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8160 Hours.

11 Months. 48 weeks. 340 days. 8160 hours.


It’s been over 8000 hours since I saw him for the last time. Since I held his cold hand and whispered “I love you” in his waterlogged ear. Since I kissed his lips, tears pouring from my eyes and splashing down across his face. It’s been over 8000 hours since I burned into my brain the sight of his tongue slightly sticking out of his mouth, the pressure of the ET tube still in place from being intubated leaving his mouth slightly parted and unnatural looking. His perfectly beautiful lips looking dry and cracked, the skin around his face rough with stubble but also with patches of dried blood, I’m guessing from being intubated and/or from his dive team performing CPR on him. It’s been 8000 hours since I said goodbye.


Today, more than any other day of the past month or two has hit me really hard. I’ve been trying so hard to stay busy and distract myself from the fact that the year mark is barreling towards us. I thought I was ready for it, that I just need to get it over with, have the milestone met and know we made it and can move forward, but in reality, I’m just not. In my head the one year milestone would bring with it a sense of closure, of feeling like we’d made it a year and now I can begin to move forward to finding happiness again, in all aspects of my life. I’ve been anxious about going back to the island, to drive those same streets, to see our old home, to picture Brian and I sitting on the front porch of that dark brown house while Izzy and Hudson splash in the kiddie pool next to us, to visit the place we made so many incredible memories in during such a short period of time. I’ve been anxious. Today I just feel this overwhelming sense of dread. I don’t want to hit the year mark. I don’t want it to have been a year since he left me. I don’t want to know it’s been a year and I have so many more to go without him.


Regardless of how much progress I’ve made these past 8000 hours, my heart is still broken. I’m constantly reminded that he’s not here and I’m in this alone. I look at photos of us from 11 months ago, giant smiles on our faces, sparkles in our eyes, sun-kissed faces and looks of absolute elation smiling into the camera, knowing we were living our very best lives. We had each other, we had a beautiful family and we were living our dream. I see these photos of us and can feel the magnetic attraction between the two of us, he was a part of me and I him and nothing else mattered.


Fast forward 8160 hours and I’m sitting on the guest room bed of his mom and step-dad’s house in Boise where we’ve been visiting for the week, relishing the fact that it’s perfectly quiet in the house because his sister, Nikki, offered to watch all three kids tonight so I could sleep, uninterrupted, for the night. Instead of putting on my sweatpants and some trashy reality TV show before popping a Tylenol PM and calling it a night, I’m looking at old photos, listening to sad music and letting tears stream down my face while feeling sorry for myself. This morning I told a friend of mine that Nikki was going to watch the kids for me tonight so I could sleep and how special this gesture is, because Adeline in now 9 months old which means in the past 9 months, I’ve probably had 3 nights where I didn’t have to get up with her to feed her. I’ve got three young kids to take care of, but one of them is still a baby and still gets up twice in the middle of the night to eat. And without her dad her, that leaves me to get up and do it. Every single night. I’m running on fumes. And determination. And adrenaline. And Starbucks sweet cream cold brew. I’m continuously gaining strength, but I’m exhausted. In telling my friend this during our conversation this morning, his response was “Well, I am thankful as fuck that my kids are as old as they are.” And it took me aback. I recognize that might sound callous to some of you reading this without context of the conversation, so trust me when I saw it wasn’t coming from an insensitive place. Just that he was thankful he isn’t having to go through what I am in addition to having young children and still having to get up in the middle of the night to feed a baby. It’s hard for people to fathom. It’s hard for me to fathom and I’m the one living it. Being a solo parent is not for the weak of heart, mind, body or spirit. Being a solo parent fucking sucks. Its long days followed by longer nights with no end in sight. It’s wishing your circumstances were different but understanding they’re not. It’s getting emotional when your brilliant and beautiful sister-in-law offers to watch all three kids so you can have one single night of precious, uninterrupted sleep before a long drive home.


There’s no real point to this post today, except to say that today, I’m sad. I’m feeling sorry for myself. I’m dreading the one year mark. I wish this wasn’t my reality. I know I’ve got big things in the works, exciting things ahead, but I’d give it all up in a heartbeat for a single second more with him. I wish I could choose to go back to 8161 hours ago and tell him to stay home with me instead. But I can’t, to any of it. So instead, I forge forward, plane tickets in hand, headed for the island of Oahu and all the terrible and beautiful memories that await us.


More soon. xo



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Lessons of turning tragedy into triumph 

from a military widow

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