Not Exactly

I had something else planned for today. A different post entirely. But I have to write what I feel. It's just who I am.
I want to talk about the zoo. I want to show you the pictures, relive the laughs, tell you more about my dear friend Amy. I want to be positive. I want to be happy. But I can't.

I can't act like my heart isn't breaking. Like I'm not drowning.
Last week I went to a wake for a friend. My family became friends with Ron (and his family) through Bonnie. If you've been reading this blog for a while you know Bonnie. Bonnie was the first friend my parents made when we moved to the Chicago area from Iowa.
Ron and his wife Germaine were a constant at Bonnie's legendary parties. I grew up thinking of Ron as a sweet, funny, genuine, caring man. One of the good guys.
It wasn't until I got older and really until Scott met him for the first time that I really connected with Ron. One of the first times Scott met Bonnie (and her "clan") was at a surprise birthday party for Bonnie's mom (Grandma Alice). Ron was there, as usual, with his gorgeous camera. Ron teased me about being photogenic saying that he could tell exactly what I was thinking because of my facial expressions. Scott stopped dead in his tracks and said "That's it. That's why I love you. I know everything just looking at you."
For our entire relationship Scott remembered that moment. He loved it and his favorite photo of us was a photo taken on that day.

Losing Ron, and going to his service, brought an abundance of my feeling back to the surface.

I stood there holding his wife's hand (or maybe she was holding mine. I'm not sure) feeling more connected to this 60+ woman than I do to almost anyone else. This invisible thread wrapping around us, tying us in a not so neat package and linking us for life. My heart broke for her. Knowing what she was going to be facing in the weeks and months ahead. Wanting to tell her it would get better but not really knowing if it would. Resisting the urge to wipe off her beautifully placed make up, pulling her to the floor and wrapping her in my arms and crying with her.
Instead, I followed my own advice and I shared a story with her and encouraged her to find the blue skies.

Since that moment last week, I haven't been the same. This dull, persistent ache in my chest has grown loud and unruly. I "see" Scott everywhere. Kate has been talking about him (and to him) incessantly. Every wish in every fountain, on every wayward eyelash and on the moon every night is the same from Kate "I wish my daddy could be here for all of the days and never, never leave me."

There we are standing at the beautiful fountain just off the shore of "daddy lake", the other 4 year old with us, wishes she could "talk and talk all day and never have to stop." and then there is my 4 year old. Wishing with all her pennies for something that can never happen.
We talk so much about not being able to come back from heaven. I try so hard to explain it in ways that she can understand but considering I don't understand it, it's difficult.

The idea of moving from summer into fall makes me want to literally vomit. It reduces me to tears and makes breathing difficult. Fall was our time of year. Scott loved it. We got married in the fall. We ventured out into nature, taking pictures and enjoying the cooler weather. Fall was always a treasured time in our house.

Not only is fall going to be hard to enjoy without him, it will also mark an entire season of his being gone. I'm a midwest girl at heart. I'm programmed to measure everything by season. I can't tell you exact dates but I can give you seasons for everything that's ever happened in my life.
The rust colored flowers, hay bails, pumpkins, apple pies, and cider are glorious, wonderful parts of fall. The crispness in the air. The vibrancy in the sky. All beautiful, wonderful, magical parts of the season.
But I don't want any of it. I want to keep my summer. Keep my beach and pool distractions. The ability to find something to do at any given moment.
Quite simply, I don't want to be that much father away from Scott.

I wish I could explain it. I wish I could put into words what it feels like to be driving along and have a song come on that transports you to a different time. That suddenly places you in your husbands arms again but you can't quite feel it anymore.
I can't find the right words to express the feelings I get to simply look at my daughters eyes and stare at the beautiful eyelashes that are her most prominent physical feature of her fathers.

Kate told me tonight as we looked at her "daddy book" for the 1,000th time that she remembers the day Kara came and took our pictures. The day before Scott died. "I 'member that Daddy not get the stickers off right and you helped us Mommy. But Daddy was hugging me because I not feel good."
She remembers what it feels like to be wrapped in his arms and I don't. Is it wrong to be jealous of my own daughter?

As my Grandma says "Grief will have it's way with you." This is just part of the process.


What a Zoo!

Spent the day at the zoo. We hated every moment of it.

Can't you tell?

More to share but I HAD to post these two tonight.



Control - as defined by
1. to exercise restraint or direction over; dominate; command.
2. to hold in check; curb: to control a horse; to control one's emotions.
3. to test or verify (a scientific experiment) by a parallel experiment or other standard of comparison.
4. to eliminate or prevent the flourishing or spread of: to control a forest fire.
5. Obsolete . to check or regulate (transactions), originally by means of a duplicate register.

Why is it that the less control you have the more you crave it?
I can't possibly be the only person that this happens to.

I feel like my life has been out of control since Scott's death. Like everything is happening to me and not because of me. The world continues to move and I'm just stuck hanging on to the ship as it continues to sail like some kind of nasty barnicle. Nobody listening to my cries for the ride to stop so I can get off.

I'm used to being the Captain. The girl that gets it done.
Create the idea. Set the plan. And execute with precision. It's what I've done for so long I hardly recognize life without it.
Where did my "get it done" need go? Why am I spending more time "watching" than doing?

There things in my life (like in all of yours) that simply happen. Things that are, in the truest sense of the phrase, out of my control. I used to see this as a challenge. I would stand up against the unchangeable, look it in the eyes and fight it with every fiber of my being.
It's what I did for Scott's health for years.

Years and years, I dared his VEDS to challenge me. I would sit in the waiting room outside the Rush SICU waiting for news on the latest surgery and I would mentally fight his VEDS. I didn't barter with God. I didn't beg for mercy. I pictured the VEDS in my mind and I said "Fuck You!".

I remember this past Christmas I wrote that I just wanted my Christmas morning and then I would give the latest VEDS issue it's full and proper ass kicking.
I didn't give it an ass kicking. I didn't even pinch it a tiny bit. It kicked my ass. It knocked me right down, stomped all over me and took Scott away. The stupid mother fucker. It won. It won and I lost.
I lost my fight. I lost my control. I lost my love.

I have no choice but to find them again. They are what define me.

I must rebuild the things that I'm passionate about. The things that have been sitting by the wayside.
I'm working on it.

You all know the infamous Harley job that I've been taking pictures of for the past 9 months.

The first piece of steel being set. I was there.

It allowed me to have a very special moment with one of the people I love most.

It reminded me that I was little fish in a very large pond.

The moment finally came...

The job is finally finished.
I certainly didn't finish it. I didn't do nearly enough to help.

I may not have done enough but I've gotten to experience a few positives from the job.

My photography skills have grown immensely. This building had some unique construction challenges that I learned from.

But it was being there during the final push that really showed me what matters.

True friends forgive you when you've failed them. They forgive you when you've lost control. They encourage you to find that part of yourself that was missing.
Most importantly, they love you in spite of your flaws.

As I seek to regain control, I will also be reclaiming my title of "good friend". It's been missing as well.


A week late and a $1000

Forget day late and dollar short....
I'm a week late and we've raised $960 to go toward EDNF. I rounded up and made it an even $1000 that was mailed ot EDNF today.
I can't believe the kindness, generosity and love from everyone. JacksonFest 2011 was a huge success. We raised just under $700 that night alone.

$320 of that came from Josh shaving his head. Ann had the correct guess and is the winner of the $25 gift card. Ann, give me a text, email, signal fire... whatever and we'll get that gift card in the mail.

I can't believe its been two week since JacksonFest. What a long two weeks it's been. I've had time to forget the pain in the ass downpour that started right at 1pm.

It's amazing how you don't remember the crap. How the great moments are the ones that stick with you.

The first wave of people venturing out in the unstable weather to listen to some music and lend their support.

The shrieks of delight as all the kids took their turn with the pinata.

The quiet moments in between the music. Where happy little boys found their grandmas lap and enjoyed a book.

So much love and snuggling through the night.

Animals of every kind into the spirit of the night.

Everyone gathered in love, friendship, family and music.

Something Scott would have loved.
Dick Banjo Orchestra (DBO)
Dow Jones and the Industrials
Wasted Pterodactyls
Bill Liggett - I could seriously listen to this man sing all day long.

And the special guest star.... Scott looking down from the heavens.

I know he was there. He could never miss a show.

Now that I've managed to get this post finished (finally) I've got lots more to say. Plenty more to share.

Thank you for bearing with me during the hiatus. Thank you for giving financially but more importantly for giving your heart, soul, friendship, kind words, and love. There are no words to express my gratitude.


Monday is the New Friday

Or not.
Some technical difficulties are preventing me from awarding the winner, announcing the grand total in donations to EDNF (which I can say I'm very, VERY proud of) and sharing photos from JacksonFest 2011 with you all.

Hang in there. Tuesday (hopefully not Wednesday) will be the new last Friday.


I Wish I could

While paying for my Starbucks the other day, the barista noticed my ring. It's not my wedding ring but it resides on my left ring finger none the less. She inquires about it.
"That's gorgeous. Is it a sapphire?"
I reply "Oh thank you. I love it. It's a blue diamond actually."
Her - "Well, that's even better. I love how unique it is. I've never seen anything like it before. Tell your husband I said Good Job."
Me - "I wish I could."
Her - puzzled look
Me - "He died this past March."
Her- "I'm so sorry. Would you like a salted caramel chocolate on the house?"
Me - "No thanks." The tears rolled down my cheeks.
The first time I tried a salted caramel chocolate was the day Scott died. S12 brought one over (with a coffee) for me a day or so before Scott passed. It sat on the counter until I noticed it when I returned to the kitchen from closing the door behind the gurney carrying Scott's body. I stood, numb, at the counter in the kitchen, listening to the silence and staring out the windows into the yard that Scott loved so much eating that caramel.

It's the punches when you're already a bloody mess on the ground that hurt the worst.

Please go put your guess in for the contest. Feel free to link to it, FaceBook it or forward it to friends. Let's keep generating some funds for EDNF. They sure need it.



It happened again today. The 15th came. That moment five months ago when you passed once again sat in front of me. I was with our girl.
How did I get here? How has it been this long? There is this huge part of me that finds it inconceivable.

The spot on the floor where your heavy bed sat for a year is gone. The indentations fading over time. I know where your bed sat, but the room no longer holds your weight. It's one more piece of you that isn't here anymore.

Kate wants to know if you got the balloons that other little girl lost. As soon as she saw that little girl let go of the baloons Kate knew they were going to you. I couldn't believe how sweet she was when she told that little girl her Daddy would take care of her balloons.

I know you were there with us at JacksonFest. I saw that beautiful peek in the clouds and the moon that rose over the trees... that was your smile for sure. Your brothers continue to honor you. They stay close to each other and to Kate and I. Offering support, love, stories of you, and a place to share the pain inside my heart.

I taught Kate the proper way to hold hands. She now reaches for my hand to cross the street and instantly gives it 3 long squeezes. 'I. love. you.' Just the way we did it. Her little hand, grasped in mine, giving me that piece of you... perfection.

I see so much of you in her.

I know I've said this before but it's stronger every day. Even our friends and family are seeing it too. For her first three years all we heard was how much she looked like me, it's time for her too look a little more like her daddy. I just wish she would find your calm, your peace. She absolutely has your compassion and your humor but she's still got my short fuse. You called it, spunk. Mom calls it payback and I call it frustration. She would have you in stitches.

Kate's been talking to me about heaven a lot lately. I know you've heard her when she's asked you to not be mad at her for not coming to heaven too. Don't worry, I assure her that you wouldn't ever be mad at her. I assure her (and myself) that she won't be able to see you again for a very long while but that you're always with us.
She knows you're her angel. Just as she was your angel here on earth.

I'm doing everything I can to find positive, just like you always did. Starting your foundation, raising awareness and money, spending time with our daughter and being enough of a mom for her that maybe the void you've left is lessened just a tiny bit.
I say your words all the time and I'm trying to live them.
"There is nothing you cannot do. Only thing you may choose not to do. Make your choice."



The Joshers Contest

This is Joshers.

Josh has an uncanny way of telling Scott stories. He tells them in such a way that I almost feel like Scott is here. Josh so perfectly remembers all Scott's mannerisms and has a gift for remembering details.
Josh spent more time, sitting on a boat, out in the woods, or around a card table with Scott than just about anyone. Joshers, like all the other "brothers" got Scott.
So last night, Josh spoke. Once again sharing stories. Bringing tears and laughter. He brought everyone one step closer to Scott. Then he brought us one step closer to our fundraising goal.

Josh auctioned off his hair. Well, kind of. Josh valiantly agreed to have his head shaved if someone in the crowd would donate at least $100 to EDNF. A few moments later and this was Josh.

I'll tell you Josh raised more than $100 and less than $400.
Now the rest is up to you.

Leave a comment with your guess as to how much money Josh raised.
For every comment that is posted between now and Friday August 19th at 8pm CST Kate and I will donate $1 to EDNF in Scott's honor.
The winner with the correct guess will get a $25 Visa gift card.
You can only enter once per day. So channel your zen, find your center, rub your lucky rabbits foot, or just pull a number out of a hat.

Somewhere between $100 and $400. Make your guess. Win a $25 gift card and more importantly, earn some money for EDNF.

Important Contest Info
Visa gift cards have not a clue as to who I am. This contest is sponsored by me, myself and I. That's all. 10-4 Good Buddy. Over and out.



It's been absolutely nutty around here the past week. We're in full "get ready for party" mode. We've run errands. We returned the items during the first shopping trip. We ran another set of errands. We've printed. We've processed. We've planned. We've negotiated. We've obsessed. We've emailed. We've organized.

The day is finally upon us.

The Scott Witt Memorial JacksonFest 2011 is tomorrow.

EDNF better be ready for some serious donations.

The minivan is loaded. (Yes, I had to borrow the minivan from my parents to haul all my crap to Mark and Jay'me's. This party is serious business.)

I'm looking forward to it. To be honest, I'm looking forward to having it finished. There has been something about this party that has really kicked my ass. It's not the planning or the errands and such, that I can do with my eyes closed while sipping a Starbucks. It's been this overwhelming feeling of not letting Scott down. He's been so present in everything that I've been doing this past two weeks that I once again feel a little like I'm drowning.
It's been good for me to do this though. Going through pictures, thinking of unique ideas that he would love, coming up with stories to share... it's been so good for me. But, I'm left feeling a little raw. A little lonely.

It's helped having so many awesome people around to offer their support and help. BigDan and Kathy cooked up 12lbs (YES 12lbs) of sloppy joes for us to enjoy tomorrow. They can't make the party but wanted to lend a hand. They are so awesome! Saint Ann (Tom, Ann and Andrew) has gotten a SnowCone machine for the kids tomorrow and was making arrangements for a pinata. WOOHOO! Give me that stick! Mark and Jay'me of course have been running faster, harder and wilder than I have. My parents have been on stand by mode all week as I've bounced around. Always helping watch Kate or letting me borrow their car.
People that I don't even know that well, and that never met Scott have come out of the woodwork offering to do anything to support the cause. Some have asked if we wanted some valets for parking. Others have asked if they could donate even if they weren't going to be able to attend.
The answer is YES, please and THANK YOU!!!
You can make checks payable to EDNF and you can mail them to 7945 Dunhill Drive Village of Lakewood, IL 60014. If you're more of an internet based operation and would like to give to EDNF online. You can visit their website and click the donate button. Be sure to put Scott Witt in the donation for box. Every dollar counts.

Oh wait, I almost forgot. Pictures of Jay'me's surprise 40th birthday.

If you give me the task (or I take on the task) of making a birthday cake for you, you should be afraid. Very, very afraid.
This particular, 6 layer cake was moist and delicious. But that wasn't the highlight. For those of you that don't know, it's very popular right now to wrap a baby shower cake in baby diapers. I took that a step farther and wrapped Jay'me's 40th birthday cake in adult diapers. Depends to be exact.
I then added all the things that "old farts" need. Some Advil, a little Tiger Balm for the sore joints, a magnifying glass, a few packs of Polident denture cleaner, a giant pill box and some suppositories for good measure.
Yep, I had FUN making this cake.

The best moment of the evening though, was knowing that Jay'me was truly surprised.
A good moment, in deed.

Tomorrow will be here soon enough. I really hope to see many of you there. Oh and don't worry about the rain. Kate and I have been asking Scott for some help in that regard and if he can't come through, we've got a big tent so the fun won't be interrupted. Plenty of room for the bands to play and for everyone to hang out. Let's hope the tent is offering us a break from the sun and not from the rain.

I'm ready to "light the Jackson". Are you?



I've been going through pictures to get things ready for the big event Saturday. There have been so many of them that have come up on my screen that I haven't been able to close. I've just stared at them. Looking at every detail. Remembering every second. Transporting myself back to those moments. The moments when he was here. When he was real. When his laugh echoed and his smile warmed a room.

His last fishing trip. His last musky.

His last Fathers Day. Spending every moment with his "Bug Face".

His last time without oxygen.

And his last photo.

I sat with this photo up for the longest time the other night. I stared at it. Marking every detail of his face. Staring into his eyes, struggling to remember the exact spots where the gold flecks were.
I sat and sat.
Then I started talking. I talked like he was here. I told him all the things that were bothering me. All the things that have been going on. I told him what I made for dinner because Kate had asked for "broccoli, fruit and eggs". I cried to him that I didn't know what to do about some of the things ahead of Kate and I.

And for just a moment... I know he listened. I could hear him. I could feel him and all the things that I've been missing were gone.


I almost forgot

I have no idea how this got omitted from my obsession post yesterday but...

Yummy, fresh, in season, CHERRIES!

My hands are red. My tummy is full. My kitchen is a mess.

This recipe for cherry brownies and this recipe for cherry pie are heavenly.
I tried this too but I hate cilantro so I substituted mint. Yeah, not so much. It's going to need some tweaking if it's going to make another apperance at my table. Anyone have any suggestions?

A birthday party for an awesome 5 year old boy and dinner with some family friends that are in town from Iowa on the docket for the weekend. Hoping to mix in a little time in the water with my best girl to continue my quest to get her to not HATE the water.
What are you doing with weekend?



Summer rains that take away the 98degree heat leaving behind 78degree temps

Mama deer and her twin babies that visit our backyard almost every night.

Natural slate stone patios. This is someones yard and I want it to be mine.

Seeing this in my rear view mirror. She's napped less than 10 times in the car in her entire life.

Watching kids learn to hula hoop

and ride bikes.

Seeing their enjoyment from a simple fruit juice ice pop.

Knowing they're enjoying the mess.

And not caring how long it takes to clean up.

It's already August and summer is fading fast. I'm doing everything I can to make sure Kate and I suck the life right out of every summer moment left.


The DL on the JF

The DL, the skinny, the specs, the details, the 411, the info, the haps.

Thank you Rich Cole for gorgeous artwork.

Who's Playin'?
Dow Jones & The Industrials
Bill Liggett
The Dick Banjo Orchestra
The Wasted Teradactyls
Tru Blu
Special Performance by The Jenkins Band (Scott's former band)

What's going to be there?
misc side dishes
beer, pop, water
cups, plates, utensils
bounce house

What shall I bring?
meat (if that's your thing)
side dishes (if that's your thing)
bug spray

There will be two big yards for camping out. Feel free to come and pitch a tent and stay the night (especially if you plan on drinking).
Kids are welcome. Probably best to leave your pets at home though.

Great music, fabulous people, good eats... a perfect summer Saturday.
Just don't forget your spare change to donate to EDNF.

Looking forward to it already.