Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sad heart

I am writing today, because I have a very sad heart.  It's not at all what you think.  My heart will always be sad over the loss of my son, but this sad on top of that makes it very hard to want to be around anyone today.
When there is strife and broken relationships in a family, it truly tears my heart up.  I know the Lord is not the author of confusion or turmoil so that can only leave the devil to be at work when families are torn apart.
I would not want to take to the Internet and call out anyone in my family so I won't go into detail here.
Instead, I would like to ask for special prayer for my family and for a very difficult situation to have a peaceful ending that is good for everyone involved.

Thank you so much for your prayers...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

'Tis the season...

During this time of year there seems to be more acts of kindness, caring, and giving.  I love seeing that.  It's just sad that this time of year is when we notice this more than the rest of the year, but that seems to be how it works.  However, I'm still amazed at some of the things people choose to focus on (even during this time of year).  When I think about the families that have their loved ones overseas putting their lives on the line 24/7 for our freedoms, those fighting cancer still today (far too many), those facing the first holiday after losing a loved one, those who are put in what seems like impossible situations, but trying to make the best of it anyway and then I witness those that seem to be preoccupied with hurting others or neglecting those that really need to have some love and care it breaks my heart. 
Unfortunately, I'm reminded daily, hourly, by the minute, each second of what gratitude is and wishing you had someone back that you love and the reality that you won't see them again until you enter the gates of heaven.  To see so many people in this world today not cherishing or taking for granted that their loved ones will just always be there is hard. 
I know I don't spend the time I would like to with all my loved ones and as much as I would love to do that, it isn't reality, but I do hope and pray that they know I would be with them if I could.  I know I fall short of this on a daily basis, but I truly do try to do the best job I can. 
I believe most families are close and it hurts to the core when things aren't great with us all, but life deals us those hands at times.  It's what we decide to do with those hands that makes the most difference.  I can admit that there have been lots of times that I didn't handle some cards the best way at times, but I can also say that I do try each day to do the best I can with what I'm dealt so I can lay my head down each night and know I did the best job I could do that day and tried to be the best person I could be despite the circumstances.  I like to believe that's how we all think and try to live.
I don't know why there are people who cross our paths that do or say things that hurt us or damage relationships.  I know in my own experience it is usually something else in the mix that either drives a person to act a certain way or react in a way that we may not expect and things can then suddenly get completely out of control.  I've been a part of that kind of situation and it isn't pleasant.  I would like to think that I always chose to react the best way possible, but that wouldn't be true. I have let my emotions, pride, or whatever it might be, get in the way.  I don't like it when I chose the wrong reaction, but we are all human and it will happen from time to time.  All I can do is apologize and learn to do better the next time.  It would be nice if we lived in a world where we didn't have to worry about next time, but again, that is not reality.
I don't want to be that person that only thinks of the hurting, the lonely, the sad, etc. during the Holidays, but rather on a daily basis year around.  In my heart I feel that way all the time, but at times I know my actions may not speak that to the one who may be hurting.  I'm making a promise to myself and my family and friends as well as those out there I've yet to meet, to be a better person and to try and choose my reactions to situations in a more calm and loving way.  I will fail and I will fail often, but I will start each day with the intent and desire to do and be better and with lots of prayer and discipline I will do better.
'Tis the season...  I would like to see our world change that to 'Tis each day.  How nice would that be if we could all have a better attitude towards another person (all people) year around rather than just a season in time.  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Pine Sol - Still not happy

So, this weekend I had to mop my floors for the first time without my "true Original" Pine Sol https://www.pinesol.com/?utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=pine-sol%2520with&utm_campaign=PS_Brand_Exact and let me just say, I'm not happy!  I used Mr. Clean (not bashing them, because I'm just starting to use it) and it just wasn't the same.  I refuse to use any other scents of the Pine Sol, because since I've always used and loved the "true Original" scent, why would I change.  If I liked the others, I would have already been using them. 
I'm a creature of habit (like you wouldn't know that if you didn't know me), but more than that, when I find something I like, I do not change.  I do not adjust to change well anyway (again, no surprise to those who know me), so this is not sitting very well with me.
Then I think (when this all first happened), oh it will be like Coke and they will go back to the original.  Well, NO, that apparently isn't an option according to the person (or computer response) who responded to my letter (yes, I'm that person that wrote a letter, more than once).  The words used were very to the point, we will not be returning to the "true Original" scent.
Well, for that, Pine Sol, I will find my new "go to" cleaner and turns out, I clean a lot and once I become comfortable with a new cleaner I will remain loyal to them (unless they go changing something that isn't broken like you did).
This may seem pretty petty to most people, but I LOVED the "true Original" Pine Sol.  I DO NOT like the "new original" scent and they say it is longer lasting, no it isn't!  I've used the "true Original" Pine Sol since I was old enough to clean with a cleaner and I know how the "true Original" smells and lasts and this new isn't it.
I'm hoping Mr. Clean works out for me, because as much as I buy cleaning supplies, I am not in the mood to trying 100 different products to find one that makes me happy since I was forced to change from something that was perfectly fine! 
Until I am certain about this new product I will keep my opinion of it to myself and reserve the right or need to express those feelings until I know exactly how I do or do not like it. 
Since my stock pile of all the "true Original" Pine Sol has now been depleted I have no choice, but I am using something new under protest.
I guess only time will tell if I will like this new choice, but if the folks at Pine Sol have noticed their stock price dropping or inventory in the stores aren't moving as quickly and at the quantity it used to, it's probably due to the fact that most likely one of your largest purchasing customers is not happy with this change.  Have you never heard if it isn't broken, don't "fix" it?  Well, the "true Original" wasn't broken.
I still hold out hope that you will get it like Coke did and return to the "true Original" Pine Sol scent, because the others just are not the same and I will be boycotting any other product made by Pine Sol for that reason.  Mr. Clean, I sure hope you are not part of the Pine Sol company or you will be going bye-bye too.
Ugh!  @pinesol #frustratedcleaner  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Four Years

It is hard to believe it's been four years and other times it feels like it's been forever since I've hugged you or just been in your presence.  To say you are missed would be a true understatement.  No real words exist (that I've been able to find yet anyway) to truly express the sadness and pain that comes with you not being on this earth everyday.

At the same time there is that pain and sadness, strangely there is a certain amount of peace that flows knowing you are not suffering or having to watch your brothers suffer on a daily basis.  As odd as that sounds, it does give me a certain amount of peace.

This day in 2010 will never leave us.  I will never forget what it felt like for that doorbell to ring and Tebo telling me they were in uniform.  I felt sick and at the same time, I knew why they were there at that point.  I didn't want to believe it and honestly, I still don't today, but I had to accept it.

If I'm breathing, I am missing you.  If I'm breathing, I long for you.  If I'm breathing, the pain is there.  I would have given my life to spare yours without a second thought.  That's just what parents do I suppose, but more than just words, I would have done that.  You had so much life yet to live, but I have to believe the Lord spared you from a far worse fate and that's what I have to remember and remind myself daily of.

Chad, you were truly the best thing I ever did in my life.  You made me proud to call you son and still today seeing the lives you continue to touch make me just as proud of you as if you were still on this earth.

I won't lie, some days it feels impossible to go on.  It hurts too much!  I know that isn't an option and for as long as the Lord sees fit to keep me on this earth that is how it will be and I will do the best I can at continuing to try and make you proud and take care of your buddies and their families.

You would be so proud of them call, son.  They do such a great job of checking on us and making sure we are as ok as we can be and for that we will forever be grateful.  That makes me believe even more that not only were you a great friend, you picked great friends.  Once again, making me proud to call you my son.

Four years.... It's just hard to believe it's been four years.  I don't want these past four years the way we had to live them and I don't want the next, however many years we have, but it is what it is and I promise to do the best I can to carry on and try to make you as proud as I can.

You are loved and missed every day and only when I breathe.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Visit

Last night, November 24, 2014, I had my first dream of Chad.  It was simple and short, but the most powerful thing I've ever experienced.  I wasn't sure I was going to even say anything to anyone, but it was just so real and touched me in such a profound way I had to share it.  I told Tebo and I was a bit worried he would think I was crazy(ier), but I should have known this would be how he would respond.  He just simply said, "I think it's great".  What?  That's what flashed through my head for a split second.  You don't think I'm crazy?  That's what was running through my head, but he was absolutely perfect.  I needed that validation I guess to prove to myself that I wasn't crazy. 
Several people had told me that Chad would "visit me" in my dreams, but I never got that.  Others said they had dreams about Chad and I was beginning to think it would never happen to me.  The only thoughts I had in my sleep of Chad were all of the doorbell ringing or what the incident may have been like, but nothing as precious as this.
When I say it was simple, it really was.  I will share that moment with those willing to read this and if no one does, then it will just be for me.  I'm good either way.

Tebo and I were somewhere (not sure where), but we had visitors come over (I don't know who these visitors were), but suddenly Chad appeared and took his jacket off and he was wearing a white t-shirt (I couldn't see the whole t-shirt, but for some reason it felt like it was his favorite TN t-shirt).  He leaned down and hugged me and said "I love you mom".  I said, oh I love you too son and I miss you.  He just kept telling me he loved me and hugging me like he always did when he really needed a hug.  Then he said, "mom, I have to go".  I kept asking him to stay and he would tell me he loved me, but he had to go and just like that it was over. 

When I tell you it felt real, it truly did.  It was as if I could truly feel his arms around me tightly.  It actually reminded me of the hug he gave me when he called me back to the graduation location of his high school graduation and hugged me when he really needed one.  He just held on and I held right back.  I didn't want it to stop and even as I type this I can't stop the flow of tears.  I don't know if the tears are happy or sad, but regardless, they won't stop. 

It will be four (4) years Monday, December 1st, since he left this earth and missing him is physically and emotionally painful.  I don't believe it will ever get easier (as it shouldn't get easy to miss my baby), I believe, for me, I will get better at living in a somewhat fake way of surviving each day.  Some days are easier to do this than others and some days just feel like I am going through the motions of life and at the end of the day not even sure how I did it.  I guess that is just one of the ways the Lord steps in and just handles my day in my place and allows me to be lost in my thoughts of Chad.

If Chad were able to hear me I would speak this little note to him:

Sweet son, thank you for the visit that filled my heart
with a warm and comforting feeling.
You had to go as quickly as you arrived, almost like real life.
It was as hard to let go of that hug from you as it was everyday of your life on earth.
I cherish every moment I had with you and I long for even one more.
I believe that longing will last until we meet again at the gates of heaven.
There isn't a moment when I'm breathing that I'm not missing and loving you.
This world is not the same with you not in it and it's felt without ceasing.
The only comfort I can find in not having you here is that you aren't suffering
and I know you are with our other loved ones that went before you and
that I will see you again one day.  
The knowledge of that is truly what helps me get up each day and put my feet on the floor.
I hope  you are dancing with the angels and hunting, fishing, and playing golf if that is allowed.
Thank you for being the kind of friend that has made it possible for your friends to continue loving
me for you so that it feels like I continue to have a piece of you all around me.
Again, sweet son, thank you for the special hug and the I love yous you gave me Monday night.
I've waited almost four years for that little visit and I will cherish it always.
love, mom


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day 2014

First things first, to all who have served this country in any military capacity, past and present, THANK YOU!  Thank you for your service and sacrifices you have made and continue to make on our behalf.  Thank you feels so inadequate for how I truly feel in my heart, but those are the only words I know to use to describe it.  Personally, I think every day should be your day.  For me and my family, I know we feel gratitude daily for all you have done and continue to do for us, but on this day, I love that our Nation comes together to honor and thank you formally.
Today is the day to celebrate Veterans.  It is YOUR day and no one else's day.  Now, I say that, but let me clarify one thing.  Those spouses and parents and family members that are supporting our military deserve a huge thanks as well.  It's not easy to sit idly by while your loved ones are in harms way, but you do it (I've done it) and you deserve a huge thank you as well, but today, we should focus on our Veterans.  The ones that have and continue to put their very lives on the line for all of us.  They are doing the job that few are willing to do and for that some take great criticism and that hurts my heart. 
I can't count the times I've heard people say, well, they signed up for it.  They knew what they were getting into (my son included).  Well, yes, they did sign up, but at 18 and 19 years old, I can tell you with all certainty that they didn't truly know what they were signing up for, but they learned very quickly and they had to grow up even faster.  For some, this is their first time away from home and family and that in and of itself is hard, but they push through and they become Marines, Navy Men/Women, Soldiers, Coast Guardsman (I know my terminology isn't accurate, but you get my point), and National Guard.  This is certainly not an easy process these young men and women go through, but they do it and many without complaint.  It really does irritate me when people out there tend to take the fact that "they signed up" for an okay reason for something terrible should happen to them and their families.  If it weren't for these brave young men and women "signing up" there would be a Draft (again).  Then some of those sitting around so eager to make that statement having to serve unwillingly and I have no doubt if they answered their Nation's call, they would do it with pride and honor.  If you have ever been guilty of uttering those words, I would challenge you to stop and think what things would have been like after 9/11 when our country was under attack and we went to war (again) and we didn't have these brave young men and women to "sign up" in our place.  We may have all been on the list to be drafted.  So maybe, just maybe, you could stop and consider that before making that type of statement and better yet, if you hear someone make that statement, you could very nicely remind them of that fact.
I, for one, could not be more proud of the military men and women I know and some I've come to call my "bonus kids".  Some have now returned to civilian life (which is no picnic by the way) and some continue to serve today.  I love each and every one of them and there is nothing I wouldn't do for them.  It is my hope and prayer that each day they know and believe that my family and I love them, support them, and thank them for all they do for us on a daily basis.

God bless each and every one of you!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Twenty Nine

That's how many days until it has officially been 4 years since Chad left this earth.  Four years!  It still feels like yesterday, but when I started thinking of 4 years I thought, WOW!  The first 4 years of your baby's life tend to go so quickly and before you know you are getting school shots for kindergarten.  It takes 4 years to get through high school.  He would have completed 4 years in the Marine Corps shortly after returning home from Afghanistan.  So really, 4 years seems like nothing, but this 4 years has felt almost like it's been frozen in time.  It's very odd, really.  In some ways it feels like yesterday and in other ways it feels forever.  The only way it feels forever for me is in the fact that it feels like forever since I've seen that crooked smile.  Forever since I've gotten that amazing hug from him.  Forever since I've smelled him (you know, that distinct smell that lets you know your son is in the room).  I miss all of that.  That's how it feels forever.  However, every morning it feels like yesterday that the doorbell rang.  It feels like yesterday when we were thrown into this vortex of craziness that went so fast that once it was all over I had to stop and try to remember what just happened.  There are days now that I have to physically stop and try and remember the details during that craziness.
Twenty nine days and I will be forced to realize that I have managed in some odd way to continue breathing without my sweet boy on this earth.  In some ways that really pisses me off and in other ways I wonder how I've been able to accomplish that.  Some of those days were truly a blur and not really sure how I got from morning until night.  Most days I feel I just go through the motions and once I get home it feels good to just exhale and not fake a smile or fake being glad to be wherever I am at the moment.
Life does go on.  I don't have to like it and I don't even have to want it, but it does.  Today and in 29 days I will miss him just as much as the moment on 12-1-10 when that doorbell rang and I knew I would never get to see him alive on this earth again.  That will never change.  I don't care what people say, it doesn't get easier and you don't miss them less and you don't think of them less.  Others just don't want to discuss it as much, and that is ok.  Everyone has their own ways of getting through the next day and dealing with loss.  For me, I'm not real sure how I deal with any of it or if I even do. I know I don't have a choice and I am extremely blessed with all the bonus kids I have.  I'm lucky enough to have Tia, Trevor, Candi, Nathan, and Lil Miss (Lorin) and all Chad's high school friends that have been so amazing to have just adopted us and all his Marine buddies that continue to take care of us and making sure we are ok.  I have an amazing family and my husband couldn't be more perfect for me.  None of this takes away the pain of not having my Chadman here, but it sure makes it easier to cope day to day.
Until that day when I get to see him again I will continue to miss him, but I will love all my bonus kids to the fullest and their babies as well as my family that continues to help me get through each and every day.
I saw a perfect quote today:  The hardest part wasn't losing you, it was learning to live without you...  I don't know the author, but it speaks volumes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

When we let others disappoint us

I have had yet another hard lesson learned on allowing myself to give someone yet another chance to do the right thing and then finding myself disappointed when they let me down again
This person, who will remain nameless, has always been a very important person in my life (or so I thought).  I have loved this person unconditionally and many times this person was not lovable, but without fail, I loved and trusted and believed in this person.
Well, once again, this person has proven unworthy of my trust and unconditional love.  Now what makes it a bit harder is I know the Lord commands us to love one another and have forgiveness so I am struggling with that piece of it, but I'm trusting the Lord will help me get through that part, and he will.
There are several things wrong with this person and the things this person does to others, family, and unsuspecting future people who will be taken by this person.  One is the fact that this person uses people.  I don't mean like some of us can do when we may use the relationships we have with others to help us get a leg up or get our foot in the door, typically the person helping you do that is aware.  The kind of using this person does is the hurtful kind.  This person makes you feel like you are the most important person in their life and there would be nothing this person wouldn't do for you, but the moment you either don't give this person what they need or want or heaven forbid you do something that this person perceives as against them, you will be cut out of that person's life like you never existed.  I know, this sounds harsh and you may be wondering, how could I talk about someone I said I loved so much like this.  Well, when this has been done to you by this person so many times you lose count, it seems quite easy to say these things and also, because these things are true.
Don't get me wrong, I still don't want anything terrible to happen to this person.  There is a piece of me that will always love this person, but there comes a time in every one's life I guess when we realize that sometimes you just have to know when to walk away and for me, that time is now.
I have been there for this person when some people wouldn't have been.  I believed in this person when few people did and just to find out that this person was once again using me for their own gain and would lie and throw not only myself, but others close to them under a bus yet again, for me, was the last straw.  Now, I would never give this person the satisfaction of stealing what happiness I have in my life or consume anymore of my mind or heart with bitterness or hate.  That person would win if I allowed that to happen.  Instead, I will love this person in my own way and stay away and there is certainly one thing that will never happen again and this I believe I can say with complete confidence this time...  I will not be used again and I will not allow this person to suck me back into their depths of deceit nor will I let this person consume my life again.  I do good enough just to get through a normal day at times, I certainly do not need someone dragging me through their poisonous life and injecting that poison into my life.  Life is too hard on a "normal" day without adding that kind of toxic behavior.  No thank you...
That saddest part of all this is that there are some people that I love and care deeply for that will have no choice, but to stay in the poisonous web of this person.  They don't have the privilege of just walking away like I do.  Don't let me make it sound too simple to walk away, because this has not been an easy decision for me.  Instead, it has been necessary.  These are two entirely different scenarios.  You just have to know when it's time to walk away from a situation that will never change and right now, I truly do not see any way this situation will change.  I know God is more powerful than our will and desires, but I also know that you have to recognize that and want his help and truthfully, through everything I have walked through with this person, if it's not there now, I struggle to believe it ever will be.  That makes me sad, but for once in my life, it doesn't make me feel the need to fix or help fix this person or this person's life.  I feel I've done all I can do for this person and the only thing I'm willing to do now is continue to pray for this person (and I will) and love this person in my own way, but with no contact.  There are going to be times in my life when I will be forced to be face to face with this person (that part is for certain), when that time comes, I will deal with it as gracious as I can, but I won't worry about that now.
If you have toxic people in your life (family or friend(s)) I would encourage you to re-examine that relationship and if it isn't a healthy one for you, you should consider how you should handle that relationship moving forward.  If it is bringing your down or causing strife in your life then there is a good chance it would be in your best interest to have a different (or distant) kind of relationship with that person. 
I know I will miss this person (the person itself, not the behavior), but I also know when I've given all I can give and honestly, I have nothing more to give this person.  This person has taken far too much and while this person continues to take from other people, I have to remember that I cannot control that, I can only control what I allow in my life.  And that is all any of us can truly control.   

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

"You Save Me"

I was given a tremendous honor by one of Chad's Marine buddies today.  He sent me a text saying that Kenny Chesney's song "You Save Me" reminded him of me.  I wasn't sure I knew the song, but after listening to it today I realized I had heard it before, but I never listened to the words like I did today.  WOW!  That's about all I can say about the words in that song after he said that to me. 
What these guys and Chad's high school buddies don't know is, it is them who Save Me daily.  If you get the chance to listen to this song, and I mean really listen to the words http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACJ3akD8zIg
I don't consider anything I say to these young men and women as being a help to them, because it helps me more than I ever considered it helping them, but to think any of them think of me like this puts things in a completely different perspective.
I feel like I need to be saved on a daily basis and honestly, there is barely a day and certainly never a week that I don't hear from one of his buddies whether they be from school or the Marine Corps.  I can only hope and pray that any mother that has lost a child can have the support and love from so many young people like I do.  I am truly blessed in that way far above anything I deserve.
I love each and every one of these young men and woman who continually touch my heart and I'm blessed to have them in my life each and every day and for always.
Thank you guys.  You all save me every day and for that I will forever be grateful.

Our Mountain Dew Gang

Love these boys

Some of the "Nuts"

My boys

Love them

God Bless these young men

What an honor shown at both Tyler & Desi and Clint & Emily's weddings

Honoring their buddy

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Oh this headache and heartache :(

We are creeping up on 4 years since Chad left this earthly world and I would like to say (I think) that it is getting easier.  However, I would be telling a lie if I said that.  If I'm breathing I am missing him.  This time of year is a bit harder to breath as my niece that I loved so much and spent so much time with passed away October 10, 1996.  It was a terribly sad and devastating time for our family and non more than my sister, her mother.  I knew how she hurt, but you never have the full impact until you find yourself in the unfortunate position to know first hand the loss of a child. 

A friend of mine once said "You never know how strong you are until that is all you have".  I'm still waiting to feel strong.  I feel very weak most days and yes, I can fake it with the best of them during work and in settings when it wouldn't be appropriate to show that kind of emotion, but it doesn't mean on the inside things aren't churning like crazy, because they are.

As these anniversary dates approach it drives home even more that we as a family are facing the aging of our parents.  Talk about a whole other journey.  There are so many thoughts that run through the mind and an unsettled feeling in your spirit because you know there are so many things that haven't been solved for yet.  It makes it difficult to think of having any kind of peace when that dreadful day comes. 

I know I am blessed with 3 sets of parents.  I have my biological parents and my bonus parents (to also include my mother-in-law) and then it feels like a curse at times too when you think about having to watch their health decline and families start worrying and trying to do what is best for our parents and make sure their final wishes are carried out.  It truly is as hard as people say it is.  Roles do reverse and you find yourself planning the role of parent to your own parents and that in and of itself is a very tight rope you have to walk, because you never want to embarrass them or make them feel worse than they do or heaven forbid, you make them feel like a burden and not needed any longer.  So far, we as a family, have been very lucky that we haven't made our parents (any of them) feel this way (at least I pray we haven't).  But talk about a very sensitive road to travel at this point and moving forward.

No one likes to think of their parents getting older and needing assistance and our parents certainly don't like the idea of being dependent on their children, but that is the way the circle of life is and it is how the Lord intended.  They were to bring us up so that we would become productive and self-sufficient adults and prepared to care for them when that time comes.

That times feels as though it has certainly come for us.  We have ailing parents and they are aging and while they do amazing for the most part any time they have a set back, which we have had recently, it really drives home the points that we need to make arrangements and have the hard conversations now while they can still decide for themselves.

My heart goes out to all who have to care for aging parents and even more if they are not in great health.  It's expensive, heartbreaking, time consuming, and very hard on the parents' egos when they are faced with this stage in life.

I don't have all the answers or even many of the answers, but I'm trying to educate myself and then pass along any information I have with my siblings.  I have made mistakes and will probably continue to make them as we embark on this new journey yet again.  My mind continuously spins with thoughts of Chad, my siblings, my parents (all of them), my husband, my bonus kids, my nieces and nephews, and just all my family.  I wish I could do for them all and be with them all and help them live the best and happiest life they can, but I can't.  They (would really love to meet they one day) say it takes a village to raise your children (figuratively obviously), but I think it also takes a "village" to care for your aging parents.  Daddy always says the "Golden Years" is a crock of ****.  He even said you have to be pretty rich to even get old with the cost of medication and all the medical bills you end up incurring.  I think he may be right.  However, I also reminded him that I try to keep going backwards, but everyone wants to continue reminding me of my "real" age so I apparently don't stand a chance with avoiding the "A" word.  Ugh!

If you haven't called or seen your parents in a while, do.  You just never know what tomorrow brings and if you are fortunate enough to have them close and see them regularly, have those hard talks with them before it's too late.  No one wants try and figure what they would have wanted after they are gone when a simple conversation before would have kept that from happening.  You need to have your time to grieve, not worry about how to handle the logistics of laying them to rest.

To clarify, our parents (all of them) are ok at this point, but there have been enough scares recently to make us all start thinking and realizing that putting things like this off much longer could find us scrambling to figure it out when it is too late and that isn't fair to anyone.

If you are having trouble speaking to your parents about these matters I was told the perfect sentence this week.  This is their last chance to have a say about their life.  How perfect is that.  So encourage them to have a say in their life and assure them that you will go above and beyond to make sure those wishes are carried out as they have requested. 

Love on your family every chance you can and often.  None of us are promised tomorrow.  

Our family.  All the siblings were there from the Croft side 2014

Baby Chad... Miss him only when I breathe

Chad & Jessica together here and together now...  Both missed beyond mortal words. <3

Thursday, September 18, 2014

5 years ago...

On this day, 9-18-09, 5 years ago I had the privilege and honor of watching my son marry his love.  It was a hard and wonderful day at the same time.  I loved her and was so happy to see him so happy, but I had always been the only girl in his life and suddenly I find myself needing to learn how to share his time and space and that is not something that just comes naturally, especially when he had never dated anyone before for me to practice with.  :)

It was a beautiful wedding and as much as I hated that their wedding day landed on Trevor's birthday, he didn't seem to mind sharing his day with them and for that I was so grateful.  There were so many wonderful aspects of their special day and while I won't bore you with the details, I will say it felt good to see him so happy and experience love like he did.  I was very grateful (and still am today) to her for allowing me the privilege of seeing that.

Who knew only a few short weeks after celebrating their 1 year anniversary all our lives would change forever.  Every year I made a point to send her a card or a text or something to let her know I was thinking of her.  I didn't want to make her sad or anything, but I did want her to know that I cared and that I knew she was hurting and missing him.

This year I've decided it is time for me to allow her to continue moving forward and not reach out.  She is in a beautiful relationship with someone that seems to be amazing to her and for her.  I may not have actually met him at this time, but I feel like I know him and truthfully just knowing she is happy is enough for me.

It is my prayer that she doesn't feel I've just forgotten about her or don't care, because I truly do.  There isn't a moment that they shared that I don't remember or think about, but I know it's time for me to let her move on completely and remove myself from her life to a point.  I know she will always be a part of my life and I also know in a small way I will always be a part of her life through Chad and for that I am grateful.  I think we just know when it's time to let go and let be and for me, this year seems to be the time to do that.

So for me and my own heart, I'm thinking of my son's bride and hoping her day today is filled with more smiles than tears and that she is continuing to find true happiness after having lost so much so young and so quickly.  As for Trevor, thank you for sharing your birthday with something that turned out to be the biggest event of my son's life and to her, thank you for allowing me to have that chance to watch my son get married.  It could have very easily turned out differently and I would have never gotten to know what that feeling was like, so thank you.  She knows who she is...

In honor of Trevor's 19th birthday and in loving memory of Chad's wedding day I share this picture.  This was such a happy day and I never take for granted how lucky I was to have this experience and see my baby boy in love, happy, and a married man. 


Monday, September 15, 2014

Wonderful New life

9-13-14 a beautiful new life was brought into this world.  We welcomed our "Lil Miss" Lorin Dawn Allison into the world (via the phone of course) and couldn't be more proud of Candi and Nathan.  Candi certainly made pregnancy and labor and delivery seem awful easy.  She may have just been made to have babies. 

Tebo, now referred to as "G'Bo" (until Lil Miss decides differently) and I, now referred to as "Ammy" (just like Tami without the "T") are so excited to be leaving this weekend to spend all next week with Candi and Lil Miss. 

I know it might be hard to tell, but we are a bit excited about holding her and just loving and spoiling her as much as we possibly can.  I never knew being married to a "Grandfather" could be so amazing. 

Meet our "Lil Miss" Lorin born Saturday, 13, 2014 coming in at 7 Lbs. 1 Oz. and 19 1/2 Inches long with very fair hair and the most beautiful face.  Normally I can't really tell who a baby looks like as soon as they are born, but depending on the view, I can honestly say she looks just like her daddy and other times I see glimpses of her mommy.  She definitely looks like her daddy in most pictures for sure. 

Lorin Dawn aka "Lil Miss"

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

From the mouth's of babes...

I received the sweetest email today that reminded me that Chad is remembered even with the smallest little hearts.  I would like to quote part of the email that really matters.  Thank you Lindsey for sharing with me a very special moment and for allowing me to use it in this blog.

"I have a couple of things to share with you and I really hope they make you smile and not upset you but I think there to neat to not share with you.
When we bought our house (end of May) and we're moving in Suri asked for her pic. I asked what picture and she said the one of uncle chad, where is it because we have to hang it in my room because he's my angel. This is something she says often but it really got me teary eyed because I love that she still thinks and talks about him constantly.
She has said her normal things, how did it happen and why, he's my angel, I get to go see him on his birthday w daddy every year and bring him balloons and I miss uncle chad.
We'll tonight as we'll laying in bed we say our night prayers. I tell her Suri I'm really glad to hear how thankful you are about everything but you know you can ask God for things. He wants us to ask for healing (she's having bad allergies) and for comfort for other people. That's what he needs us to do. So she asked me what a bomb was. I explained as much as I could and asked what she was thinking about for that to come up (I already knew) and she said uncle chad. See mom I miss him. Mom can God send uncle Chad back here because I really want to see him, I haven't seen him since I was little. I laid there for a minute and tried to compose myself and this was my response.
Suri uncle chad is with us everyday, he sees everything we do and he knows how much we love and miss him but he's got to be a warrior angel for God right now. One day we'll see him again and it will be amazing. She says so he's still my angel right? I answered her with, of course and you can always ask God to tell him hello and thanks for sending a warrior to watch over us. She said yeah mom I know that's why we're safe and ok right? At this point I'm in awe and shock because of how grown up and understanding of everything she is. But here's the best part of it all to me- she ask me Mom did God heal uncle chad, is he ok now and flying around?
I guess this really got to me because here on earth we're broken and I can't even imagine how empty and broken as his mother you are. I look at Suri in amazement of how smart and pure hearted she is. We don't realize that Chad is healed and living a life that we can't even begin to imagine how perfect it is and how amazing and beautiful he is right now. Sometimes I think Suri is way smarter then me. She reminds me that God- even at our darkest hours loves us and knows our pain.
I love listening to her talk about Chad and ask questions about him because it makes me remember more and more about the time we got to spend with him, this in turn makes me smile.
My heart aches for you constantly and as the holidays approach know that we are praying for you and we are always thinking about you and the family. I can't imagine the pain ever getting better really but I can imagine maybe for a spilt second helping out a smile on your face and joy in your heart knowing that even the short time Suri spent w chad, he's still with her everyday."

What a precious conversation and how amazing that she understands at her tender little age things that I even struggle with understanding.  I know Lindsey was worried this would upset me, but honestly, I love to hear things about Chad and love to talk about him and while a little awesomeness tends to puddle up, it's ok.  I would much rather it happen because I read or hear something as precious as this than when I'm just feeling sorry for myself or missing my baby a little more than usual.  

See, children tend to have more faith I think than adult (certainly more than me at times) and they just know how to put things into perspective that if we are all lucky enough we can hear and apply to our own lives.  

I'm touched that her daddy takes her to Chad's resting place here on earth on his birthday and keeps his memory alive with her.  Some parents (probably me included) would actually avoid doing that for fear they wouldn't understand or would make them sad, but in reality, they understand and accept things like this better than most adults.

Thank you Lindsey for sharing Suri's heart with me and giving me yet one more reason to know that Chad is loved and remembered daily.  It fills my heart with so much appreciation and love that it is truly hard to compare.  

I've included a picture of Chad holding Suri at her 1st birthday party.  One thing many people that do not know Chad may not know is that he loved kids and he was great with them.  He just knew how to relate to them and was so kind and ginger with them that I have no doubt that he would have been such a great daddy one day to his kids.  I don't always know how he learned to be so great with kids, but I'm so grateful he did and he used that special gift of his every chance he got.

Chad holding Suri at her 1st birthday party <3

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Calling myself out

I feel like I have to call myself out for not doing what I totally expected my son to do.  From the time the song "I hope you dance" by LeAnn Womack came out, I told Chad I wanted it played at my funeral because it basically said everything I wanted for him and for all my nieces and nephews.  We just always had this understanding that he would be sure that song was played at my funeral.  I never dreamed in a million years that I would be planning and attending his funeral before my own.  As a little background information... When Chad & Katie got married I wondered what song he would pick for the mother/son dance.  I wasn't really even sure if he would actually do it and he certainly wasn't giving me any hints.  Turns out when it was out turn to dance, he chose that song, "I hope you dance", for our song.  It was freaking amazing!  I was shocked and blessed at the same time.  I will never forget that dance as long as I live.
Anyway, the purpose for me wanting that song played at my funeral was to make sure that my son carried on with his life and lived it to the fullest no matter what.  That he lived with no regrets and danced every chance he got.  I have to admit, I find it hard to do any of that without him on this earth.  I don't feel happy, but I have to fake it enough to get through each day.  I don't want to dance when I can and I don't want to feel small when I stand by the ocean.  All I want is Chad back.  I don't feel whole!  My heart aches in a way that shouldn't ache and there are times I'm not sure I can breathe.  I would still hope that had the tables been turned that he would have been able to dance and live the way I always wanted him to do, but I do feel like a hypocrite because I can't do what I expected my little man to do.
I don't know if that makes me selfish for expecting him to do that and I can't or what, but I have felt pretty guilty for that lately.  I don't know why it has taken me 3 years and 8 months to feel this way, but it did and I do.

Now I find myself playing the song "Dancing in the sky" when I go to the cemetery or when I'm just having one of those moments and what struck me today is I still expect him to do in heaven what I expected him to do on this earth had the tables been turned.

I'm not sure what that says about me.  It is very confusing, because all I really want to do is wrap my arms around my son and tell him one more time how much I love him and watch him grown into the man that I know he would be and possibly be a daddy one day, but that isn't going to happen.  Now I find myself hoping he is doing what I can't do.

Things that make you go hmmmm...

A moment this mom will never forget.  Thank you son for loving me so much that you would give me such a memory that I may not have otherwise had.  

Monday, July 21, 2014

You really ARE going to miss this...

There is a song named "You're gonna miss this".  It talks about a mom wanting to rush to the next stage of life with her marriage and children.  This couldn't be a truer song.  The truth is, you are going to miss the little stages that you go through with your children.  Whether you are having the sleepless nights of an infant (or in my case until the end of Kindergarten), or experiencing the terrible 2's, or the horrific 3's or those dreadful teenage years or the insane transition from high school to adult hood... you will miss this one day.
I will just share a few things that I wasn't sure I would get through, but yet, I did and honestly, today, I would give anything and everything I have just to have a few minutes of any of these moments back.
Chad rarely slept (as a baby/small child).  He truly only had 2 weeks left of Kindergarten before he slept through the night.  That was only after having been on Ritalin for several weeks before that even happened.  It was a lot of sleepless or very little sleep nights, but I guess I was so used to it that it didn't seem like a big deal.  That is until I realized my sisters' and friends' kids slept all night within a few days of coming home from the hospital.  However, it worked for us.
Then there was the time he would pretend the house or his room was on fire and while I would tell him that wasn't good to joke like that, it didn't seem to phase him a bit.  One evening I was getting ready to leave the house and he was listening to his country music videos and singing in the living room and ran into my room screaming the microwave was on fire (first, I knew I wasn't cooking) so finally discovering he had placed his microphone in the microwave he was telling the truth this time.  After having the fire department inspect the house to make sure there was no damage it left me with a good opportunity to teach him about the boy that cried wolf.  Luckily he didn't do that again.  However, that didn't stop him from climbing my walls (with this feet) holding on to railing in my bedroom pretending he was Pippy Long Stonking.  Then to prove mom wrong after I told him to stop before he fell, he decided to climb onto the bathroom counter top and leap off (I mean, it made sense, Pippy did it) and sprained both ankles.  Off to the ER we went and the doctor says, "You need to keep him off his feet for two weeks".  Really?  He had met Chad and knew that wasn't going to happen.  We just figured it out and so did Chad (usually just pushing through the pain and doing what he wanted to do anyway).  Let's not forget when he decided to help his dad fix his truck by taking the hammer to both headlines (ok, that part was pretty dang funny).  Then we had a moment when he decided he would hide in the dryer.  Yep, the clothes dryer.  I decided the only way to teach him a lesson was to leave the door open and hit the button and allow it to make a 1/2 a turn and with arms and legs spread out and him yelling "momma", he didn't bother to hide in the dryer again.  Instead, he thought the refrigerator would be a better idea.  Ugh!  Then we are at my parent's wedding anniversary when he decided to take his finger and scrape it across the bottom of the cake through the icing.  When I got on to him and threatened to spank him, his response, "Not in this life time".  Really?  Then when I find out he is dipping for the first time, the first time he decided to get drunk or the speeding ticket, enlisting into the Marine Corps, deployments or the first girl he brought home and wanted to marry and did.  All those things I would take again in a skinny minute.  Whatever stage you are going through with your babies, trust me, you will want these moments back one day.  It won't just be if you no longer have your baby on this earth.  I can tell you that I have missed a lot of those moments many times in life even before I lost Chad.  It just makes missing those things sting more with him no longer here.
Never take for granted that your babies will always be here.  Never wish your life or theirs away because you are tired of this stage or that.  Just soak it all in and love and enjoy every moment to it's fullest even the hard times.  You will wish for those days back one day and that much I know without fail, you will want that back.

Baby Chad "photo by Stacy Gough @ Phorever Studio"

Chad in San Diego, CA

Momma Bear & Chad on his deployment leave after Iraq.  Love him so much.

Little Chad Easter in NC @ Granny & Papaw's house

Easter morning in Rossville, TN

In KC BoBo & I taking him to board the bus for boot camp 2007

On the lake with the Wilson family

His 1st Easter (he was alone because he & BoBo slept through the big Easter Egg hunt) <3

My handsome Marine on his wedding day 9-18-09

My baby did a mean hair cut in Iraq!

My baby's resting place and where I still can't believe I have to visit just to see his name and be where his resting place is.  It doesn't seem possible and I would give anything to have any moments back....  :(