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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A bit about Christmas and a sad, sad Day, and how I deal...

   Once again, I haven't blogged for a while.  This time however I have a few good reasons.  Christmas was a fun, but very busy holiday for us.  The Sweetest Guy in the World and I have very recently blended families and it was oh so important to us to spend time with both of our extended families for Christmas. We spent a few days before the holiday in Birmingham with his Mom, Dad, brother, sister-in-law, and 2 darling nephews.  We had a wonderful time...there was plenty of cooking, eating, presents, and family fun had by all.  We spent Christmas Eve morning making the long (6 hour) trek back home and had dinner with my sister and brother-in-law, and then cocoa and Christmas lights in the car with Sweetpea.  Christmas morning and day was of course church, presents and more yummy food with Sweetpea and my Mama. We had some lovely relaxing days and a few shopping days before New Year's Eve. TSGITW and I met last NYE (thanks to my bestie bringing him along when she came down to visit) so we did a full circle of sorts to celebrate. Dinner at the chinese restaraunt where we had dinner last year, buying champagne where we went to buy it last year, and then a party thrown by the same friends from the 2010 NYE party.  We all had a great evening. New Year's Day TSGITW, his brother and I headed to New Orleans for a SAINTS game at the dome!  I LOVE MY SAINTS, ya'll!  It was a great start to our new year together.  My New Years haven't been so stellar in the past few years.  January has  been for me in the past a very sad time. And although I have a wonderful man in my life now, I find myself still feeling very sad and really feeling loss at this time of year.  Today is a particuarly sad day for me.  Today, 3 years ago, I lost my husband.  Don was a very wonderful man.  He was sweet, funny, loving and a wonderful Dad to my daughter (although he was not her natural father).  Ours was a short romance, but he touched our lives in a way few have and Sweetpea and I still miss him dearly.  He will always remain in our hearts and minds.  TSGITW knows this and is very understanding of our feelings.  Last night, when I was having a particuarly tough time, he let me have my "moment" so to speak and then talked me thru it.  He just lets me have the time I need to grieve and supports me thru it...see why I love him so much???  I am not feeling particuarly eloquent today, but I needed to share some thoughts so I copied in a couple of past posts from an old social networking blog to tell ya'll some of my story.  One of my 52 in 52 (which I have yet to share) is to blog more often, so bear with me until I can get my mind wrapped around life and I'll be back.  Here are the past blog posts...excuse any grammatical errors or spelling mistakes please, my head wasn't in the best place when they were written, but you can get a pretty good idea of how things were going at those points in time.  Happy New Year! This one is going much better btw!

His idea of forever just sucks- JANUARY 13, 2009

Every little girl dreams about the their wedding day. Having been a little girl I know these things. Being young, we have alot of misconceptions about this, but basically we want to grow up, meet a rich, handsome man, marry him in a wedding just like the one Princess Di had and then move to a big house where we can run our own company, shop all the time and have a maid, housekeeper and nanny to take care of the house and the couple of beautiful kids that showed up from somewhere...and there you have it- the perfect dream. Well, the perfect dream for me anyway.That's when you're a little girl, but little girls grow up and their dreams change. However, you always have the dream of happily ever after but when you meet "the ONE" you just might not even know it. That's how it was for my husband and me. We met while I was working in a grocery store. Yeah, I know, not very exciting. Most of you know it already, but bear with me thru the story anyway. I was at work at our local grocery -putting in my time while I went to college, just another random afternoon of blase work, checking groceries when these two guys came thru my line. I had been having some difficulties in my non-existent love life and was feeling pretty down about it. A friend of mine had told me recently that the reason I couldn't find anyone to date was due to the fact that I was too aloof with men. Her basic theory was if I would talk to men I didn't know the way I did with my friend's husbands (because they were,as she put it, "safe") I would eventually meet someone. Well, I was a tad disbelieving, but thought ok, let's see. It'll never work, but... I'll try it. Sorry, I digress, so these two men came thru my line-they were talking to one another and I assumed that they were together. The first gentleman was an elderly man, late sixties maybe, and he was purchasing a six pack of beer. Well, I tried my skills out on him first, proclaiming him "way too young too purchase alcohol" and inquiring if he had any id to prove he was old enough to buy his beer. He took this rather good naturedly and when I got to the much younger man in line behind him, who was waiting to purchase his drink of choice-a two liter bottle of diet coke, I teased him about his purchase saying "Oh good choice, you're way too young to buy beer." He laughed and responded with "Honey, I've got socks older than you." We joked back and forth about this for a minute or two and he asked me how old I thought he was. I guessed his age at about 38 and he laughed and told me to guess again. My next estimation was 40.He then told me guess again, but if you get it wrong you owe me dinner. My final guess was 42, but he said no he was having his forty-fourth birthday in about two weeks. My flippant response was "Well, I guess I owe you dinner then. I'm off on Friday." The man replied that he as well was off Friday night. We shared a laugh and he left the store. A few minutes later I turned around and there he was at the end of my line. He handed me piece of paper with his name and number written on it and told me if I was serious about dinner to give him a call. And that was how I met my husband. He tells everyone we went out the first time because I lost a bet. Not that I knew at that time that he was the ONE. Oh no...I didn't know if I should go out with him, but my friends convinced me to give him a chance. So, Friday, January 5, 2007 I went out with Don. I really liked him, but as I told my friends and family, he had way too much baggage. Now this came from the fact that he was very honest with me. By the time our first date was over I knew that he was separated, but not divorced, all about his parents, the small MS town he grew up in, and all the friends and neighbors there, where he worked and lived and various unsavory things about his (soon to be ex) wife. We spent the next couple of weeks, talking on the phone...just being friends and made plans to go to a Mardi Gras ball together. Well, HE thought we were going together anyway. I was telling my mom and my friends that I was going to take this opportunity to reinforce the fact we were going to make better friends than anything else. We each paid for our own ticket and met there at the ball-I even went so far as to tell him that this particular ball was my favorite because I always went with a big group of close friends and gave him something off the food list to bring (chips and dip I think). LOL. We had a wonderful time and when it came time to leave, a couple I know asked us to go to a local bar with them. So, I ditched my other friends and rode to the bar with Don. Now admittedly, I had had QUITE a bit to drink that night, but I asked him before we left if he had too much and was he okay to drive. He assured me that he was quite sober and had only a couple of drinks early in the evening and it was almost 2 am at this point. We made it to the bar and each had a beer and around 3:30 am were ready to leave. He assured me again he was fine to drive and we left. Well, at some point down the road, he was listening avidly to me talking and turned to glance at me. At the same time, he hit a pothole and swerved slightly. At that point, the blue lights and sirens came on behind us. WELL...let's just say that some of the words that came out of my mouth at this point would have made a sailor blush in shame. I called that poor man everything but a white boy!!!!! I screamed at him that we were going to jail and that I had a child at home and what the HELL was he thinking. Well, the officer came over and got his license and insurance info and went back and called it in and then came back and made a BIG production of having him take a breathalizer. The cop was incensed and I was flabbergasted when the test read .000002 for alcohol. The officer then leaned in the window and said "Maam , I administered this test because there is a very strong smell of alcohol coming from this vehicle, have YOU been drinking tonight?"Well, I said the only thing I could say at the time...Yes sir, I have. Don took me home that night and the next day went home to Poplarville to spend his vacation with his parents. We talked on the phone ALOT while he was there and I slowly began to like him more and more. I was still,however, very reluctant. We began to go on more dates and he would tell me "I love you" and I would respond "thank you". Don was a funny guy and very romantic. He would call me on the phone and say go look out your window, or your door, or whatever -he would be driving to or from work or home and would see a sunrise or sunset and want to share it with me. Or we would be talking or watching a movie or just holding hands and he'd smile at me and say "Can we do this forever?" Soon, I knew that I did love him and went out of my way to make him a special gift to show my love. And the rest,as they say, is history. Shortly thereafter, he introduced me to his parents. Easter Sunday, Don formally asked me to marry him. We had discussed this previously and picked out a ring, so I knew he was going to ask me just not the when. Now when a man asks you this all important question, alot of things go thru your head...the dress, the flowers, the dress, the place, the dress, sex with only one man for the rest of your life (kidding), THE DRESS!!!!!! And all of these things did flit thru my head, but I can honestly say that the most important thing that stuck in my head was OH MY GAWD!!!!!I am going to marry this wonderful man who truly loves me and we're going to have happily ever after!!! However, things didn't turn out quite as we expected and this story does not have a fairytale ending. In January of 2008 Don began to experience some health issues. We decided to put our wedding off until November of 2008 and at first, the doctors thought these health problems were minor. In early May Don had a biopsy at Oschner's hospital in New Orleans and, though this biopsy proved to be inconclusive, we realized that life was uncertain and planned a small wedding at a friend's home. We were married on May 25, 2008 and I came became a Mrs.,lol!  We were married by my cousin under a beautiful arbor covered in magnolia leaves and, thanks to the hard work of our friends and family, had a wonderful wedding day. Shortly thereafter, Don was sent to Tulane Hospital and was diagnosed with systemic mastocytosis. This disease, in short, causes an overproduction of mast cells in your body and they attack various systems . Don's attacked his liver. He lost alot of weight, over a hundred pounds. He went thru several courses of chemotherapy,but maintained his sense of humor about it and we believed him to be doing better. Not cured, but certainly on his way. He went back to work and we began to talk of what plans we wanted to make for our lives again. We had a pleasant Thanksgiving and then Christmas with our families, but he was beginning to do poorly at Christmas.  Don was admitted to the hospital in New Orleans on Tuesday, December 30,2008 and on Friday January 2, 2009 the doctors told us he was dying. Simply put, his liver was failing and it could be weeks, it could be months, but it certainly would not be years. No one told us, however, that it would be days. Donald Wayne Burge, Jr left this earth on Sunday, January 4, 2009, one day short of two years since our first date. He passed away peacefully surrounded by his family and friends. His final I love you was to his mother, and I am okay with that. He had told me earlier that he loved me and that he did not want to leave me and Sweetpea. Before he took his final breath, he reached his hand upwards and outwards and his eyes were focused somewhere in that same direction. Now others can believe as they will, but I truly believe that God sends someone to bring us to him. Someone to guide our way and to make certain that we have no fear. And my husband showed no fear in those  last moments. I feel that he was reaching for the hand leading him to heaven. And we will meet again there one day.  I had only two years with this man, but those two years taught me that there are good men in this world. I had for two years with a man who loved me, a man who thought I was the most beautiful woman on this earth and told me so often, a man who loved my child as if she were his own and embraced my family and friends and included me in his. And for that I must thank God and be grateful. When Don asked me to marry him and all those crazy thoughts flitted thru my head, I have to admit not one of those thoughts was that I would be burying my husband just 7 months after our wedding, but there I was just a week ago at the funeral home in Poplarville, MS. Hard as it is to believe as I sit here at 2 am on Wed morning,we buried him a week ago today. Life goes on, but I have to ask myself "will anything ever be the same again without him?" and those who knew him will appreciate the sentiment when I answer myself- "I don't think so, scooter!" And Mr. Burge, because I know you can hear me, I won't say goodbye- just goodnight,and I have my own set of "whens".

- JANUARY 4, 2010

There was a great white elephant in the room with me today... or rather on the phone with me, I should say. I got about a half dozen calls today, all from people I dearly love and who I know love me. All of my callers wanted to inquire after how I was feeling, how I was coping TODAY... but not one of my dear friends wanted to be the one to acknowledge the significance of the date. So just to knock the elephant on its ass!, I will acknowledge it! Today, January 4th of 2010, is the one year anniversary of Don's death. There! It's out there and YES I have been aware of the date ALL day and YES I am okay! Well...sort okay as I've been for the past year anyway. As I told my in-laws, I've kinda chosen NOT to acknowledge today. Today did not have a reflection of anything positive for me. To recollect today would have made it a reaaaalllly BAD DAY! For Don, today was a fabulous day. It marked the day he left all of the pain and misery he had here. Just imagine for the last year he has been HAPPY!!! No pain, no aggravation, no worries! No doctors, no treatments! He's had a birthday, a Christmas, an HEAVEN! With GOD!!! So, I made a decision that, for myself, today would be an insignificant memory for me. I've decided to focus on better dates-tomorrow, for example, the anniversary of our first date, or January 18-Don's birthday,or our wedding anniversary in May. I want to remember the days we were happy together. Don't get me wrong, there were a few times today that I found my eyes "leaking". And I gave myself time to deal with those moments and "moved on" so to speak and kept myself busy and let the day go by. Now I know that may sound hardened, but I haven't forgotten, I will never forget. Don is the last person I think of at night and the first person I think of when I open my eyes each morning. He is with me throughout each day. I still wake up each morning and feel the need to kiss him good morning. I still find myself reaching for the Blue Plate mayonnaise at the grocery store even though I personally cannot tell the difference between it and Kraft ( I know-blasphemy!! LOL).When I am at church on Sunday mornings, I find myself laughing when the songs are displayed on the big screens at the front of the church and hearing him say "Karaoke at the Baptist church. Wonder if they're offering two for one well drinks?" When I see a beautiful sunset I want to sit on the porch and have him hold my hand and ask me "can we do this forever?". And when I talk to his Mama each night and hear all the stories she tells me about his childhood, I want to tease him about it. When something or someone aggravates me, I still find myself saying I have got to tell Don about this! He will calm me down and cajole me out of my bad mood and then make a joke about it to make it all better. And every couple of days I have to call his cell phone just so I can hear his voice telling me he's not available right now. So, as I said he's never far from my thoughts, but its been a year and little by little we are all getting by. We're slowly learning to live and cope with each day as it comes. We're learning that we have to continue on and live each day. And when I have those moments that my eyes just won't quit "leaking" I remind myself that I'm not crying for cliche as it may be he really is in a much better place than we are. No at those  moments, I have to remind myself that I am crying for me, and his parents, and Taylor, and all of our family and friends. All of us who miss him. So yes, my friends, its been a very long, very difficult day, and year, but I hope you will not place so much significance on today- the day Don left us-but on all the other days that he brought us all so much joy and place  focus instead on all the memories he left us! I love you all and thank you for thinking of me today!