Seven Years or Yesterday?

Seven years ago today, my life changed forever. In one moment you were here on this Earth, and the next gone. It took one phone call to make the greatest impact on my life. You had been my greatest cheerleader, my coach on the sidelines in all my sports, the dad in the audience of all my band, orchestra, and piano recitals. You were in the stands the day I graduated High School and then Navy bootcamp, and the person I called when I had questions about OSU football games, or car questions. Some of the fondest memories I have are sitting on the computer and you watching a movie answering questions I’m sure annoyed you.

Some days you cross my mind fleetingly, something will remind me of you or I’ll see something that I wish I could share with you. Other days the grief is heavy and I think of you and replay the memories over and over. Like the time I scored a goal and you let me shave your head. I never knew you had ears like that until all that hair was gone. Or the time we were instant messaging when I was overseas and you came up with your own shorthand… and I had no clue what you were trying to say and when mom asked you… you acted surprised that we didn’t just know what you meant.

I have so many memories with you that it is hard to choose which ones to share with the world. These three pictures are some of my favorite ones with you.

I wish you could have been there the day I walked down the aisle. Oh I know you were there in spirit, I could feel it. But it would have been so much more special had you been here in person. I know there will be more days to come in my life when I will have those same thoughts.

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The rose I placed in memory of father as I walked down the aisle.

Seven years has been what feels like an eternity somedays and just the other day at other times. I wish I could hear your voice one more time, have one more hug, see you stick your tongue out at me one more time. These pictures are one of the ways I will remember you. I love you daddy!

These songs have given me so much comfort.

 

Bittersweet Memories

I used to LOVE change… I think that was one of my FAVORITE parts of being in the military. Getting to go to a new duty station every few years where you could pretty much start over with a clean slate….make new friends, turn over new leafs, swear you would do things different and travel more. I used to look forward to that change about 2 maybe 3 months into a duty station, and then spend the next months counting down the months & days until I was leaving.

It has been that way at my current job too. Once I learned all that I felt like I could, I was READY to move on to a bigger challenge and something different. In the next 2 – 3 months, I will get that chance… and it’s more nerve-wracking than ever. In the military it was easy… I knew where I was going, that I had a job, a place to live, etc. I have 1 of those things so far. Yes, it’s a start but I have definitely become somewhat of a planner (at least in some areas of my life) and want to know this information NOW!!

So I’ll be going to a new town where I know like 4 people (two of them family members), hopefully already have a job lined up and it won’t be as difficult as it was to find one here, and find somewhere decent to live for the next year. It’s definitely going to be challenging which is a good thing… but also bittersweet.

I know this town pretty much like the back of my hand. I can tell you approximately how long it would take you to get from one side of town to the other and the best routes to take. I can show you the house I spent 18 years of my life in, my elementary school, my middle school, and the schools I went to high school in (the old Harding building and the new). I can show you the church I spent my middle & high school years, where I had my first job, totaled my first car, and the park I played baseball & softball at every summer.

When I was in the military, I was still tethered here. My parents still lived here and in the house I grew up in. I stayed in my old room when I was on leave. Now that I’m taking one of those tethers with me… there isn’t anything holding me to this town but memories.

Memories of screaming at the top of our lungs Christmas carols while my dad hung the lights outside and stopping traffic (literally), the Christmas open house parties as a kid, the big family dinners when I was home on leave, showing rabbits in 4-H and my dad taking my sister and I to far away rabbit shows to compete. Spending nights upstairs in my parents room with my mom and sister playing cards. Shaving my dad’s head in the girls soccer locker room after I scored my first goal. Scoring my first goal at the Varsity level. Coming home from Spain just to surprise Mark for his Anchor’s Aweigh party. Coming home from Maryland to see my baby brother graduate high school and then a few months later leave for the Navy.

This town is filled with ghosts and memories. And while I’m ready for this move for many reasons…. a part of me isn’t ready to say goodbye to them either. It’s familiar, it’s safe (because it is the known), and it is home.

January 31

Today I am so thankful today for the amazing women I call my grandmas and the amazing woman I call my aunt. These women aren’t my blood but I would be hard set to find another group of loving women or women that I love like family. These women came today and today helped to relieve some of my moving anxiety by helping to pack most of the house and then move the stuff to the new place. I don’t think I could have done half of what they did today in two weeks. These are the same women that are there to listen to me ramble about whatever may be on my mind or in my heart. It’s so nice to have that again… it makes me think of my grandpa Rodgers and how we would talk on the phone or when I would visit with him. He and my grandma Rodgers were the only grandparents I knew growing up. Those are some of the very good memories and I hope I never lose them.

Grandma Rodgers on Christmas Eve 1990

Grandma Rodgers on Christmas Eve 1990

Grandpa Rodgers in the summer of 1994

Grandpa Rodgers in the summer of 1994

But anyways…. I could go on forever about them and memories in general. Treasure your loved ones. You never know when something could change in a heartbeat. A year ago today, the world lost an amazing young woman and bright light. Ashley Vance could make you feel included and a part of things even if you knew you were truly an outsider. She was doing great things with her life and touched so many lives including those of her students. Ashley, you may be gone from this world… but you will never be forgotten.

Ashley Danyelle Vance May 1, 1987 - January 31, 2012

Ashley Danyelle Vance May 1, 1987 – January 31, 2012