Monday, May 17, 2010

400 days

I have lived 400 days without Donnie. So many things have happened in those 400 days since he left. I have missed him every day of those 400 days. I have wanted to call him a million times to tell him something or ask him something. Justin just finished his 2nd semester in college. Courtney is going to her senior year of high school. Caley is talking up a storm. Shantel has found love and happiness in her life with a good man. And I have managed to get thru these last 400 days and I am still here to tell my story. 400 days ago I would have told you that I would have never made it to this point. I couldn’t even imagine an hour ahead much less a year. I would have told you that there was no way in the world I would ever smile again. I would tell you that I couldn’t go on and move forward in my life without Donnie by my side. I would have told you that I would never be happy again. 400 days ago our world changed 100%. Our “normal” was taken away and we were forced to adjust and even accept this “new normal” that we live each day.

People sometimes still walk on eggshells around me. Afraid to mention Donnie’s name in fear of it “setting me off” or making me cry. Some still treat me like I am broken. They think if they remind me of Donnie by speaking his name it will make me sad. It would make me even sadder to pretend he never existed. It’s hard for me to understand why talking about him seems “awkward” for people who knew him and loved him. It doesn’t make a difference if they talk about him or not, I still know he is gone. I am faced with that everyday. Someone speaking of him doesn’t spare me from knowing and remembering that he is gone. Maybe those people can “hide” from the fact that he is gone because they didn’t see him or speak to him every day. I have been constantly reminded of it every day for the last 400 days. It’s not something I can hide from. It is my reality. But I have accepted it. It hasn’t been easy. I have accepted this reality because I have faced it and still face it every single day. And in that acceptance, I made the choice to keep on living and move forward. What other choice did I have really? I could have stayed in bed I guess with the covers pulled over my head and shut out the world. Lord knows I wanted to for a long time and there are days that I still want to do that. But I didn’t and I choose not to do that. I choose to live my life the way that Donnie wanted me to. He wanted me to continue living even though it meant without him. I couldn’t hide from my grief I had to confront it and move thru it. It’s not something that you can hide from. It will find you.

400 days. Seems like and eternity.I think about how much my world has changed in these 400 days. I couldn’t imagine what today would be like. I have travelled a long and treacherous path of grief and self discovery. I have learned that I am stronger than I ever thought I could be. I learned in those 400 days, life goes on, no matter what. The world doesn’t stop for your grief. You somehow find a way to move forward. I will never “ be over” losing Donnie, I will ALWAYS grieve for and miss him but I have found out and accepted that I am still living . I have found someone who makes me smile again. If you would have told me that 400 days ago, I would have told you that you were crazy. And I would have been wrong.

Monday, May 10, 2010


The bond that Caley shared with Donnie was amazing to say the least. You know for the quite a while, I was angry with God for giving Donnie cancer. But after time I realized that God didn’t give him cancer. God gave him 18 months. Donnie came into our lives when Courtney was 3 and without even trying, became their “Daddy”. He was an amazing Daddy. He was there for it all, the little league, the dance recitals, the doctors appointments and school plays. He didn’t miss a thing. He was a natural. But often times I felt guilty for denying him biological children. His answer to me was “ we already have kids” . I truly believe that if we had been able to have biological children that he wouldn’t have treated them any differently than the ones we had already. He was a Daddy and he raised them. They were no longer, my children. They were our children.

After Donnie died, I was talking to one of his friends. Donnie had been friends with him and a group of guys they played golf with for about 5 years. He told me that they didn’t realize that the kids weren’t Donnie’s biological children. He was amazed that most of them didn’t know that. He told me that the way Donnie spoke of them, they were his children. I told him they were. 

Donnie always loved kids but was weary of little babies. Until Caley came along. He walked into that hospital room and picked that baby up and never put her down. He was a natural with her. And he got to experience all the things with her that he missed out on with our kids. It was the closest to “his” baby,he would ever have. Shantel and Caley lived with us and Caley was a Poppy’s girl. She always wanted Poppy. The bond between them was special to witness. When Donnie went in the hospital, she didn’t understand. When he came home she just wanted to be on him, in his lap, next to him. She just wanted him. When he died, she cried for him, a lot. It was heart wrenching. She wasn’t quite 2 yet. She didn’t understand where he had gone. She was clingy and sometimes pictures of him would make her look so sad. It broke my heart for her to cry for him. But at the same time, I knew it would break my heart even more when she didn’t. I made a promise to Donnie that she would always know who her Poppy was and how much he loved her. It is a promise I intend to keep. For a long time, she would see his picture and grab it and kiss it and say over and over, “ I love you Poppy”. I would often times call his voicemail to listen to his voice and if it was on speaker she would grab the phone and start saying the same thing into the phone. Telling him how much she loved him. Just in the last few months she has stopped asking for him. She sees his picture, she knows who he is. But she doesn’t talk about him like she used to. It breaks my heart for what she is missing out on by not having this special man in her life. I know he is with her and he watches over her though. The other day she was with me and I was getting ready to go somewhere and she was just playing as I was getting ready and it was like she had an “Aha” moment of her own. She almost caught her breath and turned around to me and asked “Mimi!!!! Where is Poppy?!!? I was speechless for just a second and thought that I had heard her wrong. I said “what?” she asked matter of factly again “where’s poppy?” I told her that he was in heaven, watching over her. And that seemed to satisfy her question. But watching her, it was like she remembered that he was supposed to be here. Not just that she remembered who we told her he was. It had been over a year since she had seen him. It was quite the bond that they had. How amazing is it that she still remembers?

I was angry with God for quite a while. I was angry that there are serial killers and child molesters walking the street perfectly healthy. I wanted to know why Donnie. It took me a while but I came to realize that God didn’t give Donnie cancer. Satan did. And when the doctors gave him 4 months to live, God gave him 18 months to be the Poppy that he was and experience what he had given up to be a Daddy to my children. What a blessing for God to give him. He deserved it, he was always such a blessing to us.