Survival versus Living

Posted 2/4/2013

Survival versus Living

It never really occurred to me the difference of surviving and living until today when I was sitting having lunch. 

I went to one of our favorite restaurants but instead of sitting at a table or in a booth I sat at the bar.  I ordered my favorite salad, a Diet Pepsi and then pulled out my nook and started to read one of the books I have on it.  It was one of the most relaxing lunches I have had in a very long time. 

For an hour I wasn’t making conversation with anyone or having to make sure they weren’t choking on food or fussing and disrupting people.  I was alone and that was OK.  It wasn’t until I was on my way back to work that I completely realized what had just happened. 

I was living.  Now you may read that and say, “Alyssa, you’ve been living for a long time…almost 34 years now”.  I have to disagree with you because I think for the last almost 9 months I have just been surviving and scared as hell to live.  The last 9 months have been about continuously moving…continously doing something so people won’t think I’m just sitting at home being sad. 

The more I sit here I begin to see that this weekend I started to “live.”  Aaron and I were out and about, we saw friends on Friday night, then ran errands  Saturday & Sunday morning, napped, played, blogged and were just able to ‘be’.  The scary thought I have now is that Saturday and Sunday it really seemed that Aaron was calm, calmer then he has really been in the last 9 months.  I sat with him alot and played.  I wasn’t trying to continuously move.  I didn’t spend every minute with him but when I did I was really “there.”  The scary thought is “what have I been doing up to this point?” 

Surviving.  For 9 months I have been surviving.  As I sit here with an overwhelming sense of calm I can tell you…living is MUCH easier then surviving.  It is exhausting to always be trying to think “what is next?”  To try and be ready for whatever was going to come at me next. 

So here is to living.  I am sure I will go into survival mode many more times in my life as will others but atleast now I have the understanding that to live is so much easier. 

What’s up God?

posted 2/2/2013

What’s up God?

I have accomplished alot already today with running errands this morning  and packing up the kitchen that I figured why not tackle the topic of God.  So after much anticipation…here goes nothing.

As a child I remember going to church with my parents and brother, sitting in the pew scribbling notes to my mom on the bulletin, having mom sit between my brother and I so we would pay attention and ultimately being comforted by the message in the sermons given.  When I moved to the Des Moines area, I tried but was unable to find a church where I felt that I fit in and after Jay and I got married it just didn’t seem important to find one. 

May 9th happens.  I then find myself asking God…”Why ME?”…more importantly “Why Aaron??”.  I think the conversation went a little something like this…

“What did I DO to deserve this pain?…I am a good person….Jay was a good person…Aaron is so innocent…What in the hell did Aaron and I do to deserve loosing this wonderful man from our lives?    What plan is soo damn important that it required taking a person that was loved by so many and is needed so much on this earth?”

After the questions and pleading were done, anger set in.  There was anger towards Jay for leaving but even more towards the person who took him away from me. 

Many would tell me I coudn’t be mad at God.  There is a plan and it isn’t His fault.  Many argued with me as I cried and yelled at Him.  My reaction to people was “I can be mad at whoever I want.  Especially God.  I don’t like his plan…his plan SUCKS!” 

There were many times I would sit alone and remember the phrase “If He brings you to it, He will  bring you through it.”  I wanted…I still want to believe that.  But then I sit and think back to when I found out my mom had cancer…then 2 days after we got the great news she was cancer free and had a clean bill of health we found out Jay’s mom had cancer.  Jay’s mom becomes cancer free and Jay and I had begun trying to get pregnant.  It was a 3 year struggle to get  pregnant.  In there somewhere Jay and I go for a mini-vaca to Omaha one weekend and not even 2 hours after we got there I am in the Creighton University Hospital ER with a broken ankle needing surgery.  So silly me, I thought maybe …just maybe…I was due for a break from overcoming obstacles.  I had a beautiful son…a wonderful husband and I was finally back to work after being on maternity leave…life was finally on the right path.  Jay and I were happy, and other than being really sleepy with a newborn we were obstacle free.  Now I know the truth was…”we” were…but “I” was not. 

It wasn’t until Christmas this past year that I finally went to church.  I went with a dear friend to the Christmas cantata.  Aaron was fussy so she took him out to walk around in the hallway as I sat and listened to the cantata.  I used to love the Christmas cantata when I was a child.  Music has always calmed me and when I was a child my dad was in the the adult choir.  It was the most peaceful 30 minutes I had had in a very long time.  Tears ran down my face…and a certain peace filled my heart. 

Truth be told, I still get angry at God.  It just isn’t as strong of an anger as it was initially.  I don’t understand his plan but I can now recognize it exists.  My advice to those that are going through a significant loss is to be angry.  That is your right.  But from my experience I woudn’t stay angry long.  It serves a purpose for awhile but ultimately it can define you and that is not healthy.  For those with people struggling with this topic, I encourage you to be patient.  We all get back to where we need to be…it’s part of His plan.

Innocent until proven guilty

Posted 2/1/2013

Innocent until proven guilty

I bet I have a few of you interested on where I am going with the title of this blog today.  We as Americans ,if accused of a crime, are “innocent until proven guilty” right?  It doesn’t matter if the person feels guilty, is guilty or if everyone thinks they are guilty…they are innocent until proven otherwise. 

Guilt.  It is a handicap of the grief stricken.  This is a HUGE hurdle for me and even as I write this I know it will be something I will have to work on for the rest of my life. 

I feel guilty because

I am the one here with Aaron…

I want to be happy again…

I’ve had happy moments…

I’ve laughed and smiled…

I’ve cried…

We are taken care of…

We have wonderful friends and family to take care of us…

I need my friends and family…

I live..

I could go on and on but that isn’t the point.  You see I don’t need a jury of my peers to tell me I’m guilty or innocent.  I am a one person jury and every day I wake up and if  I don’t have my cup of perspective I can come back with a guilty verdict pretty darn fast.  I know that sounds crazy but it happens hence my comment about it being something I will have to work on the rest of my life. 

Aaron and I are innocent bystanders in this thing called life.  That seems so simple to say but it is so much more difficult to live and believe.  Even as I sit here and stare at that statement it just won’t register.  Why is it that I perceive myself guilty until I convince myself we are innocent.

People say to me…”Alyssa don’t feel guilty…Jay wants you to live…he wants you to be happy.” 

My reaction is pretty raw…”If he wants me…US to be happy…why did he leave?”

Of course to that people say “Alyssa…it wasn’t his choice…God has a plan.”

And my reaction is “Well then get me on the phone with God because I have a serious beef with him and I need to tell him his plan SUCKS!!!!!”

The “God” discussion is another blog all on its own and yet another thing that I will have to work on for the rest of my life. 

I leave you with this final thought.  I am blogging because there are many things I have done and have accomplished in the last 8 months.  I also blog because I still have so much to learn and discover and this happens to be a topic I am sure I will look back at someday and be able to give some solid perspective and advice on getting through this hurdle…until then…I continue to work.

Moving Forward vs. Moving On

Posted 1/31/2013

Moving Forward vs. Moving on

There is one word difference in these two phrases but it is a HUGE difference.  To move “on” implies that you forget or they were disposable.  To move “forward” states that what existed…what was lost…still exists in some form but you move forward to live your life. 

To move on is easy.  Some may argue with me and that is fine.  But I say moving forward is more difficult because you constantly have to remind yourself what you had…what was lost.  The pain of knowing what you had or as a friend put it to me as a young widow..what I was going to or could have had is easier to forget then to confront.

Some of you may say “Alyssa…you haven’t always had the attitude of moving forward”, and to those people I would say you are absolutely right.  There were many times in those first 3 days I had to have a “move on or through” attitude because that was the only way to survive.  I also know that after those initial 3 days I have had many days since where I have choosen or will chose in th future to have the “move on or through” attitude. 

It is like the cup of perspective I have handy at all times, this is yet another tool to get through the day.  I do feel though ultimately for me to get through losing Jay I have to move forward.  If I want others to remember Jay and to talk about Jay I have to do the same and still live.  Live in the light and not in the dark as another friend told me recently.  If I want to set a good example for Aaron, I need to move forward. 

I sit in the dark tonight as I write this blog but I long for the light.   The light of the day I am able to wake up and feel strong enough to make it through my new normal without having to think so hard. 

So it may be a one word difference but there is a world of difference in what they mean.  I for one am going to chose moving forward…I owe it to Jay, myself and most importantly Aaron to work through this so I am able to be the mom he needs…the mom he deserves.

Look Out…Everything is OK

Posted 1/30/2013

As I looked at my phone the other day I had a moment where I then looked up to the sky (at Jay) and said “message received babe.” 

You see Jay was ALWAYS looking for new apps to download and use on our phones and tablets.  He managed to find one when I started having contractions before Aaron was born.  As long as I told him when they started and when they ended it would track the length of contraction and time between contractions.  It is true that “there’s an app for that” in almost every life situation. 🙂 

He found the Lookout Mobile Security app and made it mandatory that we both have it on our phones and tablets.  It scans for mallware and all kinds of bad stuff that may have made it on to your phone and is looking to mess up your phone and for some of us our life. (because really…who can live without their phone or tablet anymore) 🙂 

If any of you have this on your phone you will know after it scans your phone it then gives you a status.  When I pull my menu down on my phone the Lookout app is running and it reads “Lookout”  and below it says “Everything is OK”.  When I read it and realized what it said it was like I could hear Jay saying to me…”Lyss….”look out” into the world…”Everything is OK”…I promise.”

So how does this help me you ask?  In this grief I look for tools wherever I can find them.  Whether it is a weekly outing with a friend or getting a babysitter over  so that I can do things around the house (and actually get them done!!) and not have to worry about Aaron so much.  This is another tool because as one of my friends says…it doesn’t have to be a “holiday” or “anniversary” that makes someone sad…it could be just that it is Monday and that just makes me sad.  In those moments that “catch me off guard”, now I can just look at my phone and I am reminded to “lookout”…because “Everything is OK.”

Don’t pity me

Posted Wednesday January 30, 2013

Pity

Pity is a four letter word that no matter where it comes from is a bad deal.  It is easy as a widow to feel  pity.  Most would probably think that pity is really just angering when you feel someone feeling it for you.  That is absolutely not the case.  I have many times felt pity on myself.  Pity has many forms and all are angering and debilitating.

Pity on myself

Wow, I could spend a whole day talking about the pity I feel on myself. 

Anytime I see a couple holding hands or even talking as they stroll through Target…pity. 

More times than I thought possible, when something breaks in the house and I have no idea how to fix it or if it is going to be bad for the house and how much it is going to cost me…pity. 

At daycare when I see a daddy drop off or pick up his child…pity. 

And the one that sneaks up on me and takes me down more than I would like to admit is when I’m alone at night.  Aaron is finally resting for the night…I haven’t had an opportunity until this point to pick up the house a bit…or do a few chores that I have been meaning to do but just don’t have time.  You would think in this moment I would say “Yippee!…time to do those things and be productive.”  In all honesty, most times, I just curl up on the couch, shed a few tears and then try to force myself to sleep because that is the more productive thing to do.  Saying these things is not meant for anyone to read and say “Oh Alyssa…please don’t feel that way…we are so sorry you feel that way…”.  That just angers me.  I write this so I can see what I write it down and know it is OK and can express to people who have not gone through this and feel what I feel every day.

Pity from others

I can control, for the most part, my pity on myself but the pity I feel and see from others is something I obviously cannot control.  I cannot control it in regards to the action or words said but I can control my reaction and my perception. 

Logically in my mind I know people do not mean harm in anyway but emotionally I question every action and word said.  I think a widow can give you atleast one example of something said to them that they just could not believe was said.  The one comment that rings in my ears was when a co-worker approached me 2 weeks after Jay’s death and said “Alyssa…what happened?…I heard he was alive when he left Wells Fargo”.  I really wish I had a picture of my face when the person said that to me.  I remember looking at the person and saying..”Ya know…I really gotta get going” and I left the situation.  My reaction early on was “How can someone be SO stupid to say that to me??”  A better reaction and the one I stick with when that comment comes to my mind now is…”It doesn’t matter, he is gone and that plain sucks.” 

I have found that I have to keep my perception of things in check almost daily.  And I have to keep a cup of perspective very close by.  One could say that is the survival kit of someone dealing with such a significant loss. Someone once told me that “your perception is your reality”.  That is so true.  I truly believe that perspective can snap your perception back to the true reality pretty fast if you allow it.  I say “allow” because there are days I’ve had friends ask if I’m OK and if I need to talk about what is bothering me.  I have looked at them and I have said, “No worries, I have perspective trust me…I see it…but I have put my blinders on because I don’t want to deal with it right now.”  I’ve received a “HAHA” look from friends when I’ve said that and I’ve also gotten the look of “Are you out of your mind???”  Both reactions make me laugh because it is kind of funny that I choose not to deal with things at times.  I knowingly deny dealing with it.  And as for being out of my mind, well I’ve felt that way since May 9th at noon when I got the phone call that changed our lives so that comment doesn’t really bother me anymore.

At the beginning I mention that pity is not good no matter what form it is in or where it comes from.  Going through my situation I believe that down to my core.  I also know not many know what I feel….how I feel and what I go through each and every day trying to make it through our life without Jay in his physical form.  He is with us always and that gets me through the day.  I know he wants us to move forward.  For those who wonder why I say “forward”, that is because I will never “move on”.  If you stop and think, there is big difference between moving on and moving forward.  That is a whole blog entry on its own.

My advice for those out there that wonder what they can do I say this…don’t pity those of us going through such loss…instead love us and support us.  Those people in my life that do this exact thing know it because I love and support them as well.

8 months

sent 1/9/2013

4 months.  For those who look at that and think I’ve lost my mind, no I have not forgotten how to count, I just look at things a little different because we are 4 months from a YEAR.  Can you believe it?  I know I can’t. 

We have done so much in the last 8 months but to recap the last month here you go:

The week of December 10th was for holiday parties.  A group I attend called “No time to grieve I’m parenting” had a holiday party.  It was great to be around people that “understand” and still celebrate the holiday.  Then I was invited to Jay’s work holiday party.  I felt honored to be invited.  Jay’s co-workers spent almost as much time with him as Aaron and I did so I feel close to him when I’m surrounded by them.  I am very fortunate to have such strong support from his co-workers.  They are family. 

The week of December 17th was for concerts.  I went to the Blenders concert as well as Mannheim Steamrollers.  I say a special THANK YOU to the two people that went with me to the concerts.  There was laughter and tears both nights for different reasons.  It was nice to get out and get myself in the “holiday spirit”.  We were front row center for the Blenders concert and 3rd row pretty much center for Mannheim.  My angel watching over me made sure we had the best seats in the house. J Aaron and I also survived our first snow storm together.  Last year was so nice that in December I think we actually took Aaron for a stroller ride.  Not so much this year.

The week of December 24th was…Christmas.  The one word that made me buckle at the knees a few months prior was actually a good time.  My family and I went to a hotel with a water park in Sioux Falls, SD just 30 minutes from my parent’s house.  Aaron could show off his baby swimming skills…mommy could sleep…we could Christmas and just be.  I am very fortunate for such an understanding and loving family.  They are my rock. 

 The week of December 31st was New Years.  It is otherwise known as the first holiday to actually make me buckle at the knees.  I did NOT see that coming.  A good friend of mine said it was because for the last 8 months I have been looking at the next day, or hour depending on the day and to look at the next year was probably a little overwhelming.  I’m going to go with that explanation because it makes sense.  All said and done I made it through the New Year so just one more thing to say I have done. This week also brought sinus problems for me.  I never had sinus problems before…that was Jay’s thing.  I know I got his wit when he passed but if this was part of the package as well…I send it ALL BACK.  OK well maybe not the wit…that has come in handy a few times. J 

 So far this week Aaron and I have been to the ER and I spoke at John Deere Financial for a lunch and learn about Amanda the Panda and how they have helped me.  OK, so back to the ER visit.  Everyone is fine but Aaron had croup.  Thank you to my friend that went with us to the ER to help me stay calm and hold Aaron as they gave him the liquid steroid and a breathing treatment.  So in the first week of the year Aaron and I have been to the doctor 4 times.  Let’s hope that slows down. I look at the next month and we stay busy.  I am speaking at an Amanda the Panda event on January 17th and I am very excited.  I love to speak and share our story.  It’s therapeutic if you can believe it.  We are also starting a kitchen renovation.  So this month will be the “Taber Organize and Clean” initiative.  I will make sure to take before/after pictures and maybe that is all next month’s update will be. 😉

I usually leave you with lyrics to a song right?  Well in my NYE sadness I wrote a poem I would like to share instead.  Thank you again for all of your support, I am standing today because of each and every one of you.  I hope you all have a great week.

Missing you

I miss you

Three words say it all

But when words fail me

It’s you I want to call

But you’re not here

To hold me close

Say it’ll be OK

We all have highs and lows

My heart hurts

I want to stay strong

I know you are gone

But that’s not where you belong

I love you

I live with fear

I miss you

I wish you were here

7 months

sent to friend on 12/10/2012

Happy Holidays Friends!

Thanksgiving has come and gone and now I’m looking at Christmas and the New Year in front of me.  I know I sound like a broken record but I sincerely thank each and everyone one of you for being a very important part of this journey.  Without you I would be lost. 

Below is an update on the last month.

Saturday November 10th was the Iowa Donor Network Holiday party.  It was quite emotional and I think next year we will take a few people with us.  It was a great opportunity to get out of the house and remember the wonderful thing Jay did in his death. Thanksgiving: In the past few months I have been looking ahead to Thanksgiving and had the thought of “What the heck am I thankful for this year…this year has sucked!”  Then the morning of Thanksgiving I had the most amazing thought…”I have many reasons to be mad but I choose to be grateful for: 1) the time we had 2) the gifts he gave 3) and for the amazing angel we now have watching over us”.  

 Saturday December 1st was the Amanda the Panda Holiday party.  Aaron sat on Santa’s lap and had a good time.  I went with support to this party and that made eating and enjoying the event a little easier. Thanks Jill!

Monday December 3rd was my last session at Amanda the Panda.  The first week we did an activity that made us display in a pie chart our emotions at that point and time.  On Monday we were asked to do the same thing except with how we felt now.  Keeping in mind we didn’t realize (atleast I didn’t) that we had handed the first ones in and could do a comparison.  Below is the before and After pictures.   

 http://thetwotabers.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Capture.jpg

Before: LOTS of anger… a good amount of hurt/disbelief…some lonliness and sadnessAfter: a little bit of anger…still some sadness but to my surprise I chose to put Acceptance and Happiness in the chart.  Infact it looks like the anger from before is the same amount taken up by Acceptance and happiness.  Although surprising I can attribute the acceptance and happiness to the many people in my life and this overwhelming feeling of support I get each and every day.  Amanda the Panda is a wonderful organization that helped me in ways I am just beginning to understand.  I have also made some amazing friends through my group and I will forever be thankful for them.

Wednesday December 5th I spoke in front of  between 80-90 Iowa Donor Network employees at their quarterly meeting.  I enjoy speaking about Jay and this journey we are on.  It has truly helped me move forward.  Iowa Donor Network is an amazing group of people and I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak to them.  

Sunday December 9th – Aaron and I went to church with our friend Andrea.  I have had many suggest going to church and it just didn’t feel right until this weekend and I am glad we were able to go.  Ironically this was the exact 7 month anniversary.  We also went with friends to our first Iowa State Basketball game.  All in all it was a pretty uplifting day.

Aaron update: He continues to amaze me.  He knows the word “NO” and “Yeah” and not surpringly is already giving me the look Jay would give me to get pretty much whatever he wants.  I am in SO much trouble.  He is within weeks if not sooner of walking on his own.  He is getting into cupboards and entertaining the idea of going up our stairs.   Overall I truly feel the week of December 3rd was a turning point in this journey I’m on and I will embrace Christmas and the New Year the way Jay would want me too.  We will never forget Jay because he was an amazing person that could talk to anyone, make us laugh or smile (even if we didn’t want to) and make everyone feel special. The lyrics I give you today are kinda funny considering Jay would say “NO!  I hate that stuff!” but I find meaning and messages in the most interesting songs.   So in honor of Jay’s “love” for the white stuff that falls from the sky…enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Oh the weather outside is frightful

But the fire is so delightful

And since we’ve no place to go

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

It doesn’t show signs of stopping

And I’ve bought some corn for popping

 The lights are turned way down low

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
When we finally kiss goodnight How I’ll hate going out in the storm! But if you’ll really hold me tight All the way home I’ll be warm
The fire is slowly dying And, my dear, we’re still goodbying But as long as you love me so Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!

6 months

Sent to friend on 11/12/2012

6 months ago today I said good-bye to my best friend, my husband, the father of our child. 

 6 months seems like such a long period of time yet most days it seems like only yesterday and I still have a feeling that someday he will walk back through the door.   I could continue down the path of sad thoughts or I could give you a list (and of course stories) of things that have happened and that I have learned in the last month.  I chose the latter.

Mouse in Garage – This story STILL makes me laugh and I truly believe Jay was laughing from above.  It can only be truly appreciated for those who know how very scared I am of mice and how much crap Jay gave me for it.   Aaron and I got home from shopping one night and he fell asleep in the car so I grabbed the bags and got them in the house.  As I opened the door to go back out and get Aaron I look down on the rug by the garage steps and there is a mouse.  At the time I thought it was alive.  I slam the door shut and then the terrifying thought crosses my mind.  I HAVE to go back into the garage because I have to get Aaron out of the car.  If Jay were here, this would definitely be something I would have him take care of but he isn’t so I stand and think for a second.  Luckily my contractor had put the key pad back on the garage so I unlocked the front doors, open the garage with the key pad and grabbed the first thing I saw to chase the mouse with.  This happens to be a roll of weed block for some landscaping we are going to do in the front yard.  Note to self…I need to put something that makes more noise and can do more damage at the back of the garage.  I hit this roll of weed block on the garage floor until I get to the front of the garage and I peak at the rug only to see the mouse still there feet up in the air dead and dead can be.  I’m not about to pick up the rug OR the mouse to get it out of the garage so I use my roll of weed block to roll up the rug and push it out of the garage into the drive way.  The mouse falls out of the rug, I grab the rug shake it and run back to the front of the garage hit the garage door opener, throw the rug down, open the car door to Aaron, get him out of his car seat in record time, open and slam the garage door to the house shut.  Aaron gave me a look like I was crazy and I will give him that one.  My dad mentioned that this was only a dead mouse and I agree.  But if you are listening to me Jay…give me another year before I tackle the fear of a real mouse.  The dead one almost did me in.

Waterbabies – Jay and I had always talked about getting Aaron into Waterbabies so when one of the moms at daycare asked me if Aaron and I would like to get in a class with them I jumped at the opportunity.  It is nice being in a heated pool at the YMCA.  It is a great workout for me and Aaron loves it.  We sing songs and walk around in circles.  Aaron loves to lay on his back as we sing “Twinkle Twinkle little Star”.  And yes I have dunked Aaron.  He doesn’t mind it at all and that works for me.  

Halloween – Halloween was one of Jay’s favorite holidays.  I have to admit I wasn’t looking forward to it.  I got Aaron a monkey costume since his giraffe one from last year didn’t fit him anymore.  I went to Costco the day of Beggars night in Grimes to get our traditional boxes of chips that Jay always got.  I had our friend Nick carve out a “2” in a pumpkin and then with a sharpie put “My 2nd Halloween” on the pumpkin with the 2 being carved out.  I think Jay would have liked that idea.  It was nice out so Aaron and I sat on the porch and handed out chips to the trick-or-treaters.  We did that for about an hour and then we closed up and went to the Grimes Fire Department to talk with our friends there.  I’m hoping in years to come it gets easier to get through that holiday.  We also went with our friends the Hanshaws to “Night Eyes” at Blank Park Zoo.  It was a dark cold night so Aaron was bundled nice and warm and it was really neat.  MAYBE when Aaron is old enough I will go through a haunted house with him.  Jay would be impressed if I could do that considering I refused to go through them with him.  

Aaron’s 1st Birthday – It is amazing to see the difference a year can make.  When Aaron was born, we were due for a scheduled c-section on 10/24 but Aaron had different plans and started my contractions at 4AM on 10/23.  It didn’t surprise me when he woke me up at 4AM on his birthday.  There are many times that I wish I could see Aaron and Jay play and hang out.  I know Jay is watching over us and at times I catch Aaron looking just over my shoulder, he smiles and I swear he says “da-da”.  I am sure Jay is right there watching over us I just wish he was here in the physical form.  

Broken Stove/oven – Jay was the cook of the family and he was good at it.  J   When I would make something he would laugh and say, “See I told you that you can cook!”  Apparently I make a few good dishes but to be honest the thought of actually baking something in the last 6 months just hasn’t seemed right.  But the other day I thought “Hmm…maybe I could bake a pizza for Aaron”.  So I turned on the stove and put it to “Rapid preheat”.  We did this often so I didn’t expect there to be problems.  A few minutes into the preheat the kitchen lights dimmed and came back.  I thought it was just me blinking until it did it again.  And then I heard the convection fan part of the oven wind down and when I looked over at the stove all the lights were out.  And it won’t turn back on.  To add to the story I swore we got the stove a little over a year ago from Lowes.  After calling Lowes and calling their service department I found out that is where we got our microwave…NOT our stove.  *sigh* So for now I have a broken stove, but soon I am sure I will find time to get it fixed.  I will cook again, but that will be an update for next month.

I hope you enjoyed our stories.  As I have done in the past I will leave you with lyrics to a song I was listening to the other day and had to know what was actually being said.  The more I read it, the more I relate to it.  So many of you have helped me in the last 6 months and I appreciate each and every one o f you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  

“Home” by Phillip Phillips

Hold on, to me as we go

As we roll down this unfamiliar road

And although this wave is stringing us along

Just know you’re not alone

Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it’ll all be clear

Don’t pay no mind to the demons

They fill you with fear

The trouble it might drag you down

If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone

Cause I’m going to make this place your home

5 months

Sent to friends 10/8/2012

As I write this to touch base with all of you I go back to May 9th in my mind and it feels like it was just yesterday even though it has been 5 months. 

It is hard to think about that day and all the days since but I know deep down in my heart that someday when Aaron asks me to tell him about that day and the first 5 months afterwards I will be able to tell him everything and I will.  

The theme as an American to September 11th is “Never Forget”.  On that day I stood in front of a little over 100 financial advisors for Principal Financial Group and told our story, explaining the importance of life insurance.  I only hope Jay looked down and was proud.  As I finished my speech everyone got to the feet and clapped.  Aaron was presented with an Iowa State football jersey signed by Paul Rhoads.  They ended my portion of the meeting with the Iowa State fight song.  (it was awesome)  I got the crowd to start clapping through the song, even Hawk fans if you can believe it.  It was a great experience; I hope to have many more as talking and sharing Jay’s legacy of planning and being a wonderful and loving person is good therapy. 

Jay is gone but we will never forget, that I will make sure of. Each and every day I try to do things the way he would.  I try to make him proud of me.  I can feel him smile at me in the morning when I decide to get out of bed.  Some days are harder than others but I can only hope I am setting a good example for Aaron.  

We went to our second Iowa State football game two weekends ago.  Aaron was a little fussy at the start but then again made friends with all of those around us clapping and smiling and was sleeping by halftime.  I am so glad that he enjoys the games.  All of the action really gets his attention.  

This past weekend I walked in two 5K run/walks…yes TWO.  It felt great.  It is important to get and stay healthy. Jay had wonderful friends.  I have wonderful friends.  All of our friends have helped me in the last 5 months in some way.  We are doing OK.  It is still (and will be for awhile) a day at a time…sometimes an hour or a minute at time.  With the love & support of good friends & my family, I know I can do anything.