Tell your heart

I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m a long way from where I was.

Tuesday will be 7 months since we lost Josh. Some days it feels like it was yesterday I was with him in his final breaths and some days I look back and amaze myself with how far I’ve come.

Every choice I’ve made since God took him home has been to grow myself in an attempt to piece myself back together and create a new beautiful.

Everything we wanted is just a memory. I’ve had to learn to be ok with making a new journey for myself and Amelia and I don’t yet know where it will take us.

The life I had known fell to pieces and I have learned to pick it up one piece at a time.

I remember saying, “The sun still shines through broken glass” and every day I get to remind myself of that. Stained glass windows are merely broken glass pieced together in different ways to create something beautiful.

I don’t necessarily recognize myself in the mirror every day but every day should be different. I should learn from the day before and continue to build myself up in times of doubt. I keep asking God to change the things around me  but I’ve found that through His strength, He is changing things inside of me to create a  different yet still beautiful version of who I am.

You may recall that I started my first job as a nurse recently. I was put on the floor pretty quickly and one of my first patients to arrive was simply coming to us to pass away. This patient was a steadfast faith driven individual with a family full of warriors. I was fortunate enough to get to know this family and they have most definitely left a mark on my heart. I would often sing to the patient because I knew they could hear it. If my voice could lift them up I was willing to do it. It was hard but it was appreciated and at the time I knew it was therapeutic for the patient and family… it wasn’t until the day came for the patient to meet Jesus that I realized just how incredible that experience was for me. At the time I just wanted to do my job to the best of my ability. I didn’t realize my abilities far outshine being “just a nurse”.

My ability to empathize and have hard conversations about death stood out. My ability to calm, reassure, and uplift this family made me realize that the struggles have been worth it.

I will never know why God took Josh. It will hurt forever but through my life I will use the pain for a greater good and connect with those who may also be suffering.

I became a nurse to do more and in just one week I realize I have. The family called me their angel. I wouldn’t be that to them, without a few of my own watching over me.

Living life means taking chances. It is not always easy but if you tell your heart to be open, the possibilities are endless.

I found myself walking through a snowstorm this weekend with a man I had just met that morning. We stopped on a corner and I looked to find we were right next to “Cancer Survivors Park”. I could not believe how quickly the pain came on and then subsided with a hug. A hug that said it’s ok to be broken. A hug that said, I don’t understand but I’m here.  Through spontaneity and a snowstorm, I felt it begin again….

People have often asked, “how do you do it?”

I’ve made it this far by believing in God, knowing that He has a greater plan for me and simply smiling through the pain. Your smile holds a lot of power and a good spirit attracts good things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Little Lady

Today is Amelia’s 3rd birthday and I chose a lady bug theme. Amelia decided she liked lady bugs today so I guess I dodged a breakdown (last week she was having nothing to do with lady bugs)!

During this celebration, Josh was hardly mentioned. The main focus was on Amelia but we were all hurting at the same time. I hid my tears pretty well but I also kept my back to the crowd when it was beginning to get tough.

How could our baby be three? It feels like just yesterday she was dressed up as a lady bug for her first halloween. I remember that day very well because my friend came to take photos of us at my

grandmothers house.  Grandma was pretty frail but I wanted her to see our cutie patootie. We happened to snag a decent family photo too.

We were so in love with our little lady then and she still continues to bring so much light now! Even in the midst of tremendous darkness in our hearts.

Decorating for a third birthday is really all for the parents because she won’t remember any of it… that’s why knowing her daddy isn’t here hurts even more. She won’t remember him. All she will have is the photos we took and the stories we tell.

It’s so hard to choose joy over and over again when all you want is to break. It’s hard balancing all of the positives in life when theres a cloud looming because you know Josh should be here.

Every new first without him is going to hurt and every event thereafter will hurt too. First days of school, first day in “big girl undies”. All of it. There will be so much joy and yet there will be so much pain. There will always be the pain of him not being able to see his little girl grow up. Josh even broke down once because he was afraid he wouldn’t be here for her but I told him he would. It’s hard to not feel like I let him down. I just kept telling us both that he was going to make it. I never let up. I just kept pushing him to do better because I truly believed we would overcome this together.

Oh miss Amelia, mommy loves you so! I hurt because I miss Josh and I hurt more for her. One day it will be her birthday again and the depths of knowing her daddy is in heaven will hit her too. Maybe then we will cry together.

After Josh’s transplant, we set a goal to be home in time for Amelia’s 2nd birthday. We met that goal and were able to celebrate for the first time in our new home. So much moving had occurred it was nice to be in our home and especially to be together as a family for our sweet little lady!

Every day I wake up is a bitter reminder that what I had will never be again. What Amelia should have had is forever changed.

We put on smiles and we spoiled her rotten. We silently grieved but we all stayed strong for her. Thank you to my family both blood and through marriage. You gave me the strength I needed today to enjoy our little lady, miss sassy pants, my sweet angel. I keep going because of you.

Amelia, you deserve so much in life and mommy is going to be damn sure you get it. Although if we could avoid pink and pom poms I’d appreciate it….

Our little lady is 3 today. I hope it all looked great from a bird’s eye view.

Wish you were here.

     

Valentine’s Day

We were never the couple to go all out on Valentine’s Day. Some years I’d say “Don’t get me anything” and then I’d get him a card to which he would respond with “I thought we weren’t getting each other anything?!” and then he’d roll his eyes. I think by our third year together he finally realized that when I said “don’t get me anything” I actually meant, don’t spend of a ton of money but get me a card that says all the things you never do! So simple cards it was except some years we never celebrated at all. I highly regret only keeping cards for a week after before throwing them into the recycle pile….

I remember going out for dinner one year on Valentine’s Day but it was only because we both had the day off! The next year we spent Valentine’s day doing our taxes! I know, so romantic!

Our last Valentine’s Day before Josh got sick was spent in Mexico. We were there over Amelia’s 1st Birthday and I remember not wanting to go! Not only because I was still in nursing school but because he wanted me to take my blonde hair blue eyed beauty to a country I’ve never been to before. It was her first plane ride and first trip outside of the U.S.  She was a trooper just like her daddy 😉 I am so glad I went even if I spent 50% of my time indoors on the wifi doing assignments!  I never would have gone had he not pushed me and reassured me that everything would be ok. 

I really haven’t been one to go all out on this love filled hallmark holiday but as a mom, I was forced to conform and buy my kid Valentines and attach treats! I had all but forgotten until two neighborhood families rang the doorbell and dropped of cute Valentine’s for Amelia! She was pretty excited! Thank you Kollman and Schmitz families 🙂

So, this morning I dressed her in red and dropped her off at daycare to celebrate “I love you” day with friends and headed to work. On the drive I found myself crying….again….except this time it was because I don’t have Josh to give all my love to. Even in the midst of “don’t get me anything” there’s a sadness that lingers. “Til death do us part” is a crock because death does not end love.

I will love Josh well beyond the grave.

Valentine’s Day is what you make it and I remember always hating it before I met Josh because I usually spent it alone. Then, I met Josh and decided it was nice to be loved year round but I still was not about to pay $40 for a box of chocolates! I always said to wait until after Valentines Day when it all went on sale! I mean really, then you get more for your money right?!

This year, although it hurts and I miss my soulmate, I will continue to remember, cherish, and honor him by continuing to put one foot in front of the other…. even if there are days I can’t see where I’m going beyond my tear filled eyes.

I may even buy myself some flowers and chocolate tomorrow because after all, flowers are pretty, chocolate tastes good, and everything’s better when you don’t pay full price!

I miss you Josh. I will love you always. Happy Valentine’s Day in Heaven.

Dear Joe

I know many have thought  “Who is this Joe?” “What on earth is she doing?””Is this guy nuts?!”

Well, this is Joe———————>

Some people come into your life for a short time but they are exactly what you need in that moment. Joe was that for me.

Joe and I started talking online just before Thanksgiving. My first Thanksgiving without Josh. He stayed through Josh’s first birthday being gone, our First Christmas without him and we almost made it to Amelia’s first birthday without her daddy but alas, we have called it quits.

Neither one of really saw it coming but when you jump in with both feet, deep conversations come later. This past week faith was brought into the picture.

I am a believer and he is not. He is still a wonderful person and a great dad to his girls but after days of debating and running through every possible scenario on how it could work, we realized it just wasn’t going to. 

We were right for each other but we weren’t right for eachother’s children. Another thing we had in common was putting our children first.

I have to admit I didn’t see us calling it quits. We were so much alike, “you me same” but there were a lot of differences and the biggie fell on faith.

I can compromise to a certain extent in life but I cannot give up on my faith. I have every reason to believe God doesn’t exist but I still do.

Life is never easy but you just have to make it worth it.

“When you see nothing but damaged goods, I see something good in the making, I’m not finished yet, When you see wounded, I see mended” -Matthew West “Mended”.

Dear Joe, if you’re reading this, know that you are a wonderful dad, person and partner. The way you love is appreciated and what you’ve been through changed you for the better. I am glad that I met you when I did and I’m grateful you stayed as long as you could. Even if it was only a short while.  You were exactly what I needed in those moments and yes, I thank God that you came into my life. You breathed life back into me and put a smile on my face. You made me feel loved through my brokenness and showed me it was all possible.  You allowed me to be broken, allowed me to be silly, and you even thought I was funny!
 I would have otherwise spent the rest of my life shooting every happy thought down because “Why would anyone want to love someone as broken as me?” We wanted to be apart of each others lives and saw every aspect of it working out and it’s tough knowing it didn’t. It hurts. But because you came and stayed when you did, you will forever be apart of my life because you helped me get to where I am right now, in this moment. 

Joe, I was a boat stuck in a bottle and you put wind back in my sails. I cannot say thank you enough for being you. I wish you the best of luck and pray you find happiness. Thank you for becoming apart of my journey!

 

Still Yours

It’s been a crazy week with school and my tech business and travels etc. I flew to Los Angeles to attend a leader led convention with my company and had such a great time! It was insightful and motivating. My travels fell on the 6 month anniversary of losing Josh and to say it was hard is an understatement. Everything in my life, my mind and my heart is a constant tug of war of how I thought it should be and what it actually is.

Nothing in the journey of life has been easy for me but I always try to make the journey worth it. Even if that means putting myself out there and being uncomfortable. Network marketing is not where I ever thought Id be but I am learning and growing through it and have found a new company that is bigger than myself to become a part of. I only hope to succeed to the best of my abilities.

While at home today in between laundry and homework, I walked past our piano which has two songs of sheet music on it. It’s just a place I’ve set them to keep them out of the way and it didn’t dawn on me until today how crucial the placement is….

When Josh was sick I always sang “Still” to him for encouragement and to lift our hope off of the ground. Exodus 14:14 reminds us that the Lord will fight for us we need only to be still. Even now, Amelia still calls it “Daddy’s song” because she knows that song was always for her daddy.

I recently sang the song “Yours” at a friends wedding and sort of just placed it on the piano next to my bouquet from the wedding and then went about my business. The thing with this song, is it reminds me of Joe. It always has and always will.

There I was playing tug of war with myself again and in one casual instance I realize I am still yours Josh, and I always will be but I am also where I am meant to be. Even if where I am meant to be is not where I saw myself when I said “I do”.

Above the pieces of music are stones we received from the funeral and my favorite photo of Josh and I. Just to the left of those is a nutcracker that Joe gave me because it is a female soldier.

I constantly worry if I am doing the right things , headed the right direction, and being a good mom.

I don’t want to be so afraid of losing that I don’t try.

I want to learn, I want to grow and I want to love.

I am broken, I am bruised and I will always be hurting but just because I am all of those things, doesn’t mean I can’t smile.

There’s strength in a shattered heart that blossoms amid trials and tribulations and I know God isn’t done with me yet.

I have walked through hell and back and there’s no stopping where I will go as long as I continue to surround myself with the right crowd. They say your vibe attracts your tribe and I’ve found quite the group of supporters through business and in life.

Each bringing their own inspiration to my life. I am blessed with the support of Josh’s family and my own family. I am blessed with the love that Josh left me with and the love Joe so willingly gives to this shattered soul.

Two songs. Two very different men. One heart.

Still Yours.