A lot of feelings today and a lot of things to say, but it’s all kind of jumbled in my brain. I keep thinking of what I want to say and then get mixed up and can’t put it into words anymore.

We took a trip to Las Vegas this week. It’s probably Denny’s favorite place in the world. He’s super classy like that. But he didn’t even drink anymore and still loved Vegas. Kind of because he loved the huge city in the middle of no where, also for the people watching, but mostly because of the amazing food/restaurants and being able to play black jack or poker. He was really good at it until he was trying to show off, then he’d fail miserably. Fun fact about Denny: In a rougher time of life, he lived off of poker winnings for about 6 months straight. No other job. What a crazy life this guy lived. Just a small example. Going through his stuff I found several books about gambling. Gave them to one of his closest friends who I won’t call out publicly, but who also participated in that six month stint.

I didn’t think I could afford a trip anywhere right now. The hotel we would stay at in the past was way out of budget. Of course we had amazing friends of Denny’s (who I can now claim as my own) offer to let us stay there. But I happened to check the hotel website and they had a crazy deal that just happened to be going on during the week of my fifth anniversary. Can anyone say meant to be? It was less than 1/3 of the normal cost. I decided this was something we needed so I booked a few nights.

Winnie looking out the window at our hotel

Many people who have been through something similar have suggested the same thing: some sort of trip away. They have all said it was the best thing for them right after they lost their mom/brother/whatever… They all said they needed to see that they could have fun and be happy and enjoy life even without their mom/brother/whatever.

We did that. Winnie had a blast. We played a lot with friends, my sister and her bestie came down for part of the time to play, and we went and did fun things. We did a lot of swimming, exploring, and eating. Winnie had some of her normal giant melt downs but compared to how she is at home it was actually much less. I think she needed the change of scenery even more than I did.

The friends we spent time with are Mike, Jenna, and their little girl Layla. Mike was one of Denny’s closest friends for years. They kind of went their own ways after marriage and kids and moving, but Denny would constantly tell stories about Mike D and still considered him one of his best friends. It was so fun to finally make the connection. These people have been so kind to us since Denny died. They are constantly sending stuff (both things we need or just things for fun) and texting me funny stories or just random messages of support and love (even when I only sometimes respond).

Layla and Winnie were meant to be friends and were singing together within in a hour of meeting one another. It’s so fun to see and I hope Denny is just laughing along with us. Mike and Jenna even took us out to the one restaurant that Denny and I went to every single time we went to Vegas. I wanted to go there for our anniversary and it was so fun to have them there.

Piper warmed right up to Jenna and Winnie ADORES/is OBSESSED WITH Mike. Winnie is craving time with a daddy so bad. It’s heartbreaking. She was so used to having so much attention from Denny. They really were best buddies. She has constantly been wanting that attention and love and teasing and roughhousing so bad. So people like Mike who give that to her even for a short period of time are lifesavers. It is what she needs. And I know these people will be a part of our lives for a very long time. So it’s huge for Winnie to have that consistency and long term “dad” buddy.

Happiest Winnie and Mike D

I could not have asked for kinder or more generous people in my life. This is just one example of the many who are so selfless and supportive. Who don’t necessarily understand but want to do everything they can to help me and even more so the innocent little girls in all of this. God bless you people. What would I do without you? I have so much to be grateful for.

Today I miss my best friend. I miss having my person I can always rely on. I miss having my person who can see me in any state and love me exactly the same no matter what. I miss being able to support him and love him endlessly. I miss seeing him with the girls. I miss him making dumb inappropriate jokes and me rolling my eyes at every one. I miss “Vacation Denny,” who would somehow make every single part of vacation a blast. I miss his stupid beard and mustache that he had to lift up to kiss me. I miss him giving the girls “beard kisses” before bed every night. I miss watching our shows. I miss making our inside jokes. I miss just looking at each other and knowing what the other one is thinking. I miss him calling me from work every time he was excited or bummed about something. Or even when he’d see something funny in the news or online. I miss encouraging him and telling him how wonderful he was. I miss him bringing home random toys from the claw machine at the grocery store because somehow he always won. And so much more. I miss all of it.

And I hope that no matter what happens in our future, he will be a part of it. Even if someone else ever comes into the picture, I will make sure he’s still a part of it and a part of our conversations. I hope it’s like when you have your second child and you still love your first child so overwhelmingly but somehow your heart grows and allows room for more love. Somehow you’re able to keep your heart growing with each child and love them all even more. I hope someone can see that and accept that and respect it and gain love for him as he gains love for all of us.

But today I miss him. And that’s okay.

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