New Year New Experiences

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Hi there!

Happy belated New Year! Not sure about you, but I’m ready for a new year!  I love the idea of reflecting on the past year to inform and inspire this new year filled with wisdom and experience and sharing it in order to encourage those facing a challenging season.  I love facing new fears and moving forward with the opportunity to help create a beautiful life for me, for my family and for others.  For me, this season is about being in the present moment. No stressing out about my future or being depressed about my past, but just waking up each day with a heart full of gratitude that knows I can’t change the past and I am not guaranteed the future, but I do have this moment. What will I do with it?

 

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to Florida to receive the 2014 “Courage Award” from the Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders President at their national cheerleading championship. Prior to this event I had spoken in public four times. The audience in Florida was by far the most people I’d ever spoken in front of. I knew this would be a moment where I would face a huge fear.  Ever since I put on my blog that I would come speak to whoever would have me, I have just said yes to the opportunities and trusted that the rest would work itself out. I have to be honest I didn’t expect an opportunity like this to come along so quickly, but thankfully it did.  Let’s just say the speech didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked. I had never used a microphone with feedback and it really threw me off as well as not feeling connected to the audience because I couldn’t see them with the lights. I walked off the stage a little defeated and mostly embarrassed. Afterwards the President of FCC came to me with tears in his eyes and told me that God put it on his heart to give me the courage award and invite me to speak and so he obeyed. That moment brought me right back to the heart of why I share, which is to encourage and inspire others. It wasn’t about me giving a flawless speech the victory was just getting up there to speak. If God truly wanted me to be there then the victory was me saying yes and leaving the rest in His hands.  I used to be so afraid to make mistakes in life that I never tried anything that I thought I might fail at.  Although it’s still difficult for me, I welcome my mistakes because in the mistakes are lessons and if I learn from my lessons (like practicing with a microphone with feedback and with lights in my face) then I can grow from the experience and be better prepared for the next one.

I recently got back from a cruise that I went on with my family and Andrew’s family. It was something we all decided to put on the calendar pretty quickly after Andrew passed away. During the cruise, we had a family memorial where we released some of Andrew’s ashes into the Ocean. We talked about how proud we all thought he’d be because we’ve stayed close and been there for each other.

Ellie bug turns three next weekend and she is excited about celebrating her special day at Chuck E Cheese’s with her cousins.  She is so full of energy and love. She brings so much joy and laughter to me and to our entire family.

Just want you all to know how much I appreciate your love and support. I would not be in the place that I am today without all of the ways you’ve blessed my family. I’m excited about being able to give back, because you all have given me so much. Each of you continues to inspire me to serve and give to others, because you never know how much it can impact someone’s life. That’s what you’ve all done for me and for my family.  Thank you for helping to set me on this path of inspiring and encouraging others for a living.  It has been a life changing experience for me. Lots of love to each one of you! Blessings. 

Back To You Bailey

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Hello Friend! I hope that you’ve gotten to enjoy quality time with the ones you love over this holiday season. Yesterday was a bitter-sweet day for me and Ellie.  She was so happy to see what Santa brought her, but deep down there was a not so hidden sadness in her demeanor.  We stayed with my parents Christmas eve and then on the drive back to our new house on Christmas day Ellie said to me, “ Mommy I miss my daddy up there (she pointed to the sky).”  I told her that I missed him too and that it was ok to miss him. I explained to her how good it was to share our feelings when we miss him. I asked her what she would say to daddy if he were here today and she said, “Come home daddy and play with me.”  She gets me every time. Her sadness just breaks my heart and as a mother I want to make it go away, but I know that I can’t bring him back to her.  All in all though it was a great day. She looked like a recipient of Oprah’s favorite things (like when they get the car) when she saw the trampoline in her backyard.  It was so fun to watch, then the reality set in that she’s not going to want to jump alone and so it happened I’m adding a new calorie burner to my exercise routine, trampoline!

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I recently got back from Premier Fitness Camp in California. I went with my mom and my sister-in-law.  It was a gift from my mom last Christmas, but with Andrew being so sick we were just now taking the trip.  Honestly it was an amazing experience.  I’ve always enjoyed physical fitness, but over the years I haven’t made it a priority.  I was hoping this trip would reconnect me with my love for fitness and health.  It did! We met inspiring people who were at the camp for their own personal reasons and some would stay week after week for months to reach their goals. I was amazed at their dedication to improve their health for both themselves and for their family.  I was deeply touched by each individual person there.  We were given 6 small healthy meals a day. We did things that I wouldn’t normally do for fitness like play tennis, take hikes by the ocean (where I saw whales for the first time) and indoor rock climbing. We also had several intense cardio and interval training sessions during the day.  One of my favorite things that we did was take a trip to Whole Foods where the nutritionist taught us what ingredients to steer clear of and how to prepare healthy meals for our family.  At the end of the trip the trainers gave each of us awards and mine was “Back to You Bailey.” When they asked at the beginning of the week why each one of us was here I told them that after taking care of my husband I wanted to reconnect with my own health for both me and for Ellie. The name of the award resonated with me and I’m thinking it may be the title of my first book!

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Jan. 1 I am headed to Florida to speak at the Fellowship of Christian Cheerleaders (FCC) National competition.  I went on a mission trip to the Czech Republic with FCC when I was a senior in high school and then I staffed for the company after graduating from high school.  They heard about my family’s story and the CEO called me to ask if I would come to Florida and accept “The Courage Award” this year and share my family’s story. I emphatically replied Yes!

Immediately following Florida Ellie and I are headed on a family cruise to celebrate Andrew’s life with his parents, my parents, Andrew’s sister and her family. We hope to spread some of his ashes somewhere beautiful (if that’s allowed)! I’m hoping for quality time and creating special memories together.

Ellie and I felt so loved this Christmas. Thank you for all the cards, gifts and personal notes showing that you care.  You all have reminded me there is so much good in this world and so much love to give. Thank you for inspiring me to love others better! I Love YOU!

Home Sweet Home

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Today I turned 29! Some might dread the thought of turning 30, not me! I’m soaking up all the lessons from my twenties and running with open arms to my thirties. I have high hopes for this next decade. It’s amazing to me how during my first 20 years I can feel like I’ve barely experienced life then go through a decade of marriage, baby and death and feel like I’ve had a lifetime of experience.  I’m eager to use the next decade to teach and encourage as I continue to experience more of the peaks and valleys in this life.

I said I wasn’t going to wait as long to blog again, but I did. The eternal optimist in me always thinks I can take on more then is humanly possible. I completely underestimated the amount of time it would take me to get back into a normal routine and take care of all the many details that need to be taken care of after a spouse passes away. Please forgive me if you’ve reached out to me in anyway and I haven’t gotten back to you. I am working on it and I truly appreciate your patience.

I had a scare a few weeks ago when I went to the doctor for a check up. I’m making check ups a part of my regular routine now, because I don’t want to take any chances.  I just got done telling my doctor about Andrew passing away from cancer and she tells me with a look of concern that I need to go get a sonogram on my chest.  I am about to leave for a week to go speak to two churches and I’m freaking out.  I finally find a diagnostic center in a hospital to get me in before I leave town.  Walking into the hospital I felt empathy for everyone sitting around me having to go through this.  I also thought this would be a nice time to have a spouse. It reminded me of the blessing I was able to be for my husband and how I can imagine just having someone there would be even a small comfort. During the sonogram I cried because I was so scared. I told the nurse how I had to be ok because I have a little girl that needs me.  When the doctor came back in she said everything was normal. I was so grateful and it was a good reminder that no one is exempt from the possibility of getting cancer.

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The next week Ellie and I went to Cuero to spend time with my in-laws and for me to speak in San Antonio and Silsbee, TX.  I first spoke at a church in San Antonio, TX. Chase Graves, one of Andrew’s close friends and co-workers spoke also.  It was such a healing time for me (and I’m sure for Chase too) to be able to share our individual stories and experiences with Andrew. The congregation was incredibly welcoming and kind to us.

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The day before I spoke I drove with my mother-in-law to Houston to visit M.D. Anderson about medical bills.  We ate lunch at Papasitos (Andrew and I’s favorite). I was overwhelmed with emotion that day and went to the bathroom to cry it out. Something about Andrew and I’s conversations at Papasitos, his favorite food and really our companionship just made me miss him.

Walking into M.D. Anderson completely broke my heart. Looking at the faces in the cafeteria and being able to relate with the families going through cancer with their loved ones was too much for me.  I felt helpless to help them. Then I remembered how God helped me get through each grueling day and how I prayed He did the same for them.

A couple of days later I headed to Silsbee, TX to speak to a group of amazing women. Each time I tell my story (and I share different aspects of the story at each talk )I feel more and more of a connection with the audience. I’m less focused on not messing up and more focused on sharing my story in a way that inspires and encourages others. Up until these past two talks I had not cried during the talk. The past week was extremely emotional and I was finally able to let down my guard and feel my story as I shared it.  For me that was a huge accomplishment because I rarely take the time required to sit in my feelings and to express them. I felt a huge shift in the audience connection once I was able to express my true feelings.

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I spent some of this Thanksgiving with Andrew’s family (after running the turkey trot with my mom, family tradition) and although it was not the same without Andrew I think the entire experience brought his family and I closer. The day after Thanksgiving would have been Andrew’s 31st b-day.  Ellie and I sang happy birthday in the car to daddy.  We talked about missing him and some of our favorite memories with him. It was a sweet time.  This past week Ellie and I moved into our new house. It’s a fresh start for us. I finally feel like I’m moving toward somewhat of a routine and some stability. At times I’m aware that being a single parent won’t be easy, but then I remember what all I’ve already come through and I’m reminded that God is with me and helps me.  I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving and I think you should know that I am incredibly thankful for YOU! Lots of Love from Bay and El bug!

You May Now McKissack

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Hello Friends,

I’ve been M.I.A for the past couple of weeks so we have lots to catch up on!  Being close to the ocean in San Diego with Ellie and my family was relaxing and therapeutic, need I say more?!  I read a great book on the trip called “My Story” by Elizabeth Smart (the adorable girl from Utah that was kidnapped and found).  I was captivated by her strength and will to survive.  Even though our circumstances were completely different I was able to relate with her through my own life challenges.  I especially related when she talked about how her experience has made her more grateful and how her faith helped carry her through.  Those things were true for me as well.

The night I got home from San Diego my dad and I were eating Rosa’s enchiladas (one of our faves) and my mom brought me a card to open. She expressed that she meant to give it to me on my anniversary.  I looked at the card and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was Andrew’s handwriting on the card.  You see the last month of Andrew’s life my mom was helping me get cards together for Ellie so that she would have something from her dad on special occasions.  Never did I ever think about doing anything like that for myself, but my mom did. It was the nicest and best gift she’s ever given to me (and she’s a great gift giver).  I opened the card and inside was a handwritten letter from Andrew which said, “Bailey, you’re the biggest blessing in my life. I don’t know how much longer I have, but I know it will be great because it’s with you.” It was like he came back from the dead. The finality of someone’s death starts to become reality as more and more time goes by.  I was beginning to accept that I wouldn’t see him or hear from him again and then I got this letter. Word’s can’t really do justice how much that card means to me.

This past weekend I had some kind friends help pack up my furniture in Cuero and help move me into my new home in Dallas.  Walking into the Heard’s house in Cuero was overwhelming to me. Maybe it was because I started my first round of therapy that week so my heart was open to feeling, but nonetheless I cried on the stairs when I walked into their home.  I started talking to Andrew out loud and I repeated over and over how sorry I was that he had to suffer.  Being in that house reminded me of the suffering we all watched him go through day after day. Those memories will always stay with me. When Andrew’s mom got home and found me crying she hugged me tight and we cried together. I will always feel like Andrew’s parents are the only other people who know what it’s like to watch the person you love suffer day in and day out and the toll that takes on a person.  Andrew’s dad came home and we laughed, cried and talked about good memories. It was healing.

The next morning I headed back to Dallas to unload the u haul.  I’m not completely moved in, but I’m getting closer.  Sitting in my new house while Ellie played on the floor I had the realization that the house was going to be this quiet all the time. There was a sense of sadness in the room. Don’t get me wrong I love me some alone time, but by choice not by circumstance.

The day after I moved my furniture we drove to Waco to celebrate my little brother’s engagement.  He is such a romantic and his engagement was the mother of all romantic gestures. He proposed in a tiny white chapel at a Ranch with rose petals, candles, strung lights and pictures. He had a video crew and a photographer.  A yummy restaurant catered. Pres and Anna were surrounded by close friends and family. The families spent the night at the ranch and that night we all sat by the fire pit roasting marsh mellows while sharing in Pres and Anna’s excitement.  It was a beautiful experience. I’m honored to get an incredible new sister and I’m so proud of the man my younger brother has become. I’m looking forward to celebrating this memorable time with them. Ellie’s already been practicing her flower girl duties. :)

I know this was a lot to throw at you at once so I’m not going to let so much time go by in between blogs. I’m hoping that once I’m moved into my new house I can get into a groove.  Next week I’m headed to San Antonio and Houston to speak at two different events. I am extremely honored to be invited to share, inspire and encourage others. Thank you all so much for continuing to share my family’s story so that I can have these amazing opportunities to help others even as I continue to work through my own healing. Lots of love to you all. Blessings.

P.S. In case you were wondering about the title of this blog let me give you a little background. My maiden name is McKissack. Pres (my lil bro) and Anna’s friends thought of the saying and created a hashtag for the engagement #youmaynowmckissack  So creative!

Places to Go

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Hey there!

I’ve been a busy bee.  A couple of weeks ago Ellie and I spent a long weekend in Branson with Andrew’s family. We stayed in cabins, went to shows and El went to Silver Dollar City with her grandparents and cousins. It was nice to spend quality time together.  My heart continues to break for Andrew’s mom, dad and sister as the level of pain they are experiencing doesn’t go away.  They shared that as time goes on and the pain and reality of Andrew’s death sets in the deeper the hurt.

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This weekend was the first time I went back for Baylor Homecoming since I graduated in 2007 (so sad especially because I was a Yell Leader).  I got to partner stunt on the field during 3rd quarter and no one lifting or being lifted was injured. Thank you Lord! I also got to reconnect with some really special people who meant a lot to me at Baylor and have still been there for me during the hard times.  I was kind of hesitant to go back (especially since Andrew’s death was so fresh), but in a way it brought me closer to Andrew.  Looking on the field and thinking about him in his football uniform and me on the sidelines cheering was a direct reflection of the past year in our life. I’ve always been his cheerleader and he’s always been the shining star.

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Somehow going back to the place where we met and being around the people who loved us and knew us as a couple filled my heart with so much joy.  So much so that I almost forgot yesterday we would have been married for 6 years.  The love I felt this weekend overshadowed the sadness of our anniversary.  I did look through my wedding photo book yesterday and honestly it just made me so thankful for the entire season I had with Andrew.  Sometimes I worry about forgetting details about him such as his voice, his quirks and the way he looked at me. I try and hold onto the things I can never forget such as the kindness of his heart, his love and thirst for knowledge and his beautiful gift to communicate.

I’m excited to start therapy to work through the grieving process. I start at the end of Oct. and will go fairly regularly.  It’s easy to tell myself that I’m fine and to keep focused on my 2.5 year old and be strong, but ultimately I want to go deeper. I want to feel. I want to experience all the emotions that come with having a spouse pass away.  I need help to be guided through that process because it does not come naturally to me to allow myself to feel that deeply. I believe that as I go through this process of therapy I will be able to better connect with myself, with Ellie, my family, my future family and with you.  I want to help those who are hurting so badly, but I know in order to truly help other’s through the process I have to go there myself. So here I go. I promise to share the process with you in hopes that my vulnerability will inspire your own journey into the deep places that truly change our lives.

I’m headed to San Diego in a couple of days for my first long vacation since Andrew passed. I’m looking forward to just being and relaxing.  The ocean always calms my mind and draws me closer to God. It’s a place where I can reflect, read and journal.  Hope you all take some time this week to just be, relax and connect with what’s going on inside of our soul. It’s an easy place to avoid, but it’s also the most freeing place to go. I love you all and so appreciate you walking with me during this new chapter in my life. Blessings.

Death and Life of a Dream

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Lately, I’ve been reminded about the reality that when some dreams come to an end the birth of new dreams begin.  It’s been a little over two months since Andrew passed away and sometimes the more time passes the more real the loss of his presence in our lives.  With each new day I grow in love and appreciation for the person he was and the impact his life has had on mine.  In so many ways he challenged me and pushed me to grow into the person I was always supposed to be, but was terrified to become. 

 

When I was in college I had dreams of becoming the next Beth Moore. I visualized myself speaking to hundreds of women. I even applied to be her intern when I graduated, but apparently everyone else wanted to be her intern as well so she didn’t take internships at that time. I applied anyway! Then reality set in that speaking and writing was a scary world because people judge you and sometimes the harshest critics can be those in the church. I hated the idea of being judged on such a deep level.  I didn’t believe I could handle it so I retreated and suppressed my desire to lead in that way.  Over the years that dream has never died only shifted and transformed. I remember telling God that if he would give me the platform I would go share the story and share of His faithfulness. 

 

Little did I know, that the story God gave me would be such a painful experience.  This past week I had the opportunity to speak to the staff at Liberty Christian School in Argyle, TX about our story. It was an emotional experience because I went to high school there, taught and coached there (as did Andrew).  The LCS community has been so faithful to pray for, support and encourage our family through this hard season of life. Then on Friday night at the LCS homecoming game the staff awarded me the female alumnae of the year award at half time.  I felt so completely covered in love.

 

On Sunday I went to Park Cities Baptist Church in Highland Park, TX where Andrew was the High School minister for several years. I shared an update on how El and I were doing, gave a summary of Andrew’s book and then helped fulfill one of Andrew’s dreams which was to bring the published books to PCBC. The outpouring of love from the PCBC community was overwhelming. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to come back to a place that meant so much to both Andrew and I.

 

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The life of a new dream is occurring and I am open and willing to go wherever our story may lead in hopes of inspiring and encouraging those going through difficult times. My dream has always been to connect with others in a way that inspires hope and challenges growth.    I don’t know all the details of what this will look like, but I don’t need to know I just move and I trust. It is good to be in the flow. I continue to trust that God has a plan for each of our lives and that whatever we go through has purpose and meaning and it involves helping others.  I wonder what you’ve gone through that you could share, encourage and help others with today. I know you have so much to give. Thank you for the gift of your presence in following mine and Ellie’s journey.  Love and Blessings.

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Ellie Update:

Yesterday morning I was playing Pandora (Kari Jobe station) and Ellie wanted to dance. I got up to dance with her and she wanted me to leave a spot for Daddy. So we are holding hands in a circle with a space for Daddy and just dancing away. Then we took turns dancing with Daddy. Such a beautiful moment!

Life is Precious

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You know the saying “When it rains, it pours.” Well, it’s true.  It’s been less then two months since Andrew passed away and last Thursday my sweet grandmother went home to be with the Lord.  My Nanny (that’s what everyone called her) lived a long (approaching age 89) and beautiful life filled with so much joy, laughter and love.  She was the only grandparent I ever had a relationship with and it was a very special one!

 

I was honored to speak at her service and to share about the ways she shaped me into the person I am today.  Nanny planted the seeds of faith in my life long ago when she taught me my first prayer.  She lived with us and slept in my room. Each night, before bed, she would lead me in a prayer. “Now I lay me down to sleep I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take.” After the prayer we would name everyone in our family and ask God to bless them.  I started wanting to know more about God and Heaven and we would stay up late into the night discussing the mysteries of God.  The other way my Nanny shaped me was through her love for people. She taught me how to really “see” someone.  To acknowledge people and to bring them in and thus making them feel like family.  I do my best to allow loving God and loving people to guide my life and it all began by watching Nanny.

 

Seeing the way it should have been done (passing away after living a long life and having a beautiful funeral service filled with kids and grandkids) only reminded me of what could have been with Andrew.  I hate that his life was cut short and that he didn’t get the chance to help raise Ellie and experience the joy of watching her grow up.  This morning I went into Ellie’s room and she was talking to herself in her crib. I approached her and she told me she was playing. I asked her what she was playing and she said she was playing with Daddy and Colton (her cousin). She was laughing and told me she was pretending. I asked her if she could pretend I was there too because I wanted to be with them.  She said, “Yes.” 

 

The day of Nanny’s passing she had all of her kids and most of her grandkids by her side. When I walked into the room I immediately had flash backs of Andrew’s last hours.  She was breathing in the same pattern that he was and I knew I was about to watch her pass away like I had done a month ago with Andy.  It was a hard day.  I felt grateful to be there with her until the end and I felt fear about watching her take her last breath.  Mostly, I was worried about my dad because he was devastated by Andrew’s death and now he was losing his greatest cheerleader.  It was so difficult to watch him be so sad.

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 At the end of the day it was an honor to be by his side and to help him and the family write the obituary and plan the funeral.  As hard as it was, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I’ve learned so much from everyone who has taken care of my family and me during the hardest time in our lives and it motivates me to give back whenever and wherever I can. 

 

The consistent lesson I’m learning is that life is precious and the people in it are such gifts. Tell them what they mean to you now, show them how much you love them because when it is all said and done love is what remains.  I love you! 

New Chapter

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Hi there,

I just thought you all should know that I carry you in my heart daily. I’ve been inspired by your generosity and unconditional love for me and for my family. Thank you for your continued prayer and understanding as our family is getting adjusted to our new normal. 

Ellie and I are now getting settled in Dallas.  She started her new school today and every day she seems to be doing a little better then the day before.  She says she misses Daddy a lot and I reply by telling her I miss him too and it’s ok to be sad. One special thing I did get done before Andrew passed away was a necklace with his fingerprint and initials on the back and another one with Ellie’s fingerprint and initials (Thanks so much to the store Be in Cuero, TX for this wonderful gift). I plan to give it to her one day, but until then I get to wear it (which I love). 

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I have waves of sadness come over me usually at night time, but then after I feel the sadness I remember how much Andrew inspired me to live life to the fullest.  I’m reminded how valuable time is and how life is a gift.  It’s a gift I want to continue to share with you all because I believe God has a plan/purpose for our lives and it involves connecting with others. 

I would be so honored if you would continue to follow mine and Ellie’s journey as I share the ups and downs of being a single parent, the highs and lows of my walk with God, the accomplishments and the failures.  I plan to write my first book “Beyond a Gray Faith” (Special thanks to Pastor Glenn Moore and his beautiful wife of Lifeway church in Cuero, TX for the title and the encouragement).  It will be about the lesson’s I’ve learned from Andrew in the last years of his life and how those lessons have inspired me to overcome my fears and to focus on what matters most in life. 

As horrible as cancer is, it did not destroy Andrew’s spirit, his love and his purpose.  All of those live on in the hearts of his family and all those he touched. I plan to continue spreading Andrew’s message by sharing our story with whoever will have me, showing a documentary of our journey (thanks to fotolanthropy) and selling Andrew’s books.  I will also be working to get his children’s book published, building his real estate empire and completing several of his other projects that he had in the works. Andrew left me a lot to do, and I consider it a great honor to help finish what he started.

If you are at all interested in being involved in any of these projects please feel free to contact me at baileyheard@gmail.com

If you have a group that you would like for me to come share our story and video with you can also email me. I don’t have a speaking fee right now all that I ask is that I would be able to sell Andrew’s books in order to spread his message. 

Be looking out for some new renovations on the site, coming soon! Looking forward to connecting with you. Love and Blessings.

 

 

 

A Cuero State of Mind

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In the next couple of days I will be packing my things and moving back to Dallas.  My gut reaction to the move is sadness.  I am mostly sad because this was the last place that my family was whole.  Also, I truly enjoyed living in Cuero, TX.  If you asked me a year ago if I ever thought I’d live in a small town I would have said, “heck to the no.” After experiencing the small town for myself I’m singing quite a different tune.  I wanted to take some time to tell you what I learned from my short time living in Cuero, TX. 

 

I’ve learned that God works in amazing ways when we keep an open mind.  Early in our marriage Andrew tried to move me to a small town and I cried in the closet, because I really thought I couldn’t do it.  Then after living in Dallas and trying to control our circumstances to make life what we thought we wanted (which resulted in severe unhappiness for both of us) we finally threw up our hands and decided to keep an open mind. Once an opportunity opened to move to Cuero we gladly took it hoping for the best.  Both Andrew and I saw God’s plan more clearly once we moved and were open to a different way.

 

I’ve learned to take time to breath and enjoy life.  I didn’t think I would like the pace of a small town, because I’m used to a super fast pace life.  I learned that I love the slower pace and it suits my personality well.  In Cuero I feel like I get time back.  The days seem to go by more slowly and somehow I’m able to fit everything in plus some rest/relaxation and quality family time.  I also love that I have room to think, to create and to dream without feeling rushed. 

 

I’ve learned what it truly means to “love thy neighbor as thyself.”  I love the people in Cuero.  I truly appreciate the genuine love and concern I’ve received from so many. It’s amazing to know my neighbors, to eat lunch with them and to sit on their back porch drinking ice tea and gleaning their wisdom.  I love how loyal they are and I love how they all rally together to do whatever they can to help.  They have gone above and beyond for my family and I’m eternally grateful for their love and support.

 

I’ve decided that I am going to take “A Cuero state of mind” with me to Dallas.  No matter how badly I think things should go a certain way I will keep an open mind.  No matter how rushed I feel I will stop, relax and trust that everything is going to be ok.  No matter how I am treated I will treat others with genuine love and concern with a willingness to help however I can.  Thank you Cuero, TX for taking us in and treating us like family.  Can’t wait to come back and visit. Lots of Love to you all. 

A Time To Mourn

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I’m not going to lie.  The past week has been emotionally difficult. I figured based on my personality that the hardest part of this journey for me would come after Andrew passed.  What I couldn’t anticipate was what I would feel like each day. I feel like a ton of bricks are strapped to my chest.  It’s a heartbroken and heavy feeling.   Everyday things like getting out of bed and getting out of the house feel like a challenge.  It feels similar to the depression I experienced after college except my mind is in a stronger place.  I’ve had days where I just miss everything about him.  We were the best of friends and now I feel this emptiness inside of me.

 

On top of those feelings my two-year-old daughter and I have had some tough conversations.  The night of Andrew’s memorial I was rocking Ellie to sleep and she told me this, “I miss daddy and I so sad.” Up until this point she only asked for him a couple of times.  Since that day, every time she see’s Andrew’s dad (her papa) she yells, “Dada.”  A couple of days ago she told me she wanted to go home (El and I came to Dallas for the week) because daddy was there and when I told her that he was in our hearts she told me this, “But I need him.” It broke my heart.  Today we went to The Village Church with my parents and I brought Ellie in to sing worship and when she saw the speaker she yelled out, “Dada” because she has seen her dad speak at churches. Then she hugged me and told me, “I miss daddy.”

 

As a mother, it makes me so sad to see Ellie hurting and to know that there is nothing I can do to fix her pain. I can tell being around my parents that they so badly want to make it all better for us, but know that they can’t.  My world just feels strange right now because I don’t know what my new normal will be.  I’m in a transition period and a mourning period, but motherhood doesn’t stop and responsibilities don’t stop. I’m trying to figure out how to deal with it all the best that I can.  I know that I will rise to the occasion, but for now I’m allowing myself some time to grieve.

 

I’ve enjoyed getting to read everyone’s fb messages, gifts, cards, etc.  Reading your words of encouragement help put a smile on my face and remind me that everything will be ok.  Thank you for loving my family and me so well.  Thank you also for giving me the space and time I need to work through the loss of my love.  Your prayers give me the strength I need to get through each day.  Full of love and gratitude, Bailey

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