Friday, April 30, 2010

Two Beers

I had two beers with dinner tonight – and then it was all over. As I was getting the kids out of the shower I actually walked over to the telephone to call you. I saw my hand reaching out to grab the phone and then all of a sudden I gasped. In just an instance I had forgotten you were dead, thought of something I wanted to tell you and then was reminded all over again that you could not be reached. All it took was two beers. I didn’t cry or get upset, but I was so amazed that such a thing could happen. Is this a good sign or a bad one? I am not sure. Maybe because it was a beautiful day and I had pizza and beer with my friends and life for a moment felt normal – that I momentarily forgot how miserable I actually am.

Maybe this is the key to everything. Distracting myself and throwing myself so far into living that I don’t have to time to feel sadness. Maybe because your photos are not in the house yet – maybe because I am just trying so very hard not to look as bad on the outside as I feel on the inside.

I went back to the house today. I have no idea why. I stood in the backyard and just felt a comfort I don’t feel anywhere else. It is the same feeling I get in the cemetery. A terribly sad feeling that is overshadowed with sweet memories of you and of our life together. I wish someone would change the freaking locks already so I can’t go back. It is enough that I have the cemetery to go to. I could easily spend all my time shuffling back and forth between the house and the cemetery, just living in the past until I probably go crazy. I should give the keys to a friend and just take control of my own actions. No – I don’t see myself being that proactive.

Your six year old son has lost his two front teeth. I can’t believe you aren’t here to see his goofy, yet adorable face. This is such a quirky milestone in a child’s life. The only moment in time where they have no front teeth. They talk funny, can’t eat well and as the larger teeth come in – they grow up almost right in front of you. Some days I just really can't believe you aren't here to share with me all the joys of our beautiful children.

You are missing so much these days I almost can’t keep track. I have found myself feeling very odd this week. I feel sad but the tears don’t come. I almost want to cry to release myself of some of the burden – but they just stay intact.

We are slowly getting used to the new house. Very slowly. I find I have a much harder time adjusting then they do. I am more annoyed with the new house then anything else. Everything is different and I still walk around lost and out of sorts.
I just don’t feel like this is home. I am surrounded by familiar items but they all seem foreign in these new surroundings. I am trying to be patient. Trying.

I keep making promises to myself for the coming months. I have a wish list going on in my head. I want to calm down and stop feeling stressed out. I want to have more fun and go on enjoyable adventures with my children. I want to stop feeling like I am on an emotional roller coaster. I don’t want to go to one on one therapy. I have called someone twice and twice I have hung up before leaving a message. I just don’t feel like spending the time and energy on something that I think is a waste. Nothing anyone says is going to bring my husband back, make me feel less guilty or sad or whatever it is I feel.

I feel like at times I am much better when the voices in my head – aka my family stop harassing me and telling me what they think I should be doing. No one has walked in my shoes and yet everyone seems perfectly content telling me what I need to do to fix my situation.

At this point the only advice I am willing to take is to drink two beers and hang out with some friends.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Slow Motion

Sometimes I feel like I am in slow motion as the rest of the world zooms by me. I can be walking or driving and then everything inside me just stops. Just shuts down and all I see is your face. In these moments that come to me without any warning or provoking - I miss you so profoundly.

Forget the anger I felt all weekend. The sadness and the tears. This is different. This is loss. I miss you so much it feels unbearable. I miss talking to you and hearing your voice. I miss sharing my life with you and of course I miss sharing our children. I don’t ever want my feelings for you to go away and yet they are so painful. I don’t ever want to forget how much fun we had and how much we loved each other. If all I have left are painful memories than I accept this. I just wish you were here today, with us, making new memories. I just really miss you so very much today.

Maybe because this awful ordeal of choosing a headstone and the wording is just - well, it just sucks. I think the moment this is all over I am going to choose my own stone, write the words and pick a place. I can’t bear for my children to have to do this for me. This is just awful. It is morbid and painful and I wish we had discussed and planned this when he was alive and well and maybe it just wouldn’t seem so terrible right now.

My four year old was brushing her teeth tonight – with green spit spilling from her mouth she said to me, I miss daddy. I wish he wasn’t dead. And then went right back to brushing. These moments that also come from nowhere are just too much for me. I try to comfort and say I am sorry daddy is dead. I try and not cry hysterically. I know they miss him and he is always in our thoughts. Sometimes they just need to say them out loud. I blog and they tell me things while brushing their teeth. It is all the same. Grieving and dealing and trying somehow and someway to live a normal life wrapped in an abnormal package.

I had some time alone with my six year old today. I looked at him and asked, so how are you doing? How are you really doing? He knew exactly what I meant. He didn’t say fine – which I was thankful for. He said I am O.K. He said I am kind of sad because daddy is dead. Then he said I am kind of mad too. Why did daddy have to die and not someone else? I don’t really answer him because there is no answer. I simply told him that it is totally normal to feel mad and sad. I don’t want him to keep anything from me. I always feel better when he opens up to me, but he didn’t have a lot more to say about daddy after that. He is way to into “The Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and only wanted to talk about that. This was fine with me.

I am dreading, with a fear I cannot explain, the unveiling. My mother thinks I should talk to a shrink before I tell the children about the day. But they already know daddy’s body is in the ground. They know he is dead. This is really not a situation that can be sugar coated. I won’t lie. The best I can do is ask them if they want to come and not pressure them into attending. But I know them – my children will want to go and it will be awful . . .

I wish I could speed myself up and catch up with everyone – but I am stuck in slow motion. Revisiting past memories while simultaneously trying to live life and move forward. I am moving forward, a little bit everyday, but I do so with cement shoes.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sad Saturday

Today was a sad Saturday and I only have myself to blame. Some days I just can’t get that black cloud to leave me alone. It should have been a better day than it was. The sun was shinning we had birthday party plans – but nothing seemed to make my empty sad feelings go away.

Maybe because it has just been a terribly long week. Nothing seems normal and there is just so much to do and so little time to get anything done.

The children were such a nightmare today. We had an early doctor’s appointment and then I took them for donuts and to a bookstore. It should have been a nice Saturday morning – but it wasn’t. Throughout it all they just didn’t listen to me. They are defiant to me and fight each other. Probably normal behavior for 4 and 6, but it just wears me down until I am left helpless. It is so very difficult being a single parent; more difficult than I ever imagined. This was the kind of day where I am at my wits end and every little thing sets me off. The kind of day my husband should have been here to rescue me. He would tell me to take a walk – lie down and rest – read a book – something just to cool off and calm down. But he isn’t here to rescue me anymore – and it makes my horrible black cloud seem even darker.

I picked up my friend and her children for the birthday party. The moment she opened the door I just broke down in tears. I feel like the world’s worst parent today and it is mostly because I just don’t know what I am doing wrong. Maybe I am too strict on them. Maybe I am not strict enough. I just don’t know anymore. Maybe I am just tired and the move has taken such an emotional toll on me that I am out of patience, energy, whatever it is I need to get me through tough parenting times. I have a lot of help. I really do. This is not what bothers me. It is the emotional stress that never leaves – that will never go away. This is what causes me stress and grief and . . .

She went out to the car and talked to my kids. She helped intervene for us. We had a much better day after that. We laughed and hugged and cried and I hoped the rest of the day would be just better. I guess it was – for a Saturday.

Our new house is not feeling like a home yet. It just feels like a place where we live now. I am not even close to being unpacked or settled in and our normal routines are still not quite there.

I go into the new backyard and our tree isn’t there. Nothing is familiar and maybe I am just unsettled by this. I miss you so much. I miss being in a place where I used to see you live your life. It is painful to be somewhere you have never been. It hurts and makes me so upset – it is probably what is making this place not feel like home – you are not here.

Your ghost is not here and there are no pictures of you anywhere. There aren’t any pictures up anywhere – but I miss seeing your face. I thought if I didn’t see you every day smiling from the walls I would feel better. I don’t. I feel worse. I feel like I am not sure what to do with photos. Nothing feels right. I am just keeping them in a box in the middle of my bedroom until I decide. Maybe I will never decide and the box will just remain where I step over or around it - never making any decisions.

I hate feeling this way, so out of sorts, so sad and tired. I hate feeling like my life is a mess and I don’t know where to begin. I thought once the move was over I would be better. But now there are just new sad thoughts and worries and concerns.

I am trying to keep it all together. I am tired of defending my actions to my family. I am tired of everyone telling me what they think I should be doing. I wish no one knew where I moved to. I wish I changed my phone number. I wish I could just be invisible for a few more months. I wish the children would behave better and hope it is not my fault they act this way in the first place.

I just want to feel happy and normal again and I don’t ever see this happening. I feel worry and dread and hate the phone calls that will come from this post.

I just want the world to leave me alone for while and let me unpack and be miserable in peace.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I really hate shopping. Yes, I am one of those freaky girls who hate to shop. If I do have to go into a store, I know what I want before I go. I get what I need and get out. Quick and painless - that is how I shop. I am not a browser, if I am in a store for any long periods of time I get antsy and impatient and just leave.

So now I am shopping for a headstone. This is some kind of cruel joke, because you can’t just walk into a store for a headstone. Or maybe you can, but I just won’t. All I know is that I went to Target today and they don’t have them – they have everything else of course – but not a headstone. I started looking on-line at photos my mom sent me, but it is just too surreal to be doing this. So I did what I do best – I ran off to the cemetery to look for answers.

I went in with a mission, which really didn’t help my overall reason for being there, but it was a bit distracting. Instead of head down, hurrying to my husband’s grave, I read every stone along the way. I tried to notice the intricate designs that went into each stone. I tried to think about the person who had to make the decision to put this headstone with this design and these words just so. There are a lot of dead people in this cemetery. The stones go on for miles. You can really get caught up in each and every family member and try to figure out who is married to whom and why they picked what. It is like a dead soap opera.

I sat at your grave in the wet grass and cried some. I asked you what you wanted on your tombstone. There was no answer and you were no help at all. I ran down a few scenarios with you. It seems almost ridiculous that this is what I did on a beautiful spring day. Sitting in a cemetery talking to my dead husband about what his final resting place will say. I was so angry with you today. Just so sad and angry that I cried out of sheer frustration.

It feels terrible to miss you so much and be angry at you so very much. I am trying hard not to think about you being dead and then there is this. An event that is so totally focused on you. This is all about you and it just brings back so many emotions I have dealt with over the past six months. This is an impossible task. It is awful and terrible and truly overwhelming. Deep down I just don’t want to do it. I want the perfect head stone to just magically appear with the greatest saying ever and I want to not have to do a darn thing. But really, if I was making wishes – I would just wish this whole thing away and have you back in our lives.

Your six year old is sad this week. He misses the old house. He misses his daddy. I am full of anger and grief. Today would not be a good day to write the message for your stone – it may say “big fat jerk” or something more awful. I will wait till tomorrow and hope I am in a better frame of mind.

I am trying to do this the right way without thinking about it. Does that make any sense? I am trying to find the right words that don’t exist. I am trying to find a message that your children and someday grandchildren will read and know that you were loved.

Maybe it should just be blank – because deep down there are no words for how I feel.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Last Look

My six year old came home from Hebrew school tonight crying hysterically. I looked at him and asked what was wrong. He said, I miss our old house and I want to go there now! He stretched his hand out toward the direction of the house and continued to cry.

I picked him up and carried him inside letting him cry in my arms. I think today was the first day he has been driven by the house to go on to our new place. I think reality just hit him very hard. My daughter, who mimics her brother, said sadly that she wanted to go say goodbye to the house too.

Honestly, I just wasn’t sure what the right thing to do was. Finally I said to them, I will take you back to the old house to say goodbye - but I don’t want to take you if it will make you more upset. They said it would make them feel better. I put my trust in them to tell me the truth.

We walked down the familiar sidewalk and I let us in. I still can’t figure out how to work the locks and keys in my new house. It was all the more frustrating as I swiftly unlocked the old house without incident.

The kids walked in and looked around. Then they ran around. We went into every empty room. They went into their bedroom and kissed the walls. My daughter went into the bathroom and kissed the tub. I tried very hard not to cry. They were not sad; they were just taking it all in. They were finding tiny bits of toys left behind and putting them into their pockets. Any piece of paper or scrap of something on the floor they grabbed. As if they wanted to take every last bit they could out of the house.

After about ten minutes I told them it was time to go home. It sounded odd to say this being in our house – but well, this isn’t our home anymore. As we walked back I let the tears slide down my face. The children were smiling. They left the house last Wednesday for school and never went back. I think seeing the house empty was probably good for them – to see that nothing important was left behind and everything we need is right here with us.

At dinner I reminded them this – that all our things are with us and that all we left behind are the walls and the floor. My six year old agreed that everything we need is with us – there were no more tears.

I on the other hand am now very upset. Upset that they have to deal with so much so soon. They are so little and all I want to do is protect them. It seems impossible at times. No, it seems impossible all of the time.

My father-in-law is coming up in a few weeks. I am thinking about trying to get my husband’s unveiling done while he is up north. I asked my mother to make calls. I just can’t. I keep asking my family what to put on the tombstone – it is an impossible task. I get it now, why so many graves say beloved this and beloved that. No words are enough to express how I feel. No words feel right and nothing is coming to me – no lyrics no poetry – nothing. Here I am the writer and I can’t think of a freaking thing to write on his tombstone. I guess everyone gets to this point and then they just write beloved.

I have no idea how much headstones cost. But if they charge by the letter I am simply going to put – Mr. G.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fifth Nite

Tonight is our fifth night in the house. It has been a heck of a week. Littered with good and bad and has been such a whirlwind I almost don’t know where to begin.

The move went well. The birthday was the most un-birthday day I ever had. I can’t complain, I did it on purpose. I didn’t want to have any time on my birthday to think about my dead husband. To feel sad that he wasn’t here to wake me up singing, have the kids make me a card or just make me feel special all day long. As it was, I was so unbelievably busy moving and stressing that at times I totally forgot what day it was.

I want to complain about how hard the last five days were, but I feel like it would be selfish to do so. My family and friends have gone above and beyond what any one person deserves. From the first break of dawn on moving day I had more help than I knew what to do with. My friends came in and took over. They cleaned the new place, organized and went food shopping. They laid down a new floor while the movers worked around them. They came everyday after the move and just unpacked for me. They walked around me or over me as I sat in a daze unable to comprehend anything. It felt like the week after the funeral. So many people around to help it made me feel helpless. I couldn’t focus on anything as my brain just tried to remember how to breathe.

Friends took my children home from school and kept them so I could unpack. A friend hauled my garbage into the street and never stopped smiling. A friend took my mom and the kids to the movies so I could have a moment of peace. They sent their husbands over to put up shelves and mirrors, hooked up my TV and bought tables, just to get my life back together. My sister came and put my entire kitchen in order in three hours. My mother stayed longer than she ever would and put up with my screaming and crying because she knew, despite the words I said, that I needed her. My friends took me out to dinner and then out for drinks and dancing. They bought me birthday presents and came over to make my children pancakes. There is more – so much, much more.

So I can’t complain about a single thing. I am back in the position of never being able to repay anyone for the enormous amount of love and support I have received. I feel undeserving of it all. Mostly I wish there was someway to let them all know how much they have done for me and how I will never, ever forget any of this.

I won’t complain about the last few days. I will just comment. Everything feels wrong. That is all I can come up with now. Everything is different and feels wrong. I don’t where anything is and feel like I am living in some furnished hotel where you can’t find the forks or the bathroom and don’t know how to turn on the heat. Every noise startles me and none of my things look in the right place to me.

Tonight as I sit here, the first quiet night alone since I moved in – all I feel is that I just want to go home. I want to walk back down the street with my children and go home. There is nothing wrong with where I live now, except there just isn’t anything right.

Like everything, I know this is just another adjustment in my life that needs time to make it better. My children are amazing and love the new place and have not once mentioned our old house. As if the moment we moved there was nothing before. I on the other hand have the walked the empty house a few times until the tears came. Then I realized I am just torturing myself and have not gone back.

I know that time will make this house a home and it will somehow be great and better than before. I just have to think about the wonderful people who keep me sane and whole and I can get though this as well.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The End

This is my last night writing in my house. Because tomorrow night I will either be frantically packing everything in sight or I will be eating everything in sight to empty out the fridge. Either way – I won’t be writing.

Then again, maybe tomorrow night I will just wander around the house saying goodbye to every single crevice in each and every wall. I will walk on every step, spin around every room and try and take it all in. Try and remember what this house feels like. I don’t really know how to say goodbye to a house. Every time I moved I was excited about leaving – happy. Not this time. I hate goodbyes. Leaving this house is just another loss – and I know it is not the same as losing my husband. It is just all mixed up together and feels - well I am not sure how it feels. I am numb and the words just aren’t coming so easily tonight.

I am grasping here, but I want to remember moving to this house with my husband and two year old son. I want to remember bringing my newborn girl home. I want to remember the children learning how to walk in this house, potty train and read. I want to remember all the wonderful birthday parties, moms gone wild and New Year’s Day parties we had here. I want to remember you lying in bed reading to the children and then sitting on the couch watching Fox News with a carton of ice cream in your holey sweat pants.

I need to try and suck every morsel of good times we had in this house and bring them with me. Because tonight all I see is the kitchen table where I found your suicide note and the police coming into my kitchen to tell me you are dead. It is hard to think of good times, when all I can think about is how just six short months ago I sat Shiva for you in this house.

Numb still. Like I am standing just outside my body and watching this all unfold. Like everything that has happened - it doesn’t feel like this really happened to me. I am just an outsider viewing this person go through so much tragedy and awfulness. I feel bad for her, but I don’t feel bad. I feel nothing at all.

This worries me. I am waiting for the utter despair to just hit me so hard I literally break into pieces.

I am just sitting here in my kitchen and looking around and seeing you everywhere. I am a walking contradiction. I am moving to change my life and yet I just want everything to stay the same. I want to know I will see your ghost and yet I hate the way your ghost stops me in my tracks.

I don’t know what I want. Yes I do. I want the tears to stop rolling down my face so I can type. I must be fooling myself when I said I wasn’t upset tonight. I think I am beyond what upset feels like, so I don’t have the words.

I can’t write anymore tonight.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Six Months

My Dearest Love,

Today you are dead six months. Six months. I say this and then I wait for something to feel different. Nothing happens. I feel like this is such a milestone and yet I have made zero progress in my mourning, in my life, in anything at all.

I have been trying to not think about you dead every Saturday. Today I didn’t even try and stop the pain from the coming. I went to bed thinking about you and woke up crying. I was invited to dinner with friends and just said no thank you. I just didn’t want to fight the sadness today. I didn’t feel like faking my emotions and wearing my phony smile. Today I just wanted to let the sadness in and feel it coursing through my veins. I have no fight left in me today and just gave in. I don’t care about hiding the truth today – that I am just plain miserable.

I hit a major wall this afternoon and couldn't stop the tears. I am just so sick of the boxes and the packing and the children not listening and the utter chaos that has consumed me. I went over to the garment box and took out all of your shirts. I am angry there is no room in the box for any of my things. The box is filled with all your clothes and you are dead. What the hell am I holding onto them for? I pulled them out and of course just the sight of them set me off. I hugged them and cried and then I threw them down the stairs in anger and followed them down punching and kicking them and stamping on them and having an all out battle with your shirts.

The kids looked on, shocked by my actions. I said the first thing that came to my head – I thought I saw a bug and was trying to kill it. Oh they said, and continued watching Sponge Bob. I have told them in the past when I am crying that sometimes I cry because I am so happy and feel so lucky to have them. So now every time I cry they ask me if I am happy. I nod my head up and down and they feel better. For the record, I never cry when I am happy. I laugh.

At dinner tonight I looked at them and said, you know daddy has been dead for six months now. My four year old said, so daddy is never coming back? I said no, never. Strangely enough my six year old didn’t even comment. He asked me for more ketchup for his chicken. That was it.

I just wanted them to talk about you and even cry a little. I feel like they are losing a little bit of you everyday. I am trying to keep your memory alive and try and talk about you as much as I can. But we can go days now without bringing you up. Some days I am relived when you aren’t discussed, it makes life a little bit easier. But some days, like today, I feel like maybe I am punishing you by not bringing you up to the children and I feel terrible. So I say something, anything about you that I can think of – just to keep you in the loop. Today I was consumed with six months so that was all I had the energy to say.

I just feel numb after six months. I thought I would feel something. Not better, not worse - just something. I am annoyed with myself for feeling so empty today. I am angry and sad and tired and stressed. I have packed this house entirely by myself. Though I have lots of offers to help me, I have said no to them all. I feel like I need to do the packing – maybe to punish myself for feeling so horrible about how you ended up dead.

You have missed so much in six months I couldn’t even begin to list it all. This is only the beginning. You are going to miss every wonderful event moving forward and it breaks my heart. You are missing every sniffle and insignificant moment in your children’s lives and they will never be the same. I will never be the same and it just feels like a mistake. A horrible, terrible, tragic mistake.

You can’t possibly know the sorrow embedded deep down in my soul and it is only when I really let it out do I realize how much pain I am truly in. I have been trying to keep it together and take care of our children. Take care of all the responsibilities I must do now. I am trying to be fine.

Today when I take a day off from struggling against the sorrow I feel it all over again. Wave after wave of sadness, guilt, anger, pain, misery and feelings that I can’t even put a name to.

You are so missed and so loved and so not forgotten. I wish somehow you knew. I wish there was someway I could tell you that we are not fine – not at all. But despite the flood of emotions – the strongest one of all is our love for you.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Forget everything I said about being fine. I am officially back on the freak out train. I am moving in five days, this Saturday marks six months and I am a mess. So much for positive thinking. I am just trying to remind myself how to breathe.

I am trying to hate the house. I am trying to look at every little thing breaking and hate the house. But the truth is, I love my house. It is mine. Well, it was mine. Once upon a time I had big plans for this house. I won’t get into details, but I am a big planner. I like to see everything mapped out right in front of me so there are no surprises. I wanted to get married and have two children in two years. I wanted to raise them and write my novel and then and then you died. So much for all my planning.

If it were up to me I would live my life day to day. I would never make plans and never even look at a calendar. This is what I would do, because the future terrifies the hell out of me – chills down my spine scary. But I have two small children and they cannot live without me or a calendar. It is April and time for normal people to start thinking about their summer plans – I barely know what we are having for dinner. I force myself to act like a human being and make their plans – but when I glimpse into their future mine seeps in a little through the cracks. I just have no idea what I am supposed to do next. I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up – except a writer. But this dream died right along with you.

So I am just stuck. I wake up. I raise my children. I pack. I mourn. This is all I do and anything else just seems bigger than I can handle.

But instead of doing what I really needed to be doing today; working and packing – I went to the cemetery. I just ran away from everything and everyone. I went to the one place where I feel the worst, yet the only place where I can truly hide and feel some peace – ironic isn’t it.

My husband’s grave is covered in dirt and rocks – there is no grass or bushes like all the older graves he lays next to. An eye sore of the neighborhood I am sure. Today when I approached every stone on his grave looked like it was in the shape of a heart. I am not kidding – it was weird. I took it as a gift from him and not an act of nature.

I sat and talked to him and then I cried. But I didn’t even cry as long or loud as usual. I just really sat there at 9:30 in the morning feeling the odd comfort of being near him and let the sun warm my wet face. It is so hard sitting there trying to get my brain to really understand that his body is lying underground. It just feels so wrong and so awful. But still I sat listening to the birds chirp and lizards scurry and filled him in on what he has missed.

I complained about silly random things bothering me, and told him he was missing my birthday next week. I told him about the move and that I signed the lease this week and felt like throwing up afterward. The finality of what I am doing is just starting to hit and freak me out. I said I was sorry for the millionth time and told him to please tell G-d that I forgive him and hope his soul is at peace. Finally, I took a tiny piece of paper with our new address on it and tucked it under a rock, so he would know where to find us.

I left with a heavy heart and walked slowly backed to the car. Reality always feels worse after I leave.

On the drive home I thought about what a few people have said to me over the past two weeks. Their comments all have the same thought behind it and I have no response. They tell me I am young and beautiful and smart and will someday find love again. Um, ugh and whatever.

Here is how I view my life. I married the one person on the planet who made me feel special and happy. He could make me laugh over nothing and we started what I thought would be a long and wonderful life together. This is not like replacing a dead goldfish – this was my fairy tale.

But as far as I know they don’t have a fairy tale about my life – even the Grimm’s didn’t touch this one. A princess marries her soul-mate prince after a long and romantic courtship, they live happily ever after until the prince gets killed by the dragon or falls on his own sword (in my case) and then the princess must pick herself up and get back out there to attend more balls at the palace and find . . . what? Another soul-mate prince? I don’t think fairy G-d mother’s do this kind of shit twice.

Honestly, this sounds like something Disney would love to get their hands on.

Monday, April 5, 2010


It is not easy being a Jew – especially when dealing with death. First you have to bury the person right away – like within 24 hours. Then you have to sit Shiva for a week and after Shiva you are supposed to spend the first year as a mourner. A mourner in the sense that you don’t listen to live music, don’t attend parties and there are more but I just don’t remember. Before the first year is over you have to get a headstone and do an unveiling at the grave. Then there is Yizkor – where you light a candle four times a year in memory of your lost loved one.

Tonight is the first night of Yizkor for me. Just when I have been feeling stronger, just when I am trying to fight the sadness and the madness – now I have to light a candle and really think about him. As if I needed this.

As if the super fast funeral which I barely remember, or the week long Shiva where all I remember is too much food and too many people. As if constantly contemplating what is supposed to go on his headstone and the looks of sadness on my children’s faces wasn’t enough to make me think about him. But I am Jew so Yizkor it is.

I thought about doing it privately and not involving the children. Then I thought well maybe they should be a part of this. Maybe lighting four times a year will be a good time for us all to reflect and think about our loss. Are you done laughing at my stupidity? Because I am not.

During dinner I explained to the children about the lighting of the candle. My six year old said that four times a year wasn’t enough. We should light a candle four times a month. I said this is the way the Jews do it. He continued to argue his point. So I served dessert and figured there would be a little quiet and I would be able to focus and involve them as well.

As I lit the candle I told them I was going to pray and they could pray too or just send a message to daddy. I stood up and not really knowing what to do recited the Mourner’s Kaddish. I got half way through and just started to cry – not just cry - go hysterical. I put my hands over my face and tried to hold it together which only made me cry harder. I looked up, afraid that I was worrying them and said, we are going to be fine, really we – and then my six year old said, mommy you’re interrupting my praying. I looked over at him and watched as he was having an entire conversation, his mouth moving hands waving – but in total silence. My four year old also was praying but never stopped eating her dessert.

When I was finally able to finish the prayer I said a few words to my husband and at this point the six year old was in tears and came running into my arms crying. I hugged him and grabbed the four year old and we sat at the table for a while just crying and possibly remembering.

I almost asked my son if he still thought four times a month was a good idea – but I realize a six year old wouldn’t really pick up on my sarcasm.

I think in a way lighting the candle with them makes it more meaningful. I didn’t expect us not to cry and be upset – and at the very least they understood why I was crying. Then they watched me pull myself together and clean up after the meal – and all went back to normal – well our new normal anyway.

I put the children to bed and went on to tackle more packing. But instead I am sitting here writing, because tonight I just can’t do it. I feel him all around me and it just seems surreal that he is dead.

I found a scrapbook from our wedding and he looks so happy and alive in photos that it just doesn’t seem possible that all that occurred is really real.

I am trying so hard to not look back, but the longer I hold off the more painful it is when I do slip back down memory lane. I miss him so much and miss his laughter and miss every single thing that used to piss me off.

So like I said, it is really not easy being a Jew with a dead husband but I guess deep down it is just really not always so easy being me.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Modern Family

The children and I spent the last three days with family. It has been a long vacation and though I have barely packed – it was worth it. We spent one day with my sister, her husband and children. One day with my husband’s brother and family and today we spent with my husband’s ex-wife, her husband and my step-son.

I suppose we have the quintessential modern family. All I know is that my children have many people who love them and to me it doesn’t really matter how they came about. What is interesting to me is the family dynamics, especially when I spend time with my husband’s family without him. Over the last few months we have been trying very hard to spend more time with each other. It is not hard or awkward, just different.

In a way my husband’s death has made us all closer. I think we all appreciate what we have more than ever before and realize that family must and always does come first. In the beginning it was really sad for me to be with everyone without him. But now, over time I realize we are just making new memories and starting new traditions, rather than dwelling on the old ones.

Today we spent in Central Park. My husband’s ex-wife and I were discussing how there really isn’t a term for her. How many wives with dead husband’s hang out with the ex-wife? It probably seems very weird to an outsider, but to us it really just feels natural. Our children share a father who is no longer here and she and I are very much in the same boat in a lot of ways. I have always liked her and now I love and adore her and couldn’t imagine my life without her.

We never did come up with a term for each other – I will have to work on this – as my dead husband’s ex-wife is just too wordy for me. Maybe DHEW or something.

When the children and I got on the train home my four year old daughter only wanted to talk to me about my birthday. She asked where I was having the party. I said we could have a small party in the house. Who is invited? she asked. I said that she was, her brother and her Nana, who will be coming in to help with the move. She asked me, can daddy come? I said no, he can’t come. She just looked up at me and suddenly cried – I miss my daddy! Oh no, I thought and just hugged her tight as the train lurched along. I am sorry daddy isn’t here I said over and over. After a few moments she looked at me and I was waiting for the next whatever to come. Can I have my chocolate lollipop? She asked. Of course I said.

Later when I tucked her into bed she asked me, is everyone a little bit sad that my daddy died. I said yes they were. But they don’t look sad, she said. I told her that not everyone was going to cry every time she saw them but they still miss her daddy and are sad. She said I miss my daddy and I am a little bit sad – but I am not crying either. I said that was totally fine. Then she peacefully went to sleep.

I feel just like my four year old. I am sad and missing him but am not going to cry. Though I say this and the tears immediately well up in my eyes. But I am proud of myself for how I dealt with my demons over this past weekend. Maybe because a lot of the pictures are packed and the only images now are the ones in my head. I am proud of myself because every time I thought about anything horrible, I was able to just push it away somewhere and focus on the present.

I don’t know if this is the right thing to do. I hope the pushing away doesn’t one day catch up with me. I have to believe that this won’t happen. I have lived and breathed with these awful images for months now. I have let them take over my heart and my mind freely for so long – they can’t – they just can’t protest when now I choose to tuck them away for a while.

We move in eleven days and the sun is shinning and I am trying with every ounce of my being to be fine with everything going on. I have called in the troops to help me pack next week. And if all else fails, I have my modern family.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Grief

Last night I dreamt that my husband called me on the telephone. He wanted to know what I was doing to miss him. I told him I cried everyday and thought of him constantly. I told him how the children and I speak about him and miss him terribly. He kept asking the same question over and over again. How am I missing him? How am I missing him? I kept answering until my voice was dry. Finally I asked him – do you miss us? Silence. Just utter silence. I woke up soon after with an aching in my heart. What does this dream mean? – please like I really know.

Six months is soon approaching and I think I have gotten no where. All I do know is that I totally get this grief thing now. I am not sure how to explain myself but I will try.

I have good days and terrible days. The missing my dead husband is always constant. I don’t always want to talk about him – sometimes I only want to talk about him. But I am aware of how everyone in my life is moving on. They don’t ask the questions they all did in the beginning and I cherish this. I don’t want to always talk about just death all the time and I doubt anyone wants to hear about death all the time either. Grief is just this thin sheet I am always wrapped up in, that covers me - maybe it will forever. Grief is always present, even if sometimes I tuck it up my sleeve for an hour or two.

It doesn’t bother me that I am watching the world live life as usual. I think back to people I know over the years that have lost loved ones – I don’t ask anymore how they are doing - unless they bring it up. Almost as if asking would be reminding them about their loss. I won’t ever need reminding – it lives in my heart always. But grief is now something I want to do alone – in the shower, at night before I go to bed, whenever I find quiet moments alone. I don’t want to grieve publicly anymore – I just won’t.

In my grief therapy book I have found a lot of quotes that I can relate to. Who knew a silly little hallmark book that I shelved all these months would be the one thing that may save me. Maybe because it is just so simplistic. It takes the chaos of my feelings that I can’t focus on and puts it out there in simple phrases that totally makes sense to me.

“There may be a small place within you that remains hollow. Value it. This quiet, abiding feeling may be one of G-d’s ways of sustaining the connection to your precious loved one.”

If you don’t know how it feels to lose a loved one – you may not understand how scared I have been of this hollow, empty feeling I carry. But now not only do I realize why I feel this way, I can embrace and not fear it.

I am missing therapy this month to move. Honestly I am happy about it. The thing about my suicide group therapy is that it is just so freaking sad. Of course I don’t expect anyone to walk in and do stand up comedy but something uplifting would be welcome. But this is me. If I don’t have humor and laughter in my life then I have nothing. It is so hard to walk into a room you know everyone is every bit as sad and miserable as you. Who needs to be reminded how awful their life is? Someday I want someone to walk in with a big smile and say - I am doing great and someday you will too. But this doesn’t happen. Instead I hear about depression and there is crying and misery and life has no meaning and I will never be happy again. I feel this way too – but it is hard to hear other people say what you fear the most – that they are not over the death of their loved ones and they don’t think they ever will be.

So I decided today that I am sticking to my grieving in private. I don’t want to look and sound miserable to the outside world. I don’t want people to think they can’t talk to me about the good in their lives for fear of saddening me – I want people to be real with me – no matter what.

Though I count this blog as private, which is funny in itself – maybe I will blog forever about this. This blog is my comfort blanket that lies over the sheet of grief and fills the void of the evening after the children have gone to bed. When it is just me and I wander around the house missing him the most – when it is just me alone. So I blog to not feel so alone and of course to get it all out.

Every book I have read about grief says basically the same thing. There are stages you go through, though in no particular order- some may reoccur and some take longer than others. Thanks – that is helpful.

Personally my take on grief is this - I will never ‘get over’ the loss of my husband and father to my children and I will forever be a changed person. But how I change and what I do with the change is inevitably my choice.