Monday, February 20, 2017

Even When It Hurts

I have to believe Curtis would want me to keep praising, even when the grief is so overwhelming, I can hardly breathe. At times, I feel like I don't know what I believe. I have tried so hard to turn to my faith, but I am finding it more and more difficult. None of this makes sense. It doesn't make sense in my mind or my heart. So, I listen to this song. A song we listened to when he was alive. I would turn it on when something would happen and I was hurting. Honestly, it was usually after a fight or after something happened in our lives that felt impossible. I would blast it in the car or in the living room and sing it at the top of my lungs and at the time, I would raise my hands and praise God with all my heart, knowing He would bring us through whatever fire we were walking through. Curtis would sit there or stand there with me and just watch, feeling what I was feeling, but he wasn't the type to sing at the top of his lungs or raise his hands. Then, at the end of the song, there would be a moment of relief. It was never awkward or weird, just a single moment of silence. Curtis was amazing like that. Then, he would always say he loved me. He would wait for a moment and inevitably, he would say he didn't care for that one line in the song...the "hurts like hell" line, but he understood the sentiment.

Ironically, that is the line that speaks to me the most right now (sorry, Mom and Dad). This pain is so great, I can only equate it to something as great as living in hell. My life right now is a living nightmare. In the end, I imagine that Curtis would want me to continue singing God's praises and keep my eyes focused on Him. This is the hardest thing I have ever done. When I sing it right now, I feel alone. When I would sing it before, I felt like I knew God would bring us through the fire, but I don't have the confidence now. My faith has been shaken and when I cry out to God, I feel He doesn't answer.

The hardest thing one can do is sing God's praises, even when it hurts. I'm not sure I can do it anymore. I don't have the words, I don't have the strength. I am alone. I don't know that I have the faith. I desperately want to be that strong person who turned toward her faith and made it through, but I don't think I can make it through this.

But I will still play this song. I will still sing it. I will still raise my hands and I will still hope for my faith to return. I will still hope to live through this and if I don't, I will still hope to be accepted into the Father's arms.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Coming Home

I traveled this week for the first time since Curtis passed. It was an excruciating week. Tonight, I will go home and it will be the first time I will not send him my itinerary. We will not see each other. He will not be waiting at my house and we will not pick up my girls. We will not have dinner together and we will not play on the PS4 later. It will not be a normal Friday night. We will not tuck in the girls. He will not go down to the living room and wait for me while I sing them the normal lullaby. I won't walk into the living room and hear him say, "I love hearing you sing to them." We will not sit on the couch and watch TV. He will not run his fingers through my hair. We will not stay up too late and whisper, as to not wake up the girls upstairs. I will not walk him to the door and he will not kiss me goodnight.

That part of my life is over. It is a mere memory. Years of Friday nights exist only in my dreams now.

I just want one more moment. One moment to tell him goodbye. To make sure he knows I love him. To kiss him one last time. To hold his warm hand in mine and make sure he knows I will be okay.

But I don't know if I will be okay without him. I don't know if I can take another step forward. For three weeks, I have put one foot in front of another and my broken heart has trudged through the muck of every day. The finality of his death is setting in and I am just left with this emptiness. This horrible sense of loss and grief. I don't know how to look forward and I don't want to. Not yet. I want to go back to January 25th. To when I could change things.

So, I sit here, on the plane from Cincinnati to Dallas, and try to hide my tears because I dread walking into my house. It will be cold and dark and there will be no Curtis. That house will never be the same to me. The home I was starting to build there will never truly feel like home. That house feels empty. My heart feels empty. I know now no one will ever love me the way he did. I was so blessed to have him. He was a gift. A gift I will treasure in my memory forever. However long my forever lasts.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My Girl

Simply put, I feel completely broken. I feel empty and no matter how hard I try to fill up my life with scripture, prayer, my kids, my friends, work, etc., I still have this gaping hole in my heart. I can't see how to move forward without him. I went back to traveling this week. He was my "home base" when I traveled. He was the one I would call to tell I was safely where I needed to be. He and I talked and texted literally 10+ times a day. We talked in the morning and at night. I had to break that routine on this trip. I got off the plane and actually went to call him and realized what a fool I was. His family actually turned off his phone two days after he passed, so I couldn't call his phone, even if I wanted to. I went to work today and with every text received, my heart skipped a beat. I kept thinking it would be him. Of course, again, I was a fool. It will never be him texting or calling again.

I had an anxiety attack in the airport yesterday. I pulled myself together in the restroom. I made it through the longest day today at work and then broke down in the car after work. I am not sleeping still. The depth of the grief and the physical pain I feel in my chest is unbearable. I can't fathom how his girls feel, if I am feeling this way. I want to take their pain away and know I can't. This is impossible for everyone.

There are not words in the English language to accurately describe how much I miss him. A piece of me died with him and it will never be recovered. I will never, ever be the same person I was three weeks ago.

I would give anything to hear his voice again. To hear him answer my phone call with a simple, "Hi." Anything for a few sentences or a simple goodbye and I love you.  

His ringtone for me was My Girl. He was so funny about it and so proud of it in so many ways. I used to tease him about it and, admittedly, roll my eyes. He used to tell me he chose My Girl because it perfectly described how he felt. The man knew how to love me.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Unimaginable Loss

It's been more than a year since I have blogged. I don't even know where to begin. I am generally very vague in my writing, but I won't be from here on out. My emotions right now are very raw and so this will probably be pretty raw and for that, I am sorry. I suppose this will serve as some sort of therapy for me in the coming months, as I process all that has happened. So, here is the story.

Curtis has died. The man I envisioned spending the next 50 years with has passed away. My best friend. The man I love. I sit here staring at those words and can't accept it - two weeks later. The world continues to spin around me and my world has stopped. Perhaps he is on a trip or just can't get to the phone. I can hardly sleep. I hate falling asleep because every time I wake up, for a split second, I think this is all a dream and I think I can call him and things are right with the world again. That's just it. Things are NOT right with the world. I can't call him. I will never hear his voice again. I will never feel his touch again. He's gone.

To preface what happened (and this is all knowledge Curtis made public), Curtis had been going through some health issues related to a concussion he suffered in November. He never really recovered from it fully. We knew he still had some swelling in his brain and he had some complications the Monday preceding his death. We were all extremely concerned. I think he was frustrated and struggled to find relief from the ongoing complications and pain he was experiencing.

He died on a Thursday. Thursday, January 26th, to be exact. That morning, I had a hard time with getting my daughter to school. It was our normal routine to talk to each other every morning. That generally consisted of him telling me it was going to be okay and me telling him we would find a way to get him relief from the pain he was feeling. I tried calling, but he didn't answer. I thought it was strange. My gut told me to go over to his house and check on him. I had a moment to make a decision - turn right to go to his house or go straight on the street to mine. I felt strongly to go to his house, but I just didn't. I don't know why. That is a decision I will forever regret. I feel he was still alive then, just sleeping, with his phone turned off. Had I just gone over, I would have woken him up. This would have not happened.

I tried calling several times that morning between 7:30 am (my first call) and 11:00 am. I had to work at 9:00 am, so it wasn't possible for me to go over after that time. I finally got really worried and texted his mom just after 11:00 am to check on him. She didn't receive my text, but I believe had checked on him of her own accord around 10:30 am. Although she didn't touch him, he appeared to be asleep.

My day went on, but I still attempted to call. At 3:00 pm, I went to the doctor. At 3:07 pm, his mother tried to call me, but my phone was silent and I didn't see the call. Apparently, she had just checked on Curtis in his room and found he had passed away. About 30 seconds after his mother called me, his brother sent me a text to call immediately. I knew. I knew before I called back that Curtis was gone. As soon as I received the text message, I immediately left in the middle of my appointment and called his brother. My life changed forever. I frantically drove from downtown Fort Worth to Curtis' house. I was on the phone with PB the whole time, I think. I was frantic. I was scream-crying. I don't remember what I said. I don't remember driving. I wanted to get there and it be some sort of horrible joke. It wasn't.

His mother and brother were there when I arrived. There were two police officers. More family started to arrive. Everything happened so fast. My mind was racing. So many thoughts. So much to take care of. He and I had talked about our funerals, but this was too soon. All too soon. We are supposed to be old and gray. I knew his family was taking care of his daughters, but I love his daughters like my own and my thoughts immediately turned toward them. His youngest - she needed to get there from Dallas. Who was picking her up? His middle daughter - she's in the Navy. We need to get the ball rolling to get her there. His oldest - she's in college and driving up by herself. Dear Lord, let them all be safe. Then, there's my daughters. How on earth will I tell them? Curtis was not just a friend to them. He was like a stepfather to them. They are so young. They are so close to him. How do I protect their hearts from this? I can't. Then, there is everyone else. His mother and father, brother, sister, niece, nephews, everyone. So much grief.

Then, there's me. In that moment, standing in the middle of the house, I knew a piece of me had died with Curtis. To say my heart was shattered is an understatement. I felt a sense of loss so great, it was and is unbearable. I feel, in many ways, the same today (two weeks later) as I did the moment I was told he had passed away.

In the weeks following his death, his family has treated me like family, which is what I think he would have wanted. We have grieved together and they have graciously allowed me to participate in the planning of events surrounding his funeral and burial. I think this has greatly helped my grieving process. For today, I am hurting in the worst way. This grief is a pain I had never imagined possible. These last 14 days have been the absolute worst of my entire life. Lord, come quickly.

There is so much I want to say. More I want to say about my kids and their processing of the news. More I want to say about how I feel. I will conclude here for now. I am adding a picture of Curtis and me on a Sunday afternoon date in Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth. This was in the summer of 2016. We had eaten brunch right after 9:00 am service at the Cheesecake Factory. He had his favorite dish there - Crab Hash. We then went and played Pokemon Go (because we are nerds). This was a great day and full of memories I will cherish forever.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Keep Breathing

It's like Dory when she just has to keep swimming, only I need to keep breathing. In. Out.

I keep telling myself life circumstances change. Sometimes they change slowly and sometimes, in the blink of an eye, life is dramatically different. I am working on my level of patience. I am trying to not pray for change because sometimes change can come in the most heart-wrenching ways and frankly, I don't know if I am ready for another heart-wrenching change. I am working on being grateful for where I am today. Waking up and being grateful for God's grace. Thank you, Lord, for your continued grace on a sinner like me. I fail you every day, no matter how hard I try. Thank you, Lord, for your forgiveness and mercy.

So, I am just trying to keep breathing. Breathing at a steady pace, while the world rushes around me. Just breathing and exhaling tiny prayers in my moments of loneliness. It will not always be this way and I know that is true.

Keep Breathing - Ingrid Michaelson

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Valley of the Shadow of Death

I am praying for a friend right now who posted on Facebook recently he is "deep in the valley of the shadow of death." He is going through a time in which I am all too familiar and my heart breaks for him. I find myself on the other side of the table in these conversations now and it is difficult. Oh, how I wish I could do or say the right thing. I wish I could help in some way. The only thing I know to do is pray and just be a friend. 

There are other reasons it is difficult. It is difficult because I still feel my battle is being waged in my heart - like I am incomplete. Most of that is my fault. You see, I didn't handle all of this quite right. I didn't put ALL of my trust in God when my marriage fell to dust. My faith was shaken to the core and I can see that now. I depended on myself too much and Jesus too little. It would have always been a rocky path, but it could have been one with less heartache. I have spent too much time in the last five years worried about my plans, rather than waiting for what God has planned for me. I've been worried about how I will work things out. Worried about life in general. I've spent too much time worrying to realize God has this under control and I need to lean on Him. 

Sixpence None the Richer released a song (a long time ago) called Trust, which was taken from Proverbs 3:5. It has always spoken to me and I hope it speaks to you, too.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Divorce Sucks

I have written about 15 different blog entries since my last post and I felt none of them were good enough to post. So, all I have to say is divorce sucks. Yeah, my mom wouldn't be totally proud of me saying the word sucks but oh well. I know my former husband may read this, but that's okay. I'm sure I am not saying anything he doesn't know.

It is hard to watch your former husband marry someone else. It is hard to watch them have children with someone else. Hard is not an accurate description. It is excruciating. In the last four years, I have watched my former husband marry someone else and have children with her. It is the most painful thing I have ever been through, In some ways, more painful than the divorce. I have questioned myself constantly. It has shaken my self-confidence and my faith in God.

So, here is my advice for married couples, especially those who are about to throw in the towel. Don't give up. Ever. FIGHT FOR YOUR MARRIAGE! I felt like I fought so hard. I did fight for my marriage, but my former husband "didn't love me anymore." At the time, I was in total and complete despair. I didn't know what to do, so I did what I thought he wanted and what I thought was best for my kids. I prayed and prayed for God to heal our marriage and I felt like He was never answering. Maybe He was. Maybe He was just telling me to hang on and my former husband I would eventually work things out.

If this is you, push back against the feeling of despair. Do things that make you remember why you fell in love. Do things TOGETHER. In this stage, it is so easy to lead separate lives. Enjoy things you love TOGETHER. Go out with other couples TOGETHER. Be deliberate about spending time with each other.

Bottom line...hold on. God will help you, just be patient.