Friday, June 25, 2010
This was my first Father’s day since Jen died. It was a tough day but also a good day. My girls made me breakfast in bed…with a little help of course, but they were so damn excited to bring me breakfast in bed. It was very cool and the day started off good.
We went to a park out here in the Burgh where we have been going for the past 10 years. I had to think for a minute because it’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed since we started going to the same park. So much has changed over the course of 10 years. We always go to the same pavilion at the park, it’s sort of off the beaten path and not real obvious to find.
When we arrived at the pavilion spot we had two surprises – first the pavilion was gone and second, people were already setup in the spot where it used to be. It only seemed kind of fitting to go to a different pavilion and have our picnic somewhere new.
The “middle” is what it is…meaning no one ever gets to excited about the middle right? When something is new there is the all this excitement or anticipation. When something ends there is more of the same…sometimes it’s a sigh of relief, or maybe it’s a sadness to see it end…but the middle things just seem to keep chugging along. That is sort of how I feel…I’m chugging along in the middle.
I have some tough dates coming up in the next couple of months. Birthday’s for all three of us (both girls and myself), the Fourth of July, our wedding anniversary and of course the one year mark of Jen’s passing. It’s going to be a tough summer.
In many ways I wish I had a Delorean and Flux Capacitor or at least a Fast Forward button, but I don’t. Instead I will put on smiley face for my girls benefit and press on because that’s what you do when you’re in the middle…you keep pressing…chugging along.
This past Tuesday was the last Caring Place group session. I have to say that I will truly miss going there. It was good for the girls but it was also good for me…in many ways. The Caring Place starts back up again in the Fall and what’s cool is that at least one group session will be for families who have already gone through a group and want to come back.
Those coming back are placed in a group where only families who have already been through the program and no first-timers. Bottom line is that the girls have already made it very clear that they would like to go back and I totally agree.
They had a ceremony at the end of the night and their wasn’t a dry eye in the place. They handed out a little memorial plaque with the Caring Place logo (a broken heart with a butterfly at the top) to all the families to take home. When they asked the kids why the logo is what it is a couple of kids answered with some random stuff…then Abbie raised her hand and said “the heart is broken because that’s what happens when someone dies. The butterfly is there as a symbol of hope and that someday your heart will mend”. I just lost it when she said that…I’m tearing up now just typing it. All the adults started tearing up…Abbie leans over to me and puts her head on my shoulder and said “sorry Dad, I didn’t mean to make you upset”…then I started laughing and told her I wasn’t upset…I was happy…was a nice moment.
I would have never thought that after the first visit I would miss it. This is not a commercial for the Caring Place but I would very much recommend it for anyone who loses a family member. The volunteers are awesome and it does do a lot of good. So maybe it’s not an official “ending” since we will be going back, but it’s an ending for now.
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Even before Jen got sick, I was determined to be a good Father. I didn't have the best Dad growing up (that is an entirely other entry) so I have always been determined to be a good Dad for my kids. I like to think I'm doing okay...it's certainly not easy, but at least for now I have a really good relationship with my girls and I'm a very actively involved participant in their lives.
Last year on Father's Day Jen was here, but not really. It was right after we got back from UVA and things were going downhill quickly. I often let my mind wonder and drift and think about what things would be like if she were still here. Not for too long because I just can't let myself drift for too long...I just can't.
My advice for all of you who read this is this - I hate to sound all preachy but...hug your kids, call your Dad today - even I will be calling my Dad...don't take life for granted...just don't...you never know what life may bring you, tell those close to you how you feel and remember their may not be a tomorrow so do it today. That's all I have...I warned any and all reader that this would be a tough summer for me...it(summer) doesn't "officially" start until Monday and I'm already emotionally spent...happy Father's Day.
Sunday, June 13, 2010
We went to the Caring Place on Tuesday. We did something unexpected - Abbie's age group room released balloons into the sky with a note attached to the person who died. Abbie wrote the note to Jen, when it came time to release it, Abbie held on saying "she didn't want to let go". It took everything I had to not lose it right there on the spot. She eventually let go and we watched it float away...
School is Out
School ended this week, but before it ended I had the distinct pleasure of being the last guest reader for Abbie's second grade class. It was so, so cool...I tried to pick a book that would be appeal to both second grade boys and girls - I ended up with "How I Became a Pirate". The class was really into it and the smile on Abbie's face was absolutely priceless.
Back to NJ
My Mom took the girls back to New Jersey, where I grew up to visit my family. The girls were so excited to go and they are having a great time. Visiting, swimming, playing it sounds like they are having an absolute blast, which makes me happy. So...being home alone...is a very different experience. The house is quiet, way to quiet without a couple goofballs running around.
My friends and neighbors know me pretty well...they have bombarded me with gracious invitations for dinner, activities you name it - if that sounds in any way mean I do NOT intend that. I am very lucky to have some awesome friends and some great neighbors who truly care for me. Between the "Pop-ins" the phone calls, the emails etc...everyone is making sure I'm doing okay and I do sincerely appreciate it.
This coming week should be interesting - I'm going to do my best to stay busy and get as much done as possible. I seem to be okay as long as I stay occupied...idle time just makes me think...and it's weird to say but too much thinking it a bad thing...at least for me.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Here are some ramblings in…no particular order…
We (the girls and I) made our piece of the memory quilt for the Caring Place last week. (See the photo below)
The girls picked out all the items to place around the picture. Each little thing represents something important about Jen, the girls and me. Jen always called Abbie her “rainbow” and Allie her “sunshine” so that was a no brainer. The folks at the Caring Place take all the different pieces and make one big quilt – we get to see it tomorrow night. We made it together, the three of us and it was nice to do...tough, but nice.
Soccer season has come to an end, both girls did awesome and I’m very proud of both of them. We had a pizza party and handed out the trophies - it was nice. I couldn't help to think back to a year ago, to last year's soccer pizza party. It was the last thing we did together as a family. Three weeks after soccer ended Jen lost the ability to speak and then walk. The next few months are going to be filled with these type of memories for me...it's going to be a long summer.
My crazy month of attempting to relive some of my younger days is over. I crossed that big pond called the Atlantic and went to Portugal - had an awesome trip. I turned around two days after getting back and drove out to my cousin's house in New Jersey and then we went to game five of the Eastern Conference Finals and saw the Flyers defeat Montreal. Awesome time, awesome game...was good to see my cousin again. Finally, I survived my buddy’s 40th birthday weekend of acting stupid, having some adult beverages and a couple rounds of golf. All and all quite a busy, exhausting but very fun filled last few weeks.
School is Out
School ends later this week so let the summer days begin…oh, to be a kid again and get to spend all summer at the pool, camp, hanging out...I WAS going to insert a teacher joke here...but since I have 8 different friends who are teachers or are married to a teacher...I decided against it.
That's it for now...I am trying hard to stay positive...to focus on the good times...and to not think to much...
Thursday, June 3, 2010
The trip to Portugal was one of the better business trips I have had the chance to take. The resort where the conference was located was in the countryside about 20 miles outside of Lisbon. The resort was surrounded by small towns and vineyards as far as the eye could see.
The conference started on Monday so we landed in Lisbon, got a ride to the resort, showered and went straight to work. Needless to say, that on Monday I was feeling the effects of crossing the pond – the worst part was that as tired as I was I couldn’t sleep at all that evening.
Tuesday afternoon was “planned” activities or free time at the pool. I figured I could always sit around by the pool so I selected “jeep safari” as my activity. It was more of a scavenger hunt using the jeep to find a set of locations that was handed to us. It was a lot of fun and we got to truly experience the Portuguese countryside.
Wednesday afternoon was the true highlight – 14 of us rented a shuttle to take us into downtown Lisbon. We toured the Castle of Saint George, a couple of beautiful churches and then the made it down to the town Commerce square. Wandering through the streets of Lisbon was truly a unique and memorable experience. Many of the streets in the tourist district are closed to cars so you can just walk up and down and grab a beer, glass of wine, coffee whatever you desire in the little outside cafes and shops. London is still my favorite European city, but if I ever get a chance to go back Lisbon, I would so in a heartbeat.
I don't normally like pictures of myself but this is one of my favorites.
I'm sitting in a window of the Castle of Saint George, outside the window is a straight drop over 100 plus feet down...just a very cool memory from the trip.
Here are a few more shots...
It was a good trip for both business and personal reasons. I was lucky that I got to wander around Lisbon with one of my best friends - it was a day that I will truly never forget. I couldn't help but pause and think at a couple of different times how much Jen would have loved to been with me, but for a few hours I got to just let loose and...for lack of better words just have some fun...it felt good.
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...