Grief & Loss, Healing, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

Can A Dinosaur Die?

Uncle Jim & Aunt Irene visited us last month and the little munchkin was just really happy spending time with them. A few weeks before they arrived, he had started mentioning and asking about his Daddy in more frequency. I’m always unprepared whenever he mentions Steve.

Walt Disney's Dinosaur
Walt Disney’s Dinosaur

It’s not that I don’t want the little one to mention and ask for his Dad. It’s actually great that he still remembers him. It’s just that what I’m concerned about is my reaction to his questions. Most of the time I don’t have any answer at all and all I can do is just hug him. Also, it’s the longing in his voice that I hear that really rubs it in. It’s like he’s expressing what I’m feeling inside that I’m trying to quell because sometimes, I have to.

A few weeks ago, I borrowed the Disney animated film, “Dinosaur” from the office library for our weekend movie marathon because the little munchkin is crazy these days about dinosaurs. I won’t be surprised if he turned out to be a paleontologist  someday. He can actually tell me their names or the different types of dinosaurs which is kinda cute. There was one scene which is almost at the end of the movie where the tyrannosaurus rex Continue reading “Can A Dinosaur Die?”

Grief & Loss, Healing, Quotes & Excerpts, Reminiscing, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

Memories

“Memories are what warm you up from the inside. But they’re also what tear you apart.”
~ Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

I know that it’s coming from the heart when people tell me that I can take comfort with the good memories I had with Steve. I do appreciate the good thoughts and prayers that’s coming my way, even from people who I don’t even know and just happen to stumble about Steve’s story from the news or from the webpages.

Steve Swimming in the Open Sea
Steve Swimming in the Open Sea

I don’t know if anyone could understand that when I think about him, I would rather have him than thoughts of him. Thinking about all the things we’d done, all the places we’d traveled together, it just makes me yearn for him more. I just ended up sobbing. I wish I could make more memories with him but I can’t. I’m very aware that this is all a process. I have to learn and to accept how to live without him. And that thought still makes me cry. How can anyone eventually live without the love of their life? I don’t even know if anyone has an answer to this.

Boracay Trip with Steve
Boracay Trip with Steve

There are occasions that any thoughts about him makes me smile. Most of the time, it’s something that someone said that reminded me of a joke that Steve and I shared, or something funny that Steve said or did when he was still alive. There are just a few people who knows this side about Steve. He was just more than a quiet man.

My family and friends literally embraced Steve into their lives.
My family and friends literally embraced Steve into their lives.

By the way, to those who sent messages, condolence or mass cards, funeral flowers, gifts and donations to me, I’m truly grateful for all your generosity. I haven’t finished with my thank you cards but know that all of you had touched me deeply with your kindness.

“Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depths of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.”
~ Alfred Tennyson

Boracay Trip with Steve
Boracay Trip with Steve
Grief & Loss, Healing, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

Where Is Daddy?

Occasionally, the little munchkin and I will go out for dinner instead of staying at home on a weekday.  I would still cook but not that often since it’s just me and the little one. Most of the time when we go out, he would order his mac and cheese. It’s interesting to see how different restaurants interpret their own version of mac and cheese. I think he had tasted them all. He’s my little creature of habit.

Daddy and Me
Daddy and Me, 2010.

After our meal, I brought him inside the public bathroom for potty time. As I was cleaning him up, he looked up to me and started talking:

Continue reading “Where Is Daddy?”

Grief & Loss, Healing, Quotes & Excerpts, Thea's Thoughts

Without You

With all the things that I have on my plate, I’m filing my taxes so late. Thank God for the extension. While I was working on my 2011 taxes, I’d just stopped to listen to the music that was playing on my macbook. It was “Without You,” from the musical Rent. Most of the time there are songs that just speaks to you.

Rent, The Musical
Rent, The Musical

WITHOUT YOU
by Jonathan Larson

Mimi
Without you, the ground thaws, the rain falls, the grass grows.
Without you, the seeds root, the flowers bloom, the children play.
The stars gleam, the poets dream, the eagles fly, without you.
The earth turns, the sun burns, but I die, without you.

Without you, the breeze warms, the girl smiles, the cloud moves.
Without you, the tides change, the boys run, the oceans crash.
The crowds roar, the days soar, the babies cry, without you.
The moon glows, the river flows, but I die, without you.

Roger
The world revives—

Mimi
Colors renew—

Both
But I know blue, only blue, lonely blue, within me blue.

Mimi
Without you.
Without you, the hand gropes, the ear hears, the pulse beats.

Roger
Without you, the eyes gaze, the legs walk, the lungs breathe.

Roger
The mind churns!

Mimi
The mind churns!

Roger
The heart yearns!
Mimi
The heart yearns!

Both
The tears dry, without you.
Life goes on, but I’m gone.
Cause I die, without you.

Mimi
Without you.

Roger
Without you.

Both
Without you.

Grief & Loss, Healing, Quotes & Excerpts, Thea's Thoughts

Books About Grief And Loss

I’d always loved reading books. I could go on for days just reading. Steve loved it, too. We could be sitting side by side reading a book. But we do have different taste in books. He prefers nonfiction and I prefer fiction works. But these days, it seems I have a lot less time for reading. Whenever I can, I try to read a few pages at a time to read a book.

Here are some of the books that I’m currently reading or planning to read:
“No Time to Say Goodbye: Surviving The Suicide Of A Loved One,” by Carla Fine.

No Time To Say Goodbye
No Time To Say Goodbye

 

“Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide,” by Kay Redfield Jamison.

Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide
Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide

 

“Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief,” by Pauline Boss.

Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief
Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief

 

These books had been inspiring me to continue on writing down my thoughts. Maybe, I’ll write a book someday but that’s too far ahead and that thought scares me. Again, one day at a time.

The last set of books that Steve had been reading were:
Red on Red: A Novel,” by Edward Conlon
“Blood Lessons.” by Charles Remberg
“The Longest War: The Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda,” by Peter Bergen
“A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose,”by Eckhart Tolle

 

Funeral, Healing, Recovery, Reminiscing, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

Seeing Steve Again

In the 80 days that Steve had been missing, I’d always anticipated that he’ll be coming back home. But sometimes, it felt like that the probability of Steve coming back was nil. There were times I’d felt uneasiness in the pit of my stomach because I had no idea where he was.

A Man In Brown Suit
A Man In The Brown Suit

The longest time Steve and I were apart was when he was training to become an FBI Special Agent. We didn’t see each other for two months and yet, we called each other almost everyday. After that, I would visit or stay with him. I knew then where he was and he was doing something really important for himself and I supported that. We always supported each other’s career. We both believe that a person’s work should be something that you enjoy. It should be more than just a job.

The EAP staff from the FBI picked me up from work that morning when the news broke Continue reading “Seeing Steve Again”

Healing, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

At Work

One of the things that has been helping me to live through “this” is my work. There are days that it’s a struggle to get up in the morning but because I’m working, I have something to look forward to. I have a reason to get myself together aside from my precious little one, regardless of my pain.

The little munchkin having fun at Disneyland.
The little munchkin having fun at Disneyland.

The unexpected kindness from my colleagues at work was overwhelming. They respected my privacy in spite of the very public way our family’s tragedy had been unfolding. And my bosses. I’ll never forget what one of my bosses said to me when I told him that I needed another week to be off to take care of the funeral arrangements:
“Just take care of what you needed to do for yourself and your family. You don’t have to worry about work. Whenever you’re ready, we’re here to welcome you with open arms.” I bawled after that.

It is important to me because my work allows me to contribute however small that is to something beautiful, something that makes people happy. And that’s one the things that gives meaning to my life right now.

Thank you.

Healing, The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

A Dedication

Steve has been found. Some people might think that it should have been enough for me. That I’m lucky somebody had found him. I’m very aware of that because I’d searched for him and in my search and reaching out for assistance, I’d learned about the statistics for missing persons. I’d been through the agonizing days of not knowing where he was. And I wish that the families of missing persons would be able to find their loved ones soon, too. But I hope not in the way that I did.

My Love
My Love

Why am I still here? Sharing my thoughts? It’s quite unlikely that people will find what I write entertaining. I don’t really know where this is going. The two months of silence to take care of personal business has been building up. And I realized that this time, it’s for me. I needed to do this for myself. Also, this website is a testimony of my search for Steve. There will come a time when my son has grown up, he’ll have questions about his Dad. Lastly, I want to be able to speak about the issues that are important to me. Issues that people tend to have difficulty understanding and even discussing: missing persons, depression, suicide and workplace bullying. Maybe this is something that touches you, too.

When Steve was still missing, we were advised to focus on just the search for Steve. Any other issues will be dealt with later. Our fear of not ever finding Steve silenced me, silenced my family. Until now, there are things that I may not be able to share for self-preservation. And I expect people will respect that.

To those who continue to pray for Steve and our family, I’m eternally grateful for your kindness. Knowing that people cared, really cared and extended their assistance to me and my family without any agenda is important to me. In spite of this tragedy, I recognize that there are blessings that still comes my way. In spite of the uncertainty and despair that I feel, I do yearn for hope. I still choose to live. Living for today, one day at a time.

 

 

 

The Aftermath, Thea's Thoughts

Silence.

Last Saturday, the little munchkin & I visited Steve’s grave. It always has been an emotional experience for me going there. Why should he be six feet under when he should be here with us? So many questions running through my head in anguish but I have no answers or rather no one has any answers for me.

Steve & Thea
Steve & Thea

The little one said a little prayer for Steve: “God bless Daddy. Amen.” He is my sunshine in this darkness.

It’s been two months since Steve was found and a month and a half since we had the funeral service. And here I am still, in disbelief. I’m in an emotional rollercoaster of pain, numbness, anger, and emotional rejection of the fact that Steve had passed away. It’s even hard for me to say THAT word. Suicide.

A lot of people don’t know what to say to me. I don’t even know what to say, either. But sometimes silence is fine and a friend who can just be there and really listen helps. You don’t have to say anything because I don’t need to hear about moving on, closure or getting over with. I don’t need a prescription of what I have to be and what I have to do unless you’re a licensed therapist specializing in bereavement. You can share your experiences with me but understand that our experiences are different and we grieve differently. But you can hold my hand and that’s enough for me.

Death. There’s such a finality in this word. As if suddenly, everything stopped. The end. And yet for me, my husband’s death is only the beginning.