Tuesday, January 10, 2023


 My interview with Hilary Jastram

Monday, January 9, 2023

Epilogue Part 2 - 1 Year

It has been a year. A year without my wife. A year without my kid's mother. A year without my best friend. A year without hearing her voice, kissing her face, holding her hand. A year without watching Hallmark movies. A year without sitting by her at the pool. A year without the thought of our future together. A year without her parenting the shit out of these kids. A year without seeing her hug my kids, calm their nerves, feed their bellies. 

It has been a very tough year.

This is my first experience with any real hardship. Certainly, my first experience with grief and loss. I have learned a lot over this last year. A lot about myself. A lot about my kids. A lot about other people, some good and some not-so-good.

Let's begin with the sad stuff, so we can get that out of the way. For the most part we are getting by really well by this point. As I have said numerous times over the last few months, I usually don't have sad "days". I am generally happy, but life is full of sad little moments. Today, for example, I noticed her mark on our sign we used to measure the growth of the kids. Right there at 5 feet and 4 inches above the ground is a little heart drawn with sharpie next to the word "Mom". The sign sits right outside my office door. I look at it all the time, but for some reason today it just hit a little harder. I leaned my head up against the fabric, as if I were leaning on her head. I hugged the wall as if she were there to hug me back. I spent a minute or two in sadness, and I went back to my office to keep working. These e-mails aren't going to compose themselves.

Cyndi's marker was placed in the cemetery just before Christmas. I stopped by to see her and check the stone. It was much sadder looking at the space and seeing her name carved into marble than it was looking at the space without the marker, as if it were somehow more final. I only stayed a few minutes. I caught her up on my life and the kids, I apologized for my some of my behavior, I kissed the marker, and told her I loved her. I had to get back to the house, that laundry isn't going to fold itself.

OK. Enough sad.

The kids still seem to be good. Carson continues to be in too many clubs, and keeps getting straight A's. He seems happier during the school year when he is with his school friends all the time than during the summer. He works so hard. Beckham is just starting year 2 of high school football, at least offseason training. He continues to exceed expectations in school. It is especially amazing considering his limitations and disdain for school. Grant has really started to come out of his shell, both emotionally and intellectually. He is proving to be a good student in his own right and he is so funny. And Gabe is doing great too. I had a call with his teachers last week and they all had such nice things to say about him. They helped reassure me that he is doing OK at school, when they are out of my sight. He just finished two 1000 piece Lego cars.

I feel like a taxi service driving back and forth from school to school to store to where ever else I said I would go. I feel like the worst cook in the history of humanity. Tonight I made 6 dinners, 6! There is only 5 of us, but sometimes the tacos are too meaty or the noodles are too noodly. I feel like a terrible parent when I order too much pizza or too much takeout. I try to make healthy food, but these kids only eat carbs and cheese. I feel like a piece of shit when I get angry at the kids, even if it is warranted, I still feel terrible. I have little moments where I feel like the stress is building up so high, I am going to pop.

I am proud of us too. I am proud of how we keep battling to get our lives back. I am proud of the fact that we do nearly all of this on our own. I am proud of the fact that I got her book published. I am proud of the fact that we have only been late to school once. I am proud of the fact that my kids are in therapy. I am proud of the fact that I did all the Christmas shopping this year. I am proud of the fact that I raised over $5000 for LLS last year. I am proud of the fact that I have gone on a date. I am proud of these tattoos and the time I have spent in the gym this year, my mental and physical therapy.

I don't want to make an "anniversary" out of Jan 10. I want this date to fade into memory like an arbitrary Tuesday. I won't make a habit out of recognizing it. I will choose to honor and celebrate her on our wedding anniversary, Jan 29. But I wanted to acknowledge this milestone, if nothing more than to note that we made it through this year. We got through all the "firsts", the "nexts" will probably be just as hard though.

Some of you have been so kind to me, to us this past year. Some of you have helped me through some very dark days. You probably didn't know it, but that text or message might have been the thing that got me through a day. Thank you, to all those who put themselves out there to check on me, to check on us. Thank you for the stories, the pictures, the videos, the smiles you shared with me. It has meant so much to me.

Thank you for loving her too. Thank you for continuing to think of her. From time to time, I want you to raise a sangria to the sky and thank the Universe for putting her in your life.

I love you guys. We will be here if you need us, kicking the shit out of tomorrow and the next day. 

Let us know if I can help you in anyway. #ForCyndi

- Eric