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…

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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…

One Wild and Precious Life….

 

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Beautiful beaches, wonderfully organized homes, adorable family photos…these are just a few items that pop up as I scroll Facebook and Instagram.  In a land of so much lovely, why do I sometimes log off and feel not so lovely?  In an online world with so much connection, why do I feel alone?  This seems silly, but lately I have began to wonder if it is true.

Yesterday would have been my dear friend Heidi’s 39th birthday.  It has left me questioning what it is I am doing with this one precious life.  Even before Heidi got sick with Cancer she left Facebook behind.  She felt it was taking away from her present moment, and somehow stealing her joy.  She felt it distracted us from the right now.  Nothing drove her more crazy, than when someone choose to check their Facebook page, rather than talk to her.   I can hear her now, “Put that phone down!” lol When Heid was done with something she was done.  She walked away from Facebook and never looked back.

I now find it a bit ironic, to use social media as a way to remember her.  I sometimes wonder if I should “walk away.”  But then I worry people wouldn’t hear about the scholarship, the blog, and the Relay for Life.  I know how much wonderful support and love I get from this space.  I can’t leave.  I also realize a huge reason the Heidi Lagasse Memorial Scholarship has been so successful is because of the social media support .  When I pause I realize just how THANKFUL I am for ALL of it.

I shift gears and think what a first world problem this is.  I am too attached to my online friends.  When I really think on this I realize, it’s not the online friends I am attached to,  rather that they can  “like” what I am doing and saying.  Sharing Heidi’s story gives me comfort, and knowing others see and appreciate it makes me feel good.   At the same time, I worry if people aren’t liking what I say, does that mean I have said too much? Over stayed my online welcome?  The back and forth is exhausting.  How do I say enough without saying too much?

Then it hit me, as it sometimes does in this journey through grief.  Maybe I am trying to fill a void that can’t be filled.  Maybe the undo stress and worry is about my wanting people to tell me it is OK to miss Heidi, to validate our friendship, to make me feel comfort when I miss her.  Maybe that is both OK and something I can work on.

I started this blog to share her story , the way I remember it.  What I didn’t realize was that in sharing her story, I also share my story.  I now know “we never get over great losses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures.” ― Gail Caldwell, Let’s Take the Long Way Home: A Memoir of Friendship  I am not sure if losing Heidi has made me a kinder creature, but I do know it has made me a new creature.  The loss of Heidi carved me into a different person.  This makes me proud.  Proud to have known her, proud to have loved her, and proud to keep going.

I don’t need to walk away from Facebook or Instagram, rather they are a source of great comfort.  This interweb of wonderful people offers support, and allows for Heidi’s story to be told and retold again.  I am so thankful that this exists.

What I need to do is refocus what I expect from social media. I want to stop feeling the need for “likes.” To stop worrying who has seen this, if they think it is too much or not enough or whatever it is I think I need. To pause more. To breathe more.  To take a bit of what Heidi said and remember to live in the RIGHT NOW.

The comfort of my story lives within my heart, and Heidi has become a part of me.  I write as a form of therapy.  If everyone reads it or if no one reads it, the story is the same.  It is in the writing, the remembering, and the story telling that I find my greatest comfort.  To allow Heidi’s name to be typed, our stories to be told, and for my present and future to be shared.  Happy 39th Birthday Heidi.  Thanks for continuing to guide and teach me even across the universe.  If anyone can supersede death and continue to be a part of life, it is you my friend.

Until Next time…

 

 

 

Dream a little dream…

grief group today

 

Ding (Text message)- Hi Emily!  My friend just lost a close friend to cancer.  It was a terribly sad incurable case.  Would you be able to reach out to her? I don’t know how to help.  Could you try?

Me (Through a million tears)- Yes a 100 times yes.  I am so sad for your friend, and would love to get in touch with her. xoxo

Also Me- Continue to feel emotional and all the feels the rest of the day, because a little dream I dared to dream is coming true.  (If you are new here, my little dream is to help others with loss)

When Heidi died, I was in shock.  I was strong and brave, and did the best I could, but I was in shock.  I didn’t break into a million pieces.  I kept going, and when I came to places where I realized I wasn’t doing my best, I paused.  I wanted to find a way to live more authentically and heal but that was HARD.  What if my healing made other people upset? What if I lost friends?  What if I said too much? What if it wasn’t my story to tell? What if I try and I am not good?  What if…What if…What if…

I felt like I needed permission.  Permission to write.  Permission to share my story.  Permission to heal.

I went inside myself a bit, but I continued to listen.  My family and friends told me to keep going, so I did. I sought counseling, yoga, and movement and started truly healing.  I followed and gained strength from other peoples stories.  People like Nora McInerny (Terrible Thanks for Asking Podcast) and Rachel Hollis (author of Girl Wash your Face) and others who had gone through difficult things and come out on the other side.

At some point I realized, these amazing humans were amazing because they spoke their truth.  They shared their lives, and didn’t fear the unknown.  When I started sharing my story, I told both of them(via direct message on Instagram OF COURSE lol)  and they said things like “Keep going.”  “See you wrote, now you are writer.”  I realized  I could do this.  I had stories to share.  I only needed to find the courage to share them, and to keep trying new things.

I am learning that I don’t need permission. No one has to listen.  It is my hope that people will, but if they don’t that is OK.  It is the act of being authentic, continuing to dream, and helping those that want to listen, that helps me heal.  When Heidi got sick and died, I didn’t know how to do any of this. Who does? NO ONE, until they go through it!

I am not an expert.  Everything I have done, you can do.  By no means, in any way am I saying I GET grief or loss.  I don’t.  I simply keep trying, learning, and sharing.  What comes up and out, is my truth.

I spoke to a group of 13 year olds a few weeks ago.  I talked about my career and my life. I realized in speaking to them that sometimes our stories set us free.  I am finding new ways to share and talk and learn from others.  I hope you continue to come along for the ride.

If my story speaks to you, then I am doing the right thing.  I don’t think everything happens for a reason.  I can’t think of a reason my amazing, beautiful, life of the party friend had to die.  But, if I stop and breathe, I am learning to finding meaning.  To focus on how she can live on, not how she died. To tell my story and DREAM(again) while carrying Heidi in my heart.

Until next time….