• For several days now I’ve been thinking about this first post; what should I write about? Should it be straight to the point or all over the place and funny? Or should I take my usual sassy, best hands on my hips, sista-girl tone?


    I figured I should start at the beginning and the end. You see, while my boys are 14 and 19, I’m new to this whole single mom thing.

    My husband, Ceaser M. Williams, passed away December 2010. Damn pulmonary embolism, no time for I love you, we had a great life or good-byes. Just here one minute, gone the next.


    Ceaser’s physical stature was small, but he was a very big spirit. He filled a room with his booming voice, hearty laughter and here-I-come strut. And he was very close to his boys.


    He was a work-from-home dad, so they spent a lot of time together watching sports, him teaching them how to cook, playing music (Ceaser didn’t have a lick of rhythm but he loved music — all kinds), watching movies, (Ceaser was a movie buff and DVD collector).


    They must have spent an awful lot of time plotting pranks to pull on me too. I always seemed to be on the outside of some inside just-for-boys joke they shared. I can’t even tell you how many times I’d walk into a room and catch them, heads pushed together, whispering and snickering. They’d stop the minute they noticed me in the room and give me that “what” look that little boys give mom when they’re caught doing something they ought not be doing. You know the one. One might say the three of them were best friends.


    So needless to say when Ceaser died and I looked into their devastated and sad eyes, all I wanted to do was try somehow to fill the void that death had left.


    I just wanted to hear them shouting at the television screen while watching a basketball or football game. I wanted to see them wrapped up in blankets and curled up in a stinky-footed man tangle on the family room couch, in the dark, watching a scary movie. I wanted to hear the thunder of their big, boy feet pounding up the stairs because they’d gotten a whiff of some spicy concoction bubbling on the stove. See them crowded into the upstairs office dancing to some old-school R&B tune or hear them trying to out shout one another in a debate over whether it’s the mustang or the corvette that’s coolest.


      I’m the house hugger; the one who forces the boys to talk about their feelings and what’s going on at school. I remind them to be compassionate, fair, and honest, choose good friends and resist judging others.

     I do the laundry; make sure the drawers are filled with fresh underwear, socks and clean clothes that aren’t too terribly wrinkled. I fold and stack the linen, whipped dry with that snuggly bear’s scented paper cloth, and fluff the towels.  I nag about bathing daily, bushing teeth, wearing deodorant, picking up and aiming for the toilet bowl or wiping up when you miss.


     Still I tried to bring the silly noise back to the house. It exhausted me. It zapped my focus on things I had actually been good at before. I was so confused that I couldn’t do anything right. Trying to be two people turned me into an airhead. And made it painfully obvious that Ceaser was gone, I was not him and I was incapable of faking it.


    I remember one day trying to engage my youngest, Jordan, in a conversation about a website he’d created.  He lost me in the language. I’m not too computer savvy, at least not like kids today, and Ceaser. He looked at me and I saw a pitiful question in his eyes; Where is my dad? Why isn’t he here?”  

    The three of us realized then and there I couldn’t make this work. I could only be me. I had to let them hurt and hurt myself.


    We had to learn to celebrate his memory — laugh at the goofy things he did and follow and spread the lessons he’d taught us — “Better to have and not need than to need and not have,” Ceaser would say.


    Nearly three months have passed. My oldest, Trey, calls often from school (he’s a sophomore at Northwest Missouri State), to ask how I’m holding up. He always says, “I love you, Mother.”


     When Jordan gets home from school, it's homework first then he starts dinner to make it easier on me after my full day’s work and battling traffic to get home. I call him before I leave the office to check in. I always tell him I love him. He says, “Ditto.”


     Yes, life goes on, it’s just different now in the Williams house. It’s hard re-creating a life that once centered on someone no longer here. And it takes time to adjust. But we understand that we have each other and eventually, we will find our collective smile.  
    Beautiful blog. God Bless you and your boys!
    What a gift your husband was to you and your sons. My prayers are with you. My husband lost his father to brain tumor when he was in his teens. He was lucky to have a wonderful compassionate mother. You sound a lot like her.
    not sure what to say Mara, except I'm so glad your boys have you....I'm really sorry for your loss....and so glad you and your boys have such great memories.
    Welcome, Mara, and thank you for sharing your recent loss with us. It sounds like your sons are wonderful young men. I look forward to hearing more from you!
    Very nice blog, Mara. I hope that when Bo gets to be a teenager he continues to tell me he loves me. It sounds like your doing well. And welcome as a feature blogger!
    Thank you for sharing your story, it made me stop and call my husband, just to say hello. Your family sounds really wonderful. Welcome to the site!
    Wow! I was left speechless. Your blog was so well written, and full of so much love. I am extremely sad for your family's loss, but am so glad to hear you are trying to find your family momentum. Your loss, and your way of expressing your loss really gave me a has made me stop to think about our family and it's dynamics. Sometimes you have to stop and smell the roses, and that is what I plan to do today. Hopefully you will continue to share the stories of the wonderful men in your life, because it sounds like they have a lot of not just you in them, but your husband as well. God bless you!
    It seems that when someone close passes away, there is a part of you that dies with them and there is a part of them that lives on in you. I find that my Daddy John lives on through the stories and tales my mother and other relatives tell about how he lived and both his famous and infamous sayings and I know that his spirit lives on so I find comfort in that. It will take time for them to know and appreciate that, but in time you all will realize that. God Bless you and your boys. Peace, Love and Soul Train! That's my little saying.
    WOW!! a great blog that reminds me how lucky I am to have my hubby and family. May God continue to remind you daily of his grace and comfort
    Mara: It's so great to have you here as part of the M2M community. Thank you for giving us such a moving insight into your family and your grief. Continued peace to you and your boys.
    Beautiful post, Mara. My favorite Ceaser memory is from back in the late '90s, I think, when "Shakespeare in Love" was in theaters. I mentioned that I was going to see it, and he immediately launched into this incredibly detailed explanation of every little nuance that I needed to be aware of that would go over the heads of pretty much everyone who wasn't a Shakespeare historian. A few weeks later, the New York Times ran a big article explaining all the insider-type references throughout the movie. As I was reading it, I thought, "Yeah, I knew all this! Ceaser told me."
    Beautiful. Thank you for sharing, and for joining the lineup! I'm looking forward to learning more about you and your family!
    Thank you for sharing this with us, Mara. You wrote very beautifully about your husband and sons. Sounds like you have a great family, headed by a great mom. Both of my parents died in the past few years, and the nicest thing anyone did to ease the pain was to share stories about them. It felt so good to hear things I'd never known about them, and to smile and remember. God bless you all as you remember your good husband, and as your boys remember their good father.
    Beautiful blog, Mara. And welcome to mom2mom. You have a beautiful voice. I can't wait to hear more.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think it made us all think and is a fine example of how to count blessings. I look forward to more. Welcome!
    Mara Rose Williams: What a pleasure to read about your life, your boys and, yes, your grief. You put me right up close to you and to Cesar. Thank you ... I'll holler at you on Facebook. We must chat. Love you, sis ... Katti
    I saw this article in the KC Star Magazine and it really touched me because my sister was widowed young, with 2 little boys to raise on her own and she had to come to the same conclusion as you - she couldn't try to be her husband. You might check out the book - Two Chai Day: One Widow's Story of Living Beyond Grief. I wish you the very best.

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