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…

Letters of Hope

Letters of Hope Continued…

waitingTen days of waiting and praying. Waiting and praying. There was nothing else to do. The embryos were implanted. And all we could was wait. Hope. I tried to remain calm. Not for me. But for Ashley. The baby(ies). She didn’t need my stress. She was carrying enough of her own. So I pretended. I smiled. Laughed. And loved. I gave when they wanted me to give. I held back when they needed space. But on the inside. I was struggling. Barely holding on. I wanted time to stop. For 10 days. And then I wanted the news to come. But that’s not the way it works. Life continues. So we did too. And I kept writing. To fill the space. The emptiness.

May 26

Dear Gregger,

Did you know you are on my mind from the minute I open my eyes in the morning until the moment I close them at night? And if I should wake in the middle of the night, you are my very first thought. When I get in my car to drive away, I look for you in the clouds. I listen for you on my radio. I ache to feel your hand in mine. But it isn’t there.

This is such a long, seamless forever waiting game right now. I just wish you were here to calm my nerves, tell me everything would be okay. But you’re not. So I look to you. Talk to you. Pray to you. I try to fill my hours but the quiet moments are lonely without you. Even though we weren’t always together, I knew you were there. I knew you were a phone call away. A text away. So just now when I need you most, it’s a real test. And I’m not doing so well.

But most of my waking hours are spent worrying and praying for Ashley and those little “peanuts.” Please keep your angel wings spread over them to keep them safe. I love you…until tomorrow…waiting 2

May 27

Dear Gregger,

It’s been kind of a strange day. It’s the beginning of a holiday weekend. Memorial Day. Not that we ever did very much but it was always so special to have you for two days in a row. I miss that. It’s crazy to think that having two days was such a big deal for us. Most people have that every weekend. They simply take it for granted. For us it was special. But that’s kind of cool. We appreciated the moments. Sometimes we got a little too hung up on those moments. You wanted them perfect since they were too few and far between, so if we faltered, it seemed as though the day was “messed” up. But I think we finally figured that out. We figured out how to “mess up” and still have fun. How to “mess up” and get back on track. How to “mess up” and still love each other. We had something special. We were so lucky. Most people don’t have what we had once in a lifetime. I hold onto that and count my blessings every day.

I think Ashley and Tyler have it too. They know how to be together. They’ve been dealing with this infertility for nearly 2 years. That takes a toll on a couple. Do you remember? It was hard on us. I can only imagine for them. But they’ve held it together. I would never have known. But I guessed. Not because of anything they showed between them. But just because. I guess it was a mom thing. Intuition. I don’t want them to hurt anymore. I want them to have happiness. Joy. Love. And family. Ashley’s struggling a little with “holding it in,” but she’s holding it together. It’s hard at work. Not to be able to do things. And not to be able to tell people why. But it’s all so hard. Not telling people. Holding it all in. Not knowing. Waiting. So,PLEASE, PLEASE keep watching over her. Please hold her close in your hands and heart. Keep all of them safe. I know you “came to her” a few weeks ago. It meant the world to her. I love you more than ever…until tomorrow…

So the waiting game continued. We went about life trying to be normal. But life was anything but normal. We counted the days. One at a time. Slowly. Slowly. But, as they say, “Good things come to those who wait, but better things come to those who are patient.” So patient we would be. One day at a time.

choose hope

To be continued…

Letters of Hope

Letters of Hope Continued

hope 3Infertility is tough. There’s no other way to put it. It’s an emotional roller coaster that weighs heavily on the hearts of future moms and dads struggling to build a family. But when it’s your own, it’s different. It’s tough. You want to do more. And more. You want to fix it. But you can’t. So, my role? Support. Encourage. Reassure. And PRAY.  In the meantime, I turned to my Gregger. My support. I didn’t get answers. But I felt better. And better was okay.

May 24

Dear Gregger,

Well today was a HUGE day. Those little embryos, babies, or whatever you want to think of them were implanted in Ashley’s body today. Now we wait, pray, wait and pray that they continue to grow and are healthy. I know you will continue to watch over her. I had the most miraculous moment today. She was in for the procedure at 1:00. She was sending me messages, telling me how nervous she was, and I was trying to keep her calm. All the while, I was a wreck. But I had no one. No one to calm me. So I turned to you. Of course I did. You always were my rock. And at 1:30, when I thought I couldn’t stand it one minute longer, you showed up. Right there in my car. “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” Your version. The one I NEVER hear!!! I stopped. Literally. Thank god I was at a red light. I took a picture of my radio. I couldn’t believe it. I was shaking from head to toe. I texted it to Ashley. I wanted her to know her daddy was here. He was watching and taking care of her. Of me. I cried. I sobbed. And when they called to tell me about this miracle that had taken place today I was overcome with so many emotions. Am I crazy? Maybe. But I will hold onto this belief. I will believe I see you in the clouds. Hear you in the music. Why was I so strong for so long and now I’m just falling apart? I guess I had no choice. And now I just really, really want you here. I want you to be a part of this. You should be here. But you’re not. So I’ll see you in the clouds. Hear you in the music. And keep believing. Watch over Ashley and those tiny babies in her womb. Keep them all safe. Know that we all miss you so much, but no one as much as me. I love you so much…until tomorrow…

May 25hopw

Dear Gregger,

It’s kind of been a crazy kind of day. I’ve heard you everywhere. I’ve seen hearts in the clouds. And my “rainbow” song played AGAIN!!! I  never hear it and there it was. I took a picture. I sat at the gas station so I didn’t miss a word.  I heard “The Prayer” two or three times. Keep us safe. What a beautiful message. That’s all I think about. Keep Ashley and those “little ones” safe. I know you are watching. I hope you hear my words. My heart beating. See my tears. That’s all I can give you. I wish there was more. I just wish we’d had more time. So many things to say. So many things to do. But it was so good. Not perfect. But we made it so. The bad times made the good times so great. They taught me to be grateful. They taught me about blessings. Life gifts. If life was always perfect, how would I have learned. You showed me the way to happiness. To love. To courage. And now to strength. Even when I am so weak, I hear you pulling me to find my way. Thank you.

Keep those magic, soft hands over your baby. Keep all of “them” safe. As always, I love you more than ever. Until tomorrow…

I believed in my signs. They brought me joy. Peace. They still do. I cling to hope. Faith. And the power of positive thinking. “You can’t live a positive life with a negative mind.” I choose positive. Today. Tomorrow. Always.

hope 2

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.   




The Secret

imageI hate secrets. I have hated secrets since I was a little girl. I think secrets can get you into trouble, unless they are the really, really good kind of secrets. Or the secrets (more like confidences) shared amongst friends – those are just different. Secrets are something you have to keep inside. You can’t talk about them, you can’t tell anyone, and sometimes they just harbor icky feelings.

Surprises are much different than secrets. Surprises are generally joyful, exciting, and are shared with family and friends. Sometimes a secret can turn into the very best surprise and that’s the only time secrets are OKAY in my book! So when Gregger kept a BIG secret from me for nine months (that eventually turned into a wonderful surprise), I decided it was okay to forgive him.

I had absolutely NO idea he was harboring this secret. If there were an inkling, I would have nagged him to death. That’s probably why he kept me in the dark for so long. So when he came home after work on Saturday, April 28th and suggested we have a drink before dinner, I really didn’t think much of it. This was typical on Saturday nights, kind of our time to unwind and recap, slow down a bit. He was overly exuberant after a stressful day, but I figured he was just happy to be done with a difficult week. He was taking his sweet time going through the mail, getting undressed, and suggested we sit outside for a while since it was such a nice evening. (Clue #1)

We toasted to the weekend, another week gone by, and happy times ahead. We finally meandered inside for dinner around 8:30 and all through the meal he jabbered on about going back outside for another drink! We just didn’t do that! (Clue #2) I was exhausted, but that just wasn’t going to fly. So back we went to enjoy the Arizona air. Unfortunately luck was NOT on Gregger’s side. As Gregger was relaxing, I went to find one of our dogs only to discovered a SNAKE on the side of the house. My scream could have been heard in downtown Phoenix! The snake creeped it’s way out of the yard and we headed back to where we started. One sip in and I came completely unglued. A godawful BAT was flapping around the outer lights! UGH! That was it! I was done! Gregger was so bummed, but I begged him to head to the bedroom for safety and a little TV. This was a switch! (Clue #3)   image

I was so ready to hit the hay but he was going strong. Although he was trying to be discreet I could see his cell phone tucked away in his pocket. I did find that very odd, but decided not to question. (Clue #4) Our home phone was broken so I thought he was just being overly cautious. I remember watching an old “Everybody Loves Raymond,” the news, and the opening of “Saturday Night Live.” We were both distracted. I was trying to figure out what the Gregger was up to and he was just plain WEIRD! He randomly mentioned Ashley and Tyler’s trip to San Francisco to celebrate Tyler’s 26th birthday. He hoped they were having fun, yada, yada, yada. Yeah – me too!  At this point I just wanted some shutup and shut-eye! Suddenly we were jarred by the ring of  the house phone (which we frustratingly couldn’t answer) and “Tyler Ludwig’s” name on the TV screen. I freaked!

#1 Why would they be calling us from San Francisco?

#2 Why would they be calling us this late at night (yes, we would normally be SOUND asleep!)?

In total panick mode due to the home phone outage, I was screaming at Gregger, “Call them back, call them back. Right now!” As he began dialing, his phone buzzed, and, as anticipated, it was Ashley and Tyler. My heart was beating out of my chest. Gregger was calm as a cucumber. What was wrong with him??? He was chit-chatting away as I nudged and poked. What’s wrong, what’s wrong? He started to hand me the phone, but I snatched it out of his grasp. “Hey guys, is everything ok?” Ashley kind of giggled, “We were walking around and saw something that reminded us of you so I’m texting you the picture right now. Look at the phone and let me know what you think.” I waited in an anticipation (thinking it was someting to do with “I Love Lucy”) until I heard the “ping,” When I looked down my heart skipped a hundred beats.  I screamed, I cried, I jumped for joy! The day I’d been waiting for for seven years had finally happened!


Ashley and Tyler were ENGAGED! Tyler had finally popped the question! I know that sounds crazy, but I just knew these two were meant to be together. Tyler had been a part of our family from day one and now it was going to be official. This was one happy moment! You would have thought he put the ring on MY finger!  image

So Gregger kept a secret all right. He kept that darn secret for nine months! He knew every little detail from the ring, the proposal, and where the ring was hidden. He was so worried I was going to be mad at him. Are you kidding me? This was the BEST secret that turned into an even BETTER surprise! So even though he broke our cardinal rule of keeping secrets, forgiveness was indisputable. It’s hard to believe it’s the three year “engagaversary” (as Ashley dubbed it). I remember that night like it was yesterday. Cheers to the happy couple. Cheers to my Gregger. And cheers to happy secrets that turn into even better surprises!




In The Midst Of Chaos There is Joy

In The Midst Of Chaos There is Joy

Life is short

My life lately could best be described as total chaos…I am trying to keep the pieces together, but every day a piece of the puzzle just doesn’t seem to fit in place. Whether it’s water flooding my hallways and kitchen from a broken line in my refrigerator, or pools of blood covering my floors from a bleeding dog, or another dog vomiting everywhere just as I finish cleaning up one mess after another, or the mundane routine of trying to keep bills in check, it’s just a little crazy. But, in the midst of all of this trivial “B.S.” I was blessed to be part of the “Teen Suit Event” at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale last Friday afternoon. It was a beautiful reminder that none of that “B.S.” really mattered at all. It put life in perspective and gave me a sense of purpose for a few short hours. This was not an easy decision for me. This was Gregger’s thing. I had to step into his shoes. I had to walk into those doors and not only recall the memories of last year, but actually “be him.” It was one of the hardest things I’ve done yet, but I was determined to do it, not only for him, but for me.

Greg 3I was pretty melancholy on my drive there. A few tears rolled down my cheeks as I remembered meeting Gregger in the parking lot last year. He was so excited to be part of this event. This was one of The Clotherie’s biggest fundraisers. Twice a year The Clotherie collected suits, sportcoats, and trousers to send to the Boys and Girls Club for this “Suit Event” for boys to wear to prom, graduation, or job interviews. Gregger was in high gear, dressing boy after boy, making sure they looked stylish, sharp, and dressed to a “t” in their new duds. He was like a proud dad with every one of those boys, and the boys were so incredibly grateful. While I assisted last year, I mostly reveled in Gregger’s passion; it just emanated from his soul.

little thingsBut this year was different. There was no Gregger. It was just me. I had to do this alone. I had to figure this out. I entered the room and tears immediately ran down my face. I wasn’t sure if I should stay or make a mad dash for the parking lot. I saw Gregger everywhere. But then I saw the boys. And I saw their smiles, their enthusiasm. My heart  melted and I felt my lips slightly curving upward; it was hard not to feel the warmth, the passion, the energy. At that moment, I knew I would be okay. I started suiting up the boys, pulling outfits, suits, shirts, and even ties. Gregger used to ask me if I liked this tie or that with his outfit…totally not my thing. But all of a sudden, I was picking out great ties to match shirts and suits and the boys were loving it. I felt like I was on fire. I didn’t want it to stop. The boys were so gracious. They were so proud. I just wanted to hug all of them and say “thank you” for giving me the greatest moment. Whereas they thought I was giving to them, they had no idea what they were giving to me…more than they could ever imagine. I smiled – a genuine, warm, loving smile that came from the inside out. I laughed. I felt happy. This was a good day.

So the chaos was behind me. It was still there when I got home, but that was okay. I was at peace and for a few hours I felt true joy.

Greg 22015-03-27 19.07.07 Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates LOVE.


(Gregger and the boys 2014)
Tomorrow’s Just a Day Away

Tomorrow’s Just a Day Away


strength 6

Sadness has surrounded me this week. Death, tragedies, heartache. A dear childhood friend, a “best friend” mother, and a beloved father were all lost to people in my circle of life. I passed a fresh flower memorial on the side of the road with people hovering by and discovered that a motorcyclist had been killed the day before.  There are no words to express the sadness, the loss, the grief. One can only offer support, love, and friendship. I know this all too well. I also encountered several people, some strangers, others mere acquaintances, who had lost their spouses. I am trying to find the message, the answers, the reasons for so much all at once. There are no reasons, there are no answers, but I do believe there is a message. In conversation with a good friend who was dealing with her own trauma today, the lesson came to me. Life is tough. Life is not always fair. Life is a challenge.

“Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.”

As I read these words I realize how very true they are. I am not sure I would have completely understood them seven months ago. In the past when I dealt with challenges, struggles, and hurdles I always realized it was to better myself, my relationships, but losing a loved one magnifies everything by tens of thousands. I believe we are dealt a certain hand in life. Sometimes we are given simple tasks and sometimes we are given way more than we think we can handle, and, it’s in those moments that we ask WHY?  Why me? But if I look around, it’s everywhere. Everyone is dealing with something. Some things are bigger, some are smaller, but everyone has SOME THING! I just have to choose HOW I deal. Do I break down, stop, and let life get the best of me, or do I choose to be stronger every day, put my feet on the ground and keep moving? I choose to move..to move towards a better life that offers happiness and hope for a better tomorrow.

“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”  

strengthThe past seven months have proven this to me. Every day presents a new challenge, a new hurdle to overcome, and every day I somehow dig deep to find the strength to get through it. Do I falter, shake, and stumble? Of course I do. Somedays I don’t even want to get out of bed because I am so afraid of what life is going to present. But I do. I put two feet on the ground, take two steps forward and keep going. Somedays it’s two steps forward, one step back, but at least I keep on going. I refuse to give up. Gregger would not want that and neither do I. People tell me all the time how brave and strong I am. Well, sometimes the outside is a lot stronger than the inside, but it’s working it’s way inward. It’s like smiling at a stranger when I least want to and suddenly being entrenched with a sense of warmth and sunshine. It happens. It works. So I practice being strong. The more I practice, the more it sinks in and the more it feels real. I will break tomorrow, next week and probably a year from now, but each time I will be a little bit stronger because I have made it through another day.


tomorrowAs cliche as it may sound I count my blessings, I am grateful for the goodness, and I try, try, try to seek the positive in every blessed day. As Annie said, “The sun will come out tomorrow…you gotta hang on ’til tomorrow, come what may…tomorrow, tomorrow…you’re always a day away!”

some days suck


today sucks

What the heck is S.D.S.? SOME DAYS SUCK! There’s  just no other way to say it! Even B.G.D. (Before Gregger Died) I had those sucky days, but they were different. Somehow the sucky days always had a luminous light at the end…I always knew sunshine would walk in the door around 7 pm and brighten my day…or at least give it his best shot. He tried, lord knows he tried, but I could be harder than a brick wall. I had my own PMS…pissed, mopey, and sultry. Whether he broke through or not, I knew he was there.

P.G.D.(Post Gregger’s Death) it’s different. I have to learn how to deal with the PMS and the sucky days on my own. It’s okay…it’s just another lesson. It’s another step toward growing better, growing stronger, growing more independent. I can do this. I can get through the SUCKY days…they won’t get the best of me. I will cry…I will mope…I will be pouty…but I will get over it and move on. I will count my blessings and be grateful. Cliché? Maybe so, but it’s the best I’ve got and it gets me through the SUCK!

And a little love from Lucy doesn’t hurt either…unconditional doggy love! Yes…there is sunshine in every cloud!


On Bended Knee

On Bended Knee


“A good life is a collection of happy moments.” Blessings, treasures in a memory bank…a place to go when I need a hug, a smile, or some sunshine on a rainy day.  I put on my wedding band today and was reminded of Gregger’s “first” proposal…so simple, so funny, so unromantic, yet one of the happiest moments in that treasure bank. After a whirlwind romance and a trip to Disneyland I think I pretty much hounded him enough until engagement was the only thing on our minds. We both had a year left at ASU, were completely unprepared for the real world at the ripe age of 20, but “the happiest place on earth” had given us a reason to think marriage was the next and best step (or at least I thought it was and went on to convince him). He came to St. Louis to meet my crazy family over Christmas. Now that could have been the biggest mistake of my life! As he entered the house he was inundated with “noise!” Kids everywhere…one spinning cartwheels, another throwing footballs, and my parents asking what the hell he did in Iowa! This poor guy didn’t know what hit him. I thought he was going to dart out the back door and I’d never see him again, but he sat there with that twinkling smile and took it all like the gentle soul he always was…kind, compassionate, full of heart. He cheered for the cartwheels, tossed the football, and answered the questions like a sport. After a few days we were off to Iowa…then it was my turn…UGH!


I flew off to Council Bluffs, Iowa to meet the fam. I don’t think I had the confidence of Gregger. I was definitely more timid and shy. This was my first real “meet the parents.” What if they didn’t approve? While Gregger was a pretty self-assured, independent guy, the blessing of his parents was key. If Sammy and Nonie nixed this plan, I was a goner…I was sure of that. I really wasn’t sure of anything the first few days. I didn’t know if I was just there for a “run through,” a “meet and greet” or if this was going to be the real deal. I just knew I was in it for the long haul and I was praying I got a “thumbs up.”

imageLife long friends of the in-laws and Gregger’s, the Gallners, were throwing us a welcome party on Sunday night. This was extremely kind since we weren’t officially engaged. I was just the girl from St. Louis. Here comes the fun part…setting the scene. Standing in Gregger’s childhood room with cowboy wallpaper covering the walls, dressed in a rather ratty bathrobe and still prepping with no makeup and a head full of curlers, Gregger entered the room. I could clearly tell he had something on his mind. No flowers. No box. So this COULD NOT be the proposal. Not the romantic Gregger I knew. But…he tells me to sit down on the bed. I am in a bathrobe with curlers literally covering my head!!! He hesitates a second and says, “So we are going to this party at the Gallners tonight. Do you want to marry me?” Huh? In my dreams I had so many magical proposals. I imagined being in a beautiful setting with my love on bended knee, an open box with something glittery in front of me. I would hear these “gushy” words that I had been waiting to hear all of my life and I would melt inside, but, here was MY PRINCE in his bedroom proposing and suddenly NOTHING really mattered at all. I jumped into his arms, shouted “Yes” and then proceeded to ask in my inimitable way, “Are you sure? Are you sure? Is this for real?”

The Gregger proposed to me two more times in our forty years together, once on our 25th and again on our 35th. No fancy dinners or romantic settings – just me in my robe while prepping to go “somewhere.” This was OUR day…it never mattered what was going on in our lives, we took the time to spend this day together.  So all that really mattered was that my Prince Gregger was still standing before me proclaiming his love, vowing to stay together for a lifetime. It made me believe in real fairytales. I realized Prince Charming does not have to bring the glass slipper or even the diamond ring…all he has to do is love you unconditionally, curlers and all. Although we vowed to be together for 75 years, I was blessed with just short of 39 …treasures in my memory bank that fill my heart with love. image



The Letter - A true love fairytale

The Letter

GreggerI was the writer in the family. But on the Hallmark occasions Gregger came through. Always two.. one, mushy, sweet, romantic and another, goofy with sexual inuendos. No complaints…I knew too many people who came up empty-handed. Signed with special messages of love, I saved just about every one. Boxes and boxes of all cards and letters dating back forty years. We were Hallmark’s dream couple. Digging through my closet today I discovered a different kind of Love Letter from the Gregger…this wasn’t covered in flowers or caricatures with sexy bodies…it was a Family Love Letter for A Time of Confusion. I don’t ever remember seeing this letter, although I have vague memories of discussing something like this. It must have been one of the moments I turned off, tuned out, and buried my head in the sand. He must have been talking death, dying, or something that was completely unforseeable in my present state. I had no use for such inane conversations…little did I know this WAS my FUTURE.

 Gregger was the guy who smiled…at everyone. He never let you know if he was having a good day or a bad day. Gregger wanted to hear YOUR story. He wanted to make things better for you…fix things. He was the GIVER, never the taker.  Gregger started writing this letter in May of 2012. It tells a tale of a wonderful husband and father who lay awake at night because he:

  • did not feel he was providing well enough for his family
  • knew he was not taking good enough care of himself
  • worried about the “what ifs”
  • worried he could lose everything he worked for
  • worried about his family’s security
  • believed he was making a living, but not making a life
  • wanted to do more, be more for his family
  • knew his work was never done…always thinking of ways to be bigger, better, greater, grander

I can’t say I didn’t know. I begged to lift the load or at least lighten it a little…he wanted to carry it all. He was SUPER GREGGER. He worked hard, played hard, loved hard, and, obviously, worried hard. He worried about me, the kids, but he did it with a smile. He would tell me he had a bad day, but then he would say it would all be okay. Nothing bad ever lasted more than a few minutes. He wouldn’t let it, or he wouldn’t let me see it.  In the true essence of the word, he was our Hero…the man with the HEART of GOLD. Gregger could never do enough, be enough, give enough. He would drop anything for just about anyone, anywhere, anytime. Even while on vacay in Maui he was trying to get special buttons for one of his clients. He was searching his Ipad every morning in desperation. Really? Wasn’t he supposed to be taking a break? Not the Gregger! It was the best of him, the worst of him. It was what made him Gregger. The best answers came in Gregger’s Love Letter…

What do you want to be known for? “Being a good person.” A good person? Gregger…you were a GREAT person. You were the BEST person I will ever know.

What is most important to you? “My family.” Yes, Gregger…we feel your love each and every day. We feel it from the clouds, the sun, and the stars.

And we are all better people because you touched our lives.Gregger thinking