Monday, December 21, 2015

Keeping it Real

I feel like i constantly have to walk a line between being respectful to my family, friends, Lani, and Sean's memory, while keeping my blog authentic to my life and my story.

I'm always surprised at the reach of my blog...

Today alone i had views and hits from Moscow, Bangladesh, and Foshan (still have no idea where that is... and if my ADD doesn't kick in too much i will google it after this post... but i digress)

So when i get emails, texts, and dm's from people who read my posts I'm always shocked...
Because despite what some may think, the goal of this blog is to be an outlet of my feelings through out my life journey, as it always has been.

For years i've posted about my struggles
 ... my bucket runneth over....

And while some my posts are controversial to others, the harsh reality is that they are my truth...

The even bigger reality is that for every post i make, there are probably 3-4 that are just sitting in the draft box...

So how do i keep it real to myself and be contentious of everyone's feelings?

I don't know that I can...

Because for every post that is hard for others to read, it was  and is even harder for me to live.


I love Sean VERY MUCH. And i always will, but my blogging is cathartic and part of my journey through  life...

So if my posts have hurt or offended any of you, I am sorry.  That is never my intent.  My only goal is to be real, and hopefully one day when L is old enough to read these, provide some understanding and clarification as to why i've made certain decisions in my life.

What would Sean Say....

note: this one is one that i've been trying to decide whether or not to post, but i feel it helps others to explain my journey...

I remember the first time I heard of a friend of mine dating after her  husband passed away, and thinking goodness, that was fast (it had probably been 5-6 months) 

I thought "if that were me i would just stay single".... clearly i was a little naive.

After a while my perspective began to change.  
She deserved to be happy and who was i to judge?

Little did i know i would be in her shoes a year later...

My mom and I talked the other day about what would Sean think/say if he could see me today...

How would he feel about me dating...
What would he think about my life changes and decisions...

her exact response... "thats why i love that girl..."

I know that he knows that while I have moved forward in life, I continue to keep his memory alive for L.  We talk about Daddy daily, but i also know that he would want both of us to be happy and to find love.  I'm always concerned about what Sean's Family and Friends will think as i move forward...

Does she love him less? No less, just differently. 

Has she forgotten him? Never. He was apart of my life for 14 years. he's a huge part of who i am today. our relationship and his death has shaped the way i think about life, what i value in life, and i treat those i love and care about...

What would Sean say if he was here?

Well here's the answer to that...

A month before he passed, Sean and sent me this text.  We finally decided that divorce is what needed to happen but we would wait until our summer vacation to Mexico with L was over.

He went further to say that he hoped I would find a date for Arry's wedding, since he wouldnt be going with me (i think this was him alluding to knowing that he was going to pass, but at the time i assumed it was because we would be divorced)

He also talked about me finding a man that would love both Lani and I the way we deserved... I think this was the first time i really began to question his health, or that there was something more that he wasn't telling me...

Then finally he said it... And i knew this would be our last talk...

(we actually spoke a few more times via text and phone after this, but i've chose to keep the rest private) 

As fate would have it, the divorce never happened and Sean passed while we were on vacation...

As a result, people being sick or in the hospital makes me cry nervous, and an unreturned phone call or text, will send me into a panic, because i immediately begin to perseverate on all the possibilities of why they aren't responding, until i hear a response.

Either way i know exactly how Sean would feel and what he would want for me, so i don't have any doubts what he would say...

And if i had any further questions, the song that Sean always said was his song to me answers it all

Yes Lani Harris Santa is Real

I know many people choose to tell their kids the truth about Santa, but in my house Santa is for real, and heres why....

My sweet child has already lost SO much of her innocence in the last few years.

She has experienced heartache beyond her years, and has grown up faster than any almost 6 year old should ever have to.

But some how through all of this, she manages to still believe ...

still believe in the tooth fairy....
the easter bunny....
and Santa...

Does that mean she doesn't know the true meaning of Christmas or Easter... Not at all. And if you ask her why we celebrate these days, she will proudly tell about how Awesome her Jesus is, as well as the whole story behind these days.  She prays before every meal and every night before bed, and prayers for others as well. So i have no doubt that we have developed a true understanding and platform for her Christianity and faith.

We always discuss the best and worst part of her day, so when I asked her how Friday at school went,  she stated that a kid told her that all of these were fake, as well as God and Angels.  That they were "Legends" .  I was prepared to explain the truth to her, by my sweet girl proudly let him know that Angels are 'most definitely real, because her daddy is an angel and watches over her all the time, just like Santa, the Easter bunny, the tooth fairy and especially GOD,  and if he chose not to believe thats fine, but she is a believer and thats all that matters.'

So who am I to break faith like that...

So as long as she believes i will support her, and help to maintain this magic for her.

We will continue to write letters

She will continues to visit the Santa at the mall although in her own words, "he aint the real Santa, just a guy pretending because santa is super busy"

We will continue to put out reindeer food  on the grass  and milk and cookies by the fire place on christmas eve (which i will then take one for the team and eat)

She will continue to get a gift from Daddy which is delivered by Santa, because he has the ability to  stop at Daddy's cloud, when he flies through heaven and bring Daddy's gift to her each year...

And i will continue to watch her face light up as she continues to believe in magic...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Widowed and Dating....

So i began dating a while ago, but in respect of Sean's fam, i've chosen not to really speak on it.  Although, if you are a follower of my blog, or you know me very well you know there have been a few posts in reference to those I've dated or that have glazed over the matter.

Recently a friend asked me two questions
1. what is it like dating, as a widow?
2. What advice would you give someone whose dating a widow?

because lets be honest, many people don't know young widow and when they meet a 2nd one, immediately the first one they knew is like "the widow expert" ....  so here is my limited widow expertise on this topic...

Question 1 

When you become a "young widow" you immediately join a sisterhood of women who have suffered an extreme loss and heart break far too young... suddenly you go from knowing none, to now i have regular communication with 5-6.  We are all in different stages in this journey, so we can be a good resource for each other.  Thanks to my friend Tammy we even have a secret safe club to communicate  amongst each other, with others who understand ,things that many at our age never will.

When you begin on this journey, you wonder will you ever find love again...

Will you have more kids one day...

Who wants to marry a widow, because there is definite emotional roller coasters at time.

And lets be honest, when your date asks, "why you are single?" and you say "i'm a widow" we tend to get one of three reactions....
Reaction 1. the immediate look of fear (did this chic kill him???) As messed up as this probably sounds, when i see this face, i tend to respond "yes! the answer to your question is yes" if you know my humor you know that this is done with with a completely straight  face and a look like "if you F this up, you're next!" followed by a pause, then "I'm kidding"

Reaction 2:  immediately follows the relieved look but now curiosity has kicked in ,  "So how did he die?"

Reaction 3. the immediate look of sadness and pity rather than fear, which is still followed by "So if you don't mind me asking, how did he die?"

Either way, it can be a real awkward moment...

But there are a few who make it past this point and the convo is still good, and you consider another date.

But you must realize that Widows date with a purpose.  We know what we want, and what we don't...

I think initially we are looking to fill voids, may that be emotionally, physically, etc

Eventually you meet someone that seems to have lasting potential but you are very guarded...

I'm not going to open about my feelings, in fear of hurt and loss

I not going to let you meet L because i don't want her to get attached and then experience loss

And Im going to see how well you put up with me...

If you make it past this point  and a few months, then i may begin to open up...

So far dating this has gone multiple ways as well.... and as you know theres a soundtrack....
1. yeah after a date or 2 I'm like nope, this aint gone work... i still haven't found a song that quite covers it....

2. they had stronger feelings but i was looking for something else...

3. I had feelings and they weren't ready everything that came with dating me, fell somewhere between here ...

and here...

 4. the feelings are mutual and you both are willing to take your time to see what happens...

For Question 2

I think its hard to explain... but this is the best way i can....
1. If i stick around, its because i see something in you that i'm looking for... And i don't mean what you might be, what i want you to be, i mean who you are today....

2. Im a very open person, but becoming a widow makes you very guarded in love, so if i call you , or go out of my way for you i care.  I may not say i care... i amy not say i miss you... and it may take me forever to say i love... but in this situation, my actions truly have to speak louder than my words.

3. if i let you meet L, you are truly special to me, because she is the most important person in my life, and I never want to see the pain and heart break i saw on her face that night, ever again....

So id you make it through all of these then this is the best advice i can give you

How i would respond....

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Silent Suffering

Infant and pregnancy loss has always held a special place in my heart.

I remember the heart ache of my mother losing a baby, and never quite understanding how devastating it was for her.

I remember the tears...

The longing looks whenever we saw a baby boy, especially one that would've been the same age as Brian Jamerson.

I remember her laughing it off occasionally when we talked about how they would've been "old parents" and how he would've acted like an old man.

And now as an adult and a mom i can't believe how insensitive we were to her loss and grief. Even more so after knowing the struggles it is to get pregnant and have a baby.

After my sweet friend Meg lost her son Conner to SIDs.  our cheer squad began to host a blue out for SIDS and infant loss awareness.

But there were so many others who last babies all to soon...

Then there were the Johnsons and Kennedy
the Schultes and Beckett...
And many other friends and family members who lost babies or struggled with infertility...
Most of them suffering silently...Because that is what people seem to do with miscarriages... suffer silently, and then pick themselves back up and carry on, because the world says we have to....

These are the ones i felt most connected to.

Sean and I experienced our first heartbreak with "pregnancy" about 5 months after we were married.  We weren't trying to get pregnant, but weren't doing the best job at avoiding it.  In May i missed my period, which were like clockwork.  We were a little excited and a little nervous.  We took a test, and it was negative, but the doctor told us that was common early on, and that we were to just wait another couple of weeks and then re test.  She suggested taking prenatal pills, and we just kept it to our selves and close friends/family (mainly those who were on vacation with us that June). After two months of nausea, gained weight in my torso region only,  missed periods despite my repeated negative test, my doctor ran some blood tests and additional sonograms. When I left was diagnosed with a "pseudopregnancy".  I had a pinched tube which was affecting my ovulation and somehow tricked my body into "thinking it was pregnant."  We were devastated for two months we began to imagine what this "baby" would be like and look like. I was heart broken. But at the same time felt as if i had no right to be. There was no baby there.

About 8 months later we decided we were ready to try for real this time, and by all blessings got pregnant right away.  I was scared to tell anyone until the doctor gave us the all clear, because of our previous experience. Needless to say we ended up with the beautiful Miss Langston and were happy.

We constantly discussed having another baby.  A little boy and his name would be Dylan Carter; son of the sea, and the bringer of good. We knew we wanted to wait until Lani was 2 or 3, but then our separation happened and our plans came to an abrupt stop.  That was until July of 2012.  I was having some issues so i had some testing done and found out that my Mirena IUD wasn't working.  Because I already had a functional cyst, I would have to wait a few weeks to see if the egg in the sonogram would implant before we could even consider any further procedures (a functional cyst occurs in late ovulation and early pregnancy).   Again we weren't ready for a baby and this was far from an ideal time, but we were both excited.  We had already decided that this would have been the son we both wanted...

The next three weeks went along fine.  I had typical pregnancy symptoms, but we still kept things a secret.  I think my cousin Toni, who was living with me at the time,  may have been the only one we told. I remember the Saturday afternoon quite vividly. I began having excruciating pain and was balled up on the bathroom floor in pain and tears.  I was heart broken to know that if i was pregnant, i wasn't anymore.  My doctor called me in a prescription for the pain meds and i went to sleep. She said if the pain or bleeding became too unbearable to go to the hospital.

I went to the doctor that Tuesday, and they ran more blood work and sonograms.  It seemed my cyst had ruptured and there was no egg. Again i didn't feel i had the right to be hurt or devastated, because we never really knew anything for sure. But never the less, our hearts were still broken and we were still devastated. But we suffered silently as many with fertility and pregnancy issues do.

Looking back now, i often try convince myself  that God was not ready for us to have another baby, and I can't imagine how difficult things would be now, as a widow with three kids. But still the same i often find myself wondering what things would've been like had they been here?

So to all those who are missing a sweet angel baby at this moment;  I send my love prayers and hugs. And if you are blessed enough to have a baby with you tonight, hug and kiss them for all the parents who wish they could right now.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Where oh where have The Harris' been???

Its been such a long time since i've blogged that I'm not sure where to begin...

L has officially began kinder and is thriving.  She absolutely loves her school and her teacher, and apparently has a new boyfriend lol.

I've changed grades and am enjoying my new role, although i miss my older babies and coaching.

I would love to say that i have this awesome update for you, but in all truthfulness we are just living our boring little lives, in our own little world.

And considering how insane the last few years have been, i'm ok with that

Sunday, July 19, 2015

back at one....

it seems like i've returned to day one of my adult life...
Hell possibly day one of my teenage life too...
Feeling even more lost than i did a year ago....

You see a year ago i was in a daze...  for a while
I just became a widow, but felt constantly reminded that while becoming a widow i was still separated from Sean when this happened.
So did i deserve to be broken hearted still?
Did that devalue my role as his wife, because we were separated?
Would anyone ever love me again?
Odd question i know, but very real...
I remember sitting in the den probably, a day or two after Sean passed, talking to Amir, and telling him that no one would ever love me again....
I mean despite our disfunction (and it was quite dysfunctional) there was no doubt how much we loved each other.  Quite honestly, I always thought that our love would be the death of us.

So why would someone want to marry a middle aged widow and single mom, when they could find someone who was new and fresh, and someone who wasn't damaged and broken.
A year later that feeling is still there... but differently ....

Will anyone that i love, ever love me?
(and this is not the point where I'm expecting everyone to tell me it will happen. just wait, give it time, etc.  this is me venting)

You see i've always had this thing about falling for people who don't fall for me, or weren't exactly good for me...

Call it a fatal flaw, but so true.
They end up being on of my best friends or breaking my heart...
There really is no in between
And the ones who were probably best for me, and loved me i never loved them...

Maybe its the challenge?
But now a year later i still have this hole, a different hole, but a very large hole.
At 32 this is the longest i've gone without a relationship (crazy i know).
Prior to that i think maybe 3 months.....
Its almost i don't know how to be myself and be single...
Call me codependent, but i enjoy having a partner...
Someone to discuss my plans and bounce my feelings off of.

You see when other people grew up they wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer or a singer...

But me, I wanted to be a teacher, wife and a mom.
Thats it.
And more the latter two, than anything else.

You see I enjoy cooking for a husband...
I want to have more babies...
If you look at my love language and personality, i'm a caterer and acts of service kind of person
So when i can't do that, it seems like that purpose is missing
I had a vision for my life....

And now all that seems not only gone, but impossible...

You know i always try to be an optimist and say that you shouldn't speak negativity into reality, so as i write this, my subconscious is like, "this is totally bad juju ash".  but this is currently my reality.

I am back at one, experiencing what feels like should have been my teenage years for the first time...
And it sucks...

I read a quote today that said, "you can't accompany anyone ins life, until you can be that company for yourself..."

But how do you do that...
I've never had to fill that roll for myself...
I'm great at being a girlfriend, a mother and a wife....
ITs all I've ever really known.
So how do i accompany myself?
I'm not even sure i know what it means to accompany myself...

All i know is that in this moment, with a million people around me i feel very alone.
And i just keep waiting for that person to find me...
Someone who will take my heart and take care of it like their own
and love me despite my frayed and damaged edges
because ultimately i feel like i have so much to offer and no one to give it to

nothing seems to describe it better than "Make it To Me" by Sam Smith

My mind runs away to you
With the thoughts I hope you'll see
Can't see where it's wandered to
But I know where it wants to be

I'm waiting patiently though time is moving slow
I have one vacancy and I wanted you to know that

You're the one designed for me
A distant stranger that I will complete
I know you're out there we're meant to be
So keep your head up and make it to me
And make it to me

So sick of this lonely air
It seems such a waste of breath
So much that I need to share
So much to get off my chest

I'm waiting patiently though time is moving slow
I have one vacancy and I wanted you to know that

You're the one designed for me
A distant stranger that I will complete
I know you're out there we're meant to be
So keep your head up and make it to me
Make it to me

Friday, July 17, 2015

525,600 Minutes

Warning: this is my legit feelings and memories right now, so it may be a bit too much for some to read.

525,600 minutes later, it still seems like yesterday.
it often replays like a movie in my head...

I remember waking up on the boat with sure panic and heartache... somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico or possibly on the Mississippi River at this point, I was convinced something was wrong, and in my heart I knew he was already gone. 

We went through calling and texting everyone we could think of...

After hours on the phone and going through the chain of command with the police department all the way to the damn chief of police, my phone rang and it was official.

"Hello Mrs. Harris, this is Lt. _______... Are you driving?"
"No""...I'm sorry Mrs. Harris, your husband is deceased."
I called my next door neighbor, because clearly the police officer was wrong, but she said it was true.
The next call was his mom, a call I never expected to make. Not even sure what I told her...

Four hours away, somewhere in Louisiana, our 4 yo daughter in the back seat asking where is daddy and why cant she talk to him?

We switched cars, so that my dad could take Lani home and i could go to the house.

I remember pulling up and seeing the coroner's van...
I remember seeing Shawn, Momma Wiliams, and my brother standing in the yard...
I remember collapsing right there...
Even more so i remember a neighbor coming over smiling and asking "whats going on? in a joking manner, and thinking "b*tch don't you see the cop cars and coroner van? wtf do you think is going on??? (but i digress)"
I remember begging to see him...
I remember the Detective apologizing, giving me his condolences and telling me that he didn't suggest i see anything. It seemed Sean had a heart attack a day or so before.  He told me i should just sign the paper to release Sean's body, then get back into the car until they were done....
I never got to see him...
I never got to hold his hand...
I never got to say a legit goodbye...
I remember my dog Bez busting out of the neighbors house and running to me and knocking me down... (but now that i think about it, this may have been a different day)
I had to go tell Lani still....
What do i say...
how do i say it...
how can i break my childs heart
I had to sit down with a 4 year old and tell her that her Hero, her best friend, and her father had died.

I told her as soon as we got home, that daddy died and went to heaven like our puppy Bella,  and she let out the loudest scream i ever heard. then she balled up in my lap and cried herself to sleep.

I remember my mother in law and cousin Walter pulling up late that night to my parents house and just looking at her feeling like i had no idea what to say.  I had lost my husband, but SHE HAD LOST HER CHILD. 
I still can't fathom what that must have felt like.
I... I.... I... all those I's 
it still seems so selfish and self centered as i recount those days

The next 24 hours was basically a blur. I was supposed to be making plans but I just remember walking in circles around the cul de sac in my parents' neighborhood and staring at the clouds and crying. my phone rang nonstop with calls and messages as people began to find out.  Someone had posted on Facebook already so the news spread so very fast. 

I don't remember calling family and friends but i do remember them showing up. I can't tell you who was there, i just remember a blur of people all around, who kept saying you need to eat.  but i wasn't hungry.  

We had a million things to do... i needed to call the coroners office and a funeral home and the insurance company and all this shit that I never expected to deal with....

All that kept ringing through my head, was him telling me that he had a bad feeling and just felt like something was wrong, and that he didn't think he would be alive when we returned...

I flipped and flopped between anger and heartache...
why didn't you give me more warning???
You could've chosen to get help...
You could've gone to the doctor...
why didn't I stay???
We should've at least been together and happily married when all this is happening.
Why did God do this to us?
What did we ever do to deserve this?
What will Lani remember?
Where will we go from here?
how will we pay our bills?
Was he in pain?
Was it quick?
What was going through his mind as all this happened?
Did he even have time to think?
Did he cry?
What will everyone else think? 
I hope they know this was natural.
What if people start rumors?
Why should i care what others think?
When will this nightmare end?
Why did God hate me so much to make this my reality?

Lots of questions...
Not a lot of answers

A year later we are much more functional than we were that day.
Our hearts still hurt
And we all still have a hole in our hearts, that will never fully be filled

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Year Later....

A year ago today i was sitting on a beach in Mexico, with my friend Ginger and Lani.  I cried a lot and mostly just contemplated my next move in life.  I decided when I got back to Dallas, I was going to return home, and try to fix things with  Sean.  I sent him a text that i thought would be the starting dialogue to our next step.

I didn't receive a response. Because his stubborn ass refused to ever use an iPhone our contact while i was out of the country would have been limited to social media. The next morning i face-timed with Sean's sister Joi and she said she spoke to him that morning so clearly he was fine. Maybe he just didn't check the Facebook msg.  He wasn't the biggest fan of social media.

i checked the alarm system and he had been going i and out of the house, so clearly he was fine.  We had many talks the week before about how he felt he wasn't going to be here when i got back. time and time again i told him it was silly and he would be fine....

Little did we know the next day would be the last day anyone would here from him

Monday, June 22, 2015

Split Personality....

I've alluded before about how at times I feel like I have to have "split personalities" being a widow.  This  has definitely been the case the last few days...

As we get closer to Sean's Angel day i feel like these feelings intensify more and more... 

The days and weeks leading up replay through my mind and they were incredibly angry and negative.  Definitely not the last memories of Sean that I would like to have for myself or Lani.
Often i think maybe she's forgotten most of it, because I try not to dwell on the negative with her, but occasionally she will mention something, and it verifies just how much she really does remember.

The bigger conflict, is while he wasn't always the best husband, HE WAS AN AMAZING DAD.  So I don't ever want my resentment to tarnish her memories and view of him. It leaves me feeling convicted pretty often.  I mean the Bible says we should honor our husband and how do you do that when you have resentment towards that person?

I often find myself asking Sean (in my mind, i'm quite aware that he can't respond)

Was it really worth all of this?
Did you really want to leave Lani without a dad?
Why couldn't you have just gotten your shit together?
Weren't we worth the fight?
Did you really want someone else to walk her down the isle or escort her to the father daughter dance?

Its almost like my initial anger at God and others, has now moved just to Sean. So while i should be planning a way to celebrate his life, I'm just pissed at him and thinking why should I celebrate this? This isn't a happy occasion...

And then i'm reminded because of Lani.  
Because she deserves to celebrate her dad and her happy memories
And as her mom its my job to insure that.  

Sometimes i find myself reflecting on my wedding day...
specifically this moment... I've never shown anyone these particular pics because of the memories that are attached to them for me... 

I had bent and broken a bobby pin fully in half and thought it was a sign from God

I began to ball uncontrollably.
 I was sweating and starting to hyperventilate.
I remember my cousin Arry fanning me and telling me it was just cold feet.
And my friend Letty searching for a fan and something for me to drink.
I had gone into a private room away from all the other bridesmaids and just cried.

Thoughts were going through my head like crazy.
A few nights before Sean had threatened to call of the wedding and  now I was considering the same thing. 
Over 500 guest...
My parents had spent...  well lets just say they could've bout a new home..
Family... Friends who traveled from all over
I would be disappointing everyone... 

I just kept thinking does everyone feel this way before they get married, or was this the sign i was asking God for?

But all i could think to myself was what the gypsy in NOLA told me...

(she gave me a reflection of my past current and future... not sure i've ever shared the entire story on her... maybe that will be a future post...)

"You are worried whether or not you should really get married...
you two are meant to be, but this will not be easy...
thing will start out good, and then they will get bad, and eventually they will be really bad (specifically after your daughter is born)...
but you must stick through it, and in the end it will all be worth it"

When i first told Sean, he told me to never listen to "sleuth sayers" but later through out our marriage he would say that we were just going through the "difficult time" and eventually we would both be happy. 

I remember thinking that day... Do i want to knowingly put myself through very hard times.
This would be my last chance to back out, because i believe marriage is for life.  
But she said it would be be ok, and eventually i would have my happy ending, so i would just have to go into things knowing that one day things would be VERY difficult, and eventually there would be a light at the end of the tunnel

So my Mom wiped my tears away

 and walked down the isle.

Crying and shaking, and my God Father telling me that he had me, and i was ok.  
(my dad had already walked 2 daughters down, so he was ok with my God Father walking me down)

So we said our vows

And began what we though would be our fairytale with a looming hard time in the future

Little did either of us know that the hard times wouldn't be us together but me alone. 

So as I sit here and reflect on the past 8 years (15 all together) especially the last year, i find myself constantly questioning did i make the right decision that day?
And if i knew what all "very difficult" meant would i have still gone through with it...

but then i see this face and i know the gypsy was right... 

all the pain,

all the heartache,

all the confusion...

all the tears...

and all the laughs and love that happened too..

She was worth every second of it

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Let Go and Let God....

Note: This is one of the many posts that has just been sitting in draft form for at least a month

I had to decide to just "let go and let God," with my anger.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm still find myself angry at times, but I have to remind myself what is the purpose of the anger?
Where will it get me?
What will it solve?

The Answer: NOTHING

What it has done is created divides in my life and rifts in a relationship...

I was once told that relationships are like a sheet of paper.  If you take care of it and protect it, it will always last.  However, if you damage it, trash it, scribble all over it, no matter how you try to smooth it out and erase the marks, there are always remnants and reminders of the past.

Some of this hurt happened months and years ago, while others may have happened days or weeks ago.

The point of it all, is that holding on to hurt and anger is more toxic to you than it is to the person that you are holding the grudge against.

So we let go and Let God and pray that things improve.
If they don't, then you know that God removed them from your life for a reason.

What ever happens, a weight has been lifted off my shoulder and i can breath easily, walk freely and live more fully

I can honestly say I feel so much better and happier  as a result

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Her name is Me....

Monday officially marked the 11 months since Sean's passing.
Even more so it marks one month countdown until the one year anniversary.

I've spent a lot of time this week thinking, and mostly avoiding being at home, because the quite makes for a great "devil's playground."

I've replayed the last few weeks and month  of Sean's life in my head repeatedly.
It was spent mostly fighting and discussing divorce.
Something we promised we'd never do.
Something neither of us truly believed in or wanted
Something that had become the only option, if any of us expected to get out of this alive (ironic).

When i look through the text messages they are so angry and far from where we began... but randomly there is this one message in the middle of all of them, it was actually sent on June 12th last year (funny how different things can be in just a year)

It was a discussion about how I had lost myself in our marriage and that when I looked in the mirror I didn't recognize "ME" anymore. I had gained weight.  Stopped doing my makeup. My hair was constantly in a ponytail.  My eyes were empty. I was watching my life in 3rd person.  Apart of it, but feeling totally out of control. 

How did we get here?
How did things get this bad?
Why won't he just get the help he needs so we can have the fairytale he promised me?
How do you give up on someone when you took a vow for forever?
Am i doing whats best for Lani?
IS this what she will think marriage and "love" should look like?
What the hell am I doing here?

I was listening to the song "Me" by Tamia and realized that the words seemed to sat everything i wanted but could never get out.  I wanted so hard to fix him, that i broke myself down.  In fact i can remember sitting in PDH and the song fix you began to play, and i began to ball right there in an auditorium full of people.  I knew my friend Meg understood the tears as i tried to blame it on PMS.  But truthfully speaking, it was an ongoing cycle, and I finally decided I had to put Lani and I first.   While it hurts my heart daily that Sean had to go, I truly believe it was God's way of giving ALL of us a second chance at a happy ending.  For some people that last line will come across as both brash and insensitive, but if you were around for the last 3 years, then you will understand entirely where I'm coming from. We would have never truly left each other alone, and I'm not sure where any of us would be today. 

I miss Sean daily.  There is not a day that goes by, that we don't talk about him, and i pray that when I  get to heaven he and i will be able to talk and embrace and I pray that he remembers the love we had in the beginning. Initially i felt like Lay Me Down by Sam Smith explained my feelings.  I remember downloading the album in August and listening to that song  and just laying in bed crying.  
How would i go on?
What will happen to us now?
Can i just dog back to the bad times?  
Even the bad would be better than nothing at all.

But day by day things got a little easier and a little more possible.  
I learned to smile again. 
I began to laugh again.
I felt a peace in my heart
I wasn't worried any more
I was happy
a huge weight and stress that i carried for so long were now gone.
 I felt guilty.
i felt judged
i felt conflicted
i felt like there became two Ashleys
The Me that i felt comfortable being, and the Me that i felt everyone expected me to be.
I would go back and read through the messages and emails we exchanged over the years, and this same text would stand out time and time again

 (yes i know its the same pic, but i didn't want you to have to scroll up again! you're welcome)

It reminds me that Sean would want ME to keep living and be happy.  and yes i used the word "ME" again.  which feels selfish, but I'm being honest. One of the hardest parts to being a widow is the constant feeling  of judgment and wondering what others are thinking.  

Is she too happy?
Is she moving on?
Has she forgotten Sean?

And the answer to all of these is NO.

But i also have found a part of myself that was missing. 
The "Ashley" i forgot existed.
 I have learned to laugh again.
And laugh in a way that i forgot that i could.

(ignore the dirt and unmoved grass.  its been raining ALOT here)

 As i type this post, the storm clouds have opened  a ray of sun is shining straight through my window.  I'd like to think that's Sean shining his approval down on me and supporting me on my journey to finding happiness 

So my lyrics now are some what of a mash up between
 Break Free.. 

I only want to die alive
Never by the hands of a broken heart
I don't wanna hear you lie tonight
Now that I've become who I really am

This is the part when I say I don’t want it
I'm stronger than I've been before

This is the part when I break free

I'm gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

I'm gonna live like tomorrow doesn't exist
Like it doesn't exist
I'm gonna fly like a bird through the night, feel my tears as they dry
I'm gonna swing from the chandelier, from the chandelier

I'll Remember

Say goodbye to not knowing when
The truth in my whole life began
Say goodbye to not knowing how to cry
You taught me that

And I'll remember the strength that you gave me
Now that I'm standing on my own
I'll remember the way that you saved me
I'll remember

A Moment In Heaven...

note: i actually typed this on the flight to el paso and while i was there but wasn't sure if i wanted to post it, but in light of fathers day, i've decided to share it

Our first trip back to El Paso since Sean’s passing and my anxiety is on a 110!!! 
What will it be like?
How will i go into his house and room (which mind you he never really lived in, but its still his stuff) without him?
How will i have dinner with his family without him?
It just seems wrong to be visiting his family (our family too, but you know what i mean) without him.
I immediately begin to feel the anxiety creeping up to 210… 
This just feels wrong… But it has to be done.  
It'll be like ripping off a bandage; once it's done it done

When we got on the plane Lani really wanted to sit by the window, which was fine since we had the entire row to ourselves.  (Plus Sean always like the window seat so I’m pretty used to riding scrub) 

While we were “approaching our desired altitude” there were the MOST beautiful clouds i’ve ever seen.  I made the mistake of commenting that it looks like heaven.

Why did I say that?

She got so excited.  "If we are in heaven then we will see Daddy?” with the biggest smile you’ve ever seen
~ Cue tears :(

What do you say to that??? I was speechless. 

~As perceptive as she is, she immediately noticed my expression, and responded, “we aren’t going to see him are we?” 

Still quiet.
Still with tears.
Still heartbroken for her.

How many times in the last 10 months has she felt this way?
How many times in the next 70+ years will she feel this way?
And how many times will i be left unable to speak? 

Im her mom.

I’m supposed to be able to answer her questions and comfort her broken heart, but this is something I just can’t fix.  

It was an evening flight, so i tried to close the blinds and get her to take a nap, but she wanted them to stay open, just in case daddy made an appearance. Eventually she dozed off a bit, but would wake up occasionally and peak out the window. Each time with the same hope and heartache in her eyes

So as the sun set  over the mountains as we were landing, she squeezed my hand 3 times and said the sweetest thing. I saw Daddy in my dreams mommy.  He was standing in the clouds and smiled and waved at me.  He was on a far cloud but i heard him say i love you."

She had the sweetest smile and happiest look on her face.
You see thats the beauty and magic that still lies in her youth and innocence. Despite everything the universe has thrown her way, she maintains her faith, and it carries her through the hard moments when I don't know what else to do.

So i thank God for continuing to bless her with moments with Sean, especially her brief one in heaven.   

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Why the holidays are so hard.....

Do you really want to know why the holidays are so freaking hard for single people, especially the newly single?  (I've never been an oldly single so it might be the same for them too...)

It seems like you are walking through one of those freaking commercials that pop up at valentines day...
you know the ones...
That have you crying on the couch like fml, with a box of tissues and a glass of wine (or a bottle but thats neither here nor there lol)

And you're over here feeling like your life could be one of those freaking antidepressant commercials... you know where that damn ball is asking you all those questions n the rain....

do you feel sad?  YES
are you lonely? YES
do you find yourself crying? YES!!!!!

 you get the picture...

It seems like it would be easier just to hide in the house all day, but then movies like The Notebook come on... or better yet P.S. I love you.... and you're like really???? lets just rub it in...

So the next holiday rolls around and you think ok, lets go out with the fam or friends.  Then you look around and everyone in the place looks like they are from Stepford...
Happily in love...
holding hands
2 and a half kids...

...everything you thought your life should and would be at this point.

Now I am quite aware that things aren't always as perfect as they appear, hence the beautiful couple across the dining room, that was arguing in the parking lot when we left... hell I was once that couple, so I'm quite aware that looks can be deceiving.

but then you think to yourself, at least there was someone to argue with...
Its that whole negative attention is better than no attention mentality/ battered woman's syndrome. And there is no need to judge I already know how messed up it sounds, but this is about truthfulness and not what sounds good to others...

So you start to think to yourself why is everyone else's life so perfect and fairytalesque, and mine is so.... well a "series of unfortunate events"?

Am i a bad  person?
Am i not deserving of a happily ever after?
Am i not pretty enough?
Skinny enough?
funny enough?
smart enough?
Christian enough?
just Enough?

And  don't worry this is not a pity party, its just the reality of how holidays feel when you are alone. And it's not like you're alone in being alone, according to the Washington Post 50.2 of american adults are single... I guess just none of them are at the restaurant we went to lol...

So the next time one of your single friends are sad during the holidays please understand that it really is a struggle.  And while tomorrow will be ok, today just sucks...

Saying What I Mean V. Meaning What I Say....

Despite how easily my words seem to come on this blog, in person I'm not always the best communicator.  I tend to have two spectrum Absolute 0, my science people understand that this is a little more than just nothing, and 100, where I have this diarrhea of the mouth and say everything that is going through my head all at once.

Absolute 0 I'm OK with, because eventually I express my feelings appropriately once they are thought out.

But 100.... not so much.

I'm usually speaking from a point of anger or hurt and not very considerate of others, which is not how I normally chose to live my life...  You'll know if I was in this zone because I usually apologize or attempt to retract those words as soon as I calm down.

While I will not make excuses for myself, I will try to explain.  I spent a large portion of my life arguing and in conflict. Quite often those arguments would escalate to a very unhappy place. So I learned not to argue and to just walk away, but occasionally there would be a moment when my heart strings were pulled extra tight, and the chord just resonated with me, when that happened I would go off... Sometimes in anger but most of the time balling and just saying everything that I have held in for X amount of days.

Either way, neither of these tend to be very effective, and when 100 happens, I tend to hurt and potentially lose people who mean a lot to me.

Yesterday was definitely one of those days.  Because of my hurt, I chose to push away my friend. Despite my hurt, I never truly want to hurt anyone that I love or care about.  And while I hope one day I'll have my friend back (because i already miss the laughs) I understand if I don't.

I'm Sorry....  

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Series of Unfortunate Events....

I will never forget that night.... We were at my friend Lisa's lake house, playing a game, and while i don't recall the name of the game, or the other book title options, I remember everyone agreeing in what seemed like a resounding unison, that if my life were a book it would be most similar to "A Series of Unfortunate Events."

I'd read the first book in the series, so i was pretty familiar with the story.  Mind you, this was prior to Sean passing  (SN: not sure if its a widow thing, but is it weird that my life is defined so far by two sections: prior to, and after Sean's Passing??? but i digress...)

I remember being a bit taken back at first, but quite honestly I could't be that surprised... Hell I choose the same book myself... laughing out loud, but not really laughing.  its actually more of a nervous reaction of mine... laughing not to cry...

Why did this get to be MY STORY... i had always imagined that my life would end up being a fairytale. And by all reasoning it had a pretty fairytalesque (yes i made that word up. if you are a new reader its pretty common) upbringing.  Grew up with both of my parents, in a fairly well to do neighborhood. Went to private schools until high school, where i went to Law and Science Magnet, on the dance team, honor student in high school and college. hired 2 months into my student teaching... my life should have been a piece of cake... i mean damn.. my sisters even nick named me Chelsea Clinton 

But there always seemed to be little bumps in the road... Well actually they were pretty FREAKING HUGE... a series of misfortunate events that would always mess up my "picture perfect" life.

So the fact that "A Series of Unfortunate Events" was my title shouldn't have been that surprising.  But it still had a sting to it... Part of the game required the other players to explain why they chose that answer, and for the most part the answers were pretty typical... 

"Dude you have bad freaking luck...."
"Ummmmm... The last year of your life..."
"well....uhhhhh......" with a shrug that basically translated to "you already know the deal"

And then it came to my friend Lindsay.  She had a different stance than everyone else, myself include, "Well yes you tend to have shitty luck, but you always seem to survive it ..." and i thought to myself, maybe it wasn't that bad of a title after all. Because if i was able to have a "Series of Events" then that meant that i had survived all the previous events, and i would survive whatever hand i was dealt next. (little did i know what was in store)

I think i've always tried to see the bright side of any situation but that comment has continued to resonate with me.  It reminds me of what my friend Jill told me "if God brings you to it, he will bring you through it."  So when life seems to send me one misfortunate event after another i will just sing to myself.... 

LMAO... I kid.. I kid.. but you get the point... I will Survive ;D

wedding video