He is loved

I had a moment tonight that rocked me to my core. It's 11pm and I can't sleep. I need to get it out. I need to say the words in my head so I can feel quiet again.

He looked just like him. Older, gray at the temples, more lines on his face. It's obvious he's had a rough life but his smile reads so genuine you almost don't notice. He was so real. So alive.
Shorter than Scott, though most people are. Stockier too but that's no surprise. My breath caught on sight. Then he tried to speak to me. All that came out was the same squeaky, short burst of sound that Scott made near the end. His eyes said "what can I do for you? How can I help?" but his voiced just made these grunts and squeaks.

He walked toward me, coming to assist and there was that same awkward gate that Scott had. Visions of Scott standing up and walking flashed before like I had just seen it. Like, 19months haven't passed since I last saw Scott walk. So slow, so cautious, each and every movement calculated and planned. But the brightness in his eyes never faded. It never said anything less than "I'm going to take care of you. Be patient with me."

He reached up to get me the cinnamon roll I ordered and there were Scott's hands. Not the hands that Scott had when we met, or when we married, or when Kate was born. But the hands he had in the end. His hands didn't work right, there was that slow tremble and stiff grasp but it didn't stop him. He had created his own way of doing things. Getting his job done regardless of the obstacles.

His mind was sharp. He looked at the money I handed him and quickly knew exactly what my change should be. His brain knew it, but his body wouldn't allow it. He struggled with every bill, every coin. As he reached out to hand me the two pennies he had worked so hard to get, my hands started shaking and I dropped them on the counter. He's the one with the troubles and I can't even keep the money in my hand.

I wanted to hug him. Hug this stranger and tell him it was going to be ok. Then I notice his shiny, gold wedding band. Somebody loves him. This was somebody's Scott. He is loved. He is taken care of. Somewhere somebody was worried about him, proud of him, missing him.
I took my change and dropped a few bills in the tip jar. With the warmest eyes and the kindest smile he signed "thank you". I pictured Scott laying there those few short nights before he passed trying so hard to tell me thank you. I signed "thank you" in return to this gentleman and gave him what I hope was a genuine, warm smile.

Turning on my heels, I ran out of the doors, through the courtyard, into the parking lot, seeking refuge in my car. Tears rolling, heart aching.
I can't remember the specifics of that man's face now but I can see his bright, shiny, gold wedding band. He is loved and he loves in return. There is no greater gift.



I found a little unexpected retail therapy on Sunday.

These totally awesome, totally comfy shoes.

On sale for 80%off and then $3 off that.
Only a few pairs left and one happens to be in my size.

A Christmas miracle in July.

We spent the day with some friends, both old and new, at the Milwaukee Zoo. We had such a fantastic time. So fantastic that even though I was there with two fellow photo junkies, I took very few pictures. You'll get to see the few I have right after I get off my lazy ass and download them.

Isn't it amazing how something as little as a hot new pair of shoes can make you feel better?
What have you found lately that's been your pick me up?


Little Surprises

In an attempt to purge my every expanding amount of clutter, I've been weeding through things both in the house and on the computer.

I just found one of Scott's last emails to me. I didn't really read it at the time. He sent it just two weeks before he died, I was "too busy" then to look at it. I'm just so glad I didn't delete it.
I can hear his voice in his written words. I miss that voice so much. I hate to think that I'm getting to the point now where I won't have any more of these surprises. Where I've seen everything there is to see.
So much time has passed now. Everything has changed. The world has moved on and it's moved on without him. He's already missed so much. So many sunrises and sunsets, family dinners, birthdays, an entire session of dance classes. The last time he was out of the house alive, there was snow on the ground. The snow is gone, long gone, for now at least. Spring has come and gone and we're well into the dog days of summer. Before long snow will be here again and he will have missed it all.
There are days that it's just not fair.
The world isn't the same without him. He simply made it a better place.

His words exactly as written -
You were helping me with my "email rip the hair out of my head" nightmare with this, but I forgot to show these pictures to you. They are great. It's what you get when you take a new toy and tree puppies. You don't even need to stir! Gladie's is the black one, I love the way her tail curls.



There has been so much going on the past few weeks. So much and yet, nothing at all. There has been lots of time for Kate and I to "hang" together and yet, when I think back I feel like I've been through a war. My own personal, private, internal war.

I've seen old people out and about. Old people that are so obviously in love with each other. Old people that hold hands, still talk together and laugh together. I'm so jealous of those people. The ones that found their love and have held onto it. I wonder if I'll ever have a chance at that. If Kate will ever yell at me to stop making out in the kitchen like I yell at my parents. My parents are disgusting. I secretly love it but don't tell them. *Hi Mom and Dad*

Single mom. There is a phrase that I never really thought about before. I've always admired single moms. I've wondered how they do it, all alone. Then a friend pointed out to me during a recent conversation that I'm a single mom. Well, fuck. I guess I am.

I've seen more TV recently than usual. This is a bi product of my craptacular internet service. I've found myself watching the shows that Scott would watch while I was doing dressing changes. Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS. Watching CSI the other night, they talked about cremation. The one really cute guy (even though he's too short for me) made a comment about how cremation is awful. How it burns the bones to a dust and it's this horrific process. I told them to fuck off and turned the tv off.

Kate's swimming classes are going horribly. Kate's got sensory issues and the water in her ears is a HUGE (read: being so upset she threw up in the pool) problem. I took her to the doctor just to rule out any medical problem. No such luck, it's all sensory and we just need to treat the behavior. I have a plan of attack. I've researched and I've learned from other sensory issues she's had so I know what I'm doing but I'm not going to lie, I've gone to bed every night since Monday wishing I had someone to talk the problem over with. Well, I shouldn't say someone, I should say I want her father to talk it over with.
Scott and I always made sure we were on the same page with parenting her. He let me lead the way most of the time since I was primary but we always talked through how to handle things and how to reinforce the positive and be a team. Kids with sensory issues (and I believe kids in general) canNOT get mixed signals from parents. But even before we knew Kate had issues we always parented as a team. I'm a man down on my team and I hate it.

There are so many holes that seem to be growing. But there are others that have gotten noticeably smaller. I can stand in Scott's room and remember the good moments. I can hear the laughter and the talks. I no longer just picture him dead in bed. I'm comforted in doing the things he loved, not tormented. Kate is now comfortable talking to Scott anytime she wants to. She tells him everything. I love it.

We've got some exciting news to announce. Save the date for August 13th. If you're out of the area, book your flights or travel arrangements. More information will be forthcoming but for now, I'll just tell you, it's going to be an awesome way to remember Scott, honor him and contribute to a charity that can save the lives of other VEDS patients.

I haven't picked up my camera in weeks. It's just too damn hot to get outside. So you get no photos, only words.


Please, oh please, oh please...

I'm crossing my fingers (I would do my toes too but I have a serious aversion to feet) that my intenet holds out long enough for me to actually finish a post. Seems like every time I sit down to get on-line my internet lasts about 5 minutes and then it dies. Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE Comcast?

All of the photos for tonight I took Friday evening when I spent some time listening to the almost (ok not at all) famous Dick Banjo Orchestra. Lovingly referred to as DBO.

There is something about being with Scott's boys that brings me comfort. They get it. They know. They've picked up the phone to call him. They've started emails. They miss his humor. They miss his heart.

Aside from the mutual heartache, I can hear his laughter when I'm with his brothers. It's really the only time I can hear it anymore. We had plenty of laughs. Or was it him telling me awful jokes while laughing and me rolling my eyes? I can't recall which. Probably a little of both.

I have finally declared the area formerly known as "the jungle" to be once again a yard. Dad and I tackled the last little bit of it this weekend. It feels so good to get it done.

One small glitch in my transformation project. The bush (more tree like) that needed the most trimming is housing a mama robin and her two little babies. So there sits the bush (tree thing) over grown, unsightly and at the front of the house.

Watching the mama and babies has been such a great learning experience for Kate.
She came up to me tonight while I finished preparing some blueberry scones for tomorrows breakfast and asked me if the robin babies were twins.
Yep, that was fun.
She just won't be pacified with easy answers anymore. She needs to know why the robins come from eggs and why she came from my belly. That transitioned into "why don't I have a twin?" "I want to be a twin." and my personal favorite "I want there to be a baby in your belly so I can have a brother or sister." Did I mention this was while I was making scones? How much you want to bet those scones aren't very tasty.

She's been a little obsessed with babies in bellies lately. Our dear friends Nicole and Joe, proud parents to Brandon (whom you've seen here before), welcomed baby Derek Matthew 8lbs 12oz and 21inches long to their family this morning. It was a planned c-section so when we left the pool on Friday having spent the afternoon with Brandon and Nicole we knew it would be the last time we saw them before the baby was born. Kate asked all weekend if the new baby was here yet and literally squealed with delight when I told her Derek had finally arrived.

I don't know how it's possible but I swear I love that little girl more every day. She's getting so big and so smart. Watching her grow up is absolutely the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me.



It hasn't escaped me that it's been four months since you left us. I've felt your absence all day. I lingered a little longer on your pillow this morning and I spent the evening with a few of your brothers, doing what you loved to do, listening to them play some music.
You wouldn't believe how big Kate is. She started swim class this week and I swear she's grown 3 inches in the past month. She hasn't forgotten you. But I can tell the void that you left is healing.
I've struggled more this month than in the past three. I don't know how to explain it. I feel so raw. There are times when I can't feel you around me. It scares me. I don't know how to be without you. I don't know how to be alone. I spent a few weeks living in the "what if's", the "I should have" and the "why didn't I"'s. It's so unhealthy and so against your every wish for me. I'm working on moving through that though. I'm trying really hard. You know me, I won't give up even when I should. So, you know I won't give up on this either.

I did feel you tonight. Sitting in the audience at the Raue Center. Watching the unlikely trio of Mark, Dan and Rob, sing "Molly Malone". I didn't hold my drink up (a Starbucks, go figure right?) in toast. I held up my phone. My phone with the picture that Josh took of your resting place on the lake. The perfect, calm blue waters, with the gorgeous setting sun marking the place where I said my final good bye to your physical being.
You were there with us. Singing with your boys. Laughing with Becky and Colleen and raising your glass.

"Alive, alive, oh" Baby.
"Alive, alive, oh".


The View From Here

Don't ask. It's just what happens when you live in a house with a 4 year old little girl.

I had grandious plans of sharing, before and after pictures of the yard but my internet has other plans.
Comcast Cable, you suck.


31 Hours Later

The power has returned.
Feeling grateful that things weren't worse.
Most of the yard is cleaned up.
Baby girl is back home with me.

Today is Tuesday.
This particular Tuesday was really difficult.
Feeling raw.
Feeling disconnected.

Thinking I need to come up with something positive to push.
A few ideas are bouncing around in my mind.
I'll keep you posted.

Time for snuggles and an early bedtime.
It's tired out at the Witt house.


So Much Fun!

Or not. We had a monster, wind driven, tree uprooting, debris flying, whopper of a storm this morning. We lost power around 730am and now its 730pm (wow how did I do that) and we still don't have power.
My parents have power so Kate is hanging with them tonight. I'm home with a generator running keeping my freezer cold. Soon I will unplug the freezer and plug in the fridge and after that I'm sure I'll plug in my phone for a bit too. Don't judge me. I'm a phone junkie and my kid is 40minutes away.
I'm really lucky to have been able to borrow the generator. I know there are so many people around these parts that aren't that fortunate. Another lucky bit, is that it hasn't been raining much since this morning so my sump pump hasn't needed to run.
A bit of unlucky though, we're being told 3-4 days before power is restored. Its a huge group of people without power so it must be a gigantic problem. Either that or the power company guys are too busy drinking coffee and reading Playboy magazine.
I'll be spending the night here so I can tend to the homestead. The weather guys (the same ones that said the storm this morning was small) are calling for a chance of rain. Keeping the basement from flooding trumps my desire for air conditioning, television, a warm shower and a decent nights sleep.
I've heard that this storm rolled through a large part of the country today. I certainly hope there is nobody seriously affected.
This too shall pass.
Now, I'm going to do something I haven't done in ages, I'm going to curl up with my book, during day light hours and read. Woohoo!

Please forgive any typos you may find. This Blackberry blog posting stuff stinks.


Wedding, Weeding and Water

Oh so sleepy. Oh so sore. Oh so content.

Friday afternoon Kate and I (Scott was there too) headed downtown to the big City to join BigDan and Kathy for their church wedding.

The crazy kids, got married on a whim on a random Tuesday (or was it Thursday, I forget.) by the Justice of the Peace, quite a few months ago. This was to unite them, honor them, and shower them with love in the church where they give so much of their time, energy and love.

The day was absolutely gorgeous. Picture perfect to be exact.

The service was beautiful and I found out that even though Kate didn't have a clue as to what was being sung she joined in and made up her own words or just hummed along. After the service, we adjourned to the serene garden behind the church.

Dan and Kathy, being the wonderful, smart, people that they are gifted everyone with a picnic blanket. Homemade (by the bride and groom - maybe I should rethink the smart comment) food, live music, lanterns in the trees... Stunning.

I could feel Scott there all afternoon. Sitting right next to us, smiling, rejoicing. I wonder if I will ever go to a wedding and not be flooded by memories of Scott and my wedding day. I hope not.

The remainder of the weekend was spent with my best girl, at home... mostly. I spent approximately 6.2 million hours in the jungle (yard, whatever). It's almost done. I'm so close. I ran out of daylight or there would be proof of how far I've come.
To make up for all the time I was spending outside working, I took Kate on a picnic dinner to one of our favorite places, Main Beach. That gift from Dan and Kathy, really came in handy.

Kate and I sat by the waters edge and talked about all kinds of things. She told me about sitting on Daddy's lap and taking pictures in that exact spot. We talked about what going to college means. She burst into tears and begged me to not send her away to college. We talked about moving and how you get to take all your things to your new house. Then we went on to discuss Strawberry Shortcake and if she wears panties.
Yep, a conversation with a four year old will bring you a little bit of everything.

A very long, very busy weekend filled with nothing but soul nurturing moments. Exactly what I needed.
Here's hoping your weekend was the same.


Forget Kindergarten...

All I need to know I learned in the yard. Well... almost.

My yard, or should I call it a jungle, is out of control. Weeds have taken over everything, bushes are unwieldy, and don't even get me started on the trees. It's unbearable. And yet, for months I have chosen to ignore it.

I've made excuses. I've made a few temporary, cosmetic alterations to distract from the overall chaos. I've even placed blame on others (I did have one landscaper that didn't come to do his job but that was just recently).

I bet you're wondering what the yard ever did to me that I would ignore it so horribly. Well, it turns out I've been using the yard as a road block. If I don't get the yard under control than I can't put the house on the market. If the house doesn't sell then I don't have to move on. If the house doesn't sell I don't have to take Kate from the only home she'll share with her dad. If the house doesn't sell, I don't have to leave the house I built and the walls that have my blood, sweat and tears in the paint. If the house doesn't sell, then I can still remember what Scott's voice sounded like in every room. Again, if the house doesn't sell, I don't have to move on.

I let the yard be a crutch. I let it hold me back.

So I decided today to get dirty. Slather on the sunscreen for Junior Miss and I and out we went. Somewhere in all the weed pulling, hedge trimming and mulch spreading, I started thinking.

I stood staring at a poor little bush that is barely surviving and I wondered what to do with it. Should I just, dig it up and throw it away? Never really giving it a fighting chance. Or should I give it a little love and see what I can make happen?
I pulled the weeds from that bush, I trimmed all the dead away and I gave it a big healthy drink of water with some super delicious fertilizer stuff mixed in. I'm not going to abandon something without being really sure that I've done everything I can to help it. It doesn't need my strong arms to rip it from it's home, it needs my love, attention and patience. I'm going to feel better when that little bush grows up big and strong. I'm going to know that it's because I didn't take the easy route.

After shocking the little bush back to life, I went back to pulling weeds. Anyone from these parts knows what Creeping Charlie is. For those of you not around these parts (or smart enough to not live in a place where weeds are the only living thing for miles) Creeping Charlie is the most awful weed in existence. It's got this root system that connects all the surface (visible) weeds to each other. With Creeping Charley you cannot just simply pull the weed you must dig deep, and remove the root system feeding the weed. Just pull what you can see and you're guaranteed to have more weeds in a day. You've got to dig out all the bad before you can really rid yourself of the weed.

The south side of my house gets constant sun (well except at night...duh). The weeds thrive there, loving the sun drenched conditions. All of the gorgeous yellow flowering bushes on the south side of the house are completely starved out. They have shared all the water, sun, and nutrients with the pesky weeds. Those little bastards slowly eat away at your core. Robbing you of what you need to survive. And not allowing you to reach your fullest potential.

Let's not even discuss the bags full of last years weeds that I pulled out today. Old, nasty, dead, garbage that has just been hanging around blanketing the soil from really getting what it needs.

All this crap, clutter, junk, getting in the way. You can't possibly focus on what's really important. You can't possibly get to the root of the problem. You've got to keep up with the yard, not allowing things to get so barren and devastated.
As you can see from these pictures I still have a lot to do. There are many more weeds that need to be ripped from earth but I got a really healthy start today. I've been depriving myself of some basic needs for quite a while. It's time to get back to basics and start working on what really matters.

Now, if you'll excuse me, there is a really hot, really long shower waiting for me.


I'm not ok

I've been missing and I'm sorry. I do my best to keep this blog a clear reflection of my feelings at a given moment. A way to always have a reflection on what I was thinking or feeling. While the thoughts or feelings I write about are not exclusive to feelings on any given day, they are a representation of a piece of my mind right then.
I don't think, plan or outline what I'm going to say when I blog, I just sit down and wait for the words to find me. Sometimes it's really easy and other times, I stare at the blank screen and search the resources of my mind for a clear thought.
Over the last few weeks, I've had fewer and fewer clear thoughts. Things have been a jumbled mess in my mind. I'm beginning to realize that there are pieces of the past 18months that I haven't really dealt with. There is guilt, remorse, isolation. Feelings of abandonment, heartache, regret.
Even my "happy face" has taken a licking.

So, no more happy face. I've got to dig deep and start working on me. I'm all Kate's got and I can't fail her by burying my head in the sand.

Everything will be ok. Hell, everything will be even better.
Kate on the 4th of July at the carnival. She spent most of her time like this. Hating the noise but loving the environment.


Happy Birthday Paula

You are the best mother in law a girl could ever ask for. No that's not sarcasm because we've never met, it's the truth.
You raised a fine young man. You gave him a moral compass, and a strong sense of compassion, empathy and humor. Your presence has always been felt in our home, though I feel it a little less with Scott gone. I'm sure you've been rejoicing in having him with you once again. Knowing the four of you are together offers such tremendous comfort to me.
Scott always told the story how you grew up thinking that the fireworks were just for you. That you belived all the celebrating was to honor your birth. The story always made me smile. I told Kate the story this morning, I'll keep telling her the story too so she can pass it on to her kids one day.
Your grace, wisdom, love and humor continue on this earth, just as your sons' does.

We love you. Tell Scott to try to sing on key this time.
Happy Birthday Grandma Paula!