Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Letters for Avery

Calling on all of Matt Jansen's friends: I am asking you to write a letter to Avery about Matt. I would like you to write of your favorite time that you spent with Matt so that she will know what kind of person her dad is. If you have a favorite picture that you are able to send to me with the letter, that would be ...great too! Once you have the letter written, message me and I can send you our address.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Next Week

As I started to move around on Monday morning, I knew that my in-laws were on their way to Houston. They were stopping by Matt's friends house to talk to him and to pick up Matt's belongings and truck. While they were there, they did not get to talk to the friend but his wife. I know it was hard for them to listen to what had happened as well as it was hard to her to tell them what had happened. While I was at the house with Avery and my parents, my mom and dad tried to stay busy so they could not think about things. I just pased the house because I had no idea what to do. The night before, I wrote a letter to all the neighbors to let them know what happened. I had to send it to them in an email because I still could not face any one. They started to respond to my email with their condolences.
At this point I was still in shock and could not believe that this had happened. I wanted to hope that I would wake up at some point and life would be as I knew before, but it has been 5 weeks since the accident and nothing is normal.
AS my parents stayed busy taking care of things around the house, I took care of Avery as best I could at the time. With her here, there was really not time for me to just sit and cry like I wanted to. All I did was want to sleep and cry, cry and sleep. That was just not in the cards.
Around 2 or so, John, Erica, Donna, Marvin and Andy showed up at the house. As they came in, we hugged and the emotional toll came all over again. Its seems that as you see someone new, you experience the shock and disbelief all over again. We cried and shared our thoughts with each other and then we had to start talking about planning the arrangements of what to do to celebrate Matt's life. That is something that a 29 year old new mother of a 9 week old daughter should not do. It is something that a parent should not have to experience. It is something that siblings should not have to work through until they are all old a grey, after everyone lived a long life together, having more memories to share with each other. But no, this is what we had to do. It was decided that we would have a memorial service for Matt in Houston at the church where we were married by the person that was over our marriage. As for the burial, there was no talk before about where we wanted to be layed to rest. We would talk about that in 20 years, not 4 years into our marriage. I knew that I wanted to be buried with my father's side of the family in Leesville, LA. Matt's family did not have a family plot, and I knew that Matt was my sole mate. He would refer to me as his penguin, because they mated for life, we were supposed to be together for the rest of ourlives, for years to come. Since it was my decision, there were two plots available for Matt and I in Leesville, so that is it where he will be layed to rest. Monday was a federal holiday so there was really nothing we were able to do at this point but to make plans.
AS the day came to be evening. my neighbors were very supportive. They came by with food, drinks, letting us know that if there was anything they could do, they were there for me and Avery. Matt's good friend Andy stopped by to talk to me and John. One of Matt's former co-workers stopped by and let us know that the people that just came into town were more than welcome to stay at their place so they did not have to worry about hotel rooms. Everyone was so great, we really appreciated it.

Tuesday, my father and Matt's father drove to Leesville to start talking to the funeral home there that was going to take care of the arrangements. My mom went to take care of things in Clear Lake. John Erica, Donna and Andy stayed at the house with me and Avery. Another one of Matt's co-workers and his wife came by to see how we were all doing and to meet Avery. Even though I had only meet Brian and Yvonne twice, from Matt talking about me and Avery to them and to me about them. I felt like I had known them a lot longer than we had. They offered for me to come stay with them over the weekend in the future and I plan on doing that, but just not ready now.

We talked to Rick Carpenter at the church and he was going to come over Wed morning to talk about Matt and how we would like his memorial service to go. That was rough a meeting. It was great for me to hear everything that his family wanted to have said about him. I did not have too much to say, because every time I started talking, I would get too emotional and would not be able to talk. I Was just trying to soak up everything that was being said. The one thing that I did want to have said was that Matt was so proud of Avery. The night before the accident he sent me a message on face book, "Hey Whit, just wanted to let you know that I miss you and Avery. Noah was screaming today and I actually offered to hold him for Sarah. I guess it is the daddy instinct. I'm glad you have other girls to talk to about the baby and everything. Did your parents make it o.k.? Jon and I are hunting in the morning and I... should be home mid afternoon. I'm looking forward to seeing you guys." If I only would have known that this was the last contact I would have had with him, I would have called him. All I want to do is talk to him one more time and let him know how much he means to me. I know now that I took everything I had for granted. It is so hard to just move forward. I still can not believe this has happened.
By Wed evening the plans were set for everything. Memorial service Thursday, visitation Friday and burial on Saturday.
My dad left Thursday night after the service to go to Leesville to give them Matt's suit that he would wear. That meant that I had to go into Matt's clothes and get a suit for him to wear. As I go into the closet, I just started to cry. Again, I am not supposed to be doing this. Thinking is this really my life now? A widowed single parent? This is not how my life is supposed to be. I am supposed to be worried about going back to work and deciding on if I even wan tto go back to work, or if I should take a different job that is not so demanding. That is all out the window now. I pick out the last suit that Matt wore to a formal occasion It was a dark blue suit with light pin stripes. His light purple shirt and tie that match. Here this may be TMI, but I got out the boxers he worn when we got married for him to wear, his belt, socks, shoes and an undershirt. Matt was worried that you may be able to see his nipples through shirts if he did not have an undershirt on. They were really dark.
For those that came to the memorial service, thank you. It was really nice and I think Matt would have been proud of it. He would have enjoyed it. It was nice to see people there and nice to know that our family has your support. The visitation was nice. It was good to see that people from Matt's home town were able to make it out to show their condolences and the funeral was as good as one can be.
I stayed in Leesville for a couple of more days with my dad at my aunt and uncle's house, while my mom and brother drove back to their respective homes. We visited the grave site two more times before we left LA. My aunt assured me that her and my uncle would take care of the site, and make sure that is stayed nice until we were able to make it out there again.
My dad and I stopped off at my house to get some more things for Avery and my self and stayed the night. Then the next day we traveled to Kerrville where my parents lives. It was nice to be there because there were less things at their house that reminded me of Matt and I was able to just relax the whole time we were there. We took care of some loose ends that needed to be taken care of and got to see my grandmother that lives in Kerrville too. She was able to meet Avery Ann for the first time. She was smitten by my little baby. Even though my grandmother can not really talk and say complete sentences, and she may not have understood that Avery was her great granddaughter, she was impressed with her. As they sat next to each other, my grandmother had Avery by the hand and was not going to let go. They made faces at each other and when Avery had a little gas, she made her great grandmother laugh out loud and say "Oh my!" I was happy there were able to meet. As the week came to a close, it was time for me to go back to Houston and start back to work. My mom and I drove back on Feb 6th, went to costco on the 7th and I headed into work on the 8th while my mom dropped of Avery at daycare. The first couple of nights I slept in the study on the twin bed. When my father arrived on that Wed, I started to sleep in Avery's room on a blow up mattress. I still have not been able to sleep in the bed that Matt and I shared and I am not sure when I will be able to. Our house has so many memories. I love living here and it is hard to live here all at the same time.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Matthew Thomas Jansen

This is something that my brother in law wrote about Matt. He is Matt's older brother and I think that it is really good.

Matthew Thomas Jansen
By: Andrew Phillip Jansen
Everything I’m not
My brother
My rock
My friend
Why did your life have to end?
Left behind
Wife and new born
Never knew him
The best
They say
Die young
He went quick
No pain
Instant erase
Sent into outer space
Pearly gates
Crystal sea
A mansion
Prepared for him
To move in
Some solace
He is in heaven
Will see him again
1 day
Perfect body
Perfect mind
Playing baseball
So sad to see his mortal shell
The final closing
His body lies under the sod
His soul has gone home to be with god

The rest of the week

SO as the week went on, it also got better. I now was able to complete some work and get things done at work. After the first day, I have determined that I need to pump 3 times a day, not 2 like I thought. Never would have thought I would be producing so much milk.
Tuesday I got home and broke down in front of my mom, but she just wiped my tears away and let me vent. Wed, was better. That evening my dad had come into town and he is going to stay through the next week to help me out when my mom goes back to work. Also, that night Avery slept through the night. She went to bed at 9 and woke up at 5 very hungry. Thursday night was the same, but she woke up at 4:30. Still it was good for me, and after she ate, I was able to go back to sleep for a little bit and sleep until 5:15.
Friday, was a busy day and a good day at work. Sat was a good day. Went to meet some family friends for lunch and then went back to their house to visit some more. It was the parents of my friends, so it was nice to be able to catch up with them and my parents enjoyed visiting with then. At one point I did get upset. I was upstairs with Avery feeding her and I could hear the adults downstairs talking, laughing and having a great time. Then it hit me, that is supposed to be me down there in 30 years, visiting with my friends and my husband and catching up and laughing, having a good ole time. I am not going to have that. It makes me feel like an outcast, because every time I am going to get together when my friends from high school or from college, I am going to be the one that is either single, or if I do find somebody to be with, I will be with the one person that no one knows. It will be odd and uncomfortable. I am not sure if I will be able to handle that. The future makes no sense now. I know that I need to be here for Avery, but I just do not want to be. It hurts so much to think about the future and know that Matt will not be there to share the memories with me and all I have are memories now. Nothing new to experience with him. Avery will not have her memories and I think that she will be missing out on one of the best people that she could have have ever met. He would have spoiled her rotten and let her get away with anything, I could already see it coming, just within the first 8 weeks they were able to spend together.
And then today, Sunday, I have been trying to get everything together so that I can file our taxes for 2009. It is going to be so hard to be able to change everything over into my name. Every time I think I have all I need, I stumble onto something else that leads me to search for account information from Matt that I did not know he had. This will be interesting. And it is not easy. Matt handled the finances, I just gave him the information he needed from me and I took care of the house. This is new territory for me and I hope that I can do it correctly.
As for the Valentines day celebration, Matt and I would exchange gifts, but the last two years, I had been out of town on Feb 14th coaching. I know that this is supposed to be a romantic celebration day, but not celebrating it is okay with me. That just continues the tradition from the last two years.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Back to work

Well, I am going to junp a head here and just talk about my first day back to work. It was nice to get back and see everyone at work. They were all nice and very thoughtful. Said they were happy to have me back and that they were sorry for what I am going through. As my neighbor said when I ran into her when I got home, it was like they were "too" nice. I know that they did not want to hurt my feelings, and I am so happy that they care for me, but going back to work after being off for 13 weeks is just hard. And then having to go back after 13 weeks and losing my husband is harder that I would have ever expected. I mean just driving to work and listening to the radio I almost lost it. Songs that I hear that just remind me of him, or songs that just remind me of things I think I will never be able to feel for another person again made my eyes start to tear up as I drove over the toll bridge going to work. Once I got to work, I walked in alone, with two people a head of me I could have said hi to, but I just was not ready to talk to anyone. I got to my office and plugged in my computer. Started to type in all the passwords to get me logged in, ran into a little trouble trying to remeber some of them. Took me a couple of tries to finally get on the server. One of my co-workers stopped by and talk to me for a bit while the computer logged on and it was nice to talk to him. We just talked about things that were light anbd fluffy. Then I was off to the morning meeting. Saw people on the way and said hello to them. One I got to the meeting, it was like the people there were surprised to see me even though they knew I was going to be there. Maybe the did not actually recoginze me because I look so different. I do not have the happy face I normally did when I got to work, did not have a young looking face. Yes I know I am 29 but I have been told I look younger than what I am. Now I feel like I look old and worn. I mean, who would not look that way when you have spent the last three weeks either crying, trying to stop crying, trying to hold it in because you do not want to upset the people around you because you know they are hurting also or just being there, not doing anything but just being.
As the day went on I talked to people to try and get information about what had been going on for the last three months so that I could try to function at work. Try to figure out what I needed to be doing. It was hard to get my bearings. I had to open up the same spreadsheet 4 times to get one report done because I forgot what all went in it. And this spreadsheet takes like 5 min to open each time. Not fun. Then I started to go through my email. Looking at emails to get my up to speed on what I should be working on and trying to figure out what all took place while I was out so that I do not do any work twice. Then looking at the dates on the email just made me so sad. Knowing that when that email was sent, I still had a husband, a daughter and future to look forward to. Then emails sent actually on the date that the accident happened, knowing that day my whole life changed. I had to close my door and just sit there for a min while the tears came and went. I had to be quiet so that no one would hear. I have to be strong at work, but I just feel so weak.
Then comes to the end of the day when I go home. Go home to my baby daughter. I could not wait to see her, but I could at the same time. I did miss her, but everytime I see her I see Matt. I know that will be a good thing later one, but right now it makes me upset and sad. I still have no idea how I am going to raise her by myself. I know that all my friends and family are there for me and I will call you some day, but right now I just can not. I am not one to cry in front of people, that may be why I have not really called anyone. I just start talking about anything and everything, but what ever it is, it will remind me of Matt. IF it does not remind me of him, it reminds me of something that I may not get to experiecen with him. Like just going out to eat again.
OKay back to my day, I got to my care, placed all my stuff in it and started to head out of the parking lot. Then the song comes on, "Use Somebody". For those that were at te Memorial Service or the Funeral, this was the first song that went with the slide show. Kings of Leon had become his new favorite band. He listened to the
album as he ran. Then when he came home, he placed his ipod in the player and played the songs as he did his pushups and crunches. He had deticated his self to fitness since he had saw his friend Gordon in Sept. Gordon had lost some weight and Matt was using him for inspiration. Well, that song was more than just a song, it was a great memory of him. Everytime I hear it, I think of him, but at this moment I could not handle it and I just started to cry. I cried probabbly all the way through the song. Then I just had to turn off the radio. I needed quiet. I needed for me not to think of anything and just be numb. I just do not know how I am going to get through all of this.
I do not want to be here without him, but I do not want to leave Avery. Everything here has a memory of Matt. Just driving down the road. Still have not slept in my bed, it is too hard.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


This is something that was sent to me from someone who has had a similar experiance.

HOW YOU CAN HELP ME (Writer unknown)

Please talk about my loved one, even though he is gone. It is more comforting to cry than to pretend that he never existed. I need to talk about him, and I need to do it over and over.

Be patient with my agitation. Nothing feels secure in my world. Get comfortable with my crying. Sadness hits me in waves, and I never know when my tears may flow. Just sit with me in silence and hold my hand.

Don't abandon me with the excuse that you don't want to upset me. You can't catch my grief. My world is painful, and when you are too afraid to call me or visit or say anything, you isolate me at a time when I most need to be cared about. If you don't know what to say, just come over, give me a hug or touch my arm, and gently say, "I'm sorry." You can even say, "I just don't know what to say, but I care, and want you to know that."

Just because I look good does not mean that I feel good. Ask me how I feel only if you really have time to find out.

I am not strong. I'm just numb. When you tell me I am strong, I feel that you don't see me.

I will not recover. This is not a cold or the flu. I'm not sick. I'm grieving and that's different. My grieving may only begin 6 months after my loved one's death. Don't think that I will be over it in a year. For I am not only grieving his death, but also the person I was when I was with her, the life that we shared, the plans we had for watching our children and grandchildren grow, the places we will never get to go together, and the hopes and dreams that will never come true. My whole world has crumbled and I will never be the same.

I will not always be grieving as intensely, but I will never forget my loved one and rather than recover, I want to incorporate her life and love into the rest of my life. She is a part of me and always will be, and sometimes I will remember her with joy and other times with a tear. Both are okay.

I don't have to accept the death. Yes, I have to understand that it has happened and it is real, but there are some things in life that are just not acceptable.

I need to know that you care about me. I need to feel your touch, your hugs. I need you just to be with me, and I need to be with you. I need to know you believe in me and in my ability to get through my grief in my own way, and in my own time.

Please don't say, "Call me if you need anything." I'll never call you because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could do for me takes more energy than I have. So, in advance, let me give you some ideas:

(a) Bring food or a movie over to watch together.
(b) Send me a card on special holidays, his birthday, and the anniversary of his death, and be sure to mention his name. You can't make me cry. The tears are here and I will love you for giving me the opportunity to shed them because someone cared enough about me to reach out on this difficult day.
(c) Ask me more than once to join you at a movie or lunch or dinner. I may so no at first or even for a while, but please don't give up on me because somewhere down the line, I may be ready, and if you've given up then I really will be alone.
(d) Understand how difficult it is for me to be surrounded by couples, to walk into events alone, to go home alone, to feel out of place in the same situations where I used to feel so comfortable.

Please don't judge me now - or think that I'm behaving strangely. Remember I'm grieving. I may even be in shock. I am afraid. I may feel deep rage. I may even feel guilty. But above all, I hurt. I'm experiencing a pain unlike any I've ever felt before and one that can't be imagined by anyone who has not walked in my shoes.

Don't worry if you think I'm getting better and then suddenly I seem to slip backward. Grief makes me behave this way at times. And please don't tell me you know how I feel, or that it's time for me to get on with my life. What I need now is time to grieve.

Most of all thank you for being my friend. Thank you for your patience.

Thank you for caring. Thank you for helping, for understanding. Thank you for praying for me.

And remember in the days or years ahead, after your loss - when you need me as I have needed you - I will understand. And then I will come and be with you