Handbags, High Heels, & Broken Hearts

“Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she can conquer the world!” –Marilyn Monroe

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The Hardest Goodbye, Goodbye To My Dad

One month ago today, February 24, 2014 I said the hardest goodbye I may ever face, I said goodbye to my father. It has been a non-stop emotional roller-coaster since his diagnosis in around November of last year, one I was not prepared for. It had been 10 years since we had really seen each other or spent time together, not counting funerals of family members. Ten years since I lost my dad the first time. Is anyone ever prepared to say goodbye to a parent, to deal with the horribleness of Cancer, or to watch a loved one slowly and daily slip away, the answer is no. Is anyone ever prepared to become their parents care taker, to take on the role of the adult, to sit by a loved ones side and wonder with each breathe if it would be their last, the answer is still no. I guess in some ways I was prepared to take on the role of adult and caretaker because most of my 34 years alive that is what I was with him. I was the adult. No one can prepare you to say goodbye and no one can prepare you on how to grieve. I have OK days and horrible ones, I have yet to have a good one yet but I know in time those good days will come back. I do however find it healing to my soul to share, mostly because I hope that if someone else is going through this, if someone else is feeling this, than maybe they will feel a little less alone. I wanted to share what I read to my family and friends as I said goodbye to my dad, as a tribute to him and for anyone feeling the way I feel to know that they are never alone.

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 As a child with an alcoholic parent you suffer no matter what, no matter what your choices, no matter which road you chose, you will still suffer. It will change the way you live and look at the world. It will weight heavily on every decision that you make, whether you realize it or not, it will effect every relationship that you have as well. Some children of alcoholics become a statistic; I fought hard every day of my life to beat those odds. In some ways I have and in others I haven’t. I chose early on that drinking alcohol would not be a part of my life, but that doesn’t mean I have been free and clear of making decisions and choices like an addict would. I have learned so much in the short time that I had with him sober and in the short time since he has left this world. I know I have a long road ahead, I know I have to learn how to not put this behind me but to work through it. I know that I will learn how to live my life without him, without the fear of losing him, the fear of becoming him and finally know that he can no longer hurt me. I will become stronger and I know in the end I will be OK. My dad would want that for me, he would want me to continue to fight, to be strong, to go after my dreams and to make a difference in this world. For a long time I never wanted to share this with the world because it wasn’t just my story to tell, but if I learned anything from him in his final days, it’s that love really does conquer all, forgiveness is the most important gift you can give anyone but more importantly yourself and that in the end the choices I made no matter how hard were the right choices. I could have done nothing, I could have chosen to ignore how sick he was and not be a part of his life but in the end no matter what the past had given me I have always loved him even when I didn’t like him and I had to be there for my father. It was truly the best decision I have ever made in my life.  I love you dad, I will always love you, and I truly wouldn’t have wanted any other dad in the world. You made me who I am, the bad and the good, and I will always be thankful for the times we shared even though it wasn’t nearly enough time for me. You are finally free, free from hurt, free from pain, free from your daily struggles and free from your demons, so be free dad, be free.

 This is what I shared with my family as we said goodbye to my Dad:

“38 years ago today our family was together for the wedding of Uncle Rick and Auntie Pam, today we are once again together to say goodbye to a family member. My dad was the kind of man that lived life on his terms no matter what that meant. He was the kind of man that if you knew him, he didn’t always make it easy to like him but if you were lucky enough to get past the gruff man he was, could see through his rough exterior to the man he so wanted to be. As a child I never truly understood the kind of man he was. I always dreamed of being daddy’s little girl not understanding why I wasn’t, I knew I always loved him but I didn’t always like who he was. Growing up I learned so much about who he was and the demons he faced. I learned that through family we could get through almost everything.

 It wasn’t always easy being my fathers daughter, growing up there was sometimes more anger than hugs, more tears than laughter but in the end I grew to see things change. My family knows loss and struggle like no other, but through it all we were family through thick and thin and it is through them that I had gained the strength to become a strong, loving and most importantly forgiving woman. Many years ago I never dreamed I would be standing here before you speaking on losing my Dad, but as time passes, wounds heal and life goes by I grew and so did he, he may have tried to fight it tooth to nail but he did grow, so very much. I never met a man like my dad who didn’t believe he was loved and didn’t think he deserved that love, but as always and as a family we proved him wrong. When he first became sick I was by his side, for every dr appt and every tear. We sat and talked about life often and what he wished would happen. He had two wishes to make it to Christmas and to start a relationship with my brother; he fought and was able to make both of those things happen. I don’t know a man who fought harder in life then he did, he fought his demons on a daily basis and once he became sick he fought to be sober and a man I could be proud of. He fought almost everything; he struggled with his life, his choices and his addictions. He fought seeing his family, and as every one of them showed up one by one he would yell at them for coming and every visit ended in tears and even some apologies, which anyone who knows him knows just how hard that was for him. His family meant the world to him even though he did not know how to show it. They say you hurt the ones you love the most, beyond all the sometimes hurtful things he said, somewhere deep down there was so much love he just didn’t know what to do with those feelings. Even as I went back home I would check in every day and he would recap his day telling me who stopped by, whether it was uncle skip making him laugh, uncle mike setting up his TV and DVD player, uncle ken bringing him donuts, or his son stopping by to say hi. He would get so excited that people came. From hospice nurses to friends and family his voice lit up telling me about every visit. Every hospice nurse, hospital nurse and Dr would tell me how wonderful he was and how he would make everyone laugh, especially when he would be at the hospital with Laura, my mother Cheryl and my step father Bob making everyone laugh telling them who they were to him. He was still cracking jokes at every cancer treatment and hospital stay.

 Cancer is a horrible disease that touches so many lives and takes our loved ones away, I hate it, I hate cancer, but for me somehow cancer gave me my silver lining. It allowed me to see the heart of a man I never knew existed. It gave me my dad, for the first time in my life, if even for a short time. My brother and I decorated his Christmas tree for him and he was ecstatic saying he never dreamed this day would come. He and I took trips to Job Lot, his favorite store, and walked the isles for hours, him cracking jokes and telling me to buy the angel in the wedding dress so maybe I would some day be married. We spent days watching movies, we liked all the same ones. We spent lunches and dinners together and truly enjoyed each other’s company. We lay on the couch together with his best friend Oliver, his dog, and we held hands and watched reruns of Castle and Bones our favorite shows. I learned just how much of my stubbornness and attitude came from him, I learned how much we had in common, how much he had a part of my heart and how I was through and through my fathers daughter. He always asked me to take him to his favorite bar Duffy’s were we would sit and laugh with all his friends, friends that made him smile, accepted him for who he was and cared so deeply about what he was going through always offering myself and him their support. As his health started to decline the trips out of the house became less and less, his pride declining with his health. Our conversations grew shorter but always ended with an I love you. He made jokes until his very last day, mostly because I know he did not know how to accept all the love he was receiving from all of us. On one of his last days he wanted to go outside fearing it would be the last time he was able to, so we wheeled him out, we held hands and enjoyed the sunlight for as long as he could stand. Everyone came to show him their support and to say goodbye, which meant the world to me but more importantly to him which is why I think he was finally able to stop fighting and let go. The last thing I said to him was that I loved him, I was proud of him and it was ok to go, he took his last breath holding my hand just seconds later. In the end he became the man I was proud of, the man that I not only loved but also truly enjoyed, a man I liked, and finally understood that I was my Daddy’s little girl. In my heart I know that he was greeted with open arms, full of love by Auntie Pam, Uncle don, Uncle Rick and his mom, Nana Janice.

 I couldn’t end this in anyone else’s words but his own, and anyone who knows him will understand so, in my dad’s last words “your all assholes”.

Filed under love saying goodbye losing a parent losing an alcoholic parent alcoholic grief rest in peace losing your father life life lessons dad daddy's little girl acceptance forgiveness fear alcoholism support cancer cancer sucks silver lining

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My Must See Movie of 2013

We all know that this weekend’s big opening movie is Pacific Rim and I can’t wait to see it. But this Friday I decided to go with and Independent film that you may not have heard of. FRUITVALE STATION.

 

This movie is set in Oakland, CA and takes place on January 1, 2009. It is based on the true story of Oscar Grant III, a 22 year old man who was shot in the back and killed by a Bay Area Transit police officer.

 

To say this movie is breathtaking would be the understatement of the year, for so many reasons. Everything about this movie will take your breath away, from how the story is told, to the amazing performances from the entire cast, to that moment when you stop and remember that this is not just a movie but a real story about a real man, a son, a father, a boyfriend and a brother. When movies are based on true stories that have national attention, I sometimes fear that by already knowing the ending you lose something in the process. I can say that this is the furthest from the truth with Ryan Coogler’s FRUITVALE STATION.

 

While the story is that of an African American man being killed by a white transit officer, this movie was about far more than a racial issue, it was about humanity. As I sat and watched Oscar portrayed by Michael B. Jordan, I could not control the overflow of emotion. From smiles, to tears, to anger and fear, to hope, I was moved and affected in ways I did not know a movie had the capability of doing. What I think the director and Michael did so well was show a man, a struggling, not so perfect and a bit hot-tempered man, with a huge heart that I grew an instant attachment to. Not only is this film about Oscar’s life but it is also about relationships, family, and making difficult choices. It forces you to remember this man and think twice about how we treat each other, how we react to people we don’t know and how often we are too quick to pass judgment.

 

By far my favorite movie of 2013, looking past all the superheroes and comedies I adore to a movie that has touched my heart and soul forever. FRUITVALE STATION is a must see movie for everyone.

 

 

Filed under Fruitvale Station FruitvaleStation fruitvalemovie Ryan Coogler Michael B. Jordan Melonie Diaz Octavia Spencer Chad Michael Murray forest whitaker the weinstein company Bart Bay area Oakland Oscar Grant Oscar Grant III Oscar Grant Shooting

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A Drive to Coachella with Heart

Today I made the trek to Palm Springs for a weekend of fun at Coachella. Trying to take my mind off of the tragic week our country has endured. On our drive I saw a convoy of military vehicles. There was about a dozen of them. My heart swelled. I immediately wanted to stop them and hug and thank each of the individuals in those vehicles. We live in an amazing country, where men and women volunteer their lives to a service, a service of keeping us safe. This week the bombings in Boston gave us just a taste of what other countries live on a daily basis. Those same men and women who protect us found and captured the man that is responsible for this weeks tragedy. From military to police, from fire fighters to EMT’s, these men and women have more heart than we can imagine. A little drive to the desert gave me perspective to just how lucky we are to live here. We go to bed each night and can feel safe because we know someone always has out back.

Filed under military heart love perspective police fire fighters emt boston inspiration

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In Tragedy There Is Hope

It has been a beyond devastating week for so many. The Boston Bombing, the explosion in Texas, the defeat that the families from Sandy Hook have felt, and so many people I know dealing with health issues or the loss of someone they love. It seems that some weeks, no matter where you turn there seems to be more tragic news. There is something to be said about tragedy and the way it brings people together, the way strangers become heroes, the way a community becomes a family, and the good you find in the wake of it all. The reality check that we are only given one chance at this thing called life and what we do with it grows more important as every day passes. If we can be taught anything from all of this, it should be that who you are and what you give to the world is beyond important. Life is short and many of us take our time here for granted, I know I have. Hug more, laugh more, give more, and never be afraid to say I love you because you never know when that chance will be taken away. I have become so inspired by the stories of all the heroes made of ordinary people and first responders that just stepped up and did what had to be done, without question, without thinking of themselves. Everyday heroes. We all have heroes inside us waiting to shine.

Filed under hero heroes loss family love compassion tragedy

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Boston Memories

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Boston – a town I love that has a very special place in my heart. A place that I went with family and friends, and even on occasional school field trips.

Copley Square a place where my parents would take me to eat amazing food and sometimes even go shopping.

 A city that brought me so many firsts: my first hockey game,  my first taste of fashion, throwing out a first pitch at a Red Sox game, meeting old friends traveling through town, and my first television job.

 Fenway Park a place that I had dreams about, shot my first commercial for a motorcycle show, eventually had the honor of working at and a place where my name can be found signed inside the scoreboard with baseball hall of famers.

 A city I freely walked and took in all the history as often as I could. A city that has passion that you could feel through the pavement, where at any given moment a stranger would stop and talk sports with you.

I remember my first Patriots’ Day spent in good old Beantown. It was 2004 and I had the greatest job ever, I was a co-host on the NESN Pre-game report for the Boston Red Sox. A team that I lived for, a year I would never forget. Patriots’ day is one of the busiest days in Boston. They say the marathon brings in over 20,000 runners now add that to all the spectators, tourists and sports fans. The Boston Red Sox have played a home game on Patriots’ Day every year for as long as I can remember. The city was busy and I was happy to be at work, it was my very first player interview and it was because not only did he have a big game ahead but so did his wife because she was running in the Boston Marathon.

Today I turned on the TV and I was broken hearted at the sights I saw. Explosions at the finish line of the marathon, around 4 hours into the race, which is said to be the busiest time at the finish line. All day I had to fight back tears, the city that I loved so much had been turned into a war zone. I found it hard to talk or think about anything. The constant question of why, state of shock, confusion and sadness weighed so heavy on my heart. I stayed glued to the TV and social media, to keep up to date on the news and check on family and friends. The new images popping up each making my heart hurt a bit worse. The news of lives lost and so many injured. Thinking about the hundreds of people who went out to see a race and their lives are forever changed, the families and friends searching all day for answers. My head has been spinning non-stop I am completely consumed. Throughout all of this tragedy, these violent images, the hurt and the sorrow I also saw something that made my heart fill with joy. I saw heroes. While watching the news coverage I saw heroes running towards the explosions to help the wounded. I saw heroes in first responders who never could have imagined what the day would bring. I saw heroes in people who shared stories. I saw heroes in people that were tweeting and facebooking links to help families find each other and where to donate blood. I saw heroes offering homes and places to stay for runners that had nowhere to go. I even saw heroes on twitter trying to deliver pizzas to anyone who needed food tonight. Heroes came together today to fight back for the greater good and for Boston.

What happened today is horrific; it is a day that we will never forget. Like New York City, Sandy Hook, Columbine, and countless others Boston is Resilient, Passionate, and by standing together, will get through this. Boston has so much fight in it, today we saw that fight. Whoever is responsible will be found and punished, but what matters most right now is the love and passion that Boston showed today, the fight to get through, the good in people to help out, the heroes, and the healing.

Boston is strong, it showed us today just how strong and they will continue to be strong for the lives lost, the countless injured and everyone affected by this horrible tragedy, because if Boston has anything it sure has heart.

Filed under pray for boston boston boston marathon presidents' day boston has heart love heroes inspire tragedy red sox

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Who says looking good has to be expensive? I adore this bright and summery bag from none other than Target! It’s under $50 and screams fun!

Who says looking good has to be expensive? I adore this bright and summery bag from none other than Target! It’s under $50 and screams fun!

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The Oscars are coming, and while the world is dissecting the dresses on the red carpet I will be searching for a glimpse of the shoes hiding under them! Happy Oscar Sunday, may the dresses be fabulous and the heels be spectacular !

Filed under oscars shoes fashion

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Do you know what love is? Brian Atwood sure does and thanks to him so do I! This shoe is a stunner who goes by the name Florencia! Not only will you look great walking in a room but when you walk away all your admirers will be in awe of your glitter heels & sole. My soul is full of glitter, purple glitter thanks to Brian!

Do you know what love is? Brian Atwood sure does and thanks to him so do I! This shoe is a stunner who goes by the name Florencia! Not only will you look great walking in a room but when you walk away all your admirers will be in awe of your glitter heels & sole. My soul is full of glitter, purple glitter thanks to Brian!

Filed under brian atwood shoes fashion style

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