Saturday, June 30, 2012

I Did

Four years ago (yesterday) I made the best decision of my life. I got married to my wonderful husband. Back then we were two care free kids, living a pretty low key and stress free life. We were still in college and had no idea what real life was about!

But here we are today, with two kids and a whole lot more life experience in us. It's been an interesting four years to say the least. Lots of love, laughs, fun, and joy. And a few stormy times thrown in for good measure. Because marriage isn't all puppies and rainbows. It's a decision to love and continue working on your relationship. You keep working even when you're covered in spit up, haven't had a shower, and really want a nap. You choose to love your husband, even when he can't remember something you just told him. You make an effort to be the one who plans dates and outings sans kids, so that you can have that crucial one on one time with your husband. Why? Because it's so worth it.

One day our kids will be grown and gone, and when that day comes I want to know the man living with me. I don't want to look at him and go, "Who are you, what do we do now?" I want our life to be a journey taken together, where we both grow and change and take the time to make sure our relationship matures and changes with us. Otherwise we could end up virtual strangers in the same house!

I remember thinking on my honeymoon, that life couldn't get much better. I thought being on vacation with my new husband, was the best thing in the world. Well little did I know that four years later, I would think just one night away from every day life would be just as awesome! We were able to sneak away for a night and have some just the two of us time. A fantastically delicious dinner and a night at a cute little hotel here in town. The little ones got to stay with Gummi. (Ryan's mom)

It was everything we needed it to be. Time to laugh, time to remember why we got married in the first place, and time to talk without little voices talking over us. There were a few logistical things to work out (like where to keep pumped breastmilk in a room without a fridge) but overall it was a wonderful vacation for us.

Four years ago, I was the happiest I had ever been. 

But yesterday, I realized I'm pretty fricken happy right now. I just have trouble seeing it when everyday stress life gets in the way! So here's to happy anniversaries and living a happy life.

Us at the fountain outside our hotel

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What We've Been Up To

The last couple of weeks have completely flown by! We've been really busy doing life lately and I've had very little time to update this blog! So here's a few snapshots of what we've been doing for the past 14 days or so.

 Family Trip to Omaha: We went to visit Ryan's family and to see the Omaha zoo!
In a walker and loving the mobility of it.

Playing in a fountain at the zoo! Her favorite part by far. 
Loving the smooth marble and water combo.

Watching penguins swim

Doesn't she look thrilled to be at the zoo? Poor girl was kind of grumpy for a lot of our zoo visit.
 This Past Week

Trip to the park before our friends left for the summer. She LOVED the little houses.

Big guy eating a turkey burger. No more baby food for him!

The kids' gift to my dad for Father's Day! Cute idea, right?


Little man is pulling up on everything and keeping up with Sister! Things will get more interesting here very soon.  I feel like they may "cook" up a lot of trouble!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Somber Anniversay

Yesterday was the fifth "anniversary" of the day I found out my sister was never coming back. She went missing (and was killed ) on June 2, of 2007. But for 4 agonizing days, we didn't know if she was dead or alive. We had no clue where she was and no idea why anyone would take her.

During those four days, I slept very little, and probably would have eaten even less if I didn't have friends forcing me to eat something. I have a distinct memory of one of my close friends making me slather a bagel with cream cheese and not letting me get up until it was all gone. Something, that at the time I resented, but now I see she was looking out for me when I couldn't.

I was constantly moving, trying to keep focused on finding Kelsey and not thinking about any negative outcomes. I walked neighborhoods passing out "Missing Person" fliers, did interviews for local and national news stations, threw energy into making sure Kelsey's friends were holding up, and tried not to fall to pieces myself. And then it happened, my parents called and told us to come home.

I don't remember words being said or how I was told. I remember being in the driveway of my parents' house and collapsing on the ground when I heard she was dead. I screamed and literally crumpled up on the concrete. My amazing husband (fiance at the time) carried me inside the house and I'm fairly certain I just went numb after that. I didn't want people touching me, didn't want people telling me it would be okay, and I didn't want to feel anything at all. It was just too hard.

I still have days were I just want to be numb, and not think about Kelsey. It's easier to just forget what happened and make out like she's at school or something. Until, all the college kids are home for the summer, and she's not. And then it strikes you again.

The funny thing about grief is that it never goes away. It changes and grows with you, and those five stages? Yeah they exist but it's not like you experience them all and then boom, the grieving process is done. There isn't any set way to grieve. Having 5 stages to "go through" may help you understand some emotions you're having, but by no means is it a "how-to" on how to get through a loss. And you don't always experience them one at a time. Sometimes I'm hit with a big dose of anger and depression at the same time. The truth is grief is more like a wave. Some days it comes rushing in and pulls your feet out from under you, and other days it recedes back. It's unpredictable and sometimes, the little ripples in the water turn out to be big swells you weren't expecting.

So for anyone out there who may be experiencing a loss, you aren't alone. Feel what you feel and know that even if you think no one in the world can understand how you feel and you must be certifiably crazy, you're not!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

It's Hard to Believe

Five years have gone by since June 2, 2007. That was the last time I saw my sister's face or heard her voice. It's hard to believe that so much time has actually gone by. My life has changed so drastically since that day and I haven't been able to share it with her.

Five years sounds like such a LONG time in theory. But I feel like it was just yesterday that I was living the nightmare of what happened to Kels. The realization that she was missing, the four days of searching for her, the day she was found, her wake, her funeral, and then all the legal proceedings. Seriously?

I have missed her every single day of those five years. There have been days when I haven't felt it as much or haven't allowed myself to think about it as much, but the loss/grief is always there. Especially when I am dealing with monumental things in my life. Like say my wedding day, my college graduation, the births of my children. All those days that were so important to me and I didn't get to have her there with me. And I have grieved over every life event that I get to experience that she never will. There will be no wedding, graduation, or kids for her and that makes me so angry and sad. My kids will never know an Aunt Kelsey except through photographs. She's forever 18 ...

A murder is a really hard way to lose someone. So unexpected, so sudden, so quick. In an instant one person's actions can take away all of the "normal" from your life. I often think of how life would be if my sister hadn't been killed. Would my parents be so busy all the time? There wouldn't be a foundation in her name. Would we call each other and talk like we used to (or just leave silly things on Facebook)? Would she be finishing up school, becoming a vet? Would my kids find her funny and entertaining? How about how holidays and memorable occasions wouldn't have an air of sadness to them...

And I know that a lot of people think it's time to move on and get over it. But a loss like this is not something you get over. You move forward, but it comes too. The loss is felt all the time, whether intensely or like a dull ache. It's always there, you're always aware of it. Someday I will get the answers and I will see her again. But that doesn't always help ease the pain when all you want to do is talk to your sister.

Love you
Miss you