Sunday, June 30, 2013

30 Things Challenge

I've been looking for a challenge, prompts, or topics to write about for quite awhile now. A couple of months ago I ran across this "Thirty Things" blogging idea that I really liked over at Hopes And Dreams.

I have a couple of new readers on my blog and I liked the fact that this one focused on getting to know me better. I also really liked that the questions seem pretty challenging. They require a lot of thought and reason and nearly all of them can be expanded on if I wanted to.

So what is a better time to start than at the beginning of July?! I definitely can't guarantee that I'll post every single day, but my hope is to finish it within a couple of months. I also hope that I end up getting back into the swing of blogging since I've been pretty bad at it lately.

The List:

1. List 20 random facts about yourself.
2. Describe 3 fears you have and explain how they became fears.
3. Describe your relationship with your parents.
4. List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.
5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?
6. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?
7. What is your dream job, and why?
8. What are 5 passions you have?
9. List 10 people who have influenced you and describe how.
10. Describe your most embarrassing moment.
11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have.
12. Describe a typical day in your current life.
13. Describe 5 weaknesses you have.
14. Describe 5 strengths you have.
15. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?
17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?
18. What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?
19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.
21. If you could have one superpower, what would it be an what would you do with it first?
22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?
23. List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.
24. Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.
25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?
26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?
27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?
28. What is your love language?
29. What do you think people misunderstand most about you?
30. List 10 things you would hope to be remembered for.

As I complete the topics, I will link that topics blog back to this original post so they are all easy to find.

Have fun and let me know if you decide to join in! :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My experience

Last weekend I attended a memorial service for a wonderful woman. A woman that I am so happy to have been able to call a friend. It was such an emotional day, but if one could look past the sadness, you could see a room overflowing with love.

Saturday was a very difficult day for me as I struggled to sort through the hundreds of emotions that I was feeling all at once. We [my mom, sister, and myself] arrived a little bit late because, for some reason, my GPS led us about 20 miles astray. We were in a completely different city and in a small community. We were lost and extremely frustrated and that started a flood of emotions. I just knew we were going to miss the entire memorial and I could barely stand myself I was so upset. But thankfully we arrived in Longmont and found the church about half way through the service. I'm so grateful for that.

I walked in to her service and I don't think there was a dry eye in the church. As we were ushered to our seats, we were listening to Molly's Eulogy. He had just begun to talk about Starbright World and shortly after sitting down they mentioned Molly's beloved friendship with Spencer. My emotions got the best of me very suddenly, more suddenly than I expected, and I was doubled over in inconsolable sobs and anguish at the loss of both my soul mate and good friend. I cannot ever remember crying as hard as I did when their friendship was mentioned. It hurt me so deeply words cannot even describe. Molly and Spencer were are so very special to me and thinking about their friendship both warms my heart and slices through it deeply at the very same time. I wish that I could talk to them both, together, about the times they shared together. In that moment I suddenly missed them more than I ever knew was possible.

I was a complete mess through the rest of the service. It was really hard for me to sit there and listen to what was being said. The love shared between Molly and her husband, Corey, really got to me. He was so right when he said most people search a lifetime to find the love that Corey and Molly shared. Spencer and I were told that countless times, and I still am to this day. Knowing that they found that love, together, is beautiful and they are so lucky they were able to share it. While they were talking about the relationship that they had, I nearly left the sanctuary. I was so overcome with grief and heartache it took everything that I could possible give to not sob so loudly. It was the first time since I lost Spencer that I really felt the need to let everything out. That I ACTUALLY had the ability to let it out, as every time before that I had tried numbness would set it. And it was the need not only to let out pent up emotions about Molls, but also about Spencer.

The emotions that were building up in my heart were was literally more than I could process. Tears sprung out from the corners of my eyes. My bottom lip and jaw trembled uncontrollably. Sobs that I was desperately trying to hold back kept escaping from my throat. My hands, legs, and really just my whole body was shaking. I couldn't open my eyes as they were stained with tears. I could hardly sit upright. Using my muscles and holding myself up was almost more than I could manage in that moment. I felt like I was going to explode. I was completely overwhelmed. I missed my husband more than ever in that moment, and I was so, so sad that my friend is no longer here.

As people smiled at me I was physically unable to smile back. I just wanted someone to take me in their arms and cry with me but at the very same time I wanted to run off and be by myself. The presence of people, whether I knew them or not, was almost too much. I was so lost and there was no understanding to be had.

I am just stunned that the emotions I experienced were so intense. I never expected them to be. That whole day I felt completely shattered, and to be honest with you, I still do. I feel like I have lost so much and it's unbearable. I don't really know how to keep on going. I know a lot of this, a lot of this, relates back to Spence. I feel like perhaps there are some feelings that I have not been able to identify or express that are lingering from Spencer's death. Maybe since things have been able to soak in from his death and the fact that it's been about a year since I've lost anyone close to me, I've had time to process things and it's given me the ability to express whatever it is that is festering in my poor, broken heart. Whatever it is, I was pretty blind sighted with the way that I felt last Saturday.

It was also so strange to me that I almost felt worse on Saturday then I did when I lost Spencer. I don't remember feeling any of those emotions until Saturday. I think part of it is because of the fact I was able to accept Spencer's decline and death and I gave him the final say as to when it was ok to let go; whereas I was not with Molly before she passed away and I wasn't able to accept anything that was happening. The loss of a friend is so, so different than the loss of a spouse. I didn't really expect it to be. I thought losing Spencer was the ultimate pain, if that makes sense. As I said, I know that Spencer's death ties into Molly's quite a bit making it a lot harder.

I don't know... last weekend was just hard. Very hard. And I'm glad that I got through it and that day is now in the past. I can't help but think about Corey, Melissa, and Lauren every single day. They are just starting the journey of missing and longing for their wife, daughter, and very best friend and I know they are feeling her loss so much more than I am.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The hand of death

*I say the word "we" in this a lot because I was talking to a dear friend of mine today and I think I am speaking for all of us who have lost a lot of the same influential people in a short amount of time*

When you lose your husband you kinda think and hope that the worse is over. You've lost the one you love and treasure the very most. The one that you choose to spend the rest of your life with, so the worse must be over, right?


It has been proven to me time after time again that that is just not true. The hand of death doesn't stop just because you've been broken once before.

I've never lost a good friend until now, and the emotions and feelings I have been having are much different and more difficult to accept and express. I am much more seasoned in the area of loss than a 22 year old should ever be. I've experienced more loss in the last 2 years than I ever thought was possible. I feel kind of like an expert in the subject.

Through all the people I have lost, I have found that I unknowingly and unintentionally put up a front. I appear to be so much stronger than I really am. I look at the positives, I remain optimistic, I remain confident that I will see them once again. Around people I have the ability to be my normal bubbly self. I walk around telling myself things are okay, that I have to much to be thankful for and that I will be okay. I do my best to not express any sadness what-so-ever. I would almost convince myself that everything was okay even though my whole world was shattering around me.  I realized several months ago that the only change that happens when my strong front is up, is that with each person I lose, the more light I lose, the duller my eyes get, the weaker my smile gets. Only those close to me recognize these signs of hurt and the signs that I am breaking down. Through all the losses I have become a lot more numb to loss. I experience sadness, but none as deep as what I did when my Spencer passed away. When I'm by myself and I am actually able to put my strong front down, the numbness sets in and I'm unable to cry, get angry, be sad.

But through this loss of my dear friend, most of the above has went out the window. That strong front is getting so much weaker and I am unable to convince myself that everything is okay. I can't look at the positive, I can't be optimistic, and I certainly am not longer certain that I will see the ones I love again. When I'm in public and trying to keep it together, on the inside I am crying out in pain, wishing anyone who saw me would understand the inner turmoil I'm going through.

I'm not certain that this will make sense to you, but half of me feels numb while half of me is feeling every single thing that I could possibly feel. Losing Molly has kind of pushed me over the edge. The part of me that feels numb, I think is in part disbelief that this happened. We all knew it was coming. I knew for several days and in all those days I have been incredibly angry. But the part that is feeling every single thing that I could feel.... well it is just too big to even begin to sort through the emotions and piece them together. It's too big to be able to express, in writing or in words.

With every loss that we experience, the more we continue to be broken down; The more tired we become; The more we tend to bottle it in, whether we mean to or not, because it all added together becomes way too much to process; The more we become afraid to express the hurt that we feel because we are terrified that the hurt will never stop, that the tears won't stop when they start; The more afraid we are to start the process because we know how much it hurt from the previous loss and we know it will be even worse this time.

With every loss that happens, the more vulnerable we become.

And because I am vulnerable? I am feeling completely 100% broken and shattered. More-so thank any other time. There is too much going on in my mind and in my heart and I almost feel like I can't be in my own skin right now. Because I am vulnerable I am experiencing emotions from my past that I have dealt with and moved on from and those chronic emotions that are now only temporary, only coming and going every once in awhile. Emotions come flooding back that I forgot were even possible.

I'm naturally really missing Spencer all over again. I want him here for comfort. My emotions for my husband are very high right now. Molly and Spencer were best friends and shared a lot of memories together. It really hurts me that I feel like I've lost another part of Spencer. I have lost memories of Spencer. A connection to Spencer that I no longer have. I am so thankful that I spent time with Molls last summer and heard some of her memories of my husband. I will cherish them even more now that she's gone.

I am so, so heartbroken because of the empathy I have for Molly's new husband. I'm so sad for her family. I'm now understanding some of the feelings Spencer's friends went through when he passed away. The helplessness. The anger. The hurt. It's all different when you lose a friend compared to when you lose a spouse. I didn't expect it to be.

We continue to add to the number of people that we need to grieve. It makes it so hard to even start the process because we know how much more time it is going to add onto the process as a whole. I know that Molly's loss is going to tack on a significant amount of time to my grieving. For me, I am finally starting to get to a good spot in my healing journey with the loss of Spencer. But with that, I am noticing the loss of my mother-in-law more, my grandma more, and my grandpa a little bit more. I am just now starting to grieve their loss. It's been 18 months since I lost my husband. I'm just NOW getting to that point. I still have 3 other people to grieve.... and now 4. It seems like a never ending process. This loss has really thrown me for a loop. Every loss I experience the more complicated my grieving process becomes.  Each and every time things get harder.

For some reason losing Molly has me questioning every single thing I once believed -- and that's really hard for me to swallow. Before I was very firm in my belief that I was going to see Spencer again. We were going to live eternity together. I guess what other choice did I have but to believe that? I needed that comfort and that reassurance. That through the heartache and pain I was experiencing there would be a reward in the end. There have been several times where I have briefly questioned my beliefs... My belief in the afterlife and even my belief in a higher power. But I was always able to recover and dismiss those thoughts very quickly. It hurt to much to think that I'll never see my husband again. But with Molly being gone I feel like I have lost all of my faith. How can this happen AGAIN. Why does this happen so often. I am so ANGRY that this has happened. I am torn between whether to believe Spencer and Molly are together, or whether to dismiss that idea and wonder if we will all be reunited again. It's a very, very hard thing to think about. Right now I'm just going with it because I don't have the strength to try and correct it and work through it.

People say to give it time. Time will heal you. With time things will get better, easier. But as a good friend put it today, "That's the one thing I feel like we don't have. [Time] is what we keep losing to." I can't express that any better then she did. When I have now lost 6 very close people whom I love very much in less than 2 years.... I feel like I am rushing against the clock. Our concept of time has completely changed and it's very hard to alter it back to the way it once was.

And with so many losses in such a short amount of time.... it makes one question who is going to be next and when is it going to happen. I mean how much time do we really have with one another? It's an awful thing to think, and a thought that I hate, but it's too hard to get it out of my mind whether I want to or not. I think of our close knit group, all of us living with chronic illnesses. We're more susceptible to death (I guess you could say) and it's scary to think about who might be next. You think that it's finally done now, at least for awhile -- but then life is cruel and steals another one away. I know for a fact that thought gets a little bit better the further out from a loss that you get, but it's a hard thought to live with.

I don't know how to end this. I have no words of advice for my friends experiencing her loss. I have no words of encouragement or hope. I am completely broken and I'm struggling to hold it all together. I am glad I have a close knit group of friends who understand most everything expressed above. Talking out things with one of them was extremely helpful for me to sort through a couple of my thoughts.

If I know anything, I know this -- I feel an overwhelming need to tell those I care about and love just how much they mean to me. It's so important to let them know, and often. I hope to be able to make more of an effort to do just that.