Can’t sleep again. 80% cause this blue-eyed goober won’t sleep unless her feet are directly in my face. The other 20% is anxieties. The last few days have been busy and so I’m behind on getting stuff done. For example, I literally have 432 unread text messages (number does not include the ones I read and mentally responded to but didn’t really; or the amount that I accidentally opened and never responded to; ALSO does not include social media or emails of which there are literally thousands). And before denny died, I was that person who couldn’t STAND to have unread messages.
My house is a disaster. And I decided that I absolutely had to get rid of my bedroom set (see note at bottom to understand why) so now we’ve got crap everywhere until I replace the furniture to put the crap back into. I look at stuff that I want and it’s kind of exciting because I get to do things my way. Denny and I had such different styles that we always had to find the middle ground. Which is what you should do in marriage. And it was great. It’s now exciting to have freedom to choose completely my style, but it’s almost like I can’t even remember what it was like before and even if I did, I’m a totally different human because I was bettered by Denny and we grew better together over the years. Is that weird? That somehow that affects my ability to pick furniture?
So I take a break from looking at IKEA’s website to try and peer through Piper’s toes at Facebook. I scroll through an article about gun control inside churches. It’s hard because Denny had a concealed weapons permit and was an uber responsible gun owner. Until he decided to take his own life. So the article is triggering to me, I guess you could say. And I obviously have super mixed feelings on the topic.
For some background, I have never loved guns. But I’ve never hated them either. I have literally never shot one in my life although Denny and I always planned to go shooting in the mountains one day. But before we had kids, he would set his gun up on a shelf when he was home and not wearing it, because it was just us (the second I popped out a baby that thing went in a safe). I didn’t like touching the gun, so when I was cleaning, I would just clean around it. Guns are scary and dangerous to me. BUT I’m so grateful to responsible gun owners. Like law enforcement and random citizens who have been able to stop crimes.
I always felt so safe with Denny. Always. From date 3, literally. We were sitting in Johnny Rockets on our third date. This is the one where he ordered a tuna sandwich on wheat and I ordered a cheeseburger… not the point but I’m still annoyed about that. He told me girls had dumped him before simply because he was short. I said to him, “As long as you can protect me, I don’t care how tall you are.” Know what he did? He laughed. He just laughed and laughed. For way too long. But now knowing him, it was the perfect response. I wasn’t scared of ANYTHING with that man around. Even when he wasn’t right there, I knew I couldn’t get into much trouble because if someone tried to hurt me, he’d be ripping their limbs off before they could even touch me. If you know him, you know what I’m talking about. He was SO fiercely protective of the ones he loved. Of his family when he was younger (he could bully his siblings, but no one else better try or he’d have at them), his friends when he lived away from family, then me and the girls the last few years. A 400 lb, 6’9” line backer wouldn’t scare him (is that a real linebacker’s size or am I making that up cause that sounds scary). Gun or not. He didn’t just protect us physically, but spiritually, emotionally, mentally, everything as much as he could. Which I truly believe, and have believed from day one, is the ultimate reason he took his life. He thought he was protecting us.
Now here’s where I get anxiety. I didn’t want to do this parenting thing on my own. I didn’t choose too. Things happen, right? And he had Crohn’s disease and had been at death’s door a few times since I’d known him. So it wasn’t something I never thought about. I absolutely had to think about it. I didn’t think I wouldn’t be able to survive without him. I’m confident and know I’m capable. I knew I didn’t *want* to. But I knew I could if I absolutely had to. But the stigma of mental illness that I’m trying so hard to fight still gets to me. It still feels like he made the choice sometimes. I don’t know how to explain this. He did make a choice. But he wasn’t in his right mind. We all know that. So was it really a choice? It feels like he *chose* to leave me and I didn’t get a say in it. Which is sort of true. But it’s also not true because had he been stable and mentally healthy, he never in a million years would have. I hope that makes sense. I think it’s something so many of us left behind grapple and wrestle with. If he died like my mom did, of cancer, would I still feel this way? I know I wouldn’t think it was a choice by any means.
So here I am. Left with two angelic baby girls who cannot yet fend for themselves. And I feel inadequate to protect them. Not just physically, but in every other way. They need a dad, their dad, to do that for them. That wasn’t supposed to be my job alone. I felt like Denny and I could raise incredible kids together. We were on the path to do so. But what if something happens and I don’t know what to do? He would have been my person to run to. If I didn’t know, he sure did. And if he didn’t, I did, or he’d pretend to. So there was confidence there, real or false haha. What if there were someone shooting up our church? What would I do? Even if Denny didn’t have his gun, you’d better believe he’d be the one to get us all to safety. When my mom died, he knew how to help me process while also protecting me. Same with Winnie. He just knew.
(Sidenote: Angel version of Denny is going to be just as protective of us as he was here, just in different ways. So, Lord help the first boy to lay eyes on Winnie.)
These last few days.. My birthday, 5 month “deathiversary,” 6 year anniversary of our first date. Man, they get to me. Dates used to not bother me much. I didn’t even remember a lot of them and now it’s all so overwhelmingly important in my brain. But ultimately, I’m so grateful. Even when I’m scared and anxious I’m full of gratitude. I’m grateful because I know it’s okay if I can’t sleep tonight. I have friends who love my girls and want to take them tomorrow. I have someone who will come help me catch up on housework tomorrow too. I have gaggles of friends (yeah, I said gaggles) who showed up for my birthday with treats or with notes. Others who messaged and commented. Strangers showing love and appreciation for my openness and my journey. People who mourn with me when I miss Denny. After reading my latest post, someone said something like, “I miss him and I don’t even know him.” Do you know how much that means to me? The love I am shown constantly through my pain and my expression of it? And then on my happy days, I’m still shown endless support and others rejoicing with me. Are you kidding me? My friend asked for help getting together a birthday gift for me to buy fabric so that I can spend more time sewing again and so many strangers donated. But you’re not really strangers. We’re all friends here. Because what else can you call that kind of support and love. It’s friends. WOOOOOWWWW DANI. Oh that was cheesy but so so true. You are my friends. THANK YOU, my friend, for being here with me and for allowing me to sit in the good feelings and in the grief. For now, it’s necessary. But hopefully tomorrow will be better.
P.S. I do not have strong opinions on gun control either way. My only opinion is that what we are doing right now isn’t working and something needs to change. As always, feel free to share your opinions here and on social media in the comments as long as they are kind and respectful. Hateful, rude, unkind comments will never be tolerated on any of my platforms and will be deleted as soon as I (or one of my special helpers… yep, kinda like Santa’s helpers) see it.
Bedroom Set: We had a California King Bedroom set that Denny bought before we got married. It’s his style 10000% and not mine at all. I couldn’t get rid of it at first but now it just breaks my heart to sleep in a giant bed without him. Also, why did a 5’3.75” 150 lb man buy a California King? I think it was legit cause he thought it was funny. But I’m also hoping if I get a smaller bed and a cozy chair in my room, I can have the girls sleep in the chair when they insist on sleeping in my room so that I can actually SLEEP without feet or bums in my face. I can try at least 🤞🤞🤞