Past Tense

Also my post from Widow's Voice:

The last two days, I have been missing Jer more than usual. I'm not sure why - perhaps all the chaos and excitement of getting engaged and keeping insanely busy, I tend to push aside my grief. But his smile has been fresh in my mind and my ache for him has been very raw. 

Yesterday, I went downstairs to workout on the treadmill (I have a wedding dress to fit into!). I was looking for something to watch on TV and saw that The Patriot was on. I thought "I haven't seen this in awhile, I'll watch the rest of it." Big mistake. All it took was one scene of two men walking, referencing one's deceased daughters. "I'm sure your girls were lovely." (or something like that) "Yes, they were." And I was a puddle of tears.

Were. What is it with those past tense words?! It's so hard to really grasp what that entails when you're talking about someone you love more than anything no longer being here. Almost 17 months later, and I still can't get used to it. Hearing the character refer to his daughters in past tense made me sob uncontrollably on my treadmill. I was thinking 'get a grip' but I couldn't. The pain of knowing someone you love will never fill up space in the world again is a sickening realization. 

Last week, I took my daughter on her first field trip. We went to learn about how maple syrup is made. Now, if you knew anything about Jeremy, you'd know he was a proud Canadian who LOVED maple syrup. His uncle and now his cousins make their own and sell it. I was excited to take Faith and somehow tangibly connect her with her daddy and something he loved. But I also remember listening to the tour guide tell us all this random information about how to recognize maple trees, and the process of making syrup, and subconsciously storing the information to impress Jeremy with later. Then that stupid word popped in my head....was. He's not here anymore. I can't see the smile on his face when I show him my interest in learning about maple syrup, even if I don't eat it. Or perhaps surprise him with some information he didn't already know (which would have been highly unlikely). Jeremy now lives in the past tense. And I can't get my brain to accept that.

I still catch myself on a regular basis, saying 'is' instead of 'was.'' I have figured out this day to day thing on my own, it makes sense to me now and I've gotten used to it, but I still can't accept that it's forever. I have so much to tell him, so much to share, so many inside jokes he'd appreciate, so many years of him knowing me like no one else has and wanting to share pieces of my heart I've stored up for him. Knowing I can't is heartbreaking every single time I remember it. 

I guess I just have to pray that when the day comes when I get to see him face to face again, I won't forget anything.


Engagement photos

It's nice to be able to put happy things on here once in awhile. Wanted to spread some cuteness and make-you-wanna-throw-up adorable engagement photos of Steve and me. 

 My sweet and amazingly talented friend, Vicki, took these for us on the fly one evening when I was down in Indiana, so that we'd have some cute pics (without mustaches!) to share

Love them. Love this man. 


I'm Engaged!!!

I know some of you already know, and I haven't had a SECOND of free time to blog about it, but I'M ENGAGED!!! Steve proposed to me Friday afternoon (3/16/12) and boy was I surprised! It's not easy to surprise this girl, so kutos to Steve for pulling it off. And he had everyone involved. And I've been promising to write about this AMAZING engagement story.

I was going about my random day...doo duh doo...trying to figure out a shopping trip with out-of-town friends and getting ready for my day when my best friend Sarah calls me to tell me that her car broke down out where she had a photo shoot that morning and asked if I could come pick her up. So off I went, completely clueless, to go pick her up at Stony Creek Metro Park.

When I pulled up and saw Sarah, she asked me to park and get out cause she wanted to show me something. I thought it was weird and I started getting suspicious. (at this point, I thought Steve was on his way to Michigan in a few hours, not knowing he had been there already) Then I saw a rose on Sarah's car and I knew. She gave me rose, grabbed my arm and started walking. She said "You know how much I love you, right?" "Of course I do." "Good, as long as you know." That's all we could exchange. We walked a 2 mile path - yes, crazy long! But every 200 yards or so I was met with another rose being held by some of the most important people in my life: First, my sweet friend Dalaina and her husband Byron, whose friendship grew out of Jeremy's death and our ability to connect of very deep levels about life and love. She's one of my sweetest friends, but also a woman I strive to be more like. As Sarah handed me off to them, they started walking me down the path, telling me what I meant to them. Tears were starting to come as I started to realize what was entailed in this 2 mile walk. 
Next I met Sarah's parents, who have taken me in as their own, helped me with the kids, supported me, donated their time and advice, and have loved me and my kids a ridiculous amount. 
After that came Chris and Kristan: these two have shared so much history with me, children being born together (their daughter Tori was born the same day as Carter), and so many memories. They have loved me, laughed with me, challenged me, and taught me about life. 
Next was John and Bekka - these two stepped up and took care of me and my family when Jeremy died and have become some of my best friends because of it. They were the people I called on when I needed something, and I always knew they'd be there. They are some of the most self-sacrificing people I know. 
Next on the list was Adam and his sweet wife, Kelly: Adam is Steve's best friend since childhood, but he is also my minister. No, not just my minister, but a dear friend of Jeremy's who stood up to speak at his funeral, who came to my house to comfort me, who sat with us in the hospital as we watched my brother die, and did his funeral as well....Adam has blessed my life in ways he probably doesn't even know. And he's one of my favorite people. 
After that came Steve's parents, who drove up all the way from Indiana early in the morning to come support Steve and I and to tell me that they loved me. It meant so much to see them there and to hug them and to know that I will once again marry into a great family.
Next was Jodie. Jodie who without batting an eye, took care of every detail from the second Jeremy died without letting me know about any of it. She is the woman I go to for sound advice, for creative inspiration - I'm pretty sure Jodie knows something about everything! God placed her in my life with such purpose and to have her there was very special.
After Jodie came Chris and Vicki. These two were one of the couples that Jeremy and I spent a lot of time with, and who have continued to stick by me through my hardest days. They are good friends with Steve and currently live in the same town as him, so I know they will continue to be a couple that we spend a lot of time with.
Next came my family. My mom, brother Matt, and his girlfriend Kalee (my dad had to work) - they hugged me and told me how happy they were for me and filled up my heart to know they took the time to be there for this special day. 
And finally, stood Jeremy's mom and sister April. When I saw them from a distance, my knees got weak. I couldn't believe they were there - not because they're not happy for me, but because I know what it takes to go through grief and still support me in a new relationship. Their presence meant so much to me, and to know Steve took the time to ask them to be there just made me cry uncontrollably.

All these wonderful people, who are not only important to me, but who stand beside me in my relationship and support my happiness, even if it means facing grief they haven't dealt with yet. They each spoke to me, telling me why they loved me and some even wrote letters, but their presence said more than their words ever could. I continued to sob as Sarah met up with me on the path again and walked me down the final piece of it where I met the sweetest, most precious sight: Steve all dressed up, sweating in the unexpected hot weather, nervous and so handsome waiting for me. It is a vision that is very clearly burned into my mind as one of those snapshots I will take with me for the rest of my life. 

Through all that had just happened, I don't even remember what he said to me. I don't even think I officially said yes. All I remember is him getting down on one knee. This man that loves me for all that comes with me, accepts and encourages my still very strong love for my dead husband, loves my children, loves God, and whose character makes me want to be better. This man who grabbed my heart very quickly and who has very carefully held all the broken pieces of it and continues to help me put it back together. But also a man I cherish for all he comes with, for all he's been through, and for all he has become because of it. This man whose daughters have taken over my heart.

Our engagement will be a very short one. But I'm so thankful our stories have come together in such a way that it can only be a testament to God's grace and love. I'm thankful to have found someone Jeremy would approve of (he and Steve were friends, in fact) and who has proven to be someone I can't wait to share life with. I feel very blessed to have found two such men in my lifetime.

Oh yea, I can't forget to show you this AMAZING ring I got out of it too!

(I wrote about it on Widow's Voice as well, if ya wanna check it out)


check it out

Today marks my first day as a writer on Widow's Voice...CLICK HERE and check it out!!!

I know it seems a little backwards to be excited about the opportunity of being an author on a blog whose sole purpose is to connect with other who have lost loved ones - no one wants to be in that club and I still hate that I'm in it - but in some way, it's a huge hurdle for me that I've crossed to get to a place where I'm not only willing, but anxious to let God use my story to help others. Especially in a forum that was so valuable to me during my heaviest grieving. If you know someone grieving, please refer them to Widow's Voice. It's an excellent resource.

Anyway, enough babbling, just go read it!


a big blog thank you!

I wanted to say a big huge THANK YOU to everyone who voted for me in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Most Inspiring Mom Blogs for 2012!!! It really is such a cool thing to even be on the list along with so many other incredible and inspiring stories, but to make the #1 spot is beyond amazing! I am so grateful for yet another way to reach others and watch Jeremy continue to change the world with his life and his love. A million times, thank you!

If you'd like to check out my interview from the top 25 blogs, click the link below. Also, look around while you're there....there are so many amazing and moving woman changing the world with their stories too!

I'd also like to announce that I've been invited to be the newest weekly author of Widow's Voice, which is an amazing blog and resource for those in grief. This blog was one of the first resources I found after Jeremy died and I literally became obsessed with it for weeks, trying to soak up other people's experiences to somehow explain my own. It continues to be a healing place for me to connect with other people in this huge community I never knew existed. Widow's Voice is read in 147 countries, and viewed over 35,000 times a month!! It's compiled of multiple widowed people from different walks of life, with someone different writing each day. My first post will be next Thursday, and I will continue to post every Thursday after that. This is an incredible honor, and I see how God has given me the opportunity to continue using our story to show His love and mercy to others who need it. While I still struggle with this concept as a whole, I'm taking every chance to use what God is putting in front of me.

Thanks again for all your support. You all rock!


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