Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #16

It’s Friday!

You know what that means!  Time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude!

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These are the 5 things I am grateful for this week.

  1. Seeing my bestie

    Last weekend my daughter and traveled to Chicago to see my best friend.  We also took a side trip to Wisconsin.  Travel post will be coming.

    It was great to see my friend.  We met at the Young Republican Leadership Conference in Washington, DC in 2006.  She was sitting in front of me on the bus ride back to the hotel from the Romanian Embassy.

    We wouldn’t become close until later that year.

    We both pretty much have retired from politics but we usually try to see each other once or twice a year.

    It’s always great to see each other and catch up.

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    Wisconsin Road Trip, 2018

2.  Lunch with “Uncle Greg”

On our return trip from Wisconsin, we stopped to visit a close friend of mine.  Greg was one of Bryon’s best friends and he has been so good to our daughter.  You can see his kindness demonstrated below as he gave the girls their own cheesehead hats.

(I don’t usually use people’s names but I can’t think of a proper blog name for Greg.  Though I am sure Bryon would have suggested a few inappropriate ones).

Pro-Tip when visiting Wisconsin: make sure you leave some space in your luggage because those cheesehead hats take up a lot of room.  Though I guess she could have worn it on the plane…

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“Uncle Greg” and the mini-cheeseheads

We had an amazing lunch complete with Wisconsin cheese curds.

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The Old Fashioned, Madison, WI. 2018.

I also got to meet Uncle Greg’s new girlfriend.

I don’t give my stamp of approval to just anyone.  I am not Marshall Erickson.

But I am happy to say that Uncle Greg’s new girlfriend has my stamp of approval.  I can’t wait for him to bring her to Albany so everyone can meet her.

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3. Making it home in time for our favorite community helper’s birthday

We made it back in time on Monday for a special birthday.  Another one of Maddy’s “uncles”, who I refer to as “our favorite community helper”, was celebrating his birthday.  I took my daughter out for dinner and our favorite community helper and his fiancee (a.k.a. Carter’s parents) met up with us.  I didn’t get a picture with our favorite community helper, but here is a picture of my daughter being silly.  I was tired and probably not the best company, but these two are family to me and it was important to see our favorite community helper on his birthday.

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McGeary’s. 2018.

4.  A night at the museum

This week was the opening of Canstruction.  A good friend (I will call her “the architect”) has done this event for 8 years.  Canstruction collects cans and other non-perishable food and builds structures to raise money for food banks in the region.

I am so proud of my friend.

On Wednesday, there was a reception that I was lucky enough to attend.

The event took place at the New York State Museum on Empire Plaza.

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There was a taco bar.

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There was toasting with friends.

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My speech got a standing ovation.

We’ll just ignore the fact that Kimmy Gibbler was the only one listening…

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I didn’t get any carousel pics but we rode on it and it was awesome.

Here are a few pictures of some of the structures.

5.  Surviving

Two years ago yesterday was when my life completely fell apart.

I am still here.

I survived and I am grateful.

What are you grateful for this week?

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When I really died…

When I first started this blog, I said that part of me died on August 21, 2016.

That was the day that Bryon died.

And that is true.

But it is also a lie.

The “death” of me really began on a different day.

My death really began on March 29, 2016.

Two years ago today.

It was Bryon’s 5th day in the ICU.

He had spiked a fever of 105F the day before.

And on that day, his kidney’s shut down.

Then his other organs started to fail.

It all happened so quickly.

Septic shock.

“Your husband might not make it.”

I made phone calls to those close to us.  Friends dropped what they were doing and rushed to the hospital.

My parents took my daughter, then 18 months, out of school because they decided that she was probably the only person who could bring me any sort of comfort, which she did.

I remember saying to my mother that Bryon couldn’t die because my daughter wouldn’t remember him.

I was told that my husband had to be rushed into emergency surgery.

A surgery he might not survive.

It did not seem real.

How could the strongest person I know, both mentally and physically, be clinging to his life?

My parents left with my daughter because everything seemed too hectic for someone that small.

It all seemed surreal.

My husband might not survive.

He came to the hospital to get better and all he seemed to get was progressively worse.

And now I was told he might die.

He couldn’t die.

I needed him.

I couldn’t do this alone.

Our daughter was too young.

Some of our closest friends sat in the waiting room.

In silence.

With fear in our eyes.

Waiting.

Everyone in that room fell somewhere on the Catholic spectrum and we learned what “purgatory” meant.

After what felt like an eternity, we got news that Bryon survived the surgery but it was uncertain if he was going to make it through the night.

It was during the flu season and only two “visitors” were allowed in the room with him so everyone took turns sitting with me by his bedside.

He did make it through that night.

And the next 145 nights.

And while part of me died 145 nights later, the death began on that day.

I lost innocence.

My naivety.

I lost my sense of safety and security.

The old me is dead.

A new me has emerged.

A wiser me.

A more grateful me.

A person who takes life a little less seriously.

A person who isn’t so concerned about being a people pleaser.

A person who has no trouble telling people who go “eff off”.

But today marks the day that where I was forced give up the safe life I knew.

And I am okay.

I am surrounded by those who truly love me.  People who embrace the “new me” and strive to understand what I went through the best they can.  All while they mourn the man they knew too.

But I would be lying if I didn’t say that today was tough.

Because it reminds me of all the pain I went through and the loss of a great man.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I was having moments.

But it is okay.

I keep those moments to myself.

I only cry when no one is around to see it.

 

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #15

  1. Brunch and Pottery PlaceOur weekend started with Saturday Brunch with friends.  My daughter and I dressed as the Irish-American Princesses that we are.

    It was Kimmy Gibbler‘s son’s birthday this week so we gave him his present.

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    After brunch we went to a local pottery place and painted.  My daughters pig is looking a little bruised there.

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  2. A night outLater Saturday evening, we went went for another friend’s birthday.   We did some hibachi.  I didn’t get any fire photos because I was too busy snapchatting them. The little one stayed home with a sitter while Mommy had some fun.

    After hibachi, we went to a local place for some karaoke.

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    I still maintain this position.

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  3. Day with cousinsSunday morning, my daughter and I traveled to the North Hadley Sugar Shack in North Hadley, Massachusetts to spend the day with my cousin and her two kids.  My cousin and I try to meet in Springfield, MA because that is the approximate halfway point between us.

    We got to sample some wicked good syrup.

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    There were other samples too.

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    And there was breakfast.  This was a double order of bacon because kids meals at most places usually only include 1 piece of bacon which my daughter eats and then she will move on to mine.  So I tend to order double.  Though this morning, she didn’t touch any of mine.  More for me, I guess.

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    My cousin and I decided to head over the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art.  We had a good time but if you are travelling from Eastern, MA or Upstate NY, I wouldn’t plan a whole day trip out of it.  I also would recommend it for school age kids.  There wasn’t a lot for preschoolers to do.  Not enough to occupy them for a whole day.  It wasn’t like our trip to the Dr. Seuss Museum.

    My daughter and I took this selfie.  Be kind.  I was out late and up early and it was definitely a dry shampoo and minimal makeup kind of morning.

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  4. Reunited in ChicagoI am writing this post ahead of time and by the time it goes live, I will be reunited with my bestie in Chicago!326491_10150501472522841_315275259_o
  5. A special birthdayToday is the birthday of my “sister from another mister” and my daughters Godmother.  I know that her birthday is bittersweet because it is also the day that everything changed forever.I actually met her before I met Bryon.  We first met at the Fall 2005 Young Republican National Federation Board Meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas.  She taught a workshop that I attended on talking to a camera.I never could have known that she would end up being such an important person in my life.She was there with many others on the happiest day of my life and she was the only person with me on the saddest night of my life.The truth is that she deserves her own post but I feel like I can’t accurately write a post about her without sharing information that I am not ready to share yet.  And without the whole story, I am not doing the story of our friendship justice.

    I want to write more but WordPress seems to be deleting what I am writing as I am writing it.  And I am too tired to figure it out.

    Happy Birthday!  We love you!

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My last normal day

Two years ago today was my last normal day with Bryon.

It was a Tuesday.

I can tell you that it was the day of the Brussels Explosion but I learned that from Google.

And of course, the 2016 election was going on.  But I don’t remember watching the news or talking about it with Bryon.

I probably did mundane things like change my daughters diapers and feed the cat.

I know I worked that day.

I don’t remember what I wore.

I don’t remember driving into work and parking my car.

Maybe I got a French Toast Bagel with plain cream cheese and a medium light roast coffee from Panera for breakfast like I did most mornings.

No clue what I ate for lunch.

I don’t remember leaving work.

I know I must have picked my daughter up from daycare because Bryon wasn’t cleared to lift her yet.

I don’t remember arriving home.

We probably watched some TV that night but I can’t remember what we watched.

I don’t remember what we said to each other before bed.

For the life of me, I can’t remember a single specific about that day.

It was the last normal day of my normal life and I can’t remember a single thing.

I did not know that the very next day, my life would change forever.

 

 

Three and a half and asking questions

My daughter officially turned three and a half yesterday.

Where has time gone?

Yesterday she asked her first questions about her father.

We were talking and I mentioned that I missed him.

She asked me why.

I said that I missed him being here.

I could see her wheels turning, trying to remember him.  I told her that she was too young to remember him.

She accepted my explanation.

She then asks “Did you touch his hair?”

I said “Yes.”

Then she asks “Did you touch his body?”

I said “Uh…yeah…”

Then she asks “Did you touch his face?”

I said “Yes.”

She seemed satisfied with that knowledge and went back to watching Paw Patrol.

I know this is only the beginning to the questions she is going to ask about her father and why her father died.

Fairy tales don’t exist.

I recently bought my daughter a Disney Princess CD for the car.

Yeah…they still make CD’s.  I was kind of surprised too.  This was good news because whatever part of the brain that understands technology…well mine is stuck in the 1990s.

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Actually that is only half true.  I embrace modern technology.

I just need other people to set it up for me.

And I need for it to work all the time for me.

And if it doesn’t, I need other people to fix it form me.

So yeah.

My daughter and I have been listening to a Disney Princess CD.

Actually we have only been listening to two songs.

The first is Rapunzel and “When will my life begin.”

Poor Rapunzel.  I know what it’s like to feel like I am waiting for my life to begin.  Except I am trapped in a tower of my own making and that doesn’t compare to her abuse.

The other sing we were listening to was the Little Mermaid.

As we listened to Ariel, my daughter knowingly says “Ariel is sad because of a boy.”

I was shocked at my 3 and a half year old daughters insight.

She already has something figured out that I didn’t figure out until high school.

I said “Yes…boys have a tendency to do that to us…lots of boys will make you sad…then one day you find the one that doesn’t make you sad…and then you will be happy…well as long as he doesn’t die…”

I am pretty sure my daughter stopped listening to me once I said she was correct.  But with her you never know.  She doesn’t seem to miss anything.  She’s smart.

Last week I talked about how Jerry McGuire and the whole “You complete me” thing is a lie but I also decided that I no longer believe in fairy tales.

Life is never what it seems.

Like, seriously.

Ariel likes a guy.  She has to jump through hoops to get him to notice her.  I mean, it’s one thing to dress pretty and have open body language but to give your voice to a sea witch seems a bit excessive to me.

Ariel, honey, it’s not supposed to be THAT hard.

And it’s not good enough that she jumps through all these hoops, she has to completely change her life to be with Eric.  Eric isn’t putting in any effort.

Seriously Eric.  You need to appreciate what this girl has done for you.

The movie ends with Eric and Ariel having a wedding cruise and Ariel is wearing the dress that she said yes too.  Interestingly enough, she did not go with a mermaid style dress.  Her family is swimming in the ocean which is probably the etiquette equivalent of putting your family at Table 22 or something.

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So Ariel is almost completely isolated from her family.  I don’t remember seeing Eric’s parents but what if they aren’t nice?  Not all people have loving and supportive in-laws.  (I plead the fifth!)  Needless to say, this could be problematic for Ariel.

So isolated from family…unknown in law situation…what if Ariel pops out a kid or two or twelve and then Eric has a simple elective surgery that gives him sepsis and he dies?  And Ariel’s family can’t help because they are mermaids and live in the water.

I don’t think Ariel has thought this through.

Even though she wants to “part of Eric’s world” (whatever that means) she clearly showed signs of confusion when I saw her at Disney on Ice last year.

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Is that a mermaid tail or legs?  I am so confused…

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Ariel is clearly having some identity crisis.  She wants to be human but she still wants her mermaid tail?

Looks like she wants to have her cake and eat it too.

Maybe she needs to take a cue from Elsa and leave the past in the past.

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I just hope Prince Eric doesn’t die on Ariel and shatter that whole world she wanted to be a part of.

Good Vibrations Gratitude Friday #14

It’s Friday!

You know what that means…time for some Good Vibrations Gratitude.

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These are the Top 5 things I am grateful for this week.

  1. Daylight Savings Time

    You may noticed that I have been quiet on the blog this week.  The first was that after writing my two most recent blog posts (here and here), I had nothing to say.  I keep wanting to say I felt emotionally drained but the term “drained” doesn’t really sum it up well.  Maybe I was actually content? I got out what I needed to.  If I was feeling content, I am sure it will only last for a New York Minute.  Because as the week ends, I am started to feel new emotions and thoughts bubbling up.  Periods were I don’t have anything to say don’t happen often and don’t last long when they happen.

    My lack of writing is also due to the fact that Daylight Savings Time really screws me up.  Every year.  For like, a whole week.  Each day I have been hitting the later class at my gym because I can’t get my act together to go to the one I normally attend.

    But I am grateful for Daylight Savings Time because I love the fact that the sun is out until 7 pm.

    It makes this messed up week totally worth it.

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  2. Moments of joy

    I have been working on feeling the joy of living in the present moment.

    And what better example of feeling the joy of living in the present moment than seeing how excited my daughter was to try on her dance recital dress?  I couldn’t help but feel joy because my daughter was so happy.  I can’t wait to see her dance in her first recital.

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  3. For what I do have

    It is easy to think about my previous life and dwell on what I no longer have.

    I decided to be grateful for what I do have.  I have my daughter.  I have family.  I have friends who are my family.  I never spend holidays alone.I have a roof over my head.  I have a job.  I have my health.

    I have it good.

  4. SnapChat

    I have had SnapChat for about a year and a half but never used it.  I downloaded it shortly after Bryon died.  I was at a friends birthday party and everyone was showing me how to use it.  I signed up, got some friends and never used it.

    Kimmy Gibbler told me I need to use it when we were at brunch a few weeks back.  So I have been on it.  I admit, I love all the filters.

    Lately I have been turning inward a little bit.  I haven’t been on Facebook as much.  Partly because it was hard to see everyone living their perfect lives with their alive spouses.  (And yes, get no one’s life is perfect but once in awhile I have bad days where I would take my worst day with Bryon over my widowed life.)

    I also needed to turn inward because I needed to set some boundaries with my social media presence.  I know I am very open about my grief process on the blog and on social media.  And that won’t change.  I do this to help other people- those who are also grieving as well as those who want to better understand the grieving process.

    But there are some people who think that  they somehow have a say in my life and are entitled to know things about me that are none of their business.  Just because I share my grief journey does not make my whole life public property.  So I have been quieter on social media.

    I have been enjoying SnapChat because I can still socialize and take pictures but I can choose who receives it.  It’s been the same 5-10 people because I am an elitist like that.  (Just kidding!)

    My friends send me videos of their golden retriever and I send videos back to them of my daughter.  It’s a fun time.

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  5. A kickass week at the gym.

    I got bronchitis in December and felt like I hadn’t rebounded.  But I feel like I had good workouts this week and that I am back on track.

What are you grateful for this week?

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