Sunday, June 29, 2014

Dear Dave...two years gone.

Dear Dave,

Today marks the second anniversary of your death, and true to form, it feels like yesterday.  I wish I could say that things get easier with each passing year, but they don't.  They just don't.  To say that I need your help would be an understatement; to say our kids need their dad, even more so.

Our kids - I just burst into tears after writing those two words:  Our kids - Dave I wish you could know them!  They are two of the most real, down-to-earth, imperfect human beings I have ever had the pleasure to know.  They are absolutely fucking perfect in their imperfections.  The beauty of our family is that life is about being unique, and different, and real - and Amanda and Brandon embrace that wholeheartedly.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Brandon is just like you.  He is so smart and so filled with the most useless knowledge, I'm convinced it all came pre-installed in his brain 'cause I don't know where it comes from.  He starts middle school in the fall and I have a feeling he'll blow through middle school and into high school courses.  I wish you could see for yourself how smart he is, Dave.  He's going to change the world one day, but for right now he's busy being a little boy with his Minecraft, his huge books, and the local swimming pool, and I'll cling to that as long as I possibly can.

Our teenager happens to be just like me.  We have a TEENAGER.  Amanda is 13 going on 35.  I literally have to remind myself she's only thirteen.  She's got my height - even you could almost look her in the eye - and she has my artistic/creative talent.  The girl can pick up a musical instrument and play like she was born playing, and she very much enjoys playing her alto sax.  Like Brandon's pre-installment of useless information, she was pre-installed with a keen ear for music, something that's become a bit of a lifeline for her.  I wish you could see her drawings as well, Dave.  So much of her soul comes out when she creates, and it is beautiful, and impressive, and so completely her.  She is so smart and works so hard, and I wish you could witness her resilience - she is strength personified.

Yesterday Amanda and I went to yard sales and picked up a mattress for her.  Having no other way to get it home, we strapped it to the top of the car Clampett-style.  We laughed so much at how absurd we looked, but we really had no other choice.  As we drove home it occurred to me that we have always found a way, and I told Amanda that our family motto should be "We'll figure it out."  Life wasn't easy before your death, Dave, and it certainly hasn't been easy since, but here we are intact and stronger than ever because we have always managed to figure it out.

As a parent it's natural to question how I'm doing, but as I look at Amanda and Brandon, I realize I'm doing a pretty damn good job.  It's hard doing it alone, though.  So. Fucking. Hard.  As the kids get older it becomes clearer how much they need their dad.  They miss you so much, Dave.  Now that we are living in Denver, their memories of you are everywhere.  From Perkins, to the Golden Corral, to our old neighborhood, to the Denver Broncos. You are everywhere.

You and I were separated when you died, but that doesn't keep me from wishing you could be present and healthy so that you could see our kids grow.  I would love for you to have been sitting with me at Amanda's band concert, or Brandon's elementary school graduation, or in the emergency room when Brandon was so sick last month.  I don't care what terms you and I were on, at least when it came to the kids we were solid as a rock.

I hope you know you are missed and loved, Dave.  Whether it's a grand gesture like a post dedicated to you on a blog, or a sweatshirt of yours worn by Amanda, or your bathrobe that sits on Brandon's bed, you are always on our minds or in our hearts.

With love,


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Life's a zoo

Living in Denver has proven to be much more expensive than living in Cody, so I got a job doing security at the zoo.  Not the most glamorous job really - all I do is make sure people obey certain rules so that the animals don't get fucked up.  Lots of standing around doing nothing, but it's nice to be working again and to be around people.  And don't forget the animals, the animals are pretty great to be around.  Every time I walk past a creature I think, Oh that's my favorite!  I seem to say that about most of the zoo.  Go figure.

I am experiencing some emotions that I never expected to surface as a result of working there, and I'm hoping they will go away because dammit, they're uncomfortable.  Naturally there are a bajillion people with small kids who visit, and we were no different when Amanda and Brandon were little.  I have many memories of walking that very zoo with my small children, and seeing all the little kids while I'm working provokes memories that make me miss those little years terribly.  

It's the ache of those happier times, when the family was still intact and we had our dogs, and we had Dad.  So fucking much has changed since then.  It's been a rough ride.  As I sit and watch all of the little kids who are possibly in their own stages of familial innocence, I constantly wonder how my own kids will look back on their childhoods.  Will they have good memories in spite of all the shit?  Will they wish it had all been different?  Will they hold it against me?

Those little years go by so fast.  SO. FAST.  I know I was mentally present and accounted for during that time, but it's such a short blip in the scheme of things that no matter how much you pay attention, *POOF*, it's done and all of a sudden they are teenagers.  Amanda, who is now thirteen, is in full-blown teenager mode.  There is just nothing child-like about her anymore and that kind of bums me out.  I'm not ready for her to grow up.

Brandon is still my little guy, and I am desperately trying to hold onto his boy-ness as much as I can, for as long as I can.  He's little and scrawny and very much still a little kid, and I'm not sure I'll be able to handle when his voice drops and his slight frame grows into a man.  Once he's grown, that's all she wrote.  Little kid game over.

Is it too early to be excited for grandkids?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lots on my mind, just don't feel like writing about it.  So pictures of Charlie.

Monday, February 10, 2014

A picture is worth a thousand emotions

This is a picture of a picture, a little blurry but a lot perfect.  I love this picture so much - the looks on the kids' faces radiate happiness like I've never seen in pictures of them before.  It was taken by my sister at her old time photo shop in Cody, and I can't remember what was done that caused them to react with such natural happiness.

The picture was taken for a reason -it was a Father's Day gift for their dad (Amanda's idea I believe).  Maybe that's why they were so happy...they were excited to give it to him and worked very hard to make sure he received it in time, which thankfully he did.

Faces of happy children, excited for their dad to see them in their goofy get-ups.  Faces that couldn't wait to Skype him and see his reaction.  Faces that had no idea that within less than a month, on a hot sweaty 4th of July, we would have the picture back in our hands as we packed up their dad's belongings in a Denver sober home where he took his final breath of life.

Seeing the picture felt so odd, as if the happy emotions of it's existence still swirled around the smiling faces in a palpable energy.  We had JUST sent it to him.  The ink was barely dry.  It wasn't right to be taking it back, it was Dad's, it was for Father's Day, WE JUST FUCKING GAVE IT TO HIM!!

I have the picture sitting on my nightstand.  I love it so much that I nearly burst into tears whenever I look at it.  Those smiles.  That excitement.  But with it comes pain and dark, ugly dread.  It's as if I know something those smiles don't, and I want to run up to them and fold them into my heart and soften the blow that is lurking on the corner of innocence and bliss.  It's almost as if life conspired to document a beautiful moment in time, just to turn right back around and yank the rug from beneath our feet.  I alternate between thanking life for the captured beauty, and telling life to go fuck itself.  An unnerving dichotomy if there ever was one.

So tonight when I reach to turn out my lamp and catch a glimpse of those beautiful smiles, I'll do my best to be more thankful for what life has given to us and to try harder to not ask it to go fuck itself.  Easier said than done...

Monday, February 3, 2014


This little guy is named Charlie.  We saw him at the lost and found section of a local shelter and Amanda nearly shit herself she loved him so much.  After five days and no one to claim him, we got to adopt him and call him our own.

Personally I'm not a fan of poodles (or the ridiculous hairdos they are subject to), but this little 4.5 pound cutie is absolutely adorable.  Assumed to be around four years old, he is incredibly mild-mannered, walks great on a leash, and is just SWEET.  He is the perfect combination of our two dogs who we had to let go of, and he has brought a spark into our home that has been desperately needed. 
Welcome to our family Charlie, we've been waiting a long time for you!