A Blink and Forever

Today marks 10 years of my husband’s Mom passing away. I was lucky enough to date him in high school, and get to know his mom then.But we were not together when she passed away. After this January, and losing his Dad, maybe it was a blessing that she wasn’t a daily part of my life then… although the pain would have been worth the gain.

Things that remind me of her are springtime, tea on the porch, dirt… digging up flowers and moving them again, and again and again, playing games in the winter, Christmas… the crazy excitement over that train that went around the bottom of the tree. Party mix. Knowing that what you want is worth working for. Ladybugs. My daughter’s smile. The idea that helping others, even if it is inconvenient to you, is important and should be a priority.

The world is a darker place without her here to light it up. I wish my kids could have experienced what she felt like. She lit up a room when she walked into it. But they won’t get to know that. Just like we didn’t get to see her smiling face on our wedding day. She never got to hold our sweet babies in her arms. I never got to show off my garden to her  and the kids will never get to help her in hers.

Her opinion on our landscaping is unknown. Her advice for simple things and big things is a secret, lost forever. We frequently feel her around us… see her signs… and we have to make that be enough. Enjoy each tiny moment where it feels like she is there, lighting up around us.

My sweet husband is in a world without his parents. At too young of an age for anybody to be there. So today we will gather together at the lake, let our lanterns fly up and deliver our wishes, and have a seven and seven in memory of her. Or two. Make party mix and eat too many raspberries with cream. Look at old pictures and read old memories. Remember all the amazing times instead of thinking about what we are missing out on.

Imagine how a life went by in the blink of an eye…. and yet it still feels like forever since she was here.

 

 

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At Least We Have Us

So here’s the thing. We have always talked about how much it just sucks that Brenda (my mother in law) isn’t here to be a part of our kiddos lives.  It will be ten years, on March 25th, since she passed away.We’ve lamented about how much our kids are missing out on.

*Every time someone complains about their mother in law, it takes every part of my patience, every piece of my being, to keep my thoughts to myself about how lucky they are to have her there. Every time. And sometimes my thoughts just spill right out of my mouth. (So… note to reader: Enjoy every day with everyone in your life. Are they bugging you? Giving their two cents? Hug it out. Tell them THANK YOU for loving your kids so much they need to meddle in your business and tell ‘how they did it’. Even if you don’t want to at the moment, just do it. And you’re welcome.)*

But in all our complaining and missing her, we always  have said ‘At least we have Dad’.

Aunt Elaine was taken from us  in a horrific accident almost two years ago. It was shocking and earth shaking. Unexpected. She had filled such a void for our kids, making them feel so loved (and us too, of course) and always taking the time to make them feel important. When she was taken, we were again so glad to have Curt there to hold everyone up. To look to for what to do next. I feel safe in saying that the whole family felt like he was the rock to lean upon and a guide to get us through the darkness. We thought ‘At least we have Dad’.

Here we are coming up on our first Easter without him. Having to plan our own celebration instead of Grandpa putting it all together. We just got back from our first cabin trip, just the kids and I, without Grandpa there to meet us. I found myself wandering around the cabin, finding jobs to do and things to move around. While looking around for ‘the eagle’ who lives there, and feeling sad he wasn’t there to remind me of Curt, I noticed a set of footprints walking from the cabin down to the lake. All the snow was melted away, except for a set of tracks, set in ice (probably from when the ground first froze). It was my sign that he was there… but also bittersweet to know those tracks are all that’s left.

Tomorrow my husband comes home from his first ‘hitch’ at work without his dad around. I haven’t gotten to talk to him in a few days. And the Grandpa calling to check in call is glaringly apparent. Just feels… extra mean. If that makes sense.

Losing someone always is hard. Always. We love big and we love hard in this family. You’re in or you are out. No middle ground.  But it’s not fair that he is gone. He was our best buddy, for all of us… not just my husband or me or Sawyer or Gracie… but for every member of this family, he felt like a best friend to. And now… there’s this hole that can’t be filled. And it isn’t fair. I feel like we’ve picked ourselves up and dusted ourselves off so many times… and now again. We have to do it again.

I’ve been hanging in there. That’s the only way to describe it. I’m ‘cursed’ with being stuck on the bright side of things, most of the time. Even when thinking of all we have lost, I can’t help but count all our blessings and the amazing times we did have.And all the time we have coming to us in the future to make new memories with our kids, and each other.

But there is never enough time. Maybe… my bright side isn’t a curse, but an opportunity to pick up those around me. Maybe I’ll pick myself up in the process and find something else to write about beyond the losses we’ve encountered. That seems like asking for a lot- but we have to have goals to know where to go. 😉

grandpa wait for me

Joke is on me. And it ain’t funny.

The jokes appears to be on me.

I pulled into my driveway today, after having to take my daughter to the doctor as early as possible on a Sunday because of an apparent ear infection (she screamed from the moment she woke up until we got into the doctor… about 2 hours), and what do I see? Cabin Grandpa’s truck, my husband’s truck and my parent’s car parked there. All the people who are not here to help me. My support group represented by their vehicles. Shot to heart!

I knew this first hitch of Vincent being gone would be tough. I underestimated what would be thrown at me. Hey… if you’re going to get used to having to do things alone… what better way than to be challenged at every turn? And have all back up people be out of town. (*That’s not 100% fair. My sister in law who lives here did call the other night, but in the midst of crying/medicating kids and wrangling dogs, I didn’t get a chance to talk to her.)

Between conferences with parents, sick kiddos, being coughed on, vomited on and snotted on… plus having no communication with my husband beyond a few 2 minute phone calls… plus apparently there’s some sort of night loitering going around in my neighborhood… plus no babysitter… jeez. Oh! And throw in an uncle who is in ICU because of complications with a cancerous tumor. Anything else? Anything? You can believe I’m waiting for something else to come along.

There’s been lots of good things too. Snuggles with my hilarious little man… who is extra funny when he doesn’t want to go to bed yet. All the laundry is done, folded and put away (yay me!). I got a sweet package from our cabin neighbor with a book that I didn’t know I really needed to read. I mentioned wanting some old glass insulators  and a couple barrels of glass stuff my great grandpa collected were discovered in Washington. They haven’t been opened in 40 years since he passed away. That’s kind of cool.

But isn’t that what life is? Right? It’s hard and challenging and mixed in there are the amazing, beautiful moments that make it worth it all. I’m hoping all  my bad times are happening in these last two years- but even that’s hard to say. I’ve had two devastating losses… and a handful of big losses, a lot of ‘oh well’ moments… but all and all… my life is good. And isn’t the hard and sad supposed to make the happy and amazing seem better?

All I know is I’m ready to appreciate some really, really, really great moments. Let’s start that now. And…. go!

First Time Again

My husband left today for the first time since we lost his Dad. I have to convince myself every moment that it will be okay. And that nothing is going to happen, just because he is gone. And nothing will happen to him because he is gone. But I cried the whole way home from the airport this morning… first time I’ve done that in a while.

The problem is this… his dad was so… invincible. Tough. Strong. Dependable. A problem solver who fixed things you didn’t realize you needed to fix. He was a respite in moments of madness when Vince had been out of town and I had been ‘single mama-ing’ it for far too many days in a row. An adult who could make my kids laugh so I could go sit on the dock and fish for a few minutes. Or take my kids out to help him stack wood… something they aren’t really into doing with me. But it was cool when Grandpa asked for help.

We would go to the cabin and he would be another adult to talk adult things to. A sounding board for my crazy ideas. And somebody who knew about everything because of his awesome life experience. His life of working hard and playing hard influenced our lives tremendously! This December Vince was telling him he thought he might only get a few weeks of work this winter. Curt’s response? “Would that be the end of the world? To be home with your family for a couple months?”  

Now the other person in my world who I always viewed as ‘invincible’ is now going out there away from me. Not only away from us at home, but off to work where he’s running equipment, battling trees and working on the Haul Road, out of cell phone service. Just gone for two weeks. With big ol’ semi trucks cruising by them… and last time he was up at the same area he almost got swept under the ice in the river… and didn’t tell me until the next summer. No wonder I get carried away in my anxiety.

I’m excited for him to get back into the work routine and get his mind off all this mess. For him it will be a break from it all. For me it is going to be a sharp reality check as I find the person I leaned on when I was ‘alone’ is now truly gone forever. It sounds selfish when I read it back to myself- hahah. At least I can see that… so that’s a step forward. I think.

We are lucky that we have the kids to help us heal. And my parents who are beyond essential in our lives. I don’t know if we would have made it this far without them there to help every time we ask. Which has been a lot. Another couple people I now find myself obsessively worrying about being safe. I don’t want to be one of those families people read about and think… jeez, hasn’t it been enough? Because it already has to this point. I think we should tap out on bad things. Right? I’m sending it out there and hoping that works!!

Wish me luck!!   Two weeks starts now….Dada airport.jpg