One more day further away

Jeremy with his Pheasant hunting buddies - Jon, John, and Mark.

This weekend, I've noticed this indescribable panic start to set in to my body. Not an alarming anxiety-type panic, but rather the unsettling truth of my reality seeping into my heart.

I'm realizing with each passing day that Jeremy is slowly slipping through my fingertips and no matter how tight I try to hold on, another day will still come. Another day without the one I was suppose to spend all my days with.

This weekend, I received Jer's last pay stub from his last paycheck at work. They paid him through the end of February, but I was not prepared for the onset of emotions caused by the notification on my iphone for the direct deposit. I don't care about the money, it's the tangible confirmation that Jeremy's life is falling further and further into the distance. Just another reminder that life is going to continue on without him. It's not new anymore for people, life must keep going. But it still feels so fresh in my heart, and I don't want anything to keep going.

So many things have happened in the last 110 days, it has allowed me in small ways to not have to deal with my reality. My grief is there, make no mistake, but I'm terrified of facing the beast head on, worried I might not recover. I fear Grief will knock me out for the count, and win this fight I'm very ill-equiped to handle. So instead, I stand in my corner of the ring, shuffling from foot to foot, looking like I'm ready to fight, ready to move forward, when in reality it's just fancy footwork to keep me from having to actually defend myself.

Maybe it was that this weekend almost felt like a conclusion to all the things that were allowing me to hold on to Jeremy without really dealing with his absence. All these little milestones that I absolutely dreaded having to face were actually excuses for me to escape. Yesterday, a Jeremy King Memorial Pheasant Hunt took place to raise money for college funds for our children. Jer's family came into town for the weekend to participate and support, Jer's friends from all different walks of his life came together and had a good time. But this event was on my calendar for awhile and marked the end of a long series of dates on my calendar: The birth of Jer's niece, Grayci, Christmas, New Years, recording a CD in Jer's memory, Gulf Coast, the birth of Carter, Jeremy's birthday....now that they're all over, I find myself panicked about what to do next. Faith turns 5 in two more weeks, and after that I have nothing to focus my energy on except the harsh reality of this new life as Jeremy's widow and only parent to our three children. The new title alone is overwhelming.

It was a good weekend. It was good to be around Jeremy's family and friends - that's where I feel closest to him. And I feel like I'm starting to get 'used to' this routine, if that's even possible. It's not so startling every morning when I wake up and realize oh yeah, I've got to do this alone again, my husband is dead. It still makes me sick, it's just not as surprising anymore. It's when we're all low on fuel without naps and I'm sitting at home with three kids crying about three different things that reality becomes too much to face. If someone had told me my life would end up in this place, I would have ran as fast as I could in the opposite direction.

I'm still not ready for this. I'm not ready to face the future alone. I'm not prepared for this intense loneliness that is soaking into my bones, this hunger for a warm presence. A reliable presence to lean on, to talk to, to share my day with, to love me at my best and my worst, to accept my crazy, and to help ease the load that we created together. Even though I'm used to having the kids during the day and taking care of them myself at times, knowing that daddy will never be there again to help really makes the responsibility seem so much bigger and less possible.

I'm ready for this joke to be over. It's really not funny anymore.


The last few days

My sexy man leading worship - I miss watching him pour his heart out in song...

Just after Jeremy died, I went to AT&T to try and sort out our phones and cancel his, take over his iphone, etc. I tried to transfer some voicemails that I had saved over the last 2 years....I had about 12 of them, each one a different good-night message from Jeremy and the kids while I was bartending late at night. The kids voices were so little, some were from even before Caleb could talk much - singing to me, telling me about their day, praying for me - and the sound of Jeremy's voice telling me he loved me was something I wanted to keep forever.

I was absolutely devastated to find there wasn't a way to keep those messages. We had just switched to AT&T from Verizon days before Jeremy died, so I couldn't get them back from my old phone. I cried in the store, probably scared the poor girl working there. Even today, it kills me that I can't listen to them again. I wanted to remember, to hold on.

I've come to realize that over the last few weeks, I've tried so desperately to hold onto and remember all my 'lasts' with Jeremy. Our last kiss, our last words, our last meal....the last month, the last week, the last day...

The truth is, there are holes in my memory of our last week together. I know it was great, but we were so busy. I wanted to write it down so I don't forget, and maybe in writing, I will remember more. My memory starts on Friday November 5 - four days before Jeremy died. This is mostly because that's when we got our new phones, and that's as far back as our text messages to each other go.

November 5th
I remember that our dear friends Chris & Vicki were in town to see another friend in a show. We were able to meet up with them for dinner at Rochester Mills. Jer and I had never been there, and even though I knew about where it was, we ended up driving around it in a big circle in downtown Rochester, playfully arguing about where it was and calling Chris a bunch of times for directions. We had a great dinner together, and Jer was so anxious because we were going to AT&T after to get new phones. Our Verizon contract was up and he was finally able to get his iphone....we had money set aside for awhile just waiting. He was like a kid in a candy store.

We spent awhile in the phone store. I sacrificed having an iphone to save money and got a generic free phone. I always let him have the better technology, it was more important to him than it was to me. And I loved seeing him giddy about stuff like that (probably why I could never tell him no when he wanted something).

We, of course, texted each other back and forth with our new phones. I read the text messages between us those last few days over and over and over. But just in case I lose them, here it is:

JER 9:05pm - I love you!
ME - Ditto!

November 6th

ME 7:46am - I love you a lot!
(I'm not sure why I wrote him this early in the morning. I was on my way to work at the gym, I must have assumed he was already awake with the kids since they stayed home with him)

JER 8:17am - I love you. Let's have a family night tonight!
ME 9:23am - Deal
JER - Love you
ME 9:47am - Love you more!
ME 10:17am - Hey I actually get reception in the break room with this phone...schweet! But I am ready to come home already!
JER 10:34am - Yeah I'm heading out now (I don't remember where they went)
JER 11:32am - I wanted to let you know I love you

Later that evening, we went to Max & Erma's for dinner with the kids. I walked in to get us a table:

ME 6:33pm - Come in
JER - Ok love you, you sexy B
ME - Love you more handsome!

We had a great dinner with the kids, I loved when it was just the 4 of us. The kids were great and we ordered fresh chocolate chip cookies for dessert. We stopped at Target on our way home and picked up the Lady Antebellum Christmas CD. We stayed up late listening to it while checking our emails, etc.

JER 12:05pm - This song makes me miss my mom. (He was texting me from the bathroom, lol)
ME - Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas?
JER - Yeah
ME - I like this version

November 7th
We had to drive separate to church, since Jer always led worship for both services. I usually went with him to both but it's a lot with little kids, so I just met him up during class time in between services.

ME 8:02am - Just thought you should know how much I love you!
JER - I love you a ton too baby!
ME - Phew! What's the plan for this afternoon? Are you going hunting?
JER - I don't know yet I'm really frustrated....stupid deer
ME - Well I have the urge to go out to Lakeside mall for shopping and maybe Cheeseburger in Paradise. We could see if the Knutson's wanna do that for dinner tonight or maybe we could go on a date with a movie or something.
ME 9:43am - Wanna see if Kara and Mickey are free 4 lunch?
(I was apparently bored, texting him while getting ready for church - obviously he was busy, I wasn't really expected him to text me back, just give him some ideas so we could figure it out after church)

JER 10:06am - Just FYI I really love you
ME - Ditto :)

I actually can't remember what we did for lunch after church. We usually go out to eat after church, but I have a feeling we went home for lunch so we could get an early nap together. I do remember that we ended up eating at Logan's for dinner with the Knutson's, since it was new and none of us had been there since it opened. It was a good dinner with good friends.

November 8th
ME 11:53am - Are you coming to eat with me? (He usually came over to eat lunch with me, since he worked next door)
JER - I may! I'm starving!
ME - Well quick cause I'm ready to eat!
JER - Ok there in five

In the afternoon, during nap time at Preschool, Jer and I had a long conversation that I debated about posting. Nothing about it was bad, he was just down for the day feeling lost in our monotonous day to day life, I just didn't want people to misinterpret his heart. But, he was battling a cold that had lasted a couple of weeks, he wasn't getting much sleep, and he was feeling better by the end of the day.

ME 2:37pm - I love you a lot baby!
JER - Love you too...I need to get away! I'm feeling really down and I don't know why!!!
ME - Luckily, the next few months will be full of time with family, travelin' and days off :)
JER - Yeah but very few breaks, I really want to go hunting, and I want to relax and I don't feel like there's a point to doing either
ME - You've done a lot of hunting, and relaxing at Kirk and April's will do you good too...let's not lose sight of why we're doing all this. You are an incredible worker and you're taking good care of your family
JER - I know, and still all I want to do is sit in my stand and be away from here!!! This place is depressing me
ME - Well the next time you get out there try to clear your head. Talk to God and ask him to refresh our family and give us a better focus. Allow for some contentment in your heart, it will do you a lot of good. (This particular text makes me a little angry now...)

JER - Yeah I don't like this feeling. I just want to go to bed...
ME - You're sick. You're tired. You're overworked. It won't be forever baby. I love you more than words!
JER - I love you too. Sorry I don't mean to be whiny!
ME - Hey you listen to me whine enough, I think it's only fair!
JER - I don't want to be like this...sorry.
ME - I know baby. We've been doing the same thing over and over for a few months now, but you always find a way to provide for our family and I respect all that you do. It means the world to me even if I don't always express it.
JER - I know baby! I just need a break. I kinda wish I'd gone on the moose hunt! Just to get away
ME - Would you feel better now or less stressed? I think it might just be perspective though I wish we could have afforded for you to go.
JER - I don't know, I just feel like I need to get away from here for a bit

This day, November 8th, was a very long day for us both.  We went right from work to have a quick dinner with the kids, then right back to the church to prep for Refuge, our once a month instrumental worship series that we were both supposed to sing for that Wednesday. We had a long practice, half of which Jer was laid out on a church pew with a massive migraine. Once he was feeling better, he got on stage and in true Jeremy form, belted out our worship songs in his full chest voice - for practice. Crazy kid.

I remember our ride home vividly. We held hands and quietly talked while the kids fell asleep on the way home. I had basically been at the church building for 14 hours that day, and was looking forward to being at home and laying in my own bed. Jeremy told me how much he loved my voice and was looking forward to hearing me sing for Refuge. And I was secretly beaming with pride.

November 9th
You can read about the details of this awful day here as I can't bear to write it out again.
Very few texts exchanged this day, and yet I read them over and over as my heart sinks deeper and deeper every time...

ME 9:26am - Love you!
JER - Love you too
ME 4:34pm - Love you!
ME 6:45pm - When are you coming home? I miss you!
ME 7:06pm - You said you'd be home by 7 where are you?
ME 7:59pm - I'm starting to worry babe...
ME 8:38pm - Please call me

Ugh, it's like a sucker punch every time.


Happy Birthday Baby.

Today, Jeremy would have been 32 years old.

This picture of him is my computer's desktop picture...it's the last picture I have of him alone, from just a few weeks before he died. We spent the evening making applesauce - I even blogged about it here. I stare at the picture daily, memorizing every detail of it, trying desperately not to forget even the smallest thing. I talk to him in this picture, and it's usually the last thing I see before I got to bed at night, as I close my computer. I love it because I don't have many good pictures of him alone. I remember telling him how handsome he looked after I took it, and he hadn't worn that shirt in awhile. I love it because it's how I remember him - happy, handsome, and doing something he loved. He loved making applesauce that night. He loved showing the kids how to do it. He loved the family time.

This picture also makes my heart ache every time I see it.

I want to reach out to him and touch him. I want to feel the warmth of his breath, the strength of his arms. I talk to him hoping he'll talk back, hoping the light in his eyes will tell me something, bring me some comfort. And every time I realize I won't ever get to see that smile in person again, I die a little inside.

I remember doing a birthday post for Jer last year. I went back to read it, and remembered writing it. I very impatiently waited for him to come home from plowing all day, so that the kids and I could shower him with love and gifts. We had a snow day and he was so bummed that he ended up gone all day working. And I was proud of him for working so hard for our family. I remember looking through pictures of us, finding the perfect ones to convey what I wanted to say. And I remember hoping he'd read it so he knew how much I loved him and was thinking about him on his special day.

Today, the kids and I are gonna try and keep it pretty low key. It's gonna be a tough day, but we decided to try and make it special still for Daddy. We're gonna make him some pictures, write him some letters, and possibly go to the Fishy Store (Bass Pro), because it makes them think of Daddy. Truth be told, they're right on the money, cause I'm pretty sure that's where Daddy would want to go on his birthday anyway.

Thursday, we're gonna get together with some friends to honor Jer with a feast of some of his favorite foods. I will be making my most popular 'Jeremy pleasers' - Blueberry pie and Butter tarts. I'm thankful to be able to be around those closest to Jeremy, because it makes me feel closer to him.

Happy Birthday, Baby.
I love you more than words, and I so desperately wish you were here to celebrate your life with us. The kids and I miss you so much, and we want to shower you with our love.
Our hearts are hollow without you right now.
We miss your presence, your smile, and your love.
Hope you're enjoying your celebration in Heaven today, you deserve something Grand.
I love you forever and always.


There's more...

Here are the rest of the photos that Angela Miller sent to me from our session with Carter last week, this time with all the kiddos. If you get a chance to stop by her website, www.angelamillerphotography.com, or become a fan of hers on Facebook, please do - she takes incredible photos and I'm so thankful for the shots she got of my sweet little man.

Without further ado:


A baby is God's opinion the world should go on.

I'm so excited to share these photos, I'm bursting at the seams. We had a little newborn photo session with Angela Miller yesterday, and she did an incredible job capturing my little man. They're all so fantastic, I had a hard time choosing just a few to share. The one of Carter's hand holding Jeremy's ring especially tugs at my heart. Hope you enjoy.

Which one is your favorite?


Missin' my Valentine

Our 5 year anniversary

To my Valentine:

I, in my naivety, never really understood how painful Valentine's Day could be for so many people. I mean, I used to be one of those 'I hate Valentine's Day because I'm single' people long ago, but always looked forward to the day when I could share it with someone.

I realized today that you're the only person I've ever actually celebrated Valentine's Day with.

I was also one of those people who annoyed the rest of the world with my love for the hallmark holiday once I had a reason to celebrate it. Do you remember our first Valentine's Day? I spent a week prior in my dorm room cutting out hundreds of hearts and writing different reasons why I loved you on half of them. You had saved my life, and I couldn't wait for the opportunity to celebrate and share my love and appreciation for you. And you were so sweet, not really knowing how to be overly romantic, locked yourself in your room for the day and wrote a song for me on your guitar and sang it to me that night. You were so nervous to sing it to me, it was the cutest thing. That's the only time I got to hear it, you never did record it. But it's burned into my heart.

Every year since then, I've found a way to use those hearts on Valentines Day. I kept them in an envelope and every year, I'd add new reasons why I love you on the empty hearts. I remember one year, when we lived in the town house, I got up at like 4:30am, drove to Meijer to buy a bunch of balloons and stuff to make you breakfast and new lingerie (the only time I think I've ever purchased any for myself btw), and made a trail from our bed all the way downstairs to the kitchen with the hearts. Other years, I'd have them just spread out all over our room with candles lit to set the mood. Hey, I knew it was cheesy, but it was cheap. And it was all we needed. The last two years or so, we didn't do much to celebrate because we had no money, so we'd inevitably end up snuggled on the couch together watching Friends while the kids slept. And it was just as romantic because that was my favorite place to be.

And now I have to endure my first Valentine's Day with a completely broken heart. I thought I'd had a broken heart before but I would endure that any day of the week over this pain. And it's not the day that matters. I will likely avoid Facebook and all the mushy stuff everywhere, even though I used to contribute - it's just too hard to face still. It bugs me that people still get to celebrate with their loved ones, just as much as it bugs me when people bicker about their loved ones or don't appreciate what they have. I hate that I had to lose you to make other people realize how good they have it.

This year for Valentine's Day, I know that there would be many more reasons I love you to add to my hearts:

I love the way you love me pregnant.
I love how hard you work for our family.
I love watching your passion in music grow.
I love watching you lead worship - it's the sweetest and sexiest thing ever.
I love how you love our children, they couldn't ask for a better daddy.
I love how you take care of me and the kids. Our rock and protector.

I know they're present tense, I can't face the past tense yet - and I know it's what I would say to you this year. Even though we've had ups and downs in our relationships, I'm so thankful that I can't remember a fight we've ever had that lasted through the end of the day. I'm thankful for the marriage we shared, I don't know that I could ever find that again, or would ever want to. I knew when I found you that God had meant you for me, and I feel so broken and hurt that it got ripped out from under me. 

I'm still in so much pain, baby. Now that I have nothing else to focus on surviving, I find myself lost in misery and having to face a reality I never signed up for. I still don't understand why this is happening. Even if I didn't deserve you, I know our precious children did and they just shouldn't have to learn at such a young age how horrible life can really get. 

I don't want a pity party on Valentine's Day. I don't want to ruin everyone else's day. I just want you back. I just want to lay in your arms, feel you breathe, feel comforted for just a moment, I'm starting to forget the feeling. I miss you, I ache for you every day. 

I. Hate. This.

I am now the "I hate Valentine's Day because it's a reminder of everything I've lost and the love I no longer get to have" girl. I don't want to be this girl, she's so very sad and pitiful.

I miss you more than I could ever convey in words. I wish there were more ways to say it so it's strength wasn't lost in how often I say it, but I miss you. With everything I have, I miss you. With everything I know, I miss you. With everything I am, I miss you.

I love you, Valentine.



I've been writing this post since Tuesday, it's been hard to muddle through it and write it all out:

The last three days have been quite a whirlwind. I don't know how I've maintained this unexplainable calm (which really on the inside, I don't feel calm, more like numb) other than feeling like Jeremy is watching over me and taking care of me, allowing me to get through all this. 

The morning of the 8th, I shot out of bed early and felt panic start to set in all morning. When I got into Triage and the nurse gave me my gown and asked me to undress, I sat in the bathroom for a minute just shaking with tears. I half jokingly asked the nurse if they could put me to sleep for the surgery and she started to explain why they couldn't do that and I wouldn't want to miss it anyway. Then, I felt bad and felt the need to explain myself, and burst into tears. As did she.

When Mum and Sarah finally met me in the Triage room, I had composed myself a little. Their presence gave me some strength and they helped ease the tension and lighten the air in the room. They were a good distraction for awhile. I just wish they didn't have a reason to be there in the first place.

When I got on that operating table, I did not expect the wave of emotions that overcame me. I wanted to be strong, but instead I started freaking out, and I was literally using every once of energy I had in me to not shake and sob uncontrollably. Tears fell quickly out of panic. I was so scared, and I wanted to scream out so badly. I was trying not to sob so violently that I would shake my body and they wouldn't be able to do anything. All the nurses and doctors were trying to calm me down, rubbing my back and shoulders, assuring me I was going to do great. And all I wanted to do was scream "I need my husband here!"

They laid me down on my back immediately after the spinal anesthetic was given. One of the nurses came around to my head, and grabbed my hand and that's when I started to go numb....my body AND my emotions. She let me hold the teddy bear Jer gave me in one hand and I squeezed him so tight. I could sense Jer calming me and heard his voice in my head telling me it was going to be okay. I don't know how to explain it - it was calming and nervewrecking all at the same time. I still wanted to scream out, but somehow I was able to keep it inside even though my head was spinning. Finally, they called for my mother-in-law to come in and she grabbed my hand, wiped away some tears, and I closed my eyes.

I kept my eyes closed. The next few minutes are really unexplainable to me, because I really just went numb everywhere. I remember almost falling asleep, because I just wanted to wake up and have a baby so I didn't have to deal with it all.

Then something amazing happened. At 9:17am, they pulled Carter out, pulled the curtain down, and laid him on me - right smack against my cheek - goop and all. I never got to even touch our other two children when they were born since I was laying down, so it was a neat experience to get to feel him slimy, warm, and brand new. Jeremy's mom got to cut the cord, and tears came again. 

While I waited for surgery to be done, so many things were swirling around in my head: 

The sounds of Carter's beautiful cry, 
watching the nurses take pictures for us and put his footprints on all my baby books, 
Mum telling me she was sorry and kissing my forehead, 
the doctors calling out stats and medical terms, 
nurses telling me what to expect next,
me internally calling out Jer's name, asking God why he had to miss it.

So much was happening. And yet, it was just an undertow below the numbness I was feeling, not really thinking anything and thinking everything at once. 


Fast forward, and I'm still hanging on even better than I expected. I think I'm just trying not to think about it all, cause it's a little overwhelming to face the reality of all this. I have found that I'm not able to really talk to Carter about his Daddy without crying, but I guess I didn't really expect to. And whenever I can't get through it, I just end like a broken record, telling him how much I loved his Daddy and I know he would too.

One thing that does make me very happy to say is that I'm head over heels for my new little man. The resentment I feared might creep in just simply has not. Praise God. I've found that I just don't ever want to put him down once I have a hold of him. Like I'm holding on to the last little traces that Jeremy left behind. It helps that he is the sweetest little thing and thus far has been a dream baby. I think I deserve that. I'm so thankful for the help I have here from my sweet Sarah, who has been doing so much with my older two and allowing me the time I've been craving with Carter. Along with help from many others. I'm just trying to soak up the first glimpses of pure joy I've felt in my heart in 3 months. They come and go so quickly.

Right now, I'm just trying to live today, because tomorrow seems like too much to ask for. And today, for the first time in awhile, is okay.


We survived...Carter is here!

Carter Jackson King is here!

Born Tuesday, February 8th @ 9:17 am

Weighing 8lbs. 15oz.

20.5 inches long

His brother and sister are completely smitten

And I survived.

Thank you all for the overwhelming number of prayers that went up on our behalf. They were answered and Jeremy blessed me with his presence and a calming numbness that took over me today (or is that the drugs?) Either way, I'm thankful.  I've never been so exhausted in my entire life, so I will update soon. 


This is it

This is really gonna happen.

I'm gonna have a baby alone, without the one who helped me make him. Without my rock, without my support. I know other people will be around to support me, and I'm thankful, but it's not the same.

It will never be the same.

I feel like if I can just get through tomorrow, it'll be ok. Everything is painful anyway, and I know watching Carter grow and reach milestones without his Daddy there to witness will be hard, but this hurdle seems like the biggest to survive: bringing a life we created into the world alone. That's not how it's meant to be.

I've not shared this story with many people as to not misconstrue my love and desire for Carter, but it makes a lot of this make sense (not that any of this really makes any sense):

I was done having kids after two. But Jeremy was never quite sure he wanted to be done yet. After we found out my sister-in-law was pregnant with her fourth, and me thinking she was crazy, it really sunk in how selfish I was. On the drive home from Canada one night, I lost it. I felt this heavy weight on my heart knowing that I didn't want any more kids because it would be inconvenient for my life. Jeremy and I spent the entire 4 hour trip talking about it, crying about it, praying about it. We decided we'd see how things went, and leave it in God's hand.

We tried once.

The next morning, I decided that if I wasn't pregnant, I didn't want to keep trying to get pregnant. If I was, great, but I was really content with our sweet little family of 4. But, deep down I knew I was pregnant (we discovered it was my most fertile day of the month). And even just the possibility of it scared me a little, but knowing Jer was by my side made it worth it, and made me excited to have another child with him. We made a pretty great team.

I waited on pins and needles to take a pregnancy test. I took it a few days early, in fact. I picked one up on my way out to see Jeremy one morning at work. Our tradition was always that I'd take the test, he'd read the results. I stopped at the college, peed on a stick in the gymnasium bathroom, and brought it out for him to read...while my heart was pounding out of my chest.

I wish I could describe the look on his face when he read it. I haven't been able to get it out of my head. His eyes wide, his smile crooked and growing wider, he said "We're gonna have a another baby."

I instantly burst into tears.

Jer lovingly reassured me that everything was gonna be ok. But they weren't tears of sadness. I was never sad, just overwhelmed. I cried because of Jeremy's excitement. I cried because of my own excitement. I cried because I was scared but so looking forward to walking this journey again with him. He was pretty good about treating me like a princess, but it was so magnified when I was carrying his child, and I was selfishly looking forward to him doting on me again. He loved me pregnant.

Jer used to tell me I was crazy for saying that labor was my favorite part of pregnancy. But, it was. It's intimidating, and extremely painful, but it was the most incredible experience we'd ever shared together, and nothing has ever brought us closer. Bonding with him in that way is one of my most cherished memories.

Jeremy was a man's man. Rough and tough hunter and fisher, smelly, inappropriate, and very stubborn....but inside he was just a big teddy bear. And that never showed more than when I was bearing his children. He was always so nervous about labor because he worried so much about me (I had some close calls with both deliveries), but I never worried. It's hard to explain, but I waited 9 months to share that day with him.

And now, looking back, it just infuriates me. That one night of uncharacteristic vulnerability where I decided to give up all control to God now almost feels like a slap in the face. I trusted you, and this is what happens? You allow me to conceive knowing I would have to raise this child alone? Why do I have to trade one life for another?

Don't misunderstand, I love Carter unconditionally already. I can't wait to hold him in my arms and I know that my greatest responsibility in life is to care for innocent lives that Jeremy created with me. And I am honored to be the mother of his children. However, in hindsight, knowing I'd have to do this alone, I wouldn't have even considered it. I did it because of Jeremy, even for him. And I can share this because I think it's safe to say that no one would voluntarily choose to raise three kids alone.

And now, thinking about labor has the complete opposite effect on me. I already feel so lonely, and I'm terrified to get through this. I'm angry that I won't be able to see Jeremy's face when Carter arrives. I'm heartbroken that I can't hold his hand and feel his excitement, to watch that look of awe in his eyes when he lays them on his son. I feel resentful that Carter will never get to share that bond with his Daddy, never have even the smallest memory of him. On my own, I am such a bad representation of what we were together. And I feel like my kids are getting cheated out of that, especially Carter. My heart hurts for him already.

My body is so ready to be done with this. And I'm ready to see my little man. I've never been so ready and yet so unprepared for anything in my life.

Please continue to pray that redemption will be found tomorrow, even in the slightest way, for this bittersweet day. That love will be in abundance, and strength will be provided.

And pray, please pray, that Jeremy will meet us there.


I finally did it...

...I finally updated my blog.

For the last almost 3 months (actually, 88 days, if anyone else is counting), I've been staring at the side bars on my blog page reading and re-reading the little snippets of my family. Especially the snippet about Jeremy. I knew I would eventually have to change it, but the thought of it made me ill - I wasn't ready to admit that my love was really gone and that my perfect little family had fallen apart. And changing things made me feel like I was moving on.

Let's be clear, I'm not ready to move on.

But what I did come to realize is that over the last 88 days, I've gained almost 300 new followers. And I know so many people come to this space to find out what happened and offer their support. When I started seeking out other 'widow blogs,' the very first thing I looked for was information about the widow and her family, how her husband died, and their story. So, I thought it only fair that since most people are here because of my story, I'd make it easy for people to find out. Click on the tabs above to read my story and meet my family.

On top of that, people have been supporting me with the help of some friend's blogs, who were donating their ad revenues to my family from the month of January. (to see how much money was raised from Pennies on a Platter, click here - and thank you from the bottom of my heart).

Now, you can continue to support me and my family by visiting MY blog, which is now making a very small profit from ad revenues (every little bit counts, right?) Jeremy always told me I should look into making money from my blog, but I never seriously considered it because it was just a silly little blog about our family - who would read that? But he's making it happen, because they approached me...so I thought it was time to give it a new feel and a new focus: Learning to live without him.

It was hard to finally change everything, but it was needed. And knowing Jer is still front and center in our family and now in the overtones of my blog, it feels good to see his presence here. It goes along with the theme of my life right now and feels a little more relevant.

Thank you for following this journey of mine. Right now the road is very dark and bumpy, but it's good to know I have a place to write it all out, and that I'm not walking it alone.


Snow Day

Two nights ago, I was watching Facebook blow up over the snow storm we were about to get. Everyone was freaking out.

Really? This is Michigan people.

I've never known Michigan to be so whiney about snow before. If anything, people should be rejoicing at the possibility of a snow day. It's a hot commodity around here. I was blaming it on the fact that so many southern states have been whiney about snow lately on Facebook, and were starting to rub off on us. Either way, it was humorous.

Now, I am not snow's biggest fan. And, I've been known to whine myself about the sheer inconvenience and mess that snow creates. But I don't rush to grocery store for the last gallon of milk.

And I love a good play in the snow.

I haven't been able to take the kids out all winter, so yesterday we geared up and headed to the backyard - one giant clean slate of fresh snow calling our names. I also found humor in the fact that even though I've lived in Michigan my entire life, I don't have much for real snow gear. Thankfully, I married a Canadian. I went out in his snow pants, his hat, his gloves, and almost his coat (I opted for my nice coat cause it had a hood).

We had fun. I needed the fresh air. It's tough to realize that no matter how much fun we try to create, it still  feels so prosthetic. There is a giant void we will never be able to fill, or get away from. The kids said multiple times in the snow that they had wished Daddy was there to play with them.

Oh Goodness, me too.

Every smile comes with an instant reaction: "I wish you were here." And then the fight to stop tears. I tried to just enjoy the time with the kids, but there just isn't a moment that goes by where my subconscious isn't thinking about Jeremy. We decided to trail a giant heart in the backyard with Daddy's name on it (so he could see it from Heaven):

We made snow slushies and snow ice cream. We had a pretty low-key day at home. And at the end of the day, when we were saying goodnight, I gave the kids their kisses from me and Daddy and told them how much I wish he could have played with us, because he would have had so much fun. Caleb got very quiet and sad and said "I really want Daddy to play with me, but he died. I want him to play Cars with me. He shouldn't have died."

He's right. He shouldn't have died.


Carter's Belly Shots

I don't mean to depress everyone every time they click to read a new post of mine.

This is my life. Right now, it doesn't feel good. And the good that is happening doesn't seem to matter much to me. But I'm not trying to make everyone feel sorry for me either.

So, to bring a lighter tone today and to keep in tune with pregnancy, since I posted a letter to Carter yesterday, I thought I'd share some belly shots with you that my dear friend Vicki took while we were in Panama City Beach together. Besides, you've only got one week to enjoy them before Carter arrives. Yikes.

I've never had belly shots done before, and I always regretted it. I'm not a 'bare all' belly person myself, but they're sweet memories and I honestly don't have any real pregnancy photos from either of my first two kids. I was determine to keep a better account of this pregnancy, and I was looking forward to taking some photos with Jeremy, since I have only one of him with my pregnant belly.

I can't describe how it pains me that he couldn't be present for these photos. But we made him a part of it, and I will cherish these photos forever. They turned out beautifully. Here are some of my favorites:

You can check out the rest of them on Facebook. Hope you enjoyed. Thanks, Vicki.


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