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.

Hello October!

Well, whether we are ready or not, it is now the beginning of October. It is hard to believe how fast time passes by. Isn’t it? I feel as if each time I write a post I find myself expressing a similar statement.

October

Fall is such a wonderful time of the year. The leaves are changing, there are many wonderful scents to enjoy and yummy things to eat…oh, and of course it is football season. Suddenly, it’s time to pull the sweaters out of the back of your closet and start wearing your cute boots. There isn’t a better time for warm coffee or fuzzy blankets. You can explore fun activities with your friends and family such as carving pumpkins (one of my favorites). There are just so many joyful things about this time of the year.

However, tied to all these beautiful things, there can be sadness too. Fall brings holidays, memories and traditions. For me, this can be a real struggle. As much as I love to enjoy all my favorites about this time of the year, my heart aches for what I am missing. My mom. As today, I am working at the office; I can’t help but feel distracted with my thoughts. My mind wonders and wishes so badly that I could spend this first fall weekend with her.

She loved this time of the year too. She always made the most of what the season would bring. She was full of life, generosity and love. How blessed am I to learn from her incredible behavior and to now in some special way walk in her footsteps? I continue to remind myself that is what she would want for me. Life, generosity and love.

I came across this verse today and felt very inspired by it…

You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. -2 Corinthians 9:11

What an empowering verse! God is really speaking to me right now. He continues to enrich me in every way so that I have the ability to give to others. And that is exactly what this fall season is about. We should be consumed with having generosity on every occasion and giving no matter what the result may be. Through God all of our giving will be rewarded with good.

Through the smile and tears, he has truly continued to be by my side. With happiness and with sadness, the Lord has been so generous to me. I feel humbled by 2 Corinthians 9:11. I feel motivated and ready to make the most of this fall and to walk with generosity in the guidance of my Lord and of course, my mother, so that they may lead me down the paths that I need to follow.

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Life is too Short

Lately I’ve been on this whole kick of ‘Life is too Short.’ And really, it can be.

I think because of both the many fortunate and unfortunate events that have occurred in my life at a fairly young age, I feel compelled to live every day to its fullest and make the most of my life. As wonderful as it sounds, it is actually a very hard and demanding task to complete. Not only can life be incredibly beautiful, but it can be extremely challenging as well. It is difficult to remain in positivity when at times there can be so much negativity surrounding you.

I’m starting to believe that awareness is the key.

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To start, become aware and acknowledge that your mind is powerful. Some of the most gifted and talented minds have taken nothing and made it into something. We can control the majority of what we are feeling and the way we behave by being in tune with our own minds. I come across many obstacles, both big and small, throughout my daily life. My approach towards tackling the obstacles varies based on what they actually are. However, I am fairly certain that I would not be able to overcome a large percent of my own personal obstacles without acceptance.

There are things in this life that seem unfair. I have several examples in mind. One that continuously occurs to me is sickness. I know several beautiful individuals that have battled severe illnesses that either left them in despair or led them to death. It seems like no matter how hard you try to comprehend something like terrible illnesses that happen to people all over the world, it just doesn’t make sense. And it probably won’t. Through a lot of hard work I have come to the acceptance that there are not answers for everything; especially the things we cannot control. Lucky for us, there are so many things we can control. So, let’s focus on that!

In today’s world we are blessed to have the gift of freedom. We are entitled to choices. As we know there were once days when having freedom wasn’t as easy as it is now. But right now, in this moment you are able to decide what you want to do and when and how you’d like to do it. You may choose your religion, your occupation, your education, your spouse and so much more. But not only that you can choose your church, your location, your school, your soul mate and again so much more. If you really stop to think about it, how awesome is that?!

So I have been asking myself a series of these types of questions lately. I have committed to take time to dig deep in searching my soul. I want to develop confidence that I will spend each day of my life the way I truly desire to. This process is just beginning for me and as I am finding out already it can be quite confusing. But in the end, I totally believe it is going to be worth it.

I have awareness of the power of my mind. I have accepted that there will be obstacles to come that I may not understand and I am ready to focus on all the things that I know I can control. I am working to have the confidence I encourage us all to have. Live life doing what makes you happy.

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A Tribute to Nan

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of you is your laugh. It was inevitably contagious. There was always a smile on your face, a cup of coffee on your desk and some sort of yummy treat in your hand. You were passionate, enthusiastic and determined. Most of all you were kind. In the years of knowing you, I can’t think of a moment in time that I ever recognized a mean bone in your body. Yet, I have all the faith in the world that if any stupid boy did me wrong or broke my heart, you’d let em’ have it. Your words, not mine. I loved sharing my stories and shoe fetishes with you. You were a sucker for a fabulous pair of heels. I don’t blame you. Your favorite outfit, a Red Wings jersey. You were so simple, but elegant. I always felt comfort and love in your presence. Maybe it’s because you always genuinely cared to know what was going on in my life. I am so thankful you made it to my college graduation ceremony. I will miss our frequent lunches at Focassia’s. Their lobster bisque was your favorite. It will hard to go back there without you. I know with all of my heart, the ‘Nut House’ will never be the same without you. You were deeply loved by everyone who crossed your path. And will forever hold a special place in my heart. You will be missed. But I remind myself of your faith and rejoice knowing that you are with the love of your life again, Howard. I hope you’ll go visit Hawaii again with him.

I will always love you Nan.

Please give my mom a hug for me.

P.S. I know you both will be watching over the stands on October 10th for the boys’ football game.

Nan

 

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.”

 

Utilize Your Gifts

This morning at work I noticed a familiar smiling face in which was not smiling. It was abnormal to me to see this sort of expression on this individual’s face. With a feeling in my gut that something was wrong I proceeded to ask the person how their weekend was. I actually received the response I was expecting; something was wrong.

This person had been informed just yesterday that a close friend had unexpectedly passed away. I could immediately relate to the feelings attached to death. It might be the hardest concept to comprehend and accept. I know that it is for me. Nothing about death has ever seemed fair to me. However, I know that it is a natural part of life and often times it is something we just cannot control.

It bothered me seeing this person in pain. It bothered me knowing I could relate so much to the heartache of death. In part, that is why I decided at some point in my day I needed to make an attempt to reach out to this hurting person in order to express my condolences and concern. More importantly, I wanted this person to know, that they were not alone in this feeling.

I am hesitant to become personal with people in my work setting. I am very comfortable with the concept of keeping my work and my personal life separate. I think it just helps to remain professional and productive while at the office. I do believe there are exceptions for this behavior and this time, today, would be one of those.

The moment I walked away from the individual the phrase “Utilize your gifts” came to my mind. It was almost like God was speaking to me as a reminder for me to not ignore reaching out to someone in need…especially someone I knew I could help. I know the good Lord understands better than anyone else that I could relate and offer some sort of encouragement or comfort in this time of need. And so, I didn’t ignore Him or my heart.

Sometimes using our own personal gifts is sort of a hard thing to do. But why is this? They are a huge part of our purpose in this life. They are the best way we can make an impact on this world.

First, I think it is important to clarify what exactly I mean by ‘our gifts.’ I think our gifts can be found by taking the time to recognize something you are naturally good at, a part of your own testimony, something you have been through that changed your life in some form. I believe our gifts can also be something we are extremely passionate about; something that makes us who we are. Sharing your gift is using yourself to provide for someone who is need of whatever it may be that you have to offer.

Unfortunately, sometimes these gifts have required a lot of heartache; for instance, losing my mom unexpectedly at nine-teen years old. It has been the most heart breaking journey, I hope, I will ever have to take. I wish that no other teenage girl in this world would ever have to experience what I have. But throughout this journey I have developed a set of skills in order to overcome the heartache that trapped me in darkness for far too long.

I find myself in a place now where I have hope in peace and I can feel joy again. I understand the true significance of feeling broken; I know what it is like to receive comfort, guidance and encouragement and I also know what it is like to not. But more importantly I have learned how to give all of those three things and more. I understand the true importance of giving when someone needs it the most. It has created this strong feeling inside of me that wishes more people in this world would not be afraid to GIVE. The reward is unimaginable.

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That is why I now decided in my life to make a commitment to myself and the people I come across. There is no exception to not giving and utilizing the gifts that God gave you to help another human being in need. His purpose for our gifts is to reach out to one another and help each other to live this life to its fullest.

At the end of today, I had a visitor at my office door. The person had a smile on their face as they thanked me for not only reaching out to them on a day they needed it the most, but also for being brave enough to share my own heartache in order to make a difference in the person’s day.

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.

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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.

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