A shoulder to cry on.

Sometimes the biggest leaps are made when we have a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. Although my situation is not as uncommon as I once thought, it is still not something that most people have experienced. Beyond that, each situation is vastly different, yet somehow shockingly the same. Each person who has been through an extreme break up can relate to one another because we have all felt our hearts being ripped from our chests and are at varying stages of repair.

I have said time and time again how fortunate I have been to have people in my life that have experienced something comparable to what I am recovering from. It still amazes me each time someone reaches out to share their stories, because I know they are opening up about a time in their life that they would rather not talk about. Whether a nasty divorce, a broken engagement, or being left at the altar the pain is unimaginable.

This week I hung out with a friend I have known for what seems like forever and his fiancé. At the end of the evening my friend and I talked about the pain of a loss few can understand. He went through a horrible divorce and understands the pain I feel. He told me about some of his worse days, and how the little positive things ended up being so huge in retrospect leading him down the path that lead to his now amazing fiancé.

For me everything still feels so close that I could not say what my worse day was, but one of the most difficult days was when I was teaching a swim lesson and had to watch my ex-fiancé swim in the next lane. Typically I hate crying in front of people. I want to be strong enough to handle everything, but the truth is most of the time I do not feel so strong. I am not exactly sure when the tears started flowing, but with someone who understood right there I let them all come out.

It is nice to have a friend to talk to that truly understands and can put into words emotions that I am still trying to figure out. I have faith that my worse days are behind me, but I know there are still many difficult days to come. The good thing is I know there is always someone I can talk, and seeing their strength makes me hopefully.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

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The Greatest Generation.

On Mother’s Day I posted about what an incredible teacher my mom is. That fact was once again re-enforced today. For the past few years she has created Veteran’s Day tribute videos that include interviews that her sixth grade students conduct with veterans. This year the interviews for the videos included 17 veterans from WWII and the Korean War.

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The veterans were an average nine times older than the students, but their connection was real. A lot of these men entered the military at age 18 and sacrificed so much. The students were given a list of questions to ask, but then encouraged to continue talking to the veterans and learning more about their experiences.

There were men from every branch of the military and a wide number of disciplines. Some jumped out of air planes, others flew them. Some took to the water and others to land. Listening to them took history out of the books and into reality. Each one had stories to tell and memories to share, unfortunately not all were happy and there were tears shed on both sides of the tables. Remembering lost friends and difficult times is something no one likes to do.

These men are part of “The Greatest Generation” that is quickly leaving us, and they are a generation that has so much knowledge to share. My hope is that someday each student who has taken part in these interviews over the years will look back and understand what a special and unique opportunity they were given.

I know I will never forget the impression they have made on me.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

A magical place. 

I woke up miserable today. It took pretty much all morning for me to feel human again. But even with the rough start it turned out to be a wonderful day spent with old friends and new. 

This weekend I am at ladies retreat at the campground I grew up on. There are two things I look forward to each year. The auction, and taking off Saturday for lunch and shopping with my mom and friends. It was a fun escape and way to spend time together. 

After shopping and lunch, most of the afternoon was spent watching a friend hand crochet. I have many creative talents, anything with yarn is not one of them so I was mesmerized watching her work. Somehow, I ended up walking away with a hat and matching scarf. Hopefully it will be a while before I need them, but I will be excited to wear them when the time comes. 

Camp is always a magical place. It has been great to spend time here this weekend. 

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

16 years ago.

Every year on 9/11 I am transported back to high school. Suddenly I am the 8th grader sitting in art class without a care in the world not knowing that five hours away everything was changing.  It is surreal to think back on the feelings and emotions, the sudden temperature drop of everything around me. I was old enough to know what was going on, but not quite old enough to fully understand the long-term ramification. Tragedy and heartbreak. Loss and destruction. It it still unthinkable to me that people can knowingly cause so much pain.

Year after year I see more conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 and it breaks my heart. I am not saying there are not un answered questions about the events and many strange circumstances surrounding that horrible day. But today should be about showing respect for those who risked their lives on the chance they could save others. Today of all days should be about a continued support for those who lost loved ones, friends and family alike. It should be about coming together, not tearing apart.

The pictures to analyze will be there tomorrow and the next, but as you look at them remember they were not empty buildings or planes. It was not a movie prop or anything controlled, conspiracy or not never forget the pain of that day and the months to follow. Many lost someone, but we all lost something.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

 

When vacation ends.

Today marks the end of my lovely vacation. I hiked, spent time with family, slept in and finished with a day of cleaning. It is never fun going back to work after a vacation, but I feel like I will start on the best foot possible. True, I did not get everything done I had hoped, but the most important things were completed. As a bonus I can come home after a long day tomorrow and know that I can relax and not have to stress over a mess.

Vacations are still a little odd for me, really anything that would have been an “us decision” or time spent together is strange. 99.9% of things is getting easier, but I feel like that .1% continues to haunt me more than I like. Some nights I have issues making dinner for myself or deciding what to watch. I know I have come so very far in the healing process, but sometimes it feels like I have gone no where. It is all about baby steps and taking a nice deep breath when things get rough. Hopefully I can continue to remember that.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

Days off.

I feel like I am getting a double vacation!

It started with a wonderful weekend at my Aunt and Uncles and up to my cousins. Time spent with family is always wonderful. Now I have two more glorious days with no work and no major obligations. True I have a seemingly endless list of things that should get done, but going to work is not on it.

First on my list is sleeping in then taking advantage of the beautiful weather predicted for tomorrow. Of course this means hiking and possibly some time in my hammock. Hopefully I will get caught up in my journal and maybe even get the dishes done. There is laundry to fold and floors to clean, but most importantly there are cats to cuddle and relaxing to be done.

It has been such a long time since I have had so many days off in a row, I can hardly contain myself for the excitement!

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

My not so little cousin. 

Time flies, it is honestly insane how fast it goes. 12 years ago on Tuesday one of my little cousins was born, but I guess I can not call her little any more. She has grown into such a beautiful creative person, and I was excited to be able to celebrate her birthday today. It was a wonderful adventure and great time spent with family. 

There were so many wonderful parts of the day, it is impossible to name a favorite. She was excited about each of her presents. We took a walk in the woods. I ate a peach right off the tree. We saw the pigs and chickens they are raising. She showed me her little art studio and we talked so much about this and that. Spending time with kids is simply the best. 

I wish I lived closer so I could spend more time with them, but unfortunately the five hour drive is too much to make all the time. For now I can’t wait for thanksgiving to spend more time with them all. 

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

200 days.

I remember reading a book as a kid that was written by someone who survived being buried in an avalanche. When they stopped rolling they were covered by an unknown amount of snow and they did not know what way was up. The person in the book started crying, the tears showed them what direction they were facing. Gravity was pulling each tear toward the ground, so they knew the opposite direction was the way to safety. I have no clue the name of the book or the author, honestly until 200 days ago I had not thought much about it since I read it.

200 days ago I was sitting in a big comfy chair at my parents. It was a Monday, my dad was home sick and I was two days out from the worst day I could have possibly imagined. I felt like I was buried in an abundance of unknown and had no idea what way was up. Trust me, there had been plenty of tears over the previous days, and there have been plenty since and I am sure they helped to show me the way up.

What I thought on that Monday, in that big comfy chair was how much I dreaded the questions. If my almost wedding day showed anything it was that a lot of people loved and cared for me. I will forever be grateful to each person, but I dreaded the stream of loving questions about how I was doing. I knew each of you truly cared and wanted to know, but I was not sure how I would ever answer. My solution was to start write down my emotions and thoughts, to begin this blog.

Starting this blog was the best decision I ever made. Never did I dream I would be sitting in a different chair 200 days later with a cat purring encouragingly as I once again cry while pouring myself into these digital pages. I remember painstakingly trying to come up with a blog name that could transcend my recovery process into whatever my future held. I remember how broken and weak I was and how the future terrified me.

Slowly, with the help of words, prayers and faith I have been finding my way to the surface. I am still not on solid ground, but I am getting there. It has been quite the journey so far. There have been good days and bad. I have laughed, I have cried. Every day I learn more and every day I hope the next will be easier.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank each person who reads these words. I hope at one point or another something that I write will touch your heart and help you through a struggle of your own. The encouragement I get with each like and comment means more to me than I can express. I will continue to write, and I hope you will continue to read.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

2024.

Unfortunately, I was not in the path of the total solar eclipse today, but along with my co-workers and so many others across the country I did observe part of the sun disappear behind the moon. The next eclipse that will be visible to me is in April of 2024. It will be a total eclipse from where I am now, so it will be extra exciting!

At one point of the day or another we all recounted the last eclipse we remembered. For most of us it was the one in 1994, but we all had very different experiences. Some remembered making pin hole cameras to watch the sun disappear while others remembered the funny glasses. For me it was a wonderful adventure. My mom took me out of school and together with a friend we went up to a science museum. We got to look through a telescope at the eclipse as well as take part in other events. Although I was only 6, I still remember how exciting it was, sometimes when you look back on your childhood it is the little things that mean the most.

Who knows what will happen between now and 2024. It is crazy to think of how much my life could change in the next 7 years. Whatever happens I know it will be amazing, and maybe I should keep my amazing eclipse watching glasses in a safe place for the next time, just in case.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.

Words are hard.

I am not the same person I was a year ago. Even in the past six months I have changed. True there are some universal truths about ourselves that remain consistent, but they do not always take the same level of importance they once did. I would love to say that as time goes on we know ourselves better and it becomes easier to describe who we are. In some ways that may be true, but from my experience it becomes more difficult to simplify as we continue to move forward.

When I have to write out a general bio I freeze. I will sit staring at a blinking cursor praying that it will magically read my mind and condense my jumble of thoughts into a concise, beautifully worded description. In reality it remains blank until I give up, type a few sentences and hoping whatever I come up with resembles me in any form.

Sometimes I wish I could reach out to different people from various areas of my life, ask them to write a description of me and merge them into one simple bio. But, I have a funny feeling this idea is much better in theory over practice. Beyond and difficulty of merging so many perspectives, I am not sure I actually want to hear what some people think of me. At the end of the day we know who we are and should not base ourselves on what others expect from us.

Maybe at some point in my life the blinking cursor asking me to write a short description of myself will be less terrifying, but right now all I can do is the best I can to put myself into words.

Tomorrow will be a little bit easier and I will become a stronger me everyday.