Saturday, May 14, 2011
The planed landed and every person stayed seated. It was a small plane, I had to walk outside to the stairs. Betsy & Chad met me in the hallway (yes, you could do that back then.) and I am pretty sure that she and I collapsed on the floor of that airport crying for a good while before Chad had the sense enough to drag us up and out to the car.
The next two days are slightly a blur. We had to make phone calls. Lots of them. This was before their were phones that memorized more than one number. We had her address book and we just started calling. Since this was several weeks after graduation, most everyone had had gone home. Phone calls were difficult and took time to "find" whoever we were calling. I remember clearly calling a few people and all of our calls sounded the same, "Hi, this is Melanie, Melanie & Jenny Melanie...yes, there was an accident. No she is not ok. The services are planned..."
Since her belongings were here but her family was in Miami, we had some really horrible jobs to take care of. We had to go to her house and go through her personal items to find the "right outfit" to send to her parents. Complete with underwear and a bra. That is right, I had to choose which underwear she was going to wear. How unbelievable is that? Not to mention just boxing up and helping her roommates get her things cleaned up. Every item had a memory and every minute was incomprehensible.
The one thing that several of us decided to do on a crazy whim was to get a a copy of her tattoo and all go get tattoos. Yes, that is right, in our deepest grief we decided to get a permanent memory tattooed right on our bodies. Her tattoo was a simple sun and it defined so much of who she was, bright, happy and life supporting. It is why you see the sun on the top of my blog and why it carries with me the important reminder that every day is precious because you never know when the sun may not shine.
Her parents generously booked a tour bus and hotel on which about 50 of us boarded to go down to Miami to be at her funeral. There were more tears on that bus than I can truly remember. I am surprised that it didn't flood. People that you would never have expected boarded and we all made the 5 hour journey to her home.
I have very few memories of the next few days. I would write about them but they just are not clear enough to put into sentences. I will share in another post the reading I did for her funeral.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Oh and not to try and beat out my husband in the who loves the original CARS movie, we actually spent hours (not exaggerating) trying to find one of each of the CARS cars at various big box stores. When my son decided he was "too old" for them, my husband actually hid them in the garage. I am glad he did, because I have no doubt after watching the CARS 2 trailer, that Eph's previous addiction will find its way back into our house.
I can't wait to meet these new characters:
Don't miss this CARS 2 trailer on Itunes.
CARS 2 movie synopsis:
You can find more great CARS 2 facts on their Facebook page or on Twitter.
I remember the day that I was accepted into graduate school more clearly than I should. You see, this was the day that my life changed forever. The day that the world stopped turning. The day that the sun dimmed.
I hated teaching and I had applied to graduate school in hopes that I could figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. The program that I applied to was very competitive. Only a handful of students were accepted and I honestly didn't think that I would be one of them.
The big yellow envelop was sitting on the table and the words, "Welcome" were printed clearly in the first sentence. After a celebratory hug with my Dad, I bounded up the stairs to call Jenny. I was so excited. I know that I rattled on and on about my acceptance for a few minutes before she told me about her day. They had gone to the beach and boating. Seen some dolphins super close to their boat and stolen (yes stolen) a trap full of lobsters (or maybe they were crabs) which they were going to cook for dinner. Our call ended with "ok, I will call you later."
Sometime late that night my phone rang, I had been sleeping and my immediate thought was "who is calling me so late?" I picked up the phone, I heard a familiar voice and all she kept sayings was, "she is dead, she is dead, Jenny is dead." I remember not understanding, not comprehending. I am not sure how many minutes passed or even if I said anything at all. But I do have a clear memory of hearing one of our guy friends scream out and kick a chair.
I remember thinking..."she said she would call me later" and then I must have let out a piercing scream because the next thing I know my Dad and step mom were standing in my room just staring at me.
The rest is kind of a blurr... we hung up, but calls were made all night, and despite the fact that I tried to get into my car and make the 4 hour drive to St. A, my Dad was smarter and booked me a flight for the morning.
I got into the shower and I just cried and cried until the water grew cold. Got out and climbed into bed and wept.
I would learn later that evening that the accident was caused by an intoxicated (drugs & alcohol) driver.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
It's hard to admit but Pizza is one of my families favorite foods. We often get frozen pizzas for a quick Sunday night dinner. When FRESCHETTA® Simply…Inspired™ gave me the opportunity to try one of their new Simply....Inspired pizza's I jumped at the chance. There are eight distinctive flavor choices including: Harvest Supreme, Hawaiian, Market Veggie, BBQ Recipe Chicken, Tuscan Farm House, Chicken Bianco, Classic Bruschetta and Rustic Pepperoni Pomodoro.
While all of them sound delicious, I chose the Harvest Supreme to try. I was very impressed with the minimal packaging that includes the Fresh-Taste Seal. The pizza is essentially in one large bag with a cardboard bottom. It was very easy to cook, just preheat the oven, put the pizza on the center rack and walk away for 12-14 minutes. We like our thin crust crispy so we put it in for the full amount of time.
Here is a picture of our pizza cooking:
Yummy! Doesn't it just look delicious? At about the 10 minute marker you could really smell the pizza aroma's coming from the oven. I thought I was in a real Italian kitchen. The pizza came out with a nice crisp crust, the cheese melted and all of the toppings were evenly cooked.
I was really impressed with how each of the toppings managed to maintain their own individual flavors. In each bite I could taste the feta, sun-dried tomatoes and onions. It was a great balance of flavors. Even Lu loved it and ate her plate clean.
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Giveaway: One lucky Sunshine Praises reader will be receiving a round bamboo cutting board and a coupon for a complimentary Freschetta Simply...Inspired Pizza.
Mandatory Entry: Tell me which one of the Freschetta Simply....Inspired Pizza's would you like to try?
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Giveaway ends on Sunday, May 19th, 2011 at 11:59 EST. The winners will be selected by random.org and notified by email and will have 48 hours to reply back before a new winner is selected. Must be 18 years of age to enter. No purchase necessary. Open to US residents only.
Our senior year was a little different. I had moved on to my practice teaching, she was finishing up classes and since I am a slight over achiever, I had credits from high school and summer school which made me graduate early.
After graduation, I moved out and moved home to take a teaching job in S. Florida. Jenny and the rest of the bunch were finishing up their internships and applying for jobs and looked forward to graduation.
Graduation at Flagler happens in mid-April so there was only about 4 months that I was "separate" from the group and I kept in touch via hour long phone calls that thankfully my Dad never complained about. [Remember long distance?]
During this time, Jenny and I planned the quintessential college graduation trip to Europe. We were planning on leaving the day after her baby sister graduated from high school We spent hours writing letters, making plans and talking on the phone while we grazed through our "Let's Go" Europe book. We talked trains vs. planes, museums vs. bars and generally we were ready to take our next big leap into the horizon.
I went back for graduation and had an amazing time with each of my girls. I had made these awesome calendars for Jenny & Betsy with pictures from our years together and little notes about what they should "do" on a particular day to stay in touch. Most of the girls were planning on staying in St. Augustine, so I was going to be off all alone until Europe.
My last memory of the group was sitting under a big old tree at the Fort, eating everything bagels on the most beautiful day St. Augustine had ever offered me. I specifically remember walking back to my car, hugging Jenny and pulling away. If I had known then what I know now, I would have lingered just a little longer, held on a little tighter and looked directly at that beautiful smile one last time.
Sunday, May 8, 2011
So, the summer ended, we all returned and during that first month or so, we gathered another friend in our flock. There were now five of us that, while we each had our own group and interests, it would never fail that we would gravitate towards one another. We simply became like sisters. We would bicker, fight, argue, laugh, cry, yell, support and love one another.
For three years Jenny and I shared a house together (well us and 4 or 5 others). We were roommates, bike friends, beach buddies and we even worked together. Since we had the same major at a small school we also had the majority of our classes together. There really were very few memorable moments from those years that I don't remember her being there.
I would love to recount all the amazing memories that we shared but they are too infinite and really today it isn't the "big" moments that make me remember her. It is the insignificant ones. The ones that come unexpectedly like a tidal wave and still 15 years later can push me over the edge.
I made a little slide show of our years together!
Mother's Day is bitter sweet for me this year. I really wish I had been able to travel home to spend some time with my mom who is in a battle with stage 4 colon cancer. (It is also her birthday week.) I haven't been home since last summer when she was first diagnosed and had surgery. It is a long and expensive journey to travel from Ohio to S. Florida with two kids.
My mom's cancer is very real yet my day to day life with it is not. Since I am so far, it is easy to forget that she is waging a daily battle. This week was "treatment" week and it is horrible and painful for her. We were talking about my trying to come down this summer and I said that it may just be me due to the prices of plane tickets. She replied, "It's ok for Eph because he will remember me, but not Lu. She is too little." It broke my heart because she is right - Lu is too young and she would not remember.
For now we have plenty of time to skype and make phone calls. We have time for pictures and stories and we have time to make sure that little baby Lu bug knows her grandma and I will do everything in my power to make sure she doesn't ever forget.
Here a couple of pictures of my mom with us. I am so thankful for her and all the good she has done in my life.
Until the end I have only my prayers and faith in God's mercy and healing to keep me strong. He says, "'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. (Jer 29:11-12)