Monday, March 31, 2014

The stages

Last week I spent the week in California with some of my girlfriends.
I was surrounded by people who I adore,
and who seem to really like me most of the time...

I was also surrounded by the glorious, beautiful ocean.
And the sun!
And even spent a day at Disneyland.
The absolute happiest place on Earth..
depending on who you are...
(I'm talking to you: Julie Redd).

One night on the way back to our hotel we stopped by the Newport Temple.
It was dusk.
The sun was setting, and it was cooling down.
And the sunset had a lovely shade of orange.
It was very peaceful and very quiet-with only one other couple there.

As soon as I stepped out of the car I felt incredibly lonely.

I was surrounded by a lot of love,
but man,
there really aren't any words to express how much my heart ached right then.
I kept my sunglasses on while I did my best to hide the tears.

For some reason,
that moment was a big one for me.

I accepted months ago that my life with Travis was over.
That he is gone, and that I have to figure things out without him.

But that moment,
it really hit me hard.
And Eternity felt (and feels) very, very, very far away.

It's spring break for my kids this week.
We obviously don't have big plans because we took our vacation last month,
but tonight they are off at a friends having a sleepover.

Months ago I would have reveled in the quiet.
Trav and I would have enjoyed each other and probably watched
whatever our hearts desired-
and I would have had him to take care of.

But being here alone:
I just miss them.
And I really hate the quiet, and the loneliness that comes my way.
I do not want to be a mom that suffocates her kids,
or expects them to be her happiness...
I really have to constantly remind myself that they need to have 
the most regular life they can,
and I wont hold them back.
But I do miss them, and once again, I find myself missing my old life immensely.

There are times that I'm in awe that we've made it almost 6 months without him.
And then there are times that I'm fairly certain I can't go through another day.

I've read about the 'steps of grief' that everyone is supposed to experience,
and I really don't see myself anywhere on that chart.
And I don't think I've gone through a lot of this...
which makes me wonder if i will?
If I did sometime during our cancer journey-making this happen before he actually passed?
Or maybe I did got through it and didn't see it?

But either way---

-I certainly am not in denial, though at times I kinda wish I was.
-I'm not angry. Sad? Yes. Angry? No.

-I'm not bargaining.  I have always felt, and still maintain that we did all we could-
and I'll just say it.  I was a pretty awesome caregiver.

-I am not depressed.  I may seem like it when I blog,
because I vent my heart out here.
But my life is still very full and happy.
And the happy days outweigh the sad ones.
And I even cook dinner sometimes,
and am trying to run again,
and I do my hair most days!

-And I've accepted this life.
I've accepted all the curve balls that have been thrown my way.
I truly believe that the Lord has a plan for all of us,
and I fully believe that we are doing all we can to make the best of it all.
And I've accepted that my love is gone.
I don't like it.
But I've accepted it.

 A friend sent this my way the other day and it spoke to me.

When I look at it this way,
I'm reminded that I'm one of the lucky ones.
I am so blessed to have someone I miss this much.
And I bet he's missing me and the ladies too...
for some reason that comforts me an awful lot!

We are still surviving and doing our best around here.
As always,
I'm incredibly thankful to the friends and family members who constantly take care of me.
I'm thankful to the parents who help their children understand how to help my kids,
and who have gone out of their way to make sure we are all happy.
I am beyond blessed.
And always so thankful.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

{Spring Decor}

Spring Decor.




The ladies and I were thrilled to find orange pinwheels.
It warms our hearts to be able to make something beautiful for our Travis.
Miss him every day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

{Inside my head}

I've known for a long time that the day would come where
I would be a widow.

I knew I'd miss Travis, terribly.
I knew it would be hard.
I knew I'd have to play mom, and also dad.
I knew I'd have to pay the bills, kill the spiders,
and scare of boys when the girls are teenagers.
And I knew it would be unbearable at times.

 But...
grief, grief that is part of you, and that at times is your whole world...
it comes with a lot of other crap that you just didn't see coming.
And sometimes,
it really messes with your head.

This post is one I've debated about a million times.
I've mentioned that writing does a lot of good for my soul,
but I certainly filter a lot of my thoughts out for a few reasons.
1-Some of them may be too hard to read or feel.
and
2-Someone may have me committed if they knew the truth of what is going on
in my head!
A few widow friends, who are obviously braver them I am,
have put it all out there and I have no words to express the gratitude I've felt
when I realized that these thoughts are completely normal.
Yes, they make life feel pretty rotten at times,
but I think it is a completely natural part of the process.
 It's one I loathe, and it's been the hardest part of this ordeal for me personally.
(Besides the missing him, of course).

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
Right?
I sure hope so.
So here you have it.
I really hope that in writing it,
another widow who may feel some of the sorrow I have felt,
will see that it's ok. And normal.

I'll start with sleep.
 I'm exhausted about 113% of the time.
I wrestle with my sadness while parenting, alone.
And by the time I put the kids to bed I can't wait to just sleep!
But I get in bed, and the sleep evades me.
I'm thrilled the 2 nights a week that sleep truly claims me.
 Most of the time there is just too much on my mind.
Trav's death was not peaceful.
It was anything but peaceful,
and some of those memories from that week will never leave me.
And once they get inside your head,
they like to stay a while.
I take a lot of comfort in the fact that Travis now understands
why that week was so hard.
Why those past few years were so hard.
He now knows that I was trying, really hard, to make it as easy as I could for him,
but I hate that he suffered so much in his death.
When I think about the pain he was in,
or how scared must have been at times,
my hear breaks into a million pieces.
I hate that I couldn't have done more.
I hate that he went through it.
And I hate that even though I really do know that I did all I could,
at times,
I still feel guilt about what occurred.

Those nights,
sleep evades me and by morning I feel on deaths door myself.

 Those nights are less and less.
But they still come occasionally.
And they are hard to shake.
Another thing I never, ever saw coming,
was doubt and worry for our future together.
 I've believed my whole life that if I make the right choices,
and do my best, I will get to live with my family for Eternity.
That thought alone carried Travis and I through the entire span of our marriage,
and especially through his cancer battle.
 I believe that we will be able
to live together for Eternity in Heaven.
And I can't wait for that day.
 
But,
there are times when the thought of
"will he still love me then?" 
pop into my head.
It's gonna be a while before I get to be with him again...
most likely a really long while.

 And I imagine what my life will be like till then.
I'm gonna make mistake after mistake.
I will do stupid things,
yell at our kids one too many times,
take things for granted,
mix up my priorities,
and basically do what we all do.
That's part of life.
Making mistakes and then trying not to make them,
over and over again.

 Then I think of what he will be doing until then.
I believe he will be watching over us.
Watching me screw up----again and again.
(I can see him shaking his head now!)
He will be teaching others about his beliefs.
And he will be getting better by the second.
I know he wont judge me.
He's already promised me that...

but will he still love me?
Will he be as excited to see me as I am to see him?

These thoughts are apparently,
a very normal part of grief...
at least according to my sweet group of widow friends.

I remind myself,
pretty much on a daily basis,
about how hard T fought to stay with me.
About the times that only I could make him feel better.
And about those moments that we had together,
where there was absolutely no doubts of our love.
And sometimes, when that's not enough,
I will read an old note, or his old journal,
or even look through a few old pictures and remember that
he does.
And he will.

I wish he was here to reassure me.
But I also wish he was here to help with math homework,
cleaning the garage,
and telling me I'm pretty.

What I'm saying is,
no matter what, big deal or small matter, I wish he was here.
 
It's been 5 months today since Travis left us.
And really,
my grief feels like 2 steps forward and 1 step back.
But I do feel us moving forward little by litter.
 
We still miss him terribly.
We still have lots of uncertain moments in our life,
but I imagine that we always will.
We just keep moving forward.
Slowly. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

{An open Letter to T}

This blog has turned into a complete outlet for my grief.  In speaking with lots of my new found widow friends, I'm learning we all do it our own way.  Some of us hide, some of us move on quickly, others never want to.  Some write, some run, some paint, some haven't figured out what will help them yet.  Writing, it turns out, helps me.  (Also eating a sad amount of chocolate and peanut butter and taking a nap every day).  I don't think there is a wrong way, or a right way to do this.  I think it's just gotta be your way.  If you find this too open, or to vocal...you don't have to read it.  And if you think it's strange that I'm blogging an open letter to my T, well, it is a little, but it sure felt good to write.  Read on knowing that I haven't lost my marbles (completely) and I'm aware that this letter was more for me, then anyone else.


Dear Travis,

Well, first....I feel like you should know that I still really miss you.  That, I don't think, will ever change.  I'm getting used to not having you here.  That, in itself, is a double edged sword.  It's nice not aching constantly...but man, the fact that I'm used to it really is the pits. (Remember how my grandma loved to say things were "the pits"?  I bet you are hanging with her now.  I miss her.  Give her a love from me.)  Back to being used to you being gone makes me feel real sad and glad all at once.  I don't want to forget us.  We had some pretty fabulous times, and I'm currently undecided whether it was better to ache constantly, then to be used to you being gone-and forget our goodness.  I guess I'll keep you posted on that.

We went to Disneyland.  Without you.  That was strange....  The first night we walked into the big store downtown to shop.  I felt pretty empty not having you there, but the girls seemed ok.   Adyson acted real stressed out about what surprise she would bring home.  She stewed and stewed till there were actual tears.  Sometimes I forget that this is how she handles stress...she can do the big stuff pretty good.  Like you being gone.  She's amazing and strong and such a trooper.  But the choice: if she should get Minnie's Mouses house or the pillow pet brought tears.  We left the store with me being mad at her and her crying.  A few minutes later I looked at her to scold her and she just said "It's just not the same being her without him."  (You are the him.)  And then Sienna told me that just walking in the store gave her a tummy ache.  (Tummy ache=anxiety for Roo.)  We stood there under the tree, just a few feet away from our happy place, and we all cried a little.  Not for long, just a few tears, and then we decided you'd want us to smile.  And we did have some great laughs!  Grandma, Sue and Linsey kept us smiling and eating our way through the park.  I'm still full!  We talked about you a lot and I can't tell you how good it was for me to spend a week straight just being the fun mom, instead of good cop and bad cop all in one.  Adyson finally got brave enough for Soarin' and couldn't get enough of it.  That girl, she's braver then she thinks.  Roo isn't scared to try anything.  Except for the salmon I cooked for dinner tonight but that's a whole different story.  Coming home to a quiet house again is hard.  I hate not having you here.

What else?

The girls are thriving.  They really are.  They are scoring top marks in class and both smile more then frown.  That makes me incredibly happy and it helps me feel like I am sorta doing an okayish job as a single mom.  Oh and you should see them ski!  It's so beautiful to see them learn something new.  I can't wait to see where this world will take them.

Oh!  Big news.  We finally got to meet the mother on 'How I met your Mother.'  She's cute and doe eyed and worth the years of the wait.   I think they are gonna have her die on the finale, just like we thought.   (What do you bet she has cancer?  What a kick in the arse that will be.)  I was sad you never got to see her.  I know you don't care...but still, made me sad.   And guess who's back on 'The Amazing Race'....the Utah dad and son.  The girls and I are rooting for them!

I have to get taxes done this week.  Um...add this to the list of crap I hate doing without you.  I took for granted that you just did it all.  Thank you for that.  I don't think I do it as gracefully as you did.  I also hate changing light bulbs, running to the store for that one random ingredient I forgot.  I also miss your mad computer skills...the computer is doing some strange things and I don't even know where to start!  I loved your computer nerd skills.  I loved your computer nerdiness in general.

I'm trying to force myself to really try to take care of me again.  I'm trying to run. (Failing, but trying).  I'm skiing again.  That is good for me!  The sun and the blue skies are just what I need.  I'm forcing the kids to do jobs around the house and to be helpers.  It's good for them to be self reliant and I just can't do it all.  My friends and family is taking good care of me.  And the great neighbors too.  I'm working on being better.  I get mad if people give me special treatment, but then I get mad when I'm treated just like nothing ever happened....I'm a bit of a mess sometimes, but you were married to me so you know how crazy I can be.  I'm working on it and trying to figure out a good balance.  And I think it's ok that I'm a bit nuts.  I am a widow, after all.

Anyhow, we are surviving.  That's really about all I can say when people ask.  We have really bad moments, and really good ones too.  I try to smile and be strong for the girls but sometimes it's all pretty fake.  Remember me telling you the beauty school saying 'fake it till you make it'?  Well, that's how I feel.  I'm hoping making it happens sooner, rather then later.  I miss texting you during the day and telling you the many, many random things that have happened throughout the day.  I miss you laying on the couch with your socks hanging half off your feet.  I loved how you did that. I miss cooking for you!  The girls complain mostly and the cookies never get eaten all gone.  I made soft pretzels (our favorite Sunday treat) the other day for the first time since you passed.  We had leftovers and I had to give them to the neighbors.  I hated eating mine all alone without you here telling me how delicious they are.  Plus, I was tempted to eat yours!  (Okay fine, I ate yours.)  I miss your laugh.  I miss knowing that someone else loved the kids as much as me.  It's hard being that parent...the only one who wants whats best and who has to make sure they survive and thrive.  That part is the very worst.  When I think of them not having you here.  I hate it for them even more then I hate it for myself.

There are a million small things every single day that I want to tell you.  Things I know you'd roll your eyes at, or laugh at....and for sure have a really sarcastic comment to add to mine.  I hate that I can't tell you our small successes or our failures.  I hate that you can't help me figure out the best way to sort our finances, where you kept our last tax return, and I hate that I am so behind on the Aggie games.  I never remember to look to see when they play or if they won.  I miss you just doing that for me.  (And I miss your loud clap too!)  I hate that I am already forgetting a lot about us, and you.  I do know that I wont ever forget how good we had it.  I promise you that. 

Anyhow,
I still love you.  Still miss you.  And still am grateful for you and your lasting love for our little ladies.

Can't wait till we meet again-I plan on squeezing the crap out of you and not even worrying about your rib.  I really, really can't wait for that day.  


Sunday, February 23, 2014

{Some Thank-you's, Our First Vacation, And a lot of Jumbled Words}

This week,
the ladies and I are off on our first family vacation without Travis.
(Before I really get into this post, I want to say a ginormous thank you.
Before Travis died we were given a very generous gift.
Neighbors and friends, lots and lots and lots of them, gathered together money, -and
went as far as to secure a private plane, and lovely hotel on the ocean for us to stay in.  We weren't able to go because the Lord had other plans, and Travis passed the week we were supposed to be gone.  I think it's pretty beautiful that he passed knowing that we had people who loved us that much, do something so generous and kind for us.  That's one of the last things he saw.  With everything that happened, I lost the card with the names of all who donated or helped.  I've felt guilty about it since, and it has weighed heavily on my heart.  I'd hate for anyone to think that their kindness wasn't noticed...because the thought was so beautiful, the gift was so generous, and the love was beyond.  Thank you to all involved.  I am sitting her all teary just thinking of it.  That money is being used for our vacation this week.  Instead of a goodbye vacation, I'm calling it a healing vacation.  I'm so grateful for all the support and love.  Beyond words.)

When his cancer came back,
Travis made a goal.
Disneyland every year.
A trip where the girls could be little-and where they were the absolute focus.

And we did that for 5 years straight.

After he passed away,
the girls wondered if we would still go without him.
And this is what Travis wanted,
so we are going.

But I never imagined that it would be this hard.

I've missed him immensely while I've been planning.
I've missed him when I bought a cute shirt for the girls,
or when I booked a dinner reservation at his favorite restaurant there.

I missed him tonight,
when I was packing and found a stray t-shirt of his in my clothes.
I didn't know it was there,
and just to touch it made me ache.

I will miss him laughing when the girls get a little freaked out on a ride.
I will miss him holding my hand.
I will miss him eating his favorite soup.
I will miss him laying in bed next to me and complaining about his achy legs.
I will miss him leading the pack.
I will miss him being there, always knowing what I was thinking.

It's strange, and always hard, and it never gets easier.

Grief is something I've never really experienced.
Not up close and personal like this.
It does mean things to you.
It makes me angry when I see others really able to forget.
And heartbroken for my girls who are struggling through it,
each in their own way.
 Really, it feels like it is one step forward, and two steps back.
 Everything in our life has changed.
Everything.
From our finances, to our relationships with each other,
to the way our home feels inside.
When I write,
I realize that we sound quite a mess...
and I'm censoring here...big time.
(I am angry about a lot of things,
sad about a lot of things,
having a heck of a hard time sleeping..
and a basket case most of the time),
but  really,
I think that's how we should feel right now...
so I guess it's ok.

And we do have many happy, and good things happening every day.
And we still laugh a lot.
 And we love each other.

Included in the good in our lives are the people
who haven't forgotten the battle we are facing every day.
I have friends who think of me first.
They make sure that if a Holiday is happening,
I'm taken care of.
Something that Travis is probably pretty grateful for.
They make sure that if I don't sound 100%,
that someone is here, Diet Coke in hand, ready to help.
They tell me I look really pretty...when clearly, It's not a "pretty day".
And more important than that,
they remember my kids.
They teach their kids kind things to say to support my kids.
They make sure to include my kids.
They write kind notes and give hugs and understand and forgive when 
my kids aren't feeling happy, normal, or even nice.
They've been given the extra special treatment that they really deserve,
and that frankly, sometimes, I am too tired to give.
My mom has stocked her house full of crafts, 
because I think she realizes that when they have too much down time,
they aren't happy.
She takes them for ice cream to give them  a break from me...and me a break from them.:)
And she makes sure to ask what I need, even when I am grumpy
and don't have a kind reply.
We are surviving.
We are adjusting.
But it definitely doesn't happen overnight,
and we wouldn't be surviving without the people who have made sure to
remember us in every action and thought.
I'm so grateful.
We are surrounded by lovely people.
So with a heart half full of grief, and half full of excitement,
we are facing another first this week.
It is the "Happiest Place on Earth", so I think that means that my heart will fill
at least 3/4 full of happy.
I'll take it.
Thanks again for all our love and support.
We Kidman Ladies sure appreciate it.  
 
Disneyland 2009
Trav's cancer had been back 3 months.
 Disneyland 2010-15 months, still fighting.
 Disneyland 2011-27 months, still fighting.
 Disneyland 2012-39 months, still fighting. 
I'm 100% sure that this was the month Travis cancer started
really aggressively fighting back.

 Disneyland 2013-51 months, still at it.
I treasure these memories!
This year is gonna look different.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Help...

n the past few months I've met a lot of widows,
a good chunk of them are close to my age and dealing with 
some of the same feelings and situations I am.
They have all found beautiful ways to document their memories
and lives with their husbands.
I've set a goal to really write down some great memories of Travis and I.
I want my kids to have lots and lots of memories of their own,
and memories they can picture from others.
 If you have a memory, kind thought, or anything you feel the ladies should
remember about T,
please e-mail it to me!
Hayley429@hotmail.com

Monday, February 3, 2014

Valentine

I let the ladies pick out whatever they wanted for T's grave for Valentines day.
Naturally, they found animal print.
He would love it.