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.   

wedding video