Friends

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“If you have one close, trusted friend, you are truly fortunate.” – Rabbi Earl Grollman

At Chase’s funeral, there were probably over 500+ people there to bear witness and say goodbye. I wonder if he knew how many people truly loved him and were touched by his passing.  Seeing everyone there and watching their faces and expressions of love and grief, made me wish that there could have been an angel like Clarence from “It’s a Wonderful Life” to save Chase.  I wonder if he knew how fortunate he was and how many people truly loved him.

There were girlfriends, and wrestling friends, marine friends, and football friends, neighbor friends and family friends, teacher friends and coaching friends.  He and his family were surrounded by love and caring hearts that wanted to comfort his family and comfort one another.  I have faith in our youth. They/we expressed love and pain and shed tears and hugs and it was powerful to be part of the journey together.

Friends and family united to celebrate a dear, beloved, young one. People have been so kind and loving and generous and giving through so many different ways. We are connected through love and pain, joy and sorrow.  And people want to take care of each other to ease the pain and to help walk through the grief together.  Friends are an amazing gift.

“Grief knits two hearts in closer bonds than happiness ever can; and common sufferings are far stronger links than common joys”– Alphonse de Lamartine (1790-1869)

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I am thankful and fortunate for my family and friends, that comfort me and make this life journey a better experience every day.

I wish you peace and love and the gift of friendship that helps to carry the burdens of life.

Namaste.

“Those who bring sunshine to others, cannot keep it from themselves.” – Sir James Barrie

Comfort

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Most of my family was together this weekend. Several of us couldn’t be there, but for those that could and did gather, we provided comfort for each other.

We experienced a family tragedy that we cannot comprehend and the pain is still raw and will be for quite awhile. We needed to hold each other, and to share time and space as we experienced the loss and tried to figure out what and why and how, even though we’ll never really know the answers. Life is a mystery, and sometimes it’s dark and doesn’t make sense and we have to figure out a new normal.

We came together to celebrate life and to do what we always do. We met at my mom and my dad’s house and just hung out together. It wasn’t fancy. It wasn’t formal. It just was. And it was so comforting just being with one another, and being our true and vulnerable selves.

We sat on the couches, watched the football game, swung on the porch swing, chatted and laughed, ate and drank, cleaned up the dishes and food, and looked out for the kids and each other. We told jokes and shared memories and teased one another. There were no expectations and there was no rush. We just were together in a shared space and we provided love and comfort for one another in it’s many different forms. No one wanted to leave.

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We tried to comfort one another during our time of sorrow, and even though we can’t take away the pain, we found comfort sharing tears and hugs, unspoken and spoken words and love.

We found comfort in each other, and for this I am thankful.

When life is a mystery, how do you find comfort?

I wish you well, my BeLoveRs! xoxo

Love Lives On

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We felt love today. We felt such sadness and emptiness and at the same time we were surrounded by waves of love.

Family and friends gathered to celebrate Chase, and there was standing room only, overflowing into the hallways and additional rooms.

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There were moving tributes and upbeat, heartfelt stories shared that honored our loved one and friend. It was amazing to see all the young people gathered together, remembering, honoring and loving their friend.

The flowers were artistic and beautiful. A lovingly made photo DVD montage played and we smiled seeing all the fun pictures throughout the years. There were displays of his medals and photo boards, and a tribute to the Marines, whom he loved. His motorcycle and helmet were also on display, as well as his varsity letterman jacket.

After the services, we came back to my mom and dad’s house and continued the celebration with toasts, laughter, stories and tears.

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It’s hard to believe he’s gone. We miss you Chase and will see you again one day! Love lives on. xoxo

Chase Varney

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Tomorrow we will celebrate the life of Chase Varney, who is one of our family
members.

Click here to read about Chase: Chase’s Legacy

Today we skipped school and sports and drove 6 hours to be with family, so that we could be together and be ready for tomorrow morning.

We have felt lots of stress and anxiety and fear this week, as well as love and uncertainty. We’ve laughed and cried, sat silently and yelled, missed assignments and appointments and forgot the ice cream in the car. We are a mess.

Losing Chase has affected so many, from friends to loved ones, and to those who didn’t even know him. We are filled with sorrow. With his passing, we are keenly aware that life is uncertain, unpredictable, and unfair, even when you do what’s right. This is not comforting and yet it’s raw and real and we are vulnerable. There are no guarantees, which is why we try to live life to the fullest with love and laughter every day.

Tomorrow we will celebrate Chase and hold on to each other for comfort, as we navigate the next steps that are to come.

Godspeed, Chase. We love and miss you so much and we wish your family the strength to carry on.

Namaste.

I Love To Watch You Play

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I read an article today on the Huffington Post from last year that made me think.  It talked about the 6 most important words you should say today, and it just resonated with me.  The words are, “I love to watch you play.”

Here is a link to the article:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-macy-stafford/six-words-you-should-say-today_b_3863643.html

It was talking about kids’ sports and activities and what parents say after an event. What kids care about most is knowing that their parents enjoyed just watching them play. It made me think about playing with Legos and Play Mobil and Kitchen toys and Play Doh when they were little. I loved just watching my kids play and actually playing along with them. I enjoyed being with them and sharing time together, shifting from one event to the next, with no expectations except hopefully a nap so I could have a mental break.  I loved watching them be and being with them.

Now that they are bigger, I tend to watch their sporting events quite frequently. Sometimes I really feel judgmental and want to critique their work or effort and share my opinions about what I observed.  Reading this article made me realize that what is probably more important is for me to connect with my kids on a more general level and just acknowledge my happiness in seeing them participating and playing.

I tried this tonight after Football and Water Polo. I actually watched them differently today, just feeling thankful to be there with them and enjoying being on the field and at the pool, instead of being rushed and feeling like I should be doing 101 other things.

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Instead, I relaxed and enjoyed being present. I had zero expectations. I was truly thankful to be there with them, just observing.

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When they got back to the car, I acknowledged loving watching my boys play and said, “I loved watching you play today.”  They genuinely thanked me. They were content and shared their experiences with me and told me how they thought they did. I listened and was content too, and then shared some thoughtful feedback of course. We shared a loving connection. I want them to participate in extra curricular activities and I want them to do well, but I don’t want to add any more stress to their little lives.

I love that they’re playing and getting exercise and enjoying their friends.  I loved watching them play.

As adults, we should also play with no expectations and enjoy the process and just be with no pressure to always win or improve. And maybe someone else will love just watching us play too.

Namaste.

Let There Be Light

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Light represents all that is good.

Let your light shine.

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The funeral is on Saturday. Everyone is asked to wear colorful clothing and to avoid the darkness.  We will celebrate life and all that is good, despite our heartache.

Life will never be the same, but we will share our love and light and hopefully our souls will slowly heal as we share our love and humanity.

Namaste, BeLoveRs.

Thank you to Elizabeth for sharing this Diya ceramic candle, which is typically used in Diwali celebrations. You are loved! xo

The Family Dinner

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I LOVE the family dinner. I fight for this time and try to do whatever I can to make this a nightly routine, despite our hectic schedules. It doesn’t always work out and then I resort to the family breakfast, but that’s even more chaotic at 6:45 a.m.

Right now I’m holding on and don’t want to let go. I want us all together, in our safe little cocoon, together for the 15 -30 minutes that it lasts. I value this time of us all being together, doing the same thing at the same time. That is peaceful to me.

I skipped volunteering this afternoon so that I could have dinner cooked and prepared for when we all got home from our activities, as we had a full day. I had plastic, reusable containers filled with Mexican food ready to take out of the refrigerator and reheat when we could gather again.  While the food was warming, we worked together to set the table and fill drink glasses, and finished washing the pots and pans and emptying the dishwasher – multitasking and checking off the chore list before the next round of work began and doing it together.

We all assembled our plates and brought them to the table and then we held hands in a circle across the table and said a brief prayer. We were connected. We stood still and held each other for 30 seconds, while we expressed gratitude for all that is good and for healing for all that is bad.  We shared a few stories, a few laughs, a few disciplinary recommendations, and enjoyed each other and the comfort that the food and family time provided.

I chose to be late to my meeting, so that I could sit around the table with the most important people in my life. I am choosing to be present and to not be busy, even when I am.

We need to slow down and be present, even when it feels like we can’t.

Make the time, BeLoveRs. How will you choose to slow down and enjoy your loved ones this week?

Namaste.

I am thankful