The world through death-colored glasses

Everything is different now.

Everything I do now has a different meaning, a different pain attached to it. Every movie I see and song I hear has a different meaning now - and they all seem aimed at making me miserable and reminding me of what I've lost. Every smile and laugh is masking hurt and despair. Every thought I have has attached to it a dreadful afterthought. Everywhere I go I am marked with a Scarlet letter, only it's a giant W on my forehead for everyone to pity.

Looking at the world through death-colored glasses makes everything dark and gray. It takes so much more effort to see anything, to want to see anything. It makes it hard to find joy in the little things. Instead it makes me want to wallow in my own self-pity. 

The only problem is, the world won't stop for me to wallow. No matter how much I've begged it to.

I hate this. I deserve a moment to stop and process. A moment to figure things out. Shouldn't everyone know what an incredible man the world has lost? Shouldn't everyone stop what they're doing?

Nope. The world keeps moving without me.

I've survived my first Christmas without Jeremy, somehow, without my consent. Even saying that makes his death seem so distant when it was still just weeks ago. I'm not ready to jump all these hurdles so soon. Or at all, really.  I didn't really face it until today how much I am dreading New Years. I knew it would be tough, but I was trying to face Christmas first. Now, I am getting sick to my stomach thinking about it. Facing a year Jeremy will never see, never be a part of, absolutely kills me. The first year memories will be made without him, the year his son will be born without ever meeting him...

The year I am forced to wear these damned glasses everywhere I go.

I'm dreading every second.


Dreaming of you

Last night was a rough night.
I laid in bed frustrated, wide awake, crying over the fact that I survived this week without my love. I didn't want to.
Praying for my 4-day-old niece who is not doing well. 

And wondering why. Questioning everything I used to know to be true. It just doesn't fit with my life now. I don't understand why Jer's family can't catch a break right now.

When I finally decided to try and give up to sleep, I rolled over to hear my sweet Faith gagging. I put my hand on her face, only to catch her vomit. So, for the next 3-4 hours, we were up, back-and-forth from the bathroom. My little princess is actually very sweet when she's sick, like she tries to make me feel better. She doesn't want to scare me or something. But I couldn't sleep cause every time she stirred, I shot up to make sure she was okay.

She finally fell asleep around 5am or so. I tried to redirect my thoughts to a new house and decorating things I want to do when I move, but the afterthought was always 'who really cares when Jer isn't here to enjoy it with me?'  Losing him has sucked the joy out of literally everything.

When I finally dozed off, I met Jeremy in my dreams. I had been waiting for him for 49 days now, hoping he'd show up and offer me some subconscious comfort, tell me it's going to be okay.

But no. In true Jeremy fashion, he showed up with a big smile on his face, laughing at me after my nephew had peed all over me. Oh, but it was good to hear his laugh, I've missed it so much. It was the kind of laugh that made his face go red, and I can't help but join in.

Then almost as quick as he entered, he left again. I jumped in the shower to clean up and asked someone to hand me Faith, so I could clean her up as well. Everyone in Jer's family looked around at each other, then at Jeremy, and he shrugged sadly and said "I'm sorry, I know I'm normally the one who would do that." I saw agony in his eyes.

Tears welled up in my eyes, he was gone and I was awake. I tried so hard to close my eyes and find him again, but I couldn't. So I just laid there in misery. Thankful that I got to see his face, his smile, but aching knowing I never get to really see it again. 

I know he was wanting to help, and couldn't. I know he would never leave me alone to fend for myself. My anger is never aimed at him, my sweet love. I know he would have never left me or his babies. It was like a precursor to the biggest nightmare I have yet to face: having his baby without him. I know he wouldn't have missed it for anything in the world, he never even missed a single prenatal visit I've ever had. And yet, I picture him standing in the distance, sadly shrugging in agony, wanting to help.

I hate waking up to a reality that is worse than a nightmare. 



A letter to Peanut

My dear sweet Carter,

This is by far the hardest letter I've ever had to write. I'm not even sure where to begin. Just three days after I wrote your last letter, I experienced my absolute worse nightmare: I lost your daddy, the greatest love of my life. And I've been drowning ever since...

Oh sweet boy, I can't describe the pain my heart feels when I think about the fact that you will never know the incredible man your daddy was. In your last letter, I told you I'd never be able to do this without him, and I really don't know if I can. I've never been so scared of anything in my life. So many things hurt to think about, but this is the hardest by a mile. Your daddy was supposed to be the first to hold you, like he was with Faith and Caleb. He was supposed to be by my side to welcome you into the world, love you, raise you, show you how to be a good man.

I wish I had something inspiring to say to you right now to take with you, but the truth is, I'm hurting too much. I'm trying so hard to stay strong for you and your brother and sister, but this is just not fair. There's no better way to say it: it's not fair. You don't deserve to grow up without a daddy. He was soooo excited to meet you. He was already dreaming of taking you and Caleb hunting and fishing, shooting and hanging with the boys. I just simply cannot be those things for you. I know I have to fill the role of two parents now, and I'm completely terrified. I depended on daddy for so much, I feel so lost right now.

If there is one thing I can say, it's that I promise to keep daddy's memory alive for you. I promise that you will know his face, and he will be a regular part of our daily conversation, because he will always be an important part of our family. I will try my hardest to make him known to you, so you can witness the impact your daddy had on the world, and you can still learn from his example. Another thing I can say is that you are loved. So many people are stepping up to watch out for us and take care of us. But I truly believe all of that is a direct result of the man your daddy became. A man who loved God and loved his family.

I may only have half a heart left right now, but I promise to give all that I have left to you. Please forgive me if I can't always be what you need in life. I truly don't know how I am going to do this, but I know we'll survive, somehow. We have to, or I'd have died of a broken heart by now. Daddy really has become our angel, and I know he's already looking out for us.

I love you, baby boy, and I will try my hardest to get us through this together. I hope the strain and stress of this great tragedy has not affected you too much. I have a feeling though, that you're already much stronger than I am.

I love you, Carter.



Autopsy Results

On the one month anniversary of Jeremy's death, I finally received a phone call from the funeral home saying that the ME report was in and the death certificates were ready.

But I wasn't ready for the results.

Jeremy died a natural death due to Hypertensive Arteriosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease. Basically, Jer died of a heart attack from a coronary heart disease that he's likely had for years.

This was worst case scenario.

In fact, it wasn't a scenario I even considered. I knew natural death was a possibility, but I was thinking along of the lines of a brain aneurism or something (he had a terrible migraine the night before he died). I'm glad to finally have an answer, but this one is really unnerving to me. After I got off the phone, I sat and sobbed. A heart attack?!? At age 31?!? Jer was a big guy, but he was not obese, he was very active and strong. I had built it up in my head that this was likely an accident, that Jer had just slipped and fell from his tree stand. That was easier because I know accidents happen. A heart attack is not supposed to happen this young.

I'm glad to know that he wasn't being careless on his stand. And from all the reading I've done since yesterday and the people I've talked to that have a lot more knowledge about this than I, I know it was probably something neither one of us would have known anything about. It was likely more a hereditary problem than anything else. He likely didn't fall too far off his stand either, as there was not much exterior damage (broken bones, blood, etc.) And I do know it was quick enough that even Jeremy probably didn't even know what happened. 

I guess I am thankful for what this meant for Jeremy: symptom free (no pain), and a very quick death, out doing what he loved. Isn't that how we all want to go? 

I'm still infuriated that God didn't prevent this. Or keep his heart going for a little longer. I'm frustrated that when Jeremy was in and out of the hospital over the last year and a half for stomach issues, nothing was detected. There's supposed to be a reason for this, right?

It better be a good one.


Still Standing

 Another week has gone by, and I can't believe I got through. The only credit I give for that is to all the prayers that have been lifting me up. I can literally feel them sometimes. I usually get to the end of the day and think 'How on earth am I still standing?' Sometimes, I really don't know how.

There are still a million things going on around me. My world is spinning. I can barely remember what day it is, let alone what I'm supposed to be doing in it. A lot of things are changing, possibly including my home, more details to come. I still have a ton of errands to run, loose ends to tie, future to figure out, etc. I have friends in town to help and keep me occupied, which is good.

But my heart still hurts. Tomorrow will mark one month since Jeremy's death and I can't believe it. It feels like just yesterday and yet so much has happened since. If I had known the last kiss goodbye I gave him would be forever, I would have begged him not to go. Or I would have kissed him harder. I almost asked him to come home for a family night since he was gonna go back out hunting in the morning, but I always hated asking him not to go hunting, I didn't want to be that girl. He loved it, and I didn't want to take him away from it or sound like I was nagging. I wish had, just this once.

I find myself staring at the computer a lot most days. Facebook, my blog....like I'm waiting for him to show up somewhere. Or to watch the world go by without actually having to take part in it. I was reading through all my emails from Jer: some for random things, some love notes, others for fun. But when he got his Mac awhile ago, he found these icards that he started to send me. I thought I'd share.

They're hard for me to read, especially the first one, but I can hear his voice when I read them, so I've read them a million times. I can't read them without crying and thinking about all the anniversaries or holidays I'll never celebrate with him, but my hearts swells at how much he loved me. I never deserved it, but I knew that. He was by far the best thing that ever happened to me, and I don't know how to build a future without him. I'm afraid to be alone, but I can't ever imagine sharing a love like that with anyone else. I know it's not something to think about right now, but it terrifies me. How can I ever give my heart out like that to anyone, friends, family, or otherwise, when it can be ripped out from under you at any second?

I'm sorry if this blog has become widow central, but I honestly have nothing else to say. I don't know where else to go. I have nothing else to talk about, write about, or think about. I can't bring myself to change the info on my profile yet, I'm just not ready for this all to be real. I can't admit that the word 'widow' is associated with me now. Widows are supposed to be old ladies who have lived fulfilling lives with their husbands, who have watched their kids grow old with their spouse, who have reached milestones, anniversaries, and traveled together. Not a young mom with a baby on the way. Why now?  The timing just doesn't make sense, and is maybe the most unfair reality of it all. I want to kick and scream that this isn't fair - I wish it would make a difference.

I know love like that doesn't happen to everyone. I definitely knew I was lucky, but if I had known it was only going to be for such a short time, I would have savored it more, valued it more, and soaked up every ounce possible out of it. I wouldn't have taken a moment of it for granted. 

Right now, this is the only real hope and comfort I can find:

You will grieve, but your grief will suddenly turn to wonderful joy when you see me again. You have sorrow now, but I will see you again; then you will rejoice, and no one can rob you of that joy. 
John 16: 20, 22



The last week has been madness. So many things going on, so many loose ends to tie, so many reminders of how my world has been flipped upside down.

I've been wanting to blog, but don't know what to say. I don't know how to go back to 'normal'. I don't know how to move on from all of this without sounding trite, or forgetting the affect this has on every facet of my life. I've been journaling and writing one long, continuous letter to Jeremy but a lot of it is uncensored, angry, and hard to swallow. And I didn't want every entry to be written to him, but that's the easiest way to get my feelings out and feel like he is still listening right now.

So, I guess I can start by telling you about my day yesterday. What a whirlwind! Some of you already know, but I got an incredible visit yesterday from the local radio station, Channel 955, who brought with them a truck full of Christmas presents, furniture, gift cards, food, a Christmas tree, and my sweet friend, Sarah, who nominated me for the "Breaking and Entering Christmas," for families who are experiencing misfortune during the holiday season.

They woke me up at 7am, and filled my living room with joy. I beg of you not to look at the pictures of the 7-o'clock-just-got-out-of-bed-crying-and-haven't-showered look I was sporting, but the podcast will give you a better idea, and you can hear the letter that Sarah submitted (which quoted this blog, btw):

(There are 2 parts, both dated 11/30/2010)

I spent the rest of the morning on the phone, on Facebook, talking to everyone and anyone, watching my kids play with their new toys, and trying to walk through my house. It was craziness.

If that wasn't enough, some of the staff from our church came over to go over my finances with me. They've got some well educated people willing to help and I'm so grateful, as finances were my second biggest worry after our beautiful kids. They've allowed me to cut my debt in half already, just through making those horrible phone calls I didn't want to make. What a blessing.

I went on to tie up some more loose ends over the phone, while Sarah (my other amazing friend Sarah, who I've blogged about before, and is moving in with me) cooked dinner for friends coming over. After dinner, all our friends helped us pack up the basement to prepare for the demolition and remodel that some incredible people have volunteered to do for us. 

The truth is, I smiled more yesterday than I have in 3 weeks. I'm so grateful for all of these people that are doing so many things to try and ease the pain. But it is all bittersweet. Seeing my house filled with gifts made me wanna cry because Jeremy didn't get to see the joy on the kids' faces. Watching our financial burden decrease made me sad because Jeremy wouldn't get to benefit from it with me. Packing up the basement was hard, watching all of Jer's stuff get put aside, packed away, and taken down. I wanted to crumble knowing all these things that Jeremy wanted to do for his family were getting accomplished without him.

I went to do a load of his laundry before bed last night....totally oblivious to the impact it might have. I didn't think anything of it till I lifted up one of his dress shirts to my face, smelled the faint hint of his cologne, and my knees gave out from under me. I sat and sobbed over the basket of dirty laundry that I inevitably was unable to put in the washer to forever erase the scent of his presence. 

I hate that I had to lose everything that mattered in my life for these blessings to occur. I wish I could give them all back if it meant I could bring him back to me. People keep speaking of all the good that has come of this tragedy - I've seen so much already - and yet selfishly I can't find enough good to justify the suffering my family has to face.

Today, I am going to finally visit Jer's tree stand, the spot where he fell. Since he's buried in Canada, I wanted to have a place close by that I could honor Jeremy, and set up a place for the kids and I to visit, pray, talk, bring gifts, etc. I've already got a box full of letters and pictures from the kids. I know it won't be easy, but I feel like I need to be there. And I know Jeremy will be there with me.


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