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Archive for the ‘Loss’ Category

Hey Auntie,
How are you? How’s heaven?

Boy, I sure do miss you. A lot has happened since you left, and I can’t tell you how many times I wish I could just call and talk to you. Or come over to your house so we could play Monopoly and eat potato bread with butter. I’d even be willing to sleep on that old cot next to your bed again. Just to be next to you. Hold your hand till I fall asleep, like I used to when I was little. Have you draw on my back and say, “It’s something that runs across the road…”

Sometimes, if I listen hard enough, I can almost hear you say, “Hey, Kar.” Almost.

I hate that we don’t get to hang out. It’s been almost 10 years and sometimes it still feels like yesterday. Grief is a tricky thing, you know? Life goes on, but at the same time, we’ve all lost something. You were a huge piece of my puzzle, and most days, I can see the whole picture. But some days, the hole is so big I don’t know how to fill it.

Today is one of those days.

There is so much I want to tell you! I’m engaged. His name is Cody, and he came along when I least expected it. Guess that’s what love does, right? Shows up when you think you’ve sworn it off forever — becomes more than you’ve ever hoped for. I know you’d really like him. I think that’s what really gets me, you know? That you’ll never meet him. That he’ll never get to meet you. I have these moments, and he holds me. And all I can think is, this sucks. Two of my favorite people in the whole wide world and they don’t get to meet? How fair is that?

I want you to be at the wedding. I want you to be there when we have kids. I want you to be there to make cut-out cookies with your great nieces and nephews. (Okay, maybe not plurals but you never know! Verdict is still out on that one.) I want you to be here so we can have a glass of wine and really chat about life. I want to go for a walk with you, the way you and my mom used to. I want to take a drive in the hills. Or make a big bowl of popcorn and watch a cheesy Hallmark movie together. I want you to be here so I can hear your voice again – really. And give you a great big hug.

I want you to be here.

God, I wish you were.

It’s hard for me to watch or read anything associated with cancer. Sometimes I cry — at times just a little, other times a lot. It makes me so sad to see that kind of suffering, to be reminded that’s why you’re gone.

But I’m glad you’re with your best friend. I’m sure you guys are up there having a grand old time. And while I have some things I’d still like to do down here (more like a lot) I find comfort in knowing we’ll be together again someday. For God is not a God of destruction — but of hope and of love. He loved us enough to give us that gift, and He loved me enough to give me you.

I feel like I was so young when you died. Of course, at the time I thought I could conquer the world. Graduating high school? I was an adult for sure. But, the truth was, I didn’t know what that all entailed. I had a lot to experience. Places to go. People to meet. Heartaches to have. Growing up to do. Hard lessons to learn. I am far from the girl I was when you were here. But, I have held onto the important parts. Parts like you.

You were the mom I needed, when I didn’t like my own. Which is easy to do when you’re a teenager. You’ll be happy to know my mom is my best friend now. And we miss you together. I wish you and I had the chance to have the same kind of mature, honest, relationship now. But I want you to know you changed my life. And you will forever be that person. My role model. My crying shoulder. My hideaway. You let me be myself, and you were always there for me no matter what. You loved me unconditionally. You loved me like a daughter. You took me places. You made me feel valued. You made me feel special. You helped me believe in myself. You showed me that God should always come first — to have love in order to give love.

I’ll always remember you and Danny’s Bibles sitting open on the kitchen table. You planted seeds in my life, just by being you.

I want to thank you for loving me. For being my Aunt. For being the kind-hearted, caring, person you were. For laughing. For farting. For playing Christmas Trivia in the car. Pretty sure we knew every answer to Carols and Songs. For playing Scrabble with me. For making cut-out cookies with me, even when you were leaving for Christmas. For spending Thanksgivings with us. For your homemade pumpkin pies. For giving me a home away from home. For coming to my piano recitals, choir concerts, soccer games, and track meets. For seeing me off to prom my junior year. For taking me places — calling me on a whim and asking if I wanted to go shopping in Loveland for the weekend or ride with you to Sioux Falls. For playing cards with me. For being that cool Aunt who wanted to hang out with me. No matter how young or uncool I probably was. For taking me to church. For singing me songs. For rubbing my back. For listening. For laughing. For filling my life with happy memories I will never forget.

I love you so very much. And as much as I wish you were here, now and in the future, I am forever grateful for all the time we got to spend together. You made an ever-lasting impact on my life. Who I was, who I became, who I am, and who I have yet to be. I won’t ever forget you. I hope I’m half the woman you were “when I grow up.”

Now you are among the angels, and forever one in my heart.

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This has nothing to do with the price of tea in China.

This has everything to do with things we’re too afraid to say. The memories we’re not supposed to miss, or at least as much as we do. The loves we’ve lost. The regrets we’ve learned from. The dreams that were misplaced somewhere along the way. The lies we tell ourselves and everyone around us. The facade we create to feel better, to feel something.

Everything happens for a reason. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Actions speak louder than words. Ignorance is bliss. Better safe than sorry. It’s not about the number of breaths we take, but the number of moments that take our breath away. Live every day like it’s your last. Laughter is the best medicine. You can’t judge a book by it’s cover. Life goes on.

Bullshit.

Sometimes, life fucking hurts. It’s not fair. There is no reason to explain why.

Just because you felt something doesn’t mean it was enough.

There is a life size doll sitting in the corner of my room at my parents house, wearing a dress I used to wear when I was little. Most people that see it for the first time think it’s creepy. All I see is Big Doll downstairs at my Aunt Karen’s house. Standing in the corner by the bed I used to sleep on for sleepovers when I was older. The quilt. The space heater. The green and blue coffee trays older than me. All I see is a photo of me dancing in that dress in my Grandmother’s living room. The broken straw hat. The girl with barely any hair. The safety of having two homes beside my own.

This has nothing to do with the price of tea in China.

This has everything to do with what it feels like to lose someone before you should have. Because every day it happens — to mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, grandmothers, grandfathers, cousins, wives, husbands, friends, and lovers. But don’t worry… life goes on. Or some other incredulous bullshit like that.

Life is just a role that we play.

My God, may we play it well.

Stop worrying about the election, the price of gas, how many likes you have on Instagram, the latest fashions, the weekend, how much money you make, whether or not you have pimples, the latest celebrity gossip, the top of the charts, what people think, what things you have, what you didn’t do, who you should have been.

What if all you had was today?

What role would you play?

Who would you spend it with?

What memories would you make?

There is no guarantee.

Stop acting as if you’re entitled to one.

This has nothing to do with the price of tea in China.

This has everything to do with making an effort to be the best version of yourself, day in and day out. To commit yourself to making the people you love a priority. To stop selfishly waiting for someone else to make the first move. To act as if you give a damn. To not allow your fears to control your life. To wake up every morning with a purpose. To believe in God. Or something. Yourself, for starters. To stop feeling entitled to second chances and treating people as though it’s the only shot you got. To tell the truth. To love like crazy. To travel. To stop waiting for tomorrow. To stop planning so god damn much. To put pride aside and be there.

Be present.

It’s all we’ll ever have.

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I had just graduated college with an English/Creative Writing degree, when I landed a job at one of the largest banks in the United States. It was an entry level teller position, but I fell in love with the company’s core vision. I spent hours reading about what they stood for before my first group interview. They valued their people. They valued their customers. They stood for honesty and integrity. I felt personally drawn to those values and decided I wanted to be a part of that story.

I spent almost four years dedicating my time, my heart, my tears, and my stress to a company I thought would be my long-term career. In that time, I had earned three promotions and was waiting for an opportunity to the next.

When I lost my job, I was the number one Service Manager in the district.

I didn’t realize then losing that career would turn out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

In the desire to climb the corporate ladder, I had lost track of who I was. I had immersed myself in a culture no where close to that of which I had read about before applying. Every day was full of new stresses, every day was another deadline of sales goals, every day I came home feeling like it wasn’t quite good enough. We had to be the best. I had to be the best. And, I was. But, it came at a cost. The cost of not realizing life is a lot more than a means to an end. If your people are who matters most, then that means valuing who they are before what they can do for you.

I lost my job, and felt as though who I was meant nothing. My success did not matter. My ability to lead a team did not matter. My time did not matter. My honesty did not matter. I was as replaceable as any other person.

But the truth is, nobody is replaceable. Every single one of us has dreams, aspirations, personal triumphs and struggles. Those characteristics make us who we are, influence how we work, and determine our futures. It is the heartbeat inside of us, not the amount we’re getting paid, that makes us strive for more.

I may have lost my job, but that’s all it was. A job. It was doing nothing to better who I was as a person or encourage my heart. Day after day, I came home feeling like I could barely breathe. I was constantly stressed. And I complained about it all the time. The saddest part is, I felt like it was worth it. To be the best. To make the money. To influence others to do the same. In reality, it was harming my personal happiness, my real dreams, and my heart.

Since moving on, I have had countless people tell me how much happier I am. How I’m like a completely different person. I have also had other friends move on from the same company to other avenues only to be told the same thing. Funny isn’t it? How you can be so bought into an certain way of doing things that you forget what matters most.

Managing where I am now, I have the opportunity to hire people based on who they are and the personality they add to our team, instead of how much I think they can sell. I have the privilege to interact with customers and get to know their story because I want to, not because I have to in order to uncover a clue leading to another product sale. It’s still a business, and it’s still necessary to sell things to make a profit. But I get to do it in a way that feels right. My boss genuinely cares about who I am, my well-being. And in turn, I get to care about my employees personal lives in addition to our work relationship.

And, isn’t that what matters to all of us? To be known for who we are. To have the opportunity to do what we do best every day and feel like it matters.

Yesterday, I found out that I got a writing position with a private magazine.

The amount of gratitude I feel is beyond words. I now have the privilege to follow my dream as a writer, on top of already loving what I currently do. The craziest thing is, I never would have ended up here if I had stayed where I was.

I believe God allowed me to lose my job in order to find something so much better. The loss, as hard as it was, was not near as great as what I have gained because of it. Not only for my career path, but my own personal well being.

I am not just as good as the day. I am not the worth of one accomplishment. I am not the product of one promotion. I am not the value of one sale. I am a human being. I am the desires of my heart. I am my dreams. I am my aspirations. I am my hopes for the future. I am whoever God wants me to be.

So, thank you to the individuals responsible for my loss of a job. You gave me my life back.

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Over 100 people lost their lives today in Paris, France. Over 100 people that were just out trying to live life, enjoy things they love. A stadium. A restaurant. A concert hall. Regular activities for regular people who didn’t know tonight would be their last. My heart goes out to them. Their families. Their friends. Their co-workers. My heart goes out to the entire nation in this treacherous act of terrorism. How many times has this happened in our world’s history? And how many times do we begin to understand why? The answer is none. And it is in these unfathomable circumstances, that you realize life is a lot less complicated than you make it out to be. We are all just people. One human to the next. Trying to live our lives the best way we see fit. And yet, in these moments of injustice, we realize the world is not our own.

Still, we create it out to be. As a twenty-something growing up in modern day America I will admit that we are a selfish generation. We are a generation that thrives out of get it now satisfaction. The tabloids scream that you can have it your way… be as pretty as you want, as rich as you want, as skinny as you want, as tech savvy as you want. Get it now. Feel something. And, if you don’t like it, there will probably be another option on the marketplace shortly. You don’t have to live with your choices for long. We have become a generation capable of buying things because we want them, not because we need them. In turn, we have shaped who we are and how we encounter life.

We feel so entitled to the privilege of choice, we too often forget those choices can be taken away from us.

And, now, for a moment, we remember. Over 100 people lost their lives today in Paris, France. It was not their choice. Somebody else’s, maybe. But the life we so often take for granted can be gone in a blink of an eye.

Then you realize it is not about the get it now lifestyle. Maybe then our lives can become more than a moment of temporary gratification. If we stop for a second, we could see that our problems are often so small in comparison. We have the ability to choose life each and every day. To appreciate the world around us, and everyone in it. There will always be other opportunities out there, other adventures. There will always be another thing to spark your interest, another fad to try. But it is the simplest things that take up the most room in your heart. The people that love us. The people that have gone out of their way to show us we are not alone. The roof over our heads. The food on our plates. The gift of today.

May we live today for all those people who no longer have a tomorrow. May we stop for a moment to think about all the people who have impacted our lives, all the ones near and dear to our hearts. Thank them. Hold onto them. Fight for them. Life is too short to give up on those we love. We think we have all the time in the world, but sometimes, we don’t. These moments remind us time is a gift. One we so often take for granted.

I may only be twenty-six years old, but if I could do a few things over I would. Give more time to the people who have proven they care, and less time to the people who don’t. I would try to remind myself every day that there are no guarantees. I would try to remind myself to embrace every chance I’ve been given. To make life less complicated. To enjoy the simplicity of treasured friends and family, and the moments shared that will never be forgotten. The memories that shape us and carry us through when times are hard.

It is a privilege to be alive. May we make the most of the days we have, so that we leave no regrets for tomorrow.

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I know I’ve written to everyone but you. I know you’ve had to endure too many stories of guys that came before you. I know that it’s not fair. I have strung you along like a yo-yo, up one day and down the next. I don’t deserve you, and I probably never will. For you are the opposite of everything I used to love. You are kind, even when I’ve hurt you. You are comfort, those arms I already miss, the afternoons spent curled up in them lying on your couch. You are laughter, a sure excuse to let go of any bad day and just breath. You are considerate, the desire to make me feel valued. Which you did, always. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like I really mattered. My opinions. My hurts. My struggles. My weaknesses. My dreams. You listen with an attention I know is real. You look into my eyes and I know you care. Thank you. For doing that, for being there when I least deserve it. For wading through all the bullshit of my past, to give me hope for a future. Even if it’s without you. You have given me more than you will ever know. Beautiful memories that actually are beautiful, instead of just a imaginative version of what was. I don’t remember the last time I felt so safe. A place to be myself, instead of who I think you might want me to be.

All of this makes letting go of you so very hard. I jokingly said you’d move on before I did. I wish I hadn’t been right. I wish it hadn’t been her. And the hurt and anger I feel stems back to everything that happened before you. The reality of being just an option, instead of the only one. I guess I’ve always loved with my whole heart. It is this flaw that keeps me from moving on. It’s hard to understand when people don’t do the same. I sit at breakfast with another man, and all I can think of is you. I wonder if I’ve just made the biggest mistake. And, I think about all the reasons why. The missing feelings. The uncomfortable nights spent trying to understand what went wrong. The disconnect I wish I never felt. I have to hope I made the right choice, even now as I write this in tears. Is it jealousy? Am I selfishly trying to hold onto you? Is it real? Is it now just making sense?

The reality is, you deserve more than what I gave you. I’ve taken the person I can’t stand, and become him. Someone who can’t commit. Someone who can’t deal with their demons to love the way you should be loved. Someone who wants you, but not enough. And, I’m sorry for that. I wish I could figure things out, give you the answer you deserve instead of this back and forth game we play. I wake up in your bed, and it feels right. I leave your apartment, and it feels like the last time.

I don’t deserve you, not now and maybe not ever. I just hope that she does. I hope she looks in your eyes and feels the same way you do. That she wants to be with you as much as you want to be with her. I hope she appreciates your tender touch, the way you never made it just about you. I hope she does things for you, because she wants to. I hope she meets you half way. I hope she gives you what you deserve. The relationship I never could. And, I promise I’ll try to be supportive. I promise I’ll try not to show you how much it hurts. To see you get everything I always wanted, everything I never gave you.

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This town is full of too many loves that never were
Familiar faces are only fragments of what I’ve tried to forget
Close enough to want inside of everything but my heart
But hearts are givers without choice
I believed I deserved better before I met you
Now I hardly believe in myself
And the ability to love again

Giving works until there’s nothing left
Just the memory of what I wished had always been
The fairy tale I grew up believing in
The one with the Prince who saved her
The knight who said she was the only one
I’m Cinderella without a fairy godmother
My hand of cards is missing a chance

I listen to Dixie Chicks radio when I’m sad
You’ve ruined everything for everyone
Who has tried to steal my heart away
And sometimes I wake up crying at night
The hurting is always all mine
I pray to be set free so
Goodbye Earl or whatever your name is

I thought mistakes were just moments
Not the prologue to the rest of my life
I wish I could love him the way I loved you
Twice the man and an even better friend
I can’t imagine the heartache if you had cared
I’m still picking up the pieces
Of a love we never had

This town is full of too many loves that never were.

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Sometimes, I sleep with the ghost of you. With the memories that are still warm and easy to curl up in. You hold me tight with all the words I’ll never forget. The ones I wanted to believe you meant. The ones I held onto too long. I lay next to the handful of nights I thought you’d stay. When love was something I felt instead of just another line you played.

Sometimes, I sleep with the ghost of you. I lose hours wrapped up in your arms. You kiss me over and over again. My toes curl; I lose control. We have sex like it’s the last time every time. I cuddle up with what’s been lost and what will never be again. You were the love I thought I wanted. I was the girl you never did. This bed is now as empty as your promises.

Sometimes, I sleep with the ghost of you. I lay next to the images I wish I could forget. The ones of you with her and her and her. The empty look in your eyes as I cried. The ones where you genuinely stole my heart. Holding me tight in your arms as you told me everything would be alright. I lay next to the memories of sadness and regret. You were my biggest mistake, my hardest heartbreak, my fucked up love.

I sleep with the ghost of you, sometimes. And, I pray I never meet anyone like you again.

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