Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Well. It’s New Years again.....

My dearest Nathan,

It’s New Years again. Another year without you has come and gone.

Hold on I need to take a second to let that sink in.

So, 2018 was hard, but I have finally started dancing with my grief  more than I am being crushed by it. Those are words I never imagined I’d say but I have and I will continue in 2019. The start of the second year was so so hard. The end was both harder and easier all at once. It was beautifully bittersweet in moments. There were simply sweet moments and admittedly totally bitter moments. I suspect the third year will be much like that, two completely contradicting things all at once. Easier and harder. Beautiful and ugly.  Both bitter and sweet and especially both heavier and lighter.  I have never been afraid to sit with and experience my grief. I’ve never been ashamed to speak about it or to acknowledge it and I’ve never been scared of the words suicide or mental illness because they are my reality and they shouldn’t be so stigmatized.

What I have been afraid to do is to let myself get lost in the joy of moments. To hope for anything besides what I know is on the other side of heaven. I haven’t allowed myself to hope for my children’s futures or for my future. I haven’t planned or dreamed. I have felt guilty for laughing and finding joy and happiness but this year I’m letting that go.

I will always have pain. I will always have so much love for you and I will always miss you as much as I loved and continue to love you, but I am going to allow myself to plan and to hope and to dream and to laugh and to remember that it’s okay for me to continue to live. My life ended with yours but it started over too and I am giving myself permission to remember that you would want that. That you see me and you see our kids and you smile when we smile and laugh when we laugh and you want us to dream and to hope and to plan and to love life. I am going to share my story and my hurt....our story  and my happy and watch as through our darkness Jesus continues to bring light to other people.  He uses the broken people. The dark stories and though he’s been using ours I’m going to open myself up to that even more so.

We are allowed to grieve and to hurt and to cry and to miss you, those things never really end they just get different BUT I am freely reminding myself this year  that when we do ALL of the things in the previous paragraph we are honoring your memory just as much if not more than when we are weeping.

2019 will be a year of continued grief but more than that a year or love, laughter, joy, and growth in person and in Jesus.

Until the next letter,

We love you. We miss you. Forever.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Two years without you.

Anyone who has spent any length of time with me recently knows I’ve been dreading today. Dreading it the same way I did last year and likely the same way I’ll dread it again next year. My mind spent all of yesterday trying to make itself believe that it was the seventh yesterday as if skipping today would someone how bring you back or make this whole thing easier. 

Unfortunately you can’t skip a day or remove it from the calendar and wishing someone back to life just doesn’t work no matter how hard you try and trust me, I have tried. 

People give suggestions on what they think or hope will make it easier. Dating, moving, traveling, taking down his pictures, Jesus, and so much more.  Sometimes I wonder if they’re trying to help me feel better or themselves but it doesn’t matter, I’ve learned most people mean well regardless. They miss the mark with their suggestions.  They forget that even when or if I choose to date again that, that won’t negate from the love i still and will continue to have for you and it certainly won’t stop the grief. I have enough widowed friends to know this with certainty and quite frankly I wouldn’t want to take either away either.  No not even the pain, as crazy as that sounds but I’ll save that explanation for another time. There’s the people on the other side of the coin who want me to wear black and a veil and be in a constant state of agony.....luckily I can roll my eyes at that because you’d have never wanted that for us. 

They forget that if even if I traveled eventually I’d have to come back and though I’d have enjoyed myself, nothing would be different upon return.   Talking down your pictures? That’s not even a suggestion I entertain, rather just smile and shrug. The only two they hit the mark with is moving and Jesus. 

I’ve considered moving recently. Not now but in a few years. It’s a nice thought, knowing that I can come back often to visit and that even when I pass, my body can be brought here to be buried next to you regardless of where I live but I wouldn’t have to be surrounded by the places that still bring the trauma of that night and the heaviness of your loss to the forefront of my mind and make me feel like I’m drowning when I least expect it, it’s an almost peaceful thought. There’s the people on the other side of the coin saying “what about the good memories, won’t you miss them?!” these are the ones who have never experience something like this. They don’t realize that the good memories are always with me, they’re what bring me peace in the hard moments. They can’t be ignored the way that the painful ones can.  Yeah sometimes moving sounds nice. 

And Jesus. We both know that outside of the deep love I have for our children Jesus is the only thing that’s gotten me through. That has helped me find a new normal. That has helped me navigate this. I don’t know how other people do it without, I sure couldn’t. 

It’s been two years or rather it will be at 8:03pm.  Somethings are still the same, I have great family and friends, some old, the ones you would expect like Tahnya Nicole and Lindsey, but some really wonderful new ones too like Cortnee and Raquel,  there’s others too, I think you’d really  like most of them. I’ve lost some friends too, by choice and it really wasn’t as painful as you’d imagine. I think when you’ve gone through the worst, It makes everything easier. That and I’ve learned in your loss that I don’t have time to allow toxicity into my life. We already carry enough pain without anyone adding to that. 

It’s been two years and I laugh more freely and without feeling guilt that you can’t.  I find joy in our children and I can listen to music without wanting to crawl out of my own skin for the most part. I’m still so angry with God sometimes, but now it’s different. It’s not constant and not to the point where I consider leaving him entirely. 

It’s been two years and I can get through most days okay. I’m in a constant state of exhaustion but not a constant state of pain or panic. I’m still in a constant state of missing you but I now smile when I think of all our memories instead of wanting to die to be with you.  I’m still in pain. I still cry and I still want you daily, but I’ve also found some joy and happiness. 

It’s not better. But it’s different and I’ll take that.  730 days without you and instead of wishing I was dead with you, I try to live for you. 

See you someday soon, babe. 

I love you. The kids love you. We miss you. Forever. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A letter to our daughter on her second birthday

Dearest Nathan,

You should have been here to share in the joy of our daughter’s second birthday but you’re not. You’ve missed this and so many other things and right now.... right now it’s too painful to address this as evidenced by my lapse in entries so instead I’ll share with you the letter I wrote to her. Our sweet wild baby.

My darling Aria-Lyn,

Happy birthday, baby girl! Can I even say that anymore? After all two is hardly a baby…no, it’s official: my baby is no longer a baby. And, while part of me is grieving that you’re no longer the tiny infant you used to be, the whole of me is excited for who you are now and who you are becoming. 

This has been a year of incredible growth and change for you. This week I was looking back at some photos of you from this past year and I couldn’t believe how much you have grown in 12 short months. 

You went from being a tiny, sickly (but still so beautiful) baby who was just learning how to crawl (and by crawl, I mean that adorable little scoot that you used to do!) to a bright-eyed toddler in who quite literally never sits still, running after her brother with her pigtails bobbing. You went from tasting your first mashed-up foods and absolutely hating them to out-eating what your dad used to eat at most meals which is really saying something, because boy could he eat!  

Every day I look at you I see a bit more of the girl you are becoming, and it’s beautiful.
Your personality has grown with you this year, too. You are incredibly caring and loving when you want to be, whether he is sad or hurt, you have a tender compassion for your brother, though admittedly as much as you love each other you fight enough you make me want to rip my hair out. 

Speaking of fight, a few weeks shy of this day, it happened. You reached the terrible twos, and suddenly everything was even more dramatic than before. I wouldn’t have thought it possible because you’ve always been a vocal, spirited girl, but you have become even more vocal. More spirited. More stubborn. More independent. More loving. More emphatic. And you can throw quite the fit and you do. Often. Little miss think she’s in charge. A wild woman with more sass than most people can handle. 

As challenging as your temperament is and will continue to be for me and my constant quest to teach and discipline appropriately and in a way that still shows you love, i am actually very happy that you are your own little person even at this young age. You know what you want, even if you don’t yet know what you need, but that’s a struggle even for adults sometimes, and once you know what you want you are not easily deterred. That won’t be a bad thing as you get older. 

You can definitely hold your own and all I can say is, good luck to anyone who messes with you! Between your over-protective older brother–and your ability to take down a full-grown adult with your tackles, nobody should ever give you any trouble! I’m also pretty sure that you’re not going to be allowed to date until you’re in your 30’s, but we can have that conversation later.

You are finally walking and catching up in all the areas there has been struggles due to health issues and the complications that a baby suffers after losing a parent.   

You have overcome so much and I can’t even imagine what adventures still lie ahead, but I am so excited to watch because this year, your third year of life, will bring so many new opportunities and growth. This year will bring preschool (WHAT?!), potty training....which means we will officially be a diaper-free household–sweet Jesus, pinch me is this is real?  I am a little terrified for the latter because as easy as potty training your brother was I think you will be a struggle.  This third year will bring our first multi-word conversations, travels, and so much more.

Please remember that as you grow, there will be people along the way who will try to tell you that what you want to accomplish is impossible. That you are not good enough, that you are not strong enough, that you are not enough. I hope you stay as pure as you are now, to know what you want and go after it regardless of the naysayers. You can do away with the tantrums, but please stick to your guns and keep that determined nature. It will serve you well in life.  And always remember you are enough. You are strong. You are brave. You are beautiful. You are loved and you always have a safe place with me to land. 

Nurture your loving side, too. You can never give too much love to the people close to you.  You can never tell them you love them too many times. Be free with your kindness, with your smiles and laughs.

Remember, when you get hurt you gotta “shake it off, shake it off....cause haters gonna hate hate hate”.   This applies to more than just a booboo on your knee. You’ll see.

Aria-Lyn, I just can’t wait! Life with you is so exciting albeit also exhausting! 

Thinking back on how far you’ve come in two short years, I can’t help but be amazed. It feels like just yesterday we were welcoming you into the world, and yet simultaneously it feels like you’ve always been a part of our lives. And maybe that’s true. Maybe a piece of my heart has always belonged to you, even before you were born–it just wasn’t until I met you that I knew who that piece belonged to or even recognized it was there. 

My heart belongs to you and your brother, yes you must share and I hope you always know how much joy, how much light, laughter, and love you bring to our family.  I still can’t believe that you’re mine. Happy birthday, baby girl (and as I tell sawyer, you’ll always be my baby). Two down, and many more to go.

I truly believe you are destined for greatness. Don’t forget to be graceful and gracious in all your successes and failures. We love you so much. 

Happy birthday. 


I love you, Nathan James. So do the kids and we miss you so so much. 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Happy father’s d in Heaven

This is your second father’s day in Heaven and it’s still so surreal.  Grieving your loss was hard but grieving it for our children assed a larger layer.  

You loved Sawyer as your own and you were the first man Aria-Lyn ever loved. It may seem so strange to the latter since you were around her for such a short time, but given her body’s physical reaction and also the colic that set in almost immediately after you died, it’s obvious. To me, to friends, and even to her doctor. You were such an involved dad and in the two short years with Sawyer and the even shorter month with Aria, you created so many memories with them and even though she may never remember there are so many photos to show her and even more people to share stories of your love for her, with her. Especially her brother, he already tells her about you. 

Some days are harder than others, many involve me thinking about what you have missed out on and will continue to. In those moments I try to remember that you continue to go through life with us, just in a different way. Just looking at Aria is a reminder that you will always be one of the best parts of our family. 

Most people say Aria-Lyn is your spitting image and other than the eyes and the red in her dirty blonde hair, I agree , but then there are the people that  never got to meet you that say She looks like me. I smile and shrug and tell them that they’d change their mind if they saw you. 

You’d be so proud of both of them. They argue and are mean to each other all the time but Sawyer is Aria’s fiercest protector just the same. She’s finally getting the courage to walk. It’s a soul process particularly since she got so sick.  She’s such a happy baby, a lover, wild, daring like you, no fear. Her giggle is one of the sweetest sounds in this world. She points to your photos and smiles and says dada. Don’t worry she knows who you are and she always will. 

Sawyer played t-ball. He hated it and insisted it was fake baseball because he had to use a tee instead of it being thrown. He only liked going to games to get an “atorgator” he still loves to ride his bike and go to bmx though with school and baseball  he didn’t go as much this year. He talks about you EVERY time he rides.  Actually, he still talks about you all the time and still sleeps with Nate the lion. Aria sleeps with her pink giraffe. He says it makes him feel closer to you. He sleeps with his blanket made of your shirts and your pillow too. For the same reason and I hope one day Aria will feel the same about her stuffy and blanket. 

You were the best dad, I hope you know that now. They were so blessed to have you for the time they did even though it needed and should have been longer. We love you. We miss you. Forever.  Happy Father’s Day

Happy birthday


I posted on Facebook and Instagram for you on the 8, but forgot to put it here which is why this seems late. 

Today would be your thirty first birthday and the second one you’ve spent in heaven, the second we’ve been without you. 

This isn’t the way it should have been. I should have woken you up at midnight to make sure I was first to say happy birthday. I remember the night of your last birthday, laying with my head on your chest listening to your heart beat, you sighing contently and talking sleepily about how your next birthday we would be a family of four and you couldn't wait. In that moment I fell in love with you all over again. 

I hope you knew in life that you didn't just have my heart, you were my heart. I loved you more than anything else. I was so proud of the man that you were and no matter what anyone else thought or said I was so proud to be your wife. I still am.  I guess I  find comfort in that if you did not know then, you know now. 

I wish that you were here celebrating with us. I wish I could watch you play with the kids. I wish we were planning to our next family vacation. Most of all I wish you were here to hug me. To tell me that you love me. To reassure me that I am a good Mama and that everything will be okay.  I guess everything is okay though isn’t it? We breathe now without having to think about it and we laugh and we smile and play, most of the time more than we cry and we do it in your memory. We hold our memories and they bring more joy than pain now and I am thankful for the time I had with you even if I still wish it was more. 

I talked to one of your friends recently and he told me one of your favorite stories, too much to drink and a donut shop. I think your friends think about you as much as we do and that makes my heart happy too. I think it would make you happy to realize you mattered more than you ever realized. 

We miss you. Hug my mom for me. Hug your mom and the rest of our family members for me.  Enjoy celebrating with them and with Jesus. I can't wait for the day we are reunited. 

The kids and I, your family, and many of your friends.... we all love you. We miss you. Forever. 

Happy birthday, Baby.

"Just because you're gone doesn't mean that I've moved on. I still love you just

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Mother’s Day is bittersweet

Dearest Nathan,

Mother’s Day is totally bittersweet when you’re widowed.  I love my kids with every fiber of my being. I am so thankful to be their mother and I would immediately take a bullet for them in the event that it was necessary. Those sweet babies in those pictures are literally the only reason I am here and made it through the first months of grief. They are why I am stronger now than I ever have been and why I make sure that good comes from their daddy passing. They are literally my heart and soul BUT.....

Widowed parenthood means that sometimes you wish you didn’t have your kids, not because you’re selfish or because you don’t love them with all your being but because watching them grieve might slowly kill you. And trust me they grieve. The doctors say a lot of Aria’s health issues are from grief and the stress of losing a parent and if you take even five minutes to talk to Sawyer you’ll walk away knowing how much his heart aches.

It’s feeling like you’re failing because your grief pains them.  Because you can’t stop either of your hurt and because you know it doesn’t get better it gets different and you learn to live with it and find joy in your new normal.

It’s the worry that they might do the same thing that their dad did because statistically just the fact that he died by suicide means that they are more likely to also die that way.

It’s the guilt that comes with knowing what they’re missing and wondering if you could have done more. It’s the guilt that comes because there are some days you wish they could just go away so you could have a second to just breathe.

It’s the worry about what happens to them if something happens to you and yet the indescribable pull towards wild and reckless abandon which just so you are aware, creates more guilt.

It’s the guilt that comes from not being able to protect them from the tragedy  that they’ve had to endure. The worry that you yell too much from a combination of stress and grief. The lack of patience. The worry that you’re not doing enough to prove that you love them

and the secret nagging voice in your head that tells you they lost the better parent. You’re failing them. You will continue to fail them and everyone knows it. It’s a matter of when and not if. All anyone sees is the poor pitiful widow and that’s all they’ll see too.  You try to quiet that voice but sometimes it’s enough to drive a person mad.

Mother’s Day isn’t joyous most of the time anymore, it’s just another reminder of what we lost and what we deal with everyday.   It’s loving your kids but wishing they had something different.
An example of reckless abandon 

Friday, May 4, 2018

I’m a different person...

I posted a video on Instagram of a song I composed.  It is the last thing I ever composed. It was in December 2016 when I felt everything and nothing all at the same time.  I could barely remember my own name let alone to eat or to sleep.  I couldn’t close my eyes without seeing his final moments and breathing, something that comes so innately suddenly took so much work. December was a month I didn’t actually believe I’d survive, I’d tell people I was fine just so that they’d stop talking because the sound of their voices literally made my insides hurt.

I remember very distinctly waking up and this melody being stuck in my head and no matter how much I cried or prayed or tried to cancel it out by listening to my baby’s breathing beside me, it wouldn’t go away and so I hummed a recording of it into my phone. One that’s long since been deleted and the next day as I sat at my friend’s house, wearing pajamas (yes, pajamas) that made little sense for the weather because I’d given up on both wearing anything but pajamas and his old sweatshirt unless I had to and on taking care of myself beyond what my friends and family mandated as a must to be considered “moving forward healthily”, reminding myself to breath in and then out and then rinse and repeat I listened to that recording and somehow put it into a blend of music notes.

I still have no idea where it came from or why. And it’s strange to watch it now because I  don’t really enjoy playing anymore. The videos I post seem like ages ago, like I’m watching an entirely different version of myself play and I am okay with that because I breathe without thinking about it, I can genuinely laugh with people without any sense of  guilt, I remember to eat and to sleep, and I tell people I’m fine not because I’d do anything to stop them from speaking even one more word, but because I really am fine. 

get paid to write articles and people genuinely want to hear what I have to say. I’ve spoken to amazing people like Trent Shelton and I tell a story of devastation in order to lift others up. I’m a different person than I was when I had him. When he was here and his smile was the best thing in my life.  Now I have other things and that’s okay.  I don’t argue as deeply. I let things go that don’t matter and hang on tightly (maybe to the point of obsession) the things and to the people that have touched my life or that I believe in so deeply, even when other people don’t understand why. I’m not as stubborn and I’m much patient and forgiving.  I like to think I’m better than I was but that’s hard to judge yourself on. 

That’s not to say I don’t miss him. That I don’t think about him. That I don’t  talk about him. I do. I do all of those things daily. But I’ve learned to live without him. I’ve learned to be happy without him. And I’ve learned that’s okay. That’s what he’d want.  And it’s okay that I’m a totally different person than the girl that composed this, what would be 2 years ago in December, because  I make a choice daily,  that he simply couldn’t make anymore. I make a  choice to live, because he couldn’t. And not just live but live a life that brings me joy and hopefully in some small way brings those that are lost a little bit of hope.  And I think he’d want that for me too. 

Design by Imagination Designs