Friday, February 28, 2014

Dealing & Healing

A few weeks ago, I posted about the tragic loss of one of my very best friends, Brittney Granger.
So many of you sent such heart-warming condolences via email, snail mail, and texts; I'll never be able to tell you all how much that has meant to my family and me. Thank you.

Life carries on, as it must, but I'd be lying if I said that things have gotten easier. In fact, they've become increasingly heavier over the past several weeks. Yes, we took a family vacation to Hawaii. And that helped. But it didn't stop the thoughts of Brittney from flooding my head and late night tears from soaking my pillow. My days are filled with instances of something random happening, picking up the phone to text Brittney, suddenly realizing that she's not here, and putting back down the phone, as there's no-one else but her who would understand the humor in that moment.

I miss her. 
I miss her laugh. I miss her afternoon pick-me-up hilarious texts. I miss her energy and ability to wake up my sleepy soul. When we talked, I felt alive. I felt at ease. I felt the meaning of true friendship. The longest text log in my phone is the one with Brittney, though now I can't bring myself to read through it. Our house is full of framed pictures with Brittney by my side. Everywhere I go, memories fill my head of a moment in time that we'll never experience again. And with each reminder of my dear friend, I cry.

I cry because I don't understand. I want so badly to have someone explain to me why it happened; why someone so good could be taken too soon. I cry because I'll never have those answers. She was on the verge of getting engaged and married, and we had already planned out the wedding in our heads (about 138 times). She knew how many kids she wanted to have and what their names would be. I cry because she never got to experience those things that she so deeply longed for. Things that should've happened, would've happened. Things that she deserved.

I understand that she's now in a better place, that she's happier in heaven than all those things on Earth could've ever made her. And knowing that is what gets me through each day. 
But it still hurts.

Coming home from Hawaii was tough for multiple reasons. We hadn't seen my brother and sister-in-law in over a year and it was really hard to say goodbye after such a much-needed visit. It was also a good distraction from the heartache of losing my Beanie. While it felt good to pull into our driveway on Sunday afternoon, my heart sunk a little knowing that within these walls, I'd relive the night of February 1st over and over again.

But as we carried Bear and pulled our luggage onto the back patio and were about to enter the house, something hot pink in the yard caught my eye. Our rose bush was blooming like crazy, in the middle of February. We were so surprised but couldn't help but feel this was God's way of putting a little Hawaii in Texas. Something to remind of us of our trip and show us that happiness lies within yourself, not the places you travel. Because memories are all around us and the potential to make more doesn't depend on where we are, but rather what we do.

Much like Brittney.
She isn't here, but there are still reminders of the love and life she shared all around us. The memories that I'll forever cherish, while painful and fresh now, will continue to blossom like hot pink rosebuds on my heart. 

Our memories could fill a garden. And I'll never forget them.

There are so many things I want to say and so many feelings that I'm not able to express just yet. I'm using this blog as a diary, more than usual, because writing is the best way I know how to cope. And if these words can help one person who's going through loss, or tragedy, they will have been worth every minute. And know that so many of you have helped me, too.

I miss you every day my sweet, beautiful friend. Love you, Beanie.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Hawaii Part 3: The North Shore & Whale Watching

We arrived in Hawaii on Friday afternoon (Valentine's Day!) and the weather was not what we'd expected. It was chilly and rainy, something apparently that rarely ever happens on the island...just our luck. But after a couple days it cleared up and we saw where "Paradise" gets it's name.

We still ventured out that first weekend; Shane and Scarlett drove us up to North Shore and we saw so much of the island. Oahu really is spectacular; the mountains are every bit as jaw-drop-worthy as the white sandy beaches. My favorite part of the day was visiting Kualoa Ranch, where Jurassic Park was filmed. It felt like we were living in a post card! So, so beautiful.

I haven't given much background about our two hosts, my brother and his wife. Shane is a Captain (almost Major) in the Army and is stationed on Oahu. Scarlett, the gorgeous redhead, is his wife. They housed us, fed us, shuttled us around, and took care of Bear as if he was their own. They are the absolute best and we love them so much. They hadn't seen Bear since he was five weeks old, so it was really special to see the three of them interact and play.

Sea turtle sighting!

Kualoa Ranch, where Jurassic Park was filmed

Shane and Scarlett booked a whale watching trip, which was awesome. We saw quite a few whales and Bear was a little trooper.

"Dukes on Sunday", great grub after a successful whale watching excursion. Thanks, Shane and Scarlett!

Happy Hump Day!

Thank you for sticking with these long winded recaps and for your sweet comments about our trip! Just a few more to come :). We loved Hawaii and hope to one day go back!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Hawaii Part 2: Dole Plantation

One of our favorite stops in Hawaii was the Dole Pineapple Plantation. We enjoyed some pineapple ice cream, a pineapple whip, and walked around the grounds. Bear was in heaven!

feeding the fish

These rainbow eucalyptus trees are so beautiful! Zach was dying to get his hands on a piece.

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Hawaii Part 1


I have missed keeping up with all of your blogs so much. Thank goodness for instagram! We spent the last week and a half visiting my brother & sister-in-law in Hawaii and had the most amazing time. Shane and Scarlett are the best tour guides! We loved every minute. Here is the first (of many!) recap of our time on Oahu.

Ready to take Valentine's Day ever!

We were greeted at the airport with leis :).

taking lessons from Uncle Shane

Pali Look-Out

They warned me it'd be windy in Hawaii...

Bear loves Uncle Shane. He hadn't seen him since he was 5 weeks old!

Bellows Beach, our favorite spot

Lots more to come! Hope you had an amazing weekend!