Today was Andrea and my wedding anniversary. I wasn’t sure what the day would bring, sweet memories, tears of loss, or weather I would just be numb knowing that I had to work all day. I spent the morning first with my little man who makes me smile so much. He is one determined little guy and keeps me bonded to my late wife. I dropped him off with his nanny and spent the rest of the morning with a dear friend of Andrea and mine sipping tea and eating truffles. Spending time in silent prayer and reflection. I felt her spirit there and got a chance to thank her for all the love she has given me and all the love she has gracefully left behind for me. So my morning was actually beautiful and not sad. Our wedding was a lot like Andreas memorial, Simple, real, beautiful, and a little unorthodox. In the weeks after I heard many friends that where there that it was the most real wedding they had ever been to. I had always wanted to be married to someone I was truly in love with. I loved the experience. I loved my wife. I love the family she gave me. And when the time is right, with the right person, I would gladly and fearlessly forge down that path again keeping the lessons about love and partnership that Andrea and I taught each other close to my heart at all times.
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Howdy folks. Blogging is strange without Andrea around. It made more sense to me then. Writing love letters to her when she was medicated and a bit unreachable that I knew would reach her eventually made sense to me. I’m a pretty passionate guy like that. Now I guess its for her memory or for you guys maybe. Life has become sort of routine. I say sort of because every day with a toddler is an adventure. Grieving too has slowed to a slow ache rather than a sharp pain. I have a few dear friends who help me bear this and that keeps me going. I also really appreciate all the responses and those who are still reading. I love to think that our family is still in your prayers. Things are financially super tight but manageable (maybe). I am going to try to print some cool punk rock mommy t shirts and maybe even sweatshirts to sell for the Christmas season and hopefully that will help get us through the slow winter months. I am proud to announce that Jon and Holly Olshefski (Jon is the amazing photographer) are now the parents of a beautiful baby boy. In getting this news I felt Andreas loss the hardest that I have in a while. I told Jon that I knew she was smiling super big for them. Andrea taught me a lot and a love for babys is definitely one of those things. I am trying so very hard to be a good father to my own baby and kids right now. I feel like the other kids have a really good foundation but if clay is all screwed up well thats all me. Its hard being mommy and daddy all rolled up into one but that is my lot in life for right now & I love them all dearly. I hope they can see it shining through. Time to get a little sleep and start all over in the morning.
I’m not dead yet. This is what the T shirt Andrea picked out and I got for her when we took Jesse to go see Spamalot on Broadway. This is how she frequently approached her cancer. This is the Andrea we all felt some sense of awe about. This is also how I feel about this blog. So my sweeties (something else she might say) After a long wait with no internet connection, here we are again. I’m hoping that we can all come together on the idea that it is not yet time to let the memory of the beautiful person that Andrea was and the ideals she stood for slip away quietly. In fact not many were privy to much about this woman that she did quietly, I shall always consider myself fortunate for being one of the few.
The kids all seem to be doing well. There are a lot of ups and downs in this period of much adjustment but we are all pulling through. New house almost unpacked (thanks to many beautiful friends). My mom and step father (very much a father) have been here helping me with the baby and putting the finishing touches on everything. the kids are getting into the swing of things in new schools while Jesse kicks it old school. I am trying to get used to being a single parent and fall into a routine. I think thats gonna take a minute though.
So I got tattooed last night. Its a pretty dead punk rock girl with her head on a leopard spot pillow with black roses in the background and ribbons reading anything for love. I asked one of my coworkers to draw it up right after Andrea passed. It is a great tattoo, though when I looked at it this morning I felt it was a bit more morbid than I had anticipated much in the vein of how I felt about Andreas death. The important part, what it stands for, is very relevant though. ANYTHING FOR LOVE. If I learned anything from the experience of loving and losing such a lovely human being it is what is actually important. Had I to do it all over again, I would still be right where I am today. I would still have a baby. I would still feel the loss of a dead wife. I would still be tattooing. I would still have amazing friends. The only thing I would have done differently would be to worry less about money and career, and maybe take that extra hour a day and love my wife even more (and I did love her well). I hope to take this lesson (and I can always just read my leg) with me and apply it well to the rest of my life. To all present and future relationships be they platonic, family, or well you know the other kind. These are the real investments to be made. So please go out and give someone worthy that extra hour soon. And when you are feeling blue, know that you are loved.
Sometimes it is hard to accept that all but the present is out of our hands. This morning, moments ago, I semi reluctantly but without reservation turned all things to god. The wise old man on the hill god no longer seems to work for me. But neither does trying to bend everything to my will. I recently told Josh, my pastor and dear friend that I felt I needed a new relationship with god. I think that may be synonymous with needing a new relationship with myself as well. So this morning I turn all things to the care of god and pray to be a vessel of that energy. I offer up that which I cling to most. May I be of service to those I love on earth and in the big blue heavens.
I have been greatly missing some really close friends these last few days. Ori and Tamara are both on vacation (i don’t think I’m ever gonna let them leave town at the same time again). Alec has gone off to college, and though I could not be prouder I still miss him. And of coarse I miss Andrea. Sometimes joyfully and sometimes with great sadness, but not a day goes by that I don’t wish for ten more minutes. I am grateful that she is here in spirit in so many ways, but a little fearful that this will lessen with the move. I guess we’ll see.
Yesterday was the hardest day in quite a while. I had been looking for secrets or things I had forgotten while packing over the last week and not finding much. I wanted to remember the Andrea before cancer. The one I fell in love with. The one I changed my entire life for. She did cancer with grace. But let me tell you she did life… I was in awe. Yesterday I found what I was looking for. A love letter here, a picture there, marriage vows… I wept for hours. In moving I will be saying good bye, though my fondest memories are not even in this house. They lie in a crappy little 3 bedroom row home on oakdale street. I pulled it all back together in time for clay to get home with his loving girl friday (Jenny). I had the good fortune of talking with two amazing friends who continue to help me keep it all in perspective. And the boys are always there as well. Today I am In love with the world and all its possibilities. Thanks for being here.
Sorry friends for being away so long. I feel guilty as if I have let you down. Or maybe it is Andrea’s memory. I will not let her fade so quickly. Not that she would let me anyway. I feel her presence often almost as if she got to stick around a while to see what happens. I think that though not perfect, I was a good husband. I don’t know much about being a good late husband or even a single parent for that matter. On a spiritual level I feel that death has rocked me far far of coarse. I guess I had expectations about the relationship between god and death that were not met. I pray that Andrea’s expectations were and hope I get to find out some day. If God is there then I’m sure he is watching over me and my family in this temporary state of disillusionment and if this is all we have then at least I believe strongly in love and humanity.
So as far as the title goes… I need some help. Help could come in a few different forms I think. My situation is this…. As you know we need to move around the 25th or so. I have managed to survive the day to day grind without my wife. I have even managed to pull of a few shining moments of parenthood amidst a little guilt about just getting by. I have not been able to pack for the move or tie up all of Andrea’s affairs and the clock is ticking. Part two of my dilemma is that Naomi was planning on coming down for a month and taking care of the baby so I could get a lot of this stuff done, but can no longer because she can’t afford to take time away from work. She really took quite a bit of time and energy away for her life to be around during the time of Andrea’s passing and for that I feel forever in her debt. So what I really need right now is for those who are good with kids (and know my little man) to maybe donate a few half days of their time to take clay out to the park or zoo or… so I can get some of this other stuff done without breaking the bank on childcare. Please feel free to give me a call on Andrea’s old phone if you think you can help. 215 806 8573. I will be making some individual phone calls as well to those who already said they might have some time, but even that is hard to find the time to do so if you want to beat me on the draw feel free to grab your calender and call. You guys have all been amazing with helping this family stay afloat financially and emotionally, and I thank you . I will try hard not to be a stranger for so long anymore.
Hi Everybody! This is Shayna writing. Though most of you won’t know me, Andrea was my good friend and a wonderful friend to my daughter too. We miss her. (great big sigh) Towards the end, I told my daughter, Jahna that we needed to say goodbye. I told her to think of the things that she wanted to say to Andrea. By this time Andrea was heavily medicated most of the time, so visits were unpredictable. Sometimes she was asleep. Sometimes she was upset. One day, perhaps a week before she died, we planned a visit. Jahna had written out the things that she wanted to tell Andrea. It was a list of all the things Jahna liked about her. We finally got to see her late one night and lucky for us she was awake. It was the last time I talked to her at length and it was really perfect. We told her how much we would miss her and how we loved her so much. She told us she loved us too. She said she wasn’t scared. That always amazed me. As usual, the kids were in and out of the room and Andrea was talking to them, directing them, advising. She was a mother right up to the end, telling Alec what phone he should get, telling Jesse which bedroom he should pick at the new house, talking about clothes for Bailey’s new school. She gave me some good advice too. She told me that when it comes to love that no one is perfect, that everything goes in cycles. She told me to be patient and to stick things out. Then her eyes started to shut. And I just held her hand and Jahna hugged her goodbye. Jahna still had her list, but Andrea was too tired so we left.
These are some of the things from Jahna’s list:
1. Her feet were a size ten (which made me feel better about my feet).
2. She only did her food shopping at Trader Joe’s.
3. She intimidated everyone.
4. She looked beautiful and put on make up even when she was really sick.
5. She knew everybody.
6. She had great fashion.
7. I loved to just be with her.
8. She told good stories.
9. She had a “Looking Good for Jesus” tote bag.
10. Her house was full of good energy.
11. She was totally different from anyone I had ever met.
12. She dressed Clay like a rock star.
13. She was hilarious.
14. When she ordered pizza, she told the pizza guy how to cook carmelized onions because he always did it wrong.
15. She had a mink stole (that always scared me)
16. She loved leopard print.
17. She rocked at board games.
18. She totally loved God and was never embarrassed to talk about it.
19. She really was a punk rock mommy.
20. She always told me how much she loved me
Last year I walked 60 miles in three days to raise funds for the Susan J. Kohmen Foundation. I walked in Andrea’s honor and it was really fantastic. I raised 2200 dollars in her name. Most of that money came in through people that I had never even met. People that read this blog, that loved her.
Andrea was really happy that I was doing the walk. At one point, I had walked about 40 miles and she called me up all excited. She had just gotten some seemingly good news about a scan and wanted to tell me about it. It was an optimistic time. She told me she was proud of me and said she could never walk 60 miles. I told her that fighting cancer was so much harder– but she said that she would rather have cancer than walk 60 miles! That was Andrea’s kind of humor. Well, this year my step daughter, Erin and I are both walking in honor of Andrea… in celebration of her life. It has been a great honor for me to be a part of her life and her death… and a part of her family. As much as I miss her everyday, I feel so lucky too. So, I do this walk as a thank you to Andrea —for the time she gave and for her six completely awesome kids and in hopes that someday soon research will lead to medicines that give women like Andrea more time. Please visit our sites and thanks to everyone.
I don’t feel like I get to miss my wife as much as I’d like to. When I do it hits me like a ton of bricks. I hope that soon things will slow down enough that I find time to sit down and remember her and actively miss her. I just worry that being a single parent is so overwhelming and details fade from memory so fast… I just want to hold on to some thing.
Things have been moving along how they do, sometimes easy, sometimes seemingly more than I can handle. Contemplating giving up Slo (the basset pup) as a toddler and a puppy is a bit much for me right now. This is a bitter pill as Andrea was really on me to try to make the puppy work out… Alas I can’t do it on my own and the kids are less than thrilled about training a pup no matter how cute he is. Sooo Any takers ? As for everything else I feel like I am settling into a single parent groove ok but everything else is coming pretty slowly.
I have a bunch of stuff to get organized, Andrea’s stuff to pack a million phone calls to make, accounts to close …ect. I tend to knock about one of these things of my list a day at the most. The list is getting smaller, but still a bit overwhelming. We’ll get through it all eventually. I joined a gym with the boys and they have been trading off days working out with me . This is great for me because it makes me work out every day. They are really enjoying it much to my surprise and I used work out daily for years so I have a lot that I can teach them.
Finally I just want to say that I miss writing what I call the Morrisey blogs, You know sugary sweet and all about love. Sorry it turns out that I was writing those for Andrea and you guys got to read along, the thing is now I don’t feel sweet about much… cept clay, I try to be hard but he cracks me every time.
thanks for stoppin by
Our grief seems to manifest itself in many strange ways. Collectively we have: Building a blanket cave in our room and living there, not doing chores, calling the puppy names, pooping in the tub (ok that may just be because he can), starting fights over dumb stuff, starting fights with everyone in the house, professing unrequited love to a close family friend, unsuccessfully looking for blind dates on the internet, retail therapy, playing video games well past bedtime, still not doing chores and acting confused when it is brought to ones attention that the house is a mess, answering every question with “I Don’t know”, being uptight with those only trying to help, living on the internet… ect.
I guess we are all right on track, beautifully F’ed up. Seems pretty much perfect for now. The trick is to catch one self or call each other on it. I frequently have to remind the kids and myself that things are seldom what they seem. When we are jammed up about the “little stuff” if we take a minute to feel we will usually arive at “Damn, I miss her.”
Other than that I have been working my way though a little bit of the stuff I need to every day. Car insured, license renewed, ect. Apparently the social security benefits that Andrea though the kids would be getting don’t exist. Apparently she didn’t work enough in her lifetime to have the government do anything for the kids. Lousy, because that was to be a big part of my child care fund. Folks are always asking if they can help… so yes, If you are good with kids (and I know you) if you want to take Clay somewhere and do something with him for a few hours here and there ( especially during the rest of the summer) so I can have some time to pack, make appointments, go to the gym, make an AA or church meeting…. That would be super helpful. If you want to come over some night and cook our food and have dinner with us… That would be supper helpful (ha ha get it). I get a strange pleasure a out of knowing that Andrea would be rolling her eyes at that last one. In case you didn’t know I married the queen of the eye rollers.
I feel like the universe (that means you) has already been more than generous for this lifetime, But fyi any donations to the paypal account at this point will most likely go to childcare… And that would be helpful. I am trying to do the best I can as a single parent and some days are better than others. Unfortunately I can’t multi task like the missus used to.
As we of the secret handshake like to say.
This too shall pass.
My apologies for making you all wait it out. Its hard to be here right now. I want to honor my soulmate and at the same time am struggling hard to get out of cancerland and on with the business of living. Single parenthood has its ups and downs but I am so in love with my little man that its worth every exhausting minute. The other kids I love equally but they are easier (they can talk) and Andrea did such an amazing job raising them. I have been busy taking care of as much stuff as I can before I go back to work 3 days a week. Some moments I feel free to laugh with friends, other moments an overwhelming emptiness washes over me. I’m sure it is the same for the kids. It manifests itself in different ways with each, but I know them so I see it. Being a widow is strange. It is not being single. Being the widow of someone as well loved as Andrea makes me feel both like royalty and totally untouchable at the same time. To a certain degree this is true ( I did a reality check with a few close friends and they agreed.) Grieving, I think for men seems to intensify you baser needs. I feel guilty for being that cliche. I guess I miss being held at night the most. Andrea was my true love, so much so that I got the words true love tattooed down the backs of my arms shortly after meeting her like some decoration of purpose or saying I believe in true love. Cancer is so hard to go through with your lover. The loss gets deeper as you go but you need to make it ok for your partner. Loss of breasts… People would say “they’re just breasts” in trying to help. As if I shouldn’t feel loss over this. They were beautiful breasts and as a husband they were often quite comforting. The loss continues and one by one things that I love about my wife disappear. Probably the hardest was the last 3 months with the growing need for pain killers. I began to miss her before she was gone. This was not the woman I fell in love with although enough of her shone through that I was still madly in love. Now that she’s gone I feel a little bit empty and scattered. The familiar doesn’t always comfort me in the way it used to. I guess I equate it with loss. When I step outside my social circle I don’t have to talk about cancer if I don’t want to and that is nice. I am starting to focus energy into taking care of myself again. This is something that I did little of in the last 6 months. I have to be doing things now that are healthy for me so that I actually have something to give the children because I feel about empty now. It would be nice to be on speaking terms with God again. It’s not that we aren’t talking its just that my understanding of God got a little rocked in the long hours of Andrea’s death and is now in flux. It is what is and I’m really hoping not to get 100 spiritual advisers on the comment list. I hope this still helps people out there. I’m no punk rock mommy.