I am past week 10, almost to 11 and I have so much swirling in my mind!! July was a crazy and difficult month. There were moments that I just really wished I could lay down in a hole and cry until my eyes ran dry. There were others in which I laughed until my sides hurt. I guess that is just my life…
Let’s see…I recently received a message from a guy that knew Michael. He was quite forth coming about the fact that he was pretty judgemental about Frank and I…before anyone blows a gasket…he apologized and I think that he understands me a little better now. Know what??? I understand me a little better too. I knew that my relationship with Frank would send shock waves and even upset a lot of people. I also knew that 99.9% of those people had absolutely no idea what I was going through and what it is like to lose their spouse and all their future plans. Because I anticipated that, I kept my relationship with Frank from as many people as I could until I had a ring on my finger. I wasn’t ashamed. I didn’t feel guilty (don’t get me wrong, there are times I feel pangs of guilt…but in general guilt was not a feeling I felt). I simply didn’t want everyone and their opinions to interfere with Frank and my relationship and the potential that I knew it had. I knew I had a lot of healing to do and I knew that I needed to keep people out of my new life. I am in a place now where people are welcome. I want people to be a part of mine and Frank’s life…I am still selective though. You may not see it…but what Frank and I have is absolutely beautiful. He is a wonderful Daddy to Olivia, Michael, and Landon. He loves them tremendously. If you saw them together you would not begrudge them or me the love that we share with Frank.
Let me give you a glimpse into the first year after Michael died so that you can understand exactly how Frank has changed our world. When Michael died little Michael and Landon were really too young to understand anything at all. It was all words to Michael and Landon was just an infant. Olivia on the other hand had some understanding of the fact that Daddy was in a box, he was hurt, and he would never wake up. Taking her to see Michael was probably one of the most devastating moments that I experienced after Michael died, aside from the times that I spent with him. She did not see him, just the flag draped casket and she talked to him with such an innocence. I explained to her where Daddy was. When she asked me to open the box and let Daddy out, I told her that I could not. We left an angel on his casket that she wanted him to have and I took her home. I would have never guessed that my carefree, vibrant, talkative little girl would turn into an unrecognizable soul in front of me…but that is just what happened. In the year after Michael died Olivia packed her bag several times, slung it on her back, and set off through the neighborhood to find Mimi’s house. She decided, as a Kindergartener, that she was going to run away and I know now that she was running away from the absence of Daddy. I followed her every time and eventually she would give up and come home with me. Not once since Frank has come into our lives has she attempted to run away. In between these episodes she had nightmares, temper tantrums, and fits in which she would rip her hair out of her head while she screamed and cried. It was heartbreaking to see. I just held her and talked to her and laid with her in her room until she was okay again. When you are grieving with your child and for your child it is hard to heal on your own. I spent a lot of that time in a fog. Making it from one episode to the next praying that they would end soon so we would both have some relief.
When Frank entered our lives things were rocky for Olivia for awhile. In fact, there are still days in which Olivia cannot seem to handle herself at all. She will never be the child that she used to be and that is hard to accept. When she has an episode now there are a lot of emotions that run through me. Anger, fear, sadness…and usually I have to shut her door while she screams and I sit on the other side and cry. I can no longer hold her through these times because she doesn’t want me too. I can’t talk to her, because she will scream louder. All I can do is wait until she is done. Frank has helped lessen these episodes. She did not immediately accept him, but eventually warmed up. The boys though flew into his arms from day one. In fact, the first time Frank ever picked me up for dinner I had the urge to run. He walked into my house and Michael threw himself into his arms. He picked him up and flipped him upside down and talked to him and then set him down. Michael was sated and I fell in love. I knew I wasn’t ready to love and share a life with someone else, but I also knew that I was looking at my future. For a lack of better words…I don’t know why Frank stayed because I was a psycho bitch for most of that next year. I had made it through the first year. I had carried Olivia through her pain and I had stuffed my own pain down as deep as it would go to deal with at a later time. Then Frank and I started dating and I was trying to navigate through the second year. It was difficult, so very difficult to reconcile my two lives. It helped though to see the joy on Olivia’s face that Frank’s presence brought into our lives. She eventually was much calmer than before. Like I said, we still have difficult days, but they are few and far between. A lot of people would say that the change is because of me, but I know different. I know that all the hugging and loving and patience was simply not enough. She needed to be someone’s Princess again and Frank gives that to her.
My emotions were a whole different story. I don’t know how many times Frank had to pick me up off the floor. Or how many times we have had to leave a movie or a restaurant because the tears come and I cannot control them. I don’t know how many hours I have sat in the car and cried while he simply held my hand and drove me to where we were going. Or how many times I have escaped to my closet and he has sat on the other side patiently waiting for me to come back to him. I could go on forever, but the point really is that what Frank and I have is pure. I never thought that I would find someone again that knew me completely and still loved me, but I did. I never thought that I would find a best friend to confide it, but I did. I never thought that I wanted to remarry, but I was wrong. I could use phrases like life with Frank “is a dream”. But I truly feel like that will not adequately support what my life with him is like. I no longer can imagine my life any other way. Oh, it hurts. It hurts terribly to miss Michael, to love him and to not feel his love back. But, I have strong and supportive arms to fall into. It does not matter where on the globe Frank is, he is always waiting to pick me up and make everything better. He has exceeded my expectations as a partner and is the liveliest part of my soul.
You might not understand it…you might not completely agree with it or support it…but in this new life that I had to make without Michael, I would not be whole without Frank in it. You might think that me loving again is dishonoring my husband, but I believe the opposite. I believe that laying down and letting myself succumb to the grief would dishonor him. I believe that anyone who is angry with me and judging me for loving another man is dishonoring Michael. I believe that because I was Michael’s wife…and that should not need an explanation.
For those of you who are still not sure and are still judging my life with Frank think about this: would you rather I was a drug addicted alcoholic, who hopped from boyfriend to boyfriend never settling down, and refused to get out of bed and take care of my children? Or would you rather that I am happy, and that I fell in love with a man that cares for and loves me and my three children as his own despite how hard I can make it on him? Just think about who I could be next time…that’s all.
I have so much more to say…but I am done for the night. I am glad I got that out. I am sure that almost everyone who will read this supports me since some psycho decided to steal my words and I made this private…but I am also sure that you can think about some people that don’t when you read this and that maybe you will see what they have done to the children and I and even Frank a little differently.
I’ll edit tomorrow…nighty, night.