Sweet Dreams

I don't know how it started. And even though it's 3am and it just happened I feel the details fading.
I had the most wonderful dream.

Scott and I were standing in my parents old town house. We were standing in the hallway at the top of the basement stairs. Right next to the mirrored closet door, in the exact spot where I emerged from my bedroom in my parents basement for our first date.
He seemed shorter somehow. Almost like he couldn't quite stand to his full stature. Like an older, more worn man. Certainly not the tall, energetic young man I climbed those stairs for that first date.
He may have looked different, feeble almost, but he wasn't different. His hand was cooler than mine, like always. His smile resonated off his face and standing in his presence offered me such a quiet peace.
I don't know what we were doing standing there. Kate's cry comes out from the upstairs. He immediately begins to climb the stairs "I'll get Bug" he says. As I watch him struggle to the stairs, Kate's cries become more urgent. I quickly slip past him and run up the stairs. Passing him as he says "Good idea, go get our girl."
The top of the stairs and an immediate left, I look into the bedroom that long, long ago was mine (before the move to the basement) and see Kate laying on the bed that was my brother Mathew's when he took the room after my "big" move downstairs. The four poster bed that actually belong to my grandmother. The bed that was in Scott and I's first master bedroom, in that tiny first house. A bed, that now, in this much to large house, my parents sleep in when they spend the night.
There was a smaller Kate. Not tiny like a baby but certainly not as old as she is now. Maybe, the age she was when he left us.
She called out for me again. Going over to her I climbed in bed with her. That's not something we do. Kate and I have shared a bed exactly, 1 time, and that was the night he died. Without hesitation, like it was the most normal thing to do, I pulled back the covers and cuddled my girl.
At the foot of the bed, Scott climbed in and crawled over us. Sneaking under the covers he wrapped his arms around both of us. He said "I love my girls". The last words he spoke on this earth, and pulled us in tighter.
I couldn't soak up enough. Even in my dream, I knew how lucky I was to be there. How lucky I was to be "the chosen one" the one who he loved the most.
Looking past me, he points to something on the floor and says "Look at that monster! It's older than my dad's". An older CPU is sitting on the floor beside the bed. I turn to look at it. Turning back around, to talk to him, my breath catches. He's gone. My baby girl is asleep in my arms, were still in that old trusty, loved bed, in the house where I grew up but he's gone.
I don't feel sad really. I feel comforted. Stronger. Safer

The real monitor, in my real house, in this thing I call real life, carries Kate's voice to me "Mama... Mommy?" Hesitating, not wanting to let go of my dream. Not wanting to be without him again, I hear his voice "go get our girl."

As much as I wish I could have stayed in that dream forever, I'm glad Kate woke up. I might have forgotten this dream, had she not. Maybe I've had many dreams just like this one. Odly comforting.
Maybe writing it down, I'll be able to remember the feel of the comforter as he wrapped his arms around us. Or the coolness to his skinny hand. Maybe Kate will read this one day and know that he is always with us... if only in our dreams.

Sweet Dreams...


In The Middle

On Saturday, in the pouring rain, Kate and I (along with Mom, Dad, Justin and Kara) headed out to cut down our Christmas tree.

Scott and I loved cutting down our tree. The last few years though, it was just too hard on Scott. It was one of the few things we couldn't make happen. So we started the tradition of supporting a local nursery.
This year, I decided I wanted to reinstate the tree cutting tradition. I made the unfortunate mistake of getting a vision in my head. A vision I couldn't possibly fulfill.
But everyone put on their happy faces, except Kate who barely kept it together (in fairness to her, she was sick). We trudged out and found the least pathetic trees we could and cut them down. Soaking wet, frozen to the core and maybe a little disappointed we came home.

It's a tiny, sad, little tree that looks hysterical in my huge ass great room. It doesn't matter though. Kate and I picked it out together, put it up together and tonight, we decorated it together.

So many stories, moments and memories. Each ornament comes with its own piece of history. Not having Scott there to remember the stories, to share with, to sit with and watch the tree glow with... there are no words.

The last thing we did tonight was hang the stockings. I didn't know what I wanted. Hang Scott's stocking. Leave an empty space. Fuck stockings...
My mind swirled with thoughts. I just didn't know the right thing to do. So, I asked Kate what she wanted. That little girl never ceases to amaze me. Without hesitation she said she wanted it up.
"It would make him happy."
"But, Kate would it make you happy?"
"Yes, because he's always watching me and he believes in me."
"Yes, he does Baby."
"Can Daddy stocking go in the middle?"
"Of course it can."

What would I do with out her?


We give thanks

He's been on my mind, and in my heart all day. All the preparing, cooking, baking, talking, laughing, listening, and eating, never a moment was he far away.
The crowd has left. Our beautiful daughter sleeps. I've wrapped myself in his favorite sweatshirt, wearing his ring.
He is with me... and I am thankful.

I can't possibly begin to list all the things I'm thankful for. I hope you spent your day feeling thankful as well.


Fake it Until you can make it.

In his eyes, I could do no wrong.
With him gone, I feel like I can do no right.

I start to feel human. Wham... our anniversary.
Pick up for a few days. Slap... 8months since his passing on a Tuesday that went down in history for being awful.
Dust myself off. Karate chop...thanksgiving.

Gee, I'm excited to get through my birthday next week and then the mother of all moments... Christmas.

If you see me in public, you wouldn't know what I'm feeling. For the most part, I can get through my day. I come here, to this place, to let go of the ugly, hurt, sad, broken parts of my soul. I'm so thankful that I have this place.



I miss him everyday. Everyday, I think 1,000+ times "I wish"...
When Kate masters a new skill. Or when she's flipping out in swim class and I'm left struggling with what to do next. Becky the cat, snuggled on my feet. Jake the cat, doing somersaults. Yummy treats. The first crisp fall day.
When folding socks and I find the last sock he wore. When I hear Kate tell random strangers that her daddy is in heaven.
The list could go on forever. But those moments roll past. What used to make me stop in my tracks doesn't even slow me down now. I feel the "missing" but it doesn't stop me. I keep moving. Breathe in, breathe out.

But tonight, today... I'm stuck. I'm stuck and I can't see past my longing. There is no physical piece of him left. His jacket doesn't carry his smell. His pillow has lost it's dent.
Kate and I have been to grief counseling. While I was assured (repeatedly) that Kate is doing remarkably well, the counselor encouraged me to keep Kate talking. We've been working on "feeling" words. Talking through our feelings and not getting angry, frustrated or reduced to tears. Today for the first time, Kate climbed into my arms in the middle of the day and cried for her daddy. She begged for answers and told me that nobody else will every play Playdoh like Daddy did. She cried big shirt soaking, cheek staining, tears. And I couldn't do anything but hold her.
I will hold her forever. Never letting her feel alone. I can't replace her father but I can be the best mother for her. Being stuck is not an option. Working past "stuck" is something I do well. I certainly did it better when he was here.


Goodbye Andy. Say hello to Scott

You're probably thinking "She's officially lost her marbles." You may be correct but I do have a reason for my slightly bizarre title.
In case you have heard Andy Rooney has died. When I heard the news this morning, I couldn't help but laugh. Literally. I'm not the type to laugh at any ones death, and certainly not at an American icons death. But this morning, I knew that Scott was getting one of his wishes.
Scott had an interesting "relationship" with Andy Rooney. One of my favorite stories that Scott shared with me was about his Sunday nights growing up as a kid. In the Witt house, Sunday night brought family dinner, and a quiet night of television.
Scott knew when he heard the ticking of the 60 Minutes clock on the television, his weekend was over. The hours of playing outdoors were gone. The time spent on the shore of a local lake with Rob, catching fish was over. The bikes were put away. The garage door was closed.
He had to trade in his Star Wars figurines for pencils. It was time to finish homework and sit with the family and watch 60 Minutes and the Disney Sunday Night Movie.
Scott hated knowing the weekend was over. He wanted nothing more than to stop that silly clock on the tv and keep having the non-stop fun. As we all know, all good things must come to an end. Scott just hated letting go.
As he grew older, Scott started listening to Andy Rooney at the end of 60 Minutes. Loving the way Mr. Rooney could analyze the simplest of things, making you see them differently. Scott would listen to Mr. Rooney and laugh. Scott would think about what he was hearing and admitted to thinking to himself on more than one occasion "What would Andy say about this?".
Those final moments of 60 Minutes stuck with Scott long after he stopped watching it. Andy Rooney stayed on a short list of people that Scott thought were pretty cool and would like to have lunch with.
I know that Scott got his wish. I'm not sure how the whole "lunch" thing works in heaven. But I'm really very sure that Scott is breaking bread with Andy Rooney. I'm kind of jealous of Andy.



Sometimes the body, mind and soul need nothing but solitude. That's what I gave myself yesterday.

I want to thank everyone for the email, texts, messages and phone calls yesterday. To have so many people thinking of me (and Scott) on what would have been our 8th wedding anniversary means more than I can express.
I got through yesterday and I'll find a way to get through the holidays that lay ahead.
Lots of positive changes coming. Changes that I've been resisting. In fact, a little bit of that needs tending to now.


Princess Butterfly says...

Happy Halloween!!


Hiatus Update 2.0

I've been working hard. Working hard to come back here to this little space on the internet that I call home. I'm not working hard for anyone other than myself. I miss writing. I miss the calm I feel after putting my thoughts to "paper". It clears my head and offers perspective. It gives me a chance to mark this time in history for Kate.
I started feeling like my writing was taking on too much of a "poor me" feel. I felt like I was getting stuck. I had to step away. Take some time, figure out what I wanted. Make sure, I kept writing from my heart.

I've got a stock pile of things that I want to share. Lots of great photos. Some fabulous Kate escapades.
But right now, I'm just trying to get through the next few days. Eight years ago tonight, Scott and I were having our wedding rehearsal. Gathering most of our wedding party and family and preparing to walk down the aisle, two days later.
Scott and I always took time out of today to remember those moments before the wedding. Always, even last year. Seems like we told the same stories every year. But they were our stories. Stories that I want to hear again this year but can't bring myself to share.
As Kate pointed out today while we were carving pumpkins, "This was more fun last year when Daddy helped."
So for now... deep breath in, deep breath out.
Kate's school party and trick or treating tomorrow. Then Tuesday... eight years. I'll find some way to memorialize it. I'm just now sure how.


Used to Be

Seems like a few weeks ago the "good days" were more frequent. I'm struggling to find a way to get through the next few months. I know I need to start "talking". I know I need to feel like I'm being heard. I just don't know where to start or what to say.
Listing all the things I miss about him over and over again, just seems to fall flat.

Found this picture on the netbook today. I found myself being reminded to "fake it until you can make it".
Maybe, I'll try that tomorrow....


Tuesdays Gone

This song is never far from my mind on Tuesday. It caught my attention a few months ago and I'll randomly catch myself humming it as my Tuesday starts.

You would think that Tuesdays would just be Tuesdays by now. You wouldn't think they would still be "Tuesdays". They have gotten better. I don't get stuck every Tuesday afternoon. I don't dread it, count the moments or beg for the day to pass. I've stopped counting days and weeks. Good things can happen on Tuesdays now.

I'll count that as forward progress.


My Sister In Law

I haven't talked much about Tamara here. Truth is, I never met Tamara and until just recently I didn't really even know her.

My basement flooded a few weeks back. Coating the entire floor in about 2'' of water. I filled a 10yard dumpster with the really ruined and sent my reinforcements home. Leaving the rest for me to sort through.

When we moved into this house six years ago we did it rather quickly and with lots of distractions. Moving Scott's father out of the "Witt family house" where Scott grew up and the Witt family grew, loved, and grieved for 30 years and in with us in this house was an undertaking for sure. Loads of boxes were crammed with stuff and piled in the basement to be dealt with "later". That later came with this flood.

I have now gone through every box, Rubbermaid container, Matchbox car holder, and tackle box. I've sorted, purged, cried, laughed, longed and ached. I've read cards from Scott's mother to his father. Book reports that Scott wrote in the sixth grade. Letters from Scott's mother to his sister while she was away (either in the hospital or away at college). Endless amounts of medical transcripts have crossed in front of my face.
But, the best things that these eyes have seen (besides the photos of Scott doing all kinds of things through out his life) were the beautiful words of my sister-in-law Tamara.
Tamara, was a published author and poet. A National Honor Society Member. A straight A Bradley graduate that over came all the obstacles that life put in front of her. Her mind, her heart and her soul never left her even when her body betrayed her and made writing almost impossible. She found ways. She and her brother, they found a way to be heard.
From birth until death, they spoke loudly with whispers.

So many of Tamara's writings spoke to me. Tamara wrote this poem in the late 90's. Long before Scott was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos IV (but a while after her diagnose of EDS IV). Tamara wrote words that would say exactly what I would be feeling almost 20 years later.
I'm thankful for the flood. It gave me my sister-in-law.

The Sun Will Rise
an original poem by Tamara Witt (copyright implied)

Dark, oh, dark is night
When you have known the light.
Feeling so alone
For you've held someone.
Hungry, not for food.
Tending just to brood.
Practicing a smile,
Just once in a while.
Keeping friends away,
Hiding what frowns say.
But you do forget,
Though your sun has set,
Other that can see
Through you easily.
Open your streaming eyes.
Watch. The sun will rise,
Warming the cold space
From one none replace.
This, too, I did see
Though no one showed me.

I'm working my way back from my hiatus and I'm letting Tamara help guide me.


Hey Mommy, it's your birthday

We're going to party like it's your birthday. Well, we'll be celebrating tomorrow but that's not how the song goes.

One of my all time favorite pictures was taken last year on Mom's birthday.

God, I miss him.

Lots to catch up on. It's coming soon, promise.



It's my brother Matt's 35th birthday. He's really old and stuff.
Kate picked out his card and gift all by herself. She's gotten much better at picking out presents. She chose a blue balloon with music notes and Happy Birthday written on it. Blue because "it's his favorite color". Music notes because "he plays music on his guitar" and Happy Birthday because, well... it's his birthday.
Along with the perfectly chosen balloon was a pretty fab green t-shirt that she told him all about the second she saw him. It's not the "bestest guitar in the world" that she wanted to get him but it fit into the budget.

I made bananas fosters for dessert. Turned out more like bananas soaked in lots of rum. Tasty!

The wind is whipping. It's been raining for days. I found out today that at some point in this rain, my almost 2,000sq ft basement flooded. Went down to a musty smell and wet concrete. No standing water any longer. I haven't yet begun the challenge of clean up. That will come tomorrow with the dumpster.
It can stop raining now.

I have such great friends. Offers of help, loaning of fans, access to commercial grade disinfectants and some pretty funny emails and texts to help me laugh instead of cry.

My dad found a record (a real honest to goodness record) that was a recording of my great grandma Mabel playing piano and her and my great grandfather Frank speaking to my Grandma Donna. I never met Grandpa Frank and I never got to hear Grandma Mabel play piano. Grandma Mabel was a famous piano teacher and I always loved going to her home to play on her baby grand. The record was recorded two years before my dad's birth. Incredible is an understatement.

It's Thursday, it's raining and I'm tired. 'Night


3 Years

I had Kate at a park that we've only been to a few times the other day.
Naturally, I had my camera.
I remembered being there with Scott sometime ago and searched out the photos.

It was our anniversary in 2008, almost 3 years ago.

I can't believe how big she's gotten.

Don't worry Baby Girl. Daddy will always be standing at the bottom to catch you. Even if you can't see him.


The Story of Us

Sometime this morning it came into my mind that I haven't told the story of us. The story of how we met, fell in love and started our life. I thought today, on the anniversary of our first date (nine years ago) I would share my version of the story of us. I regret that I don't have Scott's story documented. I'll try to add in the pieces he would always add in whenever this story was regaled.

And so it begins,

I had just started a new job and was told to "call Scott at Northwest and arrange to get this stuff over here." So that's what I did. Our first phone call wasn't just the brief, in passing, type. I introduce myself, inquired about how his day was and instead of the usual "Fine. Thanks." I got a real answer. I wish I could remember the answer but I cannot. I do remember that when he inquired about my day I knew he meant it. He really wanted to know. He wasn't just being polite like I had just been. And so it begun.
For weeks, there were reasons to call "Scott at Northwest". Sometimes I made them up, other times I was actually doing my job. Every time we talked I learned something new. Not a girl to let things happen slowly, I made it very clear that I was single, dating and really hating most of the guys I had met recently. I hinted, pushed, nudged, and stopped just short of skywriting "Ask me out Dumbass."
This is the part of the story where Scott would interject and say "I didn't want to be pushy. You seemed so nice."
Then finally, one day, Scott had reason to come to my office. I was ready. Killer dress, fab heels, hair and make-up done, not the typical attire for a construction office. The moment I saw him through the glass door I knew it. I knew I needed him. He was exactly what I had pictured. What I had imagined. Exactly what I wanted and needed.
Sadly, he came in, greeted me with a polite handshake, dropped off the few items and left. He would tell you that he decided I was to pretty for him to ask out but I never bought that. I thought he was just chicken.
We returned to our conversations. Talking longer and longer each time. After a particularly long weekend where I became so frustrated by the choices in front of me, I laid it on the line. My line was something cheesy like "I could never find a good guy like you to go out with." That was it, he finally got the hint and asked me out.
I couldn't wait! He suggested waiting two weeks, you know that wasn't going to fly and so I suggested two days later. I always did get my way. I finally had it, my date with "Scott from Northwest". Dragging Sere to the mall, we scoured every store (a few of them twice) to find the perfect outfit.
Date night finally arrived. Scott arrived promptly, met my parents and stood waiting for me at the top of the stairs when I finally gathered myself together enough to emerge from my residence in the parents' basement. He and my dad were laughing about something, I have no idea what, but in that moment, I looked at him and knew. That was it. I was done.
Jumping in his truck, we were off to Port Barrington. We closed the doors to the truck and it began. The incessant talking. For the next eight hours we didn't shut up. We talked tv, we talked, family, we talked sports, politics, money, children. We talked about everything and nothing.
We talked so much that the waitress, as the kitchen was getting ready to close at 10 (we got there at 630), finally asked if we wanted her to order for us. Hastily we both chose a dish. I don't remember what we ate, though I know Scott didn't have pasta because as I would find out a short time later, the poor boy had no idea how to properly eat spaghetti and he didn't want to embarrass himself.
We talked as we walked out the door hours later, both forgetting about the bar bill. I didn't know this either until sometime later. Scott felt so awful, he went back the next day and took care of the bill and left a huge tip. Always, the good guy.
Driving back to my parents, we talked. Yup, more talking. We sat outside my parents house and talked until the wee hours of the morning. He told me about losing his mom and his sister. He assured me the doctors said he didn't have VEDS. It didn't matter. Already, it didn't matter.

I got out of the car that night without a kiss. I reached across the truck and scored a hug but Scott, the gentleman didn't even attempt a first date kiss.
I went to bed that night thinking that the man of my dreams thought of me like a kid sister. Turns out Scott went to bed that night thinking "Did I really just meet my future wife?".
The post date phone call late Sunday afternoon went something like Him-"We should do that again some time." Me - "That would be awesome." Him - "How's next weekend?" Me - "I don't really want to wait that long how about Tuesday?" Him - "That would be great."

The second date Cubs game. I've shared the hot dog story from the game. But what you don't know is that we joked on the way down to the game, sitting in bumper to bumper Chicago traffic just outside O'Hare airport, I said "Screw the game let's fly to Vegas." Scott's response "And get married."
There was a pause in the truck. As we both thought about if we could actually just fly off and get married. No thoughts of "I just met this person I shouldn't do that." Just thoughts of "People would really think I was crazy." In the end it was the disappointment that my mom would feel in not seeing her only daughter get married that kept up from jumping on the next flight out of town.
That second date finally ended with a kiss. He asked for permission first.
And off we went. We were inseparable. Spending all our time together. Going on adventures. Enjoying life.

Christmas Eve of that year, we got our first major punch. Scott called from the Emergency Room. He was in incredible pain and wasn't going to make it to Christmas eve dinner. Dropping everything I rushed to be with him. It was in that room that we first heard "we think you have Vascular Ehlers-Danlos." We had only been dating 3months. Scott had a right leg aneurysm and the level 2 trauma center needed to move him immediately to a level 1. Christmas Eve night was spent flying down the road in an ambulance. Snow, apprehension, worry, flying around us.
Christmas morning, my mom took one look at me and said "Go to him." Nothing else mattered. I didn't care about stockings, presents, dinner. I just wanted my Scott.

Scott told me before his first angio, right after the doctor told us he would be lucky to be alive at the end of the day, Scott looked me right in the eyes and said "you can go." I didn't. I wouldn't. I couldn't. I never regretted it. Not even for a minute.

From that first storm to the last moment, we were together. We will always be together.

Photo compliments of Kara Schultz.


When did this happen?

My sweet baby girl is growing up. I don't know when it happened but when I looked at these pictures that I took the day we went to Daddy Lake, and couldn't believe my eyes.

I told Kate that she was getting to big and I pushed down on the top of her head (just like my dad did to me) and told her to stop growing. Tonight as we played Berenstein Bears Learn to Share (a board game) she sat sitting on the floor pushing down on her head.

"I don't want to grow up mom. Daddy won't know what I look like if I get big."

I assured her that such a thing is completely impossible. Her daddy would know her anywhere. Not even heaven can keep her daddy away.


The Journey

Our life together has been an incredible journey. A modern day fairy tale of sorts.

I have spent so many days the last six months feeling completely alone. Grieving the loss of you in ways I never dreamed imaginable. My emotions, thoughts and clarity all swinging widly from one moment to the next. I've had times when it felt like I had forgotten you already. Times when I couldn't hear your voice or feel your hand in mine. I fretted and worried that those days were going to become the norm. That one day I would wake up and you would just have disappeared from memory.

When today started with this on the floor.

Kate's purple Tylenol somehow spilled in the shape of a smiley face.

And then when we got in the car and this song was the first thing on the radio.

I knew you were with us. I felt closer to you all day today than I have in the last six months. You were somehow right at the edge of my conciousness all day. Almost like if I spun around fast enough I would be able to catch a glimpse of you.

An afternoon at "Daddy's lake", with a crispness in the air, the softest breeze off the lake and the biggest, brightest sky I've ever seen. We talked about you. We remembered you. We loved you.

I may walk down the path alone now but this is still our journey. This is still our story. Everywhere Kate and I are, you will always be.

You are loved. You are missed. You are honored.


PS- If it's not too much to ask, can you please stay just a little closer everyday? I need you.


I was here then..

Six months ago tonight, .

I wrote this.

I didn't know how much time we had. The selfish part of me wishes for another thousand nights like this. But reading and remembering just how he felt in those final moments, I'm happy he's resting now. I wish I could rest to.

Tomorrow has been stalking me all week. Every quiet moment I've had I've thought about what tomorrow will feel like. What six months without him will feel like. Is it different than five months, will it somehow hurt less or God forbid will the ache be worse?

I don't know how we're going to spend the day tomorrow. I can't decide if I need to keep busy, ignoring the day or if I should just stay in bed with the covers pulled over my head and wait for the day to pass. Do we do something new, have just a typical day or do something that Scott would have loved? Whatever we do, I know he'll be nearby. Watching over us.


Calgon... take me away...

Screw Calgon. Sadly, I've never been much of a bath fan. If it was my slogan it would be "Piper Warrior... take me away."
That's exactly what I did on Saturday.

There is just something about being in the air that quiets me. Up there you can't worry about money. You can't think about how Kate is mourning. There are no fleeting thoughts of all the responsibilities on the ground.

I feel tiny up there. I remember that my life is just a teeny, tiny blip on the radar of life. My issues, my problems, my saddness and worry, just don't matter.

Flying a short 40 minutes puts me so far away from home while still being close enough. Jump in the little Jeep. The Jeep that was mine when I found my passion for building buildings. Letting my hair fly in the wind. Twisting and turning down the roads to my happy place.

The place where my soul was born many, lifetimes ago. I know at the top of that hill is hard work. I know my hands will ache, my back will stiffen and I'll be gasping for breath. I know it and I love it. I crave it.

The beauty and the majesty surrounding me. Again, I feel small. No more or less important than the ants working hard to build their home.

This place, trips like this, forever and always a part of me.

Until the skies call me again. I will rest here on earth.


Oh the places we go

There are so many ways to grieve. Every person has their own response, their own way. No two ways are exactly alike. Something I've learned in this process is that aside from things that are completely and totally self sabotaging, there is no right way or wrong way to mourn a loss.

Part of my grieving (and Kate's by default)is to keep busy.

Too much idle time, is just that too much. Too much time to think. Too much time to miss. Too much time to dwell. Too much emptiness.

So, we go. We zoo. We work. We swim. We dip our bodies in the lake.

We try new things and cling to the things that reminded us of Scott.

Old Threshers was for Scott.

He could spend hours, upon hours cruising around Old Threshers, looking at tractors, horses, old cars. He loved to sit in the stands and watch the tractor parade roll by. Marveling at all the different kinds of tractors. Trying desperately to pick a favorite.

Truth be told though. Scott's favorite part of Old Theshers was talking to all the people. He could sit and talk with my Uncle Laverne, my Aunt Lynn, their friend Dave, the other friends and family that would come any given year for hours on end. When in doubt you could find Scott chatting with some stranger asking him a thousand random questions about his tractor. Scott's way to engage people, to really care, to really listen... God, I miss it.

I wasn't sure we were going to go to Old Threshers. I literally waited until the two hours before we left to decide. The idea of going without him, I just didn't think I could bear it.

On the heels of the weeks before, I thought being there, being in a place that was so "Scott" just might be what broke me.

Thinking about it gave me night sweats. I just couldn't imagine doing it without him. Two years ago when we went, he rolled around in the rented scooter thing and saw everything. He got to go everywhere. Do anything he wanted. It was perfect. But, there would be no more perfect. Just a giant hole.

Even with the last minute decision, my "team" rallied. Mom and Dad drove.

Sere drove an hour from her house so that I wouldn't feel out of place with my big ass camera.

Saskija and S2 brought the girls. Aunt Marie, Uncle Ron. Everyone rallied.

We talked about Scott. We remembered past trips. We enjoyed the beautiful day, just like he would want.

The kids took center stage this time. Watching Kate play with her two little cousins. Asking Talise if she would be her "best friend". Riding ponys until we ran out of money.

My girl, loves Old Threshers as much as her dad did. She could have spent days there.

So could Raina. You would think Raina was born on a horse the way that girl acted.

We made it through the trip. We more than made it through, we rocked it. We enjoyed it. We made new memories. Laughed at old ones and did what Scott would have wanted us to do.



It's during the long, quiet, isolating, overnight hours that missing him, longing for him, needing him becomes untenable. Those are the hours that Kate, nor I, are content with memories, stories, old shirts. Where we crave the feel of his hand, the low rumble of his voice and the warmth of his kiss.

A restless night for the littlest Witt. I finally was able to comfort her by moving the rocking chair to her window and letting "Daddy's smile" shine on her. When my little girl needs her daddy, that's the closest I can come.

People keep saying there is beauty in death. I want to hit them. I've watched life make it's final march out of too many people. There was no part of it, even when peaceful, that is beautiful. I'm compelled to say more but should maybe just say less.

There is nothing like climbing into a bed with clean, fresh, sheets. I wish I could find the time and inclination to wash my sheets every day. It brings me a small piece of happiness.

Visits with friends that are really more like family (should I call them framily) and real family, are my lifeline. I survived the last two weeks because of them. And today between the long visits, short visits and calls on the phone, I had a few moments where I felt whole.

I have to mail a stuffed flamingo to my Grams in Texas. When the flamingo lost a leg this afternoon Kate insisted that Grams, and only Grams, was the only one that could possibly fix it. Any freight charge is worth it to have Kate and my Grams connected. Who needs Skype, I have a wounded flamingo.

I wish I had the energy to take my bed; clean, fresh sheets and all, haul it down the hallway so I could sleep under "Daddy's smile".

My eyelids are feeling heavy again. Maybe I've said enough that my mind can rest.



"Hey Mom. I saw Daddy's smile."
"You did Baby? Is the moon out already?"
"No Mommy not the moon. I do this" *reaches out her arms and turns her head skyward* "and I see Daddy."
"He was smiling at you."
"I know."
"You do?"
"Yes, because he loves me."


The Iowa Drive

As we're driving back from Iowa tonight I'm plagued by thoughts of past Iowa trips. I've made this trip hundreds of times. I've been a back seat passenger, a driver, a right seat navigator. I've made the trip in record heat without air conditioning. In blizzards watching the cars pile up on the side of the road. In early fall when all the leaves were changing and fields were being plowed.
I've seen every inch of this trip at just about every time of day. This road has been the rhythm to my breathing as I've slept, just as it is now for my daughters. (Yes, girl child is actually sleeping in the car. Make this the 8th time she's ever slept in a moving vehicle).
These roads are ingrained in my soul. As much a piece of me as the house that I built.
I've loved this trip. And loathed this trip. I guess can be said of anything that has been a part of your life for so long.

I've been thinking a lot this trip about Scott. He's surrounded me. I can't help but be reminded of all the times he made this trip with me.
There was his first trip. That was back when he would do much of the driving. It was one of the few times Scott drove that my parents warned us of a speed trap up ahead and yet Scott still managed to get pulled over and get a ticket. You see, we (Scott, Justin and I) were far to busy counting the change in Scott's change drawer to see who had guessed the correct amount. No the $40 in the change drawer didn't cover the $150 speeding ticket. That story is still legendary in my family.
There were several trips made while I was going through in-vitro and during my pregnancy. Scott and I spent that time talking about how we wanted to raise our family. Discussing everything from table manners to paying for college, funding first cars. We talked about what if we had twins. The last trip we made before I had Kate (who we didn't know was a girl or a boy), we talked baby names. We had our boys name settled. It was a rather easy task. The girls name however, we didn't know until Kate was born. So during that last trip with Kate doing flip flops in my belly we scoured the road signs and the surrounding area for influence. Passing the sign for the Joslin exit a few moments ago took me back in time. I could hear Scott sitting in the passenger seat saying "Joslin Tamara. Joslin Witt. Josline Tamara Witt for the defense your honor. Dr. Joslin Witt cures cancers". Scott did that with every name he deemed "worthy".
The trips got harder through the years. The last one with Scott was particularly brutal. Even with my parents help (which was an absolute necessity) it was almost more than I could handle. Scott getting that last Iowa Family Christmas, was worth every bit of agony for all of us. I wish I had able to settle down enough to really process that it would be his last trip. I wish I remembered more of the "quiet" moments. I do remember one specific moment from that trip. Someone asked him if they could "help" him. His response "No thanks. I need my wife. She does it best." He didn't know I heard him. But that blind faith, that complete trust he had in me made me a better person.
It made me a better person and it taught me that I can handle anything. Complex dressing changes in parking lots. Having a passenger in the vehicle go into respiratory distress. compromising on music choices for a six hour drive. Talking with someone without saying a word.
And I guess tonight, this trip (and Scott) is teaching me how to live after such tremendous loss. I can handle anything....


Pick me up

As I've been lamenting to anyone that will listen, it's been a rough week and a piece.
Really rough. Quite possibly the hardest week I've had in the last five months.
To combat this rough time, I've been squishing in as much "fun" as possible. Kate and I are on the go non-stop. Unfortunately more than about five minutes of "calm" reduces me to tears. Tears of anger. Tears of fear. Tears of uncertainty. But more than anything else, tears of longing.

Because, I don't want to/can't dwell on that. I've put together a little list of sorts. A few things that are make me happy, give me smiles (which I do have and are very genuine I assure you), and make me feel warm inside.

Late summer flowers.

I don't know why but late summer flowers have always been my favorite. The boldness of spring has gone and soft, delicate wisps are left in their place.

Seeing Kate laugh.

Every parents knows this one. It's simply the best feeling in the world.

Watching Kate sound out and read words.

It's just sight reading but, good heavens, I love it.

Meeting new people that become family after the first visit.

So many people have reached out to me. Offering kind words, love, prayers, and friendship. I've talked to a few. Had email exchanges with a few others. And in the case of Amy and her girls, have gotten together with. Anyone that will waddle like a penguin with your kid, is good people.

My dad's new employment.

A few weeks ago, my dad lost his job. I didn't blog about it. I didn't for a few reasons. 1) It's his business. This blog is my business and I want my family to feel like they still can keep some things private. 2) I couldn't face it. One more HUGE piece of bad hitting my family. I had had enough. 3) When so many other people have been out of work for long periods of time I found it hard to complain.
But I'm very, VERY happy to say, my dad now has a new, better than the last, job. A job that I know he'll do great in. A job that has brought renewed spirits to the family. A job that I hope is the stepping stone down the path toward the blue skies for my family.

The circle of friends.

Not to be confused with the "new" people that have reached out, the older friends have been so supportive. They laugh with me, they cry with me, they send me letters, cards, emails all with the intent of making me feel better.

I could continue this list. I could go on and on and on. But I've got a very dear friend stopping by. He says it's for the Cinnamon pull apart bread I just pulled out of the oven, but I know it's his way of checking in on me and making sure I'm doing ok.

I'm going to load up this weekend with as much good as I can. What will you be doing?