Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

March 1995 - Matt and I had been married 6 months at that time. He had the day off from school so he offered to take me to lunch. I figured we would go to a diner close to where I worked so I was surprised when instead he brought me a homemade salad with homemade ranch dressing to eat in his pickup as we drove south of town. He took me to an animal shelter where he had discovered a barn cat had been brought in with her 6 week old kittens. The shelter employees had named the kittens and Matt had already picked out the orange one named "Pumpkin Pie" because his fur reminded him of my hair (which is red or strawberry blond technically, but the sentiment is what counts). We hadn't even discussed getting a cat but we got one that day.

A couple of weeks later, Matt was searching the classifieds. He found a breeder with 8 week old salt and pepper colored Schnauzer puppies ready for new homes. So of course, we went to check them out. And now we had "Dollar," a silver colored Schnauzer puppy named after John Wayne's horse to go along with our "Pumpkin Pie." Since they were exactly the same age, they grew up as brothers and at times it seemed Pumpkin believed he was a dog and Dollar thought he was a cat. A year and a half later, we would adopt "Moose" the Rottweiler who was named after Daryl "Moose" Johnston, the Dallas Cowboys fullback.

My Moose passed away in 2005 at the age of 10. Matt's Dollar passed away in 2006 at the age of 11. By 2006, we had added four children to our family but had lost both of our dogs. Pumpkin was all we had left and we discussed how long he might have. Many cats live to be 15-20 years old but the loss of his brother, Dollar, was a sad time for Pumpkin so we wondered how long he had left. He did begin to age and slow down with time and the topic often came up for discussion. "Why do you buy the big bags of food for Pumpkin? What if something happens to him and we have all this food leftover?" Matt would ask. I would reply, "Well, it is cheaper to buy one big bag each month rather than a small bag 2-3 times a month." I did eventually start buying smaller bags but only because it became cheaper that way with the coupons from the Sunday paper. Still, Matt worried about the day we had to tell the kids that Pumpkin had died.

Pumpkin turned 16 years old last month.
Last week marked the 3 year anniversary, or "sadiversary," of Matt's unexpected death.
Yesterday, 2/9/2011, Pumpkin Pie died at the vet's office.
Today, I have to tell the kids. By myself.
Something is seriously wrong with that.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm not over it, and never will be.

I recently answered a question from a fellow widow on Facebook. Her page provides widows the opportunity to share with each other, fellow widows on the detour of life we never planned for when we married the loves of our lives. She regularly poses questions to start a conversation and to help us all share how we interpret things and how we have handled things along our widow journey.

This particular question really got to me because I know there are people in my life who think that almost 3 yrs after Matt's unexpected death, I should most definitely be over it by now. In particular are those who believe that because of my lifelong Christian faith and more importantly, my husband's career as a Lutheran pastor and my role as the pastor's wife, that I should be just fine and dandy with his death. Yes, I know Matt is in a much better place and I whole-heartedly believe that God took Matt when he did to save him from the Devil himself and the roadblocks that pesky demon was placing in his, and our, life. I truly believe that Matt's career and soul were in danger thanks to the people Satan embodied in our lives in order to take Matt down and our family with it. BUT, that doesn't change the fact that Matt died at 38 and I was left with 4 kids who ranged from 1 1/2 yrs to just barely 9 yrs old at that time to raise on my own. Almost 3 yrs later, I am still struggling to make sense of it all and come to terms with why it had to happen at all.

So no, I am not "over" Matt's death and I can't guarantee that I will ever be over it. He was a part of me and he took a part of me with him when left this earth. A whole person was here on a Monday night, excited for the first time in a long time about the future, and early on Tuesday morning, he was dead in our bed. No warning whatsoever. He received peace, I didn't. There is a hole in my heart and soul that will never completely grow back. He was a part of me and a part of me is now gone, at least here on Earth. So to those who don't understand, I hope you have long lives and marriages and can die peacefully at a ripe old age with the love of your life next to you at the exact same time and never have to understand my life and the loss, pain and suffering I have endured. And yes, I do still believe in God and I do take great comfort in knowing that Matt was spared from some horrible suffering here on Earth. He has peace and no longer hurts and I am happy for that. The kids and I have moved on and still have had to suffer, and continue to suffer, the roadblocks, some of which just won't go away. I believe that Matt wouldn't have survived this Earthly torture. He is safe. God made sure of it.

That said, I don't go to church and I am okay with that for now. I still believe and I do hope to one day find a church home that accepts me for who I am and not who they want or expect me to be. God is okay with me as is, doubts, struggles, imperfections and all, so why can't they? Why did a fellow Lutheran/Christian once try to convince me that I should just move on as if losing my husband was no big deal? As if my husband's career and my role as his wife allowed me to skip the whole sense of loss and the whole grief process, which in their opinion should have only taken a few weeks at most I am sure. I don't know the answer. .... Yes, I do know the answer. They don't get it and I hope they never will have to understand because they had to endure this loss too. I just want the "others", those just don't get it, to accept me for who I am, including the fact that I still question why and still feel a major loss, just like I have been violated and robbed of what is mine. If we don't question our faith and belief every so often, won't it just be ordinary and nothing special. I am not perfect. God knows that and he still loves me, this I know.

So back to Facebook. These are all thoughts I have been meaning to get on "paper" for some time now, but this question sparked a desire for me to get at least some of it out.
The question: "The only way out is through." Is this really true or is it one of the "new grief myths?"
My answer: Just because you get through doesn't mean you recover. Yes there are stages of grief but you don't go thru them and move on. They are a part of your life now, most likely forever, sometimes every day, sometimes out of the blue, sometimes all at once, never in order. In the beginning, they are harsh but as time passes, they lessen in intensity but are always there. The only way out IS thru it. You can't just decide not to grieve or to just get over it and move on as if nothing happened/changed. You have to go thru the whole process and not deny anything. You can't hide or live in denial. The reason widows get each other is because we have all been thru it; others, the "non-informed," haven't gone thru it and can never truly understand. Even the trained counselors and religious ministers cannot truly help you unless they too truly get it by going thru it. "Out" is the word that tricks others up. Just because you go thru the process doesn't mean you are out as in over but you are out because you went thru it and have learned how to incorporate this drastic change into your new, unwanted/unexpected life. It's permanent and never truly over. YES, the only way "out" is thru it!!!

Just wanted to share with you today.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Life's Highway

Sun is up, time's at hand
There's a stir upon the land
And so begins another day
On life's highway.

On city streets, down country roads
Like a stream the people flow
There's bread to win and tolls to pay
On life's highway

There is hope with every turn
A bridge to build, a bridge to burn
Here's hopin' you never go astray
On life's highway.

We are young, then we're old
Passin' through then passin' on
Like the roses bloom and fade
On life's highway.

Step by step, round and round
Never knowing where we're bound
From the cradle to the grave
On life's highway.

Sun is up, time's at hand
There's a stir upon the land
And so begins another day
On life's highway...

--Steve Wariner "Life's Highway"

When I was trying to think of a name for my blog, this song came to mind. I have always liked it but I hadn't thought of it, or heard it, for years. But the title seem to fit. My highway in life has definitely taken me many places and provided me with adventures and detours. Unfotunately, the road map that I laid out for the future, our future was suddenly useless when the highway stopped suddenly and abruptly in a dead end and I was forced to find my way to a new one that hasn't even been mapped out yet. I wasn't given the map for this highway and now find myself creating the map as I go. It is not fun, smooth or easy. Wish there was an expressway, or just a map that told me what direction to go.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

August 20, 1994 - August 20, 2010

there, where they

used to be

is a thin line,

dug deep into my

skin, one that only

i can see.

a reminder that

they're still there

even if

they're not where

they used to be.

that line will not

be there forever.

but the mark

they left on me

will remain until

i breathe no longer.
by matt logelin

Monday, March 1, 2010

Missing You...

I miss him on Mondays. I last saw him on a Monday night when he came home from a meeting at church just as I was headed to bed to watch CSI:Miami. He needed to type up a quiz for his students before coming to bed. I don't watch CSI:Miami anymore.

I miss him on Tuesdays. He died on a Tuesday. It was raining and cold and the paramedics were worried about tracking mud on the carpet. That's all I have to say about that.

I miss him on Wednesdays. He had prayer group on Wednesday nights and there was usually a good chance he would be home earlier than other nights of the week, usually to watch The West Wing with me. The West Wing isn't on the air anymore but I think of him everytime I catch a rerun on Bravo.

I miss him on Thursdays. I would be folding laundry and ironing his pants and shirts when he got home from worship team practice. I don't have to iron anymore and there are far fewer socks to fold.

I miss him on Fridays. Fridays used to be his day off and we would spend the day together. The church took more and more of his time and he stopped taking his day off but we used to have fun just doing the mundane together like grocery shopping, laundry, exploring the city. I do everything by myself now and it is truly mundane.

I miss him on Saturdays. He loved to cook on the grill, even in the winter. He cooked great steaks and chicken and ribs. And he made wonderful fried chicken. And sometimes he would surprise me and we would go out for breakfast on Saturday mornings, usually IHOP. I haven't been to IHOP in so long.

I miss him on Sundays too. He used to get soo excited about leading and preaching. Until the leading and preaching became a job and not a joy. It was work that he loved until others stole his love and killed his spirit. They robbed me of his smile. I don't go to church anymore.

I miss him every day that ends in "y".

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

TGIS!!!! (Thank God It's Schooltime!!!!)

We have been back in school for a week and a half now. Alexander is in 5th grade and takes a bus to and from school. Rebekah is in 2nd grade at the new school that opened this year just down the street from us. Elijah is in the afternoon Head Start program at yet a different school and is loving it. We have even had two back to school nights already with just one more to go.

Emma seems to not mind having her brothers and sister gone during the day. I am slowly trying to bring some order back to the house and we are settling, slowly, into a routine. We are back to inline hockey practice on Tuesday nights with two games each Saturday. Ice hockey will start in about a month. And there are other events coming up-the Tri State Fair parade and the Fair itself. Homecoming at WTAMU next month (another parade to attend!). Oh yeah, the NFL season kicks off in just one more week. Hopefully, this will be the Dallas Cowboys' year, especially now that they have a cool, new stadium to play in. This weekend, we will be going to the Boys Ranch Rodeo.

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. While most people, especially my husband Matt, would get spring fever, I usually got autumn fever, usually in August. This year, I just haven't gotten it though. Not sure why. I hope once we get past Labor Day weekend and NFL games start and the Rangers try to make the baseball playoffs, well maybe the feeling will hit me. I guess it is just still hard to get used to the changes in my life even though we have been back in Texas for a year now. Or maybe it is a sign of my age. Turning 40 in just a couple of months does come to mind.

Another school year, changing seasons, getting older...sometimes this stretch of the highway is going by too fast.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

15 years ago

I cross my heart
And promise to
Give all I got to give
To make all your dreams come true.
In all the world
You'll never find
A love as true as mine.
--Saturday, August 20, 1994