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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Blog Has Moved

I have decided to move over to a Word Press Blog. I would love if you would come check it out and follow me there!

Striving After The Wind

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dear Matt

Dear Matt,

It has been one year since you left me.

There has been so much that has happened since that day; since the day you died; the day that I hate to think of. There are days when it feels like ages has past since you were here with us, and moments when I think I can still hear you clambering around the house. I think of you everyday. Each waking minute brings the possibility of a thought that has the unwelcome power to throw me back into my old life with you. I struggle each time one of those moments arise with the question of whether or not I should melt into a pile of grief and let the tears overcome me, or push it aside with courage to continue on.

You cross my mind in daily tasks. I let your determination encourage me when I'm faced with things I would rather not take on. I imagine the things you would say to me to get me to try harder. I feel you smiling down on me when I finish a project that I know you would have loved to take on with me. I'm proud of myself every time I take care of my house in the same way you would have, knowing that you are so relieved to see I actually did learn a thing or two from you.

My heart flutters each time I hear Evelyn say, "I miss daddy", and she does so often. I lose my breath whenever Isaac turns his head quickly to look at me, and I see your eyes shining out from his. I soften when I call for Maggie in that low slow tone you would, and she jumps towards me, as if for just a moment she thinks it was actually you calling her to play.

I can't put into any amount of words what I would tell you if I had the chance at one more conversation. I long so much for reassurance from you. Reassurance that I made all the right decisions over this last year. The thousands of decisions ... in regards to our home, to the kids, to the new home, and to all your material things. I would want to hear from you that you are happy I found Brad, and that you give us your blessing in mending our broken family together. I would want to hear you loved me, that you always loved me, and that you had always felt loved by me as well. I would want to know that on the night you died you were not afraid, but instead at peace knowing I was with you. I would ask you what it was you most wanted the kids to know about you, and what you wanted them to know least. I would tell you that Isaac misses you; even if him missing you seems unlikely, I would tell you he does. I would make sure the pictures and notes that Evie leaves you under her pillow, for the angel to take, are all making it into your hands.

I've changed so much in the last year, Matt. Changed how I see life, how I see death, how I see God. I've started putting aside fears so long held in my heart that I had begun to believe they were who I were. I've learned to hold death differently, life differently, and fears differently. I've stopped letting my past get in the way. I've started to step out in faith, and dance around the mystery of unknowing.

To say you are missed doesn't start to explain. To say you were loved, still are loved, doesn't begin to scratch the surface. You made an impact on this Earth, and I feel so blessed that - even if it was for far too short a moment - I was able to call you my husband.

Always and Forever,
Stephanie

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Couple More Rants

It has been a year for me since I began The Young Widow's Rant. It has been a year of grieving and one of growth. I will continue in my blogging, but with a new home. A new blog that gives me the ability to widen my range of topics and close the journey I've been on with this one. I will still write about Matt, about grieving, but hopefully I will write about more. Please follow me on this new journey as well, you can find my new blog at:

Striving After The Wind

As this year comes to a close, as this month does, I have been writing down some of my favorite memories of Matt. I have also been spending some time looking back and reading some of my old posts. It seems weird to say, but I can't believe what we have gone through as a family. I can't believe I'm still here. I'm so thankful I decided to write out this journey. And I am so thankful for everyone who have read and responded to my posts over the last year -- and I hope you will continue to do so on my next blog.

I have a post for this Sunday, the one year anniversary of Matt's death, but this will probably be the last before that one. I've decided to do some 'popcorn' memories, and I would love if those friends, family, and loved ones of Matt would share some of their own in the comments section. I can't imagine trying to put these in any type of order, so I'm writing as they come to me ... despite the oddity of the order!

I remember Matt's "Mike Jone" phase, and how for a good six months of his life the first response to any question you would ask Matt undoubtedly would be, "Mike Joooooones!". This happened to be during the time I found out we were having Evelyn, after I told Matt he said, "Can we name it Mike Jones?". He quickly looked at me with regret all over his face, lol.

I remember when we would take the limo, that he had bought with a friend, downtown for the night. But the limo was more useful than just a nice ride. I also remember using it when we helped a friend move out of his house. We packed the back of that limo full of furniture and household goods as if it was a rented U-Haul.

I remember Matt taking the little red wagon with us to New Orleans when my older brother got married. He had Evelyn ride in that wagon, with a rope attached, everywhere we went. Up and down the halls of the airport, on the city streets of New Orleans ... it was quite the attention getter.

I remember my 31st birthday, not long after Matt got his license back. I was sitting at my cubical and was suddenly very aware and annoyed by a vehicle that had it's music so loud, my windows were shaking due to the bass ... and then I realized it was Matt's truck. When I went to the door he had in his arms three huge bouquets of flowers, and two very expensive boxes of personalized chocolates. He could never do anything small.

I remember when he prepared Evelyn and Isaac's nurseries. Both events were so similar, and he did both of them without any help from me. He went to Target, picked a decor, and bought two of every item they had that went with the theme. He had decals, nightlights, blankets, pillows, and more. For Isaac's sports themed room there was even a set of pajamas that matched. Matt bought each size from newborn up to 5T, I guess so that Isaac would always be able to match his room at night if he wanted.

I remember Matt getting his two little brothers packages of underwear and socks for Christmas each year ... and then stuffing a couple $100s in there. It always shocked me and softened me how much he gave to them, but I always knew it was only because he loved them both so much, he felt he could never show it to them any other way.

I remember the way Matt would eat cereal. He would often eat a box at a time. Always in our bed. He would march up to bed, gallon of milk in one hand, a brand new box of Lucky Charms in the other. He would fill, pour, and eat until there was nothing left in the box. He would often then drink straight from the milk jug until that was empty too. We went through a LOT of milk and cereal.

I remember each household project Matt would take on, and then take to the next level. Putting hardwood flooring into every place that it would fit at his house on the lake, including the landing in the garage. Painting the ceilings in the house. Learning how to epoxy a floor, and insisting it must be done to every cement area of our homes. Wiring, rewiring, and souping up each TV and computer in our homes - if it was capable of something, he would make sure it was being done. Staining our deck, the privacy fences, and Evie's playground. His insisting that every single document that we had, or obtained, must be scanned, shredded, and placed into a designated folder in the external hard drive of the computer (this initial project was weeks long).

I remember our wedding night. Going to dinner, walking up and down the streets of Deadwood, playing some slots, and enjoying each other.

I remember the first time he saw Evelyn, the first time he held her. And not too long after that the first time he threw her in the air (one of his very favorite games).

I remember the first time he saw Isaac. He showed up to the hospital, in true Matt fashion, with a dozen donuts, something like five bouquets of flowers, vases to put the flowers in (he thought it made more financial sense:), and a new blanket for Isaac. Isaac was sick so he was in the nursery hooked up to all sorts of tubes. Matt was right there with him though, snapping pictures like the paparazzi, so proud of his new son.

I remember the night we met. We were sitting together on the deck off of his bedroom on the lake house, watching the sunrise ... it had been a long night ... and he turned to me and ask, "I just don't get it, what is there about you that isn't perfect?" (He found out quickly, but for that moment I enjoyed being viewed in such light).

I remember the way he made me laugh almost every time he spoke. I'm not sure if he did it because he had a hard time being serious, or if because he enjoyed my laughter -- but it is by far one of the things I miss the most.

I remember the way he would hold Evelyn in church during worship and dance and sing to those songs like there wasn't another soul around.

I remember the mother's day in 2009 when he bought me over a dozen gifts. He wrapped each and put them all in the laundry room. It was a complete surprise to me. Each one was a gift that I had wanted for our new home.

I remember the hobbies we would phase in and out of doing together. Puzzles, playing cards (I can't remember what we played for the life of me right now), watching episodes of Lost back to back obsessed for weeks, and having sudoku contests.

I remember loving being in a room when it was his brother Mike, his sister Marissa, and him. The three of them constantly bickering, picking on one another. I would always step in to mediate - and be quickly reminded it was all out of love. The three of them made me laugh so hard when they were together.

I remember him surprising me with a trip to Mexico to see my best friend get married the night before we left. And the trip to Vegas with the girls he surprised me with on Valentine's day.

I remember the way he packed our van for our road trip to the Black Hills when we got married. The amount of stuff he jammed into that van was beyond words, and I would still say to this day only about 90% of it we used:)

I'm not sure I can go on anymore. I could go on forever. Matt touched my life in so many ways there is no way to put it all into words. I may just come back and add to this list over the years as things come to me. Please, I encourage you all to add your own. I would love to have these memories to keep, to learn things I didn't know, and to have the honor of sharing your Matt memories with you.

Grace and Peace!




Friday, January 27, 2012

Cousin's Night

Since Matt's death his cousins decided to start a tradition of getting together on a regular basis. 'Cousins night' would be about catching up, having fun, and letting loose a little. This group consists of Matt's siblings, his cousins, their spouses, and kids. It has been such an unbelievable blessing for me. It seems to be one of the few places left I can let my guard down and grieve. A place where Matt is still so very much alive and among us it is difficult to imagine he isn't about to walk right around the corner during one of these parties. This last one was just this weekend, and we decided to propose a toast to Matt. We went around the room and each gave a favorite memory of Matt, and I inventively listened and jotted notes as to not forget anything later on.


There were many great things that were said by Matt's family; some from recent years and some from long ago. One thing that stood out to me more than anything though, was the repeated feelings on Matt's excitement for life. It seemed throughout his life Matt found many things to pour himself into. He always took on ideas, projects, or goals with such enthusiasm. He was the kind of guy that could have excited you about dirt if it just so happened he had fell in love with dirt earlier in the month. Matt sold a type of juice the last two years of his life; it was part of a multi-level marketing company, and it was just as any other multi-level company is. Oh, but how Matt loved this stuff. He was ordering it by the cases, handing it out to everyone who stopped over. He could talk about nothing but this juice for an hour straight without a breath. It was the same way with his Christmas lights, his computers, his business ventures, his newest hobby of his toy trains ... it went on and on with him. If there was something he believed in, he would share his passion with such intensity a person couldn't help but want to run out to Hobby Lobby and pick up a train or two for themselves.

One of the other things that really touched me was when a cousin was reminded of a time shortly after Evelyn was born that we had all gathered as a family at some event. Matt had told her that he was so excited to have his own family now. He was looking forward to the times we would be able to hang out, and being able to watch our families grow together. Matt had a rough time in his late teens and 20s, there were a lot of times his family members would go a long time without seeing him. It was after Evelyn's birth that he started to feel the importance of family again. To appreciate just how important the family unit was, and felt remorse for missing those years he was away.

There was a point in the night I was in the kitchen and the rest of the crew was dancing in my living room ... possibly to Don't Stop Believing. I was looking over their faces, feeling so blessed that they continue to let me in as part of their family. I was overwhelmed that I was able to marry into such a loving, fun, and beautiful family. I was sad Matt wasn't with us, but so overjoyed that we were still dancing despite our loss of him, because he would have wanted nothing more.