On Life, Love, and Loss

I can’t think, I can’t breathe, I can’t talk – so I write.

For the past three months I have been prepping myself for this Saturday, the three year anniversary of my sisters suicide. I had a plan. Details don’t matter, it’s all irrelevant now. Fact of the matter is, I had a plan on how I was going to get through this anniversary and FINALLY have a good birthday, something I haven’t had since she died.

That’s all gone to shit, the world is on fire.

We are all living in unprecedented times right now. A world pandemic. I lost a friend today, a good friend. She had been fighting an illness her whole life and something as simple as a handshake may have been what killed her. She was young too. Much younger than me.

She fought. She fought her whole life and she overcame again and again and lived her best life only to be taken out by something that came from eating a bat? Is that what they’re saying now? Bat soup is killing off our entire population? We can’t leave our houses, we can’t hug our friends, we can’t open a package from Amazon without wondering if we are going to DIE from opening it. WHAT IS HAPPENING RIGHT NOW?

Elise was quite the lady. She loved freely, lived fearlessly, and was always aware and supportive of my life. We met nine years ago when we both worked at Fox & Hound and of course stayed in touch on Facebook but she was ALWAYS there when I needed her. She checked in on me when Sandy died, she helped me through a crisis a few years back, and last year when I was afraid for my own life because of a failed port she Facetimed me and talked me down from a massive panic attack because she was no stranger to blood clots and ports.

And something as simple as a handshake took her out.

WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW?

Yes. I had to ask twice because what the actual fuck?

When are we going to be free? We are all living in the prisons of our homes. I’m lucky I already homeschooled or else I would be shitting my pants. I’m lucky my husband can work from home and we have more quality time. I’m lucky to HAVE a family I can be with all day who love and support me when some of my friends have to sit in solitude wondering when they will be able to see someone they love again. I wonder if we are going to see an increase in suicides from this, homicides from domestic abuse, overdoses from people going out of their minds looking for an escape. I wonder if there is an end in sight.

I don’t know what to tell my children. They know but they don’t, you know? Like I said, they already homeschool so they don’t have a huge disruption in their life. They stay off the news, don’t have social media, they don’t really know. They want a certain food and I can’t give it to them and they can’t seem to wrap their heads around why and I honestly can’t either.

I miss life. Not just my life because my life really isn’t that bad. Like I said, I love my family. We aren’t getting on each other’s nerves at all. Eighteen years with a person you figure out pretty early on if they’re going to get on your nerves. Thank God for online gaming, that keeps the kids at bay. I just miss life.

I HAVE NEVER WATCHED SO MANY MOVIES BEFORE.

I have an illness I have been fighting for eleven years. I get plasma every ten days. Now I can’t WAIT for plasma day. I want as much of a boost as I can get. I don’t know if I’ll get sick but I have a plan in place if I do. I’m cautious, I’m vigilant, but I’m also realistic.

PAUSE-

I am going to straight up bitch for one second because this is my blog and I do what I want –

How do I make it through an entire winter of three pairs of pants, heated socks and shirt, and a ski jacket only to NOT have a summer after doing yoga for two months, losing ten pounds, getting a body that a fitness trainer would have that NEEDS to be in tiny dresses and short-shorts only to have absolutely nowhere to go and no one to show it off to? Petty in the grand scheme of things but we are all allowed to grieve the losses we have coming.

I have friends I worry about. All my friends are in the service industry. What if unemployment doesn’t come through? How much will they really be getting? What happens after July if they’re not back at work? I may be fine financially but I worry for them, I love them. Of course I do.

I don’t know. I really don’t even know why you’re reading this. I know I’m writing it because even though I talk a lot I’m terrible at speaking, I write. Words come through my fingers, it’s the only way I can communicate. I can’t offer platitudes or give hope right now because to me the future is bleak, at least for the next few weeks as I grieve the loss of my friend, the loss of my best friends’ father, re-live the loss of my sister, and miss ANOTHER birthday, something I was fighting SO HARD to reclaim.

I want to thank my husband for being him. That’s all. Just for being him. I would be going crazy without him. I want to thank Dex too, for taking the time to distract me by talking about something as silly as seafood. I want to thank all of you who reached out to me on Facebook. I’m a strong woman but today I am weak, Saturday I will be weaker. Expect a post about Sandy this weekend. She is getting a tribute. It’s for me but I would love for you to read it. I miss the shit out of her.

I’m going to stop writing now, I don’t have the energy to keep on. I thought I had a point but I just rambled. What I ask is that we all take a second and listen to my and my sisters song, a happy song that will get you moving. Get up, jump around, and forget for a moment that the world is chaos. Dance with me. I love you.

Family Doesn’t Have To Be Blood

Me with Ryan, Dex, and Dee

“Family isn’t an f word” – Deadpool

What does family mean to you? Your children, parents, spouse – but what about the friends you make who aren’t your blood but have become such an integral part of your life you have adopted them as your own?

Living here in South Carolina my husband and I don’t have any family here. All of mine are in Syracuse, Ryan’s are all over the place. I’ve felt for years like something was lacking. My kids don’t have cousins, they don’t have aunts and uncles readily available like I did when I was growing up and that hurts my heart.

Ryan and me on NYE

For years I was very sheltered and afraid to leave the house until one day last year when I realized being a hermit was so unhealthy I NEEDED to get social. I posted in my Fort Mill mom group asking if anyone would go to karaoke with me and that’s how I met the woman I now call my sister, Dee. She is an inspiration to me and if you’re interested in health and fitness check out her YouTube channel or Instagram page. She swears one day she will teach me how to twerk. Best of luck doing that sis. She supports me and empowers me and every time I get to spend time with her we always have a blast. We are the perfect Oreo cookie, expect stories from us and our karaoke nights out and fitness stories will follow. I’ll likely have her guest post and will include her in on my fitness stuff.

Me and my sis at the Empire Christmas party with Nick, I credit him for bringing all of us together. If it wasn’t for his karaoke I wouldn’t have any of my family!

When our karaoke bar shut down I needed a new spot so I started hanging out at Empire Pizza in Rock Hill. I’ll likely be telling stories of my nights there because fun stuff happens nightly. Because of Empire my family has expanded greatly. I have so many close friends who I hang out with as I drink water and sit on a picnic table listening to music and being generally dumb.

One person who came into my life at Empire is my brother Dex. He has become a very protective big brother which my husband loves. He says if I am going to be out while he is asleep he takes comfort in knowing nobody will dare hit on me or mess with me because my brother will make sure nobody comes near me. I swear Dex has a five second hug rule before he says “That’s enough, give her space.” You’re going to hear A LOT about him because I spend the most time with him as we are both night owls who love having music trivia nights. He is as close to blood one can get without sharing DNA.

Me and my brother on NYE

I have other people in my life I consider family now too. There’s Mama Peg, Nick, Chris, Crystal, Tuck, and Tatiana and countless others. I have formed a tribe so large and empowering that I finally after all these years here in South Carolina I feel like it’s REALLY home, you know? Dex and Mama Peg spent Christmas with us and we all had the best time. Ryan and I rang in the New Year with Tatiana by our side (She also helped us decorate our Christmas tree this year!)

Us with Dex and Mama Peg and Dex this Christmas

We’re a ragtag little group down here but what we all have is each other. My kids now have a feeling of family they haven’t had since their grandparents moved and I have a sense of security now that’s pure and wholesome and good. What does family mean to you? Is it blood or is it bonds you form with those you meet? Let me know in the comments! I love learning about you! Hopefully you’ll enjoy all of the stories I will be sharing about my family here. They have my heart.

Me with Tatiana on NYE