Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Permanence

These past few days I have been feeling like I have lost my connection to you.
Where are you?
I feel like I took a took a few steps forward, and that is a good thing.

However, I feel like I am leaving you behind.
I miss you.
I miss you.
Everything about you. The laughter, the love, the holding hands, the companionship, the way our eyes met, the way we spoke.
The way we slept each night, your arm around me, our legs intertwined, your breath on the back of my neck.


Breathing. In and out. Warm air. My home.
You were my home.
You are my home.


Our silly fights
intense conversations
your foot rubs
making up after a fight
cooking together
reading together
movie nights
crazy laughter
crazy uncontrollable laughter.

I miss it all.
I miss every inch of you.
and your spirit

I don't see you in my dreams anymore.
But I feel you around.
Here's the thing.
I feel you around, but I feel like I am not acknowledging you.
I feel like I am supposed to be stopping to do something to recognize that feeling.
That's the disconnect.

I do recognize though.
I think of you fondly.
and other times with sadness, with love, with laughter, with music, with silliness, with anger.
It is confusing.

You left me here.
You left me.

But Jess...
You left me with so much love in my heart.
Still to give.
We had so much love together.
You left me with memories
With the girls.
our babies.
You left me with my resilience
and a reminder that others can be resilient too.

You left me with moments
Moments are permanent
unlike life.

You left me with
faith.
Faith, that one day I will find my purpose again.
A bigger purpose.


I love you.
Always.
always


forever


Saturday, November 17, 2012

My new normal

Thanksgiving is around the corner.
It's the first one since Jesse's death and I don't know what to do.

We weren't big on the cooking turkey and hosting bit, but we did have a tradition of having Thanksgiving dinner at Christian and Nicole's home and then leaving town for the next few days, usually to Mendocino or Pismo or some other beach town.

I don't know what to do next week.

Of course we have been invited to Christian and Nicole's home this year as well, but I don't feel comfortable enough in my skin to do that this year...without Jesse. I am also scared that I might have a meltdown and then bring the whole party down.

I am still anxious about social gatherings.
Not quite there yet.

I am looking for my new normal.
I want the kids, especially Isis, to have some sort of a celebration of life and love and thanks as well, which of course is encouraged in our home everyday, not just once a year.

So I am thinking of actually making dinner as a family, and sitting down and eating while we share laughs, stories, memories and give thanks to all we have and also give thanks to having Jesse in our lives.
And I am also considering taking Isis to the homeless shelter and volunteering our time for a few hours and donating some of her toys and clothes.

So yeah...working on our new normal.

I still miss you so much babe.
I love you.
Good night, sweet Jess.

At Mendocino last year for Thanksgiving. Isis and Daddy.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Life

Hey baby,

I know you are watching everything and seeing what's going on. Right?
Isn't life crazy babe? Some of the things going on right now and some of the things I am finding out.
People who said that they were "friends" of ours doing ridiculously insane shit.
What the fuck?
And watching how life is treating some others...

But I am still just thankful for my life, our kids and and their health.
I know you are proud of me for waking up every morning and functioning and I know that you are cheering me on.

Just continue to watch over us and keep the kids safe.
I love you.
I miss you.

I think about you all the time.
And one day...we'll be with each other again.




Friday, September 21, 2012

Six months

It's been six months since you've been gone.
I am sitting here, on a Friday, looking out into the bay. This is the place where we celebrated you after you were gone.

This is the place where you were cremated.

I just needed some time to myself to be with you today. I know you are always around me...

I miss you Jesse.
I love you.
I miss your face and your smile and your heart.

The pain reminds me that I am still alive.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Zombie

Well...I really don't know much about zombies, but I feel like one these days.

I am forgetful.
I went to Target twice in a row and forgot to get the frozen fish. When I came back home, I didn't even realize that I had forgotten it. It was one of the reasons why I went to the store.

Sometimes I get lost in thought and miss my exits and my turn.
Sometimes I don't remember my drive to or from work. I just know that I went to work and came back home.
I still don't know how I am keeping this job and actually doing well at work.

Music makes me cry...all the time.
Sometimes random things makes me bust out the tears.

Stickers or cars, licence plates that I think you'd dig.
news on the radio...
watching fathers with theirs kids
Airports, airplanes, trees, paintings, poems, showers, the park, people, school
restaurants, food, bagels, sushi, wine

And this one gets me all the time....people talking about our children.

Maya is beautiful...
Isis is such a sweet child...
Yeah...our kids.

I still haven't written that narrative like I thought I would, for me, and for the kids.
I started to write it but then I stopped and couldn't pick it back up.
One of my reasons for writing it was because I thought my memory about that night would fade.

I was wrong.
It is something that I will never ever forget.

I will get that narrative done though.
I love you sweet Jesse.
I miss you, always, with every single breath I take.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Dreaming. Keep your eyes open.

I haven't had a Jesse dream for a while, but I had one early this morning.
The last one I had around a month ago was scary and disturbing.
I woke up in a state of panic, heart racing.

In my dream, Jesse was holding Maya by her tiny feet, upside down, she was naked, and he was shoving her head in a bucket of water trying to drown her. I raced toward him and asked him what the fuck he was doing and grabbed Maya from him.
Jesse didn't say a word to me.
He just stared.
I took Maya and ran...

After I woke up, I went to Maya's room to check on her to make sure she was ok.
I didn't try to analyze that dream and I didn't think much about it.

This morning I had a dream that Jesse had cheated on me. Not only that, he was totally being a dick about it asking me to get the fuck over it and stop complaining. My heart was aching in my dream and I could literally feel the pain I was experiencing. So I calmly told him, that I was leaving and then I packed up my stuff and left him there.

Then I woke up.
Felt that heartache.

While I lay in bed...I had a realization.

What if he is asking me to let him go?
What if he is telling me to move on?

When our relationship was fairly new, I told Jesse that there are two reasons for which I will absolutely end the relationship and leave him. I had to make that clear to him.
No exceptions.
One, if he deliberately causes me or either of our children physical and emotional harm and two, if he cheats on me.


The thing is...the way Jesse was in these two dreams is such a contrast to the man he really was when he was alive. He would intentionally never bring harm to me or our kids and he had way too much integrity to cheat.


In my dreams...he has done both.
He is asking to me "leave him".

Probably these dreams are unpleasant and severe because I am holding to him and it causing me pain rather than bringing me comfort.
I guess it is also a way of bridging unconscious to conscious, unknown to known?

Also contributing to the way I am thinking at this moment...is the book I just started reading, which I am finding extremely helpful.
I really don't like grief books. And this book is not a grief book, but it is positively affecting my grieving.
It is called: "Life After Death: The Burden of Proof" by Deepak Chopra.

Literally a few hours after Jesse's death, I found myself in front of the computer, obsessively googling "life after death" because I wanted to know what just happened to the man I love. He was just here. Now he's gone. Where is he? Where is his body? His soul? Is there a soul?

This book has been helping me develop my own spiritual understanding about life and death and what comes later.

I think my dreams are trying to tell me that is ok to always remember him and celebrate him and continue to love him, but to also let go the pain that is coming from holding on.

He will always be with me and our children.
I feel his presence all around me and I love that.

And finally, he is telling me and our children to keep our eyes open...
and to embrace the great unknown. 

I love you Jesse.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91iXRMkmFbs&feature=related





Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Daddy will be here in spirit

Today has been a hard day for me baby. I miss you and I wish you were here to listen to me and talk me through things, like you always did.

Isis' tenth birthday is coming up soon and she wishes you were here too. Today she said to me, "I know daddy will be there with me in spirit but I still wish he was here physically to celebrate my birthday"

We love you and miss you so much.

Maya is sprouting her first tooth.
She is adorable and looks a lot like you. You'd be proud of both our kids baby.

Goodnight...wherever you are.
Love you Jess!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Vines

Hey baby!

Remember the grape vines in our backyard that I wanted our gardener to chop off last year, and you asked me to give the vines another chance so you could use them for making your wine?

Well...here you go.

For you.
Just for you.

I love you!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

From our Midwife, Jeri.

Giving birth to my daughter Maya, was one of the most beautiful, and nourishing experiences of my life. It was also something that further bonded me to Jesse in a unique way.

Jesse, Maya, and me...we were our own team with Jeri and our nurses by our side constantly. I will never forget the look in his eyes when he saw Maya's head pop out and when he helped guide her out.

He was so proud, amazed, and it was look of pure joy.
It was a special kind of joy.

Then he looked at me for a few seconds, with that same joy, and we didn't say much to each other during those last moments, but we spoke through our eyes and our hearts.

I saw Jeri two days before Jesse died and she reminded me again to talk to Jesse about possibly co-authoring a book about pregnancy and childbirth. She was shocked when I called her a few days later to give her the news. Although she couldn't be present during his memorial service because she was busy guiding another baby into this world, she wrote me this wonderful passage, which was read, tearfully, by Jesse's aunt Ann.

I think about my pregnancy and the birthing of Maya often and I continue to miss his presence in my life immensely.

I love you Jesse and I miss you every single day.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I was honored to assist Priya and Jesse as their nurse midwife for the birth of Maya.  It was a beautiful and inspiring birth particularly because of how hard they both worked at being a team.  I will always recall clearly how gifted Jesse was in his role as father and husband to Priya on this special day.  Jesse had an instinct for how to touch Priya, how to calm her with his voice and with his powerful presence.  His love, support and wisdom reminded me so much of the skills of a midwife.  It was his hands, his eyes and his voice that spoke to her and calmed her and comforted her so much.  I had never seen a father who acted as spontaneously as Jesse.  At one point just before Maya arrived I realized I was watching a man with so much talent and love and heart that the best thing I could offer to both of them was to support and respect the intense connection they had with each other and with Maya. I was so amazed!  After Maya was born Jesse and I talked about how we would write a book together to guide other fathers through their own experience of birth. I let him know that he stood out to me as a loving, strong and kind father and how much he could give to others who hoped to possibly be able to do the same.  He will forever be in my heart as an incredible man who really understood himself and was fearless in giving that back to others.  

Sincerely:  Jeri Zukoski, CNM
New Life Midwifery Services 
Berkeley, CA



Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's been three months

Today.
It's been three months since you took your last breath and left me behind.

I haven't written here in a while because there is so much going on for me at the moment. It still feels very chaotic, but I also feel calm every now and then.

Calm or numb?
Can't quite tell.

But at all times, I feel your presence around me.
You are with me.

I went back to working full time again.
I find healing in working with my clients, although I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do it.
I want to do it now more than ever.

I feel lonely and sad when I cannot talk to you during the day while I get a moment at my desk.
I look at my phone...hoping it will light up with a text from you.

Ting ting.

I saw your phone last night...sitting there, staring at me.
I picked it up and began looking at your pictures and videos.
Hesitant.
Scared.

There were many videos in there of you and Maya that I hadn't seen
the times you spent with her while she was up odd hours at night
and the times I was away when you forced me to take a break and take care of myself.
You spoke to her all the time, sang to her, snuggled her, showed her things.

She will see these videos a few years from now and get to know her wonderful daddy.

I also found one of the many videos you made for me a few months ago.
and...
I also wish you were home with your love bug right now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4FRC9hlDAU
Miss you too babe.
Good night.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Creating a narrative

My friend Sara and I were talking about the blog this past weekend and I was thinking to myself about what I feel when I write and what I decide to share and why. I have read some of my old posts here and they make me cry. They take me back to the emotions I was feeling at the moment as I think about our life.

The life that was.
Our life.

The grief book also talks about creating a detailed  narrative about the loss during the early stages of grief and about how helpful that can be during the journey.

I want to create that narrative.
Not just for me, but for the children as well.

I think Isis and Maya would want to read the narrative in the future to know about these moments, my pain, their pain, our pain, what happened to their father and how it all happened and why it happened.
We are still waiting on the "why" part.

I think the narrative will also be a poignant reminder of what we overcame and how strong we all are as a family and that you are part of that strength too.

I am not sure how much Isis will remember and of course there are certain things around your death that she is not privy to at the moment.

It will be a private narrative. Just for me and our girls.
The girls can decide if they want to share it in future with others.

I have spoken about the details of the events quite a few times now. During the first few weeks after your death, I would share the whole entire story from our last weekend together up until the time of your death with whoever was willing to listen. Looking back, I needed to do that.

I still do that...but only with certain people, and only when I feel comfortable doing it.
And then there are those days when I don't feel like talking about you or what happened.
I just tell people that my husband is dead and that's all there is to it.
I have also realized that I have a special "short version" of the events for strangers and other random people at the bank, doctor's office, or social services agencies.

I plan on creating this narrative sometime this week.
I think one day...way down in the future, I would want to read it. I would want to revisit the pain. The other reason why I want to do it is because I know how memories get tainted as time goes on. Right now, everything that happened all the way up until the paramedics sat me down to tell me that you were dead, is fresh in my mind like it just happened yesterday.

I also remember the first time I saw your body, your memorial service, the time when I was told that you were cremated, and the day I sat alone in that dimly lit room with your ashes in front of me.
The "urn presentation", as they called it.
I remember the words that I said to you.
Words between us that nobody heard.

I remember those days.
I remember those moments very well.
My narrative will hold these memories.

I know this pain will never entirely go away. This wound will heal and leave a big, thick, scar that will stay with me for the rest of my life. The scar will throb every now and then to remind me of you, Jess.

The wound is still raw now.

I miss you so much every single day.
I think about all the things we used to do together, big and small.
Your voice and your laugh...still echo in this house.

I think about all the things that I cannot do with you anymore...all the places I cannot see with you...all the joys I cannot share with you...all the weirdness in the world we can't talk about...all the cool things we cannot admire together...all the things our children cannot experience with you.

I love you Jess.
I love you so much, my cuddle bear.

Good night.




Friday, June 8, 2012

This week


  • Cried quite a bit, but mostly at night.
  • Read that grief book for more than five minutes in one sitting.
  • Actually spoke about to you to strangers and didn't cry, choked up, but continued to have a conversation.
  • Cried (bawled) while I spoke to a child therapist on the phone.
  • Almost called the 24 hour support line to talk about you and what happened, but couldn't get myself to.
  • Teared up when filling out a form because I started to write your name under "Emergency Contact". 
  • Learned that I can never write your name down again on that line.
  • Identified as a single mother for the first time to a stranger.
  • Changed beneficiaries on my bank accounts. You were my beneficiary.
  • Every now and then, I used the term "died" instead of "passed away" to see how it feels. It is still painful. I am going to continue to go with "passed away" for now.
  • Wondered about how you died. I wondered a lot about that the first few weeks after you were gone, but as days went by, it didn't really matter anymore. You are gone. Nothing is going to change that. But this week, I wondered about what really happened to you. How?
  • I realize I am still scared to call the coroner's office to find out.
  • Had our first bug encounter at home without you coming to the rescue. There was a spider in Isis' room and we both freaked out and the next five minutes were dramatic with bug sprays and tissues ready in hand to squish the thing, but neither of us could do it. So we settled for carefully taking the jacket outside and throwing it out on the deck so the spider could walk away. Yes, of course Isis said, "Oh no...daddy is not here!"
  • Actually dialed your number even though I cancelled the service long time ago. I just wanted to dial your number and I did.
  • I am slowly beginning to realize that some days will be better than others and to try and enjoy them if possible.
  • I learned, after talking to Mama, that I am going to have to build and get used to a new "normal". The old one was gone along with the last breath you took.
  • Maya is growing up so fast.


Saturday, June 2, 2012

I am sorry

I haven't written in a while.
Like I was telling Clancy...I feel like I will die from grief if I start talking about you.
I am in some sort of denial stage.
It is all too painful.

But I still have been thinking about you.
Of course. Always.
I look back on our life together and think about all the times I could've done better, been better.
I guess I will be in the guilt stage for a long time?

I am sorry for picking on you when you didn't do things my way.
I am sorry for taking life too seriously, most of the times, and making sure, obsessively at times, that we had all kinds of "plans" in place.

I sure didn't plan for this babe!

I am sorry for the times when I didn't give you all of my attention.
I am sorry for all the nagging about keeping the house clean and for making you clean over the weekends and for griping about the video games.

It was all so bloody trivial.

I am sorry for allowing you to feel like you couldn't burden me with some of the difficulties you were having a few days before you left me.
I wish I could've done something.

I'd give anything to have you back.

Thank you for loving me just the way I am and for loving our life just the way it was.
Our life was good.
Happy.

I miss you Jess.
Just a few minutes ago I walked past your ashes, I paused, I opened the box because I wanted to see you and touch you.
But I had to stop because, again, I felt like I would die from the pain.

I love you, my muffin chicken pot pie.
Yes, I did call him that.
It is what's engraved on his wedding band
that hangs solemnly around my neck.

Maya holds on it every time she nurses.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Another week gone...another sunset without you

These past three of four days have been intensely painful without you. Not the normal everyday pain since you've been gone, but excruciating pain.

I don't know if it is the initial shock wearing off?
I bet that is what the grief books say.
I can't read those books for more than five minutes at a time. 
I just can't.

There have been multiple times when I didn't want to move forward Jesse.
I want to be with you.

I listened to one of your old voice mails today, twice.
That's all I could do.
I cried.
I bawled.
I look at your face in the pictures around the house and I close my eyes.
This house no longer feels like home.
I hear your voice, I see your smile.

I go out every now and then and I end up getting anxious and restless because you are not there.
It makes me physically sick and I get nauseous.
I hurry and get back to the house.
I feel like you might be waiting for me at home.
Or maybe you might be coming home soon to be with me

I look at Isis' face and think about how she will remember you as she gets older.
I keep talking to her about you.
We both talk about you.
Sometimes we also avoid talking about you.
It's the pain.
I want her to always remember things you taught her and remember your values and what was important to you.
I want her to remember her daddy who loved her so much and lived only for her for many years.

I look at Maya's face and I look for you in her.
I wonder how I am going to tell her about you.
I wonder what I am going to tell her about her daddy.
I want her to know you.
I have started talking to her in Malayalam, like you've always wanted me to.
But what's the point since you are not here to watch me talk to her in another language.
Every now and then I stop and think about what you would've said to her while pushing her in the stroller while she looked up at you with her beautiful smile.
Twinkling eyes.
The funny faces you would've made to make her laugh
Rushed to her side when she woke up from her nap, crying
Snuggled up next to her while she slept

Where are you?
How are you?
What are you doing these days?
Do you miss me?
Do you watch over the girls?

Will you show me the way?


Saturday, May 26, 2012

His last poem

Jesse often...almost every day...wrote me poems and little love notes. He would write mostly on his train ride to work. I usually fell back to sleep with Maya after he left and I would wake up a few hours later and his poems waited for me.

Sometimes, I awaited their arrival. And they would show up...eventually.

He fondly called me Priya Pop.

The engraving on my wedding band reads: " My sweetie Priya PriyaPop"

Yes. I still wear my wedding band.
Yes. It is still on the same finger.

I love you, JLSP.

Here it is...

Priya(POP)
in which the POP

I see you in every
smile, even the
empty, vacuous, teens'
air-headed vanity...

Your mischievous grin
lights up my face
in bright warm response
-to even the mem'ry.

I wish for you here at
my side, that we
could poke fun and giggle
at every inanity...

So we too would be
labeled as fatuous
and, giggling, we'd be
suspected of having lost
our own sanity.

For it is so,
it is true,
it is,
e'en,
forsooth-
Reduced to a
gibbering-brainless-prat,
am I-
a slave to your
-beauty and soul-
('tis gods' cruel truth!)
"In love", I cry-
And so, alone,
I cry (in love)...

- JLSP, 3/20/2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

Two months

I love you so much!

It is still hard.
My heart cannot be mended
It bleeds with pain.

They say it gets easier...
when?
Wait...
I don't want it to get easy either.

I miss you.
I miss you.
I miss you.

Tears and heartache.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Maya is five months old today

There have been very few days when I just go about life and such without actually crying even once.

It doesn't mean that my love for you is fading
It doesn't mean that I am moving on
It doesn't mean that I don't miss you

It just means that I was alright that day
It means that I was able to get by that day with you close to my heart
The heartache was somewhat tolerable that day

Mother's Day came and went.
It was a hard day.


Maya is five months old today babe.


I dressed her in the same dress she wore two days before you left us, for her three month birthday.
It fits much better now. She has grown.
Every time she smiles and laughs I think about you and I miss you.
It breaks my heart that you are not here to hear that laugh.

You never heard her laugh.
She started laughing for the first time on the day of your memorial service.

I hear you laugh sometimes.
Your voice is still fresh in my mind, my heart.

I hear you call for me sometimes.
Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I wonder when you are going to turn off the video games and come to bed.

Isis said she heard you call out to her the other day while she was playing.
"Isis...over here. Look over here Isis..." that's what she heard you say.

She is writing in her journal every night for you.
She wonders if you are reading her letters.
She calls them letters.

She was sad today when she saw and heard a little girl call out for her daddy at the park.
I held her tight.
I hold Maya tight.

Today has been a crying day for me.
The heartache has been intolerable.

I miss you.

I wish I could just hold you
just one more time...

Maya, a few hours old, with daddy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Ms. Farnan, our superhero teacher

As a young girl, and also in my adulthood, I have had the pleasure of connecting and knowing wonderful teachers and professors, who became my mentors, some of whom I am still in touch with. They have each played a special role in shaping me into the woman that I have become today.

Isis has had wonderful teachers in her life, but she really didn't build that solid, healthy, nurturing connection with anyone until last year...when we transferred her from the Oakland school to our public school in Union City.

There she met Ms. Farnan, half way through third grade.
And from day one, she has looked up to her with reverent awe.
She hoped, intensely, to be with Ms. Farnan for fourth grade as well.
And she did.
She was beyond thrilled!

We heard wonderful stories about Ms. Farnan every single day. Isis would even write stories for her class assignments with Ms. Farnan as the superhero who killed the monsters and zombies and saved the day. It was amazing to watch how much she connected with her and above all how much interest she showed in reading and learning since then. Isis always loved school and wouldn't miss a day for anything. There was one day last year when she was sick and I decided to keep her home from school. Isis , clutching her belly, "Mama, I will be okay. Can I please go to school. Today Ms. Farnan is going to read us a special book. I will try not to throw up in class! Please?" 

Still makes me chuckle.
She stayed home.

After Jesse passed, Ms. Farnan and the school community have been there for us and especially for Isis in so many ways.

They are family. 

Ms. Farnan made sure that Isis was okay in class and she made sure Isis got her personal space when she became sad thinking about daddy and needed a moment. All her wonderful classmates made cards for her, which we displayed at the service. Isis was so happy. And of course, she announced to the whole world that Ms. Farnan was coming to the service and that the rest of the family members could meet her then.

Ms. Farnan was also thoughtful to do some research and pick out some great children's grief books that we could read together.

"Tear Soup" was one of them.
We have read it together a few times and it has become one of Isis's favorites.
I knew she would love this book because of her love for cooking. 

A book that described grief, the uniqueness of grief, ways to handle grief, including a recipe to make tear soup...sure winner in Isis' world!

This is her favorite page in the book and we often use it a scale to measure how we both are feeling.

This post is dedicated to Ms. Farnan.

I know that you have affected Isis' life in a significant way and no matter where life takes her, I am sure Isis will look back, and fondly, and proudly remember you.

As parents, Jesse and I have always been huge fans and supporters of teachers.
Ms. Farnan continues to fuel that support.

Thank you Ms. Farnan.
We love you!
Isis and Ms. Farnan, Halloween 2011



Friday, May 11, 2012

Rebecca goes to the May Day rally in NYC and I get Deb

A good friend of mine from grad school, Rebecca, decides to attend to the May Day rally in NYC to get inspired because she is all about the advocacy and also because she is awesome.

She and a few other grad school friends of mine have been an immense source of support for me during this hard time. They have patiently listened to me while I rant, they have offered kind words, and above all... they have been comfortable with my silence and given me the space to reach out to them however and whenever I have wanted to.

I love them!
Every time I look around the corner when I am lost or scared, there they are.
Ever willing.

Anyway...

Rebecca attends this rally and then emails me the next day about running into an organization called the National Lawyers Guild in NYC. It was through their resources that I found Deborah Lagutaris.

When I reached out to Deb, I was beyond broken.
I was tired and I was ready to give up and give in.
I didn't see much hope and I honestly didn't expect much from her.

Now, where do I start talking about Deb?

We spoke on the phone and I explained my situation to her, all the while trying not cry. Deb heard me patiently and said, "I will work on this with you. Please don't worry." She was also honest with me about her fees and made sure I was alright before proceeding further. I then sent her a few documents and she began working on my legal paperwork right away.

Because of my horrible experiences with finding legal help and because of being ripped off by organizations who claimed they could help me, I was skeptical about Deb in the beginning. I didn't tell anyone about her. Not even Rebecca. I even wondered if I had made another mistake by trusting her.

Naivety had me feeling stupid not too long ago.

But Deb was real.
Deb was actually helping me.

She stayed in touch with me for the next few days and held my hand and got me through a significant legal hurdle. Even though the hurdle is somewhat behind me, Deb continues to assist me.

It was an emotional experience.
I am glad she was with me.
Above all, I am glad she is genuine.

When I met Deb, we spoke about our lives and our experiences and Deb also spoke briefly about a significant loss in her life.

We were able to connect with each other through our grief and through many unspoken words.

Deb was there for me at a time when people haughtily turned their backs toward me. She was the one person who was willing to stand by me, listen to me, and make sure she did her best to help me out, like she said she would.

When people are grieving, struggling through a recent trauma, have had a significant loss in their lives, or experiencing any other life altering transitions, there is really not much they need other than a listening ear, a willing heart, compassion, and people who keep their word when they say they are going to do something. I am not sure if this is true of everyone, but it is for me.

Oh...I also need hugs. Lots of them.

I am fragile at the moment, and trust is important to me.
Deb gained my trust and she keeps my trust.

I cannot thank you enough for everything you have done for me and the girls, dear Deb.
Jesse would've loved to to meet you and he thanks you as well.

If you are interested, you can learn more about Deb and her services here http://aardvarklegalsf.org/aa/

Side note: Advocacy is important, not only for yourself, but also for the community you live in. You never know who you will run into and who you might end up helping in return.

Jesse, Priya, Isis and Maya in the belly saying thank you.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

And here's to you

And here's to you...

Today was a big day for me, for us.
You know what I am talking about.
You know what's going on...
I know you were watching over me to make sure everything went alright.

And it did...
Here's to hoping that the rest of the journey will also be alright.

Here's to the strong you
the compassionate and vibrant you
here's to the confident you
the you that didn't break easily
the you that was open to asking for guidance when needed

Here's to you that spoke your mind fearlessly
naming injustice without hesitation when you witnessed it
and here's to you who encouraged me to do the same.

Thank you for being you.
Thank you for loving me and allowing me love you.

Continue to watch over us.
Thank you for sending Deb my way.


Tomorrow, I am going to dedicate my post to a special person named Deb.

Tonight, I am going to be kind to myself, drink some wine, and get some sleep.
Maybe you will come visit?


I love you. Goodnight.

And...here's to you.




Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Not just yet

Today I was in a place doing something that needed to be done. A lady there was having some sort of a medical emergency related to her heart. I was calm in the beginning and even offered to help in any way I could. Then her friend got on the phone with 911.

That's when I froze.
It all came back to me.

I stood up and moved myself away from the area, but at the same time, I had to remind myself to stay calm because I was there to get something done and it wasn't the time or the place to break down, if I could help it. All the medical professionals arrived. I watched them as they actually took their own sweet time to get to the poor lady.

My heart was racing and I was actually getting angry at them.

I kept thinking..."Hurry the hell up assholes!"

I wondered if they took their own bloody time to get to Jesse that night.
Maybe if they had hurried?
Nah...
I know.
I know he was gone for at least a little while when I found him.

I also know I need to start seeing my therapist again. All the skills that I teach my clients as a therapist seem difficult for me to use for my own good.

I am not ready to be in therapy yet.
I am not ready to do the work.
Doing work means having to start the process of moving on.
Healing.
I don't want to move on, yet.
I don't want to heal.
Can I be a functional human being meanwhile and keep my shit together so I can provide for the girls?
Absolutely!

My grief is my own.
I don't feel like tearing my heart open to you and showing you the raw insides.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tears and patterns

I cried a lot today.
I had some good cries.

Some that felt like my heart would burst open with sorrow.

I burst into tears randomly.
I am fine one minute and the next, I can't talk or breathe or focus.

I cried for a while in the bathroom, alone.

I cried while I lay next to Maya and my sweet angel woke up to look at me...with those eyes, her father's eyes

and her face was saying..."Don't cry mama..."

And then I looked over next to her face and saw the pattern my tears had made on the sheets...

Yes. Jess...
I know...

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Supermoon and fingerprint

I missed the "supermoon"
I wanted to watch it in the sky and feel close to you
and wonder if you were watching it too
But life distracted me
distractions are welcomed
they keep the ache at bay, at least for a moment
I cry when I am alone.
I cry at night

I think about that night often

While driving away from home today
I pictured them driving away with you that night...
as our home grew smaller and smaller and disappeared
leaving us behind
taking you away from us
I wonder if you screamed then
or were you by my side all along?

I wear the print of your finger
around my neck
reminds me of the touch of your skin
the way you gently moved your fingers back and forth, on my hand, comfortingly,
while you held it
the fingers that touched my face once
while your eyes looked at me, intensely

I looked at the lines closely for a long time
to see if they would talk back to me
I thought about your life
paths you walked
your big, bright, embracing presence
the lives you touched
The lines
fused with the lines on my fingers
the lines
touched the freckles on my face

This was planned
I am touched
I will always feel
feel the warmth
of you and everything you are
were

and these lines of yours
around my neck
will envelope me
while I continue to move
and hope
that the lines on my hands
will touch yours
again...
one day
and we'll pick up
from where we left off
while the lines enmesh
fade into one
...one day





Friday, May 4, 2012

Weekends. And a false sighting of Rubyroo

I don't like weekends anymore!

I loved Friday nights because they were my comfort nights with Jess, unwinding from the week, and planning the weekend shenanigans.

I still haven't stopped waiting for him to come home every evening.
Today the phone rang at around that time of the evening and my heart became excited for a second.

I almost said to my mom, out loud, "Oh...that must be Jess!"

No.

But interestingly...it was someone calling about our cat Ruby.

Ruby and Jesse shared a strong connection. I saw so much sadness in Ruby's little face the day after Jesse passed.

She hung around here for another day or two and then she was gone.

At first...we just waited for her because she has taken off in the past for a few days, but she always came back home.

She always came back to Jesse.

Not this time.
Well, yeah...there is no Jesse to come home to.
We have been looking for her. And we put up posters for her.

Today someone called because they thought they had found Ruby. He sent me a picture of the cat that had showed up in his backyard, but it wasn't our Ruby.

I just hope she has found another home and I hope someone is loving her as much as Jesse did.

Sometimes Isis and I wonder if she also meeped somehow and if she is with Jesse now.

We love you Rubyroo and we miss you kitty!
And here is one of my favorite pics of Jess as a young boy...

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Shall we get married this weekend?

Jesse and I spoke about marriage every now and then, but we often came to the conclusion that it really was just a piece of certified legal paper and that our love and commitment to each other was beyond some bullshit legal certification.

Well...

Three months into my pregnancy with Maya...
I was laying in bed after I came home from work and I was exhausted. Jesse came home after a little while and got in bed with me and snuggled.

Jesse: babe...will you marry me?
Me (eyes closed...thinking he's being silly): depends on the ring you'll put on my finger.

He pulls out a box from his pocket.

Jesse: will this do?
Me: (silence) (speechless)
The ring was stunning, but the fact that he was seriously proposing marriage, ring and all....

And, after a few seconds...
Me: SHUT UP!!!

And then we both squealed.
I did most of the squealing.
We hugged.
Jesse kissing my belly, "Maya Rose, your parents are engaged!"
Called Isis to come in quick...
More squealing from Isis ensued.

Then a few months later, when I was around five months pregnant...
as part of our random conversation...

Jesse: we should get married babe
Me: sure
Jesse: this weekend?
Me: ummm...where? Vegas? Oooh...Elvis? Or some place closer maybe...
Jesse: Reno?
Me: sure
Jesse: sure? really baby?
Me: yeah babe...really really.

More squealing....and crying and some more squealing.

We didn't even tell our parents. Isis was in Texas with the grandparents.

See...I told you earlier.
We acted like bloody teenagers when she was visiting grandparents.

We eloped.

We got one of those chapel packages. I got myself a lovely purple dress that had room for my growing belly. We went shopping for Jesse's ensemble in Reno a few hours before the limo arrived to pick us up.

He was such a diva.

I picked my dress online in under thirty minutes and got the express shipping option.
My dress arrived the day before we left to Reno.

Jesse took around two hours at the men's wearhouse.
His tie matched the purple in my dress.

I must admit...we both looked damn good!

We were driven to the courthouse first where we signed our names in front of this lady who raised her eyebrow and asked, "well...are you both sure?"

We laughed and said "yes!!!"

Then we were driven to this place that looked like a regular building from the outside. Inside was plastic arches and pillars with fake flowers everywhere. We then were introduced to a priest dude who was pretty cool and then there was a lady who took our pictures under the plastic arches.

Dope!

We laughed and loved every bit of it.

We both had written our own vows before hand.

We were married once we read them to each other and then priest dude gave his own shpeel about marriage, which was actually kinda sweet, and then pronounced us husband and wife.

It was perfect.
It was so very perfect.
And for some reason...it was all the more special because it was just the two of us.

And Maya in the belly.
But we won't count her since Isis will feel left out.

We love our families, but this was about Jesse and me...our moment, our love, and our commitment to each other.

Writing our own special vows, reading it to each other under the plastic arches with fake flowers in the presence of awesome priest dude, made getting the aforementioned bullshit legal certification momentous and unforgettable.

I am proud and honored to be your wife.

I love you Jesse Lee Schneider Phelps.

Your wife,
Priya Moorkoth-Phelps


And hey...Jesse won the money that we spent on our wedding package later that night at the slot machines.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I went from

I went from being content and safe
to chaos
I went from being confident
to unsure and confused
I went from being self sufficient
to seeking welfare
I went from coming home to your arms
to loneliness
I went from having someone to cuddle and fall asleep next to
to having a cold bed and sleepless nights
I went from longing for social interactions and company
to restlessness and avoidance
I went from having a shopping partner
to running in quickly to grab things and hurry home so I don't think about you to the point of being a horrible mess
I went from checking out cool and interesting places to go to
to thinking about places where you would like your ashes spread
I went from wait till your father gets home
to just silence
I went from having someone to text all the time
to blankly staring at my phone hoping you call or text me one last time
I went from knowing what I wanted
to being unfocused and lost
I went from loving life
to wishing it would come to an end
I went from loving our home
to obsessing about when and where to move
I went from having your smell linger on me
to frantically looking for pieces things that still smell like you
I went from loving little girl baby clothes
to hating everything because of the "daddy's girl" "I love daddy" references
I went from always having your hand to hold
to grasping on to my clothes or my purse when I walk down the street
I went from "yeah...my husband is at work..."
to "my husband died last month..."
I went from having an ATT family plan
to being the only person on the account
I went from being Jesse and Priya
to just Priya

Monday, April 30, 2012

Surprise visitors. Quack.

They randomly showed up today.

Jess...is this you from beyond?
Are you trying to tell me something?

Quack?

Kidding.
I cracked myself up!
Jesse would've laughed too.

I love you babe...


Raise Money for For Jesse and his girls | YouCaring

Maybe this is the universe's way of achieving balance.
So much was taken away from me recently.
At the same time...so much was given as well.
Family, friends, sisterhood, love, support, hugs, words, care, laughter, thoughts...food, and so much more.

Eternally grateful,

Priya
Raise Money for For Jesse and his girls | YouCaring

Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Think about this day and this moment..."

We went to the park today...the same one by our home, the one we used to go to all the time.

The stroller didn't fight back today.
The weather was pleasant.

I thought about one of the many times we walked there hand in hand. Maya was a few days old and I had her close to my body. Isis was mastering her bicycling skills and she was riding the bike around the park in circles...waving at us every so often. As the sun started to set, we decided to walk home.

We were sleep deprived and so tired.
Both of us.

You asked me to stop walking. You took my hands and you said..." Isn't life amazing baby. Everything is perfect...we are perfect. I want you to think about this day and this moment any time life becomes too tough to handle, okay?"

I said yes.
We hugged.
We walked back home.

Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for giving me moments like those to cherish for the rest of my life.

I love you...where ever you are.
I think about you all the time.
I hope you are thinking about those moments too and I hope you are peaceful.

Goodnight my love.



Saturday, April 28, 2012

Fucking stroller and car seat

Babe...

I am so pissed!
I am sitting in the park crying while Maya is sleeping in the stroller.

The few times we used this damn stroller, you were in charge. I never bothered figuring out how it works because I didn't ever imagine that you would just die on me one day.

It is getting hard for me to carry Maya around in the wrap. She is a little over twelve pounds now.

I finally figured out how to open the damn stroller from the folded position, like you had last left it, I figured out how to fold it back down, which was a bitch and then it took me a while to load it in the car and I was ready to give up.

Oh and Isis was whining at me the whole time...

We finally get to the park and then I had to figure out how to attach the car seat to the stroller.

It's all done.
I know, I know...it's just a stroller!

I cannot seem to enjoy this beautiful view.
I am...however calmer now than I was ten minutes ago.

Maya is snoring lightly. I love her so much.

Isis is playing like a monkey. I love her very much as well.

I fucking miss you! Why did you leave babe?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Sleep and fear

After Jesse's passing, I continued to sleep in our bedroom, on our bed we once shared. Pippi slept with me in that room while she stayed with me and of course Maya always sleeps in the room with me.

Sleep is hard to come by.

I fall asleep for a few minutes and then wake up and stay up.
And sometimes...I don't want to sleep.
My eyes get heavy and I fight the urge to close them.

However, after Pippi left, I was all alone in that room with Maya.
It became worse.
I couldn't sleep at all.
I lie in bed...almost all night looking at pictures of Jesse, reading things he wrote, thinking about how I should organize his belongings, thinking about what I should keep, thinking about moving because this house is not the same anymore.
I nurse Maya when she wakes up and then continue to stay awake with my thoughts.

I look toward the door every so often...hoping...for Jesse to walk in. Or I wait and listen for his footsteps out in the family room.

Anticipation...cajoles me to stay awake.

Until two nights ago, I wasn't consciously aware of how traumatic this has been for me. My body is telling me, it is giving me signs.
I had to supplement Maya's diet with formula.
Oh, the sadness in accepting the defeat of being unable to nourish your child...!

The only time my body relaxes enough to fall asleep is during day break...when the sun just begins to come up. I open the curtains, let the sunlight in and then fall asleep for a few hours.
Anxiety sets in as the day nears to an end.

I have begun to dislike the night.

One, because I still look forward to Jesse coming home at 6:15 pm and
two, because I think about the way he left me.
Then I begin to obsess about what happened, what could've been done, what is going to happen...and then...too wound up to sleep.

Fuck it!

And then there is fear.
Fear.
fear of not knowing...
fear of being unable to carry on
fear of wanting to carry on
fear of not being to wake up if I do fall asleep
fear that I will miss something
fear that I need to be doing something other than sleeping
fear of failing as a mother
fear of the future without Jess
fear of the unknown

Last night, I finally acknowledged my need for rest.
I took my mother's advice and slept in the guest bedroom. I was actually able to fall asleep and stay asleep for more than an hour.
Progress.

To end the night, here is one of my favorite songs. I can still hear Jesse singing it in the car...
I love you.
Goodnight.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrMMcdhAXhY



Thursday, April 26, 2012

The hairy tooth fairy

Last year, when Isis lost one of her teeth, she was super excited as usual and she set it under her pillow for the tooth fairy. Jesse and I had this conversation about what Isis' thoughts were about the tooth fairy, Santa Claus....Easter bunny. As a little boy, Jesse was devastated when he found out the truth about Santa Claus. Haha. However, Isis is a mature girl for her age and grown ups love chatting with her. She can talk your ears off if you give her the opportunity. Really.

She also has a rabid imagination and she is constantly making up stories about dragons, zombies, werewolves and vampires while she eats her dinner...or they are popping up everywhere in her writing assignments for school. So we really wondered what she thought about the tooth fairy. I made a mental note to myself to have a conversation with her the next day because I was curious.

So that night, I crawled into bed early and I remembered that the tooth fairy was yet to make her rounds. I was feeling lazy so I asked Jesse to be the tooth fairy instead. He complained a bit, but agreed to do it anyway. Isis had just gone to bed and so I asked Jesse to be extra quiet, extra sneaky, and extra gentle while he moved her pillow.

Out came the tooth and in went two dollars.

Isis announced her visit from the tooth fairy and her earnings at breakfast the next morning. That night, after her bedtime story, we were laying in bed laughing and fooling around. Then...I remembered to talk to her about the tooth fairy. The conversation didn't last very long.

Isis said, "Oh yeah...the tooth fairy visited last night mama and I must say...that was one big hairy tooth fairy!"

There was a second of silence while we looked at each other and then we began laughing hysterically. We were laughing so hard that Jesse came in from the other room to see what was going on. As we heard his footsteps approaching, we both wondered if we should tell him about it or not.

Side note: I always told people I was taking care of two children, Isis and Jesse. When Maya was on her way, I told people that soon I was going to be taking care of three children.

Jesse was such a child at heart and I loved that about him. Thinking back, it is actually amazing to see how fluid and healthy our family dynamics were. Isis would assume the grown up role occasionally with daddy and I have seen it action. It was heart warming and pretty darn cute.

So here were are...deciding together if we should let daddy know that she is aware about the non-existence of the tooth fairy or if we should continue to keep it a secret. We decide to tell him anyway...but Jesse didn't want to talk much about it and shushed us because deep down inside he wanted Isis to continue to believe in these imaginary creatures. I also think that Jesse sometimes wanted time to stand still and he wanted Isis to be his little girl and never grow up.

I also wish for that at times...and other times, I cannot wait for her to figure out what major she wants to pick out in college and what career path she wants to take. Exciting!

Again...the milestones will be a sad reminder of his absence...for all of us.

Isis lost another tooth yesterday. She is proud that she holds the current record in her class for the person who has lost the most teeth so far this year. The count is three.

I am going to be sneaking in there in a little while.
Thankfully, I am not that hairy.

This also reminds me that I need to dedicate a post in the future to "Toothy the Tooth Dragon"...a character that Jesse created for Isis. He even drew Toothy.

We miss you....our hairy tooth fairy!
Love you always sweetie.
Goodnight.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Pure

This is for you
just for you
It is pure
just like our love

This moment is just for you
this heartbeat...right at this moment
just for you
the place you once occupied, now empty
idle
the candle burns
this breath, in and out, just for you
the tears

Pure
I don't want anybody else near it
lets go
I want you to myself
keenly desirous of more memories
but how is that possible?
I fear
memories are finite, no?
then what?

Will you take me with you?
will you wait for me?
Wait.

Just like the looks in their eyes
Isis
Maya
pure
like this moment
reserved only for you, nobody else
pure
like the beating of our hearts together
they still beat together
I hear yours
soothing
yet, unquiet
pure...like the raindrops outside our window
Don't cry babe
here...take my hand.
Sit down.
let us breathe together
just me and you
alone
Pure.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

P.S. I love you

I watched the movie, "P.S. I love you", a few years ago and for whatever reason it became one of my favorite movies. I loved the kind of love Holly and Gerry shared.
I asked Jesse to watch it with me and he was hesitant in the beginning and rolled his eyes, even though he watched chick flicks with me all the time.

Oh, and one thing about my Jess...he was a crier.
He sobbed during movies....even chick flicks.
He was so cute!

So one summer, we decide to rent the movie before we head out to Monterey for the weekend. The plan was to watch it in our hotel room. Isis was out of town for the summer, as usual, visiting the grandparents.

Jesse and I took maximum advantage of our child free summers and we felt, and sometimes acted, like teenagers without curfew times or limits.

Once we got to Monterey, and we had our romantic dinner date by the ocean, we realized that we forgot our movie back at home. I got sad. So Jesse looks up the closest Blockbuster near our hotel and we drive there so we could rent the movie. We were adamant about watching this movie that night.

So for those of you who don't know... the movie is about a young woman who loses her husband to an illness. But before he died, he plans a way in which he could continue to "be there" for her after his death through a series of letters. The letters, most of them related to the past they shared together, guide her and prepare her for a future without him.

So we settle down on the bed, cuddle and watch the movie. We laughed and cried...well...mostly Jesse cried while I held him tight.

Since then, it became one of our favorite movies. We watched it again last year with papa Steve and Mama Yoli and Jesse cried again... while I hugged him.

I decided to watch the movie a few days ago...by myself. I got me some ice cream and settled down on the couch after Maya was asleep. I cried the second the movie started, but soon I became numb...removed. I cried every so often and thought about the scenes in the movie that Jesse liked...parts of the movie we discussed. But it didn't effect me the way I expected it to effect me.

It is a movie...
This is my life.

I never once imagined that I would find myself in the same position one day...with my husband gone. Although he didn't leave me any letters for the future, I have his memories, our memories, letters from the past, cards he made for me, and above all...my kids.

They remind me of him and remind me of my strength...the same strength that he admired and fell in love with.

P.S...guess what?





Monday, April 23, 2012

Get my head out of the clouds

I wish I had the luxury to keep my head in the clouds and pretend like nothing happened, nothing is going to happen, and shrug away my responsibilities.

Today...somebody who I really don't have a real personal connection to, took the liberty of making a comment about my life and some of the battles that I have been fighting since my husband died. This person said that I needed to be proactive and do something about the situation and "get my head out of the clouds."

Excuse me?

You have no details about my situation since I keep my personal business private, especially when it comes to my children. But to assume that I am not doing anything about it is just disrespectful not only to me but also to Jesse and my family.

I am reminded of my pain the moment I open my eyes.
I go to bed each night with lingering anxiety and restlessness.
These struggles are mine, and mine alone. But I am thankful that I have people to fall back on.
I am not about to go ahead and make my business public so you can go ahead and continue to make judgments about my situation.

I don't need your pity.
I don't need your insensitivity.
I don't need your judgments.

If you wish to continue to support me and my family, it is my humble request that you refrain from judgments and criticisms. If you know of resources that you think I might find beneficial at this point, then please... please let me know and I will appreciate that.

But if you are going tell me what a shitty job I am doing, or tell me that I need to get my head out of the clouds...keep those thoughts and comments to yourself and just respect me and my family by remembering the happy moments you had with us or Jesse. That is the best thing you can do for us.

To the people who are part of my support system, near and far...you know who you are. I love each and every one of you and I thank each and every one of you every single moment I get.
I am eternally grateful to all of you.

Peace.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hate me

I cannot get this song out of my mind since Jesse passed. I was familiar with the song in the past, but Jesse discovered it a few weeks ago through the message board.

He cried when he listened to it and he said it described his early struggles in his life and also his relationship with his mother rather well.

He listened to it a lot.
It brought up a lot of memories for him and I think he also made peace with a lot of those memories.

Jesse loved his mother. He loved his father too...
...but his mom was his rock.

I told her about this song because I thought she should know what Jesse had told me just a few days ago and how he felt. I also told her that I could play it for her when she was ready to listen to it. I bet it wasn't easy for her. I am sorry if this post brings up more sadness for you mama. It's not my intention.

I just cannot get the words out of my head because it also reminds me of Jess's personal struggles. Some of the things he processed with me, things we processed together as a couple, memories that needed unburdening...bringing us closer than ever.

I love you babe.

I hope you are resting, flying, and watching.
Goodnight.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dDxgSvJINlU&ob=av2n

The world spins madly on

I cannot believe that my Jesse has been gone for over a month now.
What did I do for a month?

When he passed, it seemed like I wont be able to breathe again.
I know there will be one day when even breathing will seem alright.

Right now it doesn't.

Yesterday I took the first step of saying goodbye to Jess. I picked out a giant plastic bin and put a few things of his that I wanted to keep with me. Inside it went the last two shirts he wore, the ones that have the smell of his skin. The last pair of pants he wore. Three of his favorite hats. His backpack. The last pair of shoes he wore, his harley boots that were a gift from me. I told him that he couldn't have the motorcycle...but he could enjoy the motorcycle boots instead. He eventually thought that was cute.

I also saved his cowboy boots that we purchased in a store somewhere on Route 66 during our cross country road trip. His favorite leather jacket, that also served as a baby carrier for Maya since she was a few days old. He walked everywhere with her that way, close to his heart, and Maya loved it.

The red Indian shirt/kurta that he loved so much, that he wore when he carried Maya in his arms while he skyped with papa Steve the weekend before he passed.

It also has his smell. 

The pair of boxer briefs he wore to bed that night after his shower is also in the box. They left it for me next to our bed before they took him away.

They left his wedding band on the dresser for me.

As I write all of this down...it seems like I am saving a lot of his things. But there is so much more I want to save. I want to save every single pair of his socks if I could, every single thing he ever touched. But I know I have to let go. And I will.

I will.

Right now, I want to continue to see his shirts, blazers, and ties hanging in the closet as I lay in bed.

...as the world continues to spin madly on.



Friday, April 20, 2012

Maya got ouchies

Take Maya to her four month check up without Jesse. Check.

Maya had her four month birthday yesterday and today she saw her doctor for her routine check up and another set of vaccines. Last time we were there, she was two months old and she was getting her very first set of vaccines. I remember being scared and anxious for my baby. Jesse held her while she got poked because, one, he was brave and I couldn't do it and two, he wanted Maya to associate after needle ouchie comforts with mommy. So I took her and loved her and held her after the deed was done.

Today, I did both. I held her for the needle jabs and continued to hold her and comfort her after the pain set in. My heart hurt when I saw it coming and when I knew the pain would hit her. Oh my poor poor baby...

Pippi was with me for support, but I wanted to do it all on my own. And I am proud of myself for not crying.

She is going to start eating rice cereal soon. She is growing up. Fast.

Along with happiness, every milestone for Isis and Maya is going to be a melancholic reminder of what Jesse is missing.

I miss you so much babe. Goodnight.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return"

goes the poem "Nature Boy".

Bunny posted the poem on Jesse's wall on Facebook and mama read the poem out loud at the memorial service. I couldn't have picked better words to describe Jesse.

Jesse knew how to love and he loved deeply and passionately. There was love in the way he spoke to me, greeted me each morning, treated me as his equal..."my goddess" as he fondly called me. He was proud of my achievements and encouraged me to think bigger and stronger. He challenged me intellectually and he was my sounding board for issues big and small. There was that intrinsic deep love in the way we lived our lives.

He taught Isis well. He taught her to be open minded, be independent, have values, and more importantly...be strong enough to stick to those values even when the rest of the world didn't agree with them. Isis is doing just that. She is just a wonderful young girl.

Maya is not fortunate enough to get to know her father personally. However, I know that through us, she is going to learn so much about her daddy and what he stood for.

I often wonder who will ever love me the way he did. Nobody...
He loved me fiercely. I am lucky to have known that sort of love because it does not come by often.

In return...he was loved! We loved him, fiercely too, in our own special ways. It shows in the way we miss him and it also shows in the way we continue to love each other through the sadness of his early, unexpected departure.

I love you Jess. Goodnight!



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hey mama! I got me some socks

Aunt Carla recently compared the strength that she sees in me to the warrior that she sees in Jesse's mother.

That is a wonderful compliment.

I hold Jesse's mom, mama, as I like to call her, very close to my heart. After she arrived from Missouri is when I was really able to allow myself to sleep after that dreadful night. I think about her all the time. I think about the sadness she feels after losing her only child. As a mother, the amount of emotional pain and turmoil that she is experiencing is beyond my comprehension.

At the same time, I also draw so much strength and dignity from her. And to be compared to the warrior in her makes me grateful and proud.

While I was talking to her last night I was telling her about the mixed feelings that I mentioned in my last post. I told her that I went to a store with pippi who suggested I buy a little something for myself. I couldn't get myself to do that.

Wait...I couldn't even get myself to think that. I said that it is going to be a while before I shop for myself.

How can I buy something for myself while Jesse is not here with me... I thought.

I wanted to cry.

I wanted my Jesse.

So I was telling her about that and I also mentioned to her that all I wanted was some soft, fuzzy socks but couldn't get myself to buy it.

Today was a big day for me.

So mama told me that I should reward myself with some socks at the end of the day if things went well, for a job well done, or to comfort myself with socks if I felt like things didn't go well.

And that is exactly what I did.

I went and rewarded myself with not one, but two pairs of socks today.

And here is the best part...aunty pippi paid for them.

So the guilt can go suck it for now!

I love you mama.

Thank you for giving me my Jesse.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sunshine and cliché


There are all these mixed feelings that arise when it comes to enjoying the simple things in life after a significant other has passed. It is not just the guilt...there is also pity, anger, the feeling that you don't deserve to be happy, the somber reminiscences that haunt you...coupled with the lucid past. 

It's all there.

After any sort of traumatic experience, the "everything will be okay" cliché gets thrown around a lot.
Please, Please, don't get me wrong.
I do appreciate those words and the heartfelt sentiments they convey. However,for me, they really weren't comforting and depending on how my day goes, they still don't bolster my hope because of the deep sense of loss I am experiencing.

Again...it's not like I have given up. 
Really...
It's the mixed feelings that I was talking about earlier. 

How can everything be alright now that my husband is dead? Dead...
How can everything be alright now that my children don't have their daddy around?
How can everything be alright when I cannot hug him, feel him, lay next to him, laugh with him, fight with him, live with him?
How can everything be alright after our dreams and my life came to a sudden,distressing, screeching halt?

Do you get me? It's all of the above and much more that makes me a non believer of that cliché.

A temporary non believer. 

Once again...please don't get me wrong and feel like I am being dismissive about the support I have received. I do appreciate all the kind words.

Now, let's talk about sunshine.

Today was a good day. For the first time since Jesse's passing, I was able to enjoy the sunshine for a bit and also take a few deep breaths and smile.

I drove to Berkeley today to meet a good friend. Jess and I have so much history in Berkeley, so many...many memories. I remembered him waiting for me on the sidewalk, his face buried in his kindle. I would honk and he would look up with a grin and get in the car and reach out for hugs and kisses, and I would occasionally get a quick shoulder massage while I drove. Yeah...

I looked for him at our usual meeting spot.
I cried.
I felt him. The grin.
I really do feel him close to me, quiet a lot these days.

The tears are there even during the pleasant sunshine moments.

But as far as the 
cliché goes...
I know I will live through this all and so will my girls. 
We are a team.
We will make it. Even if we have to stumble along the way for a while...we will make it.

Goodnight Jesse. I love you babe.