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Almost Two Months in...

Updated: Jan 19

There is so much I want to tell you. I wonder if you can see Dante’s excitement about preschool. His teacher says he’s very quiet but he seems to be slowly warming up. I wish I could be a fly on the wall in that classroom – but I bet you have the best view of all. Dommy turned two this month and we had so much fun but the void was evident.

Dante is trying to figure this all out. Their innocence is both a blessing and a curse. I know it’s impossible for their little brains to process any of it. It’s bittersweet that a life without you is normalizing for them.

I am who I am because of you. I’m told all the time how strong I am. The truth is that my strength comes from having no other choice but to face what's thrown at me, but even more so, it comes from you.

So now I’m almost two months into this widow-thing and here’s what I’ve learned so far: I’ve learned how to uninstall and reinstall car seats – which sounds pretty lame but it was just naturally always a you job.

I’ve learned that if I go into a situation with confidence, the boys respond better. For example, I weaned Dominic all by myself which felt like a huge accomplishment considering I had the luxury of just passing Dante off to you the first time around.

I’ve learned about headstones and land rights and can use cemetery language like it’s part of my day job.

I’ve learned that I can’t plan for everything but can only prepare and I’ve learned the importance of a good life insurance policy at any age. I’ve learned that you were 10000% yourself everywhere you went. Hearing your co-workers and college friends talk about you solidified what I already knew…your authenticity.

I've learned that you don't move on, but instead, move forward.

I’ve learned how to function on complete exhaustion and that one of my greatest strengths is remaining calm for the kids when I'm actually beyond frustrated.

I’ve learned that heavy sadness and immense happiness can be felt in the exact same moment. I’ve learned to do more of what Rebecca wants to do and care less about other’s opinions. You truly can’t make a judgment unless you’ve walked in someone’s shoes – and even then, it’s never the same. I’ve learned that "anticipatory grief" is the term that describes what I’ve been trying to explain for so long now, which is that my grieving journey began a year and a half ago at the very moment you were diagnosed. When it came to your last moments, I was destroyed, but also weirdly relieved…

I’ve learned that while I’m doing pretty well most days, there will always be unexpected triggers. Rocky and Lauren bought a house and got their wedding pictures back. They are beautiful. Doug and Meg...they're having a baby boy! I am ecstatic for them all – but this good news also breaks my heart. You would just be so stinkin’ excited for everyone. I recently had to go back to the hospital where the boys were born and it was tough. That hospital is where we walked in as a family of two and then walked out as a family of three, and then again 22 months later as a family of four. It’s where you held my hand and rubbed my back as I winced in pain. It’s where you left my bag of throw up in the parking lot before we wobbled me into the emergency room (woops). It’s where we cried together in fear when Dante’s delivery went awry. It’s where my dream of a natural VBAC (humble brag) came true despite it feeling impossible and it’s where I thought we’d return one day to walk out as a family of five. I've learned that there is no right way to grieve. I've been hard on myself for seeming emotionless and frustrated with myself for not snapping out of a sad moment quicker. It's all ok. I’ve learned that it’s also ok to think about you and laugh. I bought jeans the other day and smiled because to you, that would probably be the most concerning thing I’ve done so far. I’ve also been going through some of your clothes and while I’m not quite ready to part with most of them, I’ve fallen in love with your blue flannel - the one that you’ve had since 8th grade that I’ve tried to get rid of 800 times over the last 6 years. I’d tell you how old and ugly it was and you’d tell me it’s going to be a family heirloom. Who would have guessed how much I’d love that thing now?

I left my job because I think there is a benefit to giving the boys all of me right now. I have no idea what’s next for me – which is scary and unlike me…but also a huge weight off my shoulders. Sometimes I’m playing in the backyard with the boys and think I will never leave this house but the very next day I contemplate if it makes better sense to be elsewhere. I guess that’s when I have to remind myself that I can’t plan ahead for everything and for now, have to sit in the discomfort of the unknown. I don’t know. Day by day. I miss you a ton but we’re doing it and you’d be so damn proud!

P.S. The Phillies are in the World Series. (See previous point made on the ability for sadness and happiness to coexist). I hope you are celebrating hard up there babe!

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