my lucky day

May 27th is a particularly lucky day for me.  On May 27, 2006, I met my husband.  On May 27, 2007, he asked me to marry him.  On May 27, 2008, I found out I was pregnant with our baby girl.  Obviously you can see why I celebrate the end of May, but I can tell you that it didn’t start out that way.

I went on my first date six months after my first husband died.  I know, that sounds wayyyyy tooooo early!  But, I had sound reasoning behind my decision.  I needed to meet new people.  My inner circle was so full of sorrow for me and my grief; they were so full of desire to help and their need to show support, that I began to feel unhealthy in my own life.  I was a young widow, and I was in danger of assuming that role for decades to come.  What if widowhood wasn’t just a chapter in my life, what if it was my entire book?  I felt desperate to ensure that I got unstuck.  I was determined to heal and decided the best way to start was to do the one thing I was most terrified of doing, dating.

I joined Match.com, and I signed up for a service called It’s Just Lunch, where I got set up for lunch dates a couple of times a month.  I had many first dates, and then, like a teenager, I never returned their calls.  In May a friend phoned and wanted to introduce me to Tim.  She invited both of us to a dinner party to see if we clicked.

Frankly, we didn’t talk much that night.  Still, I wasn’t completely surprised when he called me a few days later.

After a bit of small talk, Tim said, “So I don’t really know much about you; I mean except that you’re a tragic widow.”

A tragic widow?  A TRAGIC WIDOW!  “I’m not a tragic widow,” I snapped.  “And my children are definitely not tragic.”  I didn’t come right out and call Tim an asshole, but I implied it with my tone.

“So why did you agree to see him again?” you ask.

That is a very good question.  I agreed to see him again because of my girlfriend, Alex.  Alex was at the party the night I met Tim.  The next day she called me and said, “He’s totally your type.”

“What type is that?” I asked.

“If you went running across train tracks and fell just as the train approached, Tim looks like the kinda guy who would sprint to your side, scoop you up, and throw you out of the way.  That is totally your type.”

“Oh God, that IS totally my type!”

So I agreed to have dinner with Tim because he had massive biceps and looked strong enough to launch me off train tracks.

Still, it was not love at first sight.  Tim claims I didn’t talk for three weeks, and that is not completely untrue.  I am a bit shy and a rather hard nut to crack.  Tim, on the other hand, is a man with strong opinions and a strong sense of self.  He is easily irritated by stupidity, and unfortunately for him, the world is rather stupid.  Tim was like a pissed-off Energizer Bunny, with O.C.D. and a touch of road rage.  While he spent the first month waiting for me to talk, I spent the first month waiting for him to calm down.  Still, I kept seeing him because he had that bicep thing, and he kept seeing me because he felt obligated not to crush the spirit of the tragic widow, plus we made each other laugh.  We still laugh A LOT!

As weeks turned into months, we stayed together.  After that first summerXmas2012 443 Tim said, “I believe all women are crazy and eventually, given enough time, they will unpack their crazy and show you just how insane they are.  Then, a guy has to decide whether he can live with that level of dysfunction.  I keep waiting for you to unpack your crazy, but now I realize you are completely up-front with your insanity.”

“Yes,” I said.  “All my crazy was unpacked by our third date.  And I keep waiting for you to chill out, but now I accept that you are simply not capable of relaxation.”

And we lived happily ever after.

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Happy Katentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day; my family members are instructed to refer to the next twenty-four hours at Katentine’s Day.

My husband came home from work yesterday with beautiful roses.

roses from my husband

roses from my husband

“Katentine’s Day is not until tomorrow,” I reminded him

“I know,” Tim said, “but I wanted you to be able to see them when you woke up.”

Awwwwww.  I have an awesome husband.

In general, I am not a very romantic girl.  I appreciate a grand gesture, but for me, romance is not always top-of-mind.

The most romantic gift I ever managed to orchestrate was for my high school boyfriend, which is sorta sad ’cause I have had two really great husbands.  Still, when I was nineteen, I was going to college in California and my high school boyfriend was going to school in Washington State.  I mailed him a bottle of sparkling cider (I was wayyyyyy to timid to attempt to purchase actual champagne) and a champagne flute.  I told him not to open the box until four o’clock on Valentine’s Day and then to call me at that time because I wanted to be on the phone while he opened the gift.  Unbeknownst to him, I had purchased a plane ticket home and was waiting outside his dorm room at exactly four o’clock with a second champagne flute.  Pretty great, right?

Now I feel compelled to do something great for Tim.  You should send me your ideas, or just send me roses, after all, it is Katentine’s Day, not Timentine’s Day.

grief mountain

I was asked recently about how I managed after Scott died.  Apparently, to the outside world, it appears as if I have a bit of grace when it comes to grief.  Ha!

I think of grief as a mountain you have to climb.  Some people take decades to get to the other side;others do it quickly, like ripping off a bandaid.

August 15, 1992

I believe, when it came to losing my husband, I was relatively quick to climb the mountain.  Here’s why . . .

Six months after Scott died, I was alone in my house.  It was the middle of the night, and I had been crying for so long, I could not remember what it felt like to breathe freely.  I was drowning in a puddle I created.  I had reduced Scott’s love to a heavy ball of anguish, and I was slogging it around like I cornered the market on sorrow.  What’s worse is that I was teaching our children that pain was all we had left of him.  I hid inside my grief, and I called it honor.  I was a fool.

From that moment, it didn’t take me years or even many months.  It took me one second to decide to try something different.  It was like grabbing an ice ax, strapping on crampons, and climbing straight up the face of a glacier.  I immersed myself in the business of grief; I read books, talked a lot, listened to music, and confronted myself and my fears.  It was an exhausting reality check, but the view from the top was exhilarating.  I thought tackling grief mountain meant leaving Scott behind.  When the worst of my climb was over, I was shocked to find Scott waiting for me, my cheerleader, my biggest fan, my teammate still—like a high-five from heaven.

Here is the key take-away:  as soon as I decided everything was going to be OK, everything was miraculously OK.

August 4, 2007

And one more realization, I would climb a thousand mountains if I knew Tim, my second husband, was waiting on the other side.  A thousand times a thousand!