Veteran’s Day

In September my mom had her 6th grade class interview WWII and Korean War Veterans. Today the result of all their hard work was shown on the big screen. The kids and veterans felt like movie stars as the videos were projected at the movie theater, a feeling that was well earned.

Each video helps preserve the memory of those who served and the places history they hold. They are an opportunity for the community to come together and remember the sacrifices that war demands. In past years videos like this have served as an amazing tribute to local veterans, and these videos were no different.

Here is the full Red Carpet presentation:

Here are links to all the Veteran’s Day videos:

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Hurry up and wait.

I feel like my life has turned into a series of hurry up and waits. A lot of the time I am not really sure if I’m hurrying or waiting. Sometimes I think it is a little of both. There are few days that pass that I feel truly settled in the events of the day. Most of the time it still feels like there is a gaping hole in my chest. Although, the pain is much more manageable, the hurt is still there. I have truly done my best to not let the events of my past make me bitter, but sometimes that is a true struggle that I am not sure I am winning.

Every day I try to convince myself that the little things will no longer hurt. That the pain will someday disappear, but I wonder if that is really true. There are times I still feel residual pain from my childhood, lost friendships and misunderstood events haunt us all. At the end of the day we simply learn to overcome the pain and push it aside with the hope that the next time we open up the wound will stay healed and the scar will disappear a little bit more.

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

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.

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.

Life lessons.

The lady that lived downstairs in my apartment passed away a few weeks ago. There was no funeral or calling hours, she is simply gone. Some of her family was here and did a little bit of cleaning out of her apartment, but left most of it for someone else to deal with. It is sad to think of how alone she must have been to have an end like that.

When something like this happens so close to you it is unsettling. Most of my impressions of her is how loud she listened to the radio and watched television. Now, it is strange to sit in silence. I never really knew her, I barely knew her name. Now I wonder if I should have done more.

I know with all I have been through, the people around me have made all the difference. I hope she had someone in her life to support and care for her. The loss of a woman I didn’t know but lived above for years is something that will stick with me. Next time a I am in a similar situation I pray I will handle it better and make an effort. In such a short time I have been taught many important life lessons. It makes me wonder what is next.

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

It is not.

Sometimes I catch myself holding my breath. I honestly don’t mean to do it, it’s my subconscious coping. I think I am trying to stop time or hold on to a second that I feel alright. As soon as I realize what I am doing and breath it all comes rushing back to me.

As much as I wish the worst was over, I fear I still have far to go.

There are hours I don’t think about him at all. I can forget the pain. I can forget what I have been through. I can simply be. Someday the hours will turn into days, the days into weeks and weeks into months. At some point I won’t have to forget the pain, because it will no longer be there. I never want to forget what happened, it is a part of me now, but one day it won’t feel so all consuming.

The hours I fear are the ones where it takes all I have to hold myself together. I try to not think of it as loss, because I know I have gained more then anything. I try to remind myself that I am stronger than this. Most of the time I simply try not to cry.

I wish I could say that everyday is easier, it is not. Everyday is different. Everyday I face a new challenge. Everyday I am one day closer to the future. Somedays it feels like I’ve gone backward, but I know sometimes to move forward you have to go sideways first.

Every day, every week, every hour has it’s own challenges. I hope with each challenge I can be one step closer to becoming the strong woman I am meant to be, someday I hope I can stop holding my breath.

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

Surprisingly not bitter. 

People have been so wonderful letting me talk though my feelings. I can’t express how thankful I am to have such amazing people in my life.

During a recent conversation I was attempting to articulate my emotions in a single word. I shocked myself that “bitter” was not the first word out of my mouth. Because, I am not bitter. What I was, and continue to be is disappointed.

All I could think about was the time, the stress, the sacrifice, the loss. Months of figuring out how to make my dream a reality. Hours of shopping, planning, making. So much stress that filled my life. At the time it was all for a porpoise, I wanted everything to be perfect.

Instead I watched it all crumbled before me. The life we had talked about, the wedding we had planned. All the potential, all the trust and love was gone leaving me empty and disappointed.

In some ways I’m still shocked. Sometimes it feels like I slipped into an alternate universe, and I’m not sure how to get back again. If I could get back I don’t think I would want to. The surreal world that I have been living in has started to find focus again. There is still plenty left for me to figure out, but I know I can do it. Even better, I know I don’t have to do it alone.

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