Saturday, May 22, 2010

Put on a Happy Face

I have much to write about...the trip to Portugal, Kennywood and Random Thoughts...this entry will be on Kennywood.

For those of you who don't live in the Burgh, Kennywood is a family friendly amusement park. It's not big, it doesn't have out of the world rides, but it's the best amusement park I have ever been to. Why, because it's all about family entertainment and family fun.

The Kangaroo
The Kangaroo is one of the oldest rides at Kennywood. It's not scary, it's not fast, it's not flashy, it's a ride that is just fun to ride for people of all ages. Four people can ride in one car so the "typical" family can all ride together and just enjoy it.

The Kangaroo was the first ride the Jen took me on for my first visit to Kennywood. It was also the first ride that we took Abbie and Allie on outside of "Kiddieland" and the first ride that we rode as a family of four. It was also the first ride that we would go on every time we went to Kennywood. It was this silly little tradition that we started that seemed so "whatever" at the time, but matters so much now.

First Trip Since...
When we entered the park today, it was cool that BOTH girls said, "We have to ride the Kangaroo first". I smiled and said, "Yep, we sure do". We got to the Kangaroo...and it was closed for repairs. This was the first time we have been to Kennywood since Jen died and the Kangaroo was closed. In some ways it was very other ways it was just too surreal.

The memories of walking around the same places and rides that Jen rode as a kid and that we took the girls on together starting flashing into my mind. I put on a happy face for the girls sake, but it was a tough day. Which of course then made me start friggin thinking...

Maybe a Fresh Start Would Do Some Good
I don't know...maybe I do need a fresh start. Maybe going somewhere new would be good, not that the memories are bad or haunting because they are NOT and I don't want to give the wrong idea, but they are there. Maybe somewhere new would be good...the opportunity to make new memories might not be a bad thing.

I was also asked today - "so where is your wife". I had to think for a minute just how to answer. I so wish I could say, "She's with my other daughter on a ride" or "she couldn't make it" or "she's working". Instead, I said "she passed away last summer" and the look on the persons face said it all. friggin hate this...I really do...this is just not what I envisioned life to be...I just never in all my wildest dreams figured I would be where I am now. I know this entry sounds a little pathetic...but I ran the full range of emotions today. From sad to angry to happy...I will move because that's what I was just a tough, tough day.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Crossing the Pond

Headed to Lisbon
Tomorrow I am off to Lisbon, Portugal for a work conference. I haven't traveled across the pond since Jen was diagnosed. I usually don't get nervous about traveling, but I'm a little anxious for some reason. I think it's more about leaving the girls then its flying. I do need to get away...I need to clear my mind...not think too much if that's possible...and just clear it. Their is a huge difference between not thinking and clearing the mind.

Award for Jen
On a different note, the Executive Council of the Allegheny County Bar Association's Woman in Law Division is presenting a Special Merit Award to Jen, obviously in memoriam. The bad news is that the award is being presented on Monday and I will be in Portugal. I only found out about the award two weeks ago and my trip has been booked for six weeks. Jen's Mom is attending the reception in my absence. I'm bummed out that I won't be able to attend, but they are going to video tape the presentation so that I can see it when I return.

Overall things are going okay. Work has been very, very busy...a bit overwhelming to be honest. We (where I work) have had some people leave recently and everyone is pulling more than their share. I love being busy and when things are a bit chaotic I seem to perform my best, but the elevated stress level gets old quickly. I'm out of the "funk" I was in a couple of weeks least I think I am. After I get back from Portugal, I am going to do a couple of things...

First, I decided to do something least spontaneous for me anyways. After the Flyers dramatic 0-3, come from behind win in the NHL playoffs. I called my cousin who is also a sports fanatic like me. He ordered Flyers - Canadians tickets for game five in Philadelphia, and I'm driving out for the game. I am really looking forward to it.

Second, I need to see the ocean. To quote the Counting Crows from ' A Long December' "it's been so long since I've seen the ocean, I think I should". I need to see, smell and feel the's a special to was special to meant a lot to both of us.

Third, I hope to come back from Portugal with some answers to some things that I have been kicking around in my mind. Nothing earth shattering, but more like a ton of little things that I need to close out, address for my own sanity sake and move on.

I don't know if I will update the Blog from Portugal or not...have to wait and see...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mother's Day

We made it through Mother's Day. The girls both made special cards for each GrandMom. I showed everyone the special rocks that I bought and we placed them around Jen's tree. It was hard and I managed to keep it together. When the weather gets better I plan on doing more landscaping around the tree and making it nicer - see the pixs below of the rocks that I purchased. The company where I ordered them from did an awesome job - everyone was surprised, touched and enjoyed the moment.

I don't have a whole lot more to was a very emotional day for me. I mean no disrespect to any Mom's, but I'm glad it's passed and over. It's another major milestone that I survived...I suppose it will start to get easier at some point.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Q & A

I thought I would take this opportunity with this entry to answer some questions that have been asked to me via email and in person. I don’t mind answering them and some of these questions are the very reason I started blogging. I hope no one gets offended in any way…

Before I Answer
I am reading books on some interesting topics including:
- Past life regressions
- What happens to the soul?
- Dreams
- Interpretations of God

I’m reading these books to get a better perspective and hopefully a better understanding. I do NOT expect to find answers – initially I did. I realize NOW that I most likely already know the answers I just need to come to terms with them and accept them. I am not losing my mind or anything of that nature, this is just something that I need to do.

Book Update
As for the book that I want to write…it has very little to do with anything that I am currently reading. The book that I want to write is to help some other Dad, Father, Husband, person out there who gets put in a situation similar to mine. I want to write the book that I was looking for…I couldn’t find it… so I want to write it.

Q: How is the book coming along?
A: I have created an outline with many topics / areas that I want to discuss. I have about 80 pages of notes and ramblings that I need to clean up and organize. YES, I know my grammar is absolutely horrible…after I organize things I will be calling out for some help…someone to proofread and help me clean it up. The writing comes in globs. I will write for three or four nights in a row, and then I hit a wall and have nothing to contribute for a week or so. I am in no hurry, so I am letting this develop naturally.

Q: Do I (me) believe in life after death?
A: I am reading and researching in an attempt to give a proper answer. My answer is different now then it was before this experience. I think your soul moves on…I am trying to find out where, how and when…this answer will be on-going…

Q: When Jen passed, did you see any light in the room or anything of that nature?
A: I did not. I was with her and was totally focused on her – I did not see anything of that nature. Her passing was calm and peaceful.

Q: Have I had any different or unexplained events happen to me?
A1: This is a tough one to answer. Under stress the mind does funny things. A couple of times I have shut off lights and gone downstairs and then forgot something and went back into the same room where I just was and the lights are on. This has happened a few times – is it my mind playing tricks, is it something else…I can’t say. I know what the logical part of me wants to say, but I am seriously trying to keep an open mind.

A2: I have also made comments or asked things like “I wish I knew you were hearing me” to Jen and then a song that has special meaning will come on the radio...coincidence…freaky…who knows…who can say?

Q: Do you talk to Jen
A: Yes, I talk to her. I talk out loud and ask questions as if she can hear me. I don’t know why, but sometimes it does make me feel better.

Q: How are the girls doing?
A: From what I can tell they are doing okay. I listen a lot and reassure them that things are going to be okay. They are both mature little girls for their age and we talk quite a bit, honestly I am impressed but some of the questions they ask. I try to answer as honest as possible tell them how much I love them and how much Mom loved them and is looking out for us.

Q: What do I think of the Caring Place?
A: I was disappointed after the first night - honestly, my expectations were wrong. Since then I actually look forward to each session. The girls love going and making arts and crafts projects. I like going because it’s…sort of nice to be around other folks who have also lost someone special to them. Let me explain because that sounds horrible – I feel totally okay there. I’m not worried that someone is looking at us or about feeling funny. There we are just like everyone else.

Q: Are you coming to grip with your grief?
A: This is probably the toughen question to answer. It is so, so unpredictable. It can hit you at anytime and at anyplace. Let me answer this way…up until a couple of weeks ago I wanted to control my grief. I wanted to dictate when I would allow my self to feel bad, sad, angry etc. It doesn’t work that way. It took me 8+ months to realize that, so in that sense I am handling it better.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Post-It Tuesday (on Wednesday)

I was under the weather yesterday so I'm posting Tuesday's "Post Its" on Wednesday...

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 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...