Monday, June 30, 2014

5 Summer Issues in Our House

We are in Summer Mode now.  We have tossed the crinkled school papers, smelly gym shoes, and backpacks into a corner.  We haven't looked at a school lunch menu in weeks.  We don't rush out the door in the mornings, with me yelling instructions like a drill sergeant.  We wake up slowly and quietly.  I like it. However, there are several major changes that occur during summer that take some getting used to.

1.  Toilet Paper Use:  when the kids are home for the summer, we seem to go through truckloads of toilet paper.  I've considered investigating why it seems that having four kids around all day results in the daily use of enough toilet paper to wipe the butts of everybody who attended Woodstock (did they have bathrooms and toilet paper at Woodstock?  Not sure).  But really, I don't actually want to know why this is happening. It would probably just gross me out and/or make me mad.

2.  Requests for Snacks:  My kids can't seem to make it through a five minute block of time without thinking about food.  Between the four of them, there is someone eating or asking to eat a snack or meal every 4.2 seconds.

3. Messes:  Oh my, the messes.  These are super-sized messes, my friends.  These are rub-mud-all-over-one's-entire-body-plus-the-wagon-and-the-dog messes.  There are drippy popsicle messes, grass clippings on feet messes, just poured sand from the sandbox over my head messes, we decided to make a special lunch! messes, and bikes-rollerblades-wagons-soccer goals-basketballs-baseball bats-tennis rackets-shoes-sidewalk chalk-helmets-dog toys-snow shovels(?)-scooters littering our front lawn messes. So.many.messes.

4. Arguments: It's not as if my kids don't argue during the school year, they surely do.  But in the summer, their normal arguments morph into super-ridiculous crazy-fests of weirdness.
A typical summer argument starts with Joe getting a song stuck in his head.  Let's say it's "Happy" by Pharrell Williams.  Joe then walks up to Natalie and sings, "Because I'm NATTIE, clap your hands if you feel that NATALIE is the truth!"
Then Natalie starts yelling, "JOE STOP, JUST STOP I'M-TELLING-YOU-TO-STOP!"
Then Joe sings another verse of his song, inserting "Natalie" into it some more.
Natalie screams.
I say (or yell) "Joe! Just stop it already!"
Joe pouts.
Joe stomps around the house proclaiming that "Nat is always yelling at me and I don't do ANYTHING to her!"
Natalie responds with a dig at Joe involving Pokemon that I don't understand.
<end scene>
10 minutes later, Joe has another song stuck in his head and decides to walk by Natalie, inserting her name into the lyrics.
I kid you not, 90 percent of the fights around here involve people inserting others' names into song lyrics, with the other 10 percent having something to do with Pokemon.

5.  Milk:  I am buying so much milk.  They just drink so much milk.  I don't know how to even keep our house stocked with enough milk to keep these people happy.  Just so very much milk.  Also, you wouldn't believe how much milk.

Happy Monday to you!

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Sue Memory: The Snow Horse

My yard, Winter 2013-14
Sue was so into horses that she used to draw pictures of them constantly.  Mostly pencil drawings, the horses with flowing manes would elegantly gallop through the page.

She also had a habit of pulling me into her room, making me kneel on the floor next to her bed, and forcing me to pray for her to get a horse.  I would stare at her Bugs Bunny sheets while she loudly and passionately prayed, "Lord, we are both asking you, from the bottom of our hearts, to please give me a horse."

I felt guilty when I'd think, "Well, there are things I'd like too. I've been wanting a puppy. And a lot of candy."

"We would take really good care of my horse, Lord, so please, please send me a horse.  Amen."

I would defiantly be whispering, "and some candy for me and a puppy too please" when she would elbow me, hard, in the ribs.  "Say AMEN!"

Sam in the snow

Months went by and no horse had magically appeared in our backyard, so she changed her tactics.  We began to pray that our family would move to Venezuela.

"Why Venezuela?" I asked one afternoon when we had said our amens.

"Because there are a ton of horses there, of course!"  She matter-of-factly answered, while shooing me out of her room.  I was really only allowed in to give her prayer sessions extra weight.

One Winter evening she went outside to play in the snow. She told me to wait inside. She was outside for so long I forgot that I was supposed to be waiting for her.  Finally, she called to me to come out and see what she had made.

There in our humble backyard stood a beautiful sparkling horse made of snow.

"It's big enough that you can sit on it.  Go ahead, try it out!" She smiled.

I was stunned and amazed.  I could, indeed, sit on the horse.  I played on the horse for days.  I let certain of my carefully selected friends come over to sit on it (carefully!)  I bragged ceaselessly about the snow horse my sister had made for me.  I was in heaven.
Future snow horse builders? Maybe

The horse eventually melted.  Our family never moved to Venezuela.  Sue never had a surprise horse appear out of nowhere (although in the early 90's she briefly owned a wild mustang who wouldn't even let her touch it).

But for me, it was as if God, himself had sent a horse to my backyard as an answer to a repeated prayer that I was forced to pray.

To me, it seemed that Sue was all-powerful and could make anything happen.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How Loss Has Changed Me

I say "I love you" so much more than I used to because it might be the last time I talk to someone I love.  I save the most recent voicemail messages and texts because I need to be able to hear my loved one's voices after they are dead.  If someone doesn't answer or return my call quickly, I assume they have died.  When a beloved friend or family member casually mentions feeling ill, I start to imagine they have Cancer, or a horrible auto-immune disease that will kill them in the next few months.  When someone I love is traveling, I assume they will die in a car crash.

I am so used to living this way now. It sounds awful, but it's really not that bad.  It's just that anything at all can happen in my world.  In my world my good buddy, my fun-loving, opinionated, PBS-loving pal and sister stopped breathing.  She isn't coming back.  That still blows my mind.  If she can be here one day and gone the next, anyone can.

When I stood in front of the crowd at her funeral and delivered a eulogy, I didn't feel any stage fright.  I have ALWAYS been afraid of talking in front of other people.  I barely made it through my speech 101 class in college, it was terrifying.

When someone asked me how I was able to do that without fear, I knew the answer.

When one of your biggest fears actually happens, other things don't seem so scary anymore.

I didn't blog before now because I was afraid of what people might think of my writing.  I thought I might not be good enough.  I thought I had nothing of value to say.

I'm not afraid of not being good enough anymore.  I simply don't care.  I've decided I have things I want to say, so I'm saying them.

I blog because it helps me sort out my feelings.  As a mom, I tend to put my needs last.  I need to work through this grief and this blog helps me, so I'm taking the time to do it.

I'm not afraid anymore.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

On Categorizing Loss and Broken Hearts

My father-in-law went to work one early morning in May of 2005. I imagine he probably said hello to a few co-workers, maybe had some coffee, and went out to load up his truck with mail.

Then he fell down and died.

It was horrible. Just two days earlier he had dropped Frank and me off at the airport saying "See you Wednesday!" and waved as we walked toward our waiting plane and our Florida vacation. Then he was just gone.

It was really hard for everyone to accept.  How could someone just go off to work and then not come home?  None of his loved ones were able to get closure.  His kids didn't get the chance to tell him how much they loved him. His two grandsons and two granddaughters didn't get to give him one last hug.

When he died, it was horrible for his whole family.  

The loss was huge.  Our hearts were broken.

In early 2010, my Dad went to the hospital with pneumonia.  This was the first in a chain of health events and diagnoses that culminated in his death that September.  Dad knew he was dying.  He was able to talk to us about his wishes for his last days.  He told me I could ask him anything, because after his parents died he thought of so many things he wished he had asked them.  We had sweet, loving conversations.  We had closure.
My Dad with 8 of his 9 Grand-kids
When he died, it was horrible for his whole family.              

The loss was huge.  Our hearts were broken.

I don't like when someone finds out that Sue died and immediately asks, "Was it expected?  Or was it sudden?"

When I say that she had been sick for a long time, they visibly relax. "So it was expected." The implication is that her prolonged illness softened the blow for us emotionally. That her death was not as horrible or heart-breaking than if she had died suddenly.

Why do people feel the need to place other people's loss into 'very bad' and 'not as bad' categories?

It does not matter if a loved one dies suddenly or if a loved one dies after a prolonged illness. A beloved person is dead.

The loss is huge.  Someone's heart is broken.

On some level I understand the feeling of needing to decide someone else's loss is not as bad as it may seem. If you really care about the grieving person, you want them to not be in the type of pain you suspect they might be. But the most kind reaction you can have is to not make assumptions about another's grief.

Only the person who has suffered the loss can say just how much he or she is affected by it.  If you are not the person who has suffered the loss, you can't know how "bad" it is. Allow that person to explain to you what it feels like.  Assume it has affected the person greatly unless specifically told otherwise.

Whether it is the loss of a 99 year old grandmother, a terminally ill special needs child, a perfectly healthy 16 year old, an unborn baby, a 66 year old Dad with Cancer, or a sick-for-many-years 47 year old sister, loss is loss.  It is awful and it hurts horribly.

It really doesn't matter if the loss was expected or sudden.  

The loss is HUGE. Hearts are BROKEN.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Today is Sue's birthday.  She would be 48 today.  She would not like me telling you that.  If she was here, I would call her sometime in the mid-morning and sing "Happy Birthday" to her.  She would say, "Yeah, yeah, don't rub it in."

Then we would start to discuss her birthday dinner.  Our sister, Kate, Sue, and I would pick a date in the near future to get together and go out to dinner.  Sue would spend days deciding on the restaurant. Every time we would talk in the next week or two (however long until the dinner) she would bring up the dinner. "I'm thinking of having the Shrimp Alfredo!" she might say, or "How was the lasagna that time you had it?"

The day after her birthday we would talk about it again.  She would tell me what her little girls made for her, what her boys did or bought her.  She would mention the gift her husband had given her.  At some point in the birthday discussions, she would quote our dad. "Getting old is much better than the alternative!" She would laugh.

It is hard and strange to try to decide how to celebrate someone's birthday when they aren't there.  The day is for her, about her, but we can't share it with her.

Today, I'm just not sure what to do.

Happy Birthday, Sue.  I love you.

Monday, June 16, 2014

It Will Get Better

It will get better.

This is my new mantra. I have whispered it to myself many times in the past year. I have chanted it through agonized tears.  I have proclaimed it confidently to my kids. I have asked it in question form to my friends (it will get better, right?). I have used it to encourage my family members. I have held onto it with both fists, as I desperately try to stop myself from slipping down the mountain of hope into the bubbling stink-pit of grief.

Those four words hold a huge lesson for me. I have always struggled with pessimism.  I don't always see the good in things, I expect the worst.

I am learning and relearning:  it will get better.

No matter the situation, no matter how hard things feel.  No matter if there is another job rejection, and Sister can't talk on the phone anymore because she says it is too hard to talk on the phone and breathe at the same time.  No matter if I go visit and it's so very hard to watch her be in pain.

It didn't get better in the way I wanted it to. She didn't get better. But life is slowly getting better.

She isn't having a hard time breathing anymore. She isn't needing more medicine because the pain is just too much.

She kept telling us with a chuckle, "Keep calm and carry on."

On a bad day I tell myself, "It will get better."

On a good day I tell myself, "Look, it's getting better!"

Today I feel a strong foothold on the mountain.  The stink-pit seems far below, almost out of sight.  A memory of Sue this morning made me laugh.

No, really.  It's getting better.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Your Heart Will Grow

Ben has told me more than once, "Mama, I love you so much, your heart will grow."

It turns out that he believes this in a literal sense.  At the beach today he showed me a mud ball he had made. In the middle of it, he tucked a small stone.

"Nobody loves this guy enough, so his heart is very small," he told me.  "But when someone loves him, his heart will get bigger and bigger."

He made another mud ball.  He pushed a much bigger rock into the middle.

"See? I loved him, and his heart grew.  That's how it works."

It really made me smile to see the way he thinks of love.

I think I agree with him. The more a person is loved, the more they are capable of giving love.

I have heard that grief is the price you pay for love.  I think that's true too, because if we didn't love, we would have nothing to grieve.

I feel tremendous gratitude for all of the love I have received in my life, and for the love I am lucky enough to give.

Today, I miss my dad, who I was very lucky to have for 36 years of my life.  I think he was the best.  I am also grateful for my husband, who is a wonderful dad to our four kids.  And to all the other dads who have touched my life, and who are, right now, doing the difficult but rewarding job of making little hearts grow, thank you all.  Happy Father's Day.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sorry to Everyone, But Especially the Bathroom Guy

Ben is in a great mood, that bodes well for our grocery shopping trip today.  We make our list, gather coupons, and get on the road.  In the parking lot he holds my hand and hops along by my side.

In the first several aisles, he's quiet and happy but all too soon he is tired of shopping.  I know this because his annoyance is directly related to his volume.  By the fifth aisle he is saying, "Mama! Here are the noooooodles!  Noodles is a fun word to say. NOODLESNOODLES-NOODLESNOODLES-NOODLESNOODLES-NOODLESNOODLES!"  Nice old ladies smile at him.  I tell him to quiet down a little.

In the chip aisle he announces he needs to go potty.  I immediately start to steer him toward the restroom. He stops and gets distracted by the Cheetos but I shoo him along.

I notice a woman go into the women's restroom.  At Kroger there are one-person bathrooms so I usher him to the men's. In less than a minute, an older man moves quickly toward the men's room.  "There's someone in there!" I say.  He sighs.  "Of course there is."

"He shouldn't be long." I say, apologetically.

Minutes tick by.

More minutes tick by.

The man is sighing and shooting me dirty looks.

"Ben!"  I yell through the door, "finish up!"

I am getting embarrassed now.


More minutes tick by.


"I love you too, now flush and wash your hands!"

More minutes tick by.  The waiting guy isn't very happy.  Sorry, buddy, but I too wish this wasn't happening.

Finally he emerges from the restroom, humming, smiling, and skipping.  Really-needs-to-go Guy rushes in. We need to resume our shopping, but oh no, now he is even more loud and more hyper.  I hurry to grab the rest of our stuff.

He's climbing all over the cart.  Why do we need cheese?  Why are napkins called napkins?  What's this? Oh it's one of those kinds of rectangle cheeses.  Rectangles? Rectangles? Do you know that these are rectangles?  These are rectangles!  Mommy!  Rectangles!  I like rectangle cheese but do you like rectangle cheese?  Oh look!  Plastic forks!  <Robot voice > Plastic-forks-plastic-forks-I-like-to-eat-with-plastic-forks.  Mommy, look.  Look at me.  I am a short guy.  Now I am a tall guy.  See?  Short guy.  Tall guy. Short guy. Tall guy.

A nice lady walks by.  He greets her with "Heeeellllllooooooooooooo! I like RECTANGLES!"

At the checkout, he is unloading each item from the cart with a huge grunt and an announcement to everyone around us of the name of the item.  "UUUUUUUGGGGGHHH"  he hefts out a cereal box, "CEREAL" Then, "UUUUUGGGGGGHHHH! CARROTS".

Then he starts kissing things.  The counter, the magazines, he tries to kiss the display of candy but I stop him. "But I just love everything!"  He says when I make him stop.

Quick change of subject, now he is asking me "What does revenge mean?  Why do we want revenge?"  I have no idea what he's talking about.  I offer a quick definition of revenge.  I see the lady behind us smile at him.

"You have a lot of milk there!" She says.

"We will get REVENGE!"  He responds.

We unload the groceries into the van and he settles into his seat.  "I heard about revenge on Pokemon." he explains.  Then he stares out the window quietly for the whole ride home.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Periodic Madness

This is my oldest son, Joe.  Joe is in love with the Periodic Table.  He just adores it.  In fact, he is writing a fictional piece about the elements called, "Periodic Madness".

Joe is a bit of a perfectionist and wasn't going to be happy with himself until he memorized the entire periodic table.  He has worked hard on this task.

We call it his "party trick".  I'm pretty impressed/amused by it.  I hope you will be too.

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Sue Memory: An American Tail

We had a standing date on Friday nights.  We agreed that if neither of us got a better offer, we would go out together.  I loved this arrangement because with me being in the 7th grade, "a better offer" usually meant a babysitting job.  She had plenty of better offers but sometimes was free on a Friday.  After all, she was a real grown up with a job, a car, and everything.

On our Friday nights she would pick me up at home.  As we walked out the door, she would say, "Ready?" and I knew I was supposed to answer, "Ready, Santa!" in my best Rudolph voice.  Sometimes we went to the mall and she would buy me a slush or maybe a new shirt. Most of the time, though, we would go to 7-11 and buy Fun Dips, the big ones with three flavors of dip and two dipping sticks, hide them in her purse and head to the movies.

In the parking lot of the movie theater she would ask me what music was popular.  She was 20 now and didn't want to lose touch with what the young people were into.  She would ask about school, but not the boring questions most adults asked (do you like school?  what's your favorite subject?).  She would ask if that mean girl was still being mean, did I still like that cute boy in Science class?  Had I ever gotten up the nerve to write him that note I was planning to write?  Did Mr. Linteau still give the hardest vocabulary tests like way back when she had him?

The night we were going to see An American Tail, we had her purse loaded up with Fun Dip and had some time to kill in the parking lot before the movie started.  I asked her if she was sure she wanted to see a little kid movie with a cartoon mouse.  She said she thought it looked like it would be a cute movie.  I felt a little relieved, because I wanted to see it too, but I didn't want to act like a kid.  I told her I had a song for her to listen to, it was a really good one.  I played her "Rock Me" by Great White.  She loved it.  We played it over and over until it was time to go into the theater.  I felt grown up.

We sat in the dark, eating Fun Dip until it made the roofs of our mouths raw.  We both cried when Fivel was reunited with his parents.  I felt like a kid.

She made it easy for me to be both at the same time.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Shopping With Sam

It's Costco day.  Sam has an appointment on Saturday mornings and when he's done we go to Costco together.  He asks for a scrap of paper from my purse and finds a pen.  He sits in the backseat of the van, carefully spelling out each word to make our list. He places himself in charge of making sure I don't stray from the list, and if he sees me even starting to gaze at something in a forbidden area of the store, he puts the list in front of my face and says, "Stay focused, Mama!"

We like to walk slowly, and stop at every sample station.  He tries everything.  He loves the Chinese noodles as much as the baked beans.

We look at the toys, he thinks it's fine for us to stray to this part of the store.  Sometimes he says, "Well it's okay with me if you buy those chocolate covered blueberries, even though they aren't on the list."

We marvel at the new products we haven't noticed before.  He points out the breakfast sausage he wants me to buy every time we come here.  There is a rhythm to our shopping, we do it the same way each time.

When he concentrates on the list and takes the shopping very seriously, I feel like I'm catching glimpses of the adult he's going to be.  In his wide smile, I see the baby he used to be.

After we pay, we each get a fountain drink that costs $.59.  On the way out he hums and skips along.  He is his eight-year-old self now, with spikey hair and long eyelashes. His open-mouthed smile reveals his collection of differently sized teeth with lots of gaps.  "Mama!  Thanks for buying me this drink!" he says.

Shopping with my Sam is one of the simple pleasures that makes me feel peaceful and grateful to be living this life.  I feel so lucky to be able to spend this time with him.  It's something I used to take for granted.

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Crabby Critic Watches Some 80s Hair Band Videos

Ben always, ALWAYS, has an opinion on music.  Today I sat down with him and had him critique some 80s hair band videos.  I did ask him a few questions, but overall I have just written his own running commentary.  I was surprised, as he seemed mostly positive about the videos.  I should also mention that I paid him for his time with Wint-O-Green Lifesavers.

So, without further ado, here are Ben's thoughts:

Poison:  Nothin' But a Good Time

I like the singing.  I like the music. I know that this one is a boy. No. He's a girl. No, wait. I think they are all girls. No. This one is a boy.  I just don't know. I don't know what this song is about.  Nobody knows what this song is about. I'm done with this one now.  I want to go have lunch.

Bon Jovi:  Wanted Dead Or Alive

I know who is a boy and who is a girl in this one.  That one (points at Jon Bon Jovi) is a boy.  That one (points at Richie Sambora) is a girl. Cowboys?  Is this song about cowboys?  I think so.  These guys are dancing but they don't dance very good.  I don't want to be a singer when I grow up because I don't want to sing and I don't really want to be a grown up.  I like their long hair.  But guess what? I don't want to have long hair someday. Because...I don't know why.

Guns N Roses:  Welcome to the Jungle

Oh okay, well I like this one.  I like that guy who sings.  But maybe he's mad?  Is he happy or mad?  I don't like that guy with the black hat though.  He's not scary, but black is not my favorite color.  Maybe somebody else knows what this song is about?

Night Ranger:  Sister Christian

I don't like it.  I don't like all of it.  Are those two guitar guys twins?  I don't like the look of this.  Is it a commercial?  Are they singing in an office?  I don't like the dancing.  I just like commercials.  Wait, this is a commercial or its not a commercial?  What are they selling?  Money or something?  Is this about a sister named Kristen?  Mama?  Can I have another lifesaver?

The Crabby Critic wishes you all a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, June 5, 2014


The late Spring weather makes me feel like I'm turning into someone else.  I roll down the windows of my van and let my hand lazily thread through the wind.  The kids' activities are winding down and I keep running through all the Summer possibilities in my head.  Daydreams of pools, beaches, splash parks, vacations, picnics, concerts, and slow, warm evenings swirl around my head and make me smile in anticipation.

This time last year I had two looming thoughts and they were my constant companions: my husband had just lost his job and Sue's health was declining rapidly.

I felt guilty that I could enjoy a walk in the beautiful weather and she was stuck in her bed.  I felt frustrated about the job situation, but also like I should be constantly grateful that my problem was just about money--I wasn't the one dying.  I tried to be supportive to my husband in his job search, but I was distracted by her heartbreaking phone calls.  I was present in my children's lives physically, but inside I was always calculating. I was counting up in months how long we could live in this house without a steady income.  I was both predicting, and trying not to predict, how much time I thought she might have left.

I felt sick most of the time.  Not the kind of sick that can be treated by a doctor, but the achy stomach-hollowing sickness of constant worry and stress.  I talked a good game when people would ask how I was doing.  I would speak hopeful words that conveyed a positive attitude I didn't actually have.  I would have intense crying breakdowns.

This season feels new and different.  My stomach feels strong.  I find myself with relaxed neck muscles as I sip my Diet Coke on the back patio.  Ben plays nearby, running, hopping, and yelling out random phrases that make sense only to him.  The warm wind makes the leaves jump and wiggle.

The season is creating an unusual feeling inside me.  It feels like hope.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Knucklehead McSpazatron

Over the weekend, I went searching through my old email messages. I had done this previously and found the last several emails from Sue. They weren't very exciting. In fact they were sort of depressing. This time, though, I searched through my "sent" folder. For some reason this folder holds on to very old emails that I have sent, but often are attached to emails I have received. It was here that I found a small treasure.

In an email dated Monday June 16, 2008, Sue sent me the following:

"What are you, a Knucklehead McSpazatron? lol.  We forgot about check in today."

It is impossible for me to fully express how much I love this email.  Every time I think about it, I crack up. She was a master at calling me names, and being a goof-ball.  "Check in" refers to our practice of calling each other every Monday morning to talk about, well, everything.  Apparently, that day we forgot.  I'm so glad we did because now I have this email that makes me smile, laugh, and remember.

I hope you find some joy today!


Knucklehead McSpazatron

P.S. Speaking of Knucklehead McSpazatrons, here are four.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Moving On

When I moved out here four years ago, Sue recommended her family doctor to me.  I am lucky enough to not get sick very often so I haven't had a whole lot of visits with him.  When I would have an appointment, though, we would often discuss Sue.  She had signed paperwork naming me as a person who could discuss her medical information with the doctor.  I would ask him questions about her condition, and get his opinions on what medicines were working and which ones weren't.  When she died, he came to the funeral visitation.

I was avoiding going in for my yearly physical.  It is always hard to talk to people for the first time since her death.  I feel sad and awkward and I'm sure it's no picnic for them either.  But, I need to make sure I get my physical and take care of my health, so I took a deep breath and scheduled the appointment.

At the appointment he asked how I was doing, how her kids and husband were doing.  He talked about going to the funeral home.  I cried a bit.  I told him that I'm doing okay.  I'm working through it.

I thought I was doing pretty well, especially since I was having a hard time being there.

Then out of nowhere, as he was checking my ears he said, "What you really need to do is move on."

I didn't say anything.  I was trying to process this.

"No, really" he said, "You just have to move on."

I didn't answer him, but I should have.  I just got out of there as fast as I could.

Here's the thing: don't tell me how to feel.  Don't tell me that I'm not doing it right.  Don't tell me when you think I should be better.  Don't tell me that you know just how I feel because your hamster died.  Don't tell me that you have been in a funk before so you understand my grief.  Don't tell me that you can't imagine how I'm feeling because I don't want you to imagine how I'm feeling.

And don't, DON'T tell me that I need to move on.  That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

Every day that I get up and do everything I need to do for my kids, I'm moving on.
Every time I feel sad and cry about her, and then feel a bit better because I let it out, I'm moving on.
Every time I go to a counseling appointment or a support group meeting, I'm moving on.
Every time I make it through a holiday or special event without her, I'm moving on.
Every time I post about her on my blog, I'm moving on.
Every time I feel hope for my future, or her kids' futures, I'm moving on.
Every time I sit in the parking lot of the grocery store and remind myself that I can't call her before I go in (as was my habit), I'm moving on.
Every time I visit her grave, then walk away, I'm moving on.

I spent last night researching local doctors and I've found a new one.

It was time to move on.