Let me start out by saying that life is good and I am happy. I’ve been working so hard lately and so proud of my achievements. I have a beautiful new home, an amazing man and family by my side and some of the best friends a girl could ask for. I’m so extraordinarily thankful for everything I have.

With that being said, December is hard. Being so happy in my new life, does not erase the pain, the trauma, and the memories of my old life. It’s a dent that can never truly be fixed. Each day that comes closer to “the day” seems to get just a little bit harder. The anxiety is harder to ignore and i “just keep swimming” toward it. I don’t want to rush through the holidays, but then again, I really want to rush through the holidays. I am torn between loving the Christmas decorations and feeling as though they mock me, driving by, reminding me of that night. Everything is just a tiny bit harder this month. All in all.. I WILL make Christmas a good experience this year, even if just for the kids in my life. It’s not about me.. It’s about them.

I posted something on Facebook recently regarding my feelings on guns. It was in regards to a child being shot by a “paranoid” man, legally carrying a gun. I know that no one can truly understand the thoughts in my head, but I thought this summed it up well: Nothing is black and white…there are so many grey areas. I lost someone I love because someone mentally unstable legally owned guns. Now this family did too. Let me be clear, I do not blame the gun and do not believe everyone needs to be disarmed… However guns are not toys and often fall into the wrong hands. They have serious repercussions and maybe we need to stop the gun “argument” and try to see both sides.

To elaborate: I fully understand that owning/carrying a gun is 100% a personal choice and a legal right. I do not think we should lose that right. I understand that the experiences people have in their lives mold their opinion on things. My personal opinion is as follows: The sole purpose of a gun is to inflict harm. You can argue that it is for protection, but it protects you by inflicting harm. I spent months hearing the “guns are safe” speech from Alex, and in the end, that gun (and his unknown mental instability) took him away from me. Therefore, I do not welcome them in my home. Really, I felt this way before his death. (Due to another negative experience as a child. But that’s a story for another time.) It only reinforced those feelings. It takes a split second for something to go wrong and I was never willing to take that risk especially with children in the house.

I have PTSD. I am not crazy. I am not irrational. I can take whatever comes at me and deal with it how I must. I do not expect people to change their views for me. However, I do expect mutual respect.

I took Alexa to Alex’s grave yesterday to decorate for Christmas. I know that so many see this as completely heartbreaking and awful, but it is different for us. This is normal. This is my life. This is all that she knows. She has no memory of him, therefore cannot be hurt by it. I feel that it is appropriate to teach her of his existence, and the respect that we show at his grave. I teach her the basics, and what I feel a 3 year old can understand. She asks some questions, and then goes back to her day.

It is almost 1 year since I have smoked a cigarette. Some of these “December days” really make me want to give up.. But I’m strong enough.. I may eat some extra chocolate… But I’ll be okay.

Everything comes down to, I’ll get through anything. I always do.