Saturday, August 28, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I broke downand had to abandon the mower in the yard and go inside . I cried, screamed, pounded my palms and heals into the carpet. The more I cried, the angrier I became because no matter how loud or hard these tears and sounds came, it wasn't bringing him home. When there were no more tears streaming from my eyes, and my my head felt like it had been hit with a 9 lb hammer, I needed a release. I started to write. The pain shifted from my heart to my head, to my fingers as my thoughts and words raced each other on a page. I wanted to be in the page. I wanted to wrap myself up in these words like a blanket while dancing in each and every memory as they happened. I wanted this whole thing to be a movie and I could now write my alternate ending. Turning this horror film into a romantic comedy....or at the least a comedy. I now share with you my alternate ending, my happily ever after, my sweet sweet dream.
December 31, 2009: Dan comes home from the gym. We go have steaks, as planned, with the Merediths at Flemmings in Baltimore. We drink way too much, and laugh until our sides hurt. We come home and crash lovingly into one another's arms. The next day we sit around on the couch watching football and eating food that is terrible for us. We joke with each other saying, "I can hear you getting fatter." Several weeks later we find out I am pregnant, our "New Year's Eve Baby". We still go to Italy where I can't indulge in the wine as planned, but the baby and I put on 25 pounds of pasta. In May Dan graduates with his MBA from Loyola. I start a new school year in August. Allyson, Sharon, and I are talking day care plans instead of setting up our classrooms. In October I give birth to the first of the 3 boys we wanted. Marlo won't stop licking the baby, and Gunner is too jealous to pay him any mind. Dan never stops smiling. He smiles until 60 some years later when his wife of 62 years (me) is called Home. I go first because that's what we talked about. I HAVE to go first, because I wouldn't be able to handle it. I wait for Dan in Heaven as he lives out the rest of the beautiful life he earned and deserves. The End.
I spent a lot of time mourning the "what could have been" yesterday. Sometimes I just need to let those thoughts out, and free them into the world, so I have. I thank you for allowing me the freedom to share without judgement.
Acknowledging that Dan is gone, and deciding to still live has proven my hardest challenge yet. I felt defeated yesterday, but just as one of my favorite quotes proclaims, "Courage does not always roar, sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow." I did. I woke up this morning and tried again. I conquered today, and that's all I need to worry about; one day at a time.
Monday, August 16, 2010
With another school year comes another twist in my road. Who am I? The ty-dye sign outside of my classroom says, "Mrs. Shriner", but am I still Mrs. Shriner? I still have my wedding rings on, I dusted off our wedding photo that sits on my desk, I still feel married, but the truth is, I'm not. God, it hurts to say that. I deleted and rewrote that statement 10 times. I didn't ask to NOT be married anymore, this wasn't a choice.
Most of the students coming into 3rd grade know my situation. They will not ask why I go by Mrs. Shriner, but don't have a husband. What do I tell the other ones? Call me Ms. Shriner? Widow Shriner? (That just sounds scary) Maybe I should go retro like Prince and become a symbol. People will refer to me as, "The Teacher Formally Known As...." No matter what anyone calls me, it's going to hurt.
Mrs. Shriner is just a reminder of the husband I no longer have. Ms. Shriner makes me feel like I was never married, and I refuse to go back to my maiden name. As much as I loved being Tiffin Lilly, I was so proud to take Dan's name.
I am going to continue to wear Dan's name proudly, no matter how much it hurts. We promised to be Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Shriner forever, however, for us, forever was entirely too short.
Friday, August 13, 2010
- It's Friday night at 10:28pm. The extent of my Friday night "action" now comes from a wet slobbery kiss from Marlo and if I'm lucky, Gunner will let me be the outside spoon. I miss Dan's lips, I miss his arms.
- The only movies on TV are romances. Gross. I would rather stab myself in the eye than see another "happily ever after." Thank you "Last of the Mohicans", for ruining my night, and possibly the whole weekend.
- The ice maker makes me jump, and any noise outside is absolutely that serial killer they never caught from the shows on Investigation Discovery that I watch all the time. (I know, I should stop watching them, but I just can't.) I think I need a better weapon than the 10lb flashlight next to my bed.
- I could go out with my friends, but this pity party is hard to leave.
Should I just keep going? It feels pretty good. Never thought I'd do an "I hate" but I feel it coming:
I hate that True Blood only comes on once a week, I could totally use a V-fix right now, I hate that Eric from True Blood doesn't know he is in love with me yet, I hate that I am currently out of Jujyfruits, I actually hate the fact that I have this candy addiction, I hate that the Royal Farms by my house is so scary or I would go buy myself some candy right now, I hate that when I go to bed my upstairs is 20 degrees hotter than the rest of the house, I hate that I'm going to bed at 10:30 on a Friday night, but my number 1 I HATE is.....Jessi, you're gonna love this......white sunglasses. Random right? I do though, there is just something about white sunglasses that drives me nuts. Please forgive me if you own a pair....but burn them immediately.
Thank you for being a part of this very pitiful (and at times random and weird) party. I actually feel better and am semi-smiling. Love how therapeutic this whole blog thing is! Hey....I just said I love!! Things are looking up.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
We were driving and she asked me to name the most important thing I gained from the weekend at Camp. I knew right away, but I thought carefully about my answer. I am conditioned to say what I think people want to hear, what isn't going to scare them, or something that will make them feel warm and fuzzy inside. Conditioned to say something that when the listener thinks about the conversation and they lay their head down at night, they silently smile saying, "Tiffin's going to be okay." I came up with something generic, smiled, and changed the subject.
Later that night at dinner, Jessi and I were laughing and sharing, again. I have always felt that I could open up to Jessi about anything. She doesn't get overly concerned, she isn't a crier, she ponders responses before speaking, and best of all is blatantly honest. I decided she deserved the same.
I told Jessi that The One Thing that I had taken away from this trip to San Diego, and my stay at Camp Widow was this: I want to live. Sounds simple, right? We all want to live. Well, for me it hasn't been that simple. The past 7 months, I haven't gone out seeking death or even had a "death wish" but I have silently told God that if he needed me sooner rather than later, that would be more than OK. I don't feel that way anymore. I WANT to live. It just feels good saying it, writing it, living it.
There are many things left for me to do in this life. I still have grieving to do, and tears to cry, but I also have laughing to do and joy to feel. I will allow myself to live. I will allow myself to love. I will allow myself to mourn the family that Dan and I never had, but I will also not shut out the fact that I am still young, and could possibly still have children some day. I will do all of these things knowing that Dan is my cheering section in the clouds.
I keep thinking about the movie Gladiator, one that I've seen hundreds of times. Russel Crow sees his deceased family and so shook and plagued with grief, he can't even make noise with his tears, he drools, and collapses to the ground. I know this pain. I've lived that moment. I then think of his fight (literally and figuratively) to live. He makes a friend who gives him the will and want to survive even through the pain of his loss. When Russel Crow does eventually die, his friend looks to the sky and makes a promise, "I will see you again, but not yet...not yet."
I am taking that quote with me everyday, everywhere. I will see Dan again, but not yet.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
When I first saw you jogging in your Adidas sweat suit, with your two tiny dogs fluffy tails wagging, my gaydar started beeping. Then the first words came out of you mouth, and I was sure. However, the sentences you formed confused me, because the words you spoke were giving anyone who doesn't have Garmin Gaydar the illusion that you were straight. Here are a few things that made our chance meeting that day at the beautiful waterfront so unforgettable:
1. When you told my friend and I how "it sucks" that our husbands were dead.
2. That you actually asked me twice how my husband died because you were too focused on the next round of bull shit that came out of your mouth to listen to me the first time.
3. When you told us that you were about to become a "widow too" because your girlfriend had been missing for a few days, and she is a raging alcoholic. (Good thing you're jogging with your palmoranians and hitting on people trying to enjoy their lunch instead of looking for her, AND the fact that men aren't widows, especially when they aren't even married, but I digress.)
4. I enjoyed how you looked us up and down and then told us how your girlfriend (when she wasn't in the hospital recovering from liver failure) was so beautiful that we would LOVE and actually GIVE ANYTHING to be in her shoes.
5. I truly appreciate, because this is a talent, how many times you were able to mention ATM, bank, international wire transfers, real estate property, allowance, and money in one short conversation. Kudos!
If I didn't think Dan purposefully placed you in that moment, just to see my facial expressions, and hear sarcastic comments, you would have gotten a round house kick to the face.
The girl who would actually rather be a widow than anywhere CLOSE to your girlfriends shoes!
Dear Mr. I think I am the most important person in the room,
You are a widower at Camp WIDOW! I am SO sorry for your loss and would never down-play it, however, that being said: STOP interrupting the speaker to share intimate details about your wife's suicide, your children, your dating experiences, and ESPECIALLY your new girlfriend Jasmine!!! I am here to learn coping mechanisms.
P.S. Your jokes aren't funny.
The disgruntled widow who feels like taking some anger out on you.
Dear Mean Tiffin,
You should be a little ashamed of yourself at all the judging you did today. You are far from perfect, and most of the time, your jokes aren't funny either. You should not chuckle at the fact that when grace and "the opposite of grace" were defined, you fit 5 out of 10 for the opposite! You are also going to hell for the fact that right after you cried your eyes out, used about 20 tissues, and shared deep, raw emotional feelings about your loss of Dan, you looked out the window and wondered if that one guy that had his shirt off earlier was still at the pool. Please take careful consideration of why you are here this weekend.