Sunday, October 19, 2014

{T day}

We've officially made it an entire year.
The week leading up to our year mark felt pretty heavy to me,
but the actual day was a beautiful, lovely day...
mostly because so many of you helped to make it so.

Travis would have loved fact, I'm sure he did.

I got e-mail after e-mail, text after text and pic after pic of such great acts!
The entire day just made my heart feel warmed and full of joy,
and I think it helped a lot of other people feel that way too.
Anyone who loved Travis should be happy that this day was dedicated to him.

I bet I'll miss a State or if I did, correct me!
But-last I checked, service was done in all of these places.


I know for a fact that I'm missing a lot of acts below,
and there were A LOT of texts that just said
"Did something for someone while thinking of T today."
So great.

A complete stranger and her family helped a man in need.
A friend sent darling orange filled boxes to missionaries
Families left gifts on peoples stoops.
Lots of cookies left on doorsteps.
Dinners for families moving.
Our local Hospice threw a BBQ to honor their employees in Trav's name.
A friend saw that a women in our town was trying to find a cheap stroller on
facebook because she couldn't fit her big one in the hospital to take her baby while she got chemo,
they bought her a brand new one.  This one made me cry.
Lots of them made me cry....
Pumpkins donated in Trav's name for a fundraiser for someone battling cancer.
A very thoughtful gift for someone truly deserving.
A friend and her family made an orange cake and threw a party for grandparents.
A free photo session from a fabulous photographer for someone in need.
Letters to her children who needed a smile.
Drive-through Breakfast at McDonald's was bought for some cute little old ladies.
Orange Donuts were delivered to some friends.
Some surprised overdo library fines were paid.
Lots of sweet kids brought treats for teammates.
Lots of people donated to
Lots of very happy people had their groceries paid for.
Aggie tickets were given to a few very happy people.
A friend helped his mom with some chores around the house.
Many secret services. Many.
Adorable kids cleaning the neighborhood parks.
Lots of kids used their own money to help out however they could.
A friend took Trav and My favorite sugar cookies (From the Sugar Cookie in Saint George)
to people in the hospital.  So awesome.
More dinners for deserving families.
Kids loading coolers and picking up garbage.
Lots of raked leaves.
Beautiful pies were baked and taken to others.
Brightened a family members day by surprising her with a visit.
Coins taped to the car wash (so creative!)
Horse rides were given.
Olive Garden lunch was purchased for a cute couple.
 A darling little girl gave away extra tickets at a carnival to a kid who needed them.
Visiting sick grandparents and giving cards.
Wendy's drive through, multiple times.
Grocery Carts were taken in.
Garbage's clean up.
Garages were cleaned too!
Cookies were passed out at a parade.
Temple Work was done by multiple people.
The girls classes went to the cemetery to visit Trav's grave...
they delivered flowers to lonely graves and cleaned up garbage on their way.
Roads were clean up by two very cute boys in orange in CA.
A friend offering a ride to someone who has to WALK  a very far way to school, for the rest of the year.... very kind and generous.
A friend of mine and his wife were talking about what they could do in front of their kids, and the day got away from them.  They felt really bad, until they pulled in their driveway and saw that their
kids did jobs around the house, after overhearing them discuss it the day before.  So great.
A friend brought in her neighbors (who is pregnant) garbage and helped donate to a couple in need of IVF.
A dinner was purchased for someone serving our Country.
A lunch at a drivethrough in Preston.
Helped a single mom with groceries and helped Grandparents rake leaves
A great family went to meet the Mormons and gave away movie passes and popcorn.  So fun!
Lots and lots and lots of service from our YM/YW and Activity Day girls.
Dinner was purchased at a restaurant for a young family.
A darling little boy left coins for the mechanic horse rides at the store.  So adorable!
Secret services.
Food bank donations and kind notes to kids and friends.
Someone paid the field trip donations for some kids who couldn't afford it (such a great idea!)
A few Boxes of Sunshine were sent.
Cobwebs and Windows were cleaned for an older woman, and her favorite food was purchased.
Friends delivered treats to fire fighters who helped their family during a fire last year.
Pumpkin bread was delivered (YUM!)
A friend edited pictures for family member who couldn't attend a funeral and sent them his way.
My darling friend Marielle, who is serving in Switzerland contacted EVERY single person
in orange for a whole day.  This was too darling!
Another friend on a mission did a service in Mexico.
A cute friend had her daughter write a card and gave a stranger money.
A friend paid for a young girls gas.  The girl cried and told her she was worried about paying her bills.  Pretty awesome.
A friend served a man in need on the streets, and brought cupcakes to half the city of Smithfield.
Someone delivered US our favorite cinnamon rolls... I told them it wasn't supposed to benefit us,
as I chowed one down. :)
Another friend cleaned the church, she felt like it wasn't enough, and they discussed service
with their kids for FHE afterwards.  She said she was very touched by how much it made them want to serve others. (And in my opinion, cleaning the church  is a fabulous service!)
Carmel apples were given to people at the temple.
A gas card was given to someone at the gas station.
Roo's soccer team wore orange socks, made orange cookies and let off orange balloons.
It made her feel so special and it was so kind of everyone to surprise us and support us like that!

I know I am forgetting some.
I'm sorry if I forgot yours!  We were bombarded by goodness all day long.

Thank you to those who served.  I can't help but wonder how many acts were passed on,
how many were kept quiet, and I sure hope that the spirit of giving continues!

I have no words to express my gratitude for helping us make that day so special.
I was worried it was going to be incredibly hard.
It was hard-but it was beautiful and filled with so much love.

And I really have no words to express my gratitude for getting us through the past year.
(Who am I kidding...the past 5 years!)
We have been prayed for and served and so incredibly loved.
People have met our needs before I realized exactly what it was that was needed.
My friends have rescued me so many times.  They've let me cry when I needed to,
laugh when I really needed to, and vent at all times of the day.
My kids have made such great, compassionate friends.
They've had blessings from neighbors and grandpa when needed.
They've been able to laugh and smile through a very hard time of their lives.
I am so proud of them, and know that they couldn't get through it without the army of people helping us along the way.

I miss our nightly chats, cooking his favorite food, holding his hand in the car.
I miss his laughter and support.
I miss him as a husband and best friend.
And I miss him as a Father.
Our family just looks different now.
For a while, we are just 3 ladies trying to figure it all out.
I figure if we stumble a little, that's ok.
And am gonna do my best to pick us back up when we fall...
so do your best not to judge me when I haven't picked us up quite as gracefully as Id like to.
(If you judge me...I'll say this: I wouldn't wish this widowing shiz on my worst enemy.)
(Yep, I wrote shiz.  Judge away.)

Looking forward I'm making goals for us three ladies.
We will still talk about Travis daily.
Because these girls will always know their Daddy.
We are gonna fill our lives up with goodness.
Before Trav died, we talked a lot about what I'd do without him.
He told me to make sure we were happy...
so we are gonna be happy.
(I told him to do his best and not judge me from above for the mistakes I'm sure to make....
he promised me he wouldn't:).
We are gonna travel the world and wear gorgeous shoes.
We are gonna stay up late on the weekends and sleep in as often as possible.
We are going to grow our testimonies and I'm going to do my best to make sure they know how important that was to their Dad.
We are going to make mistakes, and hopefully learn from them.
And we are going to look for others to serve,
because HEAVEN KNOWS that we've had our turn.

Wish us luck on our journey,
and thank you-from the very bottom of my heart-and from Trav's too,
for the amazing support we've had over the years.
We love you all.

Friday, October 10, 2014

{12 Months}

Its 11:48 on October 10th.
I've been trying to get my mind to shut off...
but I'm not succeeding.

I just can't fathom how a year has gone by since my best friend passed away.
I can't fathom that it's only been a year.

Somedays it feels like it was yesterday-
and others it feels like it was at least 10 years ago.

This past few weeks have been full of very hard memories and emotions...
and I like life much better when those things aren't so close to the surface.

Here's what I've learned in the past 12 months.

Not a day will go by where I wont miss him.
Not one.

Not a day will go by where the girls wont miss him.
Not one.

We miss his laugh, his confidence, his warmth..
and just his physical presence.
Even when he was incredibly weak,
his strong spirit and heart helped strengthen our family.
I would revel to be able to rub his forehead and give him a kiss before bed, one more time.
And I would probably do just about anything to hear him say my name.
Husbands don't say your name enough...
it was always 'babe' or 'honey' or something like that...
but when he said "Hayley" my heart would melt into a puddle.
I loved it.  I miss it so fiercely.

I've learned that I relied on Travis to make me whole.
And I've had to find out who I am without him.
I'm working on it every single day.
I can't rely on his testimony.
I can't rely on him telling me I'm good enough...
whether it be in my parenting skills, cooking skills, the way I look or even the type of friend I am,
I have to TRUST in myself, and KNOW myself.
And I have to remember that Travis had complete faith that I could do this.

I'm working on this every single day.
I have a long ways to go.

I've learned that we are strong,
the ladies and I.
We are made of strength.
We get out of bed every morning and try to smile.
We laugh a lot.
We tease each other, support each other, fight with each other,
drive each other crazy, and love each other in the best of ways.
We laugh-cry and repeat.

I wouldn't have survived this without my sweet girls.
I am so incredibly proud to be their mom.

We've learned who will always be here for us.
Who will step up, even when it's completely inconvenient to them.
Learned who we can turn to in our worst moments.
And we've learned an awful lot about they type of people we want to be.

I've learned to let things go that are too hard to carry.

I've learned that it's a wonderful feeling to
"sweat the small stuff" again.

And I've learned that we can do this.
We can and we are.

Sometimes it's not graceful.
In fact, it's really usually not graceful at all..
but we are doing our best.

I still sometimes can't believe that this is my life.
That I am truly a widow,
and that I have to figure this life out fresh every single day.
But I wouldn't change our time together.
I'd marry him all over again.

I will probably post one more post on this blog with some of the fun service projects done in Trav's name, and then I know it's time to say goodbye to the Cancer blog.
It's been such a great place for me to express how I feel over the past year,
and for the years before that, a wonderful forum to keep everyone up to date on Trav's battle.
Thanks to everyone who has checked in over the years.
We have felt so loved and supported.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

{A day for our T}

Next Saturday marks a year since Travis passed away.

When I think of Travis, and when I remember his life,
his last year of life especially-
I remember how much Travis wanted to make others' lives better.

About 2 months before he died a friend at work was going through a few
health problems....and honestly, comparatively, they were much smaller then T's.

But Travis would come home, after working most of the day- barely able to eat,
throwing up at work, sweating, aching and exhausted-
and all he could talk about was how bad he felt for his friend.
How worried he was about his upcoming tests and his future.

He would say, 
"He's just too young for this..."

I don't even think Trav saw the irony in his worry.

And I can't even tell you how many times he would come home broken hearted
over the loss of a friend at the Cancer Center, or just how he could tell someone was 
having a bad day or tough treatment.

And no matter if we were stretching ourselves incredibly thin trying to pay for a 
drug or a scan, Travis always wanted to give to someone else...,make sure others had 
what they needed.

He was compassionate and giving and selfless.

So as I've been wracking my brain on a way to make our year mark special.
The girls really wanted to do 'something'...but we've been struggling with the right thing.
It's easy to do something sad.
It's also easy to do something so big it ends up feeling like a party.
And clearly, it's not a day to have a party.

So after a panic text to my sister-she came up with the best idea,
and I think Travis would completely approve.

Next Saturday is a day of kindness/service in honor of Travis.
We would love for you to join us.

Buy someone lunch in the drive through line.
Rake someones leaves.
Take someone dinner.
Give someone a compliment.
Make someones day.

Please E-mail me ( a pic or story of your service,
or tag me on Facebook,
or Instagram it with the hashtag #travstrong #travservice

I am praying you all join us.
I can't picture anything more special then sitting with the ladies next 
weekend and sharing with them all the acts of service in their Dad's name.
A way to show them that he can still live on and he still inspires others.

Don't let me down and make me look stupid...ok?

Share this with others and let's make it a great day for T!

Monday, August 4, 2014

{Just a little post}

It's just about 10 months since Travis passed away.

It seems very strange to me that he's been gone for that long...
And then sometimes it seems strange that 'it's only been 10 months.'

I ran into a dear friend the other day who told me she worries about
me and cries for me whenever she reads my blog.

I left feeling like I really needed to post this:

I'm doing good.
We are doing good.

The past few months especially have been healing for me, 
and for the girls too, I think.

Some of the struggles and concerns that have 
really plagued me since Travis died,
have just gone away.
I'm able to really focus on what's important,
remember really good and happy things,
and I'm able to show my kids that
 life is fun...
life is good...
and life is happy.

I'm proud of the 3 of us.

I don't want to pretend that we don't have hard days,
or days where we feel just not quite ourselves.
I imagine,
even 20 years down the road,
I will still have hard days.
Days where I'm angry that Travis suffered for such a long time,
and days where I'm angry that my sweet girls had to lose their Dad so young.
Days where I still miss him so deeply.

Travis will always be missed.
We think of him every day.
We miss him every day.

But tonight,
I sat outside watching Sienna play soccer in the yard while the breeze blew pretty strongly.
We came inside and all watched Disney channel,
said prayers and I tucked them in.
Sienna snuggled to her favorite zebra stuffed animal,
Adyson begged to read Percy Jackson.
I locked the doors,
stopped the sprinklers from running (because its raining!)
and when the house was quiet,
I was content.

We are adjusting,
and I'm proud of us.
So proud of my girls who make me smile every day.
They are incredibly special, resilient, beautiful and happy.

Travis lives on in them.

So don't worry about us Kidman girls.
We've totally got this.

(Big ginormous hugs to those of you who've helped us overcome some of the ugly stuff,
and who will continue to be here when those blue days come our way.  We are so grateful to have the beautiful support system we have.)

Friday, July 11, 2014


Today Marks 9 months since Travis passed away.
These days, the 11th of every single month...
they cause me to stop and assess and think.
And also,
quite honestly,
eat chocolate.

July has been a tough months so far,
and it's only the 11th....

So today,
I've thought about why?
Why has my heart been so heavy and how in the world
will it ever feel light again?

I've learned this:
I have a pattern.
I do pretty good.
We are feeling semi-normal,
and then something happens,
and I take a few steps back before moving forward again.

I ran Ragnar with my friends at the very end of June.
We ran for Travis.
The race is a relay from Logan to Park City.
I hadn't been to Park City since Travis passed away and really,
I hadn't even thought about it.
After the race was over we went to eat at a restaraunt at the
Park City Ski resort.  
At the base of the mountain there is a section full of shops and eatery's
and random picnic tables and benches.
We piled out of the suburban,
all sore, me barely able to walk,
and my breath was taken away.

I had just flashes of the many times Trav and I were there together.
We ate at his favorite Mexican restaraunt and I remembered an Anniversary
where he and I ate there, before our life became hard.
And another time when we went there with my brother and his wife....
and we spent 2 hours playing Monopoly on one of the picnic tables in the center of the square.

Steps back.
Steps forward.

.I just have to take a deep breath and move past it.
but honestly part of me hates moving past those beautiful memories.
Sometimes finding the balance between remembering-and moving forward is awfully tough.

A week later came the 4th of July.
I didn't realize when Travis was alive how much we, as a couple, loved this Holiday.
But it was harder then any Holiday to date.

Every single year we would go to the same park.
I'd buy Travis chocolate licorice.
We'd picnic while the kids would get covered in sand from the nearby volleyball courts,
and when the fireworks would start, we'd be together.
We'd sit side by side and hold hands while being crawled on by the ladies.
This year.
It was pretty painful.
We went to the park,
and I was so grateful that my entire family came,
but I was still alone.
And I missed his sarcasm so painfully, and holding his hands.

Steps back.
Steps forward.

And then I found myself camping.
Those who know me,
know that this just isn't my thing....
but I packed up the car,
realizing that camping as a widow means packing the car
and doing the heavy lifting by myself.
(I may have cursed T a time or two).
As I drove to Bear Lake,
I was hit with memories.
Another first.
We haven't been there since he passed away,
and it's full of memories.

We drove past the lake and all 3 of us were flooded with ache.
The girls started talking about how 
"Daddy used to make sand castles" and rememember 
"eating shakes there with Dadddy"
I let the girls share every memory they could,
because I know that even though  it really hurts to remember,
I think it's gotta be worse to forget.

And then while the tears fell I shared a few memories with them.
I remembered our first time camping together.
I remembered playing games with Cody and Amy on the lawn by the lake.
I remembered when Travis invited me to his families cabin on the lake for a work party when
we were dating.  I called him when I got close so I wouldn't get lost, and he told me to look
for the giant Willow tree...and as I finally pulled up I found him 
standing there grinning from ear to ear.
He was healthy then.
And he was so excited to see me.

We pulled up to the campsite with heavy hearts and wet eyes.

Steps back.
Steps forward.

And then the other day I went to lunch with my girlfiriends to celebrate a Birthday.

I walked to the back to the patio,
and out of the corner of my eyes I saw Trav's entire office eating together.

These men took care of Travis and loved him while he fought,
and he spent almost as much time with them as he did with me....

but I couldn't bring myself to go say hello.
I had no idea the kind of pain it would bring me to see them all together.
Travis should've been there.
I should've been able to walk over,
smooch his cheeck and put my arms around his neck.
I left lunch just sick.
And I spent a good portion of the night just aching.

Steps back.
Steps forward.

I said I've been thinking about why?
Here's what I've got.

The firsts.
They are tough.
And creating new memories without Travis..
is tough.
And in the past few weeks my heart has been heavy because I've been checking
them off of my list in rapid sucession.

Next time I go to Park City,
I will remember Travis surely,
and will miss him definetly,
but I bet next time I also remember running under the stars in the middle of the night,
and the million laughs we shared that weekend.

Will the fireworks be hard next year...
But I will also remember the 3 different potty trips,
Sienna and Adyson head banging in the car on the way home,
and Amy's funny texts.

Bear Lake?
I will never forget Travis sitting on the beach playing with the girls,
and I pray,
real hard,
I never forget his smile when he saw me pull up to the Willow tree,
but next time I go I'll remember the first time I drove
a wave runner, Adyson throwing a golf ball at Dave's truck,
and Cody pouring cold water on Heather while she slept.

And next time I run into the men Travis worked with,
I hopefully will be able to say hi and remember that 
Travis was lucky to have people who took such great care of him 
where he worked...
I just wasn't ready.
And that's ok.

Steps back are ok.
They hurt, 
but they are ok.
Steps forward are good.
They too, kinda hurt,
but they are good.
Old memories I'm cherishing,
but am trying really hard to create new ones as well.

I think at some point,
all of these steps will bring us somewhere good.
Travis would be proud that at least we are moving our feet in any direction.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

{Stage Hopping}

I've intended to write multiple blog posts.
Mostly because it's really good for me.
Every time I write one I feel like things become clear.
I'm charting what I feel, and realizing what I need to work on,
and learning about the things I've totally been kidding myself about.
So I get on the computer,
and I just stare at the screen unsure of what to say.

The truth, right now it this:
I've lost my mojo.  Things have gotten harder.  And most days I'm physically and mentally

In March I wrote this post:

When I wrote that, 
I really truly felt every single thing I wrote, 
and really thought I was in a good place,
and moving forward in a healthy, smart way.

I still feel like we, as a family, are doing well.
I think we are moving forward,
We have fun, and laugh a lot...
but the tears come more freely now.
And the loneliness and weariness can feel very daunting.
Single parenting is awfully hard.
Being alone is awfully hard.
Dealing with my own grief?  Aslo awfully hard.
And then adding on the grief of the kids....harder. Trust me on this.

I guess you always assume that you get through that stage, and your done with it.
For me, at least-that's just not the case.

I'm Hayley,
and I'm a Grief Stage Jumper.

I have days where I just can't pull myself out of my slump-
and days where I am angry.
And still, many days, where I just can't believe Travis isn't here. 
 It's been 8 months and it still seems unreal to me.
These emotions (anger & depression), are new to me;
and I've found a few things that help me combat them.

My Coping Mechanisms.
(PS-I betcha none of these are considered healthy...)

When I'm feeling blue:
My kids come in and demand me to do something with them....
and mothering gets in the way of the sadness.
Those girls of mine are little happy pills. 
And while sometimes I just am faking the smile,
eventually-it turns genuine and I know because of them- I can pull through.
I am so blessed to have them.  So blessed to be able to help each other heal.
And if they are asleep,
which if I'm being honest, is when things feel too quiet and too lonely,
then I read.
I read an awful lot.
Like, a lot.
I'm a totally book worm/nerd.
But it takes my mind off the bad....
and I'm happy with that.

When I'm feeling angry:
I usually swear.
Eat chocolate.
And call or text a friend or two and say my peace.
My friends.  
They have learned to get angry with me-or at least to act really offended for me.
I'm sure at times they are rolling their eyes like,
"really Hayley....mellow down!"
But they fake angry with me, and I sure love them for that.

The days when I can't believe that 
this is my life....
Those days always hit me the hardest.
I'm incredibly aware that I'm alone, 
and I miss Travis constantly,
so why it all the sudden hits me that
I'll never understand.
But those moments just take my breath away.
And they just hurt, real bad.
They hurt like nothing I can ever explain.

Those days,
I've given myself a pass.
(I promise, this doesn't happen too often!)
I pawn my kids off on someone else 
(awesome friends and my poor mom!)...
I wear my sweats, and my topknot,
watch reality TV,
and ignore life.
Bless the poor salesmen who knocks on my door that day.

That may seem really unhealthy,
and if your a professional you are probably hoping someone locks me up one day soon..
but I think letting myself take a day off from life is ok,
now and then.

If I start abusing it,
then I'm hoping someone will call me out and have an intervention?

So yes,
I've got some work to do.
I know that even though I have days where I am an utter mess....
I also know that if I didn't, I wouldn't be coping the right way.
This isn't supposed to be easy,
and so I guess I'm doing it right.

As always,
I am so grateful for those that always remember us.
The other day a neighbor saw Sienna playing basketball and came to shoot hoops with her 
for a second.
My heart was so warmed to know that they have good people here,
willing to spend a few minutes making sure they get some man time.:)
And I'm so grateful to those who never forget to help whether we are in need, or not.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

{My place in Life}

Among the long list of things I'm learning to navigate,
or tying to navigate,
or sometimes completely failing to navigate,
is me trying to find my place in life again.

When Trav's illness started affecting him the point that leaving the house was to big of a chore,
I remember feeling really lost.
Sometimes at night after Travis would fall asleep,
I would mourn the loss of our old life.
I remember just crying-big fat ugly tears and thinking life couldn't feel harder.
I remember feeling like I was losing him.
Knowing that he was dying, even though we hadn't heard those words yet,
it was just so painfully clear to me that it was coming.
And I hated watching him lose himself.
 It was unbearably hard-and I look back thinking 
"I cannot believe I made it through that".

But, I still had my place.
It was by his side.
And I had Travis.
And I could tell him exactly how I felt, no matter how hard it was to say,
or for him to hear....I had him.  And my place.
So while everything in the world felt also felt right.

But now,
that little pocket of safety Travis always provided for me,
and that safe spot that comes along with marriage is gone.
I just don't fit in anywhere anymore.
That-well that just makes me miss him all the more.

I have wonderful, wonderful friends.
They are thoughtful, incredibly giving, caring, hilarious, and ALWAYS there for me.
And while I never regret any of our fun nights,
they always end with me coming home feeling a bit out of sorts, 
because it's clear that I'm not 
"one of them" 

I can't join in conversations about marriage anymore.
I can't complain about him coming home late from work,
not helping with yard work,
not saying thank you for dinner or helping with the kids.
No more big group dates with our friends,
and man, I miss that.  I miss seeing their husbands chat with T about golf,
about neighbors, yard work, work and whatever else those men chatted about.
 I miss just taking it all in and seeing that side of Travis.
Sometimes these conversations happen and I just feel so outside of myself.
I miss that pocket of safety.

Even with family,
I've lost my comfort.
Travis was my partner-
in every game we played...(which was many!),
he was my game or no.
He would pick on me last,
and if I won (which was not as often as he!)
He'd always say, "If I couldn't win, I'm glad you did." 
He made us an even number-and we went hand in hand everywhere we went.
So now,
I sometimes feel like an intruder going alone.
I feel strange asking them to dinner, or anywhere...
because instead of saying
"wanna come with us to dinner?"
"wanna come with me?
And that seems so strange to all of us.

So I don't really fit in there either.
Not that that stops me from coming, or trying, 
but it just doesn't feel right-and I wonder if it ever will.

My friends and family are incredibly sensitive to me. 
(I can bet that as they are reading this, they are probably on a group text about how they 
need to be more careful when I'm around...FRIENDS: no.  That's not the point of this post. And FAMILY, no, I don't mean that anyone should change!
Because if I have to get used to  feeling awkward and out of place, I'd rather do it with you then anyone else!)
I love my friends and family, and wanna make it clear that this post is by no means to call anyone out,
because my support system is the absolute best,
it's just my life has changed so drastically,
I feel like a misfit.

I have made some really lovely friends who are also widows.
We met by social first time meeting someone via the Internet...
my sweet Dad was nervous they might be axe murderers....
They aren't.
They are lovely, amazing, strong women who have gone through a lot.
I mean, I don't feel like it's my place to share their stories,
but wow.  These women.  
Amazing ladies and instantly dear friends.
I thought I would meet with them and feel like I had my place again...
people who were just like me!

And while they completely understood so much of what I've gone through the past few months,
and some of the daily challenges we all face,
I still don't fit in 100%.
(And I am sure that they could say the same thing: One has twins, and has raised them all alone their entire life span, one has a toddler-and her husband had brain cancer-and she surely faced some things that the rest of us didn't face, and one has no kids to carry her sweet husbands life with her....)
So while we all get each other, and understand a lot about each other...
we, together, don't fit into a seamless puzzle-and we won't ever understand exactly what every journey has been like.

I'm older then all of them.
(Is that not the saddest thing you've ever heard.....I think I'm a young widow...but these girls are just painfully young and it's heartbreaking, and makes me feel pretty blessed that I had the years I had with T.  These girls didn't get enough time.  I didn't either, but they reallllly didn't...if that makes sense.)
They have either no kids, or really young ones,
and they've been widows for a good while longer then me.

I wanted someone to be just like me.
I wanted someone who had kids my exact age,
and understood our cancer battle...who did the same treatments, the same amount of time.
Same tumors, same locations, same ages...and someone who faced
awful death that Travis faced...
and on the drive home I thought about this and felt a little sad that I didn't find that pocket I've been
missing so much....

And then I realized that the only person who would ever fill that void,
is Travis.

No one will ever know exactly how our life changed together.
No one will understand how cancer changed us, as a couple, and just as people, 
and ultimately how death changed us.
And I had to face the hard fact: 
my place is gone.
It left with Travis,
and I have to find it again on my own.

I have to fill the void-the void of not fitting in, or knowing where I stand,
with common ground.  With patience with myself and others.
I can't be upset when I have nothing to contribute to the marriage conversation.
I will not be angry or hurt when my friends vent about marriage.
I will be grateful that I had that. 
I will be grateful that I once had that spot...that great spot where your thoughts are understood
by someone else, and you had a partner even in a game that shouldn't have been a team game.
And I will learn to let that go, as much as I can, because if I don't, I wont easily find my place again.

As I've written this post,
one I've been thinking about for a good few months,
I've had to stop to tuck in Roo.
Get her a water bottle.
Adysons asked if she can just read "one more chapter" twice.
And I feel so completely in my element that I can't imagine me ever feeling like I don't have a place...
so obviously, Travis lives on in them,
and my pocket overflows when they are around.

Socially-I'm an outcast.
At home-I'm content.  And I think that's progress.  A few months ago I wouldn't have been able to say that.

So progress is being made. I didn't see it till now, but it is being made.

I guess, for now, that's enough.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

{happy birthday travis}

Trav's Birthday is May 2nd.
He would have turned 39.
I've been full of dread for another first to come my way...
and Trav's Birthday felt like an extremely hard first.

I still sometimes can't really imagine how we keep moving on without him.
I still love and adore him, and miss him so dearly.

(Travis, in his favorite city in Spain, Aranjuez, in the princesses garden at the palace)
I loved everything about this special day with him.
I loved the train ride-where I dozed on his shoulder.
I loved eating my first Spanish tortilla on the streets while we watched
old grandfathers picking up their grand kids for the mediadia.
I loved meeting his friends there.
I loved watching him have so much zest for life that day...
I really miss that.
I loved watching him read the Spanish newspaper on the way back...
and I loved holding his hand in Madrid when twilight came.
I cherish our memories.
I was incredibly appreciative of my friends and family for realizing that
this wasn't an easy day.
We are so blessed to always be remembered, and it means so much to me.
We received gifts from friends,
cards in the mail,
and these lovely flowers were left on my porch with a card that said 
"Flowers for T's girls".
So thoughtful.
And everyone wore orange.
This touched my heart so deeply....
All of my friends, all of the girls friends, and even half the staff at their school wore orange to 
honor Travis.
These reminders that we still have a lot of support shown our way do a lot for my soul!

I took the girls after school the the cemetery,
so we could spend a few minutes alone with him.
When we got there,
there was an older man visiting the grave next to his.
I've noticed her headstone before...and it's confused me a bit.
Most of the stones near him are new,
and this one looks new,
but she passed quite a long time ago.

We chatted with him for quite a while.
He was in the military and stationed in California,
and his daughter, Sally,  passed when she was just 1 year old.
She was buried there, and then after he retired the rest of the family moved here.
Last year they decided to move her here,
and her headstone is always marked with flowers,
and a lot of love.

He is a golfer,
and a very proud Daddy to only daughters,
and was very touched to hear our story.

We left promising we'd watch over each others loved ones.
It was a nice little moment,
and I wont go visit Travis without remembering Sally as well.

I had only planned on having our immediate family over to the cemetery to let off balloons,
because I didn't want to ask people to come and make them feel obligated....
and then people kept asking if they could come.
I was so touched by this.
I basically only put it here on the blog and so many lovely souls showed up to celebrate him.
Sometimes we forget that ALL of us are grieving for T. 
Not just our family, but our friends, and my friends who hold my hand through it.
This meant more to me then anything else.
There are no words for the comfort it brings me to remember that I'm not alone 
in my grief, or that Travis is always, always loved and remembered.

We all brought orange balloons with a note attached about how we will
try to be better, for Travis, this year.
A fitting gift, I think.

My father in law said a lovely prayer,
and then we sang Happy Birthday.
I held up okay,
until then.
I just ached while everyone sang,
and still ache when I think about it.
I don't want time to go on without him,
but I want it to go reallly fast so I can be back with him.
It's an awfully strange feeling-and something I don't really understand myself.
I am so glad Travis is free of pain,
because no one,
not even me, I'm sure,
really understands how awful things really got for him....
but I'm just selfish enough that I would do pretty much anything to have him
here again.  

We survived it through another first.
I'm really quite proud of these girls, and of myself.: )

Our Families.
We came home to a cake from one of my best friends,
and most thoughtful people I know, Lorinda.
I loved it!
To End:
39 things I love-and/or miss about Travis
in absolutely no order whatsoever.
I should note that this list could go on and on and on....and on.

1-I miss cooking for him. Terribly.  The girls complain a lot.
2-I miss his big, belly laugh.  It hurt him pretty bad to laugh that hard, because of his tumor in his rib,
but he would clutch it, while tears of joy were flowing and say "It hurts...." all while cracking up.
I know this sounds mean...but a few of you will know exactly what I'm talking about, and it was as joyful as things get.
3-I miss hearing him watch anything sports related on TV.
I could be in another room and hear him yelling at the TV.  And half the time he couldn't have cared less who was playing....
4-I miss his sarcasm and wit.
5-I miss his nerd speak.
6-I miss him snuggling with his girls.
7-I miss seeing him be the fabulous father that he was.
There aren't words to express how perfect his love for the girls was.
8-I miss him warming my feet in bed.
9-I miss watching him eat cereal standing up.
10-I miss rubbing his neck.
11- I miss holding his hand in the car.
12-I love the things he passed on to his how Sienna has his eyes,
and Adyson clearly has his sarcasm.
13-I love remembering every vacation we ever took
14-I miss him filling the car up with gas, even when it's cold outside.
15-I miss him killing the spiders!
16-I miss sitting by him in church and rubbing his back.
17-I miss making him pretzels on Sunday afternoon.
18-I miss hearing all about his day...
19-And I miss telling him about mine.
20-I miss settlers of Catan nights.
21-I miss seeing him bit the neck of his shirts.
22-I miss his socks hanging off his feet.
23-I miss nightly family prayers and his words of wisdom.
24-I miss having someone to share my fears with...
25-and someone to celebrate my victories with.
26-I miss cheering with him at Roo's soccer games.
27-And beaming with pride when Adyson excels at school.
28-I miss his friendship with my brother.  He helped unite my family...and I'm forever grateful for it.
29-I miss him telling me I'm beautiful.  Even in those moments when I clearly wasn't!
30-I miss yelling at him for leaving his port bandaid in the shower... NEVER thought I'd say that.
31-I miss sitting on our front porch feeling the sun on our faces together.
32-I miss kissing him goodbye.
33-I miss him kissing me goodbye.
34-I miss the security of having him around.
35-I miss his knowledge of all these electronics....I'm sometimes cursing him for help!
36-I miss his smile.
37-I miss chatting about our future.
38-I miss his voice. So incredibly much.
39-And I miss our life together.  This wont ever change.

Happy Birthday Travis.
I hope you got our balloons, felt our love, and shot a hole in one in Heaven.
You are loved.
And you are missed!

Monday, April 28, 2014

6 Months

6 months and counting...

Over half a year has come and gone.
No words for how odd that seems.

I still pull out my phone to text him at least once a day.
And the other day I randomly grabbed his favorite Gatorade at the store....

I know at some point this will stop.

Our life has changed in so many ways since Travis passed away.
I truly wonder if I could see our old life again,
would I even remember what it was like?

For a long time the thought of forgetting Travis made me physically ill.
The thought of forgetting the good stuff...
our really happy moments still makes my heart ache.
I wish I could remember every silly moment,
every movie night,
every date,
and every lazy morning....I hate that I already have forgotten a lot.

But I feel incredibly sure that there are things I will never forget.

I wont forget the little hazel flecks in his green eyes.
I wont forget the way his head would roll back when I'd rub his neck,
or even the little mole that was right near his shirt collar.
I wont forget the feel of his hands.
I wont forget holding them while I drive...I loved that.
I can easily recall the feel of his hair,
see his long toes clearly in my head,
and I can visualize the way he looked at me when he was teasing me.

And I still remember his voice.

The girls each have stuffed bears with a recorded message from T on them.
Now and then I'll accidentally bump one and when I hear his voice my heart drops.
I miss his voice most of all.

I'd like a recording that says
"Hayley, I love you.  You are doing great.  Those pants make you look thin...
and I miss you."

But hey....I'll settle for memories, I guess.

So 6 months down and I have a clear picture of my husband in my head,
and I can't imagine that ever leaving me.

I haven't written a lot about how the girls are doing.
I feel completely fine venting my aches and pain on the blog,
but I don't feel okay about showing the world their story,
because it's not mine to tell.

I will say that this is harder then I ever imagined for them,
and I wish there was a manual that could tell me exactly what to say,
and what to do to help.

They are doing this differently, the two of them.
They are amazingly strong, and seem to pick me up more then I do them,
and for that,
I am beyond grateful.

I will say that they have changed, each in their own way,
and we are doing our best to make sure that they find the light that they have always had.
Being in grade school they are fighting to survive with
 kids who have no clue what their life is like.
6 months is a life time for little kids,
so to them,
it seems like our life should be normal by now.
(In fact, I'm fairly certain a lot of adults think the same thing about me...
but I can ignore that really easily!)
They've been told that they are 
"popular because their dad died"...
and a few kids have talked to them
about their dad being "buried in the ground."
and have had a few other instances that have really hurt....

They come home and mama bear wants to go and kick these little kids in the shins!
(I haven't...but the thought has crossed my mind!)

But then there are kids who are so kind and thoughtful.
Kids who can just tell when one of them is feeling sad,
so they write a nice note or give a giant hug.
Sienna even got this darling picture in her birthday book.
I just adore this kid...even though I have no idea who he is.

The girls though,
have more good days then bad.
I think they are taking steps every day towards happiness,
and normalcy.
I am learning the best ways to help them,
and each day I'm forcing them to step outside of their new comfort zone and help it expand
a bit.
Day by day we are getting there.

Be patient with them.
Try to remember how uprooted they've been.

So half a year.

I miss him terribly.
I miss the big things that are pretty obvious...

But I really miss the small stuff too....
I miss not always being good cop and bad cop.
I'd kill for someone else to put them to bed sometimes.
And for someone to quickly run to the grocery store to grab that one thing I forgot...
I'd be happy if someone else could make decisions about the finances,
and I'd love for someone to remind me about oil changes.
I would love for my kids to be able to go out and practice soccer and basketball
with someone who could actually help them.
And I wouldn't hate a night where sad thoughts didn't creep into someones brain...

But we've done it now for half a year,
and I guess we will shoot for another 6 months and see where we are at. :)
I'm pretty grateful we have made it this far.
And I'm incredibly thankful to those of you who have helped us get this far.

Friday is Trav's birthday.
We are meeting at the cemetery at 6:30 for a quick balloon release...
if any of our friends want to come and join us,
bring an orange balloon and let me know you are coming.  We've made
some lovely tags to go on the balloons and I will send some your way.
It will be very short and sweet,
but we couldn't let the day go by without making sure his life is celebrated.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The stages

Last week I spent the week in California with some of my girlfriends.
I was surrounded by people who I adore,
and who seem to really like me most of the time...

I was also surrounded by the glorious, beautiful ocean.
And the sun!
And even spent a day at Disneyland.
The absolute happiest place on Earth..
depending on who you are...
(I'm talking to you: Julie Redd).

One night on the way back to our hotel we stopped by the Newport Temple.
It was dusk.
The sun was setting, and it was cooling down.
And the sunset had a lovely shade of orange.
It was very peaceful and very quiet-with only one other couple there.

As soon as I stepped out of the car I felt incredibly lonely.

I was surrounded by a lot of love,
but man,
there really aren't any words to express how much my heart ached right then.
I kept my sunglasses on while I did my best to hide the tears.

For some reason,
that moment was a big one for me.

I accepted months ago that my life with Travis was over.
That he is gone, and that I have to figure things out without him.

But that moment,
it really hit me hard.
And Eternity felt (and feels) very, very, very far away.

It's spring break for my kids this week.
We obviously don't have big plans because we took our vacation last month,
but tonight they are off at a friends having a sleepover.

Months ago I would have reveled in the quiet.
Trav and I would have enjoyed each other and probably watched
whatever our hearts desired-
and I would have had him to take care of.

But being here alone:
I just miss them.
And I really hate the quiet, and the loneliness that comes my way.
I do not want to be a mom that suffocates her kids,
or expects them to be her happiness...
I really have to constantly remind myself that they need to have 
the most regular life they can,
and I wont hold them back.
But I do miss them, and once again, I find myself missing my old life immensely.

There are times that I'm in awe that we've made it almost 6 months without him.
And then there are times that I'm fairly certain I can't go through another day.

I've read about the 'steps of grief' that everyone is supposed to experience,
and I really don't see myself anywhere on that chart.
And I don't think I've gone through a lot of this...
which makes me wonder if i will?
If I did sometime during our cancer journey-making this happen before he actually passed?
Or maybe I did got through it and didn't see it?

But either way---

-I certainly am not in denial, though at times I kinda wish I was.
-I'm not angry. Sad? Yes. Angry? No.

-I'm not bargaining.  I have always felt, and still maintain that we did all we could-
and I'll just say it.  I was a pretty awesome caregiver.

-I am not depressed.  I may seem like it when I blog,
because I vent my heart out here.
But my life is still very full and happy.
And the happy days outweigh the sad ones.
And I even cook dinner sometimes,
and am trying to run again,
and I do my hair most days!

-And I've accepted this life.
I've accepted all the curve balls that have been thrown my way.
I truly believe that the Lord has a plan for all of us,
and I fully believe that we are doing all we can to make the best of it all.
And I've accepted that my love is gone.
I don't like it.
But I've accepted it.

 A friend sent this my way the other day and it spoke to me.

When I look at it this way,
I'm reminded that I'm one of the lucky ones.
I am so blessed to have someone I miss this much.
And I bet he's missing me and the ladies too...
for some reason that comforts me an awful lot!

We are still surviving and doing our best around here.
As always,
I'm incredibly thankful to the friends and family members who constantly take care of me.
I'm thankful to the parents who help their children understand how to help my kids,
and who have gone out of their way to make sure we are all happy.
I am beyond blessed.
And always so thankful.