Monday, November 16, 2015

Hanging onto Hope

I'm finally on a regular (& normal) sleep schedule. It's taken over a year but has finally happened. I'm also finally dreaming again, they've ranged from weird crazy dreams reflecting current and past events in my life to reliving that final day with Tim. Over and over and over again. Most nights I've woken myself up with a loud scream and shooting up in bed drenched in sweat. The strange thing is typically after that happens I fall right back asleep and am peacefully out for the remainder of the night. It's a little creepy but at the same time I'm just so relieved to be able to see Tim's face and hear his voice again that I don't mind it as much as much as I should.

I took time away from going to my therapist for awhile just because I didn't feel like facing the enormity of how much this all still effects me day after day. That was not the smartest move I've made. I've struggled a lot recently and its come as a shock as I guess I thought the year anniversary of Tims death would be some sort of switch indicating that the worst was over and I had crossed the finish line of grief. It's actually been worse since then. It seems the only switch that flipped was the one in which the fantasy world in my head where Tim was surely going to come walking through the door sometime and I could just save up all of the things I've noted and been wanting to tell him for that moment ended. Reality has finally hit me that he truly is never coming back. It's something that you rationally know but can't seem to wrap your head around so you just stay in a constant state of denial that he's just on a trip or just out of touch. Reality really sucks when it hits.

I finally did head back to see my therapist last Friday and she helped me to kind of understand that I've finally gotten through the denial stage and am now "at the bottom of the pendulum". At least when you finally hit bottom there is nowhere to go but up right? She also told me that apparently I'm one of the more severe cases of grief she's seen. I'm torn between that being a badge of honor for how much Tim and I loved each other or adding it to the list of the curve balls life seems to keep tossing my way when I could really use a nice easy pitch. 

I struggle with having to frequently remind myself that Tim didn't choose to abandon me but it's hard to keep that perspective. I keep feeling like he's out there living his life with someone else and have to remind myself that he didn't leave me. It's so strange but I guess I just want to have a reason to be mad at him for not being here anymore instead of being mad at him for not being here and immediately feeling guilty because I know he would be if he could.

I'm torn over my house, it's started to feel like home (except for the mice that moved into the attic above my bed) but is also a solid constant reminder of everything that the last year has been. Right now that's a bad thing, I'm hoping that as I work my way through all of this that it becomes more of a symbol of how these events have molded me into a different person. I replaced all of Tim and My bedding a month or so ago and now my bed finally feels like it's mine versus being a constant reminder of us. I'm working on that balance now, figuring out what to replace to start a new life with fewer constant reminders that just reopen all of the wounds and what to keep as sweet memories of what once was. I guess it's representative of me trying to figure out who I am now. Considering how hard both of us are on things I've been having to replace a lot of items as they break. A set of sheets we got for our wedding ripped into shreds as I leaned up to watch TV one night leading to the idea of just replacing everything.

Over the past year I've lost interest in things I once loved, I've gained respect for things I once despised (I.e. Tims music and fantasy football) & I don't recognize the girl I see in photos from "before". My memories no longer feel as though they were my own experiences but more of a movie I watched, just surreal. I don't know what I want out of life any longer and I don't have a clue as to who I am but I've finally started to get a little clarity. Where I once thought I was done with supporting cancer fundraising, it's becoming more of a passion but in a different manner than before, one in which I'm more actively involved. I'm reaching out slowly to find out where else I want to volunteer and what matters to me. I've found that giving pieces of myself helps to make me feel whole again.

Mostly these days I'm in a constant state of exhaustion no matter how much sleep I get. Tired of fighting for every step I take forward, tired of being ok, tired of feeling lost and alone, of no longer having the connection with anyone that I did with Tim and tired of figuring it all out alone. Irregardless I have a support system that most could only dream of and through them I find the strength to drag myself out of bed every morning, to keep putting one foot in front of the other no matter how much I don't want to and to keep trying to get back to the person that Tim fell in love with, a little more hardened and banged up but also with greater understanding of just how precious each day is.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Post Anniversary

Go figure that the one year anniversary of Losing Tim was the same weekend as Joaquin. I will say it was a good distraction as I watched all the news reports rolling in about what was going on. My company headquarters is in Cokumbia (& was luckily spared) but it also gave me a sense of purpose on Monday to try to see how I could help alleviate some of the responsibility from my coworkers and help. 

It's been hard, I try to keep myself distracted and not to think about what I've lost but it haunts me. I didn't just lose my husband/soulmate/best friend/etc... But I missed almost 5 years of being somewhat carefree, the potential of having a family and being a mom, having some to do life with. I'm grieving a lot of those losses as much as I'm grieving Tim at times. Not long after losing Tim I received something called a mantra bracelet that stated "be still and know." It's become my life mantra and a phras I repeat over and over to myself when I am falling apart or having a hard day.

That being said, sometimes it's hard for me now to use some of the best overdramatic expressions I used to (I.e. I'm dying, this is the worst day of my life, etc.) I start to but catch myself as they just sound so trivial and callous now that I have seen someone die and I have lived through the worst day of my life. I don't get phased by the rough stuff as much as I used to and I still get annoyed by trivial things but now I truly understand what is worthwhile and really important in life. I was thinking of what I would save if I had to leave my house in a hurry (it's an exercise I've done before at night to distract my anxiety at night). Before my concern would always be that Tim & I wouldn't have enough room in our cars for all of the things we'd "have" to save. Now I think I'd have extra room as so long as I had Maddy, important paperwork and my pillow (you'd understand if you slept in my bed) I'd be just fine.

Some portion of my life feels surreal and like a dream. I can't decide if it's the part I'm living now or the part from before. I see pictures of myself from "before" and then don't know who that girl is. I can't imagine living without the understanding of how bad life can be like I know now. It makes me feel as though I'm al let two completely separate people.

My body is still struggling, I've finally mostly gotten my sleeping under control but Friday was put on a regime of antibiotics for a minor infection I had. I started feeling worse Saturday evening and my mom took me to existent care. I was sure I had gotten a full blown case of the flu on top of this other infection. Apparently I was allergic to the antibiotics I was getting so today I've been loading up on fluids trying to flush that one out of my system and let the other kick in. I also screwed up a tooth and had to go to the dentist this morning to get that fixed up. Some of my pain has finally subsided as of this evening and I'm finally starting to feel a little better. I'm hopeful that the high dosage of antibiotics should keep me somewhat healthy at least for a few weeks.

My girlfriends have been absolutely incredible through the past few weeks, they have buoyed me through this and kept me busy and distracted. I hope there is never a reason that I can do enough to thank them for everything they've done for me. 

I'm slowly but surely making progress. I got it in me to go through Tim's clothes the other day and pull out his lesser used items. I'm still not really ready to part with them so they are hanging out in a spare bedroom but I took a step. My house is almost done with projects I can do but now I'm bored and ready for a new one. Keeping my hands busy during the evenings and weekends is much better for me than lying around watching TV.

Maddy is doing great other than being a lazy bum. This morning after letting her out to go to the bathroom she sprinted back in, climbed up in my bed and fell back asleep. She's figured out that if she bangs her bowls around enough I'll come fill up whatever is missing so she essentially lives the life of a pampered princess. I still blame Tim for ruining my dog as she had much better manners before he entered our lives. She's also figured out how to move the kitchen chairs around and will let herself up onto kitchen counters or the table and help herself to whatever she desires when I'm out of the house. I've been catching her via the nanny cam, she's sneaky in that she hops right down when she knows I'm coming in and approaches the door as though she was sleeping on the couch. 

That's been the extent of my exciting life these days. I don't do much other than work, work on the house or watch TV so I'm pretty boring at this point. I've written somewhere around 500-600 thank you notes but I'm still behind by about 150 so I know there are many overdue and I apologize but they are coming. The same goes for the Favebook messages, I will respond to each one but I'm super slow so you have my most sincere apologies and know it will arrive someday...

Thank you all for all of your love, support and kindness. Even when I don't respond know that I do see it, appreciate it and am so grateful for it.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Today was bad, tomorrow will be worse

Today has been hard, it officially marks a full year since I lost Tim. Everything I've done over this past year has been in the perspective of what were we doing at this time last year. Right now I was signing off on not having an autopsy on Tim, they were asking me what funeral home to use, I was starting to go through my and Tim's phones for our families to call and inform friends of the news, I missed a lot of people in the chaos. Someone posted something about it on Facebook which forced our hand into making a post about what had happened versus being able to let the shock sink in and get through the night. I had to get on the elevator and walk away from Tim for the last time. I passed out from exhaustion and it's one of the last times I really slept through the night without medication, even to this day.

Today has been hard, full of clear and difficult memories of what Tim went through in his last day. Tomorrow will be nearly impossible. Tomorrow will be the first time in my adult like that I look back to what happened last year and don't have memories of Tim included. I have had such a tremendous support system and incredibly patient, kind and thoughtful friends but it doesn't make the process any easier. Thank you all for supporting me, our siblings, parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends over the past year. There are many more hard days ahead for all of us but the kindness and patience means a lot.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

51 weeks

At this time a week from now I have no idea what I'll be feeling or how I'll handle it being a year down to the date and time we of lost Tim. It's going to be extremely hard but the biggest difference between the anniversary next week and that time last year is that now I have hope. A few weeks ago I hit a turning point and have been anxious about it not lasting or getting as down as I was previously but somehow my feeling of hope has persevered. I feel guilty about it a lot regardless of what my therapist says but I've also come to the conclusion that even if Tim had a miraculous turnaround and was cured of the cancer, he would be miserable right now. Completely dependent upon oxygen and a wheelchair, not able to participate in life as he would want to do and I think that has given me some form of peace in a twisted way. I still fantasize every day about what life could've been had he never gotten sick or had he never taken that turn for the worse last year. I still imagine what we'd be doing at this moment had those things never happened and would love to have that life, whatever shape it may take but at the same time I know the reality of the situation would've had us trapped inside and without visitors last winter due to how severe the flu season was. It wouldn't have had Tim disappearing every weekend to a football game with me harping on him about taking time to help me around the house this fall, it would be filled with prepping for another flu season and the constant fear of Tim catching some kind of respiratory illness and ultimately he would've been absolutely miserable.

This past week we dedicated the I TOR conference room in Tim's memory and I know he'd be so honored. I've had friends offering dinners, stopping by to say hi, hanging out, sending cards, etc. and through the time I spend with them be it on the phone, on FaceTime or in person, I feel his love. Today was my youngest nieces dedication at church with a reception here after. At one point her older sister was running around interacting and playing with everyone as I cleaned up inside (likely due to the cake and ice cream and candy corn I kept offering up). In that moment I could almost visualize she & Tim playing as he once did with Steven's oldest two. I can't begin to express how much I wish that was reality.

For now I'm doing ok, my meds are finally regulated, I have the best support system I could ever dream of between family, friends, doctors, etc. and I'm truly living in each moment and facing each day as it comes instead of worrying of what will come after. I'm scared of next Sunday and the feelings and memories that will come from that day but honestly it's the day after that scares me more as I have approached each day with the comfort of seeing what Tim and I were doing a year ago on that date which gives me a sense of comfort. Oct 5 will be the first time I can't do that. I have no doubt that I will make it though but these days really knock the wind out of me and it feels like it's hard to recover from the blows. Regardless I haven't stopped trying. It's a fight every single day to get up out of bed and I count the hours until I can climb back in. But I am fighting and fighting hard to be ok, to reclaim my life and slowly but surely to move forward, always carrying Tim right with me.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My body knows even when I dont...

It's really strange how my body has taken over my emotions the last few weeks. Somehow I intuitively know the days that were bad ones with Tim's health and wake up feeling "off". Today was the first "good" day I've had in weeks now. My sleeping pill is no longer working so I'm back to hanging out wide awake until 3AM again no matter how much melatonin, warm milk, hot relaxing baths, etc. I supplement with. Luckily I have an appointment with my doctor again this week and can hopefully get everything adjusted quickly this time and get back to sleeping again. Tonight I supplemented with Benedryl, fingers crossed that it works and that I don't oversleep tomorrow morning. 

In the spirit of being as candid as I've always been: I keep meaning to come back here but in a way I'm also trying to reclaim my life and my anonymity, as happy as I am to hear that these posts have helped others and I'll leave them up as long as blogger lets me so hopefully they may continue to do so as well as to spread Tim's voice and story and as much as they help me to express and vent I'm the person who hates crying in front of other people as its so awkward (had lots of those awkward moments in the past few years). I also miss the days of kind strangers not knowing my life story and personal thoughts, so as with everything else in my life these days I'm trying to find a balance. We started this as a way to make life easier and keep everyone updated on Tim's status without having to rehash the whole story over and over again and I've kept it up for the same reason, except now to share what is going on with my life now.

Its a little over 3 weeks until the year anniversary of losing Tim, its a hard pill to swallow. In some ways I can't believe its only been a year, in others I can't believe its already been a year. It feels like yesterday that we were hanging out and talking. I can still hear his voice and laughter when I think about him. Slowly but surely the horrendous images of him on that last day are not the first that pop into my head when I think of him, but they are of happier times, of him and Maddy giving me the stink eye when I would try to get into our bed (God forbid I disturb their cuddle sessions :) ), the way when he really laughed hard he would sound just like the count from Sesame Street but when he was "giggling" he'd chuckle and as he teased me he always would make this high pitch heeehh heh hehe, just how proud and in awe he was of all of his achievements with promoting iTOR. I mentioned to some friends tonight as how I get recognized when I say my name sometimes, not because of anything I've done but always as "Tim Bright's wife" That is a honor I'm so happy to have as my own, it sounds so crazy and possessive to say but Tim shared so much of himself with others but that title is one of the things no one else besides me can ever claim and I truly love being able to do so. 

My job is going well, I think, most days I feel completely lost and unqualified but I try to remind myself that this is how I've been at the beginning of every job and it will get better (at least we all can hope ;)). My house is finally almost at the point I feel I can call it done, as most know Tim & I closed on this house last July and started renovations right after so the majority of those were being done while he was in the hospital (it was as horrible as it sounds). This is why we lived with his parents for the short stints he was out of the hospital which I'm glad worked out that way as it made me feel so much safer to nap, go check on the renovations or just simply take a little break. My girlfriends moved me and Maddy in last November (p.s. its not a large house but I'm still figuring out where they stashed things for me) and renovations continued until the early part of the summer. I'm finally starting to grow grass in most places of my yard (thank God for no more red clay everywhere) and I am finally starting to feel safe and almost like this is home for me. My bedroom is sparse and at some point I'd like to start fresh with new linens but as with most things associated to my time with Tim I'm not quite ready to make that leap just yet. 

Maddy has made me take that leap with a few things as she recently decided that me not being home during the day was completely unacceptable and crushed a nice vase and picture frame (keep in mind that this destructor also ate through my blinds about a month after me getting them and went through a phase in which she peed her way through my house. Other than that we've become pretty close again. When I'm home she refuses to be in a different room than me and follows me around. Not an issue most times but it becomes pretty comical as I'm cleaning or doing something causing me to walk back and forth and my little shadow becomes very frustrated that she can't just settle in anywhere. She's also decided that her bed (which is a double layered memory foam mattress - Tim's idea not mine) is unacceptable most days and likes to sleep on mine now...right where my feet should go.

I saw one of Tim's former co-workers the other day and he kept remarking how much better I look now than the last time he saw me sometime right after the funeral. Looking back I can see what's different. I still have many very bad, very dark, very sad days but the difference is now I can see a light again and know that this is just a blip on the radar. I don't think I will ever be the person I was before and I mourn for her. I strongly doubt I can ever approach life again with that much positivism and exuberance because I've lived through the worst that can happen. I'm a lot more free than I ever was before though, the only "things" I truly care about are the ones that are attached to memories of Tim. I like others and would like to protect my investments (specifically my new couch that Maddy treats as her own personal jungle gym) but I no longer would be devastated to lose things. My relationships with family members and friends are better than they ever have been before and I'm finally (slowly and kind of) learning to ask for help when I need it. Speaking of, if anyone is mad at their spouse please feel free to volunteer them over here, I'm always needing trash to be taken out, dishes to be unloaded, laundry to be done or a lawnmower to be tamed (it hates me as much as I despise it) as those were chores Tim took care of and apparently some part of my brain seems to think he'll still be managing them so I ignore them for awhile.

I'm slowly but surely starting to find a sense of peace within myself and am finding that maybe I do want to step into Tim's shoes to speak to others about iTOR and what they do and how they are helping our community. I hate publicly speaking almost more than unloading a dishwasher but I'm beginning to feel drawn in. I'll give it my first shot next Tuesday at an event in Tim's memory.

Tuesday is the day that iTOR will be dedicating their conference room (where Tim sat in countless Cancer Center Advancement Council meetings) as the Tim Bright Conference Room thanks to the incredibly generous donations by so many of you after his passing. I've been told that (if I understand correctly) those exceeded $100,000 and still trickle in from time to time. That's an amazing legacy to be left by Tim and I hope he would be so proud that his legacy continues. I know I am. I've heard the phrase "gifting begets gifting" and I can only hope that those reading the plaque about Tim's legacy as they walk down the hall will be inspired in some way by his story. I'll try to post a picture of it up here soon. 

Grief seems to be a very selfish and desolate emotion. I often forget that others miss Tim as much as I do and how much he made a difference in someone else's life. I just see life moving on without him here to enjoy it. I've had a few little reminders today that he's still affecting so many people and you've no idea how happy that makes me as well as how it pulls me out of my lonely little bubble to help understand that I'm not the only one wishing he was still here. Some days some stupid little stunt, i.e. me being asked to be in my new office's Fantasy Football Team when anyone who knows me knows just how much of a joke that is, reminds me that he's still getting the last laugh. I'm sure he's up there somewhere causing as much havoc as he possibly can.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

It's Here

I've been dreading this point in time since I lost Tim. Friday was Tim's 33rd birthday and he was the type that drug his birthday out as long as possible, it was obnoxious. I miss it. Saturday was the anniversary of him first crashing, being placed in the hospital and rapid response being called in resulting in he & I spending a very long night in MedSurg ICU with a very intoxicated and angry neighbor (don't drive your moped while intoxicated to a stop sign). Dr. Edenfield saved me the next morning as he came in with a very large cup of coffee for me.

A year ago today Tim was fighting for his life in CVICU and I spent another mostly sleepless night just watching him breathe. Still so grateful for Amy, the night nurse he had in the unit a few times that allowed him (& thereby me) rest as much as possible & sweet Savannah who knew something was wrong during the night before and refused to stop pushing for solutions.

I know the next few months are going to be like this, the good memory days and the bad memory days all leading up to that last day that crushed my soul. Even with the time that has passed and the successes I have made I don't think I will ever recover.

I have "normal" days now but nothing really seems normal to me anymore. I'm learning how to live again from scratch. Apparently part of that includes me now being an adrenaline junkie as I went skydiving last weekend (Happy Birthday Tim!) The guys were more nervous than I,

I've also started working in a job I love selling medical equipment, tube feeding, oxygen equipment, tracheotomy supplies, etc. It allows me to help people and be involved in the medical field that I love so much without the personal interactions nursing would bring. I feel like that dream died along with Tim. But I finally feel as though I've found my calling in life, jury is still out as to if I'm any good at it. It's good that my days are beginning to have structure and distraction as I don't know how I would get through these next few months without.

I keep feeling as though my time with Tim was a figment in time, a part of my imagination. Many times it doesn't feel real in that it ever happened. Other times it's hard to convince myself that he just isn't home yet. I am the worst roommate I've ever had & that includes Maddy who pees on anything she can reach when she gets mad at me (which has been a lot lately).

I am doing better, Tim is still in my every thought & I talk about him often but the quiet moments are when I miss him most bc they are the times everything floods me. Thank you to all that have been here for me in so many different ways over these past 10 months. I truly wouldn't have made it this far without my village.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Another sporadic post

So sorry, I keep meaning to coming back to this but April was a struggle, May was full of travel and I have no idea what happened to June. So here goes nothing with trying to catch up. 


My hairdresser & very close friend flew out to Las Vegas for the day's surrounding my first anniversary without Tim. This also marked our 5th wedding anniversary, it would've meant he made it past the scary point in which they say only 3-4% make it. We always thought if someone had to make it then why not Tim. The week before we left was also the 6th month anniversary of his death. So double whammy. I spent that day with my couch, my dog, my Ativan, crappy food (whatever I can have delivered) & terrible movies. I've finally realized this is the only way I can make it through the day, just make sure that I'm still breathing in & out when the day is over. My birthday is quickly approaching and I've removed that date from Facebook in the hopes I won't be pinged all day with messages along with requesting to my friends and family that we just don't celebrate it this year. Maybe someday I will again but this year I just want to make it through.

While in Vegas we stayed pretty busy between the casinos & the pool but that place is exhausting. Josh got us an amazing deal at the Venetian, unfortunately his husband John had a last minute work trip but we kept him in the loop with late night calls which I'm sure he appreciated...

Oh, I also jumped off of a 90 story tower on April 10 (our 5th anniversary). Here's the video of that, for some reason I can't find the original so I had to tape it off of my phone :
I got back and I believe we had about a week until the BrightLife tournament. So many wonderful people came out and so many made the event a pretty special honorary of Tim, all of this led by Steven. He did an incredible job. My only regret of the day was not getting a picture with him.

Two days after the tournament I became an aunt for the 5th time. Miss Austin is still as tiny as can be and big sister Brynn LOVES her but has renamed her Uh-Oh.


I can't tell you how happy I was to see May. It meant an easier shot at normalcy and healing. I traveled up to visit my cousin in NJ just outside of the city. I had a great week with her and her husband.

I extended my connection in DC to be able to attend my sorority sisters baby shower. It was so fun to see Savy in her element although embarrassingly she kicked my butt on a hike.

I have no clue where the rest of May & June went other than working on the house and having my very first job interview. I really hope it works out as it is a position that ties back to many experiences Tim had over his last few months so this gives me the feeling of a connection to him in a strange way.

I do owe an apology as I completely forgot to post the total: $22,000 from the tournament. We couldn't have done it without the generosity of so many. Thank you so much.

As for me, I finally have an amazing sleeping pill so I'm hoping to become a normal sleeper again. I'm still seeing my therapist which helps but I still have big meltdowns and the next few months will be especially hard first with my birthday and the first time I start to catch up to him in age. I'm so dreading the year I surpass him. It will be so hard. The next being Tim's birthday which also sort of marks the beginning of the end as he was admitted the first time & crashed the first time the next day. Each subsequent day will get even harder as we get closer to the one year anniversary. I already know that day is going to absolutely crush me but the one after will be worse. The first time I can't look back a year and have a memory of Tim in it. I still haven't spread his remains and I know where but thus far I still can't stomach the idea of it all truly being over and him gone. I don't know why that affects me so but there you have it.

Tomorrow I'll meet my family and Tim's in Columbia for an exhibition between the Carolina Alums and the Blowfish. They will be honoring Tim before the game starts and as I told his friend Andi, I don't know if his head much less ego will fit into heaven after tomorrow night. He would be so touched that they wanted to honor his memory and I am so incredibly proud of my amazing husband. I'm a very lucky girl to have been the one that got the title of Tim Bright's wife.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Less than a month left

I've gone to my new therapist twice now and I like it. I like her. She's ever so slowly helping me to renter the world as not just an observer but an active participant who wants to be involved. Each week she sets me to a new task and I'm becoming consumed by accomplishing those instead of just being a bump on a log. She's explained why I am so incredibly exhausted no matter how much sleep I get and keeps me from feeling as though I'm a crazy person. I tried to set a goal for myself to go through Tims jeans the other day, as soon as I opened the closet door and could smell him I knew it wasn't happening. I haven't opened that door in months so the way the smell encompassed me was too much to bear. I tried to push through it but I remembered us buying the first pair of jeans I pulled down and I remembered various times he wore them and exactly how they fit him and promptly gave up. Instead I started purging my closet which should keep me occupied for quite some time.

April is going to be a really hard month for me, the 6 month anniversary of Tims death is very quickly approaching on April 4, our anniversary is April 10 and its a big one, 5 years of marriage and 8 years since our first date. Finally the fifth and final BrightLife tournament and dinner is on April 20. It will be a lot of fun but it will also be a really hard day as although all of the funds that will be raised will be going to iTOR once again, Steven and I are focusing the day on Tim and his memory as without his want and desire to make a change and bring awareness to iTOR none of the previous day's would've ever happened.  I think his email below sums it up better than I can and I hope many of you and yours will be able to join us that day or that evening to celebrate the life of Tim.

Dear Friends,


Five years ago the first Brightlife “Tee it up for Tim” Golf Tournament was held.  It was put together by friends of my brother in order to make sure that he had funds available for travel or medications associated with his horrible disease.  Tim was blown away by the overwhelming response and money raised, therefore the next three Brightlife tournaments were “Tee it up for Cancer” in order to also help others who are battling cancer.   Up until Tim’s last breath, he always put other people and their needs ahead of his own.  On April 20 we will be holding the final Brightlife golf tournament, and we are going back to the original slogan, “Tee it up for Tim.”  All of the money raised will be going to ITOR, but the focus of this tournament will be a celebration of Tim’s life.    I hope to see all of you this year as we “Tee it for Tim” and honor him by enjoying a great day of golf, followed by dinner and a silent auction.  Tim enjoyed this day and looked forward to seeing everyone at the tournament and/or dinner every year.   We have cut down the number of teams in this year’s tournament, so if you have interest in playing I encourage you to sign up using the link below.

Once again I want to say thank you for your support in the past.  This tournament meant a great deal to Tim.  The final “Tee it up for Tim” event will be held on April 20 at Thornblade Club.  It will be a 1:00 shotgun start, followed by dinner beginning at 6.   Below you will see a link to the registration page for golf and dinner.  I look forward to seeing all of you.   Below is a picture of our group at the first Brightlife “Tee it up for Tim” event.  I challenge a group to top these shirts!!!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Conglomeration

This is going to be all over the place, similar to my brain these days. It's been awhile since I've posted but there has been a lot on the schedule and I've been struggling a lot. I keep meaning to get back to blogging as it helps me feel better to get it out but it also helps me document where I've been so I can see if I'm making any progress (the feeling is that I'm stagnant). In that respect I'll likely be writing this over a period of at least a few days as I just don't have the time or energy to do much more.

Monday night (11:30PM):
I've taken my daily anti-anxiety meds and the max dose of my one-off anxiety meds. I'm slightly sleepy but my mind won't shut down for me to go to sleep. Instead I'm starting to respond to WAY overdue Facebook messages (some from as far back as September). My attention span sucks (it always has with my ADHD) so I likely won't get too far on these tonight. At some point I'll just put this down and stare blankly at Good Eats until I fall asleep on the couch. My bed hasn't exactly been comforting for me lately. Reaching over in the middle of the night to a cold bed instead of a warm body will wake you up faster than a bucket of cold water. Maddy stays out here with me every night and luckily I did invest in a nicer couch so my back hasn't been suffering too much. I cry a lot these days, it doesn't take much, if anything to set me off. I'm miserable. Stating that I miss Tim doesn't even begin to describe the feelings I have. I started counseling awhile back but I don't think it was the right time for me just yet. I'm restarting next week with a grief specialist and hoping to get help digging myself out of this quicksand of mourning. I feel like I'm always waiting for Tim to come home, I'm desperate to pick up the phone and have the relief of talking to him but it never happens, obviously. In that I feel as though I'm just waiting. I have amazing friends, friends that have been here for me day and night for the past 5 1/2 months. Those friendships still aren't wavering. This situation has been good in that I'm learned what true friendship looks like.

...So it's been over a week. I keep meaning to do this but there are a lot of things I "mean" to do these days...

Wednesday night (10:50PM):

Once again I've taken my meds but am not yet asleep, something happened last night that changed things, changed me and it's insane but yet I feel so different. I hope it lasts but I have no idea if it will and if it does how long that will be. It's been a really hard few months for me. I've sunk into somewhat of a depression that I don't even seem to have the desire to dig myself out of. I'm struggling to accomplish the simplest tasks for BrightLife or even my house (it got horrendously disgusting for awhile there). Keeping myself and Maddy fed and our hygiene intact is about my limit these days. I'm physically and mentally exhausted. I have no issue sleeping all day and going back to sleep the next night. Granted my schedule is still insane but I'm getting more sleep than I have gotten in years. 

I've been busy and will have to recap all of that some other time but my close friends now refer to my house as Fort Knox with all of the security precautions I've added so I feel as safe as ever, to be honest I was no better off with Tim. We once heard noises on our back deck and his exact response to me was "go see what that was". He'd never have an issue sacrificing me for his own safety if an intruder was involved. He kept a long skinny bat called a fungo under our bed versus a metal bat so he wouldn't have to get as close (6"?) to whomever he was hitting. I think I heard more noises at our old house than I have at this one (other than whatever animal lives above my room/the den). I haven't been able to talk my dad into investigating that just yet.

I start counseling again tomorrow, it's overdue. I know I'll never be able to move forward without someone to help me figure out how to do it. I feel as though I'm in a rut and just constantly at odds with the situation I'm in and can't figure out how to come to terms with it much less how to be a functioning human being.

Last night I went to sleep Pretty late with the TV on. It felt as though I was in this weird semi-conscious state and I thought I was just dozing, you know when you're still awake but just lying there with your eyes closed. I do this a lot to try to get myself to fall asleep so it wasn't unusual. I started to realize that I was lying on someone's arm and that person had their other arm up over my head running their fingers through my hair just like Tim used to in order to put me to sleep. I could feel him behind me and somehow knew it was him just from his presence. He said something to me and when I rolled to my back to look at him and ask what he said I ended up being wide awake. It took me a second to realize what was happening but for the first time when realization hit it wasn't upsetting, I felt a sense of peace  and for the first time in almost 6 months I had felt Tim's presence. It's the strangest thing and now I feel like a drug addict just wanting another fix. It was the most realistic dream I've ever had, even the sounds of what was on TV actually sync' up to my dream. I know and understand the science behind it all and can honestly say it was more than that. Maybe it's some part of my sad and overworked brain reaching out but I'll take it, whatever it was. I just want more.

I also went to dinner with a friend who is a pediatric oncologist tonight. She has such a reassuring presence and as she's seen it over and over through her work she just gets it. There have been a few medical questions that have been bothering me about Tims death that I just haven't been sure I want the answers to but then again I need them to be ok. I think I just don't want to hear the "wrong" answer yet I want to person I'm asking to be honest with me no matter what the answer may be. I blurted out one of those questions to my friend tonight and she answered it with exactly what I'd been hoping to hear and even answered a few more with what I've been wanting without even knowing she was doing it.

I knew life was hard but had no idea just how hard it can be until I lost my best friend. He never leaves my mind and saying I miss him doesn't even begin to describe the feelings I have about him being gone. I've been told over and over again that it never gets better, just easier to deal with and I'm hopeful that tomorrow will start to teach me new coping mechanisms for making it easier to deal with.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Already failing at my new goals

So about that whole getting physically healthy thing...I have had a great start, a friend introduced me to Hot Yoga and I've found that not only do I love it but I'm not terrible at it like I am with every single other sport I try. (Also I'm not exaggerating, my high school friends still taunt me over my "fast break" that led to 2 points for the other team...the one time I didn't miss the darn basket & Tim was terrified that we'd have all sons with my lack of physical abilities, it would've been his worst nightmare as a parent). I went four times the first week and only once this past week (i might've decided one night that I'd rather have Thai food delivered). I'm headed back in this coming week though, I love the way it makes my body feel (exhausted and sore). It's great as it completely drains my body and occupies my mind while I'm in there so I finally get a break. Otherwise my mind is still going nuts, the memories flood me constantly throughout the day. Sometimes they are sweet, sometimes they are more disturbing.

I have been eating like crap as well. I killed a pint of Ben & Jerry's (& yes I was on a couch watching a movie eating out of the carton. As cliche as it gets). The good news is typically I just eat around the ice cream to get the cookie dough chunks and toss the rest so perhaps the whole pint doesn't count? I also had McDonalds today. It was terrible and reaffirmed why I don't eat that anymore. 

I came up to my parents house in Clyde NC for some respite away from the insanity. I haven't slept well for the last few weeks (back into my staying up all night routine and waking up early so I never get a large chunk of sleep). My medical insurance is still messed up until the beginning of February so I'm hoping to get started on a new plan then. Until then I've been sticking to my nightly rituals of bubble baths, sleepy time tea, my meds and prepping for bed before trying to lose myself in a book or trash TV show until I finally fall asleep. 

Emotionally I'm back and forth. Most nights I cry myself to sleep, some nights I wake up crying multiple times through the night. I have really weird but realistic dreams (if I say something to you that doesn't make sense clarify that with me as the dreams are so realistic I'm getting mixed up at times with what is really going on vs. it literally being a crazy figment of my imagination. Pair that with my current lack of memory and life is slightly confusing). Maddy also has been waking me up by barking aggressively in the middle of the night. I think there might be a squirrel living in my attic and hoping that's what has her riled up but my poor heart is getting a workout with those wake up calls. The lack of sleep had made me more grouchier than usual but I'm really trying to keep perspective. Sometimes there just isn't enough coffee.

I'm trying to become more forgiving and understanding to everyone I meet and keep in mind that I have no idea what they walk into when they go home just as they don't know the amount of loneliness and grief I walk around with.

It's becoming more real which I why I think I'm starting to get upset more. I try to talk about Tim a lot but I've been getting choked up when I try lately. Throughout my days I see things or talk to people and my first reaction is still, I can't wait to tell Tim. Or that I know something will make him laugh, mad, etc. or I just need his advice. I went to go buy new tennis shoes the other day (want to see if my knees will let me run again). I realized that I haven't picked out my own pair of sneakers since college. Tim has picked out every other pair since and I had no idea where to start. I just wandered down rows and stared for like an hour and finally just left frustrated. The reality that I never get to see him, feel him hug me when I need a pick me up, run ideas by him for his advice, etc. is all sinking in. Being alone is beginning to sink in. I'm adjusting to the living alone thing but Tim and I always talked a lot after dinner and when we laid down in bed. It's where we hashed out our hopes, dreams, fears and got/gave advice, backed each other up, fought over ideals. I miss that time with him. I miss not having him when I feel so down to give me one of his tight hugs and make some dumb remark to make me laugh. Maddy likely thinks I'm an idiot as I try to use her as my sounding board. Too bad she just groans and turns her head as she lies back down.

None of this has been easy but the past two weeks have brought in a different kind of hard. It's difficult to explain as rationally I know he's gone and not coming back but my body/mind keeps thinking that it's been enough and I'm ready for him to come back now. The realization that isn't happening hurts the most. I'm not ready and am struggling to accept that at least for now I'm not going to get the privilege of seeing him. That sucks.

I'm trying to stay focused on things I can look forward to. Three friends and I are headed to Universal Orlando for a fun long weekend riding rides and we're all currently studying up on our Harry Potter movies. I quickly learned that the movies are not in fact children's movies (or I'm a big wimp) and should be watched during daylight hours only. Thanks to Jay Motley's obsession with Harry Potter he's loaned me his library so now  I'm also reading the books (much less disturbing than the movies). There is discussion of matching colored t-shirts for each day (my friend Kim Browns family gave that idea). There has also been discussion of using fanny packs. We're hoping to bring them back from '95 to '15. They really are very functional waist purses (even if mine does say Myrtle Beach in a strong 1980s typograph)

There are two girls nights being scheduled by two sets of my amazing friends, all around Valentine's Day. Couldn't imagine being without some of the ones I love most that weekend. I think I had finally convinced Tim that he had to send me flowers this year (there is a first time for everything) so these "dates" will be the perfect replacement

Two other of my friends are helping me to plan a trip for Tim & i's fifth anniversary in April. I don't know that I completely care what we do but I do know I need it to be different and big enough to distract from it also being right at the sixth month anniversary of losing him. We're hoping to get some solid plans laid out in the next week or two. 

I've also been back working part time for my friend Jemny Kramer and her company Fickle. The first day was really hard as I was basically exactly where I was the day I got the call telling me to get to the Cancer center right away and all of the madness started. The work has been a good thing to be able to focus upon, a great distraction. 

I've also been hard at work at my house with finishing the screen porch, making my own builtins for my den. Finally getting my couch delivered. Getting artwork hung and trying to figure out where all of my junk goes. Hopefully my blinds should be up this week so I can stop using blankets to block the windows
I keep getting classier it seems. Minus a rug here or there and some artwork for some blank walls I think my house (inside anyway) is pretty much done. 

With that being the case I'm starting to look into what it would take to become a medical equipment sales representative. If anyone has advice on how to get started I'm more than willing to listen!

Now for the biggest news, steven and I met last week to discuss moving forward with one final BrightLife tournament.  We don't have any details yet on dates, prices, location, etc. but if anyone has items they'd like to donate for the auction, wants to help with gathering items and hole sponsor donations or has any ideas or suggestions as to what we could do to make this final tournament the best and most successful yet please let me know. Tim and I had discussed whether or not we should do a tournament this year and had been leaning toward no until he decided that he really wanted to do it again and got so excited about it. I hope we can translate a little of his excitement for this to you all as we start to get it figured out. As we get more information we will be sure to pass it along. This year all funds earned will do kind of a double duty. After everyone was so generous with the gifts to iTOR after we lost Tim the idea was brought up of naming the iTOR conference room after him. It's actually the last place he was with his advancement council meeting as they planned their great work for 2015. So all money raised from this years tournament goes to that. These funds will also be going to any specific projects designated. In years past Tim and I have spoken to Dr. Edenfield and asked that he put the funds where he sees the most research need. One year it covered the collection and analysis of solid tumors for patients at GHS for an entire year. This meant that for a year every GHS solid tumor patient got that analysis for free (early trials/non-standard protocol typically aren't covered by insurance). I plan to do the same for this year, find out what the most urgent need is and put the funding toward that in the hopes it will be the difference needed for someone else to get their cure. 

So basically I'm staying busy and trying to get myself reaclimated to the "real world" but doing so with baby steps and the understanding that it may be too much and have to step back before going forward again. Life overwhelms me .