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Loss and Grief are Never Linear

I'm not even sure what to say or to share in this situation but I feel it's necessary to give you a deep glimpse into my personal life. I'm not even sure why I am sharing it. I'm not looking for sympathy or understanding or judgement, I don't feel that I need to explain my past choices or why I chose to take the month of July off and I don't know if it is even pertinent to anything other than me stepping completely out of my comfort zone and being totally vulnerable for no other reason than to purge emotions that I typically don't make time for in my chaotically busy life.

I first met Mitch in April of 1995 in Florida. I was 16 years old (he had no idea) and he was 33 years old. I was babysitting for my friend, Carrie. He was her neighbor. His two young children (3 and 5 years old) were playing outside and his youngest fell and was crying. I rushed over and picked her up off the ground and brushed off her knees he came running out and scooped her up, said "Thank you, Ma'am" and rushed her into the house to get cleaned up. Later that evening we started talking and getting to know each other. Within a month I was living with Mitch and his two youngest kids.

Mitch came into my life at a time when I was still picking up the pieces of a variety of losses and trying to figure out if I even had any chance of a decent future. (see the About Me section on my website) He opened doors that I didn't think existed by getting me as far away from Florida as he could.

His kids were starting to get very attached to me but their mother did not like that so she took full custody back out of jealousy. Then his oldest son (9 years old) came to live with us.

We, the three of us, left Florida in October of 1995 and moved to Cookeville, Tennessee. That was just the start of so many crazy adventures. By February his oldest son went back to live with his mother in Indiana and the two youngest were with their mother in Florida.

We were married in May of 1996 in Trenton, TN with the permission of my step-dad (I was just 17 years old) and then we moved onto a 62-acre horse ranch with 14 horses in Natchez Trace State Park. I spent my days horseback riding, mucking stalls, and cruising around the golf course in an ungoverned golf cart. It was total serenity, but short-lived.

In July of 1996 we moved to Jackson, TN into a small guesthouse where all the utilities were still on and paid for which seemed weird until we found bullet casings in the front yard and were informed that it was a former drug dealer's house that had been shot and killed in the front yard, we also found $4000 cash and decided to invest in new furniture and our very first computer. Oh the days of clunky monitors, AOL, and dial up.

By October of 1996 we had moved to Muncie, Indiana where I found and fell in love with the Tarot. I joined a coven, I worked in a restaurant for the first and last time in my life, and in April 1997 we randomly decided to sell everything that we owned and were going to start a new life in Boston where my family was from and several of my relatives still lived. We moved in with my Auntie Rita and Mitch immediately started working in a local dental lab. After living with family for three weeks and realizing that Boston was more expensive than we had envisioned we hung a map on the wall in my Auntie Joanie's house, threw a dart, it landed on Tulsa, Oklahoma so we packed up the Chevy S-10 and headed out west.

We never made it to Tulsa. We stopped at the Renaissance Festival at The Castle of Muskogee and met a man named Porky that ran the Turkey Legs booth and we decided to join the fun permanently and work for Porky. We spent a few more weeks in Muskogee before travelling to Somerset, NJ and Geneva-on-the-Lake, OH after 3 months of living in the back of a Chevy S-10 pick-up I was DONE.

Back to Muncie, IN where the wildest adventure of my life began.... I became pregnant with Keely. We then moved to Jamestown, North Dakota where the windchill falls to around -60 degrees and the air makes your face hurt. It's an anomaly (it's 2 hours from EVERYWHERE)

After freezing for too many months and giving birth to a beautiful baby girl we decided to go back to Indiana for some milder temperatures and closer to Mitch's family. His family is from Terre Haute, IN and living there was a little TOO CLOSE to family so we moved to Franklin, IN.

By 1999 in Franklin, IN we had reached a pivotal turning point in our marriage. We realized that we had VERY different parenting techniques, different future goals, different hobbies, different interests, and we were growing apart at a rapid rate. I was then 21 years old, a first time mom, completely overwhelmed, and feeling very isolated, he was 38 years old, a father of 4, a workaholic, and a total homebody. I needed more. I was losing myself. I started dating a woman named Leslie (with his blessing). It still wasn't enough.

I needed things to change. His only suggestion for change was always to move somewhere else, so we were now packing everything up, this time included so much infant/toddler gear that moving wasn't nearly as exciting as it previously had been. Onward to Bowling Green, Kentucky.

We met some interesting people in Bowling Green, joined an Earth Circle and were introduced to Lothlorien. Bowling Green was a college town and not really what either of us needed, so after about 2 months we continued further west to Denver, Colorado.

Denver was AMAZING!! We celebrate Y2K at an incredible NYE party with $1500 bottles of champagne flowing, singing songs, and laughing until 2am. I met some incredible people and dated some interesting women but things were still falling apart.

In May of 2000, Keely and I moved in with my girlfriend's parents in Vinita, Oklahoma while waiting for Mitch to wrap up some work obligations in Denver and then join us in OK. After a few weeks we thought it would be fun to join the Renaissance Festival again so we borrowed her parent's full size van and headed out to Ohio where Porky was working at a Ren Faire. He didn't have any availability to hire any workers. So we thought it would be a good idea to volunteer to work at Lothlorien in exchange for a place to stay. It was a rough time, living out of the back of a van with a toddler and no income. Selling plasma to buy diapers, getting food from food pantries, it was not the life I wanted. So after some convincing, Mitch took a job at a dental lab in Pensacola, Florida.

This time we had an additional family member with us, life just kept getting more complicated. We were headed to Florida - me, Mitch, Keely, my girlfriend, and now Mitch's oldest son (14 years old).

Pensacola was a hot mess. My girlfriend and I split up, she went back to Oklahoma, his son was out of control and was sent back to his mother in Indiana and his new job decided to transfer us to Fort Myers, FL.

My father got sick and passed away at the end of July 2001. He was living in St. Petersburg, FL at the time (almost 3 hours away) and we went up there to be with him during his last days. Mitch's boss said that it was not a direct family member of his and that if he took more than one day off that he would be fired. Well he was.

So we found ourselves packing again. This time we were headed to Springfield, Massachusetts. The morning that we were loading the U-Haul was September 11, 2001.

We had NO IDEA what happened at the Twin Towers until several hours later when we arrived at my foster parents' home along the way because we had packed up our TVs and radios the night before. It was surreal. We drove passed NYC on September 13th and could see the smoke billowing, such and awful and somber memory.

Living in Springfield, MA meant that we were within driving distance of my family. We were finally able to attend the family holiday celebrations and birthdays. I was starting to feel like I actually belonged somewhere.

In May of 2002 we moved to Manchester, New Hampshire, even closer to my family. I will always consider the New England area my home.

Over the next couple of years our marriage continued to crumble and we both started seeing other people. We even physically separated for a while and lived apart but eventually found that financially it wasn't really a viable option.

In March 2006, Mitch's mother passed away and he was devastated that he didn't make it back home in time to say goodbye, he was changing planes in Baltimore on his way there when she died. Then one month later, after Jillian was born, Mitch had a massive heart attack and died on the table, they had to revive him (he was only 43), and we knew then that we would always be best friends, no matter what happened with our marriage. We were always there to take care of each other. Our marriage was over but our friendship was strengthened.

Another year went by and in April 2007 we decided to move back to Terre Haute, Indiana because he was still missing his mother and wanted to work on his relationship with his siblings. We lived in Terre Haute for about a year and he rarely saw his family.

I opened my first metaphysical store, Cat's Curiosities, in Terre Haute. Probably not smart. Being in the heart of the bible belt not everyone was supportive and Mitch lost his job over it.

In July of 2008 we move to Fayetteville, North Carolina. That's where I met my husband Chris. Mitch and I both knew it was best for all of us to finally make our separation permanent and legal.

2009 was a rollercoaster - We moved apart, we divorced, I married Chris, Chris deployed to Iraq, we moved back in together (financially driven), we moved apart again, Chris came home.

In 2010 the Army sent Chris to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Mitch promised me that he was going to stay in NC until Keely graduated high school (she was in 6th grade). She had already went to a different school every single year and I just wanted her to have some stability. So I allowed her to stay with Mitch because I was afraid that being married to a soldier meant more moving (damn was I WRONG).

By 2011 Mitch had taken a new job in Denver, CO. Chris, Jillian and I were in Kansas and I was pregnant with Lucian and Mitch and Keely were moving to Colorado.

In 2012, after finding out that we expecting Vivian, Chris and I bought our first home and set down roots in Leavenworth, KS and Keely came to live with us for the stability that i had hoped for her. Keely went to the same High School for all 4 years and then college and began her career during which time Mitch moved from Colorado to Missouri/Kansas to Michigan to Colorado to St. Joseph, Belton, and finally Raymore, Missouri.

Throughout the last 28 years Mitch has been a constant in my life. He may not have been physically here but he was never more than a phone call away. Not being able to call or text him just doesn't feel right.

He has been so many different things to me at different times throughout the years. He was my husband, my best friend, my savior, my biggest pain in the ass, a great dad to my girls, a great friend to my husband, a "weird uncle" to my youngest kids, he has helped me figure out who I am and who I am not, what I want out of life and what I don't want. He has always been there no matter what. He has shown me unconditional love truly is. To say he will be missed is so far beyond an understatement of epic proportions.

Bradenton, FL 1995 Raymore, MO 2023

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