Sunday, November 28, 2010

Something Different

Being a military wife, I have spent holidays without my husband. He has been on various temporary duty assignments, or deployed on many a holiday (although we had it better than most). Yet Ben's absence this year is obviously different. As Thanksgiving approached I had not yet decided what to do. Make the 10 hour trip to my home town? Make a small meal for my now small family? I had almost decided to make the trip when I heard about the blizzard that hit Utah. Nope, I was definitely not driving in that.

I opted for something different. I decided to take the kids to Disney for the day. Trading turkey dinner for chicken nuggets and fries. Disney?? On a holiday?? Yeah, that was a good idea. Hour long waits for almost every ride. It was exhausting. Yet we made it through the day. The next day I took the kids to Laguna Beach and remembered why I chose California. While my family was "buried" in snow in Utah, the kids and I walked barefoot in the sand and dipped our toes in the ocean.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Patience has never been my strong point. It's the American way. We have a DVR so we never miss a TV show we want to see. We have microwaves so our meals can be cooked super fast. We have cell phones with us at all times so we never miss a phone call!

I have been feeling less than patient about all the things I am doing in my life. I want to get back in school, but due to budget cuts California state colleges are limiting the amount of new students they can take. They are considering new student applications for the August 2011 semester.

I am trying hard to make this new area feel like home. I am slowly but surely making friends, yet I am frustrated with the process of having to put myself "out there" to meet people. Especially at a time when curling up on my couch seems so much more appealing.

I have taken a long break from the gym. I am realizing more and more that it is hard to be at a gym without Ben. We met at a gym over fourteen years ago. Something about being at a gym without him feels so wrong. Who am I kidding, everything without him feels wrong. However, denial can only take you so far. I have purchased a scale and have even bravely stepped on it. Lets just say it wasn't pretty. I have stepped up my exercise game, opting for running rather than the gym. The scale is moving in the right direction, however patience again escapes me, as it feels like it is moving so painfully slow!

I just want to feel all better, NOW! I want to be healed, well adjusted, excelling in school, surrounded by friends, in my amazingly tiny skinny jeans.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Let it Snow???

I have said it many times, I moved to California because I wanted to get away from the snow! Yet today when I was shopping at a local Home decor store and looking at Christmas decorations, I was drawn to all the snowmen. I didn't even notice it at first. Then I looked at my basket and had to laugh! Snowmen?? In Southern California? I decided that it was kind of a humorous way to add a little white Christmas to our otherwise sunny skies.

I have decided that I really want to find a potted palm tree and use it for our Christmas tree and then decorate it with snowmen ornaments. I think a little humor this holiday could go a long way!

Monday, November 15, 2010

No Such Thing

I remember when Ben first told me he wanted to join the Army. We were engaged, and planned on being "poor starving college students" for awhile. I was scared. I didn't want this man I loved doing such a scary job. However, he convinced me it was what he wanted to do. I remember asking him why he couldn't be an accountant or an insurance sales person. Why couldn't he do a "safe job"?

I also remember where I was when the planes hit the towers on September 11. So many of us do, and will forever. Suffice it to say, I was safe and Ben was safe. The accountants and the insurance sales people that worked in the towers that day, were not. I remember talking to Ben about how scared I was when he first joined the Army. I reminded him of the "safer" jobs that I wish he had pursued. I remember telling him that there was "no such thing" as a safe job anymore. Our world had changed.

Now I sit in my new house in California. I wonder if I will ever feel safe again. I have unpacked most of the boxes that I brought with me. I have a stash in my garage that I consider "unsafe". They are marked papers. The translation to me is cards and letters, pictures, things that are sure to break my heart all over again. I will go through them. I will save them and cherish them. I just need to be a little stronger.

Today I opened what I considered a "safe" box. It was marked board games. Although it was sure to bring back many memories of us playing together with our kids and our friends, I felt I could handle it. As I opened the box the first thing I saw was Ben's wallet, then pictures of us when Olivia was first born. I found myself crumpled up on the floor crying over this so called "safe" box and the memories it contained. I cherish those memories, but they remind me of all that I have lost.

I realized there is "no such thing" as a safe box. My world has changed. Each of these boxes hold memories of our fourteen years together. Of the life we have shared. The love we shared. Of the man that I am missing and will continue to miss for the rest of my life.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Building a Time Machine

I recently decided to start a widow/er group in my area. A line from the movie "Field of Dreams" kept playing over and over in my head "If you build it, they will come." I figured I couldn't be the only one here, wishing I had a network of friends that understood what I was going through. Turns out I was right. Friday we had our first activity. It was at a local winery, we had dinner and there was live music, and we just talked. There were five of us. The next day two more joined our group. We will meet again next month. Its hard to wish for new members, as the things that have to happen to make one eligible, are just terrible. Yet I know there will be others that find themselves, lost, feeling alone, unsure. I never imagined I would need to belong to such a group. This was not my story. Yet here I am.

I just watched "The Time Traveler's Wife". I know I am a little late to this one. I have missed a lot of things these past eight months. It was a great movie, better than I expected. I, of course, ended up in tears at the end of the movie. This woman received the one gift I wish for more than any other, one last embrace. Just one more time in his arms. Just one more time in my "home".

Thursday, November 11, 2010

My Veteran

I didn't know this day would affect me as it has. I have already passed so many milestones without him. His birthday, our anniversary, my birthday, Kellie and Joshua's birthdays. I have been looking ahead and worrying about the upcoming holidays. Trying to figure out what I should do to make it as easy as possible for the kids and I. I was looking so far ahead that I didn't see the pebble on my path that caused me to trip and skin my knee. As I sit here, cleaning my wound, I remember the man that I love. On this day that is set aside to remember those that have sacrificed so much for our freedoms, I think of the man that sacrificed so much for our family.

Ben was a lover of history. When we lived back east he was so excited to go and see all the Civil War battlegrounds. We went to Virginia and saw many things that were relevant to Thomas Jefferson, one of Ben's heroes. I remember him telling me the stories of these places, sharing with the kids and I the important things that had taken place at each location. He taught me so much. His love of history was contagious. The way he spoke about these things made even the most unwilling, (me), participant eager to learn. He had a way of bringing these "stories" to life.

Today I think of his history, of Ben's story. The stories his mother told me about him as a child, the man I fell in love with, the man I shared a life with. I think of all the things he taught me about myself, about the world, and about love. Today I miss him more than words can say. Today I miss MY hero.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Every Little Thing.....

I went to my SOS support group tonight. For those of you who don't "speak the language", it stands for Survivor of Suicide. Its the new terminology for those of us who are left behind. It is interesting as its not specific to spouses. Its includes all relationships, parents, spouses, siblings, aunt, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, you get the idea.

I never know what emotions a meeting will bring. Sometimes I cant stop crying, others I am just sitting there feeling like I am having an "out of body" experience, because I am not going through this, this could not be happening to me. Others I find myself trying to comfort those around me.

Tonight the topic of discussion was the "suicide trance". I had never heard of this before. This particular book was from a doctor who had interviewed people who had attempted suicide, but luckily are here to tell us about those experiences. These people talked of pain that they could not find their way out of. The only answer was to "end it". Once this decision had been made, they felt free and could not be talked out of it.

They talked of making lists of those who were responsible, or of people who would be better off without them. It was a common theme. The belief that their loved ones would have a happier life if they were no longer in it.

I don't know much, but I can tell you that my life is not better without Ben in it. All who know him will say the same. How could he be so far off the mark? He was an incredibly smart man. He was very intellectual. How could he NOT KNOW?? Just one of the many questions I will ask myself for the rest of my life.

As I left the meeting, the tears started, and like always, I had my little "de-briefing" session with Ben. I told him all the things I would tell him if he were here. I turned on the car, and the radio came was his ringtone. The one I have adopted and now have as mine. "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley. "Don't worry about a thing, cause every little thing, is gonna be alright". Maybe he was trying to tell me something.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Square Peg

So I used to be a square peg. Life experiences, hardships and joyous occasions have cut off my corners. I am not sure I am a round peg, but I am definitely no longer square. Since Ben died, I have been trying to figure out who I am. I have been trying to understand this new life and how it has/will shape me.

In some friendships, I actually found myself feeling like a naked round peg, trying desperately to put her corners back on. I just didn't "feel comfortable in my own skin". I felt I had to be a certain way, act a certain way, dress a certain way, although I had no idea what that "way" was.

I still don't know who I am without him. I still have no idea where this journey will ultimately take me. I do know that Ben taught me so much about myself. I know that he loved me, despite my chipped off corners, and maybe even because of them. In fact, I think he may have knocked one or two off for me.

Monday, November 1, 2010

End in Sight?

I am really missing having my best friend with me. I miss him making me smile and laugh. I missing having him to lean on, figuratively and literally. I miss talking to him about anything and everything. I am missing having someone to go places with, someone to come home to. I just miss sharing my life with him.

So this thought came to me, If I knew that this grief would last for a pre-determined amount of time, and then I would feel normal again. That this hollow place inside of me would feel full again. I don't even know if it would matter how far away, obviously in this case the sooner the better, but the amount is not my point. A year, 5 years, 10 years, 20?? If I knew there was a definite end point, then I think I could take it. Its this fear of not knowing, this fear that I am always going to feel this pain.

Please don't misunderstand me. I have moments of happiness. I am living with the three best gifts he ever gave me. They bring me hope, they make me smile and often even laugh. Olivia is full of life and happiness. Josh is so inquisitive and smart. Kellie is witty and clever.

Kellie and I spent all day Halloween scaring each other, jumping out and yelling Boo. At the end of the night she scared me so bad. All the kids had gone to bed (or so I thought) and I had gone to use the rest room. All the lights were out. I walked out of the bathroom and it was pitch black. There was Kellie (not that I could see her....but she yelled boo and I did the "happy dance", imagine me running in place very fast!! We laughed and laughed.

Then she went to bed and I was alone again. So I wish I knew when I, or IF I will feel "normal" again. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, sometimes faster than others, hoping that I will get there. Wherever "there" is.