So much has changed since my last post and so much is still the same. Shelby moved out and all the way to Texas to live with her family. It wasn’t really planned out well thanks to me. I had been feeling like she was unhappy here for sometime after Shaun’s death. Neither of us really able to heal from that tragedy. So while her family was up for a visit I suggested that she might want to go ahead and just go back to Texas with them. Very quickly, after that suggestion life as I knew it changed. Ultimately this change has been better for us both, because in the end two broken halves didn’t make a whole. I still miss her insanely and so do my kids, but we will be having a visit soon and hopefully celebrating!
Another outage came, and so off to work for my darling Boilermaker husband. Again, ultimately better for our family. He’s been home since Shaun’s death and while I needed him at first it is now time to heal on my own. Thus, I am living the single wife life taking care of the 3 kids, the 3 dogs, the 7 chickens, and the rest that Boyd Manor entails. Ziggy moved with his mommy Shelby and Zoey unfortunately not fond of the kids found a home with my grandparents where she is surely a very spoiled pooch. We were gifted one gorgeous white silkie chicken and then 6 baby ISA Browns.
Charley and I have a brand new 2lb 15 oz niece as of August 29th, named for his late mother and we couldn’t be more excited to have this little ray of sunshine bring a ray of hope into this very dark year. Stubborn like both of her parents she insisted on making her arrival 10 weeks early, but she is pure perfection in every way. She gives me something positive to focus on when the negatives try to take over. Who doesn’t love shopping for adorable baby clothes? Her pint-sized mom has also become a good friend of mine. She’s just someone who gets what this life is like. As my darling brother-in-law is yet another Boilermaker. Did I mention my husband’s family is kind of filled with them?
On September 1st, I signed up for Weight Watchers. Admittedly I let my grief and other emotions consume me. I tried dealing with life by eating away all the stress and other feelings. Through therapy, I am finding a new healthier me. I’m working harder to take care of myself physically and emotionally. I was also reminded by Shelby that I shouldn’t stop blogging just because people don’t like what I have to say about them. 1075 miles away and still a good friend I can count on when I let me get in the way of me.
At 324 lbs, this word describes not only my physical state, but my mental state as well. I gave up soda in December and haven’t lost any weight. I stuck to clean eating pretty well until my brother’s death in February and I guess when people don’t know what to say they opt to feed you. My darling husband gave up Mountain Dew for Dr. Pepper and lost 20 lbs. He chews tobacco, because my asthma and our son’s forced him to quit smoking. He eats whatever he wants, even the occasional whole jar of green olives (*gag*), but I am the one overweight with high blood pressure. I bet you are picturing someone who sits and eats all day, but you’d be wrong. I’m the worst at remembering to feed myself. I feed the husband, the kids, the animals. Somehow I forget that I should eat regularly too. So by 8 pm when I am starving I opt for convenience and microwave a ready made sandwich or I snack until I fall asleep somewhere around 3 am. I had my gallbladder removed after the birth of my daughter so many foods have been off limits for awhile. I may not have the pain, but one wrong food and I am still just as sick as I was before. surgery. Where has the 130 lb me of the past gone? I realize that I am 12 years older and have had 3 kids, but I miss that girl. I miss her ability to walk miles, swim lap after lap, work all day and not be tired. Life can’t be lived in the past though. We only have the present. I will be 30 in a couple years and I don’t want to be my present self at age 30. I don’t want to be the butt of the joke anymore or the mommy with no energy. I want to find where I left that 130 lb me and live my life fully with no regrets. That means losing 194 lbs over the next 2 years. That means telling the world my weight and really making the changes needed to be a happier and healthier me. So share with me your tips: what worked for you, what do you do to live a healthier life, and most importantly what motivates you to keep going?
I took a break from writing after my brother’ death to focus on my family and getting through the grief. A month later our family was struck by another tragedy as my 2nd cousin took her life leaving behind kids and grand-kids. I felt the familiar downward spiral begin as I began going through the what ifs. What if our family is cursed? What if I could be next? What if we aren’t doing enough to prevent these things? I could go on, but that would be an intensely boring post.
As if I wasn’t dealing with enough, I decided to weigh myself only to realize I had gained back 14 lbs of the baby weight I worked so hard to lose. Let me make it clear that when things are crazy the only person in this house that gets neglected is me. I make everyone else’s meals and doctor appointments. I even stress about the dogs having enough food and whether they need to see the vet. I neglect myself and the spiral deepens. I gain weight. I eat late at night. I skip my doctor and therapy appointments because I really don’t need the lecture right now when I feel like I am doing all I can. I stop showering. I start sleeping later and later. I withdraw from the outside world.
I avoided the 2nd holiday, but first family holiday since my brother’s passing. I just couldn’t bring myself to face the stress and the stark reminder of his passing. While in the moment this felt great, the guilt wasn’t far behind. It seems to linger just in the back these days and I can feel guilty for something as simple as an extra 5 minutes in the shower. My husband notices something is wrong, my best friend notices something is off, and my kids are definitely feeling the change. I ignore it. I play it off and before I know it I haven’t showered in 2 weeks, I don’t want to get out of bed, and here I am lost in the darkness once again. Once again, I am taking baby steps. Learning to forgive myself for the mistakes. Learning that I can’t take care of everyone else if I keep putting myself last. Learning that sometimes what is good for you isn’t always going to make everyone else happy. Starting over yet again.
My husband Charley and I met working at a local pizza place when I was just 15. I was the waitress and he was the grill cook. If you are expecting some high-school sweetheart story, let me squash that thought now. He wasn’t exactly “my type” back then. Hindsight is 20/20 though and I wish I had seen the great man he was then. He was always a great friend through the next 4 years of my life. At 19 with a daughter of my own from a previous relationship, I was overwhelmed by the thought of being a single mother. I broke down and prayed that God would send me someone different, someone to love not only me for who I am, but my child as well. Little did I know at the time Charley was praying for someone to settle down with and that he always thought he would marry me from the first time he met me. We reconnected via AOL instant messenger and it wouldn’t be long after that we went on the worst first date of my life. Charley showed up 45 minutes late to our movie date, and while I was annoyed I was willing to give it a chance. Throughout our date he was busy texting someone else; I would later learn that it was his sister. Growing more angry by the minute, I agreed to go to a party after the movie, thinking at least there would be free alcohol and a rare chance to be a normal 19 year old. This party turned out to be a 15 year old’s birthday party and with one phone call about my daughter not feeling well, I rushed home. I wasn’t quick to return his phone call after that, but suddenly found myself missing that human connection and gave in to a second chance. Our next date while still strange, because he was accompanying me to an eye doctor appointment, turned out to be just the day we needed. On May 17th we committed to being exclusive. July 4th after caring for me during my gallbladder surgery Charley proposed and we started the whirlwind known as our life together. We moved into a rental house and began our life as a family of three. The next few months introduced me to the life of the boilermaker girlfriend as Charley had to leave for an outage in West Virginia, while I remained home with my daughter attending college and working through a custody battle.
On October 24th 2008, I was told by my attorney that I would have to get married, give up custody of Jess, or move out of our house that we’d worked so hard to make a home. On October 26th, Charley made the journey home from West Virginia and we were married. Fast forward almost 9 years, and we have our own home, two sons, 5 dogs, a roommate we love dearly.
Charley was able to finish the Boilermaker apprenticeship at around the same time I finished my college degree. We have had our ups and downs over these past years, but still hold to the belief that we are soulmates. I joke that I am a highly paid single mother, because I am most often home alone with our kids as he works outages across the East Coast and don’t always give him credit for how hard it is for him as well. I saw clearly through this tragedy just how much of a blessing in my life Charley has been.Over the past 3 years, Charley and I faced devastating losses beginning with the loss of his beloved mother that July, followed shortly by our unborn baby, and his uncle who was also our pastor at our church. We are now dealing with the suicide of my beloved 24 year old brother who passed away just over a month ago. Charley rushed home after being up all night on the phone with me, to be by my side through the coming week, as I was forced to say goodbye to my brother. He has held me when I’ve broken down, come to countless therapy and doctor appointments, taken over the care of our children and house all while supporting me as I work through the grief. I have seen that man step up and be strong for both of us when I didn’t even have the strength to get out of bed. I have recently made an effort to never take him for granted again. He’s not only an amazing husband, my best friend, but also an incredible father who loves our three kids with everything in him. He always makes sure that we know he loves us and wants to be here with us even when work causes him to travel far away. He has worked countless hours to ensure the kids and I have everything we need while I transitioned to being a stay at home mother. So to the man who has always taken care of me, been there through everything, seen me fail and still pushed me to keep going… I love you more than life itself and I am grateful for you each and everyday. Forever and Always Baby!
The definition of me time as found on Google is:
time spent relaxing on one’s own as opposed to working or doing things for others, seen as an opportunity to reduce stress or restore energy.
“schedule some me time when you get home”
As a mom of three children under the age of 10, I found this concept to be foreign to me when suggested by my therapist almost a year ago. Where was this magical time where no one needed anything from me and I could do something solely for my own pleasure? Where has this moment been hiding where the kids aren’t fighting, hungry, or have a dirty diaper ? How had this magical “me time” eluded me for so long? When did I turn from Brittany into just mommy or Charley’s wife? We are all guilty of it, at least all moms that I know, we sacrifice ourselves in favor of creating a happy home. We forget to eat, we definitely don’t sleep, and most days we live in yesterday’s makeup and yoga pants. We squeak by like zombies through life. We sacrifice our mental well being and general health overall for the sake of a happy home. It baffles me that it took a therapist and my family doctor telling me to create some space and time for myself for me to actually get the concept. We know that for our kids to function they need to eat and sleep properly. We allow our husbands to come home from work to clean clothes, hot meals, and a seat on the sofa. We know that for the car to go it needs proper maintenance and a full tank of gas. We know that for our electronics to run they need to be charged. So why is that we expect ourselves to function as moms and wives without that same need to be rested, fueled, and charged? Sometimes me time is a 15 minute shower at 6 am, a 5 minute phone call outside on my deck to a friend, or just 10 minutes of deep breathing to keep this mommy from spewing fire like a dragon. Then there are the rare blissful moments of “me time” on an all day all girl’s shopping trip, an hour long candle lit bubble bath, or a 30 minute trip to caffeine fueled nirvana at Starbucks. Cut yourself a break! I see you out there struggling just like me and all ready feeling guilty for even thinking about it. However, I promise you that the house will still be dirty, the husband will still need something, and the kids will survive even if you take some time for yourself.
How do you continue on in life when you still feel broken? How do you stick all the shattered pieces of your heart back together? It’s been 5 days since Shaun’s funeral, 8 days since he passed away, and 13 days have passed since the last phone call. The visitors and food deliveries have all stopped. The condolences have creeped down to a bare minimum. The flowers still fill my parent’s home making it smell like a funeral parlor. Life is moving on around us, but I am still struggling with going out in public. I feel like people are all talking about our family or looking at us with pity. Anger is spreading like wildfire and I can’t seem to find an appropriate target. I am not even sure there is an appropriate target for the rage burning inside of me. I desperately want to feel normal again, but is that even realistic for someone that has been through such a traumatic loss. Will there ever be such a thing as “normal” again?
You’ve been a part of Shaun’s life for 10 years and a part of mine for 8 years. I wasn’t sure about this skinny quiet girl who came from North Carolina, the one he stole a car to see. I gave you hell, but opened my home and heart to you over time. My brother loved you whole heartedly and so deeply that I couldn’t help, but love you too. I remember giving him a bridal set the night he told me you were the one, but later he decided you needed your own. You deserved a ring as beautiful as you are inside and out. You helped him to make that CD for my wedding full of all the romantic songs. I still don’t believe he was alone in his prank to add “Let your Hips Swing” and “Cotton Eyed Joe” to the middle. Shaun came to you and let you see the darkest skeletons buried in his closet. You both bonded over finding your biological fathers. You helped him through that in a way no one else could. You’ve become aunt Shelby through the years and our family came to love you as fully and deeply as him. You are imprinted in most of our memories of Christmases, birthdays, and everything in between. The night you two drew a giant penis on the back of my car. The night your date night turned into mudding and I had to drive my brand new car down a dirt road to pick you up in the middle of the night. We became best friends and then sisters. Bonding over our memories. You legally have been his wife for a while now. You are his one true love and soulmate. I see your love in the candid pictures of the two of you. I see your love in the house you both worked so hard to remodel.I see your love as we drove to Pacolet to buy Storm for him because he wanted a duck dog so badly. I see your love as you care for Storm and Ziggy who meant the world to him. I see your love as you stuck by his side from nothing to everything. I’ve watched you sit beside him and help him make his dreams come true. I’ve sat late night with you at the hospital, because you didn’t want to wake him because he was working so hard. I’ve watched you stand in a Black Friday line for hours to buy a gun so he could duck hunt. I have seen you clip coupon after coupon to save the hard earned money he made. I’ve seen you rush home to make sure he had dinner when he got him from work. I’ve seen you sit up late nights to finish laundry, because he only like that one pair of pants for work. I’ve watched you struggle through the bad times and go back for more because despite it all… You love him with everything in you. I watched you let him go, because his happiness meant more to you than yours. Still always holding out hope that you would both find your way back to each other. On February 8th, no one could doubt your love for him. One last phone call from Shaun to say he loved you and goodbye. The pure terror and pain on your face haunts my dreams. The sound of you begging and telling him one last time how much you love him replays like a movie. The sound of the gunshot and you losing it stuck in my memories like a cruel knife to the heart. I’m thankful that in my moment of panic you could recall the address of the home you built together. I’m thankful that in my worst moments you were here with us. I’m eternally grateful for you holding me as I broke down outside the hospital when it set in that my baby brother wouldn’t be coming home ever again. Setting aside your own pain and fear to sit bedside him at the hospital. Respectfully sitting behind our family at the funeral. Checking on us all each day. Walking though the house today, despite all the painful memories of that February 8th. Thank you. Thank you for loving Shaun. Thank you for helping us to grieve and filling in memories that we can never get back. Thank you for remembering what matters most. Thank you for being not only a Davis, but a Bowers at heart! I love you! Shaun loved you! We all love you!