Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Happy Birthday


Our day to day life has changed so much since you left us.

We have changed in ways I can't even explain in words...

But some things will never change.

The day after Halloween I still begin to feel panicked...anxious...and restless.

It's that familiar "oh shit" feeling that rushes over me...

As I realize it's November and your Birthday is only days away.

I begin the scramble to find just the right gift...

And the search for just the right words to express my love.

This year was no different.

The panic set in...

The anxiousness took over...

And I restlessly scrambled...but there was no finish line.

I knew your smiling face wouldn't be across from mine today as...

I handed you that gift...

Spoke those words...

Or held you in my arms.

My life is so different now in so many ways...

But my love for you remains the same...

Strong...true...and heartfelt...

Because I love you forever and always.

I'm doing my best to make you proud...

To live the life you would want me to.

But days like today...

Make me gaze into those beautiful moments from our past.

Thank you for the joy you brought me.

Thank you for the laughs and the tears...

Thank you for being by my side as I learned to be a man.

Thank you for the moments that will never fade away.

I love you...

I miss you...

I am forever changed because of you...


Friday, August 24, 2012

Moving Forward

I love my boys...I love them more than anything in this world.

As I wrote those words...I knew they should stand alone...because there is nothing I feel more strongly about than my love for Luke and Ben.  Over the past year and a half...they have become my world...and my saving grace.

Lately I have been thinking about love in terms of the five senses.

Growing up I had always heard that if you lost one sense...others intensified to make up for that loss.  And in the past months I have wondered if my love for Luke and Ben has heightened as a result of losing the love that I shared with Susan.

I have become acutely aware that everything about being their Dad is now amplified.  The good...the bad...the scary...and the miraculous...have all upped their ante because she is no longer here to share in the burdens or the triumphs.  At times...I find myself almost caught in a trance worrying about their physical and emotional well being.

If they ride a bike...or climb a tree...or try to do a flip into the pool...I'm scared in a way I never was before.  The fear of losing them is now always present because I have seen all too clearly...that it can happen...and I have no control over chance to stop way to fix it.

However, my larger fear over the past eighteen months...has been losing them emotionally. I have become paralyzed by the worry that they will be forever wounded by losing Susan...or scarred to the point of no return.  And this feels like something I, as a parent, should be able to control...or stop...or at the very least fix.

So in June when we were suppose to have our last Family Therapy session...I found a hundred excuses  to extend our therapy two months beyond what our counselor thought we needed.

Of course Kathy happily continued to see us, but eventually it became evident that we were getting better...we seemed to be moving forward.  So we said our goodbyes and she hugged each of us...and told me that we were all going to be okay...because she believed we were on our way to recovery.

The problem for me was complex because my heart believed her, but my mind do families recover from this?

I knew our journey had not come easy.  I was aware of how hard I had worked individually....and with the boys.  I knew we had all been honest in home...and in every moment we had experienced together in the past year and a half.

Nothing had been swept under the rug...whether it be silliness. We had shared it...we had discussed it. matter how ugly...was hidden...or ignored. And we had grown.  We had seen each other at at our worst and our best.  So I could rationalize what was happening...but it was still difficult to wrap my mind around it.

I was witnessing the boys changing.  They were getting older...and bigger...and smarter. They weren't the same four and six year old boys who lost their Mother that February day. I knew we were adjusting and at times even thriving in our new life...but it just didn't seem plausible that we could be healing.

How could we be recovering?  She meant too much.  She was too indispensable in our lives to just move on without her. It all seemed too implausible.

So I forced myself to analyze my family's transformation.

I thought about it...talked about it...and wrote about it.  And I always came back to the same phrase...moving forward.

Finally I realized my choice of words was significant.

We were not moving on...we were moving forward.

We weren't dismissing or forgetting...we were living.

We will never leave Susan behind...she will always move forward with our hearts and our minds.

Friday, July 27, 2012

She Told Me So

She told me so...
But she never told me why...
Now I know.

It's strange what you appreciate after it's gone.

I've finally grasped things I should have known all along...things she told me everyday...things I nonchalantly dismissed.  I finally realized just how right she was...and how clueless I had been.

I have become aware that:

  • Going to Target and spending less than a hundred dollars is indeed impossible...because we need a ton of shit...and we seem to need more of it everyday.
  • Changing the sheets on the beds once a week is a better idea than changing them based on smell or visible stains.
  • Demanding that the spoons be placed upright in the dishwasher isn't silly and's the only way to keep all that crud from pooling up on them and ensuring you don't have to wash them twice.
  • Being organized actually is turns out making lists wasn't just something she did to fill up my free time.
  • Having my ears played with while watching a basketball game isn't so's missed more than I ever could have imagined.
  • Sweeping the floor everyday really shouldn't be considered's actually being clean.
  • It is true that the toilets don't clean themselves.
  • Telling me "If I don't do it, it won't get done" isn't a passive aggressive's the truth.
    • Buying fresh flowers for the house isn't a waste of's an extension of life.
    • Making sure Ben stops drinking liquids after 7:30 and uses the bathroom at least twice before bed isn't's the only way to avoid a long messy morning.
    • Leaving dishes in the sink at night is harder than it I know she wasn't exaggerating when she claimed not to be able to relax until they were done.
    • Hanging the kid's artwork from every possible surface in our home doesn't make it look makes it full of love.
    • Packing as much fun into everyday really does matter...because you never know how many you've got left.

    If you knew know she would be quick with an "I told you so" when she was proven right.  In each of these light bulb moments materialized this past year...I could appreciate her smirking smile...and her playful finger waving in my face.  Even with all the frustration I must have unknowingly caused her...she loved me.  She loved me despite my daily ignorance.

    And maybe somewhere...she knows I learned a thing or two.

    You were right told me so...

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    Maybe Someday

    Tonight was one of those nights.

    Maybe they were tired...

    Maybe someday I will understand what triggers their grief...

    But tonight bedtime was full of tears...

    Tonight I held and hugged them with all my might.

    Maybe they fell asleep feeling loved...

    Maybe someday my love will be enough...

    But tonight bedtime was full of tears...

    Tonight was one of those nights.

    Maybe they just needed to let it out...

    Maybe someday I won't be so angry this happened to our family...

    But tonight bedtime was full of tears...

    Friday, July 6, 2012


    She was everywhere today...

    In my boys faces...

    On the beach...

    By my side...

    She was missed today...

    In my memories...

    On the drive...

    By my side...

    She was here today...

    In my thoughts...

    On the horizon...

    By my side...

    Friday, June 22, 2012

    Perspective, Personality & Experience

    Started on April 28, 2012 ~ Finished on June 22, 2012 

    Something struck me a few weeks ago...and I wasn't sure what to make of it...but suddenly I'm ready to write about it.

    I sat between two friends...drinking...sharing...and talking.  And of course as time passed...the conversation hesitantly ventured toward me and this blog.

    As they talked about my writing and my life...I witnessed two very different points of view...two very different sides of an argument.  It was strange how they discussed my life...right in front of me.

    These two friends have both been dear to me, but have polar personalities...and my life only emphasized their gap.

    One friend said she couldn't bring herself to read my words because it was "too painful...too depressing to think about what happened."

    The other quickly countered in a surprised...almost stunned tone, "Really? I think it's uplifting to read about his progress."

    Two points of view...about the same set of words.

    It's amazing how perspective...personality...and experience can color one's mindset.

    I guess I have found this to be true in my personal grief journey as well.  As I meet and encounter others who have walked my road and felt my has become evident that perspective, personality and experience play a dynamic role in how we each we each tackle this unwanted fork in the road.

    In the very beginning I clung to my pain...because it seemed seemed expected.  I took solace in finding others who felt most comfortable in the gloom and the "why me" state of mind.

    Please don't misinterpret...I still don't understand why...but I also know it doesn't change anything to continually ask this question again and again.  I played those cards for months on end...and constantly found myself crawling in place...going nowhere.

    So when did my perspective begin to shift?

    One moment that sticks with me occurred during a conversation with a widow I put on a pedestal for the longest time.  

    In the beginning she was the only person I knew who had faced what I saw everyday; loneliness...heartbreak...and shock. So when she spoke...I listened...and often imitated.  I assumed that we all faced our loss in the same manner.  

    I used her experiences to try and keep myself afloat during that early sorrow.  I was so rudderless...I tried to make her lessons mine...I tried to make my journey like wasn't fair to either of us...but eventually our paths diverged.  

    I remember saying that I was beginning to learn something positive about life through experiencing death.  Not a lesson I wanted, but one I was none the less handed.  And I wanted to...needed to...grow from it.  I spoke of being affected by Susan's life...and Susan's death.  Of being determined to find meaning in both...lessons about living.  

    My words were simple...but were eventually met with silence.  Slowly I began to realize I couldn't stop talking about my loss and she was finished talking about hers.

    Perhaps that's how perspective...personality...and experience meet for widows also.  Two points of view about grief...colored by individuality.

    One person finding the continual exploration of loss too depressing...too painful to share with others...wanting only to walk their path privately...on their own terms. The other constantly diving back into the loss in search of others to share order to deconstruct their grief...and hoping to find an uplifting lesson about life despite the pain.

    Just as no two people are two grief journeys are the same.  We all tackle the unwanted fork in the road as individuals...and that's just how it is.

    Sunday, June 17, 2012

    Let's Be Honest

    Writer's block doesn't happen when you continue to I haven't been blocked. I have simply been crunched for time.

    This is the lie I have convinced myself of over the last few months.

    No longer can I stay up all hours of the night to refine my thinking.  I write, but without the time to craft my thoughts completely.

    It's really not that simple...but that's what I have been telling others.

    If I'm honest with myself...and you...I must admit that the focus of this blog is beginning to evolve...because my life is advancing.

    At first it was survival...but now it's moving toward the desire to thrive again.

    I can feel myself trying to do more than survive the pain of actively moving forward despite my loss.

    I have countless unfinished blogs from the past two months...that will eventually show up here.

    Perhaps finishing them will help me thrive again.

    Wednesday, May 9, 2012

    I Choose Life

    I've always loved Spring.

    The season of gentle beginnings...reawakened hope...and life.

    I need this season...I need to be surrounded by life...I need to remember I'm still here to live.

    So as the days become greener and brighter...I once again find myself smiling at emerging buds...absorbing the sun...and soaking in the smells.

    As nature wakes and springs back to life...I feel hope...I feel alive...I feel moments of peace.

    But today as I stood outside breathing it all in...I couldn't help but think about how she was missing this girl with so much life in her and so much to live for...was gone.

    As I stared at the greens against the blues and whites...I gazed skyward thinking...why aren't you here?

    I rarely ask why anymore...because there is never an answer.

    But at times...the question with no answer...asks itself.

    Sunday, April 22, 2012

    Lessons Learned

    When I saw his little hand rubbing his brother's...I knew this five year old understood love in a way that few others do.

    Luke had a dentist appointment this week...two fun.  I took the day off work and the three of us made our way to the dentist.  As we drove...I could sense Luke becoming increasingly tense...although he was desperately trying to hide it from his little brother.

    Ben read through his brother's facade...and turned on the humor as he did his Goofy Ben thing in an attempt to ease Luke's mind.  I watched it all happen in my rear view mirror...and I knew they both got it...we are a family...and we love each other in a way no one else can understand.

    As we pulled into the parking lot...Luke was laughing and seemed to have forgotten what he was scared about.  This lasted up until we left Ben in the waiting area and walked backed to the little room with all the needles and drills.  As soon as he got in that over sized chair...the tears began to gently roll down his face.  He didn't make a sound...he just let the tears come and reached out for my hand.

    I held it tight...trying desperately to absorb the pain from his little body as the Novocaine shots began.  It was no use...I just wasn't enough to ease his fear...or alleviate his pain.

    I have no idea how Ben did it...but without warning he appeared in the room.  He had managed to get himself back there and find his brother.  Ben looked up at me...his eyes asking if it was okay to come in...but his body didn't wait for my answer.  He simply walked in and began caressing his big brother's hand while I held tight.

    Luke's body seemed to much so...that the Hygienist took her eyes off him momentarily.  She looked down and saw the little boy that had snuck into the room to help his brother.  As Ben stroked the top of Luke's hand...she looked up at me with a tear in her eye.

    I have no way of knowing if that would have happened a year ago.  But I do know it's not the first time I have seen it in the last fourteen months.  They have both came to each other's side in an almost maternal way since Susan's passing.  They seem to understand something about life, love, pain and death that others don't.

    We have learned something about love through death...we have learned lessons that will always keep us close...keep us tied together...and keep us caring for our family of three.

    Wednesday, April 18, 2012

    Balance's not a new word to me, but like so many things in my life has taken on a whole new context.

    My life now revolves around keeping everything balanced. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, but mostly I struggle daily to keep from completely tipping over.

    The balance between my boys and their individual needs has become more evident.  They are both traveling their own grief their own pace...but need me to escort them each individually as they react in different ways and at different times to losing their mother.  As I walk with each of them...there is no map to guide us...or assure us we are headed in the right direction.

    Sometimes we meander...sometimes we trudge....but occasionally we hit our stride and advance.

    Accompanying them on their respective journeys may be the most daunting challenge I face as a parent. Trying to discern and make sense of their emotions reminds me of when they were newborns and I constantly found myself guessing at their needs.

    With each cry and whimper...Susan and I had to get a feel for what they were trying to say and what they needed...and neither of them expressed themselves in the same way.  This past year has been an unbelievable feeling out process for me, but I believe I'm slowly starting to get a handle on how each of them deals with losing Susan.

    But there is also the difficulty of trying to balance all the regular chores of being a single parent.

    The boys had always benefited from having two loving parents that could split up their time and dedicate all their attention and love when needed. Those days have vanished...but the pull on me from each of the boys is amazingly strong...because they need it...and deserve it....but also because I love them both so very much.

    Truthfully I'm often angry at how the boys were robbed of the life we started for them...the life we intended for them...the life they both deserved.  Sue and I seemed to be able to tackle anything together...but now I'm faced with helping them through more than I ever expected...alone...and that's not how it was supposed to be.

    If the balancing act stopped at the threshold of my home, I would be laboring...but work is also a part of this balancing act.

    The balance between work and home has become nothing less than agony.  Somehow...the year after my wife's death...I've been handed one of the most difficult classes of my eighteen years...and I've had a few challenging ones in the past.  Substitutes have actually told me they were praying for me...and they weren't talking about Susan's passing.

    My students drain me of my patience daily...and then my boys are left to pay the price when their exhausted, frustrated father picks them up from school.  In my mind I split my day into two and home...with a hour long commute/break in between each demanding phase.  No sooner have I pulled into the driveway then the second shift begins with the walk home from school and the instant new complications...and the solutions that I must find.

    Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that I would think of my life in this way. I truly believed this was the year they would take it easy on me...but not so much.  So sadly...teaching has turned into a job this year...and that only adds to the imbalance of my life...because teaching had always been pure joy for me...something that completed me.

    But not every moment is filled with exhaustion...or sorrow..or pain.  Which creates it's very own unique balancing act.

    The struggle to find a balance between my ongoing flashes of grief and my increasing moments of happiness is...overwhelming.  As each day goes by...I'm still conflicted about enjoying the positives of my life as I feel an unparalleled sorrow over the unexpected death of my wife and best friend.

    I often feel like two different two separate lives.  The balance here is confusing because these two people don't recognize one another...but reside within the same man.  I can break down within seconds or glide through a few hours without feeling that tug at my heart.  But when I lay my head down at night...I obsess over those two people and the contrast in their days.

    Finding the balance...that's where I'm at...and like I said before...not a new idea...just more complex then I ever imagined.

    Sunday, April 8, 2012

    2nd Time Around

    Well this is my second Tour of Duty...the second year of facing milestones without Sue...the second year of celebrating traditions that we shared...the second year of hiding my pain so my boys can have the childhood joy they deserve.

    Easter was the first holiday without Susan that rolled over me last year...and as I write is knocking on my door a second time around.  Although this year is different than's also very much the same this time around.

    The emptiness of hiding eggs alone...the confusion of wanting to create a special memory for my boys without their Mom...the disbelief that this is what life has dealt us.

    So how is this year different?

    Surprisingly...I was much more on top of things last Easter...baskets ready...eggs set up.  But not this time.  Today I was scrambling around...finishing up everything at the very last possible minute.


    I think the explanation is quite simple.  Last year at this time I was shock...unaware of what my reality really was...or was going to be.  Honestly...I just kind of soldiered through it without making sense of what was happening.  But this time around that magical cloud of protection is gone.

    I wasn't ready this year because I was putting off the inevitable...celebrating as a family of only three...and accepting that we must go on without her.

    So it's roughly midnight the night before Easter as I'm typing away at my table...and I'm wondering how tomorrow will play itself out...wondering how this second time around will be...but not just tomorrow...I'm wondering about each day of this second time around.

    Friday, March 30, 2012


    So it's been awhile...he typed in a halfhearted attempt to apologize.

    He has written every day this month.

    He has not had enough time or strength to tool...polish...or hone his words into truth.

    Because February was so full of truth...and so damn long for such a short month.

    March has been a time for him to recover...and comprehend the truth he now faces each day.

    He's been too busy with life this month to truthfully address the past.

    He couldn't let March go by without a word posted...or a phrase turned.

    Because the past will always be part of his present...his future...and his truth.

    March has been a time for him to adjust to the truth of a year...and each day that awaits him.

    He was more prepared for the ups and downs this month.

    He still had difficulty navigating his way among the highs and lows...and through the ugly truth.

    Because the truth will always sting...and catch him by surprise...and tear his heart out of his chest.

    March has been a time for him to make peace with the fact that the truth of her absence will always remain present as he begins to live again.

    With every piece of mail that bears her name...with every unopened Pampered Chef item he stumbles upon...with every picture in which her beauty shines...with every quirk his boys display that could only belong to her...he struggles to harmonize the truth of her absence into his new existence.

    Wednesday, February 29, 2012

    A Year

    I'm no longer able to measure in mere months...

    I have passed each first...although I have surely not conquered them all.  Every year they will rear their ugly faces again.  But perhaps as the years pass they will become less intense...little by little they may slowly a scar that loses it's harsh appearance over time.

    In certain ways...I'm glad the year has finally come.  Although I recognized there would be no magical epiphany on the morning of the twenty-sixth...and I was cognizant that I wouldn't be reborn or suddenly awakened...I did hope the passing of a year would bring some relief to my mind.

    I had become exhausted by my self imposed timelines and deadlines...and so weary of being a headline.  The calendar year has held so much anticipation and anxiety...I was often unable to catch my breath between dates.  Many times I was overwhelmed by expectations...and my own revelations.

    But the passing of calendar days alone will not bring the change I desire in my life.

    So I know my healing and growth will go on...just as it has in this last year.  I will remain awake and persistent in facing the loss of Susan without hiding...or running...or trying to keep busy. I will acknowledge my steps forward and accept the tumbles back as I have before...but no longer will I allow circled dates or my definition of time to hold me captive.

    Eventually life will once again happen...and without time holding me might be closer than I imagine.

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

    I Remember

    My memories are so full.

    I remember a shy, but goofy girl who I met by coincidence.  She had this mischievous smirk and bangs that gave her face a curious kid like look.  She tried impressing me with a silly bar trick that involved a pile of salt and an empty salt shaker. She lied to me about loving to stay up late and enjoying a drink.  Only after I fell for her did I find out she had trouble staying up past eight.

    I remember the power she had over me almost instantly...the ability to make me smile bigger than I ever had and feel love like I'd never known.

    I remember those nights when we became friends long before we became lovers.  Nights spent talking on the phone, or sitting in the front room of Gilson Court.  Nights where I didn't want to hang up or wished I didn't have to leave her side.  Nights when we got to know each other in ways that few others do.

    I remember waking up to her nose pressed into my back...and knowing that my life would forever be changed.

    I remember the beginnings of our life together.  Picking that spot of dirt that would grow into a home filled with love.  Then sneaking into our unfinished house late at night because we couldn't wait to get our life started. Walking through those wooden beams and looking at the stars above while we talked about what those framed rooms would one day hold.  Dreaming about a future that was so beautifully about to unfold.

    I remember standing at the front of a room in a mansion...nervous and excited because the day had finally come.  Watching her round the corner and seeing my bride for that very first time.  Crying in joy as she walked toward me down the glad she would always be mine.

    I remember standing in our room as she first told me about Luke.  Beaming already as she became a Mom for the very first time.

    I remember that May day when we were surprised by his early arrival.  Being told by our doctor that it seemed like a great day to get parenthood started.  Sitting in the parking lot together...unable to speak because our dreams were coming true.  Being so close and connected on that May night we became a family.  Just huddling us if no one else existed.

    I remember sharing in each of Luke's firsts and the happiness they brought to her face. Watching her ease into the role she was born for...loving him as only she could.

    I remember the joy in her eyes that August afternoon as she held her sweet Benny.  The way she loved him and cuddled him.  The special look she had just for him...telling me she finally felt complete.

    I remember the way she made both her boys feel like the center of her universe.  Days spent playing and learning...laughing and teaching...being a mother like many had never seen.

    I remember kitchen hugs...goodbye and hello kisses...jokes and laughter...good times and bad...and whispers so sweet...but most of all I remember how lucky I was to have her in my life.

    I wish that February night never would have happened, but as I've learned you can't always control your story.  And even if I somehow knew in advance how our story would end...and the pain I would eventually have to endure...I would do it all again.  I wouldn't give up a day we had together to escape this sorrow...because a life without her would have been far worse than losing her.

    Her love, her heart and her life..I will forever remember...and use as guide for the rest of mine.

    Tuesday, February 7, 2012

    My Reminders

    Last week I opened up Luke's backpack frantically looking for his homework.  

    The nightly routine had caught up with me...the mad rush to get it all done before bedtime was in full swing...and my nerves were melting down.

    Alongside my raised voice...and under his lunchbox...and between his library books...I found something unexpected...something that made my frenzied pace freeze.  

    It wasn't the paper I was looking for...but it was something I had been searching for lately...a reminder.  

    A reminder of what Susan gave me...the gift of two amazing full of love...and laughter...and their mother.

    What happened to Susan is still incomprehensible at times...and what we live through each day is often extraordinarily difficult.

    But I do have those two incredible reminders.

    And on certain days...even if I'm frustrated...angry...desperate...or boys are just bring that smile back to my face.

    Thursday, February 2, 2012


    So it's here...February.

    For almost a year...this month has held me hostage.  The anticipation of it's arrival and the uncertainty of what it will bring have been circled in my mind like a date on a calendar.  So many days of significance will come and go in the next twenty-nine.

    Today I can't stop thinking about those two February days when we were hit by a snowstorm.  Days off from work and free of commitment...just a family of four cuddled up in our home.  Days like those are what make life worth living...laughs and love...kisses and hugs.

    In a week's time...I will be arriving at what should be our 9th anniversary.  A day that always reminded me of how lucky I was to find her love.

    Within two weeks...I will face Valentine's Day.  Which should be a day for proclaiming our love...but will now always be connected with our first trip to the Emergency Room.  A day where we stayed up all night...her hooked up to sensors and scared out of my mind, but trying hard not to show it.

    That day eventually bled into the fifteenth...and we were released...happy and content...assured and guaranteed of many more days to come.

    But the next ten days will forever be measured in my mind.  They each hold a memory...a special way she said me...then Luke...and finally Ben.  It was almost like she knew...and she brought us each into her...for a final farewell.

    And then it arrives...the day I said my last "I love you."  A kiss on the forehead...twice on the arm...and out the door I went.  Never again to see her smile...hear her laugh...or feel her love.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    One By One

    The lyrics to this song won't leave my mind tonight.
    Words by Woody Guthrie

    One by one the teardrops fall as I write you
    One by one my words come falling on the page
    One by one my dreams are fading in the twilight
    One by one my schemes are failing fast away

    One by one the flowers fade here in my garden
    One by one the leaves are falling from the trees
    One by one my hopes are vanished in the clouds dear
    One by one like snowflakes melting in the breeze

    One by one my hair is turning gray
    One by one my dreams are fading fast away
    One by one I read your letters over
    One by one I lay them all away

    One by one the days are slipping up behind you
    One by one the sweetest days of life go by
    One by one the moments stealing up behind you
    One by one she'll come and find out you or I

    One by one I hear the soft words that you whispered
    One by one I feel your kisses soft and sweet
    One by one I hope you'll say the words to marry
    One by one to one by one forever be

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    No Choice

    I turned an unexpected corner yesterday.  Mostly because I had no choice...but maybe that's how this grief will eventually play itself out.  Perhaps as time moves...moments will ultimately arrive where life gives me no options...nowhere to hide.  And I will gradually have to confront the parts of my sorrow I quietly hide.

    Yesterday's moment arrived in the form of a good old fashioned childhood injury.  As I watched Luke score the first basket of his park district heart surged with pride. A smile spread across my face as the quarter continued and it became apparent my son was the most talented player on the floor.  But those same parental instincts switched gears quickly as Luke ran to me...holding his mouth...with blood dripping through his fingers.

    I went from Proud Dad to Protective Father...without a thought.  We jumped into the car as quickly as my demeanor had changed.  I knew we were headed for the ER...and that I should be scared....not about Luke's injury...but about confronting one of my secret anxieties from the past eleven months.

    Entering a hospital...specifically an Emergency Room...has been a major fear for me since last February.  Facing the starkness of an ER with it's cold white tiles and shining steel. Being guided down halls that intermittently shine fluorescent.  Seeing the pulsing of the glowing red lights.  Hearing the constant humming of unfamiliar machines.  Feeling the uncertainty and speed of life changing words.

    For almost a year I have been haunted by those two February emergency room visits. Leaving once together...leaving once alone.  Every moment of each day are etched into my memory.  Every question about those days still silently remain.  However, I found the constant trepidation of walking back into an ER to be a heavy weight all it's own.  How would I react?  Would I relive the pain? Would I spiral back to those February days?

    The adrenaline of being a parent is an amazing thing.  We walked in...the lights flickered...the machines hummed...and the room was stark.  But all that filled my mind...was my little boy.  The past did not impact me in that moment...I was living in the present.  I was reacting to what I could control...instead of unraveling about what had happened eleven months before.

    Now I know that nothing will ever be as bad as that last February day.  And no hidden fear will bring back the level of pain I felt that day.  Maybe that's progress...perhaps in time I will conquer all my silent fears...the ones I keep hidden...the irrational feelings that are obstacles to living in the present.  I hope life gives me no other choice.

    Thursday, January 19, 2012

    Yesterdays, Tomorrows and Todays

    I've been living in yesterdays and tomorrows.

    Thinking of how my life used to be...

    And hoping for what my life will be...

    When will I start living in todays?

    Wednesday, January 18, 2012

    Ebb and Flow

    The ebb and flow of life after death…is exhausting.

    The ache is elongated…sporadic…and then drawn-out again.

    There is no cadence to life.

    Living is always a step off beat...and doesn't fall into place for very long.

    Just as the sun rises…darkness begins to cast it's shadow.

    As one shade of grief is conquered…another arrives.

    This appears to be a journey with no ending…no arrival.

    Unfortunately…the path is not steady.

    So the question becomes...

    Can you move forward with the rise and fall of the road?

    Friday, January 6, 2012


    Every so often...I feel like I'm falling.

    It's similar to the sensation you have in deep sleep...when you unexpectedly take a misstep. Perhaps you were dreaming of some fantastic or even ordinary event...and everything was going smoothly.  But suddenly you foot lunges out...and drops.  And you're left reaching for a footing that is no longer there.

    This sensation has begun happening to me lately.  But I'm awake...and it's not my foot that misses a step.  It's my heart that loses ground...and begins to plummet.

    I could be making dinner and all is going well.  Then as I reach to open the eyes suddenly meet hers in a picture hanging on the door.  And there it unexpected heart collapses.

    All at once...I am abruptly reminded of Susan's death...not that I could ever forget.  But as time has passed...I have been forced to engage in life...because I am still here...and because my boys need me.  So I have been moving...finishing what needs to be done...and unwillingly playing the hand I have been dealt.

    So now instead of living with her death draped over my every thought...I'm simply shot periodically in the chest by it.  Knocked off my feet...and forced to try and stand again after some unsuspecting item or experience reminds me of her absence.

    I wonder when this sensation will stop...or if it will?

    It's a strange condition

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out (Cat Stevens)

    Music speaks to me...

    And I'm trying to sing out...

    One day...

    It will be easy again...

    Tuesday, January 3, 2012

    It's Time

    It's time to change again...

    It's time to grow again...

    It's time to drop the facade again...

    It's time to go it alone again...

    There is no time to rest your mind...

         If you're going to find yourself again...

    It's time to look inside again...

    It's time to get in touch again...

    It's time to discover who you are again...

    It's time to find strength again...

    There is no time to breathe a sigh of relief...

         If you are going to evolve again...

    It's time to learn from the past again...

    It's time to apply your knowledge again...

    It's time to love yourself again...

    It's time to emerge better again...

    Monday, January 2, 2012

    Forever Changed

    I am forever changed by Susan's death...

    But also by Susan's life...

    In the end it is up to me...

    I must make peace with where these two paths meet...

    And decide how I will let them impact my life...

    My choices and reactions...

    Will surely define my future...

    So now it is left for me to decide...

    In what manner I will live my life...

    And how I choose to meet each day...