I am quickly entering into tiring times and keep seeing you out of the corner of my eyes every day. I sat in our bathroom crying late one night trying not to wake up Johnathan; I told you I needed a sign from you, I needed some of your strength; I said that I was sick of all this spring weather and sunshine…I need some rain, Josh…can you do that!? The next day it was so windy and rain was not in the forecast, but I was woken up by the familiar smell of desert rain, it’s my favorite. For the next two days as I struggled to stay asleep but I woke up to rain…I know it was you answering me, showing me that you’re still here…just when I need you the most.
A couple weeks ago I was flipping through the radio station as I was on my way to pick up Johnathan from school. I saw the song “Good Grief” by Bastille…I skipped right through it because I assumed the title meant something else…but the word “grief” struck me so I reluctantly went back and listened to it. I cried and laughed when I related to “you might to have excuse me, I’ve lost control of all my senses, all my words, get drunk call me a fool” – I mean who can ever explain what this pain is like better than that!? I’m surprised I haven’t been committed yet with what little senses I can display, my coping skills aren’t the best either….So I told Johnathan to listen carefully to the words. I told him, “Do you hear that? It makes you want to dance doesn’t it?” he said, “yeah”. “Johnathan listen to the words and what he’s saying…he’s talking about losing someone…someone died and he misses them”. Good grief. Though the song is about grief itself, it doesn’t mean that it has to be bad. No, grief isn’t bad. I told you that grief means I loved you that as much as I try to run away from it, it will eventually catch up to me. Every week that goes by I learn the hard way…I never take the time to sit here and be good with my grief…no I run, like always….you know me.
Grief hit me on Tuesday this week. Your brother and I went to NMSU to preview the video we filmed for the scholarship campaign and sign the last documents for the accounting department. I saw the video and felt a shock come over me. I couldn’t cry right there….not surrounded by strangers, I smiled and held it back. But that night I couldn’t help but think of the video, watching myself talk about you and who you were just made this all too real. I mean I talk about it all the time, but when I do I check out and have this out of body experience where I’m not really here or talking about your death. But seeing myself on video talk about it, watching the sadness in Johnathan’s eyes as he watched me made it sink in. That night was filled with nightmares that constantly woke me up, that’s when I told you I needed rain. I spent most of the next day numb trying to cover up swollen eyes with dark eyeshadows. But when that rain hit, I knew it was you. It was so cold, but Johnathan and I stood out on the patio anyway and just watched and smelled. We left the back door open while we played music and did some chores and tried to fold laundry. Then on came Bastille, Good Grief, we both jumped up and sang along with Bella. The next day Bella’s amazing second mama stopped me in the hallway and said, “Are you ok? No you’re not ok? Come here” she wrapped me tight in her arms and cried with me outside Bella’s class and said, “I know…I feel it too”. We talked about how overwhelmed we both are, how it all felt like it was too much and then to have to deal with real life still. Josh, you are putting the right people in my life to help me and tearing away the ones you know aren’t really here to help, thank you. She loved you so much, she loves our kids so much and I don’t know what I would do without her, on the days I don’t see Bella’s second mama I know she feels lonely and misses her too. When we got back to life, she was there waiting to just hug us…no questions, no judgment, just hug and cry as we played with Bella on the floor. We laughed and wiped away our tears before anyone saw us and went back to work. The moments that let me know yes, you’re still here. Not the way I want, not the way that I will never be ok with, but you’re here in your own way. Though I’m not ready to accept that, I thank you for the signs, for the comfort.
We are literally hours away from launching our statement fundraiser for your scholarship and I don’t think I can handle the anxiety much longer! So much work and thoughtfulness have gone into this from so many people that I am truly grateful. It is becoming bigger and bigger each week and we haven’t even launched yet. Donors are on standby which blows my mind! We all will have so much work for the next 45 days keeping up the energy and momentum that I’m doing my best to sit still, be with you, and trust your guidance as always, that whichever way this campaign ends you’ll know that I did my best, gave it my all, and won’t just stop there! Are in over our heads here? That’s something I ask you over and over in my mind, I’m terrified, I’m worried, I’m excited, I’m grateful and I’m still grieving. It’s such a confusing time with all these feelings rushing through me. I will continue to sit still, make time for grieving, and make time to stay connected to you….send more rain! I love you, I miss you, I want you home.
I woke up two days ago from a nightmare. I woke up gasping for air, I was confused and didn't understand what was happening and I didn't know if I was still dreaming. I laid back down and was itching my arms. I remembered my dream, we were laying on the floor playing with Isabella and Johnathan, you told me to grab the red ball for Bella, so I did. When I was handing it over to you the ball fall apart into hundreds of tiny spiders that started crawling up my arm, I couldn't shake them off and they were so fast. I jumped up and started screaming for help and I couldn't find you anymore, I ran outside screaming your name and you were no where to be found; suddenly I knew you were gone and I started screaming that I needed your help and you weren't here, I was so angry at you because something terrifying had just happened to me and you were not around to help. I woke up. Needless to say there are many times throughout everyday that I need you and get so angry that you aren't here to help.
I had to put this away for a while, I couldn't finish writing this....I know what the trigger was for that dream, I know what the trigger has been for my anxiety since that nightmare...today marks 100 days without you. I typed that, shut my laptop closed and ran out the door and escaped the house for a few hours. I had lunch with a friend who hasn't been afraid of my grief, who allows me to carry her with me when it's too much to handle. On a day like today, I needed that. We had dinner at your parents later. Everything today seemed empty. hazy. I can't believe we have lived 100 days without you. I got a canvass of you and sawyer and hung up in the living room this week, Johnathan says good morning to you everyday and goodnight; Bella points at the picture and says "dada", I try not to look for too long, it gets overwhelming fast, hard to breathe, heart starts pounding, and just as I feel my eyes well up with tears I look away from it. It's my favorite picture of you, with Sawyer; you are so happy, you were so happy to have your dog, why wasn't that enough!? Monday is Sawyer's birthday, we had planned his birthday soon after he came home. We were going to make him a doggie cake, give him treats and a new scarf. I am so grateful for Sawyer, he has saved us many times, his purpose is so much more now, for all of us he is piece of you.
I went back and thought about 101 days ago. It was Thursday, you worked and I worked late. On my way home that evening you wanted me to bring you home Taco Bell for dinner, that was our last dinner together. The kids were asleep when I got home and I sat at the table with you while you ate. We talked about our day, we laughed about something on T.V. It was quiet, it was just us two. We fell asleep to a movie. I think about what I would have said if I would have known that was going to be the last night we slept together, the last night we would have dinner together, the last time you would kiss our kids goodnight, and that you kissed me goodnight. What would I have wanted you to know? everything.
100 days ago was the worst day of my life. I was so sure you were coming home; I miss that ignorance. That ignorance that I lived in, that nothing bad could happen to our family, that I believed so much that good things happen to good people and if we lived as good people forever, nothing could ruin that. When I believed that bad things had purpose...like karma. It's true; ignorance IS bliss. Because now I live in a world where I know bad things can happen to innocent people, good people and lives can be shattered, that your life can be taken away and changed forever. Everyone else will move on and continue with their lives, but we will forever be shattered by this, we will forever be grieving from this. The world we live in now makes no sense. Johnathan's innocence is shattered, his innocent mind and perfect world was ripped away and he doesn't understand why; his dad wasn't sick, he wasn't in a car accident, all he knows is his daddy needed help and somewhere there in the grey area he died.
96 days ago....or somewhere there..... we sat and planned your funeral. I can't remember much of that week. I can't remember much of the details that we chose, I just remember feeling overwhelmed, dreamlike, and deep sadness. The smell still haunts me. Walking into a room full of caskets and trying to pick out the best one for you. I remember looking for something you would be comfortable in and a design you would appreciate. I stopped myself and thought, comfortable? will he care? well, I do. I want him comfortable I suppose. I touched each one, picked out the ornaments that surrounded the corners of your casket, turned and asked your brother and parents if these choices were all ok....all the while not even sure you would be able to be seen in a casket, not sure if we could do an open casket, or a public service at all yet. All we knew at that point was the damage was so severe to your body that there was no way to tell what the funeral home would be able to salvage or serve us for. We picked out a casket anyway and hoped for the best...I needed to see you one last time. We continued planning the celebration of your life, carefully, with every detail matched to perfection. I got the call a few days later that you had arrived at the funeral home, I was told they could do it, "we can do the casket" and I remember hearing, "but I will need you bring Josh a high collard shirt or something to cover his neck fully....and his entire body......but I think we can do this....when he's ready we'll let you decide"....I mumbled something and hung up and said "oh my god, what did they do to you?!" my mind started racing, how bad was it? would you even be recognizable? can we change our minds last minute if i'm not happy with the presentation? my mind went to the most morbid thoughts I can't even believe I was imagining now. Then, I saw you.....I felt weak. I touched your hand, your face, your lips, your hair...from then on I couldn't leave your side. I sat and stood with eye sight on you at all times. I cried and did my best to answer all of Johnathan's questions. When the last person left the public viewing, I was the last person sitting in the room, alone, just you and me.......the assistant asked if I would like to help close the casket and lock it for the night until the honorary service the next day. I said yes....He held my hand as I walked up to the casket, touched your lips again, fixed your tie, held your hand, I told you goodnight, love...I locked the drawer, brought down the casket, locked it, draped over the flag, and walked away......
100 days is here...I wrote it down my calendar, "100 days...you made it this far...keep going..."
I love you, I miss you, I want you home.