"Life is partly what we make it, and partly what is made by the friends we choose"-Tehyi Hsieh
Saturday, July 3, 2010. One year, six months. Eighteen months.
Yes. I am still counting. It is STILL hard for me to believe that she is gone. ESPECIALLY when I go through pictures and she looks so healthy. And when I read the blog (I do that daily-I LOVE to hear her "voice" in the blog). And when I read saved emails we sent back and forth.
I realize when I read her writing how blessed we are to have the blog..and the emails...and the thank you's...I STILL find things that she's written. I love it.
Another thing that I have realized in the last eighteen months is how blessed we are - how blessed SHE was - to have such WONDERFUL, caring friends. Do you remember when it was a year and I said "you know you did a good job raising your children by the friends they choose?"...I have to say it again. She had WONDERFUL friends.
Usually I am laying wide awake in bed in the middle of the night when something pops into my head to write on the blog. I grab my journal and start writing. Sometimes I even get up in the middle of the night and post.
What prompted me to write this time was an unexpected visitor last week. The morning did not start out very well. I really didn't want to get out of bed. Once I got up, had a cup of coffee and read the paper, I decided if NOTHING else, I would take a short bike ride. That was it. Then I got home, did a little "decluttering", then took a 4 mile walk. Ok. Now I'm motivated. I was getting ready to pay bills (the old fashioned way - I still write checks)...when there was a tap on the door...and what a GREAT surprise was awaiting me! Erica B (no last names - Fort's rules), a former rugby teammate of Melissa's was in town from Seattle, visiting family. She now plays for the Seattle Breakers, and her team came in 4th in the Nation this year. At the end of the season, they sold their old "Classic" jerseys. I guess one just JUMPED out at her and had FORT written all over it...it was FALLING apart. Imagine that. The collar is torn off, the number on the back (#4) is almost ripped off. Sound like Fort? I have some of her other jerseys and that old OU green jacket that she tried to sew herself. It's her. Erica bought it for ME. I was SO touched by her thoughtfulness. It was a very emotional visit. And I loved EVERY minute of it. (I think I almost made her miss her flight - Sorry Erica!)
I guess what I'm trying to say here - to ALL of her friends, is you all mean so much to us (me, Donny, Nick, Mere, Drew, Max and I KNOW John too). You keep her alive for us. Sharing stories, keeping in touch, including us in events. Our lives will never be the same without her. But we are SO blessed that SHE CHOSE THE FRIENDS that she did. I KNOW I did a good job raising her BY THE FRIENDS SHE CHOSE. I can't say that enough.
I have to say too, to my friends, that I haven't been much of a friend lately. I'm sorry for that. I still don't have a desire to "party", unless it's about Melissa...
or her friends. It's just where I am at right now. I get up EVERY day, I do as much as I can - I even laugh now and then - especially when I have Drew & Max. But my life is different. There is a HUGE part of my life missing. And it will NEVER change.
Thank you for understanding that. At eighteen months, I STILL am not good at returning phone calls. I AM good at replying to emails. I am very content to stay at home and enjoy my bike rides and walks. I don't make plans in advance for pretty much anything -(other than softball games). I enjoy meeting one or two friends for lunch. I LOVE watching my grandsons. I love it when someone stops by...especially one of Melissa's friends. I still don't cook - (Donny's supposed to be doing that now anyway...I cooked for the first 25 years - he's supposed to cook for the 2nd 25!) I have started going to the grocery again - didn't do that for over a year. And yes, I still cry EVERY day. There is something EVERY day that reminds me of Melissa. But that is ok too. I think about her EVERY day, but I am getting up and living one day at a time.
OK. Every post is about Fort. Enough about me....
This post is mostly pictures - of Fort and of her friends. I hope you enjoy the pictures. Some have been posted before, but they are some of my favorites.
Me & Erica (self portrait - with Fort's camera. Fort would have DEFINITELY posted a picture of a visit from a friend who came ALL THE WAY FROM SEATTLE to visit!)
Angie & Fort (I hope you don't mind I "borrowed" this photo from FB Ang). Ang is in touch with me on a REGULAR basis.
Julie, Shannon, Fort, Pam
This our POST 3 day, 60 mile walk photo! Shannon is doing the walk AGAIN in Boston in a couple of weeks for Fort...by herself this time. She said was trying to get motivated to register for the walk - went to a Red Sox game and heard a song that she and Fort loved (or hated) when they were at OU. ANOTHER sign from Fort - she went home and registered that night!
Fort and her Cincinnati Kelts teammates...GREAT friends!
Me, Jen, Donny & Fort (Jen was Melissa, Erica, Kyra & Stacy's rugby coach after OU. I think it's called 23's???? Somebody help me here...)
Jen is running the Donna Breast Cancer Marathon in Jacksonville AGAIN in February. I don't plan anything that far in advance, but I'm pretty sure I'll be WALKING the 1/2 Marathon with a couple other B POSITIVE team members. If you're interested, let me know. I know Jen would welcome anyone who wants to join us - you can run the full or half, or walk the half like ME!
Fort and her best friends from OU & "Scrapbook Mountain" (Jami & Stacy)
I was just browsing through pictures (again) and thought I'd post some of my favorites...only a few actually. Some have already been posted on the blog, but I hope you enjoy them anyway...........
One of our wig shopping excursions...(this is what I looked like in high school!)
One of my favorites...her 30th birthday...
Melissa having a serious conversation with the Franz's...I would LOVE to know what she's talking about here...POLITICS maybe??? (did't see that face too often!)
Melissa and her high school buddies...
a typical photo...we have very FEW pictures of Melissa where she is NOT making a face. I love it....
This was October 2008...she looks GREAT. We were having SO much fun...ALWAYS. Me & Fort and the Naked Cowboy!
one of my favorites of Drew with his Aunt Fort...he LOVES to be outside still....
Of course a Fort update isn't complete without the adorable pics of her nephews...Max poolside sipping a cool one....
Drew at his first church festival...he was so excited to take a ticket home with him! (picked one of the "losers" off the ground..he was SO excited!)