Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ketchup On My Potatoes

The rain was pouring when I drove home from work. While the stormy days make me appreciate the sunny days, my mind definitely wonders deeper during the darker days.

When I came home, I was pleased to see Justin. He was all dressed up in his dress clothes. His dress shirt wasn't tucked in, but it looked sexy that way.

The best part was that he had dinner completely ready. It made me smile. My little Iron Chef.

"Hey babe," Justin yelled from the kitchen. "Do you like ketchup on your potatoes?"

I did. A lot actually. But I didn't always like ketchup on my potatoes. I saw my Grandpa Larry do it for years. He put ketchup on EVERYTHING! Eggs, potatoes, potato chips, and toast. I'm pretty sure he loved ketchup as much as I loved ranch dressing.

Even though I said I'd never pick him on Grandpa's habits- like sitting around in my underwear, yelling when anyone changed the channel, and drenching everything in ketchup...I did. Nearly all my friends have seen me lounge in my undies and Justin knows he better not even THINK about changing the channel during The Bachlorette or Greys Anatomy. And I put ketchup on everything.

But the crazy part about the whole situation is that I've been thinking about Grandpa Larry a lot lately. He passed away in high school. In March, just days before my mom's birthday. My mom is an insanely strong woman. I've only seen her cry hard twice in my entire life. One of those days was when we got the call about Grandpa.

My wedding present from Justin was a locket with my Grandpa Larry's picture in it. I put it in my bouquet on my wedding day. Walking down the isle with my handsome dad, I had my dream man in front of me and my amazing grandpa watching above me- and close to my heart. But what touched me the most was the way that Justin described my Grandpa in the letter he wrote me the night before our wedding. Justin never got the chance to meet Grandpa Larry, but knew so much about him. Justin soaked in all the stories I told about going fishing with Grandpa. He laughed at all the pranks Grandpa played. And Justin knew that he and Grandpa would get along great.

**Devin walking Grandma Iris down the isle.

I miss my Grandpa. But just as the sun is sure to shine after a stormy night, Justin made me smile when I walked home from work.

"Yes, I love ketchup on my potatoes," I said back.

Always in my heart, forever in spirit- I love you Grandpa.

Much love,

Sunday, July 11, 2010

72 Lives

Would you believe me if I told you that the death of one person extended the life of 72 other people?

You should.

Because Rick Girod saved, changed, or impacted 72 lives through his death. That means 144 parents had their son or daughter saved because of Rick passing away. So, Rick's death didn't just affect the people in Indiana. In our small town. In our circle of friends. In his family. He affected the lives of so many people. His decision to donate changed the life of hundreds of people. Maybe thousands.

I only know this because I ran into his mother and father last night. As I was walking over to see the Girods, I kept thinking about how this time of year was probably so hard for them. It was five years this past Fourth of July.

His mother is a beautiful, strong woman and greeted me with a huge smile. She instantly asking me questions and congratulating me on my recent marriage.

She went on to tell me that Abbey had shared with her the link to my blog that I recently wrote about Rick passing away. We shared ideas about starting a blog or forum for family and friend's to write stories and memories about Rick.

First memory.

Best memory.

Favorite trip.

Biggest lesson.

Last memory.....

We want to hear it all....from everyone. I'm so excited and honored to help establish this Web site/blog for her and his family/friends.

Stories truly bring people together. And that is one of the biggest reasons I love writing....it's so powerful.


Rick is a angel still among us. He is a true hero. Rick told his mother that he wanted to be an organ donor just two weeks before he died. After Corey passed away, he knew donating was something he wanted to do. No one knew that it would happen so soon....

He has touched so many lives and I am honored to have known Rick. I'm so thankful that I can see his family and friends to celebrate his life and all that he accomplished in his short years on this earth.

I hope you will all participate and share stories when we get the Web site up and running. Stay posted.

This is one's for Rick's family and loved ones.....

Much love,

Thursday, July 1, 2010

A Day to Remember

The Fourth of July means a lot of things to me. It's a day of celebration for our country. Our Independence Day. It also happens to be my best friend's birthday, Gina Grant. So I celebrate her life in mine. Twins.

But more so, every single year, I am reminded of the day a great friend passed away in a horrible car accident. Rick Girod was so young when he died. He was speeding on his way too church, the car lost control and he passed away in the hospital days later.

I got the text when I was at work. I read the words. "Rick died." My phone dropped and then my body followed. I fell to the ground and I couldn't process the entire situation. We just lost Corey.....I didn't watch a single firework that day. I didn't do anything except for lay on the couch and cry.

Is this really happening?

Is he really gone?

How is Abbey (his beautiful girlfriend) doing!?

And how can this happen so quickly, we just lost our great friend Corey Shaffer nearly a month before....

It was hard the next year. Insanely hard. I didn't want to celebrate with everyone because I was holding onto the memory that surrounded the day. A memory that I didn't want to be real. Couldn't it just be a mistake? It wasn't...It never will be.

So, it's that time of year again. When a million emotions come flying at me like a mass of angry insects onto a fast moving car.

But this time, I'm going to celebrate his life. Remember the happy times we spent together. In fact, the funniest part about my friendship with Rick is that he truly was my elementary school crush. I thought for sure we'd get married. So handsome and loved the Dallas Cowboys, come on, what else could you ask for!?!

But then one day Dad came home and told me we were meeting this new girl he was dating and her kids. I was excited. He said the boy was my age and the girls were a little older.....

You guessed it. I walked in and saw Rick! WHAT!?! Dad you can't date the mother of the my love. It's funny now looking back at the situation. So I've decided to smile and remember those moments.

And when I look up at the sky and see those fireworks, I'll think of Rick smiling down on us. And Corey. He will be dancing above with Rick. After all, Corey was the Pool Party Dance Champ nearly every single year. They'll be looking down at us while we look up at the sky. Just like they have been for the last five years.

Watching us grow older. Graduating from college. Getting married. Having children. They have been watching over all of their friends and that is worth smiling back at them in sky.

"But patiently, you slipped away from me, Oh God I want you back, Oh God I miss my friend, But so patiently..." O.A.R.

For you Rick and Corey, I say this with teary eyes- Much love,