Tuesday, November 23, 2010

dealing with grief and giving thanks

Yesterday was a busy day...as was the day before that...and the day before that.  I have been going at a seemingly nonstop pace, and I pretty much love it.  One negative aspect of my recent jam-packed schedule is that I tend to forget stuff more often than usual.  Okay, so I am always pretty forgetful, not just when I am extra busy.  Maybe it's because I am advancing in years.  Or maybe it's all the drugs I did in my past.  Oh wait, I never did any drugs.  So much for that dramatic tale excuse.

I even forgot a photo session this past Sunday.  Yep, I just admitted that on my blog.  Fire me, kill me, or whatever.  I am human.  And hey, it wasn't a wedding, so we just rescheduled for this Sunday.  My client was very kind and understanding.  Whew. And just fyi, I tend to remember weddings...and this session had been moved around a few times to different dates... Okay, I'm done with the explanations.

Now we've established my busy-ness and my forgetfulness.  So, when my mom called me yesterday to see if I could attend the OKC Thunder game with her and my dad, I wasn't all eager and thrilled like I normally would be.  First of all, I had completely forgotten that she had mentioned it to me previously.  And secondly, I had stuff to do.  You know, because I am busy.  I told her that if one of my siblings were able to go instead, that was fine with me.  She responded that my sister Mandi and my nephews were going, and that my brother Abe couldn't go because of work.  I knew that my sister Amber was out of town watching my niece Laila play basketball, so they were out.  That left one ticket...and me.  So I was in.  And I am so glad I was able to go, because this thanksgiving week, it gave me a great reminder about being thankful!

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{my super-crazy-fun nephew Daxon, breaking it down on our way into the game}

Because let me just tell you about those tickets.  They were special.  No, they weren't courtside seats or anything like that.  They were up in Loud City, which was very fun; but the location of our seats wasn't what made them special.

This is what made them special:


The above image is part of a letter sent to my mom along with the tickets for my family to attend the game.  As I have mentioned, my younger brother Jack was killed last year while serving in the Special Forces in the Philippines.  And ever since then, I have been overwhelmed by the remembrance and support of others.  Like these high school students, who just wanted to do something for families who have suffered a military-related loss.  Wow.

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{my good looking, good-hearted parents}

When my mom explained to me last night where the tickets came from, I was touched.  Really touched.  My busy schedule and list of stuff to do went out the window.  I was thankful.  Thankful for kids who are aware and want to help in some way.  Thankful to be spending time with my family...something that has been all too scarce for me lately.  Thankful for the amazing family I have.

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{my hot and clever sister Mandi}

See, ever since Jack died, I have struggled a little with family get-togethers.  In the past, before, family time was one of my favorite things in life.  But since Jack is gone now, even when we are "all" together, we aren't...  So it has been strange.

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{my too-cool-too-cute nephew DJ}

But last night, my heart was warmed by my parents' witty repartee.  My soul was comforted by the casual conversations with my sister.  My inner child was entertained by my nephews' awesomely hilarious remarks and my spirit was buoyed by their laughter.  We cheered and yelled and screamed together.  And we weren't complete, but it was special and it was fun.

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{my smarty-pants-cutey-pants nephew Jace}

And I am thankful.

People never ask me what it's like to experience the unexpected loss of a sibling.  They probably don't want to bring up a painful subject.  Plus, who really wants to talk about tragic death?  But if someone were to ask me, I would say it's something like this:

You might go to a basketball game with your family, and have a great time.  And then, on the way home, you realize with a jolt that the reason you were able to go to that game that night is because some high school students in another state wanted to reach out to people who had suffered a loss.  And even though it's been over a year, you experience a bit of shock once again as you realize that you are that person who has suffered a loss.  Your younger brother is dead.  And then the familiar and yet strange emotions of loss, grief, pride, comfort, hurt, healing and even thankfulness wash over you in waves, all within a brief moment.



  1. Abi, Im crying! I am so thankful for you in my life. Im sorry for your loss. although I am extremely proud of you and your families strength. I don't know if I would be able to continue to be strong! I pray for you guys daily and do really think of you often. I miss your beautiful smile and friendliness all the way around. I love reading your blog. It just reminds me of what a great Godly Glamorous girl God placed in my life. I'm sorry if I have ever seemed selfish to you. I love you and your family!!!

  2. I'm sitting at my desk crying, friend. First of all, for you, on your behalf. Second of all, because I really needed to read this. I have been seriously considering skipping Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family this year. I just can't imagine it without my best friend, my partner in crime, my sweet grandma. Who am I going to talk to? Who is going to laugh at all of my jokes? But, this is a good reminder that I can take this opportunity to be grateful for the rest of my wonderful family.

    Soul sister. Like, for reals.

  3. Tears here as well, Abi. I cannot imagine that feeling of not everyone being at a family get together for the rest of my life. I'm so sorry your family has had to endure such a hardship, but am comforted for you that you all have Him to rely on! Praying for you and your family as the holidays approach!

  4. It may not be something you ever get over... just get through. Stay strong. You are beautiful!!

  5. You really did a good job putting it down in writing I love you Abi MOM

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