Ugh it’s coming. My second least favorite day of the year. I’ll talk about my first least favorite when that gets closer. But the second is October 9th – the day Howie died.
This year is the five year anniversary of his death. In some ways I feel like this just happened – that it cannot possibly be the five years already. But in other ways it seems like a million years ago.
October 9, 2011 was a Sunday. For the first time since then, this year it happens to be on a Sunday also. It is crazy how I remember every minute of that day – but only from Lily’s afternoon soccer game until I went to bed that night (I was going to say “went to sleep” but I didn’t sleep). I really don’t remember the earlier part of that day at all. I can’t tell you what we did for breakfast or lunch, I can’t tell you what we did before the soccer game. That is totally blank. But I remember every moment from walking onto the soccer field and after that. Saying hello to friends as we walked on the field, who we sat with, my in laws stopping by, how Lily played, the drive home.
These were the last hours of “normal”. And then the terrible hours that came after – everything that happened – when life as we knew it fell apart.
The four October 9th’s since then have been weekdays. This might not seem like a big difference but it is. As bad of a day as it is, a weekday made it a little better. It was a different kind of day than the day it happened. The girls would go to school and I would go to work. And as much as they argued with me about going to school, I think being busy all day took everyone’s mind off of it (I do believe I let them stay home on the first anniversary). But I fear this year will be harder. I might relive it a little more.
On this five year anniversary, coincidentally the year I turned 50, I can’t help but think how some things have remained the same, but mostly how life is so different.
I wonder often, especially lately, what Howie would think of all that has happened, how I have handled life without him, and how he would react to the changes. I don’t think I have spoken much about Howie in my blog. I talk about what happened, but not about him as a person.
I think I don’t write about him because it is hard for me to do. But maybe now, on the five year anniversary, it is time to say a few things.
Howie was an amazing guy and we were really happy together. I remember thinking at our wedding that I was so lucky, that I truly married my soul mate. He certainly wasn’t perfect, and neither was our marriage (whose is?), but we had a great life together and I’m sure we would have been together forever.
He was an attorney, and so good at what he did. I always knew this but learned it more after he passed away. The messages, letters and calls that I received from clients as well as so many people he worked with were unbelievable. He truly helped so many people and I am so proud of that.
He was a fabulous husband, he really did so much for me. I always felt safe and loved and taken care of. And we really did have so much fun together.
But his biggest accomplishment in my eyes was being a father.
He was truly the best father in the world. He adored our girls and would do anything for them. He had patience for them way beyond anything I could handle. As young as they were when he passed away, I know they will always remember what a great dad they had and how much he loved them.
On a lighter note, he was the BIGGEST slob – didn’t know how to put anything away and had no idea how to close a drawer or a cabinet. He also had a sense of humor that others thought was very funny but sometimes made me want to kill him – he could be way too silly – even when not appropriate.
So what would Howie think of me on this five year anniversary?
I have definitely made mistakes, done some things that I regret. If I had it to do over again, there is definitely a thing or two that I would do differently. But I have been taught that when you live in regret, you get stuck. I have learned that you have to let things go in order to move forward. That is what I try to do.
With that being said, for the most part I think he would be happy with the job I am doing. I think he would be proud that I have a “real job” that I am doing well at, while also taking care of the girls. I think he would be amazed at some of the things I have handled on my own, things that he would have taken care of if he was here.
I really have no idea what he would think about this blog – this is the one thing that might make him say that I have lost it! He would also be shocked that we have a dog and how much I am obsessed with him.
But what I am most proud of – and I know he would be too – is our girls.
They are turning into the most amazing people and are doing so well. They are both beautiful inside and out – they are such great girls and I am so lucky to have them. Their strength is unbelievable. I am sure that even I don’t see how hard this is for them, but they always persevere and amaze me every day with what they both accomplish. There have been very challenging times, and I am sure there will be more, but the three of us have a great relationship and we have and will get through everything together. This I know would make him most happy.
So five years ago today I had no idea that in a few days life was going to throw me one of the worst possible things it could.
The last five years have been challenging to say the least. I have grown into a much stronger, capable person. I wish I didn’t have to but I did. But I am still me and I think he would see that although I may be a lot stronger, I still cry at the drop of a hat.
Days like October 9th will always be hard – probably forever. So on this five year anniversary, even though it’s a Sunday, the girls and I will get through it. Then we will continue to move forward as best we can while always keeping Howie with us.
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.