What do you do?

What do you do when someone who has made such a tremendous impact on your life suddenly isn’t here anymore? Unexpected deaths are never easy, but they are especially hard when you don’t want to even think about the final outcome being real.

I’ve made it my mission to write about things relevant in my life throughout this year. With that come the good and the bad experiences. And unfortunately, this is one of the bad.

It’s hard to talk about my four years in Catholic high school without mentioning the man we all lost today, Deacon Dan. I mean, how could we not remember his highlighter-pink-doubled-as-a-magic-eight-ball Jesus statue on his desk?! Honestly, who even knew that was a thing?

When I hear others’ talk about their religion classes in high school, their experiences are not the same. The classes were boring, the message is monotone, it’s too serious, etc. Our classes were not boring, and half the time you didn’t even feel like you were learning about religion at all. We all learned and admired our God in a way that wasn’t strict – we learned in a way that was relevant to us. We watched films, had discussions, or completed assignments that most would not consider to be religious, but carried the message we needed to hear. He took the seriousness out of a serious subject, and we all listened.

The part that I admired about this man the most is the way he cared about all of us, individually. He pushed us to break through the boundaries we thought we had. He always wanted us to succeed, and to reach higher than the expectations we had for ourselves. He always checked in. He always wanted to know what we were doing. He always wanted us to reach our highest potential. What he did for me those four years, and beyond – I cannot even explain. It’s hard to believe that in this crazy world we live in, good people like him still existed.

He touched the lives of so many of us for the past 13 years, and I am sad for the students entering into NCHS that won’t get to meet him or experience how great of a man he truly was.

Thank you, for everything. I hope we’ll all make you proud up there. xoxo.

“And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings, bear you on the breath of dawn. Make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of His Hand.”

Time heals all wounds.

131

Ten years ago today, I lost my grandfather.

If there is anything I’ve learned over the last ten years, it’s this; I realize now that I was not as old as I thought I was at age fourteen. I remember the day he passed away, and I remember feeling so old. Heck, I was only in 8th grade. But, I remember thinking to myself how lucky I was to have had 14 years spent with him. But now, at 24, I realize that while 14 years is okay, in the overall scheme of life, it is nothing.

There are so many things my Papa missed out on – my high school graduation, my first boyfriend, winning national championships, getting my license, my acceptance to and graduation from college, just to name a few. You don’t realize at that moment how much your loved one will miss until you reach these milestones in your life and realize that there should be someone else there for you, cheering you on.

No matter how it happened, death is never fair. Each loss is equally as hard as the next. Everyone around you is sad, and everyone is sad for you. You are forced to accept change. You are forced to live a life that you aren’t used to. You think your life won’t ever be the same, and honestly, it won’t. Eventually, it will all be fine, but it will be different. The same is a new same, not the old one.

I don’t necessarily think time heals all wounds. I think time just makes them feel a little bit better, a little less painful. I don’t believe you are ever fully healed once you experience a painful loss.

If you are one of the lucky ones out there who have yet to experience a major loss, please, count your blessings. Cherish every moment. Don’t take any time spent with your loved ones for granted. Start to appreciate what you have a little more. I am so blessed to still have three grandparents with me on this earth today, but I really wish I could say I still had four physically here. xoxo.

** I also want to take the time to wish my grandmother a happy birthday. I could never in a million years imagine what her life was like on this day, ten years ago. I hope it is something I never have to experience and I admire her strength more than she probably even knows. I remember going to my grandparents’ house the night my Papa passed. There were flowers on the table from him that he had ordered to be sent to her prior to his passing, wishing her a happy birthday. Nobody should ever have to write an obituary for a significant other on their birthday, I don’t know how she did it.