Just Can't Get Enough

My Aunt Marie is here visiting. When she asked to go to Daddy Lake, I jumped at the chance. After all, I just can't get enough.
How could it be possible to get enough of a place that makes the world seem like a better place? A place that takes my worries and pushes them aside. A place that brings me nothing but happy memories. Load up the bus I'm in! And this time, I'm bringing the whole damn family!

Its been a non-typical week around these parts. It's not often that I get sick but when I do... Look out! My body is a fan of the 'go big or go home' motto apparently. A cold turned into laryngitis, turned into bronchitis and in triumphant fashion at 2am Friday, a ruptured ear drum! Kate and I still managed a week of classes, school, work but without our usual flair.

I needed to feel the healing love of the lake. And boy did it deliver! Another absolutely glorious day! I keep pinching myself, afraid it's just a dream. I wasn't the only person feeling the love (or the pinching probably).

This was the first time the extended family gathered at the lake. The first time I've really had to share the space. I was afraid that I was going to be too busy, too distracted, too...whatever, to enjoy it. I'm so glad that wasn't the case.

I find that there are things that I don't like sharing. Pieces of him that I just want to keep all to myself. Even a year later. I'm always happy to talk about Scott, share one of his jokes or tell a story but there are just a few things, places, details, that I want to keep hidden. Tucked away from other people's opinions or thoughts. Safe from contact with any others. Kate is the only exception. And maybe that's because I know she can't change the story or add something to it.

I think that's part of the reason I stopped posting for awhile. I just didn't want to share anymore. Does this make me strange? And no, that's not a trick question like "does this make my butt look big?".

Here's the thing about being 'strange' in how I move forward with this life, I don't care if I am. I don't care if the entire world thinks I'm a flag flying freak. I am what I am and that's the end of it. I can't change it so I must embrace it.

If there is one thing I hope I can instill in Kate it's that. When there is a pure, genuine feeling in your heart, all you can do is accept it for what it is. Let your freak flag fly.

Thank you Aunt Marie for wanting to go. And thank you to the rest of the family for going. Sharing feels good. I just wish the rest of me felt that good.


Part 2

Kate started ice skating lessons last week. Today was her second time on the ice. She's a natural. Her smile radiates off her face when she's on the ice. Grinning from ear to ear she just keeps getting back up and trying again. Just like her Dad.

I imagine what their conversations would be like right now if he was here. I know she's disappointed to come home to the empty house and not have anyone else to share her good news with. I sense the pause in her when we enter through the garage and she yells "were home" adding "Jake and Becky". Like she doesn't still want to yell "were home Daddy".

His room is her playroom now. Neither one of us like to play in there. The indentations in the floor from his bed still a reminder of what isn't here. We'll sit in there sometimes, lounging on the floor, and talk about him. Telling stories. Sharing.
She's asked to hear the story of his death more in the last month than she has in the last 11months. She wants to know every detail. When she's sure she's heard it all she asks to hear the story of her birth, or of Scott and I's first date or of the Cub's game. Absorbing as many of those details as she can before finally moving on to other important things. Like, would Ariel really marry Prince Eric?

Today she skated and we went to Daddy Lake. We ran, we chased, we played and we sat. We sat on that pier and we talked. She told daddy all about skating. She told him about starting kindergarten in the fall and about her friend Azier at school. "he's a boy Daddy. But don't worry he's not my boyfriend. I don't want one of those until after college."
This is all stuff we tell him every night and before every afternoon rest. But being on that lake with the glorious sun shinning on us, I'm pretty sure both of us knew for certain that he was sitting on that pier with us. How else can you explain 80degree weather on March 15th in Chicago?
It felt so good to be so close to him. So close and yet so far.

She is so much his girl. Quick with a joke. Always wanting to make others smile. His long eyelashes and small mouth. But it's her calm that is most like him. Her gentle ease. Sitting on that pier, a tear ran under my sunglasses. She just leaned her little body on mine and whispered "he still loves us." A true grace that can never be defined but that can only be experienced to fully understand. If you knew him, you know the grace I speak of. How did I get so lucky to have it in my life twice?

Our dinner at his favorite restaurant didn't go as well as our trip to Daddy Lake. No warnings, no signs, no information. Just locked doors. Not ones to give up, we made it work at the Olive Garden. It doesn't really matter where we are after all, it just matters that we're together. In thinking about it now, the Olive Garden is really a pretty good place. His last birthday with us was spent there. One of my favorite pictures of he and Kate, the one that sits beside my bed, was taken there. Looking at my big girl sitting across from me tonight at dinner and trying to connect her with the six month old baby in the picture on my dresser... an impossible task. Realizing that her daddy is holding on to her now just as he was in that picture; so very easy.

Every date on the calendar has now been lived since he left. Every major holiday has been conquered. We got through the past year. I'm sure we didn't do everything "right". I know it wasn't always pretty. I know there is more longing, pain, heartache to come. Beyond that though, I know we can do this. I may not always want to. But we can and we will.

This is our one wild and precious life.

and we're going to live it.


A year part 1

My first thoughts this morning as I opened my eyes to see 321 on the clock, "normal, I feel normal". As the eyes opened so did reality. The crushing pressure in my chest; my constant companion this past week and the blinding searing pain that radiates over my eyes were back. How can I do this? How can I manage this day?
Toss and turn. Toss and turn. Mind swirling, empty thoughts, fragments of thoughts really swirling in my head. The same thoughts that have lingered all week.
He wouldn't recognize his daughter now. She's so big. Her face has changed. Her speech is clearer. Her thoughts more structured and concise. She too carries the sadness behind her eyes. A sadness that didn't exist a year ago.
She remembers him so well. Things I didn't think were possible for her to remember she holds with such clarity. She draws him as an angel. But talks to him and about him like he's here. Until it's time to make a wish or talk about what she wants to do when she's older. Then it's the same thing every time. "I wish my daddy could come back home. When I get big enough I'm going to invent a time machine to bring Daddy home.". Ugh.

I'm not where I thought I would be by now. This isn't what I pictured. I had a plan.

Toss,turn,toss,turn mumble,dream,breathe...

Get up. The alarm is screaming that it's time to workout. Another 90 minutes of sweat to chase it all away. I've got muscles I never knew I had. Even then, when I would literally carry my husband I wasn't as strong as I am today. Carrying him made me feel strong, powerful, like I had a purpose. Now... I can sweat.
Today's 90 turned to 27. I can't do it. I just can't. My breathing is wrong. My focus, my drive... Gone. As I lay on the floor all I can think is write. Write! Write to him, write to her, write to yourself. Just write. So here I am. Writing. Breathing. Listening.

I don't remember the birds chirping outside my window last year. But I wasn't in my room. What do I remember? The struggled, labored managed breaths. The eyes that lit up every time Kates voice could be heard. The scratchy, raspy, barely audible, voice that said "don't leave me, I can't be without you. I don't want to be alone."

This is my journey. This is my path. I get to choose how to spend this day. I will not spend anymore time remembering the alone, the sad, the loss. I will take our girl and I will remember the good. We'll do something new, visit you at the lake and eat your favorite dinner.

I will put away the memories of my sighs, eye rolls and complaining. I will tell her again the story of us. I will share the funny times. That is where the life is. That is what matters.