Six pumpkin patches. Four corn mazes. Three fall festivals. Fifteen carnival rides.
Three visits to Carowinds fall event. One visit to Scarowinds. Five birthday parties attended. Two birthday parties given. One night of boo at the zoo. Three nights of trick or treating. Horses ridden,
apples picked, petting zoo animals petted. Thirteen pumpkins either craved or painted littering the
front porch. Is anyone else tired reading this?
October is coming to an end tonight, and sadness is not ensuing. I am worn out. We have loved every minute of our wild and crazy activities but I am tired. Each event was saddled with new
challenges as an outnumbered parent. The boys are growing and with that their wants and needs are growing too. They want bigger pumpkins this year; this makes complete sense to me. I do not care what size pumpkins I pay for. The challenge however comes in who’s going to carry these round gigantic things to the car? We waltz through the pumpkin patch expertly seeking just the right ones. Lucas wants a green pumpkin (I believe that means its not ripe, but why argue), I want a white one because I think they are different and Reed demands one the size of him.
All sounds good and well right? Many of these patches we've attended come equipped with wagons. Of course the day I agree to pay for the pumpkins no wagons can be found. You get the pumpkins on the hay ride and then travel back to the play area, not really in the vicinity of the car.
Hmmm, hauling them to the car... I hadn't thought this all the way through.
We have just spent thirty minutes wondering trough this beautiful field, but we are going to pass on purchasing their perfectly chosen pumpkins because I can't ,make it to the car? Nope, not this mom.
Somehow I manage to get my co-parent Lucas, yes I know how wrong this is, to carry one and I carry two. Crisis averted.
For your cooperation and assistance I give in and decide to purchase snow cones, especially since our fall weather hasn't really gone "fall" and it feels like July heat out here.
I buy two snow cones, and we go sit down to have a breather. As proud as I am of
accomplishing potty training with the youngest, all I want is a damn pull-up when he jumps up yelling he has to pee. What to do? Another conundrum today.
I leave Lucas under the shelter and run Reed the other way. I swear I thought this lady was going to say something to me. I almost dared her. The heat coupled with juggling the pumpkins to the car
and now juggling two snow cones and the potty dance had me on edge.
I understand it's not the safest thing. I understand I should have dragged both boys with two
snow cones to the bathroom and figured it all out but I simply couldn't. I thought about taking Reed to the side and having him pee right there in the woods where I could keep my eyes on both of them simultaneously. Instead, I chose the road that didn't come with an argument and I felt I chose the lesser of the evils. This is in fact our reality, I am always out numbered.
Thus, fall has been great. I love it as it is in fact my favorite time of the year; but there are no tears with the close of this busy season. I am looking forward to quieter weeks ahead.
Today marks 18 months Daniel. Eighteen long months without you. That is exactly half of Reed’s life time you have now been absent. Five rounds of soccer and one t-ball season you have missed. New schools and transitions for both boys. Illnesses. Nose bleeds. Arguments and laughter. Weekend getaways. Family drama. Another round of birthdays. The start of another Panther season. The list goes on and on and the loss has not gotten easier. I am no more accepting today than I was when we first received your diagnosis. I'm not holding on to anger but many days I do continue to walk in a haze of confusion and shock.
We are adapting our everyday life but your absence remains a huge hole in mine, Lucas and Reed’s hearts. They continue to surprise me with questions that I cannot answer. They yearn for your presence so deeply. Your shoes are simply too large for me to fill. They each demonstrate pieces of your personality and attributes that are both amazing and sorrowful. Our family and friends continue to life me up in support. I'm forever grateful. Outsiders continue to make judgements, or maybe not judgments as much as uneducated comments. I've been there. Before I lost you I didn't understand the depth of loss either and I'd much rather be treated like the human being I am than like a glass house that could shatter at any moment. I am still me.
Like most couples I took you for granted and never dreamt you wouldn't be here today either dancing with me in the kitchen or being aggravated that I left cabinet doors open in the kitchen during the mad rush out the door this morning. I will go ahead and own up to ordering two new pairs of heels today. Hey, I needed some retail therapy.
We hope you are seeing our growth, helping us through our struggles and laughing along both with and at us as we fumble through our days. I pray that you hear our conversations and are in agreement with my single parenting choices; it lacks some finesse, I know! I am managing the bullies at school, the outbursts, the whining and the adventurous spirits of our children the best way I know how. How different they would be if you were still by my side where you are meant to be. You would have loved teaching the boys the words to Let it Ride tonight while racing through the house and giving piggy back rides.
A friend of yours sent me an email this week. Someone who had not reached out to me before but reminded me what an amazing man you were. He wrote how you left a lasting impression on him and talked about your generosity. That is what we all hope for, right? To leave a lasting impression, even if it’s only to one person? To make something of ourselves and be proud of whom we become.
In reading his note I was reminded of a poem; The Dash by Linda Ellis. I can’t even remember when I first heard it but I know that for many years it hung in my parents’ pantry.
“All that mattered was the dash between the years, not what we had but who we were.”
Definition of funeral according to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary
Why exactly did I look up the definition of the word funeral? What was I seeking? How about the words traumatic? Celebration? Finality? Those are the words that come to mind when I think of funeral.
There’s something about being at a funeral that is unique to each person but also unifying to all in signifying the end. The sights are definitely similar. I will go ahead and make people feel bad, not on purpose, but share with you that I dislike flowers at funerals. The smells of all those flowers mingle together and make you nauseas, especially when you are the one the flowers are sent to. The smell during my husbands’ visitation will never leave me. It is imprinted in my mind.
It should also not be lost on others that sending cut flowers to someone, while pretty at the time, do what after several days? They DIE. You are sending flowers to someone who has just lost someone so they can watch your flowers die and then you have to get rid of those as well? Anyone else find fault in this ritual?
A funeral is a celebration of a person. It is the representation that life does end. There's a finality that closes that person off to you at their funeral. I attended the first funeral this week since attending my husband's. Tears rolled down my cheeks on the ride there. I tried to drown myself in music. I talked to Daniel, seeking strength. I flipped through the radio channels and landed on 99.7. I felt Daniel as Rocket Man vibrated off the car windows. Sobs shook my shoulders and tears blurred my vision. The similarities of this funeral were overwhelming, the process slamming me in the face and bringing my 18 month old tragedy right back to the present.
I pulled into the parking lot early, a personality characteristic I can’t avoid. I was as anxious as I’ve been in a long time. I took a few deep breaths, put on my blazer and climbed from my car hiding behind my sunglasses until the last possible moment as it would have been inappropriate for me to leave them on. (I am after all, not a famous rapper, rocker or country singer that looks cool in my shades, regardless of what my kids believe.) My hands were literally shaking and for the first time in my life I second guessed wearing my signature pumps that make me me.
Shaking like a leaf I bee-lined to the bathroom to get myself together before facing the family. Breathe in, breathe out; I pasted a smile on my face and headed toward the receiving line.
After stumbling through my condolences I slunk past the widower and slid into a chair in the back, happy to rest my quaking legs, alone with my grief. I sat through the funeral yearning for a hand to hold onto as the widower spoke of chemotherapy and body scans his wife endured that were all too familiar. He has joined my club. I’m positive he wants to rescind the membership. I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t want to be a part of this club either. Anger briefly boils in me toward cancer as I watch the slideshow showing cancer disrupting this family, stripping them down. My shoulders shook with theirs. I know. I KNOW.
A reception followed afterward but I fled. I didn’t have the strength to endure anymore. I probably should not have come but this was not about me. This was about supporting a friend and honoring his mother regardless of how uncomfortable it made me. This is life, enjoying the good but also accepting that life is in fact unfair and supporting those that are important to you.
My drive home was combustible. Stifled emotions flew out the sunroof and poured from my wrecked body. A funeral should make you remember and think about simple pleasures in life. It should remind you to live. To do those things you want to do. It should remind you to be a person of value. It should remind you to hold onto those you love a little tighter. Be thankful for this life. LIVE.
Meet the Author (me)
Driven by a need to help others. I have known from a young age that this is what I wanted to do. This is my very real, somewhat sarcastic, look into my newfound widowhood. I hope this site will help you as much as it helps me.