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Posts tagged ‘memories’

Decide

Today marks 7 years since Michael was killed in Iraq.

It could be thought of as a day of sorrow, but for me, today is a celebration of decisions.

Decisions that dictated a life that I’m blessed to have been a part of for 6 years.

 

You see, it’s hard to mourn on a day that is a true reflection of how we should live our lives.

Michael decided many things….

Things that some fear to try, commit to, or experience.

 

He decided to lead.

To serve.

To love fiercely.

To always say what he felt.

To teach.

To care.

To live each day like it was his last.

To sacrifice.

 

He decided.

 

These decisions are not ones that I can look back on with sadness….these are decisions that 7 years ago put me on a path that led me to decisions that have dictated/will dictate the life I decided to take back….just when I thought all had been taken from me.

Through his example and remembering the core of one’s soul path, Michael has allowed me to fearlessly make decisions that I know I will never regret.

Whether those decisions will affect 22 (or 100) years of the life I may live.

 

So if there is anything I can ask of y’all on a day like today, it is to decide.

Decide to live life.

To learn.

To love.

To forgive.

To be challenged.

To embrace the unknown.

 

For me, my wardrobe choice for today is my decision:

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And I have a feeling that Michael couldn’t be happier.

Strut

 

It’s been said that once we have found the true path, destiny unfolds before us like a red carpet.

 

I’m a believer of that and the fact that much of destiny (if not all) is determined on our ability to self-propel ourselves into it.

 

Sometimes we don’t notice our forward trajectory and the red carpet unfolds at a slow speed, that years later is finally apparent to the naked eye and soul. And it shows us that not only has destiny rolled out the carpet, but shows us that we have walked across it.

 

But as I’ve most recently learned, sometimes, after many years of becoming mindful of who and what we are made of, we become aware of destiny when it shows its bare self, and decide to throw ourselves into it head first…no looking back…and just like that, at the speed of lightning, that red carpet is not only rolled out, but ready for you to strut yourself down.

 

Of course, on any red carpet, you’ll find a step and repeat. Those moments where you’re made to pause, see the light, gather yourself…but what’s most important is that you keep walking…because lord knows you can’t keep destiny waiting!

 

Lost

I was having a farewell dinner this evening with a friend…which usually equates to sharing our thoughts on life and all that it teaches/has taught us thus far.

At one point during our conversation, he looked at me and said, “Taryn, there was a quote from a book that changed my life. I want to share it and I want you to absorb it.”

Intense!

That was the word floating into my head with such a preface!

“Ok.” I responded, taking an exaggerated inhale as some sort of sign to show him I was prepared.

He opened his mouth and the words poured out:

“All that is not given is lost.”

I repeated it aloud. I repeated it again.

I sat silently and dissected it in every which way.

It hit me. I dare not say in which way, as I think it’s a line that will bring to the surface the things deep within ourselves that we may have lost….which will be different for each of us.

The things we have failed to give.

 

I know since Michael’s death, there is much that I have given and much that I have received.

I also know that there have been parts of me that I have held so close that had/if I did/do not let go, I would never know all the true beauty still awaiting me.

I want to give.

Every aspect of every ounce of every part of myself.

I refuse to die with any lost part of my being.

I’ve lost too much to lose anymore by my own hand.

I want to give it my all in giving my all.

I owe it to myself.

7 & 8

-11

If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not deter or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.

~ William Penn

12.23.12

On December 23, 2005, he said I was the kindest person he knew.

A year and a half later I never had the chance to tell him that it was he that was the kindest. It was he that chose me for some odd reason and showed me what true kindness was. It was he that I prayed to god every night to keep alive over me. It was he whose life echoed and echos on through those I had no clue his kindness had touched.

Now, 7 years later, I woke up on the sofa. It was a hard night to try sleep in my bed. I awoke knowing that I could take this day that was the moment that solidified our eternal love, and for once, not make it a day that was harder than any other. This day was going to be the day I wanted to live up to the vows he wrote to me. Today was going to be a day that I echoed his life, even more, to strangers who would never know his name or sacrifice.

My best friends sent me flowers and survival kits full of tissues and chocolate, but I knew there was much more to be done.

I jumped in my car and headed to Wal-Mart. I purchased the needed items. Heavy duty sticky notes, “Hello, My Name Is” labels, Ferrero Rocher chocolates and 4 gift cards.

“$25 on each please.” I asked the cashier.

“And I need you to do something for me. Keep one and give the next 3 to the next 3 people to check out.”

“Are you sure?” she asked hesitantly.

“Yes.”

“Well, Merry Christmas!” she replied.

I walked out as I heard her tell and hand the first gift card to the next to check out.

I exited with a smile.

I got into my car and started preparing the notes and labels for their mission for the day.

-15

I drove off and stopped at the first ATM to leave one gift of kindness. Then off to a Redbox.
-17

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Then off to Starbucks where I ordered a drink and 3 more gift cards.

The lady was going to grab a bag for all three when I stuck a label on each and asked her to give one to the next 3 customers. She couldn’t believe it, and even gave me a free drink coupon. I looked in my mirror at the young man in the truck that would get the first one and I drove off.

All of this had taken place in 15 minutes and my heart swelled…and so did the tears in my eyes….this was the feeling I had when Michael read his vows…I was living them out loud 7 years later…but had just begun…

I headed to the nearest shopping center for a continuation. I stopped at another ATM to leave a message of hope before heading to Marshall’s to leave a message on the bathroom mirror and on a couple of cars before departing.-14 -13I knew there was a nearby bus stop that would be my next location. I pulled over to see a single dad with his two kids, lovingly playing with them while sitting on the bench and smiling with pure love. I put together another bag of things to ensure their day and Christmas would be a better one, handed it to him as he looked at me in shock and uncertainty, and walked off to turn and see the kids smiling and waving to me. It was amazing.

As I drove off, I saw a group of world travelers, with a lack of means and two dogs, asking for any sort of help. I pulled over, gave them water, dog treats, and some funds to buy a couple more meals, shook their hands, shared some laughs and a photo and departed. Their spirit was amazing.
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I drove to the next town where I left a couple other messages and goodies in random spots before heading to McDonalds and grabbing a snack wrap and the tab of the stranger in the car behind me.
-16

Next was Half Price Bookstore, where I grabbed some 80s records, and while checking out, a gift card for the next person to check out. The kind-hearted cashier told me she would remember this for a very long time. I smiled and exited and left another note on a random car.

I then headed to pick up our favorite food we used eat together…sushi…where I tipped 50% and while walking back to my car saw a young couple and their young children,  and left one more note for the end of the day on their mini-van.

-18

These individuals weren’t any worse off, any less happy, and less loved than I. But they are individuals I feel forever grateful for. They were strangers that became saviors, friends, and  ones that I admired.

They let me give them what I have always felt in my heart I was given too much of. Even when I didn’t deserve it.

I don’t know what will happen. How may people I may have freaked out or may have made their day better. But for 24 hours, I have felt pretty damn good on a day that has always been hard to bear without the person that chose me 7 years ago to be his wife. A person that showed me a level of kindness that I can only try to live a quarter up to.

We danced on December 23, 2005 to Louis Armstrong’s “A Kiss to Build a Dream On”. One set of the lyrics stated:
“Give me a kiss to build a dream on
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss
Ah sweetheart, I ask no more than this
A kiss to build a dream on..”

kisses

That kiss he gave me led and leads me to thrive, to live, to give, and to show kindness the way he did….or at least a fraction of the way he did. And for the first time in a long time (outside of my daily AWP mission), I felt it the way I did when kissing him, when knowing that all was possible, because I saw it in each person and stranger, and others that I don’t even know that were affected by the kindness he inspired me to show on the toughest, but most beautiful,  of days.

Happy Anniversary, baby. So in love with you. SO grateful for you. So eternally inspired by you in every way.

**Update**

 

12.23.13

Today marks 8.

8 years since the most remarkable man chose me to spend the rest of his life with….and he did…if only for a year and a half in flesh.

I prepped the night before…jotting down what great deeds I would do, not only in commemoration of this special day, but the people and universe that surround and house the spirit and love that we share.

I awoke, opened my eyes to the sun shining through the blinds and said aloud “Happy Anniversary, my love…let’s rock this!”

As I showered, Sam Cooke’s “What a Wonderful World” played and I my heart filled with the mission at hand.

The mission to share a fraction…an ounce..of the love…unconditional love…I had been shown during his time on earth.

This year was different, I wanted to spread kindness, but throw in bit of us…who we are…what we love.

I warmed up with a stop at Starbucks, buying giftcards for the two cars behind us and leaving a 300% tip to the warm smile that handed me the green tea latte.

I found joy in looking in the rear view mirror at the unsuspecting person that I hoped to share a bit of sunshine with.

-6

Next, I stopped to get flowers, hoping that our favorite (tulips) would be available. We used them in my wedding bouquet and Michael loved surprising me with them on occasion.

With my heart open to whatever was available, I smiled to find red and white ones waiting.

I then googled “cemetery”. It led me to a small back-country haven, in which I headed to the back corners.

-3

Once there, my heart led me to one headstone, cracked in half due to time’s grip. No longer bearing a name, all it shown was a poem that I have no doubt I was supposed to read:

This lovely bud so young and fair
Called hence by early doom
Just came to show how sweet a flower
In paradise could bloom.

I laid a bouquet of tulips, and offered it the attention I know a loved one past would have appreciated.

-3Next, I set forth to my favorite used bookstore.

At arrival, I headed to one of Micheal’s favorite book series “The Dark Tower” by Stephen King. I found the oldest edition of the first book of the series and inserted enough for its next reader to buy the whole set. As I placed its message, I remembered the moments in bed where Michael would read aloud to me. My heart swelled knowing that that memory may be passed on to another lucky soul who falls in love with a Stephen King reader.

-10

I headed out, also ensuring that the next two book lovers left with their books on us.

As I left, I bought a mildly inappropriate Christmas card (the best ones, in my opinion) and found a man who looked as if he deserved a laugh and kind deed.

I hope it made him smile.

-12

My next stop led me to a random car, where I placed another bouquet on the windshield.

As I was plotting my next route, I was honored enough to see the elderly couple return to their car, find the flowers, sit in their car seats and simply inhale the flower’s fragrance with a smile. It was one of the best moments.

-11

Next, being a lover of the sweets 🙂 I placed many a treats on many a cars:

-4

One of my last stops was at a place that embodied so much of what we love…FILMS!

My dear friends know just how many 12 hour film marathons I’ve attended, and Michael knows just how many sofas we imprinted while watching our favorite foreign films.

I wanted to make sure other people could enjoy such a blissful aspect of our intertwined passions, so I headed over to the Alamo Drafthouse to buy multiple gift cards for the next groups to arrive.

-13

The gentleman preparing the gift cards responded with ” I thought all of humanity was lost…thank you.”

I thanked him.

He was giving me much more than I was giving monetarily.

I entered my car, with my list of acts of kindness completed in hand, and smiled with the same joy I felt as if Michael was by my side.

-5

I ended the evening with a dear friend, at a favorite restaurant, sharing some of my favorite memories of my journey with Michael. She surprised me with dessert, and I was humbled to know the staff felt honored to share in the celebration, as well.

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I conclude this remarkable day with gratitude.

Gratitude for the messages sent. Love shared.

Gratitude for those that let me show and give them something they undoubtedly deserved.

Something that I believe to be the greatest resource our society has.

A resource the kindest being I knew shared with me to their last ounce.

Love.

Happy Anniversary, baby.

Thank you all.

Built

weddinghghg1

“A song can take you back instantly to a moment, or a place, or even a person. No matter what else has changed in you or the world, that one song stays the same, just like that moment. Which is pretty amazing, when you actually think about it.”
-Sarah Dessen

This Monday will mark our 8 year wedding anniversary.

As I’ve said over the years, I’ve never defined Michael’s life by his death, so the anniversary of his death has never had the burn of the day that symbolizes him and our time together…

Our wedding day.

A day that symbolizes our love.

His love.

The unconditional love he showed myself and everyone else.

The pain and angst enveloped me at times, but one thing always takes me away from any sadness that wears on my soul:

Hearing our wedding song.

He let me choose it, and when the time came for our first dance, we swayed (mostly due to lack of dancing skills) back and forth, lost in the moment, tunnel vision only into each others eyes and the warm glow of our hearts melding even deeper into their eternal bond.

After his death, a year and a half later, the words of the song have guided me through dark moments. They’ve reminded me that everything that I’ve been able to do, survive and embrace, has been built upon his love…his kiss.

And I’ll keep on building.

Happy Anniversary, my love. SILWY

Give me a kiss to build a dream on
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss
Ah sweetheart, I ask no more than this
A kiss to build a dream on

Faith

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When he died, my faith died.

Faith in a god, life, living…

There was only one thing I wanted to believe, that he’d come back home.

When that didn’t come to fruition, it was believing that life would end shortly thereafter.

It didn’t.

Nothing changed.

It wouldn’t change until I started believing.

Believing that I could survive. That I should survive.

Believing that inhaling and exhaling, at some point, would be a natural process that I didn’t pay attention to, mostly because there were too many times I wished I would have stopped doing both.

Faith became a silly word I loathed using.

I’ve always thought that faith was a belief in something bigger than one’s self.

I forgot that for a while.

But when the turning moment came for me to believe that I could survive….thrive after losing him, so came the moment that I realized a truth.

That I still had faith in our love.

It was bigger than us both.

It still is.

And now, 6.5 years later, that faith has allowed me to know, believe and trust in those things.

With one of the most important being the angels that have guided my way.

Sometimes it was a child smiling at me in line after a night of crying. Other times I know it’s been Michael with the synchronicity that could not be explained. There are even moments when I realize I am one for myself.

Sometimes it just takes us believing.

And with the belief comes the faith.

And with the faith comes a world possibility, in one that once seemed impossible.

And with that, an unveiling of a world or people, things and moments that make once unfathomable seconds, now worth it.

Faith never died. It never will.

Believe me.

“Everyone has an Angel. A Guardian who watches over us. We can’t know what form they’ll take. One day, old man. Next day, little girl. But don’t let appearances fool you, they can be as fierce as any dragon. Yet they’re not here to fight our battles, but to whisper from our heart. Reminding that it’s us. Its everyone of us who holds power over the world we create. You can deny angels exist, Convince ourselves they can’t be real. But they show up anyway, at strange places and at strange times. They can speak through any character we can imagine. They’ll shout through demons if they have to. Daring us, challenging us to fight.”