Dear 16 Year Old Self

Dear 16 Year Old Self,

The first thing I will tell you is to hang on.  It’s going to be one heck of a ride!

Boys. Yeah, you are at that age. I know you are taller than most of the others right now and that can feel awkward.  Don’t worry, they catch up and even surpass you-being tall is a great thing! (The ‘daddy long legs’ and ‘Jolly Green Giant’ jokes do go away.) There will be many many boys that will break your heart. Actually, all of them do until the last one. You will cry. You will think the world is ending. You will even write lots of poetry about the heartache. But you will get over each one and you will be glad you moved on. There will be a time in your life that you will wonder if you will always be alone. You will wonder if you ever will have kids. You will wonder why it is so easy for others to find love but so hard for you.  Just live your life and it will happen when you least expect it. You will get those 4 kids you want so much and your life will be enriched in more ways than you could ever imagine.

You already know life can be hard, losing your dad so young.  I know you miss him and wonder often how it would be with him still.  Sorry? to say, that never leaves you. I know you would be a different person if he had lived, but maybe you just turn out to be the person you were meant to be.

You love to write and to draw.  I know that is something you want to do when you grow up.  You do go to college, but don’t graduate. It will be something you will always regret. But the passion you had for writing? It never leaves.  Just wait until you see what you do with it! I think you will like it.

I know you dislike that you are so sensitive and can cry at the drop of a hat. At 16 you feel like this is a weakness in your character. Trust me, it isn’t. It isn’t such a bad thing to be able to feel with such strong emotion. Being an empathetic person is a gift. Just remember to laugh often, also.

I know you often feel invisible in the world and that is something you will always struggle with. Circumstances will help you find your voice and you will use that voice to help others in many ways. You will take your tough life experiences and not only learn from them, but you will teach others because of them.

You will travel to places you have only read about and never imagined you would see. It will amaze you every single time.

Your life will hold many lessons and it may not turn out as you imagined but maybe it turns out just how it was meant to.  I know I told you to hang on, that it was going to be a heck of a ride. Oh and, it will be! But it will be worth it!

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Share Your World-2015 Week #12

When was the last time you sat on a park or garden bench for more than ten minutes? Describe the occasion.

It was on a trip with my daughter last year to New York City.  We walked to Central Park. It is a beautiful, large park! We enjoyed a beautiful walk and also stopped to rest and enjoy the park and everything going on. We were taking a bench break here, watching the casts and crew from a couple Broadway shows playing softball. I highly recommend a trip to New York City for everyone. I also highly recommend a visit to Central Park!  It is a gorgeous place with a lot going on!

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Would you ever be interested in observing a surgery or do you turn away when the nurse brings out the needle? 

NO thanks to the surgery.  I know I could not watch it. As for the needle. No, I don’t turn away. Usually just watch. I have had so many needles stuck in me through the years, that it truly doesn’t bother me.

Where’s your favorite place to take out-of-town guests?

Depends on the season I guess. There are a lot of places locally to take people. Mason City has the Frank Lloyd Wright Hotel…the last one of his design that exists. It is an incredible restoration. People from all over the world have traveled here to stay in it! We are also ‘famous’ around here for being the last place that Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens played at. There is a memorial at the site the plane crashed.  I think I would take out of town guests to some of the local eats, especially the two places I have already written about-Lorados and Pete’s Kitchen. I would also take them to Clear Lake-to the actual lake in the summer and to the Surf Ballroom and any given time. You can tour the ballroom and attend one of the many concerts they have there!

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If you had an unlimited shopping spree at only one store, which one would you choose? Why?

It would have to be a store that has everything. Clothes, food, electronics.  It you are given an unlimited shopping spree, you might as well make it work for you!

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

I am grateful for memories. I am not even sure what I am looking forward to.  I don’t think there is anything specific. I am just looking forward to each day!

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Share Your World-2015 Week #11

List 2 things you have to be happy about? 

The weather has been absolutely incredible lately!  Number 2 is????  I don’t know….there are a lot of things to pick from.  I am happy that I am able in the midst of all the sadness and adversity in my life, that I CAN be happy.

Do you prefer ketchup or mustard or mayonnaise?

Ketchup all the way!  I use mustard or mayonnaise sparingly if at all.

If you were to paint a picture of your childhood, what colors would you use?

Dark ones. Lots of dark ones with little hints of light here and there.

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Do you prefer a bath or shower?

Shower. Always….  We remodeled the bathroom and totally took out the tub.

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

I am grateful for time with family and safe travels back home for us and for my son and his girlfriend from their vacation back East!

I am most looking forward to more beautiful days.

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On a Grey and Quiet Sunday

The day started out with a beautiful sunrise.

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I hadn’t taken a picture of a sunrise for awhile, so I took it this morning. I still love every one. The beautiful sky didn’t last long today.  Right now it is cloudy and grey out. I am not sure if it reflects my mood or if it is the reason for it.  Maybe it is a bit of both.

Today, I can’t stop thinking about things.  THINGS.  Sad things. My heart hurts a lot still kind of things.

I went back and read some messages and emails from my brother today.  I am glad I have them. But they made me cry. I wanted that visit in the spring. I wanted to hang out and talk and laugh and hug him when he came in and when he left.  I wanted to make promises of more visits. I feel robbed. How fair is it that I am just getting to know my big brother again, just talking about our lives again, and he is suddenly gone. I am angry. It is too soon.  There are so many more things to do, to say. I want more moments. More time. I remember after my mom died how different I felt.  I mentioned how my place in the world, without parents, suddenly felt different.  It feels that way again. Different. Sometimes different is a good thing, this time, it isn’t. It is a sad different, a bit of an uncomfortable different. It is a different that I don’t want to be or feel.

It has been a week since I have got home from Colorado. It is almost like we never went. It is almost like it isn’t real. But we did. And it is. I wish we could rewind and it was just a normal visit that we had planned on making. I want to think about it and have happy memories only-to forget the sad and painful ones.

I wish I could forget the call from my sister. The words. The hurt. But I can’t.  And here we are.

A grey Sunday, sitting in the quiet with my thoughts and feelings.  I would have liked this week for a text or a call, an invite to coffee or a ‘how are you doing’, even an ‘I am thinking about you.’

I am trying not to think of the what ifs….or wonder what other things he would have done.  I knew he wanted to write a book.  He told me of three that he had ideas for…and , of course, like me, never felt good enough.  I have read some of his writings, and went back and read this blog he had, and he WAS good enough.  I am sorry we will never get those books now. The what ifs…the what could have beens….

Life goes on for those of us left behind.  Day to day things we have to do. Other things thrown in. Trying to find the smiles and laughter when we can. We need to. Although life will never be quite the same and I know  these grey days will happen, I will laugh, I will smile…and I will be able to remember John not always with a painful heart, but a joyous one. The world is a better place because he existed.  His loving legacy lives on through his amazing family!

As I type those last words, funny, the sun is peeking through the clouds!

One Year Later Plus Other Thoughts This Week

One year ago, I was sitting in the hospital with my husband wondering.  Wondering how we got there. Wondering HOW he had a stroke at age 50.  Wondering what next?  It was hard to think in the long term at the moment as we had to focus on what was happening then. So many tests to go, so many questions not answered. I knew it wasn’t all bad when he could keep his sense of humor and so could I.  We joked that no longer could he say he didn’t have a brain or a heart. We saw them both! He was only in the hospital a couple days and then he went to rehab. He was there a few days more doing all kinds of therapies to get better-tests to see what was gone and what wasn’t. He got frustrated easily, many times focusing on the negative, on what he couldn’t do, not on what he could! He went on to outpatient therapy and even breezed through that. He made such great progress he even went back to work just 5 weeks after the stroke. The thing that was his goal, that was what he worked for?  Getting back on this

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As a matter of fact, today, one year later, he is on his way to Texas with a friend of ours for a week long trip on the bikes!  They did this together a few years ago after each of them lost a parent. It was a memorial/clear your head trip. Today, I kind of think of it as a celebration. A year ago we weren’t even sure he would ever be able to ride a motorcycle again!  He has done well!

My other thoughts: so many this week. It has been a rough couple of weeks around here. I never ever dreamed, that 4 of us sisters would be traveling to our brother’s funeral. I always intended to visit out there, just not like this. There were so many hugs, the kind where you hung on and didn’t want to let go. There were so many tears.  Sometimes I wonder just where they keep coming from. I wonder how it is possible that they don’t dry up.  They never do.  They still haven’t. I imagine they will be close to the surface for a long time to come and I imagine they might spill at any time.

I sat in my brother’s house trying to imagine him sitting there, in his spot or at the kitchen counter. I only felt his absence.  I watched his children and his grandchildren and thought, He did good. I said at the funeral that if the legacy of a man is the family he left behind, then he did an amazing job.  Every one of them is an incredible human being. It hurt me greatly to see their pain and their hurt. I only wished somehow I could take some of it away.

I sat on his porch looking out onto the mountains you could see.

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I wished he was sitting there with me.

I can’t believe how fast life can change.  We always say to live so we don’t have regrets.  It isn’t always easy, is it?  I have regrets. I am sorry that there was a long time that my brother and I lost touch.  I am sorry that I didn’t even get to know many of his grandchildren until he was gone. I am sorry that he won’t be making that spring trip back so that we could all hang out again and I could get to know my big brother just a bit more.

I have never been through anything that feels quite like this does. I can say I don’t like how it feels, either!

I plan on keeping in touch with this kids, his grandchildren.  I plan on happy, with just a bit of sad in them, hugs.

I know that I will always always always miss my big brother!

I hope you ARE soaring with the eagles, John!