Half and Half

As we venture towards the end of 2008, I can only sum it up by saying it was half good and half bad. Maybe it's just my perspective but it seems that after Michael died in May, everything went downhill after that.

The first half of 2008 kicked off with me and Michael being engaged and having a great time in Las Vegas with my family for the New Year. Michael was enjoying CW Post and got his first internship. We had half of a wedding planned, things were good. Everyone was happy, things made sense and were clear; the future didn't look so foggy.

In May, Michael left this Earth suddenly and it tore out the heart of many. Following that we learned that the wife of one of my dad's colleagues passed away to cancer. After that, a long-time member of my church in New York passed away. He was such a staple in the church and the everyone had personal emotions tied into his death. My uncle was diagnosed with a tumor near his throat and once that was removed, is now undergoing more treatment. Then this morning, I got news that Michael's grandfather (Sonny's father) passed away. Just in time for Thanskgiving. After the Eckhoff's lost Michael right before Memorial Day and now this. There just aren't any words.

Again, I feel upset because I'm not there for them. I knew Mike's grandfather, maybe not too well, but definitely enough to want to be there for the family. Maybe I just feel guilty because things seems to be going better for me than them. I don't know how to feel, I just feel empty and wondering why God plans things to happen like this. So close together. Within 6 months, 4 people that I've known have passed away.

However, I have to look at the flipside. I have to trust that they are in a better place and even though we all hurt on Earth here, they are doing much better in heaven. Although I'd like to deny that it was Michael's time to leave, I suppose I would not have wanted him to suffer with knowing he had a brain tumor that could kill him. I know that Mrs. Grazal was going through a long battle with cancer - that's never fun. We all know that getting old and having health problems is never a good thing either.

I'm emotional for other reasons, just so much has happened in a short period of time. What do I think? What do I feel? How are the holidays really going to be? I'm famous for thinking too much and I'm doing it again. The myriad of events that have happened in the past year astound me from the happy moments - engagements, weddings, I quit smoking (yes, for those that didn't know and those that weren't sure, I admit, I was a smoker for a few years) and the like to the scary moments - tumors, car accidents, surgeries, to the sad moments - deaths and just ordinary life - Laura has a new car and a house, Chris has a puppy, cousin Dave is moving to Wisconsin, I moved to Louisiana and have a puppy, etc.

So what am I thankful for this Thanksgiving? I thank God for best friends, for family, for His mercy and for helping me to keep on going. Please keep Michael's family in your thoughts. If you want information to send cards or flowers, please email me.

Gobble. Gobble.


Things are Going to Change

Okay, so it's technically still the 20th of November here in the Central Time Zone and I've decided, I'm not going to put up a dreary 6-month post. I'm just not going to do it. Six months seems unreal and at the same time, I look back and I see that I've made it six months and say to myself - why dwell? You're going to make it, you're going to be okay. The first year is always the hardest and while documenting my month-by-month journey with grief has helped me to sort out lots of feelings and come to tons of revelations, I think now I can start being a little more positive.

This is the part that's the hardest. All the memories hurdling toward me at full speed and quickly. Thanksgiving turkeys, Christmas parties and presents, the day Michael proposed to me in Las Vegas, spending New Years in Las Vegas with my family. If I can make it through the next two months, I know I'll be okay. I guess I knew it all along though. In your heart it hurts so much, like you have a hole in your chest with a vacuum sucking everything into it. When you cry, it feels like it's never going to get better, that things couldn't possibly improve and you just wish it had never happened. However, in the end, you dry your tears, take a few shaky but deep breaths, think of a good memory to smile about and keep on moving. Michael and I surprisingly had several end-of-life talks including what we would want the other to do in a situation like this. His answer? Go be happy. He was all about being happy, so that's what I'm doing.

Usually when it comes to this week, I get utterly depressed. Sometimes I don't even realize what day it is and I wonder, why am I feeling so crappy? Then I look at the calendar and say, oh... that's why. For the first time in six months, I had a great night out with a bunch of friends and I truly felt happy and at ease, not worrying about how I was going to feel tomorrow. Let's face it, if I wake up tomorrow in tears, nothing I do now is going to change that.

So a bunch of us went out for Frank's birthday. We started at Sakura's for dinner (I have to say, it does not compare to Ozumos or Minami in New York but still deliciouos) and I was surrounded by great people, some I knew, some who were new to me and plenty of laughs. Afteward we went to Richochet's to play some pool. Many of you know how much I love to play pool, I don't play often but I have such a great time when I do, especially with these guys. I won a game, I lost a few, laughed a lot. It was a great time. Then I came home to a great welcome from my puppy who missed me dearly.

I couldn't ask for things to be going any better given the situation.

Oh, by the way, my cousin Travis is married!!! I didn't have a major meltdown at the wedding at all. Instead I danced my ass off had plenty of drinks and just had fun with my family. Luckily not many people reminded me of how "that could've been you," or gave me pitiful looks all night. The last thing you need is for someone to remind you of what you're doing such a great job of forgetting. Anyway, it was a blast - pictures of the event are on my Facebook page in an album somewhere. Oh, and while I was in New York, I had time to visit the Eckhoff's and visit Michael. His headstone is up and it looks beautiful. Sonny also spruced it up a bit, it looks really nice. I'd post pictures (yes I took pictures) but I'm afraid some of you would just think I'm weird... Oh and I got to see Mikey, Jr. who was surprised to see me and jumped into my arms to give me a huge hug and kiss. Here's a picture of him - this six-year-old is getting so tall! Yeah, he was playing Wii right before I took this picture. Sorry it's blurry, the first picture I took he stood there and stuck his tongue out at me, I thought this one was better.

Okay, that's all for now, I promise...

I lied - here's a picture of Sushi for you. Driving Kristopher's car around. Ha Ha.

A Book Review and More...

So, I have an account with GoodReads.com where you can share what books you are reading, are on your to-read list or have been read with your friends. It also has a rating system and review as well. After you update a book, you have an option to copy it straight into your blog. Also, see my new widget from GoodReads.com on the sidebar which has the books I am currently reading.

Anyhow just thought I'd share.

On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five Stages of Loss by Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I highly recommend this book to anyone dealing with a loss. I believe that it has helped me immensely to sort through the myriad of emotions that I was dealing with following my fiance's death. Although not all points in the book spoke to me directly, it definitely helped me to understand grief and therefore, better understand myself and what I was going through.

Blogging Addition: I'm not one for books that even remotely look like they could be a self-help book but this one was amazing and not written to sound like the usual self-help book. I think the appeal for me was being able to learn something from it. I didn't just learn about grief but I learned what was "normal" and I learned a few things about myself and how I deal with grief. That has really jetted me forward in the grieving process. When I finished this book in August, not only had I cried some needed tears but I had understood what these feelings inside me were all about.

That doesn't make dealing with loss any easier and yes, it did cause me to think of other people in my life that I had lost besides Michael such as my Uncle Al, Uncle Dom and Grandmother - and see how grief affected me then. I see how they all affected me differently and for differnet reasons although never the same... yet, the same.

Okay, so maybe this post was a little cryptic but it felt good to me.