Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rough Day

I could blog about something really happy and positive right now, sure. But I honestly don't feel like it. I had a really rough day and it's all that has been on my mind. Don't get me wrong. I'm happy - very happy. Things in my life are going WONDERFULLY right now. I don't think they could be more perfect. I am very thankful for everything I have and etc.

But today was hard. And those hard days really play their tole on me, especially when they have to do with grief. Despite everything I am thankful for and the fantastic life I have going for me, I need to take a moment to just write. To accept these moments of pain, hurt, and grief that come with being a widow. I tell you what, grief wipes everything out of you no matter what it constitutes of. Especially if you fight it and don't let the emotions out when you feel them. The "sad" emotions that you felt earlier in the day are now turned into anger, or guilt, etc. That's one reason why it's SO important to feel the emotions when they come. Not hide them.

But today was one of those days where I had to hide my feelings and couldn't fully embrace what I was feeling. It wasn't appropriate to start crying or take that moment for myself and take a 'bathroom break'. I just started my new job on Monday. I've been doing orientation and tomorrow is my first actual day in my department. During orientation we've been doing the basic things. And today involved a lot of computer time with training. We were getting instruction on how to get to specific spots on the computer and I couldn't just leave because I was having a 'moment'.

Talking about all our different options we can sign up for.
Benefits -  This is finally a job with benefits that could have supported both Spencer and I and have been very, very affordable. This could have given us what we needed to get by. Without the stress and worry. Finally. And now that I have it? He's gone.
Emergency contacts - Has automatically been Spencer for 3 years. Something I never hesitated with. If something happened to me, I wanted my husband to know about it first and make the decision about what should be done. I have no problem listing my parents, except for the fact that they do not live in Utah. They live 12 hours away. I don't want them to worry. 
Beneficiaries -  Of course this kicks up some feelings. I always thought I'd outlive Spencer. It was just kind of an understood thing in our relationship because of his terminal illness. But still, if something awful were to happen to me, I would want my husband to get the money. I have no problem with my mom, she deserves any extra money more than anyone I know... but it's still the fact that I don't have a husband to leave it to. I don't have a family. I don't have that anymore and it hurts to be reminded of that.
Spouse - I want to sign up Spencer for everything. To me, I still have a spouse. I hate that I can't do that. I hate being reminded that he is something I no longer have. I hate having to completely ignore that part of things now. I hate that people assume I am just single. That I don't have a past. That I am just your average 21 year old instead of a not-so-average, been-though-everything, widowed 21-year old. 
And the stupid little section on the computer screen that only gives you the option to be "married" or "single" - Legally I am no longer married. Legally I am single. But in my heart? I don't feel single. I am still very much tied to my husband, deceased or not. Even though I hate being labeled as a widow.. It's what I am. It gives me a defining term that I feel more comfortable with rather than "single". 

And not only those things... But I have been meeting so, so many people. I have been getting to know many people and they ask me about my life. The basics. You know -- what most people can answer without even having to think about. But asking me about my life... about why I've moved so much etc etc is a question that makes me think. Questions that I seriously hesitate to answer. What should I say? When is it appropriate to disclose that I lost my husband? How are other people going to react? The outcome of how ever I choose to answer in the moment is one of two things: either awkward, or feels very incomplete.
Awkward because of 1) How I say it and act to their response (sometimes I feel like I'm "too okay" with it when they freak out) and 2) how they choose to respond. "I'm Sorry" "I didn't know" "You're so young" "oh my gosh I am so sorry. Wow. I'm sorry (and it goes on)". There is no easy way to bring it up without having some kind of awkward moment between me and the person I am talking to.
It can feel incomplete because in the moment, for whatever reason, I choose not to disclose that I'm widowed. But then I feel like I'm leaving out such a MAJOR part of my life. Spencer was, and still is, a huge part of me and my life. My past, present, and future. He will ALWAYS be with me. In my heart. And so it's hard when I feel like I can't talk about him. Because I want to be able to talk about him all of the time. Like he is here.

It's definitely a balance. A very hard balance. It's an answer that is going to take a lot of time and practice to perfect. And even when I am able to come up with an answer and a way of saying things that is comfortable, in a moment under the pressure of answering questions about my life, I will most likely forget the answer that I want to say.

It's that elephant in the room that is always going to be there. With time it will get easier to deal with. But for now, it's hard. I've never been around so many people, meeting so many people, and having to make small talk.... Everyone else's small talk is my "really-big-life-changing-talk"... or something to that effect. You see what I'm saying??

There is a lot of times that I'm talking to someone around my age and they just got married... or are going to get married. (in fact a girl that was orienting with me just got married 2 weeks ago and we spent a lot of time together and I had this situation....) I want to relate to them on that level. Because it was a huge moment in my life. A very special moment. I want to talk about my wedding day too. But when I might start saying something about "oh when I got married..." "yeah my husband..." etc. They don't see the ring. They haven't heard me talk about my husband at all. They assume that I am single. They are taken off guard. They ask the questions. Which leads to the answer that I am just not quite sure how on earth to answer so i'm comfortable with it.

It's all just hard. An adjustment I didn't even think of. I was so excited about everything, which I should be, that I didn't expect or plan for these events. And there is no amount of 'planning' that you can do... because in the situation it's so, so much different.

I just hope that with time (preferably quickly) things will go a little smoother. My co-workers will learn a little bit about my past in the most comfortable way possible... and then it will blow over and we'll all be normal. Hopefully I won't be labeled as "that poor girl" "the widow" or various other hurtful terms. Hopefully tomorrow is better and everyone is able to focus on WORK and not my life, you know? I don't know if I can deal with another day like today....

It was a hard day....

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Quicky Update!

Man tonights phlebotomy class didn't go as expected! It wasn't as successful as last week, but at the same time it wasn't horrible. I definitely learned from it. I did 5 sticks today and got blood return from 3 of them; it was a little bit tricker! This time a girl was my guinea pig and her veins definitely weren't as palpable as the guys I had last week. It was more difficult to find her veins!

I did learn that a lot of the time my angle isn't big enough and so I'm too shallow with the stick and the needle sits right on top of the vein. It's frustrating, but now I know to overestimate the angle of my needle and I should be good!

I'm coming to learn that the more this class goes on, the more and more I dread to be stuck! haha. It reminds me of those "good ol' days" when I had to get my blood drawn every few weeks for drug levels! And I think my veins are starting to remember it too, because they seem to be shrinking up as the weeks go on. They are getting harder and harder to find. I only have 1 good vein on each arm and they have both been stuck about 8 and 9 times! They are definitely protesting, and I am too! Though I love getting the opportunity to practice, I am getting more tired of being my classmates guinea pig ;-) But that's okay... only 2 classes left and then I'm done being stuck (I hope)! :)

Today we did butterfly needles and poked in the hand. I was nervous about this class period because I HATE being stuck in the hands! Always have, always will. Tonight just reminded me why I hate it so much. It hurts! The actual stick wasn't too bad, but my hands sure are sore right now! Thankfully it was only twice... next week we'll do a lot more. 
Using the butterfly needle was trickier than I thought it would be! There is a different hold to it and the order of doing things is slightly different. Going in the hands was a little easier though, because it's all visual! You see a vein and you go for it rather than having to go by feel. Anchoring the vein is a little bit harder, and those guys like to roll! I stayed after class to do an extra draw and missed, but the teacher was able to show me how to re anchor and "dig" around for the vein when you miss. Glad that I had that opportunity because I really learned from it! 

On another note, in my hours of searching the interwebs to try and find a place in SLC to live, I ran across a listing that is only 5 minutes away from ARUP! So far it sounds fantastic and I honestly don't think I can beat the location and price! I am going to see it with my friend on Saturday and I'm crossing my fingers the place isn't horribly small and that the roommate will be a great fit! If everything works out I plan on taking it and getting moved asap so that I don't have to drive an hour to and from work every day. Prayers would be appreciated that this is the right place! 

Annd one last thing. I found out today that my little sister-in-law can't go to Acapella Stock on Saturday with me. Boo! =( But this means that I have an extra ticket that has YOUR name on it if you would like to come with me! It will cost you nothing - it's all on me :) So if you live in Utah and your Saturday night is looking a little bit lame, you should come! It's a GREAT Time. Even if we don't know each other that well, you should still consider going with me. It would be a great opportunity to get you know you better!! :)  If you're interested send me an email   nikki.riddle3@gmail.com  :) Hope to see you Saturday!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

(you can click on the pictures for a bigger view)

 Left to Right on Saturday, 8/18: SLC Temple, Christine and I at Temple Square, SLC Temple at night

On Monday 8/20 left and top right - The back & side of the Brigham City Temple; Bottom Right - Ice Cream stop in Logan at Utah State University

On Monday 8/20 - Logan, Utah Temple

I guess it was the week of the temples! :)
And it wasn't QUITE wordless Wednesday -- I can't upload pictures without captions! ;-)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Colors Of Kelie

Last week I went to the Ogden Farmers Market with my friend Malina for the first time since being back in Utah. I met Malina last year in the hospital during one of Spencer's stays. (Thank you Nacho for introducing us ;-) She is a super sweet girl and we really hit it off great. We thought it would be cool to go to the farmers market last summer together so that we could get to know each other better, and it has formed into a new kind of tradition! If we get a free weekend we'll go and we always have a great time!

While we made our way around the market we came across Colors Of Kelie.

From the very first glimpse that I got of these paintings I was deeply moved. I can't exactly tell you what it is about her artwork that gets me so much, but they are absolutely beautiful and take my breath away. I feel like there is so much meaning behind her paintings. It's artwork that speaks so loudly when you view it. The colors are so vibrant and they are so, so beautiful. 

The tagline that Kelie uses is this: "Leap Fearlessly". Perhaps it's this line that draws me in so tight. It is a great reminder for me right now in this journey of grief. Most of the things that I do anymore require a leap of faith. A deep hope that everything will turn out okay and that I am taking that leap for the betterment of myself and my life. It's hard to take a blind leap of faith, but it's also been very worth it. My life is going so well right now and it is, honestly, all because of leaping.... the "fearlessly" part is a great reminder for me, because I need to remember that it is all in His hands and that he will provide and guide me in the path that I am meant to go in. You never know what might come out of taking a fearless leap of faith!

I need to take these fearless leaps more often because, so far, it's landed me in a great place. A place where I am as content as I can be, and a place where I am happy. Leaping fearlessly without my husband is not easy... but it's now a lifelong journey that I am going to have to overcome. 

Thank you, Kelie, for inspiring me to go beyond my comfort zone and to take the leaps I am so scared to take!!

I am definitely saving up for at least one of these paintings. I have my eye of 3 or 4 different ones, and maybe with time I will be able to get them all. I normally don't say that I have to have something.... but with these paintings, I have to have at least one. I'd honestly be a fool if I didn't get one! They speak to me so, so much. I can definitely see this a theme in my house. A daily reminder to tackle the day head on and to take a leap of fearless faith!

Here are a few of my other favorites that I saw last Saturday:

If you would like to check out more of Keli's artwork and keep updated, please visit her facebook page at:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Eight Months Ago Today....

Eight months ago today, at 3:29 pm, you took your last mortal gasp for air here on earth. At 3:30 pm on this very same day that seems so, so long ago, you took your very first overly deserving breath as a beautiful, clean, white, and healthy heavenly angel.

You drew air deep down into pristine lungs without fight or battle. Oxygen freely flowed through major airways, through smaller airways, and finally into those microscopic air-filled sacs that haven't been used in over 20 years.

Blood flowed, finally fully oxygenated, all around your body without any struggle. Through your arteries, to your heart, into your veins, and into those new, pink, and perfect lungs.

Countless scars from your battle wounds faded seamlessly into your new smooth, plump, and pink skin that once was tinged blue from lack of oxygen and circulation.

Aches and pains that you never realized were present slowly lifted away as your body began to feel lighter, fuller, healthier.

Abilities you once had were rediscovered to their full potential when you gained your angel wings. The abilities you used to enjoy doing so much are now effortless because of the body we wish we all had. The abilities such as being able to now Sing. Walk. Run. Swim. Hike. Bike. Laugh. Yell.

Coughing became a thing of the past for you eight months ago. Mucus no longer builds and clogs your lungs. It no longer inhibits digestion. It no longer suffocates and threatens to kill. There became no more infections. No more needles. No more hospitals.

No more pain.

No more suffering.

The day your sight was taken by a death that, really, just blinded us all... sight was given to a young man in need. A precious and rare gift that only someone as loving, kind, and special as you could give. One can only hope he is now not only seeing through your eyes... but that he is seeing with a new and unique perspective. That he has love, hope, joy, and peace in his life.

Eight months ago today, you became a perfect and flawless angel; and eight months ago today marked a new life for you, and a new life for me, too.

I miss you sweet Spencer with a pain that is truly indescribable. My heart aches living with the emptiness that was left when you earned those wings. But my heart is also overflowing with the lessons you taught me. The love that you showed me. The compassion that surrounded me. The legacy that you left with me. Your love is always around me. Surrounding me and comforting me in my time of need. Your promise of being with me during every free moment you have is steadfast. Thank you, my Pea, for showing me the beauty of life amidst living in a world of looming death.

I'll always love you and you are forever in my heart.

-Your SweetPea

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Anger, Interviews, and a Fire

What a title, right?! Hopefully it doesn't lead to too long of a post, but it might, just be warned!

I tell you what, since being back in Utah it's been a little crazy. My emotions have been up, down, left, right and just about everywhere. I have my good days and I have my bad days. And even just good and bad moments.

Ever since last Saturday I think I have hit a spot of real anger in this grieving process. It's the first time I've ever experienced emotions like this. I am feeling angry at CF. I am angry that my husband is no longer here. I am angry at God because He didn't let Spencer stay with me longer. I am having a really hard time with these feelings because it's SO unlike me to be so angry. Especially with my Heavenly Father. My feelings and emotions right now are all so conflicting and confusing. I'm just trying to deal with things as they come up and try to figure out how to get past it. Trying to not let the anger take over, and I think I'm doing an "okay" job at it... Just another one of those obstacles that I am facing!

On Monday I got a call from ARUP Labs for an interview! When I was speaking with HR I was told that it was for the molecular oncology department and was pretty excited about it! I couldn't believe that the interview was going to take place so soon - in fact I had it today! When I went in to have the interview I was shocked when there was not one, but three men sitting there! I found out I was interviewing for 3 different positions!!! I also found out that they were all in the Infectious Disease Department. It was immediately nerve wracking because that's something I was NOT expecting, but at the same time it really helped boost my confidence knowing that I was being considered for three positions!
I think that the interview went SO, SO well and I'm very proud! When I think back about my answers to the questions I really can't think of a way to answer better. Usually I am always doubting myself, but this time -- there are no doubts. No regrets. I know that I did my best and I gave it my all. I prepared for the interview as best as I could and went in there with a lot of confidence.

I got to tour the lab in two different areas. It. Was. Awesome. I know that without a doubt I will love working there if I get the job. It was really overwhelming and I know that training would be REALLY overwhelming, but completely worth it!

Thank you to everyone who thought about me, send good vibes and prayers my way. They were DEFINITELY with me through the interview process. I felt them, no doubt. Hopefully I get a call offering me a position soon!!! :)

Last night I was having a hard time falling asleep. A lot on my mind with the interview the next day. I finally was able to get to sleep around 12:00 or 12:15. I was woken up about 10 minutes later by some sirens but didn't open my eyes, I was really annoyed. They kept getting louder and louder and I saw some flashing lights through my eye lids. I then heard some cracking and banging and so I opened my eyes to figure out what was going on. Something wasn't right. I got up out of bed and looked out the widow and to my horror I saw flames engulfing a house and scary close to some trees. The fire was only a few houses away. So, so close.

It's truly amazing how quickly adrenaline kicks in! I was still pretty disoriented and half asleep, and so I didn't know how close or far away it was. I had no idea if it had the potential at that point to reach the house. I also didn't know if maybe they were trying to evacuate. I'd never, ever been in that situation. I also have a fear of fires and anything flammable (for those who don't know lol) and with all of this intense heat and it being so, so dry, it really had me scared. There have been SOO many fires! I began to shake like crazy and stumbled over to my jeans as quickly as I could. I got dressed, grabbed my phone and keys and went upstairs and outside. The noises were something I've never quite heard before. The water hitting the house. The flames cracking. The thuds of wood falling to the ground. The sound of the intensity of the flames. The sirens. Neighbors talking and yelling in fear. The sounds of footsteps as neighbors ran to the source to see what was going on.

I just stood there in a daze as I looked over the trees and saw the fire and the smoke engulfing everything in its path. I stood shaking uncontrollably as I feared for the lives in the house. I wanted to cry because I had never witnessed anything like it.

I then did what any 21 year old woman would do.... called my momma (oh, you wouldn't have done that?! well dang, I guess it's just me then! HA!) at 1:45 in the morning her time. Whoops. But I was scared. Alone. In a situation very unfamiliar. Everyone else had a spouse or their children. They had their neighbors to talk to. I didn't know anyone. Completely alone. People rushing around me as I stood and watched the blaze. I didn't know if I should be concerned about leaving or if I could go back to sleep. I should have just stopped and thought about it a second instead of calling my dear mother. But oh well ;-) I then walked down to the end of the street to see the source of the fire. I stood with the neighbors and just watched the fire fighters extinguish the flames. Smoke rolling into the black night sky.

I found out while standing there that there was a family who lived there. Everyone had gotten out okay.  When I saw that the fire was mostly contained I went back home and just sat on the porch and thought. About how crazy it was. About how quickly something can happen. Anything can happen. About how lucky the family was to get out alive. About how scary and close it was to me.

This morning and throughout the day I found out more about the fire:

I heard that the mother went into labor, and this morning the dad had a mild heart attack. Absolutely crazy. Mom and baby are in the hospital due to a high risk pregnancy and the dad is doing okay. Their house looks awful. There was about 130,000 dollars in damage. It's devastating to see.

I am so very thankful for the quick response of the fire department. It had the potential to escalade so much more and without their efforts so much more damage could have been done, not only to the house, but to surrounding homes. I am thankful that the family is now safe!!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Interview and Phlebotomy Class

The July 2012 Ultimate Blog Challenge is now over, and I am so happy to say that I FINISHED IT! I did 31 posts in July, met a lot of really cool people, and drew more traffic to my blog. It was a great experience! It was really hard finding something to post about every day, but I managed. I don't know if I'll do this again, but I am looking forward to keeping up with the blogs that I discovered during this challenge!! I am definitely going to back down on the number of posts I do. At least keep it at one a week, though!

Yesterday seemed like a big day for me! I had my very first phone interview (ever) for a company that I REALLY want to work for -- ARUP Labs. I am interested in the laboratory sciences and I want to see if this is going to be the right fit for me. If this is going to be the degree I pursue when I start taking classes again at the U. I think it's an environment that fits perfectly with how I work and what interests me.
I think that the interview went fairly well, actually. I was SUPER nervous about it before. I finally got my nerves calmed down but right after he called, I couldn't stop shaking! I tried to stay confident and have a strong voice. I hope it showed! Of course there were a few questions that after I answered I was smacking my forehead about because I didn't give a very strong example or answer to.... But overall I thought I made a good impression. I hope my enthusiasm for the position showed. I REALLY want to get an interview so that I can talk about my qualifications and make an impression on the hiring manager. Prayers are appreciated.. you have no idea how very, VERY badly I want this job. That I at least want a CHANCE to have this job. I have the potential to get 2 interviews... I hope at least one comes through, if not both!!!

Yesterday was also my first phlebotomy class! I was pretty excited for this. Something that I kind of jumped into without knowing if it would be something I could actually do, or would enjoy doing. But I'm so happy to say that I REALLY liked the first class! There are only 4 of us and so we each have a partner and have a lot of 1-on-1 with the 2 instructors! It's going to be REALLY beneficial.
We watched a 45 minute long video about proper technique and the needles and equipment used and such. And then we did our thing:

We learned and practiced how to tie tourniquets. Now let me say I've tied them on myself several times (my leg lol) waiting around for doctors or nurses. And I've messed around with them a lot. But I never thought it'd be so confusing doing it to someone else! lol I finally got the hang of it, but it still confuses me. HA! After getting the tourniquets tired on we palpated and tried to feel the three veins. Easy enough for me... My partner was a muscular guy who's veins really stuck out! ha!

I do have to say that I feel sorry for people who are my partner. I haven't had blood drawn in quite awhile and so I'm sure my veins have recovered and aren't as bad as they used to be. But I still have very small veins, and I have a lot of scarring, so even if they do feel the "good" veins... chances are it's a scarred one. I'm a little nervous for the sticks on me. lol

We then were handed our needles and a banana to practice! We practiced angle and depth of the needle. It was hard for me at first because I couldn't keep my hand steady! but it got easier over time. Thankfully it was a banana who took the sticks..... If bananas could bruise I'm sure it'd be black and blue by now! haha!

Next week we get our books and we will each do two sticks! AHH! The instructors are going to be right beside us, guiding us. Basically them doing the sticking and us following ;-) I am REALLY excited, but so nervous! And as I said, I think I'm more nervous for someone trying to draw blood on me rather than me poking them! Eeek! Trying to practice on my banana as much as I can :-P