Saturday, December 31, 2016

Holiday recap & resolutions

The last week included Christmas, our 10th wedding anniversary, my 34th birthday and New Year's. These events were both more difficult and better than I imagined they would be in different ways. Overall I have been pretty miserable and sick. My job is a great, a very rewarding distraction and it has been really tough having so much time off all at once...hopefully by summer vacation I’ll be in a better place. It is also painful being so miserable around family that are celebratory and joyful which then becomes a negative cycle of guilt. I feel bad for being such a buzz kill which makes me withdraw from family and support. The Buhanans (Shar’s family) were easier to be around because they too were enduring a bitter sweet Christmas with loss. I hope the holidays in 2017 will be a little more joyful because JJ will be more able to appreciate them.

JJ and Santa Daddy
JJ and cousins Christmas morning 

Christmas was hard because I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere. My family is too dang happy (a good problem to have I suppose) and I’m without my connection to the Buhanans. I want to be clear neither family purposefully made me feel this way. In fact they are all kind and loving it’s more a statement of where I am at. It was very bittersweet going through many of the family Christmas traditions without Shar. When it came to presents there were many thoughtful and emotional gifts tied to Shar for which I am very grateful.

Last year on our anniversary we took Trax (public transit in SLC) to the airport to fly to Hawaii

Our 10th wedding anniversary was the 28th. Last year on this day we were flying to Hawaii for our babymoon. This year, Sharry had been planning on doing a big housewarming party, vow renewal and a blessing for our baby. Obviously I couldn’t accomplish the first two having lost both but I for sure was set on doing the blessing. We had a large get together with all of the Deckers and Buhanans. I read Sharry’s “hopes and dreams” for JJ that she wrote on his due date and then I gave JJ an emotional baby blessing followed by root beer floats, one of Sharry’s favorite childhood treats. Afterward I headed to the cemetery where I planned to set up a tent and spend the night in below freezing weather. Everything was going to plan when I realized the zipper on the sleeping bag no longer worked. Luckily one of Shar’s brothers lives close and he was able to provide an even warmer bag. After meditating, talking and getting as warm as possible I fell asleep to coyotes yelping in the distance. It was kind of magical...magical and cold. I woke up at 2:22 to the voice of a police officer waking me. “Excuse me, excuse me. Are you related to anyone here?” I guess it’s not an unheard of practice! To which I responded more or less, “yes my wife and it’s our anniversary.” The officer left me with a “have a good night.” I woke up just before 8 AM to an iced over tent. The tent was stiff from the cold. I wished myself happy birthday and said goodbye to my sleeping baby girl.

Picture doesn't do justice to how stiff and icee the tent was!
I broke camp as quick as I could and headed to my first birthday event, a meeting with my therapist. In the past Shar, at my request, did not celebrate my birthdays but would skip them in favor of celebrating my half birthday in June nonetheless it is weird having a birthday without her. My counselor is amazing. I sincerely look forward to our bi-weekly visits where I feel welcome with love, understanding, insight and compassion. Later in the day my mom actually had purchased for me an appointment for a massage and energy work. It was a very relaxing and rewarding experience. My mom made my very favorite meal veggie lasagna and I opened more amazing #livelikeShar presents.

Where Shar and I were New Year's Eve 2016, on the beach in Hawaii (the last time that tent was used until the cemetery), making big plans for the coming year. )o:
New Years at one point was the event I was most looking forward to but unfortunately I switched something negative in my brain and now I can’t shake it. For a while I was mentally preparing to kiss the shitty 2016 farewell forever and move onto better things. But then a couple of days ago I thought to myself, what better things?!? The first half of 2016 was great and so full of promise and excitement. Shar and I were anxiously awaiting a new baby, new house and working toward President Bernie Sanders. Instead the worst case scenario across the board came to fruition. So it’s true that the second half of 2016 was gut wrenchingly bad but 2017 is the year I have to live with what 2016 brought. A full year without my soul mate.

Of course I am not quite entirely helpless in this situation and as such I am trying to adopt Sharry’s love for lists, goals and resolutions even in my sadness and misery. To begin with I want to share Shar’s 2016 resolutions for inspiration

2016 Mantra:
It’s better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.
-Confucius  ❤❤❤

1 Have a happy, healthy baby boy
2 Read! (40+ books)
3 Write 1 letter to the editor per month about climate change and the exploitation of the Earth
4 Write my memoir daily
5 Get a job/internship/ or volunteer with an environmental nonprofit (note: mantra)
6 Host a beautiful baby blessing, 10 year wedding anniversary celebration
7 Write more thank you notes, call more people to cheer them up, find ways I can show gratitude and love more
8 Have a fabulous 30th birthday

My 2017 stuff. Steal/copy her mantra. Light a candle in my darkness.
1 Face my fears head on. A full year without Shar and a new president, who to me, is a bit anxiety inducing.
2 Write a children’s book and get it published. My general theme going in is about a boy and his angel mama...lots of material!
3 Volunteer with hospice
4 Meditate at least 5 days a week for 10+ minutes.
5 Study spiritual texts (Bible, Book of Mormon, Dhammapada and contemporary writings) daily
6 Become a Christian mystic on the path to becoming a Bodhisattva
mystic = N. a person who claims to attain, or believes in the possibility of attaining, insight into mysteries transcending ordinary human knowledge, as by direct communication with the divine or immediate intuition in a state of spiritual ecstasy.
Bodhisattva= N. a person who has attained prajna, or Enlightenment, but who postpones Nirvana in order to help others to attain Enlightenment)

Fingers crossed that 2017 will be a year of increasing compassion in suffering, savoring JJ’s milestones and health, and finding light, wisdom and a measure of peace.


  1. Jared, I think Sharry is so proud of you. I can't imagine what you are going through. I remember when my Mom passed away that the first year of firsts were so hard. Not gonna lie, I was expecting the 2nd to magically be so much better because they weren't the first. That isn't so. Some years are even harder than the first, BUT there does become a new normal. I hated when people would say that because I didn't want that, I still don't. But there is a new normal. I still miss her like crazy but the pain isn't the same. I think all your emotions are perfect and what you're supposed to feel like. I'm just so so sorry. You are good. You are trying. You and JJ can do it. Keep going. Love your cousin, Shanon

    1. Shanon I sure hope you are right and that Shar is proud of me! We had some good Sharry(s) in our lives and they will be missed always. I hate the idea of a new normal as inevitable as it is! Thank you for your on going love.

  2. All of those significant events are just too much to handle consecutively. They are almost too much in normal and good times but with a loss as significant as yours all of that is entirely too much. You did it, though. You got through this. I understand how you would feel so alone at a time when family members are happy and celebrating. They WANT you to be happy. Although they (hopefully) don't express it, they may feel like your grief is too strong or that it has lasted longer than it should. You know they are wrong but they have never been in your shoes so it is impossible for them to understand and it just can make you feel more frustrated and resentful. Baby steps and in your own time. Don't let anyone doubt you or rush you.

    Having said that, your mom and sister are obviously so very loving and wonderful. The massage and the memory and inspirational boards for family were both so thoughtful. Your mom gave you the gift to feel relaxed and nourished while honoring your grief. Taking care of yourself throughout this (by, really, "pampering" yourself) is so important. Pamper your mom, too. She is hurting to see you hurt and it surely hurts her heart when she looks at her grandson and know he will never have his mother around. They did such a beautiful thing for you and for Shar in their #livelikeShar gifts to you.

    Don't let "The Donald" (this is what he was referred to back in the 80s...haha) give you anxiety. You have enough on your plate. He has brought back some jobs already so this is encouraging. In your book reading goal, I offer you some unsolicited advice (of which I have a bottomless pit of)...include some fiction books in there, just for an escape. Just allow yourself to escape for 30 minutes a night into a good book where your mind is not on BD3, JJ, Shar, or anything other than something that entertains you. You need an escape from your own thoughts and reality from time to time throughout all of this and reading a fiction book is the best way to do it!

    Prayers for you in this first part of 2017. Summer will not be easier for you, yet, Jared, because as the warm weather approaches, all of the sweet memories of the anticipation of JJ's arrival are going to come back stronger than ever and you will so ache for that time back....just as you did with your anniversary and longing for last year when you were leaving for Hawaii. After that time passes and one year comes and goes, you will not believe it has been a year and you will feel so sad for that, for her. But then that little light at the end of the tunnel will become just a little bit brighter...and fall will roll around again and you will know that, even though you love her still and miss her so very much, you are well on your way to walking further away from the darkest places. Time is your friend here.

    I SWEAR I am going to mail your little package. I am sorry I got your address and then either procrastinated or completely ran out of time to get it in the mail. School does start back for my children this week so I will have some extra hours and certainly fewer people will be in line at the UPS Store or post office. :-)

    Big hugs to you and thank you, as always, for sharring (intended ms) your heart with all of us.

    1. Thank you Heather for your words of love, support and insight. And please don't worry about the package...OF COURSE things like that are nice but totally unnecessary. Your on going words of kindness and virtual hugs are more than enough. I love your thought of taking in some good fiction to get lost in as well.