Just life!

January 22, 2019 9:34 PM

I am so glad a new year is here, so very, very, very, glad. But as always, lurking in that happiness is some sadness. I am always a mix of the two and believe I will be for the rest of my days on Earth. Some days the happiness (like tonight) eclipses the sadness and other days the sadness is greater. But tonight lets focus on the happiness!

I am so happy to announce I have left my job at the nursing home, the relief I felt was extraordinary. Literally a thousand pounds was taken off my back and I could breathe-a huge deep breath that cleansed me of all the horribleness I endured. Such a relief! If you are in job that does not make you happy, LEAVE. Don’t worry about the bills, the health insurance, or any of that. JUST GET OUT! I maybe eating a crap ton of rice and beans, nuts and fruit leather and not sure how I am going to put gas in my car tomorrow BUT none of that compares to the stress, anxiety, and pure hell of staying at a job that is sucking you dry.

I am now employed at one of the local hospitals as a LNA and I LOVE it! The staff is amazing and the doctors do not mind me asking questions, wanting to observe, and then asking more questions. I of course am doing all this in between my job duties! The job does not have many hours yet and that is tough but I also have another job interview next week at another local hospital. I have faith that soon these tough days will be behind me and I will have learned some valuable lessons along the way!

On the college front…..today was the first day of classes. That meant that my nursing class started their first day of the final semester of nursing. That is hard to wrap my mind around and I was sad this morning. I want so bad to be with my classmates, I want to be starting my final semester, I want to graduate in May. There is no magical cure for this hurt so I embraced it, had a good cry and then told myself you WILL get there.

I am taking classes this semester, the last of the pre/co reqs for a Bachelors program I have my eye on for the future. To be honest nothing I am terribly excited for but it will keep me in the routine of school and in the future I will be glad I did not waste this time.

The big news for today is that I passed my written test for my National EMT License!!!! I have been working on transferring my CT EMT License up to NH for months and oh goodness it has been a process. I am finally at the end of it and today was a huge step closer to the finish line. I gotta admit I was pretty worried as I failed the practical test by one point and it had me doubting myself! I have job opportunities with two ambulance services here in the North Country and can not wait to get back to my roots so to speak. I realized today that in June it will be 13 years since I started my EMS journey, holy crap! One of the best decisions I ever made, it brought my Kenny and I together, I have made amazing friends, learned so much and seen some crazy shit that still creates sleepless nights but also inspires me to live each day to the fullest.

The first month of the new year is almost to an end and I can say I am looking forward with hope. I feel this year is going to be finding the answer to who am I? I will never be the woman I was before 12/16/16 but I don’t quite know who I am now. This year I feel the shattered pieces of my life and heart will start to slowly align, start to knit together a picture of who I will become. It will be a complicated, full of tears, and heartache but I also know there will be adventure, laughs, and some joy. A complicated mix because isn’t that what life is- a complicated blessed mix.

 

Just had to share this picture of Ms. Spooky-she has become my partner for folding laundry ha ha!

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2019

I have visited this blog so many times in the last 6 months to update, I even have a handful of half written blog posts that I never finished. I have so many reasons for why I stopped writing and I wish now I had pushed through them all to document the last 6 months. The last 6 months were amazing and pure hell all at once. I am so glad 2018 is over and a new year is before me. While the good times were good the bad times were really horrid.

My summer was eaten up by many hours of summer classes but in between those classes and all the homework I spent so much time outdoors. I bought a kayak, named her “Love Never Ends” and made Sweet Pea my co-captain. While I still can’t really swim (I know people I need to work on that) I strapped on my life jacket, loaded up and headed out on the water almost everyday. I had amazing adventures with friends, solo trips where I sorted through all the grief, and days with Sweet Pea that I will forever cherish. I am a die hard kayaker now, it is my favorite way to enjoy the outdoors. Image may contain: outdoor, water and natureImage may contain: dog, tree, outdoor, nature and water

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I also celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary but as a widow. Not with the Alaskan Cruise we always dreamed but a photo shoot at my husband’s grave. I love the photos but fucking hate they are at his grave. I love they capture the spirit of our love so well but not us. I am so grateful to a good friend who did not even blink an eye but just enveloped me in love and made this really hard day a little less sucky.

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As the summer when on besides getting out on the water, I hiked miles upon miles! Summer in the White Mountain is….breathtaking! Mom, Dad, and Brad got me a new hiking backpack for my birthday and it got so much use! I made memories with friends that I will cherish forever!

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Another highlight of the summer was the family white water rafting trip Mom, Brad and I went on. It was epic!

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Summer was pretty awesome, ok it was AMAZING! I mean it had it low points, my job at the nursing home being the main one. I realized that I was not happy working there and truly started to hate the job. BUT with all the classes I took I was barely having to be on the floor and when I was my really good friend also was working so we made it through. With a good work friend you can tolerate just about anything! I also was starting to stress about my third semester of nursing school, I didn’t feel ready. I was worried about the semester. I remember the night before classes started how I just cried and cried. I was a ball of nerves, I was lonely, I wanted my Kenny, and I really did not want to go back to school. I knew then the fall was going to be rough.

Honestly, I hate to even talk about the fall of 2018. It was HELL. It was the closest I came to feeling and living out the early days of grief all over again. The whole semester I struggled. It was like everything just converged on me at once and I could not keep my head above water. Classes, grief, work, finances, family stuff, clinical, anxiety, depression….I was drowning the whole semester. And a few times I went under water and truly thought I would not make it back to the surface.

I would not have made it, truly and honestly not have made it to today if I didn’t have some amazing friends in my corner. They stepped in, helped me out of the deepest water and once I was back on my own feet helped me get the tools I needed to swim back to shore. They were the one bright light of this time in my life, they could not do for me but they loved me while I did for myself.

The semester did not end well, I missed making into the final semester of nursing school by less then 2 points. That means i have the next 8 months off from nursing school. I will be working on some “fluff” classes for a bachelors program I plan to enroll in after I get my associates, going back to work full time (not at the nursing home!), and trying to find my way in what I call “life after”.

I have learned some really important lessons in the last 6 months, I wish I had learned them other ways, less painful ways but it is what it is. I am not naive enough to say 2019 will be my year, I know all to well how life can turn on you and kick your ass. I can say though that I am headed into 2019 with hope. Hope that I can achieve some dreams, hope that the pain from Kenny will not be so consuming, hope that I can find more then fleeting moments of joy, hope that when bad stuff comes at me I can handle it, and hope that at the end of 2019 I will be a better version of who I am right now.

 

 

 

Day 547

June 16, 2018

Today I have reached another marker on this journey, I have lived one and half years without Kenny. I am in awe that I made it this far, I almost cant believe it. I don’t want to believe it.

I often think of the day Kenny died, it plays in my head like a movie on repeat. I can remember everything about that day, and up to the point he died it was not a bad day. I know some might think that is weird, we were in a hospital, Kenny was going into surgery, it was right  before Christmas not the best time to be super sick, we were both missing class, hadn’t we endured enough sick stuff and it was the day he died. Yes to all of those facts but I have other great memories of that day.

I remember coming in early to the hospital to hang out with Kenny, how he was so happy to see me! I usually stayed the nights with him but since we were so close to home I didn’t this time and it was different for us. We had adjusted to living out out of hospital rooms together and to be honest we loved being together all the time. I would have happily stayed despite being so close to home but Kenny wanted me to get a good nights sleep, he wanted it to be easy on me, he was always worried about me. I remember I was reading a book with my feet propped up on his bed and pressed against his calf because it was cold in his room and my feet needed to be warmed up. I looked up at one point to see him laughing about something he was watching on TV. I can see his head thrown back, hear his deep belly laugh, and that smile of his! He looked over at me and I remember thinking how good he looked, I didn’t see the hospital johnny, the IV’s, I just saw my Kenny and my heart just swelled with all the love I had for him. I love that part of the day, and I wish my memories would just stop there.

They don’t though and the rest of my memories of that day are horrific. They are seared into my brain and will forever haunt me. One and half years ago my whole life imploded around me, without notice and I was left in the rubble.

I am here though, I am alive.

The last 547 days are filled with so much pain, anger, sadness, hurt, disbelief, anguish, misery, distress and suffering. I will never be able to fully capture in words what hell I have slogged through to be here today. I carried on, I could not leave all the suffering behind. It was not like a pack I could just slip off and place down never to be thought of again. It has become part of me, I am forever changed by December 16, 2016 and all that I sustained. It also isn’t over, this pack will continue to grow, not as rapidly as at the start of this journey but it still has room in it.

I also encountered so much compassion, kindheartedness, patience, tolerance, understanding, generosity, sympathy, affection, empathy, affection, and love. I could write forever and still not tell all the stories of those who came along side me and were there. Some were there for long parts of the journey, others only for a bit, some while I sobbed in their arms, other times when I needed to scream out the anger, some were there when I laughed and made new happy memories, others when I had to mark milestones with anguish, some were there in the forefront and others quietly in the rear. What matters though is that they were there, they met me when I came to the end of the rubble that was once my life and put my feet on this new path. Just like I cant slip off the burdens of this journey like I pack I also cant place down all the good from this journey, they are mingled together and rightfully so. You can’t have one without the other. There is also an endless ocean of love for me to keep drawing from.

So here I am one and half years later. I am a totally different woman, and for a long time I struggled with that. I wanted to be the old me, I didn’t want to change because in my mind that meant Kenny was only farther away. But that is not true, Kenny is truly never far away. I take with me all the important parts of our life; the relationship Kenny helped me to form with God, my faith,  the memories we created, the dreams we were pursuing, and our love that not even death can end.

I take all of those parts  of my old life, all the bad and all the good I earned during this journey and they are the foundation that I am using to build this new life. I am not very far in the construction of this new life and I have a feeling it will be an ongoing project until the day I die. Along the way there will be new materials to use and the blue print i have in mind might not even be reflected in the end result. I have faith thought that God knows exactly what it will be, I know Kenny will be there with me always, and I lean on the fact that I will never build alone, I am surrounded by so much love. WIN_20150511_104113

 

 

Time Slips on By

 

Kenny bday 36I am just a month and a few days shy of living one and half years without Kenny. This morning as I was driving back to my apartment I realized that if Kenny was alive we would be celebrating 12 years together, and 10 married.  I just celebrated his 38th birthday but truly he will forever be 36. I am about to turn 31. Time is marching on, time is fleeting and so very precious.

Every since my last post time has just rushed past me, I feel like I just sat down to update my blog but it has been almost a month. Time just slips on past so quickly and quietly.

I am happy to say I passed my second semester of nursing school, in the fall I will start my second and final year of my associates degree in nursing. I am still in a bit of shock that I am done my first year of nursing school. I keep thinking how in the world did 9 months past already? Wasn’t it just yesterday I was watching my Mom and brother pull out of my driveway as I started this new life?

Once finals were over I had to jump into one last commitment I had made before I could say I was completed with the semester. I had the honor to be the guest speaker at the End of the Year Factually Luncheon. When I was first asked to speak I had to ask why me? Surely they had more qualified, more interesting people to speak. I was told they wanted to inspire the faculty to help them realize what an important role they play in helping us students achieve our dreams of obtaining our college education. I was thrilled to be asked and it was a wonderful afternoon!

Once I was done the speech I hit the road to celebrate and remember Kenny’s birthday. This was the second birthday without him and it was so painful. I had a hard time getting out of bed that morning, it started with a sob session. But thankfully I had my commitment of the speech and I had to drag myself into the day.

I had of course planned out to a T how I was going to celebrate, I had it all written down and set. I started driving to my destination when I heard Kenny say clear as day, turn left. I was like no I have plans and again he said, turn left. So I did and I am so glad I did!!! I ended up in Grafton Notch State Park in Maine. It was a totally perfect way to spend the day remembering my husband. It was a spur of the moment trip that was all outdoors, got me muddy, dirty, sweaty, and I was able to have the whole place to myself! I didn’t see a single person all day, just nature, Sweet Pea, Kenny’s presence and our love surrounded me all day!

I ended the day with a nice meal out and then home to have another sob session. While it was a great day, I also just missed Kenny. I think since I am about to reach the one and half year mark some people think I don’t miss him as much. There will never be a day I don’t miss Kenny, my grief may not be as sharp, but there will always be a piece of my life missing. That piece of my life had the most amazing chocolate brown eyes, black hair that had this little cowlick in the back that never laid down, a laugh that filled a room, arms that when encircled me made my whole world a safe and loving place, and was my rock that anchored me in a way that I never knew I could be. I am Kenny’s widow when I want nothing more then to be only his wife.

As I embark on my first summer here in the North Country I know I am about to have lots of laughs, fun, and adventures. My life is good here, I am finding happiness. There will also be tears, painful moments, and days that I will be frozen with heartache of widow hood. I am going to embrace each moment of it, the parts that hurt and that parts that are full of delight. Life can change in the blink of an eye, today will never come again, it is a blessing to be alive so I will live!

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12 Days

April 20, 2108

I am 12 days away from completing my first year of nursing school, I feel so many emotions.

The first is exhaustion, complete and utter exhaustion. Studying, work, group projects, clinicals, caring for the fur baby tribe, caring for myself, laundry, attempting to make meals (this has been the worst failure one night I was down to baking soda and carrots for dinner), and grief drain me each day. I am not getting adequate sleep as I need 36 hours for each day and that just adds to it.

I am also feeling accomplishment because despite being tired to my bones I am doing this, I am alive, the fur baby tribe is alive and I am showing up and putting my best forward each day. I rock!!

Sadness because Kenny is not here and he should be, this was his dream to. We worked so hard to get me through all the pre reqs, fill out all those nursing applications, save up the money, and all the hurdles we got through together. He should be here, our dreams got cut short and it hard to carry on without him. Grief goes hand in hand with the sadness and it is a heavy burden at times. But as grief is just all the love I cant give Kenny it is worth the weight to carry.

Overall though I feel blessed, so incredibly blessed. I had Kenny to encourage me, love me and push me so I could get to this point. He washed clothes, cooked meals, worked ridiculous hours, made me gallons of tea, cleaned litter boxes, grocery shopped and loved me. He showed me how strong I was, how capable I was, how I could do anything I put my mind to. Even though he is not physically here his love and the lessons he taught me remain. We are forever intertwined; death cannot stop love, our connection, our story.

I am also blessed because I have a cozy apartment for the fur baby tribe and me, a job that provides well finically, a college home church, friends, an amazing part time roomie and the support of My Tribe.

So as I head into the final stretch I am a jumble of emotions but each one is well deserved, completely normal and a wonderful reminder that I am alive. I am living out our dream, I am building the next chapter of my life, and success is at hand!

Busy Life and Grief

 

February 3, 2018

My life is so busy lately and my grief is also very heavy. I find these two often go hand in hand, like a set of crazy mismatched bookends that you would never use together. Separately they are a heavy load and combined they drag me down. They don’t drown me though; I am blessed to have God help me carry this load, a Tribe of My People to come along side and lift up on this burden, and always Kenny’s love to lean upon.

I returned to the North Country shortly after Christmas and jumped right into my new job. I had completed my job training prior to my Christmas trip and when I came home it was GAME ON with work! I am employed as a LNA at Coos County Nursing home and the work is physical hard, mentally taxing and the hours are a bit rough. I am no longer a pampered princess with Kenny to work and take care of me. While I always worked in some capacity during our marriage I never HAD to. Kenny was more than willing and content to work and bring home the bacon. Just another amazing quality he had!

It is quite different and a shock to go from working because you want to and then working because you HAVE to. Bills need to be paid, food needs to be bought and Nina the Nissan has a healthy appetite for gas. I am not naïve I did pay bills prior to Widowhood but the simple fact that it is ME standing between homelessness, being hungry and the fur babies needing to wear cardboard signs asking for kibble on the side of the road is…. sombering. It is another stark reality that I am on my own, Kenny will not be coming back to slap on his American Ambulance uniform and head off to work to make sure we are taken care of. This is my new real life and I will be honest at times I hate it.

Besides work, I am also juggling a very full course load. In life prior to Widowhood school work always came first. Kenny was there to cook, clean, do laundry, deliver snacks to my office, take care of the fur babies, grocery shop, get the car to the garage to get the motor replaced (yes poor Nina!), get the mail, bring the bill payments to the mail, did I mention laundry-my dirty pile seems to grow on its own, and all those life chores. Now it is me, just me. And I am not that great at all these things, when I just have to focus on them. When you add in hours of studying it means a lot of laundry piled on the bed that might get slept on top of, dishes being strategically placed in the sink so I can go days without dealing with them, and a lot of toast and tea for supper.

So yeah life is full and busy, and it as it moments of being good. Like when I lugged all 21 bags of trash out to the curb on my own, I was covered in yuck as several bags had ripped, had a trail of dirty cat litter marking my path and had beat all my neighbors to being the first on the street. That was a good moment, I can do this. I know Kenny was shaking his head and laughing because I could have made it so much easier on myself if I took the trash out each week instead of letting it pile up but hey I did it!!! Also when I was able to work a ton of extra hours and figure out on a college student budget how to replace the engine in Nina. These situations use to send me into tears and running right to Kenny, I would get all worked up and he would be calm. He would put on his thinking cap and figure it out. BUT this time I did!! I wasn’t calm the whole time, there were tears but I DID it! And I could feel Kenny giving me a big squeeze of pride.

Besides just life grief has been a relentless monster. I had been told many times year two would be worst and while I wouldn’t say it is worst, it is more real. And the reality…..sucks. Kenny will not be celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary with me this year, when I graduate in a year he will not be waiting for me in the crowd, there will not be a dream log home cabin filled with 6 children and 6 dogs, he will never again play his guitar and banjo for me, this is my reality.

Also at times I get so busy with life it will be almost a full day before I think of him, and then WHAM grief, regret and guilt will slam into me. It always brings me to knees with the pain of it, how can I not think of him each minute? How can I not long for him each second? Again the sad reality, life is carrying on. I can’t carry on and let the grief be first all the time, it just won’t work.

Despite all the business and grief I do carry on and that is what Kenny would want. He would want me to laugh, read good books, eat delicious food, take some mini day trips, snow shoe and explore the North Country, go out with friends, snuggle the cats, cuddle with Sweet Pea and be joyful. I can’t say joyful is at the forefront of my emotions but it flickers in and out. I would say I have more contentment, there are moments I am satisfied with the life I am building.

So onward I will carry with these two mismatched bookends being for the moment very present in my life. When I look beyond them I see love-God’s love for me, Kenny’s love, our love that is so strong that it flows despite death and the grave separating us, an amazing Tribe of My People who love and support me through each triumph and each sadness. This is my life and I will build a happy one, perhaps even one filled to overflowing with Joy.

Day 395

January 14, 2018

I am two days away from the 13th month deathiversary of my Kenny. I wanted to write and share on the one year mark, I truly did but I just couldn’t. I could say it was because I was exhausted from finals, or that I was overwhelmed with starting a new job, that having to travel to CT on the one year mark was complete hell, or that planning and holding a memorial service took all I had. All these things did play a part but truly I couldn’t write, I couldn’t share because I had to process. I had to process that Kenny is truly gone, his body is in the ground and his physical form is dead. I will NEVER feel his arms wrap around me again, I will never kiss that little cleft in his chin,  I won’t be able to hold hands with him again and feel those strong rough hands that took care of me for 10 years, I will never be able to call him on the phone again, there will be no children for me to raise, no more dates, no more fights over his messiness and my bossiness, our life here on Earth is done. It is finished and oh how my heart shatters typing those words.

The whole first year I just kept telling myself you need to make it through the first year, it became my mantra. Get through the first year. I did, I made it through the first year but nothing changed. Imagine for a moment you just ran the hardest race of your life, with one leg broken, one arm tied behind your back, blind in one eye, carrying nothing to help you through the race, no comfy socks, no great running shoes, no water, NOTHING but you. The trail is straight uphill, the ground full of sharp rocks, the weather alternates between being hotter then hell and cold enough to grow glaciers. It is the WORST race every and also you don’t have a map, so you are never really sure if you are on the right path. BUT you make it you crawl across the finish line and there is nothing but more trail ahead of you. You are hardened now, you know you can do it, and you have learned survival skills along the way-you are seasoned. That is what reaching the one year of young widowhood is like. I made it but nothing changed. Kenny didn’t rise up out of his grave, the past year wasn’t just a big joke on me and now life can go back to what it was on December 15, 2016. I just completed the worst year of my life and when I crossed the finish line there was nothing but years of the same path ahead of me. Yes it has become easier, yes I have learned invaluable lessons, yes I have an amazing Tribe to care for me, yes I am blessed but I don’t want to travel this path, I didn’t choose this race yet it is mine to travel.

The last almost month has been one of very personal time, lots of reflection, lots of thinking, immense amount of prayer and time spent among those who understand (HYWC and IRL YWW). It was rough, but it was needed-you don’t grow in easy times, you don’t wrestle out the tough stuff when things are good, you can’t find peace and closure unless you fight for it. I fought for and found some closure.

I found it on the day of Kenny’s memorial service, surrounded by those of my Tribe who loved and carried me over the past year. Those brave, loving, never giving up on me, souls helped me to celebrate my husband and realize that while our Earthly life is over, our love and US is not over. Kenny awaits me in Heaven caring for our son until the day God calls me home. On that day I will run into Kenny’s arms and feel him hug me, I will kiss that little cleft chin, grab his hands to dance in the presence of God and scoop our son up in my arms. On that glorious day my heart will be healed.

Just because I possess peace and closure doesn’t mean my grief is over, I will grieve forever for Kenny, for the life we were living, the dreams we had, the children that should have been. It is true that grief is all the love you can’t give and I have an endless supply of love because LOVE NEVER ENDS.

~S

Headstone Memorial

 

 

 

 

Nov. 26, 2017 8:48AM

It is lightly snowing here in in Northern NH and my little apartment is filled with the sounds of the washing machine whirring, my tea water boiling, Sweet Pea gently snoring on the bed and the purrs of the cats as they are snuggled into the mound of laundry on the floor in the kitchen. I feel peace this morning and that is a feeling that has eluded me for the past few weeks.

Many crushed souls I have met along this journey have compared it to an ocean or a roller coaster ride and both of those analogies are correct. Just when you think you have become accustomed to the rhythm of this journey you are either slammed with a huge wave or enter a stomach plummeting drop. They are usually precipitated by what those in the grief community call a trigger. My trigger was entering the 11th month.

As I started November I was doing well, grief was of course my constant companion but like a wrinkle you get in your sock during the day, at first it is really noticeable but as the day goes on you just get used to it. That was me with my grief, it was there, it was uncomfortable but life was good. I was doing well, and at times could even forget about my lingering buddy. But after the first week in November I realized that this time last year I was living out my last week’s with Kenny and I didn’t even know it. That fed my little companion Grief some crazy steroids and it morphed from a hanger on to being all consuming.

Like I have for most of this journey when the grief becomes to strong I just fall apart. The sadness, loneliness, aching for what was, crying for what will never be just beats me down. I become a hot mess, but as a very wise Godly woman told me at the very start of this journey God loves hot messes. So all during this past month while I struggled I wasn’t alone, I could feel God’s hand in mine as He helped me over the boulders of anger, regret, anguish, heartbreak, and so many more. He never left me.

So I have made it to the end of the month, I survived my 10th engagement anniversary, I survived my first Thanksgiving and I just survived life as a young widow.

In this month despite all the grief and sadness life continues, as it should and will.

 

During the first week of November my Mom came to NH to visit and celebrate her Birthday. It was a solemn day as we both just missed Kenny so much, he always made Birthdays fun and special and it is hard to celebrate without him. We did have a good day though as we took a ride through the National Forest, worked on some handiwork crafts (if you know me I hate doing this stuff but it was my Mom’s birthday and she soon delegated me to organizing stuff vs working on it) and just enjoyed some time together.

The cats have finally settled into our routine and their new home. This means more kitty snuggles and them just being so cute and funny! I found the kitty tree on discount and lugged it home to the delight of the cats. I need to find a second one so everyone can have a place to curl up. Petunia is in love with my new wool socks that I keep draped over the back of a chair near the door. She is forever pulling them off and making a little bed for her to lie on. Poor Spooky has reached the middle age life of a cat where she is always a little chilly and does not like to be bothered by the other cats or Sweet Pea. She loves to lounge on the stove for its warmth and hide in a basket I keep on the fridge with my reusable shopping bags in it. Zorro and Sassafras are camera shy but they are healthy and happy as well!

Miss Sweet Pea is doing very well! She lives the life of luxury sleeping on half of a king size bed, lots of treats, and plenty of walks. She is my reason to get out of bed on the toughest of days, she was Kenny’s fur baby and it is up to me to care for her. I know her antics keep Kenny laughing in Heaven and on our walks he is with us. She had this whine that was only ever for Kenny and I hear it often when we are out exploring this gorgeous North Country.

 

Some views from my hikes, I am so blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world. In my worst of times I still force myself to lace up my boots and head out, the scenery, fresh air and just moving are vital to keeping me sane on this journey

The biggest news of the past month is that I have started a new job; this is what I posted on my Facebook page after my first shift, “New beginnings are so hard without Kenny; he was my biggest supporter, loudest cheerleader and most fierce protector of my dreams. Today I had my orientation at Coos County Nursing Home where I will start as a Unit Aide. Over the next year and half I will be in their “home grown” nursing program meaning I will be trained and move upward in position until I am a Registered Nurse with them. I will go from Unit Aide, to Licensed Nurse Assistant, Medication Nurse Assistant, and Licensed Practical Nurse and upon graduation I have a position with them as a Registered Nurse. I have also been enrolled into their tuition assistance program and they will pay for the remaining school expenses I have and pay me my hourly wage for each hour I am in the classroom or clinical site. It is the most amazing opportunity and all the glory to God for opening this door for me. I am so happy and excited but also so sad. I had the most amazing day and the person I wanted to share it with is not here. So I took to the trails and hiked out my sadness, let my tears drop onto the new fallen snow, and screamed out my frustration to the silent stoic trees. Once I let out all the anger and sadness in rushed God’s love and Kenny’s joy for me. Standing there looking out over the lake and watching the snow obscure the mountains I was reminded of two things, if God brings you to it He will bring you through it and love never dies. ~S

As I head into the final days of my first year of widowhood I am weary, my heart is battered and my soul longs for what can never be again. I am on a ride, swimming in an ocean that I never wanted to experience, I struggle and I am truly a hot mess. Despite all this I know two things God loves me so very much, He aches for me and will never leave me alone. The second is that while our physical love story is on an extended pause, it will be resumed when I skip through Heaven’s gates and am able to be back in my husband’s arms, until then I have our love which never dies, pauses, or stops to sustain me.

By God’s Grace I am Blessed,

Sarah

P.S. The featured image of the two candles is from when I lost power for a couple of days. The red ones are from a funeral arrangement I received for Kenny’s wake and the other is from our wedding. I think this is the perfect poignant and tragic juxtaposition of young widow hood.

 

11 months and 10 days

Life At 10 Months

October 19, 2107 3:53PM

I hate typing these words, but life is good. I feel like it is dishonoring Kenny, that I have moved on vs I have carried on; that I am a bad wife and like I am abandoning my love for him. I feel guilty for life going well, shouldn’t I still be in bed weeping, gnashing my teeth, and dressed head to toe in black? Shouldn’t life for me have just stopped when Kenny died, no fun times, no laughing, no achieving dreams, and no life? The guilt you feel as a Young Widow is just as heavy as the ache for your loved one. Grief as a Young Widow is a horrible melting pot of all the worst of emotions and at times it is all-consuming.

The other horrid thing is that this journey is so up and down. When I started this blog post it was early morning, I wrote about half of it and then this crazy ride I am on took a few double loops, a couple precisely maneuvered spins and I was down on my knees on my bedroom floor holding onto the flannel Kenny was wearing the day he died, screaming at God in anger for taking away my husband. How did I go from life being good to a complete melt down? Soap.

I popped into Wal-Mart to grab something and even though I didn’t need anything in the soap aisle that is where I ended up and I came face to face with the Irish Spring display. I couldn’t stop myself as I picked up a box held it to my nose and took a big sniff; memories of Kenny cascaded all around me. His arms around me as I nestled my head into his solid chest, packing our hospitals bags and him reminding me to not forget his soap, sneaking into the bathroom all steamy and full of the scent of Irish Spring to throw a cup of cold water on him and him grabbing me wrestling me into the shower fully clothed. (In case you don’t know I have a twisted sense of humor….). There I stood in Wal-Mart with a young woman and her two kids watching me like I was a freak as I sniffed that box of Irish Spring and started to spiral out of control. I left Wal-Mart without getting whatever I needed and headed right home to a complete wailing, snot filled grief melt down.

But if I push through all those horrid emotions and look at my life-like I know Kenny wants me to, I realize it is good. And Kenny is proud! I have an apartment of my own, that I am turning into a home for not just me but all the fur babies. I have mastered taking out trash, cooking my own meals, finding my way around my new town fairly well (thank goodness for new friends with fancy phones that can help me out when I get lost LOL), was able to get a fur baby out of the locked bathroom with just a mild freak out, have met and found my people and most days there has been clean laundry!

 

It is hard to carry on without Kenny and not a day goes by that I don’t wish he was here. I talk to him all the time and there are hundreds of moments a day I can literally feel my heart break again as I realize I will not see him until I am walk through Heaven’s gates.

It is so hard to write, so hard to acknowledge, but life is good.

My nursing program is awesome and I truly love it. I know becoming a nurse is the path God has for me. I have tough moments, like last week we were learning about post-surgical drains. All I could think about was after each surgery Kenny had those drains, in my mind all I could see was my poor husband hooked up to various IV’s with drains pinned to his hospital gown, so very sick. Those images swept in, unwelcome and totally blindsided me, it was a tough afternoon of lecture.

A milestone in any nursing program is clincials! Last Friday we all had orientation at our hospital sites and this Friday we will be assigned our first patient! I am looking forward to putting into practice all we have learned so far! Also since we drive about 40 minutes to clincials to a real city my little group takes the opportunity to shop at a legite grocery store, do some shopping at a place other than Wal-Mart and get something yummy to eat like Mexican or Sushi!

Beside school and work I still get out almost daily with Sweet Pea to walk. We also took our first real hike with a friend who is like a master hiker! We went to the top of Mount Jasper and the view was outstanding! I now have the hiking bug and am looking forward to many more amazing views and fun! (And very sore legs!)

Also some highlights are that I did go home in September to attend a special event with my widow group, I was blessed with the opportunity to give my testimony to my church, I was chosen for Student Spotlight at college, and have found my new home church.

This journey twists and weaves through the toughest territory I have ever encountered. If I take my eyes off the boulders littering the path, keep my gaze from the treacherous edge of the trail and look ahead I can just see on the horizon happiness-and that is what my Heavenly Father and my loving husband want for me more than anything. I am getting there.

In God’s Grace,

Sarah

 

P.S. A huge hug and many thanks to a good YWW friend who talked with me into the wee hours of the morning one night and helped to get me through a rough patch. That conversation helped spark this blog post.

 

The Move to NH

So many people have asked me if I was scared to move to New Hampshire to start this next chapter in my life and I can honestly say I was never scared. I lived between happy and super sad though, so happy that I was finally getting to return to my nursing degree but sad because Kenny wasn’t with me. Sad because I was taking the first step in this new life and I want nothing more then my old life back. My list of what I want is quite long but since it cannot be I had to carry on and this has taken me to Berlin NH.

Welcome to Berlin SIgn

I thought the move itself went splendid! I did something I have never done before and just flew by the seat of my pants. I call moments like this (and telling people exactly what I think, eating a carton of ice cream, and craving steak) channeling Kenny moments. If you know me at all I do NOT fly by the seat of my pants, I have Plan A then at least three back up plans. Not this time! I didn’t even finish packing until the morning we left! I have to say it is pretty freeing to live like that! But I am back on the wagon, and happily mapping out back up plans.

Of course I am indebted to a lot of people who helped me and I say a huge THANK YOU!!! Big moves like this can’t be accomplished without help and how blessed I am to have so many helpers in my life!

We left CT at 11:30 and pulled into my new home at 5:00. The ride up was great and Sweet Pea was a champion! She loves car rides but I was worried about it being such a long ride and a little cramped, but she rocked it.

WeliekitSweetpea

(I don’t have any recent pictures of Sweet Pea but here she is with her favorite person of all time two years ago)

I have the most amazing land lord and he lined up his nephew and son to help me unload which my brother was so grateful for as I am on a second floor apartment. We had no issues until the couch…oh the couch. I really wanted this couch in my apartment, it was free and already a little beat up so I could let Sweet Pea on it with out guilt. But it wouldn’t fit……

couch-at-apt.jpg

at all. And then it got stuck on the porch and had to fall about 30 feet to its demise. So if you are going to come spend some time with me all I can offer is an air mattress and a very cute dog who will snuggle with you.

Let me tell you here how amazing my Mom is, she not only helped me pack, drive to NH and then unload the truck but before she left 90% of my apartment was set up. I have one amazing Mom! Also a huge shout out to my little brother, baby Brady, despite all the bossing around I subjected him to as children, the knuckling him around growing up and all the things us older sisters inflict on the younger ones he helped me move! And he drove the very full rental truck for me.

I have been here a week and one day, and I am completely unpacked. Sweet Pea and I have settled into a routine that includes morning and evening walks with views like this,

 

I have completed all my orientations, meet and greets, and training with my new job as a in home personal care assistant and I am loving it. I look forward to starting Nursing classes on Tuesday and meeting my classmates.  I will start my work study in the college library after the holiday weekend and very excited to be a library aid! I love books and love libraries so this is a dream of mine that I can cross off my list!

The first week here has been a good one, the only piece missing is my Kenny. I have had some really hard moments but God is always with me, my family is outstanding to support me,  I have some really great friends I can call and text and love never ends so Kenny is always with me.

~S