Thursday, April 30

Love of my Life

Like most couples, Ammon and I had a 'song'. Ours didn't come about randomly, it was a song we chose intentionally because it spoke to us. In those heady first months of marriage, it personified our emotions for each other. I will always carry around the mental image of Ammon, standing in the kitchen of our first apartment while I sit in our bedroom and watch him--singing this song to me. He knew all the words by heart, and sang with such passion and devotion that it nearly moved me to tears. Even today, when I hear that song, I picture him in basketball shorts and a t-shirt, in the middle of the night--singing to me with all his heart.

Love of my Life
Jim Brickman

I am amazed
When i look at you
I see you smiling back at me
It's like all my dreams come true
I am afraid
If i lost you girl
I'd fall through the cracks
And lose me track in this crazy lonely world

Sometimes it's so hard to believe
When the nights can be so long
And gave me the strength
And kept me holding on

You are the love of my life
And I'm so glad you found me
You are the love of my life
Baby put your arms around me
I guess this is how it feels
When you finally find something real
My angel in the night
You are my love
The love of my life

Now here you are
With midnight closing in
You take my hand as our shadows dance
With moonlite on you skin
I look in your eyes
I'm lost inside your kiss
I think if I'd never met you
About all the things I'd miss

sometimes it's so hard to believe
when a love can be so strong
and faith gave me the strength
and kept me holding on
You are the love of my life
And I'm so glad you found me

You are the love of my life
Baby put your arms around me
I guess this is how it feels
When you finally find something real
My angel in the night
You are my love
The love of my life

Over the years, this song became more Ammon's song to me, rather than 'our song'. I had a song for him, too. One that fit my emotions and feelings for him more appropriately than this piece--but always, this song will hold a special place in my heart.

When it came time to choose the music to be played at Ammon's viewing, this song was a clear choice. It tore my heart out every time I heard the opening strains that night, as it played over and over on an endless loop along with three other poignant songs, as I pictured him singing to me. I still picture Ammon singing me that song, and I know that he meant every word. Over the years, we slow-danced in the living room, in the kitchen, and in our bedroom to the strains of that song. I bought the sheet music several years ago, before I even own a piano.

Some days, I'm not strong enough to listen to this song, or my song for him. Today, I am feeling strong enough, and the picture in my head is more vibrant than ever.

I miss you, babe. You are the love of my life.

Sunday, April 26


The weight of loneliness weighs heavily today. I don't know why it's worse some days than others. Some days, I carry the burden of widowhood, loneliness, and single parenting with grace. I try to be modest about it, but I know in my heart that the sorrow that I carry suits me sometimes. In my moments of brutal honesty, I know that really, it's better this way. Not better that Ammon had to die, but better that if it had to be one of us--it should have been him. Not me. The day-to-day workings of parenting these three souls has always been done by me. I have seen to the money management for years, only sharing with Ammon what he needed to know as head of our household. Bill dates, balancing a checkbook, remembering the children's birthday and keeping the house clean--he could manage it all. He was hopelessly capable and nothing if not determined, but I know in my heart that if the children are stuck with only one parents, the logistics of having me complete the job alone are easier than it would have been were I the one who had died and left him alone.
Some days, though, some days are like today. I miss Ammon everyday. I carry around his loss with me. Some days it's like a cloak--heavy, impenetrable, hopelessly shrouding and mournful. Some days, it's simply a badge of honor that I fix proudly to my chest, hiding the hurt and pain with a veneer of strength and capability. Today, it's somewhere between the two. I'm not trapped in the dark place of longing and regret that has troubled me in weeks past. Today, it's more complicated than that.

I took the kids to the park this afternoon to enjoy our unexpectedly warm Sunday afternoon. After several days of rain last week followed by three days of gorgeous sunshine, the park was filled to bursting with gatherings of people both large and small. Everywhere I looked, it seemed, I was assaulted with visions of fathers. Fathers playing football with their teenage sons and nephews. Fathers pushing strollers while mothers chased after older children. Fathers with their arms thrown casually around the shoulders of their wives, and wives walking alongside husbands with their fingers hooked nonchalantly in the belt loops of their companions. I try to come to a place where I no longer begrudge their happiness--but I'm not fully there yet. I don't have a big enough heart at this point in time to not resent their 'togetherness' when I'm longing for my other half.
I find it ironic that for years, Ammon has tried to describe to me an Eastern spring. As he grew up in upstate New York, he was accustomed to a level of greenery that my desert upbringing never showed me. Autumn has always been my favorite time of year, even in the desert. We moved out here in the heat of summer 2007, and as fall fell upon Southwest Ohio, I was delighted with the colors.
"If you love this," he said "wait until Spring. I can't wait to sit on the front porch with you on a spring evening and cuddle on the front porch swing while we watch the fireflies".
He never got that chance. Ammon died on April 11th, as spring began to show it's head to the Ohio valley. He never got to share the joy of fireflies with me. Last spring, I sat out on our back porch and cried as they flew around the trees in the backyard. He never shared with me the blooms of the trees, and the way the bare branches become riots of color within a matter of days. When Ammon died, the world was still grey and bleak and brown. How ironic that after years of living in the desert and thirsting to go 'back east', he never got to experience his favorite season: spring.

Now spring, to me, will always signify the time of year that I lost him. Days like today will always be another day that we didn't get to share with each other.
Today, I would give anything to have him with me. There are no words to describe the longing I feel to see his smile, to spend the day with him. What I wouldn't give to convince him to join us at the park,and listen to his good-natured complaining about whatever sporting event he was missing. For his socks to be left on my living room floor. For him to delight in his daughter, who grows more charming and mischievous every day. For him to swell with pride over his eldest, who becomes more like his Daddy every day. To see him snuggle with Kadon, and teach the boys to play football while I harass them from the sidelines.
I miss being a wife. I miss being one half of a whole. I don't understand how the math works--one day I was half of a whole, and now with the loss of Ammon, I feel as less than half. It's as though when Ammon died, he took part of me with him to make me less than a whole person. The whole that we were, he took most of it. I'm still trying to figure out how to walk without him, and even though some days carry success--some days carry sorrow. Some days carry loneliness that seems insurmountable, heavy, and burdensome.
I miss Ammon. I miss his smile, his laugh, and his quiet love. I miss his gentle hands, and watching him with our children. I miss his companionship, and the solace of his mind. The world is a scary and intimidating place without him. Many years ago, we vowed to be each other's 'soft place to fall'. No matter what else the world brought, we would always find a soft spot in each other. He was that, and so much more to me. Now we are all without our soft place.
I miss him, so much it is agonizing sometimes. Even a year later, the longing doesn't go away. The disbelief only fades, it never relinquishes it's grip on my soul. How could he be here, and then gone?

Thursday, April 23

I got nuthin'

I know I haven't blogged in over a week. I am still going crazy at school. I had three tests this week, one each for Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, and History. I'm still going to the gym three times a week, and spending two hours a week with a personal trainer. Miraculously, and in no small part thanks to my visiting teacher and my mother-in-law-extroadinaire, my house is also clean.

So.........yeah. That doesn't leave much time for blogging.

However, there is good news! Only 5 more weeks, and onto summer vacation! Hooray!

Monday, April 13


I'm not really clear what drawing a picture of a microscope in our lab notebook has to do with learning Anatomy and Physiology, but I'm all about the grade. I do what I'm told. And since it turned out so fabulous because I am such an ARTIST, I had to share it with cyberspace. Enjoy.

Saturday, April 11

One Year

I remember distinctly the moment that I realized the date Ammon died. When he died, I had a small 'page a day' calender for left-handed people. I set it on the computer desk, and faithfully flipped the page every day. There would be an anecdote, a fact, or a quote from or about a left handed person on each page. The date after he died, Saturday, I was sitting at the computer desk doing something. I glanced at my page-a-day calender, and realized that I hadn't flipped it since the day before, and took mental note of the date.

April 11th, 2008, I thought. April 11th is a day that will forever and always be part of my history. How strange that just 24 hours ago, April 11th was just another day.

The calender sat on my desk for a short time after that, but I could never bring myself to rip off April 11th and throw it away. Eventually, I put the calender away. It still sits, in a drawer, waiting to move forward from that day.

I suppose in many ways, so am I.

Wednesday, April 8

Spring Break

This week is spring break for my kids, along with my nephew's in Dayton. I am NOT on spring break, so my wonderful mother-in-law offered to take my kids up to Dayton to spend some time with their cousins. They've been gone since Tuesday morning, and will return sometime tomorrow afternoon while I'm in school. I'm struggling a lot with Anatomy and Physiology. I've almost completely stopped talking to most people, and have received several calls in the last week wondering if I'm still alive. I am still alive--barely. In three days, this Saturday, the 11th rolls around again. But this time, it's the BIG 11th. It's THE 11th--the one year anniversary of the day my life ended. Today, I'm handling it okay. Yesterday, I was handling it okay. It seems almost as though with everything else I have going on, I don't have time to grieve. In a way that's great, but it makes me scared that when I finally have time in my schedule to stop and breathe, the grief will hit full-force and decimate me. I'm hoping that doesn't happen. I'm praying that with the passage of 12 long months, I've gained enough peace and understanding to at least try to accept my reality as what it is, without letting the waves of grief knock me down and drag me under. Along with the peace and understanding I've gained in the last 12 months, though, is this understanding--the waves might knock me down. And that's okay. 12 months--1 year of widowhood-isn't long. To everybody who has never experienced a loss, 12 months marks the end of the acceptable grieving period, and the watchful eyes of the world turn away from the suffering. Grieving is expected to be complete, and the 'getting on with life' commences. In 12 months, I have learned the error of that belief. I am not done grieving. Last night, I had a short conversation with a man who attends my church.

"Do you think you'll always be a widow?" he asked.
My answer was quick and concise. "Yes."
"Really?" he asked, surprised. "You don't think you'll ever be able to be attracted to another man?"
"Maybe. It's possible. But I will always be Ammon's widow."

This, in a nutshell, is how I see my progression. Even though legally I am no longer Ammon's wife, no matter where this life takes me: I am now, and will forever be, Ammon's widow. Remarrying will never change that. I may become _______ (fill in the blank)'s wife, but along with that title I will always hold dear the one that makes me Ammon's Widow.

I'm not really sure where this all came from. I had a few minutes to try to sort out some emotions, and now it's on to the next project. As always, continued prayers for strength, energy, and a nimble mind are appreciated. I'll try to update as I grab free moments in the coming weeks.

Monday, April 6


I'm currently sitting in The Learning Center, a small room on campus set aside for quiet study, tutoring, and computer work. I'm meant to be completing a chemistry assignment, but I can't remember which problems I'm to be doing, so I'm secretly harboring a hope that one of my classmates is going to stop in on their way to class and fill me in on the problem numbers. I've been so busy the last week that I'm breathless. I spend all day, every day, running from one thing to the next. I'm still trying to squeeze in an extra two hours at the gym every week (along with the three I was already doing), and spend practically every spare moment at home either cleaning or studying. I drop into bed every night, completely exhausted, and dream about Anatomy and Physiology all night. So far, the class load seems manageable. I'm desperately glad I chose to take the summer off, because I think that after another 9 weeks of this breakneck-never say die-run 'til you drop pace, and I might really drop. For now, can anybody tell me the difference between DNA and RNA, and draw the molecular structure of Estrogen? Because I have until tomorrow to memorize it.