Life check

There are a lot of memories for me today… 5 years ago today was the last time I heard Tim’s voice. It was the day that I decided to take him to the hospital, and he never came home. I wrote about this a bit in my letters: A year without your Voice and Another year without your voice.

Today, I want to reflect on this past weekend. I chose to go out to Vegas with my 3 best friends from college for a reunion weekend and an all day Music fest: Lovers and Friends. I know that everything is a risk. Especially these days, with covid (less life-threatening thanks to vaccines) but still rampant. Especially, because we live in America.

My friend Anne was ready to go before the headliners, so we walked her to the gate and told her to get an Uber not the bus back to her hotel.

Shruti, Stacia and I went back in, to the main stage area for TLC (which was awesome). Next up was Usher, Ludacris and lil Jon on the main stage. It was a break so we sat down on the ground. There were a good number of people around us also sitting down. There was DJ music, so medium loud but the three of us were chatting. I was beat. Closed my eyes a few times. Trying to think if Stacia and I could convince Shruti to leave before Lauryn Hill, because it was a long day standing on blacktop that was hotter than the surface of the sun and I was whooped. All of the sudden Shruti says “Get up! Get up! Get up!” I look back and see a wave of humans coming at me in the dark. Shruti grabs Stacia, Stacia grabs me, I grip my water bottle and hat (which I ripped off my head) And Stacia for dear life and RUN! People were ducking and running but very little screaming. It was so scary but the crowd was so NICE! Everyone who touched me was gentle like they didn’t want to hurt me but wanted me to know they were there/ to move forward. We rushed towards the stage and ended up near the front, Shruti pulled us to side thinking of getting trampled and we ended up near a security gate to the VIP section and people started jumping it. No one knew what was happening but there was a buzz of possible gun fire. (Because we live in America) I strained hard to listen. It was absolutely terrifying. I’ve never been in a situation like that before. I managed to be afraid both of getting trampled and of being shot at the same time. People were trying desperately to stay together with their people, and also move in the right direction, and keep each other safe. Stacia started shaking with repressed sobs and I nearly lost it too. I immediately thought “I cannot let my children be orphaned because I wanted to go to a concert.” Somehow this steadied me. I knew I had to keep my senses sharp and remain in control.

When we got to the fence, Shruti struggled to get over it and people helped her. When we got over into VIP we were able to head towards a VIP exit but still no one knew what was happening. But we were ready to get out! We got back to the hotel where we parked, and asked security for first aid because Shruti’s foot was bleeding. Some random concert goers stopped and had bandaids, gauze etc in their clear plastic bag. Stacia and Shruti had some things in a locker, that we will never see again but thank God Stacia had her car keys! (She also had my sunglasses and I had everything else I brought, phone, wallet in my skirt pockets.) It took a long time to get out of the garage but we eventually made it home to Stacia’s house. While exiting we heard Usher and realized that they kept playing! But clearly, we were done.

The music was absolutely phenomenal, but it’s definitely my last festival. That’s not a risk I need to take. Earlier in the day, I thought the heat was the big drama. I will always hold close that in the heat of the moment, Shruti saved my life.

In all things, I wonder #WWTD. I know he’d have understood my desire to go. He’d have wanted me to see my friends. He’d have encouraged it. I went out to Vegas with those 3 when I was very pregnant with D in 2016. I am a person who knows deep in my bones that no matter what precautions you take – tragedy can strike. That even when you marry a man with excellent family history, who takes little to no risks, follows all the rules, avoids tobacco, drugs, motorcycles, firearms… you can get hit with a perfect storm of nearly unbelievable disease and he can die at 37 years old in the prime of his life.

I live in the balance between carpe diem and which risks are too much.

I came home today. I held my babies close. I told them the story. I held HIS babies close.

I reread tonight Another year without your voice and I am reminded how much I’d want to share not only our children, but this world we live in with Tim. I watched one of my friend’s husband’s respond to what we went through and I saw Tim. This, remains so true today:

I’d want to tell you about the disappointing things going on in our country and in the world… I’d want to hear your outrage – not because I want you to be upset, but because it always inspired me, and because I’d know there was one more white male in this country who GOT IT.   I’d want to tell you what has happened with me, with my work,  ask your advice, report on friends, with other family.. well, I’d want to tell you everything.  But you probably wouldn’t let me get to it if we were short on time.  All you’d want to hear would be our children. I wish you could see them now!  I like to believe you can.  I wish we could see you!   I guess I do.  I see so much of you in them every day.   No matter what, you live on in us.

Another year without your voice

On the very same day that I experienced this, in Buffalo, NY, a city that my Tim loved with his whole heart, from his camp days – experienced a terrible white supremacist’s massacre in a super market in a predominantly black neighborhood.

The terrifying experience made me realize just how much I need to appreciate my life. It is, of course, a thing I should have learned 5 years ago when Tim’s took the craziest turn. But all of the things I worry about daily can be reduced to nothing when you consider the sanctity of life. May we remember that, appreciate it, and fight for it always, not in cells that are growing as a part of a woman’s body, but full, live humans of every race, religion, orientation, gender identity.

May we all offer each other every day the same love, grace, and respect I experienced from the Lovers and Friends festival-goers of May 14, 2022.

War

This evening I read my kids some information on the current situation in Ukraine, because I like them to hear messages from me, of which I approve since I know the girls especially are hearing plenty at school… The girls asked good questions and we talked through their questions, thoughts and fears, with what I do know, and shared that there is much about the current and future situation that I do not know.

D says before bed, “Mom, I’m confused. Does this *evolve me? Because I only care about you.”

He was all tucked into bed, and his eyes were heavy, and I think he was honestly eager for sisters and I to get out of his room after an active weekend… So it was not the time for a full speech on being citizens of the world, or history or how we are affected. I told him that yes, we will be involved but we don’t have to talk any more about it right now, and we can all get some sleep.

I thought about the mothers who do not have that luxury right now. The mothers who’s children will not ask if they are involved, because they know too well that they are. Or mothers who can not let their children sleep when they are tired, much less all tucked in in their own warm bed at home. I can not take this for granted.

D’s words also hit me hard in another way. Certainly, there have been many challenges the past 5 years. Only parenting in a pandemic is incredibly humbling. There is a spot light on the aloneness of how I will parent, how I will provide for us through that hardship. There are so many times when I feel so bad at this – so ill-equipped to parent at all, let alone on my own. When D said “because I only care about you” it was such a strong reminder of the role I play in who he is becoming – how to ensure he feels safe, loved, and held. It is heavy. It is an incredible responsibility, but it is also an incredible honor.

I hold that responsibility and honor in my heart tonight. And I hold the mothers around the world who are struggling with their heavy hearts – in the Ukraine, and everywhere in the world where there is sadness, poverty, pain, cruelty, tyranny, or injustice. May we find a way to a better future for our children.

Four years

Recently, a friend told me that a friend of hers (who I don’t believe I’ve ever met) said “How long has it been?… almost 4 years? She’s not seeing anyone now? What are you doing to help her with that?”

I have found that there is a continuum of widowhood. At least on the observation (judgment?) scale. Its “ooooh, too soon” to “mmmm, when is (s)he going to move on?” There is no set time when the switch flips, but as soon as it does, you can FEEL it. Not internally, but in the way others treat you.

There have been things in the last 4 years. Flirtations, situations, intimacy. I have no regrets. Things happened when they did, why they did, for reasons that I can not explain, and yet for which I am very grateful. The first was, by all external observation “too soon.” And yet, I am extremely grateful for it. It was just what I needed, when I needed it. It was joy, excitement, sadness, distraction, but most of all, it helped me understand myself so much better than anything else could have at that time. I guess I could say it was a revelation. It was about me, and not about only my loss. And when it needed to be over, it was so very clear to me, in a way that it would not have been for a younger version of myself, for a pre-Tim, pre-children version of me. In that time, I was telling myself I was only surviving, but I found that I wasn’t only surviving, I was fully living, and I was getting to really know who I am. If anything, I was falling in love with myself. Another situation was just as rewarding. It was good for my heart, fun, and freeing. It may have been cut extra short by global pandemic, and yet helped with that too. It was truly always on a timeline. And in all things, as a mother, my children – their happiness and safety – come first, and other choices fit around that.

I told someone else recently that my father died last year, and their first question was whether my mother would remarry. I immediately found this an interesting and (to me) unexpected response. Like, do you remember you are speaking to a widow at this moment? I’m not sure he did. He was thinking of when his own father died, and that his mother did remarry. And that’s ok. I understand that we live life relative to our own experiences, what we know, what we understand.

On Glennon Doyle’s podcast, We can do hard things, she and Amanda were talking about the question “What happened?” Their topic was specific to infidelity, and the end of both of their first marriages… but Amanda talked about how awful that question is, and specifically because its never for the person being asked, always for the asker (I am paraphrasing – I 100% recommend listening to the actual podcast We Can Do Hard Things). Amanda talked about the person asking wanting to know what happened, so that they can understand, analyze, diagnose how it happened, so they can mentally come to terms with how it won’t happen to them.

How MUCH I identified with this. I had to laugh, too. Imagine Tim’s response if I told him I identified with a podcast about infidelity. He was the most fiercely loyal human I have ever known, he would have been initially aghast. But he also never lived through the aftermath of the love of his life’s death, and I know he’d have a lot of grace for that unknown. I had a very intelligent friend ask me if the fact that Tim lost his hair so young was a sign? Was it the cancer? I couldn’t even believe he was asking me this…. and yet I did. I understand the NEED to look for a reason, or for a sign that we all missed. I understand looking for that comfort. It may not be a luxury I have, but it doesn’t mean I don’t understand it.

I am, always, who I am because I loved Tim, and because I lost Tim. Not just because of our children that I am raising, but the forever imprint on my heart, my being, and my knowing. He is present in the decisions I make for our family, and I have silly moments when I think of him and it stops me completely still. We move forward as a family, always letting each other become who we were meant to become. I can not wait to see who our children will be in each next step in their lives. And I also look forward to learning who I am becoming.

My mind is open, my heart is open, and I continue to do just “the next right thing.”

“…I chased desire, I made sure I got what’s mine…. and I continue to believe that I’m the one for me. And because I’m mine, I walk the line. We’re adventurers in heartbreak so that our final destination we lack…We’ve stopped asking directions to places they’ve never been. To be loved, we need to be known, we’ll finally find our way back home. And through the joy and pain that are life’s brain, we can do hard things” – Tish Melton

2021 MB shocks 2020 MB

As an only parent, I have many conversations with myself, many conversations with Tim in my head, or thinking through that Tim would say/do. On parenting, there are so many questions, and I am the ultimate decision maker in all things: right, wrong or indifferent. The other day I had this conversation in my head and it just made me laugh:

2021 MaryBeth: OMG! I got the emails! The girls are both going to school FOUR DAYS next week! YESSSS!!!!!

2020 MaryBeth: WHAT?!?!??! Four days? Four days!?!? But work is FIVE days? Where was the 5 day option in the survey?? What will I do with the other day? Maybe <my au pair> can cover the one day, and I’ll just flex my hours to accommodate that… ok, that could work…

2021 MB: Au pair! Ha! That’s funny. Remember when we had an au pair?

2020 MB: What?

2021 MB: Oh yeah, J-1 Visas have been cancelled. The au pair you matched with in February 2020, waited for a year, but when her visa was declined/delayed the final time at the end of January, she realized she couldn’t take one more disappointment, and just had to move on. And we understood, of course!

2020 MB: So then what will happen that other day – is there enough PTO to take every Monday off? How will that look at work? Can I do any work from home that day? What will the girls do that day? What is “asynchronous”? Why are you jumping off the walls about FOUR days? Do you forget? The work week is FIVE days!

2021 MB: Oh the girls will just go to taekwondo all day on Monday.

2020 MB: Taekwondo? Bu the girls don’t do taekwondo.

2021 MB: Yes they do.

2020 MB: All day? What…?

2021 MB: It’s ok. Four days is amazing. For now. Hopefully 5 next year. Girls are ok. They are happy and healthy and safe, and alive when we pick them up. We can do hard things. Breathe deeply.

One Year later, let me tell you about right now

Dear Tim,

A year ago, I wrote Let me Tell you about right now .

The very next day, my dad died.

I have not written much in this last year. It’s not because I didn’t have anything to say, or because I stopped liking to write, because those are far from true. I think it was partially based on anxiety, fear, and a focus on survival. I also think it is because of the judgment. So much concern for judgment this year. Worry about calculated risk, acceptance and perception. This year has been full of death, fear, anxiety. The mental and physical toll have been high, all around the world. And I am sure, too, that they will be felt for years to come.

You will be happy to know that they are having March Madness this year.

In a year, as a people, we have adjusted, adapted to a new way of life, for better, and for worse.

Your crew has as well. The kids wear masks when needed without complaints. They ask good, thoughtful questions, and we’ve had so many difficult/ good conversations. They love any opportunity for human connection. They have too much screen time, undoubtedly. They fight with each other. When its important, they comfort each other. We survived school being cancelled for the year – then an all virtual start, then Covid itself and isolation, other health challenges, lack of our previous childcare support availability, and so much more. So much more, yet so much less than others. I have stayed employed throughout the pandemic, and for this and so much more I am grateful.

There are more moments than I want to count when I’m not proud of my parenting. There are some very dark moments.

It’s spring again, and there is hope in the air. There are vaccines, there is sun and warmer weather coming. Although there is still future uncertainty.

I find myself thinking the most about things we want to return to, and things we want to leave behind in “the before times.”

On the whole, I think you would be proud, of all of us. That’s all I can do. Keep living in a way that I think would make you proud.

Always,

MaryBeth

Three years

I remember so vividly three years ago today.  There are times when I could not tell you what I had for lunch yesterday, but those last moments in the hospital are crystal clear.  I mentioned in June 11th is coming. that right there at the end I sang to him our wedding song, and I told him, “I will not make a big deal of this date.”  I knew he would hate that.  And I’ve tried to maintain that… plan the memorial sporting event around this time of year / father’s day, plus “celebrate” father’s day.  And I managed again this year to not tell the kids what today was… I didn’t think I would get away with it this year, because A mentioned it the other day, “isn’t June 11th the day daddy died?”  But she did not mention it today, and I did not bring it  up.  I told them there was a special end-of-the-school-year treat coming.  And it did – we had an ice cream truck come to our cul de sac!  They loved it!

Tim and I once took part in an “ice cream Thursday” tradition at work, and today being the ultimate “ice cream Thursday” brought me some joy.   It also brought the opportunity to celebrate the end of this difficult school year, with three months of the kids at home, all of us at home, staying safe from the corona virus.   We were delighted to have other neighbors come down for the ice cream truck, including R’s  first grade teacher!

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But I can not help that this day hits me hard.  As much as I want it to be just any other day.  The date is everywhere.   I wrote the date on a million forms and papers, had it engraved several places.  The date is engraved in my heart.  And try as I might to not make a big deal of the date, it ends up making a big deal to me.  So many memories flood in.  The whole day feels heavy.  Tim loved me so much for who I am, I am sure he would forgive me for this.  This guy here, his son.   This week I mentioned daddy while we were in his hammock together, and D turned to me and said very seriously, very matter-of-factly “Mama, my daddy  – he is always dead.”  It surprised me as he has never said this before.  But it is also simply true, however much I hate that this is his reality.

I am sad that due to the corona virus, we will not be able to celebrate with friends and family at the memorial sporting event this year.  But I am hopeful that we will be able to do that next year.  This time in history that we are in right now also feels very heavy: emerging into summer, and a phased re-entry into a “new normal,” and trying to imagine what comes next.

I so hope that this time brings transformational social change that we desperately need, change that makes it a better, kinder, safer world for every single citizen on earth.   I know that is what Tim would want for the world his children live in.

Three years, and so much has changed.  We have all changed – me, and each of the kids.  The world around us is changing fast.  I hope we continue to change with it.  I have no doubt that Tim’s light, life, and spark will be in our hearts always.  Always.

“You have stolen my heart
And from the ballroom floor we are a celebration
One good stretch before our hibernation
Our dreams assured and we are, we’ll sleep well… sleep well… sleep well… sleep well”
~ Dashboard Confessional “Stolen” (Our wedding song)

Saying Goodbye to Dad

It was a difficult decision in this environment, and a risk, I know, but I decided to leave the kiddos for several hours today and head up to PA  for my dad’s < 10 person funeral mass. 

The absolute saddest part of dad’s passing was the timing.  Dad had been ready for a long time.  Before Tim died, I spoke to him about how much I wish that across the country we had Death with Dignity options.  Imagine if Dad could have made his own choice?  He would have made it years ago, and gone to rest peacefully, surrounded by the support of his family.  My heart breaks to think of the sadness and the confusion of this time.  I can only imagine this is the case for many other patients in care facilities across the country, who can not understand why their family members are not able to visit.  Death is always sad for those of us left behind.  It is a heavy weight to carry.  But I like to imagine a world where the suffering can find their way home in peace, in a manner and time of their choosing.  

I am glad that I was able to go today.  I wrote and gave the Eulogy, which I will share here.  I may have broken my own connection to the Catholic Church in 2016, but I can not deny that Father Ed did a beautiful job with Dad’s mass.  He had met dad, and he read carefully the background on Dad that my sister-in-law, Gaby, provided.  He incorporated those thoughts beautifully and connected them to both readings and the gospel in his homily.  My sister, Jean, and my Aunt Kathleen did a beautiful job with the readings, my Aunt Dolly with the prayer of the faithful and the Church staff who joined for the piano and singing did a gorgeous job.  The pianist went so far as to add a few chords of ‘Somewhere over the rainbow’ at the end after hearing the end of the Eulogy.   And my mom, who I hate to welcome to widowhood, was her strong, beautiful, elegant self.  

Here are the words I shared today with the small crowd allowed for the funeral mass.  Mom hopes to have a burial that more can attend in the future.  

Good morning.

(Here I ad libbed that before I started I wanted to mention that my immediate family had joined a video chat the previous evening to wish my 18 year old niece a happy birthday and we had agreed… as weird as this funeral mass is for all of us here  – the size, only a few immediate family members –  it would have been right up dad’s alley).

We, here in this room today, and others that could not be with us, we are Dad’s legacy. Most significantly, Mom, Joe, Jean, and I (and our spouses and children) are dad’s greatest legacy.  Even though he couldn’t always show it the way we might have liked for him to, it has always been clear to me just how much Dad loves each and every one of us.

At my first job after college when someone would accept a new position and be moving on to the next adventure, we would celebrate (sometimes roast) them with a top 10 list, Letterman style. At my husband’s Celebration of Life, we developed a collection of things that “we learned from Tim” particularly for our children to have for years to come.

So today for this small group of us gathered here, I will share the top 10 things that I learned from Dad, whether directly or indirectly…

  1. The value of family, resilience and perseverance.  I know how much it meant to Dad that he and Mom got to fulfill a longtime dream of visiting Ireland together, where they met some of dad’s cousins and saw where his mom was born.
  2. The value of education. Dad always made it clear how important he found education of all kinds.  The love of a good book! And a library! Dad was a lifelong learner. And it’s not surprising then that my sister, Jean, is an educator.  
  3. The value of hard work – whether this be at school, work, around the house or in the yard, where my brother, Joe’s nickname for Dad – “Johnny Flamethrower” – came.  Dad’s favorite tools may have been his lawnmower, leaf blower, and subsequently lighter – to light the leaves on fire… eventually only on the county-approved days.  
  4. The value of understanding and appreciating cultural differences.  This was something I think Dad struggled with personally all his life.  He made a point to talk to me about gender and racial equality in particular, as well as the damage of prejudice, and every year he looked forward to signing right up for the Church and Synagogue interfaith community sessions.
  5. In a similar vein, Dad taught me the value of a good debate, of challenging the status quo, of pushing yourself to think differently then you’ve been taught to think.  
  6. Dad taught me that it may never be too late to reinvent yourself.  This was something Dad did over and over.  Brother, son, friend, soldier, Stone Container worker, husband, Philadelphia Police officer, father, Wharton School Business student, Blacksmith/farrier, rubber stall mat installer, woodworker, chef, grandfather, student of history and law.
  7. Dad taught me the importance of mental health. Mostly, that mental health and challenges with it are very real.  I learned through him the damage of secrecy, and with it the value of transparency, openness and speaking the truth.  
  8. Dad taught me that It’s never too late to bury the hatchet… When Dad’s brother Hugh was sick, I went to visit him at his home and he told me and Tim about Dad coming to visit him in the hospital.  They had not spoken for many years. Uncle Hugh looked me in the eye and said “if roles were reversed, MaryBeth, I don’t know if I would have done it…. He was the bigger man.”  Nothing in all the years of my life could have prepared me to hear those words. I was shocked, but I was also incredibly touched, and those words have stayed with me.  
  9. Dad shared with me words he often recalled from his sister, Patsy… Regarding burial for GrandPop Saunders, and whether it be with Grandmom Saunders, or in a plot where in the future Grandmom Mary could be buried with him, Dad said Aunt Patsy told him, “Johnny, let us appease the living, rather than the dead.”  Dad and I spoke of that many times and it stuck with me.  Based on the life I’ve lived, those words have been incredibly important to me.  
  10. For many years, on the second Sunday of December, my family would go cut down a Christmas tree.  Whenever we would do this, Joe, Jean, and I would wait to hear the words Dad always spoke “Just remember, the farther you walk out, the farther you need to walk back.”  We laughed about it a lot, but it’s a valuable lesson in life.   

When I was young, Dad and I enjoyed watching The Wizard of Oz together, and he made me memorize “Somewhere over the Rainbow”.  He’d even record me singing it on a little black tape recorder.  

I hope you are somewhere over the rainbow, Dad. I know a couple people who will be happy to show you around. May you be at peace. May you be at home. There’s no place like home.

 

Let me tell you about right now

Dear Tim,

Here it is, 2020.  We are still in our house.  You’d recognize it with only a few changes.  But in the past few weeks, the world has changed rapidly.

Are you ready?  Please sit down.  They cancelled March Madness.

<Pausing to let that sink in.>

They also cancelled / postponed the Olympics. The Olympics.  This is the first time that has ever happened. (Which of course you would already know.)

I have imagined you with this ultimate set up in heaven where you are finally not limited by any number of screens… you can have ALL THE SCREENS, see ALL THE SPORTS at once!  Except now – all the screens go black.

Now, are you ready for this?  The girls  – our first and third graders – are not going back to school this year.  Their last day of school was to be June 12.  Your memorial sporting event was to be the day after the last day of school, June 13th. I have no idea if that will happen.  But I do know now that the last day our girls were in school for the year was MARCH 12th instead!  And when they left that day, a Thursday, they had no idea they wouldn’t be back the next day.  Also, understand that was less than 2 weeks ago!  That’s how much and how rapidly the world has changed in the last 2 weeks.  It’s a world you would not recognize.

People are dying.  This virus is spreading rapidly in every corner of the world.  Our healthcare systems are not equipped for this.  Do you remember when we lamented in November 2016?  May he never have anything big and important to lead us through as a Nation?  Well. Yeah.  Here we are.  And it’s exactly as bad as you would imagine.

Many times throughout this pandemic… because that’s what we are dealing with here – a Global Pandemic.  For real.  That is not melodrama.  That is actually what it is.  A Global Pandemic, called Coronavirus, or COVID-19.  Many times throughout this pandemic, my anxiety builds in my chest. All of the possibly possible “what ifs” go through my head in an intricate mental gymnastics.   Honestly, the “schools closed for the rest of the year” news today caused me to need a good heaving cry in the shower.   The anxiety builds because it is so much, for all of us.  It is a lot.  Because people are dying.  Because people are getting sick – and if they get better, their lungs may be forever weakened.  I learned a lot about lungs when you were in the hospital.   Because people are not following the rules.  Because some of the rules keep changing.  Because the economic effects are devastating, life-changing, unimaginable, unprecedented.  Because I need to not get sick.  Because I still need to provide for these three.  Pay the mortgage.  Survive.  Parent alone.  Because at the end of the day, when I turn out the light, your side of the bed is still empty.  Because you are still gone.  I can imagine what things would be like if you were here.  (For sure, I know our lawn would look amazing right now.) But that is not helpful.  Because you are not.  You will now always be gone.

So I allow myself the good cry.  The heaving sobs in the shower.  And then I ask myself “what would Tim do?”

And then the calm.  The calm that helps me take it one day at a time.  Because everything is changing so fast – worrying about June will not help me today.  It will not help me get ready for tomorrow.   You would tell me to worry about nothing else – simply make sure the kids are OK, that they are safe.  Do whatever I need to to keep them healthy, safe, loved.

I promise you that I will do “the next right thing” – whatever that is.  I will keep our babies safe.  I will try to make the best decisions for them.  And I will try to stay sane in the process.  Whatever that looks like.

Every day there is new bad news.  Every day it feels like we are living our worst nightmare.  The mantra in my head that plays over and over goes like this,

This is not my worst nightmare.  I’ve already lived through that.

Because I have.  That’s the only thing I can say about the loss of you.  I’d still take it back if that were a thing in my power… but since it is not… I appreciate the resilience it’s brought in me, and especially in the kids.  We are a resilient people.  The craziest part may be that when we lived through our worst nightmare, we looked around, and the world just kept spinning.  But now…  This is a nightmare for everyone!  We are not alone.  I am touched by all the people who have reached out, though truthfully there is very little any of them can do for me right now.  I am grateful for what we have.  I am grateful for who we are – who we are because we had you, and who we are because we lost you.

This is where we are right now, Tim.   I wish you were here.  Every day, I miss you.  You would have gotten frustrated, probably even more than me – but you would have taken on home-schooling with great enthusiasm.  In a few weeks, we will be celebrating what would have been your 40th birthday.  In isolation.  A day which by any measure you ought to have been here for.

But then, you never saw a world without March Madness and the Olympics.  And maybe a small part of me is grateful for that too.

Love Always,

MaryBeth

Third Annual Tim Gaige Memorial Event

This year, we are changing up the Tim Gaige memorial sporting event in June to a DC United game! Thanks so much to everyone who came out the last two years!  I love that the kids have a fun way to honor and remember Daddy while understanding the importance of giving back to our global community!

This year’s DC United game will be held at 8:00pm on Saturday June 13th, at Audi Field (100 Potomac Ave SW Washington, D.C. 20024),DC United vs. FC Cincinnati.  Tim was a big fan of this team, even getting season tickets with his friend, Mark, the last season at RFK.  Most unfortunately, Tim never got to a game at the new stadium.  But Tim, forever a fan, has a brick at the stadium!

To read more about why I chose to benefit Together Rising, you can go to My 2018 post.

The link to buy tickets is below, $45 each. This year $10 of your ticket will go directly to Together Rising to help people in need. You have to use our specific link to buy tickets for it to go to the fundraiser.  (And to get seats together! ) I strongly encourage buying your tickets EARLY for this!  Once I figure out the best lot to park in, I will send notes to encourage carpooling and tailgating before the game.

To make it easier to spot me on arrival I plan to wear an orange tshirt again, since it was Tim’s favorite color! I would encourage you to wear orange too if you have it!

Here’s where to go to buy tickets:

https://fevo.me/tgrdcu

For those interested in donating to the cause, but who can not join us for the game:

http://igfn.us/vf/TimGaige

 

New Year’s Resolution

Like all people, I am lousy at keeping them.

I will vow to write more, but I am unlikely to follow through.

“Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”

Eliza.  I do.  Just today I told someone who never knew him about how much he hated when people put their windshield wipers up on their car in preparation of a snow storm.  Only a few hours later, a friend of his reached out to me to share a post about someone not understanding that practice – and how it will always remind her of Tim.   (Because it snowed today.)  Yes.  That.  He hated that.  And he hated pie charts.

I will tell his story.

But my 2020 resolution is simply this: I resolve to fell less guilt.

Guilt runs in my veins. Catholic.  Female.  Not-quite-millennial.  Whatever it is, I feel all the guilt.  Like most mothers, I am sure, but extra as an only parent.

I resolve to remind myself that anything I do to take care of myself and be more physically and mentally healthy – is as a byproduct healthy for my children, and I do not need to feel guilty about it.

If someone – even if it is my children – look and say, Damn, she’s selfish…. This is not a thing I need to worry about.  If I reach that point – I will have arrived.  I have resolved.