The Bad Days

One, two, three, four, five, six…. breathe … seven, eight, nine, ten… breathe.

 I count when I feel it coming.

 The twist in my stomach, the pain in my throat from holding back the tears, the terrible memories of that day, all the terrible feelings that will haunt me forever. Does that ever go away?

 Sometimes counting helps, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes there is nothing I can do from letting it all go and falling apart. Sometimes I get lost in the ugly reminders that he’s not here. Thats when it feels real.

These are the bad days. 

 I’ve been stuck in the bad days. Distracting myself with work, friends, family, conversations, cross stitching, but deep down I am suffocating. Treading through thick muddy water. Real life is piling up, real life decisions are piling up, there is a messy stack of papers sitting on my kitchen table, my desk, and on my bedroom floor… I’ll get to it tomorrow. Tomorrow when I’m not having a bad day, when I’m not being a mom, when I’m not exhausted from work, when I don’t feel like opening that envelope that says “Ryan M. Willis” will make me scream… ya… I’ll do it tomorrow.  Tomorrow has lasted two weeks…

These are the bad days. 

Monday through Friday I take Hank to school. The best school, with the best teachers. I am so thankful for them, I love them. Hanks school is just past Gillespie Field Airport, the last place Ryan stood, alive. The last place he took off from and never returned too. Monday through Friday I am reminded of that as I drive right past its runways. Monday through Friday I come down the 52 East Freeway and I see the mountains he crashed into. Monday through Friday tears fill my eyes, and pieces of my heart fall out of my chest.  

These are the bad days.

San Diego is exactly where we need to be, right now, but San Diego cannot be where we stay. The daily reminder of everywhere we go without Ryan is starting to be more of a bad thing than a good thing. We spent 11 years together in this city, 11 years of memories in this city. Every store, every restaurant, every town, I see us there. I see the table we last sat at, I see the place he stood when he tried on that hat, I see the place we held hands, I see the places he walked with Hank, I see all the places I will never see him again. 

These are the bad days.


The good days.

            The good thing about the good days is they remind me that I can breathe. The bad days happen so I can appreciate the good days that much more. The bad days build walls, the good days tear them down.

A good day feels like a calm ocean. Once you make it past the giant breaking waves that hit you in the face, get water up your nose, and hold you under for a second too long, its quiet, and its calm. That’s a good day. 

The days I can think clearly and remind myself that everything happens for a reason and that’s there is something waiting for us. One day we will know exactly what that is. The unknown is exciting. Planning our next adventure is exciting. Today is a good day. Today I have the day off, Hank is in school, I have true alone time. Not to work, not to be a mom, time to remind myself to breathe… this is everything, I am thankful for this. Today I might open that envelope that says “Ryan M. Willis” and I might finally go to the VA to plan his military service funeral…. or maybe not… maybe I’ll just enjoy a good day.


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