An Emotional Day

Well, I will tell you, the downside of getting up at 4:30 am for work is getting up at 4:30 when you don’t have to work! I woke up bright and early and finally was able to fall back asleep for another little while. Once I had my chocolate cafe au lait in hand, I sat at my computer and wasted a little time until I was ready to write my post for the day. I was really emotional for me to write it out but I felt like it was the right thing to do. I had never written about my brothers passing before and feel that it was really therapeutic. As the day progressed and I read all of your comments, it was even more so. I was able to let it out even more as I read the thoughtful and kind words. So, thanks to you guys for being so kind, I know this is supposed to be a food blog but for me, it is so much more than that.

Once I pulled myself together, I heated up a bowl of oatmeal that I made a couple of nights ago. I was made with 1/3 cup rolled oats, milk, mashed banana, a smidge of salt. Once it was done, I stirred in ground flax seed and cashew butter.

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I had errands to run and a Doctor appointment so I headed out shortly after breakfast. The doc said I had yet another sinus infection and gave me a heavy duty antibiotic and a steroid shot. After a battle with my insurance company, I got my prescription settled and headed out to buy a pair of rain boots. The weather forecast for the dear husbands race was very rainy and with the number of blocks I would be walking, I wanted my feet to stay warm and dry. I wanted a cute pair with ducks or something but I could only find the heavy duty ones for the winter. I guess the cute ones probably come out in the spring. I finally settled on a pair and headed to lunch. I went to Panera and got my favorite, the tomato mozzarella sandwich and creamy tomato soup with no croutons. It was really good but I wasn’t able to finish the soup.

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After lunch, I headed home to get packed up for our mini trip to Richmond. Though we only live 14 miles from downtown, we booked a hotel near the race to avoid the hectic traffic situation that we have faced year after year. Once we were packed and ready to go, we made out way downtown. The rain was just starting and I was glad I had on my new rain boots. Once we arrived at the hotel, I had a mini meltdown because I assumed there would be a parking deck but there was not. And though I am 32 years old, I do not know how to parallel park! I have never really been a city dweller so I’ve never really had to practice it. So, the dear husband ran into the hotel and advised them of my meltdown. A lady rushed out and parked the car for me! Then the valet came out to help us with our backs and to whisk the car away to a secret parking deck. Crisis averted. I think I need to pay my friend Sarah to teach my how to parallel park in order to avoid such situations in the future.

Once settled into the hotel, we hit the sidewalk to plan out the morning and how we would meet up once the race was over. We also had dinner at The Capital Ale House planned but walked about 40 blocks waiting for it to be 5pm. It was raining the whole time so by the time we arrived we were soaking wet for the rain and the sweat from walking so far. More than hungry, I think we were thirsty so we started off with big glasses of water. For dinner, I ordered fish n greens. The fish of the day was tilapia and I ordered it blackened. When it arrived the salad probably didn’t even equal a cup of salad so I asked for an additional salad on the side! I guess that is better than ordering an additional dessert!

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After dinner, we walked the 10 blocks back to the hotel and then settled in for the night. Just before bed, my stomach was talking to me again so I had a bowl of cocoa pebbles I had packed in preparation. Cocoa pebbles remind of time spent with my grandma when I was a child and bring happy warm memories. She always gave me cocoa krispies bu when I was buying them, I noticed that the nutrition information on the pebbles was better than the krispies. The have less calories, less sugar and more fiber! I’m not claiming they are health food my any means but they sure are a nice treat!

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Before hitting the hay, my dear friend Mara from I Made Dinner made my new header for me! Let me know what you think of it! Give her a shout out if you’d be interested in having a new header for your blog!

Thought Provoker: Do you have a favorite junk food cereal? Though my parents were not health conscious (AT ALL) they did not allow us the have sugary cereals because they were more expensive than the plain ones.  I only got junky cereals as a treat every once in a while when I was away from home.

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RIP, Baby Brother

Four years ago today, my oldest younger brother was killed in a car accident. Since that time, my life and my family have not been the same. In some ways, it hasn’t been the same in good ways and obviously, some ways bad. For me, my grief comes to me at the “worst” times. Mostly while I am driving. Yesterday, when I thought to my self that today was “that day” I was overcome with grief. My mind automatically went to the creek that my brothers car was found in by his wife and my father. And the memories started to flood my mind.

My brother was missing for two days before anyone found him. He was driving home late at night and the accident caused him to land in the creek so his car could not be seen. When he didn’t come home from his late night shift as a police officer, my sister in law became worried. All day on Sunday she played phone tag with my parents and tried convincing the police station to help her look for him. They insisted that he was fine. Once she and my parents finally touched base, they went to find him. By this time, it was late Monday afternoon. My mom called me after work to tell me that he was missing and my first instinct was to get in my car and drive to NC to help find him. But I was too late. Within an hour my father was on the phone telling me that “he didn’t make it”. I collapsed on the floor and let out earth scattering screams that no one could hear because I was all alone in VA. I tried my best to vomit because that was what my body was telling me to do but it wouldn’t come out. Only deep long sobs.

I called my friend Beth and she immediatley rushed to my house to keep me company. My parents didn’t want me to make the trip to NC alone so they sent my other sister in law with some friends to pick me up. I sat there in shock and waited for the 3 hours to pass until I could hold someone in my family. Finally, when she arrived, I collasped into her arms and the crying started again. By the time we made it to NC, it was well after midnight and the first thing I wanted to do was talk to my mother. She was laying on her stomach in shock. All she could say was ‘”this can’t be real”. I didn’t want it to be real either.

The next few days are a blur for me. I only have a few memories that I can recall. The thing that stands out the most is my yelling at a reporter in our driveway because she wanted to know “how we felt”. I yelled at her  that we had just lost a precious member of our family, how the hell did she think we felt. You see, there was mass media attention around my brother’s death because he was a police officer. I can clearly see in my memory turning on the television only to see a big truck pulling my brother’s muddy car out of the water. I can clearly see the hundreds and hundreds of people that came to pay there respects.

I don’t think that I cried very much during that time, I took ativan instead. For some reason, being the eldest, I guess I felt like I had to be the strong one or something. I guess we all grieve in different ways. For me, I can’t listen to the song “I can only imagine” without bursting into tears. One of the ladies in my parents church is a christian recording artist and she sang that song at his funeral. I can’t see a deer cross the road without remembering that these things really do happen to people like me.  My grief is also wrapped up in my anxiety. I panic when the dear husband is only two or three minutes late and “know” that he is dead. When crazy drivers on the road do something to put me in danger, I see my life flash before my eyes and hope that my family won’t have to go through this again. When my phone rings, I panic that someone else is dead. I live my life in fear that those that I love will leave me before I am “ready”.

Today is the first time I have ever taken time off of work in order to grieve again. Yesterday, I was wrapped up in my crying and miserable thoughts when four deer suddenly crossed the road. I think that was my brother sending me a message that he will always be in my heart and that it is OK to let it out.

 I remember a story that my grandmother often tells about me and my brother. She was there with my parents when he was a tiny baby and she made me a bologna sandwich (on white bread, of course) and I tried to feed it to him. I went to my grandmother crying telling her that “baba” would not eat his lunch. I was only three years old, I didn’t know that the sandwich could have hurt him.

I look back on the short time that we had together and I am full of regret. We didn’t have a very good relationship. When I was in high school, my mom went to work after being a stay at home mom all of those years. My brother and I would beat the crap out of each other on the couch and my youngest brother would take a different side each day. I guess we didn’t know that hitting wasn’t supposed to happen.

I often wonder what it would be like today. Would he be proud that I have cleaned my life up and am trying desperately to make it better? Would he still be the goofy one making goofy faces at family functions? Would we have come to be friends after all the rotten times as kids? I miss him so much.

I’m not sure where people go when they die but I hope that his young soul is dancing and singing. I hope that he knows how much I love and miss him. I hope that he knows that now, because of all of this, my family says I love you. I hope that my grandmother is there and is making him mayonnaise sandwiches and macaroni and cheese and that they console each other over the red white and blue pillow that he always dragged around. I hope that one day, my painful memories will fade and that I can remember the fun times.

Rest in Peace, Baby Brother.