Material Anxiety

I may have blogged about this before, but since something has sparked it again, I'm going to go down this path, maybe for the first time, maybe a rerun. My apologies before hand if you've read me talking about this before.

When someone dies you often feel all of you have left of them are what they left behind. Material possessions. While this isn't the case at all - you have your memories, your child, your love, even your pictures - you still have this clinging to material objects that were theirs, or yours together. Ok, maybe this isn't for everyone, or even anyone, whose experienced a loss, maybe it's just me. But that's how I am, I cling to his stuff. His clothes, his shoes, his gear he left, our wedding stuff, anything that was ours together. I just like knowing where they are at all times, so if I need to go see a certain item, it's there. Maybe it's so I can always draw up memories from seeing the items, maybe I just think I can be closer to him, I don't know what it is, but I'm pretty crazy about his stuff - that's all I know. There will be times when I think of a certain object of his or mine and I have to find it right then and there. I have to make sure it's still in the place I put it, that I still have it. It's a crazy anxiety that's probably borderline OCD, but hey that's just my self-diagnosis.

Tonight, I was reminded of my attachment to the stuff. I was picking up things in the kitchen when I saw a shiny piece of fabric on the floor. At first I thought it was a piece from the veil I used for my mannequin wedding design last quarter but upon closer inspection, I realized what it was right away. Next to it, was a green piece of toulle. Together, with M&Ms inside of them and a pretty ribbon around them, was one of our favors at our wedding. Rachel and Jonathan May 2, 2009 was written on one piece of the ribbon, when it was whole. It was, however, not whole anymore. The toulle was torn, the white shiny part had holes in it and the M&Ms were no where to be found. A little four-legged girl that has been staying here had found this tasty contraption in my room and brought it to the kitchen to be enjoyed and therefore in my eyes, destroyed. I instantly filled with sadness and rage. I walked away from the creature and returned the torn pieces next to their purple counterpart on the shelf in my bedroom. I sat for a while and I thought. I remembered the excitement of getting the custom ribbons, our names and date printed in silvery letters marking the approach of our wedding. I remembered my mom and I putting them together. Using the pulley ribbons to make perfect little bows (it might have been cheating but hey, it was easy and pretty) over and over, I think we made a bit more than 200. Layering the fabrics, filling them with violet and teal M&Ms and tying them shut. I remember choosing to keep two, one of each color, to be a keepsake from our special day. And I remembered our special day, the preparations up to it and how amazing that day had been for both of us. I also had a bit of a revelation. While these objects, this stuff, does help draw up memories when we need them most, they are not necessary. They do not hold the memories, they just help bring them forth. I can bring forth those memories whenever I want though because they are stored in my head and my heart. I am still a little peeved at the creature but I won't hate her for life, she didn't know she was ruining a part of one of my favorite days. But no matter what, no one can ruin that day in my memories. I don't think this revelation will be any help in making me less anxious about the stuff, but it may help me if something does get ruined or goes missing.

It also brings forth another question that I am still not ready to answer or deal with yet. How much of his things, our things, should I keep? How long should I keep them? Should I keep every last item we had together until I am old and gray? Carting it with me to every move? Or one day, will I be further in my grief that I will be able to let go of some of the stuff and rely solely on the memories. Of this I am completely unsure. All I know is for now, I have the stuff, I love the stuff and I don't want to be without any of the stuff. So I guess yes, I am thankful. For all of the stuff. Maybe not the anxiety that I get, but definitely the stuff that I have to accompany the memories. Hmmm...

Summer Rose's Deployment Dad

Well, I am officially a deployment dad. Yup. I did it, I became a daddy! Ok, ok, let me explain.

One of my besties, and my "first wife" Tamara is married to Jonathan's MC bestie/brother, Brad. So Brad has become my big brudder (I know I've talked about him before) and therefore Tamara is my sis. We are so close we're definitely like family. I love this family like my own and am thankful that I have them in my life. Annnyyywho, my big brudder is currently deployed and Tamara was pregnant. Being my friend, I had always said I would help Tamara through her pregnancy and I promised Brad I'd take good care of her. Last weekend, she was almost 35 weeks along, her due date was August 17. I thought for sure I'd be safe, that there would be no baby being born that weekend, and headed home to spend my last weekend of summer break with my mama and fam and for my friend's birthday party. I headed home on Friday and Saturday afternoon Tamara calls me -- HER WATER HAD BROKE. She talked to the hospital and by the amount of fluid she was leaking, they told her to come in, they admitted her, and the baby-having process began. She hadn't progressed much in the labor department, so they had her hooked up to pitocin and eventually an epidural. This is all while I am in Maryland. I was super stressed because I was afraid I wouldn't make it. I ended up going to my friend's birthday party Saturday night, not making the last flight to NC and not sure if I'd make it for the birth, but when there was still not a baby by 1:30am when I got home, I booked a plane ticket back to NC, praying that I'd beat the delivery time. It was really last minute planning, I went to bed around 3 and got up at 430 for my 7am flight. Thank God I am a pro at sleeping on airplanes. Mom kept Ariana with her so I could spend time with Tamara at the hospital and said she'd bring her down in a few days. I headed straight from the airport to the hospital, without my luggage (it had caught the next flight lol) and saw my friend. I almost cried when I saw her in the hospital bed, pregnant belly still there. I was so glad to be with her, to fulfill my promises, to see my friend, and relieved that I had made it. She seemed grateful that I was there as well. That night we hung out and talked about how long she had been in labor and what she'd been doing to occupy the time. She filled me in on all the details and how good our friends Tina and Amanda had been taking care of her. Tina and I began suffering from delirium and dancing around the birthing suite. I showed the nurses the bee-shaped bruise on my left buttocks to get giggles out of Tamara. Zach was a stand up comedian. Around 1230am, Tamara was ready to try to get some sleep. Zach headed home and I laid down on the couch/bed apparatus they have for dads. They checked her a couple of times and at 5am, it was go time! I've never woken up so easily, Tamara whispered Rachel, it's go time, and I was up and at the ready. Summer Rose was born at 515am on Monday morning, weighing in at 6lbs 2oz, 18in long. Tamara was such a champ and even said YEAH BABY as Summer made her appearance. We also high fived (we're classy like that) when the nurse gave us the definite baby time sign. I got to cut the cord, which was so very, very awesome. And the nurses then dubbed me deployment dad. Brad got to call and talk to Tamara which made her so happy. I was just so thrilled I could be there for my extended family. They mean the world to me and being able to support my girl through this was amazing. I don't know what I would have done without her when Jonny died and I'm glad I can be there for her when she needs me.

I haven't been up to the hospital as much lately because it's been a mad house. I started back at school, had a couple doctors appointments, got Brad's mom from the airport, my mom came down with Ari and then Jonny's mom came to visit. It's been a busy week but pretty amazing. I just left the hospital and both mom and baby are doing well. Summer is eating a good amount and hopefully they will be home soon. I just want them to know how much I love them and how important they are to me. Hurry home Brad, we miss you!!

Vacation and Good News

Well I have returned from some vacation time. I hope you all had a great 4th of July weekend and had a fabulous time celebrating the independence of this country. We decided to take a little mini vacation and head to Myrtle Beach, the baby, Zach and I. We stayed at the Patricia Grand right on the ocean. I will say I was a bit disappointed in the hotel, I guess I had just expected a little more with the word "resort" in the title but it was not shabby. We had a balcony looking over the pool and the ocean and it had a separate living and bedroom. I think my biggest disappointment was the bathroom. I'm a sucker for awesome hotel bathrooms and this one wasn't one. Strangely enough the sink and tub and toilet were all in the same room which is weird for hotels these days and it was a bit small but hey it worked and was clean enough for this germophobe. We had a great time swimming in the pool and the lazy river. The lazy river wasn't huge, it was inside, but it was cool because you could just float around and chill out and it was warmer for those chillier nights. The baby really liked swimming, especially in the lazy river. I wished this resort had a kid water play area like a lot of the other resorts in the area, but when you book your trip for 4th of July weekend in a high-tourist beach town the day before you leave to head down, you get what you get!

We went to the Ripley's Aquarium which was really neat. It took Ariana a bit to warm up and get out of her stroller but once she did she was all smiles and really enjoyed the horseshoe crabs, she cried when we moved on, poor thing. We missed the mermaid show because it was really packed in the room they were having it in but we were ok with that and just enjoying the exhibits. There was a really cool "danger alley" part where you stand on a moving sidewalk and there are sharks and other dangerous creaturs swimming around. I liked that - there's something about seeing the underbelly of a shark that just fascinates me. Ari wouldn't move from her stroller at the point, just stared over head. Ariana and I even went up in a bubble and "swam" with the puffer fish, I always called Jonny my puffer fish, so I thought that was super neat that was where the bubble was :) We also went to Pirate's Voyage, the pirate dinner show in Myrtle. We had an awesome time there. The food was so good (and plentiful) and the show was entertaining for both Zach and I as well as Ariana. There were stunts and singing and dancing and cannons and sea lions and, well, all kinds of neat things. Ariana especially loved the corn on the cob and did not want to throw it away when dinner was over, she's so funny.

Most of our time was spent lounging around pool side soaking up sun (I doused Ariana in 50SPF baby sunblock but forgot mine on ONE day and turned lobster red - FAIL) and just relaxing. Zach and I and had both had semi stressful weeks and we agreed this is exactly what we needed to unwind, just some serious chill out time. We headed to the fireworks on 4th of July and the Myrtle Beach fireworks didn't disappoint, we found a grassy area a few blocks away and it was neat seeing the sparkles at the palm tree line. Then when we got back to the room and watched people do their own fireworks displays on the beach from the balcony. The day we left, we stopped by the Children's Museum of South Carolina. It was pretty neat but still a little too old for Ariana. She had fun with the bubbles and the play food in the kitchen area, and playing on the biggest LiteBrite I've ever seen. She made some art in the creative station and "drove" me in a VW Beetle. It was fun being a little kid for the day and it was only 8 bucks to get in and free for kids under 2 so it was worth that!

All in all it was a fun vacation, we enjoyed relaxing and just being together. I wanted to share photos but my camera cord is currently MIA, hopefully in the near future I will have a photo post!

I guess the only downfall I really have is I still get so sad because these are all things I "should" be doing with Jonathan. It's hard to not think that anytime we all do something together. Zach is wonderful, don't get me wrong, but my mind always goes back to how I should be doing this with Jonny. Or Jonny would have loved XYZ. It's hard to not do that, to not think of the what-if's but I do. And I talk to Zach about it, he's supportive. He says of course you're going to wonder these things and wish he were here, I wouldn't expect anything else. It's good to be with someone who really seems to get it. He encourages me to talk to him more often, tell him about the things we do and I do that, but sometimes it's hard because it's like I'm just saying outloud all the things he's missing. And I just want to hear him talk back... Sigh, I don't know. I'm working on focusing more on the positive though, I've realized lately that I do look at the negative side of things a lot, not just with Jonathan but with well... just about everthing. School, career, anything, I just am like well I have my degree but... or I could be working here... things like that. So one goal in my life is to look less at the negative. Talk to my husband daily and be thankful for what I have now in my life even if it isn't what I had planned.

Wow, the vacation rundown turned into soul searching. That's always what happens with me isn't it? Trying to figure myself out. Maybe I should have finished my Psych Master's so I could shrink myself.... Nah... hair and writing are both WAY more fun.

Speaking of writing... I got the print issue of DStripped in the mail the other day. O MY GOODNESS how exciting it is to hold in your hands a magazine and see your name as the byline on articles. I know I've talked about how exciting it is to be published in the online magazine but to hold it in your hands. I just squealed and squealed. Five articles, published on glossy paper with my name on them. Ah it was SO awesome. Zachary being the awesome person that he is made me a celebratory dinner of steak, corn on the cob and baked potatoes on the grill then invited some friends over so I could show off the magazine and celebrate. He's sweet :) We all cheersed to my published-ness and it was pretty awesome. It feels one step closer to my dream job of being a writer, and it really, really makes me smile. And it helps that I'm writing for such a cool magazine with really awesome people. (If you haven't gotten your copy yet, head to DStripped to order one, or even just peep the July issue of the online version). Re-reading this I see I use awesome a lot but hey - IT IS SO AWESOME!!!!

Besides that I've been working on making my house more home-y. I've finally hung up picture frames and the like and I have discovered the awesomeness (there it is again!) of Kirklands (interior decorating store with phenomenal prices) I figured I'd lived there 6 months, it's about time I actually make that house look like I live there haha.

Well, I've rambled long enough and I'm getting eaten by misquitos hanging out here on my mom's front porch. I'll be in touch friends. I hope you are all doing wonderfully, God Bless!

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