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Archive for November, 2011

Pressing on

I’ve lived in Chicago for 4 years now and there is one thing that happens to you when you become a city dweller in the big windy. You become a runner.

Its the weirdest phenomena. It seems as if most everyone between the 25-35 age bracket that lives in the city is a runner. A typical conversation that takes place around your weekend plans seems to regularly include when your going to get your run in. This was very new to me when I moved to the city. I’ve never been what you would call a ‘runner’.

Do I enjoy a good workout? Yes

Am I on the constant quest of Project Pretty working on making my body a wonderland? Yes

Do I get overwhelmed when people run past me on the lake shore path? Yes

Am I coordinated enough to run and change the song on my ipod? NO

Clearly running has not been my forte. So, I avoid the talk about running until a certain season takes place in May and that season is MARATHON SEASON. I’ve literally never experienced anything like this. During the time of May-October I cannot go a whole day without hearing about someones long runs. Whether I hear about it through a live conversation/text/or facebook post running talk is EVERYWHERE.

I’m not going to lie. Its pretty easy to peer pressure me into trends. Especially if it will help project pretty. So I have jumped on the running train many times in the past 4 years. I have also fallen off the train, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a ticket. Running and I are in constant battle. Sometimes running wins, sometimes I do.

The train I have NEVER jumped off of is the Marathon Running Spectator Train. My roommate, Ash, and I are seriously pro’s at this game. We have even taken a whole vacation to Boston just to cheer on friends that are running. We both realize that running a marathon is a huge deal. Something probably neither her or I will ever undertake, but we love to support our friends that do.

So the race is on and it becomes a hunt to track all of our runner friends!  Then,  in the 2.2 seconds that we get to see them while they are running we cheer them on like they are the only people there. You may be wondering what do we do in the 4 other hours where we are not seeing anyone run,well,  we cheer on the strangers. Many runners are wearing their names on their shirts so we can yell their names and make them feel like they can finish this race and FINISH well!!

The topic of finishing a race has been a big piece of conversation at the Prendergast home this past week. My Grandma went to heaven last weekend and this weekend my Great Uncle Bill joined her.

These were both deaths that were somewhat anticipated and there was time to say goodbye for each of them but… a loss is a loss. Saying goodbye to someone forever still brings about a sense of sadness and mystery of what happens next.

Many time this past week quotes have been said about how Uncle Bill lived life well. He finished his life well and he is leaving this earth with no remorse, no debt that needs to be cleaned, no unforgiveness, no bitterness. He is proud of the life he has lived and ready to welcome the next one.

And we were all there in his hospital room cheering him on as he left this life and entered a new one. We were there supporting him and telling him how great he had done and how much he meant to us. We were his marathon cheerleaders because his life has definitely been a 26.2 miler of pain and victory.

And it got me thinking, I wonder what mile of life I am on. Right now with all this death, the griever in me has hit a wall! I feel like I am going uphill. And thank goodness I have people surrounding me and cheering me on that I can face this and move past it well. I have faith that I live this life in anticipation of what is next and  I have people fueling me along this journey.

Thank God for those spectators that are cheering me on.

My Uncle Bill has been one of my biggest supporters. And I was one of many who have been encouraged by Uncle Bill through the years.

He lived his life always encouraging the people around him. And he finished well.

Who in my life is needing someone to cheer them on? Who in my life is struggling at mile 16 and is waiting for someone to read their shirt and tell them ‘press on, you can do this well.’

I’m going to try to avoid stranger danger and jump in to cheer on those on the course set in front of us. Its my turn to be like Uncle Bill and take front and center and encourage someone else.

 2 Timothy 4:7  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 

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A few months back I wrote a sneak peek sunday with the thought of what I wish I could have told myself 10 years ago.

Funny, I’m not the only person who has ever done this.

There happens to be a website all about letters to your 18 year old self. So, I submitted that blog with a few tweaks here and there to make their word count…and they accepted it.

Go over and check it out! http://www.dear18me.com/2011/11/16/life-is-not-what-you-thought-it-would-be/

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I had the privilege of growing up with two wonderful grandmothers that have been a very big part of my life. I feel so blessed that my childhood and adult life share so many memories with these two wonderful ladies. They are both so unique and their personalities could not be farther from each other.

My mom’s mom would be described as loud, goofy, opinionated, driven, and independent. I share many many character traits that I picked right up from my Grandma!

My dads mom would be described as sweet, caring, quiet, and sincere. I probably need a few more of these character traits!

Both very different from each other, but both having one similar thread within themselves…they both love the cuss out of their family. There is absolutely nothing that these two ladies would not do for the people that they love.

And they have taught that to their kids, which for that I’m forever thankful. I’ve got to be on the receiving end of a lot of love through the Prendergast & Robertson Family and I can’t picture my life without that.

My dad’s mom was diagnosed with dementia around four years ago. That diagnosis carries a lot of weight, knowing that someday Grandma may not be in a place that she is herself, and not quite knowing when that day will come. But my family, per usual, tackled the diagnosis and took everything that came with it in stride.

Each holiday or visit with Grandma some changes would be noticed. Whether it was hesitation with her conversations because she would become confused, wandering somewhere, or hiding deli meat in her purse ( to save for later, of course!), little pieces of who she was slowly began slipping away.

One of the worst parts about dementia is how used to that process you become. You know she’s not going to be getting better. You have to keep watching that person fade, watching the synapses in her brain die, bit by slow bit.

I hate dementia. I hate it that it steals people away.

But what dementia has taught me is that it cannot steal the soul of a person away.

Even though my Grandma was becoming less and less herself what continued to shine through every time was her happiness. She may not have always been the loud and expressive Grandma while I was growing up, but she was always sweet,  always smiling and always praying to God through dark times and light. When this disease began stripping away parts of her the core of who she is never left.  This disease shaped her into the sweetest and happiest person I know.

Its been hard to watch her fade. As I’ve watched I’ve become mad at God because why would he let this disease take so much of her away. And then I realized she is still the same person. Its hard to see with the pieces of her that is left, but she’s still my Grandma. She still wants to hold my hand when I set it in hers. She still wants to look at me and smile back. Its just up to me to love her the same way. Love her like she is, the beautiful core of her soul that is still holding my hand.

My grandma went to be with Jesus last night. She walked through the pearly gates and knew exactly who everyone was. She saw her sister and remembered memories from her childhood and what it was like to grow up 90 years ago. She saw her husband and remembered every vivid detail of her marriage with him and the family they created. She saw her son, and probably told him ‘why the heck did you leave so early, you know I was already going through enough without having to lose you!’

She walked into heaven with her mind. With no pain, no confusion. Just joy and peace.

I miss my Grandma. I’ve been missing her for awhile. I hate that I wont be splitting a whole pie with her at Thanksgiving next week.

But I’m so happy that she is whole. She is complete. And she is rejoicing.

Thank you Grandma for inspiring me to have a core soul like yours. That if all of me gets stripped away, my core soul would emulate yours.

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– I had an interesting realization this morning. I believe, last night was the first time I have ever stayed in a hotel solo. I usually am always traveling with a buddy, or, if for a work-event, a co-worker. This weekend is a bit different. I’m attending a conference in DC solo and then hanging with my friend who lives close by. Today has been learning central and has given me a new affinity for traveling alone. When I reached my destination last night and entered my hotel room with the king size bed I felt just a few feet away from heaven!

– As I was driving through DC into Maryland I caught a sweet view of the washington monument at night…I had to pull over and take a reflection moment.

– I’m staying at the Hilton and apparently Hilton is pro Friday, 2pm weddings. Now, so am I. Didnt know I would be attending a wedding this weekend….SCORE!! And if you are wondering if there were tears while I was attending the strangers wedding…the answer is of course, yes.

My conference is all about development and working with the different biological challenges within a ‘relationship based’ model. Essentially using people and emotions to create change within kids life. I’m in. One of the many video clips that was shown this morning:

– I’m humbled by friendship. 6 years ago I moved across the country to live in Yellowstone National Park for a summer. Very unsure of what this summer would hold. There was this girl that was staying across the hall from me that did the same thing. This weekend, I get to hang out with her. I’ve spent about 15 days with Kelly since Yellowstone, yet she is still one of my absolute best friends. Theres something about keeping in touch with people that really can change your life.

– Lastly, this weekend is pretty special to me. I am anxiously awaiting the call that my pseudo neice has entered the world! Sarah & Bill’s little girl should be here any minute and I can not wait to love on this little girl. I could write a whole blog post on how much I was surprised by the amount of love I have for little will…I have a feeling this little girl is going to do the same thing. I love being an aunt!

Sorry no words of wisdom on this post. Just me, being a girl, traveling solo, and sharing it with the world.

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Sneak Peek Sunday

 

Every Sunday I will attempt to share an excerpt from my work in progress which will hopefully be a book someday…”You Can Hope”. 

November 2009

Christmas music is on. Starbucks red cups are out. Layering is over, coats are on.

Its fall. The holiday season has begun.

So far this year I’ve experienced:

 My birthday- which I denounced.

 Easter- Where I went to church for the first time since the accident. And ran out crying.

Fathers day- Where I made the big boys waiter wish he was hiding under a chair.

& 4th of July- Which was actually awesome. There was a lot of booze and a lot of hanging with Grandma. 

Now we have the big guys. Were coming around the figurative monolopy board of life and park place and boardwalk are slowly approaching. I wish I could just go to sleep and wake up on  Dec 31st and have a huge party saying screw you  2009.  2010 show us what your made of, you’ve got to be better than this.

This holiday season continues to present the simple fact that I don’t have a dad.

I have a mom. I have a brother. But where is our family? It will never be the same  again. No trees, no lights, no presents.

Covering presents up with blankets because he doesn’t feel like wrapping. Going to Meijer on Christmas eve to get Mom’s gift. Getting the one gift he thought about all fall that he bought on ebay. Looking through all the presents, but waiting for the gift that I know will be a constant. The one gift that is always there.

 

My Christmas letter from my dad. Listing all the ways that he loves me and all the wisdom he has for the next year.

This year there will be no blanket covered presents under the tree. No man sitting on his couch waiting for his kids to wake up so we can read his scripture of the moment. And no letter sharing the words that hes been wanting to say all year.

Maybe just the anticipation of what these holidays are going to bring are suffocating me with sadness. I’ve never had a first Thanksgiving with out my dad. I’ve never had a Christmas morning without my dad. What if my mind is making all of this worse then it really is.

How do I face the anticipation of something that I know will suck?  How do I prepare myself for pain?

The famed griever C.S. wrote in his book A Grief Observed, “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” That is exactly what I’m facing. I see this fear in every part of my life right now. This seemingly happy holiday is polarizing me with fear. Fear that I will start crying in a department store when ‘Oh holy night’ is playing, fear that I will make someone uncomfortable as they are talking about the joy they are experiencing with this holiday, fear that I won’t be able to support my mom in the way she needs, fear that it’s a reality that my dad really wont be sitting on my couch when I drive home and walk into my house.

How do I face this? What do I do?

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