Grief Adjacency.

This is a term we fun, life of the party, grief-stricken people use to describe those on the outside-who are in our circle, either trying to support us, ignore us, or give us well-meaning advice. They are grief-adjacent. Lucky them. I miss being grief-adjacent. I was on that side of it quite a few times. So ignorant to my friends or families pain.

Everyone is different but I would imagine most of us who have lost our spouse are on the same page with our grief and most of us do not appreciate some well meaning things. They are outdated and almost insulting as it shows little to no work or thought has been put into what was said. I assure you, if you Google it quickly, your phrase is a big no no. This list will be more akin to widows- but I am sure there are similarities throughout for other types of losses.

Here is a small list of things that are not helpful and better alternatives to help your grieving person:

1. “Stay strong.” “Time will heal.”

Strength has no place here. I hope if you are meaning “hey don’t kill yourself,” just be candid and say that rather than the strong thing. There is nothing strong about survival.

Imagine someone stranded in the wilderness. Their plane has crashed and they are the only survivor. They are shocked it happened. They are so cold, wet, tired, and nearly starving. They have severe physical injuries. Would it be appropriate to find them in the woods, tell them “hey you’re strong!” Then just walk away? No. They are merely surviving, the most basic of human instincts.

So don’t do it to your grieving person. Their plane of life has crashed also. They feel alone like they are the only one. They are likely not taking care of themselves like they used too. They have mental injuries so significant they would probably rather have physical ones. They also have physical ones, like panic attacks or even worse “broken heart syndrome” look it up.

If they end up finding their way out of the wilderness- they will likely have trauma or PTSD that last a life time. Hopefully with therapy or something of a like they can find a way to navigate themselves, but if they don’t you need to deal with it. Some people just don’t recover just like some people don’t live until there 80. Accept this shitty fact to reality. Listen to what your grieving person is saying and not try to spin it with some toxic positivity. Some things just are not positive. It says more about you when you fight it then it does your grieving person.

As for time, it is irrelevant here. My person left earth and they won’t be back next year. They won’t be back in five years. So how could you say “time will heal” or something of the like? If time heals me, then let time be the master. You do not speak for me or time- so just don’t say it. You are not the predictor of my future. You have no idea. Your person may not even be dead. I want time to heal me too but after speaking to a lot of younger widows, the consensus seems to be time doesn’t heal anything. It just becomes different at best. You just adapt in some weird way. I also know many grieving people years out that haven’t adapted at all. They are worse than they were the day it happened. It’s not that they didn’t try, it’s that the pain engulfed them. This has nothing to do with choice. We all have different brains. Our brains work differently. Some relationships are more intense- and I truly believe that impacts how badly they hurt.

Do I speak about him too much for you? Do you realize he was everywhere. Every second… and now he is no where.

2. “They are in heaven.” “Heaven/God needed him.” “I had a dream and they wanted me to tell you…” “things happen for a reason.”

Tread. Very. Lightly. Friend. Make sure our religious beliefs are the same or this will cause many problems. If your grieving person believes in the monotheistic God and you know them that way- then go right ahead. If you aren’t sure. Don’t say a word. It is NOT ABOUT YOU or where you think they are. It is likely what comforts you will not work for them.

Jesse and I had a friend, Brett, who passed a few years ago. It brought Jesse and I *a little* comfort to know Brett was *at peace* (he suffered with severe depression and his last few years on earth he had a rough time). We dare did not say this to his family, just each other. We were grief adjacent. Yes he was our friend, but we didn’t live with him, pay bills with him, sleep with him- and as vulgar as it sounds- we didn’t have sex with him, kiss him, have kids… you get the idea. Sometimes vulgarity is required to stress a point.

If you have another religion where you are a medium or something of the like- also tread lightly. We knew our person better than you did so you better be careful what you tell us. If you suggest they have come to you first or another family member they didn’t care too much for and not their grieving wife and children the bullshit radar is going to go off. If you are going to make an attempt make sure there is a more legitimate connection.

As for things happening for a reason, again, unless you are deeply in-tuned with our religious beliefs you have no standing to say this. You are a regular person, how could you know anything about why our loved one left? You don’t have authority to speak on it, you are a regular human, so stop.

3. “You can remarry.” “You are young.” “You have a lot of life left.” “Didn’t you enjoy things before you knew (insert dead person).”

These statements are akin to: If you have more than two children, pick the one you want to die, then just have another child. Would you feel better? Would that work? If you answered no then there you go. Our new spouse or whoever cannot replace our old one. They are different people. If you answered yes you either do not have children or you need to seek out a psychiatrist.

It is also likely we had a life before our spouse, that doesn’t mean anything to us when discussing our grief. We are in pain and likely depressed every second of our life. Anything that was “mine,” before meeting meshed into “ours,” at some point.

Example: Yoga was “my” thing. I went to it alone. I practiced it alone at the studio. I should still enjoy that right? Wrong.

I invited my spouse to yoga once and I remember how he was great at it (like he could do tons of variations of crow pose which require decent upper body strength and balance). I called my spouse after yoga and told him how it went. I would show him new moves when I got back home that I learned and he would be so impressed. If I wasn’t good at a move- he would help me get positioned into it. When I went, we had to make sure together he was off in time so he could watch our kids while I went. He paid for me to go to yoga. He listened to my new yoga music in the car when we drove. He made dumb jokes about some more provocative yoga poses I put myself in.

So was yoga just MY thing? No. It turned into our thing. Like every other single thing in my life. We enjoyed things TOGETHER.

Personally, for me, I am extremely depressed. Things that used to make me happy are not working (no shit). My energy is depleted. I had a full life outside of my spouse. I painted, obsessed over my career, decorated my house. These things I still enjoy somewhere- but it’s hard to be happy about them because they seem pointless. Why am I doing them? I am just going to die anyhow. My outlook on life is a bit tarnished and hopefully I am me again one day. But again, from what I have seen, a lot of widows feel the need to reinvent themselves and I also see that being a possibility for myself (which I don’t like).

4. “Let’s go here! That’s fun and will get you in a better mood!”

Nothing is going to put us in a better mood. It may at minimum be a distraction for a small second. Invite us to where ever it is and don’t add that you may have a cure for us. Because you don’t.

Just validate our feelings. Sadness, anger, darkness, whatever- it’s best to just go with it. We don’t like being on this emotional roller coaster either. If anyone wants off this horrible ride it’s your grief-stricken friend.

If we thought a fun place would help us, we would probably go. We won’t feel the same about normal places anymore like you will.

Example: I used to like going to Hobby Lobby and looking at home decor. I decided to go the other day because I remembered I felt happy there. My perspective has changed. It’s not the place, it’s my mind. No one can go in my brain and fix my mind.

Instead of seeing ideas for my patio, all I could see were their signs: “our love story is my favorite,” “so I can kiss you whenever I want,” “this is us,” “dance with me in the kitchen,” “home is where I am with you.”

I felt like I was being attacked in there and nothing had actually changed at their store- it was just me. The signs were so overwhelming. I went from someone who would be on the phone with their husband in Hobby Lobby, telling him “these signs are so cringe babe guess what this one says…” to being in there for five minutes and losing my shit. I started crying hysterically and had to rush out. My body felt like it was going to explode… Over a sign I used to roll my eyes at.

5. “Let me know if you need anything!”

Just text me. Even if I have ignored you the last three times. I am reading it. When you texted me I was in a certain emotion. Sometimes I respond. Sometimes I’ve handled a grieving child all day and I can’t move another finger. I see the message. It helps me not feel isolated.

When you put the ball in my court- it doesn’t help because it’s likely I am struggling to leave my bed, let alone dribble a ball and pass it back to you.

6. “How are you?” “Seems like you had a good time!”

There really isn’t something to replace a good old fashion how are you, but you can acknowledge that. My friends will often say “how are you doing- I know thats silly.” They say something to acknowledge they aren’t being insensitive until I don’t need it anymore.

As for the good time…My smile fooled you. Impressive maybe I will become an actress. I will never be okay or happy like I was. Maybe I won’t seem as wrecked some days and I cannot wait for those. It’s likely the minute I got in the car I cried my eyes out. Call me at 1am and see how I am then.

See. I’m being acknowledged, given options, and when I don’t respond it’s not taken personally. It isn’t rocket science.

7. “At least you have your kids.” “At least you have your parents.” “At least you have your pet.”

Yes, and I don’t have marital relations with any of them. I don’t have intimacy with any of them. Does that make you uncomfortable? It should because that’s how you sound to us. I don’t tell my 6 year old my adult problems. I also don’t want to share them with my dad. There is a reason for marriage. There is a reason in scripture it says one flesh. There is a reason for people being described as soul mates with a spouse but not their mother.

As open as I am and as my spouse was- there were things we did NOT tell people, even those close to us. We just told each other.

Ask yourself if you walked by someone with one leg, if you would say “hey at least you have another one.” No you wouldn’t and if you would there is something wrong with you. You have no business telling someone “at least,” anything when you didn’t suffer the loss.

8. “Put on your boot straps.” “Put on your big girl panties.” “Do it for the kids.” “Pull up your knickers.”

Will you be here every morning at 7am putting my panties on for me? Will you be strapping my shoes up for me right after? If you answered no. Then this is not helpful. I assure you we know “hey don’t let your kids die!” Is something that needs to be at the forefront of our mind. I assure you it is. No one wants to get their life back to normal more than a grieving widow. Our brains can’t be normal though because half of us is missing.

9. When you do help, make sure it’s how we want it done.

Respect how I or the children want things done. At first this sounds ungrateful, but remember it’s not about you its about us. Our brains are not working right anymore. Those gross leftovers in the fridge? To a person who isn’t grief-stricken..- yes toss them! That’s gross. To the grief-stricken? That could be the last piece of food our person took a bite of. It’s a shred of proof that they existed and we didn’t make it up. Unless you are our doctor, you don’t get to decide when we move it. We do. So don’t touch it. You will only figure these things out by asking and listening.

10. You can invite us to your engagement, wedding, baby shower, etc, but proceed with caution.

I can talk about this one pretty well! Because I had to tackle inviting my mother in law to my baby shower. Sounds fine. But this is the last piece of her son. A piece she will get to see but her son will not. I assure you if something can mess with someone it’s delivering your grandchild your own son will never meet/delivering your husbands child he will never see.

So my friend who set it up treaded as lightly as possible. Giving the option if it was too much it was okay. If a grieving widow can arrange this- surely a normal minded person can too.

If you are getting engaged and want to invite us, do so, but do it with a disclaimer. “Hey I am having this party, don’t feel obligated to go-but if you are able to feel free, love you.” If we don’t respond, don’t take it personally. Move forward. We are grieving and cannot handle much of anything- especially something like that. Anything that shows less than understanding makes you look like a narcissist.

11. Being cute with your spouse or telling your grieving friend/family members your plans with your spouse. Complaining about your spouse.

Again this is up to the individual but I know most of the widows I know scowl at this. If you are busy and we don’t ask what your doing don’t volunteer “ugh I haven’t seen my husband in 3 days! We are going on a date tonight.” Literally the most insensitive thing you could say. Don’t complain about your husband to us, you have other people you can discuss his issues with. We don’t want to hear about his dirty shorts on the ground. We would kill someone to see them there again.

12. Comparing the loss of (insert whoever) to your grieving widow friend. Comparing the widows loss to that of a divorce. Saying you know how you would respond if it happened to you.

While there is no standardized order. It HAS been said the worst lost is 1. Losing a child 2. Losing your spouse 3. Losing a parent/sibling. This is pretty agreed upon by society but definitely doesn’t account for other factors. Such as age or intensity of the relationship.

As for comparing it to divorce or a break up, unless you are trying to say we are dealing with both (the death and them not being here) do not say it is like it or it’s “easier.” I assure you I’ve broken up with someone and while it was hard, it didn’t ruin my life.

If you divorce on decent terms, like your spouse isn’t a total POS- this is no way like death. You likely have 50/50 over the kids. You likely have some sort of income or a chance to make income. At worst, you may have to see them with another person and that will hurt. There always remains the possibility that you two could find your way back to each other, even if that sounds grim and unlikely. You have a chance. There is hope for something. Death destroys even the tiniest unlikely glimmer- something humans desperately need.

If you never got back together with your ex-spouse; alternatively you could “be free,” to do as you please. You two agreed, however reluctantly, to not be together. When your spouse dies- you didn’t agree to that. You agreed “through sickness and health.” You agreed to continue to work on problems. The phrase “until death do us part,” is in there sure- but does anyone look at that and honestly think “ahh yes death at 32.” No. Or some widows that think they have eternity and were married for 7 months. Thats not what we take that for.

If you divorce on horrible terms, like your spouse is a total POS-this is still no way like death. Maybe you have full custody of the kids. Maybe your spouse moved to another state and said screw all of you. I assure you this isn’t like him dying because you still have choices. Your son, who is confused why daddy left, COULD call him. He would likely be ignored, but he has a phone number. He has something tangible. When your child is an adult they could choose to angrily knock on their father’s door demanding to know why they were ignored. There is a door to knock on. They may get no answer but that person is alive.

They have the possibility of hearing how shitty their dad is through others. That sounds stupid right? At least they can shake their head at it. They can check their dad’s Facebook and see he has a new girlfriend. Something. Anything.

With death, there is absolutely nothing. No good. No bad. Just nothing.

13. “It’s been 6 months.” “It’s been 3 years.” “It’s been 20 years.”

Wow yes and they STILL ARE DEAD AND NOT HERE. If anything, the longer time goes on the more things we can add to our shit list of “all the things they missed.”

My husband missed out on the birth of his last daughter. Which means every single thing about her he will never know. He will miss it all. It will sting every second. He missed 4 of his kids getting married- or he missed 4 of them saying marriage is stupid. Or maybe 2 get married and 2 dont. It doesn’t matter because every decision is missed. He has no idea who his kids became or if he had grandchildren. Absolutely nothing. So as time goes on, it just means more is missed. That is it.

14. Inspirational messages that are for mediocre problems not those grieving.

There ARE inspiring messages for widows but these are often confused with feel good quotes that are more directly correlated for staying with a diet or working towards a career. These messages are not the same.

15. Silver-lining bullshit. “At least they are not suffering.” “Look at all the good they did-they accomplished their goal early.” “You wouldn’t have (insert whatever) without them.” “At least you know love.”

All of that may be true, but I want both. I want my person to be alive and not suffering. I want to enjoy the good WITH them not alone. I want to have our things TOGETHER not by myself. I do know what it’s like to be loved! Where did I sell my soul to Satan for it and have to return it at age 30!? I didn’t!

16. He can see you.” “He’s here.”

Maybe this is true. Maybe he sees me. Or maybe this is kind of odd if we think about it.

If I am with someone new, if we kiss, is he seeing all of that? Does he hover over me and watch me make 3 meals a day for 4 kids all alone? He’s just sitting there at night watching me cry for 2 hours and not doing anything?

That’s not Jesse. Jesse wouldn’t dare.

That sounds like its own form of torture- If Jesse had to “watch us,” he would be in more pain than what the kids and I were experiencing. So this seems strange.

If he is watching us, again, its really not your place to make such an observation. It kind of diminishes my pain. Because ultimately he is not physically here.

I am sure there are more things I could add to this list but for now this is what I have come up.

When I sound like a broken record, when I still look sad, see how I see the world and show me empathy. It’s the least you could do.

Sudden. Traumatic. Untimely. Death.

In addition to dealing with Jesse’s death and all of the normal grief it brings- we also have the added fact that we lost him traumatically. This slows down the “healing” progress ten fold.

(Note: “healing,” I don’t know what I am talking about when I say that. I am mimicking what doctors say. Healing doesn’t seem like a real thing to me.)

So. Not saying death is easier in other circumstances, but it is. It just is. It is just easier to accept that your 95 year old grandpa passed peacefully in his sleep surrounded by loved ones than it is to accept that your 5 year old lost their battle to cancer in tremendous pain the minute you decided to run out to the bathroom. One is “more natural,” and therefore *should* cause less trauma. The other one isn’t “natural” at all. One is violent and demonstrates that the world is absolute chaos.

Unfortunately for me, I am stuck with the unnatural one. I had to make sure Jesse was gone. This met reading the accident report and showing up to the scene, tracing the steps of the car, picking up the remaining pieces of destruction left behind. This met questioning the doctors. Seeing his CT scans and his x-rays. Showing up to the tow yard, seeing his car totaled. Going through his car. This met asking what witnesses saw. This met checking his head in the hospital, his chest, shoulders, arms, hip… I scanned everything.

This is part of the area of the crash. I have the real photos, but I chose this one instead. To others, this is just a tree and grass. To my family, this is the last place where Jesse was breathing. This is just a few miles from our home. The place where Jesse was headed. The place he would have been safe.

It met checking his eyes. His beautiful blue sometimes greenish blue eyes. When you are brain dead, your eyes don’t move. They are lifeless, empty black holes. This is something I have never seen and yes it is definitely scarring. Would it have been easier to keep them shut and not look? Yes, but then how would I know for sure? The less “what if’s” I left myself with seemed to be the best idea. Also, if it were me, I would hope that Jesse would make sure I was gone too before they took me. I know he would have checked me and looked at every painful thing too. That’s what sucks about loving someone as if they are literally half of you.

So I knew I was going to learn a lot of things I’d never unsee or not hear. I knew it was going to hurt and hurt forever. Even typing this hurts. But I had to so he wasn’t alone. I had to make sure if there was a chance he could make it maybe I would know about it- and that cannot be done if your head is in the sand. You have to look at all the facts, even if they are literally the shittiest facts I’ve ever seen.

When I got the call that day, at Target next to the tablecloth section, I was shocked but I figured he would be okay. Maybe he lost a foot. Maybe he had some really bad cuts. I thought that would be horrible but we can deal. We will figure it out. The problem came from the woman at the hospital NOT answering my “he is okay right?” question. She wasn’t able to tell me. Not a good sign. I basically began asking her in different ways, almost interrogating her, when she finally said “he is in VERY critical condition.”

I head to the hospital. The kids are tense. I feel sick. I’m not crying, I am in too much shock and also at this point still hold the worldview that anything can be overcome with enough effort. Our technology is great. Doctors perform miracles every day. Why would this be unique or different? At worst, I expected a 2 week coma- or maybe he’s even paralyzed waist down. I’m actually “okay” with these things because I knew if anyone could work through them it would be us. I’d push him up a mountain in a chair no problem. It would have sucked but we had gotten through some pretty difficult life events, this would just be another check on our list.

Getting to the hospital though, my memory gets blurry. I still see myself in the waiting room more anxious than I’ve ever been. I still hear some family members saying with confidence Jesse will pull through. I see my mom’s face knowing he wouldn’t but hoping she was wrong. Our immediate family and close friends are there, pacing and waiting anxiously- some already crying. When the woman came out, she hands me Jesse’s wallet and phone. I click his phone screen and there is my unopened text sitting on the locked screen “Hey dude, you good? The kids and I are worried.” It had not yet been read. Not a good feeling. The woman is still there and about to give me an update. I was expecting her to say “fractures, hematomas, lacerations…” I am looking for these key words. I do get these words from her eventually, but the word I get first is: AOD.

I tried typing the layman term for it and I can’t its too hard. I also tried typing the medical term, also too hard. So right now, you all are stuck with an abbreviation of the medical term and if you Google it 700 things will come up, so good luck trying to figure it out. I just can’t physically write it, which is saying a lot because I have a website dedicated to this shit.

Hearing this, at some point I know I am on the hospital floor. Super dramatic. I know I am extremely confused. My mind is telling me “Uh hey, people don’t recover from that you idiot.” but then I am also at odds with myself and replying “Um, yes they do? People can do whatever they want. People recover from crazy things all the time, stupid brain, what do you even know?” The doctors made it very clear they tried everything they could and they could not just fix this one. I start just repeating myself “okay I need to see him.” I don’t even care about diagnoses at this point, I am just feening to get next to him. They take me up to the 8th floor, but that’s blurry. That memory barely even exist.

I am sitting next to Jesse and asked to see “it.” Jesse had a decent amount of injuries, like he had broken his femur clean, things like that. All of those however, maybe would have left him with some problems but they would have been fixable. The AOD wasn’t. It’s a rare thing that happens and it’s caused by whiplash. At some point I am screaming at Jesse in my head “of course YOU of all people would have something like this!” (illogical I know). But now that image of the CT scan is permanently stuck in my brain. I don’t see it ever leaving. Normally, I’d describe it down to a T, but again, nope I can’t do it. At night, the reason I cannot sleep, (besides living in total hell) is because when I close my eyes I see that scan and I see the moment it happened. I see the jolt. I hope he didn’t feel it. I hope he didn’t know. A horror movie on repeat, if you will, with no resolution. It’s no way to see someone you love and adore. The kids do not know this part, simply because they haven’t asked. One day, I may have to explain it. As open and honest as we are- this is extremely challenging for me. How do you tell innocent children such a traumatic detail? I don’t know. I do know not telling them, when they ask, is wrong.

During all of this, I also have to tell the kids what is currently happening to their dad. Telling the kids their father is dead is…I don’t even know what that is. Prior to any counselor advice, I head down to the first floor and sit with them outside in the grass. It’s dark. I tell them some form of “this is not looking good,” because technically he had not “passed” yet, even though he had coded twice. They were upset but still struggling to get exactly what I met. I am not sure exactly what I met, because in my head I still thought “yeah there’s no way this is really happening.” My description of events will be somewhat accurate from beginning and end, but middle parts will be mixed up because days blended. I think I slept 20 minutes in three days and I ate one single Lay’s chip. One disgusting Lay’s chip in which I had to turn around and not face Jesse because how dare I eat something. He cannot eat. This may seem absolutely nuts and prior to this maybe I wouldn’t understand- but I understand this more than I’d like to ever know now.

The kids then went to stay with their Aunt and Uncle. I stayed with Jesse. He passed at, I think it’s 10:41pm “officially.” That was a motherfucker to type out… The next morning the counselors there give me advice on the kids, you can’t lie. You can’t sugarcoat, if you do, it will screw them up more. Good thing I’ve never been much of a sugarcoated anyhow. So not only do I have to tell them but I am also going to have to use the “D” word for the first time (I know I say it freely now but the first few days I could not get that thing out).

Chloe and Oraia came up to see him. Also some of the worst images that are in my brain. They were pretty hysterical. Chloe immediately made it clear she didn’t want to see him like that, with the tubes and eyes closed, and began panicking that the image was in her brain. This sounds bad, but you are supposed to let them choose what they want “with guidance.” This is the part where she turns around from him and ask him “Daddy are you coming to my birthday party?” By this point I have had to have discussions with the kids that I jotted down nervously in my text app on my phone. I also send this to my sister in law, because she had Raiden and had to instruct him also, per what the grief counselors are advising. What chaos.

I never thought I would use my little iPhone text app for this. I am jotting these notes down with the nurse on speaker. I am most afraid of screwing the kids up even more, so I am hinging onto every word she says. Jesse you could have never guessed this.

Because of COVID, Jesse could not have a lot of visitors, which was unfortunate because he had many many friends. My phone did not stop going off for 3 days straight. I wasn’t annoyed by this, it offered “distraction.” While living at the hospital I pretty much just took him in. I spent a lot of time smelling him. Looking at the different colors in his beard. Birthmarks and scars on his arm. Dirt and callouses on his hands. I had seen and known all of these before, but I really took them in, because it was the last chance. I couldn’t speak to him. I couldn’t tell him anything. It was quiet in the room, besides the machine beeping. So all I could do is look at him silently. I still cannot believe I won’t ever see the scar of a lighter on his left arm, from when he was a much younger and made an attempt to “look cool.” Or the scar above his left hand where he tried to help Chloe super glue something, but then somehow it got on his skin and instead of being patient he ripped it off. These once seemingly insignificant things about him I sat and soaked in. It sucks. I wish I was still living in a time where I didn’t really have to ‘”soak in” a super glue scar.

For another day or so, I pretty much lived at the hospital. We were asked if Jesse wanted to donate his organs since he qualified. Apparently, even if it’s listed on your driver’s license, most people do not qualify. It’s actually not common. You have to go in a certain way, be of a certain health, etc. Jesse wanted to donate his organs, we did have this conversation, so I knew the answer. I didn’t want to though because donating organs met admitting he is gone. Not because I am selfish- it’s just part of trying to comprehend and accept what’s really about to happen. Someone is about to take Jesse’s heart from him. I laid on his chest and listen to it beat.

His Mom and I were tasked with having to write out a short speech on a small card about Jesse so when he was wheeled to the operating room the doctor’s could read it before they began…whatever they were doing (I hate thinking about it). We did this. It was hard because I could write essay after essay about Jess (I mean I’ve dedicated a whole website to him and I’ve told like 5% of him), and now I had to fit Jesse down on a 3×5 card? Not my speciality. I did it and tried to pick the most important, straight to the point things.

On Christmas Eve, the kids and I spent it in the hospital with Jesse as we waited for the planes to get there so they could transplant his organs. The planes were delayed, so we ended up getting the whole Christmas Eve with him (I say that like it was nice or something). Normally, Jesse and I would be getting the kids tucked into bed. They would pass out and I’d snap photos of their faces sleeping. Jesse and I would set an alarm and either he would be tasked with building something (like a trampoline or a playhouse), and I would do smaller gifts and stockings. I would always be super paranoid about the kids catching us.

Normally I’d never share a video like this. I am in weird PJs and my hair is messy. I know I am at least 25 here- that means Jesse must be about 27. This video at one time was just sweet. Now this video is it’s own form of trauma. It’s the cliche 90’s “happy birthday video,” you see in film right before something crazy happens. Except those types of things are no longer foreign to me. Those things are not just “oh in that movie that sad event occurs,” that sad even is literally my life story now.

Instead, the kids sat in the waiting room. I was on the 8th floor. Waiting. Around 11:40p.m (I remember this because it was such a wtf is happening moment to me, it’s literally 20 minutes until Christmas and I cannot for the fucking life of me believe I am really doing this- I still don’t), we get notified “it’s time.” The nurses ask if I wanted it recorded and I say of course because I’ve always been obsessive about photos and videos. Basically it’s like a hero walk. They wheel Jess from the top floor, the staff lines the hallways. I stayed on his side and our family and close friends were behind us. The staff allowed 10 people, which met a lot because of all the restrictions. Doing the walk is very surreal. You are literally walking your loved one to a place of coldness. Where any thing that was once alive about him will be gone. There will not be the sound of machines anymore. Just silence. He will be surrounded by strangers in a few minutes.

Then you leave him. Leaving is the hardest part. Yes. I was aware he died 3 days ago- but at least I could hold him. At least I could set his hand in my hair like he used to do. At least I could pretend. At least I was near him and maybe he knew that- maybe he had no idea. I had false control over the situation because his body was in front of me. I know it’s happening but I still think there is a chance. (If you think that is crazy, I am over a month out now and a part of me is still sitting here waiting for Ashton Kutcher to come out say he’s punk’d me. He’s not going to. I know.)

I do not remember a ton of what happened between that and his funeral. Christmas was that morning and my family set up the kids gifts. I did nothing. The kids got up. It was not the same. It was so weird. They wanted to be happy for their presents and were- but there was just this eeriness. It was made more complicated because we had all gotten Jesse presents and Jesse had gotten us presents. In true Jesse fashion, he did not wrap mine. Chloe had to go on a hunt for them (they were hidden in the garage) and wrap each one. She made this her priority. She still does things like this-as I have said earlier, control offers her some comfort.

After Christmas and Chloe’s 11th birthday had passed (it was about a week) we had his funeral. His funeral was scheduled the day after Chloe’s birthday, lucky girl right?

People who had experienced loss had one thing to tell me. They warned me of the coldness.

At the hospital, he was essentially being kept on a heater. If I held his hand for too long away from his body it would start to get a little chilly, but not the same coldness I was about to feel a few days later. At the funeral, I was afraid to touch him a little, like for a second. It was only a second because in my mind, again, I am thinking “Jesse is cold I need to be cold.” When I touched him it was strange. That initial touch is like an unhappy sick version of jumping into a cold pool. Instead of “getting used” to the water or having fun, you remain in a state of sickness, sadness and shock. Despite this, I continued to touch him and I kissed him too. I really didn’t think I would ever add “kissing a dead person,” to the list of things I’ve done but now I can say I have? The kids also touched him. They wanted to see him so we did an open casket. I wanted to see him too. The kids complained they had put way too much make-up on his face, and they were right- he did have too much, but he also needed it as there were too many scrapes and cuts. Chloe was uncomfortable with the smell. It smells cold. I don’t know how to explain what cold smells like.

Raiden left his dad rocks, plants, and acorns, which we placed on his chest. The kids and I also left him notes. Someone recommended that to me. The funeral lasted about 4 hours and I did not sit down or leave Jesse. Period. I stood almost the entire time and just greeted person after person. It was a revolving door for 4 hours. Again I didn’t mind, it was a false distraction. Most (don’t second guess, you read that word correctly) of the funeral was pleasant. As pleasant as a funeral for a 32 year old can be. Jesse and I have a lot of caring people around us.

After it was done it was time to leave. This was for real, the last time I would ever see him, cold or not. After that he would be ashes. I made sure I was the last person to say goodbye. It is literally the worst feeling and surprise, time doesn’t make that go away. Time does not make saying goodbye to someone who you spent your creating your adult life with better. It actually seems as time goes on it becomes worse. It just sets in more that this is now the remainder of your life.

This post doesn’t go over my daily trauma, you know like “oh hey should we have pork chops for dinner?” and then the kids yell “NO!” because we ate that with Jesse. Then I suggest chicken, steak, or beef and those are all a “NO!” too, because dad ate those too (we are making progress on this). This just covers the aspect of sudden traumatic death. The nasty kind. The kind where unless I pass out, I am not sleeping. How could I? If you think about it for longer than a few uncomfortable seconds- you would see this actually guarantees the kids and I are NOT crazy.

What is crazy is to PRETEND LIKE EVERYTHING IS NORMAL. Absolutely, freaking, nuts. If you advise someone who just went through trauma to resume to their former self, YOU are the one that is uncomfortable. YOU are the one having the issue. When someone dies it is normal to feel anger, sadness, stabbing, lack of breath, like you name it. It is normal to be numb. Every emotion is normal- except the one that someone tries to force. Except the one that someone expects out of you. The best you can do is be neutral, gentle or kind. This isn’t the same as meaning well and it coming off wrong, I am talking about just plain ignorance, that you haven’t spent more than a second thought on what you are about to articulate.

For that reason, I will protect my children and I at all cost. If I feel crossed…if my children feel crossed (i.e., like if you tell them to not talk about their father in front of you because YOU feel uncomfortable). You will be made aware. I cannot promise that I will make you kindly aware, you may get a “fuck. you.” from me because guess what? We lost the most important thing to us- we are not afraid to lose you as well. We know it won’t hurt as bad. The trauma we have gone through pales in comparison to any loss we would feel from losing something else, unless it was each other. We are the ones that deal with this every. single. second. We are the ones that are so painfully aware of his absence. We are the ones that have not heard the garage open to him coming home 39 times now or have eaten 117 meals without speaking to him, and it has only been a little over a month. Do not tell me or my kids, how to act after enduring not only the loss of Jesse, but traumatic loss, unexpected loss, untimely loss.

What’s it Like to Lose Your Spouse?

I didn’t think about this one a ton. I always assumed I would lose my parents first, as that is the natural order of things. I also contemplated losing a child, as that is very extreme and seemingly more likely (Did you know the leading cause of death in children under 5 in Florida is drowning? See what I mean?) If I was REALLY going to lose my spouse it would be when I was 65 or something. That’s what I thought anyhow.

Oh wow look at this. I think this is from a double date this year with my SIL and BIL. I am having her take a boomerang of us. I wish I knew how the rest of my year was about to go.

My best friend lost her mom to alzheimer’s when she was about 27. I researched as much as I could so I could try to help her- or at least not say the wrong thing. Prior to this, a close friend of ours lost her 20 year old daughter in a motorcycle crash. I again researched as much as I could so I could try to help her- or at least not say the wrong thing. Guess what. I still have no idea, and I just hope I remain in this state of ignorance as long as possible regarding those two things. They both have similar feelings of grief and questions about death as I do- but the pain is different and it’s hard to explain. So I will explain my side of what I know now. It’s nothing I could really fathom, unless of course I sat down and read a blog like this one. Maybe then. No… actually reading would give me a better understanding but I still wouldn’t know.

Since our chances of dying are 100%, maybe we should spend more time talking about it. It’s the only thing that’s really guaranteed in life and yet we all avoid it- we don’t want to talk about it because it’s not nice.

Prior to Jesse dying, if I thought about losing my spouse for a second, I’d think “Wow, that would devastate me. I would miss him so much. I couldn’t kiss him. The kids would be so sad, he’s such a great Dad. I’d cry every second!”


This isn’t a guidebook to losing your spouse- it’s my personal experience, but it comes in disgusting waives of disgusting emotions. Most of my widow girlfriends (ew, why is that a thing for me now), would likely agree it’s like this- but everyone is different. People who lost their spouse at more of a “correct” time, wont have as many voids as I do, but may have other things that I don’t. Just depends on the person and timing.

I do not cry every second, but I am in pain every second. There are milliseconds I feel “okay.” It is much more of an intense longing then simply wanting to kiss him or hug him. I literally crave him. Like I am in the desert on my third day without water. I am a thread that has been undone and am fraying to nothing. I want him to touch me. I want him to grab my side when he walks by. I want to hear my phone go off and know it’s him. I want to reply and feel good at his response. I want to discuss what we are eating for dinner for the 2000th day in a row. I want to get mad at him for something. I want to be annoyed that he mowed the grass and missed a spot. I want to tell him I am worried about something. I want to tell him what the kids did or didn’t do. I want to tell him what a friend or family member did that made me upset, made me laugh, made me happy. I want to put my cold feet on his back when he’s sleeping and watch him shriek and then laugh at him. I want to see his car pull in. I want him to tell me his fears. I want to tell him it’s okay and hug him.

Here’s the last time I put my cold feet on him. I had to take weird photos like this. I knew I was about to have fucking nothing after this. This photo always hurts.

For 13 years- we have spent time meshing together as one person. Even if we didn’t like all of the same things, it doesn’t matter. You would think I could hold on to music and shows I enjoyed prior to knowing Jesse, but I cannot because I wasn’t happy with my life until I met him. If anything, those songs and shows just remind me of being unfulfilled. It doesn’t matter whether its negative or positive, my timeline is intertwined with Jesse’s and now it’s demolished.

When you are with your spouse- you naturally just adopt ideas and thoughts with them, even if you don’t notice it. Maybe your spouse loves football and you hate it. It doesn’t matter though because now you know on Sundays you will be watching the game and eating wings or you know that because you hate football you will be out with your girlfriends for a few hours. You become intertwined with a schedule, even if you wouldn’t be doing that single. At some point, your spouse will want to speak to you about the game. Even if you hate football, you will listen. You will listen so much that you may eventually have a shred of interest in it. You will hear so much that you will eventually know when the ref. makes a bad call. If your spouse dies, even though you hate football, it will hurt to see it. It will also hurt to not see it.

In our earlier years, Jesse listened to Howard Stern. I have no interest in Howard Stern, but since Jesse liked him- I know so much about that man I may seem like a superfan. I watched his documentary and heard his show in the background of our life while we did yard work for years. I know all the characters and crazy things they did. But, I didn’t really care for him (at first) nor would I willingly just watch/listen to the show. This same thing happened for Jesse. Jesse listened to me for years babble on about religion- to the point where he should have held an honorary degree in it. The same is true for law school, he actually got to a point where he too could recite the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, just from being around me. Jesse didn’t give a shit about the FRCP, but we were so intertwined, that it just became that way.

Now I want to hear Howard Stern. It will make me smile for a second- but then I will feel disgusting. Jesse doesn’t get to listen to him anymore. How is that fair? So then I wont listen to him. I’ll turn it off. If Howard Stern is in the news, I’ll think about Jesse.

Losing your spouse-unless they do absolutely nothing-means losing half of everything you have. So many things have broken or needed attention in my house in less than a month. My computer broke, Raiden’s bike tire became flat, our electric outlets stopped working in the kitchen, maintenance to our well and AC hasn’t been done, my trash isn’t taken down. I can go on. I knew Jesse was “in charge” of these things, but now that he isn’t here the absence is so loud. I take my trash down now and it feels so weird. I have to ask for help, a lot. Asking for help sucks.

Losing your spouse means no dates to your favorite breakfast place. No sitting across from them and smiling at their face. No laughing at them when they spill their coffee all over the place. No panicking for napkins to wipe it up with. No embarrassment as people stare at you and you attempt to be normal. Nothing. It means when you see other couples doing this on Sunday morning you feel rage towards them and hate them- even though they have no idea who you even are. Then in the next second you are crying at them. So you look totally crazy and they are just trying to drink their coffee. It means you go to bed alone. You shower alone. You eat alone. But all with the expectation that someone should be there. The expectation that someone should be there forever.

I won’t get these anymore. He’s never going to tell me happy birthday ever again. I’ve been told “at least” I live in a digital age by someone. She is right though. She doesn’t have photos, videos, voices, hardly any writings. I try to be thankful for this stuff and I am- but I am selfish because unless he’s coming back, it’s not good enough.

Losing your spouse means you have created a second time line. There are two universes in which you reside. The one you are currently in and the one that is the “what if he was still alive?” timeline. In the one where they don’t exist. You make every decision alone. Every decision you make, friends and family no longer judge it as that’s just how you two parent- they question it. Because God forbid anyone is capable of making a good decision as a single person. Not that I like making decisions alone, I just don’t have a choice. I would always look to Jesse and ask what he thought. This could range from “oh we need to have the birds and bees talk with the kids” to ” should we make them eat more broccoli?” See. really important things and pretty minor things- neither can I ask his opinion on. There’s no talking, there’s just me doing my best and trying to figure out what Jesse would say. I think I am pretty good at guessing what he would say, but what if I forget? What if I am wrong? The permanency is unwavering. I cannot do a single thing without hearing his name or thinking of him- whether he would be involved or not.

Losing your spouse means your life becomes the ending of the movie The Sixth Sense. You know, the horrible scene where the wife cries herself to sleep on the couch watching their wedding video. That’s what I do. All the time now. When the video is playing, I feel kind of happy. The minute it’s over. I cry hysterically. I repeat this for hours, until I am so exhausted I pass out. I don’t sleep anymore, I pass out. It’s the only way I can go to sleep. If I try to sleep naturally- I see very horrible images when I close my eyes. Ones I will discuss later, because, you know, trauma is just so much fun with all of these layers.

Losing your spouse means whatever was in your imagination for your life will have to be completely reformatted. Did you picture going to Colorado together? Did you picture going to the movies on Friday night? Did you picture eating spaghetti for dinner and you waited for him to say “ugh again?” but there’s nothing. Did you talk about your retirement or what your kids would do when they are older? Did you talk about how cool it will be to be a grandparent? Did you talk about how you need to get out of debt or pay something off? It’s exhausting being slammed in the face with these things every two seconds.

Everyone else gets to go home and be “normal.” They may feel sad but they likely get to go home and hold their spouse for comfort. Whereas I have a pillow and a sobbing child. Not the same. No one is there to comfort you but you and maybe some stupid blog you post. People try and it’s awesome that they would be so selfless. They may give you a hug, but all you think is 1)This doesn’t smell like Jesse 2) This doesn’t feel like Jesse 3) They are hugging me because I lost Jesse, otherwise, it’s likely they would not be here because Jesse and I would be doing something.

This is why when people say “oh sorry I brought up so and so, I didn’t want to make you think about him.” I never stop thinking about him. If I am doing something to distract myself that’s new- I know I am doing it to distract myself because Jesse is not here. If I am doing something Jesse always came to, I think about all the times Jesse and I did that. See? Can’t escape it.

Your husband always has your back, even if you are dead wrong. It’s you and him vs. the world. The “world” could be an argument with a family member- on either side. Or maybe a friend acting out of line. Either way, you know you will have his support. You get to retreat to your safe spot, your home, together, and shake your head at what happened. Unfortunately, now I am alone. Jesse had the sword and I had the shield. I no longer have a sword and my shield is broken to pieces. Anything I have to battle or navigate I do so alone. I consult myself. I can say “Jesse would say…” but that really doesn’t matter, because he’s not saying it. He’s not standing up for me. My voice isn’t as loud, no matter how loudly I scream.

Losing your spouse means one day your nest will be empty. Sometimes other widows will say I am lucky because we had children together. They are right for that. I think it would be worse if we had none or lost all of them. However, it also means a day will come where my children leave and I am literally alone in the house. I will have no one to take care of or look after constantly. I will still call them and help them, but they will all move on with their own beautiful lives. What will I do?

I am 30. 30. Thirty. Am I supposed to never be with anyone ever again for 55 years? That doesn’t sound great. On the other hand, I don’t want to. When you lose your spouse to death and not divorce, this interesting shit element comes up of being unfaithful. I cannot discuss this with him and I wish we spent more time on this topic, so maybe I’d know? I only know that I specifically told him if I died, to find a good woman who loved our kids. I am pretty sure he told me if I found someone he would haunt the house (thanks Jess, very helpful). That doesn’t leave me with a lot. I don’t want to be with another person for a million reasons. Here are some:

  • It feels like I am cheating.
  • I would feel empty. Even if I remarry and the person is great, they are not my spouse. I would just have two now. Two spouses- I deserve a TLC show and may as well be a Mormon.
  • I would feel unfairness. Jesse doesn’t get to remarry. Jesse doesn’t get to do any of what I am doing. This feels like betrayal. If I am so intertwined with him, how do I explain living and moving forward- he doesn’t get to experience that. How is that fair? But then for me to suffer alone, I know he really wouldn’t want that. These feelings are at complete odds. I am pretty sure if he were alive he wouldn’t be please if I had another husband. He’s not alive, but our relationship still is.
  • I would feel gross. Whoever may be in my life will not be Jesse. That is 100% guaranteed. How do I plan to get over that sick feeling? I am not sure. Not only that, this person has to accept 4 children that are not his and a wife that is still in a relationship. There is no getting around this because I refuse to take his photos down and I will absolutely not be silent about him. Honestly, the only man I can think of that would be able to understand something like that… is Jesse.
  • I would feel confused. Being with someone else on Christmas or having them watch Jesse and I’s children open gifts? God that is weird to think about and I literally have to think about it now. I cannot avoid it. Someone else who is not Jesse staying in our house and making breakfast on Saturday? This doesn’t sound appealing. It sounds confusing and disgusting. I will have to accept this at some point or accept being a cat lady. There is no in between here. (Note: I already have 4 cats…so…)
Hearing I am beautiful from someone else will feel like nothing. Absolutely nothing. That’s just how it is now.

This aspect of losing a spouse is definitely one I couldn’t understand. As I said earlier, my idea of losing a spouse was “I’d cry all the time and miss him.” Now I am seeing all these different aspects of it, like how would I enter another relationship? I technically cannot. At least in my head right now that doesn’t seem plausible. It doesn’t seem like that would ever be plausible. I don’t feel like I need anyone. I am pretty self-sufficient. I am just bringing this up because I never really considered it and now it’s such a weird thing to think about.

Today was really hard. Every day is really hard. I still think this isn’t real and I am making up some crazy story to everyone, all the time. I want to tell him so badly about everything that has happened. I want to reflect on all of these events with him. I want him to know how it screwed me up, his family up, my family up, our kids- in ways he would never be capable of thinking of. I want to tell him how quiet Christmas was without him, how we went to bed at 8 and it was silent, compared to last year where we were up for hours surrounded by friends, family, and fun games. I want to tell him how my doctor appointments have gone and that my contractions are getting more intense. I know he would be worried. I want us to watch our show at night with some ridiculous plate of charcuteries that we would eat even though we weren’t hungry we were just being extra. Losing your spouse means literally every tiny aspect of your life changes against your will and your spouses will and there is nothing you can do about it. Nothing.

The last time we held hands. Let me tell you, if you want to know how painful this might be. Try to write out those words for yourself. It’s hard to even write them, let alone know them.

Jurassic Bark.

As I am about to come up on a month of Jesse not being here, I am trying to figure how I feel about it. Obviously devastated, confused, angry, exhausted, (stick in any adjective here that isn’t happy) but this episode of Futurama Jesse and I used to watch summarizes it pretty well.

In the fifth season of Futurama there is an episode entitled “Jurassic Bark.” It almost won an award for how great it is. The show revolves around a main character, Fry, who lives in the 20th century but is cryogenically frozen and awakens in the 30th century- to obviously find out that things have changed.

One day Fry goes to a museum where he notices a skeleton of a dog. He realizes that it is his loyal dog from the 20th century. He wants to bring it back to life, but ultimately decides against it because he finds out the dog lived on without him for 12 years after Fry’s “passing.” Fry assumes the dog must have carried on with its life.

At the end of the episode, the last thing you see is the last interaction between Fry and the dog in the form of flashback. Fry tells the dog to wait for him outside of the pizza shop. The dog lays on the sidewalk and waits for him, in the rain, sun, sleet, and snow for 12 years. The song “I will wait for you,” by Connie Francis plays during these scenes. The song plays “If it takes forever, I will wait for you. For a thousand summers, I will wait for you…” The dog remains there on the sidewalk waiting for 12 years, until the dog himself passes.

Jesse is Fry and I am Fry’s dog. I was the last person to hear his voice telling me he was on his way home. I am waiting at the house for his return, no matter how long it takes. Even though I know he’s not coming.


I dreamed about you last night. It was a bad one. I am laying down in your car watching you drive on the road you died on. You smile at me and I wake up.

Horrible photo of us that I’d never share prior to this happening. Context: O took it and put silly things on our heads. She edited the photo later.

My new thing every morning is to wake up and be in hysteria. I hate hysteria. So fucking painful. I will move to the living room where I proceed to fight with you for 10 minutes out loud. I read our text on your broken phone before bed and I hate how many times you say how much you love me, want to grow old with me, just adore me. What the fuck. Why couldn’t you have just shut your mouth. I get unreasonably angry at this and honestly my true feeling is just sadness, because once I’m done cursing you, I cry.

O says I have the worst cry. She’s never heard this one before but it’s whimpering that turns into wailing. It’s very pathetic. I’ve never heard this one either until now. It’s new to me also.

I have a million of these and it’s not enough. I think it makes it worse actually. I really was the love of your life. When you would say that, I’d joke… like how do we actually know that? We could have separated at 36. No one knows the future and you would say “no not us.” You were right, but not in the way I thought.

I am so mad that you left. So mad. My bad dream I had I woke up to nothing. I sound like a child but I could call you or come get you and you would cuddle me until I was calm again and go back to sleep. Why do you think it’s okay that you left me to deal with every. little. feeling. Alone? So infuriating.

I am mad at you because we were supposed to go together and I feel betrayed. Any poison on your lips, you left none for me. You left me with no dagger either. I find you dead and there is nothing I can do to join you. How dare you. So instead of joining you, my body is just ripped in half and I have to carry on like this. You are such an asshole. It’s the opposite here, because not only can I not be with you- I have to do well too because of the kids. Who wrote this awful story?

Why did we speak so much? If this was going to happen why make it harder? Why didn’t we just talk like once a day? Why did you want to be with us all the time, you had friends. Why did you say such lovely things that I will never hear again? When I’m angry I hate you for all of this.

I know I sound irrational. I write it anyhow because guess what? No one is here. I have plenty of friends but *Jesse* is not here. No one could calm me down like he could so this is shit. The one person I need to help me deal with this is not here! It’s crazy. I say it’s crazy 7000 times a day. If anyone is wondering.

In my writings when I take a break that is not seen. So I wrote the paragraph above around 7am, and now I’m on this paragraph at 9am. I had to lay down and chill out. Whatever chilling out means. It’s risky typing out how you truly feel because it scares people. But it only scares them because it’s not normal to talk about, it is very normal to feel. People are depressed, they have demons they struggle with, they cry themselves to sleep, they are too anxious, they feel worthless… and they say nothing. I would imagine most of us feel this way at some point and if you haven’t yet- you will. Because death is for everyone, so at some point you will feel these things. Maybe you wont feel anxious or sad because you will numb yourself. Distract yourself with material things. Either way, it is all suffering just the same. Perhaps you don’t even have to wait for a death, you just feel that way already. Well say something to someone. If I had a dime for every time I decided to just “overshare” my feeling on something and get instant support, I’d have a million dimes (is that how that saying goes??). Even things I thought were intense, someone could relate to me, all because we just spoke. In the end, I am glad Jesse and I spoke so much- even if it doesn’t seem like it at 7am, because I know what he would say to all of my problems. It’s like I get some level of support from him still, even if he’s not here, all because we spoke.

55 Years.

My 2008 high school graduation.

Yesterday I went to my first appointment at the local clinic that specializes in high risk pregnancy. So far, everything looks great.

I have to go because I had a window with my third pregnancy and this is my fourth c-section. They have to check my uterus to make sure the window doesn’t open back up. The only other worry they had was that I am 28 weeks and haven’t gained a single pound. The baby is at the 80th percentile, so she is fine, it is me who isn’t getting what I need. Regardless, I am just going to try to drink shakes to make up for lost calories. I didn’t feel hungry before losing Jesse so this was already an issue and now that I have lost him it had gotten worse. I do eat though, every day, just not 3 meals.

Now that you know “I’m fine” and the baby is “fine,” what wasn’t fine was the paperwork. I had to go to the clinic alone because of COVID, otherwise my friend was going to come. I was worried about how I’d feel with my first ultrasound since Jesse wasn’t here. This would be the first time he either couldn’t go, or I couldn’t text him, or bring him home a photo to see when he got off work. I walked in relatively okay, but when the receptionist started telling me how to fill it out: “Okay, and here we will just need to know the father’s name and his cell phone, date of birth, your emergency contact if something happens…” by this time I am crying like a basket case. Who do I put down? I have people. I have my mom, best friend, but I don’t have Jesse. The woman’s tone changed and she said in a lowered voice “sweetie what is going on?” So then I had to tell her. Her and the staff felt really bad for me and were sympathetic. I felt so weird. Where is my kid’s dad at? Why am I this weird person now?

The ultrasound itself went okay but I experienced something else I wasn’t too happy about. I didn’t want to see her. Normally I stare at the ultrasound the entire time and methodically complete a mental check in my head “ arm? Check. Spine? Check? Eyes? Check,” as the technician is scanning me. Then I admire how beautiful my child is…This time, I peaked at her. I saw her face and I know she is so pretty, but how unfair is it that I get to look at her and he does not? This made it difficult on some new level. Will I act like this when she is born? I hope not. I love her. I just feel as though why do I get another gift and you get nothing? I get to see a child you made and you do not. How cruel.

I text my sister-in-law after all of this. I told her I hope I do not suffer another tragedy. I would like very much for the kids and I to go on and for me to live until im 85. In the middle of typing that, I realized 85 is 55 years away. Wait, so for 55 years I have to continue on without you? I didn’t realize what I even said. In my mind, I think this suffering is short term, that even though he isn’t here in my subconscious I only have to make it a year or so…but saying out loud that I could be here for another 55 years…what do I do with all that time now? You were supposed to be here too.

One day I finally watched The Notebook with Jesse. I hate sappy girl films but I always heard so many great things about it. I loved it immediately and it reminded me of Jesse and I in two major ways.
1. We never gave up, any disagreement or fight, as his best friend put it, we would always “this is going to be hard to talk about, but we are talking about it and going to get through it.” Marriage isn’t about paper or how you look to someone else. It is about how deeply committed and in love with that person you are. When you say “in sickness and in health,” do you actually mean it? Or are they just pretty words?” 2. I knew if I ever reached an old age like that, he would come and read to me every day, waiting for me to remember. I didn’t get to actually experience this, but I did through other times of illness. When I was sick, I never had to leave the bed or check on the kids. I could sleep all day undisturbed. My early pregnancies sometimes this could be a solid week of doing nothing. He would get off work and take care of everything. Sometimes, my back would go out, and I wasn’t able to walk because of the spasm. He would always shower me, make my food, everything. So when I saw this movie, I knew if I ever had dementia he would read to me every day, in hopes that I would remember. I would have done that for him and did so as best as I could for his time on Earth.

I really wish we could have been old together. It’s unfair I may possibly live and it is certain you will not. You deserved so much more out of life and I am so sorry you did not get it. I will keep doing my best to stay here and do right by the kids, even though I died inside the day you did.

I Wish it Wasn’t Us.

This is my third post for today. To me, it feels like 3 days have passed, but it has literally been the same day. When you are up all night the lines are so blurred.

Funny enough my three post have wildly different emotions, much like what I experience all. day. long. My kids and I are pretty much tortured every second. We are all feeling this despite the help. I think it’s just hard for people to truly fathom what our days used to be like and how tightly knit our family was. Like our home is no longer a home, it’s a house. Actually, maybe it’s a prison now. A weird prison that none of us want to leave because it’s uncomfortable but at the same time Jesse is in every centimeter of the house. Those shelves? he hung those. That couch? he placed that there. Those photos? His face is plastered all over them. The hot sauce in the fridge? Oh he loved that one, he was on a hot sauce kick. The stain on the floor? Ugh, yes he spilled something not paying attention. That recommendation on Hulu for 60 Days In? He was obsessed with that show.

Not every day, but for a long time I was up with Jesse at 5:30 a.m. trying to make him some healthy vegan breakfast because he needed to eat better. He agreed for a bit but then became complacent and wanted something unhealthy. So at 5:30 a.m. while someone is sleeping, my internal alarm is going off- just to be disappointed. After making sure he has breakfast, I would double check with him if he had his phone, wallet, etc. I did this every morning. He would go and gently either wake-up (if it was requested) or just hug and kiss all three kids good-bye. By now it’s 6:00am. On his drive to work, we would talk on the phone for half an hour. I would make coffee and do yoga or try to clean up left over messes. We would talk about crazy things, life stresses, events, whatever. He would get to work and I would do go do something else. By 7:30am he would probably send me a text saying he loves me or he can’t wait to see my beautiful face. Around 8:00 he would talk to the girls and R on the phone while they got ready for school. I think it’s pretty clear by now that we are all in constant contact with each other. By then we would have class and he would have to focus on work, but by lunch we would all talk again, and then periodically follow-up until he got home around 3-5.

Most days neither one of us went out. We would discuss dinner plans and he would ALWAYS have some objective to accomplish with the kids. Every day he would say “today I need to build the marble machine with R when I get home,” or “today I need to watch that show with C when I get home,” or “today make sure I play Roblox with O.” He would always designate time to them everyday. His tuck ins for the kids lasted 30 minutes to an hour. He had to put the girls hair up in a special way, hug R very tight, maybe read them a book, get them special water with special ice, special blankets, do secret handshakes. Excessive I know, but he enjoyed it so much. Then by the end of spending time with them he would always reserve time for us to watch a show or if I was too busy with school I would read caselaw next to him and he would play a game or find something to watch. Many times I would go on some intense legal rant and he would patiently listen to the entire thing. I could tell him literally anything. This is probably one of the hardest things for me, because something I see or heard about, I can’t tell him. If I am mistreated or someone is great to me, I can’t tell him. If I pass my classes, fail them, go to the store, it doesn’t matter. It’s just constant loneliness and this is with my phone being blown up. Literally the dynamic of feeling lonely in a crowded room is how I feel a lot now. I cannot tell my person anything. I can’t even fight with him or argue about the kids. Literally nothing. Good, bad. All gone.

Almost every weekend we tried to plan some sort of family thing out. Are we taking the kids to the park? A hay ride? Are we having family over for games? Are we just doing chores and watching a movie tonight? Jesse wasn’t out with friends. He was home with us nearly all of the time. If we did decide to hang out with someone, I can assure you the kids and I would likely be coming. Sometimes I would ask him if it was ever too much. Did he feel overwhelmed? He would say no and say he actually wasn’t doing enough. I don’t know what standard he had in his head for being a good father, but I know to him he didn’t meet it. Which I still think and will always think is just crazy. I know no one will be able to replace him. Luckily since we spoke so much, he knew all of this. But besides me knowing that he knows, there is nothing else. All the new things that have occurred since his passing, while I know how he would react and I know what he would think, he doesn’t actually know of these things. I am in a new year that he never made it to. I have to experience things alone that he will never know about. It’s seriously too much. I have lost my husband and my best friend. Period.

Waking Up.

Here was one of our more recent favorite things to do, go get breakfast together on Sundays ❤️

I am trying so hard to feel okay, but I wake up and I am in so much pain all over again. I don’t understand why you are not here to cuddle me and have coffee. I have plenty to do. I have 3 children, 4 cats, a hamster, a now disgusting house and this blog. Oh. And law school. But I am so empty. It feels pointless. The house is so messy and at bedtime last night R mentioned to me how messy it was. Mind you, comparatively I know it isn’t that bad, but to the standard we held the house to before you passed, it is filthy “to us.” R asked me “Mommy, why don’t you seem to care anymore about anything?” And I told him it’s hard. I told him I just spend most of the time thinking about Daddy and that makes me not care. He replied and said “Me too. I don’t care about anything anymore. But if Daddy was alive I would care about everything.”

If my husband knew what his son had just said to me, he would have shattered into a million pieces. Jesse couldn’t handle the kids being upset over basic things. He wanted to protect them as long as he could from the cruelness of the world. I find this ironic piercing in my heart every day watching them suffer, knowing how conflicting that is with what was so important to their Dad.

Things That Cannot Be Unseen.

I am usually someone who prepares, thoroughly. I do this with everything and while it stresses me out I also enjoy it in a weird way. Nothing could prepare me for certain events that unfolded, no matter how much I previously speculated death.

C came into the room where Jesse was intubated. She used her mask to cover her eyes. When she peaked at her dad, I heard a whimper of horror. She kept saying “I don’t want to see him like this.” So we had her turn around so she could speak to him. She began crying and asked “Daddy, are you going to be at my birthday,” which was in a few days. I cannot tell you how many painful things I have experienced but that is definitely one of them.

Categories of Grief.

I’ve always heard there are “stages” of grief. This is so untrue, at least for me. My therapist also says this is kind of a misconception. I’d prefer to call it “rapid cycling.” Basically this means that I feel 16 different emotions all very intensely within a matter of 10 minutes and this continues on repeat. There are emotions that stick around longer than others, such as disbelief. That one is pretty constant. But here is a summarized version of my rapid cycling:

  • Anger: This one is generally pointed at my situation, not a particular individual. I have anger that this has happened.
  • Sadness: This one is where I basically realize things that are no more. This could be from drinking coffee on Saturday morning by myself, waiting for a text, realizing plans we had are over, etc.
  • Unfairness: This one is where I draw comparisons to why us and not someone else. I know plenty of absent fathers, why is my kids stellar father not here? I know tons of men who are insensitive and indifferent to their wives, why mine and not theirs? Why did Jesse’s car accident result in death when thousands just get a scratch? No one deserves this. Period. But I cannot help it.
  • Hysteria: Crying and acting crazy. So maybe I am sitting on the tub crying as loudly as possible and yelling at the ceiling. I hate hysteria because I am generally reserved and practical. Maybe it is falling to my knees in the yard at random or laying in your dirty clothes crying.
  • Heaviness: This one feels like someone has tied 20 pound weights to every centimeter of my body. Not to kill me, just to make the pressure unbearable.
  • Uncomfortableness: This one basically feels like my skin wants to turn itself inside out. I feel like my body is going to internally combust in a matter of seconds.
  • Indifference: Not to what happened, but to life. Cat vomits in front of me? Oh. Think we will leave it there. Coming from someone diagnosed with OCD/OCPD, I cannot stress how abnormal that is for me.

I may come back and update this list or make a new post as my feelings change, but at the moment this is what I am experiencing.