Not goodbye. Just see you later.

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Yesterday was one of THE hardest days in my life. I had to say “see you later” to one of the greatest people I have ever known. (Our story is here: https://stephssoapbox.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/matt-my-friend-my-love-my-heartbreak-my-inspiration/ ) I choose to say “see you later” rather than goodbye because I hold tight to the thought that I will be reunited with Matt, my mother I lost in 2005, my baby girl Dara I lost in 1997, and so many other friends and family that have passed on from this Earth. It is what keeps me sane on days like these past few.

The service for my Matty was so beautiful. Anyone who knew Matt could tell that he had a hand in what was done. He was there in the room with us. I got chills followed by a warm feeling multiple times as I was sitting and watching it all unfold. At one point, I felt a gentle touch on my leg even though there was no one sitting next to me. I knew that touch. Some will totally get that, some will say I’m crazy. I don’t care. I know it was him comforting me and letting me know he was there. Others that were in that church have said similar things. Matt was one to give a comforting touch or lend a shoulder to cry on to anyone who needed it. I think he wanted each and every person who loved him to know that he was now happy and out of pain. He was letting us know it was OK to morn, but that he would always be with all of us forever.

I will forever remember the words that were spoken, the songs that were sung (especially the one his step-brother sang http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fz1N8W8phec ), the tears that flowed from every eye, and all the hands that reached out to embrace the family and friends that were in need.

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The military salute and the presentation of American flags to Matt’s parents was the one thing that made me beam with pride. Matt was a man that took pride in his country. He rarely spoke of his days in the service with me, but when he did, he spoke with admiration and pride. He was a great soldier. He loved his country and his fellow man. I believe his stint in the military was one of the things that shaped him into the man he became.

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When his young, but incredibly strong, teenage daughter read a letter to her father there wasn’t a dry eye left in the room. She spoke from her heart about how great a father he was to her and her younger brother. I was in my early 30’s when I lost my mother and that was hard enough. I can’t imagine going through it at 16. Matt had fought so hard to get custody of his children after his first bout with Leukemia. I am so grateful that he was able to win and for the precious time he got to spend with those kids. They still need their father. They still have so many more memories to make together as a family. I know he will be watching over them and guiding them along life’s path. I am thankful that they have an amazing family that they can lean on for support in the next few incredibly difficult days, weeks, and months to come.

Two images will remain in my memory of his children yesterday. His son was given Matt’s military jacket. His son put it on and looked so handsome and so much like his father in it. I was brought to my knees by a flood of memories of Matt from his Navy days. I decided it was time to leave after that and started towards the exit. I took one last look into the sanctuary where Matt’s funeral service had been held. I was again heartbroken by the image I saw. His daughter was sitting in a chair in the front row staring at the spot where Matt’s casket had been just a short few moments before. She was wearing a baseball cap (something that for years her father was never without) and a single beam of sunshine shined in through a window and touched the top of the cap. I know that was Matt shining down on her saying he would be with her forever.

The heartbreaking memories will stay with me forever, but I gained so much from the past few days. I saw how one man could touch so many lives in just a short 40 years. I saw how people I hadn’t seen in years and people I was just getting to know comforted me and each other in this time of need and remembrance. I saw how two young lives were touched deeply by their father. I felt sorrow. I felt love. I felt comfort. I gathered with those that loved Matt the most and shared memories of the past and hopes for the future. I felt Matt’s hand guiding me towards his friends to help me get through. I hope to keep these new friends in my life for a long time. These are people that love Matt as much as I do. We will be able to share memories and laughs for years to come.

Matt will always remain a major piece of my heart. My life would not have been the same without him. I treasure each and every moment I was blessed to share with such an amazing man.

As you once told me in a letter (and I repeated to you yesterday as I gave you one final rose),

“I will love you forever. I will for always. I will love upside down and sideways. No matter how close or how far apart, you will always remain a piece of my heart.”

See you later my Matty.

 

 

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Inspiration: What is yours?

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OK. Admit it. You have had one of those days where you just can’t find a reason to get out of bed let alone find inspiration. I have been there so many times it would be impossible to count. Yet, most days, we do get up out of that bed and get on with our day. What inspires you? What makes you say, “OK. I can do this.”?

I have many things to motivate me. Most days, it is my family. I know I have to be there for my daughter, to be an example. She needs me to be her rock in these arduous teen years. It’s hard enough for her to get out of bed some days too.

If that doesn’t work, I turn to music. As I have mentioned, music is emotion to me. I have certain songs I know I can go to for comfort and encouragement. It’s kind of cliche, but I still love Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up” for those days I need an extra boost.

But, my biggest inspiration for quite some time came last week. I met a friend from high school for lunch. Other then seeing each other in town every once in awhile or talking for a minute or two on Facebook, we really hadn’t had much contact for about 18 years. It was a bit awkward at first, but then we just started to talk about life and our struggles. He had been diagnosed with Leukemia and was now almost 2 years into remission. He went through so much in that time and came out on the other side with a great attitude. He said to me with a smile, “Every day I wake up is a good day.” That hit me hard. With all of my struggles with my own health I had really gone into a depression and most days couldn’t see the good in life. What he said made me think, “Wow. If he can be that positive after all he has been through and will continue to deal with over the coming years, why can’t I?” I decided that day to start seeing things differently. To start noticing the things and people around me again. To truly open up my heart to the world again. I am scared that I will get hurt again. I am scared that my own health issues will continue to make life hard. But, I feel I should really try. I don’t know how long I will stay this way…when the depression might seep back in or the pain in my body will cause me to doubt again. I just know that I owe it to myself, my family, and my great friend to be a bit more positive about life. I lost so many years and relationships because of my depression. I want to heal that pain and start a new journey in life.

Today is a new day and I will embrace it. What will you do? I hope you find your inspiration and have a great day.

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To write or not to write…

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That is the question today. I have been struggling lately with what to write on here. I have multiple ideas already thought out. I know I will get them out eventually. I guess I am feeling a bit exposed after writing https://stephssoapbox.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/my-ride-on-the-bipolar-train-with-multiple-diagnosis-stops-along-the-way/. I revealed quite a bit about my life in that post, but I still have so much more to say. I know that is the reason I came here and I don’t feel wrong about telling you guys, but with my social anxiety I feel so nervous now. Anyone else feel this way after starting a personal blog? I know I am not alone. I have already read MANY beautiful, inspirational posts that touched my heart. I guess I should just trust that voice inside me and let my story out.

Someone I recently went to lunch with told me that every day he wakes up in the morning is a good day. After all I have been through, that really struck me. HARD. It made me stop and think. We do need to make each day count. If by sharing my story with the world helps even one person, I have accomplished a lot.

For a few years I have been flirting with the idea of writing a memoir. It might just be for me and my family or I might try to get it published so I can help others who have had some of the same struggles. (I have some writing experience, but I would love any advice.)

So, yes, I will continue to blog about myself, my trials and tribulations. The highs and lows in a persons life make them who they are. I have slowly learned that over the years. I hope you will continue with me on my journey. I always welcome ALL comments.