What Now?

“It’s only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth — and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.”
– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Over the last 5 and a half days, I have often asked this question… “Why?” Why my Chris? Why does my heart hurt? Why do I feel so empty? Why did he decide to drive early Saturday morning?  Why did that man feel the need to make an example of my loving, caring, free willed cousin? 

Why my Chris?  It was his time? Maybe so. Maybe he did partake in risky behavior EVERY NOW and THEN.  He had lived his life and it was his time. Contrary to what the pastor led us to believe on Tuesday, Chris IS in heaven. He will be waiting for each and every one of his loved ones when our time comes.

Why does my heart hurt? Chris was like a brother to me. From the adventures in the woods as children, birthday parties, Thanksgiving dinners, graduations, decorating Granny Doris’ Christmas tree, Christmas dinners, late night trips to Krystals, teaching me to put black olives on my finger tips, evenings on the porch at Casa, rides in the black Jeep with big wheels, country cruisin’, nights at Jacks that led to late nights at Starlite, finding him at the Block Party, searching for him at Bonnaroo, crying to him when someone broke my heart, receiving random phone calls at all hours of the night, getting “Where u at?” text messages at the most random times, avoiding dirty girls in Jacks, listening to him talk smack about me not being a fan of a “real football team”, calling him when something was wrong with my car… the list goes on. I followed Chris around from the time I could walk until now.  He may not have always followed the rules, but he sure was a happy fella the 29 years he was here.  My heart hurts because I’ve lost my big brother. I’ve lost a part of me… but I find comfort in knowing he is still with me each and every day until we meet again.

Why did he decide to drive early Saturday morning? Who knows! I’m sure even if someone told him he shouldn’t drive, he would’ve probably done it anyway. It has taken me almost 4 days to get over the fact that there was nothing I could’ve done. I can’t get down on myself and wish I had called him back Friday night. Maybe if I had gone out that night, he wouldn’t have lost his phone and maybe he wouldn’t have felt the need to drive? I can’t beat myself up with the what ifs. 

Why did that man feel the need to make an example of Chris? Before I go too far into this, let me just say… this is MY blog, which contains MY thoughts. If anyone reading this was at the funeral Tuesday and he or she feels the pastor did a fantastic job, please stop reading now.  I WILL offend you…and I DON’T care if I do.  I am part of the FAMILY who he kept referencing, and I DID NOT appreciate the bashing of my cousin.  Sure, he drank on the weekends. Was it out of control? Not compared to what it may have been in previous years. Did we need to be reminded over and over and over that Chris made a bad decision Saturday morning? No. We got the point. Thirty-five minutes after he said “Chris had a problem with alcohol and driving”, that man finally shut his mouth.  Unfortunately, during his after school special lecture on drinking and driving and the numerous stabs at Chris’ “lifestyle”, he failed to mention how awesome Chris was. How he would do anything for anybody no matter what time it was. He always had a smile on his face and a can of dip in his pocket.  He loved his family. He loved his friends. He loved Tennessee football. He loved his job.  He always managed to make people laugh no matter the circumstances. There is no telling how many times he got me in trouble in church or at family dinners because he would make me laugh uncontrollably. He quoted movies all of the time. He was a happy fella.  He was a huge fan of Eastbound and Down. He didn’t have a worry in the world.  Alcohol was NOT part of his daily life.

I left that funeral feeling like I had been cheated. Aren’t funerals supposed to make the family feel comforted? Aren’t you supposed to leave there feeling some sort of closure? I walked out of that funeral home feeling hurt, embarrassed, and ANGRY.   I was hurt because I felt like that was not the funeral my sweet, loving cousin deserved.  I was embarrassed because that so-called spokesman for God kept saying “the family” asked him to speak on the subject. Umm… THE FAMILY did not request for that man to bash Chris in front of his close friends and family. It is that simple.  I most defiantly did not feel any sort of closure when I left there. I felt like we should’ve pushed him off the stage and sent him home on the horse he rode in on.  As some know, I made Chris proud on Tuesday. I made sure that man knew how displeased I was with his “sermon” or lack thereof.

Oh well. It is over. There is nothing we can do about it now; however, I do hope that man knows how hurt and upset THE FAMILY was.

What has Chris taught me?

Life is so short. Live each day to the fullest.
Live like there is no tomorrow.
If you love someone, tell them.
Never assume you will have a second chance.

Until next time…..

My Broken Heart

“The angels are always near to those who are grieving, to whisper to them that their loved ones are safe in the hand of God.”

I told myself I would not blog until the end of the week. Oh well. I’ve caught myself several times wishing I could just write a book on Chris’ wall. I have posted twice on his page, but it doesn’t seem to ease my pain at all.

I laid on the couch this morning -his couch that he let me “borrow”- and cried and cried and cried. There is so much I wish I could say to him right now. I know he is listening, but it just isn’t the same. I want to hear that laugh. I want to see that smile. I want to give him a hug and tell him how much I love him because I don’t feel like he knew just HOW MUCH I really do love him. I want to walk onto the patio at Casa and see that big fella sitting there waiting for me. I want this empty feeling to go away. I want my big brother back. I have so much to say to him. Life will just not be the same without him. This afternoon I stood in the front door of my parents’ house waiting for the rest of the family to arrive for dinner, and it just broke my heart as I realized that blue Corolla would not be rolling into the driveway. Chris would not be getting out of his car in a wrinkly shirt. He wouldn’t come walking up the sidewalk this time… We are all gathering to eat dinner for him, not with him.

I guess I was in shock yesterday for most of the day. It didn’t fully sink in until I got in my car last night and drove back to Shelbyville. It seemed so unreal. When I got the phone call yesterday morning, I felt as if my heart stopped right before it shattered into a million pieces. It just didn’t make sense. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t cry. Chris and I were so close. Why couldn’t I cry?!? I curled up into a ball and kept telling myself this isn’t really happening. Chris can’t be gone. This can’t be happening. Not now. The tears finally came when I had to say it out loud to my boyfriend. . . “My cousin, Chris, got killed in a car wreck this morning.” The tears have flowed since that moment.

I find comfort in knowing I now have 2 angels in heaven looking down on me.  Our Papa has been gone for 7 and a half years almost. I have no doubt in my mind that Papa held his hand out early yesterday morning and welcomed Chris home. . . I’m sure Papa gave him a hug.  I’m sure they are both sitting up there right now looking down on me losing my mind and talking about how overly dramatic I can be about things.

I also find comfort in knowing my tiny small town has wrapped its arms around us. I am just in awe. The outpouring of love, support, kind words, acts of kindness, etc. They all mean the world to us. My mom and I stopped at Dollar General yesterday morning and were stopped by at least 4 people who told us they were thinking about us.  Only in Lynchburg, TN can you walk into a store and have something like that happen to you. Only in a small town.

I’m trying so hard to be strong and not fall apart, but at this point I find it difficult to do so. 

I miss you so much, Chris. Life will not be the same without you… ever. I love you so much!!

Good Things Come to Those Who Wait..

As corny as it may sound… it is true. Good things do come to those who wait.

I’ve sat patiently waiting for Gavin to adjust to this mess he is living through. I must say, for a 7 year old, he is a strong little fella. The last 10 months have been anything BUT easy.  We’ve cried. He has claimed he hates me. I’ve wondered if I should have “tough’ed it out” a little while longer, he’s demanded not to go with me without his daddy… etc.  We are finally at a point where he understands his schedule and is ok with it. Prayers have been answered, and I can now sleep at night knowing I have not totally screwed him up.

Now I have a new battle though. I won’t elaborate because I know there are people out there who are waiting for me come unglued in a blog so they can print it off and mail copies to my ex husband.  It doesn’t matter how many times I clean up the “friends” list on Facebook, there’s always someone out there who feels like Micah needs to know every move I make.  Oddly enough, I could really care less what is on his page. I will admit, I used to log in as a mutual friend and scope out the latest news, but I no longer care. As long as Gavin isn’t being harmed, it doesn’t matter to me what he does. That’s kind of the point of that whole divorce thing, ya know? Separate lives.

Moving along….

Yes. I’m in a relationship. Unlike past endeavors, I didn’t rush into this. It wasn’t a spur of the moment, omg I’m lonely & need someone kind of thing.  I’ve known him for several months actually.  We met through some friends a while back. We had hung out on a few occasions with a group, and I will admit, I never really thought anything of it. He was a nice guy. I don’t usually go for the nice guy. There seemed to be something there though, maybe? I didn’t act upon it because I’m the prissy girl who had her mind made up she knew what her type was. He didn’t really fall under that type description.  After a few Mexican meals with friends, texting throughout the day, a few dumb blonde moments, burnt hot dogs, and a trip to Zanies… it was clear we liked each other and there was definatly something there. 

I was still resisting though. I was fresh off a rushed relationship gone bad. I was not ready to jump into anything. I wanted to go on awkward first dates and spill a drink or whatever. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about…see my previous blog.) I did the whole *meet someone online thing*. That actually wasn’t that bad until I came across that one guy who had me convinced meeting someone online isn’t exactly safe OR a good idea.  I gave up on the online thing shortly after my encounter with that guy. Let’s just say I learned an important lesson. Unfortunately I had to learn that lesson the hard way.

After a weekend filled with interesting VIP rules at Barefoot Bay, a zoo trip, and him listening to me vent about all of the things that make me mad… it was clear we needed to have a little chat about what we were doing.  The next day, I beat around the bush and apparently confused the heck out of him, but I finally got the point across.  I wanted to know what we were doing! What is going on here?  I asked him what his thoughts were, and he replied with, “Well its kinda like this… I think you should be my girlfriend.” I’m not sure why it took me so long to respond to that message. Maybe I needed to wipe the ridiculous grin off of my face first? Or maybe I was slightly in shock that he came right out and said that? Either way… I eventually admitted that I liked his idea. 

So here we are… 4 days into this. I’m myself. I’m happy. I’m having a freakin’ blast! I have cuts from walking through a briar patch and a knot on my head from where he drove the 4 wheeler under a tree limb & I didn’t duck far enough.  I haven’t laughed nearly this much in a long time. I find comfort in knowing I didn’t rush myself into this.  I thought long and hard about this. I didn’t push for it either… It just happened when I least expected it.

Until next time…