My Brother John.

This has turned out to be already one of the most trying weeks of my life. Sunday night and Monday morning we said good -bye (see you later!) to Amy.  Her Celebration of Life was the most beautiful funeral I have ever been to. Our blogger group went together, sat together, leaned on each other.  Yesterday we mentioned songs and music and not wanting to go to any more funerals.

At lunch time we were talking about songs, or reminders.  I told them about the time I went to my cousins wedding, and it was time for the father/daughter dance.  Daddy’s Little Girl played. I sobbed.  My big brother put his arm around me and said, ‘Sometimes, you just can’t listen.’ ‘Sometimes, you just can’t help it, I replied.’  After lunch, I went home and needed to run to the store.  I needed some normal routine.  On the way home, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” by the Byrds came on my radio…you know the one… a time for every purpose under heaven.  To laugh, to weep, to be born, to die…. I assumed it was a message about Amy. I am pretty sure now, I was wrong.

Last night my phone rang. It was one of my sisters. I immediately knew something was up.  I was right.  She said the words….”John died.”  I knew I heard it wrong.  I said WHAT?  Yes, she said, my niece had called and our brother had died.  There were few details, but at that point, details were the last thing I wanted. All I knew was that I no longer had a brother.  My heart started racing, feeling like it was going to explode.  I started shaking and didn’t quit for a long time.  The sobs came and they still do.  The reality doesn’t want to sink in.  He was supposed to come back home this spring to visit us all.  I was supposed to get another big brother hug like the last time I saw him after too long away.  I remember hugging him and saying “I love you, you are my big brother.”  We had recently been visiting more on Facebook and by email.  He had recently started connecting with our ‘long lost’ family from my dad’s side.

This isn’t fair. Not one little bit. I feel lost. I feel like I have never felt before.  I have lost many people in my life, but never my brother.

My brother was a quiet kind loving man. I know he was affected a lot by losing dad so young. We all were, but I know it has to be different for a son than it is a daughter.  I hope he is already getting to know him, I just wish it wasn’t now.

He fiercely loved his family.  His wife. Four daughters, one son and a LOT of grandchildren!  There are a lot of us that will miss him in our lives, each in our own way.

I often talk about life being too short.  I am tired of the reminders that it is.  I really don’t need any more of them! Please, be kind to others.  Life is about loving each other.  What else is there that matters?  Nothing.

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This is a picture from the last time I saw him. It was after another sad funeral. It was after I got that last brother hug.  I never imagined I would never see him again.

I already miss you big brother….I love you. Always have. Always will.

It is now, my time to weep…..

I Can’t Say Good-bye

But I will say, “See You Later.”

Good-bye feels too final.

We don’t say it here, in real life when we are apart-good-bye.  We always say, see you later.  We always assume, hope it will be true.

But it is not always the case.

On February 25, just three days ago, our area lost someone young, vibrant, talented, kind, loving.  Think of all the great adjectives you can to describe someone.  Then you will have described Amy Hild.

I knew Amy from belonging to a great group of bloggers that I have mentioned before.  The North Iowa Bloggers has evolved from a few of us to many more caring, kind, wonderful, talented people. I will admit, not knowing Amy as well as most of the others did, but with Amy, that didn’t matter. She was always nice, and always always had a great smile.  I can’t remember anytime she didn’t. She always treated everyone kindly. Always helpful.

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On the morning of February 25, Amy attended the North Iowa Media Breakfast Social Club like she usually did. The weather was not ideal and it was getting worse.  She left to go home. But she never made it.  We would soon learn about a horrible six car accident. As we did not hear from her, the fear grew.  I think I knew inside that something horrible had happened long before we heard officially that she lost her life that day on her way home.

I am not sure the reality has really set in. I am not sure it ever does when we lose someone so suddenly, so tragically. I struggle with why a lot.  She was only 27. She was planning a wedding. A future. Now it is gone. I am not sure how to process this to even begin to make it okay. I do not want to hear that she is in a better place. Her place should be here, with her family, her fiance, her dog, her friends….

I have lost many people suddenly , too young, before their time. My mom would disagree about that last part of that statement.  She would always tell me that ‘It was their time.  If they hadn’t died in that way, it would be another.  It was simply ‘their time.’ Do I believe that? Possible.  Does it make it better, easier? No. I have seen too many people struggling with the loss of a loved one when things like this happen. I am not sure it is ever possible to make sense of it.

What I do know, what I am seeing, is the great affect Amy had on so many. There is such an outpouring of love now, I think she would be amazed by that. I wonder if we ever know the imprint that we make on others.  Amy’s imprint is huge. There are many blogs out there now talking about Amy and her impact on each of us.  I will link you to one, where you can read more and scroll down to many more links from others.  I encourage you to spend some time doing just that.

What can we do to honor Amy and those we have lost? Love. Be kind. Live well.

See you later, sweet Amy!  You will never be forgotten!

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http://www.itsjustlife.me/a-beautiful-spirit/

Happy 13th Birthday To Me!!

I am finally a teenager.  Again!  This time, though, I will appreciate it a whole lot more!

Most, or many, of you may know why I am 13 today.  I have mentioned it a ‘few’ times.

This is birthday number 13 since my diagnosis and treatment. I have loved and appreciated every one.

When you are diagnosed with something like cancer, you wonder if you will have more birthdays. You wonder how many. You hope and pray for a lot of them, of course.

Birthdays changed for me so long ago. I used to dread getting older. Now I love the gift of it.  It is a gift that too many do not get to enjoy. I never take it for granted. When someone asks me how old I am, I tell them.  No, I don’t say 13, or whatever number it is for that year.  Not usually, anyhow. I do like when I tell them how old I am I hear, ‘You don’t look THAT OLD”!  (Such a back-handed compliment, isn’t it?!)  I hope that continues for awhile!  Wouldn’t it be nice if we looked as old as we felt? I pretty much feel the same inside as I always have-it is the mirror that tells me otherwise at times!

Thirteen years.  What has that meant?  SO much. First, my children.  They were so young at the time. That was the hardest part-to look into their eyes and tell them something so shattering to them. I will never forget. It has meant that I have had the privilege of watching them grow from those young kids into wonderful, kind, loving adults.  I never take that for granted. I have got to see 13 more of THEIR birthdays, graduations-high school and college, I have got to spend time to get to know them.  I have had 13 more years of loving them!

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I have got to travel and see this country. Something I had not done before this.  It was something that I never thought I would get to do. I think it made everything I saw just a bit more beautiful. It was at least to me.

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I have got to see more than 4,700 more sunrises-and I love and enjoy every single one.

IMG_2544I have had made new friends I would not have otherwise had the honor to know and I have got to know old friends better!

I have had the gift of time.

I almost didn’t write this today, sharing the joy of what it means to be 13. This week I sat with a friend that most likely will not get that gift of 13 more birthdays. The pain in your heart when you look at them and know that is great. Our area also lost a young woman yesterday in a terrible accident due to the weather.  She was one of our North Iowa Bloggers, planning a wedding and bringing her smile and joy to all always. I can’t understand the why of either of these situations. I can’t think about them too much, it just hurts.

Today, with the tears so close, I will try to celebrate that 13th birthday. I know I will and I will try to push the sadness to the side for a little bit.

I hope you hug your loved ones today. Say I love you. Say it more! Mean it! Find your joy! Every day. Be it in something small or big. Laugh. Cry. Feel. Do.

393794_10150528316794769_491727848_nI thank you for being part of my journey.  Whether it has been for 57 years, 13 years, or just newly on it!  I send my love out to you all!

Share Your World-2015 Week #8

Your favorite blog post that you have written? (add link)

Yes. :)  Well?  I am sure there are many…can I add more than one?  Okay, Let me figure out one of my favorites as I really don’t think I can pick just one! I can’t.  I have just spent a long time scrolling through all my blogs, reading them, picking out a different one each time I read a new one.  I am stopping doing that and think this is a good one to share…

http://livinglifejoyfully.net/2014/06/19/but-you-cant-hug-a-memory/

What do you feel is the most enjoyable way to spend $500? Why? 

On someone else.  Truly!  Because I like doing that and helping others.

If you could know the answer to any question, besides “What is the meaning of life?”, what would it be?

Why do people destroy other people? I want to know why there are things like war or murder. I just don’t understand why those things have to even exist.

Where do you eat breakfast? IMG_2403 copy

In the chair I am sitting in right now.  Usually while on the computer!  I am up early and I am usually here catching up on things, watching some news.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I am most grateful for my cousin sharing his old family pictures.  He shared this one of my uncle, aunt and dad.  I can’t quit looking at it, I have so few of him!

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I am most looking forward to a very special day out tomorrow with friends and turning 13 this week!  Yes, I said 13…more later in the week!

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Share Your World-2015 Week #7

Is the paper money in your possession right now organized sequentially according to denomination and with the bills right side up and facing the same way?

Always sequentially, with the bills right side up and facing the same way!  If I get handed money that is messed up, I ‘fix’ it.  I worked in an office of a retail store at one time and I always made sure the money was the same direction, right side up. I was told once that you need to ‘respect your money’!

What is your favorite type of dog?  (can be anything from a specific breed, a stuffed animal or character in a movie)

A cat!  No? IMG_2519Okay, I am a cat person.  So, for a dog, I love huskies and I like golden retrievers.

If money was not an issue, would you go on a cruise?  If so where would you go?

No.  I am not a particular fan of the water. If money was not an issue, I would probably go so many other places than on a cruise. I would go everywhere. As for the water-I love it, from this vantage point!

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Would you dare to sleep in haunted house overnight?

I have before. Many times. My grandma’s house, according to many many people-even the ones who bought it and did not know the history-was haunted.  I imagine it still is! As for other haunted houses? Depends. It depends on the particular house and if there is a really negative history on it.  For example, here in Iowa you can spend the night at the Villisca Axe Murder House.  I would never ever want to spend the night there!

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

From last week, I am grateful as always, for everything.  I think maybe I should just cut and paste my answer some times!  But, more specifically, I am grateful for time spent with family and friends.  Not sure what I am most looking forward to.  I think I have a mostly uneventful week coming up.  Maybe that is something to be grateful for.