Hold my hand

Anyone ever notice how much better it feels when someone holds your hand?

The other day when my boyfriend and I were walking with Aaron I noticed how cute it was when Aaron holds my/our hands.  And as yesterday was a more difficult day for me, it amazed me how much comfort I found in my boyfriend holding my hand.  I did not feel alone. I feel loved.  I feel I can conquer the world.

I now find myself thinking about all the times where holding hands is significant.  Think about this.  When a baby is born, the most precious thing is pictures of the parents holding their baby’s hand.  When you get married, most times you hold each others hands as you say your vows.  To protect your child you tell them to hold your hand when crossing the street.  It is a commitment.  It means safety.  I means you are not alone.

And then memories flood back.  I loved it when Jay held my hand.  I felt safe.  During the funeral both my mom and Jay’s mom held my hands to show support and let me know they were there.  In planning the funeral my dad held my hand as we walked into the casket room.  Good thing too because my knees went weak and I almost dropped to the floor.  If given the opportunity people navigate towards holding a person’s hand when they are leaving this physical world.

“I am a strong person.  But every once and awhile I would like someone to hold my hand and tell me things are going to be OK.”  Such a true statement.

In my journey, it has not just been those friends and family who can literally hold my hand helping me.  I am blessed beyond words with those who in their own ways “hold my hand” and in turn I do all I can to hold theirs.

I searched for a song to listen too for inspiration and Hootie & the Blowfish’s “Hold my hand” was perfect. A link below is to the music video.

The lyrics say it all.  I want to love you the best I can.  I’ve got a hand for you…come on hold my hand.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoW3bqnr7tw&list=RDxoW3bqnr7tw

Some days

Today was a good day.  The morning send off was good.  Daycare drop off was a little tough but it wasn’t terrible.  Work was busy…but it was good.

And then around 4:00 I got news that hurt my heart.  Then around 4:45 I got some more news that hurt my heart more.  A death and a downhill slide later my day went from good to mush.

To name a few emotions flooding my head there was sadness, regret, guilt, peace, fear and anger.  That is just naming a few.  If there was an emoticon soup, that would have been my brain.

The one thing out of my loved ones mouth was “I wish this wasn’t happening now.  I hope you are OK.”  What did they mean?  We are within 2 weeks of what will be the 3 year anniversary of losing Jay.  The build up, in my experience, is worse than the actual day.  Although a dear friend of mine told me year 3 was the worst thus far for her.  This kind of scares me. The fact remains I cannot control life.  Jay’s dad on top of the news I received today is a lot to process.

The news alone could  make a person want to crawl up into a ball and stay there for awhile.  The emotions that came along with them were ones I have felt before.

Some days everything goes the way we want.  Some days nothing goes the way we want.  And some days you have to be thankful for perspective and the fact you woke up and had another day.

The last pages

Last night Aaron and I made a trip to Jay’s parents.

Jay’s dad is not doing well.  After a year of fighting a good fight, a decision was made to not fight anymore.  My heart aches for the family.  I cannot fix this for them.  All I can do is work through my own emotions.  It is thought within the next month there will be a final good-bye.

I called this blog “The last pages” because I feel like I am reaching the last pages of the chapter of my life that includes Jay’s dad.  To say we always agreed would be a false statement.  That said, it is still sad to slowly see the chapter end.

I then start to reflect on how he sees the chapter ending.  And then I find myself asking if other chapters with so many others in my life ended tonight, would I be OK with the ending?  I was once told to always be thinking about what my last 3 conversations were with any one person.  I have done more of that since Jay’s death.  I make sure when thinking about the last 3 conversations I have had with any single person, that should they be our last conversations, I would be able to be at peace.

This mindset has  forced me to focus on seeing someone’s side of the story versus being right.  It has forced me to accept things I cannot change.  It has forced me to let go of the past and live in the present moment and for the future.

As I look back at Jay’s dad and my chapter there are pages where there are all CAPS in my writing.  There are even a few blank pages.  I can choose to look at those pages and relive those moments.  Last night before we left their house Aaron walked up to his papa and gave him a hug.  Last night before we left their house, for the first time since September 2012, I walked up to Jay’s dad and gave him a hug.  The chapter may be coming to an end soon, but I now focus on making sure I can be at peace with the last pages.

How I did it

I am spending much of the time driving to daycare and work reflecting.  As we face the 3 year anniversary of losing Jay it is no surprise I am reflecting.

At the one and two year anniversary I found myself so scared of the day.  I wished it not to come.  Darn the calendar because without fail May 9th came and went.  My reflection heading towards the 3 year anniversary is so different.  I know it will arrive as regularly scheduled.  This year instead of the Wednesday before Mother’s Day it will be one day before Mother’s Day.  I cannot change this.  I cannot change any of the reality of May 9th.  So instead of dreading the day, wishing it not to  and stressing about the anniversary I embrace the day.

I sit in awe I can say that and know it as my truth.  How in the world did I pull it off to have this mentality?  Reflection gave me the answer.

I put my energy towards what I want instead of what I do not want.

Instead of me saying I did not want to be out of shape and unhealthy I hear myself saying in my mind I want to be in shape and healthy.

Instead of saying I don’t want to sad anymore I hear myself saying in my mind I want to be happy again.

Instead of me saying I don’t want to be a failure I hear myself saying in my mind that I want to be a success.

Instead of me saying I don’t want to be alone I hear myself saying in my mind I want people in my life.

And with those 4 thoughts the following things happened.  I got a personal trainer.  I decided to do a crazy cleanse and without hesitation had a few friends join me for support.  My genuine smile is back.  Sadness still strikes from time to time but happiness and peace conquers even in times of bad news.  I don’t question the things I do  as often and feel I can take on the world and I know I will be successful.  And most importantly I am no longer alone.  On that note it is not just because I am in a relationship.  The friends who surround me are fierce, amazing and most importantly…there.

“I don’t” is not longer in my vocabulary.  “I want” is here to stay.  It is positive thinking.  It is motivation to keep going.  That my friends is how I did it.

An oil change

Today I had an appointment to get my oil changed in my car. I expected to drive my car to the dealership, get out of the car and sit and wait for the appointment. I did all those things but there were a few things added in.

As I left my house a dear friend texted me asking when I wanted my facial next month. For those unaware, on anniversaries, birthdays and important dates I take the day off work and I pamper myself. I get a facial, massage and if there is time I get my nails and make up done. It helps in some way. It is the one time I feel like pampering the outside to help the inside not hurt so much. I was taken back by her forethought to get something on the calendar for the day I would take off. I was honored and truly felt taken care of. I respond to her and then get in my car to get to the dealership.

On my drive to the dealership the song “How do I live without you” by LeAnn Rimes plays on my radio. All of my thoughts about what I still wanted to get done for work and what the rest of my day left my mind. My mind was quiet. All I could hear was the lyrics in the song. And without much notice tears fell from my eyes. I hear the questions I asked myself a little less than 3 years ago. I hear the feelings I had in that moment. It is a beautiful song.

The combination of my loving friend and the song had my guard down. But…I was good. I work hard to remember the good and not dwell on the hurt and pain. I am blessed beyond words and up to that point today I had successfully walked into work on time, dressed and dropped off a 3 year old with few tears and marked off a few to-dos needing to be done. It was a good day.

I got out of my car at the dealership and for the first time there was a woman that greeted me to see what I was there to have done. I get out of my car and tell her I am there for my appointment. She says she will get someone for me but before she leaves me she looks at me and says “I know you from somewhere.” I hate when this happens because I had NO idea where she would know me from. Never had I worked with a woman at Toyota so it couldn’t be there. I instantly go through my head trying to match her to someone I know. I come up with nothing. Then she says…”You have visited Wells Fargo haven’t you?” For those unaware, Jay used to work at Wells Fargo. She proceeds to say “Yes, you and your little boy visited a few times.” My heart drops. For those unaware, for many months after Jay died Aaron and I would go and visit his co-workers. At one point I think they stopped asking for my ID because they just knew who we were and why we were there. Aaron has that effect on people. J At that point I remembered her. She once gave Aaron some candy. Aaron smiled and on our way out that day he went back for more candy…and of course with his baby blue eyes and dark eye lashes he walked away with candy.

And in that moment a person…a time…the reason we visited flooded my mind. I couldn’t break down in front of her. I am honored she remembered me. I am honored she smiled knowing she had met me before. I said “Oh yes! That was us. How are you?” A little small talk later and I was talking to the service manager she found for me and walking in to sit down and wait for my car. I collected my thoughts as I walked in to sit down. In less than 15 minutes my mind had gone from focused to mush. I sat down and took a few deep breaths and worked hard to find the good. I have trained myself to do this. And then a calm appeared and the words out of my mouth were “I am so blessed.” And now I am focused again to end my day. Remembering the good. Being blessed with the life I live. And here all I really thought I was getting this afternoon was an oil change.

Lyrics to “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes can be found here:

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/leannrimes/howdoilive.html

Game of cards

When we play a game of cards, you ultimately have to play the hand you were dealt.  With 52 unique cards, no one person is dealt the same exact card.

Why am I talking about a card game  Let me explain.

I have often heard in life you “play the hand you are dealt.”  You play the cards you’re given. A card game can be considered life.  Now days, people hide behind a computer.  They bash people for who they are.  They push people to see their point of how they “should” play a certain “card” in their life. It bothers me.  It bothers me because the hand dealt to a person can determine how they can play a card.  It may determine when they play it.

No one knows the cards we have been dealt in our life.  We never have the same experiences.  All of our cards dealt make us unique.

Let’s all stop bashing people.  Let’s stop discouraging people.  Let’s stop the judgement.  I will continue to be positive and empower the people around me.  I will be kind.  I will encourage.  I will cheer them on and help in anyway they need.

Let’s love people for who they are.  Let’s let people be the best person they can be.

Let’s enjoy this life…this game of cards.

Detractor

I have more from the conference I went to on Friday.  It is from the other very captivating speaker.

The speaker at one point said “I am a detractor of compliments.  It is easier for me to hear criticism.”  When she made that statement she had me.  I wanted to know more about what she had to say.  Why?  Because I am the same way.

When I shared our life insurance video on FB there were many wonderful comments made.  I appreciate them.  But if I am completely honest they are hard for me to accept.  But, if you ask me to about the video I can easily tell you the things that could be better in my parts of the video.  I can tell you the things I could have done to make it better.  And truthfully I would take the criticism of it better than any compliment.  I am hard on myself.  I always have been.  I am my own worst critic.

Why did this grab my attention you ask?  Because the more Aaron grows I see this trait in him.  I honestly thought it was something I acquired in my life.  The more I see him grow the more I think it might be genetic.

Knowing I am not alone I feel power to work with myself and Aaron to not be such a detractor.

Agile

On Friday I had the opportunity to attend an Agile conference.  I attended for work.  I expected to walk away with a refreshed mindset of how to do my work better, faster and more efficient.  What I didn’t expect was to walk away with a refreshed mindset about life. But…I did.

In software development there is the drive now to use the Agile Methodology.  In my opinion it is much easier than the typical waterfall methodology.  For those not familiar let me give a quick way to explain.

Waterfall is when you get a request for  software development work to be done.  You gather requirements. You develop the software.  You test the software.  You push the software to Production.  Production being the audience who will use the software.  For a few examples anyone who uses an app on their phone or banks online uses what I consider a Production environment.  The waterfall methodology usually creates a big project that takes several months (maybe years) to complete because you do all those steps mentioned above in that exact order, in most cases not one before the other.

Agile is when you get a request for software development to be done but instead of waiting for a big project to be put together you get to break it down into small chunks of work.  You gather information, create, test and deploy software much faster than you do in waterfall.

The definition of agile itself says to move/adapt quickly and easily.  The big thing I took from the conference can be said in 4 words.  Be OK being wrong.

There was a speaker at the conference who I have had the honor of seeing speak before.  You could tell people knew he was because the room he spoke in was FULL.  Luckily I had been in the room prior for another speaker so I got to sit down.

He asked the question that hit home to me.  “How wrong are you ready to be?”  We as a society do NOT like to be wrong.  It can be uncomfortable.  It can make you feel like you are not doing your job.  After the conference the other day, I walked away with a better comfort in being wrong.  Wrong doesn’t mean you failed.  Wrong means you tried.

So, yes I was there for work.  But the more I listened to this speaker and heard one of the other speakers I walked away even more convinced this wasn’t about us doing something specific for our work.  It was more to help us not only use the Agile Methodology.  It in truth was to help us ourselves BE agile.

It’s out

With much anticipation…our life insurance video I did for work was released to youtube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoksa8P5yTw

A labor of love.  A final good-bye.  A tribute to a man who was wise beyond his years.

Jay Taber, we will always miss you.  We move forward because of what you taught me and what you would want for us.

With much relief…it’s out.

First Movie

Usually on a first date, a couple will go to a movie.  Maybe not the first, but then definitely a second or third.  If not then, atleast within the first month.

My boyfriend and I have watched a few movies together at home but tonight we watched a movie…in the theater.  I like to call it our first “official” movie.  It seems silly considering we have been together almost 6 months.

It was another first in this second chance I am being given.  We had a babysitter planned.  We went to the newer theater in the metro.  He drove. (I usually drive everywhere because we have Aaron and my vehicle has the car seat.  I don’t like moving the car seat unless I have too.) We sat down and watched the movie.  We laughed.  A lot.  While watching the previews we found ourselves saying “We need to see that movie.”  “OH! That one too!”  I knew Aaron was safe with our babysitter so I wasn’t worried.  I was relaxed.  The extra benefit is when we got home Aaron had been bathed and was asleep in bed.  And now I can blog and get some much needed rest for the rest of my week.

Tomorrow and Thursday I speak about organ donation at a drivers education group.  Mental preparation for these speaking events will happen tomorrow.  It is fitting being April is Organ donation awareness month.  I will pay it forward and help people get a better understanding of organ donation.

But tonight I relax and smile because tonight we went to the theater and watched our first movie.