Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tick Tock

Today marks exactly 7 months since Dan left this Earth for his new home in the sky. I am not sure why I count the days and months since he's gone. It's not like I will hit the year mark, and everything will be back to normal, or at month 9 or 10 Dan will come walking back through the door yelling, "Honeyahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!" Either way, I still count. Tomorrow will be 7 months, 1 day...and so forth.

I remember little things about that cold wet night in December that changed my life forever. I remember the doctor's face, Billy's audible gasp, Heidi's and Eileen's tears, the nurse who held me. I needed my sister, immediately. I couldn't dial her number, I only remembered Dan's. I dialed 410-507-1627, 410-507-1627, over and over again. It was a nightmare, it had to be. He would answer, and I would wake up. There was no way I was actually trying to call my sister on New Year's Eve because my husband, my other half, was gone, forever. It was a nightmare, but a living one. A nightmare that I continue to wake up to every day.

If you knew Dan, you would know that he would be disappointed if he thought I was writing all of this as a pity party or to make everyone cry. So I intend to celebrate my accomplishments in these past 7 months. Things that may seem trivial to the non-widow, but huge steps in my healing process. Things I never thought I could do as I rode home that night watching the rain stick to the windows of the Durango, and wondering when everyone would eventually go home, so I could end my own life and be with Dan. Of course that was a fleeting thought, and never happened. My life meant everything to Dan, and I am determined to live it as only Dan could.

January- 6th 2010, I buried my husband. The entire month of January is a blur. I slept on the couch, and my sister never left side. (Which is huge b/c I didn't shower regularly either, so she MUST love me!!!) She didn't work for that entire month and well into February. My mom came over every night after work. My neighbors (who are my dearest friends cooked me every meal) All of my girls from Germany to San Diego to right here in Maryland, never left me.

February- 8th I turned 30; February 9th Dan would have been 31; "Team Tiffin" had a schedule and I had a friend to sleep on the couch with me every night; I started running again.

March- I returned to work, I started sleeping my bed again, I decided run the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville. Dan and I had signed up to do it together, and I wanted to finish the race for him.

April- Team Shriz completed the half marathon. I started to truly smile and laugh again.

May- I started to dread June.

June- The 7th would have been our 2 year wedding anniversary. My girls took me to the beach, and we honored Dan, his love for life, his love for me, and our love for him.

July- I signed up for 2 upcoming half marathons. I am going to continue to run races to honor my love. Team Shriz is going to travel the States! Dan continues to run with me. I feel him in the wind, I see him in the birds, I hear him as my feet pound the pavement, I taste him in the sweet sweat that runs off my brow, and I smell him in the air.

I don't know when I will stop counting the days and months that have passed since losing my Dan, but I do know that every second I am alive to count, is one I will cherish. Life is short, live it well.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sleepless Nights

I don't sleep well anymore. I lay awake most nights with my mind just racing back and forth between my 2- part world. The other night I was too tired to sleep. I lay on "my side" of the bed just staring at the indentation Dan made on our matress on "his side." All of a sudden, and without any warning, the tears pooled out of my eyes. This kind of crying calls for a lot of blowing and many tissues, however, I was paralyzed by the sudden pain and grief. My tears, as they often do when they are this fierce, turned into anger. Mad seems such a benign word to express what I feel in these Earth shattering moments when the reality that Dan is never coming back hits me. I felt so alone. Even my boys were laying on their bed on the floor, instead of in bed with me. My crying seemed to only disturb their slumber. (Until I finally blew my nose, and Marlo hopped up like I let a moose out in the bathroom!)

I got out of the bed and grabbed my journal. I started to write a letter. I wasn't sure if I was writing it to God, Dan, or myself. I realized I was writing to Dan, and expressing my anger toward God. I struggle with the saying, "The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away." If He really thought I had strayed enough to need an intervention, a smaller message would have been fine....taking my husband though? The other half of me? The person I was sure He put on this Earth to be mine in the first place? Like I said, I struggle with it.

I asked Dan in the letter to bend God's ear for me, because I was too mad to speak to Him directly. Dan always had an amazing way with words, and I am positive he interpreted and passed along my conflicts very eloquently. All of my emotions eventually drained out of my eyes, and I was able to rest.

Last night, my sleeplessness wasn't as eventful. I turned on the T.V. and watched the movie 'Public Enemies'. There was a part where "the bad guy"(Johnney Depp) was asking "the good guy"(Christian Bale), if the eyes of the people he has killed kept him awake at night. Christian Bale doesn't answer, but askes, "What keeps you awake at night?" Johnney Depp replies, "coffee."

Oh, if only that were my reason for sleepness nights.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Catching You Up: A snapshot

In 2003 I was, "set up", by my friend Olivia on a sort-of date. Apparently a boy we went to high school with, (Dan Shriner) was home from serving our country as a Gunner in the Marine Corps during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and he was interested in me. His story plays out as only a true romantic could, including thoughts of me while in the desert, and phone calls to a friend at home asking about me, all without my knowledge. It was October 11th, and I will never forget it. Olivia, Dan, and I went to Hella's in Severna Park. We drank and laughed and talked for hours. In the bathroom, I told Olivia that Dan was amazing, and that I think she should break up with her then boyfriend and go for him. She laughed the heart-warming laugh, only Olivia can do, and told me he was interested in ME! Dan and I watched the sun come up together that night. It scared me how much I felt for him in an 18 hour time span, so I avoided phone calls from him and hid out at my sister's, running away from the hurt I just knew he would inflict on my heart. I was wrong, so wrong. Persistent Dan finally convinced me to go to lunch with him, where he told me to stop running and let him in. I remember going to the bathroom at Chevy's and standing in the stall, heart pounding, ears throbbing, knowing this man was the one.

Within 9 months we were living together and making the best memories of our lives. We adopted our first "son" Gunner (a black and white adorable mutt from the 'dirty south') and settled into our relationship. As all relationships go, ours had ups and downs. There was a time when we didn't think it would work, and in "Ross and Rachael" fashion, "took a break". The break didn't' last long, when Dan and I saw each other one day on a Baltimore Sports and Social Club football field. We were on opposing teams, but never took our eyes off one another. That month also happened to be October, and we never separated again.

Dan and I purchased a home in 2006, adopted our second (and very "special" brown and white bully breed) son Marlo, and pledged our love and lives together in front of family and friends, in a fairy tale wedding, June 7, 2008. I remember being so proud to stand there holding the hand of the most handsome man in the world, and we were in love, seconds away from marriage! It was 110 degrees, however I had chills of joy and excitement. We promised to love and cherish, have and hold, til death do us could we ever know?

Death did part us on December 31, 2009. Dan was running on the treadmill at the gym, and suffered a cardiac arrhythmia. Just like that, my world became 2 parts. The before Dan's death, and the after. I now live my life back and forth, and in between these two worlds. I dream and reminisce about the before, and I dredge through the now, the "after". This is My Life Now...The winding road of the young widow. Thanks for coming along.