Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Living Before and After and Lying to the School

I live my life in befores and afters.

It's weird - I don't consider myself obsessed with my husband's death, but maybe I am.  Or maybe this is something that other people do, too.

When I hear a song on the radio, I often think, "This came out before/after Brad died."  Memories of the kids when they were toddlers - was he there or wasn't he?  What did he see and what did he miss?

There are a million different things that make me think of him, whether he was there for them or not.

It usually doesn't make me sad - it's like a reflex. It just pops into my head.

 2007 is some sort of dividing line, like B.C. and A.D.

Did people back then think, "Oh, yeah.  This hymn came out after Christ died"?

I don't know.


Sadness is a funny thing, especially when you don't know what you're sad about.

I've had that issue the last few days with my son.  He's turning 12 this week and has admitted to being a little weepy and doesn't know why.  Last night he came to my room, his eyes blinking at a rapid pace trying to keep the tears at bay, telling me he was sad and he didn't know why.

I knew why.  He was exhausted from spending every weekend away from home taking snowboarding lessons.  And as much fun as that hasn't allowed for a lot of down time.

And no Mom/son time.  Which we both desperately needed.

Dear Middle School,

I'm sorry when I only told you a half-truth this morning when I said my son wasn't feeling well.  He wasn't himself, but it wasn't physical.  He and I just needed a day.

It's the eve of his birthday and he wanted a shrimp po' boy (check) and to walk around Best Buy to look at stuff (check and cha-ching).  And at the end of the day he looked much better.

I, on the other hand, started to feel sad. 

It's always around the kids' birthdays that I start missing their dad; he's missing another important milestone.  As we left Best Buy today, I started thinking out loud about all of the technology that has changed since Michael's dad has been gone.

"Your dad would have loved all of this," I said.  "Smart phones, internet wherever you many gadgets have changed since he's been gone."

My son, your student, smiled at me indulgently.

"I think the two of you would have us in some major debt right now," I said, smiling at him.  "Or you two would be refurbishing stuff in our basement and we'd be millionaires.  Either way, we would be in a tiny house with a five car garage for all of your projects."

He didn't say much.  Maybe I was wrong to voice what I was thinking.  I hope not.  All I know is that now he looks 100% better and I'm the one fighting tears.

Is there anyone in your office who can excuse me from parenting?  I think I need a day.

Thank you,


  1. Yes to all of this. Thanks for making me feel not so crazy!

  2. I can so relate. 2007 for me too. Before and after . Same here. It has been such a tough road. Nine years and miss him every day. My son is 14 and he missed out on so much already without hin.

  3. Just about everything makes me think about my late husband. It's been only short of 8 months, but I imagine this will always be the case. How can a person spend almost every day for so many years with a loved one, in a life you wanted to build together, not relate so many things to that person they miss so much? Give your son some extra hugs when he feels sad.

  4. It's been 14 years here and I still measure events by whether they happened before or after Greg died. The kids are grown. His mom died a couple of weeks ago and that was tough. Still miss him and grieve for what he didn't get to experience but day to day life is good.

  5. So true... It's been over 10 years for me. Our sons are now 11 & 14, and I still find myself saying and thinking all of these things even though I am remarried and very happy. Although I've moved ahead with my life, I'll never forget every single thing about my first husband... I see him every day when I look at our boys. This is all normal, and it's such a good feeling to know that I'm not alone in all of this... We al experience the same feelings. ��

  6. I think it's so healthy to do what you did, and let him have a day with you. Life is too short, and it seems like those of us without dad or mom... are already running hard without support. This year, I did a new thing, I am giving each kid a certificate for a "day off of school" whenever they want. They love it. I'm so against attendance policies and awards. There are so many families that send their kids to school sick just so they can get perfect attendance. I"m only in year 2. 2.4 months... and I wonder if I need to stop talking about him so much. IT sucks to be with a group and everyone is telling stories and I chime in and tell a story but it's usually with him. then there is this awkward silence. My good friends are fine with it but I wonder about people still getting to know me. Congrats on being a good momma!

  7. This is me to a tee! I tell my son the SAME THINGS! My son will be 12 too this month and well, I get sad around the boys bdays and my youngest (the soon to be 12 year old) does too. And i try to tell them all the time how much their dad would have loved A, B or C too. How if daddy was still alive, you'd all be playing video games together and driving me nuts!! haha It's coming up on ten years for me and yes, i do the same ... BC (before cancer) and AG (after Greg).
    Loved this post!

  8. This is true for me too...13 yrs AD

  9. My grandma did this with my mum and she did it with me. They call them mental health days. One breather day can make all the difference. I hope you can find a wayto get one yourself!

  10. We call these days either our mental health day (older kiddos) or pajama days (little ones) and we spend the day lounging around the living room or on a big blanket in front of the tv watching Netflix. With how busy even kids lives have become over the last decade, I think they just need a day here and there to just be kids and not so much little adults in training.