Saturday, December 12, 2009
It's weird how the mind works, processes and operates. What I refer to as the "recall moments" are overly abundant. I don't just mean the songs on the radio or the movies on TV, that is too obvious. It's the moments that you wouldn't expect that really catch you. Maybe it's an outfit that someone is wearing, or someone walking by that laughs and it sounds all too familiar. It could be as simple as a single word that triggers a memory.
The timing is also very unpredictable. I can be in a meeting, on a conference call or just having a discussion with someone and something triggers a memory. The memory could be from a year ago or 15 years ago - their doesn't seem to be any patterns or rhyme or reason. One thing that really eats away at me is the dreams...or lack thereof.
When my grandmother passed away I went to see her back in NJ a few weeks before she died. I told her to remain strong and continue to fight. She couldn't speak but her eyes said it all...she was ready to go. I whispered into her ear that it would be "alright, everything would be okay". Shortly after she died I had a very vivid dream. She (my grandmother) told me that she was "okay". I remember telling Jen about the dream and how real it seemed.
It's been over three months since Jen passed and I haven't had any dreams of her. I rarely even remember dreaming at all anymore, which is odd because I have always had the ability to recall my dreams in specific detail after I would wake up in the morning. I want...I need to have that dream where she tells me she's "okay" and yet it hasn't happened.
Monday, December 7, 2009
The house is decorated for Christmas inside and out. I'm doing my best in attempting to make this a good Christmas for the girls, but my heart just isn't into it. Where to start...well, Thanksgiving was tough, emotional, draining a roller coaster of downs and downs...very tough indeed. I was hoping that going back to New Jersey for the holiday would distract me and keep my mind occupied. It turns out that NJ has just and many ghosts as the Burgh. You can wander, float and try to run but memories catch you no matter where you go.
The girls had fun seeing all their cousins, so overall the trip was good for them. I did get to see some old friends, which was nice, but also made me sad...it's very hard to explain. If I could use a fast forward button...I would. I wish it were the middle of January and the holidays were over.
A year ago this weekend Jen and I went to the Steelers / Cowboys game at Heinz field. The people that I work with gave me the tickets. It was so cold...10 degrees at kickoff with a -5 wind chill factor. Jen went even though she had chemo only five days prior. She wouldn't even discuss not going. I bundled her up and made sure she stayed as warm as possible. We left at halftime and watched the rest of the game from home. The picture I posted is one of my all-time favorites. Looking back now I can't believe it was only a year ago.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Since Thanksgiving is so late this year and we are headed back to NJ, the next free weekend we have is already December 5th – less then three weeks until Christmas. With all that being said - the girls talked me into getting out the holiday decorations this weekend. It was sort of impromptu and unplanned, which was probably better.
I always love the way the house looks at the holidays. Jen had a special touch when it came to decorating (she always secretly wanted to be a designer). The house always looked so decorative yet very classy.
Putting up the tree and getting out the ornaments was very difficult. Our tree is predominantly decorated with homemade ornaments, most of which were made by Jen. Jen made special ornaments for the girls every year. She left little notes about each ornament. The girls were pretty good while decorating the tree. I on the other hand, well, not so good. I did manage to keep it together to later in the evening. I did my best to decorate the house the way Jen did but it’s just not the same. The holidays are going to be very, very tough.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Jennifer and I started dating in November 1994. In a matter of a few months time in late summer and early fall of 1994 we had both split from of college significant others. Jen and I worked together at the same company. We were both young, single and neither one of us were going to sit around and let life pass us by so we started hanging out. We quickly became more then just friends and within a few weeks started seeing each other every day after work. We both joked to each other that "rebound" relationships were not supposed to work out, but ours just did.
We lived together for a few years and got engaged in 1996. We were married in 1997 and moved to Pittsburgh, PA (where Jen grew up). Also in 1997 Jen started law school at the University of Pittsburgh. I initially did not want to move to "the Burgh" but quickly came to love it. We bought our first home in 1998, a small starter home that we both loved. She passed that bar exam in 2000 and our plan was well under way.
In 2002 our first daughter was born. Jen got a job at a great medium size law firm in 2003. We had our second daughter in 2004. We bought a bigger house in a nice neighborhood also in 2004 and things were going well - we were living a nice life. Two awesome kids, we both had good stable jobs, nice house, nice neighbors, everything was going very well. Obviously I am glancing over things, but for the most part life was good.
Then came the summer of 2007. We rented a house at the beach (Long Beach Island, NJ) where I use to go as a kid. Jen started having weird muscle spasms and twitches. She was also having some vision issues. She went to her primary care doctor and then to have an MRI done. She initially thought it was MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and we prepped for bad news. Needless to say it was not MS and we never prepped ourselves for the news we were about to receive.
I will never forget how "matter of fact" the doctor sounded when he told us that the found something on her brain MRI. That she should needed a brain biopsy in order to confirm the exact type of brain tumor she had. How based on what they currently saw we shouldn't panic but the sooner the better for the biopsy.
Three weeks later she had the biopsy and the official diagnosis was given to us, an Anaplastic Astrocytoma grade 3/4 brain tumor. My heart raced and I felt like everything was in slow motion. They informed us that due to the location of the tumor it was inoperable. November 2007...our lives, the lives of our two small children and families changed forever.
Inside Bill's Head -- Previously Known as (Inside the Head of a Grieving Single Dad)
In August of 2009 my wife Jennifer passed away from an Anaplastic Astrocytoma Brain Tumor. She was only 38 years old. She left me and our two little girls Abbie and Allie to continue life’s journey.
I promised her that I would NOT become angry and bitter about what happened...in order to do that I am attempting to write to express my thoughts and feelings.
This site is a place where I can express my thoughts, feelings and rants...