Thank you, Aaron

Dear Aaron,

On an emotionally charged weekend, you brought life back to your mom.  You see I wanted to stay inside.  The weather people predicted possible bad weather.  I know you wanted to go out in your pool on our deck but it just didn’t make sense to go out, get wet and in the event of bad weather have to hurry into the house for safety and possibly to the basement.

Luckily for you the weather predictions changed.  You really wanted to go outside so after some thought, I decided it was OK to go out.  Oh how you played your heart out in your pool.  You showed me some of your new tricks and the joy on your face was contagious.  You really are a fish in the water.   Your dad would be proud.  It was one of his wishes you love the water and learn how to swim.  You see, he did not know how to swim.

With your baby blue eyes you looked at me, took my arm and said “Mommy, come in with me.”  It didn’t make sense for me to join you my dear because well the pool was so small.

But you insisted.

And so with my tank top and shorts on, I sat in the pool with you.  Oh how this made you even happier.  As you splashed and floated on your back in my arms, your smile radiated from ear to ear.  As hesitant as I was at first, I couldn’t help but smile and join as much as I could in your playful activity.

My dear little boy, I am working so hard to learn more about life and teach you everything you need to know to survive and thrive in this world we live in.  And then there are days like this past Saturday where you remind me of everything I need to know.

Life is meant to be lived and loved.  Smile when you can.  Get out every chance you get.  Help others when you can.  Be kind always.

Thank you for an amazing afternoon my love.

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Love,

your mommy

Wind beneath my wings

So…it’s been awhile.

In the last 2 weeks, there has been a lot going on.  I have written probably 5 blogs, of which none were published.  They were in a point in time.  They were in the midst of self realization.  They were to get thoughts out of my head.  Writing, it is a therapy for me.

So let me sum it up for you.  June 5th would have been Jay’s 37th birthday.  Although he has been gone just over 3 years, this was the 4th birthday without him.  I had Aaron still make something for him at daycare.  When Aaron gets older, I will let him choose how he wants to celebrate his dad’s birthday.  I did what I do on holidays, etc.  I spent time pampering myself and just being.  It was exhausting.  Not just because of Jay’s birthday though.

The day before, I was running and errand.  From my phone I see an update from a TV station here that there was  serious accident on the highway that goes through my town.  My heart drops.  You see, my boyfriend and his friend were golfing in this area.  I feel sick to my stomach.  I try to reach him but there is no answer.  Thankfully another friend of ours had his friends cell phone number and was able to get ahold of them to confirm they were OK.

Here is some raw honesty.  The first thing that went through my mind was “I cannot do this.  I cannot lose my boyfriend and then move through tomorrow for what it is.  I cannot do this.  Do NOT make me do this.”  When I found the guys were OK…I felt even sicker to my stomach because they had just announced it was a fatal crash.  When I was able to hug Aaron and my boyfriend that night things settled down a bit.  It was the next morning when I found out this man who had lost his life indeed had a wife and a few kids that my stomach turned again.  Not only this, but many people in my life knew him and his family.  My head began to spin.  I started to relive those first hours and days after Jay died.  My heart broke for his wife, now a widow and for his children who no longer would have their dad.  This, coupled with Jay’s birthday and the fact I had only had 3 hours of sleep the night before from working early into Friday morning, I was exhausted.  Jay’s mom had asked me to walk the Relay for life in his hometown that night.  She understood the date was not ideal and having just lost Jay’s dad and Jay’s anniversary she wasn’t surprised when I said I couldn’t do it.  I was hard on myself with my decline of her invitation.  I heard myself say…”Good grief Alyssa…you can do that with her.  Put your big girl pants on.”  But ultimately I said no.  I am glad I didn’t go.  I fell asleep once Aaron was home and my boyfriend was able to watch him.  I slept for a total of 15 hours that night.

And so I made it through the week.

The week afterwards, my boyfriend and I took a trip.  It was great.  It was much needed.  There was a reset of sorts for me.  My mind was clear.  I went into this week with such energy.

Then there was last night and today. My mind has been mush.  Why?  There could be multiple reasons but there is one that sticks out more.  Father’s day.  Aaron’s daddy is not here to enjoy it with him.  Jay’s dad is not here either.  I face myself with the reality that my father won’t be here someday.  I am daddy’s girl, so this thought alone pushed me down the slide.  Every death, whether you know the person well or not, is a gut check on your own mortality.  The more I understand this, the more I want to learn from each person’s life and mourn my own mortality in their death.  It gives me the fire I need to continue or get back into living this amazing life.

Then there was last night.  My boyfriend and I had a date night.  I was stressed from work.  He can read me like a book and he was doing his best to get me to relax.  He is very good for me.  And then as we talked, I laughed.  Laughter helps.  And then I was telling him about how Aaron’s daycare was doing “cookies with dad” on Friday afternoon and since I am both parents for Aaron I was going to indulge myself and celebrate.  I have done that the last 3 years, this is nothing new.  It was his words afterwards that got me.  He looked at me and said “I will some day take that holiday from you.” With a smile on his face, I smile back.  Let’s be clear, I am not mad at him.  I honestly never wanted to have the holiday.  I wasn’t given a choice.  I won’t let my little boy feel left out and so I have gone to make him not feel left out or different.  I will take the looks from the other dads…have the conversation with the teacher about still making something for his daddy and navigate through the holiday with grace.  It was in the moment he said this I realized I had found a man that did not need a genetic connection to my sweet little boy to want to be his dad.

With that marinating in my brain, today was a struggle.  As I sat trying to type out my thoughts so I could be productive the song “Defying Gravity” played on my laptop.  For those who don’t know….this song was my mantra early on.  Defy gravity.  Early on that meant getting out of bed.  Other times it meant taking the high road  when someone made me feel bad.  And just recently it meant taking a leap and having faith in myself that I could succeed in something I never ever expected to be doing.  I’m not only defying gravity…I’m a balloon making the sky my limit.  Then realizing I am deathly afraid of heights another interesting song plays on my laptop.  “Wind beneath my wings.”  I listen to the lyrics and I look up.  A guilt that has plagued me a bit recently is lifted.  I have felt guilty because of my new found love of life and people.  The expense paid for my new understanding was too great and unfair.

As I listen to the lyrics I hear Jay talking to me.   I hear him say “SOAR DANGIT!”  It is in this moment I realize I do not soar alone.  He is with me always.  He is the wind beneath my wings. “

Shoes

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The other day while at work, I was talking to a co-worker of mine. We were discussing my crazy week that ended with an emotional day. It would have been Jay’s 37th birthday. I have the day off of work. I have thought a few times of working through the day but then I step back and I hear myself say, I’m not ready yet. So, I will be off work tomorrow.

 

I have been busy at work and my co-worker asked me if that is helping me keep my mind busy knowing what the end of my week entails. As I started to respond I felt my voice crack. I said in a way yes but when it would get to tough, it wasn’t people at work I would break down in front of. I would get home and have my moment of breaking.

 

As I tried to keep my composure, I could feel tears form in my eyes. I looked at her and said softly…that little boy doesn’t deserve to see me like that.

 

I had to look away as to not completely embarrass myself.

 

I then softly said, I try so hard.

 

She stood up as she was going to step away for a bit and as she put her hand on my back she said, “you are doing great, people do not walk in your shoes, keep it up.”

 

It is because of amazing people in my life I am able to move forward. Sometimes exhausted and slow and other times with energy and excitement.

 

This week is one of exhaustion and slow motion.

 

It is one thing to say people do not wear my shoes through our journey…it is something refreshing and calming knowing so many in my life get it.

 

I struggle

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Tonight I posted on my FB page that I was struggling.  As I sit here with tears in my eyes I feel compelled to blog.
First, my life is good and beautiful.  Tonight, I am struggling as another “day” approaches.  I sit in the office I have transformed to be my own but it still has so much of Jay still here.  I am a little more open and honest about the days I struggle with than most.  That said, my life is good and beautiful.
This may make some uncomfortable.  This may make some people proud, me being willing to share.  It is not meant to be either of those things.  It is my way of being open and honest.  It is my way of navigating through my grief and moving forward in my journey.  It is my way of hoping you can begin to understand.
Understand what?  Understand grief doesn’t stop when the casket is closed, the casket put in the ground or the urn picked up from the funeral home.  It doesn’t stop a day, week, month or years after the loss.  It doesn’t just affect me on the holidays or actual birthdays or anniversaries.
Truthfully it is always there.  In smaller doses.  Not as raw.  But it is still there.  It continues to teach me.  It reminds me to be kind always.  It makes me cry at the most inopportune times.  It makes me appreciate everything and everyone in my life.
Tonight, I miss him.  Tonight, my heart aches.  Tonight, I struggle.