I talk so much about how Winnie is coping and about how our family in general is coping. Then someone will ask me, “But how are YOU doing?” And I remember that I need to focus on me sometimes. I need to talk about me sometimes. Writing it down gives me clarity about myself.

Before that though, We had a really good week last week. Piper was teething hardcore and temporarily turned into some sort of evil spawn child, but Winnie was an angel. Besides not sleeping, Winnie was herself this week. It was amazing. She was singing and dancing all week long, sharing, being sweet to me, listening (for the most part)… she was more of herself than she’s been since this all happened. How my kids are doing has the biggest impact on my well-being out of anything. If they aren’t doing well, it doesn’t matter what else I do… I’m struggling.

Friday I really started my big project of scanning all of Denny’s pictures. I’ve attempted starting before but find 100 other things I need to do. So I’m committed this time. And you know what? I probably have 5000 other things to do this time around, but I know I need to get this done. I don’t want to risk them getting ruined or lost somehow and not having them.

It’s been so fun to see all of these pictures I’ve never seen. Of his childhood, of high school, of college, of all the years before digital cameras were a thing… I love seeing how goofy he always was. He was funny and an entertainer from the time he was little. Both my girls got that from him. Winnie is the entertainer and has a great sense of humor. Piper is more shy but always keeps us laughing and knows what makes us laugh so she does it over and over.

Looking through these is also incredibly painful. It reminds me how much I miss him. How much I miss my person. It’s easier to be okay when I’m not looking at pictures or videos all of the time. But it’s good for me to confront the pain and realize how much I miss him. How important he was and always will be to me. And I’ll see a face he used to constantly make or something he always wore or his personality jumping out of the picture and it just… ugh. It makes my heart feel empty. It was such a good week, then I set myself in a tailspin. I knew it would be hard to do. I didn’t look at pictures or videos of my mom for almost nine months after she died. But that’s why I have known from the beginning to push myself to look at the pictures and videos of Denny. It’s just so much more painful than I even thought it would be.

I had a very vivid dream Friday night after starting the pictures. I’m not someone who remembers my dreams very often. I only have crazy dreams regularly when I’m pregnant (I’m not pregnant btw). But I dreamed that Denny disappeared like he did in real life but it was only for a few weeks. And he came back alive. And I remember just holding him when he came back. I wouldn’t let go. And then life went on as normal. Just with more gratitude we were together. We started a business together (he was selling and repairing instruments and I was selling girl’s clothes??!! Dreams are weird…he hasn’t played an instrument in many years). We had our girls running around. We were together 24/7. Now in real life we would have driven each other up a wall being together that often but in my dream it was amazing. I woke up heartbroken that it wasn’t really true.

I miss him. I miss everything about him. I miss all of the good things and all of the things that made me crazy. I miss his smell and his hugs and his gross beard kisses. I miss telling each other everything. I miss having my person. I miss our flawless teamwork. We balanced each other out so well. We made a great team and often did things without even having to talk through them cause we just got each other. I miss teasing him. I miss arguing over politics. I miss him hiding all over the house to scare me and more recently when he’d get Winnie in on it. I miss crawling into bed and him telling me he loved me. I miss his stories. That man had the best stories. And most of them were actually true. He was one of those people that you were skeptical of just because his life was so weird (I guess I’m that person now, hi 👋 ). I miss him making me laugh in the worst situations. I miss his grumpiness. I miss teasing him about being grumpy which just made him more grumpy. I miss talking to him when he’d get heated up about it… politics, religion, whatever… if he was passionate, he was yelling without even realizing it 😂. There were many times that I was like, “Babe… Babe… you’re yelling…” “Oh, sorry, BUT WHAT I WAS SAYING IS…” 😂😂😂 Oh how I miss that man. He was perfect for me. He was my person. I hope I can find someone to be my person again in this lifetime. Trust me, I’m not in any rush. If it takes 30 years, I’m looking for someone very particular and I’m not going to go for anything less than. But I do hope I find that. I miss having my person. Denny was the love of my life. He was everything I needed and more. And so unexpected. The exact opposite of everyone I dated before. I hope I find the new love of my life though someday. Is that a thing? To have two loves of your life? Haha. No one will ever replace Denny. I’ll always miss him. I’ll always have a hole in my heart for him. But I hope that most of my heart can be filled back up. Of course I want my girls to have a daddy in this lifetime. But I also want my person. For me.

I turn 30 on Friday. The same day that marks 5 months since Denny died. It’s super weird. Most people say their thirties are better than their twenties so I’m hoping but it doesn’t seem like this will be off to a great start. I mean I’m good. But I’m in such a crappy situation that I never imagined I could be in. That I never would have chosen. And as amazing as it is to be able to help all of these people, if I could have Denny back, selfishly I’d do it. He was planning a trip for me to go on with my sisters. It was our fifth anniversary in May and we were going to go on a surprise Alaskan cruise. Then he planned a trip for me and my two sisters for my thirtieth birthday. He was so good at surprises and making birthdays fun. It’ll be hard not to have him here for it. Such a big one too. And I thought he’d be around for my fortieth, fiftieth, sixtieth… maybe not much longer than that because after all the alcohol that man consumed in his younger years… but still a very long time.

I also can’t believe it’s been five months. WHAT? How have I survived this long? I have expressed this before but it feels good to get some distance from it. For me it has gotten easier in a few ways. And I’ve learned some things over the last five months that I’ll share in another post. But one thing I want to share quickly is about how real the grieving process is. It’s so important to let yourself feel these things. Please allow yourself to feel them. The good feelings too, not just the bad. The waves of grief do leave you alone for a little bit longer over time… I have a few minutes (or days) to catch my breath before it hits again. But it does hit again. And it knocks the air out of me and it feels like I’m back on my knees on the living room floor, the police standing there talking about victim’s advocates and I can’t stop yelling, “NOOOO!” That feeling doesn’t lessen. I don’t think it ever will. But it does get less frequent.

Going through these pictures is making me all sorts of nostalgic. It’s hard to look at the past and attempt not to think about the future that we won’t have together. It’s hard to think about my 30s and what would have been. What now can never be. But I’m looking forward to finding a different happiness and a different version of life than I expected. My girls and I can do this. We are strong together and will build a great future no matter what.

Something cool though, in case you didn’t see. I’ll be spending the last day of my twenties giving a short speech in front of potentially almost 3000 people at a concert for suicide prevention and awareness. If you’re in Utah, come to the Alex Boye concert on August 22 at the Sandy Amphitheater. Come hug me and tell me my thirties are going to be okay ☺️ Cause I need all of the emotional support I can get this week.

6 thoughts on “Me

  1. You are so golden Dani. You amaze me with how gracefully you write about all these tough, beautiful, emotional things. You have a gift! So glad you are going to share it and help other Thursday night 🙂

  2. I also had vivid dreams about my dad coming back after he ended his life. It went on for a while. It’s now coming up on 16 years since his death and I have not had a dream like that in several years. I wish you joy and blessing for your 30’s.. happy birthday!

  3. you will do an amazing job at your talk and your 30s will indeed be awesome. your family and friends will help to make that happen! xoxox

  4. I have to say something but, I don’t know what to say. I admire you immensely, you are younger than my daughter and I could not imagine her going through the same changes. All the love I can I will send to you and your little ones. xxxx

  5. I admire anyone who can come out the end of a cannon (suicide) and talk about it to better help others. I am the Mother of a “potential”, and it scares me to death! I guess what I want to learn about is the indicators that were present, and how to help someone who does not admit to problems and will not accept help. Thank you. Prayers always for your little girls and yourself.

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