Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Three Years

Three years ago a very terrible thing happened. I have no idea what the weather was like that day as my back was to the window and all of my focus was on the storm happening in front of me. I'm told it was a beautiful fall day, perfect blue skies, the crisp in the air showing that winter was just around the corner. I can still recall some events from that day with perfect clarity, other details have faded slightly over the years. Our families and I saw some horrific things that day but in the days, weeks, months and now years that have followed we have seen so much beauty in the compassion of others.

We were all lucky enough to experience the entity that was Tim in every facet, the good and the bad, and we were lucky enough to be able to be with him in his final moments, as hard as they were. His family will always be mine and seeing little bits of him within each of them is always heartwarming, but especially seeing the mischievous look Harlan gets as he's considering his next move, how much Lillian cares for others and her concern for their feelings and Stella's tenacity & joy for life is like seeing bits of Tim (plus Harlan has his ears & his love for Carolina).

Enjoy today, whatever the weather may be. Think of him, maybe tell his story to someone else in the hope of preventing another family from going through such a loss, because as long as his memory is alive, so is he. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Moving Forward, Reflecting Back

This summer I turned 33, I'm now officially older than Tim ever will be. It wasn't as sad as I anticipated it might be, more just a strange feeling. I've done a lot of thinking over the past few months about what was and what will be. I've come to a place in which I'm somewhat in awe of what I've made it through. I say the follows my not with a sense of pride but more of wonder that it happened to me, that I lived this and that I made it. I've never thought of myself as a strong person just really damn stubborn, maybe that finally paid off for me. What I am proud of though is the person these experiences have shaped me to be. I'm happier with myself in any form that takes, I'm kinder to people even when they aren't to me because I remember what it's like to be fighting just to make it through the next five minutes. By no means am I patient but I have a lot more of it than I used to. I care less about objects and perceptions and much more about people and how I make them feel. I'm no saint and still get oh so wrapped up in gossip, drama, etc. but those moments have become fewer and far between. I take joy in experiences and have less fear in general (thank God because I was wound tighter than a clock with my fear). I was sent something called a Mantra Band after Tim died stating "Be Still & Know", it has quite literally become my mantra and I try to abide by it as much as my (still thriving) OCD allows.

Once again, I'm happy. I've been dating an amazing man for months now and while I take the credit along with my friends and family for the majority of the hard work it's taken to recover, he has completed that process. He's shown me kindness, patience, that I can love again and most importantly, that I can be loved again. I finally feel like a whole person again.

I feel like the final step is to reflect back which is what I'm beginning to do now. I'm (finally) officially off of sleeping pills and beginning to get back into a regular sleep pattern. I no longer feel like a crazed zombie all of the time. I've realized that I've been avoiding a lot of pain for some time now and have begun to face that. In that I've realized how much I gave of myself and my life during Tim's illness. I have no regrets about that but the process completely drained me and even now, almost 3 years later, I have periods where the mental exhaustion still takes over.

Today Tim would've turned 35, on his last birthday, 3 years ago, he was fighting pancreatitis so our celebratory meal with his family was low-residue foods (I.e. Pretty bland). A major part of that is absolutely no sugar (to rest the pancreas). I will never forget our sweet niece, Lillian's crestfallen face as the "cake" was brought out during the singing of the birthday song and her realization that we hadn't been joking about there being no cake. That this dish was actually pears lined up with candles, I think her outward disappointment was felt by all of us, especially Tim. I still hate that he never got sweets again as he loved them so.

Ever since that year, Tim's birthday, for me, has marked the beginning of the end. He had the first emergency hospital admission the very next day, the first call of the rapid response team, along with the first of many surgeries, nights in the ICU (although the first with the drunk guy who wrecked his moped into a stop sign was the worst). We had some good moments during this period, actually some of my favorite memories, of date nights crammed into his hospital bed watching a movie on the tiny hospital TV, of the pure joy on his face the first time Maddy came to visit him and the way they cuddled up for hours on her last visit (& when she pooped in the hall as my dad was bringing her in, I've never seen such panic on his face and the unit secretary was incredibly calm as she asked if he really thought that was the worst those floors has seen). Some of my favorite memories involve Steven, Tim was so floored with how much time he got to spend with him (even if the situation sucked). Tim adored him more than I think he could ever know and Steven bent over backwards to be there for both of us through everything be it bringing a TV in to watch the Carolina game down in CVICU, helping me keep Tim's phone hidden so he'd stop texting and get some sleep (then defending me when I got caught days later) & my favorite was when we had to convince Tim to keep his C-pap mask on in the CCU as he was still groggy and confused by the anesthesia. He told us he didn't like us for forcing him to stay in the mask & listen to the nurse, then got sick due to the force of the air going into his stomach (one of the side effects we knew would happen and part of why he was fighting us so hard on it). No nurses were around so Steven and I were both struggling, gagging and trying to help him/get a nurse in there. It had to have looked like a comedy show from the outside.

I also got caught selling him out for his new-found love of Dilaudid. Knowing what I do now I never would've intervened but at the time I was terrified of him becoming addicted, he was beginning to count down the minutes until he could get his next dose and kept asking the nurses to "push it fast" into his IV. Understanding now how much pain he had to have been in at that point I get it but at the time I thought he surely was becoming an addict. I told him I was going downstairs to grab lunch and would be right back (after expressing my concern to him multiple times about the medication). I mentioned my concerns to his nurse at the time but asked that I be kept independent of the decision as I didn't want him to get angry with me and went downstairs, grabbed some food and headed back up. I assumed they'd wait it out a bit or have one of the doctors address it during rounds the next morning but of course that would've been too easy. The nurse came in about two minutes after me and started telling Tim about how as of now they were moving him to pain pills and off of the Dilaudid. As soon as she finished speaking his head swiveled over to me (excorcist like) & with fire in his eyes he stated "This is your doing isn't it". At the time it was a little disconcerting but became a big joke between us and our families very quickly. When we found out there were no more options that last night they asked Tim if there was anything he wanted to be more comfortable. He requested a Coke (the first time he'd been allowed to drink anything all day) but his big request was for Dilaudid, our families were in the room when he asked for that and everyone started laughing. Once again he broke the tension of a horrible situation with his unfailing humor (he also asked her to push it REALLY fast when they delivered).

Tim had his moments where he was quick to anger, where he was a stubborn/grouchy mule but he was always looking out for everyone else, especially his family who he loved so dearly. He would make all of us laugh, even in the darkest moments of our lives and that grin of his was absolutely infectious, especially when you knew he was plotting something (which was always written all over his face). I have no doubt that he is spreading that joy of his up in heaven today as he celebrates what should be his 35th Birthday & I hope he's getting all the cake and snickerdoodle cookies his heart desires!

Monday, April 10, 2017

10th on the 7th, 7th on the 10th

Life has been pretty good as of late, I'm currently in Chicago visiting Tim's cousin Kristen and have had such a fun time with her over the past few days. I scheduled the trip from the 7th to the 10th initially as I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this weekend. The 7th marked 10 years since Tim & I met and the 10th marks 10 years since our first date and more importantly 7 years since our wedding. Obviously there is some sadness about what could've been but these anniversaries are starting to be days that hurt less and in which I can just remember and appreciate what was and how lucky we both were to have had it, even if only for a brief moment.

So today I'm just remembering a perfect spring day in April that was neither too hot or too cold, gorgeous blue skies, everything at peak bloom and being surrounded by our friends & families.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

New Year(ish), New Beginnings, New Perspectives 

It's been awhile since I've written anything, to be honest, it's been nice. I also took some time away from seeing my therapist to try and collect my thoughts. She's amazing and has provided me with the tools to be able to do such a thing. I'm at a strange place in my life now. Sometime during the end of last year I felt a peace with everything that I've never had before (granted I did just switch to a new anti-depressant/anxiety med). I still miss Tim like crazy and think of him every single day. I'd trade absolutely anything to be back with him and it still hurts but I think it always will to some extent. I think it has to because as long as I still love Tim (which will never end) it will hurt that he was taken from all of us so early. 

This is probably the longest break I've taken from updating this blog since we started it but for some reason I just felt the need to get some stuff out tonight I guess as it's been somewhat of a rough and emotionally draining day. Biggest news is that I was laid off from my job in early December due to the elimination of my position, luckily my friends that own On the Roxx and The 05 ended up with an unexpected opening for their event coordinator/marketing so I'm taking that over as of this week. It's a great opportunity with lots of potential and I'm grateful to be able to take so,e time doing something fun for awhile as I figure out what direction I want to go next. 

I've been renovating my guest bathroom and just finishing up in time to find my masterbath is a ticking time bomb for needing its own reno. Pretty sure that between the dogs and the renovations I'll ever have a clean house again. My goal for this year is to have a clean house, clean dogs, clean car and clean me if only for afternoon before Dec 31.

In other news, which I may regret sharing and will come as a bit of a shock to all 4 of my parents and siblings is that I've begun to explore dating again. It's a lot different than it was 10 years ago and I'm so lost/confused about how it works these days. I did join a dating app and was asked to be the host of someone's seed as they wanted to make a mommy out of someone. I've never been so freaked out by another human. I have been out with a very nice guy who makes me laugh like I haven't in a very long time and has been kind, understanding and respectful of Tim's legacy. Who knows how this will work in the long haul but for now simply grabbing dinner and a movie with someone who can make me laugh and enjoys my mixed up humor while I get the pleasure of his company sounds good. This is likely to be the only post I make about this subject as I made the choice to open my life with Tim but no one beyond the two of us opted in for the public view of our life and as I figure out if/how dating will fit into my life privacy sounds pretty great.

Life is great some days and hard others but I'm finally finding a new normal and daily routine. The dogs keep me on my toes and eat everything in sight. The off and on of meds they've put me on over the past 2 years has changed my metabolism so I'm getting aggressive about getting my body back so I can try to feel a bit more like me again.

Thank you all for everything you've done over the past two and a half years. I have the strongest (& most protective) groups of friends I could ever ask for. They pick me up when I'm feeling down and arrange days on the couch with junk food, sad movies and support when I need extra love. The fact though that I'm still getting messages about the impact Tim played in the lives of others is such a testimony to his wonderfully lived life. He's so ver missed, esp as we approach our 7th anniversary but knowing that he is now living the life he deserves is a bit of comfort.