Thursday, May 26, 2016

Week 3: A New Normal

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Week 3 is over as of today. I have to say, this has been the worst week so far. There are numerous reasons. Friday was the commitment hearing for the person who hit him. I avoided it completely. The ADA called me as soon as it was over and let me know what happened. The man did not get bond which was expected. Honestly, as much as I hate him, I have passed the "I want him to die" stage and have made it to the "I really hate that even more lives are ruined because of his actions" stage. He has a family. A mother. Friends. Someone else has lost someone they care about too and I hate that for them. If all I can be is vengeful and all I can think about is revenge I will  turn into a person TJ would hate and I do not ever want that to happen.

My mom came down to be with me for the hearing. We managed to go to the bank where the song we danced to at our wedding renewal 6 1/2 months ago came on. I cried in the bank. Just cried. No breakdown. Mostly because it's such a happy memory.

My mom took me to get our nails done. Seemed pointless but felt great. Nobody there knew who I was so I had a public hour without hearing "I'm so sorry," followed by, "What exactly happened?" Just so you know, whether you know a person or not (and *especially* if not because then you are flat out being nosy - good time to learn how to use Google and how to mind your own business) asking them to explain to you exactly how a person close to them was killed is not a good thing to do. EVER. Our son had a lock-in at school he went to from 3:30-8:00 and then a church lock-in after. We picked him up from school and dropped him off at church then had Mexican. First time I had gone to  one of "our spots" without him. Since my mom was with me it was okay. We stayed up all night talking and passed out.

Saturday Mom helped me clean off his dresser. I couldn't do it but there were some things I needed to find that were there. She also emptied my bathroom trash can. Sounds silly, but all of his cigar trash was in it and I couldn't do it. I had tried at least 3 times already and walked away every time. I got everything out of his car put up as well. It was in the floor and on my dresser so it had to be done. We also got Bojar (Boy-er) brushed and his anxiety is doing much better thankfully.

Sunday was hard. It was the first time I've gone to church. I dreaded it all day. I'm glad I went but I've never gone without him so it was one of the hardest firsts I've had. I meant to take his Bible which was in his car with him when he got hit but I was so frazzled I forgot it. I wound up not needing it. I know church is where I need to be but right now I talk to God from home mostly. Sometimes it gets loud.

Monday was uneventful except for the drive to counseling. 3 of our songs came on in a row. Wildest Dreams, You Are Not Alone, and Shake It Off. He loved Michael Jackson and Taylor Swift and wasn't ashamed at all. Coincidentally, those same 3 songs played Tuesday and Wednesday morning. I haven't heard the MJ song on the radio since right after he passed. It was definitely a little odd and comforting.

This song was played at our sons awards ceremony Tuesday and it has been stuck in my head ever since. I feel exactly like the song. No explanation needed. It was the longest day I've had so far. I basically cried all day. It's difficult to be happy and sad all at once but I'm becoming a pro. The first big thing he missed. As you can see below, he was still well represented. These people have been there every minute we've needed them and I couldn't be more thankful. Our son had a rough day and a meltdown in the evening. The first really big one he's had. We worked through it together. He felt better after than he did before. He's holding a lot of things in so that I don't get upset.

Wednesday the kids decided they didn't want to go to school. Tuesday was such a long day for them that they were still exhausted so we just hung around the house and didn't do much of anything. We had some company come by, played video games, and napped. We tried to recuperate from Tuesday basically. They did go to their last day of school today and had a good time. They needed it and I needed it for them. I need to see my kids be happy sometimes, especially when they pointed out earlier this week that nobody laughs as much anymore around here. They pick up on everything.

Overall this week just sucked. We're trying to settle in and find a new normal but it isn't very easy. It all happened at a time that came with a lot of changes anyway. The end of school, summer coming... So much happening all at once. One day at a time is what I tell myself over and over. It can't be changed. It is what it is.

If you would like to read more, previous and next posts are linked below.

Week 2
Week 4

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Week 2: Still the beginning...

Here we are another week down. Week 2 was not any easier than Week 1 but it was different. I had some great conversations with some people that really do understand exactly what I'm going through and they made all the difference. Don't be afraid to reach out. People that you don't even know can be more of a help than anyone if they have been through the same thing. I also had some people do things for me that were unexpected but very welcome and made me feel just a little bit better about the world at a time when I just want to hate it. Someone came and sprayed our yard for bugs, one of the departments handled yard care for a year, our K9 guys have been out constantly to check on things. It has been amazing and overwhelming how people have just done what they can for us. I have learned to let people help and to accept that help graciously. It's a lesson I had never learned before now. We were always doing the helping, not being helped.

I can understand how situations like this turn into  lifelong addictions for people. I cannot count how many people have said something like, "If you can't sleep, just have a glass of wine," or, "Just take this pill, it will help." They are probably right but I'm afraid to start that. I'm afraid I won't be able to stop. I tried to get dressed because I was taking my kids by their school so they could visit. I wound up putting on a t-shirt that was his because anything that looked cute seemed wrong. No good reason why at all. The kids decided I didn't need to stay with them so I went to a lady I've been using for a while that does medical massage. On top of everything, I could barely move because dehydration, stress, and anxiety have made my muscles one gigantic knot. It was a huge help going and I have another appointment tomorrow. As soon as I got back my son was all over me telling me he wished he hadn't told me to leave. He is so concerned for me. He told me I needed a "guy roommate" because he didn't want me to have to do everything by myself, including just watching grown-up movies he's not old enough for. He's 11. I hate him thinking about things like that. When did he get so grown and so much like his dad?

When we got home from  the school I realized none of us had eaten. On top of that, I realized none of us were even hungry. Appetites haven't been huge around here lately. I did manage to make tea. That doesn't sound like much but it's the first thing I've had to do alone for us. Everyone has been here and been so helpful I haven't had to do anything. My dad came to visit for the weekend. He grilled steaks and corn and baked potatoes Friday night and steamed crayfish Saturday night. Just something different. We got the house and yard picked up from so many people being here. I had a moment when he cranked the lawnmower. Nobody has ever cut grass here other than TJ and when I heard it start I just broke down for about 10 minutes. I let myself have my moment then I got up and kept going. It would've been very easy to just stay in the floor with his shirt but I chose not to. Since we got everything picked up and kind of back on a schedule Bojar (Boy-er), our K9, got to come home Monday afternoon. He's very anxious but we're all working through issues and he's no different than us.

I rinsed out his sink in the bathroom. It had toothpaste in it and hair from where he had shaved. I cried the entire time. It felt like I was removing part of him. If he was alive I would've picked at him about not doing it but as annoying as it was I miss it already. His clothes are still in the floor. I can't move them. I assume I will at some point but I can't be sure. His towel is still hanging on the towel rod. I used it once. Almost. When I got out of the tub I just fell in the floor and cried into it because he would never be using it again. Then I got up, dusted myself off, read the notes he left me on the bathroom mirror, and felt better remembering at least he was able to use it when he did.

I have been using my diffuser religiously at night. Lavender and cedarwood are such a great sleep combination. Cedarwood helps reset your short term memory which is great for combating bad dreams. I don't sell oils or anything like that. No sales pitch here. Just good advice for anyone. My children ask for it now since they've started sleeping with me. This week was full of way more breakdowns and breakthroughs than I expected. I washed clothes. The only thing of his in it was a pair of underwear. I cried some more realizing I would never be washing his clothes again. My laundry is cut in half and I'm sad about it. How does that happen? haha. 

So, about the interesting "roommate" conversation with my son this week. He told me I needed to get a "guy roommate". My immediate response was, "There is no way I'm ready for a boyfriend!" He told me that he didn't mean a boyfriend, he literally meant a male roommate because he didn't want me doing everything and having to do things alone. "Mom, you need somebody to help. And maybe watch grown up movies with you. I can't because I'm not old enough but you need somebody to." First of all, excuse me child? You're 11. Stop being 30. Second of all, I know he's right and the thought hurts me to my soul. I can't be alone forever. It doesn't even make sense. The issue is I cannot imagine moving on with another person. Honestly, just the thought makes me physically hurt. 

I spoke with a lady that lives close who lost her husband in an accident a while back. Her call just gave me a peace I didn't know I needed. She could tell me what I felt without me having to say it. It's amazing how complete strangers just get it. The kids went to church and one of my K9 guys offered to drive me to the pet store an hour away so I didn't have to deal  with people stopping me every 5 minutes to talk. We had dinner (as friends obviously but you know how people are so I'm clarifying) and laughed and I managed not to feel guilty. I don't know how. I even straightened my hair. First time it had been brushed in over a week. 

The kids and I also spent our first night alone this week. My Facebook post on that was this: "The kids and I are spending our first night alone, accompanied only by a lot of firepower. Lol. We're all in bed watching a cartoon that we watched with Dad not too long ago. We miss T.J. so much but it helps to talk and laugh about him. None of us think he was perfect but we even miss the bad things (like when he was grumpy according to Bacon - haha) bc they were part of who he was. 10 days ago I thought I wouldn't make it another day, yet here I am making it. We all are. He always had a way of making us happy even when things were awful. It's a quality not everyone has. I can't imagine ever loving another person like I love him. He's the person in my life I would literally give my own life for, except he gave his for us instead. We have so many good memories but the last 6 months when he cut out all his extra stuff and was at home all the time are the best memories I'll ever have. Our entire family dynamic changed. I truly believe God knew this was coming and made sure we were able to have a ton of amazing memories before he took him. I will be forever grateful for that instead of being angry he took him and it helps me sleep peacefully and not be bitter. We will see him again one day and hopefully I get to tell him about our next 50 years as a family."

I did go to a Memorial Luncheon thrown by another fallen officer's family this week. We lost him almost 2 years ago. It's really the only thing I've gone to and I only went because of who was throwing it. I knew it would do them good to  see me and I hoped it would do me some good to see them. I was right. It really did. It was the day after I had a very profound experience and I was so at peace during the entire thing. I realize people will wonder what the experience was so I will tell you. Believe it or not. Doesn't matter to me. I was having a hard time falling asleep for the first time. I'm so exhausted by the time we get to bed I've been passing out quickly, but for some reason I couldn't. I sleep with his shirt and somehow when I rolled over it came out of my hand. I reached over and grabbed it and when I did I felt his entire body weight cuddle me. I've imagined him laying there. This was not that. This felt REAL. Like he was right there. I saw his face as clear as if he was sitting in front of me and he said, "Wife, just go to sleep." I was asleep within 10 seconds. I have never felt anything like it before and haven't since but I hope I do. It was amazing. I've had a peace ever since that I didn't even know I was missing.

I have had so many conflicting feelings this week. A ton of laughs. A few breakdowns. A cryfest here and there. Experiences I didn't even know could happen. A couple of "normal" evenings. One day at a time. As always, it is what it is.

If you would like to read more posts,  please click below.

Week 1
Week 3

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Week 1: The Beginning

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It has been one week since my LEO was killed in the line of duty. I have so many mixed emotions. I want to keep up with this journey so I can see how much things change and I grow. I know there are going to be okay days and days where I melt into a puddle on my floor. So far there's been a nice mix of days, but mostly they've been busy. Now it's time to settle into the long haul. This is not about attention, I don't even care if people read it to be honest. It makes me feel better to write it. Get it all out without depressing everyone on Facebook. And maybe, just maybe, it'll help someone else one day because as bad as I don't want it to, this will happen to someone else.
Some things about my husband: K9, SWAT, Special Investigations (specifically Narcotics), headed to Instructor Training this summer to eventually open a K9 Training Center. Took kids to school everyday, put them to bed every night, ate dinner at the table with them. Made me laugh, annoyed me, left his clothes wherever he took them off, took a bath with me every night, learned to do acrylic nails so I could have them done since I wouldn't take time away from him to go. Great guy. Selfless in the truest sense of the word.

Some things about our relationship: It was not perfect. We have been through some things I'd rather forget. We also have memories I wouldn't trade for the world. I can say with 100% certainty I would've rather had the exact same 7 1/2 years with him than 50 with someone else. No questions asked. People say we had a fairy tale romance due to the circumstances that brought us together and because we only knew each other for two months before we got married. We had a fairy tale love but not a fairy tale romance. There is a difference. Either way, it was real. Every single second. I have no regrets and that makes it easier. We loved each other so much and my mind is peaceful. No "what ifs". Just peace knowing he's better and I'll see him again.

Today is the first day I've been pretty much alone. I got my son up and had him clean his room. I didn't want to make him. I set up his first counseling appointment. Setting up appointments for him because his father was murdered is not something I ever thought I would have to do. My daughter has been spending a lot of time with my MIL because it's therapeutic for them both and my son needs alone time with me.

We're trying to get back to normal but we cannot get back to normal because our normal is gone. Now we're trying to figure out what our new normal is. I think that's the hardest thing. I took a bath while he started on his room. I realized I hadn't had one since Sunday. It's Thursday. It hasn't even crossed my mind. When I did get in the bath, I started to shave and thought, "Why am I shaving? It doesn't even matter." I almost felt like I was betraying him. Like the only reason I shave is for him. I shaved long before I met him, but it didn't matter. I thought about putting on make up so I didn't look dead and it felt like I was trying to impress someone. It's almost like I'm afraid if another man notices me I'm betraying him. Men have noticed me plenty of times while he was with me. How could it be a betrayal? I don't know, but it feels like one. We wound up not even leaving the house.

I need to clean my bathroom but I can't figure out when I'll be able to get his dirty clothes out of the floor. It's almost like if I remove them I'm removing him and his memory. I sleep with his shirt every night. It's comforting. I'm not in shock or denial. It just makes me feel better to be reminded of him. I had to mark myself as "widowed" on more than one piece of paperwork today. It was horrible.

He was so pretty. I got messages like these all day every day. I think I miss that the most.

We're watching Star Wars now and just talking about him and how much he loved this movie too. A stack of movies he never got to watch is still here. He was just the best. He really was. My old post about loving a LEO has had 28K+ views. It talks about how it's not glamorous. This is the epitome of that. No glamour to it. This is real life. He's really gone. He's really never coming back. I'll really never hear that velcro again. Don't make this life glamorous. Don't ever be that stupid.

There have been things happen during this time I would've never expected. Petty things. Things that would normally never be a second thought in my head but now they just make me furious. People posting numerous things about my husband but didn't take 5 minutes out of their partying to stop by or even call. We could obviously see how upset those people were. The ones not around post the most because they need the most attention. People who can't even tag him in a status because they were blocked from his pages but are all of a sudden his best friend. Seriously? People here didn't need attention. We know how upset they were because we were here to see it. People inserting themselves in the situation when they haven't cared about seeing or speaking to him in years but are all of a sudden so distraught over him being gone. I just want to scream "STOP!!! This is my LIFE. Every. Single. Day. I miss him. My whole life as I knew it was over and you had a nice party day this weekend." I haven't because I'm afraid if I let myself get angry I won't ever stop. There have been numerous people post and say things that don't see him that don't bother me because they're not trying to pretend they were super close or best friends or that they've been here for us. I know this probably sounds petty but it's amazing the things that bother you when it becomes about your murdered husband. At this point I guess I don't care who gets mad. I try to keep it to myself but if they run across this, oh well.

Either way, Week 1 is down and over. We survived and we'll survive the next week too unless it's our time to go. Life goes on. It may not be easy, but it is what it is.

If you would like to read more posts, please click below.

Week 2
Week 3