Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two Years Ago I Became A Widow


In Loving Memory
March 6th 1980-October 10th 2009

I will forever love you and keep you in my heart.

I'm finally getting around to writing this last post.  I just didn't want to write it at all.  I don't feel like I have anything I need to say to Barry...I think I've said it all a million times over over these last two years.  The time has come to say goodbye to this blog, and continue with my new one. Thank you to everyone for being such wonderful readers, and supporting me even if you didn't comment.  This blog has been such a big part of my life for over 3 years, and even more so now because it has become my outlet for my grieving.  I am ready to move on, so please come with me as I continue this journey.    If you email me then I will reply to you and give you my new blog address.  I post on there much more regularly than this one.  I have to say, I am a little sad to close this chapter in my life, but I am ready, and it is time.  

I will miss this blog and all of you.

Much love,

Joanna  

Sunday, October 09, 2011

The Story of How You Died.

To all my wonderful readers, friends and family.

I can't do it, and I am sorry.  I know I promised you all that I would write the story of how Barry passed, but I can't.  I started to write it October 4th, and managed to get up to the point where it started to go downhill, but I can't write the rest.

I am scared, and the mere thought of writing it makes my heart race.  I am just not ready.  I can recall everything in my head down to the last minute detail, but the actual task of really making myself recall everything won't be happening.  I know it's partly because I don't want to break down, I don't want to cry right now, I just don't want to.  I will do it eventually for the kids.  I also got to thinking that maybe I shouldn't spill Barry's secrets on the internet.  He was a very private person, and I just think maybe I should keep this for the family.  I'm not trying to use that as a cop out, I promise.  I just really don't want to portray him in any other light than what he deserves...

An amazing husband and father, and not the sickest patient at our hospital.

I will write my final "Dear Barry" letter tomorrow night.  I wanted to do it at 11:11AM, but I'm going to be out all day.  I'm getting a pedicure with my girlfriend, going out for tea after lunch with another girlfriend, and then taking the kids out to Barry's favorite restaurant for dinner.  Trying to keep as busy as possible.

Blast From The Past...October 9th 2009

I don't have much to say today...I'd just rather avoid what today was, and that was the last full day my husband was alive two years ago.  Less than 24 hours after I originally posted this, I was a widow.  more like 18 hours.  I had no idea what was to become my life...


Friday, October 09, 2009

Good News!!!

Today my husband was released from the ICU/CCU into a regular room. I was able to help him move, which was really nice as I got to say goodbye to all the nurses and the RT's. I plan to send them a thank you note, as they really helped me out this week.
We expect him to be released monday or tuesday morning! Isn't that great news? He's on antibiotics intravenously, but tomorrow they are going to try tablet form. And his O2 levels arent' quite good yet, so that is why he's staying a few more days.
He was very alert this morning and finally recognized me and was able to to hold a conversation. I am thankful for that, because as the morning went by, he got really cranky, rude, belligerent etc etc. It was really really hard for me to be pleasant with him because of his attitude. I think he was still very confused because of all the sedatives he had been on for so long. He even told me he didn't want me to come visit again.
Then I decided it was time for me to leave before I got too frustrated with him, and the situation got worse.
Today there was a thing going on at the kids' school, so I thought I could go to that before going home, but figured I'd just take time to myself. My mom was there with them, so I figured they would be ok without me. I went to McDonald's and had a hamburger and fries and sat and read my book for a while. I then headed across the street to Safeway and did some grocery shopping for the next couple days. It was so refreshing to get some time alone.I was able to get a hold of him later on after he had eaten and taken a little nap, and he was much more pleasant. I'm going to go visit himfor a while tonight, and then tomorrow morning. Today has been one of the worst days for me, apart from Tuesday, because I was just hoping that he would be nicer. I was sad that he was so irritable. I've spent so much time at the hospital, 8+ hours a day when he was on the respirator, and it was so much easier to deal with him. I could wash him up, rub his feet, talk to him, help the nurses etc etc. Now I feel like I'm not needed anymore and he doesn't want me there.
I'm just happy that we're almost done with this. Hopefully he will get back to his old self really soon because I just don't know how much more of this I can handle.
I also want to say how thankful I am for the outpouring of support I have received. Especially from some of my friends, my meetup group and the kids' school. They have really blessed us and I don't think I could say thank you enough. I have received some gift cards for meals, and I have meals being delivered next week as well. It is such a relief not to have to worry about meals for the next week. Thank you everyone for helping!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Blast From The Past...October 8th 2009

Today was our daughter's 9th Birthday.  My mom was here again, like she was two years ago, and we threw an amazing party for her.  And I am so exhausted!  My feet hurt from barely sitting down all day.  I'm seriously pooped.

Two years ago today, Barry was extubated.  I remember that day, he was a surly grouch.  Called me some choice names, and himself the Master of The Universe!


Thursday, October 08, 2009

Some News

sorry if this is just one liners and not complete paragraphs. Today has just been so exhausting for me.
Called the ICU this morning to make sure it was ok to visit, so I did and went at about 9:30. Stayed till 1:30. They kept checking his blood gas and O2 levels to see any improvement and there was some.
The nurse told me he wasn't ready to come off the vent, but then the RT (Respitory Therapist) said that the Dr had ordered a "test", so technically he had been off the vent from 8AM and was doing all the breathing on his own. That was great! Also, on the vent his O2 levels had been brought down to 40%, which is what they wanted him to beable to maintain.
So, Dr comes around again and tells us at noon or so they can try to extubate him. They did, everything went ok and he's been off the vent since noon today, so almost 12 hours.
He is taking a really, really, really long time to come around. He was very confused today. And very feisty. And EXTREMELY surly. I finally had to leave at 1:30 because his attitude was just too much for me. To give you an example, when I asked him what my name was, he called me Bitch. lol. It doesnt bother me, I thought it quite comical. When they took out his Art line (artery line), Colleen, his nurse, was holding his wrist really really tightly to get him to clot because it was in an artery. So he told her to stop squeezing him so hard or he'd break her arm. Oh, and the language we heard was quite colorful, to say the least. See the surliness? that's quite normal apparently.
One funny thing was that when I asked him what his name was, he said in a drunken voice, "Master Of The Universe". HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I'm still laughing at that one.
So I went home and came back about 6 hours later, and just got home again. I spent about 7-8 hours at the hospital today. I would have stayed longer today, but he was still just exhausted and not really making much sense, so I figured I'd just go home.
The RT was there tonight (there is a new one every day it seems) and as I was leaving, she told me she was going to put a Bpap or Cpap, one of those two on him, to help him sleep. He might have some sleep apnea, and they just want him to get a good sleep. He's seriously been sleeping for almost 12 hours straight not being on any sedation. But he sleeps like that all the time anyway, and will sleep for a day if you let him.
Don't give me any crap for saying this, but the sound of him snoring was so annoying. It was much quieter with him on the vent. And it doesn't help that his attitude wasn't very good either, so even though I do know he can't help it, I was still slightly annoyed.
Tomorrow should be better, and he'll be more alert. Looks like he'll still be in the ICU/CCU for another day or even more. There are no empty beds upstairs and they will just keep him where he's at.
Oh, and his O2 levels are ok, but not superb yet, so he still has a lot of recovery time ahead of him. At least he is breathing room air though.
So that's my update! Now to go to bed and get some sleep myself. IN the morning mom and I are heading to JoAnn to get my sewing machine, and then I'll head back to the hospital to hopefully find a more awake and cheerful husband.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Blast From The Past...October 7th 2009

Today I've been ok...completely different from yesterday when I was balling my eyes out first thing in the morning.  My mom is here for E's 9th birthday this weekend, and thankfully the party business has helped keep my mind off Barry.

I try to avoid thoughts of him...or should I say, I try to avoid thoughts of this weekend.  There are too many painful memories, and if I don't block it out, I find myself thinking about it constantly.  What was I doing this time, how was Barry, etc etc etc.  It's a vicious cycle.

I know I said I would write "the story of how you died"...but I've barely started.  I can't do it yet, I'm avoiding it.  I will have to write it the night of the 9th I think after the kids go to bed because it's just too painful for me to visit right now.  I need to get through tomorrow.  I have to.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Another Update

I've been at the hospital a million times in the last few days it seems.
I wasn't able to go today till after lunch, as I had a dental appointment this morning and the kids' school had late start.
So he's doing ok, a little better than yesterday. His O2 levels were 100% yesterday in the morning, and they've slowly been lowering them to 60%. He is still on the respirator, has a feeding tube, and all that other stuff.
Today he was really agitated and kept trying to write something. he was making the motion with his right hand that he wanted a pen. I kept telling him no, and he kept getting upset. He was also trying to talk to me, and lift his head. So the had to sedate him more because he was getting too upset. I told him to blink twice if he loved me, and he did. <3 He looked at me too, and recognized me, so that gave me great comfort. I was able to calm him down a few times, but at one point his heart rate went up to 200.
Right now i don't know what's going to happen. We're all hoping for the best, and he is on the road to improvement it seems, but he is still very very sick.
I don't have anything much to post, but perhaps tonight I will have more information.
My mom is here, so I can stay long tonight if I want. I'm going back tomorrow for the morning. And then tomorrow night. Over, and over and over again. It's a routine now, and i feel very friendly with the nurses, lol.
I'm sorry if I don't seem distraught, upset, whatever. I'm just plugging away at it and trying to keep my head up for him and the kids. Sometimes I just need a break from the hospital. I'm sure he understands, I can't stay there all the time. I'm still scared, and I miss him desperately. I really really miss him. I just wish I could feel him hug me and kiss me. 
'm sorry if I don't seem distraught, upset, whatever. I'm just plugging away at it and trying to keep my head up for him and the kids. Sometimes I just need a break from the hospital. I'm sure he understands, I can't stay there all the time. I'm still scared, and I miss him desperately. I really really miss him. I just wish I could feel him hug me and kiss me. Honestly, I'm kind of running on auto pilot now. My appetite is almost non-existant, I've had just yogurt and a banana today with a glass of milk. I'm just not hungry. I've lost weight already, I weighed myself last night and I was down a few pounds in just a couple days. I have managed to eat dinner, last night a friend brought us some delicious spaghetti. it's just nice not having to cook. Someone else is bringing us dinner again tonight. If anyone I know is reading this, then dinner would be most welcome next week. I know you all told me to ask, so here I am asking! Please call and ask. Or if someone can watch our youngest during the day, I would love it.
This morning I found some photo paper that I had, and printed off some photos for him to tape up on his wall. I thought he would like to have some of us that he could look at once he is feeling somewhat better.
Until later...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

This Gets Old Fast

No news yet. Nothing has really changed except they have lowered his O2 levels to 50%, which is good. But his blood gas still isn't high enough. Maybe they'll try get him off the respirator tomorrow, but they don't know.
people keep asking me if he's going to get better and I just don't know. I don't have any answers and I'm tired of getting asked that question. I understand everyone wants to know, and this is just a normal response, but I just don't have the answers. please don't be offended if you're one of those who asks me, it's just that as a whole, I really hate it. If anyone wants answers, it's me.
He was responsive again, and was able to communicate with me a bit by hand squeezes, blinks and head nods.
I'm tired of this hospital routine and it's only been 4 days, almost 5. It's physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting. I know he wants me and needs me there, but I can only handle a couple visits a day. I usually go in the morning and late at night. It's ok to do this, right? He knows I love him, and I'd do anything...I just need a break from it all.
I'm so testy lately with other people, I can't tolerate idiots  so today at the grocery store I saw some woman park her car maybe two feet in the parking spot, and the rest on the "aisle", so I wrote her a note and stuck it on her windshield telling her to learn how to park. I just can't stand stupid people right now, and I'm tired of being asked questions all the time.
Right now I'm just trying to get through the weekend. I will have to deal with a whole new routine on Monday because it's half days all week, and mom won't be here. I have to rely on friends again to help out with childcare. I'm scared I won't be able to find someone to help me with the kids, even though some people said they would. I know I cant go to the hospital from 1PM till the kids are in bed, so I need someone from 9AM till 12/1PM, and then 8/9 PM till 11PM.
I miss my husband so much. I hate seeing him like this. I need him to get better. I just need a hug from him

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Blast From The Past...October 6th 2009

I fucking hate reading this stuff.  But here you go, for your reading pleasure...the THREE posts that I wrote on October 6th 2009


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

so here I sit

I'm home for a short while while my husband is being taken care of.

I got the call this morning from the doctor that he was being transferred to the CCU, Critical Care Unit, because he wasn't getting better. I then called the nurse in the CCU who told me to come as soon as I could. They took blood from his artery and his O2 stats were 50%. Then they put him on the CPAP, which is 100% O2 and his levels only went to 69%.

When I got there, I got a glimpse of him through the glass door of his room and just lost it. He had a whole big plastic mask on his face. I waited till the nurse brought me a mask to wear to go in.

I was able to talk to him for a short time and then all these people started coming in, and I heard the word Anesthesiologist.

As you can probably guess, he is now intubated. He is on a respirator that is helping him breathe. They had me leave for 1.5 hours while they got him taken care of. When I came back, they were still working on him, and I only had time to gather a few of his possessions like his computer etc. I'm at home right now because I just couldn't take it anymore. So I'm here for lunch, and my sister is talking to me on the phone. I had to call her because the silence here is deafening. Our youngest daughter is at my friend's house and I just didn't feel like picking her up. I'm going back to the hospital in another hour or so, and then I'll do my best to be home by the time the kids get off the bus.

Thank goodness for friends. A friend from our old city is bringing us dinner tonight. Another friend is watching our daughter while I am at the hospital. And tomorrow my mom comes.

I don't want to admit it, but I am so fucking scared I will lose my best friend. Scared to pieces. How do I keep it together for my kids when I am broken inside?

I have the weight of the world on my shoulders right now. I have to find out a way to fill out his trip packs for work. I have to call his school somehow and figure out what to do for that. I have to figure out what to do about financial issues. He's going to be in the hospital for up to 10 days. And let me say this...I am so thankful for life insurance. No one wants to think about it, but do you know how relieved I am to know that the kids and I will be taken care of if something happens?

My poor husband has been working on his beard for years, it is his pride and joy. And they shaved it off. he looks like a bald bowling ball.

I love this man so much and it just breaks my heart to see him like this. How do I keep it together when I am so scared and worried? I am trying to make life as normal as possible for the kids,. Today was pajama day at school, and I let them do that. Our daughter's birthday is on Thursday, and i am making her cupcakes. Saturday is her party, and my mom will be here so we are still going to have fun. I ordered her cake yesterday, and we're going to go have fun at Glow Golf in our mall.

My tummy is rumbling and I need to eat something even though I don't want to. I just have no appetite.

Please keep us in your thoughts, prayers, whatever it is you do. I appreciate any and all of that.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Tuesday PM Update

I went back to the hospital this afternoon after I made myself eat something.
I sat with him for a couple hours, made a few phone calls etc etc. I got some sort of response from him, he squeezed my hands a couple times. But he is completely unconscious, so it could just be reflexes. Either way, it gave me comfort.

The Doctor said he most likely got a staph infection in his lungs, and these infections typically get worse before they get better. He will be on the respirator for a few days as well.

I know he knows I am there, even if he doesn't know that he knows. I just know. I was able to calm him down a few times when his blood pressure went up just by talking to him and soothing him

I sit and talk to him, I joke around and say silly things. I taped up all the pictures and cards the kids made for him on his wall. His nurse Rick is really funny,and he and I were making jokes about him. He had his beard shaved off, so now he looks like a bald bowling ball, lol. He has a big head, which is why I say that, and he also shaves his head. Tonight I am going to visit again for an hour or so after the kids go to bed, and my friend Sara is watching them while they sleep. I am going to cut his toe nails, LOL, he never got around to it for a couple weeks, and I joked to Rick that I should paint his nails. I don't think I will, but I will give him a nice pedicure.

I wonder if he can hear me, and is thinking up all these smart ass remarks to give me once he wakes up again. I tease him and tell funny things about him to the nurses and the doctor, so I might be in for it when he wakes up.

Until later....

Oh, and thank you to everyone for your well wishes and thoughts. I appreciate it so much.

Oh, and I haven't gotten a chance to do this, but I want to thank all my friends/acquaintances that have passed on their help, offered dinners for us, their well wishes. I will be sending out quite a few thank you cards I think.

One other thing I forgot...
I had to take his phone and computer home with me, and while looking on his phone this afternoon for some info, something made my heart skip a beat. I dont know why I didnt notice this before. A couple weeks ago I took a photo of the sunrise that turned out really neat. He never said anythign to me about it, but guess what was on the background for his blackberry? Do you know how good that made me feel? It was like an invisible hug and love from my husband. I just was so shocked to see that. I love that man.

-----------------------------------------

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

And yet, another update

Thanks to my wonderful friend and neighbor Sara, I was able to visit him this evening for a couple hours.

First off, let me say how much those hospital masks SUCK! Seriously, my face is numb from the foam in them. It's so freakin uncomfortable.

Secondly, I did NOT know this, but the CCU is the same as ICU. So for those wondering, he is in the ICU.

Ok, so, I got there shortly after 9PM tonight and they were examining his air way. They haven't been able to get in a feeding tube , and will be doing it by Xray tonight. Probably now actually, now that I am gone.

There is no change right now in his condition. I can't really even pretend to understand all that medical mumbo jumbo. All I know is that he is on 70% pure O2 with the Respirator right now. There is blood in his lungs from the bad infection too. He needs to be able to maintain 50% on his own. I guess how they do that is wait till they see some form of improvement and once he gets somewhat better, then they can turn the respirator down and let his lungs do most of the work. But honestly, I couldn't even understand that. I don't know what his levels have to be, what they're at. Whats best for him right now is to be on the respirator and to let his body get healthy.

Tonight was a good visit though, he was lucid and partially awake when I went in there, meaning he was responsive to me. They actually turned down the sedation a bit. When I got there he was a bit agitated from the nurses poking and prodding him, and once they stepped back, i went up to him and held his hand. He looked me in the eyes, which was great. And yes, he did recognize me. A wife knows, we just know. I was really happy to see that. I asked him a few minutes later if he was able to hear me talking smack about him with Rick today, and he shook his head no. I also got a couple hand squeezes from him, and some eyebrow wiggles or whatever you call them. He couldn't open his eyes, but wiggled his eyebrows at me.

I went in tonight armed with nail clippers and foot lotion for him. I gave him a nice trim, lol, and a good foot massage too. Afterwards I was trying to exercise his legs for a bit, but he did NOT like that at all, and pushed against my hand and wiggled his toes. So I stopped.

The rest of the night, I talked about anything and everything. I also had brought some trivial pursuit cards because we like that game, and asked him the questions and then answered them for him ;o)

Tomorrow it looks like I won't be able to visit for awhile. I have a dental appointment in the morning to get a couple broken fillings fixed, and then Sara will be watching our youngest for me. But since she has somewhere to be, then I will most likely just come straight home and go visit him once my mom gets here. At least with mom coming, I dont have to worry about how long I stay. And then I can also come late at night after the kids are in bed too, like I did tonight.

I've got so much responsibility right now, I just don't know what to do about all that. I've got the work thing figured out, I am going to call in the morning and get it taken care of. The school I have to call too, but I did leave a message for his advisors to call me or vice versa. Honestly, the most pressing issue for me is the financial one. I don't know what we're going to do financially. I don'tknow how to pay bills if there is no money coming in, and that really worries me. He could be in the hospital for a couple weeks, and then he will need a bit of recuperating time at home, so what do we do? I know I can put off the bills for a little while, but what about groceries? gas? And those bills that HAVE to be paid like credit cards and insurance? can't miss those. I hate that money has to be the one issue I worry about, but it is a true worry. Me getting a job is not going to help things, so please don't even suggest that. I'd have to pay for day care, and for what...a month? just get a job for a month? I don't even think we could go on TANF/welfare for a month.

On a lighter note, if you want to call it that, I am amazed at the strength I have been able to pull from places I never knew existed. From this morning, I am a completely different person. I took care of things I never thought I could do, and I am proud of myself for that. But I wouldn't have been able to do this without the help and support of my friends and family. Mom, Maegen, Sara, Lisa, Angela, Janelle...anyone who has talked to or seen me today, they have just been an incredible support. And if you know me and can help next week with childcare, please please let me know. Sara has to go back to work on Thursday. starting Monday it will be just myself, and I can't not visit him. I know I have a couple ladies lined up that are willing to watch our youngest, but I just need more options. Even if you came to the house after they went to bed and sat for a couple hours while I visited. Anything. I'll even drive our youngest to your house during the day! I just wish I was able to visit him more often next week. I will only have the mornings though as it is conference week and the kids have early release and get home at 1PM.

I am physically and mentally and emotionally exhausted right now. I need to get a good nights sleep. Thankfully tomorrow is late start day, and the kids don't need to be on the bus till 9:30, so we can sleep in a little bit. I might give myself till 7:30 unless the nurses call me and pass on information.

Please keep us in your thoughts and hope that something improves. Again, I will update as I can.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Blast From The Past...October 5th 2009

I thought that leading up to the 10th, I would re-post my blogs from two years ago.  So without further ado, here is today's post from two years ago.  The day he was admitted to the hospital.

Please Keep Us In Your Thoughts

It is painful to read these.  I am having such a hard time right now, even more so than I did last year.  I've been crying at the drop of a hat, been very emotional.  Barry's death feels to me like it was just yesterday, and the pain is fresh.  The 2nd anniversary really is worse than the 1st.  I thought that wasn't true for me, thought I would escape it, but I was wrong.

It feels like it just happened yesterday.  The only difference is that I know how to cope with the grief now.  And I just let it wash over me.  I let those tears spill out of my eyes, let the sobs wrack my shoulders, and deal with the grief headache that ensues.

I miss him so much.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

New Blog Info

I would LOVE to have you all follow me over to my new blog.  I don't want to lose all of you awesome followers!

It's up and running now, but this blog will be active till October 10th 2011.

Go ahead and email me with your name on here (the one you use as a follower, so I can cross reference), and I will email you back the link to the new blog so you can follow me there and subscribe as well.

Thank you all so much!! 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Time to move on

Well my dear friends, family, and readers, time has come for me to end this blog.  I will do one last post, on October 10th, to mark the 2 year anniversary of Barry's passing, but that will be the last one on this blog.  I will be starting up a new one, so if you are interested, please contact me and I will let you know when it is up and running.

I just feel that I am moving away from this.  The identity I had with this blog was of Barry's wife, the mother of his children, the woman that posted tons of recipes and crafts, the woman that then watched her husband die in front of her eyes, and lastly...Barry's widow.

I will always be Barry's widow, my widowhood will always be with me, and I will identify as a widow for the rest of my life.  Moving forward won't change who I am, and what I have experienced.  But, I want to start a new blog as Joanna.  The single widowed mom of four children, 2 dogs, and two cats.  I don't want a blog that involves Barry as the main subject, I want a blog about ME and my kids.  I love to write, and I can write well, but this blog feels stifling to me.

I am going to write about Barry's death for you all.  You have all been such wonderful amazing followers, and supported me through my darkest times.  But that will be my last post here, and I will also have my new blog information for you all by then.

Thank you so much for all your support, especially during the last two years of my life.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

One More Milestone, Come and Gone

Today marked A's first day of kindergarten!!

I had mixed emotions the whole day because I just wasn't sure what all this would bring, what emotions I would feel, would I cry or not.  And the truth is, it was a little hard for me, and I did cry a little bit this morning.  But she did SO well, and she absolutely LOVED it.  I am incredibly glad that it went well for her.

A is my baby, and I always knew this day would be hard because I'd be essentially sending her off into the world.  As we drove to school, I told her how much I would miss her, and she told me she didn't want me to cry.  But I did a little bit as I said goodbye to her at school.  I missed her.  She has been my little sidekick since she was born, and has spent the most time with me by herself than any of the other kids did.  I took loads of pictures of her at school, and of all the kids this morning, as is tradition in this house!

What really bothered me is that Barry missed this.  One more milestone, come and gone without him.  It hurts, and it stings to see the other dads there with their wives, picking up the kids or dropping them off for their first day.  I wish I could take that away from her.  I did tell her however, that daddy would be SO proud of her, and that he was in her heart today with her as she started school (2nd time that my eyes welled up today!).  He would have loved to be there for her...It just breaks my heart that he missed such an important day for her.

And as I type this, I find my eyes welling up again, for the fourth time today actually.  Wishing so badly I could tell Barry about her first day of school, send him the pictures.  Tell him that the twins are in 5th grade!!! FIFTH GRADE already!! That just blows my mind...and E already in 4th.   That three of our children are the tallest in their classes, and quite possibly grades too.  He would be beaming from ear to ear, he loved our kids so much.

I just wish I could tell him.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

12 Years Ago

Twelve years ago today, a very nervous, and much skinnier Joanna, waited in front of The Empress hotel in Victoria, BC, for a young man she had known for 9 months and never seen a picture of.

Twelve years ago, Barry and I met in person for the very first time after talking for nine months via phone, email, and yahoo messenger.  I fell in love with him before I even met him, and vice versa.   I knew that even if he was a total toad, I couldn't ever say no to him, I wanted to marry him that bad.

Twelve years ago today, at 6PM, Barry proposed to me.  He proposed the day we met in person.  And we were married three months later.

I can't believe it has been 12 years since August 28th, 1999.  It seems like a lifetime ago.  I've always wanted to go back to the place where we were engaged, but haven't been able to do so.  Partly due to the fact that it's in Canada, and a pain in the ass to get to Victoria with four kids, but also...because I'm a little scared.  I will go back one day, but I don't know when yet.

I have a picture of Barry and I from the day we got engaged, and I wish I had a way to scan it for you all.  My scanner is acting up and I can't figure out how to work it.

I still can't believe it has been 12 years ago that we met and got engaged.  I miss him so much.  I wish I could hear him tell me how proud he is of me right now, how much he loves me, how awesome I am doing.  But all I can do is hear him in my head.  At least I have that right?  I can hear him talking to him...and while I can't hear his voice very well right now, I know exactly what he'd be saying to me.

I love you Barry.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Not to Toot My Own Horn, But...

I did a first ever maternity photo shoot for a close girlfriend today!  I was quite nervous to say the least, and really afraid I would screw them up.  But, I was wrong, and they turned out AMAZING!  Please go check them out and "like" the page if you don't mind :)

https://www.facebook.com/JoannaMichellePhotography
Here is a sneak peak of one of the photos!!! I LOVE it, and it's is probably one of my favorites.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Happy Birthday To me!!

Today I turn 31!

It feels a bit weird, but no different than any other year.  I've gotten spoiled already by  the kids today,  with a box of my favorite Seattle's Best Chocolates, a Joby Gorillapod SLR Zoom, and a Quantaray QSX Ultra 4STM Tripod/monopod.  I also bought myself a new camera backpack, remote and a few minor things.  All photography goodies :) And I couldn't be happier!!

As per usual, here is my birthday song:



Barry played that for me on my last birthday, and I wrote about it last year in remembrance of him. It was really weird to wake up with James this morning, as it is the first birthday with him.  The last birthday I had with anyone was with Barry, so it screwed with my head a bit.

Since we are leaving in just 2.5 days, I won't be posting here before, so look for some pictures and a blog post when we get back.  Now I'm off to enjoy the rest of my birthday, and put together my camera backpack that just arrived by UPS.

Please think of us on the 25th, that is the day we are spreading Barry's ashes.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

30 Days of Photo Fun, Day 2

Today I am supposed to share a picture of my favorite shoes.  While I do have many shoes that I love wearing, my favorites right now being my sketchers, I will show a picture of my all time favorite ones to wear.  And I have a few of them.  I do need a couple more colors though!  Can I also say, I about had a meltdown trying to figure out how to watermark my photo.  I seriously almost cried.  Really.  But google helped, and with a wonderful tutorial I was able to do it.

Without further ado:



Though you can't see the colors, they are from Left to Right, black, red, grey and purple.  Most of them are from Target because I can't bear to pay almost $40 for one pair of chucks.  The purple ones are the All stars.

I really fail at cooking dinner on time, so I need to go feed the horde.  But before I do that, I wanted to share that I thought of Barry today while I was driving home from picking up our daughter from school.  It just struck me that it feels like yesterday that he died.  Almost like he just left to go to work and was back on the road.  It almost made me feel like I was living a double life.  Because it still feels like he's around, and though he isn't here physically, he was still "there".  I don't feel his presence much anymore, but once in awhile I know he checks in on us.  I still can't believe that I've been on this widow journey for almost two years now.  Isn't it amazing how fast time flies?

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

30 Days of Photo Fun

So, I found this awesome amazing site on the Internet called Pinterest and I have totally fallen in love with it.  I've been using it to "pin" wedding ideas for James and I, things I like, yummy food I want to make etc etc.  While I've been burning up my Kitchen Aid mixer, I also found this photo challenge that I want to do.

30 Days of Photo Fun 

I started today with a picture of me...and well, I tried my Canon 60D, I tried my Canon SX230HS, and my iPhone 4 from Verizon.  The first two cameras took awful photos of me, or else I just can't take a self portrait in the mirror.  Probably that one.  I fail at it.  So the iPhone it was.  So here is my 1st Photo of Me!


That's me in all my glory this afternoon.  You'll notice I am not wearing foundation, only a bit of cover up, eye liner and mascara.  My face was oily when I took this, but whatever.  I also have more lines around my eyes, ever since Barry died.  And more grey hair, but that is in hiding right now lol.  Tomorrow I'll be posting my favorite shoes! or a few of them ;)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I forgot

I forgot yesterday was the 10th.

19 months since Barry's passing.

I was already feeling upset last night (for reasons I wont get into on this blog), and when the realization of what I did hit me, I started to sob.  

The thing is, I forgot until it was after midnight, so the whole day passed without me even thinking about it.  Not once did it cross my mind.  I know this is completely normal, and I expected it would happen, but I felt so guilty still.  I felt like I forgot him.

As I lay in bed crying, I so desperately wanted to grab his t-shirt out of my bottom drawer and wrap it around me and fall asleep.  But I didn't because James was right there next to me and I felt guilty about seeking comfort from Barry.

It's hard to choose sometimes, in situations like this.  So I just left the t-shirt in the drawer and pushed the sadness and pain aside and ignored my need for Barry, and didn't go to James either.  

And then I woke up this morning in a sad, foul mood.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Mother's Day

While I intended to write this post yesterday evening, the day got away from me and I did not have any spare time to sit at the computer and write out a blog post.

We've been quite busy here lately, and over the weekend my dad and step mom came for a visit too, from BC, Canada.  Saturday we were lucky to have typical North West weather, and it alternated between pouring and sprinkling all day long.  But we braved the weather, and headed to Northwest Trek for the day.  We love going there, its so much fun to see the animals.  Plus, I wanted to break out my camera and get some great pictures.  And I did :)

Yesterday morning when I went downstairs, I was greeted with a delicious breakfast from James, as well as a pile of presents from him and the  kids.  I was spoiled, really.  The kids got me some OPI nail polish I was wanting, some Lemon Butter cuticle cream, a wonderful wall hanging with the word "Family" on it, and a necklace tree I have been eyeing at Target.  There were two more presents, and I opened the first one to see a case...a hard case for a GPS, with a memory card inside it.  I look at James and said "Thank you!", but was wondering why the heck he got me a case and a memory card, because I didn't need anything like that.  Oh, but there was more....the next box included this:

Yes, this wonderful, amazing, totally awesome man got me a new point and shoot.  Yeah, I know I have a nice DSLR already, but I needed a new point and shoot, and wanted something I could take with me to San Diego in August.  I had asked for one for my birthday though.   I could not believe he got me something so expensive for Mother's day!  And I love it.  I love love LOVE it!!! 

Since yesterday was my day, he said, I wanted us all to go somewhere to use  my new camera.  We headed to Ocean Shores and spent all afternoon at the beach flying kites, eating a picnic, playing in the sand and water, and taking pictures.  We had a wonderful day, and came home exhausted and covered in sand.

Before I end this blog post though, I wanted to give thanks to the person that made it all possible.  Barry.  Without him I would not have a mother's day.  I would not have four beautiful children.  I would just be Joanna.  I would not be a mommy, mama, and mom.  Even though he is gone and no longer with us, he left me with 4 gifts that I get to enjoy and love for the rest of my life.  And for that I can't thank him enough, because he lives on through them in their smiles, their nuances, their laughter, their memories of him.  

Thank you for making me a mommy Barry, I love love love you and miss you so much.

Monday, May 02, 2011

I failed, but started fresh

I should never have started a diet without James being here... I failed miserably this weekend.  The good thing is, he and I both started the fat smash diet together, this morning.  I think that I will be able to do a lot better with him here because I have someone to motivate me, and watch if I try to cheat lol.  I've set a new goal (honestly, I can't remember what my goal was from my last post, and I'm really too lazy to go reference it right now) and I want to be down two jean sizes by mid August when I go to Camp Widow.

I've been assured that I can easily do that as I have just under 3.5 months till I leave.  I'm hoping I can get in shape enough to do the 5K Widow Dash there too, but we'll see.  The best I can do is try, right? I don't even know how much weight that would be to lose, 30lbs maybe? Possibly.  I really don't care about the weight at all, I just want to lose sizes and feel good about myself.

I really dislike dieting.  It plain old sucks.  I miss food.  The funny thing is, we get a lot of food on this diet, but its missing the good stuff.  The meat, the hearty food.  I can't have any of that for the next 9 days.  So May 10th is when we can have meat again.  I'm already counting down the days.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Death Diet and Laying It All Out On The Line

Have you all heard about The Death Diet?

I like to coin my extreme weight loss after Barry died "The Death Diet".  I lost about 11 pounds the week he was in the hospital, and then 50lbs total by mid January I think, and I've lost almost 80 total.  It's not that case for every widow and widower, some of them gain weight.  For me, I couldn't eat.  Everything tasted like sand to me.  I did eat still, but not what I did before.  I lost all taste for anything sweet...but now, that craving has come back.  I know that is normal after losing a spouse, your taste buds come back, you usually gain some of that weight back etc etc.

I have gained a bit back.  Not too much, just in the last few months actually having a man around haha, maybe 5lbs or so.  Its enough though that I can see it in my face and I don't like it one bit.  I feel pretty good where I am right now, I am in between two sizes, which is 5-6 sizes smaller than I was when Barry died.  I was really heavy.  And I mean REALLY heavy for much too long, so it was a bit hard for me to see this whole new body that Barry couldn't enjoy.  And now another man gets to enjoy it, but that's ok...I'm not bothered by that part anymore.

I want to lose more weight.  I'd like to lose another 75lbs.  Truthfully, I have no idea what I weigh.  I have a general idea, but I'm not sure how accurate that scale was.  Back in December I had a nurse come to my house to do a medical exam for my life insurance, and when she weighed me, I was horrified. But then, she also travels around with her scale, and who knows how accurate it is if its getting moved around all the time. I guess my Wii was wrong all along...ooops.  That being said, I embraced the new weight, and then forgot about it.  What I really judge myself by is how my clothes fit.  Where I am right now, I want to lose another 2-3 jean sizes.  For me, that is between 50 and 75lbs, so right at my goal.


I started the Fat Smash Diet again today.  I hate this diet, but I love it at the same time.  When A was just a baby, a few months old, I did it and managed to lose a good 22lbs in 6 weeks.  I want to do that again.  There's nothing wrong with it, just the first nine days are pretty extreme because you are detoxing your body from all the sugar.

I'd like to do an update every week on it, or every couple days...I'll see how I am feeling.  But to start with, today for breakfast I had a large banana, and then I made a homemade blueberry smoothie.  The smoothie was made with a 6oz container of Yoplait Light Blueberry Yogurt, a cup of milk, 4 large strawberries, a couple heaping tablespoons of ground flax seed and a liberal dosage of frozen blueberries I had from last summer.  It was good, but not my favorite.  Usually I do my smoothies with pineapple juice just for a little sweetener, and this had nothing.  Not too bad though.

My first short term goal is...well, I don't really know to be honest.  I'll just be happy if I am down 1 jean size by August when I go to Camp Widow.  Two would be ideal, but I'd be happy with 1. How about.my goal is I am down 1 size by my 31st birthday in July? I think I can do that, if not sooner.

Wish me luck!


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Dear Barry

Hey babe :)

I just wanted to send you a quick note to share in my excitement about my new phone....guess what?

I GOT AN iPHONE 4!!!!!!!

Over the weekend I decided my black berry had crashed and frozen on me one too many times, so I made the switch to your blackberry, but kept having freezing issues.  And really, the only reason I was holding onto the blackberries was because of bbm and the ease of talking to my sister and brother when I needed to.  But then Maegen told me about another app she had for chatting, and I figured I had nothing to lose.

Yesterday while A was at school, I drove to the Verizon store and upgraded my phone! I was due for an upgrade anyway, so that just made it all the more easier of a decision to make.  I am so happy with my new phone.  But at the same time, it is a little bittersweet because of you.  I know you always said if Verizon ever got an iPhone, you would switch back to one.  So I did it for both of us. :) It is an amazing phone, they've come light years in technology since you had yours.  I still have my iPod touch that you bought me for Christmas three years ago, and I use it for music in the Honda.

Today I had to fill out A's kindergarten registration.  It was a smack in the face to me though, because I had to write "father is deceased" on the forms to avoid confusion.  They'd want to know why I didn't put any info down, right? Little things like this sting the most, like a paper cut, because I can't do anything about them.  And it's just one more reminder that you're not here, you won't be at her first day of Kindergarten, and that you're missing so much.  I hate it.  I hate it for me, and I hate it for the kids.

I miss you, and I will always love you <3

Love forever and always,
Me.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I Just Have To Brag

I've always been interested in photography from a young age.  When I was 12, my parents bought me my first camera for Christmas, which I had for years.  I've had various cameras since then, and a few years ago finally got a good digital camera.  That was my Canon SD1000 Power Shot.

I had bugged Barry for years because I always wanted a DSLR, but he would never let me spend the money on one.  It irritated me to no avail, so the first thing I bought when he died was a Canon Rebel XS DSLR camera, which I absolutely loved.  I felt like such a rebel when I did that.  I had that camera until this past February, when I was at Best Buy with my dad, and traded in that one for the newest Canon EOS 60D.  My dad paid me for my Rebel, and I used that to help pay for this camera.

Since I've had the DSLRs, I've fooled around with photography, and have taken some really amazing photos.  I had a friend over a few weeks ago, and snapped this photo of her 6 month old son.

I've gotten some really great feedback on the photo, and was just nominated for Photo of The Week on JPGMag.com.  Even if I don't get photo of the week, I feel such a sense of accomplishment.  I am proud of myself for taking such a great photo.  I absolutely LOVE it!

If you don't mind, take a peek at the photo and vote if you can :) I'd really appreciate it, even if you have to become a member, I would be really happy if you could.

Thanks so much everyone!!

Friday, April 15, 2011

I had a Dream

I finally dreamed about Barry last night, which seemed to be the first time in forever.  I've never really dreamed of him, just bits and pieces.  It has never been a full length movie-like dream.

In my dream my life was just like it is now.  I was either sitting at my desk reading the news online, or reading a newspaper, and I saw a title that shocked and intrigued me, so I read further.  It said "Man found hiding out in Shelton".  Immediately my eyes were drawn to the article, and it turns out it was Barry.  Who was supposed to be dead.  I don't remember much after that, but in my dream I did see him again.  I remember feeling numb.  I wasn't happy, or sad, or anything really.  I do remember telling him he couldn't sleep in my bed anymore.

And then my alarm went off.

What a bizarre dream!!  Honestly, I don't even know what to make of that because it was so strange.  Why would I dream that?

I do think though, that I am glad I haven't had those really intense dreams where you remember everything about it in the morning.  Having one of those would be too painful for me, because I would get to see him, and talk to him, and touch him in my dreams.  And then upon waking up, it would be like a dagger stuck in my heart, because I'd wake up to the cruel reality that he is no longer here.  I really do prefer not dreaming about him.

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Cell Phone

Not really a new one, but I am using Barry's cell phone.  It has sat practically unused since his death, gathering dust in my nightstand drawer.  

Since my blackberry was about to die, and I kept getting error messages, I knew I had to get a new phone, or else switch.  I really didn't feel like spending the $100 on a new blackberry when the one I had in my drawer was next to new.  We got these phones in August of 2009, and Barry used it for only 6 weeks before he died.  I had it on for the month of October, and then I had it deactivated.

I wanted to keep his phone the way it was, but really, what good is it doing just sitting there? It is practically brand new, has barely been used, and I needed a new phone.  So yesterday I made the switch, and put all my stuff on his phone and re-activated it.  It felt kind of strange though, I completely wiped everything of his off the phone and made it my own.

Is that wrong of me? I felt a little guilty doing it, like I should have saved it as is for posterity's sake.  As I was talking to the Verizon agent on the phone as she walked me through everything, I told her he would say to me "just use it already, its going to waste".  So I did.  And saved myself $100 in the process.  Plus, my contract with Verizon hasn't been renewed and I can cancel anytime I want.  Not that I will, because I am quite happy with them, but its nice knowing that I can if I want.

I know it's only a cell phone, but it took me a  year and a half to do this.  What does it mean for me? That I am one step closer to healing? Kind of silly if you think about it I guess.

It's just a damn phone, and I needed one.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

So, No More Grief Support

I suppose I realized long ago that we were ready to be done with it, but it wasn't until yesterday that I really felt OK with stopping.

Our last session was actually at the end of January, and I told our group that we would be missing the February 14th session due to it being Valentine's day, and I wanted to spend it with James.  The time after that I had to skip because gas prices were rising, and I couldn't afford it that week.  It is a 45 minute drive for us one way, so that uses up a lot of gas.  The last session we missed was earlier this month, and we were all set to go, but then my son M woke up with a 102 fever that day, so no more grief support.

Yesterday was another session (they run every other week, twice a month), but I was dreading the drive.  I really don't like driving that far on a school night because we don't get home till 9PM, and then the kids still have to shower.  I asked the three older kids why they liked going, and their first answers were because they "like playing in the gym".  That pretty much answered my question on whether or not we should continue.

When I told them that we would be no longer attending after last night, they weren't too terribly upset. My plan was to go so we could say our goodbyes and have one last session.  But then we landed up not going anyway because Kid #3, E, wasn't done her science fair project on time and it was due today.  So we stayed home.

And we're done with it.

And I feel OK.

I actually feel like there is a huge weight off my shoulders because I don't feel obligated to go anymore.  We have been in Grief Support continuously since Barry passed away, so we have gone a LONG time.  It's OK to be relieved to be closing that chapter right? We really do feel OK right now, and we are doing really well.  In two weeks it will be 18 months ago that Barry passed away, and while I feel we really don't need that constant support anymore, I know that there will still be moments of sadness, anger and crying.  And that is OK, I know that.  And I am prepared for the fact that the kids and I may need additional counseling later on in life, but for now we don't need it anymore

We're moving on.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

One More Step

Awhile ago, I wrote about what to do with some of the items I had left from Barry and our life together.  Among the items, I had roses from his funeral, roses he gave me, our bed and our Christmas tree.

Today I got rid of the last item, and let me tell you, it felt freeing.

In January, James and I got rid of the bed and the Christmas tree during one of our multiple trips to goodwill.  I did keep the middle finial piece (or however you spell that) from the headboard.  And today I threw the roses away in the trash.  But not before I took some pictures of them as a reminder.


This first bouquet is actually two bouquets of roses that Barry gave me, 
but I don't know how long I've actually had them.  I just couldn't get rid of them 
till now


This last bouquet is roses from the funeral.  My good friend Lisa did the flowers
for me, and I actually had tulips in the arrangement too.  Roses and Tulips because
those were the only flowers he ever bought me. 

I really didn't feel the need to keep the flowers anymore.  They were just sitting in my closet on the top shelf gathering dust.  But you know, I am glad they are gone right now.  I feel a sense of peace about it, like I've taken one more step towards healing.  I don't know that I will ever heal, but I would think it is pretty rare to heal from the death of a spouse anyway.  Regardless, I am glad I did it, and that it was when I felt ready to do so.


Monday, March 07, 2011

Happy Birthday (Again)!!! and some exciting news!!

Five years ago today I became a mommy for the last time :) Its hard to believe she was born 5 years ago, she still seems so little to me.  She is my baby!  Today James and I took her out for lunch, and then after school she opened the rest of her presents.  Today was fairly low-key as we did the bulk of her birthday stuff yesterday because she had her party. I didn't have as much of a hard time with her turning 5 as I thought I would, but I am sure that when she starts kindergarten I will.

In other news, I am extremely excited to announce I am going to Camp Widow this August in San Diego.  I heard about it through twitter, and my friends on there, and also through the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation.  It is a weekend long conference for Widows and Widowers alike, and I am ecstatic!! Four days all by myself with people who have been through the exact same thing I have been.  This is the first time I will go away by myself as an adult on a plane.  I've never been on vacation, never left the kids with anyone...it will be awesome.  James will be watching the kids for me too.

sorry if my writing seems disjointed...i just don't have it in me today.  I should have written more for A's birthday, but we've had a busy couple days and I couldn't put my thoughts down on paper.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby!!

Dearest Barry,

Today is your 31st Birthday.  How I wish you were here to celebrate with us, because you see, today is also a very special day for other reasons; We're having A's 5th birthday party today.  I've done this for two birthdays now, as last year we also had her party on your birthday.  I can't believe she will be 5 on Monday.  Did you know that after you died, I was leaving the hospital with Lisa and I saw a couple come up from Labor and Delivery with a brand new baby.  I remarked to Lisa that the last time I left that hospital with you was when A was born, and that now I was leaving without you for good.  I felt so incredibly heartbroken in that moment; seeing a husband and wife with their brand new baby girl.

I can't believe you are 31 today.  We met when we were 18!! That seems like a lifetime ago, doesn't it? This year would have been our 12th anniversary.  I can't even fathom that anymore, it seems surreal to me, like a dream.  Yesterday when I was baking A's cupcakes, I thought about you because I was making chocolate cupcakes.  Chocolate was always your favorite flavor, and I had half a mind to go buy two more cake mixes and make a giant 13x9" double layer cake like you always would.  And I wanted to cover it in copious amounts of chocolate icing.  I wish I could do that for you.  Instead I made 36 Toy Story 3 Cupcakes.

I don't know what to say, what to write to you right now. Writing to you is cathartic, but I can't do it too often.  That is such a huge change from when we were engaged though, I'd send you pages and pages of letters..and now I struggle to find the words.  They're evading me.

What I do want to tell you is thank you for giving me four awesome children.  Thank you for making me a mommy.  I want to tell you that especially because our baby will be 5 tomorrow.  You are missing so many important milestones already.  She is such a character Barry...she would have you cracking up like crazy.  She is a total goof ball, she still dresses all crazy like and in wild clothing combinations.  She tells jokes all the time, she dances, she sings, she looks like you in some of the pictures of you at age 5 making the same silly faces.  She is her father's daughter in every way.  I can't believe she will be starting kindergarten in September.

Why can't you be here for that? Why did you have to leave us? Why did you have to leave the kids without their daddy? Me without a husband? Why did you have to fuck up our lives so bad? I know its' not your fault, but I'm very upset right now thinking that OUR daughter was just a baby when you died and now she won't hardly remember you.  She's starting kindergarten in 6 months and another man will be there for her first day, and NOT you.  It's not fair, NOT at all.  I want you to be here to see them grow up, see her grow up...to see them turn 13, learn how to drive, graduate high school, university..get married, have babies. I want you to be there to see OUR grandchildren.  And you won't be.  That makes me so mad and angry and sad.

With that, I'm going to end this.  It's time to get ready for the birthday party, and I have lots of stuff to do yet. I love you Barry.  Happy Happy Birthday!! We'll be thinking about you all day today.  We miss you and love you so much.

Forever and always,
Me
xoxoxoxoxp

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I'm Scared

Last night when James and I went to bed, I lay there with my mind wandering.  He was laying beside me, and fast asleep, while I was cozy in bed and feeling that warm fuzzy feeling that means sleep is overtaking you.  But I was also thinking about this blog, and that I need to write more often.

One of the things I thought about was that I had to eventually write about the day Barry died.

It's been almost 17 months and I still haven't written it all down.  The awful, heart wrenching, tear filled memories of October 10th 2009.  

As I lay there in bed, I felt sleep slip away from me as my mind filled with the horrible thoughts of that day.  Thinking about how I would write it down in the blog, but also remembering little details like hearing the doctors say they couldn't find a heart rhythm.  And hearing the monitor go flat when they stopped.  Seeing the white patches on his chest from them shocking him.  That's all I can handle writing right now.

Immediately I felt my eyes fill up with tears, and I thought, I can't deal with this right now.  I'm not ready to write about it, I'm not ready to talk about it, I just want to block it from my memory.  Maybe it's different with another "death scenario", with someone who hasn't been by their spouses side as they die, but just heard the news over the phone or some other way.  Someone who hasn't seen the person they love die in their arms in really tragic circumstances.  For me though, it was the very worst day of my life, and I will forever be scarred by those events, memories.  They always will haunt me.

I didn't want to remember anymore last night, I was getting more and more upset with each passing thought, so I reached my hand over and shook James awake.  I asked him to hug me, and he lay there in bed holding me as I collected my thoughts, and calmed down as best as I could.  My heart rate slowed down, I felt more relaxed, and I thanked him for being there for me.  Then I rolled over and read my kindle for a few minutes before I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore.

The truth is, I am scared.  I am so scared to write about that day, and I know I've been avoiding it.  There is no timeline for when I have to do it, I don't ever have to if I don't want to, but I know I should... I just need to remember.  It's the same reason I took pictures of Barry after he passed away.  I have those hidden away on the computer somewhere where I never look at them.  Call it morbid curiosity, but I HAD to do that.  I had to.  And I just have to write about that entire day, and I will some day, but I'm just not ready yet.

I'm scared.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sixteen Months Later

Sixteen Months Later....

And I still have moments of panic where I feel like my stomach is going to rise up into my throat
I still cry from time to time
I still miss him
I still grieve
I still have to pinch myself and remind myself that this life is real
I still curl up with his t-shirt once in awhile
I still like to read his letters to me and feel him speaking to me

I find myself living with a new man and realizing how wonderful he is and that Barry had to have sent him our way.  He's too great for me to have found on my own.  He and Barry even have a lot of similarities.  I don't feel like getting into them, but I've noticed several.  I have even called James Barry a few times, and have to catch myself before I say all of his name.  The kids have called James "daddy" and "dad" a few times.  We've been very open about this and have told them that they can if they want, but don't have to.  It comes and goes with them, really.  It is hard for me to hear them call him that sometimes though, as it is another reminder of whom we lost.

I've also noticed that I don't feel Barry around as much anymore.  I used to be able to feel that he was around, by orbs in pictures, or just sensing something around me, or the kids even noticing it.  But I think he is here less and less because James is here.  Am I crazy? I really think that he sent James my way because he wanted me to be happy.  I could be totally off my rocker for thinking that, and whether I am right or wrong, I don't care, and I'll just think that James is here because of Barry.  But I still miss Barry, and wish he was around more.

I have thought a few times of his final moments.  What were his final thoughts? Was he scared? Did he think of me? The kids? I wish I could know, but that will be a mystery to me forever.  At least I can be confident and comforted knowing that he died loving me, and knowing he was loved so very very much by me and his children.


One last thing...i know all my images are gone.  Shabby blogs deleted the design I had, and I have yet to fix it.  I'll get on that soon...be patient with me!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stuff I Wish I Could Share

I always loved sharing funny things that the kids did with Barry.  It always gave us a laugh to see what crazy crap they would come up with.

Our oldest daughter V, who will be 10 on the 8th of February, has really been spouting some winners lately.  This past week she had spelling homework to do, and decided to be lazy and make up all of her definitions.  This is what she did:


Obviously we ALL had a laugh, and I even posted it on facebook because it was so funny.

And then today, James and I were in A's room putting some stuff up on her walls and it was V's job to vacuum her shared room with her sister E.  V says "James, James, the vacuum is broken.  It won't turn on, we need a new vacuum.  I keep pressing the button but it won't turn on!!".  He went in and checked on her and had to pull me into my bedroom barely able to contain his laughter as he told me what she was doing.

She hadn't plugged it in.

That's V for you though, she is SUCH a blonde! Barry and I would always laugh about the stupid stuff she would do.  I wish I could share this stuff with him though, because I can see him in my head reacting the way he always did. Laughing and sighing at the same time.  He would have gotten a kick out of it.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year!

I intended to start this year off good, and I have done that already! I'm sorry for my recent absence, the Christmas season was incredibly busy for us and full of family, and lots of fun.

Christmas turned out quite well, albeit very busy for us.  We left here early Christmas eve and got to my dad's house shortly before noon, so it really only took me a few hours driving.  That day was insane! We were at my dads for a few hours, then went to my mom's house for Christmas eve with my mom, step dad, brother, sister, step brother, and myself and all the kids.  Then much to my surprise, two old family friends showed up that I hadn't seen since 99 probably!!  They were best friends with my brother and sister, and I used to babysit them, plus we were all neighbors years ago.  It was a great day, and we had a ton of fun.

Christmas day was fun, but with normal family drama, and a turkey that just took forever and a day to cook.  My oldest Uncle was there, and I hadn't seen him since July of 97, so that was just a real treat to spend time with him again.  The kids took to him like glue, and we got a lot of great family photos with him and my dad, step mom and all of us kids plus my kids.  It was a really long day though, and we were exhausted by the time it was over.

Boxing day (the day after Christmas for you non-Canadians), my brother, sister and I went to my Oma's house for lunch, and spent the morning with her.  She made us a pot of delicious homemade pea soup, which we all just loved.  Then it was time for my brother and I to bring my sister home, so we did so, but then got caught at the border for an hour, and didn't get home till 6PM that day.  It was just go-go-go the whole time, but we had a great time, and it was nice to reconnect with family again.  We hadn't seen my brother in a year either, because he lives so far away, so he stayed to visit with us for a couple days too.  So really, we were non-stop from Christmas eve till the 28th, a busy 5 days it was.

And then yesterday was New Years Eve!!  I remember last year I was dreading New Years Eve, it was a horrible day for me.  I didn't want to leave Barry behind in 2009, so passing into 2010 was quite hard for me.  But I really think I did OK this past year, I had a lot of ups and downs, my life completely turned around and went in so many directions I never ever imagined possible.



I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a wonderful new years!!