Friday, December 31, 2010

time marches on




Time marches on... and it feels like I’m getting trampled under it’s boots. 
So 2010 is coming to and end and I really have mixed emotions about it. In many ways I still yearn for time to stand still and give me a moment (a lot of moments) to catch up, yet it keeps marching forward relentlessly.
Iv’e lived seconds that Elliott did not— those seconds turned into minutes, hours, days, and months I experienced on earth without him. Now It’s here, it’s happening I’m entering a new year that El will have never lived in. Every day I get farther from his touch and earthly presence, and there is nothing I can do about it. You can’t fight time.
2010 began beautiful and ended tragic. In the beginning of the year we were finally getting all settled into our home, visiting with family and friends and just enjoying the road we were on. I celebrated the new year at our home with my mom and dad. We watched fireworks light up the sky from my back deck in the freezing cold. El wasn’t far he was at the fire-station waiting just in case those fireworks lit up someones house or a drunk driver plowed through a red light and someone was injured. The year was full of potential and we were happy truly happy. We started the exciting process of updating our home, upgrading the bathrooms, installing new flooring, and  picking out new furniture. I was busy with school, and El loved being a firefighter. In May we flew down to California and Drove my dads motorhome back up to Alaska. We spent an amazing month on the road. If only I knew it would be our last trip and some of our last memories (sigh, tears welling up in my eyes).
July brought upon the worst time in my life. El was so violently ripped from me, from this world. Now I’m struggling with time. Do I want to leave the year that Elliott was killed behind and move forward ? Or do I want to stay there because it was the last year I would ever see his face, kiss his lips, hear his voice, feel his touch ... ? I wish I was at the point where I really wanted to move forward, but I’m not. I’m holding on tight to what I know, what I know lives in 2010 and before...  The future holds only the unknown, there will be no comforts of my life as I once knew it. 
On the other hand 2010 brought so much pain in my life and the lives of my family, that maybe just maybe there will at least be some relief from the continuous tragedy. After loosing Elliott there will never be anything that will equal the intensity of the pain—everything just becomes salt in the wound, but salt in the wound hurts too. After Elliott was killed 3 more people I knew died also... including my older sister Sheri. My uncle suffered sever brain trauma, and my father is still in the process of loosing the business he gave his blood, sweat, and tears to (literally) for he last 30 years.
Even though It hurts to be moving into a year that Elliott never lived in, time is not going to wait for me. Though I’m not ready and I’m dragging my heels and Kicking my feet into 2011, I secretly hope ( HOPE is a word I struggle with) that this year brings me to a better place than where 2010 left me. I hope that with each day I can focus on and feel Elliott’s love shining down on me.

a new name

El and I



So, I’ve decided to rename my blog. But, I’m going to keep the web address the same because I’m not computer savvy enough to change it without messing things up. When I first started this whole blogging journey a few months ago, it was all so overwhelming. I had wanted to start writing very soon after El was killed, but it took me about two months to find the energy to figure out what exactly a blog even was. 
One of the decisions I struggled with was what to call my blog. Its such a personal choice, and you want it to reflect who you are and what your writing about. I wracked my brain and came up with several names, but none of them quite fit. I settled with the name “Widow Taboo” because I needed something and It described how I was feeling. 
I felt and still feel like everything about being a young widow is taboo. Death is a profoundly taboo subject in-itself, that most people prefer to gloss over —as a widow you now walk hand-in-hand with death, sometimes you wish for death, and your in love with someone who has experienced death. The general public isn’t comfortable with a young twenty-something woman being labeled a widow. People don’t know how to react to the immense grief and despair we feel. Loosing a spouse at a young age thrusts you into a minority that most people have no clue how to react to. Every single decision we make from finances to relationships has a social consequence and will come with judgement from those who do not understand. OK, I could ramble on about this forever but even though I definitely feel like a taboo, I just didn’t like it as a name for my blog any longer.
I’ve been thinking long and hard about what name would really fit me and I haven't been able to come up with anything creative or clever that I just love. Maybe it’s the widow brain preventing me from thinking straight... so this evening the name El and I popped in my head and I think it feels right.
This blog isn’t just about me, it’s about Elliott too. It’s about our Life and our love and how death has infiltrated all aspects of our world. So I like the new name because it is about El and I, short simple and to the point. Plus I just like seeing his name when I log on to blogger. Hopefully I won’t think of a new name tomorrow and want to change it again... I am one of those kind of girls who has to constantly rearrange the furniture...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I lost me too

Wow today has been rough, for no other reason except that grief makes no sense and it’s another day living without Elliott by-my-side. Nothing in particular set me off, nothing in particular has happened today to make it any worse than any other day existing on this earth without him here. It’s just “one of those days.” 
I went to the craft store earlier with my sister, she had to pick up some yarn. I walked up and down the isles like a zombie. I stared at all the things I would have bought before, in my old life. I thought of all my projects that are left unfinished. I saw a skein of the same yarn I was using to crochet a pillow with just minutes before Elliott was killed. 
As I meandered around waiting for her to figure out what she needed, anxiety set in. My chest became tight, my knees went weak, I felt the nausea brewing. Why, why does that happen? The anxiety makes me feel so nervous and hopeless, it makes me feel fearful and timid... Like something terrible is about to go down. The funny thing is IT ALREADY HAS, the WORST has already happened. What more do I have to fear? Still even though I reassure myself mentally that I’ve already walked through my worst nightmare, the physically affects still linger. I have no control and I can’t shake it.
I also have been realizing that I’m not passionate about anything anymore. I used to love so many things. I especially loved sewing. I loved cooking and baking, adorable cupcakes were my specialty. I loved decorating and all things crafty and vintage. Anyone who knows me would describe me as creative. I even supported Elliott and I for a few months while he was going through the rigorous hiring process for the fire department by selling my hand painted glassware. 

a pincushion I made from my favorite scraps

baby shower gifts for my good friend and neighbor

El and I at one of my first craft fair booths


I loved simple things too. I’m a sucker for a beautiful view. I loved a yummy cup of coffee and a good interior design magazine or a beautiful sewing book with delectable patterns. I loved the sun rays that splashed across the kitchen floor at 4 in the afternoon. I loved seeing the first hint of green in my flower bed after a long Alaskan winter and watching the wild flowers pop up in the ditch in our front yard. I loved staring at the birds outside my kitchen window.The list goes on and on... 

our backyard woodpecker


wild flowers in our ditch

The point is that none of the things I loved do it for me anymore. I’m dull and uninterested. I can’t savor the small stuff, I can’t savor anything. I’m just going through the motions, nothing excites me. The world used to be so beautiful and amazing. Everything looks different now. I can’t see the beauty without him here. I want to I really really do, but it just doesn’t look the same.
My life is so fundamentally different that it was just five short months ago. How do you prepare for this? How are you one person and seconds later you become some one completely unrecognizable not only from the outside (see my previous post), but on the inside too. Not only did I loose the absolute love of my life, my world, my reason for living and breathing— I lost me too.
It’s going to be a long road and tough fight back. Sometimes it feels like too much and I don’t know whats left to fight for. I’m not at the point where I can fight for myself. But, I can try to fight for the girl Elliott loved, I’m willing to do it for him. 

I'm nowhere near perfect, I had my issues, but I was happy, truly happy to be loved be him
I love you babe, more than any words could even begin to describe. You probably wouldn’t recognize the broken girl I’ve become, but I’ll keep working to get back to the girl you loved so that when we’re reunited we can pick up just where we left off.

Monday, December 27, 2010

who is that girl ?

It feels like death stole my entire life and then smacked me with the ugly stick...
The past few weeks have continued to be a spiral into the darkness. Lately I  have been feeling just disgusted with myself.  My self-esteem is at an all time low. It’s almost like I am so filled with emotional sewage that its starting to seep and be visible from the outside. 
My skin, my hair, my body, everything looks so different. I can barely stand to look in the mirror. I don’t recognize the broken girl that stares back at me. I don’t know her and I don’t like her. She’s empty and ugly. Whatever spark that used to live me— the one that made the most amazing man fall madly in love with me, has completely burned out. 
I have always had my insecurities, yet I always felt beautiful in Elliott’s eyes. I was always hard on myself, especially when it came to my weight. El used to get so frustrated with me when I would make negative comments about myself. He would tell me that no matter what I was the most beautiful girl in the world to him, and I knew that he meant it. He loved me without conditions. He stuck by me through thick and thin literally.  I could care  less what anyone else thought of me because in his eyes I was perfect. I never struggled with jealousy because I knew he had eyes for only me. He saw me in a way that I could only comprehend because I saw him in that way too.
 I miss the that feeling I would get with his glance, the feeling of being completely loved, and safe and beautiful. I miss the confidence he gave me. I miss being the spark in his eye. I miss the security in knowing that no matter what happened I was the most precious thing in his life. It wasn’t just that I was important to someone, it was that It was  him, the most amazing man I have ever known, the only man I could ever love so purely and truly. Even at my worst moments deep down I felt amazing because of his love.
I fear I will never be able to see myself in the way that he saw me. It was like the light he cast upon me filtered out all the flaws. Now that light has been stolen, and I can see myself through the glaring lens of reality .I hate what I see.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

meet me in my dreams



As I fell asleep last night I asked for you to come and meet me in my dreams... If you were there I couldn't find you, but I won't give up. I'll wait for you again tonight, same time same place— let our love ♥ lead the way.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas letter


In my post today I really wanted to share some Christmas memories and pictures. I wanted to talk about how Elliott and I loved this time of year. I wanted to tell you how we loved to decorate and how much fun we had hanging Christmas lights on the house in the freezing cold Alaskan weather. There are so many wonderful memories... But I can't bring myself to share all the good times yet. The pain is still too fresh and the tears are flowing like the rain outside of my window right now ( I'm in California). I tried to blog last night, but ended up laying in bed and crying myself to sleep at 6pm so I didn't have to face my first Christmas Eve with out El by my side. Again today I tried to blog again, but the pain was too sharp. Instead I wrote a letter to El, so I'm sharing it with you. 

Last Christmas with our little nephew

Dear Elliott,
Like so many others times I don’t know where to start. How do I put these feelings into words when there are no words? Maybe that’s what tears are for; an expression of emotions that no words could even come close to describing. But then again sometimes this hurts so much that I can’t even cry and the fog of numbness descends so thick I become a zombie incapable of any emotion at all. 

It’s Christmas, but not in my world. Today is just another day I’m walking this earth without you by my side. It baffles me that I’ve made it this long without you babe. I feel totally incapable of living without you yet I continue to wake up every morning; though I wish I wouldn’t— it makes no sense to me how I can go on with the day. 

I look at pictures of you and it takes the air from my lungs. You’re so strong, handsome, full of life and love ... how can you just be gone? It doesn’t make any sense. My mind knows your not here anymore but my heart still believes your coming home. Sometimes I start to think that you were just a fantasy that I made up in my head. The grief is so real now that it feels like you were never here. It clouds my brain and threatens my memories. The love you gave me was so sweet but I can only taste the sourness of the pain I’m left with in your absence. You lit my world up—now I’m living in the darkness and I can’t find my way out, without you El my light is gone. 

Surround by people I still feel alone. You weren’t supposed to leave me here, you promised me forever... you said that your love was so strong that nothing could break it. Well what about death? I believe in our love, I really do, but it’s exhausting to fight alone. I can’t fathom a future without you in it. Everyone says that you would want me to be happy—what they don’t understand is that you were my happiness. You were my world, my reason... when I watched you die I watched myself die too. Yet somehow my soul got stuck here, even though I wanted to go home with you. Now I have to wait to find you, and living every second without you is torture. 

I know as the days pass I may get used to it, but the pain will always be with me—sometimes it will be as fresh as just yesterday. One day I want to feel the love more than the grief, but I can’t imagine a day like that. I love you more than ever, and I miss you more than words. I hope that you can feel my love.
Love Always
Your Wife,
Lacey

Thursday, December 23, 2010

the world keeps spinning

The past few months have been a whirlwind and I just can’t catch my breath, it feels as if my life continues to spin more and more out of control. All I want to do is read and write, grieve, process, connect with  my fellow widows, reconnect with my friends, focus on feeling Elliott, and the list goes on ... Instead I’ve been trapped in the cliche´ “the world keeps turning.” Yes the world does keep turning, people I know keep dying, my family continues to struggle, the man who killed my husband gets away scott free, —heartache, stress and loss threaten to consume me... five months feels like five days and the sixth month mark is rapidly approaching.
Is it to much to ask the universe to just slow down and give me a break, a moment in time to take in a breath and recenter myself— some time to process and grieve for the loss of my husband the person I love more than anything in this life or the next. 
Oh the irony... just as I’m typing this plea I hear the phone ring to deliver the news that my older sister died only minutes ago... I knew it was coming she’s been sick for a while but I didn’t think it would happen this soon.
When will the bad news stop coming I just need some time to put my feet on solid ground. Although I don’t know if i’ll ever find solid ground again. Elliott was that rock for me. He was my safe place, my comfort and support. He was my stability and sanity. He’s gone and i’m left in this volatile world.
I’m not having a pity party for myself, I don’t want sympathy all I want is a little peace of mind. I want the comfort of knowing that things are not going to continually get worse. I want a chance to pick myself up off the floor before some new tragedy thrashes me to the ground again.
All the chaos of this year would be hard to deal with under any circumstance but riding on the coat tails of El’s death makes it all seem like a cruel joke. I need him here, I need to feel him. I need the safe haven he provided. I need his unconditional unwavering, steadfast love. I need his advice, ideas and opinions. I NEED HIM, I JUST NEED MY HUSBAND. 

As I’m typing these words the thought rushes through my brain “you don’t have a husband anymore.” Immediately my eyes well up and the tears begin to roll down my cheeks. I don’t want to believe, it can’t be true... I have an amazing husband he’s just dead.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

just another day

... Just another day without El

Though today is thanksgiving I am not really acknowledging it. I have a hard time admitting being thankful for anything lately. Even so, I can't deny that there are things I am thankful for, the most being Elliott. But, I don't need a holiday to state that. I am thankful for Elliott's love and his presence in my life each and every second of everyday. I'm thankful to be loved unconditionally my the most amazing and handsome man I've ever met in my life...

I refuse to claim this day as my first holiday without El. I figure that if I'm not celebrating then it doesn't count. You can call it "widow logic."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

So, I haven't experienced that I want to rip your head off for no good reason except for the fact that "I'm a widow and your not" feeling until today...

Travel in general is hard, travel alone is a little tough, but traveling all by your lonesome as a widow just down right sucks. Well, let me rephrase that, because I love to travel it's the flight and the the airport that make it hard for me. The airplane and airport is like a cespool of seemingly happy couples of all ages and fresh young families embarking on holiday getaways. It's a blatant reminder of what I no longer posess— a future with my husband that includes children, anniversaries, travel plans, wrinkles, retirement... I could go on and on.

So back to my I feel like ripping your head off moment. I boarded my flight early this morning. The flight was oversold so there was a sea of people trying to get situated in their way too small airplane seats. I get to my row only to discover that a man is sitting in my seat and he swears it's his. That's ok because I didn't really want the middle seat any way. So the flight attendant verifies that I'm correct, but I tell him its fine I'll sit somewhere else. Score, he finds me an isle seat and I get all comfy and settled in. Just when I think the flight might be ok after all a woman appears out of nowhere and asks me to move so she can sit with her husband. She tells me if I move out of the exit row ( which has way more leg room) that oh, I can recline, like I give a crap about reclining. I felt like she was just so condescending to me. I understand wanting to sit with your husband I probably would have asked the same if Elliott was alive, but he's dead— and at that moment I really didn't need a reminder that I was the single girl who should give up her seat to the snobby married lady. Of course I pleasantly gave it up and moved, but not without my blood boiling. I realize that this is irrational to have been so angry but I've been through a lot and I deserve to have my little moment of irrationality.

There was a time when I really enjoyed going to the airport and boarding a plane. I mean it's never a blast or anything but traveling with El was always so nice. Somehow it always made me feel like an adult to be with my hubby boarding a plane and being excited to get away from home for a while. It was so nice to be able to just cuddle up and lean into him when I was squished into the sardine box they call seats. Now I always leave the plane cramped and stiff from trying so hard to stay in my own personal space or from leaning away from people who don't get the concept of personal space. El was always such the gentleman too, carrying the heaviest bags. He would always tell me it looked bad if the girl was carrying all the stuff. Good thing I bought new luggage with four nice wheels so I can manage by myself.

There are just so many reminders everywhere I go. I'm sitting in the Seattle airport right now on a six hour layover. Living in Alaska we almost always have to come through the Seattle airport so it's inevitable to not run into a bunch of stuff that reminds me of the trips when El and I passed through here. I remember every shop and book store we browsed to help pass the time. I remember where we sat in the food court, what he ate, what I ate, the coffee we ordered, everything. It hurts to be here, to be anywhere without him. It doesn't help that there's a song playing right now with lyrics like "i miss you and I want you and I need you but I can't have you." How ironic.

To pass some time I got a manicure, I know it's crazy to get a manicure at the airport but I have a lot of time to kill. Anyway I still refuse to take off my wedding ring. When the manicurist saw it she said "oh are you in engaged?" "No I'm a widow I just don't want to take my ring off." It was the first time someone asked about my ring since El was killed. It was a little surreal, at my age I look more like a newlywed than a widow,oh how I wish that were the case. But I'm a widow and I had a beautiful marriage and an absolutely out of this world amazing husband. That's what that ring represents and I can't bear to take it off.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I hate cleaning



I have realized along with my new found hatred for cooking, I hate cleaning too...
In preparation for leaving my home yet again and Flying to California I am trying to tidy up a bit. I haven’t cleaned the floors in my room since Elliott was killed. Who am I kidding I have barely cleaned the house at all. The dust bunnies or as we would say in the Marines Corps— “ghost turds” were horrendous. It made me feel even more like a widow, a black widow spider who has weaved an intricate web of dust debris from corner to corner to cocoon herself within the chaos she calls a bedroom.
After a little bit of vacuuming and shifting of accumulated random items I have neglected to put in their proper place, I am completely exhausted. I mean I am physically and mentally just spent. I have barely exerted myself and all I want to do is curl up on the couch and zone out again.
There is still so much to do, mop the floors, pack my bags, finish the laundry, tidy the kitchen ... and thats just the surface stuff. Eventually I will have to get to the deep cleaning and organizing that I fear I will never have the energy desire or drive to do.
I really used to enjoy cleaning and organizing. I learned the most about cleaning when I was in the Marines. Every friday we would have a field day where you would clean every inch of your barracks room and we would do the same kind of thing at work in our shop and the aircraft hanger. Of course there was always an inspection to follow, so if you didn’t want to loose any weekend time you were going to work your ass off. I remember one time my Sergeant Major sent out an email to the whole squadron stating they should all take a look at my room as an example of how to clean for a field day. I was really proud of that.
 Elliott was damn good at cleaning too. He helped out a lot in the house, but his specialty was keeping the vehicles, electronics and garage sparkling— he was a pro at doing the dishes too. My favorite time to clean the house was when Elliott was at work. As a firefighter he worked twenty-four hour shifts. I would stay up late at night and put some music on. Then I would just tackle whatever needed to be done. Elliott would usually call me several times while on shift, just to check in and see what I was doing. I would never tell him I was mopping the floors or deep cleaning the kitchen. I think I just really liked to surprise him by coming home to a sparkling clean house. 
In the morning when he got home, he would come back to the room where I was still cozy in bed. Ooohhhhh (sigh) how I miss that so much, the sound of him unlocking the door and his footsteps down the hall— waking up to his voice ... On the days that I had cleaned he always noticed. He always made sure to tell me “ the floors look really nice babe,” or “thanks for cleaning the kitchen babe,” or  “organizing the mail and filing the paperwork...” It didn’t matter what I had done, he would notice and he would make sure to let me know he appreciated the effort I put into our home.
Now, there is no praise for the effort I put in, no words of appreciation from the man of my dreams. It’s just me and the dogs and I’m sure the dogs don’t really care about the floors. I have to clean so that I don’t become a crazy widow living in a filthy environment like on the show “Hoarders.”  Before there was joy in keeping the house nice for my little family. I was a wife and I enjoyed some of the responsibility that came with the title. As a widow there is no joy in cleaning, except maybe the brief distraction it provides. Mostly it’s just tedious, exhausting, and another reminder I am alone... 

I need a break

... I kind of don't know where to start. I am disappointed in myself. I had lofty goals of blogging regularly and Lately I just have not had the energy to type anything out. I have so much that happens and so much that runs through my mind that I want to share ... Yet by the time I am ready to type it seems my mind draws a blank.

I maybe shouldn't be so hard on myself I've had a lot of crap thrown at me lately. I wish there was a way to say that more eloquently, but crap is crap. For the last three weeks in a row I have awakened to phone calls with tragic news. Two deaths and a very bad injury. It seems as if my family just can't catch a break. I am so frustrated because all I want to do is grieve for my husband and I can't even focus on that because my family needs me right now. They won't ask for my help but I can't just stay home when they are dealing with so much. So instead of doing my grief work I must stay numb and do what I can to help keep what I have left of a family from destruction.

I just returned home and before I can even catch my breath it's off again to see how I can be of assistance. I actually just returned from an amazing retreat with some wonderful women, widows ... soul sisters. I have been longing to write about my experience but with all the chaos swirling around me I just can't find the words yet... but I'm planning on sharing soon. I'm planning on writing more when I can catch a little bit of a break ...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

treading water

...Sitting here on the couch not knowing what to do. The tears begin to fall...
 I ask my self “how did I get here?” I mean I used to be the one who had it all together. Just a few short months ago I was a wife and homemaker a student and avid crafter. I was a good friend and sister and daughter. I was the one giving support and encouraging words to friends and family in need. I was happy and in love. I was blessed to be married to the man of my dreams, a man who loved me deeply and passionately. I was in ignorant bliss— ignorant to the pain of life and the reality of the world.
How could my life change so fundamentally to the core, in just seconds,  without my permission? How could I be so out of control of my life and my future.

Today I am a widow, a sad and lonely soul— Lost and searching for my other half. I am floating in a vast sea of grief and I am searching for the lighthouse to show me the way to shore, but it is no where in site. The waves are violent and cold. Sometimes they sting when they crash against my body. Other times the waves are so chilling I just go numb. I want to let go. I’m tired, I’m ready to stop treading water. I’m ready to drown but for some reason I’m staying afloat and it feels like torture to keep my head above water.
I know there are some things left worth fighting for, I just have a hard time admitting it.  Are those things enough? 
What would Elliott be doing right now? Would he be treading water too? Would he be hanging on, if I received the bullet? I want to honor him so badly, I want to do what he would do, he was the best person I have ever known. I want to be like him.
OH ELLIOTT... BABE I NEED YOU SO MUCH PLEASE LET ME FEEL YOUR LOVE

death knocks again

Death knocks on the door again ... no we won’t open it, not this time. The world feels like it’s spinning out of control. 
Last week my family lost yet another beautiful young soul. Within three and a half months of another two of us in the family have had to claim the title of widow and widower. Those are words that at our young age just should not exist in our vocabulary. Yet in an instant a split second in time we have become experts on the term. 
Now death threatens again, just one week later. My uncle, my moms only brother was found last night on the side of the road. Bloody and bashed with trauma to the head... he’s in the hospital now having emergency brain surgery. 
I have not been angry with God up until this point. I am still not angry with God. But, I feel like I’m being pushed to the edge of a cliff. I feel like the universe is playing a trick on me to see how far I can be pushed until I fall over. 
 I have gone numb again. My brain knows I should be worried and I should be a basket case, and I should be pacing the the hall until I get good news... Until I get the news that the surgery went well and he’s recovering just fine. But no I sit on the couch numb and void of emotion. It makes me feel like a robot or a zombie with no soul. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

waiting

Today marks four months that I’ve been alive without my beautiful husband. How have I walked this earth for four months without him by my side? How have I taken each and every breath I’ve taken to sustain life without him on this earth? Each and every second that passes seems unbearable so how is it that the seconds have turned to minutes, minutes gave way to hours and then turned into days, and now days have become months ... 
I feel like it has only been a just few weeks since he was so violently ripped from this world. I feel like I was widowed just yesterday. Have I really been able to claim the title for four months now?
I wonder, when will it really sink in. I know that he is dead, I know that I won’t hear the door click unlocked in the morning when he returns home from a long shift at the firehouse. I know that I’ll never hear him say “ I love you babe” , or feel his strong arms hold me close to him as I fall asleep at night. I know all of the things I miss and grieve for... I just can’t yet fully comprehend it. I cannot fully comprehend the finality of it all. Is this really my life now? 
Every day this feeling just looms over me ... I feel as if I am waiting, just waiting and waiting. What am I waiting for? I have no clue. It is not a conscience decision to wait made within my brain. It must be a sub-conscience feeling manifested in my heart and soul. You see deep down my heart and soul is waiting for El to come home, or to communicate with me, or to just let me feel his love once again. My heart and soul believes that our love is stronger than death. So I wait and I wait and I wait ...

Monday, October 25, 2010

I can't feel you

My Journal entry from last night ...
October 24, 2010 3:41 am

This hurts so bad, and I know this isn’t even the full intensity of the pain. I know I am still numb. I cried out to Elliott “please, please, please help me, comfort me, let me feel you.”
I yelled to him “if it were me I’d find a way to let you know, I would, I’d find a way.” “ I would try to let you know I was here.”  You’ve abandoned me, you don’t care, you don’t love me. The tears get so much bigger when I write that. It feels like you don’t love me anymore. You used to love me now you don’t. I’m alone. I want to kick your picture, I want to kick you in the face. How can you see me in this pain and do nothing ? I’m so angry I’m arguing with my dead husband.

I don’t mean it ... I’m just so sad... broken... I can’t feel your love.
I’m not sure what set me off last night but, the pain descended so quickly. I sat on the floor in my room and rummaged through Elliott’s bag from the firehouse. As I touched his things I just cried out for him. I want to feel him so badly. I want to know he’s around. I need that sign or feeling that I just cannot deny. I know he’s got to be around— I just can’t feel him. 
The pain gave way to anger. When I couldn’t feel his presence I just got mad. I know Elliott loved me more than anything, I know our love is true and pure. But I don’t understand why I can’t feel him. The love he gave me filled me up, so full of life and happiness. Without it I am just dead. Without his love I am nothing. I know he still loves me. I want to believe love wins— love transcends — love can be the bridge between this life and the next... the pain is just so raw I can’t feel it yet.
He didn’t abandon me. He would have never left me, I know he fought so hard to stay. He was taken, ripped from this world without warning. Yet sometimes when I get so deep into the pain I feel abandoned. I know it’s because I am the one left behind. I wanted to go too. I would follow him anywhere. I feel like he got on a train and left me standing alone in the dark, just lost and confused. I know he would have wanted me to be with him, but the choice wasn’t his. Now I feel as if I’m in a waiting room .Elliott has already gone in— to the other side... I’m trapped here in the in-between. In between life and death. I’m just waiting for my turn. 
Will he be there waiting for me when my number is called?
Will there be a reward for my love... In the end will I be reunited with Elliott?
Does love win, does it really conquer all? Will he be proud of how I loved him... will it even matter?
I love you so deeply El, you have always been my world... I don’t know how to exist without your presence. I need you babe, I need you now more than ever.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

retail remorse

It never fails I always end up feeling guilty ... I don’t know why I continue to do it, I guess it just seems like a good idea at the time. Maybe I do it for the brief distraction it gives me, maybe I do it because I’m bored, or maybe it’s just because I want to get out of the house. It’s shopping, I guess it could be called retail therapy, except for the fact it usually makes me feel worse by the time I’m done.
I just spent two hours and a hundred dollars at Target. All I came home with is a bunch of crap I don’t really need. I aimlessly wander around the store pushing my cart with no real direction. I don’t have a purpose for being there. I am lost, I am a zombie just walking up and down the isles. I look alive to all the other shoppers— they have no clue how dead I am on the inside.
I pass by all the holiday decorations and I think about how I will not be celebrating— screw pumpkin spice coffee creamer and cinnamon scented candles. I want to cancel the holidays from of my life forever. Holidays are about family, my family exists as a box of ashes sitting on my headboard.
I pass isles lined with wall decor and pictures frames that have quotes about “family”, “love”, and “memories”. F*uck that! I hate that generic crap. Where is the real stuff, the wall art about about pain, torture and despair. I saw a sign that said “where flowers grow hope lies,” I have a huge flower bed in my front yard, and theres no hope there.
Then I see the mens section, my heart aches ... I have no reason to venture over there. Elliott’s dead I don’t need to pick up anything for him. He doesn’t need new socks or boxers. He doesn’t need me to grab some axe deodorant or skin bracer aftershave.
I randomly find myself standing in the car care section. I have no clue how I got here. Elliott loved washing our vehicles. He would spend hours detailing them. Even though they are old he took pride in the things we owned. He took care of our things. This is a section he would be standing in, he would be staring at the Armor All  wipes and tire cleaners. I have no business being in this section, this is El’s domain. I realize where I am and It stings, I quickly grab the handles of my cart and get out of there. 
No matter where I go or what isle I wander down I cannot escape my reality. It slaps me in the face at every turn. Each row of neatly placed merchandise conjures up a thought or memory. Those thoughts and memories always lead to the same place— I am alone, my husband is gone, and shopping sucks.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

washed away


He’s not here , I’d hoped to find him, feel him at least just a little bit. Find some peace a brief moment of acceptance but it’s not here. I’m searching for something that cannot be found. I thought that maybe if I could get away from home, from all the distractions I could maybe just maybe feel a tiny bit closer to him— instead all I have found are metaphors. Metaphors that keep reminding me just how far apart we really are.
Just as quickly as the surf can wash away writing in the sand, my life was washed away in an instant. I carved Elliott’s name on the beach just above the tide line. I wanted to take a picture as a physical representation that he was on my mind (as always, every second of the day). Just as I had finished crossing the last “T” and dotting the “I” with a heart the tide came in and washed it away before I even had a chance to turn on the camera. I thought “of course, how ironic.” The water erased Elliott from the sand before I was ready—just as the bullet erased him from my life. How can a matter of seconds— a succession of events line up so perfectly that It can fundamentally change my world forever? There are so many questions and no answers. 


I thought I would hike down a trail to a beach near the condo I’m staying at. Maybe I could find him there... The trail was steep and long. On the way down my foot slipped and I fell down and busted my knee. As I sat there staring at the blood I felt numb for a few seconds. Then the sting from the scrapes quickly reminded me that unfortunately I am still alive, still a widow. I thought dammit if only I could have slid a little farther I may have went over the edge and bumped my head on a tree or something. I could have gone home, home to where my husband is. But no, instead I was halfway down a trail to a beach with a bloody knee and a broken heart. I decided to keep going, and eventually made it to the beach. I did a little bit of reading and a lot of crying. The way back up was harder than I expected my knee was killing me and the trail was so steep. I thought this is just like my freaking life. I have to climb this huge hill all beat up and scared, the hill of widowhood, grief, anger, confusion ... Halfway up I stopped, huffing and puffing, short of breath I yelled at Elliott  “WHERE ARE YOU, I NEED YOU NOW, I CAN’T  DO THIS WITHOUT YOU.” I need him more than ever to help me tackle what the world has thrown my way, to help me navigate the giant hills ahead. But he doesn’t answer when I call out to him. I am alone and I’m going to be climbing for a long time, with no end in sight.
I don’t feel that being the one who gets to live is a gift, it feels more like a curse, a life sentence to grief, sadness and loneliness. It feels like torture to be the one left behind, the one who can’t see the other side, the one who can’t hear the other, the one who misses the other with every fiber of their body and soul. I want to live for the both of us but how do you live for two when half of you is missing ? I love you El even if I get mad because I can’t hear you, I know your probably frustrated too. I just want to feel you babe. Please let me feel you soon.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hawaiian Anxiety





Warm breezes, sandy beaches, crystal clear blue water ... yes, I am talking about Hawaii. Tomorrow morning I’ll depart from the crisp cool air of Anchorage and head toward the balmy sun soaked shores of Kauai with some girlfriends. 

I know what everyone is thinking ... “oh Hawaii, how nice” and “oh how exciting.” Blah blah blah ... 
I really wish I could say I felt that way too. In my reality it’s just a warmer place to be sad. Now, don’t get me wrong I am looking forward to spending time with friends and feeling the warmth of the sun and lord knows I probably really need the vitamin D. The problem is I cannot be excited about anything anymore. My world has been rocked in the worst way possible. My life is fundamentally changed to the core. All the things the old me would have loved or been excited to do seem trivial now. 
How can I find joy in anything when the man I love more than life no longer walks this earth ? Elliott was my life, my breath, my reason for existing ... now he’s gone and I am left behind — an empty shell, lost and confused.
This will be the first time since El was Killed that I will be leaving our home — the comfort of my grief cave, AKA my bedroom. All of his stuff will be here and I’ll be in Hawaii. What if someone touches something or moves something of his? You see by leaving I’m giving up control of all that I have left, all that we physically shared together.
I know it’s just stuff , materialistic stuff, but it was his and ours and it’s all I have. I know Iv’e got my love and my memories but the stuff is all that is tangible, all that can be seen and felt.

Furthermore theres the fact that Elliott and I went to Hawaii with my parents shortly after we were married ( there's memories there), and we were supposed to go again last year for a friends wedding. But this time it was going to be just the two of us, we were going to attend the wedding but it also gave us a good excuse to plan our own little getaway. We had it all planned, the tickets and condo were booked and the new swimsuits and sandals were purchased. It was going to be great— relaxing and romantic. Then a few weeks before, the wedding was called off. Of course we still could have gone on the trip but we thought long and hard about it, money was tight and we had the rest of our lives right? We chose to use our tickets to fly my sister and her family up to Alaska to visit instead. It had been too long since we'd seen them, and we were craving some baby Danny time ( our nephew). Family has always been the most important to us, so the decision was easy. I don’t regret the fact that we cancelled the trip. I just hate that I’m now taking the trip without him— that Iv’e packed things that I bought for the trip we were supposed to take together and never got the chance.

All in all, anxieties aside I know this trip will be good. It should at be least be better than spending the next week hibernating in the grief cave. I am thankful that I have good friends who didn’t just talk about it, but planned it. I got a message from a girlfriend tonight , when I told her I was a little anxious she said “ Focus on feeling, praying, and fresh ocean air.” “Maybe you will feel him with you and God too ...” I think that is good advice and that is exactly what I’m going to try and do. 


... So El if your reading I’m expecting you there. I love you babe.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I'm tired




I’m tired. I’m tired of living without you and I’m sick  of being strong. I can’t do this anymore it’s too hard, it hurts too much. I am dead on the inside, so why am I still breathing? I so badly wish that I could die from this broken heart of mine ... if only grief was an illness that could kill me. How am I still here without you by my side? It makes no sense. I need you now more than ever, yet we are father apart than we’ve ever been. I want to be wherever you are. I don’t belong in this world anymore. My home is with you babe. I miss you. I love you. I need you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

medical records



I spotted the building from a block away, when I turned into the parking lot my heart skipped a beat. This is the Hospital where Elliott died. This is the place where he took his last breath. He went in alive, just barely alive and never made it back out again. Now  I was back. I wasn’t ready to come back yet. I have been avoiding this for two months and probably would have kept avoiding it for years. Nevertheless, the fire chief needed the records so I had to go in. As I drove around to the main entrance I passed the the sign that said EMERGENCY, my heart skipped another beat. Thats where I once entered terrified but hopeful my husband would walk out. HE DIDN’T! 
This time I would enter through the main entrance and find the elevator down to the basement level. When I got off the elevator It was obvious I was in the underbelly of the hospital. The place that most people don’t see. I found my way to a little room where all the records were kept and told them who I was and what I needed. Then the tears began to fall. Through my tears I apologized “ I’m sorry, my husband was killed and I need his records but I am not ready to pick them up yet .” It was too real and too final. I composed myself and the gentlemen asked me to come back in an hour and they would all be ready.
When I came back they handed me the envelope. It was so heavy. How was there so much paper for just a few hours of his life? If they worked so hard and did so much why couldn’t they save my beautiful husband? 
I wanted to know what was inside the envelope but I wasn’t ready to look. On the way out I thumbed through the file and my eyes focused on all kinds of random horrible medical terms. How can they be referring to my Elliott ? He was so strong and healthy. I just don’t understand. I stopped looking and gripped the records tight to my chest as I walked to the car.
I became numb again as I drove downtown to the fire department headquarters.
I had to drop off a copy ASAP so that the chief could try and get some time sensitive paperwork done for me. I ran upstairs and left it with his secretary. Headquarters is attached to station # 1. Elliott worked closely with a lot of guys at station 1 because their area overlaps. I thought “ I should visit them, since I’m already here.”
I ran upstairs and all the guys were sitting around the kitchen. I saw familiar faces and the numbness went away. When a close firefighter friend embraced me I lost it. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. The tears flowed again. It’s a B shift day, Elliott’s shift. “He should be working” I cried. “I shouldn’t be here visiting, I should be visiting my husband at station 3.”
I love visiting the guys that El worked with but sometimes it just stings so bad. To see them all at work in their uniforms, hanging around the kitchen and waiting for a call ... It just breaks my heart . Elliott loved being a firefighter, he was passionate about his job, about helping people. He doesn't get to do it anymore. He doesn’t get to do anything anymore, all because someone took it away from him, away from us ... ( I wish I could explain more about that ... )
El, I love you more than life babe, you are my entire world and I am so lost without you.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

heart beat

"You know, a heart can be broken, but it still keeps a-beating just the same."
                                          - Ninny Threadgoode Fried Green Tomatoes


I just wish my heart would stop beating ... without Elliott there it no reason for it to continue, yet it continues to sustain my life ... utter torture.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

self sabotage



Elliott loved me unconditionally, through thick and thin literally. The problem is I don’t love myself. Today I went to a pilates class. The last thing I felt like doing in my grief is exercising but I know It is probably what I need. If I can’t feel good emotionally then I’m at least going to try and feel good physically. I have sabotaged myself for way too long. 
I have thought long and hard about where all the weight came from. Of course it’s a combination of factors, thyroid, my disabilities from the Marine Corps, stress , and life style. But what it really boils down to is self sabotage. You see I have been scared for a long time now. Scared to embrace the life that God had given me. I married the love of my life, we bought a house, he became a firefighter, I didn’t have to work, I got to go to school, and pursue my crafts. We had the pets, and the toys and the time to play.  I NEVER took this for granted. I knew I was blessed. I was so thankful for everything we had together, but I was scared. Nobody gets to have it all, something has got to give, right ? 
So I sabotaged myself (keep in mind this wasn’t a conscience decision on my part. I have only realized it through lots of reflection). I needed to have an issue. I thought I can’t have the husband, the house and the body - so I kept piling the weight on. I was too scared that my life was too good to be true so I created a problem. I feared that if it was all perfect it would all fall apart. 
Well that didn’t F****ING work. Despite my attempts at control, IT ALL FELL APART ANYWAY. Now I feel guilty for not being healthier for Elliott. He was my biggest supporter and loved me regardless of my struggles with weight. Like I said earlier he literally loved me through thick and thin, and everywhere in between.
... So today I went to a pilates class and it’s just a tiny step ...  but maybe I will get get motivated to keep going. I want to honor Elliott in every way possible. I want to be the woman he knew I could be. I can’t get there if I don’t get control of the weight.  
Well there it is. I have outed myself and exposed one of my biggest insecurities ... 

numb


Cold, disconnected, NUMB .... That is how I've been feeling lately. I feel so removed and distant from everyone and everything. Nothing matters ...  I'm just going through the motions. I don't mind feeling disconnected from the rest of the world. I believe I will always feel somewhat disconnected from the world at large. From now on I will forever be just slightly out of place and a tad bit uncomfortable.

What kills me about the numbness is feeling disconnected from Elliott. All I desire is to work harder to feel him, to be closer to him, and to grow our love each day. Being numb sabotages all of that. We are already worlds apart and the numbness only divides us further. I would rather feel the pain.

I realize that the numbness is probably a coping mechanism. I realize that If I felt all the pain at once it would consume me. I want to be consumed. I do not want to face the long cold road ahead of me. It isn't a path that Elliott or I chose, so why do I have to walk it? Why do we have to suffer the consequences of someones else's actions. I know that life is not fair. I just don't understand how I am supposed to accept that. How am I supposed to go living with so many questions and no answers? How am I supposed to do this every day when every fiber of my soul just wants to be with Elliott?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

shopping

My mom booked a last minute ticket to come visit me last Wednesday. For the past week she's been doing all the cooking and cleaning, all the stuff I won't do that she likes to do to help me. I think she was pretty surprised to find my fridge exactly as it had been when she left 2 months ago.  It's just full of all the drinks that people brought over when El was killed. No food, nothing nutritious, just cans and bottles, none of which I drink. She asked me if I have been grocery shopping, and when do I eat ? I just told her I eat when someone want to go dinner , and other than that I'm not really concerned with eating or grocery shopping.

I used to think that I really loved cooking.  Now I have no desire to turn on the stove or open the fridge. I realized that it wasn't cooking I loved , it was cooking for Elliott that I loved. Now he is gone so whats the point. I thought maybe I would be motivated to cook for all the people who were so generous and brought food over. Or cook dinner for the guys at Elliott's firehouse , to bake them cookies or cupcakes or something. I just can't get motivated to do it. I hate cooking and baking now. I haven't done it yet, but I'm sure I'll hate grocery shopping too.

Last week I had a minor breakdown over pepper jack cheese. I was getting some water and spotted the stupid block of cheese in the bottom drawer of the fridge. I started crying because I thought to myself "I'll probably never buy pepper jack cheese again".  It's not that I don't like pepper jack , there are just other cheeses I like better. Pepper jack was Elliott's favorite, and now I have no reason to buy it. I don't have a reason to buy any of the stuff that El liked. I mean who cries over cheese. Part of me actually thought I should just keep that cheese in there, who cares if it gets all moldy, it was Elliott's. Then sanity washed over me and I trashed it. I hate that throwing away cheese is an emotional challenge for me.

The same kind of thing happened to me at Costco, I was shopping for a new vacuum and I passed this section that had mens boxers in it. I had just recently bought El a couple packs and he really liked them. So when I saw the stupid boxers, I felt like I was slapped in the face. I don't get to buy him anything anymore. I don't need to pick up any of those little things that wives pick up for their hubby's while out and about running errands.  I hate shopping, at least the day to day normal life kind of shopping, the kind that reminds me it's just me now.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

sleep

El and our nephew Baby Danny taking a little nap
It is a rare occasion when I actually want to sleep. I feel tired and exhausted all the time but sleep usually comes as a last resort. In theory it would seem like I should want to sleep all the time, to check out a bit, escape, maybe even have a dream with El in it. But in reality sleep stresses me out. It's not the escape it should be.

I need an off button for my brain ( actually I need one for my life). I have always been a night owl, and my brain has always been overactive at night. The difference is now the thoughts are unbearable. I can hear the gun shot, I can see my tall, strong and healthy husband crumpled over, I hear his last words "I'M SHOT". I think of all the things that happened, all the things we'll miss out on together, the children we'll never have, the kisses I'll never feel, the life that was supposed to be .... 

Though I can never really avoid those thoughts, because I carry them with me throughout day, I can avoid laying in bed by myself in the quiet while letting my brain run ramped. My solution - stay up all hours of the night doing who knows what ; reading, writing, staring, a whole lot of staring, maybe watching tv .... Until I am so utterly drained that I can close my eyes and drift off to sleep while saying a prayer. 

Most the time I just start the prayer because I do not know what to pray for anymore, I no longer have the words. I used to always thank God for my Husband, for my life and my family. I would pray he kept them safe. The worst has happened, Elliott is gone. I need a new prayer.

So once I finally get to sleep, all is well while while I'm somewhere in dreamland hoping to stumble across my hubby ( which hasn't really happened yet ). Unfortunately, the battle resumes when I wake up again the morning, or if your me the afternoon since I didn't go to sleep until 6am. I just think "oh crap I F****ING woke up again." Then my chest tightens and the pit in my stomach grows deeper. I am brutally aware that I must do this for one more day. I have to walk the path without Elliott by my side. The cycle of torture begins again.