Tag Archives: husband

The Day

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*Today is the third anniversary of my husband’s death.

It started off normal enough, however, I did not foresee the tragedy that was heading my way… 

I decided to turn in early because I had planned to surprise my husband by going to look for a new car with him the following morning.  He was barely speaking to me because I disagreed that he needed one.

I was asleep by the time he got off of work, but he made sure to come to our bedroom and ask if Jazmine was awake. He was especially fond of my niece and spent most of his hours at home with her undertow. I replied she was not and dozed back off.

Less than an hour later, he came back in the bedroom and turned on the light. In obvious distress, he told me he did not feel well.  Still drowsy, I halfheartedly asked what was wrong.  He responded that he was having chest pains.  About a year earlier, he asked me to stop making spicy foods because his “heartburn” was getting worse. Therefore I attributed his discomfort to that and asked him if he tried taking an antacid.  He said he had but he would try taking some more.  When I heard him fumbling around in the medicine cabinet, I grew alarmed.

He came back into the bedroom and I noticed he was sweating profusely and breathing heavily.  I asked him if he was having pain in his left arm as well.  He said he was and I thought came to me that he might be having a heart attack. However, it still didn’t register as being a real possibility considering he was only 30 years old. 

I decided to call for an ambulance and while I was on the phone with the operator, he was stretching.  She instructed me to have him to sit down but he said he could not because he was so uncomfortable.  I got off the phone and proceeded to help him to the livingroom to wait for the paramedics to arrive.

Midway there he stumbled and I caught him as best I could.  We finally made it to the sofa and not a second later, he jumped up abruptly and started stumbling about.  He was headed toward the door because he could not breathe and wanted to go outside for air.  He collapsed in the doorway as the ambulance pulled up front.

Ethan heard the noise as well as my panicked voice and came into the livingroom.  I told him to go lay back down because I did not want him to see his father in such a condition. He did.

The paramedics were able to get him conscious by sticking something down his throat that made him vomit.  This was followed by a series of questions that he was able to answer although his speech was slurred and weak. 

During this time they tried to keep me out of the livingroom, but I refused. I was informed by the head paramedic that my husband was “very, very, very, very, very, very, very sick” and that something was definitely going on in the heart region and they needed to take him in right away.  In Indiana, those who are not be transported are not allowed to ride in the ambulance, so I told the paramedic that I would be right behind them. 

His last words to me were “make sure you come” as he squeezed my hand.  I replied “of course!”

Nic was spending the night with a friend and Evan was still in residential treatment. I am ashamed to say that I left Jazmin and Ethan alone at home as I quickly threw something on over my pajamas and sped to the hospital.

I was not allowed in the room, but I walked past several times and say a hoard of medical professionals working on him. I sat in the waiting room for a few hours placing calls to friends and family. Two nurses came and introduced themselves and checked on me periodically.

After a while, the doctor, flanked by a nurse came out to talk to me.  He introduced himself and asked me what happened. I started giving him a recap and as I was talking, there was something about the way that he was listening so intently that made me stop and ask him “Is my husband still alive?” When he replied no, I immediately started screaming and fell to the floor. I never expected to hear that. My mother had died exactly nine months prior for goodness sakes!

The two angels disguised as nurses came to my side praying and holding me. Shortly people started to arrive, his two close childhood friends, a cousin, my bil and his wife, my aunts (all three with spouses), my sister, and cousins. My mil and other sil were in Detroit but I had already called them with the news.

We tried to get a hold of his sister that lived in town to no avail( I was later blamed by her that she did not get to make it to his bedside).  I even held his body for hours in hopes that she would make it to the hospital. I finally got back home around 6am and passed out from sheer exhaustion, disbelief, and distress.

And it was only the beginning of a tumultuous journey and I would need all my energy and sense of equilibrium to help me get through the terror of it all…

God Sees The Truth, But Waits

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This weekend I was feeling a little down so Saturday I decided to visit the mall and treat myself.  I saw a couple of former students and chatted with them, but for the most part, I was alone with my thoughts for the next few hours.

I concluded with a bite at the food court.  As I was walking toward the exit, you all would never believe who was coming straight toward me! Ethan! Ethan who is now 15 and in the 10th grade! It was a surreal moment though I don’t know why. 

A couple of days prior my aunt’s husband told me that he saw the kids at the license branch with my former SIL.  From that I concluded that she finally received custody and the fact that she made it a point to tell him that they now lived with HER .  He also said that Evan kept asking to come over to their house.  My aunt called me later and told me she believed that was his way of getting to see me since he would not be allowed to do so outright. 

Also, Eliza had written me over the summer seeking my help in contacting their aunt regarding guardianship (because her sister no longer wanted the responsibility).  And as small as our “big” city is, I knew I would be bound to run into them sooner or later if this did happen.

I gave Ethan a hug and a kiss and inquired about Evan.  It was an awkward moment. We both  wanted to say more but not in front an audience and only talked for a few minutes because his uncle (my SIL’s husband) looked uncomfortable.  Though he has tried to stay neutral in the situation; I suppose he still has to defer to his wife.  I could see he knew that she would not be happy about our reunion.  But Ethan seemed pleased to see me.  I just wish Evan would have been with him. 

Last night I dreamed about the kids. Today I am still processing seeing him again after almost two years.  Next Monday marks the second anniversary of his father’s death. I am still being haunted by the ugliness of it all.

I feel like my enemies have won again. My SIL has the boys and has been arguing via FB with Eliza’s sister (she is the one who took them from me) regarding their social security checks!  Sadly they both only want the boys for the money they come with.

I mentioned that Eliza wrote early in the summer.  Here are the 3 of the 4 letters she sent after initially asking for my help in locating my husband’s sister:

7/9/10

Hi Morocco,

How are you? Have you heard anything from Shawn or her mom? I’m still waiting to hear something from them. I appreciate your immediate response- thank you. I have filed paperwork so I pray I receive a response from one of them soon.  Be Blessed

Always

El

10/5/10

Goodmorning M,

I pray all is well with you. I’m doing well by the grace of God. Morocco I really need your help. I need for you to mail me copies of anything you have regarding Evan’s condition. I need it as soon as you can get it to me. I’ll be home in a few months and I’ve been trying to get things ready ahead of time with family counseling. I would greatly appreciate this. I know you stayed on top of things and I will forever be grateful for the care you provided our boys. They ask me if I talk to you. Maybe if you are up to it we can get together when I get home after I get things together. Well I’ll let you go, have a blessed day. 

Sincerely

El

 10/13/10

Goodmorning Morocco,

Thank you so much I really appreciate it. I will contact you soon so that we can set something up. I talk to the boys but I don’t get to see them regularly. I know they are going to be excited to see you. I think it would be good for them. God has a way of working things out doesn’t He:)? I’ll close for now but I’ll be in touch.

Be Blessed M

Always

El

 Of course after meeting all of her requests, including contacting his sister and sending her over 250 pieces of paperwork detailing Evan’s condition, I have not heard from her.  I suppose I should have expected this from the same person who orchestrated her children’s removal from my home, sent no type of condolences after my husband’s death, and who slandered me in prison and ended up getting into a fight with Jazmine’s mom over her comments.

She also never mentioned that she had a modification hearing on October 19th in an attempt to get an early release.  I only found out because I received an email from the victim notification system.  I believe she wanted to use the paperwork to bolster the chances of having her sentence reduced.

I’ve done all I can do for her, so I foresee no reason for Eliza to contact me ever again.  She probably never intended to allow me to see her boys.  That was just the dangling carrot to manipulate me into doing what she asked.  Unfortunately that shows that she still does not get it.  I did those things for her because that’s just the kind of person that I am. 

And I do believe she is right about one thing, God does have a way of working things out. He already knew of her ill intentions and arranged for me to run into Ethan.  I do believe I’ll being seeing Evan next!

Letting Go

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Monday a friend and I went through my husband’s clothes.  The night before I had made the decision to do this.  I spent a short while crying but was determined to do it anyway.  It was time.

He loved clothes, shoes, and assessories and was quite the shopping companion.  He was very patient and never bucked at me trying on numerous things.  He loved the mall as much as I did.   As a result of this, he had a very extensive, expensive wardrobe.

I thought I would have a difficult time completing the task, but I didn’t! My friend who helped me was very respectful during this proces.  I had a story to tell for almost every item.  We even managed to laugh at his few fashion faux pas.  Three hours later we dropped off two huge bags to  Goodwill, one to a close friend of his, two bags for my brothers, one for my dear uncle, and a final bag for my friend.   Nicholas only took a few t-shirts to sleep in.  I even saved a few trinkets for Ethan and Evan.

It makes me feel better knowing that his clothes are not just sitting around  collecting dust.  I will get so much pleasure from seeing others putting them to use.

Deja Vu

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Tuesday morning, right in front of my classroom, a student went into cardiac arrest.  My room is in a pretty isolated part of the building.  Luckily I was in the hall when he fell.  I ran to get the nurse.  The nurse and school police officer performed CPR on him until the paramedics arrived.  I am trained in CPR and was next in line if either of them tired.

It was a very intense, scary scene for well over 30 minutes.  He had to be shocked twice as well as receive other life-saving procedures.  It was deja vu in a sense.  I could not stop crying as I watched the paramedics work so hard to save his 19-year-old life.  The school police officer was also equally shook up having lost his own 17-year-old son a few months prior.

He was finally rescuitated and transported to the hospital.  Wednesday he had open heart surgery to repair faulty valves.  If necessary, they may install a pacemaker.

I wondered why I had to bear witness to this trauma.  It brought back so many painful memories.  This was also the day I ran into my SIL’s husband.  And of course, before I went to sleep that night, I saw a commerical on television and the man’s name was the same as my husband’s.

Yesterday on the way home for school Nicholas was telling me that their principal asked them to pray for one of the 8th grader’s brother who had a heart attack at school.  I didn’t go into details but I told him that I was aware of what happened because it happened right in front of me.  He seemed very surprised–and actually I was, too. What a small world we live in.

Neither one of us mentioned my husband, but I’m sure he was thinking about him as I was.

But it also made me appreciate first responders even more.  They are so efficient, composed, and determined to save lives.  I saw this firsthand with my husband as well as with the young man.  I really have a lot of respect and admiration for what they do.  They are as important, if not more so, than doctors.

Our principal announced that this story will be covered by the news.  However, I don’t want to be in the limelight and will make sure I am unavailable when they do come. 

Some say that there is a message in everything, but I have no idea of what it could be in this case.

TGIF–Not!

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Fridays have taken on a whole new meaning for me. It used to be that I could hardly “wait”  for the day to come.  Now I can barely get through them.  No longer do they represent happiness and relief from working. Fridays are sadness, loneliness, and  terrible memories that surface.  Every Friday I relive that horrible night.  Friday is the day all the trouble began.

Saturdays, too, are classified the same as Friday.  Saturday was the official day of his death.

And for some reason yesterday (Friday) just felt so much more heavier than usual on top of the  forlornness that I normally feel.  There were “signs” everywhere that I could not “read.”

  • During my prep I made a personal call, and while on hold, I grabbed the nearest magazine (Lady’s Home Journal) to pass the time.  The first article I encountered was called “To Happy Endings.”  The author wrote about the many problems she had faced in 2008.  No matter how many times life surprises you, you never get used to the shock. A year ago I couldn’t have pictured all that has come to pass in my world in 2008: my mother’s death, the end of my second marriage and a raft of other heartaches big and small… Midway through the article it mentioned that she had been widowed in her early thirties!  I about fell off of the stool I was perched on!
  • After reading her story, the article I turned to next had my husband’s name in large letters!  Turns out that one of the adult dogs who played Marley in the movie Marley & Me has the same name as my husband!
  • The last feature I read in the magazine was an interview with a mom.  The final question asked what she wished her family had money for.  She said she wanted money to restore their emergency fund as it had been depleted.  She also desired money so that her family could visit her in-laws in (take a wild guess) Morocco!
  • During my sixth period some of the students were talking while working on their assignment.  A female student was casually sharing the fact that she spent 11 1/2 months in residental treatment.  This of course caught my attention because this is the exact amount of time that Evan spent in treatement as well!
  • One of my student’s brother, who attends our middle school has been acting out because their father died recently.  Her brother’s name is Ethan (also in middle school)!
  • I received a call from Eliza’s sister’s cell phone.  I did not answer the call and no message was left.
  • On Wednesday I kept my friend’s two sons while she went out on a date.  They are the same ages as my stepsons.  It felt really eerie having them there.  Later in the evening she sent a text asking What are my boys doing?  This is the way Eliza always referred to Ethan and Evan,  Although this did not happen on Friday, it still triggered many memories.

I was haunted all day and night long.  Even while I was “stealing time.”  I felt overwhelmed and crushed by the memories and what-if’s.  Later in the day I was exhausted and took a sleeping pill to stop my wandering mind.  But I do wonder if it was all a coincidence or some kind of sign?

Something to Think About

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It is my hope that all you stepmom readers will learn something from my experience of losing both my husband and stepsons.  Some stepmoms may wonder why they should try to get along with the mother of the kids.  Why shouldn’t you is what I want to know?  I realize that some mothers are difficult to endure.  Some  are hostile, weird, crazy, jealous, insensitive, manipulative, beastly, petty—fill in the blank.  Eliza was all that and then some!  You might be thinking, Well you don’t know my husband’s ex!  While I might not know her personally, I do know the archetype.

Even though I know I tried my very best to smooth things over between she and I (in the last two years), she didn’t.  I could only control myself, and rightly focused on changing my attitude about her instead of trying to force  her to be different.

Therefore, I want to make sure that you are doing everything on your end to be peacable.  Please pick and choose your battles and think of your situation with the end in mind.  We all know that stepparents have no legal rights to their stepchildren.  Your husband is truly that connecting force between you two.  Unless, you have a stable relationship with the mother, that is (especially in the event of death and/or the children are not of age).  No him or her=no stepchildren.  You can’t force/demand/court order the biological parent to allow you to interact with their kids.   

As you see in my case, it is to your benefit to get along with the mother of the children.  I truly wish that Eliza would have honored my role and feelings.  There is no compelling reason that Nicholas and I should not have the boys in our lives.  It still hurts that she is punishing us in this manner.

If you are giving it the best that you’ve got, I heartily encourage you to keep up the good work!  Life offers few fairy tale endings and your efforts alone may not produce the desired outcome.  But speaking from experience, you won’t regret trying.

I do, however, wish that I would have had this attitude from the very inception.  While I wasn’t the one who started the fires and mostly ignored her combustive behavior, I wouldn’t have spit on her if she was on fire (as the old saying goes)!  I felt like it wasn’t my “job” to appease her (or get along with her) in any manner.  Afterall, it was her who was causing trouble, being difficult, and behaving in a bellicose manner!

So if you are holding onto grudges, insecurites, myths about the ex, things your stepchildren told you she said,  past hurts, or any other minute issues (and if it’s not life or death—IT IS SMALL!) stop while you still have time to regroup, reflect, and reposition yourself.  Like it or not, she will always be their mother.  You can’t “wish” her away or pretend she doesn’t exist.  Figure out exactly what you want your blended family life to be and go for it.  Wake up and change directions while you still can.  Most anything is possible because everyday is a new day.  Even if you can’t have peace with her because of her relunctance (or disinterest) you can have it within for trying.

With that being said,  if you still can’t think of any reason under the sun as to why it would be a good idea to be on stable ground with your husband’s ex; think about your stepchild(ren) and your life without them in it.

Black Girl Grieves

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At my grandmother’s repast, someone with a camera snapped a picture of me that perfectly captured the face of grief.  Over the years I have worn that visage many times.

Today is the one year anniversary of my mother’s death.

Today marks three months for my husband, too.

I miss them so very much!

Men and Grief

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My first encounter with men and grief was at my grandmother’s funeral.  My uncle, an imposing figure sheathed in dark sunglasses sat solemnly.  I could hardly contain myself and screamed like a banshee periodically throughout the service.  That was until my uncle slowly turned to me and said No more outbursts in a slightly menancing tone.  I knew he had had his own private spell the night before as I overhead his wife telling my mother and her sisters all about it.  I cried silently for the remainder of the service. 

Over the years I’ve observed the males in my family and the way they handle grief.  Some avoid funerals.  My cousin did not attend my mother’s and when I inquired why, he shrugged and said I can’t do it–too many in this family.  Other cousins missed funerals I guess for the same reason. 

At the hospital when I talked to my siblings about the severity of our mother’s illness, my brother (Jazmine’s father) immediatedly asked that someone take him to the store.  By the time they returned to the hospital, my mother had died.  His responded to the news by walking the halls taking long swigs from a fifth of gin.

The night my husband died three of his very closest childhood friends met me at the hospital.  I knew there would be tears but I was surprised by the depth of emotions emanating from them.  All I could hear were loud, heaving sobs coming from the trio.  One of my coworkers who attended the funeral said that she was astounded at how many of my husband’s friends were openly crying.  That’s what broke me down; seeing all those young guys crying like that she said to me days later.  I’ve never seen anything like it.

So why is it uncomforatble for his friends and male family members to hear me grieve?  They call and check on me and stop by on occassion.  But I can tell they can’t handle the tears.  They don’t know what to say to me.  Last night his friend Corey called but I didn’t bother to answer the phone.  I don’t want to pretend that I am okay to spare anybody’s feelings.  Why they would even think I am okay puzzles me.  I want to scream to them all–NO, I AM NOT OKAY–SO STOP ASKING!  IF YOU CAN’T HANDLE ME NOT BEING OKAY, THEN DON”T CALL TO SEE IF I AM OKAY!  But I know that they mean well and I appreciate that they are even checking on me at all…

My SIL texted me last night to see how we’ve been getting along.  She said she was doing okay.  I replied that I was glad she was because I wasn’t and I let her know how I was REALLY doing.  She seemed relieved and responded that she wasn’t doing well either, but she didn’t want to upset me.  I feel more comfortable sharing my true feelings with the women that I am close with because they can handle it.

I know males are reared in a society in which they are often told that men don’t cry.  This has always been silly to me because most beings with tear ducts cry.  Crying is cleansing.  It is a way to purge the soul of toxins such as sadness. 

While I try not to cry too much in front of my son, I do let him know that it is okay to cry and that some things are worth crying for.

Twisted Sister

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I vividly recall the day I first met my husband and his sister.  He was quiet and shy, but her, not so much.  It was obvious that he and I liked each other and she thought our crush was the cutest thing.  She wasn’t around a lot because she was too busy chasing boys.  I remember her as his wild big sister, the black sheep of the family.  Back in the day she liked me.  But that was then…

She was never rude to me directly because my husband wouldn’t tolerate it.  So she carefully veiled her animosity toward me in hopes that he wouldn’t notice.  He did.  She resented that I was number one in his life.  It was very clear how much he adored me. 

 The summer we spent looking for our first home we stayed in his grandparents house, who had both recently died.  The heat was sweltering!  I was quite surprised when my SIL came over to take our refridgerator!  She already had one so she kept it on her front porch!  The comment that she made to her brother said it all “Morocco can go and buy y’all  a new one.”   I assume she felt this way because I had just bought a new car.   

During our courtship she started to connect with Eliza because they had a mutual enemy in common: ME.  I asked my husband what exactly had I done to his sister.   He replied nothing, and that she never wanted him to be with anyone.  She always found a reason not to like whomever he was with.  She was iffy with Eliza , too when they were together.  Yet, Eliza tended to cater to her to be accepted so it wasn’t a major problem.  I, on the otherhand, ignored her once I realized that something wasn’t right.  I didn’t see any need to suck up.

When we got married and had Nicholas she was very upset and cried bitterly.  My other SIL told us this.  My husband just shook his head about his crazy sister’s reaction.

She did many other things throughout the years which caused him to stop interacting with her.  He loved his sister but did not like her ways.  We both felt she had a weird fixation with him.  It just wasn’t healthy.  In fact, we even compared her toTony Montana from the movie Scarface because of the questionable love he had for his sister. 

One time we stopped by her house and she took a shower while we were there.  She actually came into the living room with a very small towel wrapped around her body.  However, you could very clearly see all of her vagina and parts of her breasts.  I was very uncomfortable and appalled!  She simply said “excuse me y’all” as she sauntered on through!  My husband also said this freaked him out and was very disgusted by her indecent behavior.  He said she scared him.

And she blamed me that she did not have a relationship with him.  I guess it had nothing to do with:

  • Her smoking “funny smelling cigarettes” in front of the boys.  I’m sure you can guess what she was smoking!  My husband was livid! 
  • She had no control over her tongue and would say whatever came to mind–even in front of the children
  • My SIL told Eliza that she did not like me (Eliza was thrilled with this nugget of information and couldn’t wait to share it with us)
  • She told me that she liked Eliza because “she don’t want my brother.” Huh?…was all I could think
  • When Eliza refused to let my husband get the boys she still allowed my SIL to get them.  If she was mad at her brother for whatever reason, she would not let him pick up his own kids from her house.  Once he tried to do so anyway and she called Eliza on him!
  • She is very materialistic and jealous-hearted
  • She has tried to run his life over the years and is very overbearing
  • She wanted my husband to take care of her and her daughter.  She would often ask him for money and would get angry when he said no.  She also tried to force him to babysit a lot
  • She often badmouthed him to their friends and family and painted the picture that he was upset with her for no reason
  • She thought my husband was wrong for not continuing to interact with his former stepson and often made an issue of it.  She would assert that he was still her nephew and that he was always going to be his son.  I was blamed for this, too
  • Her opportunistic ways
  • She kept drama going with many other people

The night he died I had a sneaking suspicion that she would not handle it well and act crazy.  I braced myself before calling.  I attempted to reach her but couldn’t.  My BIL tried as well as his aunt to no avail.  I even waited at the hospital for close to seven hours in part for her to get there.  She never made it and I was blamed for this, too.  She claimed that I did not try to call her at all.

From the day he died (Saturday) until Tuesday, she behaved very poorly to say the least.  She was running around foaming at the mouth with her hatred of me.  She told several of her family members that “she manipulated him away from us.”  They countered her point of view because of course, I had not.  She managed to do that without my help because he interacted with everyone except for her.

It really bothered her that she was the only one with these feelings of rancor.  His aunt told me that one night after Nicholas and I left her house,  my SIL started crying saying to her “You love Morocco, don’t you!”

She assisted and encouraged Eliza’s family in taking the boys away from me.  She also stated that they should be with “family” and provided the name of the hospital in which Evan was located.

What blew my mind the most was that she called the coroner’s office and asked them NOT to release the body to me because we were ONLY related by law!  That crushed me more than anything!!!   She also thought I was going to have him cremated and wanted to prevent that from taking place.  I found out about the call from the funeral director.

Enough of my in-laws finally got fed up with her and chastised her callous, immature behavior.  I suppose they let her carry on as long as they did because she was grieving the loss of her brother–who knows?  On  Tuesday I went to make the funeral arrangements and she came along with my BIL (much to my dismay).  When the funeral director addressed me by my last name; guess who answered, too?!  Granted she had only been married for a week (she did not invite or call to tell her beloved brother about her small wedding), but still, she should have known that he was referring to me!

After I finished and was leaving out, she stopped me to apologize.  She then started to cry saying ”  Morocco, whatever it is I’ve done, I’m sorry.  But I should have never taught my brother how to live without me.”  I had no idea what she was talking about, but I replied “All he did was get married and have a family.  He was still your brother.” I had no fight left in me as I limply tried to comfort her. 

Since that day she has been full of praise for me.  Over the course of the last two months she has called many times saying what a wonderful wife I was to her brother, and mom and stepmom to her nephews.  She has left so many sickeningly sweet messages that half the time I can’t bear to listen to them. They are filled with phrases of love, admiration, and kinship.  It makes me soooo uncomfortable!  How can one change their heart so rapidly?!  I can only think of how she betrayed me with her Judas kiss.

But when the boys were in town two weeks ago and at her house, do you think she called me over for a visit?  I haven’t heard from her in almost three weeks.  And she knows that I am aware that they were in town.  Maybe she feels bad.

My husband would not be surprised by her behavior in the slightest.  He knew his sister well.  And he would be in a rage about the way she treated me.  If she thought he had disowned her then…

She is one of those people that I have a hard time loving.  I definitely struggle with forgiving her.  Do you see why?  During my time of deepest sorrow I had to deal with both her and Eliza’s crazy clan.  The state of shock I was in definitely preserved my sanity that they so desperately tried to break.