Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Remember to Notice...

Another one of our family members became an angel recently. My kind hearted cousin, Manny went to be with the Lord.  It was through this loss and trying to find words and actions to comfort my aunts and cousins (who by the way, are the most beautiful souls I have ever met) that I had a lot of self reflection. I have been telling myself to live my life through my brother’s eyes and most importantly to make it "fun." I have felt this pressure to book several vacation trips to try to achieve this sense of "living my life to the fullest." I seemed to be searching for joy in the wrong places.

Then one morning,  I was having my coffee and watching my boys play in the backyard. I realized I was more than just watching them, I was observing them. I noticed them. I feel in love again with their big round eyes , fat rolls, shiny shimmery blonde hair, their giggles, even their loud shrills of excitement. It was at that moment that I realized THIS is living my life to the fullest. Observing, playing, cuddling and just noticing. 

This is where I will find my joy.

Family and friends were everything to my brother. I will continue to remind myself that there is so much happiness bundled up in our home and sometimes it just takes the quiet (or not so quiet), simple moments to be reminded of that. 

Thank you Manny for reminding me to notice. Notice the birds, dragon flies, blooming flowers, lyrics to songs and of course my sweet boys and doting husband. Thank you to both of our Manny's up in heaven for connecting our families again, so we can be each other's strength during these devastating times.

I will continue to notice and be the observer in this beautiful world, until we meet again.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

An Angel for Over a Year

I can't believe that my baby brother has been an angel for over a year. It feels like just yesterday that he was tragically pulled from us, yet it seems so long since we embraced. 

This past weekend was a mix of emotions. I was able to sit down and visit with some of Manny's closest friends. Now I get it. I get why he was always dividing his time so cautiously to include all of these wonderful people. 

My brother was so blessed to not only be incredibly loved by his family, but also his friends. I loved hearing their memories and how Manny positively impacted their life. It was one of the most healing visits I have had so far. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

It's Simple...

It's simple...I just miss my brother.

One of the most challenging things that I have had to face with grieving, is the fact that I just miss Manny. Simple as that.

I do not have any regrets, no lingering words...I just miss him. 

I miss every


thing about him.

I miss sitting and talking with him.

I miss watching him play in the yard with the boys. 

I miss his demeanor and his smile.

I miss the laughter around the dinner table, when he would entertain us with his elaborately told stories and impressions.

I just miss him, and that statement in itself, is a tough pill to swallow. It’s the heavy weight in my chest, the achy feeling in my throat, the scar in my heart. 

I miss my baby brother.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

I Love You Too Much

My Brother,

I have realized that I love you too much to allow your passing to be a lingering darkness.

For you,  I will not have your legacy bring me only sadness. 

I will not allow my thoughts and memories of you to bring me only to tears.

While thinking of you, I will remember to smile.

For you, I will not allow your passing to deteriorate me. I have accepted the fact that it has changed me, broken me, even completely shattered my heart.... but it has also refocused me. It has completely altered my thinking and it has showed me my true strength.

For you, I am willing to work on shifting my grieving, to honoring you the way that I know how- being the best mom, daughter, sister and wife that I can be. 

I will live my life as though I am looking at it through your lens, your point of view. 

For you, I will continue to work on moving forward. I know that you wouldn't want us living our remaining lives broken.

I love you way too much, and for that reason, I will try to live my life happily and find the joy in every single moment. You are worth all of that! I love you that much, to take my selfishness out of my grief and to continue with my journey, because I know that you are here riding the wave with me.

I love you so much!

Sunday, May 9, 2021

I am Sorry

To all of the remarkably strong people that have an open hole in your heart this Mother's Day, I am sorry. 

I am sorry that this day is a painful reminder of what you have lost- possibly a beautiful mother in heaven, or in my case a brother.

I am sorry that this day can be a painful reminder of what has changed in your life- no more phone calls,  texts, or mother's day visits from your loved one.

I know that you feel grief everyday, and you continue to move forward.

However, on days like today, you are smacked with reality. 

And to my brother, I am sorry.

I am sorry that I didn't hug you longer last Mother's Day... I had no idea that it would be our last embrace.

To all of the remarkably strong people missing a loved one today, I am sorry.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Mother’s Day Gift

Manny's tree sprouted flowers for the first time since we planted it.  Perfect timing! We believe it is an early Mother’s Day gift to my mom. Manny's gift.

Thank you Mother Nature, Manny, and the all powerful God for gifting these special golden flowers to my beautiful mom.

This tree has so much personality, just like my brother. It continues to bring us joy. 

Keep growing sweet tree.  

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Lifetime of Memories

When I hear the phrase "a lifetime of memories," I automatically assume it is referring to a person that has lived a long time. Someone that has experienced a lot in their "lifetime." A person that has encountered a lot of joy, mixed with pain. One that has had many life lessons. When I think of this phrase "a lifetime of memories," I now have a different perspective. I do not refer to the length of time that someone was here.

I have a lifetime of memories with my brother. It was his lifetime. It was short, but it was jampacked with memorable experiences....some of which I will never know. 

When I hear "lifetime," I will remember that it refers to a person's legacy, their experiences. It is the smile that they left in your heart. It is their footprint that they left in this world-

and Manny's imprint is deep. 

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Maybe Someday

What is the purpose of my blog? I think about this question often. In all honesty, I created this outlet because in the first few months of losing my brother, I felt alone. I wanted to know that someone understood my pain of  loosing a sibling. We all have suffered loss. Not one type of grief is more or less painful than the other (well, than the obvious of loosing a child) but,  they are all distinctively different.  

I wanted to hopefully reach just one person. Someone who needed it. Someone like me. Who needed to feel that their pain was heard or somewhat understood.

I always wondered what I would feel like looking back and reading my old blog posts. Right now, when I go back and read past posts it always brings tears to my eyes. I guess I’m hoping to eventually seek growth and to remember..to remember what I felt, who I was at my most trying time in my life, and hopefully how much I have learned. I am hoping to see how much I have evolved, how much I have overcome.

Manny would not want me to bow down to this pain, to this grief. He would want me to seek my highest self. Manny would want me to realize or understand that their is a bigger picture. A plan.

Maybe someday.

Maybe someday, I can see beyond my grief, or at least learn to live and smile with a shattered heart. Maybe someday I can reflect on my experiences and see them with a different perspective. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

It’s Okay

It’s okay.

What I have learned through my grieving process is it’s okay to not be okay.

It’s okay to be pissed off at my circumstances.

It’s okay to feel the way I am feeling, because grief has no timeline. 

It has no expectations.

It comes in waves...hard crashing waves. 

And yet, it’s always there...

Whispering quietly in your ear.

This is my journey.

My personal healing process.

Every emotion is okay.

What I’m feeling today, tomorrow and the next, is okay.

It’s okay to not be okay. 

This is grief.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Seek to Understand

Wait to respond. Listen with intention. Seek to understand. So often we are waiting for a pause, a brief moment when someone finishes their statement. This break allows us the opportunity to express our own thoughts or opinions. One of Manny's amazing qualities was that he listened. He really listened. When he asked how your day was, he genuinely wanted to know. He gave you eye contact and would make you feel as if you were the most important person in that moment. Manny gave advice but also just sat in silence...listening. Really hearing you. I am going to try to pass this along to my boys. Pause before responding. Listen with intention. Do not just await the end of someone’s response. Ask questions that you really care to know the answers to. Listen with the best intentions in mind. 

Seek to understand.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

My Day


My birthday, my one special day. The older I get the less of a hang up I have with making sure my birthday is perfect. Especially now that I share the same birthday week as my son. It seems far more important to make sure his day is more special than my own.

I do have an awesome memory of my last birthday with my brother. My mom would make sure that both of my brothers knew that my birthday was approaching. She would often even buy my gift from them to make sure it was just what I wanted. Last year, while we were eating at Oreganos, I was opening my present from my brother. Manny leans over asking what it was and looking surprised with the shirt that was wrapped inside. I had to remind him that the gift was supposed to be from him. We both laughed about it and went on with our lunch. Little did I know that that simple memory would bring a smile to my face and some peace a year from then.

This birthday was a very different day for me. Although the week was filled with so many fun activities, there was still something missing. Our family would always do at least one birthday lunch, if not travel somewhere out of town together. We did both of those things this year but without Manny. My heart ached the entire day. I couldn't shake away the heaviness in my chest. I have never in my life gone an entire birthday without hearing from my brother. It was yet another painful reminder of our new reality.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

The One and Only

My sweet Jimmy, the one and only, the middle child, the most intelligent, sensitive human I have ever met! 

I couldn’t help but snapping this photo of my brother playing with the boys last weekend. I have been so blessed to be a big sister to two amazing humans. I know I write a lot about my youngest brother, Manny, for obvious reasons. But make no mistake, my Jimmy means the world to me. He is the other part of our sibling triangle, a very important part.  Jimmy will never truly know how much of a rock he has been to me and the boys.  He plays a critical role in our lives. He has been their loving uncle in a time when our family is shattered and has a gaping hole.

He is my sit in the freezing, rainy weather to watch Charlie play football brother...

he is my friend.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Better Days

There are better days.
Days that you don't put so much pressure on yourself. Days when you just get on the floor and play. Days where you snuggle and watch Mickey. Days that you quiet your thinking mind. Days that you  take in the beauty of the world and the family around you. Days that you stop and smile.
Days that you go inward and check in. Check in to make sure that you are living your best life with the circumstances that are beyond your control. There are better days.