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.

“Together Forever”

I had a busy weekend cleaning. In the midst of continuing to try to move my belongings from the last 22 years I came across so many reminders of you. Not that I needed them, I always am thinking of you, but for some reason I do always find great comfort in the pain that comes from grieving over everything that reminds me of you. Maybe because it’s the biggest reminder, proof and evidence of what I shared with you. It helps to calm me and relieve my soul that it isn’t empty and lonely because of what I was able to have with you. I am so grateful for all the memories. All the hidden treasures you left behind for me; every little piece is so sacred and could never be replaced.

There were many tears today and even though I think the world thinks I may have found my strength, that I have somehow found a way to “move on” I know its not true. I still hurt, I cry, and I still scream, for you. How could I not? Look what I’ve lost. Even after a few years, I don’t think I believe in moving on. Not from people you love, the people you’ve lost. Not from the friendships you share. I am not good at moving on. I hold on. I appreciate and value the depth of what I’ve shared with the people I love and it just never goes away. I think that is both a gift and a curse. It is hard because there are many emotions involved with holding on.

I found a note from you today. Your handwriting, so beautiful and neat, just like you. The note ended with “Together Forever.” Those words never hurt so bad, mom because I needed you here with me… I suddenly felt angry and rejected. It wasn’t fair; it will never be fair… I finally led myself over to one of my favorite books.

My devotion today… “I AM YOUR STRENGTH AND SHIELD. I plan out each day and have it ready for you long before you arise from bed. I also provide the strength you need each step of the way. Instead of assessing your energy level and wondering about what’s on the road ahead, concentrate on staying in touch with me. My power flows freely into you through our open communication. Refuse to waste energy worrying, and you will have strength to spare. Whenever you start to feel afraid, remember that I am your shield. But unlike inanimate armor, I am always alert and active. My presence watches over you continually, protecting you from both known and unknown dangers. Entrust yourself to my watch care which is the best security system available. I am with you and will always watch over you wherever you go.”

I am thankful I opened my devotional this evening. After a rough day, I felt defeated. I felt hyper sensitive to my surroundings and desperate for all the things I once found comfort in. Exactly what I needed was a reminder from my God that all I truly need is him. It is so easy to become distracted, to get off track. To stray away from him, from who you are and make mistakes. I have been there many times. My heart now cries for the glory of grace and the endless care from the presence of Jesus Christ. Maybe that’s why I can’t learn to move on. Maybe he has taught me to love like him, unconditionally.

 I miss you tonight, mom, as I miss you always. I wish you were here to share this evening with me, but I know you are so close and will always be within my heart. One day, we will be together again, forever and ever. I hold on to that day, it gives me hope and peace. I rejoice in being “Together Forever.”

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.

I Refuse.

I refuse to consider someone taking your place, in any way, shape or form. Your perfection to me is so unique and rare. It is deeply missed. Your classy behavior, generous heart and unconditional love is so incredibly special. Each day I live without you here with me I learn to appreciate even more just how wonderful you are and were to me.

When I think of you, I think of elegance and not because you were a dolled up woman. You were actually quite simple. You appreciated the little things in life. I think of elegance because of the way you carried yourself; the way you treated people.

Growing up is so hard, mom, especially without you. People like you and like me, they are hard to come by. I sometimes question this world, myself, how do people ignore the feelings of others so easily? How can they be so selfish? As many of my questions, there are likely no answers, but mom, please know the selfless life you lived has inspired me. It hasn’t given me perspective and morals.

I am a woman with morals and self-pride. I know what I want and what I deserve and I promise to not compromise that. I speak out about the way I feel. This morning I am speaking out to you. No matter how fast time passes by. No matter how much it seems like the world moves on without you. I don’t. Not today, not any day.

You are my mom. You are the only woman that will ever love me in all the ways that you do. You lift me up, you impact me and only you can. No matter what, even without your presence here with me in this crazy world, you’re here, I feel you.

I never want to not feel you. I never want to forget how good it felt to be with you. I never want to share the communication, bond and special love I had with you. You’re all mine, you are everything I want and need. Please know how much I miss you, every part of me; my mind, body, heart and soul ache without you. Please keep guiding me and loving me because I need you.

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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Trust Yourself

I debated on exactly how in-depth I wanted to get with this post based on my own privacy, I suppose. After giving it a lot of thought for a few days I decided to just begin writing to see where my words would take me.

My thoughts begin with the word honesty. If you can’t be honest with yourself, how can you ever expect to be honest with anyone else? For those who know me well, they understand one value that I hold incredibility high is trust. It is impossible for me to be involved in a good friendship or even more so relationship without the feeling of mutual trust.

Your word is only as good as your actions.

Trust can be very complicated. It takes a while to build, but can be broken within a matter of seconds.

Throughout the past five months I have been dealing with debilitating pain. My body has felt trapped within a state that feels extremely unhealthy. I have felt fatigue, along with an assortment of chronic pain that has been capable of controlling my life both physically and mentally.  And at times it has. However, I’ve felt determined to overcome this sick feeling no matter how much it would take out of me.

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I had to trust myself. I would remind myself of this daily. There were multiple times I recall crying out to myself or some of the close people in my life… “Am I crazy?” I wasn’t even sure if I was asking myself or if I was waiting for someone else to declare it. I had to be crazy. I’ve felt physical pain before, as losing my mom took over both my mind and body for a while, but this was something much different. I almost felt in some ways like I couldn’t manage to function.

I knew something was going on with my body, I just wasn’t sure what it was. As I went from doctor to doctor, I would find myself in tears recalling the same story. I would read my journal to them where I kept tabs of what I ate, how many hours I slept, the medicine/supplements I would consume and what I was feeling. I took multiple tests where minor abnormalities would pop up but nothing explaining the deep and controlling pain I knew I was experiencing. It quickly became a nightmare.

I could feel myself losing patience; but that wasn’t even the worst part. I could also feel people, who meant so much to me, pushing away from me because it began to consume me. I wasn’t fun, I sure wasn’t happy and it’s very possible, it was quite difficult to be around me.  People at work began to recognize I was in pain. They would complement me with how well I was coping. They’d even make mention of my positive attitude and devoted energy to my work. But inside I could feel that it was fake and draining me. I was giving it all I could just to make it through a day of work. One day at a time.

Finally one night I was absolutely hysterical. I was crying out to my father and friend, “I am in so much pain, I can’t do this anymore.” And in spite of what they may of thought, I truly felt this way. I was losing hope because I was trying desperately to find some sort of answer and relief. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t happening.

Very shortly after that night, I think God heard my cries and answered my prayers. I met with an extremely talented and generous doctor. For once, in this journey, I felt that he actually wanted me better as much as I did. I knew he was determined to help me and lead me to recovery. Within a few long months he connected me with a very special lady. She was a specialized in the area he felt I needed to be connected in. He was right.

Within a month of my first visit with her I was getting put to sleep for surgery. I went into the surgery nervous, but anxious with some sort of excitement. I was looking for answers that I so desperately needed. My first memory after recovery was the voice of the sweet lady doctor. She held my arm and said “Randi, my dear, you are not crazy.” It turns out something had been taking over my body and was causing me intense and terrible pain. If they wouldn’t have found it, it would have only gotten worse for me and could have resulted in a lot of permanent damage that would have been devastating for me.

I am still recovering, I have a long ways to go, but I know now how important it is to always trust yourself. You know your own body and needs. Don’t ever sell yourself short by not acknowledging what you feel. Be your own advocate and fight with every ounce of hope that no matter what you are facing there are better days ahead. Healing will come for those who believe.

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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.