Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I Will See You Again

December 1988

Sometimes I feel like my heart is breaking
But I stay strong and I hold on cause I know
I will see you again
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me...
~Carrie Underwood

My uncle was 52 years old. He was the baby of five children. He was born and raised in the same town for his whole life. He was young at heart and loved Winnie the Pooh and Peanuts more than I could put down in words.

If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together, there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. But the most important thing is, even if we're apart... I'll always be with you. ~Winnie the Pooh

He was a hero and a confidante. He made me laugh at the moments I needed it the most. He sat in silence if that's what I needed too. Neither of us ever had to pretend who we were. If you were sad, you didn't have to pretend to be happy. He was the rock in my life that always made me feel safe. That safe, consistent sense in my life knowing that he'd always be around no matter what is gone. I miss you.

I was the first born of his five nieces. That picture was taken after bath time when I wasn't even a year old. And he made me just as happy as I made him in that picture. You won't find many pictures of him smiling or laughing because he didn't like pictures. But everyone who knew him knows that. I wish we'd taken more pictures together.

I wrote his obituary and his eulogy because I know that that's what he would have wanted. But he wouldn't have wanted a wake and a funeral at all. He didn't like to be the center of attention. I didn't want to do this. I just want him back.

At family gatherings, he'd hang on the outskirts taking it all in. We always sat within eye contact of each other. We had inside jokes of our own that a simple glance made us know we were thinking the same thing. Who will I share those jokes with now?

Some of my favorite moments, despite being considered a chore, were dishwashing. He'd wash and I'd dry. We'd share honest, candid conversations in our own world at the sink while hustle and bustle of family continued to our backs. Who will I wash dishes with now?

And then there were the times when I would visit him at Ada's. Or when I'd go with him on Costco trips. Or just for a ride in his big truck listening to Dean Martin or country music. I liked the way it smelled like him and how big it was compared to little me. I felt safe. I miss feeling safe.

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Friday, January 24, 2014

What a Difference a Day Can Make

Yesterday, I felt really good. Now, I realize I felt too good. I had successfully accomplished the hardening-of-the-heart concept that I so tactfully call "pretending that the past two weeks didn't happen and smiling like I'm not broken inside."

I had woken up somewhat refreshed, having actually slept the night before. Yes, I had the assistance of a sleeping pill, but who cares. Then I had an extremely productive day at work and chose to get into the office early. I found a therapist in-network who I will be seeing for the first time tonight. She specializes in bereavement, grief, depression and anxiety. Check. Plus, she works in my building. Double check. Then I went to hot yoga with my mom. Hot yoga is my new thing because it requires focus and relaxation. There's no time for thinking about what's going on in the rest of the world, outside that overheated studio. M and I cooked a delicious steak and brussel sprout dinner and watched episode after episode of Dexter. I went to bed feeling calm and dare I say it...happy?

Today is a whole different story. I had a dream last night that we were at my Uncle's cleaning out the house. It was vivid. I could even smell the house. M was there helping us go through his desk. We had taken the drawers out of his desk and put them on the kitchen floor to go through his things. And as I touched the papers, I started to cry. M tried to console me, but I just curled up in a ball on the cold kitchen floor tiles, sobbing uncontrollably. In the middle of the tears, I realized this isn't just a dream, this is real life. Then I woke up with that suffocating sadness in my chest. My dream wasn't just a dream. He is really gone. We haven't gone through any of things yet, but I know that we'll have to do that soon.

I went to the gym to run for the first time since his death. I've been avoiding running because running is my thinking time. And I really don't want to think about the truth of this life. I ran 5 hard miles and cried at the end smack in the middle of the row of treadmills. But it didn't help. Normally, running makes me feel better. Right now isn't normal though. I felt empty at work and really, really sad. Distracting myself with my list of fun things to do didn't help either. I just wanted to go home and cry.

What a difference a day can make, huh. Denying the reality that he's gone may have worked yesterday, but I feel it too much today. I feel the pain of him being gone. And I miss him.
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I Forgot...

Many of you may know, or not know, but I spent all four years in college working with an amazing therapist. C was a pyschotherapist and helped me get to the root of any issues and learn how to cope with them. After my boyfriend had passed away suddenly in 2008 followed by a slew of other losses, I started to see C at least once a week and work through coping with my grieving in a healthy way. When I called him on Friday, he reminded me of all the activities and coping mechanisms that we had used. One thing that I had forgotten about was how much he encouraged me to write. So here I am back to writing again. 

I forgot... how hard it is to get out of bed in the morning, how I have to give myself a pep talk to get up and start my day, how I have to actually think about what I need to do to get ready for the day: shower, get dressed, brush my teeth.

I forgot... how my short memory seems to have disappeared. Did I remember to turn off my straightener? Did I actually brush my teeth? Did I send that email? Did I remember my laptop for the office?

I forgot... how much I hate unsolicited advice. I hate when people want to give words of support, words of wisdom, words of how it will get better. I just want to yell how I'm not okay. I'm not happy. I'm hurting inside. I'm doing the best I can right now.

I forgot... how suffocating the pain is when you realize he's gone, how you feel like you can't breathe, how you want to curl up in a ball and hide.

I forgot... how hard it is to focus. I constantly have to ask myself "what was I just doing? what do I need to do next?"

I forgot... how hard it is to function in the real world.

But I remember that I can do this. I am strong. I will get through. It all takes time. So now I wait...
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Monday, January 20, 2014

A Week Ago Today


A week ago today... I got ready for work like I always do. I packed my breakfast and lunch. And started my car before brushing my teeth to head to the office.

A week ago today... I took the back roads to the office like I do every day, where I always passed the house that was known as "Grandpa's," but my uncle had inherited it and lived it in all his life.

A week ago today... I passed the house, but there were cop cars and an ambulance with closed doors in the driveway. So I turned around.

A week ago today... I pulled into the driveway and went running into the garage of the house and up the stairs that led to the kitchen that used to feel like a place of comfort.

A week ago today... I walked into the kitchen with no lights on and more police officers than I could count. I could hear my aunt in the living room. Who are you? one of them asked. I'm Kelly's niece. Is that my aunt in there? I replied. Yes, do you want to go in and console her? he said. My pause in replying prompted more from him. Kelly passed away this morning, he said. And I dropped to the kitchen floor. Shaking and crying and shaking. I repeated no, until one of the police officers lifted me to my feet and brought me to the living room. I cried in my aunt's arms. And didn't stop shaking for a long time.

A week ago today... I called my office in hysterics, barely able to utter the words of what happened. Then I had to call M to break the news to him. And even he couldn't believe what I was saying. He left work immediately.

A week ago today... I watched truck after truck pull into the driveway. His friends. His second family.

A week ago today... I called my parents who were on vacation in California to tell them the news.

A week ago today... I watched grown men cry. I sobbed hysterically begging my parents' to come home from their vacation, something that they never did. I tormented on how I would tell my baby sister. I couldn't make a decision on if M should come to the house or not.

A week ago today... we waited for the medical examiners to do their job. For the police officers to ask us questions. For them to search the house.

A week ago today... I helped plan a wake and a funeral. I drafted an obituary. I started collecting phone numbers and notes for a eulogy I didn't know how to write. How do you put into words what an amazing man he was?

A week ago today... my world fell apart. A person who was my rock, my confidante, my best friend, my uncle left the earth too soon. And I still don't understand why.

A week ago today... my heart broke, and I keep asking to go back in time because I don't want any of this. I just want him here.

Today, my body still shakes uncontrollably when the shock of what has happened sets in. I'm still trying to figure out how to keep my body from shaking. Today, I wish I could turn back time. Today, I wonder about how to move forward in life. Today, I try to keep smiling. Today, I try to make sure I get out of bed. Today, I try to remember why having a job and doing work is important. Today, I'm still broken inside. Today, isn't any better than the last because the reality of this is the same. The world, and I, have lost an amazing man who can never be replaced.
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Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014, I'm Ready for Ya!

via

Oh hey, I'm back. And with an incomplete NYC Marathon recap still in my drafts, you all are just going to have to wait a tiny bit longer. 

It's a freezing cold Saturday night here in Connecticut. I have three loaves on bread baking in the oven, a full belly from homemade lasagna and a tasty drink to my right. I wanted to share my 2014 goals, which include blogging more again! So here are my hopes and dreams for 2014 in no particular order.

Be intentional. I'm reading the book The Defining Decade by Dr. Meg Jay, PhD, and it's really opening my eyes to how important the decisions that you make are in your twenties. Well I'm half way through my twenties, and if I want to make the most of this one life I've got, I've still got some work to do!

Pay off my credit card. I may have racked up some credit card debt over the last year or so. Between many car expenses, doctor's expenses and all of the weddings we attended, life can get expensive! So I'm unsubscribing from all of my shopping deals emails and focusing on necessary versus frivolous.

Be a better listener (work on my selective hearing). I've self-diagnosed with A.D.D., but only because I sometimes have difficulty focusing, especially when talking to people. Except it's when someone is talking to me, and I completely tune them out and head to "Amanda-land." I do this a lot with M, and ever since I realized how much and how bad it was, I've been actively acknowledging when I haven't heard what he's said and trying to focus better.

Start blogging again, consistently. This is a good start right? Next up, a full marathon recap, I promise.

Finish a first draft of my book. 'nough said.

Go to church more. Simple, but not always easy. I've been going to the same church on and off since I was four, but now that I'm older, I kind of want to explore other options. M was raised Roman Catholic, and I was baptized Catholic, but brought up an Episcopalian. Now's a good time to explore and find my spiritual roots.

Notice there are no running goals... I want to take running easy this year. I want to focus on running for fun and building up my strength. Long story short, since my knee injury in 2010, my whole body has been uneven (my left quad almost an inch thinner than my right one). Basically, they're almost even, but I really want to get stronger (and maybe faster too). I plan on doing lots of half's and will decide later in the year if I'm going to do a full. It's looking more like I'll do a full in the spring of next year though.


What are your goals for 2014?

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