Archive for September, 2013

Out of the Darkness 5K

Today was the Dover out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention walk. What an experience. When I signed up for the walk, I decided this would be an opportunity for me to connect with others in the area and share my story. Since there was a resource fair, I decided to have a table for the blog. Recently, we were invited to bring a pair of shoes to commemorate our loved ones. They were to be placed along the path of the walk, then donated to a homeless shelter. I picked out a pair of Alex’s shoes to bring with me.
I prepared and prepared yesterday… I got my shirt ready, packed everything for the table, got Alex’s shoes ready, packed for Alexa etc. I knew I was forgetting something. Suddenly, I realized that I volunteered to donate a raffle item. I had not planned a thing. Ahhhh! My mom and I pondered what I could donate on short notice. I went through my origami owl inventory and quickly put together a suicide prevention / in memory locket. Not quite “widow next door” related but still… It was appropriate. I woke up early today and got there to set up my table. I met a lot of amazing people today. What hit me the most was looking around and realizing that all of these people had been affected by suicide in some way. We all have the same goal… To prevent this from happening to someone else and to end the silence! Talk about your experience! Open up and get the stigma removed. These are all amazing people that just needed some help. Help is out there and we need to make that known. This blog is my way of doing that.
The beginning was hard and I cried my way through the first few blocks. I’m not sure what hit me, but I had to get it out. Seeing his shoes along the path brought such an indescribable feeling. I wanted to just stop there and stand there with “him.” I wanted to steal them back. I have gotten rid of so many of his things, why were these shoes different? Today they had meaning. They represented his presence. I took photos and moved on. It was a beautiful walk. Alexa did great! I think she had fun! When we arrived at the finish, she was asleep in the stroller. I think the excitement got to her. I am so thankful for my friends and family who walked with me and for those who donated. I raised $500 and the walk raised $36,000! Today was great… Today was hard. But… I did it, and I’m glad I did. Here are the photos from the day.

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TV

I’ve noticed that the way I react to movies and tv shows has changed over the past almost 9 months. I don’t necessarily mean this in a bad way, but life experiences make you view things differently. I watched “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry” tonight. I’ve seen the movie before but noticed new things. The entire thing is based on the fact that Larry only had 1 year to change the beneficiary on his pension. Sounds crazy.. But I can relate. I only had 30 days to add Alexa to my insurance after a “change of life.” I’m not sure I would have give this any thought previously. More importantly, there is a quick scene where Larry begins removing his late wife’s clothing from her closet. My heart broke for him. Though it’s a movie, I truly felt his pain. I’ve always tried to imagine what characters in movies are going through but this was something I have done.
I do not watch a lot of TV shows. I pretty much only religiously follow Grey’s Anatomy. I love this show but something about last night’s episode bothered me. A woman arrived at the hospital right after her husband passed away. She was crying. In this case, I did not feel her pain. I questioned her reaction. Was my experience different than others? Or was this inaccurate. For me, I could not cry. Even wanting to and trying to, I physically could not. Being in shock, my body would not allow it. I understood what was going on, but was literally in a daze and could not feel anything. I stayed in this daze for days. I functioned as best as possible… But, as far as I can remember, I did not cry until walking into the funeral home for the private viewing. The days are a blur, so I can’t be positive it was that long, but still. To me, that scene seemed so unrealistic. Your body literally protects you from falling apart in a crisis situation.
I eluded to this in an earlier post. I stayed up late a few nights ago watching some stupid movie that I don’t even remember the name of. I knew the movie was dumb but I needed to know the ending! Toward the end, the main couple were seemingly breaking up and the woman stated “I cannot live without him.” I wanted to scream at the TV. You CAN live without him… You just don’t want to. I can live without Alex and I am… I just don’t want to.

Sure feels like a Throwback Thursday

Thursday is my day “off” and alone to get everything done. Boy the day went fast. It started last night when I got home and had some great mail. It’s no secret that I love the mail. I had a shipment from Origami Owl and stayed up late putting lockets and keychains together. It was exciting. I slept well, and got up early as usual. I even woke up before Alexa. I dropped her off at 7:45 and my day alone began. First stop labcorp to get my bloodwork done.
Pretty uneventful… I spent so much time in that place when I was pregnant, they knew me by name.
My things have changed. I got out of there quickly and headed to SAMs.
When Alex and I started dating, he was in charge of the vending machines at work. Many of our first dates were spent purchasing $500 worth of candy and snacks at SAMs and loading them into a car, then into vending machines. I’ve been to SAMs many times since and somehow that hit me today. I was wandering the aisles daydreaming about our shopping dates. I finished there and headed to Toys R Us… Funny thing, they didn’t open for an hour. So I did a little grocery shopping at acme… Then wandered into TJ Maxx… And that’s where it happened. I saw myself in the mirror. My pants were falling down, my sweater was huge and my face looked like I hadn’t slept in days. This is not the look I was trying to portray. So… I bought my first pair of size 8 skinny jeans! When I started this weight loss journey, I wore a 16! I got a new shirt to go along with it too. Still with time to spare, I put on some makeup in the parking lot and headed into the store I originally came for, as a new woman. This was the first time I had ordered something online and had to pick it up. Did you know you scan your email confirmation and someone brings your order out? This was news to me! So cool! The door opened and a man walked out carrying Alexa’s new lightweight stroller. He stared at me and said “umm…. You’re Cruz?” Yes…. He looked me up and down and said “do you need help with this?” No… Pretty sure I can handle a stroller. I just replied “nope. I’m good” and went on my way. I can’t help but feel like A. He was picturing someone Hispanic and B. He took one look at me and didn’t think I could lift anything. Did I mention I had already purchased two 50 pound bags of litter by myself? There’s a lot I can do on my own.
I had planned to stop at Michaels also, but that’s in another plaza. I went there on Tuesday for supplies for this weekend. Saturday is the Dover Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention walk and I have a team walking in memory of Alex called “Mow’s Memory.” I am making pins for the team members. Though I purchased two packages of scrapbooking letters, I ran out of M’s and O’s really quickly. As I was about to drive out of the parking lot, it dawned on me that I could run into Staples for a paint marker. I bought my 99 cent marker, and of course, they asked for my rewards card. I gave them my phone number and nothing came up. I knew I had one. I gave them Alex’s old number and the cashier says “Alexander Cruz?” Ugh… Weird… Yes that’s my card. Can we please change the name? Nope… Not possible.. I can close the rewards card and start a new one. I didn’t feel like dealing with it at the moment so just left it how it was.
I was excited to get to the mall. I had been dreaming of salad works all day and had the perfect nail design picked out (on Pinterest) for this weekend. First, I had to return some jeans to American Eagle. I swore my American Eagle size 10 fit so well (from 5 years ago) that I ordered new ones. Nope! Too big. I go to return them and they ask for my rewards card. Here we go again. I give them Alex’s info and again ask to change it. They tell me I can change it online. Ok.. Fine.. In the meantime they try to get me to exchange instead of return. I’d like to shop, but really I want to get my nails done first. I felt so much better about myself after getting my eyebrows and nails done. They did a great job with the design. I spent over an hour in the food court enjoying my salad, emailing with a life coach client and chatting/texting/emailing with some Origami Owl customers trying to get their designs finalized and ordered toward last weekend’s party. Did I mention I had my first party this weekend? Thank goodness for my iPhone. I was talking, pricing, sending photos and checking orders all from my phone. On the way out, I wandered back into American Eagle and treated myself to another pair of jeans from the clearance rack. $45 jeans for $13, I love it!!! Again, they asked for my rewards card. The cashier remembered me and remembered to search on Cruz. This time she found Heather Cruz. Oh! That’s me! She said “oh no you have been giving your husband your rewards points.” Idk where this came from but I said “that’s ok, he can’t use them where he is.” DUMB DUMB DUMB! She cracked up laughing at which point I said “umm.. He’s dead.” She mumbled that she was sorry and we went on with the transaction. Oh well, still excited about my jeans. One more stop to drop off some of the lockets I had put together last night. I did not get home until almost 2:00! I made a virtual appointment with a psychic again. It was offered and I accepted. I talked to her when I got home. I still don’t have closure… I don’t think I ever will. I struggle with the idea that one day I had a happy marriage and then suddenly I didn’t. I laughed at hearing her say he was mumbling and got angry at things that were brought up. Overall, I’m still letting go of the anger, but when something brings it out, I believe it is best to let it for the moment and get over it. It is better than bottling it up or ignoring it. Whether you believe in spirit contact or not, it tends to be almost a therapy session for me. It may have brought out some anger, but only because I miss him. When this all happened, I felt like my life was over, like I couldn’t do this without him… But here I am. I can and I am doing it. And I know he’s proud of me… The day went fast and I hurried up to get more work done, then went to pick up my princess. We had so much fun running around the backyard with the dogs tonight. I bet half the neighborhood heard her laughing. Her day must have been as busy as mine because she turned into a princess cranky pants and went to bed early. She’s got my attitude haha.

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Supernatural email?

Now it turns out there is probably a logical explanation for this email… But how did I get an email dated 12/31/69 today? I took a photo of it… Clicked on it… And it immediately disappeared. Maybe I would just like to believe it. But if anyone can email from the other side, I believe Alex could. He was a computer genius and died on 12/31. If only the email actually said something. Crazy? Maybe… Maybe not…

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Long day

Today has been a very long day. I couldn’t sleep last night. I found myself wandering my house wondering if this is what insomnia feels like. I finally found myself getting sleepy at 12:15 this morning. Alexa woke up crying at 12:30. I got her back to sleep (stupid night terrors) and probably was asleep a little after 1. Before I knew it, it was 5 and the alarm was going off. It was yard sale day. I was at my parents and unpacking at 6. People started arriving before I even finished. I had a lot to sell and wanted it all gone. I did well… But something about watching someone walk away with Alex’s work boots really got me. I’m not sure why that one item bothered me, but it stopped me in my tracks. I had to get back into the moment and continue selling. I’m happy that his items are being put to use and not ending up as trash. Since I couldn’t shop, and I love yard sales, my mom and Alexa went out shopping for me. They came back with a photo of a Swingset someone was selling. I ran to look at it and decided to buy it. We finished the yard sale and packed everything back up. My dad and I headed to take apart the Swingset and get it to my house. Standing there watching him with his tools, I was thankful that I had him to help me, but knew it should be Alex doing it. I finally blurted out “we are both thinking it so I’m just going to say it. This would be easier if Alex were here.” I have been very determined to leave my anger behind, but felt it sneaking in today.
He is supposed to be here to do this for his daughter! He was young and strong and great with tools. He would have had this figured out in no time. He should be sharing the excitement of his daughters first Swingset! I decided to let the anger go and just feel sorry that he couldn’t be here to enjoy this. We got it done. Well… I didn’t do much. But it’s done. Alexa saw it and immediately said “what’s that?” Just as we expected. It was a long day on 4 hours of sleep. I’m exhausted and sitting outside watching the rain while a visiting frog watches me write. Let’s hope I fall asleep as quickly as Alexa did.

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In preparation…

Tomorrow is another big yard sale day. I’ve done one before, so selling Alex’s items isn’t new to me. Nothing had me in tears but there were certainly some thought provoking moments. The day before his death, Alex and I played guitar hero for the first time in years. When we started dating, we played constantly! We had guitar hero parties at our house and had hours of fun. Over the weekend before his death, we discussed how we did not have the same hobbies or interests anymore. I was still interested in photography, he wasn’t. World of Warcraft did not interest him anymore and he had moved into Call of Duty. Shooting games give me anxiety. Though it was winter, I was looking forward to nice weather to start cycling again and he wanted to sell his bike. I spent nights online couponing and researching babies, while he played video games and looked at comics. He wanted me to go to the gun range and I refused. That weekend, we spent time together watching old movies, playing with Alexa and, for old times sake, playing guitar hero. We had so much fun! Today, I decided it was time to sell the guitar hero guitars and drums. I’m not going to play by myself. There’s no need for them to sit here collecting dust. I couldn’t help but think about all of our times playing, especially our last time.

I posted the yard sale on numerous sites, listing some of the things I was selling. Someone messaged me asking what size men’s clothes I was selling. 9 months ago, I would have known his exact clothing size. Today, I had no idea. I had to go look. I’m starting to forget details about him, and that scares me.

There is still so much stuff in my basement. I’m finding old car parts, papers, and just random crap. Some of this is stuff are things we just never unpacked when we moved 3 years ago. Some is stuff from before we even met. I find myself asking him what the hell to do with it all, and asking him to direct me toward stuff I could actually sell. I think he was there helping. I was reminded of some things of mine I had forgotten.

Hopefully tomorrow goes well. Next up is my first Origami Owl jewelry bar. I am so excited! I added my Suicide Prevention charm to my locket today. I have never been interested in these type of home businesses before. Something was different about this one. First, Alex loved Origami. Now I know that sounds stupid but I really felt he was telling me to do this. I love how well I can commemorate him in my locket and raise awareness at the same time. The first locket I saw was a friend’s memorial for her husband and I was hooked. It gives me the opportunity to work from home, donate more, and have fun! Plus, hang out with my friends. I’m working hard, and I know I can be successful. So I’m raising my wine glass charm to a successful weekend!

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Wine glass charm..hehe

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My updated locket

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An old photo of Alex and our friend Joe playing Guitar Hero

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Just some of the yard sale items!

 

Photo blog!!

Today… I’m just posting some photos of the happiness in my life :-)

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I’ll be missing you…

This song gets me every time… Some of the lyrics really hit home

Yeah… this right here (tell me why)
Goes out, to everyone, that has lost someone
That they truly loved (cmon, check it out)
Seems like yesterday we used to rock the show
I laced the track, you locked the flow
So far from hanging on the block for dough
Notorious, they got to know that
Life ain’t always what it seem to be
Words can’t express what you mean to me
Even though you’re gone, we still a team
Through your family, I’ll fulfill your dream (that’s right)
In the future, can’t wait to see
If you open up the gates for me
Reminisce some time, the night they took my friend
Try to black it out, but it plays again
When it’s real, feelings hard to conceal
Cant imagine all the pain I feel
Give anything to hear half your breath
I know you still living your life, after death
Every step I take, every move I make
Every single day, every time I pray
Ill be missing you
Thinking of the day, when you went away
What a life to take, what a bond to break
Ill be missing you
Its kinda hard with you not around
Know you in heaven smiling down
Watching us while we pray for you
Every day we pray for you
Till the day we meet again
In my heart is where I’ll keep you friend
Memories give me the strength I need to proceed
Strength I need to believe
My thoughts big I just can’t define
Wish I could turn back the hands of time
Us in the 6, shop for new clothes and kicks
You and me taking flicks
Making hits, stages they receive you on
I still can’t believe you’re gone
Give anything to hear half your breath
I know you still living you’re life, after death
somebody tell me why
On that morning
When this life is over
I know
Ill see your face
Every night I pray, every step I take
Every move I make, every single day
Every night I pray, every step I take
every day that passes
Every move I make, every single day
is a day that I get closer
[to seeing you again
Every night I pray, every step I take
Every move I make, every single day
cause we can’t stop… that’s right
Every night I pray, every step I take
Every move I make, every single day

Inappropriate marketing

Last night I posted a photo of an ad that had been bothering me. At the direction of a friend, I contacted the company. Here is what I wrote:
I am writing regarding your ad depicting a man holding a camera to his head as if it were a gun. I am appalled at the idea that you would use a topic such as suicide for marketing. As a woman who lost her husband (a photographer) to mental illness and suicide, in that manner, I find this photo very upsetting. Millions of people are affected each day by suicide, and to use it in a joking manner is highly inappropriate. I sincerely hope you choose to change your marketing stance into something more positive.

I am happy with the thought that I stood up for something I believe strongly in.

That’s all for tonight… One member of the household really wants to go to bed and the other does not.. I’ll let you guess which ;-P

Take the bad with the good

Today was weird. Well no, it was a pretty normal day with a few weird moments. I saw online today a post about the suicide prevention walk I am participating in, asking that you bring a pair of shoes in memory of the person that you lost. It was explained that they will be set along the path to signify each person lost and then donated to a homeless shelter. I thought this was a great idea. I had a pair of Alex’s sneakers sitting by my shoe rack for the longest time. I just put them aside for a yard sale I’m having. That didn’t bother me, but somehow taking them out of the box to keep them for the walk really upset me. I cried looking at them knowing what I would be doing with them. I moved on with my day. Later in the day, I was outside and heard a car approaching. For some reason, I looked up, almost expecting it to be him coming home. I had a hard time shaking the feeling that he should be coming home any minute. I haven’t felt this in a long time and don’t know where it came from. It eventually went away, and I, again, went on with the night. I sat at “his” desk tonight to work on my paper. I had a hard time with words tonight and just couldn’t finish. It isn’t due for days but know I won’t have much time or energy in the upcoming nights. I finally got up and went to my desk to do a final Facebook check before bed and was faced with that awful ad again. I’m sure I’ve posted it before but here it is again. It upsets me every time and just won’t go away! I’ve marked it offensive so many times but it just doesn’t matter. Though it seems like it was a bad day, it wasn’t. I got a lot done around the house, spent the day with Alexa, had a blast creating my Origami Owl designs for an upcoming party, and am looking forward to a NJ day on Sunday. As of today, I lost 26 pounds and I’m excited to lose more. Well, it was family pizza night tonight, so maybe 25 lol.
You just have to take the bad with the good.

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