Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope…just May 9th.
The buildup to anniversaries, holidays, etc has been in my experience much worse than the actual day.
I look at the calendar and the first thing to cross my mind is the phrase “3 years.”
In 3 years I have loved and lost only to love again. I talk about organ donation. I have participated in the making of a life insurance video. I have redone much of the house. I have changed jobs. I have fought to hold on. I have fought to let go. I have cried my eyes dry. I have laughed until it hurt. I have taught. I have learned. I have survived. I have thrived. I have moved forward.
I sit here typing this blog and look to my right to see Aaron watching his iPad. He is watching Thomas the Train. Jay would not object to him watching the cartoon. He would object to watching it on an iPad. He hated Apple…but I digress. Aaron has grown so much since May 9th, 2012. Hell…I have grown so much.
I look at this anniversary in a unique way. I don’t fear it like I used too. It is the date everything changed. Since that day I have kicked negative to the curb. I have accepted love into my life. I have moved forward.
Losing Jay changed everything in my…our…world. I will struggle with this anniversary because Jay’s dad is not doing well. I will struggle with the many dates right after his death that have meaning. (Mother’s day and his birthday) But…I will march forward…it’s my only choice. I will be ready…because here it comes.
So yesterday I did not blog. I am surprised it took this long for me to not blog a day. Today I will write two. That is not the point of my blog now so let’s get to it.
I have a feeling this is going to be an emotional blog. This is your warning. This is going to be packed full of honest and probably raw emotion.
Today Aaron and I went to see Jay’s parents. This is never easy for a few reasons.
1) Jay is not with us. 2) Not much has changed in his parents house. Our wedding picture is still up as are the pictures we had done on the weekend Jay and I found out we were pregnant. 3) When we talk about Jay there is still such emotion.
Aaron and I will be going to visit Jay’s parents more often now because Jay’s dad is not doing well. I want Aaron to have as many memories as possible. I want to bring joy to their life and his final days.
In the 2 hours we were there, there was a shit storm of emotion. Take the ride with me.
We got there and I felt relief. We would get to see him again. We walk into their house and I am happy. The smile on his parents faces made me happy to know Aaron could put it there. I look at his dad and I was sad. Jay’s dad smile was somewhat temporary. I can see pain and exhaustion. I watch Aaron get the toys from the spare room and sit in his grandma’s rocking chair and I am impressed. Aaron has a way of bringing such joy to all those around him. i sit down in one of the chairs and I’m uncomfortable. Across from me on the wall is a picture of Aaron, his cousin Samantha and Jay, to the right of this picture is our wedding picture. I look up and run into another picture of Jay. I try to control my emotions and I find myself angry. I wonder what part makes it fair for Aaron and I to be there without Jay. I hear Aaron and his grandma laughing playing with toys and reading books and I am hopeful. Hopeful seeing Aaron could give her a few minute break from thinking of the sadness this week brought her. I look at Jay’s mom and I am jealous. She is being given time to prepare for her life change. She is being given a chance to say the things she has wanted to say. She is being given a chance to say good-bye. I look at her eyes and I am concerned. I cannot imagine the pain she lives each day watching the man she has spent a majority of her life with deteriorate and ultimately lose his battle with cancer.
It was a continuous cycle of these emotions and so many more. I felt like my body had been thrown around like a tornado.
When it came time for us to leave for the day I ended on a surprising emotion. I was thankful. I am thankful we were able to visit. I am thankful Aaron could see them and bring some relief. I am thankful for my parents health. I am thankful it was time to go home.
As we got ready to leave we said our good-byes. It felt different this time. As I heard his dad say good-bye it felt like a possible last good-bye. Tears started to form in my eyes and I knew I had to keep it together just a little longer. We got in the car and as we drove away I let the tears fall and the emotion out. Today was emotional.
It has been an exhausting week.
This is going to be a short blog tonight. But a a blog nonetheless.
Tonight my little boy looked at me and said “I love you too mommy.”
That made my night…but I’m still exhausted. Tomorrow will be better..promise.
A few months ago I participated in creating a video for work. The video is our life insurance story.
I couldn’t be happier of how it turned out. It is exactly what I hoped it would be. It shares a little bit of our life before May 9th, 2012. It shows us still living post May 9th, 2012.
Life insurance did not replace Jay. It allows us to move forward through our journey less scared. This journey has been all kinds of scary and unknown. Jay was prepared and there isn’t a day that goes by I don’t thank him for being who he was.
I’m not going to lie. The video is emotional. It is hard to watch for many I am sure. People do not want to talk about death. They want to talk about life and prepare to live life. My hope is the video helps people understand they need to live life to the fullest and within this life also prepare for those to live life in the event of our death. We need to protect those left behind.
I talk about the video tonight because it will be released soon. It was release internally at my work but it will soon be released public. I am excited. I am terrified. I am honored. I am sad. I am happy.
I am anxious for you to watch the video.
Today I posted a picture on my FB page. It said the cure to anything is salt water…sweat, tears or a sea. It was something like that. I posted it because in this time of my life this is absolutely true.
When I get a great workout in I sweat. After that workout I feel great.
When I am extra emotional, facing a hard part of my journey or just need to let some things go I cry. After a good cry I feel great.
When I have needed to just get away, I have gone to somewhere warm As close to a big body of water as possible. To enjoy the nice weather. To enjoy listening to the waves. After a fun trip, I feel great.
When I feel great, I feel cured. Cured of everything that is currently causing me stress, anxiety or hurt.
There is truth to the statement…the cure to anything is salt water.
Tonight I received some sad news about Jay’s dad and his fight with cancer. There is not much time left. Jay’s mom called me to tell me. How do you respond to hearing that news? How do you make that news OK? How do I make sense of it in my head? How do I explain it to Aaron?
All of those questions ran through my mind. None of them have answers. They all make my heart heavy. They make my heart hurt in such a unique and challenging way.
Tonight I have cried in a way I have not done in some time. Tonight I feel guilt. Tonight I feel regret. Tonight I am angry. Tonight I am scared. Tonight I question life. Tonight I question death. Tonight I hug Aaron harder. Tonight I tell my family and friends I love them. Tonight I remind everyone in my life how much they mean to me.
I start another part of our journey tonight.
As slowly as the first day of spring arrived, Aaron and I quickly caught what appears to be the spring cold.
The whole time I could see and feel Aaron not feeling well I got anxious. It is not fun to have a sick child. I don’t have time for him to be sick. I don’t have time nor do I want to be sick. It does not fit into my/our schedule.
Unfortunately saying this and having it happen are two different things. Aaron caught the cold. I caught the cold. I worked from home on Friday and in the middle of the day got Aaron and myself to our chiropractor to see if we could nip the cold in the butt. Having a sick child is not fun…having a sick child on the weekend is terrible.
I have had a few of my friends say to me “Alyssa…my husband is gone a lot but I do not know how you do it all by yourself.”
All I can tell you is that I just do. And as I type that I know this isn’t the whole story. The truth is I have people. Lots of them. I have opened my heart and my life to many people. In return I have many people I can call when things happen or when I have questions. I have allowed people to join me in our journey.
And truth be told, this weekend when Aaron wasn’t feeling well and I started to not feel well I kept saying over and over in my head “I don’t have time for this…I don’t have time for this.” It doesn’t always work. But sometimes life cuts me some slack and realizes I have no time to be sick.
A topic someone wanted me to talk about was dating after losing Jay. It’s a touchy subject but one I’m not afraid to tackle and explain to you.
When I married Jay the vow was “till death do us part.” I imagined that part happening way into retirement. And not for atleast 50 more years. I expected Jay to be my last first kiss. I expected Jay to be the only man I would love the rest of my life.
Early into my grief I swore up and down I would never date again. My heart felt too broken. No one would ever want to date me let alone fall in love with me. No person would ever replace Jay.
With some more time, my heart was put back together. I did not want to be alone. I wanted to find a person to date and to eventually fall in love with. The part that will always be true and part of my life is no one will ever replace Jay. And that is an important piece because it is something the person in our life has to understand and be OK with.
Dating is different nowadays. Here are a few things that have changed…
1) There are websites fully dedicated to helping you find your perfect match. I did not find Jay on a website. I did however find my now serious boyfriend there.
2) I’ve had a child since dating Jay. Any woman who has had a child knows exactly what I am talking about. Your body changes. Enough said.
3) I have learned a lot about myself and who I want in my…our life. Not that I wasn’t picky before but the criteria now was a lot different.
4) When dating now, they are not just dating me. You are dating my life. Many parts of my life need to be discussed in candid conversation without rolling of eyes, sighs or looks of pity.
Dating is interesting post loss. I say the word “is” not in a way of I don’t expect my current relationship to stay the course. I say “is” because I learned the hard way that you should never stop dating your partner in life. Actually the other night when hanging out with my boyfriend I looked at him and told him to never stop dating me. I don’t expect to ever stop dating him.
Love after loss is an adventure. I love more fiercely. I am more compassionate. I am more understanding. Most importantly…I want to love after loss.
Aaron hasn’t been feeling the best these past few days. He has wanted to be in my arms a lot. As a parent, I embrace it. As a child, I remember it.
Tonight I laid with Aaron in his bed. He didn’t want to sleep. I was right next to him snuggled in and said into his ear softly “I am right here. Rest.” I put my hand on his back very gently rubbing it. I could feel his body start to relax. I could hear his breathing getting heavier as he went deeper into sleep. I could sense my baby boy was glad I was there.
As I laid there memories from childhood when I wasn’t feeling the best and would then be in my parents arms flood my mind. I could remember a few times when my tummy wasn’t right. I could go lay in my mom or dads arms and everything was OK. My tummy may still have hurt but I knew things would be OK. Even to this day, it feels good to hug and embrace my parents. They make everything OK.
It is an amazing feeling being the world to Aaron. And I hope he always knows he is the world to me. I hope he has memories as I do from childhood. Memories that calm him. Memories reminding him how awesome it is to be in a parents arms.
The world today makes it really easy for anyone to voice their opinion about anyone, anything and anywhere. They can be down right cruel.
Just because someone doesn’t have your same opinion. Or because they aren’t cheering for the same team. Or because they are not like or look like you.
If you have read any popular singers Facebook post and looked at any of the comments there are so many mean hearted comments. If you have ever watched a political ad, there are more negative about the opponent than good about the person paying for the ad. It was a Facebook post of a singer I am following. A positive post lead to such terrible comments below. “You suck.” “I don’t like your singing.” The comments go on.
It sucks. It all sucks. So many people have just decided they want to be mean vs. nice. I get it honestly. Sometimes mean is easier than nice. In this society there is so much negativity, why do we expect it be different in the way people think and express. With our children we call it bullying. We say stop bullying. I couldn’t agree more. The problem is, this bullying isn’t just with our children. Adults bully as well. We all see more negative than positive.
It is a circle. A never ending circle that until an action or reaction is stopped it will continue. Be the change. Be positive. People aren’t exactly like you. Be happy about that. This fact makes you unique and that is a cool thing. A positive attitude will get you so much farther away from a negative situation than a negative attitude. People won’t necessarily think like you. That is OK. Instead of telling me negative about the way I see things, tell me more and more positive things about the way you think about it.
Stop being negative and bullying this world. Make it simple. Just be nice.