Archive for January, 2014

“Our place”

A few months back, I won “dinner for two” to a buffet Alex loved. One of my favorite photos of him was taken there. We had not been there in a long time, but I related to it as “his” place. Still, I refused to waste the tickets. It was a good night with a good friend but still, it felt so strange. I did not like seeing where “the photo” was taken. I did not like looking through the buffet at all the foods Alex loved. I got through it… Like I do everything else.

Recently, I experienced another place that I would previously considered as “our place.” I have vivid memories of going there nights Alexa was in the hospital. We loved unlimited wings night. He spent a lot of time there for staff meetings, and I would meet him after. This time, however, there was nothing strange. It didn’t feel like “our place” anymore. It was a good experience. I even ate the wings and laughed about some of the memories there.
More steps forward? Who knows… But I’m glad it didnt bother me.

Inspiration

There is so much going on in my life that I do not know where to even begin. I know I have not updated everyone in a while. First, I said goodbye to my childhood puppy, as he passed away last week. Losing someone is nothing new to me, but no matter what the circumstances, it is tough. I was hurt that Alex was not going to be there to help me through it, yet felt that Pedro would have a familiar face greeting him on the other side. I’m limping through my Pet loss course. Not such great timing for such a class.

This weekend I went to an Origami Owl regional meeting. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but knew it would be a fun experience. Though I complained about 200 women having one bathroom (yes I used the men’s room) and was concerned it would be a big sales pitch, I had a great time. We did get a lot of customer service and sales tips, but what I really took home was so much more. It was amazingly inspirational and just what I needed. Here are some of the things I want to share:

Live life with no regrets
Don’t worry yourself about what other people think of you
Be yourself.. no matter what
Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself
Be happy with who you are
Follow your dreams
Inspire someone
Don’t wait for a tragedy to change you into the person you want to be
Live life to the fullest NOW
Do something you’ve never done before this year and every year
Live alive, come alive

I agree with every one of these and will do my best to follow them.

In other news… Valentine’s day is coming UGH. That’s the approach I could take. Yet, I am trying not to. I’m offering great specials for Valentine’s day gifts and have found that so many women are ordering for themselves. I admire this. You can’t look to someone else to create your happiness, make it yourself. Though I still wouldn’t mind some roses showing up at my door hahaha. Or coffee… coffee is always a good thing. I know I have a Valentine looking down on me and I think he would be proud of the woman I have become in the past year.

The last week has brought a lot of closure to things. My tattoo is done and I’m so excited. I finally got back Alex’s shirt quilt. It feels good to have and I have put it away for Alexa. I went through and took down more reminders of him. It’s time… And it felt good. I can’t erase the past but I certainly want to live in the present and look toward the future.

Life is a lot of ups and downs… The past few weeks have been exactly that. I have a lot to look forward to in the future.

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Clothes

Though, as I’ve mentioned earlier, I still have not totally ruled out having another child someday, I have made the conscious decision to get rid of Alexa’s things as she out grows them. When questioned on this, I typically state that I don’t know if I will ever need them… Who knows of I will ever have another child and if I do, will it even be a girl? So, I was packing up some clothes for a newborn family member yesterday and was digging through bins to find the right sizes. I couldn’t help but notice the sheer dread that came about as I saw each item. I couldn’t wait to bag them up and pass them on. These clothes actually gave me a sickening reminder of a bad time. Though Alexa was 7 months old at the time of his death, she was wearing clothes sized for a 3 month old. All of these outfits made me think about whether Alex was alive to see them. Many reminded me of the months of sadness after his death. It felt good that they will be used in a happy time now. It’s amazing how such simple benign items can so strongly dredge up old memories and feelings. I want to keep moving forward and not ever feel the way I did or be reminded of the feelings “in the beginning.”

Too much?

I have a lot going on! Besides my normal school work, I (crazily) decided to take a course to get certified in pet loss. I mean why not? I’m working on a counseling degree, I work in Vet medicine, and have dealt with it myself. This course is hard and takes up a lot of time. Every moment I am torn between working on regular school work, this class, or one of my other responsibilities. It is demanding and the teacher is demanding. Assignments are sent on Friday night and due the following Friday at noon. It seemed that this would work out well considering Thursday is my “me” day. Instead, I was reprimanded for “waiting until the last minute to hand it in.” It was requested that every attempt is made to hand in assignments earlier in the week. I can’t help but feel that it is unfair to accuse me of not being focused and “slacking” because my one child-free day happens to be the day before things are due. If it were due on Monday, the work would still be done on the Thursday before. I find that in this situation, I’m being penalized for being a single mother… Clearly not my fault and not my choice. I’m not going to ignore my child on other days, when Thursday is seemingly a perfectly appropriate time. It is causing more stress than I would like, but I chose to take this course and I will meddle through. In sneaking in some reading today, I couldn’t help but feel that even in reading about pet loss, it still always brings up my life and situation…. A whole section on depression and suicide… I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. My “real” school is boring… I’m not enjoying reading about ethics but it is just part of the deal… Makes me question my judgements and morals lately. I’m known for putting others before me… But sometimes I have to take care of myself and not feel guilty about it… Easier said than done. I’ve had many waves of ups and downs lately… Sometimes within the same hour. I’m getting used to my second year and realizing that all it means is this is really my life. There are no more firsts and no more changes to get used to… This is it so I had better get comfortable and enjoy the ride (to the best of my ability.) I take on too much… I like feeling busy but this one more thing I took on may have been too much. I don’t want to give up… I can do it.
I got to meet my/Alexa’s new baby cousin last week. I forgot what it was like to hold such a new little life. I love the stage that Alexa is at but finally realize why people miss the baby stage and want another… It made me want another. Obviously I’m missing a large part of the equation. I thought I had resigned myself to Alexa being an only child but I’m second guessing that. It makes me wonder so much about what the future has to bring.
As usual… All I can say in all this is “Just keep swimming….”

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I had to update with this screenshot lol

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When the music’s over

For the last week, I keep going back to “this time last year…” I originally feared that I would be reliving last year and it would be incredibly painful. It hasn’t been. Each day, I have reminded myself how much better this day is, compared to last year. When I was aggravated with rain and traffic yesterday, I thought back to what I was doing last year. I’ll take the traffic any day. I feel good knowing the progress I’ve made. Today, last year, was ultimately the first day of my new life. The funeral was over and “the crowd” was leaving. There was no more planning, no more getting things done before the funeral. It was now my real life. It was scary looking at what was ahead. One step at a time, I created my new world. There are no more real changes and and (after yesterday) no more firsts. I’ve gotten through the first anniversary of everything and every first holiday. We will see what the second brings.
For the first few weeks my phone was nuts. If I decided to take a nap, I woke to many texts, Facebook notifications, IMs, missed calls… You name it. Anyone and everyone was contacting me constantly. And the close ones would get scared when I didn’t answer. I couldn’t keep up, yet it was nice to have constant interaction. This has all dwindled now. Of course, that is to be expected. People move on with their lives. I still find myself craving constant interaction and still have a lot of friends to consistently chat with. My phone is my lifeline. I’ve always been very social… But still… I got used to 6 years of having someone to text/email all day every day.

The day it became real

One year ago tonight was the private viewing for Alex’s funeral. So today is already a much better day than it was one year ago.
My parents, one close friend and I were the only ones in attendance. I remember being in a fog walking into the building. It still wasn’t real. I took a deep breath, walked in, and came face to face with a large canvas of him. That’s the moment where I completely lost it. There he was exactly as I remembered him. I regained composure and was instructed that as I walked into the next room, I would turn right and walk all the way through to the casket. I remember the first sight of it, but can’t remember how quickly I walked up to it. The rest is a blur. I screamed, I cried, I talked to him. I asked for a step stool to get closer to kiss him. I held his hand and stroked his hair (then was asked not to.) I practically climbed in there with him. I cried on his chest, leaving tear stains on my favorite sweater vest that I decided to bury him in. I finally understood what people meant when they go to a funeral and say “he looked so good.” He looked like the Alex I knew and loved. Besides being dead, you would never know he had been shot. I held his foot. His ice cold body felt good on my migraine ridden head. I even took photos of him. I don’t know why. I still can’t explain it. I can’t remember what I said to him. I’m sure there was an “how am I supposed to live without you?” I left there knowing the horror the next day would bring. The next morning, a limo would be waiting to take me to my husband’s funeral. I was 28 years old… Married for only 4 years and just had a baby. How could this be happening to me? Well… It did. I survived that week of death and funeral and starting a new life. It’s not easy… But I’m doing it. And I even find myself happy sometimes. I felt pretty good today despite everything. Vacation is over and my reality is back. I went to his grave in the snow yesterday… I can’t believe I’ve been visiting there for a year. But still… I miss him everyday. I don’t know if that ever changes. I’m starting to notice little things in Alexa’s personality that are clearly him… She was referred to as “daddy’s little girl” recently. She is… I wish he were here to see it. Tomorrow I will be working. First day back after vacation but it will distract me from what was going on last year. As usual… I will get through it. I always do.

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2014

It’s January. I couldn’t wait for December to end and to finally get past the huge one year milestone. Truth is, today and yesterday felt like any other day. Nothing changed. I did not have any huge revelations. My world did not have any excessive changes. It’s just another day. I did not make any resolutions. I don’t need to. I’ve made the promises to myself to continue being the best mom that I can, take better care of myself, keep striving to make a difference and continue on. I’m still on vacation and feeling pretty good here. I know my normal world is waiting for me at home, and that’s okay. There will always be more things to look forward to. The same statement goes when it comes to hard moments ahead. They will always be there. All in all.. This face can get me though anything…

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A New Year

Well this year already started out better than the last. Last year I woke up to the realization that this wasn’t a nightmare, my life had actually become a nightmare. This year I woke up to sounds of Alexa and the Ocean outside.
I made it through the one year yesterday. Honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I had expected. However, I’m glad it’s over.
We ate, drank, toasted him, walked on the beach and did some outlet shopping. I had some tough moments and paced the entire kitchen and top floor for the time I knew “it” was happening one year ago.
At night, the bar across the street had a NYE 5K. I ended up only doing the one mile walk, but couldn’t help picturing Alex running ahead in his “toe shoes.”
Thank you for everyone who checked in on me and has been there for me this year. I can’t tell you what it means to me. It truly has been the worst year of my life… Yet I have had some of the most incredible moments with Alexa this year. Here’s to another year of new milestones and experiences with my princess and life saver. Maybe next NYE will be a little better.

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