Why Give A Crap What I Say? It's JUST me.

Why should you give a crap about me? I have no idea... BUT....I want to thank you for joining me on my journey of a super shitty - averagely happy - drama filled - absolutely hilariously funny life.
I clearly feel the need to spill my guts about what is happening in my life to people I don't know. The funniest most off color TRUE stories you've ever heard - and when you least expect it, you'll cry like a baby.

The photo you are seeing is "my" yard in the summer. A home is not a place it is the inhabitants that make it a home.

With love, Alyce

January 16, 2013

Happy Birthday Eric 2013

Dear Eric,                                                                                                                     1/16/13

It is the day before your 49th birthday.  I can’t help but point out the obvious, that you’re dead, and won’t be able to eat cake with us.   Last year, at this time, I promised that we would celebrate your birthday year after year.  I promised we would discuss your life...there would be laughter along with tears.  This is the first of your birthdays after your death...and I don’t know what I can or will do.

I promised a cake would be bought; a wish made; the candles blown out. 
We would remember - we would celebrate.
Your last birthday cake from your babies 

My wish was that you wouldn’t die, begging the birthday wish god, that something would miraculously happen and you’d be spared the fate that was handed to you.  If I was a betting person I would imagine you wished we would be o.k. without you.  My tears were cried behind you so you wouldn’t see the heart wrenching pain I was experiencing.  The candles were blown out by you alone as your wish was so much more important than mine.  I would have another birthday, you would not.

A celebration of your life!!
Your last birthday party was celebrated with our friends and family.  There was laughing and dancing.   Not by you, as you had lost all use of your legs.have been hard for you not being able to get out of bed and participate in the festivities, but it didn’t seem to bother you.  You were, as you always were, a gracious host

Still waiting for this smile to return.
If you remember, Harrison played video games in his room most of the night of your party.   He didn't want to believe this was your last birthday, so he pretended it wasn't.   You'll be happy to know he’s as sensitive a boy now as he was then. He lost his spirit for a few months after your died, but he's back again. I want you to know that him  being by your side during your birthday didn’t mean he loved you less, it meant his heart couldn’t handle the pain of it breaking.

Our baby Lorelei, will cherish this photo always.  Lorelei had just turned 18 months when this picture was taken.  It will be the the only birthday kiss she would give her daddy.  I’m grateful she had one.

Eric, just look at the brave face of our big girl at your birthday party last year.   Her eyes smile less now.  She misses you so very much.  There seems like nothing I can say to help heal her pain.  She asks me all the time, “Do you love me mommy?”  I tell her all the time that I love her, but it’s just not enough.  Even if I doubled the amount of time I gave her my message of love, it still wouldn’t be enough.  

Adelaide wants to hear it from you.  

Kissing you on your birthday last year was so hard.  Knowing it would be the last time I would wish you a “happy” birthday seemed unfair.  Saying “happy” birthday seemed beyond dumb.  Your eyes closed as did mine.  I held onto your face as I usually did, but this time I held you a little more tightly.  Could this be happening to us?   I cried while we kissed. I cried for all of the kisses we would no longer be able to share.

This is the hug I will remember when I need one.  I need one!!

 I want you to know I’m trying to help us be o.k..  I feel like I’m failing miserably...people tell me otherwise.  Last night I showered.  The warm of the water and the steady stream of my back felt like a blanket around me.  I was brought back to a time when you would be holding me-  and your arms were my blanket.  I leaned against the wall to try to be closer to you.  It sounds crazy but I needed to be hugged at that time, and the closest thing to me was a cold wet shower wall.

The words to our wedding song written on your last birthday cake are still true today.

January 4, 2013

Words Hurt

The brilliant...my husband...2 weeks before he died.

It is my belief that Eric would want this particular message to be heard.  Life lessons are not always complicated.  It is often the most simple words of wisdom that aren't applied to our everyday lives.

There are so many times in my life that I've done or said things that just sucked.  I put my own ego and self importance before the feelings of others.   This behavior is part of my past.

After Eric's death there were many people in our circle, including myself, who were filled with anger, resentment, and bitterness.  I would much rather have thrown something at someone rather than yell, but that's not acceptable behavior.  Calling people names and insulting them is absolutely acceptable...I actually think it's encouraged in todays society.

There's nothing Eric hated MORE than arguing.  Being from southern Illinois there is no such thing as an argument.  Just a big pile of shit brushed underneath the carpet.  No sense in arguing about something that already happened I guess.  This would drive me crazy.  Over the years, I was able to move him to my side of a disagreement.  We would say things to each other that for sure we didn't mean.  But we did intend to be MEAN at the time.

I'm not sure I was trying to hurt his feelings as much as I was trying to make myself feel better.  Now he's dead and my sorries don't mean anything.  I am so terribly sorry for the things I said.  The time I wasted being angry or annoyed.   I would give most anything to just be able to tell Eric how sorry I am for using words to hurt his feelings...I just didn't have time.

Over the last year, since his death, I have learned so many lessons.  One of the more important was that other people matter.  Their lives are important and their feelings are important.

In the past I wouldn't have looked at the cashier and wondered "What is he going through right now?", or at the CEO making a kabillion dollars a year, "Her life appears so complete, but what might she be going through?".   If you don't think about others then others don't really matter.   Ahhhh, but the shitty part is if THEY don't matter then neither do YOU!  That's where it gets tricky.

This ephiphany'ish started after I watched, Words Hurt, video for the first time.   It was months and months ago that I watch it, but it didn't resonate with me right away.  It took various things happening for everything to click together.

There's some name calling and bullying at my kids school.  Nothing more than most other schools.   I the "sticks and stones" way of thinking.  

Then there was a massacre at an elementary school in Connecticut where twenty children were shot to death.  Twenty children between the ages of 6 and 7.  How does that happen was the question.   A crazy person some said.   The gun he used said others.  While still others blamed Hollywood and video games.

I began to think, obsessively think, why the hell is this happening?  I figured it out for me.  It's our lack of care for others.  It's a "I'm more important than you" philsophy that we have grown accustomed to.
How have I contributed to the "I'm important AND you're not" way of thinking?  Whose feelings might I have hurt either intentionally or not?  The list was born.

Putting my own ego aside I managed to do something that was harder than I had thought.  I admitted I was not nice and apologized.  When you apologize you get different reactions from different people.  Some say, "I'm sorry too." - "I forgive you" - "I appreciate you apologizing" - "Go fuck yourself"

In my case, some hearts were open enough to say, "I get it, let's try this again."  Some weren't open and "moved on".  Some were genuinely forgiving and were sorry things "ended the way they did." While others pretended to accept but really don't.  Whichever way things end up isn't the important part.  For me, the most important part was being able to put my ego aside.  I genuinely apologized for using Words that Hurt.  I freed myself from the self blame I have been carrying, while hopefully allowing those that I've hurt to be freed as well.  I expected nothing - but as my husband said - I gained so much.

Their father died 24 hours later
It is not for me that I changed - it is for them.  Looking at the faces of my children, sitting next to my husband, their father, just 24 hours before he died is almost something that I can't bear see.   My beautiful children's lives and hearts are forever broken.  Not beyond repair but broken nonetheless.  Because of me they have lost people.  People they care about.  I am not more important than their tears.   I've put myself in a place I never thought I would go, willingly, on my knees, saying I'm sorry with my heart.

I watch this video and I wonder how could I have been so dumb as to not have learned this before.  Why did it take so much for me to realize just how important what what we say really is.

I've learned that "after the fact" is often too late.    In the interest of my children I'm going to try and change this way of thinking.

If you'd do me a favor...Write, call, or text someone you've been shitty to.  Tell them you're sorry for hurting their feelings.  At the end of the message, ask them to do the same to someone else.    Just do it. If you can let me know how you feel after you've done it.

Thank you Eric for teaching me so much.

January 2, 2013

A new year - Let's hope it's happy

January 2, 2013

Went to a grief counselor on December 30, 2011, with the big kids.  They were so wonderful.  They talked about their feelings.  Talked about missing their dad.  Talked about what they wanted for the future.  I wasn’t able to talk at all.  Uttering Eric’s name brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat.

New Year’s Eve 2011

Eric would die 3 weeks after this picture was taken

The grief counselor told us that the “physical” pain of grief will diminish over time.  She explained there’s a real physical reaction your body goes through when someone you love dies.  

The physical pain isn’t always there - neither is the emotional pain.  When it is there, there is nothing like it.  I find myself searching through my computer for any pictures, letters, momentos of the time that before Eric died.  I don’t look for pictures from before Eric was sick, mostly after I knew he would die and he was getting more and more sick.

I look at these pictures, videos and letters, and imagine (or can’t imagine) what it must have been like for him on his last New Year’s Eve.  The picture above shows a man with his family, everyone smiling.  If you look closely you’ll see a little bit of something shiny underneath Eric’s right arm.  That’s the wheelchair he had been bound to about two weeks prior when he became paralyzed from a tumor in his spine.  How the fuck did he muster up a smile?  How was he able to face his imminent death with such bravery, honesty, and assuredness that all would be ok, for him and for us.

I sit here and scratch at my neck just to feel something.  Almost wanting to hurt myself so I can feel the pain Eric must have felt on the inside that he almost never showed.   I find myself sometimes unable to focus my eyes clearly.  It’s as if I don’t want to be able to see at all.  In the supermarket you’ll find me with my head buried intensly into a grocery list, when in actuality my eyes are closed as I can’t manage to keep them open without feeling faint.

I feel so pathetic that I am sometimes unable to function when he was able to, until his last day, be present.  Spending conscious time with all who loved him.  Asking for one on one time with each person to have private talks about his feelings.  How embarrassing that I’m unable to talk about my feelings one year after Eric died.  “Don’t be hard on yourself.  Everyone grieves in their own way,” the experts say.  (I roll my eyes.)

My son asked me last night, “Who’s going to be Lorelei’s father figure?”.  What kind of a damn question is that to ask me??????????   Do I dare tell him the truth...”Um, nobody will be a father figure for your sister sweet boy.  There won’t be anyone that can teach your baby sister what your father taught you.  I won’t allow anyone in our circle unless they have the moral righteousness of your dad.”  Saying it out loud reminds me of how I’m assuredly going to be alone.

Being a widow at 45 is just dumb.  Being a widow at 45 with young children is cruel.  Not for me, but for them.  Leaving these children to my care alone is just so unfair to them.  I am selfish, I am afraid, I am imperfect, and I am incapable of being the father they need.  How will they be able to “rise above” growing up without a father?  My husband and I gave the kids examples of many people who succeeded in life, despite the fact, that there was no father in their lives.   In other words, you too can succeed in life even though you got shitty cards dealt to you.

I stop writing to reflect on how whiny I’m behaving.  I focus on how strong my children are and how brave my husband was.  I am so selfish to be crying over my life as it is, when there’s is so shitty.  I’ve already had the opportunity to live my life, make my choices, have my fun.   

Buck up little girl, I say to myself.   We’ll see how I do.