Bereavement​ pt. 3

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I remember after you passed away, my mom told me to grieve now because people are not as comfortable, or tolerant of the pain and awkwardness that conversations around death bring later. I remember going to work on the Wednesday after that Saturday and just sitting there, numb but desperate for the distraction. It’s been a harsh reality discovering that my mother was (per usual) right.

I bring you up all the time and I refuse to not say your name. I think about you constantly and talk about you to Bode and to anyone who will listen. I am always celebrating you and your life, but it is hard to not have the time to grieve or even a wide audience to listen. Loss is such a personal experience and it translates to such deep pain, almost to the extent of vulnerability and one person’s experience is never an others. We remember different things, glorify others and obsess over minute, different, details. Hindsight is 20/20 and similarly, deathsight, deathsight is a weird foggy, yet painfully lucid mind space of extreme emotions.

But, remembering you helps. Remembering the laughs and what it was to pick up the phone and always have you to call. Crying helps too and usually, they go coincide. It makes me so unbelievably sad that another year has gone by, that  you aren’t here. It is an inconceivable reality and the worst part is feeling you fade away. I now have to work towards remembering you, your distinct hand movements, your voice, your hair, your smell. I cannot walk through life sad for you, though, it is too heavy of a burden. Rather, I have to make the decision, day after day, to be happy that I can call you my best friend.

 

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Whenever the reality of your being gone gets to be too much, I repeat this E.E. Cummings quote aloud and then I live life like you are in my heart. Whether that be singing and dancing to Disney songs with your namesake, Bode, pushing him fast in the cart at Target, or just laughing instead of getting mad at life’s nuances. And mostly, I feel. I feel the way you did: deeply and all at once, always.

Brynne, I miss you and I love you more than anything. I am so sad you are not here, but I am so happy you were here when you were, that I got to go through every awkward phase of growing up with my kinder, better half by my side. Whenever life gets to be too much, you are still here to simplify it, with both your memory and the juxtaposing reality that is you being gone. Sometimes I even think that the pain of the world right now, the injustices, the absurdity, it would have hurt you to such an extent B, I don’t know how you would’ve handled it. With passion, that I know, but you felt so deeply and it would’ve hurt you so badly.

In Judaism, we believe you keep loved one’s memories alive through names and through sharing stories. Bode is named after you and will always know his aunt Brynne and (most of) our crazy/amazing/hysterical stories. I find solstice in this and love sharing with him everything about the amazing person he is named after.

The first year after your passing, when I wrote you a letter, I aimed to make it positive. This year, I can’t. I refuse to sugarcoat the pain, but I do know that you are alright.You visit your mom and still, me, on occasion and tell us that. We thank you, we love you, we miss you so unbelievably much and we promise to always live life for you.

 

 

What to (Really) Expect When You’re Expecting

Rants
For some, pregnancy is the most glorious thing that has ever happened to them. Others quietly hate it. Me, well, I’ve landed somewhere in the middle. It has certainly been a change, a mental and physical test I think I’m passing. But honestly, I am far, far beyond the point of caring to check society for an approval rating.  Pregnancy has been challenging and depressing, weird and eye-opening in countless ways. It has also been beautiful and bizarre. I’ve loved seeing my body evolve and change, although admittedly, at thirty-six weeks (and five days), I am slightly over the expansion aspect. Mostly, I’ve loved feeling the interactions with my son grow and become more powerful, I’ve loved counting the days by the size of fruits and vegetables as we get closer to meeting face-to-face.
For as much as I’ve complained, I will miss it. I will miss strangers striking up conversations and saying super awkward things. I will miss the way men look at you as though you are a super woman balancing life literally on your hips. I will miss the all-knowing nod from other moms and pregnant women.
I may even miss the people in the elevator that exclaim well-intentioned comments like, “Wow, you’re about to pop!”
Eh, maybe that one not so much. 

Bereavement

Inspiration, Rants

a note from the beraved

After Brynne passed, a friend sent me the above note. It was absolutely painful in it’s accuracy, simplicity and brutal honesty then and still remains to be today. After a while, the morning sadness became a part of my morning routine – protein shake, feed the dogs, drive to work and cry. Today, the dream aspect is truer than ever. I dream of stories I wish I knew and I dream of my best friend. In dwelling on the bizarrely painful fact that it has been two years that I’ve been living with this black tumor of grief, I couldn’t help but realize how odd it is that humans can live through this type of internal suffering. And I couldn’t help but be thankful that in both her life and her death, Brynne taught me the full capabilities of my body.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it every year on this horrible day: I’ll never in my life have another friend like Brynne. And honestly, that makes me feel so cheated for her and selfishly, for me. She never got to see how big Sia became (she’d hate it). She doesn’t get to meet my son and that hurts. She doesn’t get to be that person that she was for me, which was everything, that friend that just is always there the second you need them.

I always think about taking this day off of work, but then it’d be the 21st of September and her birthday and my birthday and every single day that I dream about her and to be honest, they’re never the best dreams. They always end with me brutally realizing she isn’t here anymore and while I’m left with the distinct, amazing feeling that she was 100% momentarily present, it hurts more when I wake up. If I fell apart whenever I feel like I may, I’d never go to work and I wouldn’t be a functioning person and we all know that isn’t what she would want.

In this pain comes the one beautiful thing Brynne continues to teach me. I now know how strong the human body truly is. The fact that I get up and function every single day and carry on with my life despite this pain that never actually goes away is beautiful, in the most deranged way, but it is.

But, it doesn’t change the fact that it is 2015 and she isn’t here. Last year on this day I had spent months poring over something to write. This year was easier. That first year, I wanted whatever I crafted to be positive. I didn’t want to aggravate the wound so gravely deep that still existed, so red, so raw in it’s nature.  But another year has taught me something: that wound will forever exist. We can cover it up with our day-to-day activities and our minute precautions but it is never actually going away. I will always have to mutter the phrase, “when my best friend passed away,” and feel that boulder sized rock in my throat. I will always reach out to text her, throughout every single week when anything that reminds me of our childhood, of our unique views on the world appears. And, I’ll always realize I can’t. It isn’t going anywhere and if I honor her by writing positive bullshit I may or may not believe, or write about the agonizing reality that is her being gone,it doesn’t change the reality. It doesn’t make any of it any easier.

The truth is, Brynne taught me how strong I am by pushing me to be the most authentic version of myself. A quality bizarrely not childlike that she possessed since the day we met at the bus stop in 4th grade, Brynne was always authentically her. As I contemplate names for the baby rapidly taking over my body and I think of the Jewish tradition of naming a child in honor of someone who passed, in hopes that they will embody their spirit, I know that I truly hope that our son get’s a bit of that chutzpah. I want him to be courageous and unapologetic like Brynne. And stubborn and self-assured that their way is the right way. When so many people struggle to even stand behind their beliefs, in a world where so many people crumble to pressure, Brynne was 100% the opposite of that. And I hope that our son gets just a modicum of that too.

This weekend I bought, painted and assembled a desk to surprise Craig with a new pseudo home office. A task I’d grade moderate for my normal “skilled” self, but at 6 months pregnant, it was beyond a feat. I found myself worrying about who to call should I need help. My brothers were out of town, most of my best friends live out of state or work weekends – the only person who I would’ve truly, really been comfortable calling, not worrying about bugging them, who I knew would have dropped everything and came by in the spirit of a surprise new office, an act of love, in 5 seconds flat, was Brynne. Reminders like this happen constantly, but it still felt so unfair. I needed a best friend and she couldn’t be here. And not for lack of want or desire or longing, on either of our parts.

I dreamt of her all that night. The next morning when I was outside painting, concentrating on not inhaling chemicals, an orange butterfly appeared and danced in front of me for 30 seconds. Since B’s passing, I have become oddly accustomed to the proliferation of butterflies following me around, but I hadn’t seen one all summer. It was perfect and as always, I had no doubt it was her. I questioned for a moment, why the butterfly was what she choose, but then through this beautiful insect’s movements, I saw the similarities. Butterflies embody all the things Brynne had always desired – a lackadaisical free-spirit, fluttering through life without being tied down or compelled to anything beyond her own happiness and the happiness of those she loves. As always, I said, “Hi Brynne,” and felt that familiar pang of reassurance to carry on.

This is my absolute favorite photo of Brynne.
This is my absolute favorite photo of Brynne.

Tonight when I dream of her, I know I’ll hear her voice and see that smile, see the unique way her hands moved and the frizzy layers of her ever-changing hair. Missing her essence, her personality, her friendship – that will never go away, but all I can do is assume it is a testament to my strength, our strength as humans, that the grieving process allows me to long for and survive those moments when I still hear her and feel her. And to cherish that in those moments, it’s almost as if nothing changed.

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Instagram Clears Fake Followers…. and you look like a total loser.

Digital Marketing
Fake it ’till you make it… Just, not on Instagram.

About a week ago, Instagram announced,

Would You Send Money through Snapchat?

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You can now send money via…  Snapchat (and Square Cash).

What does it all mean?

Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Venmo, and now Snapcash? With so many mobile wallets unveiling from established brands we trust, does Snapchat have a chance?

You decide:

Yes:

Snapchat offers the only money transfer service from a truly consumer perspective. (+1)

As of August, 100 MILLION people were actively using Snapchat with their closest friends (+1)

There is potential for brands to utilize Snapchat as a way to visually display their capabilities, even allowing consumers to make instant purchases. (+1)

18+ US users can now sign up by adding a Visa or Mastercard debit card, with all account details being held by Square Cash. (+2)

Ease of use: simply type a $ sign, and the  send button turns green. Send funds to  friends and if they don’t sign up within 24  hours, the money is put directly back into  your account. (+1)

Snapchat is asserting itself w a group that  are less likely to use payment apps than an older audience. (+1)

No other p2p payment system has gained the adoption Snapchat has. (+1)

No:

Snapchat appeals to a very specific demographic. (Data shows that 71% of Snapchat users are under 25). (+1)

Snapchat is based around the idea of disappearance and prevalent news of security breaches isn’t exactly what you’d associate with, “here, take my money!” (+1)

If you don’t already have Snapchat, you’re not going to d/l it for the sole purpose of sending funds. (+1)

If you don’t already have Snapchat, people you’d send money to probably don’t either. (+1)

Square only handles Visa and Mastercard. (+1)

THE SCORE: 8 Pro SnapCash, and 5 factors going against. Can you think of more? Leave them in the comments.

Some more fun facts:

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A Year without My Best Friend

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As I write this, your bracelet delicately taps the keyboard. I have been avoiding writing this for too long – placing self-looming dates on my mourning. I’d be ready come Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, our birthdays. And now, shockingly and horribly, it has been an entire year.
I have been avoiding writing this soul-crushing piece for weeks, months, decades emotionally. I’m scared that writing it all down will remove the beautiful sing-song of your voice from my head. I am so terrified of forgetting your voice.

A Sophisticated, albeit Lazy (Wom)Man’s Guide to Dinner: Plated

Recipes

 

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Full disclosure: I’m obsessed with Shark Tank. So when I saw the gourmet delivery service, Plated on my favorite entrepreneurial show, I was instantly into it. While some of my favorite billionaires may have disagreed, Plated presented a fun, scrumptious activity. And really, anything involving food automatically inspires my heart.

Plated targets single professionals and dual income households by delivering gourmet, fresh food directly to your door. The meals come perfectly portioned, with super fresh ingredients on either Saturdays or Wednesdays and allow you to whip up gourmet dinner entrees in under 30 minutes.

The Breakup

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When I was little, I used to coat my hands with glue, impatiently waiting for it to dry, to then peel, inch by inch, the now clear substance,  delicately, yet cheaply imprinted with my unique set of lines.This act was done slowly, as it felt best when you got all of it off in one peel.

Apparently, that lesson didn’t translate.

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This is how it works, right?

You meet someone, and somehow, they’re the one person that doesn’t annoy you. Doesn’t make you want to shoot yourself in the head. Somehow, you want to be around them, maybe even more than they want to be around you (or maybe not, but you certainly can’t stop thinking about it, either way) and whatever, all the sudden, you’re in love. Your life is embedded, so tightly, with someone else’s. Every moment, every action, a counteraction created for your new half heart.  A whole new thought process: mornings, nights, routines, day in and day out, year after year. You know their breath and the way they murmur in their sleep and that look they get when they’re just one drink over the edge. When they’re anxious, or angry, or just tolerating your bullshit. The way they look when they’re appreciating you and the way they look when you rip their heart out. You know the intricacies of their everything, and love everything despite it. Every ounce of breath you breathe is with your whole, new heart.

And then, they’re just not there. They’re not there when you wake up and they’re not there when you go to sleep. Sometimes, you email – but really that’s just if one of you are feeling weak. That’s what that is, right? Because you wanted this. And really what it is is that you no longer know each other. That you’re strangers, you’re completely unknown to each other. And life events will happen and things will come and you will never know, because you aren’t friends. You’re probably not even acquaintances.

And ya, you can think you’ll always have that time and it was so special what you shared. And yes, whatever, it was. But most of the time, you’re just not sure if that’s going to be enough. Memories fade and life goes on, and it’s all your fault, because you wanted this. Because he hurt you too much to forget, but who were you to not forget? You seem to try to forget everything else.

Is it a matter of waiting for the glue to dry? Did you apply too much? The many layers, now indistinguishable with your own flesh, just stack and stack upon dry hands. It weighs you down, the remnants get on everything and now your whole life is stick with memories you just can’t peel away.

There’s a hole where you used to be. I keep walking around it in circles, peering farther over the ledge as the moments pass. There is atonement at the bottom, but I can’t see it.

 

 

A Love Letter to Facebook Paper

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A Rose By Any Other Name?

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Once known as the illustrious substance that is now apparently going obsolete, paper is known as the material used for writing, drawing, or printing on.

Or, at least it was. Until we met the “new Paper.”

Oh, Paper. How bold of Facebook to name you such? Alas, a rose by any other name…

4 Changes You Can’t Ignore: Professional Life v. College Life

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The older I get, the more one thing reigns true: I like people that get. stuff. done.

With my “baby” brothers about to graduate college, I can’t help but look at them with longing/resentment. Yes, I want to punch them both in the face (with kindness), but I know that life will do that shortly, and thus, I sit back and laugh, somewhat wickedly to myself.

As a precursor, I’ll admit that this is a rant. Not towards anyone in particular but more so, about the dramatic changes that occur between college and career. Why was it that a 2pm class, 3x a week was tough to get too? How do I make it to work by 8, erm, 8:30 every single day? Alas, I present the 4 differences between college and career life: