Moment by moment, day by day

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal; 
Love leaves a memory no one can steal”

mikecollage

Hi friends, Crystal here.

First & foremost, I would like to take a moment to attempt to thank you all for your overwhelming support & love during this horrible time in my family’s life. I never imagined that so many people that I’ve never met face to face would show my family so much love & generosity and I don’t think I will ever manage to gather the words to express to you all how thankful I am for each & every one of you. All the thoughts & prayers have been so appreciated.

On top of that, y’all have gone out of your way to share my blog all over social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc) to keep it (and my family’s only income now aside from the social security death benefits we will receive) going in my absence, other bloggers have stepped up with guest posts to keep new content on Mrs Happy Homemaker, & y’all have even gone as far to generously create & donate to a GoFundMe account y’all set up in my honor to help my family to move closer to my parents. (We are planning to make the move sometime this Fall, but I will be back to visit friends, family, & once I’m ready, maybe return to Fox8) My husband didn’t have life insurance, which was a bad call on our part (if you don’t have life insurance, get it now) and the burden placed on us with final expenses & moving expenses has been tremendous, which just added stress onto our already broken hearts. Thank you, thank you, thank you.  

A special thank you goes out to Christy Jordan of Southern Plate for taking over my social media & blog in my absence – she volunteered to, and she has such a big heart and I’ve just fallen in love with her. Another huge thank you goes out to Jennifer Sikora for taking over some of my posts that I had deadlines for prior to my husband’s death & many thanks to all the bloggers who have taken time out of their busy days to create content for my blog to keep it going.

I’m going back to July 14, 2015 now – the day I found out my husband had passed away. I’m writing this, for one, to give you all a sense of what has happened as you’ve all done so much for my children and myself… and I’m also doing it for myself, to type this out somewhere… a form of a journal I guess you can say.

Taken just a week before Michael passed away. He was always so silly & making us laugh.

July 14, 2015. The day before, I had just flown to NYC from my home in North Carolina to meet my friend Jennifer. We were going to the BlogHer blog conference together & flew in a little early since I’d never been to New York City before. Everything seemed great when my husband dropped me off at the airport. We joked & talked – and after checking my luggage, I saw him still in the parking lot so I ran back out to hug & kiss him again before I left. I landed in NYC that afternoon & I was sending him pictures of different things so he could ‘be there’ too. You see, my husband had a form of spina bifida called spina bifida occulta that impacted his back pretty severely and made it painful for him to walk, so he didn’t travel with me often because of this – so I always made sure I sent tons of pictures when I had to travel. That night, I called him and talked to him, and the last thing I told him was ‘I love you’ and of course, he said he loved me too. He was in a great mood, and had actually played games with the kids ever since I left. They had a wonderful day.

The next day, Jennifer & I decided to take the subway to Chinatown & we found this cute little Chinese tea shop. My husband loved oolong tea, but it’s hard to find in our area, so I went in to buy him some. I hurried out of the store & immediately called my house because I was so excited to tell Michael what I had gotten him. My oldest daughter (15) answered the phone & she said that Michael was still asleep in the bedroom. My husband certainly liked to sleep, so I jokingly said ‘still?’ – and told her to go wake him up. I heard all 3 of our children (ages 5, 14, & 15) knock on the bedroom door to which they got no answer, so I told them to go inside – he was a pretty heavy sleeper. I heard my kids say ‘Daddy, wake up – Mommy’s on the phone’ – followed by a brief silence… then I started hearing these horrible crying screams. I could hear them all saying ‘Mommy, Daddy won’t wake up. He’s not breathing. He’s cold. He’s white & all his veins are showing. I think he’s dead! Should we call 911?’

My heart sank. I about collapsed & I immediately started bawling. I told them to call 911 & hung up the phone so they could. My friend Jennifer was telling me ‘Maybe he’s just passed out’. She hailed us a taxi so we could go grab my stuff from the hotel & get me to the airport – and I kept hitting redial on my phone, waiting for it not to be busy anymore, praying that the EMTs would be able to revive him & he was just passed out. Finally, I got through – and a police officer answered. He said, ‘Ma’am, we can’t tell you anything right now other than they are in there working on him & he’s unresponsive’. After what felt like forever, an EMT got on the phone with me and broke the heartbreaking news to me – Michael had passed away. He had most likely died in his sleep of heart failure & had been gone for about 10 hours. Our 5 year old son slept with him that night, & he had unknowingly crawled over his father’s body to get out of bed. My 15 year old & 14 year old daughters figured he was still sleeping & they decided they’d watch our 5 year old and let their Daddy sleep in for once, not realizing he was gone.

That whole day is almost a fog after that. I got to the airport where I was bawling & begging for a flight home. I had to call a friend to come get my kids out of the home so they could transport my husband’s body – and so they had a place to go until I got back. I finally got back in NC early that evening, I had bawled the whole way there. My dad drove up as soon as he heard, & he got a hotel room where myself & my 3 kids stayed with him because we couldn’t bare to go back inside of our home. We barely slept that night – just stayed up most the night crying.

Thank God my father was there because having to make my husband’s final arrangements was more difficult than I can express. I was a crying mess the entire time, so bad that at points I had the worst panic attacks where I couldn’t even breathe. Daddy was my rock & helped me handle every single thing of planning Michael’s funeral, as heart wrenching as it was.

mike22

My husband was only 33. We got married at 18 years old & I never in a million years expected anything like this. My heart feels like someone has ripped it out and shredded it into a million pieces. People keep telling me to be strong, but I can’t be strong right now. Now is the time to be weak – to cry and to scream. To hold my kids while they cry and scream too. They need to know that I hurt just like they hurt, and nothing is wrong with crying and screaming and feeling like it’s unfair. It is unfair. It is sad. It is heartbreaking & hard to handle. Of course we’re going to feel like that.

I get asked a lot by friends & family – ‘how are you doing?’. Honestly? I’m not doing well at all right now. I’m just trying to get through each day. I cry a large portion of each day. I get told that I shouldn’t cry so much because my husband wouldn’t want me to be so sad, and I know he wouldn’t – but I am that sad. All I can say is that I’m doing the best I can & so are my children given our circumstances. We’re grieving and our hearts are broken.

Moment by moment, day by day – that’s how we’re living. It’s the only thing we can do.

necklace

I wear his wedding ring around my neck along with a small pendant with some of his ashes inside. My 5 year son leans forward & kisses it every night & says ‘Good night, Daddy’. I smile at him & give him a hug, but it just breaks my heart.

Again, we appreciate everything you’ve all done (and are doing) for us. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts & prayers, we’re big believers in the power of prayer. Thank you all for being there for us.

If you’re a blogger & wish to submit a guest post on Mrs Happy Homemaker- you can sign up here.

Even with his severe back pain caused from the spina bifida occulta, he'd still carry our kids around on his back because he loved him so very much.

Even with his severe back pain caused from the spina bifida occulta, he’d still carry our kids around on his back because he loved them so very much.

 

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  • Crystal,
    I can’t even begin to pretend to feel your pain, although tears are streaming down my face right now. I will pray for you and your sweet children daily. God bless ❤️❤️

  • I am crying right now reading this… I have no words that could possibly ease your pain… or the pain of your children. I am so sorry and I will be praying for your whole family and that you find some strength to get through this.

  • Patty Barnhart

    I know u have heard a million times that were sorry for your loss and here’s a million and one.. I am so sorry for your loss.. I still have my husband but I have suffered the loss of my brother 2 years ago and a sister 21 years ago.. their is no greater loss than a loved one.. when you literally can feel your heart breaking inside your chest to the point of not being able to breathe! It never goes away but you will breathe easier one day.. my prayers and thoughts are with you and your children send in love from odessa texas..

  • I’m so sorry for this path that you all have to walk. I’m praying for you and your family.

  • Marsaili

    Lots of love and prayers and strength and hugs to you and the kids. I can’t even imagine—but I will say—don’t listen to anyone telling you how you should be acting, handling things, reacting—there is no right or wrong way to mourn the loss of a loved one—it is what it is. One day, you’ll be able to get out of bed and maybe get through the day without tears—it’s not the time for that yet, and there is NOTHING wrong with that, at all. Know that there are so many people sending you love and prayers and strength, and let that help hold you up when you feel weak. I’m so sorry for you all, my heart hurts for you! <3 <3 <3

  • Kathy Shutt

    I urge you to call your local Hospice as they offer FREE counseling for
    the entire family I have used them and it was a great help.
    I also
    suggest you have your kids (and maybe eve yourself) to get a notebook
    and write letters to their dad. I am an adult but doing this when each
    of my parents died helped me. I shared what was going on with me and
    how much I loved and missed them.
    Prayers are with you and your family.

  • My heart just aches for you and your children! I am so sorry.

  • Martha

    My heart breaks for you and your children. You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers. Your memories will keep him close forever.

  • Jen West

    Prayer is powerful, and I am sending prayers your way every day. Hugs from Louisiana.

  • Diana Grindel

    Oh dearest lady , I cried through the whole post..what you are going through and your sweet babies; I wish I could say something to take the hurt away and make it any better. I cannot do that so all that I can say is may the good Lord bless you on your journey in life and life yet to come for you and your family Hugs to you and your children,,,

  • I love you so much Crystal and like I have said ALL along — take time to grieve sweetie. Don’t listen to everyone else. It is totally OKAY to not be okay and to miss him terribly and to grieve. That is how healing begins. I love you to the moon and back and want you to know that I will ALWAYS be here for you. Always.

    With love from your KY twinsie <3

  • My heart breaks for you, I’m crying with you, and I am so, so very sorry!! Don’t listen to anybody tell you or your kids what you ‘need’ to do, ‘should’ do/feel/say, everyone grieves their own way and it is nothing to be ‘strong’ about or ‘get over’. You all are in my prayers!! <3

  • Tara

    My heart is breaking for you & your family. Thank you for being brave enough to share something so personal & tragic.

  • Connie Bussey

    My heart is hurting for you and your family and your post has me in tears. I can’t imagine losing my husband … and am sending loving thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  • kay

    I always tell everyone cry if that is what you feel like doing. Crying has it own healing power. It is OK to be sad. And if it was your husband going through this I am sure he would be sad too. People want to be helpful when you have lost a love one but unless they have gone through the very same thing they can’t know what it is like for you. Also no ones experience is ever the same as someone else. So people say things that really don’t help. God is with you and your family. May each day bring you peace and renewed happiness with your children.

  • Kathy Meurell

    Crystal, you have to grieve the way YOU have to grieve. Its not fair to tell you that you have to be strong or any one particular way. You and your children are devastated right now and you need to take as much time as you need to try to “find a place” for your loss. I hope you continue to take the help that is offered to you, people want to give it. I will continue to keep you and your children in my prayers. Love from Ohio.

  • Elizabeth melvin

    I really don’t know what to say except I am sorry you have to go through this horrific tragedy. I’ve never lost a spouse & I pray I never have to go through that. Let alone my future children. I pray that God gives you and your family strength and plenty of will to move on. He will always be with you in spirit 🙂 g
    God bless you

  • I had no idea….my heart breaks for you. You are in our prayers here and our thoughts. All I know at those times is just breathe. When you can do no more, just breathe. And tell others you’ll be done mourning when you’re done. God Bless.

  • Sending you and the kids as much love as I can muster from every corner of my heart! You don’t have to be ok, or stop crying until you’re good and ready.

  • Connie Tonn

    I am sitting here crying just reading this heartbreaking story. I can’t even imagine the immense pain you and your children are feeling, but I can certainly empathize with you. I look and watch every day for news of you, your family, and your blog. You have so many wonderful friends and people to help you keep your blog going. I pray for you all to find some peace, little by little, day by day. I agree too, that you do not need to be strong right now. It takes a long time to get through the first excruciatingly painful months. Your children are in so much pain too, and there is nothing wrong with them seeing your pain. Just keep them close; you all need each other. Sending hugs to each one of you.

  • angelwing2119

    I am so sorry for you and your children’s loss. I know there are lots of things to say….but I know you have heard them all. But I will say this…..you and your children will be in our family’s thoughts and prayers as ya’ll are going through your grieving process. God IS with you and is holding your hand and will continue holding it until the end. God bless and keep you.

  • Carolyn Golden

    I am brokenhearted by your loss. I lost my darling when he was age 44. I woke up from the alarm clock and he had passed gently sometime in the night. My daughter was 17. Tragically, my daughter lost her husband when he was age 38. I feel strongly that she & I empathize with the loss of your Michael; their loss is never ‘ok’ but we learn to live again, dream again and love again. We never have our ‘lost’ husbands out of our hearts and they are close to our thoughts but we do function again. God bless you and your family.

  • Amberjane

    I couldn’t read and run – my heart breaks for you and your children x You have had some amazing support girls have been sharing you blog everywhere and it is so nice to see such support in the blogging community- take each day as it comes and take as long as you all need and I will keep you in my thoughts and prays xx

  • Wendi

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Prayers are still on going for you and your family. Be strong when you’re ready, cry when you need too. But by Sharing your story ,heartbreaking to you, I’m sure that’s what God wants you to do. By sharing your story just shows how strong you are and I’m sure it helps someone else going through something similar. I’m sorry you and you’re family have to go through this. Love and prayers

  • Sonja Flater

    Thank you for sharing your story. You have already found some wonderful things to be grateful for, your last hug, your calls, that he spent his last day with the children. Those little gifts mean so much. May God continue to hold you up as you travel this new and unexpected path.

  • Lisa Longley

    As someone who has gone through some pretty intense losses, I just want to say that there is no timetable for grief. This isn’t something you will get over, but something you will learn to live with. Sob, cry, weep until you are weak. Your husband would want you to just be you, whatever that means right now. I can’t imagine what you and your children are feeling right now. I’m saying prayers for all of you.

  • Jenny.U

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you and your family.

  • April Floyd

    My heart is breaking for you. My brother passed away at age 41October 16, 2014. He had matastic melanoma. I still cry sometimes several times a day but it used to be most of the day every day. People will tell you there are steps of grief you go through. All I can tell you is its different for everyone. The pastor at my brothers service said something that helped me cope. He said that Jimmy is alive in heaven. And that when we are born it is already decided when we will be called home. Does not help me think it’s fair but I will see him again one day and that helps me cope. Knowing he is in perfect health in heaven is a help also. He left behind a wife and 2 children and was a teacher and football coach. I will pray for peace for you and your family.

  • Cindys Recipes

    I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. Praying you find peace and you and your children find strength in your love and memories.

  • Praying for you and your family! May God wrap his arms around you all with comfort and peace! Thank you for sharing! May God bless you!

  • Gina Vance

    I want to tell you that it will get easier. You need to hear that you won’t always feel that empty place just under your heart, forever. You need to know that one morning you will wake up, and your first thought won’t be “He is gone.” I promise. You will always miss him. You won’t always be drowning in sorrow. The great love is gone, yes. But! There are, and will continue to be smaller loves that will help heal your heart.

    You and your children are in my heart, thoughts and prayers.

  • Susan

    Crystal, you and your family are in my thoughts. Haring experienced the loss of my Soul Mate just 10 weeks ago, I understand your pain. Give yourself permission. Permission to cry and grieve – however
    you need to. Your heart is shattered in a thousand pieces. There’s not one single thing anyone can do or say that is going to make it easier. It is truly one moment, one step at a time. Know that it is a dark tunnel but the good news is once you’ve entered the tunnel, you’re on your way out. I wish you much peace and comfort.

  • Karen Sheppard

    I’m just here to let you know that like you, I cried everyday for months for the loss of my SO. It’s the new normal. I cried most in the car on the way home from work. If and when you are ready reach out to griefshare & stephen’s ministries. Take Care, Prayers & Hugs 💗

  • Kathi Hayden Gentle

    My heart goes out to you and your children. There are no words for times like these. Hang onto your children and just get all of you through this the best you can. Love and prayers for you all

  • Kelly

    My heart breaks for you and your family. You are in my prayers for healing love to be ever present. Remember that there are no timelines. ♡

  • yolanda

    I feel for you but God is wonderful and He has a plan, but for now I ask Jesus to give you and your family peace, strength and knowledge for the journey ahead

  • Karyn – Pint Sized Baker

    Chrystal, I hope that you and your family find comfort one day. I know that moving is tough and that you’re dealing with things one hour at a time. I just pray for you and the kids to grieve and heal and one day look back and realize how strong of a woman you are. You are brave, kind, and a wonderful mom – don’t forget that.

  • Cindy

    My deepest sympathy. I can only imagine how tough it is. Please know that I am praying for you and family for the strength and courage to carry on. Know that he will always be by your side and hopefully you won’t be scared by it. You will always know that he loved you so. May God blessed you and your children through this difficult time.
    Sincerely,
    Cindy

  • I am so very, very sorry for your terrible loss. What beautiful photos you have posted here of your family. There are no words to express how you must be grieving. I wish all the best for you and your family.

  • marybellebuono@gmail.com

    There are no words to say about what a heartbreaking story here, i can not stop the tears and then to further read all the absolutely beautiful comments, just makes the tears come faster. Dear God in heaven my heart goes out to you and your beautiful family. I so wish there was something i could do to help ease your pain, please know i am praying for all of you. God bless you always, love and hugs .

  • Marlene A Baird

    I am utterly speechless reading this post. Grieve and heal one moment at a time and know that the blogging world is praying for your every single moment of every single day.

  • Sherida Houlihan

    I wish there were words of comfort to write down. I can not imagine what it was like to be away from your children when this happened. You don’t have to be strong, you just have to get out of bed each day. Obviously you have people who care for you very much. I am not sure why your story touched my heart so, but it did. I know there will be many others who feel like I do and hopefully with our encouragement and support you and the kids will make it through each day.

  • Charla Bickel

    Lord, please wrap your arms around this beautiful family. Envelop them with your peace and quite them with your love. Although we cannot understand why these things happen we can hold tight to the promises you have for us. Help this family hold tight to the assurance that you have plans for them; to prosper and not to harm them. Please help this family to know that they are not forsaken even though it may very much feel that way. Thank you Lord for your faithfulness in such hard times.

    Amen

  • So many hugs and prayers. Cry as much as you need to, my heart aches for you I can’t imagine how hard it is for you.

  • Stephanie J

    It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.
    Rose Kennedy

  • Chad Holland

    I am still thinking of you still and keeping you in my prayers although, I wish I could do more. Tears were welling up just reading this post, because I can identify with the kids all too well. My dad passed away from cancer when I was 14, and although he died in a hospital and I didn’t find him the way your kids did, I remember my aunt and uncle checking me out of school early the day he died. I still miss him greatly at times and wish that he was still here even after 23 years. Again I’m sorry for the loss you all are suffering.

  • Crystal,
    I can’t even imagine the pain and loss you and your children are feeling at this time. I don’t even know you but I’m sitting here crying. My heart goes out to you and your family, and I will continue to keep you all in my prayers. If you ever need a guest post, just let me know. For real.
    Amanda

  • Crystal Bagby

    My heart goes out to you all. I am so sorry that you are going through this and even more saddened that it was your sweet babies who had to find your husband in that state. I am keeping you uplifted in my prayers. In time you will be able to think of your husband and have more happiness than sadness – but don’t let anyone tell you when that day will come. Everybody grieves at their own pace. Much love to you.

  • {{ Just Hugs!!!! }}

  • Jennifer

    Praying for you and your family. Take the time you need and know that your feelings and those of your children are valid and relavent.

  • I cannot put myself in your shoes…my husband is 33, I am 33 and we have two children, soon heading off to kindergarten and preschool…I cannot imagine not having him by my side. My heart aches for you and your children. I am sending all the good waves and prayers your way, I can. May God continue to lift you and your children up and I will continue to share your blog among my social medias.

  • Valerie

    I sobbed reading this. I am so very sorry this happened. There are no words, just hugs from one mommy to another whose heart breaks for yours and will be holding you up in prayer that the God of all comfort will HOLD you CARRY you SUPPORT you and take you through one minute at a time.

  • karen

    Grieve all you want and for as long as you need. Lost my son 3 yes ago at age 34 and I still grieve over losing him. Pray , hug your children, and continue to get better. Trust God to see you thru. Much love.

  • Biz

    I am so sorry for you loss, but I just went through the same thing last December. My husband had overcome every medical obstacle he’d ever faced, aortic heart valve replacement, colon cancer, heart disease. Last summer they wanted to do a liver transplant, so we went to Mayo clinic in MN and they said there was nothing wrong with his liver, it was all heart and after several attempts to make it better, they calmly told me that he was dying, there was nothing they could do and what hospice would I like them to call? WTF? He was only 54, and we were only married 14 years but not only losing your husband but best friend at the same time, well, it sucks. Sending big hugs your way!

  • Sending you hugs and positive thoughts to carry you though.

  • Tamara Gerber

    I am very sorry for your loss, Crystal. You take your time and cry as much as you need to. At least you said goodbye and I love you!

  • SugarDishBlog

    I am so sad for you and so so sorry about your loss. I just can’t imagine what you and your family are going through. I hope you can take a tiny bit of comfort in knowing just how many people are keeping you in their thoughts and prayers. Sending love xxx

  • Michelle Armstrong

    Wow I am so sad to hear this! I know what it’s like to lose someone we love. My cousin committed suicide when I was pregnant with my 2nd child. My mom died when I was pregnant with my 3rd child. It was and is still heart wrenching. I’m crying now writing this. It is a type of therapy to write either this way or by hand. I delivered my baby in my bathroom myself. It was amazing and I swear my mom was with me. Keep looking for signs your husband will always in some way be there with you.

  • Robin

    praying for you and yours dear one…I just today saw the post about your precious husband. My heart aches for your profound loss…I will pray for you to have grace- grace for every single moment.

  • I’m so sorry for your loss. This is so heartbreaking. I pray for your comfort and your children. Take hope in knowing you will see him again. May you feel love and peace in your life.

  • Eileen

    My prayer’s are with you. 20 second’s of insane courage, then another, then another. Feeling and showing your emotions is being strong for your children; I know this through personal experience. Hunker down and remember to breathe.

  • paulaschuck

    Crying big fat tears. I am so sorry for your loss. This is beyond heartbreaking. I have never met you but I am sending big hugs to all of you. My heart hurts reading this. Thank you for sharing this post and a glimpse into your life with him. Sounds like he was a really amazing individual.

  • Ann Bacciaglia

    I am so sorry. My husband passed away suddenly at home as well. There are no words to describe the pain and heartbreak …no words. xo

  • Robin Wilson

    Chrystal ~ I am so very sorry to hear of your husband’s passing. I’ve been off the computer for a month or so. Please believe me when I say that you will find strength in God, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t cry and scream when you feel like it. Sharing your grief with your children is probably very healing for all of you. It sounds so harsh now, but times does make things better. Take it one day at a time and if there are days that are too hard, take it one hour or one minute at a time. I send cyber hugs your way {{{hugs}}} and my thoughts and prayers are with you, your children and everyone who feels his loss. I wish there was more I could do for you other than click links which I will do every day. (I’m in NC too just outside of Waxhaw.)


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