Friday, December 23, 2011

Dear Double Take

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dear Double Take Family,

I know I hugged and thanked each of you Thursday, but I wanted to send you a special note from me to somehow put into words how grateful I am.

A little over nine years ago, I answered a mailing to come check out Double Take as a new salon opportunity for my career.  I honestly was just thinking of my career and what was best for my family and our life style.  Never... not in a million years... did I think I would be part of such an amazing group of people.  Working here for almost a decade, I have seen many stylists or receptionists go (and thrilled to have some of them come back :), but I really do believe this group is the most beautiful, giving and thoughtful we have EVER had.

When little Nate got sick in May of '08 at four months old, Double Take pooled their resources and donated to help with our medical expenses.  I was unbelievably touched back then and honored to be a part of an incredible family here.  Becky has always taken good care of me, words cannot express how much I love that woman.  I will spend a lifetime giving all that I can back to her.  That does not take away from the rest of you.  For all that you have done and continue to do as wonderful friends and co-workers, I HONOR YOU!  I can't get over this feeling of unworthiness.  You all did this for US, for me... I don't understand what we did right to deserve your charity and kindness.  God has blessed me with an amazing family at home.  And, I have always felt that all of you are my family at work, and that my clients are part of my family as well.  How on earth did I get so lucky to have so many wonderful people surround me in all aspects of my life?  I really don't want to take away from what you've done for us, but in all modesty, I'm sure there was many more deserving families that are struggling more than us.  BUT, that's all because of this unworthiness feeling.  I have so much gratitude and love for you, and I thank you with all that I am.

I hope you know how much this will help us with what we are trying to do to prepare for our future with Nate.  You have taken a burden off our shoulders, and are making this process so much less stressful and so much more enjoyable!  I have wondered how we were going to make this happen without going into debt, and you have answered our prayers.  I promise that we will make everybit of this gift do what it was meant to do, and with every board and every nail, it will have my Double Take family attached to it.  This would not be possible without you.

Thursday was a dream... I still can't believe what you did.  And amazed at how well it was pulled together and that fact that I never had one inkling of a clue.  Either you hid it very well, or I was completely oblivious. Maybe a bit of both.

Maybe, in time I will be able to REALLY show my gratitude and to single out each one of you and honor you.  At this point I know the key players, but I am sure that there are so many more of you that did something extra special to make all this possible.  I hope to find out who you are and hug you until you pop.

For all that you did, for all that you are... I appreciate you.  You are my family and I am blessed to have each of you in my life and I will never, ever, EVER forget what you've done for us.

I love you.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Weather Guesser Guy

Yesterday, our local morning meteorologist was missing from the morning show.  So, of course, I checked Face book and came to find out Mr. Don Harmon was dead.  At the time, nothing was being posted about what happened.  Apparently, news DID get out that he had committed suicide.  But, the family didn't want news getting out to other members of the family, particularly Don's father, through the social media.

It's amazing to me, when something like this happens, that people are so fascinated by the details surrounding the situation.  I'm not saying I'm not one of them.  It's human nature to be curious.  Although, what bothered me about this yesterday, was the rumors I heard.  Whether truth or not, it seems everyone grasps on to the first thing they hear and then relays it to others.  Is it because people are needing closure?  Is it because if people don't understand something they make up their own conclusions?

This is a bit unrelated, but when little Lisa Irwin went missing, this sort of thing happened as well. That bothered me too.  No one knows what happened exactly, but yet everyone had something to say.  Who are WE to judge?  And who are WE to spread our opinions regarding a situation that we don't have any business being in the middle of?  The truth will NEVER be ours to judge.

Don Harmon struggled with depression... that came STRAIGHT from his family.  However, everyone seems to want to know WHY?  Did something happen to make him depressed?  Was he struggling with an addiction?  Had he ALWAYS been fighting depression?  Again, WE the public do not know this.  Yet we hear a rumor and then we feed off it.  This poor family now has to live outside the gossip bubble... with ear plugs.  If they listen to the rumors, they wish they hadn't.  If they don't listen, they never have a chance to set any record straight.

I watched a short video of the morning show talking about the tragedy of Don's worldly departure.  I cried my eyes out.  I felt like I was reliving the tragedy of my friends suicide 8 years ago.  I pray that Don's friends and family make it through the grief train and can look back without tears or regret years from now.  I still have much regret for what happened with Jessica and I don't wish that on anyone.  I know many people have had to deal with a loved one "taking their own life".  I remember pondering on that particular quote and being somewhat angry.  They didn't take their OWN life.  They took their loved one's lives and threw it in the garbage disposal.  I know, that mentally they didn't see that. But that's what they did.  When someone gets cancer and dies, their family can be mad at the cancer or maybe they're mad at God.  If someone dies in a tragic car accident, they channel their anger at the other driver or the car itself, or maybe they're mad at God.  If someone is maliciously murdered, their family is angry at the murderer... or maybe... they're mad at God.

When someone kills themselves... who are you mad at?


And then.... who else do you blame?


It really IS out of our control.

I will pray for Don's friends and family and I will not listen to rumors about it.  I choose to be on the family's side.

Good bye "weather guesser guy"...

Thursday, November 17, 2011


So... Okay.  Here's what is going through my mind and soul right now.

A few months ago, the director of Nate's school let us in on an opportunity for this handicap accessible bathroom giveaway that Fox 4 Love Fund and this construction company are doing.  Your family has to be nominated by a "certified youth professional".  We have been crossing our fingers because this is part of the addition/remodel that we started this last June.  We are to the point of almost no money leftover to comfortably do the bathroom without putting it on credit.  Well, yesterday they posted pictures of a few of the nominated families.  I browsed through them, and the more I read about these kids and their families, the more I realized that they all need it more than us.

I'm so torn, because this is something that would be AMAZING for us... but we are PREPARING for what life is going to come to.  We are ahead of the game.  These other families have struggled for years.  My heart and soul is slowly coming to a scream of "Please let someone else receive this!"  But of course, another big part is saying "WE need this!"

I have a friend who desperately wanted to nominate us for extreme home makeover on ABC.  She thinks we are just SO deserving.  I appreciate that and felt honored, but the same part of me that wants another family to receive this bathroom felt that there are MANY other families whose life situations need that more than us.

We have a nice, warm, little home.  It's NOT falling down around us.  We have no health hazards because of our home, no risk of injury.  Craig and I both have jobs that are, thankfully, not in jeopardy of lay offs.  We don't make tons of money, but we get by without too much trouble.  We have cars that are paid for and have no chronic mechanical issues (as of now).  Nate is, for the most part, healthy.  Everything we go through with Nate is due to his illness 3 1/2 years ago.  But, he's not life threatening in the health department.  Thank God.

So, I know we will make this bathroom and remodel happen.  With or without help.  It's too bad that EVERYONE who needs this can't have it given to them...  I'm really struggling in my heart because I know we need it and it would help out so much.  It would give us the opportunity to spend this money we are saving for other much needed modifications to the home for little Nate. I do NOT believe we even have a real chance for the giveaway to come our way because the other stories I read are somewhat heartbreaking.  I'm sure their situations out way ours in the "powers that be" choosers of who receives the bathroom.  It kinda makes me sad.  We in a way kinda got our hopes up, but I really do feel like someone else needs this more than we do.  Darn it...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's been 8 years....

As I was catching up on Facebook today, I was reminded by my oldest friend about the anniversary of a dear friend's passing 8 years ago.

Jessica Ann Stinson... September 19, 1977- October 4, 2003.

Jessica and I were the best of friends starting our sophomore year.  Before I really knew her, I always knew of her.  Everyone knew Jess.  She was the smiling-est person I ever had seen.  She had the BEST laugh and if she was laughing, everyone was laughing, it was so contagious.  She was the most loyal friend anyone could ever ask for, fiercely protective of her friends and someone who could brighten any room she came into.  If I remember correctly, it wasn't a party until she walked in.

We were inseparable sophomore and junior year.  She was there for the meeting of my very first "real" boyfriend and again when I met my future husband.  She and I were only children and we connected in a way I never had with any other friends.  We were "twinsies" with long, blond, permed hair that could poke your eye out if you stood too close due to all the gel and hairspray.  Occasionally, we'd even accidentally where the same outfit to school.  Looking back, I'm sure we were somewhat annoying in that respect, but I thought we were pretty cool.

After high school, I moved to NE with Craig to attend cosmetology school. It wasn't until I moved back, that I found out that Jessica had an eating disorder.  Was I blind to it?  Had it come on recently, or had it always been there and she just was very good about hiding it?  Jessica had somewhat major self-esteem issues, though you'd never know it unless you really knew her.  I remember all of us trying to talk to her about her problems with food, but Jessica was very secretive and it had gotten to the point where it was the elephant in the room no one ever would mention.

The last time I saw Jessica was around the time I got married.  She had gotten really into drinking (among other things) and the last time I saw her we had taken her home from a friend's wedding that she was in and had to break into her house, because she couldn't find her key.  From that point on, I only ever talked to her on the phone.  I'd hear about how skinny she had gotten, I'd hear from her when she'd be admitted to in-patient rehab for eating disorders.  I remember talking to my mom about what was happening with her, and she would say that if she didn't turn this around, the next time I saw her would be at her funeral.

Mom was right.

I got a call from my mom, telling me that Jessica's aunt had looked through Jessica's phone numbers and found my home phone number.  Of course, that was my parents house by that time since I was out of the house married and now a mother.  So, it was Mom who delivered the news... Jessica had committed suicide.  She finally had put an end to her pain, once and for all.

Anyone whose lost someone to suicide can tell you the emotions are a blur.  First, it's disbelief.  Then it's anger.  Then it's self blame.  Then it's regret.

The regret and self blame was because I was so wrapped up in my own life and enjoying what I had, that I never truly reached out to Jessica.  I would think, "Gosh... it's just so hard to be friends with someone who is killing themselves."  The pity I felt for her turned into annoyance, and I couldn't be bothered with her problems.  If I had taken the time to put some effort into being the kind of friend she needed, maybe it could have saved her.  Instead, I lived my own life with Jessica as a sad sidebar.

One thing I still be proud of in my actions, was no matter how upset and annoyed I'd get by Jessica's phone calls and how much I just wanted her to get better and move on, I still always ended our phone calls saying "I love you too."

But that's not a lot to be proud of.

The day of Jessica's funeral, my friend Kelly and I stood up and said some nice things about Jessica.  Honestly, I think it was to make myself feel better about not being a good enough friend to her.  I can't speak for Kelly.  But I do believe I did my best to honor her in at least her after life.

That day was also very difficult, because my mom was having surgery to remove the cancer from her leg.  I didn't know where I should be, I was torn.  Mom told me to go to the funeral, that sitting around waiting for the surgery to be done wasn't going to help me deal with my friend's passing.

The tie that binded my mom and Jessica was growing longer...

The next year, on Jessica's birthday, my mama went to heaven too.

I like to think that both of them have forgiven me for not being there for them as much as I should have.  Maybe I'm the one who needs to forgive myself.

Thank you Kelly for reminding me of this day.  I knew it was coming or maybe it had passed.  My mind blocked the specific date, but now I will always remember.

One thing Jessica always wanted was her friend around her.  So, yes, Kelly.... getting together to remember her would be great and also to re-connect because that was always something Jessica yearned for.

Good bye my dear friend.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Days like these

Today, I saw a friend on Facebook who was marking the 7 mos. anniversary of her husband's death.  I wrote her a little note saying how inspirational she is for anyone who has lost a loved one, simply because she keeps on living day after day.  She stays strong for her children and then has her own time to fall apart.  I can't imagine losing Craig.  I can't even think about raising our children without him.  I know only a few women who've lost their husbands, and have young kids.  I know even fewer men that are in that situation.  My sorrow for this one friend in particular is within the same constant circle that spins as hope, inspiration, grief, anger, pity for her and then back to myself.  Why is it that I can always find something within my own life that in my mind can relate to other's struggles.  Is it because I want to comfort?  Is it due to some sort of selfishness that I WANT them to know I've struggled too?  Am I truly trying to be empathetic? I'd like to thing so.
For this same reason, I have thought about Mom today.  I keep thinking about the exact moment she revealed that she was going to die.  I was in complete disbelief.  It had always been "what's next", "where do we go from here".... always a waiting game hoping to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Common sense always tells us that things could go badly, but you never let yourself get to the point.... Until it does.
I was so young, relatively speaking, compared to where I am in life experiences now.  I admit, I hadn't been around Mom as much as I feel like, now, I should have been.  There is that sense of regret.  I was pregnant with Charlie, Emi was just 2... I was wrapped up in my own life, and the fact that my mom was dying was present, but I never let it take me over.
So, then my mind goes to Dad.  What he must have been feeling.... where was he? He was there everyday, I know.... but for some reason I can't even picture him there.  How awful for him to be going through this and not have anyone to go to.  I wasn't there.... I was focused on HER.  My own loss was all I could think about.  I hope I can someday apologize the right way.  I know he'd say that never even has entered his mind, but it has for me.
I pray that I can continue to find inspiration through other's strengths.  And that I can look at every angle and be a support branch instead of trying to be the trunk.