my life without her in it.
And sometimes, for a tiny, minuscule split second, I forget how we are connected.
How we both miss him.
How things would have been.

And in other ways, I feel the pulling.
Especially now that I am getting married again.
With June fast approaching.
Family that barely says anything to me when I am in the room.
Family that visits Orlando without even a peep. 
Family who will not even consider coming to my wedding to Mr. X.

So Gizmo's health this holiday season dictated that we would not go to Miami for Christmas.
We fear the stress of leaving her may hurt her kidneys more.
And I can almost feel the relief of some.
To know the Gringa will not be there.

Do they think I do not think of Roger daily?
That I have forgotten?
That because I am getting married I am over it all?
That I did not love him?
That I do not love him still?
That I cannot talk of Roger?
That they cannot talk of Roger?

What would Roger think of you all now?   

Monday, December 19, 2011

Our Song

I was about to get out of the car.
The door already open.
I was about to enter the overly commercialized world of Christmas.
Then there it was.
Our song.
"Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol.

So I stopped.
I closed the door.
Closed my eyes.
And sat.

Our memories floated through my mind.
Your last birthday.
Your last birthday cake.
Our non-date at Pleasure Island.
One of our first real dates at Bahama Breeze.
Our trip to NYC.
Our wedding day.
Our first dance.
Your last breaths.

Your excitement.
Your laugh.
Your patience. 
Your smile.

The song ended.
I wiped the tears from face.
Exited the car.
And entered back into the world.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

My Gizmo

Oh my Gizmo.
In the last few weeks, she had been super vocal.
Coming to the bedroom door in the early morning and begging to be let in.
Neither cat has done this in years.
Gizmo started following me absolutely everywhere. 
She wanted to be next to me all the time.

I knew something was wrong.
But I didn't want to know.
Not now.
Not as the one year mark of my dad's death approaches.
Not near Christmas.
Not ever.

But my poor Gizmo may have some kidney issues.
We must give her IV fluids for the weekend.
Then we will go back to the vet on Monday.

My cats have been with me through so much.
I do not even want to imagine my life without them.
Please be okay my Gizmo.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Maybe it is the time of year.
All the holidays and memories.
Or lack there of.

Maybe it is the fact I drove to Miami.
By myself.

Maybe it is job stress.
Friend stress.
Wedding stress.
Second job stress.

But you have been on my mind.
I love looking at old pictures of you.
The ones of you before I met you.
Of you as a child.

Driving to work this week, I had disbelief battles again.
You didn't really die.
Just can't be real.
I saw you die but it just cannot have happened.
To you.
To me.
To us.
To everything.

I so miss you.
I wish I could talk to you.
I wish I could hear your voice.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Grief Monster Winter 2011

I do not even know where to start.
I do not want to even go into everything.
So I won't.
But as I posted on facebook this morning, the grief monster has been back.
Now, this time he did not come alone.
He brought big scary accomplices like Paranoia.

During my life, I have said goodbye many times.
When in elementary school, pretty much the moment I considered someone my best friend, they'd move.
It happened over and over again. 
It almost felt like a guarantee.  

While consulting, it was pretty much a way of life.
I would spend six to eight months living in a city Monday through Thursday.
Only to be moved to a completely new location with new team, new clients, and new city.
It was fun to say the least but it was always sad to leave and say the dreaded goodbye.
Yes, people would say, "We'll keep in touch."
But for most, it was just another required statement with no backing.

So I learned to live in the moment.
I learned to almost keep myself at a distance.
I learned to say goodbye easily.

In 2005, I decided I was done with that non-static lifestyle.
I wanted real relationships.
I wanted a semi-normal routine.
I wanted a home and community.
So I moved back to Orlando.
One of my favorite cities to be in.

Three weeks ago grief and his friends made me scared and stressed.
Two weeks ago he made me paranoid about people I called friends shaking some of the very foundations of me.
And then last week made me nauseous with the loss of friendships.
A different sort of grief but similar feelings nonetheless.
Grief tried to make me doubt myself.
It dug deep into old wounds to reach fresh blood.  

In the last week or so, I have had trumpeters telling me all the positive things I am.
I am thankful for those who believe in me.
Thankful for those new and old friendships who have and are trying to defeat the voices of grief, paranoia, and non-truths.  
I will prevail.
I will be better for it all.
I will say goodbye.
And when the dust settles I will know the truth.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Never Ever

Never ever put me in a black box.
Never in a long black car.
Never ever ever buried underground.
I just cannot stand the thought.

Put me in the ocean.
Spread me over the land.
Keep me free.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

September 11th

This post has been in my head for a while but time, energy, etc.

It has been (over) ten years since that day.
I did not lose someone specifically.
I did not even live in NYC at the time.
But of course I will never forget.
Who can.

When I moved to New York City in June 2002, it was one of the first places I visited.
After work one day, I walked thirty blocks to see it.
And I cried.
It was turning into a place people could and would make money.
T-shirts. Books. Photos. Food carts.
It was disgusting.

But over the last ten days or so, that is not what made me cry.
I am not super patriotic.
I do not believe this is the best country in the world.
Far from it.
Lots of places I have been are pretty awesome.
I almost moved to Sweden at one point.

But everywhere I went people talked about the men and women who sacrificed their life that day.
At the UCF football game, (almost) everyone wore a red banana in honor of one such man.  
At school, the firefighters and police were mentioned.  
On TV.
How people died so others could live.

And I know Roger did not decidedly die for me.
And I know he did not "save me" in the car accident. 
But he did.
In ways.
He gave me family that I had not experienced since I was a little girl.
He gave me the opportunity to meet my goal to finishing my degree.
A job that I am adoring.
A community, finally after searching for years.
And a believe that marriage could be a good thing.

Sigh... And I thought September would be easier.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

How to be Happy

At my old job, I worked with this lady that would have me in stitches.
She has a good ol' Southern Tennessee twang.
She would tell it as it is.
And she would be funny about it.

Way before I met her though.
Probably 10-15 years before I met her.
She lost her son.
A small child.
To cancer.

And I remember watching her.
Feeling so sorry for her.
How can she be happy?
How can she crack jokes?
How can she smile at other children?
Just how?

But now I get it.
You never forget.
And I am sure there are days.
And moments.
And maybe even months.
But the loss scars over eventually.

For some reason, September has been harder than I imagined.
But there are days were the loss is just a scar.
And I can smile, crack jokes, and be happy.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Where is the switch?

I just wish there was a switch.
An on/off switch.
It has been stuck on for so long.
I wish I could stop missing you.
Just to take a break.
Just for a moment.
It is taxing.
It is emotionally expensive.

At least it is September.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Teaching is hard.
So very hard to deal with so many personalities and needs.
And exhausting.
And killing my feet and hamstrings.
And teaching, as many know, does not pay well.
Yes, we have summers off but we do not get paid for summer.
Nor do we get paid more than 7.5 hours per day.
I do not know any teacher who only works 7.5 hours per day.
I do not understand how you could only work 7.5 hours per day.
I am working ten to twelve hours a day and at least five or six over the weekend.
I spent two weeks before school even started with help cleaning and organizing my room without pay.
Some nights I do not sleep as I find myself trying to run through the day.

But here is the amazing thing.
Truly amazing.
I am enjoying myself.
I am happy.
I love the other teachers I work with.
My principal is so kind as well as the other administration.
The students are mostly good kids.

I feel part of something bigger.
Like I am making a difference.

I look around my classroom and think:
"This is my classroom. These are my students."

And I got a wonderful compliment.
Someone asked/commented "You are a new teacher?"
"You really know what you are doing."
And for the most part, I do feel like I am doing well.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Recycle. Repurpose. Reuse.

Some of my friends have given me the nickname "recycling enthusiast".
I fully try to embrace the three R's.
Recycle. Repurpose. Reuse.
School has only been in session for one full week and two of my paper recycling bins are almost full.

One of the many things I reuse is manilla folders.
Just flip them inside out and they are as good as new.
And like other teachers, I have used some of my own things from home to stock my classroom.
One such manilla folder is on my desk.
At the back of my standing file holder.

Thursday evening as I was working after the children had left.
I walked from the back of the classroom toward my desk.
Probably after dropping paper in the recycling bin.
There I saw it.
My heart skipped a beat.
I paused.

The back of the manilla folder stared at me.
Two simple words.
Capital One.
It was not the words that stopped me.
It was the handwriting.
Not my handwriting.
Not Mr. X's.
But Roger's.

Handwriting is a funny thing.
It is evidence you did exist.
You are not part of my imagination.
You are not part of some dream that never happened.
Such a simple reminder.

And the cool thing.
You are there.
In my classroom.
With me.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Most people think that New Yorkers are cold, rude, and there is no sense of community there.
I would disagree completely.
While I lived there, I had community.
A very nice one.
The Greek diner for Sunday morning breakfast.
The dinner across the street from my office who knew my order by my face.
Butter roll with sweet-n-light coffee.
My neighbors who always said hello.
Even letting me hang out in their home when I locked myself out.

When I moved in with Roger in the other house, his neighbors barely waved at us.
I craved community.
I wanted people to say hi to me.
Borrow sugar.
And then I discovered the neighborhood I live in now.
I was excited when I first found it.
The grocery store is in walking distance.
There is a bakery locally owned.
Loads of small businesses.
My neighborhood has outdoor movie nights once a month.
Festivals for every sort of event.
Yet, my neighbors ignored me.
Most people on the street or in the grocery store will not even make eye contact.
Even the few people I have met who do live near me, do not really try to be friends.
Especially since I do not have kids.
I was disappointed once more.

Today I realized something.
The school I will be working in is in my neighborhood.
Some of my fellow teachers live in my neighborhood.
They are friendly.
And as much as I hesitated to take a job within my neighborhood.
I will get my craving.
I will have my sense of community.
I will be part of something big.
Part of a "village".

All because three years ago.
Three years ago and I am here.
Living in a community.
Working in a community.
I love it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Never Nervous

Last night Kevin and I were watching Next Food Network Star finale.  
It is one of my guilty pleasures and one of the only reality TV shows I watch.
Mr. X and I watch it together as I got him into it as well.  
One of the finalist talked about her father.
Tears came to her eyes.
She talked about how he was always so calm.
He never got nervous but just with through life with a positive attitude.
He has passed away in the last few years.

Tears immediately starting flowing.
Mr. X was like "Why are you crying?"
For my dad, no.
For missing Roger.  
He was always calm no matter what the situation.
And I loved that about him.
When buying our house, calm as a cucumber.
The day before the wedding, cool and collected.
Nothing seemed to rock him.
I asked once if he ever got nervous or anxious.
"Nope, not really.  I have already ran through all the possibilities and the worse case scenario."

Last night as I prepared for my first day of pre-planning, my nerves were become more and more apparent.
My attention span became shorter.
I could not sit still.
My anxiety was elevating.
My heart was starting to race.
Would my coworkers like me?
Would they be helpful?
Can I really do this job?

Why could I not be like Roger?
Even though I have looked at all the possibilities.
That does not reassure me.
That actually makes my brain go into overdrive trying to solve all of the scenarios.

But thankfully today went well.
I am happy with the decision to work at this school.  
And I am loving my coworkers.  

Monday, August 8, 2011

Yesterday, August 7th

Yesterday was horrid.
It has been a long time since I felt so crappy on an important day.
This one snuck up on me.
I did not know it would be such a big deal to me but it was.
And sadly, I felt so alone.
So friendless.

It felt like everyone, except for Roger's family and me, forgot.
My phone did not ring.
No text messages.
No offers to come by.
Not even emails until I expressed how sad I was.

I cannot predict my grief.
But yesterday was horrid.
And disappointing.

Mr. X tried to deal with the ball of emotion that was me.
He tried to hug me.
Tears just sat on the verge of falling all day.
Maybe they think Mr. X can handle it.
Maybe they think it has been three years and I should get over it.
Some may say it is not even a big deal.

Everyone else went on with their life yesterday.
I stayed inside most of the day except for the brief stent to the grocery store to buy cake making supplies.
My body felt so heavy.
Napped when I could not handle it anymore.

As promised, I made Roger a cake.
With layers.
It was not very pretty but it was done.
And it is yummy.

Friday, August 5, 2011

"Always With You"

Like most people, Mr. X likes Harry Potter.
Both the books and the movie.
I, unlike most people, have never read the books.
Years ago, I watched the first and second movies but fell asleep during the second movie.
I have gone to Harry Potter land here in Orlando but mostly for Mr. X.

A friend of ours was hosting a Harry Potter night last weekend.
He was showing part I of the last movie at his home and then we were going to go see part II at a theatre.  
Now, I was mostly doing this for Mr. X.
And to have social time since I do not see this friend too often.

I was a bit nervous.
Would I be completely lost seeing the end of the series and not the middle?
However, the movie was done well enough that I could keep up relatively well.
Not to mention, I have heard many people talk about it enough times that I know a general idea of what has happened.

I did not expect for grief to come into play.
Yes, I had an idea that Harry died or something.
Yes, lots of other people had died too.
But lots people die in lots of movies.
That is not what got me.
What got me was his mother.

I used to tease Roger when we were not together for whatever reason.
As we were talking online or on the phone, I would say something like: 
"How do you know? You aren't here."
He had the same reply every time.
"I am always with you."
Sometimes he would follow up, "I just have to close my eyes and there you are."

Harry Potter's mother said something similar to him near the end after he died.
Something like:
"I will always be with you.  I have always been."
I started to cry.
Thank God for dark theatres.
It makes me tear up even now.

I am not sure if I truly believe Roger is always with me now.
It is hard for me to digest since I cannot always feel him.
And sometimes I wonder if I am making it up in my head when I do.  
But sometimes it does make me feel better.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Well, despite my best efforts and crankiness.
Despite all my wishing it would not happen.
August is here.

This August is even a bigger deal for me.
On Sunday, Roger would be thirty-seven.
Thirty-seven years old!
It is so hard to fathom him so old.
Ironically, since he will never be actually.
I could not believe he was thirty-four when he died.
I wonder what he would look like now.
My plan for Sunday is to bake a cake for him.
With layers.
And probably chocolate.

Although I have been working like mad in my own classroom,
I am not officially employed until August 15th.
And I have been mostly unemployed since August of 2008.
Three years of not really having a boss, except for me.
Being only responsible to myself to go to school and do my best [4.0 GPA with three certifications might I add].
To create my own photography business.
But now I will have many bosses, responsibilities, and obligations.
I am nervous.
Mr. X says I am stressed.
He is probably right.
I like being good at a job.
I like being perfect at a job.

Then, the 28th...
Three years since he left.
Since he fucking died and left me.
It is still hard for me to believe.
Still moments where I have to pinch myself.
And pinch Mr. X.
Moments where I cannot believe he actually died and did not just leave me.
Moments where I cannot believe I can feel happiness again.

Gladly, August is only thirty-one days.
Thirty-one long days.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Saturday night my heart almost stopped.
Mr. X and I were on our way to a friend's house to watch one of the Harry Potter movies.
We were on "the" road in a loaner car.
We had just passed the accident scene about five minutes before.
As we approached an on-ramp I saw quite a few cars needing to get onto the highway.
So I did what drivers are supposed to do.
I signaled.
I got into the left lane.

The SUV in the right lane just ahead of me decided to get into my lane.
No signal.
No looking.
Just over.
He was about a foot away from the passenger side door.
The side Mr. X was sitting.
I started honking my horn.
The driver started swerving all over the road.
I was torn between hitting my brakes even though there was a mini-van behind me.
Or driving off the side of the road.
Would I go across the median if I went off the road?
I had to slow down though or we were going to hit the SUV.
The van behind me thankfully saw the situation.
The driver went almost off the road as he saw my brake lights.
The SUV got back into the right lane.
And I tried to make sure not to lose control of the wheel.

It was all over in a matter of seconds.
No car hit another.
No one got hurt.
No one died.
But my heart was seriously racing.
In my mind, I could hear the crashing noise.
That unmistakable sound of metal bending and clashing.
And I was scared of losing Mr. X.

Mr. X offered to drive since I was shaken up.
He told me how well I did making quick decisions and handling the car.
Of course I did not take him up on the offer to drive.
No, I am strong.
I can do this.
But I used the excuse the car is a loaner.

I got away from the SUV as quickly as I could.
Unsafe drivers annoy me so much.
There is no way he looked before coming into my lane.
And no signal for a lane change on a major highway?!?

Please be aware when driving.
Please do not text and drive.
Be ten times more careful when you have other passengers in the car.
And obviously, do not drink and drive.
A car is such a heavy piece of equipment and can easily injure/kill others.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Veil

My veil from my first wedding was amazing!
I loved it so much.
One of my maids of honor made it custom.
On one of my trips to New York, we picked out all the materials.
I loved the soft tulle and lace along the edge.
It complimented my dress perfectly.
People still make comments on my veil.
The best part it only cost $57.

The veil currently lives in the Roger closet upstairs.
Every once in a while I pull it out.
Touch the soft fabric.
And then put it back in the bag.
I wish I could find someway to use it again.

When Mr. X and I got engaged, I started thinking about what veil I would choose.
No veil I could purchase would compare.
And the maid of honor who previously made my veil no longer lives in the US.
But I do not want another veil.
I do not need another veil.
I cannot imagine wearing a different veil.

Mr. X is super understanding.
He is awesome in so many ways.
But there are limits.
And limits I completely understand.
I asked Mr. X if I could re-wear my veil.
But he does not feel comfortable with that idea.
And I get it.

So for me.
This time I will not wear a veil.
And in a way, I see it as a symbol.
I have been unveiled.
I am not the innocent bride I once was.
I have lived the worst nightmare ever.
And I am a survivor of that nightmare.
Yes, the grief monster still lives in my closet and under my bed.
But I am not hiding.
I am not veiled.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Defending Roger

Roger's Diploma on the office wall (camera phone photo)*

I cannot remember when I took Roger's diploma off the wall in the office.
But at some point I moved it into the office closet.
I had a plan for it.
Not a great plan though according to Mr. X.

Roger's diploma was professionally framed.
It was fairly expensive.
So I thought once I received my own diploma I would open up the back and take Roger's out then put mine in.
About a month ago, I received my diploma and one afternoon I decided to implement my plan.
Mr. X was home.
I told him I was going to go frame my diploma.
He followed me into the office as I took Roger's diploma out of the closet.
"What are you doing?!?"
"I am going to put my diploma in this frame."
"No you are not.  That is Roger's diploma."
"Yes, I am going to take his out and put mine in."
"And then what?"
I was not sure.
Mr. X continued to push for Roger's rights.
"That was a big accomplishment for him.  You should not take it out of the frame.  What will you do with the actual piece of paper? Put it away in a closet? Look at it every five years?"
I really did not think that far in advance.
Mr. X continued...
"We should have it on the wall."
"But where?"
"In here.  In the upstairs bedroom. On a wall. But somewhere, not in a closet"
I asked, "What about my diploma?"
"Just spend the money and get it framed."

I started to tear up.
Mr. X was defending Roger.
Two of them against one of me.
So I gave in.
And agreed to take my diploma to Michael's to have it framed as well.
But then another thought...

"What about our kids?" I asked.
"What about them? They will know Roger. Would you not tell them about him?"
And Mr. X is right. It is not like my house is completely Roger-free.
There is a picture near our bedroom.
Roger's clock in our office.
A few pictures in the office.
More pictures in the workout room.
A trunk full of Roger related items upstairs in a closet.
So he is still here in ways.
And I am really not sure how or when I would tell my children about Roger.
When they ask?
Or as they visit Abuela's house?
And how do I explain death to them?
I guess we'll figure it out as we go but I could not help and think of how to explain this person Mommy was married to before Daddy.

Today I received my diploma back.
So on the wall it went.
And Mr. X hung Roger's as well.

*I purposefully blurred out Roger's formal name and inserted "Roger's name".

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Dress

Last time, I had my wedding dress within the first thirty days of being engaged.
And that was way early.
Roger and I were engaged for a total of sixteen months. 

Mr. X and I have been engaged for two and a half months.
I have walked into one bridal shop for about fifteen minutes.  
But I have not tried one dress on.

First, because I am scared of it.
I know I will feel like a bride for sure then.
It will truly sink in.
A bride.  Widow-ness in the shadows. 
Right now I feel like I am planning a party mostly.
And a tiny bit like a bride. 

Secondly, because I am not happy with my body.
I remember looking at my wedding photos to Roger on my first anniversary.
I was huge.
I did not feel huge then.
But once I went on the dead-husband diet, I was so skinny.
And I looked pretty hot and sexy. 
I was hot when Mr. X met me.
And although I am working on it with diet and exercise, I know I will not be where I want to be.
I do not feel hot.
I do not feel sexy.
I feel huge.
And I will be a huge bride again.
Which makes me sad.

So part of me wants to wait.
Wait on my body.
Wait on my spirit.
But then the planner part of me wants to check it off the list.
Even the online checklist is yelling at me to start shopping.

I partly want to go alone.
But I know I will regret that decision within about five minutes.
In my very brief walk into that one bridal store, I was trembling.
And I wanted my friend who was waiting with her daughter (no children were allowed) to be by my side.  

I know I have until September/October to do this.
But I also know my life will get super busy very, very soon.
I wish I could lift my confidence.
I think that would help me.
Confidence, please go up.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I am not sure if I have divulged some early things that happened on this blog.
If I have, it was a long time ago.
And perhaps newer readers have not read this or know this.
But I had/have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder aka PTSD.
I was diagnosed with depression, PTSD, and a good deal of survivor's guilt during counseling when Roger first died.
Mostly from the accident.
But from also watching Roger die.
And me not dying.

Now it is way, way better that it was in the beginning.
I still have nightmares.
And daymares.
I still have images stuck in my head that I will never be able to get rid of.
And I have exaggerated reactions to things that others may think are minor.
Such as when I had my accident a few weeks ago.
That frozen fear where I could not move and had irrational fear.
I still jump and get very angry when other cars get close to the car especially if I am not driving.
Sometimes I have to be reminded by others that the world is not ending. (Thank you, Holly & Candice!)
But it still comes out.
And from what I understand, it is something that will lessen but never go completely away.
But I can sleep most nights with or without an alarm on.  [Except this morning when I thought someone was breaking in even though logically I knew a burglar would not park in front of my house & would not set the alarm to their car.]
I can walk around the neighborhood alone.
And I can drive without too much fear most of the time. [Although I so try hard to schedule things where I have to drive during non-rush hours. Less cars, less chance of an accident.]

Today, while driving, I heard a lady describing PTSD to the host on NPR.
She described it so perfectly.
I am paraphrasing here but...
She said, "It is like having a black blanket thrown over your head.  You are paranoid of everything. You feel like there is a dark cloud overhead. Everything is going to go wrong and you cannot stop it.  You are out of control of your world.  There is a fog over you."
Now, I do not feel like that extreme most of the time.  But there are definitely days where I feel like people are against me.
Even my best friends.
Where I feel so out of control of my life, my emotions, and my everything.

Decisions can be so overwhelming for me.
That is not so new for me.
But now I fear what is behind my decisions.
I made a decision that accident day too.
I decided not to say anything about the route Roger was taking to the airport.
I decided to say something about his speed.
I decided when he was to die.
Now, what if I decide wrong?  What if my decision leads to disaster?
I do remind myself that most likely not, but sometimes that reasonable voice gets drowned out.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Top Tier

On Monday, Mr. X and I are meeting with our caterer to discuss the details of the wedding.
I am looking forward to this but there is one question...
The top tier of our cake.

Roger and I did not save ours.
Well, we intended to.
But that cake was damn good.
So we ate it before our honeymoon and when we got back.

And after he died,
And as I approached the my first wedding anniversary.
I thought about the what if.
What if we had not eaten our cake?
How long would have that tier stayed in my fridge?
Would I have eaten it alone?
Would I have thrown it out?
Would it still be there sitting three and half years later?
Haunting me?
There or not, it does still haunt me.

And now as Mr. X and I approach our wedding,
What will we do?
Eat it?
Save it?
Risk it?

And yes, my fear is, we will not make it to our first anniversary.
Not because of divorce.
Because of death striking one of us.
I have never had a wedding anniversary.
My marriage ended after only six months.
We did not even get to celebrate that.
The accident was the day before.

But do I risk it? Or eat it?
And if we eat the cake does that mean I do not have the faith we will make it?
Or that it is another fantastic cake?
But what if "it" happens again?
What if I get stuck with a top tier of cake in my fridge?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I Am Not Surprised

I am one of the few Central Floridians who has not kept up with the Casey Anthony case.
Or many one of the few Americans?
It has been on every news station in Orlando for three years.
Every newspaper.
Everywhere in our community for three very long years.
The whole fascination with the thing has annoyed me.
I just want the whole thing to go away.
To be done.

Perhaps there is some weird association with it being the same summer Roger died.
Actually I am pretty sure that is one of my disgusts with it.
I just want people to move on with it.
Personally I have been avoiding the whole obsession.
I have started to hide people who constantly update their status on facebook with the trial.
One friend even DVRs the trial coverage.
A few friends have given me a couple of updates here when I see them in person.

My response for the last few weeks... She is going to get away with it.
And guess what?
She did.

How did I know?
Because of my own experience with the court system.
Because I know it is never fair toward the victims.
I know that with enough money and enough lawyers people can get away with murder.
Murder of a child or murder of my husband.
I have been in that court house.
I have testified without any justice for Roger.
For me.
For us.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"We've Got Time"

I just watched "Moonlight Mile" for probably the third or fourth time.
The first time I watched it was way before Roger died.
And I have seen it since.
But I did not cry last time I watched it.
This time, I did.
A lot.
But I think I needed a good cry.

And for whatever reason it reminded me of when Roger and I first started dating.
I had just stopped my consulting job about a week before we met.
During consulting, I traveled Monday through Thursday every week.
So I had a life in whatever city I happened to be working in and a life at home.
Two very separate worlds in which I lived.
And it was hard to have friends.
To date.
To go to the dentist.
And to do many of the day-to-day activities.
So I would cram as much as I could into my weeekends.

When Roger and I first started dating, we saw each other at least one night of the weekend and about two nights during the week.
And I tried to cram as much into the time we were together as possible.
Roger kept saying, "We've got time. Just relax."
I was trying.

When he would go away for a weekend to visit his family in Miami or to a martial art event, I was sad.
More time away.
And yes, absence makes the heart grow fonder but I wanted to see him.
Spend time with him.
I was almost frantic to see him.
And Roger's response was always the same.
"We've got time. We have years."

But we didn't.
We didn't have much time at all.
We only had less than three years.
Just like the characters in the movie.
Two years and eleven months.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Small Accident

I knew the day would come.
I remember in my counseling saying "when" not "if" when I referred to car accidents.
I pray and hope I am never in a serious accident but as much as I am in my car, I knew that eventually.
One day.
I would have another accident.

This accident was very small, parking lot incident but I still felt a huge amount of fear.
I was backing out of a parking space.
It was drizzling.
A young girl got into her car and immediately began backing up.
She did not even look for me.
I honked my horn several times but nothing.
She just kept coming.
Later she stated she did not see me.
Perhaps because she did not look for me.
I kept thinking "This isn't happening."
"She is going to stop."
"I know she is going to stop as soon as she sees me.
I felt paralyzed.
I felt this crushing fear.
I knew we would not be hurt but I was still extremely frightened.  
She did not stop until she ran into the back of my car.
My three month old car.

She did damage my car.
Approximately $900 according to my insurance adjuster.

Now, I feel this fear of backing up.
And fear that another accident is just around the corner.
A worse one.
The week of the accident, I had a small fender bender in the rain.
A young girl ran into the back of my car.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Being Recognized

Yesterday Mr. X and I went to a food tasting for our caterer.
They are public group events where they put out about twenty different menu options to try.
While looking at table linen options, a girl approached me.
I had seen her when we first went in and noticed she stared at me.
My first thought was one of the readers of this blog recognized me as I tried to place how I knew her.
"I met you at Rusty's wedding. We sat at the same table."
I started to remember her.
At Rusty's wedding, I sat with one of Roger's old friends from martial arts club, Nathan, and this girl who was his girlfriend at the time.
She remembered Mr. X as well.
It was the first wedding we attended together.
She is no longer dating Roger's old friend but one of the instructors from the martial arts club.
The instructor insisted he was at my wedding to Roger.
I asked if he was sure.  I mean, I did do all the names for placecards and I have looked at the pictures a million times.
He was not at my wedding.  Roger did not even like this guy.
We did not invite him. And he was not anyone's plus one.  I knew all the plus ones.
No, I know where he was.
He was at Roger's funeral.
That I remember.
It was a shock he was there.
Those are mostly the people I remember at the funeral.

It was beyond weird to run into this girl.
And her new boyfriend.
Weird especially to be reminded of Roger's funeral at a wedding-to-Mr. X event.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Picking Out Vows

I have to say for the most part wedding planning is going very smoothly, knock on wood.
I am even enjoying myself.
We are getting the vendors we want.
All my bridesmaids said yes.
And things are shaping up fairly well.
Mr. X and I are getting quite a bit done before I head into the classroom in the fall.
The tricky parts are, of course, making it "our" wedding.
And making it a different enough that it is still me and does not remind me of wedding #1.

One of the things that tugged at my heart stings quite a bit was picking vows.
Our officiant gave us a huge list of ones to choose from but Mr. X did not want too much "God" talk.
And I did not want any "one true love".
Or super short vows that did not sound sincere and sacred.
Oddly I wanted "death do us part".
And from this huge list we did not find any that we loved.

So I went into the office.
I had a book.
Actually I inherited a book.
A wedding ceremony book.
As I searched for the perfect set of vows I saw Roger's small handwriting from the one wedding ceremony he had performed.
But in that small brown book I found them.
The absolutely perfect wedding vows.

"I, Mr. X, take you, Star
As my dear and lawful wife.
I commit myself to you as your faithful husband,
To honor you as a person,
To love you as my companion,
And to cherish you.
I intend the love I have for you now to be only the beginning of the love I will come to have for you.
I look forward to sharing my life with you,
Whatever the future holds,
And I will comfort you,
Confide in you,
And travel with you from this day forth,
Whatever the conditions of our lives or of the world around us."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

As wedding planning is coming into full force
And Father's Day is almost here
I am missing my dad sooo much.
Daily there are reminders he is not here.

My dad did not attend my wedding to Roger.
He was not sure his truck could make it.
And he did not have the money for the flight.
I accepted this fact as much as I could.

So I walked the aisle myself.
We did not do a father-daughter dance.
No photos taken with my daddy in my wedding dress.

And now as I plan my next wedding,
[It always sounds weird to say: "my first wedding" or "my next wedding".
Sounds like I am a collector of weddings.
Or worse, like I choose to end my marriage.]
I keep thinking about my dad.
I think about how he drove all the way to Florida to get to Roger's funeral.
He was the only family member from my side of the family that came down on his own accord to be with me.
To help me.
He jumped in to cleaning up Roger's mess in the garage.
To be social with my friends and Roger's family.

I wish I could have him with me now.
I wish I could call him on Sunday and wish him a Happy Father's Day.
It was Father's Day years ago that we reconnected.
When I realized my mother had contaminated my relationship with my dad.
That he was not the bad man she tried so hard to make him out to be.

And now as I plan my wedding to Mr. X, I will walk the aisle alone once more (perhaps) but for a completely different reason.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Other Shoe Has Dropped

Yesterday I received some heartbreaking news.
I knew this would happen.
I almost knew this was true.

A few years ago my sister was diagnosed with some clotting disorders which have caused her to miscarry several times.
Being sisters, I knew I may have a risk of also having these genetic disorders.
About a month ago at my yearly check-up, my own OB/Gyn insisted that I get tested now since there may be some contraindications of taking hormonal birth control and having these disorders.
So on May 13, I gave eleven tubes of blood.
I prayed that everything would be normal.
I prayed I was not broken.
That somehow my genetics would be completely different than my sister.
By some miracle.
Don't I deserve a miracle?

Last night I saw my doctor's name and number appear on my phone.
I have been trying to get the results back for the last week like a mad woman.
I answered the call to hear my doctor's voice on the line.
She confirmed my gut.
Yes, I have both MTHFR mutation and protein C deficiency.
No more hormonal birth control for me.
And hard pregnancies in the future.

I have been on hormonal birth control this time for about eight and half years.
It has kept my PCOS under control.
Which I have no idea how that is going to play out now.
Mr. X and I were not planning on trying for children for at least two more years but now it looks like that may get pushed up a year if it is going to be harder for me to get pregnant and harder to stay pregnant.
Something I did not even want to do until almost two years ago.
Part of me wishes I still did not want children.
At least maybe then the heartache would be less.

Why can't I get a break?!
Why can't things just be easy from now on?!
Can't I get some sort of immunity from bad things happening?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Other Shoe

It is really hard for me to enjoy myself right now.
To be happy for myself.
I get scared.
Mr. X and I got engaged on Saturday, May 14 and then on the Wednesday following I got my first teaching job.
Things are going well for my photography business.
We went to Alaska and I got to travel which I adore.
So now I am getting nervous.
I am waiting for the other shoe to fall.
Waiting for the "bad" thing.
I tried to tell myself getting a horrid head cold before the vacation and while on vacation was the "bad" thing.  But...

Immediately after Mr. X and I got engaged we drove to a friends' house for a housewarming party.
It was pouring down rain.
We were on the same highway as the accident.
Opposite direction but same damn highway.
I kept thinking "Please dear God do not let anything happen now. Please. Please. Please."

The week after getting engaged, I was talking to one of my best friends about the engagement and such.
This is the friend who I called immediately after the accident.
The one who has been here through it all.
And she said something I was already thinking and knowing.
Once Mr. X and I are married, I will be extremely nervous about the six month mark.
I cannot even imagine the day of it.
I know getting to that first anniversary will be a big deal to me.
And sadly, part of me is trying to protect myself from being too happy.
I almost feel like I will not be extremely over the clouds happy until after that six month mark.
Don't read this wrong.
I am happy.
I am excited.
I know this is the right thing but I am still nervous about Mr. X dying suddenly.
This cannot happen to me again.
It just can't.
It. Just. Can't.

Monday, May 30, 2011

I'm Getting Married, Again

[I tried to write this post over a week ago before going on vacation but blogger was being weird.  This is part II of this post but it has been more than ten days now so...]

Mr. X has been telling me how much he wants to marry me for some time now.
He has even revealed that he thought of proposing last July but did not.
But in March of this year, he said he would ask me to marry him by the end of the year.
All my friends said it would be while we were on vacation in Alaska.
I thought it would be while I was in Alaska.
But he surprised me a bit.

Over two weeks ago, Mr. X and I were at home on a Friday night just relaxing.
He had just sold some things on eBay.
He turned and told me to find a ring I loved.
We had looked at rings over Christmas and I even tried on a few.
Orginially I was going to go with the traditional diamond engagement ring.
But about a month ago, I decided I did not want another diamond ring.
I had a diamond ring.
I am not a huge bling person and why would I another diamond ring?
I wanted something different.
Something other people would not to compare to the first ring that I still wear on my right hand.
So I asked for a blue sapphire.
A sapphire would match my right hand ring.
And Mr. X and I both love blue.

I found a couple of rings online that we could go see that night in person.
Mr. X told me to get my shoes on.
He was buying me a ring.

We went to two stores.
The first ring was amazing.
But I had to try on the second one at a different store.
I decided the first ring was the ring.
Lo and behold, the lady who helped Roger and I with my first diamond was the only one available to help us.
What are the chances?!
She did not recognize me.
As the girl I was in 2006.
Or the new widow I was in 2008.
Or at least I think not.
At least I hope not.

Mr. X had a plan to present me with the ring the next day with a nice speech after my return home.
But the ring was not ready in time.
We both went to pick up the ring instead.
It started to pour.
I tried the ring on to make sure it fit and gave it back to Mr. X.
It is beautiful.
It is so unique.

We ran back to the car.
Mr. X gave me a small speech that I only remember one specific part.
He said I made him feel like he was at home.
Same thing Roger said to me in the love letter I read after the accident.
I said yes.

A widow getting married.
The Talking Heads song that inspired the title of this blog instantly filled my head.
But I like it here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Last Ten Days - Part I

The last ten days have been a huge emotional roller coaster.

Graduation was probably a climax of grief.
After my dad died in January, I was thrown into a highly stressful and busy time of my life.
And as any person who has suffered loss knows, grief does not just go away.
It builds and waits. And builds some more.
Like a volcano waiting to explode.
On the day of graduation, that volcano erupted.
Two grief volcanoes really.
Roger and my dad, simultaneously.

The first one I was almost expecting.
I knew the semester end and graduation were going to be a trigger for me.
I was mostly fine before graduation.
I was mostly fine minutes before I walked across the stage.
Excitement and elation filled my soul.

As I walked across the stage, my lips began to tremble.
The stairs exiting the stage seemed enormous.
Tears started to well up.
As I walked back to my seat, I was still a little shaky.
But no tears fell, thankfully.

After graduation, my friends and Mr. X met me outside.
We were throwing a party to celebrate my graduation.
There was still lots to be done.
Unfortunately, my friends could not come back to my house with me.
Mr. X and I were on our own to complete the party set up.
Suddenly I was stressed.
We had four hours to get everything done and there was a long list of things to be done.

Mr. X and I were working hard and fast to get everything done.
We prioritized the list and some extra things were cut.
I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to hosting parties.
As I was working on some food for the party, the onions Mr. X had so kindly prepped the night before were too big for the recipe.
Grief raised its ugly head.
I burst into tears.
Tears that consumed me for the rest of the afternoon.
Everything became a calamity.

I cried because this is not how I planned my life.
I was a smart teenager and should have finished my formal education years ago.
I was supposed to be married now and celebrating my third anniversary.
Roger and I were supposed to be planning vacations and talking about kid possibilities and when to start trying.
My dad was suppose to be calling me.
Telling me how proud he was.
But none of that was true.
None of that was happening.

Mr. X was being awesome.
He was trying to comfort me.
But it was pretty useless.
I cried for three hours.

After most of the list was complete for the party, I took half a bottle of champagne, went to the bedroom,
shut the door, and cried some more.

I finally surfaced from the debris of grief and tried to celebrate my accomplishment.
One of my widow friends came later to rescue me.
Let me cry.
Let me say all the things I can't say aloud to most people.

The next day I was still recovering from the eruption.
I still miss Roger.
I still miss my dad.
Those things will not go away ever.
But life is improving.

Part II soon...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I Wore a Gold Dress

I wore a light gold dress to Roger's graduation.
It had glitter within the material.
Every time I wore it, glitter would be all over my face and my body.
And whoever else was near me.
For days.

As I walked in to the arena that morning, a man commented on my dress.
"Lovely dress."
I smiled.

The weather was slightly cool that day.
But beautiful.
Grace, Roger's sister was there, as well as my mother-in-law.
We were all so proud.
We were all so happy for him.

Roger did not need a degree exactly.
He had loads of experience in the computer industry so he could easily get hired anywhere.
But most of the time the HR department of companies wanted some sort of degree.
So Roger went to school part-time for years to get his bachelors.
In philosophy, no less.
Not computer engineering or computer science or anything like that.
He liked the logic and elegance of philosophy.
So yes, perhaps a crappy degree for finding a job right out of school but it was a degree none the less.
The piece of paper he needed.

After Roger died, I let a friend borrow that gold dress.
And I never got it back unfortunately.
In a way, I want to wear in on Saturday for my own graduation.
To remind myself of Roger.
To have him close to me.
To remind myself of his day.
But sadly it is not in my closet.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Finally Finished "Two Kisses for Maddy"

The past couple weeks have been a bit hectic as the school semester closed and I prepared for graduation.
The bad thing about that is the time I now have to think again.
In the last week, I have found myself weeping a little more easily.
Especially as graduation approaches.
I am a little less distracted from the noise of school and life.

I have now have time to read for pleasure.
Tonight I drew myself a bath and grabbed Matt Logelin's book.
I only had two chapters left.
Matt's book has really hit parts of me as it has a lot of the widows I know.
Like Candice and Supa.
I want to share two sentences that grabbed me tonight:
Grief "would fold itself into my blood, into my cells, into my DNA.
My heart would pump it and my veins would carry it, every moment, all the time."
So many people think that grief goes away.
And every widow I know.
As well as every person I know that knows grief on a personal would scream from rooftops that it does not work that way.
Absolutely does not.
It becomes part of you.
And my grief for Roger and my dad, especially, is with me all the time.

I will think of Roger a lot more this week.
Remembering his own graduation.
Thinking about what it means for me.
Thinking about the how.
Thinking about the why I am graduating now.
Thinking about how is not in attendance.

I miss him more than I can ever find the words for.
More than I can cry for.
And it is so hard to think he has been gone for so long.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


I referred to Two Kisses for Maddy book yesterday.
As I continue to read, I continue to remember.

Yesterday while I was reading, Matt refers to how in those 27 hours between his daughter's birth and his wife's death his life was perfect.
He felt so incredibly happy.

I know that feeling.
I know that exact feeling.
The morning of our accident.
I was finishing up the packing.
Roger was still showering.
He got out of the shower and proclaimed how he must love me.
"I must love you. I just shaved against the grain at 4 something in the morning."
I smiled.  We were on the way to my ten year high school reunion.
Life was perfect.

We had our house with the perfect layout.
Four bedrooms and a big room over the garage.
Three car garage with one of the bays in front of the other.
Nice neighborhood with good schools.

I had an amazing husband.
He was kind and funny.
Had a wonderful family.
Married life was going well.

We had good friends.
I was happy.
I was loved.
I was in love.

But then the most important piece of the puzzle was gone.
In an instant.
Because of something so stupid.
And life was not perfect anymore.

Part of me is afraid to feel this again.
To be completely happy, again.
To be completely in love, again.
I do not want to be crushed, again.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Floods of Memories

I am currently reading "Two Kisses for Maddy".
I have been waiting for this book.
I started reading the blog a while ago.
And even though I do not have a kid.
Even though Roger and I were not together for years and years.
And even though Matt and I are not very similar.
Some of the things he writes about on his blog and now in his book, really shake loose some memories that I have been passively avoiding.

I started reading this book a few nights ago and the first night I could not sleep.
As he described the initial moments of his loss, I could vividly remember my own.

That initial pain of loss.
The complete devastation.
Seeing the face of "I am so glad that is not me" and "I so glad to have my husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend safe and sound next to me" while I felt so alone.

I remember one dear friend who just in tears and tears as she looked at me.
Yes, she was probably sad that it was Roger.
Maybe because it was me.
Maybe because we had met a few months after she met her to be husband.
But she was in the middle of wedding planning.
She was just about to send the wedding invitations.
And although some of those tears were for Roger and me, I know some may have been because she was glad it was not her.
Scared what it would be like if it were her.
I will never forget the look on her face.
But it was not her.
It was me.

I am not sure if I should be reading this book but I cannot help it.
Part of it really makes me feel like I am not alone in this journey.
That there are others like me.
With similar feelings like me.

I do recommend this book to my family and friends.
Matt does put into words things I could not.
Perhaps to see inside my head and my heart at those moments, read this book.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

All in the Eyes

For the last couple of months, my eyes have been bothering me.
Nothing like pink eye or anything but just itching.
Slightly light sensitive.
Slight mucus in the morning.
I was starting to get worried.
It was getting better but the light sensitivity was getting worse.
I could barely open my eyes while in the car especially during the day.

On Monday, I took myself to the eye doctor.
I had already tried a variety of things myself like removing my contacts for a few days.
Switching makeup.
Throwing away contacts.
Nothing was working.

The doctor asked me a variety of questions.
Looked at my vision which has not changed much.
Then he took some pictures of my eyes.

I know I look like my dad.
I know our eyes are very similar.
But when all I could see was my right and left eye by themselves.
Without the rest of my face.
All I could see was my dad.

His eye lashes.
His color.
His shape.

And then all I could see was his eyes the last time I saw him.
Closed with his eye lashes curled the way some women must try hard to have.
His body laying on a hard cold table.
His arms cold from being dead for most of the day and laying in a fridge.

I miss my dad.
I miss his laugh.
I miss his giggle.
His birthday is next week.
He would have been 52 on Thursday.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's the Small Things

At this point in my grief, it is the small, seemingly meaningless things that get me.

After Roger and I got married, with a little bit of hesitation on my part, we combined checking accounts.
Now we did the system of ours, yours, and mine.
Ours was to be the household stuff and the majority of our money.
But each of us would have our own small checking account that we would deposit a smaller amount from each paycheck.
That way neither could complain about a shiny new purse or a new martial arts toy.
And added bonus, if we bought a gift for one another, the evidence was not readily available.
It took me till about June 2008, four months after the wedding, to get up the courage to have most of my paycheck and all the small details taken care of to have "our" checking account.
It was one of Roger's old accounts that had great benefits.
The account was originally from the days when First Union was around.
This was hard for me.  I had been on my own since I was 17.
Almost ten years at this point.
Now my money was our money.

After Roger died, I took his name off the account (due to the fact his death was after a car accident). Slowly over the last three years, Wachovia and now Wells Fargo changed the terms so much that even old accounts, like Roger's, are not as efficient.
So I need to close it.  And I am trying.

It is a small thing.
A meaningless thing.
It is just a checking account.
Come. On.
But it was ours.
And way before that, it was his.
And now, its another thing that is disappearing that was part of him.
That belonged to him.
So I have been dragging my feet.
I have not been very aggressive in getting this done.
I opened a new account before Christmas.
And yet it is March almost April.
Now, I have been busy but there is part of me that is dreading pulling the plug, again.

It is the small things.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Trading Up

I adore MINI.
I got my first one in July 2005.  I had just moved back to Orlando and needed a car.
I had fallen in love with MINI back in 2000 when a friend and I snuck a peek at them after hours.
So in 2005, I drove off the lot in my first brand new car.
The sales team was awesome.
And in the last almost six years, I have had only a few problems here and there.
Nothing too bad.
Nothing like I see other car owners dealing with.
I highly recommend any MINI to anyone.
I always talk about them with a smile.

The only thing I did not like about my MINI Cooper S was the fact it only had two doors.
And then in September.
My oh my.
MINI heard my wishes and created a four door car.
I was excited.
Finally I could keep my MINI and have four doors.
I talked to my financial advisor back in December.
He gave me the green light.
But then I was scared.
In January, I was introduced to MINI Countryman.
And I fell in love.
But thought I better wait.

Then last night I dreamt about buying a new car.
This morning as I walked into the garage my car would not start.
I was honestly stunned.
I have never had any issues of my car not starting.
It has been such a dependable car.
I was not even sure what to do.
Where is the battery anyway?
Oh, in the luggage compartment by the way.
My battery lasted double the amount of time they normally do.

Mr. X followed me to the dealership since it is a specialized battery that only the dealership sells.
I trotted over to look at the new cars.
Mr. X laughed at me.
And after thinking about it, I decided to go ahead and buy a new car.
I worked the deal.
And then needed to come home to get the title of the Cooper S and a check.

On the way back to the dealership, I started to cry.
This small piece of my life has been constant for almost six years.
Before Roger.
Before being a bride.
Before being a homeowner.
Before being a wife.
Before being a widow.
And of course after all that.

Yes, it is a car.
Metal and plastic.
But it was there for me.
Without fail.
On my first meeting with Roger.
On our first date.
On our road trip to Virginia.
On our wedding day.
Even when I brought Roger home with me from the funeral home.
I loved that car.
I still love that car.
And I hope someone else loves her too.
She's awesome and she is dependable.
She will take them places they never dreamed.
And keep them safe.
And help them heal.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Emotional Day

My internship this semester is really starting to affect me.
Notice the lack of posts.
I do not sleep due to insomnia.
I am stressed from the difficulty and busy work the College of Education requires.
A two page paper is required for each day and for each prep we have.
I have two preps.  Except for one of my preps, I have two different schedules to be mindful of as well since one meets four times a week for an hour and the other three meet two days for 99 minutes then one day for 60.
This particular high school, which I did not choose, is an hour away and I must be there at 7am in professional attire.
I had to pay tuition of course to complete this internship.
I am commuting 80 miles per day on $8 per day toll roads and gas prices are just continuing to rise.
Then add all the political turmoil in education in Florida right now...
Stress, no sleep, and all the worry makes me very emotional.
A bit of instability I have not experienced in a while.
I knew going into education would not earn me a salary like my previous job but I did not except to be crapped on by the government either.

Today as I left my house, one of the main roads in Orlando was down to one lane.
Even at 6am it caused a 15 minute delay in my commute when I was only one the road for less than two miles.
I rushed to get to the school on time.
Speeding as much as safely possible.
As I am pulling into the parking lot, which is completely dark might I add, Roger and my song comes on.
I burst into tears.
This cannot happen.
My students are already starting to arrive.  I need to be composed.
At least enough to fake it.
I miss Roger.
Like a broken record, I just cannot say it enough to get my point across.

I got through the day.
I went to visit a good friend who just had a baby last week.
Babies always make me smile.  They can be like a reset button for me.
Something about them makes me realize life can be good.
The world is not all evil.
Life does not always feel like it is taking the breathe away.
And as I held this precious sleeping baby, I started to cry again.
Stress?  Maybe wanting my own?  Knowing I will never have a piece of Roger like that?
I am not sure.
But now the tears will not really stop.
I just have to get through May.
Two more months.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Never Say "Never"

Yesterday, for the first time of my life, I shot a gun.
I never thought I would.
I have been totally against guns my entire life.
But part of me wanted to know.

When my dad died in January, he shot himself.
He used a hunting rifle.
I inherited another one of his hunting rifles.
I asked a friend to teach me how to use it.

We arrived at his place yesterday afternoon.
I was fidgety.
I was nervous and scared.
Guns can kill people.
Guns do kill people, like my dad.

We went out to the back of my friends' property.
First he wanted to teach me how to use a handgun.
I put my hands in the cup-n-saucer position with a black gun pointing at the target.
The recoil was just as scary as pulling the trigger.
The casings fell to the ground one by one.

I pulled the trigger five times.
My dad pulled the trigger once.
I could not help to think about his suicide.
To think about him.
To remember seeing his blood on the ground.
Seeing his eyes black and blue.

I do not think this will be a new hobby of mine.
But... I have done it.
And of course, I wondered what Roger would say.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Wedding Video

About ten days before the wedding, I booked a videographer.
My best friend from childhood was not going to be able to make it to the wedding.
She was in Zambia, Africa with a newborn.
She could not travel but she wanted to see my wedding.
And I wanted her to have at least a little part of it.
Roger and I had just filed our tax return with an unexpectedly large refund.
"Please can we get a videographer?"
I found someone for $600.
Not the best around but he was available and cheap.
We met him the night before the wedding for the first time.
It was a haste decision but I am so glad for it.

After the wedding, Roger and I watched the video once.
It was nothing spectacular.
But it was nice to see the wedding in motion.
To see our friends and family.

Since Roger died, I have not watched the video too often.
Not that many people truly watch their wedding video more than a few times.
On Wednesday, I wanted to watch the video.
I wanted Mr. X to see it.
To see my wedding and meet Roger in a way.
It is always a strange experience for me.
When I see myself on the screen, I do not see me.
I see everyone else as themselves, but not me.
That is someone else.
After the huge weight loss, I thought it was because I looked so different.
But now, that I am fat again, I still do not view the person who looks similar to me as me.
It is a very, very strange feeling.
And in a way, it is not me in that video.
It is a different person at that wedding.
A person I will never be again.

Seeing Roger was a strange experience once again.
Hearing his voice was unfamiliar.  I always forget his voice.
I heard his accent which I do not think I even realize existed.
His fingers were long.  I forgot this.

Then as I watched him touch this person who used to be me something strange happened.
I remembered that day.
Remembered those small moments.
I could remember how he touched me.
His hand on my back.
Holding my hand.
The scruff of his face on mine.

It was like muscle memory.
Thank God for the video.
Thank you Andrea for pushing me to get it.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Miss you

The twenty-third of February in two thousand eight was the best day of my life.
I had so much fun.
I felt beautiful.
I felt like I could finally breathe and relax in your arms.
I was married.
I was happy.
I was loved.

Thank you for marrying me.
Thank you for being such a wonderful husband, boyfriend, fiance, and above all friend.
You knew when we met that we would be married you said.
You told your sister two months later.
I think you told me about two months after that.

I miss you more than I can even begin to describe.
Words are useless.
My heart aches to see you.
Touch you.
Talk to you.
To hear you.

I still love you tremendously.

I will never know the whys.
I will never know the what ifs.

I am thankful that on that day I could dance in your arms as your wife.
I will never forget that night.
I will never forget you.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Space Between...

... Valentine's Day and this next week are always a bit weird for me.

During wedding planning, I did not realize at first when we picked our wedding date that it would be nine days after Valentine's Day.
I have not been a huge Valentine's Day person in years anyway.
But three years ago, as Valentine's Day approached, I thought about what that would mean in the future.
Combined gifts?
Bigger deal?
Maybe weekends away to celebrate both days?
In 2008, we decided we were giving each other a wedding for Valentine's Day and that was enough for that year.
No other gift besides becoming my husband was necessary.

This past Valentine's Day, I did not care as much about that hallmark holiday.
I was more upset about my dad oddly enough.
I miss him a lot right now.
The inability to call him up and talk to him is starting to really hurt.
It seems suicide and/or father's dying is all over my regular television shows.
Marshall on "How I Met Your Mother" lost his father.
"Grey's Anatomy" always has death but for some reason a lot of dads that I have noticed.
Addison's mother committed suicide on "Private Practice."
On the "lovely" Valentine's day, a teacher at the school mentioned how his brother had tried to commit suicide over the weekend.
After a rough first two blocks of teaching on Monday morning, I barely could keep it together.
I had to leave the room.

Then I started thinking about how it was only nine more days till my third wedding anniversary.

Which turned into just a week.

Which now turned into just around the corner.
I just feel so jealous of other people getting to celebrate their anniversaries.
I feel so left out to have married years together versus just a few months.

Tonight as I watched yesterday's episode of Private Practice, Addison said "I used to think they were selfish and wonder what they were thinking. But they aren't thinking.  They aren't selfish.  In that moment, they were broken."
It is hard to think of my dad as broken.
He was never broken to me.

So as I stumble toward the twenty-third, I feel grief times two.
Missing Roger.
Missing my dad.
Missing wedding anniversaries.
The crankiness is here.
Along with irritableness and involuntary tears.

February is almost over.
At least one of the grief monsters can go back into the closet.
For now.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Thankfully at the end of this semester I will be graduating.
I am very excited.
I am very glad.
But... sigh... it is slightly tinged with grief and sadness and other emotions.

First, I am slightly sad.
Even more than slightly.
Roger will not be able to see this.
My huge accomplishment.
Yeah, yeah heaven blah blah blah.
The fact is Roger is not physically at the ceremony to watch me.
Yes, I will have people there who I care about and love but not Roger.
Not. Roger.

Second, this is all because he is dead.
It is because he died and I have the chance to go to school full time.
Yes, I was in school prior to his death but not full time.
Not for a degree I wanted, just to have a degree.
Any degree.
But because he died, I got an opportunity.
To change careers.
To follow a dream.
To chase my passion.
To not return to my awful job.
Because two weeks beforehand we got life insurance.

Third, I just feel a lot of emotion about finally finishing.
It feels like so long.  I graduated high school in 1998.  I followed a lot of different paths.
It has been my goal for so long and I felt so subpar compared to my friends.
Compared to myself with all that potential that I had while graduating high school.
I was in the top 6% of my class.  I was 24th.  People expected me to go to college.
Most of my friends all have degrees and even though I had a career making great money, I did not have my piece of paper.
And finally, finally I will have my piece of paper.
I will be worth something on paper to other people.

I know it will be an emotional, maybe even grief, day for me.
And maybe it is just hitting me now because it is February.
Because Roger is more on my mind right now than he has been.
It is my wedding anniversary month.
My third one alone.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Ten Years or Six Months

A few weeks ago one of my family members asked me if I would have another wedding.
I started to say "Yes, since Roger and I were only married six months but if we had been married ten years..." when this person said, "Yeah, it would have been harder to move on if you had been together ten years."
I interrupted them.
"No, it is not that."

Obviously I will never know what it would be like to be widowed at ten years of marriage to Roger.
I pray to God I never ever know what it is like to be married ten years then widowed.
But for me, it was more about my future and plans were gone.
I never had a chance to have Roger's babies.
To plan anniversary trips.
To decorate our house together.
To fight about how much money to spend on Christmas.
To get to the point where we finished each other's sentences 100% of the time.
And that among other things was so hard.
I never even made it to my first wedding anniversary.

Would Roger and I have been closer after ten years?
Yes!! Absolutely.
But was only being married six months then widowed or being married ten years with all those plans completed worse??
I don't know.
But I am shocked still that people can think this road is easy because it was only six months of marriage.

Oh people...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dear Grief

Music is and was one of my worst enemies and best friends during grief.
It can uplift me.
It can put me right back where I started.

I am not a huge fan of Avril Lavigne but her new song "Jar of Hearts" reminds me of what I would love to say to grief if it were a person.
Of something I would love to scream at grief.
I am tired of grief coming for me.  And I would really love if grief would leave me alone.
These lyrics in particular are speaking to me:

"And who do you think you are
Running 'round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don't come back for me
Don't come back at all."

New World Record

Growing up my family moved a lot.
My mom and step-dad did not even own a place until I was a sophomore in high school.
In kindergarten alone, right after my biological parents separated, I went to three different schools before Christmas.
Between 1999 and 2003, when I was on my own, I moved twelve times even staying one location for 18 months.
So yeah, I am more accustomed to moving then to staying.
I can move an entire house and do it well in about a weekend.
Another skill I can add to my growing resume.

Yesterday however I realized something.
I have not scoured the grocery or liquor stores for boxes for almost four years.
I have not thought "Man, I do not want to have to change that after I leave."
I do not believe I have ever lived forty-eight months in the same location in my thirty years.
A new world record for me.
The house is different of course.
And wow has life changed.
But there is something comforting in staying in one place and having a real home.
In going to the same grocery store and driving on the same roads in the same direction.

Of course, with all these nice comforting feelings, I had to realize how if I have been in one place this long, it means Roger has not.
It means I have lived in this house for over three times longer than he did.
It means Mr. X has lived in this house about half the time Roger did.
And will surpass his time here before 2011 is put on the shelf.
It means that one day, Roger will only be a sliver in this house's history.
And all of that is kind of weird for me.
A lot weird for me.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ashes, Ashes

All week long I have had the little nursery rhyme "Ring around the rosie" stuck in my head.
Only one line though: "Ashes, ashes, we all fall down."
Mostly just the first two words.

Roger's ashes took over a week to get back.
So after my father's funeral, when the car was being unloaded, I never expected one of my dad's friends to hand me my dad.
My dad in a box.

"Whoa, he is ready already?"
"Yep, the funeral home did it yesterday on site."

My dad wanted to be spread over the property where they lived.
Where he died.
I was thinking we would all come back and do that part.
But my dad's wife wanted to do it on that day.
While we were altogether.
Like right away.
"Oh, okay."

But first, we needed to set aside some of the ashes for my sister and my dad's stepdaughter to keep.
So as we were carrying my dad outside in the freezing cold, I asked someone to grab a spoon.
A plastic spoon.
And ziplocs.
I was about to scoop my father up with a spoon.
And distribute him into snack size bags.

My dad's wife asked if the three of us would share this task of spreading the ashes.
Now, in the movies, it seems so fantastic and simple and holy.
In the movies, people open the container and the ashes just simply fly away in the wind.
But I knew that was false.
I knew that even though the wind was abundant and very, very cold that my father would just not take to the wind.
I knew that if I tried that he would just fall in one huge clump on the ground.
One giant pile of grey ashes on the white snow.

I asked the other two who wanted to start.
I was still holding the plastic spoon.
My sister said I could start.
So the first place I sprinkled was his place of death.
It seemed appropriate.
A few spoonfuls there.
Interestingly enough the ashes sank into the snow.
As we walked, a path of ashes followed us.

Scoop and drop. Scoop and drop. Scoop and drop.
"Does anyone else want to do this?"
"No, you are good at it. You can keep doing it."
Great.  Let me add that to my resume.
"Other Skills: spreading human ash remains with a spoon."

We continued along the path to my dad's garden.
Then, in what can only happen to me, the wind shifted.
My dad flew into my face.
All over my jacket.
All over my scarf.
And I noticed later, he made it onto my jeans.
I tried to cough and not inhale but I am pretty sure I inhaled my father.
I immediately thought of this.
Trying not to laugh was hard.
I could almost hear my dad laughing.

Spreading the ashes of a whole human takes what seems like a long time when it is done with a spoon.
And being me, I tried to find a pattern.
So as we entered his long gone garden from this past summer I went row by row.
Scoop here.  Scoop there.  A little here. A little more there.
Up and down the rows until I was out of ashes.

I took the white plastic spoon and dropped it into the box.
Closed the lid and placed it into my father's lookout over his hill.
The place he probably spent his last morning alive and many other days beforehand.

My coat and scarf went to the dry cleaner's this week.
I feel like my dad will always be a part of me.
Hell, I inhaled him.
But I could not keep my winter coat with his ashes.
It will probably be a long time where I do not think of my dad when I wear my coat or my scarf or those jeans.
And thankfully living in Florida, I do not have to wear those things often.
Except the jeans.
One of my favorite pairs.

When I die, just dump me into the ocean.
No spoon necessary.