Letters of Hope Continued…

emptyIn the space of waiting, I realized the emptiness of the “second year.” It became quieter. Lonlier. Sometimes I felt detached. From family. Friends. It was easier just to keep to myself. Go inside. And bury myself there. It was safe. But so empty. So I turned to Gregger. For comfort. It was just a difficult time. One I would figure out. And smile on the other side.

May 31

Dear Gregger,

Well today marks 21 months since you’ve been gone. It feels like forever. Feels like a lot longer than 21 months. I’ve had ups, downs, and in betweens. I think it’s going to get easier and then it gets harder than ever. This is definitely one of those times. It will never get easy. Never. It will never be the same. Never. I say it over and over again, but the things that never change are: I miss your voice. I miss your kiss. I miss holding your hand. I miss your laugh. I miss your smile. I even miss your snore. I miss my best friend. There will never be another. No one could ever be the yin to my yang like you.

I spend a lot of time alone. Thinking. Missing you. But, these days, most of all, worrying. Worrying about Ashley. Tyler. And those babies. I started taking spin classes. You know how much I hate the bike. I think of you the whole time I’m riding. I think about how much you’d love the class. I picture your face in front of me. I picture riding to you. I picture riding with you. I close my eyes and see you there. And then I pray. I pray to you. I pray for the kids. Today I focused on positive thoughts. Positive. Positive. Positive. So I’m sending that energy to you. I’m sending that energy so you can spread all the “positive” love around. Watch over your “babies” – your little girl and her little ones. Keep them safe. I miss you and love you more than ever…until tomorrow…

positiveJune 1

Dear Gregger,

I’m a wreck. My nerves are all over the place. My stomach is in knots. I hope I can hold it together. I am trying so hard. I distracted myself tonight and went to my little friend’s baseball game. Little league. Just like when our boys played. Cute. Kids throwing balls helter-skelter. Running around the bases and not knowing where they’re going. Crying when they strike out. Funny. Distractions. But then it was over. And I came home. Quiet house. Lonely house. And back to nerves. I think about you. I talked a lot about you tonight. With Suzy. Two years ago at this time we were in NYC. Walking in Central Park. Brunching at The Smith. My how time changes. Life changes. I hold onto those precious memories like diamonds. Gold. Treasures.

I haven’t talked to Ashley for a few days. We’ve texted. I’m trying to keep my distance. I don’t want to pressure her. Make her anymore nervous. I know her nerves are crazy. So I’m asking, once again, keep her calm. I know she reaches for you. She senses you. She feels your presence. So does Tyler. My nightly prayer. Keep them safe. The “babies.” All of them. We all miss you. Life on this planet will never shine as bright. It is missing your glow. So shine your light on them. I love you so much…until tomorrow…June 2

empty 2Dear Gregger,

Well this has been one crazy day. Of course my nerves are bonkers – not even sure if I’ll be able to sleep tonight. I heard so many songs today that made me think you were speaking to me through the radio. I sing along as if I’m talking back. I always wonder if you hear me. The tears flowed. They always do. My heart aches. It always does. I never thought it could hurt that bad. It’s the worst pain I’ve ever felt. But here’s the craziest. I went to get these crazy things put in my hair. You would probably laugh. But it’s the only silly thing I can do right now. The only thing that brightens up my day. Gives me a little sparkle. Really. I’m sitting there just chatting with Sarah (the girl who does my hair) about NY. She and her girlfriend are going there next week. All of sudden I felt a jolt. My spinal cord stimulator turned on, full blast, by itself! I was looking around trying to figure out how it happened. There was nothing. It just started up. Tingling sensations all the way from my waist to the tips of my toes. I was freaking out. I almost thought you were there. You were doing it. I don’t know. What other explanation could there be? It’s happened two other times. Once at the airport in Hawaii. That time I really believe you did it. There was no other explanation. It turned off by itself. The second time was in Fry’s grocery store. That was odd. And, again, it turned off by itself. But this time, it turned on and would not turn off. Thank God I had the magnet. Otherwise I’d be stuck. So weird. If it was a sign, I’d take it anytime. I’m open. I can always turn it off. I don’t care. If not, just plain creepy.

positive 2I talked to Ashley today. She’s so nervous. Tomorrow’s the big day. She goes to the doctor at 11:40. I don’t know how long it will take after that. I will be a mess. Please watch over her. Please keep all of them safe. Please bring her happy news. She’s such a great girl. Great daughter. Sweet. Loving. Kind. Bring her happiness. Joy. Love. She and Tyler are so good together. And I know they will be so happy. So watch over all of them. Keep your big arms of love over them. We all miss you so much. I love you…until tomorrow…

I was holding my breath. I don’t think sleep would come for another 24 hours. Maybe longer. Not until we got some news…

To be continued…

Channeling my Gregger

anger 2A few weeks ago I was challenged by one of those life situations that just gets me in the gut. I was writhing in anger; not my prettiest moment. I don’t like feeling angry. It’s ugly, gets the best of me, and seems way too powerful. Rewind 8 months, a year. Gregger was my vent release. I’d shout, curse, blow off steam and he’d listen, sometimes patiently, sometimes not, but, bottom line, I knew he was there. Where do I go with this anger? I get angrier with myself just for being angry. It is truly a hideous emotion that sucks the energy out of me. I am a positive person. I don’t have time for such pointless emotions. Good riddance to this monstrous soul that is sucking the life out of me. So today I look to my Gregger for the angel who will bring me peace. I hear him whispering his beautiful Greggisms in my ear and offering me solace when I need it most.beinggratefulquotesBe grateful for the blessings in my life. (So many blessings, so much gratitude)

Say “I love you” a lot and mean it. (I do, I do)  

Everyone deserves a second chance…learn to forgive and love again. (I hear ya!)

Be kind. It gets you everywhere. (This is a biggie and has really paid off in your absence!)

Don’t compare your life with others. Envy is a waste of time. (You pounded this into my brain…got it Gregger!)

Focus on the positive – make peace with your past so it won’t spoil your present. (I’m trying…really I am.)

Don’t take yourself too seriously. Smile and laugh more. (Again…I’m trying…really I am but I miss your laughter!)

Agree to disagree; you don’t always have to win. (Okay, I relent!)

No one is in charge of your happiness except you. (I take charge TODAY. Let me see what I can do about this!)

Each day do something good to or for others. (Even if it’s smiling at a stranger or letting someone cross the street, I think of you.)

Cherish every moment; you never know when it will be your last. (You taught me the importance of this…I cherish, I love, and I believe.)

cherish the moment

Gregger you are with me every day giving me strength. So the Greggisms will continue to get going when the going gets tough. My rock, my salvation, my angel.   





Did You Ever Know That You’re My Hero?

imageWhat is a hero? Through the eyes of a child, it may be the Supermans, Spidermans, and Batmans who save the planet, the superhero with super powers. To others it might be a friendly stranger, a brother, sister, mom or dad.  A hero makes this world a better place. Their statement may be big or small, but their impact is unspeakable. Gregger was my hero. Would he be described as heroic by typical standards? Maybe not. But to me, he was a hero. He was courageous, good-hearted, generous, a survivor, and he ALWAYS put everyone else’s wellbeing above his own. He “saved” me in so many ways. He helped me discover the true me. He encouraged me to believe in myself. He gave me the strength to deal with the tragedy of his loss. He was kind, giving, loving, and compassionate. He didn’t meet a person who didn’t become his friend. I believe that captures the essence of a hero.

On August 30th, my hero could no longer save himself in the waters of Maui. He fought his final struggle and drew his last breath, but I believe he had two heroes with him that day. He passed the buck. The day started out as one of our best. We left Wailea heading to the beaches in Kaanapali for a day of swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing. After a long 45 minute drive into no man’s land we arrived at a nearly deserted beach. Ashley and I were annoyed because we just wanted to plant our lazy butts in the sand and catch some Maui rays. All we could see was an outhouse, an okay beach, and clouds. Get us to Black Rock! So we piled back into our family mini van and back to Lahaina we trekked. The mood was a bit edgy as we all just wanted to get where we were going! Family VACATION FUNTIME! Park, unload, lug, and land! Ashley and I planted ourselves in the sand and the boys headed off to check out the snorkeling situation. Gregger was geared up for the water. For some reason I was a “jiggly” inside. I just wasn’t feeling it. I wanted him to wear a vest, but they weren’t renting them that day. Typical Gregger…”I’ll be fine! What are you worried about?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEverything captured on film, we took our typical beach photos…Ash & Gregger, Ash & Tyler, Ash & Ryan, Gregger & me, and all the other combos. Two of each, just in case. One hugging, one kissing. Final words…”I love you. I love you too.” And off he went – into the water chasing after Ryan and Tyler with snorkeling gear dangling by his side. The beaches were crowded. People jumping off Black Rock, shouting, hooping and hawing. Ashley and I were fairly relaxed, but I was edgy not knowing where the boys had gone. Suddenly we heard screams of “Help! Help!” They were far off in the distance and we assumed it was the crazies jumping off the cragged rock. The cries kept getting closer and soon we were hearing “911.” My heart was racing. I remember yelling at Ashley that something was wrong and running from my chair. As I dashed to the edge I caught sight of Gregger’s bathing suit floating toward us, and I knew. At that moment, I knew. I screamed. I fell to the sand and I remember someone grabbing my arms. Suddenly crowds of strangers were holding me, hugging Ashley and me.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGregger made it to the shore that day because of two special heroes..my son, Ryan, and my son-in-law, Tyler. Their courage and strength in the most difficult of situations could only be described as heroic. At one moment Gregger was smiling underwater and giving a thumbs up. Seconds later Ryan realized something was terribly wrong and reached out for him. He screamed for Tyler and between the two of them, they safely pulled Gregger in. They took off his mask, flipped him on his back, and pushed, pulled, shoved, and screamed until  help arrived. Gregger would have called them his heroes. The quick reaction to save him in such an incredibly difficult situation could only be described as heroic. The paramedics, fire fighters, and doctors worked on Gregger relentlessly. Tyler prayed in the sand at his feet, while Ryan prayed by his side. It felt like the world was praying, but God had decided he wanted the Gregger that day. Whether his mom was calling (it was the 10th anniversary of her death) or they just needed another one of the “good” guys “upstairs,” we’ll never know. Whatever it was, someone else won the battle. But, my two boys were the heroes that day. They saved their hero and brought him to us so we could say “goodbye.”

There were a lot of heroes that day. The strangers on the beach holding us, praying for Gregger, keeping us safe. The paramedics, firefighters, and doctors fighting tirelessly to bring back his heartbeat. The chaplain who stayed by our sides for HOURS providing comfort, kind words, and support. We would not have survived without these people. But, my SUPERHEROES on August 30th were Ryan and Tyler. I will forever be grateful to them for their courageous efforts and strength for bringing my HERO back to me, to us.

“Courage is the art of being the only one who knows you’re scared to death.”

Who is your hero?   image