Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

“Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. Beginning makes the conditions perfect…”
It’s been many weeks since I’ve blogged, but honestly, most nights after Marley goes to sleep, all I want to do is have a glass of wine and Watch “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”.  Life is good, often great and I’m happy, content and comfortable most of the time.  It’s strange how things have changed and I’m struggling to find the words to describe the difference.  I’ve often blogged about my cloud lifting, about acceptance and understanding, but this change is different, stronger.  I can’t pinpoint exactly when it started, but it happened fairly recently.  I began to notice the change right around the time the school year started, around mid August.  I found myself single again, not that I was ever really taken.  Taken would insinuate some sort of mental or physical connection, neither of which I honestly had.  I’m not sure what I was doing or why I spent so much time floating down a rapid river, bumping and scraping my way through a relationship that often times made my skin crawl.  I knew it was wrong, I was more than aware that happiness was far from what I was feeling.  I have no excuse, no reasoning beyond the obvious – if felt good to have someone around, a date to a wedding, a partner in volleyball.  I also remember thinking that this was to be my future and that I should accept that I would never be as happy as I was with Ryan.  Thankfully, I can now look back and recognize the idiocy of those thoughts.
          Late August brought about a change.  It’s as if I shed a thick layer, raised the wool from over my eyes and began to see and feel fully again.  People at work started commenting, noticing the bounce in my step and the sparkle in my eye.  I noticed the change too and here’s where the difficulty to explain begins.  It’s as if I felt myself again.  Suddenly I was passionate about my job, cared deeply for my students, looked forward to interacting with their parents and couldn’t wait to see my colleagues.  Although surprised by her presence, I immediately recognized this person.  It was me!  So why did this happen?  Where did this person come from and most importantly, why didn’t I fully recognize that she was gone?  The answer is anything but easy, but if you’ve followed this blog, maybe you already know.  Like a needle in a haystack, I found myself with stamina, perseverance and pure determination.  Now I look back over the past two years and marvel.  Remembering, from the explosions to the nuances of grief, I cannot believe I survived.  It takes feeling like myself again, finally recognized that person in the mirror, to truly comprehend how far I’ve come.
          Ends can often bring about new beginnings.  Some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.  October 10, 2010 was the worst day of my life, but it was also the first day of the rest of my life.  It took many months to accept my new circumstances, but once I found the strength to understand, I also found the ability to begin rebuilding.  Once I worked through these obstacles, I was left with one final and daunting task, moving on.  This was less a hurdle I needed to jump over and more a barrier between myself and true happiness.  Even though I wanted to move on more than anything, I found myself internally fighting this final complication.  To me, moving on was letting go, but I now realize that this is not the case.  Letting go would be forgetting and I’ll never forget.  Moving on is simply allowing myself to seek out and find happiness again.  Moving on is realizing, after my most recent failed attempt at dating, that happiness is not dependent on another person.  It took another end to open my eyes to my new beginning.  My life has purpose; I’m grounded in a comfortable routine and centered in my current state of health and happiness.  Codependence is no longer the fuel to my success.  What it is however, is still something I seek by choice. 
          I spent the greater part of this week remembering, reflecting and worrying.  After all this time, I still occasionally fear that the monster of grief will return to wrap its ugly hands around me.  Getting through days like today assure me that this will never happen, but my body still physically reacts to the paranoia.  All week I’ve been experiencing these symptoms:  My eye lid twitches, my stomach hurts, I often feel anxious and even a little dizzy.  It’s okay though because deep down I know today is a hard day, but tomorrow will be better.  Tomorrow I can go back to my bubbly self, my happy life, my positive attitude.  Tomorrow I can spend time with a special friend, a man I recently met that makes me very happy.  Tomorrow I can go back to dreaming and wondering about what my future holds.  Tomorrow I can go back to watching Marley grow and learn.  Tomorrow I can go back to feeling very, very lucky.  Today I remember and maybe even grieve, but tomorrow, I’m back to being me.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Reaching Out

     I started this blog with a desire to share my thoughts and feelings with my closest friends and family.  After a few entries, I realized that in writing, I was also helping myself understand, accept, cope and later, move on.  Now my hopes for this blog have changed once again.  I now see my journey helping others and my words creating a path to positive thinking.  I'm beginning to realize that my blog is reaching a wider audience than I ever thought possible.  An example of this can be found at: .

This Dream is Mine

     A few mornings ago I stayed in bed a bit longer than usual, enjoying the feel of my cool pillow against my cheek and basking in a quiet calm my dreaming had surrounded me with.  I had been dreaming of Ryan of course, a dream that is asked for more frequently than is unfortunately granted.  As a matter of disappointment, I dream very rarely of Ryan and wish often that this would be different.   A part of me believes strongly that Marley sees him in her dreams regularly.  It’s my experience that children are more open to such visits due, in part, to their receptive and uncluttered conscience.  I often stand beside her crib and ask her to say hello to Daddy when she sees him.  Send him my love and tell him I miss him, please.  She doesn’t answer, but I know she understands.  Although a rarity, I do occasionally dream of Ryan, but usually he is out of my reach, disconnected or distant.  This was not the case on this particular morning.
     This dream was different, more personal and more real.   Like a warm, crackling fire on a crisp fall day, I wrapped myself warmly in its embrace.  It was the first time I dreamt of Ryan and Marley together.  There they were, interacting, getting to know one another.  I was trying to let Ryan in on the many nuances of Marley’s existence.  He marveled at how much she looked like him.  Later in the dream, it was just the two of us and we were walking towards Alterra Coffee.  Ryan and I used to take frequent coffee walks on weekend mornings, talking animatedly the entire way.  This was a small something that meant a great deal to me and I had looked forward to doing it as a family. Marley and I often make this journey together and we occasionally talk about Daddy on the way.  I’ve spent some time wishing and wondering what it would be like for Ryan to join us on these simple excursions which adds to the reality that this dream in itself was a dream come true.  There we were, walking hand in hand down the street, a happy family, laughing, teasing and smiling…finally.
     This dream was like a gift of time.  I was unexpectedly given time with Ryan.  I was able to show him Marley and was finally able to share in the joy of her accomplishments with the one other person in this world who would think them as enormous as I do.  We were able to walk hand in hand as I laughed at his silly jokes.  My favorite part of the dream had us standing in the kitchen.  I was bent down picking something up and with a smirk; Ryan threw more of it on the floor.  I remember looking up and him giving me that crooked, sly grin of his and I instantly felt like I was home.  This may seem like a simple gesture to most, but to me it hits the deepest core of our playful relationship.  He was constantly teasing me and I was forever eating it up.  This was us, Kris and Ry and this wonderful dream allowed me a few minutes of this life back.  A few minutes to feel light-hearted and happy; a few minutes to be a family.  How lucky I feel to have had this time and also how grounded I am in the realization that this dream left me feeling nothing but happy.  This dream is mine and I will hold it close for a long, long time.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

In Only Takes a Moment

Each of us wakes up every morning completely unaware of where the day may take us.  We have a general idea of the events that lie ahead, but it’s the unknown that can surprise us.  In a way, this is good.  Do we really want to know what our life has in store for us every single moment?  What would life feel like without the unknown? 
As I write this, I take a look around my kitchen and let my eyes rest on the changes, big and small, that have taken over my life.  I see a house, a ranch nonetheless, in a neighborhood that two years ago, I didn’t even know existed.  I see furniture, new to my eyes, resting next to toys that were recently played with by little hands that also didn’t exist two years ago.  I too see items that are as familiar as my own reflection:  A treasured hutch, an overpriced flat screen, a refinished coffee table, a stray cat with the longest tale I’ve ever seen and an overweight dog sleeping on top of an oversized couch.  These are remnants of a life that used to be and memorials to a life that could have been.  They are constants and offer comfort and stability to a life that can sometimes change too quickly.
You never know where an hour, a day or a year will take you.  Tomorrow you could win the lottery, pay off your house and buy a new car (I suggest a BMW X3).   Next week you might find out you’re pregnant and expecting a bundle of life changing joy in a little over 9 months.  In a year you may find yourself divorced, married, single or widowed.   Personally, my status changed from childless to pregnant in a minute.  It took a day to go from married to widowed and in a week I gave away half of my pets (that’s 2/4).  In a little over a year I found myself no longer living in an urban Victorian, but instead habituating in a two bedroom ranch.  I’ve been quoted saying I’d never give away a pet because it would be giving up on a commitment I had promised to keep.  I’ve also adamantly proclaimed my hatred towards ranch houses, refusing to even consider them.  And single motherhood?  No, that would never happen to me, I’m much too careful.  All of these things I confidently said never to, yet all of them happened and they happened quite quickly.  What’s ironic is, I love my little ranch.  It’s full of light, the flow is great and it’s a wonderful and safe place to raise Marley.  I love my quiet neighborhood where kids play outside all day, neighbors know each others’ names and traffic is almost nonexistent.  I cannot believe I used to love living in a house with no closets, two staircases and a busy street out front.  As for Brady and Bugs, the pets I sent to loving homes, I very rarely think about them.  Honestly, I find myself more often thinking about sending Blotter and Benny to the same home.  These are just a few examples of the unexpected paths life can take.  What I’ve learned is to never say never and to appreciate every minute of my day.  I’ve also learned to slow down and take in the moments around me, whether big or small.  Every second of our life is important because it might just be the second that leads to an extraordinary change.  Most importantly, I’ve learned to not fear these changes.  Life has a peculiar way of working out and as long as we are honest with ourselves, healthy in mind, body and heart, we have the ability to ride out the storms, relax in the calm and enjoy the festivities.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A New Direction

          It’s been many weeks since I’ve last blogged, partly due to a busy and hectic schedule of raising Marley, but mostly because the heavy weight pressing down on my heart has lifted (plus my laptop has been broken).  I started this blog to allow my friends and family a glimpse into my grieving and healing process, but also to guide myself through reflection and towards a comfortable center.   As you’ve all read, there have been many ups and downs throughout this journey, twists, turns, triumphs and plummets.  I’ve worked tirelessly over the last 21 months to rebuild the life that was so quickly shattered into a million pieces.  Navigated my way through this storm was a personal challenge of a magnitude I thought I’d never be faced with.  Luckily, strength and perseverance have fought their way to the top and have helped greatly with this fight.  In many ways I feel like a marathon runner, crossing the finish line and breaking the tape with her outstretched chest;  proud of her accomplishment, victorious over her win and exhausted from her journey.  Like the runner, I can look back on my race and calculate my decisions and promise the next race to be even better.
          Today is July 12, 2012.  It’s been one year, nine months and two days since I’ve been Ryan’s wife.  Today I am strong, I am reflective and I am happy.  I’ve learned how short life can be as well as how painful.  I take nothing for granted, never sweat the small stuff and always choose my words very carefully.  I’ve learned to appreciate every aspect of my life no matter how trivial because I am lucky enough to be here experiencing it.  What if today was the last day of your life?  What if tomorrow your family was ripped apart, a loved one stripped from you?  Would you want your last memory to be surrounded by an argument over who has to do the dishes or get up with the baby?  Would you want your last feeling to be anger because the driver in front of you was moving too slow?  Bad things can and will happen in life, we must accept that this is out of our control.  What we can do however is work to not let the things we can’t control, control us.  We can remind ourselves to look on the positive side, savor the small moments, speak to each other kindly and never take for granted what we are lucky enough to have.  Take it from someone who knows, we are only given one life and with this life comes ample amounts of happiness and beauty.  I personally refuse to let any of this pass me by and will walk through my life with eyes and heart wide open.   I guess what I’m saying is, I choose to be happy, to smile, to take in my surroundings and to walk good.  I hope my writing can inspire you to do the same and help you to always remember to live the life you love and love the life you live – you only get one chance, never forget that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Some how, Some Way

Early today Marley was fussing.  I brought her into her bedroom and tried distracting here with the items on her dresser.  As so often happens, her attention was directed towards the two pictures of Ryan that I have set out on her shelf.   The minute her eyes locked on the picture, her crying ceased and she said, “Hi” in her Marley sing-song voice.  This was incredible, but what happened next absolutely floored me.  After a minute of staring, she smiled and softly cooed, “Daddy”.  At the most, you likely believe I’m making this up and at the least exaggerating, but I am telling the story exactly as it happened.  Somehow, some way, she knows who her daddy is.  Somehow, some way, his face calms her.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Person I Am

“Maybe I’m crazy, but laughing out loud has made the pain pass by.”  -Dave Matthews
It’s been a long time since I’ve written; life has taken over and kept me busy and distracted.  I’ve been wanting to blog for some time now in order to explain the changes that have been taking place in my life and to paint a picture of what’s going on, a year and a half later.  Life has taken on a strident routine mixed mainly with work and Marley.  I find time everyday for exercise and look forward to these treasured minutes as time for quiet reflection.  This is my time to think about Ryan, to remember all that I can of the good times, replay some of the repressed memories I have of directly after his death and try to make sense of the many unanswered questions that can still haunt me.  This is also the time where I will occasionally let myself linger in the might have been.  Don’t get me wrong, for those of you who don’t see me on daily basis, please know that I smile a great part of the day, I laugh and love often.  I do however still cry, I still yearn for the touch of my husband, the laugh of my partner and the love of Marley’s father.  Life is different now, I am different.  Ironic how for months I fought this change with everything I had.  I rejected the very idea that I would become a different person yet here I am, stronger, wiser and maybe even more positive than I ever was before.
          It’s difficult at times to channel Ryan’s wife.  I can barely remember that girl of 18 months ago.  18 months – in some ways it seems like no time at all, in others it seems like an eternity.  So much has happened since our final goodbye…would he even recognize me today?  What would Ryan think of the job I’m doing?  How would he react to the changes I’ve made?  Is he looking down on me from someplace, shaking his head in amazement?  Does he laugh when I smile?  Does he want to hurt those who hurt me?  And what about dating?  How would he feel about the men that have given me attention as of recently?  Which would he like and which would he roll his eyes at?   Would he approve?
          The journey of dating has proven to be difficult to say the least.  To go from an intimate relationship of ten years, to having dinner with a stranger is a change I still haven’t entirely wrapped my mind around.  I’ve made some mistakes on the way, even blindly thought I was falling in love at one point.  Thankfully, I’ve learned from these mistakes, I’ve become aware of my deep rooted fear of abandonment, my distaste for losing control and most importantly, I’ve become familiar with the many deep voids my suffering has left.  These voids are what I need to be the most cautious about.  I want so badly to be loved, adored and cherished that I’ve made the mistake of overlooking warning signs, signs that were clearly marked to eyes that were open.  I won’t make these same mistakes twice as my guard is now up, my eyes wide open.  I do however, plan on falling in love again, it’s in my future and this I’m certain of.  I know now that I can and will be happy with another person.  This person will never be Ryan and will consequently never completely fill all of my voids, but I’m out there nonetheless, meeting new people, enjoying the company of others and patiently waiting for my opportunity to find another soul mate.
          So that’s where I am now – grounded in routine, centered, calm and hopeful for a future that I’ve long since accepted and have just begun to understand.  Most importantly, I can say that I’m happy.  I’m at ease with my surroundings and feel blessed to have the things in my life that make me contented:  Marley, friends and family, home and health.  I truly believe in the saying, “Live the life you love, love the life you live” and know now how important it is to live everyday to its fullest, keep a smile and your face and look at the bright side of things.  Life is short so of course, one must walk good.