May 28, 2015
"What? Is that why you think he did it?
I never looked at another man.
Never thought of another man.
Fuck you!" I said.
She is a bitch.
She was having an affair.
Their marriage was on the rocks.
He was having an affair.
He had a drug problem.
He had a gambling problem.
And the list goes on...I heard them all.
Terrible things said about a man who died from mental illness.
Horrible things said about a woman who lost her husband, father of her children and best friend.
Disgusting things said about 2 young boys father and mother.
Do people say terrible things about a wife, marriage and man when he dies of natural causes?
When he dies from an illness?
When he dies in an accident?
Why do sharp and evil tongues come out with suicide?
So much more hurt given to those already hurting.
Fear of the unknown?
Fear of mental illness?
People are evil... but so many more are wonderful, supportive, caring, empathetic, loving, giving beautiful human beings.
I choose them.
I let the evil go.
In the first few months after Pat died, evil words would send me in a tail spin for days.
Words would make me cry, unable to breathe and hurt my deeply broken heart.
That ended. No more.
No more energy given to evil.
Now I laugh and say to myself "ignorant asshat".
Take your words and shove them.
I"m only giving my energy to myself, the boys, those we love and living a simple and authentic life.
If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.
Didn't we learn this in kindergarten?
Why do so many adults and their children forget this golden rule?
Words will not break me.
Words will not break Jack and Charlie.
Do not let words break you.
Do not give evil energy.
I know it is hard. I know it hurts.
I know people you trust will say things.
People you never expect...
Take a deep breath. Hold your head high.
You know in your heart what is true.
No explanations needed.
Your circle of true friends and family will become small and strong.
You will be okay.
May 20, 2015
How many years would I be married now? I forget sometimes because this was the third wedding anniversary without him. Time is flying by yet stands still for me at times.
My wedding anniversary.
A week after his birthday.
A day after Mother’s Day.
The hardest week now I face every year. So many emotions to deal with on my own. Maybe having these days so close together is a blessing as I can work through the week and be done with it. Work through with the pain and heartache of being reminded my partner and best friend is gone.
I am 1 instead of 2 in marriage and parenting.
I am single now.
I am a single parent now.
This week reminds me of this and hurts me to my core.
But this year was different.
Different because the hurt was there but my thoughts were of hope.
Hope for my future. Hope of healing. Hope of peace.
I look back on how far I have come these past 3 years and quietly smile. Who was that girl 3 years ago? I feel like I don’t know her anymore. I know she is gone and somebody new is here. Somebody I like and I don't feel guilty about liking her...
I remember not knowing how I should act or be. Do I cry, toast him with champagne, scream and swear at him? The week leading up to the date was torture. I couldn’t face the day by myself but I also couldn’t be with people. Family and friends who had memories of our wedding day were suffering too. They didn’t know what to say to me...didn’t know if they should acknowledge it or not. We were all in an such an uncomfortable, painful place and didn’t know what to do.
Leave town…run. The pain is suffocating.
I flew away. My friend took me in. He didn’t know what to do either so we quietly made it through. He remembered that cold day in May as well...toasting his two friends celebrating their love and new life together. A painful day for both of us.
I slept through most of my first anniversary without him.
I hadn’t slept through the night since the day he died. Funny how I will forever remember the date of the first night I had slept in 9 months.
A new anniversary for me.
I got through the day. So painful but I did.
I told myself then I would always do something for me on my anniversary.
Not for him. For me. Because I am still here. I am alive. I need to live. I want to live again.I felt dead inside.
My anniversary was Mother’s Day. The boys didn’t know. I did.
I smiled and took them to a Brewers game with my mom and dad. We laughed and cheered and had a beautiful day together.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I smiled.
Happy Anniversary to me. I silently cried inside.
2 best friends. A plane ticket. Sun. A bucket of beer. Memories shared. Laughter. Sleep. No tears. Finally a glass of champagne toasting him. Bittersweet memories.
I have found peace.
The heartache is still there but the day wasn’t so painful.
The days leading up to it were not so painful.
I am living. I have hope. I am okay today.
Time does heal if you let it.
Grief is messy. You can’t rush it. You can’t wish it away.
You have to accept it. Sit in it and learn how to live with it.
But you can find peace with it. Learn how to live again. You and I will get there. I believe it. So should you.
If this is your first anniversary on your own or your tenth, do what is right for you...
Celebrate the day. Quietly forget the day. Cry through the day. Sleep through the day.
Whatever you need, do it. But always remember to celebrate you.
May 4, 2015
Holidays and birthdays.
I cry through them.
I sleep through them.
I fake a smile through them.
I sometimes pretend they don't exist.
I travel on them to avoid them.
I drink too much on a few of them.
I can't breathe days before them knowing they are coming.
I celebrate and laugh during some again.
I take pictures on a few of them again.
I am peaceful again on a few of them.
My 11 and 15 year old have to deal with them too.
The boys celebrate some and want to forget others.
The boys struggle sometimes with their emotions leading up to them.
The boys sometimes agree on how we handle them and sometimes don't...those are the toughest.
I know it is hard for them to articulate how they feel. It hurts to watch them hurt and not know how to say how much it hurts.
The 3 of us talk about holidays and birthdays in advance. We have a plan. We know details. We are all aware of how the day will be but all know if it blows up and we need to leave, we leave. If we need to disappear for a bit, we do it. If we want to cry through the whole damn day, we cry. If we want to blow the day off and go to the beach to laugh and enjoy each other, we do it.
Just get through the day.
I have learned to tuck my needs away.
Suck it up Sandra....you can do it.
Smile. Cry later.
Do what the boys want and need. But sometimes the boys don't know what they want and need.
How do I handle a day one wants to quietly move through and one wants to celebrate?
Go with your gut Sandra.
Tomorrow is one of those days.
Cinco de Mayo.
Grief is a wave. It moves slowly and softly yet can pick up speed and come crashing down. Pat's birthday is as unpredictable as the waves. You think you are going into the day gently and then you crash. You can't breathe. You are mad, sad, pissed off and the next moment you are smiling celebrating him...missing him more than ever.
And then back to gentle as I share stories of birthday celebrations with Jack and Charlie.....a sombrero wearing doll holding a Corona in the front lawn wishing him a happy 40th, a shot of tequila with friends singing happy birthday in multiple languages, a Miley Cyrus birthday cake because that was the only one left at the bakery or a beautiful dinner in a quaint French town with his lovely laugh, a goatee and leather jacket.
Memories I have and cherish.
Memories I want the boys to know.
Memories that make me smile and also makes my heart ache.
Memories we hold onto because he will always be 41.
Now we move forward and create our own celebrations. Doing it the old way is too painful. Painful because he is not here. Our celebrations have changed...some for the better. Less stress, more family time and little care or concern about "what you should do". Rather enjoying and loving the people we are celebrating with.
Tomorrow is one of those days. The 3 of us will all celebrate Pat in our own way. We will talk, cry, laugh or scream. Whatever each of us chooses to do it will be okay.
We all ride our own waves.
I know our family and friends will celebrate him in their own way. Thank you for loving him and remembering him. I know you don't want to tell me but I know you ride your own waves too.
Tomorrow we will eat pizza and enjoy Dairy Queen ice cream cake...Pat's favorites for his birthday.
Tomorrow will be the 3rd year we celebrate without him.
Tomorrow will be different than the past two birthdays without him.
Next May 5th will be different too.
And we will all be okay.
If you have a birthday of your loved one approaching....be gentle with yourself. Talk to your kids about what they want to do. Celebrate. Don't celebrate. Just remember to breathe. You will get through it and be okay.
P.S. Happy Birthday Patrick Joseph Began. I think I will be having a few margaritas to celebrate you.