Marshall's music, t-cells, t-shirts and more

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Falling into Fall

I could feel it as I woke up this morning and pulled on his Utah sweatshirt. The crispness in the air. I bit into a juicy, sweet peach. I love peaches. I love sweatshirts. Fall is definitely coming. Yet it hurts.  I somehow don't love these things as much without him. One thing I've realized since Marshall died is that besides holidays and birthdays, the changing of the seasons is one of the hardest times during the year. It REALLY hurts. It hurts to not have him here to share in our son's first day of kindergarten and to laugh at my rookie parenting mistakes as I send my kid off in the world for the first time. Here I go into the cold season again without my human heater to keep me warm.

I can be very strong and together around others. Especially around my son. Every time he sees my tears, he says, "mom- dad wants us to be happy!" If anyone in the world wants us to be happy of course Marshall does. So I will let my tears fall on my keyboard as he is busy playing in another room- without his dad. He often wishes he was here to play with him as I wish he was here to talk to and laugh at and with me. And yet Marshall's old mitt and ball sit untouched. As much as my head knows that we are to move forward happily, my heart sometimes wants to be buried in the cold ground next to his. Good thing I have a strong mind that likes to dominate my heart. He taught me to use my heart more and I miss his teachings. I hope his soul can still teach my broken heart some things once in a while. Sometimes I curse my heart for being so weak to fall in love with him. I was often guarded against guys growing up, so why did it have to fall for him? See, I knew I had my guard up for all those years for a reason. So I could avoid being so heart broken as I am now.

I hesitate a bit to share this and the music because I cried through it all so it's not my best performance, but I promised some friends across the country I would. We got through his birthday thanks to others. I think he loved it. So many family and friends singing HIS beautiful lyrics and songs. I am so glad he tuned his instruments and didn't let his music die within him. I even sang Beautiful Heartbreak, the last song he sent me. The money we raised is going to another leukemia fighter. If we can keep this benefit going, I hope I can get through the songs next year without crying and losing my place every time. Thank you to every single person who put in the effort to create something beautiful this year for Music for Marshall and all who supported Spenser in his fight and our family in our grief.

It's probably a good thing I just started another grief group. This season's change is seeming to be the hardest yet. I think it is because we are entering the season when he died and was buried last year. I just don't want to face it alone. Last year there were many people around and this year I am sure I will visit his grave alone. I am mad at him for leaving me to raise our son, take care of the house and cars, and try to navigate this world and the rest of life. It should be against the rules that your husband get sick for four years and then dies right after you marry him. That's all I'm saying. We were just beginning. Why did the beginning have to be the end?

Today is the Y vs the U game, which is what we did for our second date (our first date we went country dancing lifts and all and he spouted off his memorized lines of Ralph Waldo Emerson). It's the only day of the year we would act as rivals and I would cheer for blue and he would cheer for red as we cuddled. This year as I got accepted to a grad school program at the U and he is gone, I'm not really sure who I should cheer for anymore. Such is life since he died. Many small, insignificant decisions have been sometimes hard for me to make. And the much bigger, important decisions !? Forget it. I am working on that. I hope I can get better at remembering what it was like to make decisions on my own. Yet I also thank him for giving me the perspective of just how often we make such big deals over trivial things and what really will matter when life is over. At least Kez is a cuddler at this stage of his life. That's what Fall is good for too.

People can be jerks to single moms. Especially when they don't know what we've been through. Sometimes I can't blurt out a very quick version of our story fast enough to avoid the misjudgments. Sometimes I don't want to talk about it at all so I just let people look on and misjudge. I wish he could come back just for a day so I could tell him all about it. I could also tell him about all we've done this year and how strong we've become and thank him for that. I would beg him to stay. To teach his son all the wonderful qualities he had. To teach him his love of music and guitar. His optimism and divinity. All the qualities I admired about him. Maybe that's why he's our angel now. I should have fallen for someone of lesser quality. At least they would still be alive. That probably sounds terrible, but that's how I feel as the cold bites my toes this morning. I'm also extremely grateful for how very hard he pursued me 7 years ago and how he convinced me to marry him because without that first step I wouldn't have gotten to know him so well and I wouldn't be who I am now. Now I'm going to soak in yet another bath hoping I can warm up myself and numb the pain.

I also felt another feeling as I was wrapping up this blog this morning. It was a distinct, very warm pressure on my right arm. I really want to believe that his spirit is still around us sometimes. Yet even that belief doesn't take away the tremendous pain that his body is not and that is what sparked these ramblings. I am sure his spirit misses its' body and all the things he could do with it. He inspires me to make the most of this life and try to love these moments while I still have them.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Red Sun

Tonight there was a sunset that made the sky red. Then there was a moon that looked orangish-yellow and was shaped like a banana. My sweet Kez took notice of both. He says when he sees his dad he is red and white. He sent the banana moon to make him laugh. I didn't get a picture of either, just gazed on quietly noticing the beauty tonight.  I just kept thinking, 'that reminds me of Marshall.' Kez also kept seeing shooting stars. There will be a big meteor shower soon. Events like this really make me miss Marshall. We spent many a night on top of a car looking at the sky. This is my first August without him in 6 years.

Lately I have been having a very difficult time coming to terms with the fact that Kezman won't have the most amazing dad he would have for the rest of his life. Marshall was definitely the better parent and I truly feel terribly for my young son. How in the world will I give him the attention and time he deserves while taking care of everything else too?

I told Kez I was missing Marshall through some tears today and he responded, "Mommy you need to listen. I see daddy's spirit mouth talking and you need to listen." I said "Kez, I can't hear anything". He said, "close your eyes and concentrate mom". This was so out of character for my jabber box son to suggest that I decided to try it. And I could hear him! The tones of his voice so melodic and familiar echoed in my ears for one sweet moment. It had been so long since I've heard it while he was alive now that I MISS IT SO! He always called me the sweetest things and I could hear that too. I really feel like Kez will be missing out on getting to know Marshall and having an incredible dad. It literally breaks my heart in two all over again every day. My dad and I are close and I have no idea how I would have grown up without him around. I devoured 2 books on the airplane trips this past week and they are books I would recommend to anyone who's lost a loved one. The Message by Lance Richardson and i knew their hearts by Jeff Olsen. One sentence really resonated with me, "I knew I had experienced something beyond death, but it didn't quench the pain of missing them". Although Kez seems to have more of these experiences than I do- it still doesn't help the intense pain of missing our Marshall.

I've read from some experienced widows that the second year is harder than the first. I am starting to see exactly why that could be true. Sometimes I wonder where my friends and family have gone now. Am I too independent? Am I acting like I'm fine too often? It's not fake; I really am trying to be strong and make the best of this life we have been dealt. I guess I am better at putting on a good face than I thought. Or maybe I am too much of a Debbie Downer in my grief and people don't know what to say or do. It's probably just that people are so busy in their own families and lives and seeing/hearing Kez and I brings back memories they don't want to recall. They may bring up emotions none of us want to deal with.

How could God take away the very most amazing thing he ever gave me and expect me to live on without it? I don't understand. I don't know what it is, but I feel somewhat like the Savior when he was so alone in the garden. Bearing moments of complete anguish, despair, sadness to the point of physical pain. That's the one place I can relate to in my mind. My friend Julie put it nicely when I told her how I felt one day. She said, "I have a theory about friends. That theory is that you are in the garden of Gethsemane, suffering untold agony that only you can understand. Your friends are outside the wall. They care. They want to help. But they don't understand and they can't stay awake. You are forsaken by people who don't know how to help and to avoid the discomfort, they fall asleep. It's a very lonely place for you. A normal conversation would be wonderful. Having friends engage without feeling sorry for you would be wonderful. But it won't happen. They don't know how. If they could think of what to say, they'd try, but they don't know what to say anymore. They will eventually return." Thank you for putting it so elegantly Julie.

When the Savior comes again he will be wearing robes of red. Kezman and I were able to go through a special tour of the new Philadelphia temple with some very special people. The trip was a bit healing and hard too. It was more healing than I thought it would be. Less hard than I thought it would be. (We were also able to tour the laboratory where the t-cells were made and stored. I'll talk about that in another post). The spirit was strong and the first thing I noticed was a picture of Christ in red robes. I really hope Kez is right when he talks about his 'red and white' dad and I pray that what Marshall can do for his son from that side of the veil can help him grow into the amazing man he is meant to be just like his amazing father.