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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Strong, Weak and Numb

I realize now that days are not measured by "Good" or "Bad". Life, for me now anyways, is measured by a Strength scale. Some days measure higher than others. A 9 or 10 is a strong day. A 1 or 2 is a weak day. Anything in between is just a Numb day.

On a Strong day, I can eat normally, I can sleep, I can be productive, and I can even laugh. Those are the days when I feel like my family and friends, and most of all Matt, are near me, helping us all get through the days. Together we will get through this. Those are the days that I am not afraid that someone else is going to get hurt or die that day. Those are good days.

On a Weak day, I am crying. I am angry, I am sad, I am just beside myself in pain- physical, mental and emotional. There is no eating. There is not very much sleeping, there is absent-mindedness, clumsiness, and more than anything, selfishness. I can't see past myself on those days, other than with the overwhelming fear that it is someone else's time which is going to hurt me worse than I am already hurting. I really, really dislike weak days.

All the other days are Numb days. I don't feel anything. I don't really want to talk to anyone or do anything, but I still push myself through the motions of getting stuff done. I eat, but not because I am hungry- because I know I have to. I sleep in exhaustion, although probably not as good as I should.

My days vary between all three levels as well. I can go from Strong to Weak in the snap of a finger, or the words of a stranger that have absolutely nothing to do with an y situation in my life, or maybe they do. Today, I went from semi-strong to the lowest numb before weak because some little kid in Wal-Mart was saying "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!" at the top of his lungs, and she yelled at him.

I can go from Numb to Strong by a song, by a smile, by the same child that was screaming "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy", because I am so utterly happy that this woman has that child.

Memories of my friends, my family and my husband help. But Memories can be a reminder of what is no longer there, also, which doesn't help.

So, in my fluctuations and grief, please ignore my swings. I don't know when they are going to happen. I don't know exactly how or why they happen, but I am trying to figure that out so that I can prepare for them, and hopefully protect everyone (namely- April, my family and his family) from them.

I try not to write on Weak days. Those will just come out very, very, very "poor me". I don't generally write on overly strong days either, because I am so busy getting stuff done and being productive.

I really don't like feeling Numb, either. Matt and my relationship was never, ever, ever numb. Nor will it ever be. It was always Strong. That is who I will become again someday. I know it. He wouldn't want it any other way, and honestly, neither do I. I guess it is just the weakness and numbness that happens in the meantime that is exhausting.

One of my favorite songs through this has been This Too Shall Pass. I listened to it almost nonstop the first few nights after Matt's accident. Each day is another day without him, which I suppose is why lately I have had lots more weak days than I did in the beginning, but I know that he and God will carry me through this. I have no other way to look at life but by that. There is a passage in the song that says:

The one that loved me the most
Turned around and hurt me the worst
I'm trying my best to [stay strong*]
But the pain just keeps singing me songs

*my change- it fits my situation better, I think.

How true is that?!? Her voice is complete perfection with emotion as well, which really brings me peace. My friend Karla first shared this song with me a long, long, long time ago after her Granddaddy died. I didn't realize its true meaning then, or how it applied, because to me it seemed like it was a break up song. Now I know it is definitely not.

The whole song is beautiful and honest and pure. It reminds me of Matt in that way. I wish I would have known how much that song would bring me strength when he was alive so I could have shared it with him more.

Someday, I will get to the point of one of the final passages of the song:

All of a sudden I realized
That it only hurts worse to fight it
So I embrace my shadow and hold on to the morning Light.

If anyone feels like checking this song out, it is beautiful. It is India Arie This Too Shall Pass.

I am going to try to clean now, as writing this has brought me from Numb to a 9 of Strength, I think. Thank you for reading/listening to me. Now it is time to get productive and then head to my Daddy's.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I think it is really starting to set in- the pain. Never have I felt this pain before. Never have I imagined the possibilities of its relentlessness and infinite-ness. Unfortunately, people keep telling me that it is going to get worse before it gets better. The holidays are coming, that is going to be hard. Very hard. Our first anniversary is coming. I won't be able to even hear his voice on our FIRST anniversary!!! I was planning on spending them without him anyway, because he had to be in the sandbox, but that doesn't make this any easier. For two months I haven't talked to him. I have not heard his voice, or heard him tell me he loves me, or told him that I love him. That is, right now, one of the most painful parts.

I miss our days together. Every day, but especially our lazy days. I have learned, through the deployment, to deal with this emptiness, but I still miss it. Before, when I thought of us snuggling lazily on a Saturday morning, it hurt, but we could do that again, in only a few weeks, in only a few months. Now, the feeling of emptiness will be permanent, because never again will we just get to wake up whenever we want to- together. Sleep in or get up early. We always woke up with his leg wrapped around mine and his arm squishing me, holding me in protection. And I would be holding his finger, because my hands are so small compared to his. I would make him breakfast, usually his favorite, french toast, and he would watch his car shows. Or, we would get up and go to Cracker Barrel and he would order Mama's French Toast with Turkey Bacon. We would just talk, or we would play the pin game and he would tease me because he could almost always finish the puzzle, and I was an "Egg-no-ra-mous". We always held hands at dinner while waiting for our food, and we always held hands wherever we went, walking together, or in the car, or wherever.

How does one stay strong when everything in life has changed? It has, but it hasn't. This stupid deployment has taken away our time together, and made me get "used to" not having him around on lazy Saturday mornings, or holding hands at Home Depot. It has made every day life the same, but not, because now there is an incredible, hurtful, horrible emptiness that cannot be replaced or fixed. It has taken the time away from every soldier and military spouse. From everyone who has to leave their spouse at the hangar, and they go away for months or a year. "You are lucky, because you have phone calls and webchats". I am not complaining, because we did have those, and my goodness did I cherish those, but the people who are the first to say that are the ones sitting at home next to their husbands eating ice cream, or fighting with them because they didn't load the dishwasher. How does one explain the emptiness of deployment to someone who has never experienced it? How does one describe the emptiness, the loneliness, and the overall vulnerabilities of being the spouse of a deployed soldier? And how does one do so without sounding like he or she is complaining? And, on the flip side of this, how does the soldier deal with the same issues, only in a foreign country, with the constant threat of harm on their mind? I will tell you this, when they say military families are the strongest of the strong- there is NO lie to that statement.

Now, I know the reality of deployment. I know the reality of this and the hurt that I and my friends (soldiers and spouses) are all experiencing each time the soldier- the other half- leaves. Unfortunately, my reality is going to continue forever now. The emptiness is not going to stop. The loneliness and vulnerability will always be there. My other half is forever gone.

I am so thankful that for a relatively short period of time I had my other half, and that my world could revolve around him, and that his world revolved around me. Luckily, my relatively short period of time was enough for a lifetime of memories that I will forever cherish. We were together all the time, unless the army was involved and needed him for something. The spouse of a soldier is never truly number one, because the Army always has to come first. That is a sacrifice that is made by the individual, and by the families, every time the line is signed. But, for one year and 9 months (9.5....), I found my other half, and I think that he found his. Together we were finally whole. We belonged, and the emptiness felt by both of us was finally, finally soothed.

How am I supposed to go back to the emptiness? Fortunately, I have our memories that helps fill the void. However, we cannot make new memories. The emptiness I feel now is different from that during deployment, but much, much, much different from that I had before I met him. I didn't know it existed before I had him. Now that I have been whole, I can realize the emptiness is there, and it is excruciating. The pain of him being gone can't be soothed. The feeling of wanting him near me is no longer calmed by me saying "just a few more weeks". Because that is when it sets in that the only time this feeling will go away is when I see him in Heaven.

I love you, baby. I miss you like crazy and need you so much. I miss my other half and my feeling of wholeness. I still continue smiling for you daily. I have realized that the smiles only temporarily make the pain go away.