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Showing posts from 2012

I may as well tell you...

I had a miscarriage. I’ve debated for weeks whether or not to acknowledge it publicly. It’s such a personal thing…and this is such a public medium. But a few months have gone by and I’m no closer to feeling ok about it and truly nothing else on my mind really compares, so here I am, letting the world in on my secret. Over the past few weeks I’ve found very little comfort in the fact that only a small handful of people know about the miscarriage. It became nearly unbearable this week, during all our wonderful family Christmas celebrations. Being surrounded by so many people who love me and support me and have no idea how my heart has been broken – it’s a lonely place to be. Not that I would want them all to bombard me with pity or questions or sad looks in their eyes – I realize I can’t have it both ways. But a little acknowledgement goes a long way and I simply can’t ignore or deny the fact that something major happened in my life and impacted me, impacts me still.
It was a warm, sunn…

I hate when my husband eats onions…

So last week Matt and I visited Younker Rehab to meet with an outpatient physical therapist and a mobility/seating specialist to discuss options for a new set of wheels for Matt. We were excited for the possibility of ditching the old wheels for something slightly smaller, lighter perhaps, and better fitting to him…but once we started making our ways through the oh-so-familiar hallways I started to freak out a bit. My stomach was in knots, my palms were sweaty…I suddenly flashed back to long, long days in those hallways…enduring hours and hours of grueling therapy.It must have been post-traumatic stress! While there were days of hope and days filled with promise, in general it was a very dark time for us. I still can’t believe all that we’ve been through…but anyway, we met with the specialists and it didn’t take long for my heebie jeebies to pass. Soon we were discussing Matt’s needs, and the VAST array of options – our minds spinning at how many things there were to consider. Height,…

Ode to My Sister

My sister and I have always had a love/hate/love relationship. ‘Hope’s the Pope who smokes dope’, I would taunt. ‘Emily FAAAG’, she would cleverly reply. On more than one occasion she tried to convince me I was adopted, and I have oodles of scars on my arms from her razor sharp finger nails. Many a tantrum was thrown in our childhood home…stomping feet, slamming doors, narrowed eyes and curled lips.There was the time I refused to unlock the front door to let her in and she refused to walk around to the unlocked back door. The time when I was driving her crazy making obnoxious sounds with the vacuum cleaner wand…until she kicked it and chipped my tooth. Of course she got in trouble, because I was miss perfect. Over the years we ripped each other’s posters, stole each other’s clothes, and annoyed each other’s friend to no end. Our parents gave up being referee and eventually told us to work things out on our own…perhaps not the fairest trade, since we could both be pretty mean when we w…

The Facts of Life

You take the good, you take the bad. You take them both and there you have, the Facts of Life. If you’re a child of the 80’s you’re singing the rest of those lyrics in your head right now…and if you’re anything like me, they’ll be stuck in there for a good, long while. Sorry for that. These lyrics have been stuck on repeat in my mind for the past several weeks…as it seems we are experiencing an unusual bumpy road lately. In a matter of four weeks, we have experienced the lowest lows and the highest highs…and some good stuff in between.


I’m not sure how much detail I can or want to post on this blog…so we’ll see. I apologize in advance if I seem a little vague. Let’s just say this…it’s been rough. My world has been shaken, my heart has been broken and we’ve both shed more than just a few tears.  We’ve struggled to make the pieces fit together and try to come to some sort of understanding as to why things happen the way they do. We’ve struggled to reconcile such extreme emotions and how …

September, September...

So September rolled around again…that sneaky month I love and used to dread all at the same time. It signifies so much – the changing seasons, the coming fall (FULL of things we love), Matt’s birthday, and of course the anniversary of when everything changed for us. September 14th. Each year, as I reflect on the date, I never know quite how I’m going to feel. Some years it’s easy, some years, not so much. But every year I definitely find myself pausing a bit and reflecting on things.
This year, September 14th came and nearly went without us even being aware. We had started September with so many good things.  We’d spent Labor Day weekend relaxing with my parents in Oklahoma – kicking off our first Football Saturday at their place (complete with chex mix and victories for both IA and ISU!). We’d had our goddaughter overnight – loving up on a very special toddler always fills our heart with joy.  We’d celebrated Matt’s birthday with family and looked forward to many more fun weekends ah…

A Huge Loss

A coworker and friend of mine died tragically in a car accident last evening. I heard about it first thing this morning from his leader as he sat in my office and calmly told me face to face about our loss. I sank into my chair in shock, the waves of tears completely overcoming me. I listened to the words he told me, but couldn’t grasp their meaning. Someone I saw or talked to nearly every day was gone…just like that. I was devastated. Overcome with grief. I managed to compose myself for short periods of time throughout the day, but eventually the reality of it all floods me again and I can’t catch my breath. It’s so shocking and sudden, my mind can’t make heads or tails of it. Just two days ago, I sat on a stool next to this man, having a drink with other coworkers. Shooting the breeze, telling stories, laughing and teasing one another. And that will be the last time.
I just celebrated my 11th anniversary at this job – on this team – with many of the same people. This man was one of …

Public Service Announcement

Matt and I have been vacationing in MN most of our lives. We take it for granted, but I realize its something special that we both grew up spending time up north with our parents and grandparents. We have years and years of memories between the two of us...so many wonderful memories. We honeymooned at the small resort my grandparents once owned and we've joined Matt's parents up north at their favorite resort many times. I guess you could say MN is in our blood...one of our favorite vacation spots for sure.  Of course, since Matt's stroke a MN vacation presents many more challenges. The cabins are not accessible at all, the boat is downright scary to get on and off, and the ramp going up to the cabin is nearly vertical.  But Matt endured all the challenges with a smile on his face and glimmer of joy in his eye, even when he tumbled in the bathroom he laughed and hollered out to us 'I'm OK!'. 
I smiled as I snuck a picture of Matt and his dad stringing fishing li…

Tough Girl?

My dear friend Jami will be pulling on her tough girl pants next week as she prepares for her husband’s heart surgery. She’s been on my mind a lot lately, and it got me thinking about toughness.Mental toughness, physical toughness, emotional toughness. None of these have historically been my strong suit. I was not born a tough girl.Of course, I was an adventurous child, who undoubtedly drove my parents wild with dangerous escapades. But the slightest injury and I was surely a ball of tears on my Dad’s lap.

Even today, I am still exhilarated by the fresh reward of escaping shenanigans without injury.I peeshawed Gina and her watchful parents as they cautioned me against certain death as I insisted on clambering down the rocky Irish coastal cliff towards the ocean roaring below.I was alive with the excitement of making my way so close to the wild waves crashing below me – only slightly unnerved by the increasingly forceful winds blowing against the rocks.It was only later when I viewed th…

Paying it Forward...Not Just for the Movies!

The concept of paying it forward is not a new one. It’s likely been around in one form or another much longer than the movie…but it’s one worth contemplating now and then, and one that I recently saw in action and it stuck with me. My Mom was paying it forward.
I love my Mom – dearly. I have so many wonderful memories, so many good times at her side. So much of who I am today (good and bad) comes from her.  Over the years I’ve seen myself reflected in her actions, sense of humor, and quirky personality traits time and time again. She raised me to be honest and kind, firm and true to myself. My Mom is tough. She tells it like it is. She loves NASCAR and NHR and shooting her guns at snakes. And yet, she is a marvel in the kitchen and prepares wonderful meals for Dad and us routinely.  I’ve counted myself blessed in many ways for having her as a mother, and recently she gave me another example.
Since moving out of state, she’s been the primary lawn mower in the family. Their current place …

Not Quite a Dancer, But Still...

As you know, Matt and I love to watch Dancing with the Stars. Of course, if you ask him, he may very well deny it…but as the person who sits across the couch from him each Monday and Tuesday evening, exchanging comments and critiques I can assure you – he does. Generally we blow through a lot of the filler stuff of the results show to get to the bottom two and see who’s going home – but occasionally a dance or musical performance will peak our interest and we’ll keep our finger off the DVR fast forward button for a few extra minutes.
This Tuesday they showcased the story of an up and coming street performer who had been working his way up, when he suffered a sudden and life altering brain hemorrhage. I think I might have held my breath as his wife chronicled what happened to him. The photos and videos of him in rehab – learning to walk, talk, write…all of it struck a chord with us – of course. I couldn’t help but think of our own journey…and our own lack of photographic documentation…

Amazing Beauty

So I went to Ireland! My dear friend Gina had asked me to go after her parents had found an amazingly good deal for a group of 4. We’d been plotting and planning and preparing for MONTHS for this awesome trip of a lifetime…and in a flash it was behind us.

We spent six days exploring and wandering around the Emerald Isle, taking in all the sights and sounds. It was simply beautiful there! We saw the usual tourist spots, and I even sort of kissed the Blarney Stone! We ate plenty of great Irish food (lots of fish ‘n chips) as well as several types of Irish beer (ale? and cider)
We managed to find some quaint pubs to sit back and enjoy our meals in, as well as some great Irish music. We stayed in a beautiful golf resort apartment most nights, but stayed one night in a cute, bed and breakfast – all wonderful accommodations. The weather was amazingly warm and sunny most days, the daffodils were blooming all over the island, and the Irish folks were friendly and welcoming nearly every pla…

A Big Loss

Davy Jones died today.

I know that many of you aren’t even sure who Davy Jones is…and those of you, who do know, will find it odd that I should care. But as I sat down to eat my lunch and saw the headline on the internet, I had to fight to hold back a few tears. It’s not that I knew him personally or anything like that. I realize he wasn’t family or a family friend even…but to the 12 year old girl inside me – he was huge. I instantly thought of how I felt a few summers ago as we listened to him sing at the state fair. I remember how giddy I was when he flashed that adorable smile, at the sound of his voice, his wonderful English accent, and those old familiar songs – which I knew (and happily sang) word for word. Matt patiently sat nearby, drenched from the thick summer air while I danced and giggled and clapped my hands. Hearing those favorite tunes from my youth instantly transported me back in time and I couldn’t help but beam with joy from deep, deep within. You have to know, I si…

Adventures in the Snow!

Six years, four months, and twenty-seven days ago Matt had a brain hemorrhage and our lives were forever altered. In the beginning I wavered between feeling that surely someday Matt would return to his old self, and deep, dark fear that surely he never would be the same again. It was a rollercoaster of emotion that I happily stepped off of years ago. While there will always be a part of us that pines for the ‘old Matt’, and hopes for complete healing…most of the time we can’t help but be amazed out how GOOD things have turned out for us. Matt has come so far over the past few years – SO far…

I thought I might spend some time going through old milestones and memories, but they've pretty much all been mentioned on here already. And really, this post would probably end up sounded pretty braggy – and you know how I hate to be braggy. However, last weekend Matt did something so completely unexpected and so wonderfully HUGE for him that it pretty much deserves its own post…he went sled…

Anything is Possible!

The other day I was rummaging through storage bins in the basement and came across a big bag of cards. I paused for a moment, as I realized they were cards I had collected during Matt’s early days in the hospital, his weeks in rehab, and months after…including his time in Omaha. As I sat down to peruse the cards, I couldn’t stop the tears. There were just so many wonderful notes and thoughtful messages. We amassed cards from co-workers, family, friends, and friends of friends. All so caring. I remembered all over again how much they had meant to me – knowing that Matt wouldn’t be able to read or understand them for weeks and months to come. Their words comforted me, encouraged me to keep doing what I could do to keep us moving forward. I simply can’t express how much they meant to me then, and how much they still mean to me now.
One in particular stood out. Its sentiment ringing as true today as it did then. It read:
‘With God every day is a day
To hope for the very best -
To believe…