It’s been almost three months since I’ve updated the family blog, so I thought I would take some time to let everyone know how we’re doing.
I cannot escape the math each Sunday. Tonight marks twenty weeks. One hundred and forty days since saying goodbye. I still don’t want to believe it.
Summer has been cruising along, and three weeks from tonight will already be our first ‘school night’ of the new year. Joey will enter his last year of elementary school, starting 5th grade and Julia will be in 7th grade. I’m excited for the new adventures that await them…and also for that earlier bedtime that happens when you have to get up at 6:15 in the morning!
Our summer has been good, relatively speaking. Honestly, it is so hard to say anything is ‘good’ or even ‘great’ in light of how different everything is, but we’ve made the most of our days as best we can. We’ve settled into a new normal and certainly have our moments, but our love for each other is fierce and we have proclaimed ourselves ‘The Three Amigos.’ I’m so proud of how the kids have stepped up and recognized their new roles on our team.
Summer has been filled with baseball (Joey) and golfing for both the kids…I’ve even managed to golf a few times as well, including at our school’s annual golf outing. We went to a Rob Thomas concert and will be going to see Hootie and the Blowfish later this month, which was a Christmas present for the kids, who have come to love 90’s music as much as their mom and dad, Joey especially.
In mid-July, we welcomed home a new family member.
Back at the end of April we learned, on a whim, that Rudy’s half brother was available to come home in July. There were a lot of pieces to the story, but there were multiple not-so-random coincidences that made us feel like this dog was meant to be ours.
And while Tony loved Rudy to pieces, he had lobbied more than once for us to get another puppy. Back in November, when he last tried, I was quite firm on my stance that would not happen. If you knew Tony, it wouldn’t surprise you that he could still get his way after he was gone. He made sure I heard him loud and clear. The thought of having a new puppy to love and something to look forward to just felt right.
And let me tell you, it does feel right.
Tuesday will mark three weeks since he came home, and while I had plenty of moments to question my sanity and wonder why I thought this would be a good idea, he has been the highlight of the summer. He is a wonderful, mild mannered little pup, and immediately attached himself to Julia, who loves him to pieces. My heart feels best when we lay on the floor playing with him and the kids are giggling watching him hop around.
And as for Rudy…I was most worried that he would act out or not be happy with our new addition, but things have been going really well. At six years old, Rudy’s not quite as excited to hop and play with a boisterous puppy, but other than that, he keeps an eye out for him and even will drop his toys for him to play with. Tonight they even ate dinner together. It’s gone better than I could have hoped.
This weekend we celebrated Joey’s upcoming birthday…double digits! It was our first birthday party at our house since, and Tony’s presence was missed so heavily throughout the night. While I joked that I didn’t have any pre-party squabbles yesterday afternoon as I was getting things ready, I caught myself more than once thinking Tony was in another room or found myself trying to catch a glance or listen for him. We had a wonderful night, but we all had our moments after everyone left and we talked about how much it hurt not having him there.
The family picture.
Every birthday, without fail, we stand by the cake for a family picture. As I looked at this picture last night, it was so bizarre to look and not see him standing there. Instead of the four of us and Rudy, it was Julia and I next to Joey with a dog on each side.
Don’t get me wrong, this picture makes me happy – our smiles are genuine and I love comparing the pictures year after year to see how much the kids have grown. But in the same moment of happiness exists the gut wrenching pain in knowing that there won’t be any more pictures with Tony in them.
I’ve been keeping busy just trying to keep up – I’ve learned that in most circles, widowed parents refer to this new gig as ‘solo parenting.’ While I’m new to the solo parenting world, I can verify that it’s thoroughly exhausting. And I have a lot of family and friends to help me. It’s just lonely being the only adult in the house and not having your person to talk to, watch tv with, grab dinner with…doing anything or nothing feels so empty.
Researching and learning about grief has become a big part of my life. Finding connections and realizing that your feelings are not unusual brings comfort. I’ve joined groups and made new friends who are in the ‘club’ that nobody wants to be a part of.
As writing seems to bring me some peace, I have also started a separate blog called www.livinggoodgrief.com to help me journal this new path I’m on. It’s a different type of blog – I write a lot about my grieving process in general and how I’m processing my feelings. It’s not about the kids – their grief journey is not mine to tell. I’ve only written a few things so far – life is busy and I don’t always have the energy to sit down and put my thoughts into written words. While it helps me to express my feelings and put things out there, I feel even better when I see comments from others experiencing grief who tell me that my words are helpful to them. It’s encouraging on many levels and I hope to continue sharing as I move forward.
Well, I guess I had a lot to say tonight. Thanks for listening.