One evening this week I found myself scrubbing the kitchen floor after dinner with my phone shut off so I could disconnect for awhile. With no worries over the time I realized that I've come to being used to not watching the clock for 4:45pm to roll around waiting for your phone call after work. I realized I no longer worry about dinner being on the table before 5pm. I no longer wait for that back door to squeak open at 5:15pm. I no longer wait for the squeals of "DADDY!" when you walk through that door.
When did I become so used to this life? When dinner is on the table at 5pm and instead of waiting for you to walk through that door before we eat, we just eat. When having my phone shut off for a few hours of disconnect at the prime time of when you would be calling after work is no big deal because I've become accustomed to no longer receiving that after work phone call. When I no longer watch the clock and count the minutes to when you'd be home and we get you all to ourselves for the weekend.
Somedays I still look down the driveway and I can see you walking down to check the mail. The pep in your step because it's a beautiful day and you're finally home to enjoy it. Sometimes I can see you filling the woodstove and I remember the way I would admire your hard working hands. Some nights I can still see you relaxing on the couch watching your favorite shows on TV.
There are still moments when I look out the kitchen door and expect to see you walk through it. Or look out towards the barn and expect to see you walking out after feeding my horses while I'm inside feeding children. Or when I hear the floor squeak in our bedroom waking me up and I lay there wondering if I open my eyes, will I finally see you standing there in front of me with love in your eyes?
The stage of denial has largely passed which I assume is why I've moved forward from waiting for phone calls, waiting for you to walk through that door or waiting for you to lay next to me after retreating upstairs for the night. But every now and then I get a sting of pain when I realize at this particular time or that particular time, I would have been getting a phone call or I would have been hearing that back door open up.
Six months seems like a lifetime and it seems like yesterday, all in the same breath. Six months without you. Six long but also very short months. As I look at our 3 beautiful children and see how much they've changed, grown and adjusted, I can't help but wonder what life would be like had you not been called home that evening in October.
I can't even look at mountains with adoring eyes any longer. Pictures, in a movie, paintings. Even the mere mention of Wyoming. It all sends chills down my spine and an anger, a frustration, a sense of sadness comes to my body. Those Wyoming Mountains took the most important person out of my life, physically, and I have not forgiven them. I don't know when or if I will ever be able to.
We've survived for six whole months. But how? I have no idea. But somehow, someway, we have. I owe a lot to so many people for their generosity over the last six months. Phone calls, grief counseling, prayers, fellowship, surprise visits, meals, snacks, texts, shares of inspiration on FB, private messages, donations, gift cards, greeting cards, diapers, paper and plastic kitchen goods, bathroom essentials, babysitting, playdates, inspiration, pick-me-up gifts, gifts for the children, ... The list goes on. No amount of "thank you" will ever be sufficient enough for the amount of support we have received over the last six months. Without all of you, I fear for where we'd be today. So, thank you. Each and every one of you.
I'm proud of how far we've come. We're not where I hope we will be one day but we're not where we were six months ago and for that, I'm simply grateful. It's not easy, being a single mother, but it takes a village and this village is something I'm proud of. So, again, THANK YOU. Each and every one of you who has shown love to our family. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
This week was particularly hard with so many anniversaries. The 10th was our engagement anniversary. I said "yes" six years ago April 10, 2010 in the Detroit Zoo while on our 4-year anniversary getaway.
April 15, 2016 marks six months without you. A half a year. A whole half a year without my best friend, without my teammate, without my person. Six whole months since the kids climbed on their daddy after he finally arrived home from work. Six months since we've heard that voice and saw that smile.
And, the biggest one of them all... 5 years ago on April 16, 2011, we said "I Do" in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, until death... do us part. So much we had planned for our 5th wedded bliss anniversary. Things that just aren't possible without you physically here.
They're just dates on the calendar. The sting of you no longer with us hurts every.single.day. Every day. We feel the lack of your presence every waking moment of every single day. But these dates on the calendar with a little more meaning, a little more sentimental value, they sting just a little bit deeper.
What's even more of a stab in the heart is when your children give little moments that make your heart shatter all over again. This week while buckling up in car seats after delivering our gravity wagon for some sawdust Bailey excitedly exclaimed, "there's daddy!" When I asked her, "where darlin'?" She responded with, "right behind you!" Then she moved her focus to the back of the truck and said, "there's daddy! Go see him momma, go see him!" My heart broke. Tears filled my eyes and a longing so intense filled my body. Oh, if only I *could* go see him my sweet baby girl. How much easier grieving would be if I could still see him.
Thursday, after Ele's Place, I was told of the sweetest but most heart breaking moment while we were away... Shandra and I worked all day hanging pictures back up. Before bed Bailey had to kiss and "hug" each picture with daddy in it. Two tear-filled rounds of watching Bailey kiss and hug her daddy in a picture instead on seeing her wrap her arms around her daddy for real.
As I sit here tonight watching the sunset, I'm nearly speechless. Though the fog is beginning to lift, I still cannot believe this is our life at times. So much of the last six months is nothing but a blur with only pictures, FB posts, blog posts and the faint memories to help remind me of where we've been, how far we've come and how far we have yet to go. So much uncertainty still, a lot of wondering, a lot of praying and a lot worry. But one things for sure, one thing I know for certain... My kids and I have come a long way. We are much closer today than we were six months ago. We are still a work in progress, we are still clearing the debri-ridden path, but we are finding our way; together. No one will stop us from finding our way as a family. With the support we do have, we will make it.
So many changes over the last six months and many more changes to come in the next six months. As a family, we will walk hand-in-hand and muddle through the thickets while finding our way. As a family, we will make the changes ahead of us. As a family, we will choose what brings us joy, what makes us happy and what's right for us. With a lot of prayer we will make the right decisions, together, for the path that we're being called down.
Tonight I am plagued with so many emotions. Happiness for how far we've come, joy for the closeness we now have; the four of us, nervousness and excitement for the upcoming months to see what's in store for our family, exhilaration for chasing dreams, wonderment, amazement, sadness over celebrating anniversaries without my person. When I say this journey is a rollercoaster, I'm not exaggerating. It's more thrilling than anything you'll find at an amusement park. With twists, turns, upside downs, jerks, dark tunnels, bright lights; you name it, we've got it. At times we even add in, "It's a small world affffterallll!" just for a little more excitement. Ha. With all humor aside, it's a minute by minute rollercoaster and you cannot foresee where that track goes. You're riding this rollercoaster blindfolded and all you have to hold on to is your trust. Trusting that there's a plan for all of this. Trusting that good will come out of this. Trusting that strength will be found, paths will be cleared, prayers will be answered and answers will be revealed. Trust. One little word with such big meaning.
So as I sit here reflecting on the last six months, I'm reminded to just trust. To follow the call. To serve where I am needed. To let go of the worry on how it will all work out. To set free the anxiety over the future. To live for today and just trust. He has a plan and it's better than mine.
Happy Anniversary, Ben. 5 years ago today two paths joined as one trail. In thankful for the signs you've brought to us today. Our reception entrance song, Jason Aldean "My Kinda Party", the deer across the road all staring at me at the most perfect time and the feeling of your presence. Even though I have been preoccupied all day with battling lice discovered this morning that I haven't had time to sit and reflect, maybe it's a good thing. Maybe it's the distraction I needed to remember that some situations can only be met with humor and a "when we look back on this, we'll laugh at the situation as a whole." Today has been an absolute beautiful day... Much different than the last 4 years of April 16 where it has rained every year. I know you have a lot to do with that. My wonderful Ben, my person, even on the other side you continue to provide for us in so many ways.
Until next time, friends