Everyone grieves…


Everyone grieves in different ways. For some it could take longer or shorter. I do know it never disappears. An ember still smolders inside me. Most days I don’t notice it. But. Out of the blue it’ll flare to life. ~ Mary V Snyder

I’ve written before about how the body knows, how the mind knows and remembers those horrific instances in your life.  I would liken that to a memory foam mattress.  How can I compare grief to a mattress? Well, the mattress knows exactly where it fits you, it remembers those angles and curves of your body as your mind remembers the intricacies and pain of grief.  And sometimes, or every year or milestone, your body gets right back into that groove because it knows what’s coming.

This year has been on the back of my mind for months.  Here we are about to enter the fifth month of 2014 and I have had this niggling thought in my head.  What year is it Joanna? 2014.  What’s the significance of 2014? Why it would have been mine and Barry’s 15th wedding anniversary.  Oh really? So is that why you have felt so uneasy about it? Probably.  It’s also probably why I have been quite bitter about this huge milestone.  15 years seems like such a big deal to me, and I am mad that I have to wait another 13.5 years to experience it with husband #2.  I always look forward to the milestones. I am jealous of all those people I know that are still happily married after so many years.  I had to start over.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am very happily married to the love of my life, and excited to grow old with him.  He completes me.  And we are madly in love.  But I’m still allowed to be bitter about missing these milestones the first time around. Hell, I missed the 10th year by 3 fucking months. Ugh.

So I was watching Call The Midwife tonight, which I just adore by the way.  Jenny’s boyfriend falls during a construction job and ultimately dies from an embolism. Cue big crocodile tears.  That’s what my husband died from.  Watching her fall apart, sobbing because she didn’t get a chance to say goodbye.  And then hearing an older woman (WWII Survivor) tell her that she might not think she’s ok now, but she will be one day, and that she had to keep on living until she felt alive again….all that resonated with me.  So much so that I wanted to find a quote about grief.  I went to google and typed in “quotes about grief”, and wouldn’t you know it, the very first one that popped up was the quote I wrote up above.

How very true. Little thoughts remind me, and sometimes they don’t bother me, but sometimes they set the ember ablaze like tonight. You learn to live with the heartache, it dulls, but a quick knife twist and it’s throbbing again.  No woman should ever have to say goodbye to her husband at 29, ever.

I guess grief is what I needed to push me to write again. But since I’m so slow with my writing, don’t expect to see a post for awhile probably.  If you get another within a week, count yourselves lucky.  I’m going to go nurse my crying hangover with a trip to my bed.  This one isn’t a memory foam mattress.


I’ve rather grown to like it here

Can’t believe I would ever say that about Fort Riley, but it’s true, I have rather grown to like it here.  It’s a far cry from what I was saying a year ago, and the copious amount of tears and disagreements my husband and I had about the kids and me moving here are gone now.  I did not want to leave Washington because it was what I knew for the last 13 years.

But despite my not wanting to leave Washington, I was not that happy there.  I was very lonely and had less than a handful of friends.  I was not involved with anything, and was a stay at home mom for the whole time we lived there.  I knew people yes, but we weren’t close.  I longed for friends that I could hang out with all the time, more than the few that I had.

I feel  that coming to Fort Riley has made me blossom in ways I never expected.  Not two months after we arrived, I took over our FRG as FRG Leader, and I LOVE it.  I really do.  It keeps me busy, and though we’ve had our share of FRG issues, I still really enjoy my job as FRG leader.  I’ve never felt that way before.  It makes me feel important, when before I did not.  I’m not trying sound pompous, but when you feel like you have no purpose before, this is a refreshing change.

I also started volunteering at the USO around the same time I became FRG leader.  While I have not worked there nearly close to what I’ve done as FRG leader, I still find it very fulfilling.  I get to be social with others, get out of the house, meet new people. Yesterday another lady and I manned the USO booth at the conference center during a welcome for new soldiers.  I couldn’t tell you how many new soldiers came up to our table, and I got to tell them all about our USO center, and it felt great!  I’m managing the USO twitter account, and I am also going to be working on the website as well as soon as it’s up and running properly.

I’ve met countless wonderful women, and let me tell you, it is a heartwarming feeling when you’re walking down the street and someone you know waves at you.  When you call your kids’ middle school and they recognize who you are (because you have three kids there and seem to be there all the time, and calling about certain things all the time, lol), you feel like you are noticed.  I have a few friends here, and I know many more women too.  Today I am going out for lunch with one of the ladies in my FRG and I’m really looking forward to it.

Getting out and being active in the community has helped me blossom more than I realize.  At the conference center yesterday, I ran into at least four women I knew.  I don’t know if I can really explain how I feel this gives me some purpose.  The USO and being FRG leader have REALLY helped me.  I feel being thrown into this Army life has forced me to become more active in the community.

I thought to myself the other day that I am nervous to move back to Washington when my husband retires.  I will be honest, I am afraid that I will become a hermit again.  We don’t know how many years it will be till we are back in our home, but I do plan to volunteer at the USO as long as I am able, and I’ll probably get a job too.  I still struggle here with feeling lonely, but I am getting better with it every day.  I think I need to put myself out there more often and perhaps not be so afraid of rejection.

I miss Washington so much, but I actually am quite happy here in Kansas.  And I am REALLY looking forward to a visit home this Christmas…here we come Seattle and Vancouver! In 10.5 months. 😉

The Ever Controversial Flu Shot

You know what, I am just sick and tired of hearing everyone bash the flu shot.  It grinds my gears, gets my goat, pisses me off to no avail.  Every time one of my friends posts about it on Facebook, I can feel my blood boil and my blood pressure rise a million miles a minute.

My first husband DIED because of H1N1 back in 2009.  You know why? Because he didn’t have the flu shot. Because he was one of the unlucky ones.

So here’s a big fuck you to all of you flu shot naysayers.  Go ahead and don’t get it if you don’t want, but don’t come crying back to me or society when someone in your family dies from the flu, because I just wont care.  I’ll say “I told you so”.

Never will one of my children or I skip the flu shot. I will not take risks with my children’s heath, and I refuse to let that disease ruin my life for a second time.  Do you know what H1N1 did to my husband?

First, it made him sick.  He had a very high fever and vomiting, and chills.  He was coughing like no body’s business..  He was really sick at the end of September 09, and I told him I was worried about him, and he said to me “Don’t worry, if I feel like I’m going to die, I’ll go to a hospital”.

I brought him to the hospital October 3d and he never came home.  H1N1 caused him to get the flu, bilateral multilobar pneumonia (which in layman’s terms means he had really awful pneumonia in BOTH lungs), and then it caused a blood clot.  The blood clot caused him to go into cardiac arrest.  There is nothing worse than hearing your husband’s last words, as he looks at you with a haunting look in his eyes, “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe,  why can’t I breathe?”  I never got to talk to him again, only rub his legs in comfort, as the nurses rushed me out of the room as code blue was called.

So again…fuck you to all the flu shot naysayers.


*this post brought to you by another ignorant Facebook poster who has now been unfriended.  I’m going to go outside now and pick up my youngest from school because I can feel an anxiety attack hitting me as I write this. I don’t want to cry right now 😦