I was, of course, a hot mess from 8 am to noon. I spent most of the morning buying items I forgot for the games, updating my timeline of events, and finalizing the food order.
Grandma Kaye reminded me EVERYTHING would be perfect. Not because I'm a perfectionist, but because "it just will be."
God love her- she was right.
|Sisters. Friends. Bridesmaids.|
|Smiling with the adorable Evie & bride-to-be.|
The only downside was my Grandma Iris couldn't make the shower. I would soon learn that her absence was a blessing in disguise, as it would be the last day she would ever spend with her son, Larry Jr.
My sister called me at 6:45 a.m. on Monday morning. When I saw her name on the caller ID, I knew something was wrong. She never calls me early in the morning.
"Hey Ash," Sarah said softly. "Uncle LJ passed away this morning."
"Oh," is all that came out of my mouth. "Wow."
He was only 47.
"Angie found him this morning because he didn't get up for work," she said. "He passed away in the same room-the same way, as Grandpa."
"Wow," I said again. "I'm so happy that Grandma had all day yesterday with him."
Sarah told me that Uncle LJ was great yesterday. My mom saw him for a split second, and Grandma got to spend the whole day with him. Angie, his wife, spent the evening watching "The Time Traveler's Wife" with him before bed.
When I learned that was the last movie they ever watched together as a married couple, I got goosebumps.
"How is mom?" I asked.
"I could barely understand her when I called," Sarah said. "She was crying really hard."
My mind flashed back to my Grandpa Larry.... I could hear my mom screaming at me to wake up, "Ashley- wake up!! They think Grandpa is dead!"
I drifted back to reality and asked Sarah to keep me updated. "Please let me know if anyone needs me for absolutely anything," I said.
I didn't wake Justin up with the news, but I had a feeling he heard me on the phone. I stepped into the shower and a few seconds later, Justin walked into the bathroom.
"Are you okay?" he asked. "Is there anything I can do?"
"I'm OK," I lied with tears and water streaming down my face. "I know I didn't see him that often, so we weren't super close, but.."
"But it's never easy," Justin said.
"He was just so young," I said. "47 years old is so young."
I instantly remembered one of my favorite memories of Uncle LJ. A memory that truly illustrates his kind heart and love for family.
The winter of my senior year, I totaled my big blue van. I had no money saved up for a new car, so I was extremely devastated.
My Uncle LJ learned about the accident and told my mom he could sell me one his cars. I was over-joyed!
"Uncle LJ has a Saturn that he doesn't drive much," I remember mom telling me. "It's older, but in good shape."
"A car is a car!" I said. "How much?"
"Well, he said he will sell it to you for one dollar!" Mom said.
"ONE FREAKING DOLLAR?" I said. "That's it!?"
I remember crying (well because as you know, I cry a lot). I was so incredibly happy and thankful.
When we went to put the car in my name at BMV, he wouldn't even accept my dollar. I can only hope he knows how thankful I was that day...
Later in the afternoon, I learned Uncle LJ had a massive heart attack in his sleep.
Walking out of the office today for lunch, I felt my throat tighten up.
"Do not cry," I told myself.
I was about to burst into tears when I tripped over my own shoe. Thankfully, I found the courage to laugh at myself and kept walking with a smile on my face.
Tonight, I ordered shrimp and broccoli with white rice. The healthiest Chinese food option I've come across. And this was my fortune:
|"The troubles you have now will pass away quickly." |
This message came at the most perfect time.
My uncle's sudden death reminds me that I must stop stressing the small things. I need to focus on WHO and WHAT matters most in my life. My worries and frustrations seem so small when I think of Aunt, who lost her husband and best friend Monday morning.
My mother, who will never share a hug with her older brother and role model growing up.
And my grandma, who will lay her son to rest on Saturday.
Even though I can't control the past, I can influence the future. I'm hoping to organize or participate in a run with my family + make a donation to the American Heart Association in his honor. I am inspired to continue living a healthy and heart-happy lifestyle.
To ensure this happens, I signed up for my first FULL marathon tonight!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My motto will be a quote I heard during a recent episode of Extreme Weight Loss Edition:
"Don't listen to your body, conquer it."
And before I leave you, I wanted to add...
Don't forget how important your health is...if you are trying to lose weight and struggling to find motivation, just remember this:
you only get one body, so treat it like a temple.
Love your family, friends, and future enough to live a healthy and active lifestyle.
I understand a health transformation is not easy. By all means, you've read about my struggles in this little blog. But I can promise you a few things:
You will push your body to new limits.
You will breakdown.
You will have great days.
You will have bad days.
You will cry during the highs and lows.
And I'll be here for you every step of the way.