Several years ago, when Fischer was about 1 1/2, I came home early because a game got cancelled. I opened up the door and he hopped off the couch and came running to me (Fischer was walking at 10 months) and said Daddy! and Ashley said “Yay, Daddy’s home.”
I said, “you don’t know how happy this makes me”
Ashley replied, “you don’t know, how happy THIS, makes me!”
One day Ashley was shopping and saw this sign (Yay! You’re Home!) and thought of me.
Ashley often told me that she was always so happy when I came home, the boys were happy when I came home and Baxter (our Yorkie, Maltese,?, mix 10 yr old dog) was happy when I came home. She placed the sign in our living room straight across from the garage entry, so I can see it when I walk in the door.
I was happy to be home. I always got a warm reception and I loved the home Ashley created for us. Whenever I came home, Ashley would always say “Hey Mr!” as I walked in the door. She was either cooking dinner, playing with the boys, working in her sewing room with 2 monogram machines going, talking to Jiffy on the phone, or resting watching a show.
A month ago I came home and hear “Hey Mr. We are up here!” I walk up to her sewing room and she’s not in there. I hear her say “In here,” coming from the bedroom. It’s her and Baker snuggled up in the bed, and Fischer drawing at the foot of the bed.
She looks at me and says “Baker, needed snuggles.” I sat down in our glider and just enjoyed the moment.. Then Baxter starts incessantly barking and I had to take him out before he pees on the floor. Nice family moment over.
Ashley made sure our house was home. Everything about our house (except the TV/TVs) was Ashley. She had a vision for our house the minute we set foot in the door for the initial viewing. She picked out the nursery room, the guest room, had plans for the yard. What colors she wanted to change on the walls. How the bathrooms should look. Ashley had a plan.
I should have known I what I was getting into when I saw her room at her brother’s townhouse. Every inch of it was decorated. At the time, it looked like a condo out of Sex in the City.
Ashley’s vision was ever changing, current style trends, different seasonal themes, but always with some personal touch that she created.
The thing about our home is that it is all Ashley and it is filled with love. Our boys feel safe here and I feel Ashley’s presence throughout.
When Ashley and I decided that it would be best for her to stay home, Ashley felt guilty that I would be working all the time and she wouldn’t be contributing.
I said, “that’s crazy talk.” I had wanted her to do what she felt would allow her the best opportunity to heal, to fight, and to live.
Ashley contributed so much. I never took that for granted. But now I am finding how hard life is without her on every level.
Its hard to run a household alone. The past couple of months I had been doing most of the cleaning, most of the cooking, half the laundry, the yard work, etc. But we were a team and it was an awesome team that functioned so well.
So here I am today, without Ashley on the 4-week anniversary of her passing. Daily I am just trying to find the least painful path through the day.
This really sucks. I miss her more each day.
Grief makes everything harder. Getting up is harder. Making breakfast is harder. Driving is harder. Eating is harder. Sleeping is harder. Smiling is harder. Basically, everything that I have taken for granted and everything that I am grateful for is harder because of grief.
But just because things are hard doesn’t mean I can’t do it.
Is there any sign of things getting easier? No. But there are signs that Ashley is with me.
This morning on the way to dropping the boys off, Baker said, “Mommy gave us a pretty sky today!” I have to agree.
I have this amazing support group that helps me get through each day. I have two sweet boys who love their mom and love me more than I can put into words.
I have texts, IMs, direct messages, comments, notes, phone calls, and cards from friends, family, acquaintances, students, and complete strangers telling me that this blog is helping them.
I have an amazing community that has donated to Fischer and Baker’s education fund. I’m still overwhelmed at the generosity of everyone these past 6 years of Ashley’s fight.
I have two employers that have given me the support and time to figure out how to be a single-working dad.
I have Ashley’s friends who have extended their friendship to me and I am closer to them than I could have ever imagined.
And most importantly I have faith. Not that my faith is not on shaky ground. (double negative, ugh!) It is. Very shaky… But its better than no faith in God, others, or myself.
I have faith that Ashley is helping me with this huge responsibility of raising Fischer and Baker through the love, kindness and friendship she left behind. I have faith that God has a plan for us. And though I may not have the strength to take this on, He will help me through it.
I have faith that there are people with similar experiences as mine and they have chosen happy.
Lastly, I have faith that when Ashley entered into heaven, she was met with a huge hug and a “Yay! You’re Home!”