Am I ok alone?

In the last 3 months I’ve had more people ask me, have you thought of dating again?   See if you have been with me on this grief journey, I saw a really strange reaction from myself since John died.

  1.  He died= me shocked.
  2. Me shocked and realizing I’m a widow.
  3. Me realizing raising 3 kids is going to be hard.
  4. Me being in such mourning that I think my thinking was off and I thought about who will I date.  Odd to think about this now.
  5. just a few months later, I was chatting with a couple of males and I myself thought romantically about them.
  6. Sudden realization they are assholes.
  7. Lonliness
  8. alone
  9. a quick 3 month Match membership.
  10. booty call
  11. busy life, busy life….. great friendships…
  12. Realization that I’m ok.
  13. All of a sudden more people ask if I want to date.
  14. Me weighing more than any time of my life but not really feeling like changing that.
  15. Watching Whoopie Goldberg say, she does not want to get married, she wants to just be with herself.
  16. Me grinning.  Then someone asks me again, have I dated ?

So yesterday I was fine being by myself.  Then I have a dream of someone just hugging me and I could feel their sweat shirt in my hug.  I burrowed my nose into their neck corner and breathed in their scent.  For a dream, this was especially vivid.  I woke up and relished that feeling.  I do missing hugging.

I have a few people who hug me.  I mean I don’t really want to cuddle with a girl.   I have a guy friend who seriously hugs me and has held me. but he is married and well, it’s just not ok for me to ask for that.

So today, I wish I could snuggle and hug like crazy.  So I thought of all the other things that you forget.

like fartting.  I don’t want anyone to fart on me.  well, I guess it’s ok if I really know them.

ok but I don’t want to be fussed at.  I just want someone to really like me and I not ever be wrong and that I”m a dream to be around even if I”m not.

I don’t want someone to get on my nerves.  I don’t want to be mad about their mouth noises.  or smell or if they don’t do something I wanted them to do.

I don’t know what it’s like to date anymore. I don’t know the rules of dating and I don’t really want to.

When I tried the thing, a man that I talked to, seemed so nice, and we had several common things then…. he did not like my dry responses of humor and said that I was mean.  I’m not mean? what dude?

then one day he just did not reply and I was ok with this and so I did not pay 50 bucks to look at other single men and not really like anyone based on pics and strange bio’s.  I mean, how weird is that.

So if I do it again which I think might be the only way to date again, what would I say about myself.

Hi, I’m a mom of 3.

I like to watch TV shows and read.  I love music and occasionally like to go hear music but I also don’t like to be hot or too cold or too wet.  I”m 43, I’m done with that.

I love to camp, and have campfires.

I like to cook.  I love to travel.  I really like being with my girlfriends and laughing.  that is my most favorite thing to do.

Dear men,  I’d like to do something with someone nice.  I would like to go see waterfalls and views.  I would like to travel to places I’ve never been to and see stuff.

I would like to watch tv shows.  I will also sometimes go to the movies.

I would like to try new foods.  I would like to be treated like really well. I would like you to adore me a lot at first and then it can calm down.  I would like to have surprises a lot.  I would like to laugh loudly.  I would love to have someone make me laugh.  I would like your ideas to sometimes be better than mine but I want to come to that conclusion.

I’d love for someone to do something for me that I hate to do.  like get my oil changed.  go get groceries.

I would like to nurture someone that is male and hug them.  I’d love to make them laugh and also make them yummy stuff and watch them enjoy it.

but I don’t want to fight.  I don’t want to hurt your feelings or hurt mine.

crap, someone sent me a pic of a winter walk and frozen water and that’s what I wanted to see today.  but with someone to admire it with me.  then they send the pic and it’s what I literally just wrote about.  yeah, I like that.

so now because I wrote all that I feel sad.  it’s winter and cold and I think I like winter.  and I wish I had someone to bring me a beer or glass of wine and make me dinner.  then watch a movie.  or meet some other couple to have dinner and we all laugh.  that would be nice.

fuck now I’m sad.



shut up and love.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m about to enter the month of October.  Or I’m coming off of 2 weeks of reflecting on grief as I hear the news of tragic deaths in my community and I watch as my children grieve for friends, for other families and it pulls at our own grief of missing John.

So this morning when I read an article about a woman bitching about how women are not naggers when they have to ask their husband to do everything they want.  I want to bitch slap this writer.

Instead I remember that I so used to be her and now I’m not.  But at least I also have another argument that I could retaliate with as far as perspective besides my ol faithful widow card.

I think same sex couples get on each other’s nerves and one has a more controlling personality and so they say what they want more and they probably fight.  That’s my safe  let’s not go there answer.   but…. because I’m sad for some families that have had the rug pulled out from under them and everyone is saying, what can I do, I can tell you.

shut up and love.

so here it goes…

Dear Gemma,

Shut up and love.  Now Gemma, I hear you, I totally hear you, I know he should have called the cleaning service but because he does not think like you it does not mean he is less than you.  He actually was aware of the cost and thought oh crap, she will get pissed if I spend too much.  He knew he should just do it himself.  But you choose to go and do the laundry and pick up his stuff on purpose because you were just mad he did not call the cleaning service like you proposed.  The idea really is you felt guilty for not have a perfect bathroom, he does not feel guilty but that pisses you off so you threw your guilt over to him and by God, he got it.

Girl, I know this game.  I was a freaking pro at it.  and you know what.  I am so damn sorry.  If I could say sorry more and teach anybody anything, it would be to shut up and love.

Because guess what Gemma, my husband is not here anymore.  the rug was pulled out from under my family and now I”m going to tell you what I have learned since I met Grief.

*I was an asshole and so was he but we are all humans and so therefore, we sometimes are assholes.

* quit trying to be perfect.  there is no perfect, instead just appreciate.  look around and appreciate.  appreciate that garden, appreciate that spider web, appreciate that there are 5 piles of stuff on your kitchen counter.

*remember when you would be really pissed and have bad thoughts.  well seriously I have to tell you that you do feel guilty when it happens.  and that makes you throw up a lot, develop a gag issue, get really sick, drink way too much and have panic attacks.

*remember how you get so annoyed at the bitching about that one little thing that was like every single day and you imagined hitting them or telling them to shut up?  Well, imagine standing there 4 months later and remembering this and crying and wishing you could hear them bitching about what ever was bugging them every day at that moment.  wishing you could hear them when you really wanted them not to be like that but you would give anything to hear that bitching.

*that mess up present that they did not get right, for me it was several things.  I wear the diamond stud earrings in my ears everyday almost because I want that fight to remind me of how stupid I was.  remember that stupid bracelet he got you, I have one too.  I was pissed that he spent $ on something that was not really me.  Well now, I wear it and I almost cry, and I turn the beads on it lovingly and say thank you to myself but to him so he can hear me say it, and know that I’m so sorry I told you I did not like it.  I love it now and it means so much to me.

* remember when you are doing all the housework, or laundry or whatever it is that you do right and all the time, well there are things that he does that you are just not admitting to.  what is it?  I”m a feminist.  I know how to do all the things he did.  right?  HA!  I don’t fucking know how to buy tires, or I don’t know how to screw things to the wall.  I do not know how the riding lawnmower is a gear shifting things or what< I can ride the hell out of it, but I don’t know what kind of motor it is.  I did not know you can jump a lawn mower with jacks.  I do not know how to make onion rings like he did,   God dammit I miss his onion rings.

*I miss him calling our son, my big boy even if the son is 14 and really is a big boy but you miss him saying that even though when you heard him say it when the boy was little, it annoyed you.

*I just think you do need to have my perspective because the only thing that is going to help us in our self absorbed world is to listen and love and I need you Gemma to stop and listen to me because writing an article that talks bad about your partner is not really going to do any good but cause more bad feelings to come up with other people who are annoyed with another’s petty silly faults.   Let it go.  because I promise, you miss it.  and you don’t want to have to miss it.


so shut up, and love.



cremation and crucifixion.

2nd blog in less than 24 hrs.  but I have really messed up not writing about how grief is everyday in my life just with me thinking about things but also in how I guide my children though thoughts and questions.

So I’m downstairs folding clothes, watching a BBC series… just doing the mom thing when Anna comes down the steps.



Mom I have a question.


Mom you know how we have Dad’s ashes.  ….

Pause from me.  actually if there was a brake sound that what it would be.   I also paused the TV.

Yes, we have his ashes.

She says, because he was cremated.


Well does that mean they burned him?


I paused because how I answer this is very important to her vocabulary, her soul, and grief.

Anna, when a person dies, are they alive?


that is right, their soul goes to Heaven.  (this is what my family believes).

So yes, the body is burned and his ashes are what is left.  but Anna is not something I like to think about,

she says oh I’m sorry,

No, Anna, I just mean, it’s a hard thing to think about and you have a good question but it’s hard to think about.


So then she says so cremation is what they did to Jesus?

Wait. what?

No they crucified Jesus, on the cross.

What is the difference.

Cremation is an act of what happens to a non living body, just like another choice is burial.

What else can you do to the body.

I shared that I thought maybe in some cultures that were near the ocean that they might send the body out to sea.  (or is that some children’s movie I saw?)

Then Anna says, well, what if a boat comes along and sees the body.

Well, Anna, I don’t know, I have never thought of that thought.

Well what is crucifixion?

That is how Jesus died and two other men that day.  That is how they killed him.


Well cremation and crucification kinda sound the same.

Well, one is an act after death and one is a way of death.

Oh, ok.  well thanks…….

sound of feet running up steps.

me,   jaw open, staring.

For Anna, she is very much like me, she is a happy girl, who loves people, who hurts when others hurt, who feels things deeply and thinks deeply.

One thing I have worried about is if her childhood has been happy.  Childhood is for being free, growing, developing and playing.  I have tried to provide this, but we have also been tangled up in dealing with grief.

I don’t want her life to be about stories of how she worked through things.  but I guess it might be in someways.

coming in at four years

this year, has been a healing year.  A year ago at this time, I was in Disney world taking my children on a dream vacation.

I hated my job and I loved my job.  I did not like never knowing what I would be doing day to day and I like children, actually like a routine.  So in the chaotic job a year ago, I went back into the classroom for 4 months and I remembered why pulled into Life a bit better 20 years ago.  I passionately love working with children and I truly enjoy watching them learn, but watching life in so many viewpoints that the classroom offers.  so ok

so going from being miserable, led to dreaming of a way to get out.  to jumping out and creating my own heaven.  My Nest.

So now, I am home making money, I am home to manage my home better, I am home to say goodbye and hello again when the children go and come.  I work with me.  I work with the most remarkable thing in early childhood and that is…. babies.

this year, my grief wound stopped bleeding so much, so many analogies.  I began to face bad stuff that I had pushed off.

first halfway through this year, I had a bit of a breakdown.  In May I melted down.  I was pissed.  I was pissed at my brother and family, I was pissed at my best friends.  So I shut them out.  and then I missed them.  So I somehow in this… found myself facing myself and saying, how are you going to clean up your mess you made.  So I decided to think about the future.  I decided to face some fears.  So I picked up the phone and asked questions.  and that led to another step, and another call and an answer and I started breathing differently because I had answers.  soooooo

I began to clean my house better

I began facing finances and thinking about my future.

I found activities that made me happy, like cooking and watching movies and reading again.

I started to be more social.  I started to say yes even if I was afraid.

I’m still not on solid ground, I keep making a few mistakes that I try to get away from, but old habits die hard.

but I want to return to writing, so I can think things through, to feel excitement, to be creative.

I even now have the saddest day as my special day, it’s the johnaniverarycation.

I think Deep Depression means…

I think deep depression for me has meant, something is shifting.

The last time I have felt this low, was when it was discovered how much I actually wanted change, big change.  like moving.  So we changed our lives.

I’ve been shifting constantly since John died.  I’ve been changing.  I’ve watched friends change, and I think I’m ready to say, I’ve changed.

Getting in deep to myself, means I get to be super selfish.  It’s like the closet no one wants to clean out but one day, there you are.

I’m like, fuck, oh man, I forgot about that.  Well, guess what I don’t need that anymore.

I’m like, oh, well lets just get rid of these things cluttering up your brain.  Let go of the past.

let go of what you think you should be doing.

let go of silly dreams

be present. be present with Ashley.    So I have been doing some major Ashley time.  I am finding myself again.

I found myself reading again.  oh man, it’s so juicy good.  it’s like brain food and my brain is like yum yum yum.

I lost my appetite so if I eat, I’m like well, is there anything in the fridge that actually might be good for you?   ok, Ashley, I’ll eat this avocado.  ok, I’ll have a salad again.  ok, I’m not going to finish eating something if I don’t want to eat more.

whew one thing with this closet though is that when you move stuff around you don’t know where things are, so like calming down.

my house land lord came by to change out a micorwave.  they gave me their black one and took away the not working stainless steal one.   what I was caught off guard was how suddenly I felt second class.  I get it,  it’s their house, she wants the pretty one and so she give me the 2nd class one.  this sent me into a panic attack.  I felt it though come.  I got quiet.  I got nervous feeling.  I ate to make sure I had food.  then I took my pill and asked my daughters to hug me.  I watched someone else strong choose themselves first.  They are very nice people, but they were not chatty.  they were there to do a job and so I walked away and just was present with my child.  and I calmed down.  I calmed down.  I thought about it.

she puts her self first and does not think a thing about it.

who does not put herself first?   me!

I also had been having jealousy feelings that day,  and then yesterday I had Way more.  It really pissed me off because it was towards people I liked but then I realized.  they put themselves first.  they love themselves and that helps them love others.

I’m going back to my closet cleaning.  I have a few ideas.

One thing in my closet that I”m working on is, letting go of things that don’t do anything for me.    which means a couple of friendships.

I’m not calling again.  I did that and it fell through and for now on.  if someone wants to see me, then call.  no more of me.

that friend that keeps calling.  yep.  I’m calling her and I’m making a date.  she loves me continuously and she does shit that I don’t even ask for.  I need more of that.

letting go of the family anger.  so it’s not what I dreamed.   but that’s ok.  So what can I do?  I can pray that I find more friends that can be like family.

I used to give back, though volunteering my whole life.  I met people, I had great experiences, that taught me cool things in life.  Like…. I was a candy striper y’all.

I served on student council my whole school life.

I cleaned up the earth

I played music.

I’m also putting my bottles up a bit more.  meaning.  I’m not drinking as much.  it’s been really slow which is what I dreamed of.  So I’ve been going to bed earlier and I remember now.

I’ve found a new thing to study that effects my work with babies and well, guess what I think the world needs more Ashley Parks, child development thoughts.  so I”m exploring writing.

this closet of me is a mess.  but gosh I love her.

I love my short statue.

I love my hair long and wavy and natural. (sorta).

I love being without makeup

I love not shaving.

I love wearing whatever I want.

I love my humor and my joy at finding a new funny show.

I love reading and pouring myself into a book.  I love finding deep, books that are real and so beautiful I read them aloud just to enjoy the vocabulary words that the author found and used in the most poetic way.




I am jealous

I am jealous of…

people who are happy

people who get breaks from work/ or life.

I’m jealous of the person who went through heart ache because she is beautiful, she makes great money and as fast as the bad stuff happened to her, good stuff totally comes to her.  I am so jealous.

Friends meet her for drinks and everyone posts the perfect pic about being there for a friend.

they send her texts to say hang in there.

she gets to have a break from being a mom

I think her friends help her have breaks.

I don’t know why my friends have never said, take a break Ashley.  I can give you a break.

none of my friends showed up to help move me.  wait, one did.

I did it all.

I think 12 people at least will probably help her move.

I’m so jealous that everyone’s family likes to be together.

mine drifted away.

I’m jealous of the sweet couple that let’s me keep their child because they are doing a great job at marriage.

I’m jealous of a friend who gets to keep going on the career ladder.

I”m jealous of the friend who got a job because he was a guy in the field.

I”m jealous I’m green and I”m annoyed at myself and where the hell is my happy boat?

The telling of John’s death story

Imagine a rainy spring day….., a calm part of the morning, quiet.  then I get a phone call.

“Mom, can you call me out” Kaegan crying…

“what’s wrong K?”

Mom, I need to come home.  my teacher was teaching us about diabetes in our foods class and she all of a sudden started telling the entire class about dad’s death.  I freaked out and ran out of class.

“come home k, I”ll call right now.”

I called her out and waited.
I fell over on the couch and cried.

what?  what?

why is this teacher saying whatever she was saying?

finally she comes through the door.  I was sitting on the couch and I opened my arms and she just walked over and fell into my arms.

Oh my 16 year old daddy’s girl.

Kaegan’s favorite teacher was teaching the class about diseases that are affected by diet and she was discussing the differences between type 1 and type 2.  Ka was listening, but all of a sudden the teacher started telling the story of our John.  K said, she started saying, there was a young teacher at Koontz with type 1, and he suddenly died….. K stopped hearing anything else.  She raised her hand, and said.  that’s my dad.

the teacher stopped and she said she was stunned and almost vomited on her desk.

She had no idea that Kaegan was John’s daughter.  She knew K had a single mom, she even knew what I did, what I have done but she did not know we were in anyway related to this story in a huge way.

It just hurts.  We were not mad at her but I was annoyed.  I told her.

I don’t know you, I don’t know how you would know how John died.  There is no way you  could know because mostly only our family, close friends know.  literally the people who dared to ask what happened.

She apparently had been subbing for him and I guess she may have been the sub the next day.

She apologized and said she learned a lesson of it’s not her story to tell.

recently I had an emotional reaction to news about a. child that had been mistreated in the schools, I blasted on Facebook the staff.

I was so mad.  then this happened and I thought.

I don’t know this whole story and I don’t have a right to condemn those that cannot share their side due to confidentiality.  I have been through this myself years ago when sued by a former employee.  that changed me.  it made me hate lawyers for twisting words and retelling a story in a different way that was implied.

So we forgave K’s teacher, she learned a lesson dealing with not meaning to hurt anyone.

I cried because it hurts to see your children hurt.  there are no words to describe this to people who do not have children.  Especially when I cannot fix it.  I can help fix broken legs, I can hold a infant body while they put an IV in their neck.  I can inject gluekigon I don’t even know how to spell that into John’s body when he is about bottom out.  I did not save him when it was too high.  I waited too long.

this I will never ever forgive myself for, because it was my stupid ass, let’s wait. I don’t want to deal with bad stuff.  I like to put my head in the hole or hell I like to walk around the hole and pretend it does not exist.

I can’t fix this hole in their hearts.