SAVE THE DATE FLM
I sat down to write this letter to y’all many times in the last week.
The main purpose being, to get you excited about the Winship 5k,
and our third Field Day!
Better Late than Never!
The Winship 5k is taking place Saturday, October 1st this year.
We will join Dr. Arellano’s team ( Leukidators) again this year!
The link below is where you can sign up under her team.
There is a place where you can honor Mike when you sign up!
We are excited for it to be in person again this year.
I hope you will sign up and join us to walk.
I also hope you will save the date for our Share Love, That’s All, Field Day.
SATURDAY, October 29TH.
The event will be from 4 pm -8 pm and is a family-friendly event.
Like years prior, we will gather and enjoy authentic Louisiana jambalaya made by Mike’s dad and dear friend.
I think many of you come just for that :) Games for kids, music ,bounce houses, s’more,s and more…
We will send out more specifics and flyers you can share with your friends in the next month.
Email me or call me with any questions.
We also welcome any help or ideas :)
Thank you again for being on this road with us.
Many of you have carried us at times.
I am forever grateful.
Below is a little bit of grief shared. No pressure to read.
But all the pressure to come to The Field day and 5K :)
and Fighting Like Mike.
All the rest to God.
To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.
Dear Fight Like Mike Army,
I hope you all had a wonderful summer.
I am thankful for our really fun summer.
It flew by.
I realize it has been a while since I posted on the blog.
It is always my goal to post more blogs consistently.
But kind of like my goal every year to start going to Yoga,
the blog has suffered the same lack of attention and motivation.
Here’s to a new year, more goals, and maybe more consistency.
I thought I might start by sharing some of the letters I wrote to Mike this summer.
We will see.
I continue to write to Mike almost daily.
Journaling continues to be the most healing avenue for me,
as well as my closest connection to Mike.
I miss him,
And with every day that passes,
I realize that fact will never change.
I love this picture of jars that someone posted about grief.
The grief doesn’t shrink, but we grow around it.
Writing brings more space to breathe
instead of feeling suffocated
and lost in memories with him 24/7.
This week I have felt more suffocated again.
A tightness in my chest, alongside tight-fit school schedules.
(and arguments about too tight short shorts with my 9 yr old …. oops did I say that…
teenage years are going to be fun🤨)
Summer brought air and space for grief ( and short shorts ).
And I felt it being sucked out of the jar, as the week started.
Our anniversary landed on the first day of school.
And although I was distracted and thankful for three kids’ first-day nerves.
My own gut felt sick like their first-day tummies.
I couldn’t stop thinking about our wedding day
and wanted to be transported back to the feeling of
that excited jittery stomach instead.
Nancy reminded me of how excited he was when he called her the night he proposed,
and that memory made me smile.
But to add insult to injury on a tough day,
Celia told me that when they wrote about their families,
she wrote down that her daddy had died.
The air became heavier, the jar shrank a little more.
I was also proud of her.
She had worn her crescent moon earrings to school that morning.
She brings him with her everywhere she goes.
She talks about him 24/7.
She tells everyone about the foundation.
But at school, she doesn’t want to feel different for any reason.
Part of that is just childhood, trying to fit in.
So I was proud that she finally felt comfortable in her own skin,
to share her story.
It was a brave thing to do, I told her.
Yeah, yeah she said, waving me off nonchalantly.
My heart hurts for them more than anything.
But they continue to be my greatest teachers.
They keep getting up after each time they are knocked down.
I am learning that the beginning of a school year is just tough,
and in actuality, that is true for many kiddos and families.
Filling out paperwork, leaving the second parent blank.
All about me bags and family pictures to share.
Jake's class actually got points for each question answered on
an online syllabus.
Leaving him looking at me like, what the heck....
so I lose points for having one parent?
We sat on the couch and shed a few tears together,
and then we laughed at the ridiculousness of online questionnaires,
knowing that these triggers are just life and the nature of the beast of loss.
No one is at fault.
Jake's dry-wit humor is all his daddy,
and the way it connects us to Mike through the thin veil,
in these tough moments,
his humor through the sadness is all Mike and
is a gift I treasure every day.
Having to figure out how to explain that we are still a family of five,
just daddy lives in our hearts and in the air we breathe.
is not easy Graham admitted.
He said,” I am taking a picture of all of us,
I don’t like it when people look at me sadly. “
And he showed me the sad pity look that he said people give him.
It made me think of how whenever someone told Mike that they were so sorry this happened to him,
his response was often,
- well you didn’t give it to me so why are you sorry 😳
Self-pity is not something either of them welcomes.
Graham is pretty blunt, like his daddy.
And yet I am grateful for every characteristic trait of Mike that comes out in them.
( Even though it sometimes makes me want to hide from the screen like I did
when Graham blurted out during virtual learning …” this is so boring “.
For us non-confrontational folks, the truth can be slightly uncomfortable. haha)
I am stronger.
And every day does not feel like that first jar anymore.
I do not want to negate that through the stories I shared.
The kids are stronger too.
And hopefully, I can share my journals from this summer.
Because they are stories of all the amazing ways we know Mike is with us.
The way he keeps showing up every day.
Like the 329 that was on the license plate next to us
when I took Jake to his new school Monday morning.
When I went back to take a picture of the license plate,
he rolled his eyes aggravated at me.
“ Do you know that it is illegal to do that,”
he said while looking around to see who was watching me.
Whether he really knew if it was Illegal or not, like his dad,
his confidence always makes me think he knows what he is talking about.
The 329’s, the crescent moons,
the cardinals, and the elephants, are always there.
The veil is so thin between us.
And I am grateful,
on most days,
to find peace
in truly believing that.
I continue to surrender.
I have grown in acceptance.
But some weeks( like the first week of school),
some days, some moments ,
that is not enough.
And single parenthood and widowhood just suck.
And I want his real life, soft touch, so bad.
I want to reach through the very thin veil
and grab his hand, hug him, kiss him.
Hear his voice, pull him back close to me.
I want to be able to write his phone number on the second parent line.
Although I hear his voice in my head, I want him to tell Celia her shorts are too short.hah
I have no metaphor to describe that type of longing,
you only know that feeling,
when you know it.
I never knew it before losing him.
It is indescribable.
We are stronger within the 4 walls of our home,
where we do not have to explain how we know he is still with us or how he is alive in our hearts.
And so navigating through the world outside gets tricky.
We are constantly tested on just how strong we think our faith might be.
And this week reminded us of that.
Vulnerability outside of our safe space is hard.
But Mike never let it stop him from being who he was.
And I am proud of J,C, and G for their ability to be like him in that way.
It is no one's fault, before losing Mike I would have never thought about kiddos in these moments
But maybe there could be just a little extra compassion
there are lots of single-parent families out there.
Yet, as usual, the kids are amazing.
And are humbly swimming through the murky waters,
with bravery and strength that is only given by God.
Only by god.
Only by power way stronger than I could ever comprehend.
Making me believe even more,
that we are taken care of at all times.
I filled out paperwork in Graham’s classroom at open house.
As I sat down and squeezed into a desk,
I looked up to realize I was sitting next to a friend,
who lost her husband to cancer last September.
Their one-year mark lurking,
and this is her first time leaving lines blank
at the start of a new school year.
Her girls are Celia and Graham’s age.
I felt like God had placed us next to each other last Wednesday morning.
I sent her a text that night, telling her the same thing.
And also that two years later,
Although it still stings to leave the second parent blank,
and I am sure it always will, I was able to cry and then was able to keep going.
That with time we do heal in ways we may not imagine.
And the moments that kept me at home for a week or a month,
become less debilitating for such great lengths.
We get braver with each step we take.
We learn how to keep living with the pain.
The jar does grow.
I hope it gave her hope.
It sure made me feel less alone, having her by my side.
God is with us as we leave our four walls.
We are never alone.
I have to slow down,
surrender, and believe
he will always catch us
with the his grace
and love from others.
Besides all that, we are just like every other family…
and the kids are adjusting wonderfully…..🙄😩
back to fighting and cursing bedtimes,
keeping an accurate record of who I lay with the longest.
and wondering why they are going to bed when it’s still light out,
Back to tears about vegetables on their plates again.
I especially love serving dinner to their sweet disgusted half-smiles
as Graham asks, “ why do you have to keep cooking things I have told you I don’t like.” 🤔
They are most thrilled about having to listen to me read again
instead of being put to sleep by the voices of
Ricky, Nicky, Dicky, and Dawn every night on the couch.
(If you don’t know these Nickelodeon stars, consider yourself lucky).
School and schedules are so fun.
I am kidding and maybe being a little dramatic.
these are the little and normal annoyances
that I am grateful for.
Each tough day with them is another day I am thankful for.
Thank you to you all who still listen to me cry, complain, laugh, and be a crazy person.
Grief will make you feel crazy if nothing else does.Ha.
I am grateful for you loving me through my craziness.
Thanks for being there for me through it all.