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May, 2022:

May 19th

Always such an emotionally draining day

At 15 and 13 years old grief is different

Both of them, without any input or direction from me, submitted a school writing assignment related to our loss

I’ve include below her poem. a poem about grief, her grief. His a narrative written from my perspective. I posted them on fb today. Tons of comments on both plus lots of tears I’m sure.

I am happy that they are able to express their feelings like this. I am sad that this is our story. But we are who we are because of it. They are two amazing kids. They are unique in their own way. They are smart, strong, talented, motivated, kind, compassionate, loving human beings. I love them with all my heart. They are my life. My love for them is unconditional.

A like years past we planted flowers at her tree
This year we ditched some school and made a picnic of it
85 & Sunny
It was a nice day
The tree’s getting pretty big
It lost a branch at some point over the years
The buddleia’s we planted have gotten big as well
At least the groundskeepers no longer weed wack them

From her …
putting grief into words.
it’s not the easiest thing to do
grief is dangerous
it’s something no one wants to deal with
it’s the stop light when everyone is honking at you to go
its your sleeves falling down as you are washing your hands
it’s something everyone deals with at some point
how do i open a hole in my heart where someone i love used to fill, left and never returned again
i wish that i could say grief has an end point,
That one day my heart won’t sink when i see us together on a screen,
or the darkness that overtakes my mind when i remember that she is gone.
no matter how hard i try,
there will never be a finish line for that pain to cross over,
and no one will ever replace her light
the only way to completely heal is to forget,
and forgetting is the last thing i want to do while grieving
i have to cry when i need to cry,
and heal in my own time
and I have to remember that there never really is an ending point
the pain will always be there,
lurking in the shadows,
waiting for the perfect time to come out
my goal in life was never to be content without her presence,
my goal is to take things one day at a time
and i have to remember that the gap between the two of us,
is only as far as it takes to reach her hand into my mind
and her smile, can always be found in any photo box

From him …
Our Happily Ever After
You Don’t Know What You Have Until It’s Gone

January 4th, 2006 was the day I got married to the most beautiful woman in the world. Cari Lyn Stevens. Well now Cook. She was my purpose in life. Life was perfect and then life got a whole lot better because on the day of February 8th, 2007 we had our first child. Ellie Lyn Cook. Lyn is Cari’s middle name. She was our only child for two years. Those two years were the best two years in my life up until January 22nd, 2009. That day my son was born Carson Robert Cook. Robert after my wife’s brother, Bobby and father, Robert.

Only 4 short months later on the 19th of May while Cari was crossing 47th and 8th with Ellie and Carson she was struck by a car. Killing her later that day. Carson had suffered a fractured leg. I felt as though my life was ruined. “What I remember most about Cari is how much she loved being a mom.””She also had an infectious laugh that anyone who knew her will never forget.”Since my wife was just killed there was only one thing I will ever want following this. It’s for my two kids to be happy.

I keep trying to pretend like nothing happened but there was only so long that Cari could be away. So today Ellie asked “Where’s mommy?” and I thought about how to respond. I couldn’t think of anything except the truth. I explained everything. I explained how she is dead and how much her mommy loved her. The expression on her face killed me. As a normal human being but especially as her father. I can’t just sit there and watch her like this, so I get up and find a couple picture books. This worked for both of us. Ellie was still crying but now she was also smiling and laughing. To be honest, so am I. I can’t imagine how to tell Carson when he gets old enough to understand this.

The memories were fun to look back on, especially with my daughter. The only problem is that that won’t work forever. The problem is still that I don’t have a wife and my kids will never have a mother. Cari would want us to miss her. But she would want us to be together as a family even if it is without her. We have to move on and I have to be strong for my kids. They see their guardian broken. My kids are my life now. They have been since the day they were born but now they need me and I need them more than ever.

Eventually I went to visit Carolyn. My mother in law. I had to bring Ellie and Carson there before I went to work. Plus, I just had to see someone. She helped understand how God did it for a reason, and how it was meant to be. All of this happening has changed my life and perspective. She was the only one for me. I have a very very strong feeling that she will be my only love for life.

“If tears could build a stairway and memories were a lane, I would walk right up to heaven and bring you home again. No farewell words were spoken, no time to say good-bye, you were gone before I knew it and only God knows why. My heart still aches in sadness and secret tears still flow, for what it meant to lose you no one will ever know.” That is what it said on the back of her memorial card and they took the emotions and turned them into words. January 4th, 2006 was the day I got married to the most beautiful woman in the world. To this day, my life has never been the same and I don’t ever want it any other way.


I guess it’s been a while since I posted an update …

This recent April was a tough one. We had a nice family spring break vacation in Mexico. We left and returned midweek to get a cheaper flight. We were super cautious of covid. We had to take a test to return. We got back on a Wednesday. The kids returned to school Monday and by Friday he was sick with it. Likely picked up at school, I was sick next and then she was. He missed a week of school plus a long holiday weekend. She missed a week of school along with a few softball games. It would have been helpful if we all had it at the same time but instead it was more like one right after the other. That made for a long month. It’s mostly just cold like symptoms though so it’s kind of crazy they’re forced out of school for days when other contagious illnesses aren’t treated the same.

He turned 13 this past January! He’s super active in Taekwondo (competing in a state and regional tournament and qualifying for nationals but he’s headed to camp that week). He made the junior high volleyball team and they won their conference but didn’t place in a district tournament, losing to a tough school. Plus he’s busy with soccer as well.

She turned 15! She made the HS softball team! She’s one of two pitchers on the team and has really improved these past few months. Despite missing time with covid she’s continued to improve. We’ve played some really talented teams but she continues to battle, not always succeeding, but always competing.

School is almost over for the two of them. For me it’s sort of flown by, especially when it comes to the 1st year of HS. Only 3 more and she’s off to college and in just another year he’ll be in HS too. Crazy!

For me, after a year of hoping to get a client’s startup off the ground only to be stalled by months of legal wrangling, and a separate minor web startup of my own which requires capital to really make a dent, I’ve landed with another client. Whereas my past long term client wasn’t a consulting company (although they should have managed the business like one) this is a true consulting company and I’m hoping to run with this one for a while. Mostly it’s features and fixes to existing applications now, but that stuff is pretty easy and no big deal. As long as it pays the bills…

Now, I’d consider myself a very laid back non-confrontational person. I don’t care for toxic people. I’m annoyed by micromanagers. I believe everyone should have the right to make decisions for and about themselves. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think people commenting on the internet provide no benefit to anyone. I believe that being angry about anything is so energy intensive and a waste of time. I try to live each day to it’s fullest and avoid sweating the small things. But then comes a local family who falls into the category of toxic. The wife is known to many as being unfriendly. Neighbors of theirs are quick to say that yelling is the norm in their household. So when the wife decided to unleash that unfriendliness on me I chose to fire back. What she began with as a negative e-mail campaign to a group of people turned into a verbal yelling match. Following by less than friendly e-mails from the husband. I could care less about the whole ordeal. They’re ugly people with hateful personalities. They are not my friends. If I run into them it’s rare. But the family won’t let up. They continue to send nasty e-mails (thankfully they’re writing it down, what dumbasses). I want to fire back in e-mail but I know better. What I would say would probably be polite and sarcastic and only piss them off more. So I let it be. Maybe one day this family, this whole family, will learn it’s better to be kind than hateful? Maybe, but probably not…