Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Holding Hearts

I found something perfect to tie my heart to the funeral today. I want to share it before I write my blog. I wrote this in 2004 in my novella, "Souls of Grace." This passage is basically the true story of the day of my mother's funeral.

"The funeral. I hated that day. I woke up with the sun blasting through my blinds. Murmurs of voices outside my door. It is funny when you are awake, life seems new again. God has granted this new day. But, this day was not new. It was dark to me. I rolled over and threw Happy the Bear against the wall. I shielded my eyes against the bright sunlight trying to make my dark day shine. She was pristine lying in the casket. In the casket they never look the same, but a wax imitation that a coroner creates. The make-up is a little darker, the hair more perfect. I keep all of this inside because talking about pain only makes it seep into my veins. Not feeling is easier because I can move through life instead of drowning in sorrow. We love, we lose. It seems easier to lose than to love. If I didn’t love them, I hadn’t lost them. It is funny how I do not feel pain when I see a person on the news in New York that has been murdered. It means nothing. It means everything when it is my friend, a name I know. If I did not know them, I would not be drowning. Sometimes it is easier to be alone, yet it is impossible to live."

I don't share this to act as if I understand what that family is going through at all. I share this as a sense of loss of how it affects us all so differently. People must realize that family is strong right now. Everything is like fresh dirt. Once it settles and the people stop surrounding you and the cards stop flowing and the flowers are put away... that is when you are needed the most. One day Gabe will walk in from work with his two little boys and have to figure out a nightly routine. They will have to clean out her closet. I remember sitting in my mother's closet surrounded by her clothing and breathing her in. The journey isn't just the time we lose people. That is the hardest part for me to understand. That is when it pulls at the strings of the heart for me. The years down the road.

The funeral was full of family and friends for Lindsay. Our sorority sisters filled four rows. It means the world that everyone comes from their own walks of life to honor a sister. Some were very close; others were acquaintances. That doesn't matter. There was a beautiful slideshow, songs and words from the preacher. The slideshow truly showed what a wonderful mother and wife Lindsay was to her children and Gabe. You could see the love and patience in her eyes.

We will lose many people in this life. It is hard to be happy even though they are in Heaven. The preacher was talking about how Lindsay was talking to God about her stories of life. I want my loved ones here by me telling me their stories. I want Grandmommy back so I can call and talk to her about everything. I want Sarah back to make me laugh and put me in my place. I am sure Lindsay's friends are thinking this right now. It is quite selfish how we do want them here instead of Heaven, but to us it just makes more sense. I wonder why Mom doesn't get bored up there. Come on, you've been there 11 years... time to visit me. It is a ridiculous thought, but we all think it at times, we just don't usually say it aloud.

I deal with things through words. I don't cry at funerals, but I shake. It's like my body's way of feeling. I hate funerals, yet I believe in them. As I said in other blogs, I love a lot of people and I will lose a lot of people. The only way we can get through these things is pure love and holding hearts together. There is just no other way.

In conclusion of this day... It is Lindsay Breault Lewis'day. This young lady was a patient, sweet, caring, lovely girl. I never heard her say a negative thing or saw a frown on her face. She was quiet, but strong. I watched her with her boys one day when I ran into them and those boys just thought she ran the world. They loved her so much. Today a church full of people showed her that she made an impact in their lives. The sweetness of a kind heart can change lives. She is truly an angel.

Holding hearts is the only way through this. Today and tomorrow and five years down the road.


Monday, September 26, 2011

The Living Proof

video

This is like a piece of artwork for me set to video and music. The song talks about being the living proof that you make it through the darkness. Now... that being said, I know in the future there will always be more darkness. We are never exempt from pain. This is my personal journey showing if I can do it, you can do it. There will be things people don't understand, but each photo means something.

It is not only about going through death of loved ones. It is about tearing into my basketball dreams ripping up my knee... and playing again. It is about a friend having a horrible car wreck and running again. There is a photo of my cousin and I laughing on a dock. He lost his father to cancer and I lost my mother months later... he came to the funeral to support me. We both made it through. There is always going to be some sort of darkness, yet I learned at a young age the world never stops spinning. I learned God doesn't ask our permission. I learned we are all the living proof.

Calloused

In last week's blog I spoke about kindness. The girl in topic did pass away. I was blown away. She was 28 and seemingly healthy before pneumonia and ARDS hit her. Now everyone is pulling together to wear our pins, sit together at the funeral and do a memorial fund for her two little boys and husband down the road. Again... amazing... the human heart.

I noticed people asking me how to deal with things like this. Some have never lost people. It doesn't bother me to help others and I like to try to heal hearts. I don't say the words most people do and I never spice it up to sound like everything will be fine. I am a bit strange that I am 29 and can do this. For me it is a part of me. It isn't about Mom passing... I was always like this in a sense. They thought when Grandaddy passed away I just didn't understand. Maybe I didn't, but I think God made me for this reason. In doing the math I realized I have been to 23 funerals. The outline... Immediate family: Mom, Grandaddy, Rae, Granny Jac, Grandmommy. Extended family: Judith, Joe Bayless, Kitty Ben. BSHS & Tech Classmates: Gatlin, Derek, Spencer, Sarah, Antwoyne, Meagan, Aaron, Melissa. Friends' family members: Papa Curly, EC, Mimi Carol, Grandpa Gray, Granny A, Papa Annen. Neighbors: Bill. I do go to support others that I love to some. There will also be very many in the future as people lose grandparents and parents close to me. Ugh! I do like to help others so it's okay.

Everyone deals with things differently. I was fearful after going through tough things I would have a calloused heart because it almost makes you feel you cannot feel anymore. But, I have realized I actually have a tender heart. People can tell you that you are strong, but when are you too strong? My grandmother, Jackie was the strongest woman I have ever met. Tough tough, but a good woman. I never saw emotion in her and that scared me that I would become that way. I don't want to ever be too tough.

The most important thing is to always ooze love during any of these times for others. We all hurt deep down in our own ways. Love is truly the only thing that can heal our hearts.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Kindness

The human spirit is something beyond the imagination. Kindness flows through the veins no matter where you are in life. I've seen this firsthand the past few days and it interests me greatly. Some people ask me why I paid for my friends in college. Why did you join a sorority? I explain how it was free in the sense of friendship. I didn't have to be friends with my sisters, but they became like real sisters to me without the payment. Our sorority sister, Lindsay Breault Lewis is in critical condition in ICU. She was diagnosed with ARDS after a battle with pneumonia in both lungs. She has two little boys and a husband at home. I just saw her last month and she seemed full of life. So once this story started circulating we began getting updates from one of her best friends. I saw my sorority sisters come out of the woodwork in droves saying they would help or asking how to send money. People all have their own lives and their own families, yet they stop in their tracks to help a friend in need. We often forget the kindness of people's hearts when it comes to helping others. Prayer chains started circulating and women were brought together by this illness to pray for someone. I do not know what will happen with Lindsay. I know she hit rock bottom and they hope to have her plateau and then build up. I am by no means stating we were ever close. She was always just a very sweet and kind sorority sister that I would call a friend.

When my mother passed away we were only freshmen hardly all knowing one another yet... Hundreds of KDs came to my side. They drove down the funeral. They missed midterms and quizzes for me. From all walks of life these women came together at that time and now at this time to help a friend in need. If this kindness from a group is what I paid for then I'll pay a thousand more.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Three Decades Begins

It has started. The new decade is coming. We celebrated a big 30th birthday party for three of my good friends last weekend. We all went to a BBQ place called Smoke for the three girls, Jordan, Stacy & Brittney. I am not quite sure what to think about this upcoming decade. My 20s were sort of filled with trying to figure out where to be and climbing the corporate ladder and jumping ladders and figuring things out along the way. I have an old soul, but a young heart. I never took anyone for granted so I didn't have to figure those things out, but I had to find out that people fade and new friends swoop in and life changes on a dime. I knew that already though. Growing up seems so very scary. We were all in a room celebrating the 30th birthdays and I remember just yesterday when Brittney had just turned 21 and we were at UT visiting her. We don't seem to look old and we still act pretty young, so what is 30? I guess I'll wait until January to find that one out. Until then I'll just celebrate each big day as they come with friends. This makes me flashback to when each friend turned 16 and then 21. It all seems like such a milestone. My main thing is to learn that we must just enjoy today whether this age or that age. We all just need to learn to love it and live it because life is but a vapor.

Brittney & Sandi


Jana is the reason I know the three birthday girls. They went to high school together. What a special friend when you make great friends through one great friend.


Nick ordered an expensive cheeseburger with a fried egg on it. He wasn't sure about most of the crazy menu.


Jordan


Birthday Girls

Thursday, September 8, 2011

9-11 Memorial Slideshow

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I made this 9-11 Memorial slideshow with photos of my favorite kids and footage from the tragedy... Each child symbolizes our world today ten years later as the world they are growing up in is a very different world. They symbolize our innocence and our future in America.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Not So Labor Day

It's September now, but you wouldn't know by feeling the air outside. Today it finally cooled down, but we've been riding over 100 all summer. I love sunshine, but even I was getting a little burnt out.

Our Labor Day was anything but filled with labor. Tony & Katie came in from Houston so Friday night we hit the lake. We stayed out until nightfall and watched the sunset fade into the stars. We sat out on the boat just talking. Saturday Katie and I woke up early to shop! I took her to some of my favorite places in Plano and Addison... she spent way too much money and I was proud!!! Then the boys went to the Oregon vs. LSU game so Katie and I crafted the day away. We made homemade coasters and watched TV. It was so relaxing that we didn't wish to move off the couch! After the game the crew came back and made us go out. I could have gone in my pajamas if it was up to me! We had a nice time out playing darts and just enjoying everyone. We decided Sunday we would play war with the wind on the lake. It was a crazy idea. No one could kneeboard or tube... anything... so we just sat on the lake in the boat sunning for a few hours. I got stung by a bee... a first for me! Mean bee. That night we drove to Little Elm to Matt and Keilly's for a family dinner. All of Matt's family was in from Philadelphia and I just loved listening to them. We ate way too much food. And today there was even more food. We all went over to Nick's parents' house for some yummy food.

Needless to say I think my bed will feel lovely tonight. I've been working on a 9/11 memorial slideshow all night. I think it is going to pull some heartstrings... or I hope it will. In 2001 I lost my mother and then we had 9/11 so it's such a surreal year to me. Both things seem like just yesterday... yet seem a million years away. Ten years holds a lot of experience in life. The slideshow is all about 9/11 and the children growing up in today's world.

Anyway... I guess the biggest thing to document is football season is back. Nick is obsessed with college football so I will hear about it for the next few months. I'll be hosting a few Red Raider Roadshows this year, but we haven't decided which games. My photographer, Mitchell just got his own radio show in East Texas!!! So proud of him! I hope he does some hosting with me on the YouTube show because he is really good. The clock is winding down as the wind slowly howls outside. I'm already excited to bust out the fall attire!!!