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Monday, October 19, 2015

The Canyon Was Calling.....

 The trip was planned.  
Dad would take Tommy to the Canyon in 2015.  Dad had gone before and was excited to share the adventure with Tommy.  
You see, getting the chance to raft The Mighty Colorado River is one you don't pass up as it doesn't come around often.  I cannot say when my first thought happened....but I remember thinking.  
I NEED to go.  Tommy and I SHOULD go.  
I think I mentioned it first to Chris, then to Mom and finally got the nerve to suggest it to Tommy.  I knew he would not be sure if I was serious or not.  I was.  We started brainstorming the idea and asked the trip coordinator if it was even possible.  Dad was a rafter. He was an oarsmen.  He knew the ins and outs of a trip like this, where we, well....we didn't.
  It was the holidays of 2014 when we made our final plans.  
Shuttles.  Plane rides.  Departures. Arrivals.  
This WAS real.
Grand Canyon-South Rim
I distinctly recall stepping off our final shuttle.  You could smell the pines.  You could feel the crisp air.  You could FEEL the energy of the canyon.  As we got settled to our room we headed out to get our first glimpse. It was nothing short of EPIC.  We were treated to a beautiful sunset and tried to tie up all loose ends as we prepared to be 'off the grid' for 10 full days.
If you remember, the timing of the trip turned out to be interesting.  
We would rendezvous with the group on Friday, March 13th.  What would have been Dad's 58th birthday.  Mom would be home alone on this day without the ability to contact us.  We would meet the group at a point on the trip where we would immediately hit 3 very large rapids.  As we spotted them after our long hike into the Canyon it was clear they were ready to hit the water.  We fumbled through putting on dry suits, battened down our gear and set off for an adventure like no other.  As Tommy was stationed to another boat and I climbed aboard mine, I suddenly felt like a young girl again.  
Lump in throat.  
No Mommy or Daddy to run to or Brother or Husband to comfort me.  
I was riding off into a class 7 rapid....I was looking for Dad.  
It was the oddest thing.  
My brain knew he wasn't there, yet, I searched each boat.  
I tried hard to hide the cracking of my voice as my nerves were intense.

I can barely describe to you the sound of an approaching rapid on the Canyon.  It was like a jet engine.  You could see water bubbling up and hear the water on its journey down the boulders, rocks and terrain.  It makes your heart skip a beat.  Both Tommy and I ended up the day successfully, staying in our boats.  
As we pulled into our camp on Day 1, we were humbled and unsure what the next 9 days would hold.
 Deer Creek Falls

As the sun set on March 13th, we had a small urn to set sail on the Canyon and we snuck off from the group for a moment to grant Dad's wishes to be returned to one of the many amazing places he visited.
"Sail on the Canyon and up to the stars" - John Denver

The trip was full of laughs, tears, stories, camp fires, hard work, hikes and bonding.
I would have never imagined myself making this trip, yet I am SO glad I did.  
It was tough to be away for so long, but it had me, mentally, in a good place with our loss.
Vagabond lifestyle as we took down and set up camp each morning and evening.
 First morning waking on the Canyon

If the chance came up again, I think I would jump right on that plane and set sail on the Canyon.  
It's hard to put in to words the sights, the sounds and the utter peacefullness.
I know for me, and I am sure for Tommy, it was a trip we will not soon forget.  
One where we got to be alone but together in our grief in a setting that really put a smile on our faces envisioning Dad somewhere smiling that oh so perfect smile from ear to ear.

Monday, August 31, 2015

2015, where are you taking us?!?!?

I logged into today.
I haven't written a single blog this year.
WHAT happened?

Well, we all know the easy answer, but let me tell the full story.....

Along came Feburary and on a drizzling Sunday morning Chris texted me that he saw an ad in the paper,
"I want to take you somewhere, let's go"......

Off we went and drove up a familiar hill. 
"Cat back" as our running friend Larry calls it. 
It was a drive up to Catta Verdera, the country club where we were married. 
As we approached I saw signs and flags, "new homes".....

Chris and I spent one of our very first dates looking at model homes in Catta Verdera, that was actually where we first saw a wedding set up on the lovely greens of the course. 

Giggly, new love, we joked, maybe someday.

Years later we would be married in the same spot. 
For our entire relationship we would drive up that hill. 
We even ran up it several times and day dreamed about one day, calling it home.

So, on March 13th, what would have been Dad's 58th birthday, we signed papers on our new home. 
Our dream. 

The story is tangled as I was sitting on a shuttle bus in Phoenix, Chris on duty when the Realtor called to tell us we got it.  The story is more tangled as the only reason we got in was someone backed out.  The model and design I liked, the only one at that.  We went on record March 13th......

Back to that shuttle.....

I sat on a shuttle with my brother about to embark on a journey of a lifetime.  Tommy and Dad were supposed to raft the Grand Canyon together.  When everything happened, I felt deep in my soul, I NEEDED to go.  I pitched the idea to Tommy and the trip leaders graciously accepted me to come, being a greenhorn and all.

We would launch onto the mighty Colorado River that very same day, March 13th. 
We woke in our hotel knowing it would have been his birthday.
Knowing we would be out of touch with family for 10 days.
Knowing this would be an emotional journey, but something for us.

I will have to save that post for another day, but what a trip.
 A trip of a lifetime.

So, getting back from our journey, wheels hit the ground.
Sell the house.
Find somewhere to live until your house is built.
Travel for work to LA twice.
Run a 50 mile race.
Celebrate Mom retiring
Dance lessons.
Run two 50k races.
Seattle to see Lindsey complete her MBA.
Swim lessons.
Move into storage.
Move into an apartment.
The year anniversary of Dad's passing.
Luke Bryan concert

So 2015, you have had us on a ride......

Wednesday, December 31, 2014


The thoughts seem to swirl around in my head.


As I think back to NYE 2013 and the beginning of 2014, I mostly thought about running.
I had been chosen for the Miwok 100k lottery and I finally entered my name to run the American River 50.
I had a strong training plan, I felt confident, scared, but sure that I could accomplish what I put my mind to. This would be MY year of running the races that, for many reasons, I didn't have the courage to before.

I also had visions of our family trip to Maui.
We would surprise Dad with paddle board lessons for his birthday.
We would swim in the ocean.
We would show Harlow the beauty of Maui.
We would spend 10 fabulous days a family.
Making memories, telling stories, smiling, dancing... 
I came home from Maui ready to tackle my runs.

I spent time during AR50 with Dad, Chris, with my running friend Larry
I finished 50 miles one day shy of my 34th birthday, holding hands with my baby girl....
smiling ear to ear, hurting head to toe
FULL of pride

I went into Miwok injured.
I started the trek up the mountain
Fell twice
Asked Chris to tape my knee at mile 13
Endured the cutoffs, barely making each one
Until I didn't at mile 58
They told me I could finish, but it would not be official
I pressed on with Chris by my side
Walked down the Dipsea steps backwards as my legs were ruined
The sweepers behind me I couldn't make eye contact I was embarrassed, defeated

Mom, Dad and Harlow sat at the base of the last hill.
Seeing them there....my heart swelled, eyes filled up with tears
Sad that I made them wait and worry
But oh so happy to be DONE

The months pressed on

No running for a while
Swim lessons
Mother's Day
Father's Day
Dad's weekly visits to watch Harlow

July 18th Dad stayed late and had dinner with Harlow and I
We said goodbye, stood in the driveway and waved.....

July 21st was just another Monday,
Until it wasn't.


Life would never be the same
How could this be?
The days and weeks and months still pass
We hold on...
For the ups and downs
Laugh and then cry
Smile and then sigh

As we prepare to end this chapter, titled 2014
I reflect
I miss the life we started the year with
I miss him 
If I have learned anything this year....it is... Live.
If you want to do it.
Do it.

As my Dad would say, life is for the living, so go out and live.

So 2015.... I have plans for you..... Let's start the next chapter

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Days Go By

One minute it's August.
I blink.
October is here.

Yesterday marked 10 weeks.
How can it be that it has been 2 and 1/2 months since we talked.
How can it be that since you've been gone Harlow has changed so much.
How can it be that I still haven't been honest with her about where you are.

I think I have avoided the blog as really focusing in and thinking about this,
It creates a feeling that takes me right back to the days and weeks immediately after
When I was numb and lost.
But am I not still numb and lost?

Little things happen
I want to tell you
I wonder what you would say
I think about your laugh
I say things and can hear you saying them
I wish I knew just how you would handle a situation
or tell me your thoughts

More than anything
We miss you
I know that we always will

Monday, September 8, 2014

Somewhere other than the night

It must have been around 11pm or maybe later.  
The roller-coaster took a deep downward turn.  
I found myself in a deep, snarling, raw cry.  
A cry I haven't experienced in at least 2 weeks.  
The day had started ok, a little hectic, a little overwhelming, but nothing outrageous.  
The day progressed just fine, a trip out to to try to look for some housewares became intensely overwhelming....but I managed to make it through.  
A headache of significant intensity came into play, but I still thought.....meh, I can deal with this.
I found myself writing sympathy cards to another young man and woman who just lost their Dad.....
It wasn't as overwhelming as I had expected....so I was feeling decent.
A cranky toddler down to sleep for the night and things just broke down.
I figured it's not worth trying to figure out where it came from.
Strangely enough it was the first time I cried in this way in front of my husband.  

The nights are certainly hard and maybe a little PTSD comes into play as I try not to think about the night the call came in and the moments thereafter.

In other news.  
He was in my dreams again.  
This time we were waiting outside the gates to Disneyland.  
There she was, our little girl, gently held in his arms.  
In playful conversation with him.  
It was just a vision, I couldn't hear them talking, but I just saw her in his arms.  
This is the second dream or vision with her in his arms.....a vision I hope I never forget.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


I awoke this morning fresh from a dream.
I was driving to....a hospital?...I'm not really sure.
I drove in through a back entrance of sorts.
There was a phone booth.  
And there he was.
He was standing there wearing a specific pair of pajama pants, bears, pine trees and pine cones on it.
They were fleece.
I spotted him, rolled down the window.....
"Dad, Dad, It's me......DAD!"

He stared at me.....

Maybe he didn't hear me or recognize me.

Next thing I knew I was in a waiting room.  He was sitting across from me and to the left.

He just sat there and I was staring, and crying.......

"I'm sorry, you look just like someone I know......

Can I take a photo with you?"

I recall not taking the pictures, but of looking at them on my phone.  
There must have been half a dozen, different faces, different angles.

Of course, I woke up with the most vivid picture of him in my mind.  
Navy blue t-shirt, maroon ball cap and those fleece pants.  
Oh, and of course....he was carrying his black backpack, the one he always had.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

This is just a dream.....

I got to see my Dad last night.  
Alive in my dreams.  
The dreams were silly, and I have wracked my brain trying to discern the meaning.  
I even took to the internet for dream interpretations.

All I know is that I was able to see him and Mom, they were playing a silly game and he was protecting her. The game involved both of them holding cupcakes......and Dad was throwing pieces of his cupcake and running about...back and forth.  Lindsey and I were watching and laughing as they interacted and as he was trying to win, but also doing everything he could to ensure Mom was protected....by him.  As we watched, we were laughing at him and Mom interacting...yet, Linds and I were both crying.  
The dream ended with me waking up crying.

I guess maybe I don't need a book to interpret this dream.  
As I typed this it became clear.  
He was protecting her.  
Even now.  
He is protecting her. 

I know that Dad was always quick to make us laugh, so that part makes sense.  
That is one thing I know I will miss the most, the wondering "what would Dad say/do?"  

Today is also a very tough day though.  
Today would have marked their 36th wedding anniversary.  I still want to celebrate all they had, all they are, all they were and all they built.  There is no doubt in my mind that every ounce of who my Brother and I am today is due to how they brought us up.  Our marriages have been successful based on the model they showed us.  Our sense of family is so strong because of them.  
So today, although it hurts and although it is sad, I will make every effort to celebrate them.