Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"You can't have a testimony without a test......"

“You can't have a testimony without a test....”

How true those words are.. and how hard they are to comprehend at times. A test... many things can be measured by “a test”--- your knowledge of a certain subject is what comes to mind first.

But so many other things can be measured by a person's personal “test of faith.” I know for me personally, my knowledge of faith wasn't necessarily tested- but learned, improved, given.

A persons perseverance. I like to think of this as a “sink or swim” scenario. How much weight can your shoulders hold? How strong are you? How far can you go before you sink? Sinking isn't a terrible thing-- if you sink into the right hands. That's where I believe people get “wrong.” Some sink into alcohol, drugs, sex, whatever else... but some sink into The Hands of God-- which is right where you're suppose to be- all the time, but for some reason it's easier to do during your “test of faith.” Some fight it.. saying they don't “need” Him... that's where some addictions come from-- I know I'm possibly one of the most hard-headed individuals... but I did finally figure out I could not persevere alone.. A person needs that “Lifejacket” whether they want to admit it or not.

A persons ability to stand. Standing on your own two feet. Standing for what you believe in. Standing for the rights and respect for others. Standing for Jesus. Standing for the Glory in all things-- big and small- good and bad. Standing alone. Standing with others. Are you able to stand and not be pushed down?

A person's ability to fight. Not physically punching someone or something.. but fighting for your self.. fighting for others.. Fighting for what's right after you stand for it. Everyone won't agree with you or believe the same things you do.. but if you know in your soul it's right--- will you fight??? I know I will.

A persons hope. Hope for a tomorrow. Hope for peace. Hope for others. Hope for what's right. Hope for better days. Hope for a cure. Hope for a solution. Just hope.... think about it--- how many times a day to you say the word “hope”???? “I hope she gets better.” “I hope tomorrow is better.” “I hope no one else ever has to feel this way.” “I hope the sun shines this weekend.” “I hope we win.” Hope. You hope for all things and have faith those things will work out for the best..... God's plan.

A person's courage.. Courage isn't always loud.. Courage can be quiet.. a small small voice. Courage to get out of the bed. Courage to make it through the day. Courage to face the world. Courage to change yourself. Courage to change things—- like policies, people, opinions, protocols. Courage to stand up and speak for those who can't. Courage to challenge others. Courage to make a statement. Courage to drive past a particular place. Courage to go back somewhere that you once left. Courage to challenge. Courage to be the person God wants you to be... not the one the world wants to see. Courage to let go. Courage to be better than you were yesterday. And courage to try again if you fail.

A person's ability to change. Change... Change is scary.. any kind, any where... it is terrifying. The unknown of what's to come and what's going to happen next.... but I have learned that sometimes you have to reach rock bottom to know--- fully understand what you're made of. And once you learn those scary characteristics of yourself-- you must change. Change your way of thinking. Change the way you achieve your goals. Change your goals and dreams. Change your way of life-- every way of it. Change the way you react. Change your attitude. Change your outlook. But.. sometimes.. at the right time... Change is good.

A persons faith. Faith. What is faith? Faith is believing in something you cannot see. Faith is knowing deep within your soul everything will work out for the best... maybe not the best for your plans, but for God's plan for you. Faith is trusting in God to carry you when you can no longer walk alone. Faith is knowing “this” is a test of your faith.... and like all tests you probably won't get it right the first go round.. I know for me it took several times falling on my face--- doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results. Faith in prayer--- prayer for anything and anyone. Faith in God's will. Faith that even if you don't like the outcome, it's not up to you and it happened for a reason...Faith in trust. FAITH FAITH FAITH FAITH...... FAITH!!

During hard times... difficult situations.. life's struggles everyone's faith is put to test. I've learned that its not necessarily tested for knowledge.. but ones ability to gain knowledge, understanding, and acceptance. The ability to trust.. in something you cannot see.. you can only feel within your soul and believe.

“You can't have a testimony without a test... Don't give up!”

What a testimony your life will be when you pass your everlasting test of faith.
No one said you had to it gracefully... and no one ever said it would be easy.

Don't give up!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"The Now"

It's been 624 days since I received the news that my husband went to Heaven. That's 624 days to long....

I sit here tonight in our house, with our dogs, watching his favorite show without him. It's so surreal sometimes.. that this is in fact my life.. that I'm not in a dream waiting to wake up and everything be back to normal. Some days are great. Some days are good. Some days are bad. It's really a hit or miss... I've learned that sometimes you really don't have "control" over yourself.. your emotions. I've learned how to cover it up most days... but some days it's next to impossible. From what books I've read and people I've talked to this is my "new normal." I will continue to grow, learn, recover, and gradually put the pieces of my life back together--- but there is always going to be a day, an hour, a moment where he is there and I can't fight it--- even 50 years from now.. and to be honest I'm ok with that. I don't want him to disappear from my thoughts.. he is part of my story.. a huge part of it. No matter where life leads me he will be there.. always in my heart.

That day 624 days ago was hands down the worst day of my life- including the following week. I would have never dreamed I would be widowed at 24. I would have never dreamed we wouldn't have a family together. I would have never dreamed he wouldn't be here with me tonight watching the season premier of Chicago Fire.. but life has a funny way of proving you wrong.. sometimes over and over and over. I would have never dreamed on January 8, 2013 that I could survive this life over and over and over on a daily basis and still function in the world. Looking back over these past months I have made so many changes, took so many chances on life... it's really incredible. It doesn't seem like you're moving at all most days, but in reality even on days that are the worse.... it's such a huge step.. an accomplishment on so many levels. I am a person I never dreamed I would be... I am in a place in life I never thought would come.. I know what I want in life.. I know where I want to be.. I know my dreams.. some days I wish I could sprint to the finish line where all my dreams and goals are coming true.. but what I have learned in the past 624 days is it's the journey that truly matters. The people you meet along the way. The obstacles you overcome. The courage you gain. The fear you lose. The simple victories you win-- even when no one around you knows it just happened. It is honestly such a bittersweet journey. The person I have become thus far is a small piece of the plans and dreams I have in my head and heart... I will change the world. I promise I will.

Rainbows, sunsets, hearts in the sky, the way the wind blows... I know it's him. I just know it. I can literally feel him some days.. I love those days. These awesome signs come when I need it the most.. when he would know when I was fixing to crumble and throw my hands up.. he talks to me through these amazing ways... and I know he's telling me it's all ok.. and he's proud.. I know without a doubt he would be tickled and possibly be in pure shock on how far I've come if he were here. He always said I was the most stubborn woman he had ever been around... I guess he was right. =)

SO here's to graduate school, my career, my dreams, and the journey! 

Remember life is precious. Please live it the way you would want to be remembered. Love the people in your life and tell them how much you love them. Fight for what you believe in. Chase your dreams. Be spontaneous. Trash "the list" of the 10 year plan and live each day to the fullest. Do what you want to do. Speak your mind. Go where you want to go. Be YOU!

and always know others opinions of you are none of your business... life is definitely not based on these thoughts from others and the ONLY opinion you should be concerned with is the way Jesus views you.

Thank you for letting me just type....

Much Love... Carrie Lou~

Thursday, October 17, 2013

seeing the beauty...

                                         "Everyday in every way, I'm getting better and better."

It's been awhile since I last blogged... or wrote anything for that matter.. and seriously it really does help...

So many things have been happening and so many things have changed I don't even know where to start...

I have finally come to terms with myself.. most days. I have been discovering a whole new person that has obviously been hidden deep down to the core of my soul for the most of my life. I'm finally starting to put some pieces back together.

I think everyone has that person hidden in their soul... and God only allows it to come to the surface when it's absolutely necessary.

I never knew loss until Jonathan never came home. I never knew grief until I returned to our home and everyone else returned to their lives. I never knew determination until I woke up one morning and meant I would not allow these events to ruin who God made me to be. I never knew strength until I had to go through my first holiday without him. I never knew wisdom until a month had passed and I was so much wiser than I was that night at the hospital. I never knew courage until I watched my grandfather say goodbye to my Buddy. I never knew what the human mind, body, and soul was capable of doing, handling, or digesting until I sat down tonight and decided to write one more time. I never knew how truly blessed I was until everything was staring me dead in the eye..... my goodness how I'm blessed!!

Even though I've lost so much.. my sweet husband, and strong grandmother, and on occasions my sanity--- I have gained so much these last 9 months (almost 10). Some people may say I have changed... and I hope I have!! Life is a precious gift that so many of us take for granted (me included). It would probably be safe to say that most women who are married would say their whole life was taken from them if they lost their husband.. and to an extent that is true... but for only as long as you allow it to be true. For me- it was viciously snatched out from under me. Basically my whole life literally crumbled around me... me and Jonathan were like peanut butter and jelly... macaroni and cheese... one was no good without the other... we fit together just like a puzzle piece.. and mine was gone. But what is sooooooooo amazing to me is that I'm still standing- better than I could have ever imagined 9 months later.. I have survived the first month, my first holiday, my first Valentines Day, my first beach trip, my first birthday, his first birthday, my first 4th of July, my first loss (but Heavens gain), my first new job, my first football game in Jordan Hare, my first new car, my first 9/11, my first Opp High School football game... and the list goes on and on.  And at the end of everyday that passes, I realize one more thing I have to be thankful for- one more sweet memory still burning in my heart, one more lesson learned (probably the hard way), and one more reason to get up the next morning and take on the world one more time. Prior to January 8, 2013... I was just like the rest of the American population... I wanted, I envied, I was never satisfied. Now, on October 17, 2013 I am able to look around me and see every inch of beauty that God has to offer to those who want to see it--- that's the key-- you have to WANT to see it! In everything!! The sky, the light, the dark, the morning, the night, the good, the bad-- I've even learned to see the good in the flowers that refuse to live at my house!! =) Now don't get me wrong-- I miss him more than I could ever begin to put in words... and I would do anything to go visit my Buddy one more time- but I have finally completely learned I must accept the things I cannot change, and I don't want to live in regret or grief... I want to live the life I was designed to live-- and it's full of laughter, smiles, sweet sweet memories, and seeing the beauty in all things. Do you realize how much that sweet Jonathan still affects the people who loved him??? He continues to have such a positive impact on people's lives that it's incredible- mainly mine. What a testimony his life is!

And my Buddy------------ God only made one woman like that... she was by far the strongest woman I have ever had the honor to know. She knew the answer to any question we had--- especially if it involved being "politically correct." She made the best apples and cheese- even though she didn't actually "make" them. She was always so positive.. when she told us she had cancer-- she kept us strong and positive, when it should have been the other way around- but she would've had it no other way. She taught me to be comfortable with me and confident. But most of all- she instilled the value of tradition in our family- especially me. I know it's only football... but it's not just football when you put Auburn in front of it. She taught me the Auburn fight song instead of nursery rhymes- she taught me Auburn cheers instead of reading the golden edged  books to me... she taught me how to believe in something and love it with all my heart and never to turn away from it. She taught me about having faith in what we cannot see, and trusting Him when it would be easy to run away. She is the true definition of strength and courage.

Having strength and courage does not mean you feel like you are 10 foot tall and bullet proof... Having strength and courage means getting up every morning knowing you have to fight all odds that are against you.. and not giving up- especially if you take a couple of steps back- those steps are called lessons. My new favorite quote of the moment is "Do one thing everyday that scares you." That doesn't mean sky diving... it means to challenge yourself- go above and beyond your "normal"- dare to make a difference in someone else's life- which in turn makes a difference in the world. Having strength and courage means you step up to the plate everyday with a smile on your face daring the world around you to try a knock you down. It means having the courage to live your life the way you feel is best for you, and not depending on the opinions around you. It means now allowing others words or feelings to influence you to where you are no longer comfortable in your own skin.

I am personally very humbled that God believed in me enough to give me such a large plate to try to handle... but I don't handle it on my own- I handle it with the help from Him, my family, and my friends... I'm so very thankful for the way God has allowed and directed me to see all the positives--- the beauty of life within a storm... and I'm so so so very thankful I listened....... that's strength and courage... having faith in the unknown.. believing with all your heart.. and trusting with all your soul.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

life as a firefighter's wife...

This is a past post... I'm new at this blogging stuff and put it somewhere else--- and wanted them all together.. so now they are together! 


Friday, April 26, 2013

missing him.

This is my second blog.. the first one, as hard at it was it write, really helped me.. It put alot of things in perspective for me.. and it helped organize my thoughts.. So I figured I'd give it another shot..

A little history for you.....
We met at the lake in Florala.. I was 20 years old. He was 29. It was the first time he had put his boat in the water and he was with a few boys that I knew. Well if you know me, then you know I don't meet a stranger- ever. So I jumped on the boat with them and we rode off.. after a while of riding and talking on the boat- they were getting the tube ready... well I said some smart comment- which in turn he had an even smarter one back to me.. and told me I wasn't brave enough to ride the tube.. He didn't know me.. obviously! So I got on the tube and here we go... when I finally landed back in water from flying what felt like 1,000 feet in the air and came out of the water I was just a cussing him... and he was just a fighting back.. and we've been fighting ever since!! =) That's what you get when you mix two hard headed, stubborn, passionate people together.. and I loved every minute of it! I learned early on that he was a firefighter.. and like all girls this sparked my interest a little more! I'll never forget the first time I went to the fire station.. It was on a Sunday and I had a dress on from church.. he called and asked if I wanted to come by.. well--- like girls do- I called Lauren and made her go with me- but first I had to go change clothes--- I couldn't slide down the pole with a dress on!! ha! I was sooooo disappointed when I got there and there was no pole!! haha! He always joked with me about that.
He proposed to me on Christmas Eve.. He tied a black ribbon that came on the box around the ring and put it on a single rose (I still have the rose and ribbon). I got the down on one knee, Carrie I love you, Will you marry me... but that's the kind of man he is.. that's how he was raised.. that was his way of life. He was always.. always so respectful..even in the middle of a fight- he respected me. He treated me like a princess... and would have it no other way- no matter what I did or say, he loved me just the same.
He worked 24 hours and was off 48 from Opp. On his days off he worked at the airport during the week. I knew going into our relationship and life together that my going and doing, my life that I was use to, and just my whole normal was about to change. He loved what he did. He loved fighting fire. He was human- he would come home and complain sometimes- he even mentioned a few times about getting a "normal" job and being home every night- I just laughed at him. But I fully believe with my whole soul that to be a firefighter, to be away from your home, your family, your life, and running into burning buildings, cutting cars open to save people trapped in them, waking up at 3 am to an alarm at the hospital.. you have to love it. You just have to.
Our whole life together was scheduled around the fire department. Our wedding day- which included our honeymoon. Our vacations. Our dates. Our life. He worked every holiday- including both of our birthdays last year..  When he was home and the pager went off- he was gone again. Countless meals missed, moments that would never happen again missed, hours of sleep, time with me, his family, our family.. trips with friends.. So many things to sacrifice to help others, and we complain about getting up and going to our job that is 8 to 5 and easy. It wasn't always easy for me.. actually it was a constant battle.. I'm a selfish woman- I wanted him, all of him, all the time.
I'll never forget the day that he came home and said that the airport may be going to 24 hour shifts. I rolled my eyes at him and thought he was crazy. It was always something. Well- a few weeks passed and he came home and was a little more serious about this whole airport thing- sat me down- asked what I thought with him picking up another shift.. deep down I wanted to pitch a 2 year old hissy fit in our kitchen floor.. but I said it was fine.. with tears in my eyes.. So now the man I love would not only be gone one night- but two in a row and only be home for one. But I told him, after thinking about it a few days, that if he wanted to do it that now was the time in our life that we could. We didn't have children, I was back in school- so why not?
Jonathan worked so hard making the airport work out- he planned, called people, drew out things, scheduled meetings, went head to head with people, and all that to make it happen... I was so proud of him- and he was so proud of himself!
He had just started his extra shift at the airport when he passed away. I think it had only been a week or so- maybe 2- for some reason I have a complete blank there..
We went to Destin the Saturday before the dreaded Tuesday.. just to go- that's what we did- we got in the car and went... we went wherever we wanted to whenever we wanted to. I am so thankful for that Saturday. We had such a great time. That was the last day I was with him. He went to work Sunday morning at 7 in Opp, then on to the airport Monday morning.. and was suppose to get off that Tuesday at 7 in the evening. He never made it home.
I know alot of people's lives were changed from this.. but this is me.
My whole life was snatched out from under me.. my plans, my dreams, my future, my life. He was all of that and more.
Some days I can almost literally hear him say.."Baby- you are better than this. Pick yourself up.. where is the strong, hard headed, stubborn woman at I married?" He use to get so aggravated with me.. he always said I was "to good to people".. and he would get so mad when I let people walk all over me.
He was a firm believer in respect. Respect for yourself, respect for others, respect to your elders, respect to women, respect to anyone and everyone. He was a firm believer in doing the right thing. He was a firm believer in his morals, values, and beliefs. One of the main things I loved the most about him is that he would stand up for what he believed to be right and respectful at any time to any one right by himself. He didn't have to have a slew of people standing behind him.. he believed in the right thing and would do everything in his power to make sure it was done- with respect.
I've learned- and continue to learn everyday, that people are not always right and just. I've learned that people will judge you no matter what. I've learned that no one will take care of you and that you have to take care of yourself. I've learned that when times get tough, people flee- some flee to you, some flee away from you. I've learned that some people mean well, but alot are just curious. I've learned that when the rest of the world runs out, you're family is still really there. I've learned that some people are fake. I've learned that some people are so amazing. I've learned that there are angels here on earth. I've learned how to say no. I've learned how to take care of myself. and for the first time in my life.. I've learned how to stand up for something I believe in even if I'm standing alone- and I'm not afraid anymore.
You never really know how you would handle a situation until it's in your face and you have no other choice but to take it by the horns. With every battle that comes in your life, every decision you have to make, you have only 2 choices-- you can lay down or you can climb the ladder and overcome it- learn from it- embrace it. I've personally have decided to go with option number 2- I want to climb out of this dark cloud. I want to learn every lesson I can from this. I want to overcome every obstacle that is going to be thrown in my way. And I will! I will do all of these things, and hopefully more, while at the same time respecting my husband. I know him better than anyone- a side that no one knows.. and he knew a side of me that no one knew- that's part of becoming one with someone- you give everything you have to them.
I know without a doubt I might not have said the right thing, or acted the right way, or presented myself the right way, on more than one occasion throughout this journey so far-and I'm sure I'll make many many more mistakes, but I'm here to tell you- I believe it within my whole heart and soul-- that Jonathan Burgess is so proud of me and the woman I have become through this.
I feel him smile when I smile. I feel him laugh when I laugh. I feel him in every way- everyday. I know he's proud.. and I know he wouldn't have it any other way but for me to be me... and continue to love life.. and live it to the fullest. And as long as I know he would want me to be all of this and more - I don't need anyone else's approval- thankfully. 
I will continue to fight for what is right. I will continue to fight for respect that is owed to him. I will continue to strive to make a difference in every way I can- through him.
No matter what happens in this life without him standing beside me- I will make sure his legacy lives on forever. I will make sure that people always remember the man he was and continues to be. I will make sure people remember the great things he did throughout his life- his smile- his laugh- every part of him.

No matter who they are calling on the other end of the radio- he will always be FD3- Captain Jonathan Burgess. No one will ever take his place in this world. Not at the fire station, not at the airport, not in my life. He is a great man- and will continue to be the man he always was.

  "Living alone, here in this place, I think of you---- and I'm not afraid..."

what a ride!!

"i carry your heart with me..."

Have you ever rode a roller coaster... you know.. the ones that go upside down, inside out, really high, then really low, side to side, and all other directions and you just wonder how in the heck someone invents something like that.... Well, I feel like I've been on the biggest, fastest, craziest roller coaster out there--- and I am SOOOOOOO ready to get off!!

My whole life I have possibly been one of the most fortunate people there is and I am so grateful for that. I have always had every basic need met and then beyond what I ever probably deserved. I never needed for anything. I never much wanted anything (for long). I have always had an awesome family- even though we are a little different than your average family- great friends- and a life most would kill for. I never had a "traumatic" life event happen to me.. I've lost great friends throughout my life, but as far as my immediate circle.. I've been real fortunate- REAL fortunate! Blessed. I remember one set of my great grandparents. My great granddaddy passed away the June after I graduated high school. I still have both sets of my grandparents- both parents-  my sister- all my aunts and uncles- great aunts- everyone. Everyone until January.

You never know what you would do if anything "traumatic" ever happened to you... you really honestly never really think about it.. Why would you?? If you're anything like me, and I'll be the first to admit I am a human, I never thought anything bad would happen to me.. I knew it would eventually.. but I never dreamed it would happen this soon.. like this.

Every little girl dreams of their "grown up" life while growing up. You play house, you have crushes, you "love" you're 1st grade boyfriend.. heck- we have it all planned out by at least middle school! In my opinion.. my dream came true. I found this guy, or he found me- we found each other... and we just knew. We knew it was something different than the rest- special. I married him. We bought a home in our home town in a quaint little neighborhood. We worked in our home town. He was a firefighter. I was a social worker. We ate together. We prayed together. We laughed together. We fought together. We did everything together. We were social butterflies- always talking to someone! (I always picked on him and told him I WAS NOT going to be the first lady of Opp! haha- because of all the "politicking" he would do!) I would have to say we were living the "southern dream"- and I was great with it and tickled he picked me.

They say there are 5 or 7 stages of grief (depending on what model you are going by)... Well let me tell you my sweet friends.. I am not a big fan of these "stages". The lack of control is possibly my hardest battle these days.. The lack of control of the situation. The lack of control of people. The lack of control of my EMOTIONS---- I hate that... and I know hate is a strong word-- but I do. I would consider myself a pretty strong-willed, independent young women prior to Jonathan's death. I had it together- and if I didn't- I kept it together until I was in my home by myself.. I think Jonathan only saw me come all the way apart only a very few times.. I'm just not a big fan of it... at all. Well nowadays I have a new "normal"-- which I haven't found yet.. every day is a different day. I'm fine one minute and not the next. It's absolutely amazing how the human body can switch gears so quick so often.. I can be laughing then start cussing to crying to hollering to laughing again... WHEW!! It wears me smooth out! I can honestly say I am officially exhausted.- emotionally, physically, and mentally. Exhausted.

I am in my angry stage right now. I think. And I would much rather go back to the crybaby stage I think. UGH. Everyone makes me mad. Everything makes me mad. Then it makes me mad that I'm even mad in the first place!!! See what I'm talking about??!?! This roller coaster is exhausting!! 

With all that said- I feel like I am doing pretty good. Ha! (I know you think I'm crazy and that's ok!)

In all honesty I do have to say that bad days aren't so bad anymore.. they are bad- but not compared to a month ago. That's amazing to me- self reflection is a great tool. I cannot believe how much I've grown since the beginning of this new journey. It's kind of like dieting- you don't really know how well you've done until you're clothes start fitting a little looser... it's the same concept- in any hand of cards your dealt. I keep telling myself.. knowing it is the truth deep down (some days it's just harder to believe than others) that this has happened for a reason. I know without a doubt that my God has a great plan for me- just like He did for Jonathan- I just wish I knew what it was. I wish I knew what direction to go. Some days I feel like I am doing everything all wrong- but in reality what is right? I believe that God doesn't allow "bad things to happen to good people"- I believe He allows things like this to happen so He can shine through others. So I can be a walking testimony of not only Jonathan's wonderful life and continue his legacy, but to show others through me how Amazing our God is. How faithful He is. How He never leaves us. How anything is possible. How He provides. How wonderful He truly is. I know most days I fail miserably at this- but I am trying. Thankfully God loves the imperfect version of me and is obviously pretty patient (He hasn't given up on me yet!!!)!  =)

I'm going to continue to strive to make the very best out of this whole mess..and I'm going to continue to work on patiently waiting for the next step.. the next move.. and I'm going to continue to remember "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord....."

I know this is off topic but I have to share this!!!

If you go to the US Fire Administration web page you will find a list of all fire fighter fatalities that have died in the line of duty. Jonathan was the first line of duty death for the 2013 year. Since his death 32 other firefighters all over our great nation has lost their life serving in the line of duty. On this page you are able to click on the fire fighters name and you can find how they passed away, what they were doing, their age, and the fire department they were at with an address, etc.

Well- I've been in need of a happy these past few weeks.. I learned that they rejected his organs due to unknown cause of death and a bunch of other fires I've been trying to put out and just needed something positive. I've been real discouraged with the brotherhood that Jonathan loved, and while I was at my moms tonight, she gave me a big brown envelope from the airport.......... Firefighters, first responders, fire departments, sheriff departments, anything you can think of--- from all over the United States- has sent sympathy cards to the airport. Wow. From California, New Mexico, Minnesota, Pennsylvanian, North Dakota, Ohio, Kansas, Alaska, Texas, New York, Tennessee, and the list goes on and on.. Do you have any idea how AWESOME that is?!?!? How special that is?!?!!?! He didn't want to be a hero- but he was.. HE IS.. not only to me.. but to his brothers in fire service. It is an amazing thing- and I am so glad God has given me the opportunity to be a part of it- even if it is second hand.. it's like nothing I've ever experienced and I will forever be grateful.

                           These are a few...FEW letters that were sent.. it's so amazing to me. 
New York Fire Department

LA, California Fire Department

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

putting it down

I've decided to start a blog... to see how it goes.. to put it all down.. maybe then it won't be so scrambled in my head. 

There are three days that will probably never leave my mind... for the rest of my life. 

January 8, 2013

    I had just talked to Jonathan maybe an hour before my dad called me. Jonathan had been at work for the past 3 days (2 nights) and was coming home that Tuesday night. I called him when I got off work- talked to him about 15 minutes before I headed into class- our conversations consisted of when are you coming home; what do you want for supper; and I can't wait to see you.... I can't think of a single time- even when we were mad- that we didn't end a phone conversation with I love you (that was his rule and I'm so thankful for that) He had told me he was getting off at 7 and would probably be going to his parents to get some supper. They were cooking deer meat and naturally Ms. Picky doesn't like that- so I told him I would get something else. I would get out of class at 7- so I knew I would see his face atleast by 8 that night. 
Have you ever had a feeling that didn't settle well with you and you couldn't shake it?? Well I had one that whole day, but Jonathan always said I was a freak of nature and I worried too much- so I tried not to pay much attention to it. I was sitting in class and heard my phone vibrate in my purse... my stomach knotted up. I looked at my phone and it was my daddy... my stomach knotted again--- and then I talked myself out of it- he had just forgot I had class obviously... Well I sat there and sat there and couldn't let it go. I went through the list of family- and the only person I could think of was my grandmother- Buddy- she hadn't been doing well. I talked myself out of it again. I then looked up and Mr. Tim Jones was standing there- I knew then that something was not right---at all. I walked out of the classroom and there stood daddy- Jonathan was on his way to the emergency room- something happened at the airport and daddy didn't know what happened. I was shaking.... trying to know that everything was fine and I'm a freak as he would say.. That was the longest ride to Andalusia Regional I have ever experienced..
   People say that you don't remember things like this and exactly what happened- but I remember alot of it... unfortunately. Daddy dropped me off at the front door and mama was there waiting on me. We ran to the emergency room waiting room and they wouldn't let me back to him. I was sooooo mad!! They said policy- well if you don't know- don't throw policy at a social worker. When they finally let me back-which seemed like eternity- I immediately started looking for him and they shoved us in this little room and wouldn't let us go any further. They left us there. No nurse. No social worker. No doctor. No answers to the thousand of questions that was running through my mind. I knew when the door shut that I wasn't going to get to talk to him, see him, or hold him- ever again. The doctor came in, shut the door, and told us Jonathan had passed away.... This is where it gets blurry- I remember my parents, and The Williams'(Joey and Gail), and that's about it.. I remember running outside.. I remember daddy wouldn't let go of me... I remember thinking that any minute this jacked up dream would be over.. I remember saying I'm 24 and a widow. I remember alot of people. Firefighters. Cops. Friends. Family. Strangers. No Jonathan though. I remember walking around outside and a nurse coming saying that "he was ready"- I didn't know what this meant- daddy tried to stop me- I didn't listen. I thought I had to sign something and talk to someone......... boy was I wrong.. I would give anything to take that picture out of my head. ANYTHING! The next thing I know I'm sitting in the grass with my daddy and Mr. Dennis Meeks. I know I'm young and dumb- but I couldn't figure out why we were sitting at the hospital- I still don't understand it. Why do people do that?? We were just sitting there- people staring at me- me staring at them.. I remember getting off the ground and walking off to call Lauren- I remember thinking how do I tell my bestfriend what's happened- or does she already know? That was definitely the worst phone call I've ever made.. the hardest. Finally after awhile mama takes me home- daddy stays behind to make sure everything is ok.. maybe I shouldn't have left- but I just couldn't sit there. I couldn't. We go home- again- the longest ride to Opp. When we pulled up the yard was full of cars. Friends. Family. It's a blur... The rest of the night is a blur.. 
    I woke up the next morning thinking surely it's not real. The first phone call I got was from the Alabama Eye Bank- talk about a reality check. It was 7 in the morning. Wednesday January 9.. they wanted Jonathan's corneas.. Ugh! From that moment on I think I went into survival mode-- and shock. I cried.... but not like I should have. (Not to worry- I got that part down 3 months later.) Seriously the rest of the week was a complete blur. There was people- people everywhere. There was food- alot of food- but I couldn't hardly smell it- much less eat it. There was tears. There was laughs. There was people needing to meet with me- ask me questions. I had to decide what kind of funeral Jonathan was going to have.. Naturally we had talked about this issue many, many times because he was a firefighter and anything could happen... but for the life of me I could not remember what it was. I had to pick times for my husband's visitation and funeral- wow. I remember being able to go through all the motions- hug people, tell them how thankful I was for them, thank them for coming, ask the right questions, answer the questions asked to me. I had to pick out flowers for Jonathan's casket. No one should ever have to do these dreadful things- at any age! It's the nightmare that won't end. 

I know and believe without a doubt that things happen for a reason.... everything. I know that people come into your life for a reason. I know that God is in control of everything--- in His timing and His plans... but the selfish part of me---- I want him to walk through our back door.. laughing at the look on my face saying the he "got" me again---- dropping half the things in his hands.. popping me on the behind and kissing my cheek. 

I miss him so much.. but I am so so so so so so so thankful for the short time I got to call him mine! He was my best friend.. my partner in crime.. my whole world.. and my future. He truly was a wonderful man- inside and out! He taught me so much about life, love, patience, adventure, trust, pride, gratefulness, hard work, family, friends, and the list goes on and on. 

He will always be with me, a part of me, deep in my soul- forever. 

"I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart." -ee cummings

These are just a few of my favorites I wanted to share with you!
I'm sure this jumps around- but maybe with time- it will get better!