life | loss

A Week of Tragedy for Orlando

By on June 15, 2016

I am sure by now everyone has heard of the horrific tragedies coming out of Orlando. From the Christina Grimmie shooting, Pulse terrorist attack and now the 2-year-old who was pulled into the Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. My heart hurts so much for these families that have lost their loved ones. I can not even imagine the magnitude of their pain. To know your loved one died in such a horrible way must add more salt to the wound. 

So much of the Pulse and 2-year-old deaths have hit way too close to home. Having two 2-year-olds I just think what if that were one of my children, what if I had to witness that? I was talking to Branden about it while holding Everly and I just wanted to hold her and cry. I want to tell that mother and father to not blame themselves because I am sure that is exactly what they are doing right now. I am sure they are filled with what ifs and what could I have done to prevent this. The truth is we all do simple things that we don’t realize have a larger impact until they happen. 


The Pulse shooting just terrifies me in general. After I heard about this I just kept thinking about my students who are going up to Orlando for college and wondering were any of them in there? Had they left yet for school? I was so sick over it. I still am. I went to the movies last night and had so much anxiety over something happening. It sucks living with that fear because of the terrorist who now sit and wait to hurt our people. Who hate us so much they are willing to sacrifice their own lives to get rid of as many of us as they can. 

I don’t want this post to be all about how horrific this world is becoming because I truly believe there is a lot of good as well. I see my children’s beautiful faces and it makes life seem perfect. There are people out there supporting the LGBTQ community and our country. The amount of people who were waiting hours to donate blood was amazing. So hold your loved ones tighter, be kind to those around you and remember what is important in this life. 

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Losing my Parent

By on August 6, 2015

I originally started writing this post to talk about how my parents passing away changed the way I look at life. I didn’t intend to actually go through the day of my Dad’s death but when it just started coming out it felt therapeutic. I want to thank everyone who encouraged me to publish this post. It was such a difficult time in my life. A time I would never wish anyone to experience. My Dad was an extraordinary man. He was funny, driven and kind. There wasn’t a person who met him that didn’t love him. He was truly my best friend. He and I could sit and talk for hours and I will forever miss those moments. 


After my parents died I remember feeling numb. It was a time in my life I never imagined happening. I mean we all know our parents will pass on but we think it will happen when we are much, much older. I never really wrote about what happened at the time because it was just too much. The emotions were very raw. I feel now I can write about it and get it out. My parents passing away changed so much of my life. I have changed even. I have learned to focus even more on the good in life because so many negative things, people, and events don’t matter. In the end it’s only your family and closest friends who matter. 



In December 2012 I had this beautiful 17 month old little boy, an awesome husband and bam my parents passed away 9 days apart. 

My Mom we knew was going to pass away, we were prepared. I was grieving her when she was still here and it was such a painful experience. I went to see her every single day. I missed out on Thanksgiving with my son because I knew it would be her last. It was the day we all realized it. 
When my Mom passed away we were in funeral mode. Family and friends came into town, we were busy just dealing with the aftermath. Then when it was over I got a call from my sister and she said something happened to our Dad. I called Branden and told him to go to my Dad’s house because something happened, I had no idea he was gone. 


I drove up to his house and I saw an ambulance sitting there with lights. I parked as close I could turned off my car and left my sleeping baby in there while I ran to the house. I still have guilt over leaving him in there even though I was only a few feet away. 
I  saw my Jamie, he worked for my Dad and he was like a second father to him, walking over to my uncle who had his head down and his fists clenched. I just yelled to Jaime is he alive? He looked at me with tears in his eyes. I yelled again is he alive? And he shook his head no. I instantly started screaming no. I felt like I lost my mind. I couldn’t stop screaming. Branden ran out of the house, grabbed me and buried his face into chest, crying. I just kept saying “what are we going to do?” “I can’t do this again.” 

My Dad’s best friend James went and got Ace and brought him to the park right by my parents house and I went inside their house. I saw cops all standing outside my Dad’s room. I got on the phone with our family doctor who needed to ask us questions so the police could release his body to my Dad’s funeral home. I told him he had been complaining about heartburn and he said he had never had it before. He first felt it the night he told my Mom’s sisters she was going into hospice and the night before he died. I just cried to our doctor (he has seen all of us for over 20 years). He tried to comfort me and then I gave the phone to the police. 


After that it was all a blur. I remember taking their dog home with us that night. The only other thing I remember from that day was I was laying on the couch and Branden walked over to me with a couple of oreos and water. He didn’t know what to do or say. 


I will never forget that day. It was unbelievable. I try to remember my Dad lived a full life, he was that person that truly took advantage of his life. He made moments count. He always told me he was never afraid to die because he lived a good life. That is the only comfort I have from all of this. I got more out of my parents than a lot of people and for that I am truly grateful. I miss my parents so much. I know one day I will be reunited with them again but until then I will miss them every single day. 




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Miss you Dad!

By on December 12, 2013

Last year on this day my Dad passed away. It was the most shocking day of my life. I never thought I would lose my Dad 9 days after my Mom.

The time my Mom spent in the hospital was one of the most bitter sweet times for me now. I spent everyday at the hospital with her and he and I would switch off so she wouldn’t have to be alone long and then I would usually spent the evenings at his house with him. We would talk about everything, we would watch Friends like the old times, we even spent a Saturday at Barnes and Noble with Adonis then went to lunch like he and I would do every other Saturday when I was younger. It was mine and his things we would always do. I look back at the time with sadness because I had to watch my Mom suffer, my Dad suffer with watching his wife die. It killed me to go through this but it was like God gave me that time with both of them to have my last moments with them really mean something. With my Mom it was like I was “repaying” her for every time she took care of me, I didn’t feel that way at all at the time and just did what I did without a thought but when I look back on it I feel like I was able to somehow give her some of what she gave me.

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With my Dad I feel like I got to relive some of our best times at the hardest. When it was Thanksgiving we left the hospital and went to eat at Flanagan’s like we did when I was younger and then went to his house and watched the Thanksgiving episodes of Friends while crying. We would stay up late talking for hours like we did when I was in college, those were seriously the best times. My Dad truly was my best friend. One of our last conversations he told me how proud he was of me for taking care of my Mom and for getting all of her best qualities, I appreciate that conversation so much. There was so many things we talked about that night that were just between us. Things I will hold so dear to me. He always could talk to me about things that upset him, fears, and it was something I always appreciated because we could always be honest with each other.

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My Dad was my best friend, the best friend I could have ever had. When I was going through my hardest times he was there for me like no one else. When I was going through my best times he was there, when I needed to talk he was there. When he needed to talk he knew I was always there. We had the best relationship and I pray I have even half the relationship he and I had I will be happy.

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He never took his family for granted. He was the best example of what a parent should be. I learned so much from him. I learned to always do your best to make moments special, memorable and fun. He taught me to always be the bigger person, it never hurts you to say sorry or just say lets move on and put this behind us. He always was my voice of reason and the person I could count on no matter what. He was the constant in my life.

I will forever appreciate his positive outlook on life. Don’t take life too seriously. Have fun and be silly.

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The last photo of my Dad with Ace

Seeing my Dad as a grandpa was amazing too. He was so sweet and funny with Adonis. He said one of the bravest and proudest things I ever did was give him that name, Adonis, ha! It was his father’s name and when we found out we were having a boy he cried. He was so happy.

Dad, I love you, thank for giving us an amazing life. You lived life to the fullest. You are incredible and will forever be the best example of what a person should be.

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Thank You Mom!

By on December 3, 2013

This day last year my Mom passed away. I remember so many small details of that day that will forever stay in my head. The most stand out part of that day was when I was leaving the hospital with Adonis to take him home and I held him over her and she had been sleeping when I told her Adonis loved her I remember her turning her head and trying to really look at him. It was like she knew it’d be the last time. I could feel it. I could feel her pain. She moaned as if to say she loved him. It killed me. I wanted to stay there with him forever. I wanted to let her have that moment as long as possible but I knew I couldn’t.

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Adonis always looking for Grandma

Those two had such a connection. My Mom was the perfect Grandma to him. She saw him everyday and helped me when I was tutoring kids and he loved that time with her. She was the first person he would smile at. He always got so excited when he saw my Mom. That relationship between them was one of the most amazing things for me to see. It made my Mom and I closer too. I remember when Adonis was just a couple months old and my Mom and I would go shopping or out to lunch and I told her how much closer being a mother made me to her. I knew what her love was for us and couldn’t understand it till I had him. I could never understand the sacrifice or fear you have for your child. I could never understand the love or happiness. She sacrificed so much for us and was such a great Mom.

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One of my favorite pictures of my Mom with my brother, sister and myself. Disney! 

She was that Mom who was kind. She never wanted anyone to feel left out or hurt when our friends were over. She always tried to make things fun for us. She took us to Disney when my Dad had conferences in Orlando and it was some of mine and Ashley’s best times with her. I will never forget her buying us the Mickey ice creams in Epcot and just letting us having fun. She tried to let us always be who we were, didn’t judge and when we were upset she was there. We could all call her crying and she knew just what to say. She was so many things I hope to be to my kids. She wasn’t perfect, she wasn’t the best cook but she threw the best parties and we always had the best sleepovers. She made life fun for us. Her and my Dad gave us so much and I am incredibly grateful for that.

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Birthday dinner for Dad, Grandpa and Me when I was 18

When Branden and I had to be interviewed for our home study the social worker asked us about our childhoods. They were so different in a good way. I remember feeling so proud of how my parents were with us. They were fun, loving and positive. We got to experience so many different places, we were truly loved and cared for and my parents always taught us to think about others. They wanted us to be better than they were. We got to grow up being kids. My Mom was a huge part of this. She grew up in such a different way. She didn’t have a lot and had a lot of heartache and wanted better for us. She tried to make everything special for us. Birthdays were the best, holidays were magical and vacations were always fun.

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Our last Festival of the Green Pig with the entire family

I can never tell my parents this now. I think over the years I have told them this but it’s different now. I feel it’s so much more important to get this out. To show all the good that came from them because they deserve to be recognized for that. We weren’t raised to be perfect. We were raised to be good people. We were raised to love and be happy. My parents taught me so much and I appreciate so much of what they did. I love you both!

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By on May 30, 2013

 photo 390958_10101834468078111_938072002_n_zps3d2fe56c.jpgIf you follow me on Facebook then you probably know Branden’s step father, Herman passed away. We are so heartbroken to have lost such an incredible man.

Herman was the type of man who loved to tell us stories about when he was younger and traveling. He also loved to work out in their cabin and built my mother-in-law the most beautiful room in it. It has this adorable shabby chic feel and when I saw it I was so amazed at his talent.

We have been so blessed to have been able to spend Ace’s first Thanksgiving with them, last Christmas and countless other times through our family trips. We really cherished our time with them and I especially cherish the last time we saw them in December. It was right after my parents had passed and it just meant so much to me that they had driven down here from TN to be with us during an extremely difficult time. It was also the last time my son would get to see his other grandfather.

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I think that is what makes me the most upset about these losses. The loss is huge for our family but the kids are the ones who truly miss out. Ace being less than 2 has lost 3 grandparents within 6 months. How unfair is that? He lost 3 people that had so much to teach him, share with him and they all had so much love for him.

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One of my most favorite memories of Herman was when we went to TN for Ace’s first Thanksgiving. We went up to a cabin in the mountains and spent the day in Gatlinburg. On our drive back up the mountain I may have been slightly freaked out and Herman and I were in the back with Ace. He always had a smile on his face and he seriously could put anyone at ease with his sweet voice. He had his hand on Ace’s carseat and was playing with his hand and Ace just grabbed his hand and held on tight. I took a picture because it was just one of those moments you have to capture.

Cherish those you love because what we have learned is it changes in an instant and they can be gone like that.

Rest in Peace sweet Herman, we will miss you so much.


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Bye Molly girl

By on May 23, 2013
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Tuesday was such a rough day for me. We finally had to make the difficult decision to give Molly away. She bit Ace once before and did it again yesterday. I don’t blame her. She was abused prior to my parents getting her and was the perfect dog for them. When my Mom was dying my Dad told me she made him feel better, she would lay next to him or on his shoulder and keep him company.
When my Dad passed I knew I had to take Molly. I couldn’t abandon her. We had always taken her when my parents went out of town and I was at my parents a lot so I adored her and so did Branden. Ace also loved her.
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Things were fine at the old house, she never really got upset with Ace, would just run away if she had had enough of him. For some reason since we moved she has been acting out, peeing on the couches and in the house and getting more frustrated with Ace. He is not innocent in this, he tried to hit her and she snapped at him but I pulled him away in time for her to miss him.

Later that night he walked up behind her to pet her and she freaked out and bit him. It broke my heart to see him so upset and hurt. He loves this dog, he doesn’t hit the dogs to be mean, he thinks he is “patting” then like we do but of course Molly freaks out thinking she is going to be hurt.

I called my sister crying, I had been so emotional over her lately and knew we just couldn’t keep her. I can not risk my child getting bit again. The first time I wasn’t there but Branden was so I didn’t even know what happened and chalked it up to her just not meaning to or something since she had never tried to bite him before but obviously she is now on guard with him. My sister said she would come get her and take her, we both cried feeling upset at the thought of possibly having to give her away. Ash said she would take her and see how it goes with her dogs (her dog Jasmine is not a fan of Molly). We also had a family friend, who worked for my Dad who offered to take her as well as my sister’s fiance’s Mom.

 photo 396207_10100719949841591_221386353_n_zps6b9c1f7f.jpgI feel so guilty moving her around like this. She has been in a shelter, foster home, my parents home, our old house, our new house, my sister’s house (which is actually my parents house) and if someone else ends up taking her then another house. I seriously break down thinking about it. She is  good dog overall but not meant to be in a home with a toddler.

Since she left it has been easier in the house, I don’t have to worry about our couches or floor getting peed on (she never did this prior to our new house) and I know she is where she is familiar with the home and people. I still feel awful though. This dog was so attached to my Dad and he was so attached to her. She was like the last thing I had of him that was alive if that makes sense. I hope she can be settled and ok with either my sister, our friend or my sister’s mother in law and be ok and happy. I have never given a dog away and never intended to. I have never understood how people could but now when you have a child and they are your main priority it makes sense but it is not any less difficult.

Have you ever had to give away an animal?


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Happy Birthday Beautiful Percy

By on May 8, 2013

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One year ago today my brother’s cousin gave birth to a beautiful little girl. Her name was Persephone and she was born with a heart condition that sadly took her life on the 20th of May last year. It breaks my heart to think of her older sister never knowing her.

I want to ask everyone to go out a do something fun and positive today in honor of such a precious little girl. Hug your babies a little tighter and appreciate their presence in your life. Tell them how much you love them. Life is busy and chaotic at times but days like today really open my eyes a little more and make me step back and see how short and incredible life is.

Jen, Lorin and Manon, we love you guys and Percy is never far from our thoughts.


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The Miami Herald on My Parents

By on December 15, 2012

I am completely in awe of this article on my parents The Miami Herald wrote about them. They had interviewed my sister so I knew they were doing this but I feel so grateful that they shared their love story with South Florida.
Here is a screen shot of the article. If you would like to read the full article you can HERE.

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Another Loss: RIP Mom & Dad

By on December 14, 2012
They could only be apart for 9 days, Dad missed you too much Mom!

I am taking a leave of absence from my blog. I will have guest posters and previously written posts but I will probably not actively blog for a bit.

As many of you know my Mother passed away on Dec. 3rd but now we are dealing with the sudden loss of my Dad. He passed away on Dec. 12th from a heart attack. I am so devastated and completely heartbroken. I have no idea how this can even be real right now. I thank you all for the support you have given me with my mothers passing. I am at a complete loss right now.

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