About the Blog

Many may wonder why after 20 years, I have chosen to share something so personal and that happened so long ago. I am sharing this because at the time I felt very alone and if these words would help someone else not feel so alone then that's worth my opening up about this time of my life. I also want to document these events and thoughts for my own two sons so that they have an account of why their Mom was so adamant that they always know how much I loved them. I also share this as a therapeutic release for myself on this twentieth anniversary.

This blog will not likely be an ongoing dialogue, but it may take me a year to share all that I experienced and how I processed the impact of this event for years to come. It still affects how I live my life today and will always shape the way I see the world.

I don't share these stories to ask for sympathy or for anyone to feel sorry for me. Sometimes life sucks and is hard and everyone experiences that in life. I don't feel my life has been any worse or any different that anyone else's. I do ask for prayers, not for myself specifically, but for all those dealing with the loss of loved ones. Pray that they may find the courage and strength to allow themselves to grieve for their loss and continue to live a life full of love and happiness as time passes by.

I was not a perfect daughter, sister, friend, or girlfriend at any point in my life much less during one of the most difficult times. I do not believe the way I grieved and reacted to these events is the right way. I do not believe there is a right or wrong way to grieve. This is the path I took and everyone must find their own path. I did what I thought at the time was best for me and it wasn't always what was best for those around me. That's what my siblings did too and eventually we all came out on the other side of the grief to live full and successful lives.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Our Wonderful Trip to Disney in honor of Mom

Well, our week in Disney World could not have gone better.  The 11 of us went from sun up to sun down for 7 days and took it all in.  It was magical and wonderful!  We all had a different favorite moment at the end of the week, which is a testament to all the fun we had.

As I have written about previously, my happy memory from 20 years ago was turning around on Big Thunder Mountain and seeing a huge smile on my mom's face.  So when we rode Big Thunder Mountain as a family this time, I knew I had to turn around and this is what I saw.  Pure Joy!

This is exactly what I had wished for this trip.  A trip filled with joy and happiness to put closure on the memories from before.  During the fireworks show as I sat next to Adam, I just let it all sink in.  I was in awe that all of 11 of us were here after 14 months of planning and 20 years of waiting.  I was overcome with emotions of how Mom must be smiling down from heaven and I could feel her love and presence in that moment.  I was filled with happiness at the thought of being here with my whole family.  As tears streamed down my face, I just thank God for my family, for this trip, and for his blessings upon all of us!  I also prayed that he bless my Mom and let her know how much she is loved and missed and that she would be able to bask in the joy experienced on this trip in her memory.

My dad shared our family's story with a cashier at the Ye Ol Merry Christmas Shoppe and when he picked up his package the next day he found a hand written note.  It thanked him for sharing his story and said that Mickey came by shortly after we left and wanted us to have this angel ornament in memory of my Mom.  It was a very kind and a generous act that is exactly why Andy and I love Disney so much!

The pain of losing my Mom will never go away and the painful, sad memories of our Disney trip 20 years ago with not be forgotten.  However this trip was a powerful experience of healing, love, and proof that with time, love, and faith, life will go on and pure joy and happiness can prevail.

I have only shared my journey of grief with those very close to me and I was unsure about sharing it so publicly but have found this exercise to be very therapeutic for me.   I  want to thank everyone who has followed this blog over the last year and shared their words of encouragement and support.  Those kind words and gestures have meant so much to me.  I truly appreciate you and pray that you feel God's love and support on whatever journey you are on in your life.  God Bless!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Family Vacation 20 Years Later

20  years ago my mother worked so hard to plan the perfect family vacation for us.  Remember we had not been on one for 10 years and even then my siblings had no memories of the prior vacation due to being too young.  The perfect vacation to Disney World she had planned was tragically cut short by my mother's death.  As we approached the 20th anniversary of her death, we decided it was time to give my mother that vacation she had dreamed of.

My family of 4, my sister, my brother and his family of 4, as well as my dad and his wife will be spending next week in Disney World.  We will be staying at a Disney resort and enjoying everything this magical place has to offer during the holidays.  My brother went back to Disney with the marching band when he was in high school.  I have been three times in the last 4 years, but my sister and dad have not returned since our last trip with Mom.  

I'm sure there will be a few tears, but I'm even more positive that there will be lots of laughter, smiles, and wonderful memories made just like my Mom had hoped 20 years ago.  She will get to watch from heaven as her children and grandchildren have that memorable vacation that she wanted for us so long ago.  She will get to witness the look on my Dad's face as he see his granddaughters meet the Mickey and Minnie for the first time.  She will get to see the incredible excitement her grandsons will have showing their cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents their favorite snack, ride, or show.  She will get to see her children have a true family vacation together.  

My siblings and Dad have not been on a vacation together in 20 years but it's never too late.  We are all in our 30s now and I just feel like we owe it to ourselves and to our Mom to create the family vacation memories that we never had.  We are blessed that we are all in good health, were able to coordinate schedules, and pull together the resources to be able to do this together.  

I will be honest now that our departure is tomorrow and as I'm writing this blog, I'm starting to feel a little nervous.  Will this trip be a happy one or is there a chance that something horrible could happen again?  Are we crazy to try to do this again and to return to this place to do it?  In reality there is always a chance that something bad will happen, but we can't live life waiting for the other shoe to drop.  We have to take the chance because what if everything goes wonderfully. How could we deprive ourselves of the memories and experiences that could be?

So with that in mind we will travel to Disney World next week to remember and honor my Mom and to hopefully have a wonderful family vacation. I pray that we have safe travels and that our trip is one that results in many magical, happy memories.  

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Back to Disney

I graduated college feeling strong and happy with where my life was headed.  I hadn't dated much in college because I needed that time to just be alone and deal with all the emotions that I suppressed.  I got a great job programming at Keller Schroeder and was able to continue teaching dance.  I had reached another milestone without my Mom here, but I knew she was smiling down from heaven on me and watching out for me as she always had.

Andy graduated from Purdue and moved out to Boston. I had stayed close with his family but had not had regular communication with him. He came back to visit for our 5 year class reunion.  We hung out and took the obligatory walk down memory lane that always happens at class reunions.  Needless to say to say a few months later, he moved home and we were dating again.  We were engaged and married within 15 months of him being back.  Throughout our lives there have been moments when my Mom's presence has been felt.

In 2011, a close friend of ours, Shawn, that had been there with us in high school during my Mom's death, called and he invited us and the boys to go to Disney World with him and his wife.  They are both Disney fanatics and some of the party travelling with them had cancelled so they had room in their villa.  I wasn't sure I ever wanted to go back to Disney, but this was a great time to go with our 2 and 3 year olds and be with a friend that totally understood what a big step this was for me.

Andy was great and patient and he gets just as excited as a little kid about Disney.  We went and I was able to just enjoy my family.  I got emotional when we started to walk up to Big Thunder Mountain.  This roller coaster was my memory of my Mom here.  I was walking up to ride with Lucas.  Adam wasn't tall enough so it was just the two of us.  I told him that Grandma Patty had brought me here once and this was her first roller coaster ride.  It was going to be his first as well.  As tears started to roll down my cheeks, he grabbed my hand and said, "Mom, I love you!"  It was a perfect moment.  I was able to take just a minute to process that great tragedy that had happened the last time I was hear, but I was able to know that my Mom would want me here making memories with her grandsons and filling their lives with happiness.  That's exactly what we did for the week we were there and it felt so good to honor her memory instead of feel that extreme sadness that I had struggled with all those years before.

The boys still don't know that Grandma Patty died while we were at Disney World, but they do know that Mom talks about her when we are there because it brings back the memories of that roller coaster ride. We visit Disney regularly now.  Not because of my Mom, but because my boys love it and our little family of four just loves to immerse ourselves in the magic and child like wonder that comes with Disney.  At this point in our lives it's our get away and I would have never guessed that I would ever heal enough to find joy in the place where that tragedy occurred, but with time and healing anything is possible.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tragedy Strikes Again

As I started my second semester of college, tragedy happened again.  Andy grew up in a neighborhood with several close friends.  Chris Hill and Sean Fisher were two of these friends and both were close friends of mine as well.  Both were at USI and were in several classes with me. There was a terrible ice storm in January 1997 and Chris was killed in a car accident on his way to USI.  I had seen him at class a couple of days before and he had waved to me from across the room.  Little did I know, that was the last time I would see him.

Andy was at Purdue and quickly made his way home.  Andy, Sean, and I along with several other friends all gathered together to support one another and share stories of Chris.   It was all so eerily familiar, only the last time I had gathered with these friends in sadness it had been when my Mom died less than two years before. This process was different.  I didn't have anyone to be strong for or anything to really distract myself with.  I cried and cried and cried at this funeral.  I hugged my friends and told them how much I loved them.  I was able to grieve with them.  I again was saying good bye to someone I cared for with Andy and Sean by my side knowing each of them had a lifetime of memories with Chris and this was so hard for them.  My heart was breaking for them and I just couldn't understand why there was so much loss in the last few years in my life, my grandfather, my mom, and now my friend.

Chris's death affected me in a very unexpected way.  It opened my eyes to the grief that I was holding inside.  It was a turning point for me.  I started to open up very privately to feel all that I had kept bottled up inside.  I started writing in a journal again.  I started processing all the sadness.  I relied a lot on my friend Sean.  Sean listened and he was one of the only people I felt comfortable opening up to about the grief I was experiencing.  I don't know why I felt comfortable with him knowing the truth verses others.  He was an 19 year old guy who had no idea what to do with any of the things I was sharing with him, but he listened. He encouraged.  He didn't squirm and act uncomfortable with all the sadness and grief that I was expressing.  He didn't minimize my feelings or question why I was still feeling this way.  As I would start to question my faith or why good people had to die so young, he would just say I don't think you should be questioning that stuff.  He was not a religious guy, but knew that I needed to keep strong in my faith.  His listening to my struggles helped me greatly at this time.  He let me cry when I needed to cry.  He let me share memories and stories of my mom and I was able to start to remember with laughter and smiles.  He was the friend I needed and blessing to me during this time and I don't know if I would have been able to process it all without him.

It still took years, but I came to accept the loss of my mom.  I worked through the grieving process instead of ignoring it.  I spent the majority of my college years working through it, but I did come out the other side with strong faith in God and his plan for me.

One of the greatest gifts my Mom gave me is my faith in God.  She was a faithful woman who taught me by example.  I don't remember many conversations regarding faith, but I saw her pray and serve.  I believe my journey of grief is the one that God planned for me.  He put the right people in my life at the right times to be there to help me.  Andy, his family, my family, my boss Karen, Sean and all my friends, roommates, and dancers were all placed in my life for a reason and whether they knew it or not they each played a role in my healing.  I thank God for the time I had with my mom and with my dear friend Chris.  My faith grew even more during these years as I came to realize that although I felt alone, God had me surrounded with the best people to help me get through it all.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

1st Semester of College

The summer after graduation was tough and exciting all at the same time.  Andy and I broke up, but I stayed close with him and his family.  I started by job on campus and I prepared to move to campus at USI.  I remained in denial of the grief I was experiencing and tried to enjoy the changes that were happening around me. As I started college and these changes were occurring the thing I noticed the most was that I missed talking to my Mom.  My mom, little did I know, was my very best friend when I was a junior in high school.  I was a daughter who came home from school everyday and talked to my Mom about everything that happened in my day.  As I was preparing for these changes and starting my new journey in college, I longed to have her to talk to.  I longed to talk to her about important things, but just as much I missed being able to tell her about the trivial and silly things that happened through my day.

I was blessed to be surrounded by many people that helped fill that void.  I talked regularly with Andy's mom, Kay.  I spoke to my Aunt Beth multiples time a week and she stayed up on everything happening with my friends.  She listened to me talk about all the drama that comes along with moving in with roommates for the first time and many of my close friends going off to college.  My new boss, Karen, quickly became a confidant that I spoke to on a daily basis as well.  I used all of these people to fill the void I felt of not having my mom here to share my days with.  I don't think I realized that these people were playing such a pivotal role at the time, but looking back I am so grateful.

The other blessing I had at this time was I started teaching dance.  My Aunt Beth and Uncle Path were gracious enough to allow me to use their house for my lessons.  I loved teaching my girls to dance.  Dance was a place that I felt like I belonged.  It was a place that I felt like I could make a difference in these young girls lives.  I could help them find the confidence and joy from dance that I did. My mom had worked very hard so that I could dance and now I could ensure that the sacrifices she had made were for more than just me.  I was able to share this passion with some amazing families that are still near and dear to my heart all these years later.  Teaching dance brought me true, real joy and I will forever be grateful to my aunt and uncle for allowing me to use their home, but also to my dance parents for trusting me to teach their daughters and allowing me to be with them each week.

My first semester of college was off to a good start.  I was still grieving, but was starting to have a little room for joy in my life as well.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Well, graduation finally came and it was my first big milestone without my Mom there as I had always pictured.  The fact that she wouldn't be there to see me graduate, to see me get married, to see my have my children, became a true reality.  I was saying good bye to life as I knew it.  My comfort zone was leaving me whether I wanted it to or not.  I would not be in this school, with these friends, and these teachers on a day to day basis again. I was supposed to be happy about this, but in my mind just one more thing was drastically changing and it was totally out of my control.

I wrote my speech and for the first time was so nervous about whether or not I would be able to make it through it.  I had given lots of speeches over the years, but this one was different.  This one was a speech that I would give during a very emotional event.  My speech was about how our class was exceptional unique and about how proud I was that we were different. It also expressed how much it meant to me to have all of my friends with me through the ups and downs of life.

Andy and I walked together at graduation and sat in the front row.  Andy was pretty emotional, (which is one of the things I love about him), so I knew I couldn't look at him during my speech.  My friend Sean was an emotional rock that day, so he had agreed to be someone I could look at during my speech if I started to break down.  I was doing great with my speech until I came to the part about the ups and down of life and my voice cracked and my eyes started to fill with tears.  I looked up Sean was the giving me the look to pull it together.  I continued and was able to finish.  I breathed a  huge sigh of relief and returned to hugs and congratulations from Andy and those around me.  I had a lot of people tell me that day that my Mom would have been proud, and I appreciated everyone who told me that.  I was proud in that moment, proud of reaching my goals, proud of making it through my speech, and proud of the friendships that I had made.  I felt my mom with me that day and deep down I felt her pride for me as well.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Goals Achieved

I know my last post kinda skipped over my whole senior year, but I definitely wanted to touch base on a few thoughts I have on that.

I am a goal setter and planner and I always have been. My mom and I had many talks about what college I should go to and why. I was down to deciding between UE and USI. Both had a good Business School for my Accounting degree. UE had a more notable dance team, but was a private school and the tuition would be high. USI we found out offered a full ride scholarship to all Valedictorians and Salutatorians including room and board, called the Presidential Scholarship.
So I set a goal of being in the TOP 2 of my class. This goal was important to me for a couple of reasons. I really wanted to speak at my graduation ceremony and I knew being in the TOP 2 would allow me to do that. Secondly, the Presidential Scholarship was too good to pass up.

So I kept this goal in mind my entire high school career but it was even more in my mind throughout my Senior Year. I felt like if I didn't end up in the TOP 2 that I was letting my Mom down, since this was a goal we had set together. Now looking back this was a ridiculous pressure to put on myself, because as mother now, I realize that my Mom would have been proud of me regardless. At the time I would have felt like a complete failure if I wasn’t in the TOP 2. My teachers were well aware of my goal and if I got in danger of getting a B they all gave me plenty of notice in order to get my grade back up.

When it came time to apply for the scholarship I got a huge shock, they were changing the requirements. Now instead of all qualified students getting the scholarship, only 10 students would be awarded the scholarship each year. You still had to be a Valedictorian or Salutatorian to apply, but now you had to write an essay and go through an interview process. I didn't think there was anyway I would be chosen as one of the 10 and I would be letting down my Mom.

I was not someone looking for sympathy nor did I ever want to use my situation to gain favor in life. I still feel very strongly about this, but the stars aligned and I had no choice. The essay topic was, "If you could talk to someone dead or alive who would it be and why?" I struggled with whether or not I honestly answer this question or I just make something up. Did I really want to expose myself in this way on a scholarship essay? But only one thing came to mind every time I tried to write my essay. So I wrote about my mom. I really wish I still had a copy of it today, because I have no recollection of what I wrote.

I got the schedule for the interview and was hit with another blow. My interview was on the 1st anniversary of my Mom's death. The very day, really?? So here I was dealing with the emotion of it being the 1st anniversary, and I would have to face my first ever scholarship interview and in my mind, my whole scholarship was relying on this single interview. Not to mention I also scheduled my first job interview for this same day. No pressure! So again I just tried to suppress everything and not feel. Looking back, I could have used Queen Elsa's theme song at the time!

Well, since I had written about my Mom in my essay they asked about her and I had to tell them what day it was. I'm pretty sure I got teary in my interview and I'm also pretty sure the interviewers may have shed a couple of tears as well. That's all I really remember about the interview. My job interview was great and I immediately knew that I just adored my new boss, Karen. In the end I got the scholarship and I got the job, so I will always feel like my Mom was with me on that day. I feel like I was meant to get that scholarship and I was meant to open up to that Scholarship Committee because the essay topic and date of the interview were all pointing me in that direction. I also finished my high school career as Salutatorian of my class.  I felt like I had accomplished what my Mom and I had set as goals so many months before and I could know that I had made her proud although she was not here for me to celebrate with.   I still was crying on a daily basis over the sadness I still felt so strongly over my mom's death.  But even though that I still felt great pride and joy in these accomplishments.

A Relationship Strained

As Andy and I finished up our Junior year and weekend date nights changed quite a bit. We regularly went grocery shopping, took Nathan shopping for clothes, and he helped me clean the house as well. He taught me even back then some cooking tips and I started marinating chicken instead of always making it plain. Andy never complained about these activities although we both knew it wasn't normal date nights for two 17 year olds.

I started to struggle with our relationship as well. I knew that I loved Andy and I wanted to be with him, but I had a hard time determining if I was in love with him and if a relationship was what I wanted at the time. We had a two week period over the summer when we were apart because Andy had a week at ISU for Boys State and I was at ISU the following week for Girls State. My week away was extremely tough. I was with a whole bunch of girls who didn't know me and didn't know what had happened. We sat down the first day and started singing songs. We sang "You are my Sunshine" and I just broke out in tears because my Mom used to sing that song to me as a child. I didn't want to talk to these girls about my Mom and all I wanted was to be around people who I was comfortable with and who knew me.

It was also during these two weeks that I realized that I wanted my relationship with Andy to continue. I wanted to experience my Senior year of high school with him as my boyfriend, but I also realized that I just didn't have any more capacity to feel anything. It wasn't that I didn't love him, but that I didn't have any energy or room to feel anything for him beyond missing my mom and the grief that I was privately dealing with. When we both returned from ISU, I told him this and we agreed to keep trying and hope that this would get better. Let's be honest, Andy is a great and thoughtful guy and who is going to break up with a girl after her mom dies. So we were both stuck, wanting to be with each other, but not really sure all at the same time.

I don't want it to sound like we were miserable. We enjoyed our Senior year. We enjoyed our time together and I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. Andy had a great ability to make me laugh, to take me to have fun, and to make me feel loved. I didn't feel alone with him. We were involved in lots of things together and truly enjoyed each others company. I cherish the memories of our high school days together.

Things got more strained as we finished up our Senior year. Andy was looking forward to going to Purdue and living a "normal" college life. I was putting down more and more roots here and preparing to move to campus but felt like I needed to stay very close for my siblings. About mid-Summer after graduation, Andy and I decided it was time to separate. I will be honest I was still in a place with no ability to feel much of anything for anyone and he was losing patience with me and I knew it. So it was the right time and right thing to do in order for neither of us to be holding the other back from doing what they needed to do. Andy needed that normal college experience and not feel like he was abandoning me in a time of need and I needed some time alone to grieve and not feel like I was pulling anyone down.

I sometimes wonder how things may or may not have been different for Andy and I had my Mom not died. When I go down that path, I quickly come to the realization that it doesn't matter. The what ifs are a waste of time, because what happened was reality and we both did the best we could at the time with the circumstances. We both tried to also do what we felt was best for the other and in the end that was all we could do.  I don't regret any of the decisions we made and I feel very blessed to have Andy by my side during my entire Senior Year.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

I am not a quitter, but ....

So in the spring softball was my only full time activity left.  I had played softball since I was in Kindergarten and it was my favorite sport.  This year was the first that our school had a team and we were playing fast pitch.  I went back to practice when I returned to school.  I had to sit out a few games because I had missed all the practices for Spring Break and the week after.  I was going through the motions but I was feeling very overwhelmed with keeping up with the laundry, making dinners, homework, and being gone for softball games and practices.  My dad and siblings were all trying to chip in and help get all this done at home, but I felt that it was my responsibility and I felt a lot of guilt about not being home.

I earned the opportunity to play in my first game and it was away. It was my first high school game and I was pitching at the JV level.  (I never said I was good at fast pitch softball, so yes, I was a Jr playing JV).  The catcher was Amy, a close friend of mine today.  My dad was not able to travel to the game and I think this was the first game I had ever played in with out either of my parents there.   I was extremely nervous and sad all at the same time.  The sport I had loved and enjoyed for so many years was now just making me sad.

I had to prove to myself that I could do this and that just because this terrible thing had happened that I could still play.  Amy's dad was in the stands and he cheered me on with every pitch.  I remember how comforting it had been to hear him telling me I could do it.  In my mind, he was my cheerleader that day.  He was my comfort in that moment of sadness and doubt.  I finished that game and struck out one batter.  I could do this!

That night on the way back to school tears rolled down my cheeks as I stared out the window into the darkness.  I had proven that I could do it.  I could pitch in fast pitch softball even after my Mom had died.  I also knew that I had to quit, because my heart just wasn't in it and I didn't have the energy or stamina to juggle softball and all these new hats I was wearing.

I felt great guilt in quitting, because I had been taught after you commit to something you see it through.  I had never quit anything in my life, but even though I felt that tremendous guilt of quitting the guilt I felt for not being home was greater.

So the next day after practice I tearfully told my coaches that I had to quit.  I cried with my teammates and friends because we had played together since our Pee Wee Pros days and I was leaving them.  It was a very hard decision for me to make and very hard activity for me to walk away from, but I needed some time to be home and to figure out how to make life work with out my mom.

As I look back today, I don't regret this decision, but I also still feel guilty because I can't say I never quit anything.  I just remember all of the emotions being so overwhelming... the grief, the sadness, the guilt.... I just felt everything so strongly during those first weeks.   I'm still teaching my boys that we don't quit. Once we commit to being on a team, we have to finish the season.  However, I believe this taught me that there are always exceptions in life, even to the hard fast rules and sometimes you have to do things that you have been taught are wrong, just to make it through.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day

With Mother's Day approaching, I thought I would reflect on several things that stand out for me about this holiday.  First my Mom's birthday is May 8th, so every year we celebrated both her birthday and Mother's Day together.  We always made a card in CCD and I always added Happy Birthday to it.  I always remember my mother fondly on this day, but somehow I have also been able to make this day about honoring her and not very focused on mourning her.  I mourn her on the anniversary of her death.  I celebrate and remember her on Mother's Day.

We have started a family tradition with the boys of taking flowers to Grandma Patty's grave on this day.  The boys have regularly visited the cemetery from time they were born.  The first time we took Lucas he just sat right down in front of the correct headstone and touched it, like he was drawn to this spot in the cemetery.  It was a very touching moment.

I have been blessed with many wonderful women in my life who collectively have filled in the role of Mother in my life over the years.  One of these women is my mother-in-law, Kay.  I thought I would take this opportunity to share some memories and thoughts on my Mom's interactions with my mother-in-law.

I'm sure my Mom had no idea when I was 17 years old who I might marry one day.  My mom and dad dated in high school and were married a couple of years after graduation, so maybe my mom felt like there was a high chance that Andy was the one.  My first memory of my Mom looking for Kay to help take care of me was far before her passing or even Andy or I dating.  In Jr. High, Andy and I both qualified to take the SAT as part of a Gifted and Talented study or something.  Both of our mom's drove us to UE to take the test.  I had seen Andy and his mom walking in ahead of us and pointed them out to Mom.  Mom got sick just as we arrived and was unable to help me get signed in and figure out where I was supposed to go.  Being my first time on campus and already being stressed about taking the SAT as a 13 year old, I got a little worried.  Mom suggested I go find Andy and Kay and see if they could help me. I found them and Kay got me all settled in.  At the time I didn't give it much thought at all, but now is seems a little symbolic.

I found out shortly after Andy and I were engaged, that Kay and my Mom had ran into each other at the grocery shortly before our Spring Break trip.  I think at the time Kay was a little worried that Andy and I were a little too serious and expressed some of that concern to my Mom. Mom responded with the idea that maybe they will break up, go to college and live a little and then get back together a few years later and it will all work out.  Amazingly enough that's exactly what happened.  Kay never shared that story with me, until after Andy and I were engaged.  I'm sure my mom didn't know she was going to die, but it's like she already could see the path my life would take.

Shortly before Mom's death, I had been invited to a dinner to honor local high school math students at UE.  My mom was very excited and was looking forward to going.  The dinner was after Spring Break and I was ready to bail.  Kay stepped in again and she and Andy went to the banquet with me.  Kay started stepping in for my Mom immediately and continued to do so even when I wasn't dating her son.  She has always treated and loved me as one of her own and I was grateful all the way back to jr high through today.  Kay will never replace my mother nor has she ever tried, but she has supported me and stepped in when she has been able to make that hole in my life a little smaller.

Mother's Day is also very special to me for another reason.  This is the day that I started my journey as a mother.  I struggled with fertility issues while trying to conceive Lucas.  After 2 years of struggles, we had a successful IVF cycle in 2008.  Our egg retrieval was on Mother's Day.  I felt my mother's presence and prayers very strongly on that day, more so that any other in the last 20 years. It was very symbolic that our little Lucas was formed on that day.  It was on that Mother's Day that my mom and Kay became Grandmothers and I a mother.

So today, I remember the smiling woman who has amazed me even after her death with her insight into my future, her presence in my life, and the gift that she will always be to me. I also honor my mother in law who not only blessed me with her son, but has also been a constant presence and blessing to my life for the last 30+ years and who continues to be a blessing to our family.