Compassion

Compassion is the ultimate expression of your highest self.

When I lost one of the greatest gifts God had ever given me, the woman who created me; I lost a part of myself. I knew I needed an experience that would shake me to remind me not of what I had lost but what I still had/have. I have always had a deep love for children & felt I could easily connect with their gentle hearts…I had also always wanted to take my faith to a deeper place by going on a mission trip. Thankfully, my wonderful friend Jerrica very much felt the same. We made the commitment to stay at a Children’s Orphanage in Honduras with a group of woman 4 years ago. One of the best decisions of my life. A bit fearful, I quickly realized in Honduras how blessed I was for growing up with the nurturing, compassionate, incredible mother I did. Though at 19, I lost her way too young. I had been loved in a way many innocent children are completely unfamiliar with. Who was I to be angry for what God had given me? Who was I to feel sorry for my heartache & pain? Though it is very sad & will always feel unfair, I have an everlasting gift in my life that some will never have. I’m grateful for embracing the unknown & touching the lives of so many deserving Honduran children.

YOUR PURPOSE IS GREATER THAN YOURSELF.

Tomorrow We Should Be Celebrating

It has occurred to me more times than I can bare to count that we should be celebrating together lately. I admit I feel blessed that I still have beautiful things happening in my life that I care to share with you and celebrate about. However, each good thing that happens still stings because you are not here with me in all the ways that I wish for you to be.

Today is July 22nd. Tomorrow is your birthday; your fourth birthday away from me here on earth. How can that be? Four years and so much has changed but then again so much hasn’t. I still reflect back… thinking how I managed to make it this long without you. It honestly doesn’t feel possible and I know many people cannot understand that but I don’t need them to. It still doesn’t feel real to me nor do I think that it ever will. The pain is just as deep and my questions have gone unanswered.

The date July 22nd will have great significance in my life very soon. Next year I plan to be married on this very day. It is such an overwhelming and amazing feeling but scary at the same time. Since I began the journey of love with this man I wanted to share him with you more than anything.

I knew you would appreciate his patience and presence in my life. I wanted to share with you his beautiful greenhouses and flowers. I know how much you loved the outdoors and having your own flowers and garden. You’d be impressed with the way I care for my own yard and plants now. I know you are proud of me! More importantly, I know that the way I love him, the way I cherish and take care of him makes you happy for me and I learned it all from you. You were the very best example of love.

You are my role model for love. You truly are! I often pray that I can love as deep and as hard as you loved. Being vulnerable is so challenging for me but I will continue to work at it. We often want to protect ourselves because maybe it just seems easier but I know the reward that comes with being vulnerable because you taught me.

There is so much I want to say. You have no idea. I feel as if I need you more now than ever. Please stay close to me and remind me you are here. I need you to. I will continue to celebrate my life as I know you would want me to. I will also continue to celebrate yours because you deserve it. I miss you. I miss you so bad.

Happy Birthday, my beautiful mom. You are still my whole world and I love you. I will never stop loving you.

I Still Catch Myself Walking Around to Find You.

Time keeps passing by. The days get further and further away. But the way that I feel, the terrible ache and desire in my heart, it doesn’t go away. No, not even with time – not with days, not even with weeks.

I just had my third Christmas without you here with me. Can you believe it? This still feels like a nightmare. It just doesn’t seem right. Someone so deserving, so precious, so pure. Someone like you. How could it be? I have no answers, just thoughts and questions that run constant throughout my head.

I am still waiting. Waiting for the day I will wake up and realize it couldn’t be true. That I didn’t lose you, because I couldn’t.

My voice replays over and over again in my mind. Me begging out loud or possibly trying to convince myself, that I could never lose you.

This past weekend I was very sad. Sad to spend another holiday without you.

I came across this poem. I cried and cried reading the words over and over again.

I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise. I’d catch myself just walking around to find you, not for any reason, just out of habit, because I’d seen something that I wanted to tell you about or because I wanted to hear your voice. And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. – Leigh Bardugo

I still catch myself walking around to find you. And I get so mad at myself because how in the heck could I forget. How could I fail to remember the pain that I live with day in and day out?  I suppose I don’t.

What I remember so vividly, like it was just yesterday, is how beautiful your sweet love was. How lovely the sound of your voice was. How incredible the feel of  your touch was. The wonders of your words of wisdom and the way you always listened with compassion.

I remind myself how blessed I will always be to have a mother like you and that is what always gives me strength to carry on.

But, I miss your love, your voice, your touch, your wisdom and compassion. I miss everything about you, so SO much. I am your girl, always.

Dream of Joy

Last night before I went to bed I really tried to relax my mind and body. I drank my nightly tea, lit a lavender candle and massaged my wrist and feet with my  aromatherapy essential oils. I was in desperate need of a good night’s rest. As always, I was thinking about my mom… All the joy having her in my life would bring and what I would do to have the opportunity to share my life with her again. It is very difficult being a young women without her mother. So, I quickly decided to pray. I knew my mind would not stop racing of thoughts about her, which typically put me in a pretty sad place before bedtime. This would almost always result in me having bad dreams about losing her.

I asked the Lord to give me peace, to calm my mind, body and heart. I thanked him for his mercy and grace. I proceeded in asking him to send me a message or give me peaceful dreams where I could enjoy my mom and she could enjoy me. I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up in the morning. I had a night of beautiful dreams and not only did I get to enjoy my mom, but my brothers did as well.

We were on vacation; me, mom and the boys. She took us to this incredible outdoor mall. We all helped her pick out a bathing suit and a stunning blue dress. I had never seen mom that beautiful, she was glowing, healthy and full of pure joy. We shared many laughs together and proceeded with shopping until we all had new bathing suits and nice dress clothes. She was taking us somewhere special for dinner.

When we arrived to this exotic fun place on the beach, she told us to hop out. We were all in her jeep cruising around with the top off. We walked up together and they had fun dancing music playing. This was the perfect place for our mom. It was a warm beautiful night, everything felt so good. We talked and laughed some more eating lobster and other sea food dishes. We were all so happy to be together.

When I woke up in the morning, I almost felt relieved. I was so thankful for the dream I had. I couldn’t help but wish for a day like that here, right now, on this earth. But I quickly reminded myself of the gift of eternal life. With moments like having such a joyful dream, I have no doubt that my mom is up dancing away in perfect paradise and warm weather. In a place called heaven. I  also know that someday when the Lord calls us all home, we too will be there and our mom will welcome us with open arms. I am anxious for that day. We miss dearly you our beautiful mom, so stinking much.

Be Vulnerable for the People You Love

Death is such a hard concept. I have learned something: no matter how experienced you are with dealing with the circumstances tied to death or rather how inexperienced you are with all of the emotions attached with the unavoidable, it hurts. Losing someone you love is painful. Watching others lose someone they love is also painful.

It is tragic adjusting to having a person’s physical presence to not. No matter how young or how old, when you lose someone it is impossible to comprehend why. Why now? Why did it have to happen the way it did? As human beings we are never ready to say goodbye. Change is not a comfortable feeling. Being forced to stray from a familiar routine is uncomfortable. It just doesn’t feel natural.

The past week has sort of been a whirlwind for me. I have watched people I love and care about suffer. The mourning and grieving has been from two different families, both of which are near and dear to my heart.

One family forced to putting their sweet loved one into hospice; forced with coming to acceptance that from this point on each day will be consumed with the painful wonder of if their loved one will make it through the day. The other family, waking up on Sunday morning to learn that their loved one has passed on to Heaven, a better place.

How is it that even if we have faith, we know that heaven exists and we also believe that all that belong in heaven are free from any sort of pain, it still hurts us. If death is unavoidable, why does it have to hurt so badly?

At some point in our lives we will all have to deal with people we love passing away and in time leaving earth ourselves; it seems to me it should be easier to cope with. Though, through my own experiences I can reassure you there is no easy way to handle death. It never feels fair.

After losing my mom I never imagined having the ability to be a part of other people’s loses. I felt so broken from my own loss that I thought I would never build the strength to be strong enough to comfort and grieve with others. I was wrong. Faith is such a powerful thing. With puddles of tears, sleepless nights praying, and time, I have found it within myself to do so. It doesn’t make it easy, but as I’ve said, I don’t think it can ever be easy.

trust in the lord

Someone I deeply care about is grieving this week. His heart is sad because he has lost a person he looked up to and loved. I have spent hours this week talking with him about all of his thoughts, feelings and memories. We have been put in a position to lean on one another many times throughout the course of knowing each other. But this week, it’s been different.

For the first time, I think he’s had a glimpse of what it feels like to lose someone you love. I would never wish this pain on him or on anyone. But we have learned how to grieve with each other. We have learned how to communicate about things that are never easy to discuss. And I have learned that when you care for someone there should be no pain you aren’t willing to take in order to give the gift of guidance and comfort through a difficult time.

For twenty-two I have lived through a lot of moments of darkness. I have had to deal with and experience many difficulties tied with death. I am very familiar with the feeling of losing someone you love. I live with it every day. This week I have been blessed to comfort two very different groups of people who are dealing with death; one family who is preparing to lose their loved one and another who has already lost theirs.

God is good. He puts us in the right places at the right time.

My advice: Never be afraid to be vulnerable for the people you love, it can be painful but worth it.

 

Wishing You a Happy Birthday

I stepped outside on my lunch today. The sun was shining so bright and beautifully. The air was still and for a moment I finally felt calm. I couldn’t help but smile because in my heart I knew today would be a sunny day. The sun is shining for you, because this is your day. Though I miss your physical presence more than my words could ever express. I know you are in good hands and that your soul is free. It’s free of any pain, negativity, panic, worry and heartache. It’s full of joy, laughter, pride and happiness. I want all of those wonderful things for you, I promise that I do. I try to fight every waking day to feel joy in my heart. I want to come to some sort of peace because I know that is what you want for me. Some days are easier than others. Today is a hard day. But I thank you, and I thank our glorious God for allowing the warm soothing sun to shine so bright on me today. When I close my eyes I can almost feel your arms wrapped around me. There is nothing like the feeling of your touch. There is no sound as sweet as your loving voice. Please know, for as long as I live, no one will ever take your place.

This is from me, mom, from the bottom of my heart, wishing you a happy birthday.

Birthday butterflies

This is What is Real

I can’t seem to focus right now. So, I am not even going to try. All I can think about today is her. Maybe it’s because this week is her birthday; Thursday, June 23rd.  She would be turning fifty- three this year.

So much life still left to live.

So much joy left to be felt.

So much love left to give.

But instead of celebrating another year with me, with her family, she will be somewhere that feels so far away from me right now. I know that she will be in heaven. She’s there right now. I bet it’s beautiful, painless, something like paradise; but it’s a beautiful place that right now feels so far away from me.

This will be her third birthday spent away from her three children. We are sad…we miss our mom. Not a day goes by that we don’t wish to have her here in our presence. Life isn’t the same when you lose someone you love. Life isn’t the same without a mother around to care for, protect and love on you.

It is so frustrating you know; when you lose someone like her. As time passes on people move on and sometimes you can’t help but almost wonder if they have forgotten. You still feel overwhelmed with the loss. You grieve frequently over what you no longer have. But it seems for most people, life goes on. Their families are still whole and their mom still has life. You almost panic because as the time passes you hear less of her. People stop checking in, they even forget important dates like Thursday and it hurts.

You don’t want to be bitter. You don’t long for pity. You are just sad. You’re sad because no matter how much time passes, for you, the void is still there. The hole is left aching in your heart. You want something simple, something every twenty-two year old girl should desire. You just want to spend your mom’s birthday with her. You want to see her face and hear her voice. Would a simple hug be too much to ask for?

Today I am grieving. I am grieving so bad. I miss my mom and it hurts. I wish I had more to say, but today this is all. Because this is what is real.

From our favorite author, Nicholas Sparks. “Without you in my arms, I feel an emptiness in my soul. I find myself searching the crowds for your face – I know it’s an impossibility, but I cannot help myself.”

 

You Can Make a Difference

People will hurt you.

But always remember: two wrongs don’t make a right.

I remind myself of this golden rule countless times throughout the week. I don’t know about you but I find myself frequently feeling disappointed or sensitive towards the actions of the people around me. It is not because I think I am perfect or that I believe I always do right. I know I don’t. I think it is more because I am very observant and aware of how the decisions and behaviors of one person can affect another human being.

Whether we intend to or not; people do hurt people. This is a concept I have never really understood. Why do we hurt people… especially the ones we love? There is so much hurt that already exists in this world. Couldn’t we just be a little more careful about protecting one another? That is something I continuously hope for. When I say my prayers I ask God to help the people in this world to find more kindness, peace and love. I think the world would be a much better place if people focused more on positive actions.

However, as well all know, we only have control of one person; and that is you. This brings me to another point; I have heard people say “one person cannot make a difference.” I call bullshit on that one. I know that one person can make all the difference. It can take one act of kindness to turn around someone’s whole day. It can take one message of hope to encourage someone to not give up. I have people in my life that it simply takes being in their presence to give me the peace and happiness I desire to feel. That, my friends, is making a difference.

difference pic 1

I have been in an all-time low. I have been in a place where peace and happiness did not exist.  My world felt upside down. It took beautiful people in my life that made a commitment within themselves to continue to remind me that peace and happiness would come. It took me making the decision to want to find that peace and happiness in my life again, but it didn’t happen overnight.

I recall a very sad moment for me. It was the summer after I lost my mom. I had anxiety racing in every part of my body. I felt claustrophobic; in my mind I was trapped within a state of pain and was desperate to feel some sort of relief. However, no matter how much I cried or screamed…no matter what I tried to do to comfort myself from losing my mom; I couldn’t find relief.  I had been sitting in her closet surrounded by her clothes; I had her pictures on my lap and was sobbing into her bath robe when I felt like I couldn’t take the pain for another second.

I got up and ran downstairs and out the door. It was the middle of the night and I began running down my driveway. I continued on down the road, running and screaming. Every part of me hurt. I kept running and running until I almost couldn’t breathe. Maybe I thought I could run from and escape my pain. It didn’t work like that.

I look back at this moment and tears fill my eyes. I can feel the intensity of pain I had in that very moment. But I can’t help but look at where I am now and almost smile because I know how much I have had to overcome to get to where I am. I cry thinking about my journey, even the days to come without my mom. But I will always rejoice in the strength and peace I have found within myself.

Having to face such a tragic time in my life at a young age has helped me to form a very unique outlook on life. I have felt pain and suffering. I know what serious hurt feels like. Feeling the deep emotions I have has given me a better appreciation for the people around me and the way I choose to treat them. You never know what other people are facing, how difficult it might be for them to get through the day or how desperately they need to feel some sort of relief, like I did.

I never want to intentionally be the individual who adds negativity to another person’s day. That is why I feel it is so beneficial to always be aware of your actions and how you are treating others. You can make a difference.

difference pic

 

Fear Can Be a Beautiful Thing

Two years, two months.

My heart is sad today. I woke up very sad. I am actually not feeling very well because of it. I wanted to post this blog today because I think it is important to share with everyone that sad days are okay too. They are completely natural. There are days and moments that are harder than others for me to accept not having my mom around. This sort of makes my life a roller coaster, but I am alright with that too because the ups are better than the downs. They make it all worth it.

Next week is the fourth of July. I recall last year and all the other years of my life going up to the Silver Lake Sand Dunes with my family for a long weekend to celebrate together. The past few years my mom hasn’t been here to make the trip with us. However, our very first trip to the dunes without her we brought her ashes and shared a very indescribable and heartfelt moment together as a family. That was one of her favorite places in the world and we wanted to make sure that she would always be there with us. We did and I will never forget embracing that time with my brothers and dad.

Dunes lake pic

This year is the first year we are not making the trip. It is sort of bittersweet. Nick and Nathan have football and are unable to come home. So Dad and I decided to part from our trip and make other plans. It isn’t the same up there without the whole family. I will greatly miss experiencing the sparkling fireworks over the great big sand dunes reflecting into the beautiful lake. It is truly a sight to see. I realize in my heart it has never been the same since I have been there without my mom. I don’t think it ever will be. Our memories there are so good that I can’t help but always ache for her to be there with me. Maybe a change in direction and taking a different trip will be good for me. I am not sure yet.

There’s something about summer that has become very hard for me. My mom loved the sunshine, flowers, butterflies, bonfires, cookouts, rollerblading and taking family trips. My summers still consist of all of those activities but each one feels different without her. I know she would want me to enjoy all of her favorite things, even without her. I try to remind myself of that often.

There are many times that I fear doing so. I create this image in my mind that it is not right to enjoy my life without her. It brings guilt to my heart because as much as I do believe she wants me to be happy; it hurts me to be happy without her. I am assuming that anyone who has ever lost someone close to them could in some way relate to that feeling. There are people who believe fear is a bad feeling to have. Throughout my journey with and without my mom I have come to a point where I strongly disagree.

Fear can be a beautiful thing. It can resemble what you have and what you don’t want to lose. It can signify what you had and what you are scared to go on without. In order to inquire those feelings one must have loved and loved deeply. That is exactly what I have felt and feel about my mom. I am not ashamed to fear my life without her in a sense. It is proof of how important she was and always will be to me.

We have to find healthy ways to live and cope with fear. I believe I have. I acknowledge my own personal fears, I am aware of them and I overcome them each and every day. To me, that is what is real. I do not envy a person who claims to live without any fear. This world can be a very scary place, it is unpredictable. And let’s be honest we aren’t superheroes.

Taylor Swift quote

So, basically this post is meant to be real. Today I am sad. Today I miss my mom so badly. And today I live with some fear, because no matter how bad I want to spend my weekend with her…and no matter what I would give to take a trip to the sand dunes with her to watch the fireworks; I can’t.

 

Choosing the Right Mindset

Is the glass half full or half empty? Are you a positive person or do you tend to look at the negative side of things first? Do you have an open mind or is the door to opportunity, hope and happiness usually closed? It has been proven that pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.

These thoughts came to mind when pondering a pretty difficult situation in my own life right now. A very special friend of mine was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a little over a month ago. I had just enjoyed her smiling presence at my graduation ceremony and days later received the heartbreaking news of her illness. It almost seemed impossible to me. It didn’t take much thinking to understand why I couldn’t comprehend this wonderful woman being diagnosed with such an awful disease. She was invincible to me. She is one of the most positive and loving people I had ever met.

I was very scared to see my friend for the first time after receiving the news. However, as soon as I was in her presence I felt so silly for feeling that way. She was the same cheerful, smiley and positive person. If anyone could be optimistic through this time, it would be her.

When reflecting on her experience with being diagnosed with cancer and all that have been through. I came across one of my favorite quotes by another incredible woman, Helen Keller:

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.”

This very quote is the way I long to live my life. And it is surely the way my friend has lived her. But why can it seem so difficult to be optimistic at times? How can I watch a human being who doesn’t deserve to fight this life-threatening illness suffer, yet smile through her journey and still find myself looking at certain circumstances in my life in a negative light? It doesn’t seem right does it?

I think I have come to the understanding that everyone’s life can be difficult. We all endure different seasons that are trying and bring an enormous amount of heartache. How we determine within ourselves to weather the storm is on us.

mindset 1

I find with myself that I not only struggle with weathering the “big stuff” but I acknowledge that sometimes I am guilty of being negative when it comes to the small things in my life too. I’ve been extremely exhausted lately or sometimes I just find myself wanting to have a break. I’ve found myself thinking… Ugh why do I have to go to work? When rather, how blessed am I to have a job! It is things like that.

I am a crazy coffee and caffeine lover. I was recently diagnosed with something that in turn causes me to not be able to drink coffee. This was probably one of the things I enjoy most throughout my day…sounds crazy, I know! I have really struggled accepting giving up my favorite habit. But then when considering what other people face and the things they have to give up and conquer, I honestly feel quite selfish.

One of the many lessons I have had to learn the hard way is that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged. Life still continues on and we still have to face whatever is coming our way each day. Having the right mind set and attitude will only benefit our situation and help to restore faith in our self and circumstance.

mindset 2

I have made it a part of my daily life to journal five positives in my day, no matter if I constitute the day as a good or bad day. I have found that it easier than I ever expected to always come up with at least five positive aspects or moments in my day. I have also decided when negative thoughts or feelings come my way that I reserve the situation by finding some sort of blessing in whatever the situation is. This activity has quickly become very beneficial to me and my mood throughout the day. As I am sure it impacts the people around me as well. Give it a try! 🙂