Love in the face of loss.

This is a post I’ve been trying to avoid writing for the past two days. I’ve had time to ponder words to even write and things to even say, and I am still struggling. But there is nothing more you can do other than try.

In 2011, I graduated from a very small Catholic school with an even smaller graduating class of 36 students. Coming from a school of 125ish students and a graduating class of 36, you are friends with everyone. You are all close. You are all a family.

About a year after graduation, our graduating class of 36 shrunk to 35 following the loss of one of our peers after her courageous fight with brain cancer. That loss was one that I couldn’t even understand. Truthfully, I still don’t. I couldn’t understand why God gave her the suffering she went through, why she had to deal with all she had to deal with. I sat in my college dorm room freshman year when I got the news, alone, wondering what to do or say from there. Who did I turn to first? My boyfriend of the time was on a cruise outside of the country. I was not home. I found it hard to explain the ‘family’ aspect of our school to people whose graduating class was one of 700+ students. 5ish years later, the numbing pain has somewhat gone away, but not completely.

I asked you guys a couple weeks ago to look out for one of my friends, one of the core 36, that had quite literally completely dropped off the face of the Earth. There were no answers to his whereabouts. No clues. No leads. Nothing. The case went on for 20 days, everyone’s minds reeling over where he could be and how or why this was even happening in the first place. Two days ago, on Friday, April 28th, exactly 20 days since the missing persons report was filed, the case came to a close.

This time, I was at work. On my lunch break to be exact. With three minutes to spare before having to clock back in. Again, what was I supposed to do? Who was I to turn to? How was I supposed to hold my composure and go back and teach my class in a mere three minutes. Being strong is an option. And sometimes, its the only option you have.

The class of 36 is now down to 34. At only 24 years old, this is not something you can mentally prepare yourself for. You expect to see all your peers, your friends, 5, 10, 15, 40 years down the line at class reunions. You expect to see their accomplishments in life. Who is married. Who has kids. Who is a CEO of their own company. Now, there are two I will never see again.

The good part about graduating with a class of 36 from a school of 125ish is the endless outpouring of love and support during times of need. We all stand together as one. While it might not be at the same level, we all experience the hurt. We all experience the pain. This is something I will be grateful for throughout my years here on this little planet. I know that while sometimes I may feel as if I am alone, I am never alone. There will always be someone there supporting me.

I want to extend a sincere thank you to every single person who has reached out to any person involved in this case. I want to thank every person who tried hard to bring Kurt home. Who looked for his whereabouts. Who tried to put two ends together. Who prayed every single day for him and his family. Who hoped and wished for good news to follow. Who continues to extend love and prayers during this time of tragedy.

Today, I ask one thing of you. I ask that you hug those you love a little tighter. Remind everyone how much they mean to you. Remind everyone how their existence is great and sacred. Remind those you love that they are not alone, that you will always be by their side.

And to Kurt, thank you for the memories, brother. You were one of a kind. I am already counting down the days until I can see you again. xoxo.

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Changes.

After being MIA for the last few days, I will get you caught up on the never ending shenanigans that is my life. My absence mostly came from an over-abundance of final projects and assignments as we close out this semester. My life has been so hectic lately that I truthfully forgot that the semester was even coming to a close next week. Honestly, I really thought I had another two or so weeks left, I won’t even lie. More times than not, I’ve come home from work completely drained and exhausted that doing homework seems like more of a chore than anything else. So, by the time my homework was done, I’ve been passed out in bed within 5 minutes after completion.

Another reason for my absence is family/brother-related. I spent the last few days making his invitations for his grad party, attending final concerts, figuring out what to buy him for his 18th birthday on Monday [still unsuccessful on this front], etc.

With the list of changes in my life including [but not limited to] everything going on above, plus a new job and a new phone, we have now added new car to the list!

Today, I said goodbye to my very first car *sheds tear* and upgraded to this beauty!

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One of my dad’s good friends is my car dealer, and he had texted me a week or so ago saying there was a 2016 Accord Coupe on the lot that they were looking to get rid of. He told me the deal, sent me some pics via text, and I committed to the purchase before even seeing this car in person [or driving it]. Somewhat terrifying, I know. But exciting is definitely a more appropriate word to choose!

I have so far only done so much as drive it home from the dealership, to dinner, and to the store down the street and I am already so in love and ready to show it off to everyone I know. If you need me, I’ll be living in my car for the next 60 years of my life!

As far as my absence goes, I am sorry. Just trying to get a hold of my life over here! I hope you can forgive me. xoxo.

Adventures.

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For the last week and a half, Jon kept telling me he had an adventure planned for us. The catch? He wouldn’t share where we were going or what we were doing – just to be at his house on Saturday [yesterday] at 8:00am. The master planner that I am, I sat stressing out the entire week wondering what the heck was going to happen, where we were going, what I had to wear, etc.

So, yesterday I followed suit. I showed up at 8:00am and we were on our merry way. I sat in the car with the clock ticking, ticking, ticking, ticking. Having absolutely no idea where the heck I was or what direction we were even headed [no shock here]. He had nothing plugged into the GPS. No clues whatsoever. This adventure was totally outside of my comfort zone, and I totally loved it.

Much to my surprise, a few hours later, we were in Pittsburgh! The last time I was there was probably 7-ish years ago for a hockey tournament with my family, and it was Jon’s first time, so this was very exciting. So, here we are driving around, exploring the city and in the back of my mind I am still left wondering, why here?

And then, I saw it ahead of me I was freaking going to IKEA!! I have wanted to go here for honestly over 5 years and, being the wannabe  homeowner / crazy Pinterester that I am, my soul was LIVING. My entire Pinterest collection and many of my dreams were coming to life before my eyeballs [minus the whole ‘having a house thing’ but WHO CARES?!?]. I kid you not, this was the best 3 hours ever spent, solely because I was in this store. I am still reeling in this moment over 24 hours later. Yes, I am a loser. No, I don’t care! The final purchases? We got a new desk, a new dresser, and some odds and ends like towels, plants, mugs, bowls, etc.

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[Also on this adventure were trips to Jersey Mike’s, Primanti Bros., and the Grove City Outlets]. I am so lucky to be with someone who is always spoiling me, surprising me, and going on endless adventures with me. xoxo.

Another item checked off the list.

Tonight, my brother is at his senior prom. Also tonight, life is getting more real.

I remember my prom like it was all of two weeks ago. Reality check, it’s been 6 years. My brother seemed so small and young at my prom, and all of a sudden, I blinked, and today is his prom day. Like, what?! And here I am, wondering why. Why life moves so fast while also simultaneously wondering how to slow it down.

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I didn’t necessarily love prom, but I didn’t hate it either. It’s just something that happens when you’re a senior [or junior for some schools, too] in high school. Potentially, it’s one of the last times you will be in the exact same room with all of your friends at the exact same time. My brother is one of the ones going states away for college, whereas I was not. So chances are, for him, this might be a bigger deal than it was for me. He is starting a brand new life from scratch, whereas mine re-started while also somewhat remaining the same.

So, to my baby bro: Enjoy prom. Live in the moment. Life moves on and changes so fast, that it will be here and gone in what seems like the blink of an eye. And suddenly, it is 6 years later and you are wondering how you ever got to be so old. xoxo.

 

Buffalo architecture: 101.

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This past Sunday [aka Easter Sunday] my family and I had gone to brunch in Lackawanna. The restaurant we had gone to just so happened to be on the same street as Our Lady of Victory National Shrine and Basilica. I had never been before, and my grandparents had always wanted to go check it out, so we did. Hey, Easter Sunday seems like the perfect day to go to church anyways, right?!

I had always heard it was breathtaking, but I never expected what I experienced that afternoon. If you have never been / have always wanted to go, go. Heck, you don’t even have to be religious to appreciate the beauty that is this basilica.

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Its’ groundbreaking occurred in 1921 and was finished in 1926. The architecture is amazing, and it also serves as the final resting place for Father Baker. Thanks to be getting overly-excited / snap happy, I was able to still get some of the pictures I took after destroying my phone, as I sent them to my boyfriend. Pictures do not do this landmark justice. At all. You really, really need to see it in person.

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It is located at 767 Ridge Rd, Buffalo, NY 14218. [Honestly, as long as you get to the street, you don’t even need the number – you cannot miss it].

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It is easy to get to. You have no excuse. xoxo.

 

Life of a dyngus. 


Yesterday was my final day of spring break and I celebrated it by going to the Dyngus Day parade/party with a bunch of my friends. It was a blast and I’m already looking forward next year.

For those of you who don’t know about Dyngus Day – it always falls on the Monday after Easter. This post-Lenten celebration party is full of Polish pride. Much like St. Paddy’s Day, but to an entirely new level. Buffalo goes crazy for this, so shoutout to my hometown.

I’d never been in Central Terminal before yesterday, but now I know why people are so adamant about its’ restoration for the city of Buffalo. It is beautiful!

I would have taken pics but stupid, stupid me dropped my phone. Straight. In. The. Toilet. You can’t make this up, you really can’t. So as a result, I am now part of the iPhone 7 fam as of two hours ago. Prepare for an influx of pictures as a result of a much more impressive camera. xoxo.