December

Here we are. It’s December again and people are wondering and asking how I am doing with it all. I know the dreaded date is coming and I’m worried how I will handle it this year. I’m not going on vacation this year but still plan on hiding away from my house for a few days. I am working on NYE and worry about it feeling too similar to that day. That’s what I did.. Got up, went to work, came home, and then it all happened.
Last year I made a special meal and honored him. This year, I’m tempted to use the phrase “I’m over it…” Not to say I’m over what happened but how many times do I put myself through the agony of a memorial? This year, I want it to just be New Years. I know that is not logical and it will never be “just New Years” but there is more happiness this year than the past two.
When it comes to Alex, I’ve been in the anger zone a lot lately and I don’t really feel like thinking about all of this. Mean? Maybe. But there comes a point when it’s old and annoying. I don’t want my life to revolve around this. I’ve rebuilt my life and I’m happy, yet I will forever have this major bump in the road, major mark on my soul and major dent in my sanity. I don’t want it, and I didn’t deserve it but it is what it is.
The time is coming closer and closer to having to do some explaining to Alexa. She is clearly confused about what a dad is and who her dad is and what a family consists of. How much does a 2 year old understand and how much do I fight her on knowing the truth? Truth is, I’m not so sure anymore. Alex will always be her father but he’s not the one raising her… I am.
Recently someone told me that they wished we could have Alex back for a day. This really got me thinking because, now, at this point in my life, I don’t want that. I have nothing left to say. And feel like my wounds are slowly healing, why would I want to open them again?
I’ve lived my life and raised my daughter without him for almost two years now. I think I’ve done a pretty good job. I’m starting to understand letting go of the past and moving forward…..

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy thanksgiving to all of my readers. I really do have a lot to be thankful for this year and I hope you all do too. Today, I hosted a Thanksgiving breakfast and then went to work. It’s somewhat sad to miss out on the traditional family dinner, but I work it every year and it really doesn’t bother me anymore. We eat, spend time with co-workers we love, and save animals. What’s not to like? The day is over and I’m so happy to have gotten home in time to put my little girl to bed. Now I’m alone, exhausted, eating eggs and drinking coffee haha!
I attempted to start listing each day what I was thankful for but I’m a slacker and did not follow through. The majority of people probably have similar things on their list, but I’m going to go for it anyway!
1. I am unbelievably thankful for my amazing daughter. She makes me smile and laugh every day. It’s not an easy job, but it is the best job in the world.
2. My friends and family. So many of you have been there with me, through my worst days and my best days, holding me up and cheering me on. I wouldn’t be where I am without you.
3. My “other half.” I never really liked the word “boyfriend.” I don’t know why.. But other half is starting to sound cool. I know, I’m weird. Starting a new life has been tough and I come with a lot of baggage… I’m so thankful to have someone who wants to unpack that baggage with me.. Hahaha cheesy I know… But I heard that phrase somewhere and liked it. I’m thankful for everyone in his life that has accepted Alexa and me. I am thankful for the relationship I am building with his child and the one he is building with mine.
4. My jobs. I am thankful not only for the fact that they pay my bills, but that I enjoy them. Ok not every minute of the day, but I am doing multiple things that I love.
5. I am thankful for the progress that I’ve made. I may be a work in progress, but I have overcome something I never imagined I would have to.
6. I will always be thankful for the time I had with Alex. Life is so different now, but no matter what happened in the end, I’m thankful for the rest of it.
7. Life is never perfect, but I’m thankful for all that I have.
8. I am so thankful for coffee and the fact that Dunkin was open today.
9. My crazy pets… Need I say more?
10. I am thankful to be alive
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there and my angel on the other side.

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Baby it’s cold outside

I have always been open about the fact that since Alex’s death, I have gone on and off antidepressants for various reasons. I recently stopped my second one due to unwanted side effects…. Weight gain among other (more annoying) things. I knew it was helping, and I was doing very well, however I couldn’t stand the side effects enough to continue it. I have now been noticing my mood changing… I have also been told in the past that I have seasonal affective disorder. Basically the winter blues. I know this, and I’ve written in the past that I don’t really know if it is the cold, the darkness or exactly what… But I am certainly down in the winter. This is compounded by the fact that again, we are coming up on the holidays and my “sadiversary.” Again, this time two years ago, I was unknowingly leading up to the end of my life with Alex. I feel it already… I’m cranky.. Things that bother me shouldn’t. I’m tired. I started to become indifferent to things about Alex that bothered me…
More tolerant I guess. These things were stressing me out again.
Don’t get me wrong, I still have a happy life and a lot to be thankful for but something is dragging me down.
I hadn’t been to counseling in a while and realized that maybe that was a good idea, and it was time for a discussion with my doctor about changing to yet another medication. It was nice to go to therapy and discuss everything that has gone on over the past few months. My friends call my life a soap opera though, at this point, I find it rather “normal” and simple. I plan to go regularly again and have made another appointment for next month.
My doctor was open to changing my medication. He is happy to keep tweaking what we have to to get it right. He thinks that is the best thing for me.
I started reading the insert that came in the package… (Am I the only one who does this?) and I noticed a few things. Clearly it is for depression… But especially for seasonal affective disorder… Ooh nice. It has helped people quit smoking… And man I’m a big fat failure in that department… It is not known to cause weight gain and can even cause weight loss… Cool!
And then came the point of this blog post…
“Tell your doctor if you or a family member has a history of bipolar disorder or suicidal thoughts or attempts.”
Alexa is going to have to “check that box” for the rest of her life. Like a scarlet letter… she will forever be overshadowed as having mental illness / suicide genetically stamped on her from father. I’m not saying that to be disrespectful of him. He was a wonderful man and that is just ONE small part of his story. But she has to live with that forever… That will always be hard for me.

8 years

I had been thinking about Alex a lot yesterday. I’m not sure why… And I’m not really sure what I was thinking. It’s common for me to be thinking “wow how did life get here.” I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way or a good way… Just a general thought. I didn’t really think anything of it. A friend told me last night that she had been thinking of him a lot that day, and couldn’t really place why. Her young daughter was asking about him suddenly too. She mentioned that she remembered him and remembered her holding him but was starting to forget his face. I can’t really explain how that made me feel… Happy yet sad at the same time in a way…. He loved her and I’m happy that she has a good memory of him. She asks the same questions I do… And I hate that I can’t answer them. I will never be able to fully explain to her why he did what he did. I pondered it last night… What was the significance of today that made us all thinking of him. I couldn’t come up with anything and just forgot about it… Tonight I checked my timehop app and it all became clear…

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That’s what I posted 1 year ago today… We considered our anniversary to be 11/5. I didn’t even think of it! Tomorrow we would have been together 8 years… And yes, the person I was visiting was the one who was thinking of him too… Guess he was trying to get in our heads. So far, I’m not crying this year… I’m doing okay. I’m thankful for the time I had with him, but feeling a little weird with the realization.

Brave?

Warning… This post has some rather strong opinions in it.
All over the news, Facebook and even on the cover of people magazine is a women planning to complete suicide. She has a plan, a date, a method etc….
Why, in this instance, are we glorifying suicide, putting this woman on a pedestal and writing about how brave she is for her choice, yet looking down on, judging and condemning others who have chosen this path? Because she has cancer? So it’s okay if you have an illness? How is that any different from choosing to die instead of suffering from / living with mental illness? Why is this woman being honored, yet others are chastised?
Ok.. So let’s go back to the cancer thing… She has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer… Though this is the exception to the rule, I know… People do survive this! People do beat the odds! People live years and years of happy life long after this diagnosis. How do I know? I’ve seen it… With the exact same diagnosis. I can’t imagine not wanting to fight!
Now the term “euthanasia….” As a veterinary technician, I am obviously in favor of euthanasia as the end of suffering. I do believe that “physician assisted suicide” or whatever you want to call it is a wonderful thing…. In the end. When there is no quality of life left and the end is near, we should have the right to go peacefully in sleep instead of suffering until the last second. When it comes to cancer, the end is agony, and I think it’s a wonderful thing we can do to end suffering… I’ll say it again… In the end.
This woman has a long way to go until that point… However, that’s MY opinion.
All in all… Who are we to judge? People like Alex and Robin Williams were called cowards and selfish while she’s called “brave.” Who are we to “decide” who deserves praise vs who we vilify?

His stuff

It’s amazing how after so much time… To me, things are still “Alex’s camera bag” or “Alex’s bin of randomness.” I’m leaving for vacation in two days and have spent most of today packing. I’m sick so it’s going a little slow. Leave it to me to be sick right before (hopefully not during) vacation. I have an old portable DVD player that I wanted to bring. I admit, I can’t remember the last time I used it. I can’t find the charger, so I started going through some things… Including “Alex’s random box of cords and wires.” Wow! What a mess! I have no idea what this stuff is and even after picking all though it… I didn’t find what I need. I found his old work bag and looked there too… I’m not even sure what the stuff is in there or why it’s still sitting in a closet with stuff in it.
I gave up on that and went through the “junk drawer” (everyone has one of those, right?) looking for some other random items I needed for vacation and found his old car keys… With a coach keychain with photos of us. I even found his passport, birth certificate and social security card.
I packed my camera and still, to this day, that camera bag feels like “his.” Strange…
What do I even do with all of this stuff?

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Strange how your mind works

I drive past the funeral home from
Alex’s funeral often… Most of the time I hardly notice and if I do, I don’t really think much of it. Other days are different. I drive past and see myself laying on the ground of the parking lot, like I did that day. I see the fountain and am reminded of staring into it in such a haze. I remember the stairs so well… Dragging myself up them the night of the private viewing. A lot of those days are a blur. Truly some of the worst days of my life, yet I struggle to remember the details. Though the ins and outs of the place I have been to all of 4 times in my life stick out in my mind the most.

It’s October again!

Which means…. HALLOWEEN! Everyone knows that Halloween was our favorite holiday… Well it is still mine. Our first date was on Halloween (8 years ago!!) and we loved scary movies, dressing up, handing out candy, haunted houses… You name it. We were the cheesy couple that did couples costumes including, lady gaga and paparazzi, doctor and (as he called it) “stereotypical Filipino nurse,”) and even medical examiner and “patient.” I know.. That one seems highly inappropriate looking back…
So… What to be for Halloween this year is a question that has been plaguing me…. I can’t help but notice the further inappropriateness of costumes I am finding. I love the look of these two but really, considering my situation, it can be considered offensive if I do it. I think Alex would really get a kick out of it, and I don’t normally care what others think, but in this case, I would hate to offend.

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Oh well.. Guess I’ll be a cat or something.

Here are some past photos… I admit I find them embarrassing now… Oddly enough, I could not find a photo of the medical examiner Halloween and didn’t find one of us together as doctor and nurse… Still… These are some great memories…

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Suicide prevention month

September is Suicide Prevention and awareness month. It is a tough month for survivors but also brings out the best. It is a time of remembrance. For me, it is a reminder to keep fighting for awareness and push to save lives. It helps me to tell my story in hopes it will help someone else. This month brought a lot of people out of their shells to tell me their stories and how I have inspired/helped them. This means more to me than I can ever put into words. I am your average survivor, who chose to speak out and make my struggle public. It means the world that my story can make a difference in someone’s life.
First was the one day where all over the country, people light candles to honor and remember their loved ones. I was at work (but still lit a candle) and asked my friends and family to do the same. My Facebook was hopping with tags of people lighting a candle for Alex. It was such a mixup of happy and sad at the same time. We were all virtually together honoring someone we loved. I felt so supported and that together, we were making a difference.

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Next up was the AFSP Out of the Darkness walk. This was my second year walking with my team “Mow’s Memory.” We had a great day for a walk. I talked with other survivors and met up with others I had met along the way before. We raised more money this year and had a great walk! It is a wonderful, yet emotional experience. I did much better this year and it was happier this year. I’m happy to work toward making a difference. I’m so grateful to everyone who donated in Alex’s name. I can’t wait to do it again next year.

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Just when I thought the month of “suicide being everywhere” was over… This happened… I was getting ready for bed when I heard my phone go off…. And this is what I saw…

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Wow… I got all the information and called 911. The police informed me that they already had police on the scene. The experience left me freaked out and shaking. Though I was not technically the one that did it, a life was saved… And for that I am thankful.
I will end by saying that no matter what… Life is worth living. Suicide does not make things better, it ends the chance of anything getting better. Reach out and get help! You will be thankful you did…

The grass is always greener…

I may have used that title before but it fits…

I don’t think it would be entirely appropriate for me to hijack someone else’s words for my blog, but I would like to summarize something I found on a “Young Widows & Widowers” page that I felt compelled to respond to.

The “rant,” as it was self-named began with frustration toward the term “single parent.” I have also had an issue with this term. The classification of “single parent” leaves you open to so many assumptions. Though I’m not sure I would like to walk saying “widowed parent.” Also, am I no longer a single parent because I am in a relationship? Really… all of this nomenclature confuses me and I would like to stick with “I’m a parent…” Anyway…

Here are the issues brought up by this fellow widow/parent…

1. She does not have the freedom other “single parents” have when their children are with the other parent. She would LOVE if she had that time.

2. Divorced parents acting like they “know what she goes through.” She feels that they are not single parents, but are “shared parenting” and do not deserve said title.

3. She did not choose to be a single parent as “the other kind of single parent” had.

Many comments followed with people agreeing and venting about how unfair it is and how much worse “we” have it than others etc. etc.

Here are my two cents….

“I agree… It is totally different and I did not sign up to do this alone. But… I did choose to have a child for better or for worse…. I wanted her no matter what life brought. And though I’m doing it alone, I’m thankful for every moment with her. It is difficult for all of us to deal with doing this on our own…. We don’t get a “break” when they go off to see their other parent like divorced parents. We have to make all decisions on our own and take on the role of both parents. Sometimes it sucks… But think about this, the divorced parent has to spend a portion of their time without their child. They CANNOT see their own child sometimes. That doesn’t happen to us. No one else has a say in what we do with our children, or how we raise them. Many of them did not choose that life either. The grass is always greener….”

In the past, someone commented on how lucky I was to not have to share my daughter. I was highly offended. However as time has passed, I realize that comment should not have been so offensive. What I have been through is terrible. I don’t wish it upon anyone. I would never choose to be widowed or wish death upon the parent of any child. However, if I can choose one major thing I am lucky for, it’s my daughter and yes, I’m lucky to not have to share her as many “single parents” do.

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