Keepin' on

To the love of my life,

It's been two weeks now since I've seen your face. Two weeks since I kissed you, watched you hold our babies, told you I loved you. And I still can't believe it to be true. I can't believe I'm never going to see you walk through the door again. I can't fathom never laying in your arms again. I can't believe you'll never tuck your children into bed again. I can't believe you'll never meet your son. This can't be happening.

Baby, my heart is shattered. Never in a million years did I ever imagine walking through this life without you. I feel cheated. There are so many things we still have to do, so many places to go, so many dreams to achieve together. I don't want to share these things with anyone else. I don't want to go on without you. Even though I know God is there and did not cause this to happen, I can't figure out why He didn't prevent this from happening. We still need you. I still need you.

The last two weeks have been an absolute blur. Your funeral was the most incredible thing I've ever witnessed. You touched so many lives, and I am in awe of the man that you became, especially over the last year. It was a true testimony of your heart, and I know you would have been proud. Your funeral is Canada was just perfect for the other part of your heart, and where you will forever lay to rest. I know that's what you wanted. It seemed ironically fitting to burry you on Opening Day of hunting season, your favorite day of the year.

Speaking of irony, I can't help but feel your presence around everywhere. I used to think it was crazy when people talked about things like that, but I know you're there. I can hear your voice in my head. I can feel you watching over me, protecting our children. It's comforting to know you're there, and yet makes me ache to not be able to reach out and touch you, hold you, or talk back to you.

If there is one good thing out of all this I can say, it's that I have been surrounded by love every step of the way. I can feel your petition of protection over me. Since two weeks ago, everyone imaginable has stepped in to help and remind me to keep breathing. I know you're trying to tie up all the loose ends that you left and get things done that you wanted to do in your life. You're taking care of me through my incredible friends and church family. Your number one concern was always providing for your family, and you're still doing it. People I've never met before are praying and donating. Fixing my car and our home. Coming over and bringing joy to the kids when I have none to offer. I've even noticed you mending relationships that have hurt me in the past, or worried you. I'm humbled to see how many lives you touched. You always had a great judge of character, and that shows in the people you chose to surround yourself with, they are some of the most amazing people I know. I don't know where I'd be right now without them. But even with all these people surrounding me and doing things for me, it doesn't feel right without you there. Someone came and fixed our screen door the other day, and it made me so mad that you weren't going to be around to see it or appreciate it.

Every time I feel a moment of strength, like maybe I can take the next step, something reminds me of what I'll never have and my chest starts to burn, my eyes well up. Each morning there are those few moments as I wake up and realize my reality, I can feel my heart rate rise as I come to terms with what I have to wake up to: Emptiness. Loneliness. I've lost my purpose. I feel guilty for laughing, or even smiling. I look at our beautiful babies and it physically hurts to know I can never give them all the things you provided. To know they won't have you around for their sporting events, to take Caleb and Carter hunting and fishing, to walk your daughter down the isle someday....oh God, baby. This is so hard. We've prayed for you every night, asking you to be our angel and watch over us. I give them a kiss from you every night, and promise them that I will never let them forget you. But they're so young. Faith told me yesterday she missed your tickly beard, and I lost it. What happens on the day she can't remember what it feels like? When they forget what you smell like? What your voice sounds like? They're so young and innocent, they don't deserve to grow up without you. The best thing about becoming a mother was watching you become a daddy, and it kills me that I won't get to witness that again.

I still feel like I'm watching all this happen to someone else. Not me. When I realize it is me, it's too much to bear. I just wish I could make sense of it all. I wish I knew why. I walk around feeling numb, not knowing what to do next. I think about the box of letters I gave you on our wedding day, each one to be opened on different milestone anniversaries.  I'll never get to celebrate them with you. I even wrote you a letter to open if I ever died before you. I wish you had one for me, just so I could have some source of strength right now. I think about all the vacations we'll never take. The grandchildren you'll never hold. I think about the letters I have from you, from when we dated and random days since then. I'd never experienced true unconditional love until I met you. No one has ever loved me as much as you did. And I fear no one ever will. No one could ever replace you.

I've never in my life experienced a paralyzing pain like this. I have to put up a wall to get through the day. Over the weekend, I sang at the rally you and I were supposed to do together. I knew you'd want me to go, and I promised you I'd get through it, but it was hard. I couldn't think about the words I was singing, about how great and wonderful God is, because frankly right now, I don't feel them. But I know you did, and I know others need to. It was good to be with friends, but it hurt. It was healing and hindering for me at the same time. But I know you were blessing people over the weekend, and that's why I got through it. It just didn't feel right without you there.

I don't know when I'll stop crying myself to sleep. Right now, it seems like never. I don't know when I'll stop thinking about you every second, or picturing you falling from your tree stand. I don't know when I'll stop waiting for you to wrap your arm around me and put your hand on my belly to feel Carter kick. I don't know when I'll stop picking up the phone to text you something funny or ask you a question. I don't know when I'll stop thinking about your family and the pain they're suffering as well. And Mark and Jon and the horrific experience they've had to go through, finding you. I don't know when I'll stop staring at your side of the bed, aching, praying that if I close my eyes hard enough and ask God enough, you'll appear when I open them.

This pain may never go away, but I know you would hate to see me like this. You couldn't stand to see me cry. I know you want me to keep my head up and put another foot forward. Everyone keeps telling me it's better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I wholeheartedly agree with that, even though it hurts to think about. The loss part is much harder than I could have ever imagined, but I wouldn't trade the last 8 years of my life for anything. And so, for you, I will keep on keepin' on. And for our children because if it weren't for them, I'd be curled up in a corner somewhere. They're the only reason I wake up right now.

Please watch over me, my love. I don't know where I'd be without you, and now I don't know where I'm going without you. I'm scared to death and I really need your guidance. Help me find the peace that passes understanding. I can't believe I'm gonna have to do this without you, but I guess that's what comes next, right? And for you, baby, here goes nothin...

I love you forever and always.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This day will forever be burned into my brain and into my soul.

Since it was Tuesday, we dropped off Caleb on the way to school in the morning at Miss Lora's house. I dropped off Jeremy at work, right next door to the preschool. Tuesdays and Thursdays are my 'easy' days at preschool, since I've only got 4 girls in class. The day went off without a hitch. Actually, I remember mentioning to Jeremy that the morning got off to a good start.

After school was over, I called Jeremy to see if he wanted to come with me to pick Caleb up, since I have to come back to the area to work at the gym. Then we could all do lunch together as a family. I am so so thankful that he did. When I pulled up to the shop, he opened the door with a big smile, looked at me and his baby girl, and said "I swear this is the best part of my day."

We decided to have lunch at a KFC/A&W that we had only stopped at once before, actually just a few weeks ago. I remember specifically the sweet lady at the counter telling me she remembered my 'sweet little family'. And I remember beaming with pride.

Our lunch was just lovely. It seems silly, but I thought it even in the moment. It was a beautiful day, and Jer looked up at me a few times with that look and his crooked smile and mouthed 'I love you'. Even one of the workers came up and gave the kids a free pie - probably cause they were just so cute. Afterward, Jeremy took some pictures of the kids with his new iphone he had just gotten the Friday before. This is the last picture he took:

We drove Jer back to work. He actually sat in the passenger seat for a minute before getting out. He gave a big heavy sigh, put his hands on my belly and asked me how Carter was doing. I said fine, and he leaned over and kissed my belly (which he doesn't usually do except at bedtime). He told me he was going hunting in a bit after work, and I gave a pouty frown. He told me not to worry since sunset was early, he'd be home by 6:30-7:00 and he promised we'd spend some time together.

Jeremy sent a text to his buddy Mark (and boss) at 4:34pm. Something regarding work. At the exact same minute, I sent him a text. A simple "I Love You"

But, he didn't text back.

At about 6:30, I text him again. Then again. It wasn't like him to not text back, so I called him. No answer. Finally, just after 7:00, I text our friend Jon asking if he'd heard from Jeremy at all cause I hadn't. Neither had he, but he told me it was possible if Jer had got a deer, he'd be covered in blood or dragging it out of the bush and unable to get his phone. That's what I figured too, so I left it alone for a bit.

My sweet friend Sarah, and her sister Jennifer came over to watch Glee. I was telling them I was worried about Jer and kinda mad he hadn't written me back. Then we went on and on about how Jer had to listen to the A Cappella song in the episode, cause he would have loved it. Maybe he might actually like the show.

Jon text me again around 9 to see if I had heard from Jer. I had not, and Jon said he was gonna get Mark to go look for him. It wasn't right that he wasn't home well past sunset, and hadn't called anyone by now. I knew he was right, but never in my wildest dreams imagined the unimaginable.  

10:46pm: I text Jon to see what was going on. No was answering their phones and I was getting worried.

10:48 Jon called me. The next few seconds are a blur. I remember Jon saying that Mark found Jer and thought he was dead. I was screaming at him saying it couldn't be happening and it wasn't funny. He told me the paramedics were there and working, so I was sure he'd be fine. But he'd been out there so long already. Next thing I know, Sarah and I were driving as fast as possible up to the spot 20 minutes away. I remember hyperventilating, but no tears had come yet. I wouldn't let myself believe that my 31 year old, 6 foot tall, 225 pound husband would be dead at the bottom of a tree stand. It wasn't possible. Eventually, the phone was handed to Mark who could only repeat "I'm sorry."

As soon as I pulled onto the street, got out of the car, saw lights flashing and Jon heading toward me, the tears flooded me. This could not be happening. They were still out in the woods with Jer, and they led me to the back of an ambulance. They asked me some questions (I don't remember what), then asked if there was anyone I needed to call. All I could say was 'Call people? I can't call people if there's still a chance. Are you sure he's really dead?'

I tried to call my mom. Jon had to take over. Tried to call Jer's parents, again, Jon had to take over. All I could think of was 'my babies don't deserve this. How on earth am I going to breathe without Jeremy?'

And I couldn't. Everyone else did it for me. It seemed to take hours before they brought Jeremy out of the woods, and they convinced me not to be there to see him. Even though I saw him the next day at the examiner's office, I regret that I didn't see him then. I think my nightmares are much worse than reality.

I watched the vehicles drive away. I sobbed the entire way home. My heart had broken into a million pieces, and could literally feel them shattering. I couldn't and still can't understand why this is happening. 

It hurts to write this. To relive this. But I keep reliving it in my head every hour and I needed a place to write it all down. I'm not sure where to go from here, I'm still suffocating with pain. I don't know where to go, what to do, and what to even ask for.

Most people don't know what they have until they lose it. I knew what I had, and I loved every minute of it. If you couldn't tell from my blog, my husband was an incredible man. And I'm terrified of figuring out life without him.


The worst day of my life

The worst day of my life does not even begin to scratch the surface...

Tuesday, November 9th, the love of my life was taken from me after falling from his tree stand. We still don't know yet if it was a result of breaking his neck, hitting his head, or something medical.

Today, I woke up to realize this nightmare is my new reality.

I don't have words today, but I will try to update everyone soon. I wanted to pass along the funeral info for anyone who might not have facebook. Please pray for my sweet babies who no longer have their incredible daddy. And for the life of his son, Carter, he will never get to hold. 

I love you more than words, baby!


A letter to Peanut

My dear sweet Carter,

It's hard to believe that my third trimester has already arrived. I'm terrified that we're not prepared for you, and yet more ready than ever to see your beautiful face. I can't wait to hold you. One thing I've learned about being a mother is that when my children are away from me for any period of time, I ache to hold them. And I'm already aching to hold you.

However, I'm enjoying these moments while they last, since I know they will be my last. You have really started moving lately, and I have to say it's something that will NEVER get old. Not in the middle of the night, not ever. It's the most incredible thing about being pregnant and I could just sit and feel you all day. Which is what Daddy and I do almost every night. We sit and watch you move and shake my belly before bed. Sometimes I'm afraid to move to put my hand on my belly in fear that you'll stop. Which is why your brother and sister haven't felt you yet (and the fact that they're too impatient to hold still and wait for it).

The thing that has been filling my mind and heart lately is how much you will be loved by your big brother and sister. They are so excited to meet you! They're already fighting over who's gonna to hold you and feed you. They pray for you every day, they include you in the family photos they draw, the words they know how to spell - you are already present and precious in their lives. What a lucky little guy you are to have these angels in your life already protecting you.

Speaking of angels, I must also mention what a blessing your Daddy is as well. Other than feeling life inside me, by far the coolest thing about being pregnant is sharing the experience with him. He's such a support, and he already loves you more than words. He takes such good care of me, I'd never be able to do this without him. He has big plans for you, buddy. Watch him carefully, and he will show you what it means to be a man of God who loves his family fiercely.

The fear of the unknown is still present. We still haven't even agreed on where we're going to put you! But now it seems as though you've always been a part of our family, I just couldn't imagine it any other way. I can't wait to welcome you to the world, baby boy.

I love you, Carter.



Rearranging Furniture

This post is long overdue.

A few months ago, I FINALLY got rid of our huge entertainment center and sold it on Craigslist. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, but it was way too big for our little space. 

Some friends of ours gave us their old entertainment center when they moved out of state, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with the room, but I had to convince the hubs to do it, as it was going to be a lot of work for him (rewiring and of course, all the labor!)

But, alas we have a new arrangement in our living room that really opens up the space and makes it feel a lot bigger. And, I love my new oversized clock I got for my birthday.



Don't mind the clutter. Next up, painting the walls!


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