Stings Like a Bee…Kinda

Since it’s raining and we all have nothing better to do, I’m writing a blog for ya. It helps decrease my anxiety sometimes by giving what keeps my mind racing a voice. For the sake of time and your sanity, I’ll narrow it down.

The first thing for me has been the area of wanting to try to get out there and possibly date. But here’s the thing, I’m 30 and have been married to my soul mate already – dating, especially this day in age is anything but enjoyable. In fact here’s a brief snapshot of what it looks like…I’ve been on Bumble a couple times just to see what’s out there, fulfill some boredom, and honestly because I wanna feel like a desired woman for 2.2 seconds.

For those of you that don’t know the concept of bumble, if both the guy and girl swipe right on each other, it means they are interested in one another. Then it’s up to the girl to message the guy first – the guy cannot initiate the conversation. So here I am trying not to be boring with the “hey what’s up” initial message so I send something like “hey it says you’re only 2 miles away, you should probably come meet me and buy me a drink, just sayin.” Obviously, this is just initiating conversation…I’m not going to meet someone right off the bat without having a conversation to see if I’m even remotely interested. To which I get the reply, “you look like you’re a strong and independent woman so I think you can buy yourself your own drink.” YES people this did in fact really happen. I think it goes without saying why this ahole is still single. Nonetheless, I am strong and independent and can indeed buy my own drink but a free one does taste better lol

I say that to say this…a small encounter like this makes me feel a lot of things. But mostly it makes me very resentful at the position I’m in. If I just had my husband, I wouldn’t be dealing with this. Everything was settled in this area of my life, everything was good! I crave to mean something to someone in a romantic way – to have that 100% intimacy (something way beyond sex). Because I went from 100 to 0 in seconds on December 20th. I want to be a desired woman because I believe God gave me the deepest desire to be a wife and mom. I wasn’t the greatest wife of all time, but I know I was a pretty good one.

I wrestle with the idea of needing a man to bring happiness back into my life. A lot of people say “someday you’ll be happy again” and most the time they equate that with moving forward with a new love. My therapist explained this to me (because this theory drives me nuts) that either they are happiest when they are with someone or they saw you at your happiest when you were with someone. I don’t necessarily believe that happiness is found through another person but I can’t ignore that it is also something God created within us. I go back to when he created the heavens/earth/everything and Adam. And he saw that Adam was alone and that it was NOT GOOD (Genesis 2:18). So he created Eve for him. I know my love for Paul is so big, but I know I have so much more love to give. I give it every single day in many ways, but I’m not fulfilled.

Also I never want to portray that I am this holy, without fault Christian woman – I am far from that. I cuss a lot and I’m struggling with wanting things of this world. So please don’t ever read my blog and think I’ve got it all together in the realm of following Christ. I’m trying to figure this stuff out as I go and trying to trust the Lord’s timing (which he did not gift me with patience btw) and trust that his abundant grace is sufficient for me (2 Cor 12:9). I’m a struggling girl in a tough world, but he hasn’t failed me yet.

P.S. My dog just puked everywhere, gotta go ✌🏼 #thisisreallife

“You are Blessed”

Derby season is not an easy time for me as my constant thoughts played back to Paul working lots of hours as everyone on LMPD is generally required to, him meeting Jason Witten (lookin like a star struck girl lol), and his love (and sometimes tears shed) for the playing of “My Old Kentucky Home.” It’s hard knowing I will never see him putting on that uniform again, kissing him goodbye, and waiting anxiously for him to be off work. I still cannot bring myself to take down the TBL sign I have hanging in the doorway of our house -which unfortunately is where he collapsed – that says “Come Home Safe.”

This week I received a text from someone in the police family that has truly been there for me from the beginning of Paul’s tragic death. He expressed how proud he was of me and towards the end of our texts he said “you are blessed Katie.” Me 1 year ago would probably have been offended but me today completely agrees with what he said. Here’s why…

While empty promises were made after this tragedy, the ones that were kept have blown me away. Blue brothers that have stepped up and became my friend, treated me like I was a person and not just “Paul’s widow,” the consistent communication, being the definition of “no one fights alone.” These guys have literally made me laugh, made me feel important and loved, made my life a little less lonely. People in this family have actually helped me get the job I’m in today. So while I will never get to see Paul in uniform ever again, there is a comfort in knowing I still get to be a part of the police family that I love – a family most people can’t appreciate/understand until they are in it.

If you’ve read any of my previous blogs, you know that while I never would ask for this widow life in a million years, I still want to embrace this tragedy as a way to be better. I don’t want it to define me and I embrace the people that make me feel like it’s not my identity. It is not easy most of the time and I’ll never pretend it is. Some days I’m still trying to survive, just focusing on taking the next step – knowing I might take a few steps back. But above everything, I don’t deserve anything in this life but God has given me lots of things to be thankful for. He gave me two of his sons – Christ and Paul. Which has blessed me til eternity.

P.S. Paul’s favorite verse which is commonly associated with police is “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9

The Girl That Cried Suicide

Rejection is certainly not easy when you’re a widow – just like everything else that’s related to it. It feels like a punishment that comes with something you never asked or wanted. A label that got slapped on you which was out of your control. I often ask myself what’s wrong with me? Feels familiar as I asked myself this in a relationship prior to meeting my husband. Which just furthers the hurt and pain of losing him. Like I wouldn’t even be in this position (single) if he was here.

I’ve found it a lot easier to just withdraw from a lot of things and mostly people. Because no one listens – truly listens. What I have to say is met by suggestions of things that would be “good” for me. You know what would be good? If my husband was here – because he’s the only person on this earth that listened to me and honestly made me feel like I could keep living. And now that’s fucking gone.

I’ve pretty much realized I will always battle suicidal thoughts. I’ve given up any hope I’ve had that I will ever truly be free from them. My faith has kept me here and here I’ll remain for that only reason. It’s funny to me how no one bats an eye when I say I think about swerving into the median while driving, etc. I’m actually astounded there’s not a greater response…it’s like I just told someone I had a waffle for breakfast. Maybe actually going through with it would create a reaction? Just some thoughts I have. People act like they never saw suicide coming – but did you really not? Are you really listening to people around you? I’m not being critical just being real because I’m amazed at humanity sometimes. Why is our face stuck in a phone on social media, texting, or calling when we should be showing up at peoples doorsteps? People aren’t gonna ask you for help – at least most aren’t. They don’t wanna put people out, take them away from their “busy” schedules. Don’t wanna be an inconvenience. And are we really that busy? The answer is no – you’re never too busy for the people you “love” or care about.

I know after this is posted it will illicit a response but I beg of anyone reading this to do one thing – be a REAL friend. Have the hard conversations with your closest people, people you know are having a hard time. Be genuine with no ulterior motives. And please if you feel like me, get help. You are not alone, you are not weak, you are NOT ok and it’s ok. And please reach towards heaven, it is truly your only saving grace.

P.S. Kyle Idleman said in his sermon today “if you have to be here, might as well make the most of it!” — which is something I’m trying to do but it is the hardest thing I’ve had to do in this life.

It’s Critical You Stop Criticizing, “Christian”

I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw some negative feedback about author Rachel Hollis. I’ve never read one of her books but I have listened to a podcast of hers. She was such a REAL woman talking about REAL struggles. And she is a Christian — referenced who God says she is multiple times per the BIBLE. So why do I see 2 negative comments from 2 women criticizing her work when I guarantee they haven’t even read her book?! Check yourself here…is it because she’s successful and people are buying what she’s selling? That doesn’t make her a bad person. Last time I checked we were all on the same team in the “Christian” world but that’s actually the problem I want to talk about…I am so sick of the critical Christian.

You wanna talk about everything that’s WRONG – critical about mega churches, the lighting, the choice of music, no hymns, how much money the pastor makes, etc. What I wanna know is what in the world does that have to do with YOUR salvation? Why you analyzing everything else but your own heart? Your own actions? Stop judging every little thing that everyone else is doing and work out your own salvation boo. I will say one thing – I don’t go to church for the people. People have disappointed and judged me as I have them (preaching to myself as well). But Jesus never has. Have I been angry and not understood his plan? Yep. But I’m not about to go around being critical of everyone else when I haven’t walked a minute in their shoes. I have had to learn to give myself grace in the last 15 months of my life – and I’m working on extending that to others as well.

I’m literally SICK of the critical Christian. Ain’t nobody can win in your all’s eyes. Y’all are the kind of people trying to reach each other – don’t dare go outside your circle for the true lost, hurt, broken, the outcast. Being a Christian ain’t about being comfortable! And it sure ain’t about sitting on social media and trolling Christian “celebrities” successes. And for goodness sake women, we are our own worst critics as it is, start banding together and stop tearing each other down!

Believe me when I say I am a continuous work in progress. I pray often that God checks my heart and intentions. I know I will never ever be perfect. I just cannot stand by and watch “Christians” continue to act like this. Makes me sick. I’m thankful I knew Jesus and established that relationship before I saw how some “Christians” were…otherwise I’m not sure I would be buying what the church was selling either. You are the church people, the bride of Christ…act like it.

KEEP IT REAL

Finding Me

I had typed out a whole other post but when I write I want it to feel right. And if it doesn’t, I either just save it to share (or not) later when the time is right or start back up with something else that’s pulling on my heart. This re-occurring theme keeps popping up at this time in my grief. I keep asking myself who am I? Usually when people ask about who you are you tell them what you do for a living or your marital or parental status. But think about it, does that tell anyone WHO YOU ARE? Am I the jobless widow? Gosh I sure hope that isn’t my identity (even though sometimes I feel like that’s all I am).

The first thing that pops into my head that is absolutely one of my pet peeves is when parents hide behind their kids. Almost like their kids are the dictators of who they are, what they do, when they do it, etc (don’t get me wrong, to a certain degree I understand). Ok before all you parents freak out on me and say I don’t have kids (trust me I wish I did), don’t miss the point, don’t get defensive. If that was your initial reaction, you are probably doing exactly what I’m talking about. Nothing drives me more insane than when people bring their kids to a party/event etc and suddenly become the world’s top helicopter parents to avoid adult conversation/interaction. Stop avoiding the awkward adult stuff that the rest of us are dealing with without the distraction of kids. Your kids do NOT define you. They are part of you – big difference. You were someone before you had them. Don’t lose sight of that.

So now that I’ve ticked off all the parents, the same goes for married people. Yes you are “one” when you get married – but you are still an individual person. Only now you operate under the conditions of “how does my individual decisions effect us?” I hope you get what I’m trying to say, just like with the kid thing, WHO ARE YOU outside of this? What’s at the foundation here? While losing Paul is the absolute biggest tragedy I will probably ever face, I have to check myself and say to myself that I was someone before I was his wife. I am someone that isn’t defined by relationship with someone else. I am my own ME. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the many different “hats” we wear, and that’s just it, they are hats. You take one off and put on another given the situation.

Ok hopefully I’ve established what I’m talking about when I say who are you, so I want you to genuinely ask yourself that. WHO ARE YOU? WHAT MAKES YOU YOU? What do you enjoy? What are your goals? We can all for the most part say we enjoy family time and vacation. I’m asking you to dig down deep here. My friends and I at Honey Lake call this “real talk” because we can’t do the small talk. For me, the answers to these questions are tough – they aren’t jumping right out at me. For example, I almost feel pressured to say “I am beautiful” because as a Christian woman I’m supposed to know that I’m more precious than rubies right? Well help me Lord, that ain’t my first response, not something I believe 100%.

Looking at this through the lens of our careers, I often describe myself before losing Paul as doing what I was “supposed” to be doing. I was working a full time job I had ZERO passion for because the money was good, working from home was convenient, no weekends or holidays sure was nice for RN life. Who’s really happy they have to go to work every day anyways? It’s just a common nuisance for us all. WRONG. If anyone thinks I’m going to go work and do a job that I’m not even slightly passionate about or interested in again, they are absolutely off their rocker. Life is too short to not live out my passion in my everyday life. Which brings me back to who am I and what drives me? You should absolutely consider this when you think about your career – you spend too much time at a job not to.

What inspired me to sit down and write this was being alone at home, scrolling through social media seeing couple after couple together whether it be for V-day or what they did this weekend. And the truth is, I shouldn’t be sitting here alone. Paul should be here…but he’s not. While I struggle with loneliness, I’m asking myself how do I survive this? How do I be me without him and find joy again? How do I be content in this season? I want to argue that God made us relational and that I won’t be alone forever, but it doesn’t feel like in this moment that that is true. I need to be able to handle aloneness without going to the dark place in my mind that tells me I shouldn’t stay on this earth anymore. So believe me when I say, this post was just as much for me as it was you. Let’s do some soul searching and get back to who we really are, chasing our passions, and not just being something because our society says it’s who we ought to be.

P.S. I applied for a job at Home Depot because I love the smell of the store. I wouldn’t be passionate about it, but it’s simply just something to get me out of the house and “back in the game.” So if you see me rocking an orange apron, that’s really the truth behind it. LOL

Baggage Claim

With the wonderful Valentine’s Day approaching (rolling my eyes) and also my wedding anniversary, it seems like the topic of love is consistently running through my head. In a way, this post is an extension to my last about “Why I’m Open to Love After Loss.” After losing Paul, I feel like my life has been under a microscope – everyone wants to see what “the widow” or how “the widow” is doing. Every decision comes with the thought, “how is this going to be perceived?” The magnitude of already suffering from being a people pleaser, always looking for the approval of others, has intensified immensely. So naturally when you talk about being open to moving forward in the realm of love – it feels even more so that all eyes are on you. People say there is no timeline to grief – no timeline to moving forward with your life – so why am I hearing that “it’s only been 14 months”…like you think you know if I’m ok or not ok to love again? Why am I explaining my “timetable” to anyone? So I want to address the baggage that I’m carrying and why it looks scary/intimidating but it also comes with compartments full of things you would never expect (good stuff).

I’ve recently explained to many people close to me that being a widow, let alone police widow, that you feel like the untouchable – the one with the scarlet letter in a sense. Like you are so far damaged, way too sad and depressing (because I post sad things about my deceased husband)…or in the police world that it’s viewed as disrespectful to my husband to pursue me with good intentions. And I want to just say right now that all of that is 100% BS coming from the widow herself. Since when did our jobs define our life to the point we don’t pursue love? Like I always say, life is too short and LOVE HAS NO LIMITS. That was a side rant you got for free. 🙂 BUT ANYWAYS, the truth is – I am sad, I am depressed, I am damaged. My question is does that define me? Is that who I am? Are there other people that haven’t lost a spouse that you would say are sad, depressed, damaged? YEP absofreakinglutely. I personally view these as excuses. And you truly don’t KNOW me if that is your only perception.

So here’s the deal with baggage – it is truly what crap you wanna deal or not deal with. You will never, ever meet a person that hasn’t had negative life experiences that have made them be a certain way. Maybe you’ve been cheated on and you don’t trust anyone. Maybe someone made you believe they loved you but their actions didn’t show it – and now your heart is so hard and calloused because of it. Maybe you’re divorced and scared to put yourself out there because you are afraid to fail, again. Being someone that believes real, true love exists can I just say don’t give up. Someone will pick up that baggage and carry it with you. It’s kinda like people saying they will have kids when they reach a certain financial status…ummm if you wait until you have enough money to afford kids, you’re never gonna have them. Just sayin. So why are we waiting to be a whole, complete person with no baggage before we take the plunge in finding love again? I think about Jesus and his love for us when I say this. How many of us can stand before him whole and worthy of his love? None. So I’m asking why are we expecting our human selves to be “fixed” and perfect before pursuing earthly love?

I don’t like using the word baggage for my widow stuff for the simple fact that it sounds negative but it’s purely for illustration purposes. What I want to say about the baggage I’m carrying…it is HEAVY. It is big. It is at times debilitating. It is carrying someone’s legacy and trying so hard not to screw that up. BUT it is beautiful. It is pure love. It is the ability to love someone who isn’t here but also the ability to love someone new with a full heart knowing love is indeed very precious. It is a GIFT. It’s appreciating the moments most take for granted. It’s putting your person ahead of everything every single time because you don’t know what tomorrow holds. It’s forgiving faster. It’s not getting caught up in the little petty things. It’s maximizing your time spent together. It’s saying “I love you” every day and always kissing you goodnight. Don’t mistake this as me saying I’m glad I am a widow that now has a new perspective on life – I wish I wasn’t one. But I would be totally missing the point if I didn’t embrace the new lens through which I see life and love because of what I’ve been through. So while it’s hard for me to feel like the widow with the scarlet letter, I know the special man that God has for me next will appreciate my new eyewear.

P.S. The next man I love is one lucky son of a gun. Period.

KEEP IT REAL

Why I’m Open to Love After Loss

I always talk about feeling something so deep that it’s just part of my DNA. And the part today I’m talking about is my ability to love someone else after losing Paul. Ever since I started dating my high school boyfriend around the age of 14-15, like many teens, I fell hard and fast. Thought I was gonna marry the person, have a house with a white picket fence, 3 kids, minivan, smiling faces, golden retriever, blah blah blah. But life has its way of smacking us right between the eyes right? And there’s a reason there’s a saying “young and dumb.”

In my life, I’ve truly loved 3 people. And when I love, I love HARD. I’ve always been a person that knows exactly what I want when it comes to the realm of love. Have I settled before? Yes. Have I stayed in something far longer than I knew I should’ve because I was comfortable…hopeful things would change? YES. Did I think I had it right and chose to do it MY way instead of getting out of the way for God to do his thing? ABSOLUTELY. To this day, I still suffer repercussions (unfortunately) from the hurts (partially induced on myself) from staying in one particular relationship. It led me to feelings of “what’s wrong with me? Why am I not good enough? I’m not skinny enough, etc…” All this negative self talk over years has still left me at times asking the same questions – yes even after being married to the love of my life who changed the way I felt about me, who made me feel like I was worthy of love.

After I FINALLY left a 7.5 year relationship and after many people (even strangers) were praying for my husband to find me, 3 weeks later, he came onto the scene. And life was NEVER and will NEVER be the same. When I finally met Paul, it all made sense. Every single heart break was worth it. They say “when you know, you know” and I KNEW IT. With everything in me. After our first date, I remember telling my mom “if this isn’t my husband I’m gonna be mad!” When I look back at this time of my life, I am so incredibly thankful and blessed that I had the honor of being a wife to a man that showed me true, unconditional love. Paul made me a priority, over everything, every time. He told me how beautiful I was almost daily. He valued our time together just as much as I did. I recently read through our texts and it was his late weekend night and he said, “…I hate you have to go see people and family alone.” I know in my heart he just wanted to be with me – and I wanted nothing more than to be with him.

As I read that text now, I know Paul doesn’t want me doing things alone – living this life alone. I know he saw in me something I never saw in myself – worthy of being loved. Really truly loved. I often think if he can see me from heaven how his heart would break knowing how alone and sad I am most of the time. I know he doesn’t want that for me. I’m sure he will be grateful for the man that comes along to love me like he did – just a broken soul that loves so deep, that will never let go.

For anyone that’s never experienced a love like this or doesn’t believe it exists, I’m here to tell you I’m living proof. It only took 3 weeks for God to show me after I got out of the way. I’m not saying it will happen this quick for you and I understand feeling like you’re praying for something that seems it will never happen. That’s how I feel now. Honestly, I feel like a spectator to everyone else’s dreams coming true while I’m picking up the pieces to a shattered picture of what I thought my life was going to be at this point. But Paul made me believe in genuine, unselfish love, and I’ll never stop believing because of him.

If you’re married and reading this, consider yourself blessed even if it’s not the greatest of times. You may say you can’t imagine what it’s like living without your spouse – the truth is you can but it hurts so bad to think about it. Live each moment in gratitude with each other. Even when it’s hard. Even when you don’t want to. Take the trip, spend the money, dance in the rain, be spontaneous, DATE YOUR SPOUSE. Don’t waste time. Life is so short and you think you’ll always have time but you never know…