Friday, December 31, 2010


Kellie and I were remembering today how much of a joker Ben was. He loved to pull pranks on people. Our house was constantly full of us teasing and playing around with each other. Of course Ben was the Ring Leader of such activity.

Early in our marriage Ben and I loved to turn the water to cold when the other was showering. It was hysterical to catch each other with this little trick, not so much to be on the receiving end. Brrrrr...... !! We also loved to hide around corners and scare each other. One of Ben's favorite tricks was to honk the horn when one of us was walking to the car. He always managed to do it when you were standing right in front of the vehicle, to get the full range of the scare. The trick Kellie and I were remembering today was when he would put a rubber band on the sprayer on the sink. When you would turn the water on for any reason, getting a drink, washing the dishes, the sprayer was activated by the rubber band and you would get soaked! He caught me with that trick so many times. It sucks when you fall for the same thing over and over!! He always managed to catch me when I had just gotten super comfortable and warm. I would hate it because I would be wet and cold and have to change my clothes!

Ben even took his pranks to the next level when Josh was a baby. One night I had gone out with some girlfriends and he stayed home with the kids. The next morning Ben kept saying that he heard Josh crying, yet when I listened I didn't hear anything. Little did I know he was just being impatient as he had pulled a major prank. After a few times I finally told him "If you hear Josh, you go and get him". From then on he waited patiently until Josh woke up. I went to get him and Ben had given him a mohawk!! At six months old!! After taking a few pics I shaved his head bald to match his Dad's. Lets just say I was less than pleased. He did this one more time a few months later and then again a few months after that, but that time he just took the clippers and shaved a stripe down the middle of his head (think reverse mohawk)!

Everyone who knew Ben, knew him to be full of life. Such a fun loving, playful person. He simultaneously kept me young and took years off my life (scare tactics). He was more than my husband, he was my best friend. He was more than my best friend, he was my playmate. How blessed I was to have this man in my life!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

One Phone Call

I think I have said it before, but if not, I will say it now, music really speaks to me. It has always done so, but even more so these days. I have heard the song "Closer to Love" by Mat Kearney many times but I really listened to the words today.

"She got the call today, one out of the gray, and when the smoke cleared, it took her breath away."

"She said she didn't believe it could happen to me, I guess we're all one phone call from our knees."

Ain't that the truth. So close to home. Some of you know, some don't, but he called me the day he took his life. Started out so cheerful, but it didn't take long for me to realize this was not going to be a good conversation.

So I came to the realization that for me grief these days is like a sleeping bear, I'm just tip toeing around it these days, certainly not ignoring it, very aware that it is near, and that one wrong move will awaken it. Music, regardless of the genre or tempo or volume, is often the crashing cymbals that awake that exhausted, angry , hungry bear right up.

Monday, December 13, 2010

People Need People

So I have been noticing a new job trend lately. The people who are hired to stand on the corner waving signs for different businesses to try and get your attention. Some are selling tacos or other food, some are selling real estate. The other day I saw a guy in a tuxedo dancing with a sign saying "Honk for Mr. tuxedo". Of course, I honked.

It got me thinking. Today's world has less contact. We go on facebook to keep up with friends, we email or text to check in with them. How often do we pick up the phone? Or send a letter or a card? As "connected" as this new world is, with our cell phones and laptops, we are losing our connections with PEOPLE.

In my current situation, I feel like I am feeling that more than ever. I have moved away from the people in my life. Some days I don't feel like talking to anyone, let alone seeing them. A text is my favorite form of contact these days. However, I know that I need more. I need more contact with actual people.

How to get there? All I can do is put one foot in front of the other.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Dream a Little Dream

I FINALLY had a happy dream about Ben, he was alive and well! In this dream, I was at some sort of party, and I was with a girl friend who was very sad and had attempted suicide very recently. I am not sure why, but Ben could not attend the party, so I was sticking pretty close to this friend to make sure she was okay.

Then the most wonderful thing happened, Ben surprised me and came to the party. I was concerned about leaving this friend alone, but somehow sensed Ben needed me as well. I explained I needed to talk to my friend for a few minutes but that I would be right back. I remember this sense of urgency to make sure he knew that I wanted to be with him and that he was my priority. He seemed to understand and so I went and talked to the friend and then returned to him. I remember trying so hard to make sure he knew how much he meant to me, how proud of him I was, that I loved my life with him. Then I kissed him!! And for no apparent reason I woke up from this dream. I laid there and willed myself to fall asleep again. I remember thinking I didn't get to enjoy that kiss long enough, that I didn't memorize every detail of his face, the sound of his voice, the touch of his hand. It was all very hazy and unclear. I finally got up and saw that it was 4:30 in the morning. Who wakes up at 4:30 in the morning on a Saturday? (I do these days, most days). I had fallen asleep on the couch again, so I decided maybe if I just went up to my bed and got comfortable that I could fall asleep again and hopefully dream of him again. No such luck. No matter how hard I tried I could not get back to sleep.

When something tragic happens you often hear people say they feel like they are in a bad dream and can't wake up. I have felt that way for the last (almost) nine months. Now finally I have a great dream and I can't stay asleep. Oh the irony!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Letters from Iraq

Ben started writing us these little cards about half way through his tour in Iraq. They were sweet and always included....
1) Remember when (some little memory of our lives with him)
2) A note from Iraq (something about his time there)
3) Looking forward to (something he wanted to do with us for the first time, or something he missed doing with us).

These are cards we will cherish as Ben didn't write a lot of letters. I always kept two or three unopened as I just wanted to make sure he made it home safely. I wanted to still have something from him until I actually had HIM with me. So, when he returned I opened all but one. I could never really explain why I didn't open that last letter. He was home safe and sound, yet I still kept one letter unopened. Funny thing was, it wasn't the last one he wrote me. The post mark was May and he returned in September.

I remember finding that card after his death. I remember wondering if I would ever be able to open it. There were several thoughts in my mind about it. This was the last card I would ever receive from him. What if it was a silly one, without anything meaningful to it? What if it didn't live up to my expectations of being something wonderful?

I sat and read his cards again today, I laughed and I cried. He was just so witty and fun and thoughtful. He really had these fun and sweet memories that he shared, and I am so glad to know that he remembered these special moments of our life together. I thought again about that unopened card. I held it in my hands and then I did something I didn't think I would do, I opened it. It was beautiful. It was a memory of September 11th, 2001. It was about how our perspectives changed that day. I only wish he would have remembered that on March 10th, 2010.