Sunday, January 29, 2017


A wise man wrote that legacy is "planting seeds in a garden you never get to see."

Last night I spoke briefly at the VMI Men's Soccer senior banquet. In preparation for that, I thought back on what I had said at the last banquet, in October 2015. (Someone reminded me that this was actually the third banquet in a row I have spoken... how did that happen?) In 2015, I thanked the families for all their support and told them I would be working on some form of legacy for Tony at VMI. So, I was quite chuffed when I realized that task was complete. Not only is there a scholarship in Tony's name, but the new VMI coach (who never met Tony) named his coach's award after Tony. He promised that award would be there as long as he is, and hopefully beyond.

When I say that task is complete, I don't mean I am finished. But I took a moment to feel proud of myself and think about what I have accomplished. My annoying-ness is starting to pay off, and since it's one of my most prominent traits, I'll have to see what else I can accomplish with it!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Widow-lescence: Phase two

It was Sept 2015 when I first wrote about "widow-lescence," the process of coming back into the world after losing Tony. That was six months after he died.

A year and a half later, it's time for an update.

The first phase was piecing together the remaining parts of my life. I lost my best friend, and my biggest and most time consuming (by which I mean 24 hr) job, caring for him. That adjustment took awhile. Now, I feel much more settled in myself. I am taking better care of myself , I have a part-time job, and I even have fun new boots. Of course, that comes and goes, but I have a feeling that will last for the rest of my life, so I might as well get used to it.

So I'm ready for phase two, and I still see parallels with adolescence. I've figured out who I am (more or less), now I'm more ready for my life to begin (again). I remember this from before... where am I going to go to college? What will I major in? What kind of job will I have? Where will I live? When will I meet "the one"?

Thankfully, I don't have to go through all of that again! But it doesn't seem like teaching is in my immediate future... so what new job can I spin my (considerable, but ill defined) skills into? Should I break out of the small town I've lived in my whole life to find a fresh start? (How easy is it to move to Scotland?) As for "the (second) one"... this is driven by extreme loneliness, for sure. I'm ready for him to show up at my door, but not to try to find him through the morass of dating. Plus I have a ton of baggage, and he'd have super big shoes to fill. But I think it's only natural... I had incredible love in my life, why wouldn't I hope I could find and feel that again?

At this point, it's all just the daydreams of a 38 year old widow-lescent who uses parentheses too much.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Extended Family

They say you don't get to pick your family. I suppose that's literally true, but it has not been my experience.

We are lucky enough to have a big extended family... the kind of family we have picked, or more accurately... who have picked us. They are some incredible people and I am so grateful for them.

We took a little trip in the week between Christmas and New Year's to visit a few families we know through VMI soccer. We had a great time, and everyone was incredibly welcoming. These aren't people we see or talk to that often, but that didn't seem to matter at all. At every stop of the trip, we couldn't wait to get there, and then were reluctant to leave.

More than once recently, I have had a period of feeling alone and lonely. Just as I have been sliding into that feeling, my extended family has magically appeared... so randomly that it hardly seems possible. I was at a gas station two hours away and feeling dreadful, and then three of my favorite people showed up. It was odd, but the timing was incredibly fortunate. The universe reached out to prop me up.

Before ALS entered our lives, Tony and I were mainly home bodies. We didn't go out much because we were happiest in the little world we had made together. But as Maria von Trapp said, "when God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window." Our little world got a lot smaller when Tony left, but our extended family had grown so much.

My point is here somewhere...

When we got home from our trip last week, I was feeling very down. One of those unexplained mood swings that I just couldn't figure out. Two days later, I got an email from one of the families we had just visited. They wrote, "You make Coach Tony so proud of how you are raising such beautiful, loving and well adjusted young ladies!" Again, the timing was impeccable and the words meant the world. 

To our extended family: thank you so much for picking us, thanks for always being so welcoming, and thanks for propping me up when I need it most. 

To our flesh and blood family: I hope you know that the only way I could explain how important you are is with a large amount of alcohol, and an equally large amount of tissues. 

I love you all. Thank you.