366 days

It’s been a year + one day since she died.

366 days of missing her. 366 times I caught myself wondering where she is or what she’s doing. Being dead shouldn’t be one of them.

In my mind, she’s somewhere else. Like she forgot to call or text. Gone. But never far. It just seems weird that she doesn’t call or visit anymore.

It hurts. There are so many things I wish I could’ve said or done differently. There are so many things I wanted her to do with me.

Because of her, my family is closer. We love each other a little more and hug each other a little tighter.

So many people showed me love and kindness on a day they knew would be difficult for me. I’m so lucky to share my life with such awesome, caring people.

I loved hearing the stories and other people’s memories of her. The ones that I’d tucked in the back of my mind.

We went to Logboat last night to celebrate her life. My favorite memory of her drinking was back in 2011. We were at our family camping trip, on the river floating.

We both took shots of raspberry vodka. I had a chaser. She did not. She took that shot like a champion.

Cheers to you, Momma. To a life well lived. I’m forever missing you. I love you always.

Making hearts happy

This week has been an emotional roller coaster. I had to say goodbye to Gandalf, my sweet cat. Missouri is also punishing me with horrible allergies.

Yesterday, I got to do something I never thought I’d be able to do. I was able to brighten so many days and show my appreciation for my work family. They were right by my side helping me through the worst time in my life.

They thought of me while I was gone. They missed me. They made sure I was okay. They wanted to know what they could do for me. Sometimes, it’s hard for me to ask for help. I should be helping people, they shouldn’t be helping me.

Yesterday, I got to give a piece of my heart to them. Mom loved sunflowers. She’d go above and beyond to help anyone. It felt so amazing to make someone’s day and see the surprised faces.

While I was passing out sunflowers, I got to talk about her. Which always makes me happy. I got to see genuine, surprised smiles. A small act of kindness really goes a long way.

When I began working at Veterans United in 2014, I knew this was a special place. I knew I wanted to become the best version of myself. I constantly try to be more like my Momma and a person worthy of working here. I feel like I am a much better human for working here. How awesome is that?

Sometimes, I have terrible days. I carry a lot of struggles. It’s nice to know there are so many people who are willing to help me without question.

I am forever grateful.

Valentine’s Day (a little late)

I wrote this on Valentine’s Day l, but neglected to post it.

These posts are becoming fewer. But don’t let that fool you. I am constantly missing my Momma, especially today.

I was walking down the greeting card aisle and nearly cried (tears were welling up) when I saw “Mom cards.” If you knew her, you know how much time she put into picking out the perfect card (I inherited that from her too). Walking down card aisles is very bittersweet for me. So many sweet memories, but I’ll never receive another card from her – and that’s heartbreaking.

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day, even when I’m not in a relationship (but the flowers and candy from a loved one don’t hurt). I know people say Valentine’s Day is purely commercial, but I view it as a reminder.

I take advantage of this day to let the people in my life know that I love and care about them. Whether it’s through a kind note, giving treats, or simply just saying it. To me, it’s reinforcing what’s already there. Sometimes, we get caught up in everyday life and though we’re grateful for our loved ones and friends, it’s easy to forget to say or show how grateful we are for each other.

This is the first Valentine’s Day without my Momma. It’s also Ash Wednesday. She would’ve been in church today, Ashes on her forehead for the rest of the day. I probably would’ve been reminded to attend Mass, though I haven’t in months – she’d always encourage me to go to church.

Take some time out periodically to let the people you care about know that you care about them. You never know what life has in store any of us.


Dear Momma,

I stopped by your grave a few days ago. I was expecting to find your headstone. But instead found a snow filled cemetery.

I cleared off headstones, looking for Jeanette’s. I thought my heart would immediately take me to you. But I had to do some searching.

I couldn’t help but think how funny you’d find it, for Kelsey and me to be tromping around in a frozen cemetery. I picture you bent over with laughter.

Finally, we found your spot. Thanks for telling the birds to let us know.

I wrote Mom in the snow, because I thought your stone would be placed by now.

I tried to wake ya, by stomping on the ground. But you weren’t having that. It was wishful thinking- and something a pestering child would do. Like when we’d try to wake you from a deep sleep.

I hope you liked the random flowers I put on Jeanette’s grave. Luckily I had them on hand for some reason.

This Christmas was bittersweet without you. Coming home was bittersweet too. Just know that you’re never far from my mind, or from my heart.

Look out for all of our loved ones as they make their way around the country and world.

Love you. Always.

Still Thankful

Today is when it starts. The dreadful feeling of celebrating the holidays without her. Our family is no longer whole. I’m still not stateside.

I remain thankful. I am so thankful for everyone who helped pull me out of my own head when life threw the unimaginable at me. It feels like blow after blow.

I’m thankful to everyone who helped make my burden a little lighter to carry: Mason, my aunts and uncles, my teammates, and my closest friends. I know it’s not easy to watch someone you love struggle – thank you for checking in on me. Thank you for understanding my neediness, but also respecting my space to grieve.

I’m thankful that Momma died quickly. I know it sounds selfish. But I firmly believe that she planned her departure. She knew our hearts were hurting. She made it less hard (nothing is ever easy) on us. We didn’t have to wait for her to die. I know it sounds morbid, but I’m so thankful she made dying look so peaceful and beautiful.

I’m so thankful we got to spend last Thanksgiving in my house. I’m so thankful for all the years I had with my Momma and everything she taught me. Including how to cook a turkey.

Thanksgiving 2012 – The year she taught me how to cook a turkey. We laughed so much.

I still miss her. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. I see her in my dreams regularly.

Happy Thanksgiving Momma. Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Dear Momma, 

It’s been 5 months since you had to leave. “They” say it’ll get easier. But it just feels difficult that I’ll come home and face the reality that you’re really gone. 

Before this, I thought I’d been through difficult situations, but nothing compares. 

I miss you. I miss hearing your iconic laugh. I even miss all of your oddball sayings and questions. 

I hope beyond living has been good to you. 

It’s been 5 months. All time does is make me miss you more. 


Broken statue

It was a few days before she passed away, she had just beat her 3 week life expectancy mark. We went to Walgreens to pick up Dad’s medicine. First we ate breakfast at Ham and Egg. It was just Dad, me, and Momma.

She and I were just browsing the store. In the middle, there were a bunch of garden accessories. There was a Mickey Mouse garden statue that had a broken ear. We both talked about how cute they were.

I kept browsing the aisle. She stayed put at that Mickey statue, trying to re-attach the ear. She got it to stay. Maybe she wanted to make it so someone else would buy the broken Mickey.

We did end up buying French Burnt Peanuts. She opened those in the car on our way to the next stop. We also bought Hot Tamales. I don’t think she ever got around to eating those.

I wish I would’ve bought that broken Mickey Mouse statue.