Though Shelby started middle school last year, entering the 6th grade, the jump into 7th is more significant to me. In my own schooling, the seventh grade is when I was no longer an “elementary” student. I moved on to a new school, new friends, changing classrooms, more advanced subjects, and so on.
Shelby is doing the same this year. Not only that, she will be turning thirteen soon...officially a “teenager”. She’s already formed her own tastes in music, books, activities, foods, and hobbies. She’s gone through a change in “best friends” in the past year. She’s become more independent, responsible, opinionated, and dare I say, outgoing. Recently, she started her….well, you know.
All without Megan.Read more
Last weekend I was at a close friends wedding. I loved the people, the venue and the time away from my regular hectic schedule. On a beautiful hill at a colonial inn in rural New Hampshire, we all gathered under three towering maple trees to watch two friends join together.
Being afraid and doing it anyway. That’s what they say courage is all about. I’m sure most people don’t see themselves as courageous. I think because the idea of being afraid and doing it anyway is often associated with enormous, heroic action.
In fact, I would pretty much consider myself the opposite of courageous and always have. I get all spazzed out if I’m late to things. I am endlessly nervous about missing a flight somehow, despite never once having had this occur. I’m paralyzed by moments of having to make choices and decisions… spending what most people would probably consider a ridiculous amount of time weighing the pros and cons and potential outcomes of each possible choice. I take too many things too seriously too much of the time. And of course, I’m constantly afraid people are going to die and I’ll regret some choice I made somehow...Read more
Funny how different losses can create such different kinds of struggles for us. How different versions of loss can confuse us and blindside us in unexpected ways… even when we have dealt with loss before.
I feel like I came home from our recent trip to Texas changed. In a good way. I feel like there were a lot of things that were rearranged inside me while on that trip. I know it had a lot to do with seeing good friends, and Drew’s family, and being in my hometown and feeling that anchored feeling of the place I grew up.
Usually when we visit, I leave feeling like there just wasn’t enough time… to see everyone and do everything that mattered. This time though, it didn’t feel that way. I made it a priority to have greater amounts of time with the people I often barely get time to see - some of them, the most important people to me. So as we hit the road back to Ohio after 10 days in Texas, my heart felt so full and satisfied and peaceful. It was the first time a trip back home didn’t feel like “not enough”. And it was beautiful.
That trip has left a different sense of calm in me since being back in Ohio. I feel this stronger sense of connection to the people and places I love that are far away, and also to the person I was then. In a way, maybe it feels like I’ve brought her with me this time.Read more
For some reason, I always feel that this blog should be sad and grief-driven. But, today I just feel AMAZING! It would have been our 10th anniversary last week, and yes, it was hard, I mean really hard. However, it wasn’t nearly as hard as in the past.Read more
I’ve been in Texas on vacation for a few weeks, hence my absence here. I have however been waiting to share something very special that happened while we were down there. If you’re new here, I lost my fiance Drew 7 years ago in a crash. I am now engaged to a widower, Mike, and we have this new little blended family together with his daughter Shelby. When we go back to Texas for visits, we are usually visiting all of my friends and also, Drew’s family. We stay with them for usually half the trip. In fact, we sleep in Drew's bedroom, which weirdly enough isn't ever weird at all.
Since day one they have loved me as part of their own family. The week after Drew died, his mom and I were sitting together hugging and crying and she told me that when the day comes that I am with someone new, she would be honored to be the Mother of the Bride. Yeah, I cried a lot.
Since I lost my own mom when I was nine, these words have continued to be some of the most memorable of my life. They told me so much about the heart of this woman, who was enduring the worst shock and pain of losing her son - her firstborn - only a week before. It told me that she felt the same way I did, that she and I were each other’s connection to him and we were never letting that go. Over time, it has grown into so much more.
It is no surprise then, that when Mike proposed to me (At Drew's parents' house on Christmas Eve, which I wrote about here), she was the one and only person I could imagine having with me to go dress shopping. So, while Mike, Shelby and I were down in Texas, Drew’s mom and I went out one afternoon together to go wedding dress shopping. We thought initially we’d just see what’s out there, not expecting to find THE one. What unfolded was one of the most beautifully bittersweet and incredibly surreal moments of my life.Read more
No one tells you, or really talks about how boring parenting can be. Everyone loves to talk about all the fun stuff kids do. It’s easy to talk about the fiery, youthful enthusiasm that makes them entertaining. It’s fun to talk about children being silly and pretending to be animals. There is nothing cuter than watching a 6-year-old hop around like a bunny, or a frog, but for me, it would be nice if parents would discuss the hard stuff more.Read more
Well, it’s that time of year again. I’m here in Texas, with Sarah and Shelby, to celebrate you. This is what, year...five for me? That seems crazy. We went to your grave today, and it’s I guess looking good as ever. The little heart shaped rocks, the trinkets...the helicopters; they’re all still there. Your mom had some pretty nice flowers set up too. Lilies, I think. I dunno. I’m pretty sure you don’t care all that much, considering that it’s been 7 years, and your loved ones are still making it a point to come by and “tidy up”.
Anyway, you should have seen it tonight. Your parents are totally loving having Shelby around. Playing ping-pong with her, your mother showing Shelby around her business, rendering Peanut both in awe of all of the scientific equipment, and speechless, your dad and I telling “dad jokes” to her, and even letting her drive the farm vehicles around. It’s almost like Shelby is their granddaughter.Read more
Things are hard.
Life is hard.
Sometimes I am convinced that life is much harder for some than for others.
Sometimes it feels like I can never get a break.
Sometimes it feels like I will always struggle and things will always be really hard,
and that is just how my life will be.
I dont know.
None of this is fact.
Shelby has now, quite literally, walked in her mother's shoes. It's odd to me that, at the age of 12, she actually fits in them, but then again, she isn't stricken with the growth-impeding disease the Megan had.
After buying her new hiking shoes and boots for years, we decided to have her try on Megan's last pair. They fit her almost perfectly. Like that first time Shelby came down the stairs wearing her mom's t-shirt, I was taken aback, and Shelby thought nothing of it.
Credit goes to Megan for that trait. She was very realistic and unemotional about her own death. She accepted it and moved on to better things. It was rare for her to be scared or have deep thoughts about it, unlike me, who constantly dreaded it. Shelby, like her mother, never worries over Megan's death. I have yet to see her show any sadness, since the funeral mass. It's honestly the best Megan could have hoped for.Read more