Funny Shit My Husband Says…

This was from a series of posts I used to write for an old blog of mine called, The Pigeon Hole. I would secretly write down the funny and endearing things Scott would say in natural conversation and then share it on my blog. He was an incredibly sweet man and loved to tease. And I thought I’d give you a peak into a different side of him.

1.”Hey, Boo.”

2.”If you get arrested tonight, I’m gonna be pissed.”

3. Him: “You got a mouse in your pocket?”

   Me: “What? No? Why?”

   Him: “Cause you’re acting pretty cheesy.”

4. Me: What movie ya’ watchin?

   Him:Goblins. I’ve never seen it before.

Oh what? You think I’ve seen it? No. No no. I’m not really into this. Oh, well, yeah, I do like this type of stuff but not really. Well, not goblins anyways… Dragons. I really like dragons. Dragons better than goblins. Goblins are pretty gross.”

5. “Play-Doh is a not a right. It’s a privilege.”

6. Me: “Hey, I’m on Facebook. Can I read you my uncle’s status right now. It’s kinda cute.”

   Him: “Sure.”

   Me:”If you purchased $1000 of shares in Delta one year ago, you would have $49 today. If you purchased 1000 shares of AIG, you’d have $33. If you purchased $1000 if share in Lehmann Brothers, you would have $0. But, if you purchased $1000 of beer, drank all the beer, and returned the cans, you would have $214. Therefore the best current investment is to drink heavily and recycle. It is called the 401-Keg Plan.”

   Him: “Ha! That’s funny.”

   Me: “I thought so.”

   Him: “Hey, you should comment him back and say: Did you know why they call a 401-K: 401-K? It’s because it is directly from Section 401-K of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.”

   Me: I don’t think so.

   Him: You don’t think he’d get a kick out of it?

7. Me: “Want some double-dipped peanuts?”

   Him: “Yeah!”

            *We share the chocolate covered candies*

   Him: “They almost have a peanut buttery taste to them.” 

            *insert silent pause*

   Him: “Could be the peanuts.”

8.          *looking at a water tower*

   Him: Do those really have water in them?

   Me: Yeah.

   Him: They’re for fires?

   Me: No, just part of the city’s water system. That’s all.

   Him: I think they’re for fires; they just knock it over.

   Me: Like for forest fires?

   Him: Well, yeah, any major town fire.

7 Ways of Coping with Traumatic Loss

While there are many forms of  loss such as divorce, unemployment, estranged relatives, the death of another human being cannot be compared to any other experience on this earth. It is a totally unique experience. When it’s unexpected, there’s a whole other set of challenges that present themselves.

Everything is cyclical. You will have dark periods that cycle out and return, and with time and healing, the dark periods grow shorter. Do not expect them to disappear completely though. We loved that person; And it’s because we loved that person that there will always be sadness associated with their absence.

I’m not an expert (I don’t know who would want to be an expert in this). These are all things I’ve learned and observed through the last two years. 35985576_10214767892245350_7557907341509656576_n

My long time friend and fellow writer, Trisha Lynn, and I did a FB Live this week to
discuss some ways we cope with the losses that we’ve experienced. (*to see a replay of this go to www.facebook.com/31MainStreet ) Here, I briefly recap those suggestions, as well as discuss some other tools that weren’t mentioned in our Facebook Live:

Music – PURPOSE: Creating new pathways and associations in your brain. Music can understand you in a way that people can’t some times. When talking to others who are grieving, I’ve noticed a commonality. A lot of us have songs or entire genres associated with our loved one. In the beginning, it can be painful to listen to a song that feels like it belongs to someone else who is no longer here. So until then, I highly recommend finding an artist or genre that you never considered before. It could be EDM, Classical, or Jazz. For me, there was a whole other world of music that I never knew about (*for more on this see my post: How Music Worked With Me this Year )

Journaling – PURPOSE: Our minds race. Thoughts can build up and intertwine with one another, binding us, making it impossible to function. Many times, our thoughts can get so tightly wound up. It can be hard to make a decision as simple as what to do first in our day, so we go back to bed. Journaling (first thing in the morning or last thing at night in particular) can be a wonderful tool to rid ourselves of the useless thoughts. There’s a book to reference for this. It’s called The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. In the book, Cameron offers a means of decluttering one’s mind. She calls it “Brain Dump”, and I think that’s the perfect term. Get rid of all of the crap bouncing around in there, close your journal, and be one step closer to clarity.

Learning Something New – PURPOSE: Creating new neuro pathways within our brains. Learning something new will build your confidence in this foreign world. It will give you a sense of control that you feel you’ve lost. Some skills that I’ve learned over the past two years are real estate and shooting. Both of these areas have served different purposes for me personally, but the world is boundless with possible new careers, skills, or hobbies you could develop.

Reading – PURPOSE: This serves as a great escape from reality and can be incredibly comfortable and relaxing. It also serves another purpose. It goes along with the suggestion above: learning something new. I highly recommend reading books that feed you in a positive manner. Books like, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson and 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, come to my mind. As Olson states in his book, reading just 10 pages a day will still move you in a positive direction forward. This fosters both patience in the process of learning, and also, it’s effective in the absorption of content.

Faith – PURPOSE: It’s my ‘why’. The promise that I will be reunited with loved ones some day is what keeps me going. While I don’t push my beliefs on another, I will say that believing in something bigger than myself has gotten me through some extremely dark times. (If you ever want to have a respectful conversation about it separately, I’ll gladly discuss my beliefs.)

Exercise – PURPOSE: Get rid of toxins. The enzymes in a sad tear have a different make up than the enzymes in a happy tear. These are toxins being released. Exercise elevates the heart rate, getting blood cycling throughout your body, but also, helping you to literally sweat out bad feelings. There’s so much already written about this, and I invite you to research it on your own, but endorphins have been way more powerful in my life than any other outside substance.

Physiological Exercises: PURPOSE: These are calming activities done for severe panic disorders as well as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The sudden death of a loved one brings trauma. Traumatic memories are stored differently than other memories. Our brain boxes them up tightly, so we can function in other aspects of our lives. The problem is that the mind takes this tightly packaged memory and puts it in the emotional section of our brain, so if we have a trigger, a stimulus that pops the top off of this memory, we experience the emotions as if the event is happening all over again. This is overwhelming. Here are some recommended activities that one can use to calm his or her self down from a panic situation. While Trisha and I explain it in the context of PTSD, it is applicable to many other situations. Parents use this for children with intense emotions or who may fall on the spectrum. With the demands of our world nowadays, these activities are beneficial to anyone who feels like they are overwhelmed with panic. The first step before any of these recommendations is to recognize the rising feeling of panic, then proceed with any of the following exercises…

  1. The A-B-C Trick – Trisha explains this as first, choosing a category. The example she gives is “Animals”, but you could decide on any category (i.e. food, cars, TV shows). Once your category is selected, go through each letter of the alphabet and name an item within that category. So for Trisha’s category, “Animals”, one could say, “A – Alligator; B – Baracuda; C – Chamillion…” And so on. Do not stop until you’ve reached ‘Z’. Repeat as desired.
  2. Shoulder Tapping – This was recommended to me by a fellow widower, who experienced intense trauma in his life. Here, the individual takes his or her arms and crosses them over their chest, each hand on his or her shoulders. Then, just lightly tap their shoulders with their hands, remaining silent while tapping. (I was also told that one could tap their own sinuses to alleviate stress. This is depicted in my blog: Panic Attacks: 5 Quick ‘In-the-Moment’ Exercises to Alleviate Them)

While I know most of these are fairly simple recommendations, I also know that adding them into your life, when you’re under mental stress and emotional pain, is easier said than done. Here, I reference the book “The Slight Edge” again. Jeff Olson, the writer, points out that this “…path can be uncomfortable…scary. Especially if you’re the only one around who’s on it.” He also continues on to say that, despite this, if we take small baby steps forward, we will see change. Positive change. Pick one small way to cope and take your first baby step, even if it’s itty bitty.

Big Love,

Megan

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Tell me: What are some helpful tools you’ve used when the heaviness of life overwhelms you? 

Year Two.

Dear Scott,

They say that if a person passed herself on the street that she would view herself as a stranger. The theory is that our own image in real life is unrecognizable to us; we’ve only seen our face on flat photographs, through the lenses of a camera, and in mirrors. An ironic side note that I’d like to make: it’s also been said that our soulmates are the mirrors in our lives.

I’ve spent half second increments of time bargaining with God.

Maybe we could have you back and I’d promise not to ever speak to you. You could just be the kids’ dad.

Maybe you could come back just for one conversation on what I’m supposed to do in my life without you.

These ideas intrude my mind, and I brush them away like mosquitos. Blood sucking. Useless. Irritating. I know that these thoughts are impossible requests, and it angers me that they creep in from time to time. It feels cruel.

That being said though… Considering all of what I just spoke on, I wonder if you came back, would you even recognize me?

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You see, two years ago I was stripped bare. A tree. Shaved of all leaves. All branches. Shaved of all bark. Left to die.

As this dying tree sat there (to some, already dead), she had few choices…

The tree could say it was good while it lasted and give up.

Or.

Look to its own sap filled insides, now exposed to the elements, without bark and know there’s not much time. She could take a deep breath but had no leaves with which to inhale. Maybe ask the Sun for help, but she had no branches with which to reach.

So she remembered that she still had roots. She turned herself upside down, reached for a knife and carved herself into something useful.

I’ve spent the last two years uprooting myself and carving me into something of use to this world. That’s all I can think to do if I’m going to be here without you.

I reflect on my past life. I remember someone so scared of so many forces outside of herself, and I remember the person consistently loving me through those fears. I think of us, making our way out onto the patio to analyze under the stars and plan our life. I think of the beautiful soul that was beyond this world. A soul I knew so well then and understand so much more now. It took your death to show me the depths of how truly enlightened you were.

Regardless of what I knew then or what I know now, one thing is positive.

I carry you with me.

Sophie came to me last weekend. She cried, “I miss the memories.”

I thought she meant that she missed making memories with you. She went on further, “It’s not just that I miss Dad. I miss the memories of Dad. I’m losing them.” My heart ached, but then I realized it in that very moment. We carry you.

“I know, honey, it’s hard when we feel those memories slipping from us. Write them down while you still have them. Old-woman-Sophie will appreciate it.”

“Ok…” Her tiny voice quivered.

I grabbed both of her cheeks to look into her eyes, “We will never forget Daddy. Daddy’s presence is so strong both surrounding us and within us.”

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“That’s for sure.” She said, with a clear tone.

“We will miss him every day, for every event. We will miss his laugh and his smile. We miss the memories that fog within our minds, but Daddy is so much more than those things. We carry him everywhere.”

“Yes.”

She and I hugged and cried on and off for the afternoon, but we both knew a single truth: You have been absorbed into us.

It’s because of this, I’ve had the strength to change. Thank you for being my motivational speaker. Thank you for stepping out of work to call me because you got a text that said:

I need a Scotty pep talk. 

You don’t know the thousands of times I’ve wanted to text you during these last two years… To need the comfort of your husband over his own death is a duality that few will ever know. Just a bare tree…yearning for your comfort before realizing that you are absorbed into my roots.

It hasn’t been pretty. It’s been ugly.

But it’s been necessary; while I’m not sure you’d know who I am any more, I am certain that I will always recognize you. Like the Maya Angelou quote says:

People will forget what you said.

People will forget what you did,

but people will never forget

how you made them feel. 

Your spirit is unforgettable.

Until we meet again, I live every day for the reunion.

Love,

Meg

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How Music Worked Within Me this Year

I love starting my day by hearing a song that is 100% from Scotty.

Chili Peppers, Hall & Oats, Cake, Metallica, Bell Big Devoe, John Legend, Earth, Wind, and Fire.

This morning it was Gap Band…

Music was hard initially after losing him.

He and I found so much enjoyment from cutting it up at a wedding/event or just dancing around the house with each other and later, with our children. Something that bonded two people in such a way; brought them both so much joy… Remove one of those people,and there’s just gaping, salty pain. Through nausea, I’d ask myself during those days: How can I possibly find joy in music again? How can I ever dance again?

And I began to mourn these pleasures of life while mourning him.

All in silence.

A few months into grief, I was introduced to new artists. I allowed myself to listen to them, and I did so on repeat. These were different types of musicians. Ones that never played in the background of any of our memories together. Music to which I couldn’t dance. Eventually, I began to enjoy music in a different way. A darker but absolutely necessary way

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The magic of music is that it has the same properties as water. What do I mean by this? Walk into your kitchen right now, fill up a glass with water, and set it on the counter. Then, grab a single piece of paper towel and gingerly dip a corner of your paper towel into the glass of water that you poured. Just the corner. What happens? You watch the water rise up furt4BlogPostJan9her than your dipping point.Water creeps. It’s polar, which means at a molecular level, it attaches to itself…the molecules climb one other to reach further.

I can tell you this is how music worked within me this year. I let just a little bit of it in. Just a corner of the symbolic paper towel into the glass of water; At first, it was one depressing song on repeat. Then, it was several angry ones (on repeat). The angry songs gave me energy to listen to upbeat stuff… and before I realized it, music was in my life again.

Don’t get me wrong. To this day, there are still songs that could take me to my knees, but I refuse to let that happen now. And strangely, I feel like it’s him, laughing over my left shoulder, bobbing his head and saying: Girl, don’t you deny this beat!

I’m happy to say that my kids and I have honorary dance parties in our kitchen again,

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and we know it’s probably a joyful moment for Daddy too. He speaks to me through music, and what once was something too painful to accept, is now something I deeply cherish.

I’m here to tell you, whoever you are, whatever you’re going through, I know you’re in pain, and I’m so sorry that you carry it. I know that some pain just never heals, and I’m sorry for this fact of life as well. My heart hurts all of the time. It’s not going to go away. I know this.

Of all these things that ‘I know’ though, the one I know for sure: not any of this is a reason to stop listening to the music, to stop dancing, to deny yourself the beat.

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Pain is no excuse to stop seeking joy.

Big Love,

Megan

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