A Years Time

It’s amazing how much can change in a year. From last August, to this current August, my life has changed drastically in ways I wasn’t expecting. Often, we know when to expect change. I always knew ever since I was a little girl that the year 2015 would be a big year for me and I would graduate from high school and leave home for college. I knew this change was coming. I was ready for it.

Still, some changes aren’t quite as expected. This year has brought a lot of change I wasn’t expecting. This day last year, my stepfather passed away suddenly, and I think this is what has caused me to analyze change so much. This one, hurtful moment changed my life in many ways. It affected me emotionally, and heavily impacted my family dynamic. It brought a lot of heartache and created many obstacles for my family that we are still working through. This was a change I did not have planned. This was a change that was not welcomed.

There have been great things that have happened this year too. I started dating my best friend, I got an internship, I got a position on the executive committee for my sorority, I made new friends, although while also losing some, and I declared myself as a double major. So much can change in a day- a minute even- let alone a year. It’s crazy to think how far I’ve come from last summer to this summer, and yet how much I’ve stepped back. Some aspects of my life that weren’t blooming quite as much last summer, such as my professional life or my love life, are doing very well now. Other aspects that may have been great, seem to be at a low point right now.

Still, I am not worried. I know that soon, even more crazy unexpected events will occur, good and bad. The good might not be good forever, but neither will the bad. Even more change is expected to come by next summer as I will hopefully be graduating college and officially moving out of the home I’ve been living in for the past ten years. I’ll have to say goodbye to a lot of great people, but I believe when the time comes I will be ready. For now, I am going to live in the moment and do my best to accept change as it comes and believe the universe has a plan for me. Still, it’s nice to look back and reflect on what my life once was way back when.

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The Universe Strikes Again

This past month I haven’t been blogging very much and starting now, I am back! As all of you who read my blog know, I’ve been having a really hard year, but I’ve been having a really hard month especially.

About a month ago, my grandmother passed away and this was really difficult for me and my family. She passed almost exactly on the six month mark of my step-father’s death, and I honestly was not ready to go through something like this again. It was so unbelievably hard to have to walk into this church again and watch another funeral for someone I need in my life so desperately. This happened at a really bad time, but I guess, there isn’t really such a thing as a good time.

My grandmother was very close in my life. She helped raise me and she helped me grow into who I am. She lived with me until I was about seven or eight, and even after she moved out I would spend every weekend at her place playing cards and watching movies up until I was around ten or eleven. Then I got to middle school and instead of making me walk home, she was always the first car parked outside waiting to pick me up. She always arrived half an hour early and sat there waiting so I didn’t have to look all around the parking lot trying to find her. And then I got to high school and every afternoon I’d get home from school and she’d be sitting at the kitchen table for no apparent reason other than to make sure I got home from school okay. And it’s so funny because I thought at the time that this was absolutely ridiculous. I was like “I’m in high school, I’m grown, I don’t need to be watched like a child.” But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how lucky I am to have a grandmother who loved and cared about me so much.

It’s hard knowing I can call her phone all I want, but she will never pick up. All that remains are a few voicemails that I still listen to here and there. My grandmother was a strong woman, and she really fought through her sickness. Unfortunately, everyone’s life ends eventually and hers had to end here. I’m devastated and I don’t think I will ever stop missing her. The only comfort is that I know wherever she is now, she is okay. I’m assuming she’s somewhere in heaven watching a Real Housewives marathon with my grandfather and step-dad complaining in the background that they’d rather watch football or something. A part of her will always remain with me, and I’ll never be able to ignore the impact she’s had on my life. I’m forever lucky to have had a grandmother like her.

I’ll love and miss you forever.

Looking For A Sign

When someone dies, we look around for signs that they’re still with us. But what are actual signs and what is actually just our mind tricking us? Is it all just our mind tricking us?

A day before my grandfather got sick, he was giving away poppy flowers as the supporting veteran he was. When my grandfather was sick, my mom asked him to give her a sign that he got there okay. Two days after he passed, a lone little poppy flower sprouted in our front yard. It was a sign.

People always told me that spirits show up in the form of butterflies. When my mom left to go put my dog down, she got out of the car with my dog, and a butterfly flew with her all the way to the entrance. When she left and my dog had passed, my mom felt the need to go to the cemetery. And there she showed up to a beautiful butterfly sitting on the tombstone. And she just knew, she wasn’t alone.

The day following my stepdad’s passing, we had been searching around for signs that he is still here. I had been wandering outside in mid August and no butterflies have appeared. Is he here? My mom picks up a roast beef sandwich and refers to how much he loved roast beef, but that she never bought it. Then she went to squirt mustard on her sandwich and it squirted all over her shirt. Is this his way of saying, “Ha! That’s for never buying me roast beef!” or did my mom simply just squirt mustard on herself?

About two weeks prior, my brother had received flowers from his boyfriend. My stepdad said to him “Thanks, now I have to buy your mom flowers!” Later, he discussed flowers with my mom and said “you love lilies right?” a common mistake he always made, and my mom questioned if he’s just being his sarcastic self and kidding, or if he actually forgot. She’s always loved tulips.

After he passed, my mom had two bouquets of flowers delivered, both of beautiful white lilies. Is this him delivering the flowers he never got a chance to?

We look for signs to see if loved ones are still here because we need them to still be here. But what is real and what isn’t? How do we know when someone is actually around, or when our mind is only tricking us?

An Open Letter to the Man Who Raised Me

Dear Brian,

My biggest regret so far in life is having not told you any of this sooner. If I had known time was running out, I would have. The news I awoke to at 3:30 am was not something I was prepared for. I could have never seen this coming and I’m finding it hard to find words to describe how I’m feeling.

It’s been a few hours and I still feel sick to my stomach. I’m still in disbelief. I still can’t comprehend what is happening, that this is actually real. How could something like this happen? Everything was fine. Everything was perfect.

And I don’t know how to cope, but here I am writing this letter I know you’ll never read. I can’t put into words how much I miss you. How grateful I am that you have been put into my life. You have been the closest thing to a father I’ve ever had. I just can’t believe you’re gone.

I love you more than life itself. You did so much for me, my mom, and our family. You took on my family like we were your own and you loved my mom more than any man ever could. You raised me as your “little princess”, you taught me everything I know, and I don’t know where I’m supposed to go from here.

I have never felt a heartbreak quite like this before. I feel like without you, a piece of me will always be missing. You changed my life for the better. I don’t know where I would have been without you. I don’t know where I’ll be without you.

And my heart breaks a little more remembering how much you loved reading my posts and knowing that this is the first article I’m writing without you reading which is pretty ironic since it’s the article I wish you could read the most. I just can’t believe this is happening, and I can’t believe someone so important in my life is gone so soon.

Although you’ll never see me graduate from college, although you’ll never be able to walk me down the aisle, and although my future children will never meet their grandfather, you have truly made a mark on my life that can’t be touched. You made me who I am today. Thanks for being the father figure I’ve never had.

You were way more than just my step-dad, you were my dad. I’ve known you since I was just a little girl. You watched me grow into who I’ve become. You were there for me at my worst and you treated me like I was your own daughter. Thanks for taking care of me, and even more importantly caring so much about me. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do without you. All I know is that I love you.

There is so much left unsaid and I don’t know how to put these feelings into words. Even though you’ve passed on I will forever be grateful for all that you’ve taught me and all that you’ve given me. All I hope is that one day I can make you proud of who I’ve become and that one day, we will meet again.

I love you and miss you more than you will ever know

Love,

Your little princess

Rest in Peace Figaro, Love and Miss You <3

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Death never gets easier. I’ve lost few in the past, and it hasn’t prepared me for yet another death I experienced today. My beloved cat Figaro. I know it’s “just a pet” to some people, but it isn’t to me. It’s never just a pet to me. Pets are a combination of family and very close friends. They are absolutely ALWAYS there for you. And losing one is never easy.

I lost my cat today on November 9, 2012. I’ve had him since I was 6, so I got him I believe in the year 2003. It was such a long time ago, but not long enough. Figs was only 9..9! Cat’s live until they’re at least 15! How is this fair to me? To lose my childhood pet so soon? All because of stupid cancer! Cancer that spread throughout his body in what looks to have been about 2-3 weeks. It’s. Not. Fair.

I don’t know the exact date that I first got Figs since I was only 6 and I didn’t pay attention to that kind of stuff. I don’t know his birthday either since we got him from the shelter, but he was definitely only a few months. It’s funny though because although I was so young when I first got him, I still remember the day perfectly well.

My dad and I made an agreement; he’ll buy me a cat if I go to Italy with him. (Win/win for me, haha!) So one day I get called downstairs and I see this big cage. Inside is the cutest white little kitten with a little bit of gray on his face. My brother and I opened the cage and began playing with the cute little kitten. I believe someone else was there too. Possibly my cousin or neighbor, but I was 6 so I don’t remember exactly. I remember deciding on a name. My brother Alex said “Let’s name him Figaro like from Pinocchio!” I loved that idea. My brother was only kidding though considering this cat looked nothing like Figaro from Pinocchio considering he was mostly white and the one from Pinocchio was mostly black, but I loved the name anyways. My brother tossed around other name idea’s too, but it was my cat and I was set on the name Figaro.

I also remember from that day playing with him on the step. We would put him on the bottom step and watch his silly attempts to climb down. He was the cutest thing.

As Figaro got older, a big gray spot began to grow across his back matching the grayness on his face. There was even a point where the gray spot looked like Mickey Mouse’s silhouette. By the time he passed though, which was today, it was just a huge gray patch that took up most of his torso. I wonder if he would have lived another 10 years, if he would’ve been all gray. I guess now that’s something I’ll never know.

I also remember walking around the house singing “Figaro, Figaro, Fiii-gaaah-rooow!” like a huge fat Italian man would. I don’t even know if that was in Pinocchio or if I just came up with it myself. Either way, I should probably never do it again because I am beyond tone deaf. Figaro also had the most beautiful eyes. They were huge bright blue eyes and whenever someone would meet him for the first time they would say “wow, your cat has such beautiful eyes!” When really, he was just beautiful in general.

I know I have journals in my closet from when I was in elementary school and we would have to write in our daily journal each day. I remember writing about him. I actually remember rereading an article I wrote about him in there because I did look at it recently when I was cleaning out my closet. I think possibly tomorrow I’m going to look for it and read it again. Although that’ll probably make me an even bigger wreck then I already am.

It has just been a very hard day. Over the past few weeks, Figs began losing lots and lots of weight. We took him for blood work and it wasn’t until yesterday that we got the results stating he has been diagnosed with cancer. It spread rapidly through out his body. It was all over and not something we could fix. Could we treat him? Possibly, but it would have been so much money and would’ve only kept him alive for maybe 3 more months, so it wouldn’t have been worth it. We would’ve had to start treatments immediately too since he passed today. He was in so much pain today. It was heartbreaking.

I heard a loud tumble down the steps this morning. I go by the steps to see Figs laying at the bottom, not moving. I thought he was dead. He wasn’t. He couldn’t move though. He just laid there and would occasionally let out a moan. I helped him sit up and he sat for awhile before eventually standing up, walking a few steps, and falling over. It was a cycle for him, but he had somewhere he wanted to go. His legs were like jello though and he had absolutely no strength, so he could only go about 2 steps before falling over and to be quite frank, I couldn’t watch it. So what I did was I picked him up and I carried him over to the corner that my dog, Myra died in 2 years ago figuring there is no better place for him to die. I carried him to the corner of my dining room and he laid there for a few moments before getting up and going over to the closest chair. He attempted a jump, and with my help, he got on top of the chair in which he wanted to die on. After that, it was just hours of patiently waiting. Every once in a while he would have a breathing fit or a coughing fit. It wasn’t fun to watch and it was clear he was in pain. His paw and head began dangling from the chair and it was hard because it was so clear he was in pain, but I just couldn’t disturb him. At least 3 times today he fooled me and my brother making us think he was dead, when he was actually still alive. Basically today was pointless. He couldn’t move and he was in so much pain that he might as well have been dead all day. I’d rather that than his pain, no matter how difficult it may be for me. But now he really is gone and it is the most terrible feeling ever.

I definitely will never get used to sitting on the couch and not having him come sit in my lap to keep me warm. I loved Figaro more than anything, and I really can’t believe this is real. I will certainly never forget him. Love and miss you Figs, rest in peace. ❤

Sidenote: Please keep in mind that I wrote this on November 9 and I just have not uploaded it until now. Thank you xo