All the things I never say

When I first moved down, I didn’t realize how much my life was going to change. I obviously knew that it was going to a completely different direction that I had been heading but I don’t think I realized this extent.

There are so many things that I have experienced now and realize that no one ever tells you about being a parent. Or maybe it’s just not considered polite to say it out loud so no one does.

How isolated I feel. Being here with no family, no friends, working from home and taking care of Naia in the mornings. I don’t have “Me” time. I don’t have the luxury of doing the stuff that I like to do. Specifically, she’s too little to enjoy it or she hates it in general.

I have to constantly be “On” or paying active attention to her or I feel guilty like I am a bad parent if I turn the T.V. on or let her play on her devices while I do chores around the house. I never got to play with my mom so maybe that is why I overcompensate.

My mom had three kids and worked multiple jobs. Most of the time, we only saw her in the morning before school and at night for dinner. We didn’t get to play with her. She was never able to make it in time for any of my games once I started playing sports. I went to a babysitter until I was old enough to be home alone. We entertained ourselves until she got home.

Looking back now, I’m sure she was exhausted in the evenings but she would still cook dinner and we would “help” her before we had to do homework and all that over stuff.

Which is why, I think I try so hard to be actively there with Naia and do activities that teach her things or make her excited. I wanted that when I was little. I wanted a mom that would take spontaneous trips to the beach, or park or take a day off work to come to a school event. We grew up pretty poor but we were loved so much that it never really mattered.

I am luckily in a place financially that I am able to work part time and still do those things with her. I have the flexibility to spend as much time as she wants together.

But it’s costing me……ME.

I’m losing my identity. My alone time. My time to grieve freely. My creative time. All the emotions that scream to be released but I can’t. I can’t have a bad day, I can’t lose my temper or tell her to leave me alone and play in her room by herself. I can’t soothe my soul with a walk in the woods.

I understand that she is only going to be little for so long so I am trying to soak it up and create some lasting bonds. Memories that she will cherish and pass down to her kids in the future.

When Rico gets home, he doesn’t play with her. Not actively playing. He’s exhausted from work and just wants to take some alone time to wind down and I’m over here like, “Hey buddy, my shift was over this morning. You get her for the next 5 hours. I also had to work today, and clean up this house before you got home.” His version of playing, is putting her on his lap and watching videos on the computer with her until she gets bored.

Maybe that’s all he is can give her at those times. Maybe he is just as tired as me and we both are doing the best that we can.

Now that I think about it. He doesn’t have “Me” time either. He leaves before I get out of bed in the morning and on the nights that we don’t have her, we are trying to reconnect. We have mini date nights and we are together. He doesn’t get any time that he needs to release either.

On the weekends that we have her. He cooks us meals and we go on adventures or we will build blanket forts and hang out. We are constantly doing something.

This past weekend. I was making pancakes after we all slept in. Rico and I were laughing and dancing to music while Naia and the cat hung out in the fort I made. Looking from a third person view, all I could think was “this is what other people dream about having…so why am I sad.”

It’s because I still think about Franco every day. I’m still upset that he isn’t here. Even though I have this beautiful life that is so hard day in and day out. There are music concerts and festivals that I want to go to with him. I want to have our Rocky marathons.

I miss my best friend.

My life with Franco was easy compared to this. We had so much freedom.

Maybe that’s what I miss most.

My freedom.

I chose not to have kids because I wanted that freedom so badly. I wanted to be selfish and do what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it.

I still don’t want any kids of my own and I am very grateful that we can pass her off to the other parents during the week and weekends.

I think I would go insane if I had to be a mom 24/7.

I’m barely making it as a part time mom….

A lifetime of loss

4 years since Franco passed away. I can’t believe that so much has happened and how much has changed in my life.

I went home to help for the holiday and so I could see his mom for the anniversary.

We caught up and she mentioned that Frank’s sister was in the hospital with pneumonia and she had been taking care of her granddaughter while she was there. I didn’t think much of it and thought everything would turn out fine. I hugged her, thinking I wouldn’t see her again till I came back in June for a wedding. I was wrong.

I got a message a few days after I got home that Barbara had taken a turn for the worse and her kidneys were starting to fail. I asked Susan if she needed to me to come back and she said no but to keep them in my prayers.

The next morning she messaged me that Barbara had passed away early that morning. I had my flight booked immediately, packed and left early the next morning.

I arrived in the afternoon and went right to the house and gave her a big hug. She held it together but she was upset. She told me that I didn’t have to come but I looked right at her and said “Family is forever.”

After Frank passed, I promised myself that I would look out for her and make sure she knew that she had support anytime she needed it.

We used the same funeral home that had been used for Frank’s father and for Frank.

It was hard answering the questions that the funeral director had about what to put in the obituary. Her boyfriend was supposed to meet us there to help with the planning but he never showed up so we did the best we could. I didn’t really know her so we were all at a loss for words.

I decided that it would be best if I took some of the burden off Susan by taking the granddaughter to run errands and back to the house she lived at with her mom Barbara and John.

I told her that I was gonna make sure that she had everything she needed and we needed to grab a outfit for her mom to wear. When we got there, John was there and had chosen an outfit for Barbara to wear.

I felt really bad for John. He was just lost and I knew exactly how he was feeling. The loss, the over whelming emotions, all the unanswered questions.

It’s even worse for Barbara’s daughter. She lost her mom and she had lost her dad about 8 years before that. Since Barbara died without a will, she is to be a ward of family court until the permanently assign guardianship.

I took her to lunch and got her to talk to me about normal things and it was nice to get to know her. After a few hours together, she felt comfortable enough to start asking questions about the service and who she was going to live with. I spoke honestly with her since she’s old enough to make decisions and to know the truth of things.

A lot of the things she asked, I told her that I would tell Susan and they could talk it over together. She doesn’t have anymore immediate family. There are aunts and uncles on the Father’s side but no one who had said anything about taking care of her, yet.

I asked her for her favorite pictures of her mom and she texted me them so that I could print them out and put into frames for a small picture memorial for the service.

She told me Barbara’s favorite colors and I had my work make the casket spray and a basket for John to take home.

When we got to the funeral home for the service, we set up the picture display and had to wait awhile before they had the viewing room ready. Susan and Katelyn went into together and I went in later alone.

They did a pretty good job with her makeup but made her too dark. We weren’t sure if they were going to be able to do an open casket since the doctors told us that her skin tone was different colors at the hospital.

People started showing up and paying their respects. I stayed in the background, just making sure everything was running smoothly and answering questions with the director.

John showed up alone and I went out to meet him. I hugged him and asked him if he wanted me to go with him into the viewing room or if he wanted to be alone. He asked me to go with him so I escorted him and just stood silently.

He sat down at a pew and asked if he was in the obituary. I said yes and grabbed one of the cards for him. He read it and just shook his head and said “Special Friend”……

I told him that is the term that is used for people like us. People who were in long term relationships but not married. I was upset at the term too. It doesn’t show how complex a relationship was or the love that was there.

The service went pretty quickly and at the end the extended family circled the casket and held hands and sang a song. I didn’t know it so I just stayed silent.

After the service, I took Katelyn to a gathering where some of her family was and stayed for a few hours. They were all really nice to me. I enjoyed the food and conversation.

I stopped by Susan’s before I left to go home and hugged her tight. I hate that she has gone through so much loss and pain. It’s too much for one person to have to go through.

Just a lifetime of loss.

It put even more emphasis on living for today.

Life is too short not to love hard. To play and laugh and do what makes me happy.

We never know when we will lose someone. Have to make each day count.

Love like my mother

It’s been about 3 months since I moved down and it has definitely been a learning curve for all of us.

I have become part of this family dynamic and it makes me happier than I could have ever imagined.

I had been kind of holding myself back and figuring out what role I would play in Naia’s life. Questioning myself if I was worthy to be a part of this family.

I had this shift in my heart about three weeks ago.

With our co-parenting schedule, we rotate weekends. I started keeping her all day on those fridays instead of dropping her off at grandmama’s house. We spend all day playing and doing activities.

We were both exhausted at the end of the day. After bedtime and reading some stories to her, I went to put her in bed. She asked if she could stay up longer and I told her no, that I was going to bed too.

I wasn’t.

I was just going to relax and have some alone time. Like a normal parent.

So she asks if she can sleep with me in our big bed. I sighed, agreed and we went into the big bed. I tucked her in on Rico’s side and we both laid down. She was moving around a lot so I told her she had to go to sleep or I was going to put her back in her own bed.

She stopped moving, closed her eyes and fell asleep immediately.

I just laid there looking at her and my heart just spiraled down. I knew I was lost. I love this baby girl so much and I can’t imagine not having her in my life. I just cuddled close to her without hugging her since she lets off heat like her daddy does.

Rico came home a few hours later from work, shifted her slightly and we all slept together with her in the middle.

I woke up before they did and they were both sleeping peacefully. Looking like a Disney prince and princess and I was more content that I ever imagined possible.

That night changed my whole outlook.

She woke up early that morning and was so happy to be with us. She was so silly and got so close to my face once she realized I had opened my eyes. She was careful to be very quiet and whisper that we had to get up and daddy was sleeping. It was endearing and heartbreakingly sweet.

We had early morning cuddles, watched a movie and made breakfast for daddy. It was something I won’t forget and probably one of my favorite memories so far.

Since then I have been so blissfully happy and even though it is exhausting sometimes, I am loving my life.

I’m not second guessing my place or if I deserve to be this happy.

I still think about Franco and look at the photos of us on the fridge daily but I know that he would be upset if I stopped myself from feeling worthy of this level of love.

I am so grateful for Franco. He put me back together when I fell apart years ago, he and I had so many adventures and have so many memories together. He let me do anything that I wanted and encouraged me to go out and explore. By loving Franco, I have been able to do anything I wanted so I feel very complete. I don’t feel like I have missed out in anything.

I think that is why I am enjoying being a parent figure so much. I have travelled extensively, I have completed a lot of bucket list items, I had multiple careers and experiences. I don’t have to do anything now but enjoy spending time with her. We can play as much as she wants and I can share new experiences with her.

Rico and I want to be the parents that we both needed when we were growing up. My mom was a single parent for 13 years so she was constantly working. She didn’t have a lot of time to play with us. She wasn’t able to go to the playground or watch me play sports. What she was able to gave us, is endless love, affection and support. I also had a very large and loving family environment with my extended family. I have been able to pass down family traditions like teaching her to bake like my grandma did with me.

Rico is one of the best fathers that I have ever seen. He is so patient with her and explains things in detail with her. He includes her in anything that he is doing, from projects to cooking. He is always present and takes such great care of her.

I never anticipated loving Naia has much as I do. I knew that I would love her but I thought it was going to be more like how I feel about my nieces and nephews.

I never anticipated that I would miss her on the weekends we don’t have her. That holding her hand makes my heart sigh. That her morning cuddles make me feel so loved and important.

I told my mom that I finally figured out just a small piece of how she feels about me and how much she loves me. I can’t even imagine how much pain that my mom felt when Franco died. I called her right after I received the news from his mom. She couldn’t do anything but listen to me cry on the phone. Knowing her baby was destroyed and not being able to fix it. She just comforted me, prayed for me and told me she would be on the next flight out.

That kind of love is what I want to give Naia.

My mother’s way to love.

Unspoken Fears

It happened much earlier than I anticipated. Rico seeing how deep my fears and anxieties run.

We had been texting all day while he was at work and he told me he would see me around 10:15pm.

10:15 came and went. 10:20, 10:25, 10:30……

I immediately went spiraling down into worst case scenarios.

Something is wrong. He is never late. He got in an accident. He’s hurt. He’s dead.

I tried to stop these thoughts. Tried drowning them out with music but I kept getting worse.

My heart was racing. My stomach was in knots.

I kept saying out loud that he is ok. He’s just running late.

But my fears got the best of me.

Starting making plans for what to do after I get the news that he has died.

Who I would call, where I would go and it just kept going.

Then I heard the front door unlock and I ran from the bedroom and hugged him tight.

“You’re late. I was worried.”

He didn’t notice my emotions at first. I had my head buried in his neck.

He told me the problem that happened right as he was clocking out and what he had to do.

I told him I needed him to text me the next time he would be late as I turned and went back to the bed. Laying there, trying to get it together.

He finally understood how upset I had gotten when I couldn’t stop the tears from streaming down my face.

He tried to comfort me but I pushed him away and told him I needed time. For him to go and do his normal nightly routine.

He held me close, kissed me and said it would never happen again.

After I got under control, I came out and apologized and we continued our night.

I guess it’s all I can do. Try and have open, honest conversation when I am struggling and what I need to feel safe.

First steps

I thought I had it all figured out. That I had dealt with my emotions about selling the house.

I was so wrong.

I go to the closing on Friday.

I had put the house on the market on a Friday morning and by that afternoon, had accepted an offer.

It all worked out really well and has been a really easy experience.

I moved my hiking gear, some basic clothes and my cat to Texas and then spent a week with Rico before I left for a month long road trip.

That trip took me all around the U.S. Seeing places on my bucket list. I brought Frank’s orb with me and I felt him next to me so often.

Just enjoying the views and at times I just wished I could put my arm around him and rest my head on his chest like I used to do.

I circled back around to South Carolina with a few days left before the closing and I still have so much to prepare.

Dump runs, goodwill runs, selling furniture, loading moving vans.

It’s all overwhelming and I can’t stop crying or feeling so lost.

This house has been the anchor to Frank.

The place that we built together.

It’s where I felt safe and could let down my guard when life got too hard.

It’s been full of laughter, love and of loss.

If these walls could talk, what stories they could tell….

Of family brunches with coffee and laughter overflowing.

To slip and slide parties and movie nights.

To the terrible night of the accident and my anguish in the days that have followed.

To all the love that was made here.

As I walk through the house, the silence is deafening.

The empty rooms just echo with all the plans left undone.

I know that this is the next step for me but I am grieving the loss of the life I knew.

When I finally lock the front door for the last time, I’ll take a deep breath and say goodbye to that life.

To our home.

I am absolutely terrified and keep pulling back from Rico. I keep looking for a way out but he keeps reaching out. He keeps bringing me back into the shelter of his love and won’t let me go. He refuses to let me self destruct. He is so patient and loves me more than I deserve.

I told him that I’m afraid that he and his daughter are going to swallow me up.

That they will become my entire world and I am going to lose my identity.

He reassured me, again, that he’s not going to let that happen and would kick me out to go on hikes and adventures.

I just don’t know who I am anymore.

I told him that I couldn’t remember the last time that I felt pretty or confident.

I have gotten so good at hiding my emotions and my pain that I have lost myself.

The road trip helped me think and realize how much I need to work on myself.

I’ve been ignoring the check engine signs and I still need more time to figure out who I am supposed to be.

To who I want to become.

I don’t have to see the whole path, I just have to take one step at a time.

Finalizing the sale on the house is that first step.

One huge, heart wrenching step.

Adapting and adjusting

I sit here drinking coffee in the eerily quiet house in Texas. Just a few feet away, Rico is sleeping in our bed.

It’s been quite an adventure getting here. Time flew so quickly. Work had been a non stop grind, not many days off as we worked toward our second major holiday.

When I wasn’t at work, I had been working on the house. Painting, packing, reorganizing and getting it ready to go on the market.

I had a photographer come in on Thursday and Friday morning, Trina and I loaded into the rental car, along with the cat and drove out to Texas in one shot.

The house went live at 9am and at 8pm, my realtor told me an offer came in. I looked it over and accepted it.

A process that I expected to take a least a month, took one day. As long as all my inspections turn out ok, we will be closing in early July.

It’s been so strange how things have fallen into place for my transition here.

It’s like the entire universe is finally pulling for me to be happy.

It still feels like a dream. Like I’m just here to visit and will be gone again soon.

I don’t know how long it will take to finally feel like this is home but I am so peaceful.

The first thing I did when I got “home” was take out my photographs and put them around the house. I put Franco’s flag and picture on the nightstand on my side of the bed. I put his orbs on the windowsills in the kitchen so they can be seen every day and catch the light.

This house needs a lot of work and a lot of love.

I was able to see Rico’s daughter and when she saw us, she was in shock and then came running up to me and crying. I just bent down and picked her up and held her close. We played for a few minutes and she bawled as we left her. I also cried when I got back to the house.

She is so tiny and has the biggest brown eyes.

I thought I loved her already but that sealed the deal on my heart. I was so sad that I made her upset. Rico and his ex just laughed and said she would be fine but I felt terrible.

We get her tomorrow and I look forward to playing with her and figuring out how our little family dynamic works.

I leave on Sunday again to start my road trip and take down time for me. It will be a nice break to see my family and old friends.

I have been learning more about Rico and his daily routines. It’s going to be a learning curve for us both but I am so happy.

He loves me so much and just wants to keep me happy. I just hope I have enough to give so he feels as loved as I do.

The Ashes

The night that I got the call that you were gone from my life…..

I watched the dreams I had for our future shatter in my hands. The pieces drifted to the ground.

My mind screamed in agony and it was like a fire in my heart erupted. All of those pieces ignited around me and my world went up in smoke and flames.

To save myself, I partitioned my pain. I locked it in a box and shoved it as far inside of my heart that I could.

Then all that was left was the ashes of what had been my life.

That’s how I lived every day. That’s how I get by. That’s how I am able to “handle the situation so well.”

Whenever some of the pain manages to find its way through the key hole. I turn up my music just a little bit louder, to help drown out the sound of my tears.

I withdrawal from every one and I write it out.

This is my way of talking about it. This is my way to say out loud that something inside of me is broken and doing this helps to set that pain free.

This is my safe space to say…

I’m a lost cause. Don’t waste your time on me. I’m so damaged beyond repair. Life has shattered my hopes and my dreams.

I tried to tell Rico that in the beginning when I realized that he had feelings for me. To let him down easy.

I told him that I didn’t want to hurt him, or give him hope for something that I wasn’t sure I could do anymore.

That I couldn’t be who he needed me to be.

His reply to that was:

I’m what I need to be. I try to learn, try to love and try to be better than I am. I understand that I will never be perfect but I can strive for it. I’m what you need me to be. I’m loving, understanding and compassionate. I will listen and learn. I will be by your side no matter the situation. I am the me that will hold your hand when your scared, angry, or confused. I am the one that hopes for the chance to prove he can be what you need in life. What I am is incomplete but hoping to be complete tomorrow.

He told me that it’s never too late to start over and that I had forgotten that what could be, never ends.

That he wanted all of me that I was able to give him. Even if it was only a piece.

Half of my heart would be enough for him.

Being with him and moving forward together is helping me. It’s forcing me to break down my barriers and confront all my fears.

Today. I donated about 90% of Franco’s clothes that was still hanging in his side of the closet. It was not easy. Each shirt, has memories and pictures associated with it.

I just had to shove them in a bag and keep repeating out loud “it’s just a shirt, he wouldn’t want to you to keep them.”

It’s a huge deal. I have purposely not moved or touched a lot of his clothes. He placed them there.

I still had our clothes separated into sides of the closet.

It’s progress towards healing.

To letting just a little of that pain out. To sit with it, let it caress me, knowing that it’s sharp edge will cut me and leave me dripping pain.

To taking a deep breath in and breathing that pain out. Feeling just a bit lighter.

I haven’t been able to take down Franco’s photo wall yet or his memorial pieces.

That’s just too big to climb. So I’ll just take smaller steps and go the long way around.

Eventually I’ll reach the top of this mountain of pain and I’ll be able to look down at everything I went through.

To be able to see the beautiful life that came from the ashes.

The Next Chapter

Here it is.


We are a little more than a month from the third anniversary of his death.

I’ll spend it like I always do. Quietly. Reflecting on his life, our love and losing him.

It’s been a strange year for me and for the world.

2020 brought a pandemic that shut down the world and forced us all to slow down and find alternative ways to connect.

To be fair, 2020 was probably one of the best years that I have had financially.

I didn’t lose my job and was lucky enough to keep working the whole time.

However, with everything shut down, I stopped spending money and focused on my financial plan to get debt free.

I have managed to complete 2 phases from my 4 phase plan.

The third phase is currently underway and about 1/3 of the way done.

This new year, 2021 is a year of change and growth.

I will be putting Frank to rest at sea this year. I’ll take his ashes on a final ride on his repaired motorcycle. From our home, to his finally resting place in the sea. To know that I can visit him anytime I want to. On any shore. He and I will share every sunrise and sunset as the light dances on the water.

I will take some extended time alone to find peace with that release. To deal with all the emotions that will come from completing that for him. Either by hiking or a road trip by myself.

Then it will be time to move on to the next chapter of my life.

I will be moving to be with Rico and we will start building a life together.

He and I knew from the beginning of our reconnection that it would happen.

We have been quietly making moves and making our way to this point.

I have started to slowly pack up my home. I won’t sell it yet but I’ll have it ready to go on the market when it’s time.

It hasn’t been easy. I have a check list that I broke down to very small tasks so I can feel like some progress has been made.

It’s hard emotionally for me. I will pack a few pieces then have to stop until the tears pass and I can start packing again.

It’s a rollercoaster.

I am at peace about the move and the decision to completely change my life.

It’s seeing empty walls and shelves that makes it real that I’m leaving this life and this home.

To start a brand new adventure.

To help co-parent a child. I’m excited and also terrified. I never imagined I would have that experience and it is an immense responsibility.

This is the first time that I’ve talked about the move. No one outside my immediate family, close circle of friends and my boss know.

It’s not really anyone’s business anyways but I’ve always felt that it’s better to work in silence until everything is in place.

I don’t want to make it a big deal. I just want to work my last day, say “have a good night” and walk out like I have countless times.

Like I will see everyone the next day. The only person that I was scared to tell was his mother.

I felt the need deep in my soul to ask for Frank’s mother’s blessing to move forward.

It was last piece of the puzzle that I needed to be ok with moving forward.

She has given it and I can’t explain the intense relief that I felt reading her words. Like I could finally take a deep breath.

Now I feel ready to move forward, with the full love and support of all my family.

In His Words

I have always been a sentimental fool. I keep the smallest mementos. Random items that have no value other than the joy. Anything from tiny toy dinosaurs, rubber ducks, a scribbled note or photograph.

When I was upgrading from a flip phone to a IPhone, I emailed myself every text message that Frank had sent me that I had saved on it.

A few months ago, I was deleting my old emails and stumbled across those text messages. One by one, I opened those email. Those texts, just snap shots of countless conversations that I had with him and how much he poured his heart out to me.

It was very hard to read but also very beautiful to see his love. To read the words, spelled terribly wrong. To know that he meant it and he did love me just as deeply as I did him.

I knew I wanted to somehow create something using his words but I just couldn’t figure out how to do it until now.

I found a company that would take the words and then use them to create a photo. Recreating my favorite photo of him and I.

I received it in the mail recently, I ordered it in time to be here for his birthday. A gift for me, I guess. I left his misspelled words exactly how he had written them and as I hold it in my hands, I’m reminded how much of a “Great Love” that I had.

I always wished for a Great Love. The storybook kind. The kind of love story that was told throughout the ages.

Funny thing about those kinds of loves.

It always ends in tragedy.

I miss him so much.

I miss those eyes. Those beautiful blue eyes that I would get lost in.

I miss his funny faces and the way he would side eye me when he was being sneaky.

His birthday is so hard on me and the anniversary is looming ahead.

Things are changing dramatically for me and I am stepping forward to the next chapter of my life

Excited for the future and yet terrified beyond measure.

Terrified that this chapter will have a terrible ending as well.

Fear hasn’t stopped me from reaching out. It’s trying but I refuse to let it win.

I am carrying his love and his words with me into this next chapter.

He taught me that love is always worth the risk.

4 Questions

What was it like to love him? Asked Gratitude

It was like sitting in a snowy mountain cabin. Fire burning, music playing and just relaxing on the couch. It was beautiful, quiet, warm, comfortable. The kind of love that was effortless. The kind of friendship that didn’t even require conversation. It was like the feeling that I got from riding my motorcycle on a wide open road, on the perfect day. The kind of love that brought peace to my soul.

What was it like to be loved by him? Asked Joy

I was safe, secure in his love. He always had my back. He was my best friend. He was my lighthouse. No matter how far I travelled or how bad the storms were, he guided me home. He was always down for all of my crazy plans and never said no. He was my partner in crime. He was the perfect teammate and we were perfectly matched. He was strong in the the things that made me weak.

What was it like to lose him? Asked Sorrow

It was like losing my anchor. It shook me to my core and destroyed me. I lost my bearings as the waves tossed me around. I didn’t just lose him. I lost the life that we had planned. I lost who he would have become. Who I would become after a lifetime of loving him. Even after all this time, I think of him daily. Miss him daily. I don’t think I’ll ever recovery from losing him. Something broke inside me that day. I locked it away until I am strong enough to face it. I don’t know if that day will ever come.

What is it like loving someone new? Asked Life

It’s hard. It’s beautiful. It’s butterflies and many tears. It’s moving forward with our lives together and honoring my past. It’s wearing a bracelet for Frank and one for Rico, on the same arm. It’s showing him all about my life but not letting him see when I break. It’s keeping that brokenness from him. Unwilling and unable to share the depth of grief with him that I feel. It’s not trusting the world. It’s fear that Rico will be taken from me as well. It’s loving him hard, crazy, and as fully as I can each day. Just in case there isn’t a tomorrow.