1000 words


They say a picture is worth 1000 words.

I've noticed lately that I always think I have more pictures of Jer than I actually do. The more time that passes without him and the older my kids get, the more I realize that all the pictures I have are not enough. No amount could have been enough. I was looking through pictures of Faith and thought surely there must have been a more current picture of her and her daddy together. But no, she was 4 when he died...she's about to be 7 in two weeks. Caleb was so tiny, and he's grown leaps and bounds and is the spitting image of his daddy...surely I have some recent evidence of that. They look so little in those pictures, and it always leaves me in shock that Jer hasn't gotten to see them grow since then. 

There's no way I don't have pictures of Jeremy and Carter together, is there? I mean, Carter knows him by name and by face. He recognizes any picture of Jeremy...he's just not in any of them. How can there by a whole life breathed without one moment together? It's utterly heartbreaking.

After Jeremy died, I couldn't bring myself to take any pictures for awhile. It was too hard. But now, I understand how special and important they are. Even the most insignificant picture can tell a story that could mean the whole world to the right person. I am so thankful for all the pictures I have of Jeremy and our life together....I bet they're each worth significantly more than 1000 words. 

If only 1000 words were enough. 


Would I still be your Valentine?


Jeremy was never big on Valentine's day.

He didn't hate it. We didn't ban it. He just wasn't overly romantic. He tried to be, and did some very sweet things, but most of the time we were too broke to really do anything anyway. And yet, on this Hallmark holiday celebrating love, it brings those little moments rushing back as if it were a big deal. Cause he was a big deal to me.

Our first Valentine's, while we were still dating, I cut up hundreds of hearts and wrote different reasons why I loved him on each one. Every year after that, I re-used them in different ways, and would add more reasons why I loved him in the mix. I was thinking today that I'm not sure what I would add this year, because he's not evolving or changing anymore, I love him for all the same reasons. He is and forever will be the 31 year old, handsome and strong husband and father in my eyes. But then it also made me realize how much I have evolved and changed since then, and pieces of me that Jeremy will never get to see. And it made me wonder if he would love the girl I am now.

I don't love the way I used to. I'm more careful with it, but I also cherish it so much more. I'm more comfortable in my own skin. I actually enjoy cooking (who would have thought?!), and I know how to maintain a household pretty well on my own. I'm scared of things I didn't used to be scared of, and unafraid of things that used to terrify me. My support system has changed, my friends aren't the same. My priorities have shifted. My dreams and goals have evolved. Would you still love this version of me that has been beaten, broken down, and built back together?

Of course, I know the answer. Even though I'm not the same girl I was before he died, I know that essentially, emerging from grief has forced me to be a better version of myself....probably the version that Jeremy always saw in me. And even though I've grown for the better, I'm still me. I'm still the girl who has to sleep on the left side of the bed, who tries to please people too much, who quotes Friends in my head on a daily basis and then hears his laughter in the back of my head affirming how funny I am. I'm still the girl who wants Faith and Caleb to love the things their daddy loved, who cries at nearly every movie, and who holds onto all the precious and unforgettable quirks that he had. I'm still the girl terrified of fish, loves all things cotton candy, rollercoasters, pink, and slurpees. I'm still the girl that wants to tell our story. I'll always be that girl.

Yes, I am still convinced that no matter how much time separates us, no matter how much change comes between us, I would still be your Valentine.


A birth day to remember

A very special Cars cake made for a very special birthday boy.

How can it be possible? This little man that changed everything is turned 2 on Friday.
Holy Moly.

In some ways, watching him grow is going by way too fast. Gone are the days of baby snuggles and gibberish....he is now a full-blown Cars lovin', running and jumping, never stops talking, knows what he wants, stubborn red-headed tempered, loving and laughing toddler.

In other ways, though, his birth could not seem further away to me. If my reference of time was based solely on that day, I would swear Carter was an adult. Perhaps because I have suppressed that day in my mind and my heart....sure it was a day of joy that Carter safely made it into the world in spite of tragedy going on around him, but it was also the second hardest day of my life next to losing his daddy. It's one of the few pieces of grief I haven't fully come to terms with and I have a hard time talking about. Ashamed that giving birth to this beautiful was a painful experience. Thinking about that day always leaves me in tears. 

Perhaps it also seems so long ago because so much has changed since then. So much life has been lived, so many milestones have been celebrated, created, and passed. And I have changed since then. I'm not the same person who birthed this beautiful boy two years ago. It's crazy to think that so much could change in such a short amount of time. Maybe that's why it doesn't feel like a short amount of time.

The only thing that gives me the ability to speak about the pain of Carter's birth is the knowledge that out of those ashes came the beauty that is my son. The child that forced me to keep going, robbed me of my selfishness, and brought to life another piece of Jeremy for me to hold on to. And the boy that saved my life. This little man is too full of life to keep me focused on the pain...he leads me forward and focused on living. Children have a funny way of doing that.

I would give anything to see Carter with his daddy, even just once. To see the look on Jeremy's face that I have burned into my heart....the look of falling into unconditional love with the life we created. I would do anything to give Carter an opportunity to know his daddy beyond the pictures and stories we tell him every day. I crave the sight of Jeremy on the ground playing Cars with Carter. I ache to see Carter give just one big sloppy, beautiful kiss to his daddy.

As much as it hurts to know I will never get to see these images in my life time, I also know that I do not want Carter's birthdays to be marked by tragedy. Today, I am reminding myself of how far we've come and how much love and happiness Carter has added to my life just by being in it. And I smile knowing Jeremy is watching, beaming with pride that his little man is happy and healthy, despite my shortcomings. And I look forward to seeing where the rest of his birthdays take us.

Happy Birthday, sweet baby boy.
I love you always.


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