Steer Where You Stare

Just like that, another month has gone by. I haven’t quite nailed down this whole single parent thing and allowing myself “me time”. I think at this point, I would spend it sleeping because that seems to be the quickest way to forget about everything.  In the past month, we had our headstones placed and gave away 2 scholarships in Josh’s name.

 

It’s been a busy month!  I confirmed my pregnancy with an ultrasound and Baby #2 should make their grand appearance in January 2019! It’s pretty crazy to think I have another piece of Josh growing inside of me. I remember going back and forth on whether or not it was a decision I wanted to make. Now, there’s no turning back! I don’t regret it at all but there is a certain amount of fear with it too.

Memorial day was really tough for me. Not just because of those lost on my deployment over seas but in general. We had gone camping to our usual spot and even the same site. It’s tough to do those things without Josh. We all know we can’t stop living just because he’s gone but in the same breath it’s so painful when we can’t help but think “you should be here”.  It’s hard to push forward when the memory of Josh is always tinged with sadness on account of such a great loss. Maybe one day I will be able to separate the hurt from his memory but currently, it still stings. Having Amelia is amazing but dammit she looks like her daddy and he should be here to watch her grow.

 

There were so many days this past month, I knew I should write, but my mind was far too tired. Sad excuse when I claim to “blog” but grief is exhausting.

I feel as though I am watching myself drown and kicking my hardest to come up for just one more breath. The constant battle against the current is a struggle. One second you’re floating in peace, the next moment you feel your heart sinking and it takes your whole body with it. Some waves are small and easy to swim through, some days the waves overtake me. As with any grief, there will good days, and there will be bad days.

I’ve been able to get out more and sing and different events which makes me feel alive again! Most recently, I sang the Anthem at a fundraiser event for Backing the Blue Line. They are a non-profit run by police wives to support all law enforcement in the state of Minnesota. Wonderful uplifting women that I have the honor of being apart of! They asked me to sing this year and I obliged. It was a wonderful event where we raise over half of what it takes to run our organization in ONE night!! I didn’t even have to beg for a slow dance…in fact, he asked me twice….or more or less just said “lets go”….

I’m in a relationship now that is different for me as well.  It’s a good different but there is a fear of getting too close. I fear getting too close because the last time I fell in love with someone, God took him away.  Thankfully for Amelia and I, he is understanding of that fear and reassures me when we take it day by day. There’s a familiarity in the lifestyle as far as work goes too. It makes it a bit easier to work on myself while still knowing I have a safety net to fall into on those days we do get to see each other.  He is good and only time will tell where it takes us.  Neither of us were looking when he casually set his beer at my table…..

The pregnancy is going well! I am constantly tired from this little bean too! I could probably sleep through my entire first trimester to feel great! Some nausea in the morning that subsides with food. Unfortunately, nothing sounds good to me anymore as far as food goes so its a good thing they make pre-natal vitamins to make up for the lack of nutrients in my food choices.

As you can tell from the many different happenings, its been a road of ups and downs as per usual. However, even when the storm clouds threaten to dampen my sunshine, I continue to steer where I stare to lead me in a direction of happiness. Happiness is hard to come by when you grieve but I know it’s what I deserve. So I will continue to stare into the future, making plans and seeking happiness all while allowing God to show me what crazy new plan He has for me.  Every storm runs out of rain and the sun will shine again.

 

 

9 months…

A week ago marked nine months since Josh has been gone. It’s hard to believe how much closer we are to that year mark. Everyday it gets a little more unimaginable both in the aspect that he has been gone, and that we’ve managed to move forward without him.

It’s definitely not an easy task to grieve and seek happiness all in the same breath but I have been blessed with the best support a woman could possibly wish for.

It’s taken a lot of learning, a lot of growth , and a lot of resilience to get where I am at this point.

I can honestly say that I’m in a better place than I was.

It was crazy to think that it was 9 months ago and in 9 months from now, I will have a baby who, I can only presume, will also look like Josh.  Amelia looks like daddy so I assume the next one will too.

Yes, thats right, IVF worked the first time around and I am now pregnant! This is both exciting and terrifying.  I often wonder what the child will think knowing they were conceived after daddy died. I wonder if they will feel the loss we feel or if they will feel like they don’t belong? I think these are normal feelings for any parent, not just ones like me.  Ones like me who raise their kids alone in the hopes of finding some extraordinary partner to love them as their own.

I’ve been told it’s the ultimate labor of love. This child is being conceived based off the love I have for Josh. Maybe that is what I will tell them because it’s true. I am not having another baby because I feel obligated to or because it makes me feel closer to Josh. I’m having another baby because we always wanted more than one and what better way to show my love than to follow through on the things I can.  I will never stop loving Josh and I am aware my heart is big enough to love more.

Amelia is beginning to say she misses daddy now too… a day I knew would come and it’s heartbreaking every time. I was in tears when I explained it to my friend and then she looked at it from a different light… she said, “You know you’re doing it right if she misses him. You’re keeping his love and his memory alive enough for her to miss him.”

She’s right. I am doing everything I can to ensure she doesn’t forget her daddy in heaven.

We’ve also kept Josh’s memory alive by making scholarships in his honor. Yesterday I was able to call two recipients who won! I did not expect to get as emotional as I did.  Huge thanks to Operation Thank an Officer for funding the first place scholarship! We, as a family, decided to fund a second place scholarship because we were so impressed with the applicant. This will be an annual scholarship available to High School Graduates who have reached the rank of Eagle Scout and are going into a service related field in college.

What an honor it will be to present these young men with a scholarship in memory of a man who gave us everything he had.

I have found that through grief, the greatest feeling is giving back. Be it, time, money, or effort. I always strive to be better than I was the day before and choose to give back because in the end, it’s not what you take with you, but what you leave behind.

I thank Josh everyday for leaving with me values, hope and love. Love in the form of a tiny human who is so incredibly brave, smart, and loving. I love Amelia to pieces and I am so excited to see her rock the big sister role!

We also celebrated Steve and Cheryl’s 42nd Wedding Anniversary on May 1st! What a remarkable couple! I have always admired them from the beginning and I continue to be astounded at their love for one another and all of us! We share the same loss, we share the same hopes but best of all, we share the same love! They created such beautiful children and  I was honored to be married to Josh. I am even more blessed that they have kept me because I know I can’t always be easy! None the less, they move forward alongside us with a strength and passion I’ve never seen before! Happy Anniversary you two! Thanks for showing us what love is and can endure!

I choose love, truth and action as I move forward in this life. Love for all the things and people I have been blessed with, actions that show my love, and a never-ending truth of how this has and continues to affect my life. Let there be light and let there be hope. Without a solid foundation, I have no firm beginning.

 “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:18