It is just stuff…Right?

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Me in one of Heidi’s sweaters

Hi All!

Remember me? The girl who wanted to write this blog to remember her friend and tell stories about their lives…I am still here and I am still writing and sharing but not as much from this platform as I once did.

Don’t mishear me though, that doesn’t mean I don’t think about this space.  I am so thankful I jumped in and made a blog, and wrote and shared here.  It helped me so much, it truly saved me in a way I was not even aware I needed to be saved.

In all honesty, it may have changed the whole trajectory of my work life for the future.  I guess we will just have to wait and see. 🙂  In any event, I am so thankful I did it and I am so thankful that this space exists so that as things bubble up inside of me I have an outlet and ability to write and share when I need to.

Grief is such a weird and personal journey, and I am reminded of that time and time again.  Everyone’s heart takes and deals with loss and change in so many ways, and no one way is right or wrong.

I feel like my grief has shifted, that it is still here and ever-present but it is no longer quite as dark or heavy.  I notice my smile in photos and it looks real.  I see a glow that wasn’t always there, since losing Heidi.  It is not the same, it never will be, but there is a sparkle in my smile again and I see it, it’s here.

I know it took hard work but today it feels almost like somehow it has just happened.  It is hard to explain.  In any event, this is not to say that the sadness is gone either.  It is just different…and I saw this recently when I helped Heidi’s husband go through some of her things.

Since Heidi died I had offered and reoffered to help with this process and the times I offered her husband was not in the space to want to do it.  I always respected and understood that, and simply offered if and when the time came he was ready or if he felt overwhelmed I was here to help, always.  In time he let me know he was ready, and I was so thankful he did.

We as humans accumulate things and “stuff” and breaking that down and deciding what stays and what goes is hard.  In general to think about what we need vs. what we want or; what we like vs. what feels like our loved one is just plain hard. I tried thinking of a different word for hard, but to me, in this situation, the overuse is justified, because well it is just hard.  It just is.

As I did my small part and helped Heidi’s husband with a very specific section of Heidi’s clothing I was reminded of her.  Not all of her, as we change and get rid of so much, and with her illness, some of the items that she wore changed as her weight changed, so many of her truly “Heidi” clothing items were no longer there. However, amongst her things, I still felt a little part of her, but not in the things, in the memories.

In any event, it has been years since I offered and when prompted to help I was happy to and went into it feeling as though it was no big deal.  As I looked through the items and decided what best to do with them I was able to keep a level head and go through what I needed to.  Simply, realizing what made sense to keep, to share, and to donate.  It felt “easy.” It felt simple.  I was happy to have done it.

I took a few of her items home with me.  They were in a small bag, and when I got home I opened it.  When going through the items at her home I clung to many of them searching and scouring for her “smell”  the special sent that reminds me of her and her home.  I couldn’t find it.  But, when I got home amongst my own smells, I was able to pull a faint scent of her laundry in an old sweatshirt and I felt the warm flood of tears fall.  It surprised me.

These few items are just things they aren’t Heidi.  Heidi is in the sparkles of the ocean, and the white of the snow.  She is in the blue sky and the beautiful sunsets.  She is in her daughter’s eyes and lives so warmly right in my heart.  I know these things are just things and not her.

But, these items have brought back a longing a missing of her that feels sad, yes, but it feels warm now too.  I like digging in my drawer and seeing an old sweatshirt of hers or wearing a shirt and when someones says ” I love your shirt.”  I can say, “Thank you, it was Heidi’s.”

I love having a little something that is just a thing but was once her thing.  I no longer put tons of importance on these things and I realize that if and when they bare a hole or no longer serve me I can get rid of them. I do not need to hold onto them to feel Heidi.  But, for now, during this period the items warm my soul and remind me of, the life of the party, hilariously kind, sparkly blue-eyed girl, named Heidi.

In the same thought the release of the items that no longer served anyone felt good too.  It felt as though my friend’s spirit could fly no longer tethered to items no one had a use for.  A weight was lifted, but her beautiful memory and soul remained.

I have missed this space and sharing about my sweet friend.  I hope to stop by again soon with a story.

Until next time…

When I die young…..or old…..just when I die…..  By: Emily Holody 

Make sure everyone wears white at my funeral.  I hope it is summer, but even if it is not WHITE is the color. 🙂 

For my obituary find a recent picture of me, don’t use some young one if I am old or some healthy one if I am sick.  Make sure it looks like me, and make sure I am smiling. A real happy smile. 

I want to be cremated. Have beautiful flowers lots of them with lots of colors and  I want there to be pictures. SO many pictures! Me and my family, me and the girls, me and Jonathan and me and my friends.  Pictures where I am doing exactly what I love. Spending time with what has made me rich in this life, my friends and family.  Young pictures and old pictures (I hope.) Pictures of the beautiful life I have gotten to live.

I don’t want a regular funeral.  Bring my ashes from the funeral home to somewhere I love. We had our wedding, and Josephine’s baby shower at the Peninsula Town Hall, that would be nice.  Or our beach club in Euclid if it is in the summer, we have spent so many wonderful times there with the kids. I have spent many an afternoon sitting at a picnic table watching all of our girls live and play there.  Or our church, we had Blossom baptized there and Josephine confirmed. We spent many Sundays sitting and laughing together there. Or the Peninsula Church. Jonathan and I met there, we brought Josephine back to be baptized there.  Somewhere like that, somewhere I loved, and somewhere where they loved me.  

Have the minister say a prayer and a few kind words about me, but keep it short lol.  Then let some friends or family say some kind things read a poem or two. Have someone sing a song and then move on to the celebrating.  🙂  

Please please please CELEBRATE and enjoy each other.  Celebrate the fact that I LIVED and LOVED for as long as I did! 🙂  Know I am blessed beyond measure to have gotten to LIVE. Remember I am there.  Where else in the universe could I be.

Play music.  Songs from church that I liked and music that we listened to in our life.  Play Bob Dylan Blood On The Tracks, not because I like it but because Jonathan did.  He insisted on playing it non stop when the kids were little. We played the record bald, lol.  Play Jazz in the Park from the Peninsula library, because we listened to it Sunday mornings when we all had breakfast together.  Play James Taylor because I love him. Play Morning has Broken because my Gram had it hanging on her fridge. Play Hootie and the Blowfish and Rusted Root because I was young once. Play the songs of our life, and remember me when you hear them. 🙂  

Have drinks and too much food.  Because that is what I would do if I was there.  Make sure you make coffee too because my family drinks lots of coffee. 🙂 

Most of all give each other SO many hugs and KNOW without a doubt I am there with you at that party and forevermore.  I will be where I always was in YOUR heart.

A sad jag…

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Yesterday, I was driving down 271, heading to our annual Gaggle Christmas in July err August party.  I was alone for once and blasting music and drinking La Croix.  (This year we decided to Float the River, IT WAS SUPER FUN!)  I had a day of freedom, drinks on ice, girlfriends en route, and everything was set for perfection.  Why then did I find myself crying just moments later?  Like the ugly no holds bar kind of cry!  What was happening? I paused just for a moment and realized I missed Heidi.  A wave of sadness hit me, and it hit me hard.

The night before I had been at her daughters 10th birthday party, and it was fabulous!  Great weather, yummy food and drinks, a blow-up Wiffle ball game and to top it off a slip and slide.  Family and friends from near and far gathered together to celebrate and it was near perfect.

There was a moment when we were singing happy birthday when I slowed down and paused just for a moment.  I looked up at Heidi’s beautiful daughter and the adorable number ten balloons on her cake and the sadness crept in.  Without realizing I pushed it down, only to have it burst back out when I finally allowed myself to slow down and be alone.

The passing of time is both healing and brutally sad all at once.  Some days it feels that time is healing me, and at the very same moment, it feels like time is ripping out my heart.

Once I got the ugly crying out.  I felt the feels.  I was sad that Heidi wasn’t there. She would have been the hostess with the mostess.  Serving drinks and hot dogs with a smile.  I felt the sadness that goes with the passing of birthdays without her.  I was sad that her daughter is turning 10 and she is not the one carrying the cake.  I was more than sad, I was mad.

I breathed and paused and thought back to parties when she could be there and found comfort in warm memories of past years.  I also paused and smiled and felt comfort and love in all the new memories that were made at the lovely tenth birthday party.

All of this sadness will never go away.  It will move and change and life will go forward in a new direction with its own wonderful memories, but the sadness and the loss will remain.  And I will carry it proudly because, for me, it means Heidi lived.  She was here and so loved, and now she is deeply missed.

We move forward and Float the River, and slip and slide and LIVE this beautiful wonderful life to its fullest.  But in the quiet moments when the candles flicker, I remember Heidi.  I wish all the way to the tips of my toes that her sweet soul was here with us.  I know she is, in a different form and for that, I am forever grateful.

So if you find yourself ugly crying when you should be happy just breathe and feel it.  There is love and comfort on the other side of those feelings.

Sure miss her sparkly blue eyes and big toothy smile, she was amazing.  Sending love and birthday wishes to Heidi’s sweet daughter!  I know Heidi is celebrating with her today and every day.

Until next time…

Remember me?

I have never written a poem, but there is a first for everything right?!  I don’t know where this came from, but it came to me in the quite of the night.  I hope you like it 🙂

Until next time…

 

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Heidi

By: Emily Holody

 

It is in the quite of night that I find you.  

When the day is done, and my mind slows.  

I pause to breathe, but I have no air.  

I remember you then.  

 

Josephine is eleven inching towards twelve.  

Her aging reminds me that you aren’t. 

She is growing towards a teenager and me towards turning forty.   

You will forever be thirty-seven. 

 

I miss you.

I miss your laugh and the sparkle in your eye.

I pause in the darkness to remember you lived.

We miss you.

 

After a moment, I find air to breathe.

In breathing the warmth of what was fills me up.

The hope of what will be pulls me forward.

It is in the quite of night that I find you.

The lady who is first in line…

Hi All-

It has been too long since I took a moment and wrote what was on my heart and just shared it here with all of you.  This is the space where my healing started and I don’t want to forget that.  I want to try to remember to pause and come back here and write just because I love it.  Just because it connects me to the girl I once was, to Heidi, and to a life before Cancer.  Some of the below story you all have heard before, but some of it is new, it is where I am, it is where I am trying to be.  It seems right to share it today, the day after Mothers Day.  Cheers to all of the moms out there who are trying…because trying is all we can do 🙂

Thanks for coming to this space and following along with my life and my journey.  Sending love to all of you

xxoo 

 

Close to a year ago I found myself in a difficult situation. I was failing in a number of areas in life and felt lost. The biggest issue was my husband and I were not seeing eye to eye. I felt the divide but told myself we were OK and it was just a bump in the road. As time went on the bump was slowly but surely growing into a mountain.

Last year when I went to celebrate my birthday, everything seemed to crash down around me. I had kept myself overly busy, and tried to find enough to do so that I wouldn’t have to feel my feelings. In one year my best friend, both of my grandmothers, and an uncle had passed away. I was struggling with life.

I was trying to be all things for everyone, show up for my family, my friends, all while throwing a fundraiser for the scholarship we have started at our local high school in memory of my best friend. The fundraiser was a huge success, and the money raised was wonderful. I had stretched myself too thin, though and my husband and I were at odds over where I was putting my focus and spending my time.

I was looking to numb and not think. I wanted to escape the grind of life and the idea that I might have to feel things. It worked for a while until he and I shattered and then I was left to try to figure out what in the heck I was doing.

We got into an argument nothing crazy, but it was a realization that neither of us was happy, and things needed to change. I called the next morning and set up counseling. We did the work and went. It was hard, but we learned a lot. Our problems were not huge, considering the year we had, had. We were not communicating and were both struggling with grief and sadness. When you feel this way, you are not able to support your partner, you can’t even support yourself. It was a small problem that over time rolled into a big problem.

The counselor told me things I didn’t want to hear. He said things like; “Quit looking in your rear view mirror.”  Over time I saw that he was right. I was trying to move forward, but I was also stuck looking back. It took time, hard work, and an understanding that my husband and I were truly committed to each other, to get through the difficult times and learn to communicate again. Say the hard things, and forgive each other. To pause, and remember when we are wrong or right. To think about what really matters and learn to let the rest go. It was hard, but we did it.

I found a new way forward without letting go.  I found a way to pave a path with my husband while continuing to carry Heidi and my other losses in my heart.  To look forward, to remember the past, but not stare back at it.

In doing all of those things, I had to look inward, and focus on my husband, my daughters, and a bit less on outside social things. It was super hard for me, my friends are such an important part of me. I couldn’t be at all the things to everyone. But, I did it for my husband and for our family. I couldn’t make every dinner and ever party. I missed things, big things.

In order to do my most important role, the one of a mom and wife I had to pause. I had to find work I enjoyed, and support my girls in events they enjoyed. There needed to be less passing the baton parenting and more sitting at the table, making dinner, doing homework, connecting time for everyone. I did it. It worked. My husband and I found a place in life where we were both happy again.

Not too long ago I had to miss a dinner that was important to me. I felt sad about missing it, but rather than glossing over it, I leaned into the feeling and realized it was OK, I was OK, they were OK.  We are in each other’s hearts, always.  I love my friends with so much of me, and when these kids of mine are just a bit bigger, I can give them more of my energy again.

Pictures of my friends at dinner started to circulate the internet, and I suddenly had serious FOMO. I started to feel sad again, but then I paused and took a breath. Right after that, my 8-year-old daughter appeared holding the below picture. I smiled and realized that was the picture I should focus my energy on. Look at that smiling family, and look who is drawn first in line.

It is the Mom, the one who is never sure she is doing it right but is trying really hard to make a living, for her girls that allows them the chance to feel loved and strong.

I am trying to balance my feelings and do what serves me and my family best. This balancing act is not always an easy one, but it is one I am learning to accept. I CAN NOT do it all. I want to. I really do.  But, to be the best me I need to pause and breathe.

To find what and who brings me joy, and to do that. To be OK loving people from afar for a bit, and putting myself first. To find friends who get it.  To hope others understand, but be accepting if they don’t. To be OK with me. It is not easy, but I am trying…and sometimes trying is all we can do.

Until next time…

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Until next time…

Wish- Cleveland and me :)

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Hi All-

I have been doing something amazing lately and contributing to an online publication called Wish Cleveland.   I am excited to write and share with a new audience.  I have recently spread my writing wings a bit and started to write about things besides grief and my personal story.

The piece I am working on now is about my first baby Farmers Markets and local fresh food.  The excitement I get when working on it is hard to describe.  It takes me back to a girl I once was.  To a love, I had long ago.

I am changed now, but that girl is still a part of me.  Writing, researching, and getting paid to share about it seems like a dream.  I would honestly do it for free,  but to be asked to do it for payment, gives it something different, something earned. 🙂

Thanks again for being you, for following along, and for loving me.  As I have said so many times recently #mycuprunnethover #teamheidi

https://wishcleveland.com/showing-up-snow-globes-coffee-cups-and-grief/

https://wishcleveland.com/healing-movement-walking-group-offers-support-friendship/

Until next time…:)

 

 

 

 

My love letter to A Star is Born…

 

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Dear Bradley Cooper,

Thank you.  Thank you for being brave, and sharing A Star is Born with us.  It touched my soul on a level I wasn’t sure a movie could. It poured into me and filled all my empty spaces.  To you I am just one of the many adoring fans, but to my family I am their one: wife, mom, daughter, and sister.  This movie helped me come back to myself, and reminded me what it is like to FEEL again.

With a grateful heart,

Emily 🙂

If I was half as brave as Mr. Cooper, I might actually send him this note.  lol

This past weekend, I saw A Star is Born at the theater.   As I watched I felt my soul opening and falling in love with it, all over again.  As I did, I paused and wondered what was drawing me back in? Was it the love story?  The chemistry between Jack and Ally? Bradley Cooper’s dreaminess?

I realized it was all of those things, or maybe none of them.  This movie flowed into me and I felt it. No numbing, no dull edges, it gave me full power feelings, and that is what I keep coming back for.  To fully feel again.

My best friend Heidi died March 10, 2017, and my life has been forever changed.  I miss her each and every moment, of each and every day.  It will always be that way.  But, as the 2 year anniversary of her death approaches, I have feelings. I am no longer numb.  I can feel. Having real feelings of love, and sadness about a movie may seem insignificant to most, but for me it was a way back to myself.  

Heidi loved life and was an amazing human.  She was my life’s greatest blessing. Her life and death shaped me into the person I am today.  I know she is smiling and telling me to keep going, keep trying, keep coming back.

Two years feels like forever and yesterday, all at the same time.  I am happy I can feel that again even it if it hard.

Take a moment on Sunday March 10th and call your friends.  Call your family. Tell them how much you love them, and how wonderful they are.  Remember what it is like to feel the love and life in them. When the life leaves the memory will remain, and it will be something you cling to forever.  Feel those feels, it is what life is all about

Until next time…