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This week is like one in December.

One I’ve quite nicely entitled….Hell Week.

It basically consists of days that seem to consolidate lots of loss or the reminder of what once was, into a small period of time.

On May 21st, 2007, Michael was killed when a man in a field detonated 2,000 pounds of explosives directly underneath him.

On May 26th, 2011, our baby, Charlie, died after his battle with cancer.

On May 28th, I’ll be existing during Memorial Day…a day I live every day.

On June 1st, 2007, We had Michael’s memorial service.

On June 2nd, 2007, I spread his ashes.

On June 3rd, 2011, I thought of how much I despised living on earth without two things I loved more than myself.

Okay…that’s hell week and a half…I always sucked at math…but besides that…

These dates signify the most pivotal moments in my life.

They were the last day that they had that their last inhale….their last exhale…

These were the days were the last days I’d hear their voice or feel their wet tongue on my cheek…

These were the days that bred many ‘what ifs’…many ‘could I have done things differently’…and for each…5 years and 1 year later…I still struggle with both…

Some more than with others.

But with each I was given the gift I never will regret.

The gift to say the only things human vocabulary ever created for such beings as Charlie and Michael.

“I love you”…”I’m so in love with you.”…”I love you more than life itself.”

The pain is always there. Not to burst any bubbles. It’s a dormant ache that re-surfaces in the moments we reflect on that which we have lost.

But the ache is soothed by the love that withstands all things…even death.

Someone once said that where we invest our love is where we invest our life.

I’ve been given the greatest investment…to keep living for them..for myself.

I miss them more than I can even try to pretend to want to know. I ache for them at random moments to the point of unstoppable tears.

And yes…5 years later it is still a bit of a “Hell Week”…but I stop and I absorb, and I feel, and I release, and I feel their love.

And the investment always has the greatest return.

Now

Michael loved Calvin and Hobbes:

A kid’s pretend friend that he asked lifes big and not-so-big questions to. An invisible tiger that always seemed to help guide him through his childhood.

Michael became that tiger to me when he died…he became the person I talked to for guidance…who I asked life’s questions to. But the response I knew would never come from him…it would have to be felt and heard by me and me alone. But still, I asked. I screamed and cried for reasoning to this tragedy before me.

As time has passed though, I’ve noticed that fewer and fewer of those questions on life, do I want, or even need an answer to. Just as a child grows up not needing a fictitious animal to guide their way.

In no way am I stating that I don’t still lean on my baby in the toughest of moments, but I’ve realized that the moments where I have been the most incapacitated by grief, are when I have been thinking about nothing but the future, the world in front of me without him by my side.

2012 is carrying a new constant that I know would make him happy, and I know brings a smile to my face. One I picked up along the in 2011.

A constant that freed me from the constraints of life that my pain and loss had me chained down with… had imprisoned me with its uncertainty.

The constant of living now…and nothing more.

I know the future will be what I make of it, but my present…my present was awaiting me to embrace it…and for more than just a second…I have done so.

6


I took a shower for you. I know you’d be happy about that.

I couldn’t sleep all night. I struggled for my mind to grasp what this day was.

I awoke and cried. It still will never seem fair that we are not together in the form we first connected…in the form we were meant to share more years in.

I felt whole.

I felt empty.

I rode behind someone on a motorcycle like yours and smiled.

I played Louis Armstrong like we did on our wedding day.

I was grateful for the few who still stick with me. Who see a slither of the being I was when you were alive.

They filled our house with flowers.

I bought tulips.

I know they’re your favorite.

I look at my ring and know you fingers graced it.

I know you weren’t a dream.

I miss you.

I miss having not to tell myself that all we have is not some fable.

I miss having the one person who knew we were true.

Who knew me.

Who knew that I knew you.

I love you, husband.

I’m so in love with you.

I don’t think I’ll ever fathom that we we’re married 1.5 years on earth…4.5 years apart….

But I can fathom the moment we are reunited and it makes each passing second a gift.

Happy Anniversary, My love.

“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride: I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”
-Pablo Neruda

Tomorrow

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.
-Lao Tzu

Veteran’s Day is tomorrow, and it comes every year with many people asking what I’ll be doing. How I’ll be honoring a day that my husband fought and died to be recognized as a part of.

I guess in a way these days (Veteran’s and Memorial Day) are not so much any different then yesterday or the day before, as they’re days that I daily am reminded of with Michael’s absence…with his uniforms that hang lifeless in the closet…with the flag displayed on the shelf. But it’s a day brought to the attention to those outside of my realm, and so a day that I am able to talk about him a bit more and know he’s being remembered.

So my answer for what I will do tomorrow is: Remember his strength and courage, Remember the love that was shown to him and that he showed others that gave him the ability to sacrifice his all in the name of sanctifying those attributes and the root of their being. I’ll reflect on how lucky I am that he chose me,  not only to love but to bear his legacy and what he stood for in the case he would never return. I’ll think of the men and women of the military that allowed him to flourish in his passion in life and allowed him the ability to die having found it. I’ll think of April 9th, 2007, the last time I kissed him in the airport. I’ll think of the many like me who shared that kiss they never thought would be there last. I’ll think about those that came before him and after him in serving our country. I’ll remember that in my darkest hours to tap into what he embodied. I’ll think of how proud I am of him and how I hope to make him proud, too…

I’ll think about what I think about each and every day.

On Yours

I lay in bed a lot, thinking of when Michael and I lay there together. The mornings where we had nothing else to do but sleep in, rolling into each others arms, with me kissing them as they embraced me. The evenings in which the world fell asleep with us, as there was nothing but him and I. Sometimes my heart will beat out of my chest reminiscing of those times, and it’s almost as if I’m back there.

I wrote this one night in which I could hear nothing but my heart beat, as I lay in bed. When I hear it I think of him, and the crazy world I find myself in becomes calm, and I know his beats with mine.

 

My heart racing

up against yours…

 

Trying to catch up to the feelings,

the emotions

protruding out every pore.

 

But we lay still

inhaling,

exhaling,

knowing that if we lay here long enough,

they’ll find their way…

the pounding of our chests will become

one

beat,

and our hearts will laugh….

as we realize,

laying there like

stacked

logs…

that we are at the one place we are supposed to be.

 

And with my face pressed against your chest,

I smile.

 

And I’ll

inhale,

And I’ll

exhale.

Dreaming

I dreamed of him last night. My dreams aren’t too off from the real world. In them I know he is dead. And yet, in this Inception like reality, I still think maybe there is someway his world and mine can merge, if only for a couple of hours in my sleep.

In the dream, there was one moment that stood out more than any other.

I was walking beside my love, both of us aware of each others presence. I looked down at his hand which I so greatly wanted to grasp, but hesitated almost in fear that my dream world would start collapsing for not following some code. I looked down at his hand, looked up seeking some mighty voice to say it would be ok, and then he grabbed it, and in that moment I felt something that I haven’t felt in nearly four years.

Bliss. Pure bliss in knowing my hand was locked in the one place it will one day be locked into for eternity. Ahead of us in my dream was my sister and her husband, and I just remember her turning around, looking at me and Michael, and saying, “You look so happy (the exclusive kind of Michael happy).”. Which was followed by me smiling the way only those who witnessed our love together could remember the sight of.

From there, things start getting a little loco and then I awoke. I laid there knowing the feelings I had felt that night had taken me over in my unconscious and soaked through to my conscience, and I found myself trying to fall back asleep a bit longer in order to search or remember any other bits.

I’ve always loved my dreams that he’s in (minus the ones where he feels so far away…which over the years I’ve learned to shrug off), and I felt like last night’s dream was him reminding me that those feelings will always be there when I need them the most. The feelings of untouchable love, that may be tested and torn by the winds of time, but will always stand tall and guiding like a beacon of light.

This is my life and our life together. I cannot change its course, but it’s always nice to reminded I’m on the right one.

SO in love with you, baby.

I have had dreams and I have had nightmares, but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams.

– Jonas Salk