My grandpa died in September of 2009. That was hard of course. I missed a couple of days of school, I just couldn’t deal with it. The funeral came and went. I soldiered through without shedding a single tear. The whole process made life feel like a damp sponge. Cold, and watered down.
I thought that that process was the worst of it, the grieving and the loss. But I was wrong, and I found this out in a strange way.
It was the following month in October, on Thanksgiving day to be exact, that I really realized the impact that my grandpa’s death would have on our family. On every significant holiday, four times a year, my grandma would prepare a turkey dinner for everyone, and everyone would make the drive to her and grandpa’s house to have a family dinner.
But this time it was different. My grandma didn’t have the energy or the inclination to make a dinner. She was still grieving and she was hollow. She was tired. So we picked up grandma and headed over to Denny’s.
I’m not sure if you’ve been to a Denny’s on Thanksgiving, but basically they serve nothing but turkey dinner and the place is packed. So we waited for a table, sat down, ordered. I looked around at the other tables of families. There was this heavy atmosphere to the restaurant, a quietness. For a room so full of people, it was surprisingly quiet. I looked around our table as we ate, and our table was quiet too. Everybody ate somberly without much effort to speak. I watched my grandma’s face, fork in one hand, bun clutched in the other, as she normally did, and it broke my heart.
The intention was the same: have a nice turkey dinner with family. But the reality was so much different. I sat there utterly defeated as I realized what my grandpa’s death did to us. It robbed us of normality, of tradition, of joy. Because he wasn’t with us, it didn’t feel worth it to go to the effort.
This experience will stick with me for the rest of my life. Everything felt like it was taking place underwater, in slow motion. It just didn’t make sense.
The next holiday, Christmas, was only slightly better. My grandma made dinner and the family gathered at her house, but again, it was silent as everyone ate. There was no conversation, no small talk. It was as if the energy to be happy was zapped from everyone as they entered the house. Many family members took turns glancing to my grandpa’s vacant seat at the head of the table and the cloud of anguish was heavy over our table.
With each holiday, everyone got a little better, a little happier. It seems like death steals our ability to be happy. With time though, things have gotten more normal, because his absence has become normal. Now in 2016, seven years later, everyone enjoys themselves again.
It is not selfish to be happy or have a good time without that person there, but it takes time to realize that. I look around the table at these dinners now and I see what I used to see before my grandpa’s death, family.
The longing that we would feel when we looked at his chair has been replaced with memories that bring smiles to our lips instead of tears to our eyes. Death changes everything, but how you let it change things is up to you.
Sometimes we burn bright
A fire to warm the soul
Sometimes we freeze solid
A chill to melt the heart
We need both to understand love
My mom shared this quote with me yesterday, and I thought it was beautiful. We are not all destined to be great, but if you can focus the greatness you have into little things in life, then together, the sum of all those things will make you great. Don’t give yourself all at once, but a little bit at a time.
So Turner and I have been awaiting the day we hit our first blog milestone: 100 followers. And we did it.
We are beyond thankful to have connected with so many people. Thank you for sharing in the love and joining in our journey.
To all of you newcomers, feel free to follow us on our instagram account where we share more of what we love.
Are like the unfurling of a book
When you break through the cover
And discover the story within
in those moments, you truly understand them
This new song from PATD had my name written all over it! You just can’t beat that big band sound. Reminds me of the great gatsby soundtrack.
Some exciting news to share! Turner and I have sent our manuscript for Betrayal Comes First to an editor, and have taken the first steps in self publishing. This was the most nerve wracking move we’ve made thus far, but we have to admit, it also feels pretty damn good. A book is only worthwhile if it can be shared with other people. We hope to share it with all of you within the next little while.
ISLAND recently released an EP, and oh my goodness, is it ever amazing. Turner was searching for new music and came across the song “I’ve been searching.” She shared it with me, and of course I had to check out the EP.
So after doing a little research, I learned that ISLAND is a four-piece band based out of London. They have a really cool presence in their photos and an awesome style.
Their EP includes four tracks:
- I’ve Been Searching
- Nighttime Written Blues
It’s hard to decide where to start, but let me share the words that came to mind when listening to these songs. Cool. Breezy. Soul. I also had a constant image of sitting on a beach at night while some strummed away on a guitar. Each song was a masterful concoction of clever guitar riffs and drum beats. The lead singer’s voice is so soothing that it lulls you into a trance, one where you listen to the music over and over. I found myself listening to each song several times because there are so many carefully constructed layers of beats and chords that you can’t listen to them all at the same time.
Each specific song had a common theme, the band’s particular sound was evident, but they still managed to make each one unique. That’s defiantly a challenge some other bands have failed at, but not this one. One strange talent that this band possesses is the ability to end a song in the perfect way. They just have this knack for knowing whether to draw out the ending with soft chords or end it suddenly.
In regards to specific songs, the EP could be divided into two groups. Edgy/grungy and melodic/slowed-down. The first two tracks fall into the first category and the last two fall into the second. This mix is great, because it shows what ISLAND is capable of doing.
I’m constantly impressed with the indie music coming out of the UK and I swear the Brits were blessed by the musical gods to create sweet music for the world. It’s rare I find an album or EP in which I love every song on it, but this one hit the nail of the head. Five stars for ISLAND!
Take a listen to two of the tracks here and let me know what you think.
If your heart is empty
Your life has meaning
If your heart is full
Your life has meaning
Everyone’s journey has meaning
So after a year and a half of writing together, Turner and I have started to discover what we love to write. We’ve completed 3 novels but started at least 4 other stories in between. We found ourselves starting and dropping them a few chapters in. Why was this is?
Reflecting back on them, we realised a pattern. These stories were a different genre than the others! Any time we tried to write a period piece that was realistic and about plain people’s stories we lost interest. It’s not that we didn’t like what we were writing, we just weren’t excited about it. Thus we lost all interest in writing them.
The novels we had completed all had the same thread of a more creative and imaginative environment. The characters were realistic, but their circumstances set them apart from the ordinary. This realization is what now guides us in our 4th novel.
Basically, find which genre you’re passionate about. Which genre makes you excited? Which starts sparking your imagination? Then, go with it!