Friday, July 31, 2015

Let It Happen. Be In The Moment. This Is Normal. You're "Hooman."



I've spent the majority of the day getting ready for our event tomorrow. We'll be at the Quiet Corner Pet Party In The Park from 10-3...a wonderful event sponsored by the Plainfield Veterinary Hospital. Biscuits have been packaged. Our event gear (canopy, table, chairs, etc) was loaded into the car about an hour ago. I went through our event checklist twice. Donation jar. Check. Signs. Check. Banner. Check. Framed mission statement. Check. Lunch packed. We're good to go.

Now, I sit at my desk. Fresh cup of coffee. Glancing over the array of colorful Post-It Notes plastering my desk. Work. Work. Work. 

One of the Post-It Notes closest to my laptop read, "Prepare (client site) for August 1st." Gasp! Was it the last day of July already? What! Shit. Tomorrow is August 1st. It's not that I forgot the mountain of work that hits the last few days of each month and into the first of every month. These tasks are embedded in my brain. It's just that...tomorrow is August.

Where did June and July go?

While sipping my coffee, and waiting for the caffeine to kick in, I scrolled through my Facebook news feed. Photo after photo after photo of people partaking in summer activities. Pool parties. Vacations. Swimming at the lake. Kayaking. Body surfing at the ocean. Feet photos in the sand, water or beach chair. Drink glasses filled with frozen adult beverages held up with a body of water in the background. Bonfires.

For just a moment I got caught up in the frenzy of, "What the hell have we done to embrace the short summer season?" 

We ventured out of state twice...to pick up items from our Grammy's house after she passed away a few short days before the end of June. That week, Lisa and I spent several days rearranging two rooms in our home to make room for a couple of furniture pieces and other items. The physical labor, along with a few bodacious versions of the quintessential vodka gimlets, helped with the sadness and grieving process.

We've been to the ocean once, earlier this month on July 2nd, to honor a friend of ours who lost her battle with cancer. It was the day she died. We packed a picnic dinner, spent the later afternoon, early evening hours walking the beach. Reminiscing. Searching for treasures. Tears. A few chuckles. Rambling. Moments of silence. Much needed salt air therapy.

A week later, I learned of my Grandpa's passing on July 7th. Although I haven't seen this man for quite some time, it was a punch in the gut. The wind had been knocked out of me. Memories flooded my brain. Any hopes of getting work done that night had become null and void. I remembered the last time I saw him as if it were yesterday. I could hear his voice saying my name. I could see his face. I remembered the summers spent at the camp. The boat. Water skiing on skis made of wood.

That's what water skis back in the day were made of. Wood. Yes, I'm that old.

One death of a loved one takes a toll on any human being. However, three in less than 2 weeks, was not something we were prepared for. And, I use the term "prepare for" lightly, for lack of a better word, because how can you possibly prepare for that. As much as I'd like to think I've earned my "super woman" cape over the years, the stream of events tested my every bit of strength. The can of worms accompanying each passing of a "hooman" we loved, had memories with and were tied to in one way or another, took its ugly toll.

We faltered, I'll admit. It took every bit of effort to get through our day whether it be work, baking, packaging, writing, plastering a smile on our face. Despite the grief we were experiencing, we knew life went on for the rest of the world. Shelters needed biscuits. We had events booked. Blankets, bandannas and totes needed to be constructed, sewed. Fabric needed to be purchased, cut and pieced together.

During the daytime hours, there was enough distraction to keep my mind off of things. However, during the overnight hours, when baking commences after our evening routine, when Lisa and the fur-kids are tucked in and fall peacefully into their slumber, the distractions fizzle. It was just me, the things that go bump in the night and biscuit dough. My thoughts ran wild. Everything that had been kept at bay during the daytime hours came out to play.

Let it happen. Be in the moment. This is normal. You're "hooman." Allow yourself to feel it. 

I've always been one to keep the less-than-desirable stuff at bay. After all, the messy stuff will always be there. That's life. We're all living it. Gliding. Stumbling. Walking. Getting up and brushing ourselves off. And, maybe, on occasion, after getting up, through the sweat and tears, we look up and yell, "You hit like a bitch." Empowerment. A mixture of tears and dust caked to our faces. But, we're doing it. Still here.

And, as all of this was racing through my brain, I could feel myself spiral into a hole I didn't want to be in. I've dug myself out of this hole many times throughout my life and it's not a place I want to visit again. Here I was. Sipping coffee. Reading. Scrolling. Eyes feasting on photo after photo. Vacations. Happy faces. Barbecues.

I had to stop. I needed a social detox. Deep breath in. Exhale slowly.

At that moment, I went to our Bodacious Biscuit Love Facebook page to view photos and other happenings we had captured over the past almost-two-years. There was a twinge of frustration for the posts over the past month or so. Too often, due to exhaustion and dealing with grief and sadness, Lisa (or the both of us) had delivered or shipped biscuit love and I had forgotten to include our camera.

We always have our camera in tow to capture these moments to share with our Bodacious Community so they know we're out there, doing good things, spreading biscuit love and, most importantly, to let everyone know what their efforts are a part of...going towards. 

I had slacked in that area. My brain had been consumed with everything else. Little details like taking the camera had evaded my mental checklist. However, as I scrolled through the photos, updates, posts, and glanced at our blog posts, and other categories on our site, my spirits lifted. This is what we do. This is what we continued to do during one of the roughest patches in our life. Nothing faltered or ceased. The days and weeks to follow may have been more difficult, and we forgot the camera a bazillion times, but we continued to trudge forward.

I got up from my desk located in the office area we had converted to a combination of half office, second living room because of a furniture piece from my Grammy's house. I left the confines of my desk, grabbed my Chrome book and moved to the kitchen table. A kitchen table that had once resided in our Grammy's house. Once situated, I thought about our old table and 2 chairs. My brother had given us the table a week after our wedding. He no longer had use for it and it was the perfect size for our kitchen area. Less than a year later, we found 2 matching chairs at a flea market.

Well, actually 4, but our car could only fit 2. The flea market was too far to make a second trip. We purchased 2 of the 4 chairs. We were happy with that.

Now, we had another table, slightly larger, with 4 matching chairs. Padded. More comfortable. A dining room table and chair set that had once been enjoyed by our Grammy and family. No one else had wanted it. It was the perfect size. Meant to be. Right here, right now, sitting and typing this, it is providing me with much comfort and solace.

Yeah, July sucked for so many reasons. Sucked. Sucked. Sucked. Three deaths. That's a lot to handle. However, after escaping the home office, and finding comfort here, at my Grammy's table, I see things a little different.

We attended a copious amount of events.

We delivered biscuit love to the sweet pound pups.

We made connections.

We met people in our Bodacious Community for the first time ever.

We provided foster "hospice" care for a baby kitty who knew love and comfort before taking his last breath.

We shared a tearful moment with the Animal Control Officer involved. 

The closeness. Personal experience. Bond. Depth. Insight. Can't be measured.

We provided pet food, biscuits and "hooman" goods to someone who had fallen on hard times. 

We assisted in a rescue that no one wanted to step forth and assist with.

Freida. Oh, sweet Freida.

A local shelter came forth and made it possible for us to participate in an event we could only dream of attending.

We launched our wedding anniversary weekend with an event that celebrated a passion Lisa and I are both engaged in. Every single day.

Words. Of. Encouragement. 

Relationships deepened by showing our face, following through, being there.

Trust.

Walls crumbling.

Tears.

The comfort in knowing this is all "normal" (for lack of a better word).

Friends who have become family.

Our fur-kids continuously coming out of their shell.

The gorgeous blue moon.

Taking notice to what was always right in front of us. 

Embracing and extending gratitude to those who have always supported us.

Taking notice to the ones who have been a little too shy to approach us and say, "I want to help out...."

And then some....

That. All of that. It lifted me. Inspired me. Motivated me. Helped me brush myself off quicker than I would have. The journey to the greater good isn't always easy. There's pain. Tears. Life. Death. Lost battles. Darkness. But, there is also light. Lots of it. For that, we are grateful. Thank you  for that. You all were our our light during the darkest of times. You didn't know that. For a bit of time, neither did we.

Face forward. Onward march. 

Yes, it's the last day of July. August is a new month. The possibilities are endless.....

Let's do this....



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