Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dear Patrick,

Dear Patrick,
I've been missing you more and more lately.  I even get really mad that you're not here.  Olivia is talking so much more now.  She's even a full blown walker after weeks of falling and practicing.  She had fun at Christmas opening her presents and playing with the kids.  She's such a good eater.  She's eaten everything I have given her.  But now has decided she doesn't like broccoli and cauliflower.  She loves to play in her new kitchen.  She's taking after you with her cooking.  She loves to smile. Loves to laugh. Loves to see her family. Loves to play with the kids.  Loves animals.  Loves everything and is always happy.  She is you. 

It sometimes makes it hard for me when I'm alone with her.  I'm so happy to have her and see her accomplish all of these things.  But then I get sad and mad because you are not there to see it.  You should be able to see her talk, walk and play.  You should be setting things out from Santa for her.  You should be making her awesome food.  You should be making her laugh.  You should be showing her off to your friends an family.  You should be there to catch her when she falls.  You should be there for the diaper changing. You should be there to put a bow in her hair. You should be there to read her books at night. You should be there to see her smiling face every morning.  You should be there to have her fall asleep on your shoulder.  But you're  not.  It's just me and that makes me sad and angry.

I've been having so many people lately tell me about how God should be a part of my life.  He makes things easier for you. He is there for you.  Trust in him.  Have faith.  God has a plan.  That I should go to church. Pray to him. Love him.  Right now I can't do any of those things.  You know how things changed with us and God years back.  We had too many experiences that changed our views.  We always believed in a higher power, but weren't so sure about our prior Catholic beliefs.  Ever since you died....so did my faith.  I prayed to God every day while you were in the hospital.  Everyone did.  It did nothing.  I prayed so hard when you were in your last surgery.  I kept saying over and over, "Please God, don't let Patrick die. Please."  Look where that got us.  To me, he has done nothing for me except take you away and have me suffer.  If only people knew what I went through on a daily basis.  Not only grieving, but just having to do things on my own.  Work stresses me out.  Not being able to see Olivia 3 days a week makes me sad.  Having to drive far for work is not the greatest.  Not selling the house for 6 months has been a struggle.  Doing all the cooking, cleaning, errands, bills, shopping, fixing of things and raising our daughter alone. Every day.  God has not made anything easier for me.  He has never answered my prayers.  He has not proved to me that he exists.  I know that something is out there, but not sure what.  I wish I had faith and belief like so many people I know.  I just can't do it.  I just want my life a little easier. 

I still hang out with all of our friends.  The Appleton crew, Ripon crew and family.  I love being with them.  They remind me of you.  It's just hard when it's all couples and then just me.  I miss having you there by my side. Every time I'm with them, I think of you and what you would be doing or saying.  I sometimes pretend that you're there.

Never got in the Christmas spirit this year.  Put the tree up just in time for it to be taken down. I did it for Olivia, because she loves the tree with lights on it.  I had a hard time listening to Christmas music.  I just couldn't get into this year.  I should have. For Olivia.  But I didn't.  Just put a smile on my face like I do every day.  It's over now, so I don't have to worry about anything any more. New Year's is coming up.  You know how much I hate that holiday.  It's always pressured to be at a party or kiss someone at midnight.  I never cared for it.  I hate it now that you're not here and I'm alone.  O and I are going to just watch tv.  I might have a glass of wine.  We'll both be in bed before the New Year.  I'm hoping 2012 will be a good year.  12 is my favorite number. So it has to be.  These last 3 years have been pretty crappy for us, so I'm just hoping the universe shifts a little and goes my way.

I am on vacation all week and totally loving it.  Hanging out with O. Shopping. Errands. Cleaning. Visiting friends and family.  I wish our dream would have come true.  You in your great advertising job and loving every day of it and me at home with Olivia full time.  We never got what we wanted and it's hard for me to accept that.  I still do think about going back to school for nursing, but that's impossible, too.  I have to work full time for money and benefits and I just don't have the money or time to do it.  Yet another dream put on hold.  Before this, I only had two dreams in my life come true.  Marrying you and having Olivia.  And one dream has been taken away from me.

I have  normally been staying very positive about things since you died.  The last few months have just been, well...not positive.  I'm trying very hard.  I really am.  I just have too many obstacles in my way and they keep adding up.  Most days I laugh about it because it's just absurd that I could really have that many things happen to me.  I thought about writing them down, because no one would believe me.  But then I thought to myself, I can't focus on the negative.  So, I don't.  I just cry for a bit and move on.  I do sometimes scream at you.  Kind of like when I blamed things on the dog, even though Jake never did it.  But he was there to blame. :)


Not much else is new.  Just waiting for my stupid, new treadmill to get fixed so I can actually get my fat ass on it.  It's not as fat as when you were still here.  I'm actually 5 pounds under pre-Olivia weight.  I just want to get to my wedding weight.  I did have a membership to the YMCA, but you know how that turned out.  No time.  Or at least when I did have time, it didn't fit into Olivia's schedule or their daycare schedule.  So, we'll see how this turns out.  You can laugh at me as I try to become a "runner".

Well, it's off to bed.  It's actually past my bed time.  Yes, I still go to bed early.  Earlier now because of Olivia.  I'm just so exhausted every day.  Being an only parent is a lot of work.  But it's the best job in the world.  I just wish you could experience it. 

Love you more than anything in the world.  Miss you like crazy.  Wish you were here with us.  Please watch over us and protect us from bad things.  Please help me be a good mommy to Olivia.  That's all that matters.

Love always,

Your wife.

PS.
Here are some pictures of Olivia from Christmas.

Grandpa and O

Olivia and I on Christmas Day

Eating her Christmas cookie from Grandma

Opening her present from me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A rough time.

Needless to say, it's been a little rough lately in the Blessing house. 

First it was my sister's wedding.  Yes, it was beautiful and we had a great time...don't get me wrong.  It was a perfect day.  It's just that I was there alone.  No husband, boyfriend or date.  Everyone had someone.  I was alone.

Then it was Olivia's birthday.  No husband or father there to help me celebrate her special day.  I just went to work and came home after dinner.  It should have been a fun day for her.

Then it was/would have been my 3 year wedding anniversary.  That was a hard day.  I have now had more wedding anniversaries without him than I did with him.  Also that day, I was told I was needed to go back and do external recruiting.  As you know for the past 6 months, I've been doing all Internal Talent Management and loving it.  And yes, this was told to me on my wedding anniversary. That day got harder for me.  I didn't have Patrick to go home to and have him comfort me.

Then it was Olivia's big birthday bash.  It was a fun time had by all.  But Patrick wasn't there and I was really missing him. 

Then I let a friend go.  Someone I've know for many, many years.  Love dearly.  It isn't a good time for me to have this person and this way in my life.  Hopefully some day things will change.  I miss this person.  Lots.

Then it was Thanksgiving.  Patrick's favorite holiday.  He wasn't there for the 2nd year in a row.  I missed him even more.

Then my best friend's mom passed away.  She was a fun, loving and caring person. She was my 2nd mom.  She will be missed.

Everyone thinks that grieving only takes a little while.  Yes, things get "less hard" as time goes by, but the little moments get harder. 

It hasn't even been 18 months for me and it's still a struggle.  Every day.  There is an anniversary to something every month of the year. You don't seem to get a break from that.  That means there is always something you are anxious about having pass by with no break downs.  You try to do things that make you happy.  Surround yourself with positive people.  But when those happy things are crushed or taken away from you, it's five more steps backwards.  And yes, things seem worse to someone while they are grieving. 

No matter how good of a person you are, you pay your bills on time, you're a good mother, great employee, thoughtful and caring friend...you still get shit on.  I try to look at the positive in everything.  But when you have more bad happen to you than good, sometimes you have no choice but to break down.  I've thought about being a bad employee, bad friend and not a good person.  I wonder if it would change things for the better in my life.  That thought lasted only a few seconds and I changed it right back.  I just couldn't do it.  I don't know how people are able to be that way and be happy with themselves.  Maybe because they get out of things or get what they want all the time. They just don't realize that their actions that may benefit them,  may negatively affect others.  And lately I've been on that end.

Yes, I will say it.  I've had a lot of crappy things happen in my life.  Most of which I can't remember, but in the last few years, I remember most of them.  They definitely out weigh the good, which is really too bad.  I'm just hoping that God sees that I've paid my dues.  Done my time.  Suffered enough.  When will the good stuff start happening?  I have faith that it will.  Just really hoping that it does happen.  And soon.

I was told by my very first boss, James, that you don't have bad days.  You have bad moments in good days.  I do my best to live by this.  Some bad moments are worse than others, but tomorrow is always a new day.  My niece Payton would say, "You have a choice to wake up on the right side of the bed."  She was maybe 4 when she said this.  Smart girl. 

Remember what you do every day affects other people's lives.  Not just yours.  You may be have a rough day, but someone always has it worse.  I'm not the only widow who lost her husband while pregnant.  Sadly enough, I know many similar stories and some even worse.  So, I do my best to always make others happy first.  Because then I will end up happy.  What goes around comes around, right?  Let's just hope so.

A canvas picture of Patrick. Artist~Chad Cleveland (Former classmate of Patrick's)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Olivia is 1!

Saturday we celebrated Olivia's first birthday.  I also celebrated that I made it through the year.  It has not been easy, but we did it.

We had 65 people at the party.  25 of them kids 14 and under.  Yes, it was a mad house. Yes, I loved every minute of it.  It was a lot to get ready for that many people.  Mom made sloppy joes. I made the famous meatballs-225 to be exact.  All were eaten...Quickly.  We had salads, snacks and everything.  Mom and I made the cake and cupcakes.  Well, mostly Martha Stewart, I mean mom did.  We had games for the kids and alcohol for the parents.  Olivia did a great job all night.  While opening presents, she patiently sat there on my lap and watched.  Then it was cake time.  She wasn't sure right away...I helped her dig in.  Then she loved it.  Red velvet cake and purple frosting.  Just for daddy.  After cake, she was swept right into the tub.  Then she got to play with all of her toys.  She had so much fun.  The rest of the weekend was a blast.  We got to hang out and play the whole time.  I was very lucky to have all of these special people surrounding me on a very tough day.  Olivia deserved to have them all there, too.  Everyone has had a part in her life.  Everyone there also was a part of Patrick's life.  I really wish he could have been there.  He would've had a blast decorating the cake and getting the balloons.  I can picture him watching Olivia eating her cake and enjoying it so much.  I thought a lot about that and him that night. 


My princess

Cupcakes

Banner with each month

She loved the cake!

Pin the nose on Olivia

The cake

Mommy and her birthday girl

Patiently opening gifts

My big girl!

Great pictures of Olivia

Olivia and her cake


Silly Uncle Shawn!


Tomorrow, November 15th marks our wedding anniversary.  It would have been 3 years.  I have now spent more wedding anniversaries without Patrick than with him.  I miss him.

I saw this on someone's post earlier (summed up).  Don't bitch that your husband's shoes are in the middle of the living room floor.  Be happy you still have one to fill those shoes.  I would give anything to pick up his shoes or put his dishes away that were sitting next to the dishwasher.  I would be happy to have him snoring next to me and keeping me up all night.  I'd be happy to have him traveling on a business trip, because he would be coming home.  I'd be happy to have him working long hours, because he would have a job and a wife and daughter to come home to.  I'd be happy to have him be upset that he was sick with a cold or the flu, because he could talk to me.  Please from now on, don't complain to a widow about what your husband is doing or not doing.  You still have one.  I don't and neither do a lot of my new friends.  Be Thankful.  You actually have something to complain about.  I don't.  I lost the best thing that ever happened to me.  Olivia will never have her dad.  I will never be able to celebrate anything beyond our one year anniversary.  I will never be able to grow old with Patrick.  So please...keep you complaining to yourself.


My favorite picture from the whole day.  It's how he looked at me.



He made me laugh every day.  Every day.

Our first dance. Given to Fly.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Milestones and lots of catch up...not ketchup, which I do love.

Olivia
Olivia is now almost a year old.  She can do so many things.
  • Play Patty Cake, Peek-a-boo, So Big
  • Says Mama (Mom), Dada, Hi, Grandma (Ah-ma), Pa-Pa,
  • Can dance, shake her head no, crawl, walk along furniture, stand on her own, crawl up the stairs, 
  • Eats regular food and drinks out of sippy cup
  • Recognizes people in photos
  • Loves shoes and clothes as much as mommy
  • Poses for pictures.
  • When I say, "oh, so pretty..." She takes her hand and pretends to comb her hair.
  • She plays well with her cousin Kate
  • Loves Dogs and Cats
  • Loves to get scared-makes her laugh.
  • Has taken 2-3 steps a lot the last day or so
  • Laughs all the time and knows when she's funny

1 Year
It's been just over a year since I moved out of my house in Wauwatosa to the condo here in Fond du Lac.  This place has become our home until I can sell the house down there and buy one here.  It's nice to have a place with not so many memories, but yet we are building our own here.

Cara's big day
Last weekend was a special day for Cara and Jason.  The weather was perfect and everything went off without a hitch.  Everyone was beautiful.  It was a hard day, as Patrick was supposed to stand up as a Groomsmen.   It was hard not having him there.  Olivia and I had a lot of  help from friends and family all day.  It's hard being the maid of honor and having a baby with you all day.  I felt like I was always doing something.  For a long time, I forgot to have a cocktail:)   By the time Sunday came, we slept a lot that day.  A lot.

O and I after I got my hair and make-up done

Mom and I before the ceremony

O in her pretty red dress

Work
For the past 6 months or so, I've had a newer role at work.  Instead of recruiting candidates for open positions for our IT department, I've started working with our internal talent and consultants.  It's a nice change after being in the industry 2 months short of 14 years.  Holy crap.  I've been out of college that long?  Ugh.  I'm old.

Drive
Yes, I'm still doing the hour commute each way to work, 3 days a week.  Now that it's getting later in the season, it's dark when I leave and dark when I get back.  I do get to see the sunrise and sunset every day.  Can't beat that.


House
I'm STILL trying to sell the house.  I wish I could just get it off my hands.  I'm hoping I don't lose my life savings in the process.  I worked very hard to build up all that equity.  Whoosh. It's all gone in an instant....


Birthday
We are getting ready for Olivia's One Year Birthday Party.  Mom and I are hard at work.  I already bought a lot of stuff a couple of months ago.  Now it's getting all the details together.  It's going to be a big party.  She deserves it.  She won't get to have her dada here to help celebrate, so everyone else will be there for her. 

New toys
I finally got my new iPhone.  It's awesome.  I had the oldest version for the past 2 years.  It's such a huge difference.  I love it.
I also got a new organizer notebook from my Shauna (Mike and kids) for my early Christmas present.  As you all know, I love being organized.  Maybe a little too much.  But you have to.  You have to have things ready at all times and be prepared when you're on your own.  No choice.




Pearl Jam
I got the new DVD in the mail today!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I also have it on my DVR.  Why, in case I borrow it to someone I still have it:)  It's awesome.  It goes through their chronicles of how they started and how they got to where they are today.  It will be one of those that I watch quite a few times.

Friends
I've been very lucky this past year to become closer friends with a few people.  One of them I get to work with again, which is awesome!  We talk almost every day.  I feel like we are dating.  LOL  She has been so supportive and is always there for me.  Whenever I need to talk, she's there.  Whenever I need to vent, there.  I just wish she was closer so she could share my wine stock with me. 
Other people have also amazed me by their actions.  If you're not going to be nice to me 99.9% of the time, then don't be my friend.  I don't put up with Sh** anymore.  Sorry.  I've been through too much the past few years (Patrick getting laid off, going extra measures to get pregnant, Patrick getting sick, heart attack, passing away while I was pregnant, no life insurance, becoming a widow at 35, only parent and Olivia doesn't have a dad) to deal with more BS.  My life is crazy enough.  I don't need anyone else to make me crazier.  I'll do that myself.  Trust me.  LOL

Wine
Yes I love it.  I usually get a box of wine because it's cheaper and lasts longer.  No, I don't drink every night like most might think.  I just like to have a small glass with supper or to wind down at the end of the day.  Sometimes when it's been crazy, I  might have two or even forget to have one at all.

Coupons
I use them all the time.  I love them. Favorite part of the Sunday paper.  When you have to go to Target every 2 weeks or so, why not save $25 every time you go?  I'm not an extreme couponer, but I always have toilet paper, paper towel, formula, diapers and wipes on hand.  I also buy ahead for Olivia's clothes.  When it's on the clearance rack for $2 and then I have 3 coupons?  Why not. 

Daring Olivia getting into trouble


So Big! Olivia at the Little Farmer
My silly girl

She'll always be my baby. No matter how big she gets.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Pearl Jam 2011

    As you all know, I've been looking forward to the Pearl Jam concert for quite some time.  I had the opportunity to get tickets through Ten Club for both nights.

    Saturday afternoon, I went to my brother and sister-in-law's house to drop Olivia off.  She was staying there for the afternoon and night.  Then she was going to Grandma and Grandpa's house until Monday afternoon.  I am so grateful that they were able to take Olivia so I could enjoy my time at Pearl Jam.

    Mike and I gathered our things and headed over to pick up his friend Mike.  We went down to East Troy, Wi.  The Schrieber family was my family this weekend, as I stayed there the whole time.  We had a few beverages with them and then proceeded to Alpine Valley, minutes away.  We also had a preferred parking pass in hand.

    We were all ready for the rain that was there all day.  Prepared for a mud bath.  We were very lucky and it only sprinkled for a while. No mud.

    We pulled into the parking lot of 30 or so cars and started our walk.  We came upon a girl in a golf cart.  I asked her if she was going our way by chance.  Well, yes she was!  She picked us up and we were on our way to the concert.  We were coming in the back part of the stage.  Instead of going right to go in the concert, we went left on the road and ended up going through where all the Band trailers were!!! I couldn't believe my eyes.  On a plain piece of paper on white trailers were, Mudhoney, Queens of the Stone Age, The Strokes and Chris Cornell.  Standing next to us on the path was the lead singer of The Strokes.  Crazy!  The rumors were true about Chris Cornell being there.  AMAZING!  I leaned over to Mike and said, "I don't think we are supposed to be back here..."  We weren't.  The girl pulled up 2 feet away from the ticket office for us 5 minutes later.  I felt like s celebrity for a few minutes.  Just a few. 

    We then met his other friend Mike there.  Yes, 3 Mike's now.  We then went into the venue.  In about 5 minutes, Mike had lost Mike and I had lost both Mike's.  Really?  It's starting to get dark, I'm kind of drunk and now I have to find 2 Mike's?  So, I walked around and then low and behold, I literally ran into my brother.  Geesh!  So we then got our beers and got ready for the concert.
    Mike's brother-in-law, Mike, Mike, Mike

    Mike and I before the concert

    My 100 oz beer.  I will tell you now I didn't need that beer.














    Mike showing off his rain gear

    Mike showing off his beer drinking gear

    Mike and Mike. 

    My brother and I during the concert.

    The other Mike and I.


    All I have to say is AMAZING!!!  It was so awesome.  It was great to see my brother's reaction, as this was his first Pearl Jam Concert.  He had so much fun.



    http://www.pearljam.com/tour/show/alpine-valley-music-theatre-sep-03-2011






























    We then drove back to the Schriebers, after only taking minutes to get out of the parking lot.  It was awesome.  The Mike's drove home and I was up until 3 or so on a Pearl Jam High.

    The next day I got to lay around on the couch after Rese made me breakfast and coffee.  It was pretty sweet.  I was missing my little O.  No snuggler:(

    Then Shawn met us to go to the concert on Sunday.  Adam, Shawn and I met some friends there with the Montags.  We had a great time before going into Night 2 of Pearl Jam.  Now, Night 1 was absolutely phenomenal, I couldn't imagine how Night 2 would be....


     Shawn and I took advantage of the Ten Club area.  Faster service for beers and bathrooms.  We also went by the Pearl Jam museum and signed the wall.  That was pretty cool.

    10 Club area

    My signature

    Shawn signing the wall.


    Well, they topped themselves! It was the best concert and experience I ever had.  Unbelievable.  They played every song I wanted.  It's like I wrote the set list.

    http://www.pearljam.com/tour/show/alpine-valley-music-theatre-sep-04-2011

     Shawn and I cried a few times, I bawled during Just Breathe.  It was very moving.
    Shawn and I during the concert.

    Spray paint art work on a billboard





    2nd to last song. All of the bands from the day and PJ playing Rockin' in a free world.


    Both nights we were blessed to have Chris Cornell in our presence.  He is amazingly talented.
    They played for over 3 hours.  I still cannot stop talking about how good it was.  Rave review.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT



    Shawn and I left with Adam and went back home.  As we walked into the house, Rese was pulling a pizza out of the oven.  Really?  Talk about timing. 

    I was very lucky to attend the concert with my 2 brothers.  Lucky to have my sister-in-law and parents take care of Olivia for the weekend.  Lucky to have great seats.  Lucky to see both nights. Lucky to have a parking pass.  Lucky to be able to spend the weekend at the Schriebers.  Lucky to be able to experience the most moving thing in my life.  Beyond Patrick and Olivia, this is my number 2 best experience in my life.  I'm lucky to have Pearl Jam affect my life how it has for the past 20 years.  I'm lucky that Pearl Jam is still together after all these years.  I'm lucky.

    So, as for the days that followed the best experience ever....

    Tired.  I didn't get much sleep after drinking 3 days in a row and staying up late.  Last night I went to bed at 8:30.  Pretty sad.  Thank you coffee and Mountain Dew.  I loved you as much as Pearl Jam this week.