Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Dear Barry

Dearest Barry,

Hi baby. I haven't written you in a long time, and I feel this intense urge to do so today.  I should have done it last night, but I was so tired from our day in Seattle, that I just couldn't bring myself to do it.  I think if I had, I would be feeling much better right now rather than having woken up in a funky mood.

While we were in Seattle all day, I saw so many things that reminded me of you.  I was with a friend and the kids, and I had trouble holding back the tears on the way home.  I just couldn't cry, I wouldn't let myself.  We were at this one shop, and guess what I found???? A decal (well, a metal one) of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!!! I just laughed and laughed at that one, and bought it! I'm going to put it on the new car (more about that in a bit).  I just love it, but when I was looking at it, and buying it, I was desperately wanting to tell you about it.  Sometimes I have these moments where I just want to pick up the phone and call you, and tell you something about my day, or something funny that you and I would get.  I know you would get a kick out of that.  I wonder what people will think when they see it on the van. I also went to your favorite German store there, the Bavarian Delicatessen in the market.  The last time I was there was with you...and oh I missed you walking into there.  I picked up some Waffeln (ALL MINE mwuhahahaha) and some Pfefferminz Ritter Sport, because those were what you sent me back when we were engaged.  I saw the curry ketchup you liked, and almost bought it, but didn't, because you always liked it more than I. I got some amazing Rye bread too, that you would have loved, and had it this morning toasted with some cheese.  I almost bought some pumpernickel, but passed on that.  It all reminded me of when we'd go to Aldi in Mainz, and get the bread, cheese, all that wonderful food we'd have in our apartment.

Friday I turned 30.  I missed you that day.  I missed my giant birthday cake. I really really missed you honey. Maegen and Katie were here, and we went out for an awesome dinner, and then went to some bars downtown. Me in a bar? Can you believe it? I drank, and had fun, and danced.  It was a great way to ring in my 30s. My 20s were with you, but what will my 30s bring?

I'm buying a new vehicle. After you died, and the van was paid off b/c we were wise to get life insurance on it, things started going wrong with it.  And now the struts need replaced...and only on one side, but that's $500 right there.  Plus the "intake manifold gasket" needs replaced as well, and I just don't feel like shelling out $1200 just for repairs. I've put so much money into it the last 7 months and I'm TIRED of it. I don't want to do it anymore.  Jesse (my mechanic at Midas) told me that its getting to the point where Fords become money pits, and the van has almost 100K miles on it. I need something practical for the kids and I that wont break down so much, or give me a fear of it breaking down, and I will be going the SUV way.  I'm not doing the "swagger waggon" thing anymore haha.  I'm not sure yet if I will trade it in, or sell it outright, but I should get a fair amount for it because it has brand new tires and brand new brakes. Anyway...I just wanted to tell you that I'm getting something new, and I am pretty excited about it!!!

Honestly, it kind of boggles my mind to have all this new stuff.  New house, new body, new clothes, new car, new everything. It's surreal to have all this without you here.  I know you'd be happy for me, and hopefully you trust my judgement enough to know I am doing what I feel is best for the kids and I.  I'm doing as best as I can without you darling, but it is so hard.

Next week the kids and I are headed up to BC for our annual trip to BC.  This time without you. I'm so happy you were able to go last year with us, and we have those memories of our trip to Canada.  It won't be the same without you Barry, but I suppose we have to get used to it because you won't ever be coming back.  Now I'm going to have to go to Karl's and get stroop waffles without you, and not share the droopjies with you, and all that other stuff we loved doing. I miss you so much Barry, I would give anything to have you here with us.

Well, the sun is shining and I need to do some weeding outside before the garden is overrun.  I'll talk to you soon darling.  I love you!

Love,
Me
xoxoxoxp

Friday, July 16, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!!!

I'm 30 Today!!! An Old Maid if you want to refer to me as that! LOL

I don't want to write too much, as I have a busy day ahead of me.  I'm on my way to go buy a Tiara to wear out to dinner and to the bar tonight! I have friends coming to dinner, and my sister, a friend and I are going bar hopping tonight. I plan to enter my 30s in style! And probably throwing up in my kitchen sink later tonight.
Yes, I have a babysitter, and we are taking a cab. I am somewhat responsible.

I wrote a whole big birthday post yesterday, so I really don't want to delve into all those emotions again today.  But what I do want to do is post my birthday song.  This is so incredibly special to me, because it was played last year on my birthday by Barry.  Little did we know it would be the last birthday he celebrated with me. I copied the text I wrote on face book, because I don't even want to have to re-write it.


My Birthday Song courtesy of Barry. Last year we were on our way to BC on my 29th Birthday, and had to stop at the bank to take out some cash on our way there. I was PISSED at him b/c I thought I had forgotten my makeup bag at the house and he wouldn't let me go back to the house to get it (even though we were less than 10 min away). He told me to just buy new makeup when we got to Canada, and of course I was NOT happy b/c I wanted my own stuff.  We got to the bank, and even though he had told me not to dig through the suitcases, I waited for him to go inside, and then tore through them looking for my makeup bag.  I found it, but never told him.  I pretended to be mad still when he got back to the van from being inside.  When we were pulling out of the bank parking lot, he looks at me...puts this song on and starts singing and making fun. I couldn't help but not be mad anymore. That was his way, he always tried to make me laugh.  And now I have this awesome memory of him on my last bday with him



Dearest Barry, thank you for making that birthday so incredibly special, even though you never knew it would be my last birthday with you.  I will always have special memories of that day, and thank you for giving me that lasting gift.  I miss you, and will always love you more than words can express.  You'll always be my Sexy Man ;)

Love forever,
me xoxoxp



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Comparing Today to Last Year

Today I am celebrating my last day of being 29, my last day in my 20s.  Without Barry.

Last year, on this day, we were preparing to go to Canada the very next day.  Barry was getting mad because the lawn was so long, and had to go to Lowes to get new lawn mower blades and a socket set.  I was packing for our upcoming trip, and it was super hot outside.  He was a little cranky, I remember that, because I had let the grass get too long while he was gone. haha.

And today, life is so incredibly different.  I'm a single mom.  I'm on my very last day of being 29.  I weigh 78lbs less than I did a year ago. I've got vodka and tequila in the freezer in preparation for my sister and a friend and I to drink! lol  I'm sitting inside while my kids are outside playing in the sun, taking a break from cleaning because I'm going to have company all weekend.  Trying to figure out what I will be wearing tomorrow night when we go out for dinner and to the bar.

One year ago today I NEVER could never have fathomed this day.  I think if someone had told me how different life would be today compared to last year, I would have laughed hysterically.  Last year Barry and I were concerned with telling my family we were moving to Pennsylvania.  RIGHT NOW I'm supposed to be in Pennsylvania, or moving there, not being here in Washington still wondering why I'm having to celebrate my 29th birthday without my husband. Sorry, my DEAD husband.  Sometimes I still have trouble believing he is dead.  Really? he's DEAD? what do you mean? it just doesn't seem possible.  I can't accept it, and I don't think I ever will.  I may move on, I will fall in love again, and I will probably get remarried one day, but I will never accept the fact that he died.  It's just not fair, it's not supposed to happen. I don't understand why he is dead.  Why is he dead?

To sum up the last 10 years, I still don't think how I could even fathom this day compared to 10 years ago.  On my 20th birthday, Barry and I were just barely married, I was pregnant with the twins, and we were at a flea market in Germany.  Life has changed so much in ten years, I can't even begin to imagine what the next 10 years are going to bring me.  In 10 years, I met the man of my dreams, I lived in so many houses, in 2 different countries and continents, I moved all over WA state. I weathered many financial ups and downs with Barry, supported him through many job changes, bought and sold our first house.  Got pregnant and gave birth to 4 wonderful children.  Loved Barry with all my heart, and watched him die in front of my eyes, screamed and yelled at the doctors that this wasn't real, that I wasn't a widow.  That I was too young to be a widow.  And I became a single mom. A widow.

I hope that the next 10 years of my life are better, happier.  I've heard that the 30s are better than the 20s.   I don't know how much more heartbreak I can take. This is a big step for me, as was New Years eve.  Now I'm not only starting a new decade without him, but a whole new age. My 20s will be my years with Barry, but what will my 30s be?  I know it will be a good decade for me. I just know it.  In the next ten years, we will face even more life changes... V, M and E will graduate high school and leave the house. I will have a job, and hopefully be a best selling author.  I hope I will be remarried and in love with the man of my dreams.  I hope the next 10 years are good.    But I know that if I want them to be good, i have to do my very best to make them so.

**********
Dinner reservations are made for tomorrow night, I have some special people coming to help me celebrate my birthday over dinner, and then my sister, our friend and I are going bar hopping.  Kind of funny, but just now my special birthday song came on as I was listening to iTunes.  I'll try write about that tomorrow.

Happy Birthday To Me!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Intuitive VS Instrumental Grieving

This topic was brought up last night at our first summer grief support meeting.

The kids and I started going to a new one that was run by the organization that put on their summer camp.  I thought it would be a great way to continue with some of their camp relationships, and also help us again deal with the loss of Barry.  We are attending two groups this summer; one here in town, and this other one.  I haven't yet decided if we will go to this new one come fall, as it is a half hour drive (on a good day w/ no traffic), and it doesn't get out till 8PM at night.  I'm not too sure I can handle that on school nights.  We'll have to see how well it goes. So far I like the group a LOT, as this one actually serves me too, and not just the kids.

So...  Intuitive VS Instrumental grief

I'm right down the middle.

Intuitive is  dealing with your grief by getting quiet time, thinking, talking with others, writing (ME) and such things like that.  I find it very therapeutic to write sometimes, like I am doing right now.  It helps me process my feelings about Barry's death by getting them out and in the open.  As my friend Jason said, I have this knack to make people feel my emotions.  I'm very good at articulating and expressing myself with these words I am typing.  Talking also really helps me, which is where my girlfriend Christy comes in.  She is also a fellow widow, and we discuss it quite often.  It  helps to have that sounding board, well, one that knows exactly what I am going through even though we grieve differently.

Exploring the Instrumental grieving process was really eye opening for me, as I realized I am really like this a lot too. This is when you do activities that keep you busy, help get rid of adrenaline/aggression, distract you.  For me, this is a prime example of me wanting to go to the range to shoot Barry's guns (which I'll be doing soon with Jason I think), and keeping extremely busy to keep my mind off things.  I've also had this incredible urge to start running! I really think this will help me too, as I am literally craving the feeling of my feet pounding the pavement.  I am starting in the fall when the kids go back to school, and I really can't wait to do it.  I think to some people that instrumental grieving might seem like a bit of a cop out, but it really isn't.  It helps to keep busy so you are distracted, and not dwelling on things.  In some ways, I think I sway  more to this side than the other, which is funny considering I never thought I'd be this type of person before Barry died.  I am always busy it seems.  I don't like to keep still.  We are always going somewhere, or doing something.  For example, yesterday we started the week with our grief support last night, today the dog had a  Vet appt, and we had dentist appointments all afternoon.  Tomorrow the kids and I are headed to a neighboring city to do a bit of shopping, and look at bikes and possibly go to the beach.  Thursday we have another grief support meeting.  Friday is my dirty thirty party, Saturday I am going out with my good friend Greg, Sunday we will find something to do, and next Monday again I will be at Midas and headed to the grief group again.  We have something every day, and I crave that.  I need that.

What is important to remember though, is that everyone grieves differently.  Even in families, every person is an individual and grieves differently.  My son M is intuitive with his grief, he is very quiet with his grief, likes to write letters to his dad and so forth.  I haven't quite figured out the other kids, but we're a pretty good mix of both I think.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Realization

I realized recently that Barry will always stay young, while I will always get old.

When you get married, you're supposed to grow old together, die together (or close in age together), and sit on your front porch watching your grandchildren play outside together.  It isn't supposed to be like this, where one stays the same age forever, and the other ages as any normal person would.

Barry is going to stay forever as this young man of 29.  We will be able to look at his photos, and see him from birth to 29, but never more.  And I find that hard to believe, because he will always be daddy, Barry, my husband.  He'll forever be those, but he wont age like us.  I'm older than him now, which is incredibly surreal to me.  I'll be turning 30 in 5 days. He never reached his 30th birthday.  Can I liken it to a vampire? LOL  That's why vampires can never visit their families years down the road, because they look the same as the day they died.  Can you tell I've just finished reading the last Sookie Stackhouse book? "Dead In The Family"? LOL

What's going to happen is that for now, I will get older.  I'll get more grey hair, I'll get more wrinkles, and I will age.  I will eventually look older than Barry, and I don't like that.  And then the kids will start to age, and eventually they will look older than their daddy, and they in turn will get wrinkles and grey hair.  We'll always be older than him, and I can't fathom that, because he was supposed to be here forever.

How will it feel when I am an old woman of 80, and I look at a picture, into the eyes of my 50 years ago deceased husband? Will I still feel the same way I do now about him? Or will it be like looking into a dream, hardly believing he even existed? I guess it is hard to fathom, and will be even then, because in reality, we only spent 11 years together.  11 years is a blink of an eye, when you consider a whole lifetime.  I've also wondered if I am going to get Alzheimer's like my Great Oma did, and perhaps talk about Barry like he is still around, and like I am still the 29 year old I was when he passed.

I wish I could freeze time. Just freeze it right now where I am. I could stay the same age, Barry will always stay the same age, and the kids will too.  That way I don't have to face the realization that I will get old, and he will not.

And I think this is also why I am so apathetic about my upcoming 30th birthday on the 16th. I don't want to get old. I don't want to age.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Nine Months In

It's Thursday night, almost 10PM, on July 8th, and I started to write this post early.  I have so many thoughts going through my head right now about what life was like 9 months ago.

Nine months ago today (Thursday), Barry was taken off the ventilator.  Coincidentally, it was also a Thursday.  It was also our daughter E's 7th Birthday that day.  Tomorrow, 9 months ago, will have been the day I didn't want to go visit Barry because he was so cranky from the sedation, but went anyway because my mom told me I would regret it if I didn't.  Nine months ago tomorrow, will also mark 9 months that I had got my long awaited sewing machine that I just can't bare to open yet.  I don't know why, but I just can't do it. I look at it every day, but the box sits unopened in my office area.

I've thought about something else a lot too, and that thought is...is my life better without Barry?  That is a very hard question for me to answer, because I can argue both sides.  Is my life better without him? If I want to argue the "No" side, it would be because he is gone. No, life is not better, because he is no longer with us.  He is gone, and I am a single mom with four children to raise on my own.  No, because I miss him terribly, and I cry for him, and he's not here for me to talk to.  He's not here to help me raise the kids, to love us, to be with us.  He's GONE. And life simply is not better because of that.

But if I were to say Yes, life is better because he is gone, I would feel guilty for answering that way.  But honestly, I can say that some aspects of life are better because he is gone. First off, I have lost weight. I know that I wouldn't have really lost the weight if he was still here.  I may have tried and tried, but I would have given up just as many times.  But now, I really have lost weight.  I've lost about 75lbs!  I also have a house now.  We didn't know when we would ever own again, and now we have a (possibly) forever home thanks to him.  I also have so many more friends now.  The vast majority of these friends came into my life after Barry died, and they in a sense have become part of my family.  Rebecca, Jason, Greg, Christy and so many others.  I wouldn't have met these wonderful people if Barry was still around.  They have helped somewhat to fill the void that Barry left.

There are so many different answers to these two questions, I can't just pin it down.  9 months ago I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would be where I am today.  9 months ago I was in a hospital room with my husband, expecting him to come home the following Monday. Now 9 months in, I'm a widow, I have a house, I'm financially secure, I'm thinner, I have more friends, and I miss my husband.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

I came in this afternoon from shooting some pics with my Canon Rebel, and sat down at the computer to look through the pictures that I shot.  While waiting for the pics to upload, I logged onto face book to change my profile picture.  I was scrolling through my profile pictures, looking for a photo to use as my new one, when I came across one of the few photos I have of Barry on there.  And I started to get a little teary eyed.

I looked into his beautiful blue eyes and missed him.  I miss him.

We have settled so well into our new life here in our new house.  Almost too well I think.  I don't think about him all the time.  Is that bad? I just find myself so pre-occupied with everything else that is going on, that I forget him.  Don't get me wrong, I do think of him every single day, but not like I used to.  It's hard to explain I guess.  He's not here, so it's easy to go about day to day life without him. But then days like today happen, we get a little memory, and we're sad.  That is OK though.  I can't remember many things with him. I can, but he is fuzzy to me.  I have mentioned this before, but he really is like a dream.  Doesn't seem real.  Like I dreamed the last 11 years of him.   Did you know that this December 18th will mark 12 years ago that I met him? 12 years ago.  It seems a lifetime ago.

 On Father's Day, the kids and I went to Build A Bear, and made teddy bears with his ashes in them.  Maybe I shouldn't say ashes, because they were more than ashes.  Maybe its a little morbid to share this, but cremated remains have chunks of bone in them.  So we made teddy bears with his cremated remains, full of his chunks of bone.  Gross eh? haha I just have to laugh b/c I had to explain that to the kids.  Anyway, I had extra ashes after the cremation, and took to the funeral home to have them put in canisters for us.  I still have extra ashes even after that! We each put a canister in our Barry Bears, and after all was said and done, the kids were shaking them, because we could hear the ashes inside.  I jokingly said to V that if she kept shaking "daddy", she was going to give him brain damage, and she looked at me and said "No Mommy, I'm going to give him Ash damage". LOL  We all cracked up over that.  I know Barry would appreciate us laughing at things like that.  But I also cried that day too, when I was getting my Barry Bear's heart ready to put inside him (if you've done build a bear, you know what they do with the little stuffed heart that goes in the bear).  Since that day, my Barry Bear has sat on my desk.  Just looking at me.  But the other night, he came to bed with me as I was sad and tired.  I cried myself to sleep with "Barry" in my arms.  It felt good to hold him, what little bit I could, in my arms again.

I looked through pictures of him as a child the other day.  It amazes me how much our children look like their daddy.  The boy is exactly like him, exactly....except he is tall and skinny, whereas Barry was tall and stocky. And A has the exact same scrunched up faces that Barry made as a child in his photos.  E and V also look just like him in some of the pictures.  It might be a certain look on their face, or his in a photo, or just a smirk I see, the way they do something or laugh.  But he truly lives on through these four beautiful children we made.  How am I going to handle it when M is a teenager and looking just like his daddy? Will that make it harder for me to see his face every day?  Or will it be a blessing to be able to see Barry through our son? I have wondered this so many times.

Now being that it is the 4th of July, I have to dry my tears, pull myself together, and go bbq some hot dogs for the kids and I.  Fireworks tonight!!!