Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Everyone has a story

Everyone has a story

I realize I have been away for some time.  I wrote my first blog post almost four years ago.  But I stopped blogging regularly when I realized I had little to no spare time because I was a new college student in a very intense interior design program.

Four years ago my husband and I had just moved into our dream home. 

 But things happen and sometimes it doesn't go as planned.   What do you do?

You make adjustments.    

You roll with the punches.

You persevere.

You never give up. 

We had options and moved into our vacation home up in the mountains.  Along with those changes I began attending CSU Sacramento State and was accepted into the very competitive interior design program.  

In a few days I begin my last semester and will be graduating in May.
(Can you hear my loud "Woo Hoo"?)

I am a planner.  I have a plan for everything.  One of my life long mantras is

"Always be prepared"

When my kids were little I was the Mom that had food, water, change of clothes, and whatever else I could think of with her at all times.   I could reach into my bag of tricks and solve whatever problem was at hand. (at least that is what I thought)

Not much has changed in that department.  When I started back to college I bought a rolling case so that I could have any and everything I could possibly need with me at all times.   It has come in handy and now many of my fellow students have followed suit
 and have gotten their own rolling case. 

Hey.....I am a trend setter. 

Of course as much as anyone can
"Always be prepared"  life has a way of sneaking up on you and handing you something you could never be prepared for.

On February 25, 2013 I was handed something I could never ever be prepared for. 

I received a phone call no mother ever wants to get. 
 My son had unexpectedly died of a Brain Aneurysm.

I could have written this blog on the one year anniversary of losing my son Brian.   

But that would be expected.

And of course this is my point.  

Don't ever think you can always be prepared.  
Because at some point life will happen and no matter what
you can't be ready for everything.

After losing Brian I wanted to give up.   I just wanted to roll up and disappear.

That thought was pervasive.  I still am making the journey through grief and sadness.

It has been a journey full of twists and turns. A journey filled with happy memories and sad memories. 

I have kept much of my journey private.  It is such a burden and so sad.  
 I have discovered many people just don't know what to say.

I completely understand.

I have been on the other side many times.  I think back to how I have reacted and what I have said.


I met a woman about two years ago.  I was at a garage sale negotiating on some china she had for sale.

I can't explain what happened.   But I had a connection with this woman.  I just wanted to talk to her.

We chatted.  She and her husband had just bought the house.
As we chatted she looked up at me and said
 you know my daughter died 6 months ago in a car accident.  
 She just blurted it out.

I looked at her.   I reached over and grabbed her hand.  I said three things.

I am so sorry.

How are you doing?

Are you taking care of you?

She grabbed both of my hands into hers.  She looked into my eyes with tears.  
 What she said surprised me.

She said 
"You know something.....

You are the first person to ask me how I am doing and if I am taking care of myself."

I spent about a half hour talking with her.   She told me how she was doing.  
She told me about her sadness and her grief.  
We hugged like old friends and I left.

I have never talked to her since that day.  But I wonder why she told me everything she told me. 
She had wise words.  
I can still hear them.

I didn't think about her right after Brian passed.
 In fact it was almost 6 months after Brian's passing before I remembered meeting her.
  I was looking for a platter and opened up my closet where all my china is.

It was like opening up an old journal.
There sitting right smack in the center of the cabinet was the china I had purchased from her.

All her words flowed to me like she was talking to me.  I remember everything she said.
I remember her describing everything she was feeling.

I remembered her saying something though that sticks with me.

She realized she wasn't alone.

She realized she wasn't the first one to experience an enormous loss.

She realized everyone has a story.

Her story wasn't unique.  But it was important.  
Her story has become important to me.

I come across people everyday and as I think to myself I realize they too have a story. 
 I hope they get to tell their story to someone.

We all have a story. 
 Bits and pieces of our lives are important. 
 There is something in your life that can help another person.  

It is this business of Life that is our story.

Even in death I have learned that our story continues.

My sons story continues.

Although his story is now being told by others 
it brings me great comfort.  

I will continue to share my story as time permits.

As I get on with
Business of Life

some things I know for sure is

I will never give up.

I will still try to

Always be prepared


I will listen 

because you have a story that is important, that can teach me and everyone else something


I want to hear it. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

One person does make a difference

My last blog post was almost two years ago.   I haven’t been blogging because although I thoroughly enjoyed it I found I couldn’t commit the necessary time.  I had started back to school to obtain my degree in Interior Design.  Obtaining a degree has been a life long goal and who would have thought that it was such an intense program that took up so much of my time and energy.   And so my blog has been left sitting gathering dust.  But I had to shake off the dust and get my voice back even if just for a minute to talk about something.....something so very important.

And so here I am today writing a blog post.   Except that today my blog post isn’t about design but rather it is about life changing events and how in a moments notice your life can be changed forever.  

One person really does make a difference.  

I realize that I am not the first person and certainly not the last person to have a personal tragedy.   So of course probably most of what I have to say on this subject is not unique.  But to me, to my family and friends our tragedy ....  our loss has been life altering and so to that end it is in my opinion important to acknowledge this fact.  

It is important to discuss how one person can affect so many people.   

He was just an average guy.....but he wasn’t.    He wasn’t the smartest guy...but he was.  

What was it about him that made him memorable?  What was it about him that made you want to know him better?  What was it about him that made him so unpredictable?

I would love to put him up on a throne and tell you he was perfect....but he wasn’t.   
I would love to tell you he was one of those people who had life all figured out....but he didn’t.   

And so here is this guy....this man....this friend....this brother....this cousin...this grandson....this son....and in a moment he is gone.  

 And we are left with what?

We are left of course with his memory.   Memories that are both good and bad.....both happy and sad......full of joy and tears.    

We are left with an emptiness  ....  a void so shockingly huge.  It is like a huge punch in the stomach one that takes the breath out of you.  That is what we are left emptiness......a void.   Void is such an ugly word but the only word that defines the fact that he is gone and we are left in this vacuous state. 

This feeling of emptiness is universal amongst all of us who knew him.  It is this emptiness that affects us.  His memory is still with us.   But his vitality, his exuberance for all things and the fact that we will no longer get to experience these things with him has left an inexplicable void.  

This is what affects all of us.   But it also affects people who never knew him personally.      

Because you have this void .... your life has been altered.  You now think and act different because of this void.  This void is affecting everything you do and thereby affecting how you interact with people.  Consciously or not because your life has been altered you now behave differently.   I would bet most of us think twice now about everything.   We have been rudely reminded that life is unpredictable and it can all be gone in a blink of an eye.  

I don’t think he ever thought he would have affected so many people.   He was just an average guy going through life trying to figure things out as best he could.  He was funny.  He was witty.  He was sarcastic.  He would be the first to tell you he didn’t have all the answers ....... and then laugh and say it would be damn boring to have all the answers.

He was an average guy.....but he wasn’t.    

He was just one of many in the crowd......but he wasn’t.

This man that has left a void has and will forever make a difference.   

That is his legacy.   

An average guy who no one will ever forget .

An average guy that has taught us so much.

He made a difference.   Every day he makes a difference.

Brian that is your legacy...the difference you made my life.... everyone’s life..... the future....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A perfectly imperfect Thanksgiving

ahhhhhh the word puts a visual in my head of one of those rooms I drool over as I am looking at the latest Home and Garden design magazine.
But as hard as I try.......I can't just get my room to look like one of those rooms from a
design magazine.
As I look around and see the floor covered with dog hair and notice that there a dishes in the sink
....I am quickly reminded that
is getting in the way of 

In the last two months I have been striving for Perfection.
Unfortunately this pursuit of perfection has created a health issue to the point that I am currently back on blood pressure medication after being off it for almost a year and one half. 

I am still in denial that the reason I am on blood pressure medication
is because I have set unrealistic goals.
All the goals certainly seemed reasonable at the time I made that 5 page single spaced project list.

Come on is it really that unrealistic to completely redecorate 
an entire 2800 sq ft house in less than 45 days?

I have done major remodels in less than 4 months........redecorating is a piece of cake.

I wasn't knocking down walls this time...or putting in a complete kitchen......or re-landscaping.....
I was simply doing the following:
Painting 800 sq ft living room
Painting bathrooms
Hanging wallpaper in Master Bathroom
Hanging Wallpaper in Downstairs Guest Bathroom
Painting Upstairs Guest Bathroom
Painting furniture
Painting Kitchen Island
Painting downstairs Family Room
Painting Hallways
Painting Kitchen
Painting Master Bathroom
Adding custom striping to Upstairs Guest Bathroom
Container landscape twelve large pots
Order new furniture and assemble when arrives
Unpack and assemble new large coffee table
Unpack and assemble Two Wingback chairs
Unpack and assemble King size Headboard
Order new range, hood, refrigerator, and dishwasher
Remove old oven
Coordinate the installation of new appliances.
Hire electrician to install new track lighting

Okay so after typing that list it is a little long.......but the list for a REMODEL project is huge!!!

So I am a little lost as to what is different this time.....

That is of course until I look down the hall and see my husband up on a ladder caulking.......and then I hear him say I am getting that microwave in tonight.

It is then I realize........Oh  I know what is different.......

This time my husband and I are doing the majority of the work.

On all of our previous remodel projects my husband and I are the project managers.......
not the laborers.

But alas even as laborers
(a job I would prefer to hand over to someone else)
ALL the work was completed by Thanksgiving.
  I am thankful it was all completed but I do have to question whether or not it was
to practically kill myself in pursuit of what I thought was perfection.

Truly our Thanksgiving PERFECT.
Albeit during the course of the four days with fifteen guests in my home...
there were moments where it certainly didn't look perfect.

In fact with every one's lap tops, cell phones, cameras, jackets, shoes......
there were times every surface was covered with STUFF.

But as I stood back and observed the room that was
filled with fifteen bodies, two dogs, lots of clutter and plenty of laughter
I realized no one cared about all that STUFF or the dirty dishes or the chaos.

What I saw instead of chaos was
laughter, smiles, and just pure JOY!!
It was a PERFECT scenario.

I realized that the reason it was PERFECT....was because it was SOOO IMPERFECT.

While seeking perfection I accidentally happened to created the perfect setting and had
 perfected imperfection.

The guest are gone.....The house is quieter......and I am currently resting and recharging
so that in less that 24 days those fifteen plus guests can return and enjoy a
perfectly imperfect Christmas.

What plans are you making for your perfectly imperfect Christmas?

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