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Monday, November 9, 2009 have it.

Written by Annie, a mom without a blog

A year ago this week on my now retired blog I wrote about a story of a family tragedy. It was hard to write and I literally felt not only like crying, which I was doing, but also very much like retching as I wrote. You see, a year ago, a cousin I'm close to lost her 37-year-old husband to a very freak accident.

My cousin, newly pregnant with her third child, left for work as a teacher and thought nothing of sending her husband off to a routine outpatient rotator cuff surgery with his father. What she didn't expect was a phone call minutes after the surgery informing her that there had been a grave accident. You see, when they began the block of drugs to numb his shoulder, the needle did not go into his muscle, it went directly into his bloodstream pretty much killing him instantly. Although for hours they kept him on bypass and attempted to revive him, he was gone.

And she was left alone. With two little girls under the age of 5 and another on the way.

This post is not about the sadness, the heartache, or the explaining you do to two little girls who do nothing short of idolizing their Dad. This is not the story of how wonderful he was, or how his funeral commanded two thousand people to attend, or how his employer (Budweiser) had a highway banner with his name on it for weeks in honor because he was THAT guy, the one who everyone loved, everyone adored, everyone wanted to be friend with and like. Yes, he was that wonderful, but this is not about him today.

This is about her. About a 37-year-old woman, who although deeply heartbroken and extremely lost, did it when I am not sure I could. I think of her in awe every day. And I wonder where she gets it.

The strength.

I think about her when she comes up with amazing ideas to include her children in his life, even after he has left us physically. How she lets her now first grader write him love notes and puts them in a balloon to send to heaven. How she gave birth without the aid of drugs so no other freak accidents would happen in her family leaving her children orphaned.

This is a story of how she runs and pounds out her grief and anger and lays it all on the pavement in a Nike streak of healing. It is also a story of hand holding and how she gently allows you in to aid her in her need for understanding and healing. It is also the story of how she is not letting anger and revenge, nor all the lawyers knocking on her door, to overrule her right to grieve.

It is a glance into a life of a woman who teaches her children to remember their father every day, so when they age they won't forget because they are so young. About how her daughter says "I feel my Daddy every day, he is all around me. He even helps me when I put on my jammies."

How she just does it. Even though full understanding is not there, and the grief is still so raw.

This is a post about women. About how women just do. They do what they need to do, even when they don't know why or don't know how. Women like her. Women who persevere and keep moving. It is about the strength women have, that she has even though she may not know it. Today I honor her.


  1. Thanks Annie - so beautifully written - my heart is going out to your cousin and just breaking for her loss. And those girls, not to have their daddy...
    Thanks for this wonderful reminder of that little something extra that we women are born with that ALWAYS keeps us going - first, for the sake of our children and then eventually, for ourselves... what is it? You're right, strength is a HUGE part of it - whatever IT is, we should be proud.
    I'm also honoring your cousin today. She deserves it.

  2. This is beautiful. My sister went through a similar situation, and I marveled at her ability to power through, to deal, to mother her three kids and to not crumble to bits.

    You succeeded in honoring your cousin here. Beautiful.

  3. I don't know if I'd have that strength. She sounds like a miraculous person and mom.

    What a shining tribute to her and her husband.

  4. What an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing her story.

  5. Now I am crying. So powerful and so true. What a moving and inspiring post. I have been so pitaboo these last couple of days after the swine flu visited our house- now I'm just grateful for my sons and my sweet husband.

  6. WOW Annie, You wrote that up in a BEAUTIFUL WAY! You really did honor her! She has tremendous strength! Now I gotta go dry the tears in my eyes!

  7. Annie - incredible. Thank you.

  8. Okay. I love this post. I needed to read this post on this Monday morning. For a whole lot of reasons. Mainly because this woman you are honoring is giving me the kind of perspective I need on this Monday morning and because I often don't take enough time to reflect on my own strength and the strength of the women around me.

    I have no idea if I could be as strong as she is but I have a feeling that in the face of tragedy, I would find it somewhere deep within me strength I had no idea I had.

    So yes to your title Annie. I love it. It's gonna become a silent mantra for me. "Strength - you have it."

    Thank you for this gorgeous post and thoughts and prayers are with your cousin today.

  9. Thanks for this...

    That's all I got. Hard to type through tears.

  10. What an amazing tribute...beautifully written, Annie.

    I agree, we are always quick to say, "I could never handle that!" And as absolutely devastating as this story is, your cousin's strength is to be admired. She dug down deep (and continues to dig each day) to make it through. I am hopeful that each of us has that same strength within.

    How lucky her daughters are...

  11. A beautiful reminder for all women to read and remember...we DO have it.

    I have had people say to me, "I don't know how you do it. I could NEVER." And all I think is, "Yeah, you COULD. Because when you have no CHOICE, you step up. You have to."

    You find STRENGTH.

    really love this..thank you...

  12. i wonder sometimes if this is more survival than strength. what other choice does she have? she doesn't have the luxury to fall apart and focus on how this tragedy has affected her. she is putting her children first, protecting and sheltering her family.

    thanks for sharing this with us, annie.

  13. "This is a post about women. About how women just do. They do what they need to do, even when they don't know why or don't know how. Women like her. Women who persevere and keep moving. It is about the strength women have, that she has even though she may not know it. Today I honor her."

    And what a beautiful honor this is. Cheers to perseverance and forward motion even in times of pain and confusion. Cheers to the precarious power of words and the art of survival.

  14. Annie, this is beautiful. I remember your post from a year ago and I remember wondering if I could make it through such a trying event. Your cousin is inspiring. The love letters in balloons is a beautiful idea. Strong women always leave me in awe.


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