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 ... 


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


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


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.

Friday, October 1, 2010

" just throw me a bone"

... AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH.  I love my dogs. I love my dogs. I love my dogs. But sometimes I feel like they are trying to sabotage what little sanity I have left. I just caught Holly peeing on our new rug. A rug El and I bought a few weeks before he was killed. I had a hunch that she was starting to use it as a potty pad now that it is getting cold outside. But now I'm positive. I yelled and chased her to the kennel, I scared her, now I feel bad. Both her and Bison bark at everything, and he is lifting his leg to claim whatever he feels like in the house. I just can't deal with the doggy issues right now. I'm sure they are suffering, I know they miss Elliott too.

 Elliott got of the Marine Corps  6 months before I did . We got Holly right around that time, El and her would just lay on the couch all day and cuddle while I was at work at the squadron. They created a special bond. I remember being at work and just wanting to go home so bad to El and our new puppy.

Flash forward to our civilian lives we got Bison as a rescue that my mom brought up from California. I was jealous because El got all the puppy love. Both our dogs would always choose to cuddle with him over me.  He used to tell me it was because I would "mess with them too much". I can't just let them sleep I want to pet them, hold their paws, hug them, tug on their furry little ears. Elliott was always so calm and relaxed, he would just let them do their thing. Hence, they always chose him to curl up with when ever he was home. Secretly I loved that they loved him, I would have chose him too If I wear them. 

 I'm sure they sense the shift of energy in the house, the sadness, grief, anxiety , and confusion. They have never been perfect, but they are ours. They have always had their issues ( small dog syndrome ), but without El here it seems to be intensified. How can I manage everything by myself. Can't the pups just see how broken I am. Can't they just say "let's be good for our mom, she's really sad." I don't want to get mad at them I love them, Elliott loved them. They are important members of our family. 

I remember Elliott and I would lay in bed at night and talk about the day when one of our pups might pass away. It would almost bring us to tears. He would say " I want Holly and Bison to live forever." I just can't believe that it's Elliott who is gone. We never really contemplated him or I going before one of the puppies. But he did, he was killed and he's gone, and I miss him, and the pups miss him. I know we are all trying to work it out. I just wish the dogs could work with me, not against me. I know I need to implement some more training, but " who the HELL has time for that" when your trying to figure out what It means to loose the love of your life, to have half your soul missing, to be a young widow. Elliott can't you just pull some strings up there and "throw me a bone", talk to the pups, tell them to behave.  
 ... I know you would if you could. I love you. I need you.