Thursday, July 28, 2011

Little Darling of Mine

I would be happy to watch paint dry as long as Marley was in my arms.  She makes me happy in the purest sense of the word.  She grounds me to a life of purpose and is the light at the end of my tunnel.  What happened to me was terrible.  Losing my person, Marley’s father, was the worst thing imaginable.  I can remember crying, sobs thrashing through my body and hearing my mother begging my father to do something, anything to make me stop.  It was at that point where I thought my life would never be happy again.  Truth be told, I didn’t even want to be pregnant.  I just wanted it all to go away – everything.  All I wanted was Ryan.
Now I have my Marley and what a team we make.  I love pushing her through the mall, even when she cries.  I love when people stop us to gush over how adorable she is.  It’s me and her against the world and even though it will never be totally complete without Ryan, life feels settled and to be honest, it feels complete.  Marley completes me in a way I never thought possible.  She is my everything.  Being a mother is the greatest accomplishment of my life.  Those of you who are, know, and those of you who aren’t, will never know until you know.  Today I am happy to say…I feel lucky. Today I feel lucky and I feel happy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Sound of Silence

"My eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light that split the night and touched the sound of silence." -Paul Simon

I heard his voice tonight. 

After ten months, I heard his voice for the first time.  It was a simple voice message sent to a friend at 12:15 am the morning that he died.  "Don't listen to it tonight" was the advice given to me.  Yeah right.  I didn't cry, I didn't yell,, I didn't shout.  Instead I sat very quietly, as if making a sound would make his noise go away.  I listened to this message countless times, letting the sound permeate my mind and my soul.  I even rested the phone on my chest, thinking the vibration would bring him closer.  I'm okay.  I feel quiet and reflective.  The pain doesn't asphyxiate me anymore, but does lay heavy on my chest.  I wish I could breath freely, but irrationally, I feel it's wrong to completely open my lungs.  I need to find a way to breath free, need to keep working forward.  I'm glad I heard his voice today - a gentle reminder of what was and what is.

Simply stated, I miss him tonight and every minute of every day.  I didn't need to hear his voice to know this...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Secrets to Burden

My mind is polluted with stories and images that I’d like to share, but am afraid will scare you.  It’s difficult managing the burden of these thoughts alone, but it is mine to hold.  I’m a master at storing these stories in the far reaches of my mind, but they often push their way to the front and show themselves without mercy.  The moment the police told me my husband was dead is as much a part of me as anything else, yet I hesitate to offer this secret to anyone.  It can be very lonely working to keep this all inside, but I hesitate to share because it’s not like me to bring you down.  I’m used to making people smile and these stories, these images and these thoughts will not make you smile.  Each morning I wake up feeling stronger than the next.  My life is beginning to take shape and I’m able to appreciate the small and happy nuances of the everyday again.  This does not mean however, that my mind is clear of grief or that I don’t want to talk about it.  In some ways it’s validating to share my struggle with you as it allows you to see me for who I now am – a person who has survived.  So don’t be afraid to ask, to listen and to cry as I open my heart to you and show you what I’ve endeared.  Don’t be afraid of making me sad or of dredging up bad memories.  These memories are with me always, a constant companion in a life I’m rebuilding from the ground up.   Every question will come with an answer and bring you closer to my reality while at the same time alleviating small bits of the burden I carry to keep these moments to myself.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Single Life

I never gave the notion of being a single mother too much thought, even after I knew it was to be my inevitable future.  Living this lifestyle and gaining experiences has brought me to a few recent conclusions.  Being a single mother is a full time job, but so is being any kind of mother.  My day in its entirely revolves around taking care of Marley, but show me a mother who lives any other way.  It’s not being a single mother that I find difficult, it’s being single and it’s living alone. 
A few nights ago I was rocking Marley and watching the neighborhood through my picture window.  I wanted so badly to be quietly talking with my husband.  Maybe we would be sharing stories of our daughter, our day or our future.  Maybe we would have been watching television and laughing together.  Living alone is quiet.  I find myself sitting alone and missing the times when I’d be waiting for my husband to come home.  Alone time was treasured, but are you really alone when you’re waiting for someone to return?   
The point of marriage I think, is to never be alone – codependent by choice, dependent on the noise of marriage, the laughter, the conversation and even the arguments.  I miss this noise and look forward to a time when Marley can contribute more.  I imagine she’ll have Ryan’s humor and my tendency to exaggerate.  I’ll welcome her stories, fact or fiction because they’ll break up the quiet routine of living single.  In one aspect, I am very lucky – I have Marley.  It’s a gift left to me that promises I’ll never truly be alone again.

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Person

“Don’t cry because it’s over.  Smile because it happened.”  -Dr. Seuss
It’s nearly impossible to escape the fireworks on Independence Day weekend.  You can try to hide, but unless you rid yourself of all your senses, you’re likely to see their glow, hear their bang or feel their vibration.  This weekend was hard and I missed Ryan a lot.  Similar to experiencing the fireworks, each of my senses contributed to my feeling of loss.  It wasn’t just my husband that I lost on October 10, I lost my person.  I lost the person I told my secrets to, the person I shared my frustrations with.  I lost the person who fed me, built me closets and painted my house.  I lost my friend, my drinking buddy, my entertainment.  Ryan was my person.  He kissed the back of my neck and held me tight at night.  He told me I was beautiful and meant it.  Ryan was the person I traveled with, went out to dinner with, played poker with and drank too much at concerts with.  Ryan was the person who sat next to me on an airplane.  He was the person who I came home to at night, who made me dinner, who watched TV with me…
Ryan was there when I pierced my belly button.
He was there when my car was stolen.
Ryan was there the first time I saw the ocean.
And every time after that.
Ryan was there the day Blotter arrived.
He was there for Brady, Benny and Bugs as well.
He was there when I graduated college.
He was there to take my picture the day I interviewed for my job.
And to answer the phone the day it was offered to me.
Ryan was there the day we got lost on the river.
There to build every single campfire.
Ryan was there to say, “I do” at our wedding.
He was there to buy and sell our first house.
There to buy our second.
Ryan was there when Paul Simon winked at me.
He was there when I started teaching at UWM.
Ryan was there to help make Marley.
And there when my body started to change.
He was there for my first doctor’s appointment.
Ryan was there for my first craving.
There to say, “I love you”.
To say, “I miss you”.

This person, my person, is gone and I can’t help but feel like he took a huge part of who I was with him.  Initially, I fought this notion, fought the prospect of rebuilding my life.  For many months all I could see was the past and I refused to believe that the person I was becoming was in anyway different than the person I once was.  I now see clearly what I couldn’t accept before – I am different and it’s okay.  It’s okay because this new person is a survivor.  She’s still able to smile at life and see the good around her.  She’s beginning to feel grounded in her surroundings and feels calm a great deal of the time.  This person is also tragically lonely, but lucky enough to be surrounded by many who love her deeply.  But I am different because I lost my person.  I am different, but it’s okay.