As much as I struggle from November until mid January, this year I actually was able to get some things accomplished.
Beginning the month, I chose to stay in my pj's all day on January 3rd and just remember Melissa ALL day. Sue called me first thing in the morning just to say that she knew today would be hard, but she was there for me. We talked for a little bit, and that would be the last time I would talk to her. Ever. If I had known, I would have talked a lot longer than I did.
Saturday, January 5th was Melissa's 35th birthday. We celebrated just like we always did with her, lunch at China Cottage. When we got home, we got a call from the Nelson's, good friends of ours.
Greg was just released from the hospital that day, and wanted to go out to dinner. So we met them.
Then they wanted to go to the boys basketball game, so we did that too. (hard to believe I could do THAT much on Melissa's birthday, but we did). When I got home, I realized that I hadn't talked to Sue all day, and that was very unusual...because I talked to her EVERY day for the last four years. But especially because it was Melissa's birthday.
Sunday, January 6 we had the annual balloon release for Melissa's birthday. I thought Matthew & Jen were bringing Sue. They thought she was coming with us. When I got a call from dad asking why no one called him on Saturday, not even Sue , who called HIM every day too, I was concerned...I tried calling her, then I checked her FB page and it looked like she had posted something. So I wasn't as worried, but went to check on her later that evening anyway. Her lights were on but she wasn't answering her phone, so I thought she was sleeping.
When she didn't answer her phone all day the next day, after Nick picked up the boys Donny and I went over, found someone to let us in the building, then pounded on her door - the dog was barking and the tv was on and she didn't answer. I called 911, texted Matthew (her son, who had just moved back from Pittsburgh the week before after 4 years). He got there before the police did...and found a way to get into the apartment where we found her. After January 3, 2009, the worst day of my life.
We decided on a Memorial for Sue. A good friend of ours, Mark Franz, helped us get Greenmont
Hall...I called him and he met me that day to sign all the papers.
A week after the memorial, we had plans to go to Berlin, Ohio (Amish Country) for a high school basketball tournament that the Fairmont girls were playing in...and we decided to go. I needed to keep busy THIS time. It was a good diversion.
Firebirds honor Fort...
she would LOVE this!
Got home from Berlin in time for a 90th birthday celebration for my good friend Ruth's husband Bruce.
One of the better days in January...(Ruth passed away 2 years ago from breast cancer also).
End of the month...not so good. Mark (our friend who helped us get the hall for Sue's Memorial), was having chest pains on the last day in January. Drove himself to the emergency room where he was admitted. Ended up have a quadruple bypass the following Wednesday. Things did not go well and he passed away that evening.
The day before his surgery, Mark was getting all his things in order...including his wishes in the event that things did not go well. He requested a celebration "like Sue's".... his memorial was last night and it was an amazing tribute to his life...a TRUE Franz celebration, with great stories, laughter (and of course a few tears, which from what I heard from a member of his family, he said "too many tears at Sues' memorial"...) Hard not to shed tears for someone who touched your life...
This is Mark with his daughters, Kristi and Nikki. They both played on our softball team last summer...the reason we won the league AND the tournament (they both went to college on softball scholarships - Nikki graduated last year, Kristi is still playing)...he was SO proud of his girls.
After our softball games, we would go to Angi's (a local bar that sponsors our team)...and he would have us laughing the entire time we were there. He told the best stories.
Donny and I were talking about this - the fact that his girls FINALLY got to play on this team.
It has been together for probably 30 years - starting with Marks sisters, sister in laws, then his nieces...it is really a Franz family softball team. About 30 years ago I was invited to play on the team and have been there ever since. This is an AMAZING family. Eleven kids. The oldest, JEF, passed away several years ago. Somehow, we have become a part of this family. Melissa and John's first date was to Julie (Franz) and Kevin Cates wedding. They were all at her and John's reception. (Melissa always said we were "Franz wannabe's"...it was true. They all helped out at Sue's Memorial. We are so blessed to be part of that family.
This is the Franz Women's team...nine of our players are Franz's. The rest are Franz wannabe's...
Mark will be missed...he was a generous, funny, caring man.
RIP Mark ~ you are loved and will be missed!
Despite the (for loss of a better word) crappiness of the month of January...I feel like I need to end with some smiles. Melissa would have it no other way.
A "serious" family photo...or so I thought. Andrew took this picture.
PopPop and Max bonding...with their tablets.
Working on a science project at Pamma's..."Will it sink, or will it float?"
Pulled this one out of the archives...I took this photo on the beach in Provincetown (on Cape Cod)...
I'm guessing that these canoes are probably covered with snow right now...Provincetown is a beautiful place in the summer!
Sometimes I ask myself how am I going to get through another day....I am so tired of losing people that I love. I don't know HOW I do it. I just get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other and go.
I miss Sue and her phone calls. EVERY day.
I miss Melissa. Every minute of every day. But I know I will be with her again. I have Donny, and Nick, and Andrew, Max and Meredith. And my dad. And my sister Donna. And a lot of great friends. So until it is my turn, I'll work to find a little happiness in each day. And remember not to sweat the small stuff...and in my life, pretty much EVERYTHING is small stuff.
"NO MATTER HOW BAD YOU HAVE IT, THERE IS ALWAYS SOMEONE WHO WOULD LOVE TO BE IN YOUR SHOES." ~Fort
It's what I live by.