The Essay

Sitting out on my patio in the early moring hours waiting for the day to begin drinking my cup of coffee in my “Sinceriously” mug my mind wonders from here to somewhere else. The bell for the high school rings telling the students it is time to get to class, and the bell tells me it’s 7:45am. The same school where both of my kids (Robi and Dylan) graduated. Remembering the day that Dylan died is painful and writing about it brought everything back to the surface once again. This time, however, it didn’t hurt as much as it had in the past. So maybe writing about this in my Personal Essay was a good thing, well we’ll go with that for now.

When I started my essay, I had a hard time writing it. Well to be more honest about it I agonized over it for a week (that was all the time I had to finish it) I wanted to tear it up. I wanted to put it back in the box and not bring up the subject again, but something kept his death at the forefront of my thinking and nothing I tried to write aside from his death was working. So I kept at it and kept writing. Turns out maybe I did a good thing here, but it’s not completed yet.

I gave my essay to a friend here in town because on my last assignment for this class I only received one critique for my work, and I don’t feel it was enough. I’m glad I did. Not only did she correct grammar issues, but gave me some solid ideas as well. My ending wasn’t right and I knew that from the moment I wrote it, but I didn’t know what to do. I was stuck. My friend suggested that I bring it around to the my little house or something like that. I think this is a good idea. Now just doing it will be difficult.

The one critque I have from my classmates is a really good one. This classmate had a different view of what I wrote (oh go away sun, I can’t see the sceen if you come out now) She suggested that I change up the beginning to give it a sense of continuity in the description of my neighbor hood. I like that idea. In one paragraph she has suggested changing up the sentences so the emotional impact would be better. And I have to admit, it sounds better with her suggestion here.

Maybe writing this essay was good for me. Maybe others will read it and say “WOW” and sit back in their chair thinking ‘how could a woman go through that?” I don’t know. But my hope with this essay is to give a small piece of my heart to others and let them see what I’ve gone through.



What is it? Do we even talk about it? Not really, but then again that isn’t what this posting is all about. Basically a hemorrhoid is a pain in the ass. Literally that’s what it is, right?

A pain in the ass. What exactly is a pain in the ass? Well I’ll tell you. A pain in the ass is simply someone or something that drives you crazy! Now there are a lot of things/people that drive me crazy. OH, I know you are wondering who is a pain in my ass? Well that will come later.

Something that is a pain in my ass is…….dealing with the everyday crap that just clogs your email. All that garbage that sits there clogging up your account. All that junk mail that finds it’s way into my PO Box or my mail box. Another pain in my ass is how people will equate the death of their father, grandfather, etc when they have died of natural causes with the death of my late husband Robb, who was killed in action in Iraq 8 years ago. There is nothing in this world like a combat death. From the last phone call to the notification team showing up on your door and all that follows, there is no death on this earth that can be compared. Remember, I’ve said this before, I’m not claiming a combat death is more heartbreaking, because it isn’t. But I am saying is a combat death is far different than a civilian death.

Someone that is a pain in my ass … well I won’t name names here cause that’s just rude. BUT there are times when certain people drive me up a wall. They ask stupid questions, not once but repeatedly ask the same question only to get the same answer over and over again. Drivers who insist on driving in the fast lane going 55mph. OH this one really gets me. The retired men who sit in lawn chairs on a street clocking cars as they drive by and writing down license plates. Don’t they have anything better to do? Another person that’s a pain in my ass are people who insist they are right no matter what? YEP they drive me crazy. People who like a post on facebook that they LIKE the announcement of a soldier/sailor/airman/marine/coastie killed in action. YEAH those people are a pain in my ass! I was told once they were honoring that military person. Well guess what? That soldiers family doesn’t consider a “LIKE” as honoring. Instead of “liking” the post send the family a condolence card and then follow up with some sort of card once a month for a year. Now that is a far better way to honor that soldier/sailor/marine/airman/coastie!

So, you see a hemorrhoid is not just a real honest pain in the ass, but it is something else all together.

It’s Hard To Be Pissed When Singing About a Prune

UnknownThere are times when life just gets to be so much and there’s so much stupid drama it’s just not worth the effort to get out of bed. BUT then you being to think of all the crazy stuff that happens every day.

The other day my 91 year old father called me and said,
“Say, I need some shorts.?
“What kind of shorts are we talking about Daddy?” I asked.
“The kind you wear.” He replied.
“No Daddy are we talking about underwear, or are we talking about pants?” I questioned.
“The pants without legs.” He confirmed.

Now I know what he means but what he just said is kinda funny. Pants without legs wouldn’t be pants at all, but considering it’s Daddy talking I let it slide. YEP, It’s Hard To Be Pissed When Singing About A Prune.

I’m here in my house and I hear some kind of noise outside and it sounds like it’s coming from the back yard. So I call the police. I pay my taxes, I should get their services. Within a minute of two the police are there, and they didn’t send just one car, then sent two. WOW, two for the price of one. Not a bad deal. Anyway, they didn’t find anything at all except dog poop and one of them stepped in it. And they were both handsome (I was gonna say cute, but in case VPD reads this blog, I don’t want to lessen the manliness of any male officers) When they are there a flashlight shines through my bedroom window (yes I had on jammies) and Brodie goes NUTS, he’s so bad I couldn’t hold onto him. Well you know dogs, and he makes a big stink in the kitchen. And by this time the officers are on the patio. So I say Hey guys, and one of them comes up to the open window (I know I should shut it, and it is now) and tells me that Brodie is the best deterrent than anything. Then Brodie decides that tripping Mommy is a good thing. Imagine a scene out of “I Love Lucy.” Get the picture? Yep that was me. It’s Hard To Be Pissed When Singing About A Prune

Life will throw us many curve balls. It’s how we handle those silly curve balls that make all the difference. Death of a spouse and/or child can be one of those curve balls. There are days when nothing seems right and it just pisses me off, but then there are days that feel so right I cringe because I have to think it’s not going to last another minute. Well, that one minute turns into a lot of minutes and before I know it, it’s been an entire week. Those pissed off days are so much farther between then what they were a year ago.

The funny stuff is there, all you have to do is realize it and enjoy that one moment. At some point being pissed won’t be who you are, but rather who you were.

Special Thanks goes to Allie Franklin for the title of this post. You Rock ALLIE!!

Just Me

Learning about myself is always a good thing I think. I just wish others would see the different me and now wish for the old me. Lately and this has happened more than once, people seem to want me to be the me I was before my husband was killed in Iraq. Well, I hate to break it to them, but that’s just not gonna happen. I am a different person since Robb’s death. When you experience the death of your spouse in a combat action you change and that change lasts forever. The grieving seems to settle or doesn’t hold you down on a daily basis and life become a lot better than right after the death. My days now are so much better than anything I experienced before and it’s difficult to explain exactly what I mean. I still have difficult days when I’m depressed but it’s not debilitating any longer. I still function, I get dressed, do stuff around the house, or go down to the school where I volunteer. 

What bothers me the most is when people make assumptions based on what they think they know about me. When it comes down to the nitty gritty no one but my psychologist really knows what I’ve been thinking. She knows because I tell her. Assuming that I’m unstable is absolutely crazy on the other person’s part. I am perfectly capable of making decisions that affect me. I am responsible for myself. I will decide how I will live my life, and I will not accept any “advice” from others unless I totally respect them.

So from now on I don’t want to hear about how Robb described me to others. I am not that person any longer and I’ll never be her again. That ship has sailed and it ain’t going back to that port.

This Lonely Life of Mine

Being a widow is a lonely life. I’m sure some are wondering why I’m writing this, but I’ll tell you the truth and only the truth as I see it. Ever since Robb died in Iraq my life has become very lonely. I’m home most nights by myself. I rarely go out and when I do go out I’m by myself. On Tuesday afternoon I went to Barnes and Noble by myself to pick up a book that just came out. I hung out there as long as I could, but eventually I had to come home. Today I took the laptop to the Geek Squad to get it fixed, then I went and picked up lunch at a Philly steak place. Now the last two days I forced myself out the door, which it seems to have become the norm for me lately. Before Robb died I was always doing something with someone. What happened?

I think being a widow causes people to not want to talk to you for fear that they will say something that will remind me of Robb. Well, hell I do that all on my own anyway, so it’s not a biggie with me. I think people just don’t know how to talk to me anymore. They don’t know what to say for fear they might offend me or I them. They don’t want to take a look into my life as it is now knowing what my life was like before. I think it’s hard for them to do that. When Robb was alive we did stuff with other couples all the time. Now, my phone only rings when my daughter calls, my brother calls, or a telemarketing company calls. I think that a lot of women see me as who they don’t want to be, meaning the widow. There’s a connotation with the word “widow” and it’s not a good one either. When I really think about the word “widow” I think of something dark and kinda creepy. I don’t see happiness, joy, hope, or anything pleasant and that tells me most others see the same as I do. Now I must admit when I look at it that way, I wouldn’t want to spend time with me either, just because the word isn’t something we assign a good meaning to it. That’s sad I think. It would be so nice to have friends that would actually call me and say, “hey lets go to a movie, or go for a cup of coffee.” and yet that doesn’t happen.

I have discovered that this happens to other widows as well. But it still boggles my mind. Why do we do this? Why is being a widow so terrible that we don’t reach out and bring them into our group. At church I wanted to be in a small group, and after I signed up I never received a call. I’m not sure what happened, and I like to think there was a mistake along the way, but no one ever called and said you’re in our group. So after a while (like 2 years or so) I asked a couple of group leaders if I could be in their group, and I was told they needed to check with the group to be fair. I said OK and now I’m in a small group. I’m still not sure why widows are treated like the plague, but that’s how I’ve been treated. This whole death thing is weird anyway, and yet being a widow makes the death thing seem like a much better situation to be in. (not that I’m going to do anything like off myself, I’m way to chicken to do that.)

As American’s I think we view the whole death thing really oddly. Death isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and yet so many of us put such a dark gloomy cloud around it no one wants to even discuss it. Death shouldn’t be feared, well I don’t think it should. I know Robb didn’t fear it. He said so time after time again, “when it’s your time it’s time, there’s nothing you can do about it.” He is right too.

I don’t have any answers yet to my many questions, but rest assured I’m looking for the answers and when I have them I’ll pass them along.

Not Again

Alex and My Dylan

Dylan Needham & Alex Hess

As I was walking to class today I came across a woman that I’ve known for a very long time. She witnessed my two kids as they grew up. We said the normal hello’s, how are you doing etc. Then she asked me, “how are the kids?”  I knew immediately she didn’t know about Dylan. First thing I thought was -oh shit, not again-.  I keep wondering how long this will go on when people don’t know that Dylan died on March 3, 2008! How much longer will this continue.  I’m coming up on 4 years that Dylan has been gone from us, and it still blows me away. I can’t believe he’s really gone still, but I know it in my heart. That probably doesn’t make much sense, but I know what I mean. When this happens I don’t cry, but I do get a little miffted at Dylan and at the person asking.  I wish I really knew the reason why Dylan felt the need to commit suicide. Was it his ex-wife’s remarriage? Was it his own dad’s death in Iraq? What was it about, what caused him to do that to us. I know Robi misses him and the kids talk about Uncle D when ever they see his picture. I just wish he was here so I didn’t have to tell anyone else he’s no longer with us.