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I (have to) live without you widow Repair

Dear Jason,

I can’t live without you. I (have to) live without you.


I hate when couples say that old cliche, “I can’t live without you.” It’s such a sentimental lie. I can live without Jason even though I don’t want to. Time just picks me up and carries me deeper into life, even without him. I learned to embrace the inertia.

No More Teachers, No More Books (Sob!)

December 18, 2007 My last English paper was a success. Dr. Tombe spoke to me with a group of other soon-to-be-graduates. My choice of career was below my potential, she said. That is a compliment, but I don’t know if I should spend more money for graduate school.

Why reach for a career with more prestige than I am motivated to achieve? Is it worth taking more time from motherhood?

December 31, 2007 My college graduation party was wonderful! Walter brought his grill and cooked hamburgers and hot dogs. The house was filled with people talking, laughing, eating and playing pool. Everyone seemed to have a good time. I played some very bad pool, but I was a good sport about it, haha.

We left for Ohio by ten on Sunday to see my family. Caleb did okay with the little TV I borrowed from Gale. He said with gusto, “Ohio!” That’s a brand new word and pretty impressive!

Bucket List Planning: Yes, I’m Really Gonna Do That.

January 6, 2008
I talked to Alli about our trip to Israel. I’ll be staying two weeks. We buy the tickets after March, after Passover when they will be cheaper.

The outlets over there won’t support any of my electronics, so no phone, no laptop, no hair dryer, etc. With limited room in my suitcase, I’ll have to live with the bare essentials- no bulky bottles of Bath & Body Works.

I’m preparing to be low maintenance! Alli will laugh at me for having withdrawals from my favorite American toiletries. My new best friends will be my ponytail, chapstick and sunscreen.

As for clothes, nothing fancy: Alli said long skirts, jeans, tennis shoes and a jacket. She said they don’t dress fancy, so I’ll bring drab stuff.

There’s no one to impress except myself. It will actually be a blessing and a relief to be in that kind of environment for a while. I’m getting really excited about our plans!

Oh, and I’ll bring a bathing suit so I can swim (or float?) in the Dead Sea. I’ve wanted to swim in the Dead Sea since I learned about it in fifth grade.

“I love ooo mommy.” Nothing Heals a Widow’s Heart Like Toddler Talk

Nothings Heals a Widow’s Heart Like Toddler Talk Widow Repair

January 30, 2008 Caleb is growing so fast. He waits for us to take his hand to pray before dinner and whispers “Amen” at the conclusion.

Tonight he wanted to sit at the table and have a hot dog. He asked me for a fork. “This one?” he grinned, pointing his fork at a wedge of hot dog. He nudged at another piece and repeated, “This one?” with a big smile on his face.

The other night, he left me a message from my parents’ house saying, “Night, night,” and “I love ooo mommy!”

At night he asks for his favorite stories by saying “Fluffy” which is about a porcupine with image issues, or he asks for “the train book” which is about Thomas the Train. He giggles while I voice the characters, especially the owl’s “No-hooo.”

Caleb got a night light turtle for his birthday. The hard plastic shell is pierced with shapes that cast green stars all over the bedroom ceiling. “Stars,” Caleb says softly, prompting me to switch it on.

We count them when the lights are off. Caleb points at the night-sky ceiling and says, “two-three-four,” and he joins me in saying “six-seven-eight.”

The other day I showed him how to blow on a dandelion. He pursed his lips and puffed at the weed. Delicate, feathery seeds took flight- it was like magic. Imagine being 2 years old and seeing this for the first time- he said, “I blew it,” and he called it a “lion.” So cute.

February 23, 2008 This morning I fixed eggs and cereal for Caleb and myself, and we ate at the kitchen table with Dad, or “Eh-eh” as Caleb calls his grandpa.

Caleb wanted to go outside, so I told him we could after we got dressed. His blue eyes lit up with excitement, and he bounded into my arms so I could carry him down the hall to get dressed.

“You need a warm shirt, and some pants, and some shoes and some socks,” I narrated. Caleb smiled and exclaimed my statement back to me.

I got his clothes on and handed him a USC sweater. “Go give this to Eh-eh, and tell him you want to go outside.”

Caleb took the sweater and walked a few steps down the hall. He was singing a soft little tune. It was so childlike, sung with notes of contentment.

He stopped and asked for “momma,” but then continued down the hall singing. He walked into the kitchen and then into the dining room. My dad put on his sweater while Caleb chimed, “I wanna go ou-side.”

My cup runneth over.


Do Not Cry on the Baby's Burp Rag

Do Not Cry on the Baby’s Burp Rag

My son was only three months old when his daddy died. Although he was too young to understand death, babies do absorb the stress and anxiety in the people around them.

What if I allowed my own grief to be a burden on my son? What if he confused my look of sadness for disappointment? I repeated over and over to myself: Do not cry on the baby’s burp rag. You will just make him upset. Just wait until he’s napping.

When Good Memories Bring Pain

The following was written on June 10, 2007, 15 months after I became a widow:

I had trouble sleeping last night because I was thinking about Jason.

I imagine us at Santee playing rummy on the porch. I can feel the moment so clearly, but peace is dashed away when reality reminds me- he isn’t here.

How easily people die. They leave a hole in your heart, and the hole is directly proportional to how much love and dependence you had for that person.

The more you love them, the more desolate and deprived and hopeless you feel if they are snatched away.

Isn’t it sad that we are here on earth enjoying our time together, but after our loved ones are gone, the memories bring pain?

It should not be this way, but everything connected to Jason makes me want to cry.

Widows, Separate Your Grief From Your Children

Our son was only three months old when Jason died, so young that I couldn’t talk to him about his dad yet.

Maybe that’s why it was hard for me to dissociate Caleb from Jason. It was hard for me to see him as being separate and distinct from his dad.

I worried that I could lose our baby too. The moment could be snatched away and turned into a memory just like Jason.

I was helping Caleb learn to crawl, and I praised him with my high, excited, “mommy voice” when he scooted forward for his toy.

My next action was involuntary. I glanced behind me with a huge smile, like I was looking up at Jason to see the pride in his eyes.

Nope, nothing but the pool table in my parents’ living room was standing over my shoulder. The disappointment was so strong that it felt like a slap in the face.

I want to share Caleb’s milestones with Jason, but he isn’t here.

I had to consciously separate my grief from the situation. My baby cannot carry the burden of heartache that I feel in missing his father.

I Will Always Cheer Him On

A child’s smile is the reflection of a mother's love Widow Repair


Thankfully, I recognized the harm of projecting sadness on my baby son. I was healing. It’s evident in what I wrote later in 2007:

“My grim mood changes to playful happiness around Caleb. He is a rambunctious, giggling, squealing, hat-wearing, charming and heart-stealing little sprite. He makes my heart swell and my anger dissipate.”

I still know that Caleb or my mom or dad or brother could go at any time. I am well aware of these “risks” of tying my life up into other people, but I don’t withhold joy anymore in an attempt to protect myself.

Caleb looked at me for encouragement while learning to do cartwheels at his grandparents’ house this winter. He looked at me for reassurance when he learned to swim. A child’s smile in that moment is a reflection of his mother’s love.