What Can I Say?

What Can I Say?

So it has certainly been awhile since I shared my thoughts… I have considered writing many times over the last two months, but each time I feel unable to type.  So much has happened since Jake died… Time keeps marching on, and I am just happy that God is giving me strength for the day at hand… I remember the first time that I sat down to write but couldn’t.  I wanted to be open and honest about what I was thinking and how I was processing, but I found myself feeling like a broken record.  I know that it is in my own head that I am a complainer, but when I say the same thing over and over, it starts sounding like wallowing to me… How many times can I write, “I just miss him”?  You all know I miss him.  Do I really need to write about how much my heart breaks for Ruthie, Nadia, and CJ each time I think about them growing up without Jake? No, that’s obvious.  So why write?  This has been my mental block. However, for the last week or so, I have been really wanting to write again. Then, last night I watched “Shall We Dance” (the 2004 version) with Matt and Sarah… It’s one of my favorite movies.  Has been for quite awhile now, but it is even more so now.  It is actually the last movie Jake and I watched together.  Two weeks before he died we sat snuggled on the couch, watching the movie… When it finished, as the credits music rolled, I grabbed his hand and pulled him up and we danced. We laughed. I looked at him and he looked at me.  I mean really looked… The look that makes me cry and smile when I picture it… He would look down at me with this small smile that was almost like a knowing smirk, and look straight into my eyes. My smile was anything but small… It was a smile of real joy, real love. It encompassed how much I loved him, and how loved I felt by him. It was involuntary. Then, he’d kiss my forehead… Just a gentle, loving kiss that told me I was safe. The voice in my head saying, “Close your eyes, soak it in”.  How I miss those moments…

So, I’ve decided that if I could have just five minutes with him again, I would spend it dancing with him.  No words would be needed because we knew we loved each other, and more was said in the way that he held me than he could say with words. Thank you Jacob for taking the time to really love me.

One of my favorite parts of the movie:  Miss Mitzi: I've never seen him with his perfect partner, Not that those are easy to find...

John: Have you ever found one? Miss Mitzi: Once, He was my dancing partner for 15 years... We were husband and wife for 14, Wow, Yeah, He was my perfect partner... Doesn't happen twice in a lifetime, I'm lucky it even happened once. Well said Miss Mitzi, well said. http://standwherefeetmayfail.tumblr.com/post/104075824488/what-can-i-say

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Stuck With This

Stuck With This

Feeling reality lately…  So much that is going through my brain, it’s hard to really talk about because I can’t describe what I am really feeling.  So many weak analogies that in the end just mean nothing.  I can’t turn my brain off.  Everything I see and hear goes through a filter of what Jake would be saying or doing in response and I just want him back.  I had multiple dreams last night about Christmas and New Years Eve without Jake, and each time I am just standing there, still, with everyone around me moving in fast forward… CJ woke me up at 4:45 to eat and decided after eating that it was play time. I didn’t really mind because he’s so cute, but then sometimes I just can’t look at him because he makes me miss Jacob so much!  I know I will never “understand” why this happened and why I have this new reality, but some days it just makes no sense at all.  I have run out of words to say to Ruthie when she has her “bad days” and wants daddy…  When she just looks at me with those eyes that want to know why I can’t fix it… It is devastating as a mommy to watch your kids’ fairytale life get ripped from their hands.  I don’t think they “deserve” that life, and compared to most kids’ realities, they still live a fairytale, but it is so different… Just feeling the weight today of the long term nature of this reality. From where I am standing, it seems too overwhelming… I know all the comforting answers of “one day at a time” and “it’ll get easier with time”, and I know God is going to walk me through this and give me the strength that I so desperately need.  I also know that reality always seems a little bleaker in the wee hours of the morning after a long night, but it’s just one of those times that my logic can’t keep up with my hurt. Looking forward to being with his family for the rest of the week… I picked up his cousin Tanya from the airport last night and I am just really happy she’s here… I love family. http://standwherefeetmayfail.tumblr.com/post/98380558253/stuck-with-this

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I Miss You, Jacob...

Many of you have mentioned that my posts make you cry… If you are in that camp, do yourself a favor and don’t read this one at work. Just a helpful pro tip. :)

This is a list that I started writing back on the 4th…  I have been jotting everything down in my phone so that I can write as things hit me.  As I said in my last post, this list is by no means complete, or cohesive.  Just my thoughts as they came.  

I just miss him a lot today… It’s not that I don’t want to do this alone, it’s just that I don’t want to do it without him. Nothing is the same. I miss his smile and his laugh. And his arms. I miss his ridiculous fake mad face.

I miss him playing baby lion and being so cuddly with Nadia… I miss him being rough and tumble with Ruthie and teaching her music… 

I miss having someone who KNEW me, knew when I was silly and when I was taking myself too seriously.  I miss him telling me that I’m supermom. And that I’m beautiful. I miss Chrissy days and feeling special and loved. 

I miss watching him playing strategy games, knowing he was almost definitely going to beat me. I miss being miffed by him winning Dutch Blitz when he moved SO SLOW. I miss him at his family gatherings being the grown up on the floor rolling around with the kids. 

I miss watching him play a sports game and then spending the car ride home trying to see if I had understood all his mindsets… He loved strategy and thinking two steps ahead. Wrestling was the hardest to completely understand, and I love that he had explained it enough that I knew what he was thinking during every match… I never would have imagined myself loving watching wrestling and softball so much, but he was such a teacher…

I miss his crazy rants. I miss how he would say ‘so I’ve been thinking’ and then tell me some crazy idea… It took years to realize that meant he’d been thinking about it for the last five minutes, not hours, days or weeks like most people when they say that haha. I miss trying to wake him up, and never knowing if he’d remember anything he said or did in the process.  

I miss going on walks just to hang out. I miss that he never got sick of me. I miss our long talks that started AFTER his late night talks with others… I’m a light sleeper so I usually woke up at 2am to him climbing in bed and he’d ask me a question that would turn into 2 hours of really good conversation. I miss when  he would drive to Irondequoit Bay impromptu instead of going home because he just wanted to sit in the car and talk to me longer.

I miss his music… I miss his songs that he would make up when he was feeling silly, I miss how he would write songs for me, I miss him teaching other people guitar. I miss watching his passion when he was worshiping… I miss talking to him about what God had taught him during worship. I miss his greater understanding of worship not just being about music. I miss watching other people coming closer to God because of his genuine heart.

I miss watching him fly up the stairs in his bizarre way using his hands and his feet (I know weird, right?) 

I miss watching ‘What About Bob’, ‘Dumb and Dumber’, ‘Groundhogs Day’, ‘The Court Jester’, and ‘The Man Who Knew Too Little’ with him (his top five favorite movies)… I miss how he had seen every movie and I had seen so few and he would always be flabbergasted at the “classics” I had missed.

I miss him constantly pushing me to try new things… and actually taking the time to teach me about them so that I got better at them… Hiking, remote camping, Road tripping, kayaking, softball… Then of course there’s all his crazy physical made up games like Extreme spoons, XSB, foam wrestling, diving and sliding under tables, etc. our honeymoon was not my idea of fun, until I did it with Jake. He had this ability to make anything fun…

I miss how when we would be being silly he would just randomly kiss me or grab my hand (or my butt lol) so that I knew he was actually attracted to me… I miss how he would always put his arm around me when we were sitting next to each other. I miss that when we were dating he never put his arm around me with other people around because he never wanted anyone to feel excluded… 

I miss how he respected me… I never felt pressured to say yes when he would call to ask if he could do some crazy adventure with the guys, but I pretty much always said yes because I knew that I could say no… (not sure if that makes sense to everyone, but it made sense to me lol). I miss him always asking my opinion on things because he valued it. I miss how he thought I was a genius, yet always questioned me anyways and we would have discussions that were mutually challenging.

I love that he would talk endlessly about how much he appreciated the people in his life (past and present) who had impacted him. I love that just because he was in a different season of his life, he didn’t just move on from the people in his past.

I miss seeing him change and grow, from that crazy fun and sweet, but immature and bad tempered 18-year-old, to the man of God he had become… Who was still crazy fun and sweet lol.

I miss how he would always drink the carton of juice I had gotten for myself… lol, It always made me laugh… :) Now I have this carton of juice in the fridge that’s been in there for over a week because he’s not here to down it in one sitting… I feel weird every time I pick it up.

I miss the days that we would accidentally wear the same shirt because we were in so many of the same things so half our shirt matched!

I miss how much he pushed for family time.

I miss the feeling I would get when he would put his hand on my lower back… Don’t know why, it just always made me feel loved, and he knew it.

I miss how he would call me just to talk when we weren’t together.  I miss how he would write me incredibly cheesy notes and letters and emails.  I love that he knew they were cheesy.  I miss his cheesy Christian pick up lines that he would still use on me… I’d walk in the door and he’d raise his eyebrows and say “you look pretty cold”… (An Ecclesiastes 4:11 joke… “Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.  But how can one keep warm alone?”… Get it?!?)  ;)

I miss him randomly taking my hand and slow dancing with me… No music… Sometimes he’d sing or hum to me, but usually he’d just say “I love you” and we’d dance.

I miss seeing him be moved to tears by something the girls said.  Or by an encouraging comment from my dad. The Saturday before all this happened, he put the girls to bed and came down with misty eyes because of this conversation with Ruthie…

"Ruthie are we always going to be friends? You know some girls grow up and don’t really talk to their daddys any more…"

(Ruthie starts crying)

"Why are you sad?!?"

"Oh daddy, I’m not sad, I’m just so happy! I love you so much!"

(Now this conversation makes me cry…)

That’s it for now… I could just keep writing forever…

Definitely feeling “God Of Angel Armies” this week…


Stupid Conflicting Emotions...

So I probably don’t have to remind anyone that yesterday marked the one month point since Jacob left us… (Sorry, this was hard to write so it WAS the 5th when I wrote this first paragraph lol) My heart doesn’t even know what to feel anymore.  Three Months ago I celebrated my five year anniversary with the most amazing man. Two weeks later that amazing man stood by my side and supported me giving birth to our third baby, and our first boy. One week later he helped pull off Mabel & Andre’s wedding music as we watched Ruthie, Nadia, and Penny walk down as the flower girls. One week later I sat there with tears streaming down my face as I held Jake’s hand and my baby sister said “I do” to a great new brother (flower girls again). Two days later we went to camp for two weeks.  Home for a week, then back to camp for a week.  August 2nd we left camp to come home for a week before returning for teen week.  No long goodbyes, because we were coming back…

We had a wedding close by camp so we had stayed Friday night and spent Saturday morning packing up.  Someone else was going to be staying in “our” cabin while we were gone so everything had to be packed up… After almost two hours of me packing and cleaning everything, we had 10 minutes until our planned departure time.  Jake meandered over, kiddos in tow, just as I shut the trunk and said, “ready to go?” I laugh now because this was such a Jake moment as he responded, “Oh I was hoping to take a shower before we left…”  Haha, of course.  So I had to dig out the stuff from the back corner of the trunk.  I didn’t realize until the next day that he left it in the shower!  

We had a lovely time at the wedding, and came home for a relaxing evening. Sunday was “Worship in the Park” so church service was at Charlotte Beach.  After a wonderful service, Jake immediately set up his new ‘slack line’ and spent the next two hours trying to walk across it, and trying to teach everyone who wanted to try.  Then he took the girls onto the beach and built an epic sand castle complex.  Then we went home and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with the girls, and joined in on Sarah’s game night later that night.

Everything was perfect.  We couldn’t have been happier… A weekend full of fun in community, yet still full of quality time for us was somewhat rare, and I remember Jake commenting on the way home from church that this was the perfect weekend.

So how do I wrap my head around this?  Our life has always moved at high speed… Never a dull moment :) That’s how we liked it and it worked well for us…  But I feel like my life was going 90 mph and just smashed into a tree.  How do I go from telling Jake “this is the happiest I’ve ever been” and Jake agreeing and commenting on the perfect weekend, to the lowest deepest emotions I have ever felt?  The confusing part is that I am still blessed! Two weeks ago I still had a new niece born, Jessie is still married to an amazing man, my Ruthie is still going to school for the first time, and I still wake up to the cutest little boy… I am definitely on a conflicting high-low and it’s just bizarre… 

In my last post I had been wrestling with feeling weak, like I couldn’t do this, and I realized that was a lie… However, I also realized after that it’s not that I can’t do this alone, it’s that I just don’t want to do this without him.  I’m not super intimidated by the logistics, just sad about the big hole that leaves me thinking, “you’re supposed to be here”…  The girls know it too because at least 20 times a day they comment, “if daddy were here, _____”.  ”If daddy were here he could carry both of us easier.” “If daddy were here we could both sit on his lap easier.”  If daddy were here, he’d have the biggest shadow, and he’d be holding my other hand, and I could walk to school between my mommy and my daddy…” 

They aren’t sad when they say these things… more like wistful… and I just agree…  ”You’re right baby, daddy was stronger…”  ”Daddy was bigger…” “Daddy would be so proud to walk you to school…” Then one of them, usually Nadia, just casually ends the conversation by saying, “but he’s gone now… He’s in Heaven.”

I am glad they are processing, but it’s hard.  It feels like a stab to my heart… So I had to face reality head on this week, and I have just been writing down everything that I miss about him.  Everything that made me love him.  It’s not a complete list, and they aren’t in any cohesive order, just wrote them as they came to mind… I am hoping that if I continue to dwell on all the things I miss, then they won’t be so jarring when the girls or other people bring them up…  I want to be able to keep telling stories.  

I am putting my list of things I miss separate so that if you think it would be too overwhelming to read, you don’t have to, but I promised full disclosure of what is going through my head, so it’s there if you want to.

Also just have to say think you to Pat & Em…  I didn’t have the strength to go visit when little Elie was born, and I felt so guilty and sad.  I wanted nothing more than to go, but I knew it wouldn’t be healthy.  I thought about Elie daily, and it continued to be a struggle.  Last Tuesday, Pat called to ask if I’d like them to come over with Elie the next day… I emphatically said YES.  I hadn’t been thinking about the fact that the next day was the 4th and would probably be a rough day for me.  I got the girls out in the morning, and despite trying to be productive, wound up sobbing into my pillow for over an hour instead.  Then I heard them in the driveway. Oi. I tried to clean myself up real quick, and put on a smile so they would know I was excited to see them…  I pulled that off for about 30 secs.  haha, Emily hugged me and I felt so loved, and I lost it.  Then I held Elie and cried silently all over her beautiful tiny cheeks…  So beautiful.  It was so hard to hold her, but exactly what I needed, and exactly the right timing.  So thank you.  I love you guys.

Challenge Accepted!

So I have been laughing at myself since late Sunday morning… I have been having an increase in “low moments” this past week, and I have been feeling very tired of all the sadness… Sunday morning was one of those times, and I had a lot of trouble getting up and getting the girls ready.  I wanted to just curl up in my bed and cry and not face anybody.  I didn’t feel like dealing with life as normal.  I was at the point that I didn’t want everyone to act like there’s nothing wrong because that would be fake, but I also didn’t want to have to emotionally deal with anymore hugs, or looks, or questions…

But the thought of my church family motivated me enough to get around and I was a little late, but I was going.  Everyone loaded into the car, including Bob and Noah, and the girls requested listening to Superchick.  I laughed and wished the boys good luck, and turned it on to Nadia’s favorite song, “Anthem”.  I was pretty tuned out, but the girls were having a blast and about halfway through the song I saw Nadia shredding it up on her “guitar”…  I busted out laughing and asked who the drummer was, and Ruthie informed me quickly that it was her.  We finished the song laughing and having a good time.  However, Ruthie then requested “Beauty From Pain”, which put me right back into my head… Which is just a scary place to be ;)

We arrived at church just about 3/4 of the way through the song and I started unloading everyone while it finished… While I was getting Ruthie out the next song, “It’s On” came on.  That was the beginning of me laughing at myself.

So, I can get a little feisty at times… usually when I feel like someone is telling me I can’t do something.  I have been letting all the sadness get to my head, and have been feeling weaker and weaker as time has gone on, and as I heard the words to the song I realized that I was beginning to tell myself I couldn’t do it… Usually I post the songs separately but I really want you to take a minute to listen to this song before continuing, because otherwise I have to put about a dozen quotes in here… Ain’t nobody got time for that… ;)

So pretty perfect, right?!? I was standing there beside the car thinking, heck yes I can change the world still... I CAN continue in what  Jake and I wanted to do, I DO have the will, I WON'T let myself be brought down, and I will "get up, go through and press on"!  haha, I'm calling it my parking lot pep talk... Sounded a lot more motivating in my head with the music in the background :P

But all kidding aside, It may (does) sound cheesy, but I’m ok with it.  It’s true…  I turned to Ruthie and said “Can you say ‘challenge accepted’?” haha, she got distracted and never did, but saying it out loud to her was enough for me to believe it.  So I know that there are going to be many times that I take my best shot, and still miss, but I’m ok with it because it’s all a part of the story that God is writing with my life and I say challenge accepted.

I told Bill today that I am operating as if Jake is gone on a really long trip, and someday he’ll be back and I want to live a life that I would be proud to tell him about… I want to be real myself, and continue in real communities. I want to love my family and raise them to know what it’s like to experience God in a personal way. And I want them to understand that that relationship should impact everyone around them.

I used to say “go team” to Jake any time we were going to do something… again, cheesy, but still gonna say it everyday.

Hebrews 12

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Keep You Safe

Amanda introduced me to this song back at Brockport… Its supposed to be from a parent and God… When Ruthie was born I understood the deep emotions behind wanting to protect your little ones… Jake and I sang it to her at her dedication at church, and it was always Jake’s go to lullaby  when putting the girls to bed.  I have to listen to this to remind me that I am guided by God, and no matter whether you believe Jake can literally watch us from Heaven or not, his love will always be a light to me when I am afraid or don’t know what to do…


One Day At A Time?

Today was a weird day…  I spent many hours cleaning and reorganizing our kitchen with Sarah, then went over to the fields for the All-Star game for the church softball league that Jake started.  It wasn’t too hard to be at the field, but then Trintin started talking about Jake… It was perfect, he talked about Jake’s heart for the league and the inspiration he’d been to him… I was thankful for Amanda standing nearby giving me the “You got this” look.  It’s fairly easy to talk about things that Jake did, because it feels like storytelling.  It quite a different thing to who he was and the actions that resulted.  Yesterday was a big reminder of the Daddy who was lost.

Every time I look at Ruthie I think of her innate crazy side… I would tell Jake all the time that she was a “little Jake”, and now I wonder how I can keep that… How can I cultivate something that I don’t really understand, and who’s going to run around teaching her Parkour?

Nadia is intensely emotional… She reminds me of myself in that if she’s in trouble all she wants is to know is that she’s still loved. It gets me so upset thinking of my own relationship with my dad and that she can’t have that anymore! My daddy’s lap was my safe spot, and Nadia would curl up in Jake’s arms all the time.  I’ll never see that again, and she’ll never feel that again.

Then there’s CJ.  I don’t even know what to think or feel when I look at him… Why is he never going to know his daddy?!? I know how to train and be an example for my girls, but now I have to train and find examples for CJ… Jake talked a lot about specific things about how he wanted to raise a boy if we had one, and now they can’t happen because they were specific to Jake and his interaction with his son. I can’t fill in for a father-son bond…

So I know the key to success here is taking things one day at a time, but it is impossible to do that practically speaking… I am constantly living in a world that Jake and I built TOGETHER, with constant reminders of how every thing is different now. There will be many things on the parenting side of things that will take long term intentionality and planning… And there will be so many things each day that I will wish Jake was standing next to me again… 

Well… I’m getting beckoned to the girls room so that I can “wrap them like burritos in their blankets”… Another daddy thing…

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement.

The Boat Song

Today my emotions are following “Boat Song” by JJ Heller… I had decided about a year ago when I first heard the song that it was my song to him…  It was perfect because I felt like it fit perfectly both directions.

I am feeling this song because I have to figure out what it looks like now for him to be the courage I lack, the tree I come home to, and the light in the dark without him physically being here… And I have to figure out How to deal with the fact that my heart is still with him… and I have to battle why we aren’t still together… And I miss the intimacy of how he would look at me when I was feeling especially lovey dovey…


Solo, Together, Solo?

So yesterday I went to the doctor to get my knee checked out… I injured it LAST June while working at camp, and never got around to getting it check out. A few days after Jake’s accident we sat down to make a to-do list so I could get everything out of my head that didn’t need to be there.  At some point in the process my mom chimed in, “Oh, you need to make sure to get your knee checked out.” That oh so newly familiar feeling of my throat closing hit me and, honestly, I felt a little angry.  ”Don’t you think that’s a little unrealistic now mom?” The question had thrown in my face the fact that I would not be playing on a soccer team with Jake…

When I was in high school, being active was a huge part of my life, and soccer was my favorite way of being active.  I love competition, and I love the idea of working harder than you thought you could… voila, soccer.  My coach would run us SO much, and had a constant expectation that we would keep pushing ourselves.  I have great respect for her for teaching me that.  She pulled me aside one day and we had a conversation about about the fact that I was a good soccer player, but not one of the best.  I knew that I started playing later than most and I’d never mastered the ball handling side of soccer… However, I was a starter and usually played the whole game…  She told me it was because I never asked for a sub, and because I was always running hard.  I miss the opportunity to combine intense physical & mental drive.

Jake was the same way.  That’s why he was so good at any sport he played… We began dating a couple days before his last soccer game of his senior year. I would often say that it was just cruel, because then I had to sit through his senior wrestling season, then his senior baseball season. Haha. It really didn’t take long for me to fall in love with these sports once I understood them better, especially wrestling. I would sit and listen to Jake describe how the most important thing about wrestling is the mental strength. He had gotten pinned once in ninth grade and decided he would never be pinned again. He truly believed that if you worked your hardest, you wouldn’t get pinned. You might be demolished, but you wouldn’t be pinned. 

This was one of the aspect of Jake that I loved the most. We had so much fun competing together. It didn’t matter if it was head to head, on opposing teams, or working together… We both just enjoyed competition and working our hardest. 

A couple months ago, Jake and I were driving to his Monday night softball league. Chase was ten days old and I was feeling excited. 

"I’m so excited to get back into shape and start doing sports. I need to do something competitive again!!" *smiles excitedly*

"What would you think about doing indoor soccer together? I would love to get to play with you."

"That would be awesome! I feel like that would be so much fun!!"

"As soon as you get your knee checked out, we can figure that out."

I was so excited. The thing that I had been missing so much was finally going to be part of my life again. I had been telling Jake that it really bothered me that anyone who has met me in the last five years probably wouldn’t even know that I like to play sports. The prospect of getting to play with Jake was beyond exciting. I pretty much loved doing anything with Jake, but doing one of my favorite things with my favorite person?!?! You just can’t beat that. 

So back to that day, and the to do list. I know that I love soccer, and I know that I would be really disappointed if my life did not have soccer in it, but I just kept thinking, ‘What’s the point of playing soccer without him?’

'…And what's the point of getting back into dance?' Jake was never a dancer…He had never gone to a school dance until he took me to the senior prom, and then we just sat there… Awkwardly. The music was too loud to talk, so we just sat there… watching everyone else dance… It wasn't what I had been imagining, but I was trying to keep a good attitude… Then he suddenly stood up, grabbed my hand, and he did the same thing he always did… he made crap up. He put a big smile on his face, spun me around a lot, and pretended like he knew what he was doing, haha. Shortly into this hilarious facade, some guy came up to him at the beginning of a swing dance song and challenged us to a competition of who could swing dance better. I wish now that I remembered who that was… 

We won that competition.

Are you wondering how we won a swing dance competition when neither one of us knew how to swing dance??? I was too.. But the reality I learned to live in is that when you’re following Jake, it doesn’t matter if you know what you’re doing. It only matters if you can follow.

He always told me that he loved to dance because he loved to watch me smile. 

So now what’s the point of dancing without my fearless leader? 

I know that Jake would want me to play soccer, and I know that he would want me to dance. I also know that I came into this relationship with those things already being a part of me. It’s not like wrestling, that I came to love because of Jake, so I feel like it should be natural to go back into them… But just because they were once solo activities, does not mean that I know how to make them solo again.

Walking into the doctor’s office yesterday was a sign of moving forward with creating the new phase of Chrissy Baxter… The phase that requires me to be independent like before Jake, only now with Jake’s voice and influence on my life… That’s going to be a grueling process.  I know that I can do it… I just don’t know why I have to.

Beauty From Pain

Beauty from Pain by Superchick has been one of my favorite songs for so long… It has been playing on repeat in my head…  Specifically due to the fact that one of the things I am struggling with most is the loss of all the dreams Jake and I had.  The song just says, “my dreams ran like sand through the fist that I’d made”… Standing in the middle of this pain, I am grateful for how depressing the song is while being simultaneously hopefully, because that is exactly where I’m at.  You should check it out…


That First Day

Many of you who are reading this probably know me already, but for anyone who may just be stumbling upon this blog, My name is Chrissy.  I am 26 years old, I have three kids, and I just lost my best friend of ten years, my husband of five.  There are no words for the pain I have felt in the past three weeks, but I am hoping to share the lessons God shows me as I press on in this life without Jacob. This will not be a “feel good” blog full of Christian cliches… This will be my real beliefs, thoughts, emotions and stories from day to day, starting with that first day.

We had worked at Bliss Summit Bible camp the week before and since the rest of our week was booked, I had scheduled all of our doctors appointments for that Monday, August 4. The plan was for me to go to my six week post-birth check up, then jake would take the girls to the dentist, come back, drop the girls off to me, go to the waterfall quickly, and then go to his dentist appointment. Later that night we were going to go altogether to playoffs for one of the softball teams he was playing on.  When Jake go back with the girls, he came into the room where I was sorting clothes into the dresser.

"I gotta head out, is that ok? Are you all set?"

"Yea, have fun!"

Upbeat, excited, smiling… That would be the last time I would see him.  I got the girls lunch, talked to his mom on the phone about plans to come over the next day, and got them down for their nap.  I then went upstairs to feed Chase.  I spotted the movie “Decoy Bride” on Netflix and decided to relax for a bit while feeding him…  About halfway through the movie Chase had fallen asleep and I heard Mike knocking on my door.  He came in and shut the computer and then just sat there not making eye contact…  My assumption was that he was messing with me.  I have always been a wee bit gullible…  He told me Jake had slipped and gotten pulled under the water, and that he hadn’t come up.  I just stared at him for a solid 30 seconds, really, not even worried… I was just waiting for him to crack a smile so I could tell him how not funny that was.  When he just kept looking away, I suddenly processed that he might be serious. He repeated himself, trying to hold himself together for me.  He informed me that it had happened about an hour earlier and that search and rescue was there.  I began pacing the attic, I think I said “No” at least a hundred times.  My brain felt like it was spinning so fast that it was shorting out.  I dropped to the floor and called my daddy.  I was sobbing so hard he couldn’t understand me so Mike took the phone and explained what had happened and my dad said he was on his way.

While Mike was on the phone I decided I needed to go to the river to look for him. “We need to go, you need to take me to where it happened NOW!”  I ran down the stairs and out to the lawn to wait for Mike… Honestly I still don’t know if he was taking forever on purpose or not, but it was probably good that he did.  I was freaking out.  I tried to think of who could be to the house ASAP who could be stable through their emotions, so I called Bill. In the ten minutes it took him to get to me, I sat alone in the yard.  At first I just screamed and cried, then I got angry.  I got up to pace again, but turned around and started wailing on one of the big garbage bins by the side of the house…  I felt a small sense of satisfaction when I realized through my tears that I had indeed broken the garbage can from kicking it too hard… Mike came out and he gently implied that he didn’t think I should go anywhere, I knew he was right.  Bill showed up first, then my dad, followed shortly by Meg & Amanda and MANY others.  It was Insta-Prayer on our lawn as I waited to hear anything from the police…  Of course, it began to rain shortly into our time outside.  Instead of hiding, I went to the middle of the lawn and just laid there.  I kept thinking of the song “Healing Rain” and hoping that the rain would somehow fix everything…

Most of the rest of the day was a bit of a blur… hours spent hoping, praying, calling family to tell them… Cindy kept bringing me water and I think I drank about ten water bottles in that first hour because it was the only thing that seemed to help me breathe. All I could think about was “what do I tell the girls??” They’d still been in their room napping when all the drama happened in the beginning and then friends and family played with them for the remainder of the evening so they wouldn’t sense anything was wrong.  Finally around 9pm, I decided it was time to get real. I told them what had happened, that daddy had slipped and fallen into the waterfall; that he had died, and wouldn’t be coming back.  Nadia didn’t really get it… She just cheerfully said “ok” and hopped back over to the computer to finish watching “Tangled”.  Ruthie, on the other hand, with a hurt and confused look asked,

"Daddy’s dead?"

"Yes baby…"

"He can’t come back, ever?"

"No baby girl, He can’t…"

Hardest conversation I’ve ever had.  Then it got harder.  She burst out weeping and just kept repeating, “I want my daddy back!!!”  I sat there trying to comfort her for over an hour… Twice my phone rang, and she would stop crying, gasp, and say, “Is that daddy?!?”  It was an awful night. It was an awful day… An awful day that had started so well…

So, many people have asked me if I am taking time to grieve, because most of you saw me very calm and collected.  I certainly went into “go mode” pretty quickly, and I am grateful to the Lord for getting me through.  But Jessie and Aimee can attest to the nightly meltdowns because I had slowed down enough to actually have a thought.  Or they could tell you about me waking up crying because I had no Jacob by my side to roll over and snuggle with.  So, yes, I am grieving.  And I will continue to do so for the rest of my life…

It’s a technicality, and so it seems silly to keep thinking it, but when I was taking classes at Brockport, I remember learning that the national average age for a female to get married (as of 2009) is 28… So my brain wants to know how it is that I am only 26 and already widowed with three kids???  Then of course logic pops up and says that I was able to help counsel many friends on relationships because of how young we got married… Also, that if we hadn’t gotten married young then I would’ve had even less time with him and I would not have my three amazing blessings…  So, now you can see how I process… My heart clenches and I ask a hard painful question.  It is then immediately followed by a whole line up of logic and explanation, and for a second I feel better… Until my brain realizes that my logic didn’t change or fix anything… Then my heart goes back to being clenched and I either find a distraction or start crying.

Sooo… Pretty sure I could just keep writing, but no one would make it all the way to the end haha.  I applaud you for making it this far! It really is amazing how much writing can help sift through things…  I think this blog is going to be a great tool for me :)