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Archive for the ‘The life of a griever’ Category

2012…piss

Recently I was asked the basic question of “In a relationship, how much personal space do you need?” And my roommate, Ashley, quickly answered for me “5-10 minutes per week”.

This brought up lots of laughter and more jokes directed towards me because, the honest reality is….its funny…cause its true.

Now, of course I am going to steer clear of describing to any male suitors my LACK of a need for personal space because I don’t need them running miles from me… but I do know that I have a strong need and love for spending time with others.

When I look back on my life’s timeline….I don’t just see moments and experiences, but I see the people around me.

When I think about my early childhood, what stands out is living a ½ block from my Grandma.

Grade school brings up faces of the friends I explored small town America on my bike with.

A quick thought of middle school brings Sam and Tara into my mind listening to Jars of Clay….

This trend continues as I think of moments in my life and what stands out aren’t the things I’ve done or the places I’ve been…but the people who surrounded me. The friends that I shared countless hours of joy with and the friends that stood next to me when all I had were tears.

March 26th, 2009 marks a day in my life that created a whole new trajectory that I never thought I would ever be on. I never expected to live my life at 25 years old without a father on this earth.

I think back on the last 2 ½ years and I don’t think about all the shitty-ness that eroded into who I was. But I think about the people who helped me stand when I couldn’t anymore. The people who provided me with normalcy, joy, and strength when I didn’t have any.

I specifically think of one person who helped create a new normal with me. A person who never left my side and put up with me when I couldn’t even put up with myself. A person who redefined what was important to her, so that she could support her friend. And finally, a person who became a constant beauty to a family who was searching for God to redeem this tragedy.

I could not imagine going through the last 2 ½ years without my roommate and best friend standing by me throughout.

Jan 6th, 2012 marks a day in my friend’s life that I wish she never had to experience.

We now have 2 dates in our friendship that describes a loss that will never be replaced.

And now we are at a crossroads where I am the one attempting to be the friend that can stand when the other one can’t.

I look at the last two weeks, and I get angry at the pain in our lives. I absolutely hate that my friend that I love so dearly is going through so much pain that no one should have to bear.  I do not believe that God causes tragedy, but I have to declare that God is not thwarted by it.

I have tangibly seen something beautiful come out of pain and I am trying to believe that even the very thing that scars me so deep can be turned around, not of my own doing, and strengthen someone else.  

So many times I let my circumstance cloud what I saw and could only see myself and my pain. But thank God, I was divinely living with a girl who could help me find hope when I started losing it. I now pray I can be the friend that she needs.

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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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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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9/11/2011

There are many different ways I could write a blog post on Sept 11, 2011.

I could write about the place where I was when I first saw the image of the twin towers collapsing.

I could write about the great tragedy and pain that so many have experienced and the stories I’ve heard today about people standing up amongst the pain.

I could write about what’s it’s been like to become adult in the last ten years as our nation has faced such a significant event.

But, strangely enough, all I can think about right now is one thing; Heaven.

Currently, two very close family members of mine, my grandma and my mom’s uncle, are at a place in their life when I don’t know how many more moments I will be able to share with them.  This week I’ve been attached to my phone, waiting to hear updates, crying with my mom, praying for God’s will in an event where you’re not even sure what you hope that ‘will’ will look like.

Then I watch montages of 9/11 and see the pain in these faces knowing the hurt they’ve so closely walked through.

All these moments, indirectly experiencing through hearing 9/11 stories and directly experiencing through seeing people you love get older brings me to the same conclusion…we live in a broken world. There is so much pain, so much sorrow….but the only way I can live is knowing that this world is not my home. My hope is rooted in the fact that at times this life, is just going to flat out suck. There will be pain, so much more pain, but its nothing compared to the eternity that we have in store for us.

I think of hope as both a comfort and a confidence. Trusting that there is a wonderful, specific plan in mind for me. Knowing God will be faithful through both the good and the bad moments in this world, and in my own little life.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God Himself will be with them to be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away’ (Revelation 21:3-4).

Spoiler alert, that’s the end of the book. We know how its going to turn out and one day I get to be in that place where everything is new. I long for heaven in so many ways. But one of the biggest sources of joy for me is being reunited with the ones that I love so much that are already there living out the adventures.

I can’t wait to see what things my dad has been building up there, to visit my Grandma and meet some of her friends, to get to know my Grandpa.  Ahh….its just going to be the best. 

And, maybe that’s anti-spiritual of me, but I think it’s ok because the joy and longing that I have for seeing others in heaven, and even the love that I have for people on this earth-flows directly out of the love that I have for God.

I can’t wait to see the beauty that blows our minds. I can’t wait to give the best hugs that are possible. I can’t wait til the pain and sorrows of this world are no more.

It’s going to be a great day.

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June 19th, 2011

Dear Dad,

Its Fathers Day. The day where I can take a little extra time out of my day to find a gift for you that is meaningful. A day where I can scourer the stores for a card that has someone fishing on it, or BONUS , find a card with a lure! And then write on that card, all the ways I’m thankful that you’re my dad. All the reasons that you make my life better.

Your not here to except my card and my cool gift I’m convinced you’ll love. Your not here to welcome me home after my 5 hour commute. Your not here to give me a hug and tell me, “Thanks kia, but, why did you buy this? I have fifteen of these travel coffee mugs….That you’ve given me!”

Your not here for me to call and walk me through how to build my grill. Your not here to listen to my stories. To laugh at me when I’m being ridiculous, and to encourage me when I’m feeling lost.

Your not here to balance out Mom’s worries. To make her feel heard and loved.

Your not here to see your son marry his bride next week.

DAD, some days,  I get so mad at you for not being here. It’s not right! The Prendergasts are not a trio. We need you to lead us. We need you to make us feel safe.

And then I see your son, beginning his family. Facing hardships and pressing on just like you would want him too. Just like the man that you have raised would.

And I see your wife. Facing anxiety, and then looking in your bible for insight. Quoting things you’ve said to her that will never leave, “Linda, this is no big deal, what if we were being persecuted for our faith?”

I know I will never be fully healed, Dad. I will never not miss you. I will never not want you here. I will never not want you to answer the phone when good things happen at work. I will never not want you to meet my kids. I will never not  want you to tell my husband, you can marry my daughter.

But, without brokenness the concept for healing would never exist. Without my pain, would I even know what it feels to love the way I do.

To love is to lose. Living is changing. We have to lose things to gain things. Past, present, future, we can’t go forward into the future, without losing some of the past. Its constant. Can I gain from each loss?

I lost high school, and gained college. I left my family, wonderful people I had known for years, my safety bubble, my  home, and gained amazing friends, new life experiences, knowledge that has taken me far in this life.

I lost college, and I gained Chicago. I lost certainty of classes, doing life in a house with best friends,  And I gained  a career, living the big city life, and loving people who know me inside and out.

I lost you, Dad. And I hurt so much because of it. But I have gained.

I have gained a view of life as a set up for eternity. I have gained a compassion for brokenness. I have gained a view of how one person who lived life with such strong priorities of loving Jesus, and loving others, can continue to affect the world through multiple people because of his loss.

I miss you dad. Every day. Thank you for showing me how wide, how deep, and how great the Lords love is for me.

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I can’t sleep.

Chicago is under a hot spell…and my room feels like it  is next to the equator. Worst move ever to not turn on my AC when I went to bed. Problem solved but now I’m awake and its 2am.  Yikes.

So….where does my head go at 2am….where else but the love train.

I’ve been thinking about love and relationships alot lately. The month of June holds some significant ties to love in my life. Not necessarily my love life… But the fact that a few very important people in my life are celebrating the journey of marriage this month.

Last weekend, Janae & Bryan had a Chicago reception for their wedding, which actually happened back in Colorado a few months ago.

J's pumped about her love

In two weeks Greg and Sarah’s wedding will be here! I’m so excited about this fact. I feel like I’ve been talking about this wedding for months…well I guess I have.

Greg & Sarah pumped about love

And, of course the saga continues around me and dating…we’ll just leave it at that for now, and the wondering minds can ask me in person about my dating status…I mean come on…who wouldn’t want to date this face? 

 

So, I’ve been thinking, and have had a handful of conversations with close friends and fam around relationships. Is there actually a fairy tale out there waiting for me? A perfect man that is going to be as wonderful as my imaginary boyfriend has been the last 3 years….Will I just ‘know’ or will it take some detective work??

Unfortunatly…I have a few things working against me in this quest to figure everything out around relationships.

1) I’ve been single for a LONG time….practice has not really happened around how to be in a relationship.

2) I’m not what you would call someone who’s dependent on others. I fall quite hard on the other side of Independent.

3) My dad really screwed my head up. As women we take alot of what male attention means in our life…by our dads…and what that relationship looks(ed) like. I hurt so much for girls who have not had a great relationship with their fathers. Or when one of the kids that I work with has a dad that is not being the father he needs to be. It absolutely breaks my heart.

I am pretty blessed when I think about the Dad I had. Clearly, I mean I’m writing frickin book about how much he means to me.

But…when I think back to what the interactions looked like with my dad, what male attention looked like as I grew up….I think about all the times my dad made me feel like I was the most beautiful girl in the entire world. There was no one smarter, no one more awesome, then me in his eyes. He expressed that every way he could, but especially through words. And now, here I am 27. Looking for a man to do the exact same thing. Uh oh, am I screwed?!?!?

Is it a dealbreaker to find a guy who’s love language is not through words? Who won’t make me feel like I’m as awesome as my dad thinks I am?  

I’m really not sure. But I do know a few solid dealbreakers.

1) Someone who doesn’t love Jesus. DEALBREAKER.

2) Someone who thinks he has single handedly solved all the mysteries of our faith. DEALBREAKER.

3) Someone who thinks he looks awesome in Ed Hardy. DEALBREAKER.

4) Someone who wears tighter jeans then me. DEALBREAKER.

5) Someone who enjoys looking at bats at the zoo…or in real life. DEALBREAKER.

6)  Someone who I know is an undiagnosed adult with aspergers. DEALBREAKER.

7) Someone who does not love pure Michigan. DEALBREAKER.

8) Someone who doesn’t think my jokes are funny. DEALBREAKER.

9) Someone who you could easily see on any TLC show (Example, extreme couponing). DEALBREAKER.

10) A cat man. DEALBREAKER.

 

Ok…so, clearly I have alot on my mind. I need input on what your dealbreakers are….and wisdom from anyone who is in love…IS THERE ANY HOPE FOR ME!!!

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Ok…so the intention of this blog is not to be sad and creepy. But this post may lean into the sad side…for dog lovers. For people who don’t understand dog lovers…it will just be creepy.

On NYE 2010 my family and I said goodbye to my dog of fourteen years.

As, everyone knows on March 26th, 2009 my world changed. Through many conversations with God I came to a conclusion that I was going to face this ‘death’ thing head on. But I needed God to not take my dog or my grandma away for the year of 2009. I needed death to not be a constant in my life. God provided, and Grandma came around the 2010 corner strong! Elmo ( my wonderful basset hound) came around the corner…I don’t know if the adjective strong would be used…but she came around!

2010 was a tough year for Elmo…but shes a fighter. She knew she had a family to love and she did that well. Whether that meant being awesome by lying around all day or, well…thats kind of how Elmo loved. The summer brought around new life for Elmo, my mom adopted ‘little’ Abby. An adorable Golden Doodle puppy. This puppy is the stereotypical version of what a puppy is…energy, energy, and more energy. Needless to say, the dog who lays around all day had her world shook up a bit!  She had to now fight for her bed, her food, her spotlight. This gave Elmo a renewed sense of life! At times it may have been more of an annoyance then a life source…but she handled it with grace and dignity…as she always does!

By the holidays it was clear that Elmo’s old age was beginning to get the best of her. My mom was having a hard time taking care of her and we knew it was time to say goodbye.

I’ve only said goodbye to one other dog…my dad’s dog. I was 8 when Boo was put down. It was one of the few times I remember seeing my dad in pain. One of the only times I’ve seen him cry.

This past Christmas Greg, Sarah, and I stayed at my Moms for two weeks. During those two weeks there were so many wonderful moments…but through out that time the cloud of “make the appointment” was hanging over my head. Finally on Dec 28th, my mom called the vet and arranged to bring Elmo in that afternoon.

Within an hour the appointment was cancelled. How could you take a dog in when she rolled over for the first time in 6 months!

Then Dec 29th, the appointment was set again, for Dec 31st 2010.

That morning we said goodbye to Elmo. We cried with her. Took pictures with her. Abby snuggled up next to her. I furiously researched what the top theologians say about dogs in heaven( C.S. Lewis is pro…) And Elmo just kept on loving us.

As we walked out to put her in my jeep, she took a fall which broke her leg. I quickly picked her up, put her in my lap, and told Greg to drive. She began dying in my arms in the backseat of my jeep. We made it the vets and after Greg’s heroic act of getting the veterinarians attention they took away her pain. Elmo went to see Jesus and Dad.

I sat and was so sad for my dog. My friend in so much pain. Why couldn’t this just be a peaceful goodbye.

5 hours of emotions and it hit me how remarkable it is for humans capacity to love. I can get so attached to a person, a coffee drink, a song , a blender, a pet. It’s this feeling that you want someone to be better than they are. I would have done anything to take away that silent look in Elmo’s eyes. That wince of pain that she was expressing. My families capacity to love was displayed in such huge way as we stood with our dog taking her last painful breaths.

I can say confidently that we all had a strong urge, a strong desire to suffer so that she wouldn’t.  FOR A PET! Can you imagine what that would be like for another human that you love. I saw that in my dad, It’s almost a willingness to say yes I will die, if only for that one.  The capacity to love is such a beautiful thing.

Love always costs a lot. It hurts to love. But it wouldn’t be so perfect  if you didn’t have to die a little bit to create it.

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