It's been twelve months since I heard your voice (Another Piece of My Heart is Gone).
It's been ten months since I made a life changing decision without you (Faith, Friends and Life Decisions).
I write to remember. I write to cherish memories. But above all, I write to heal, and this chapter is on my heart...
A couple years ago, Kevin and I travelled to Ireland for our belated honeymoon. It was here that I began a new tradition of collecting small trinkets from every country we visited - not just for us, but for our moms too. Then if I found something that specifically stood out to me for someone else, we would consider picking it up. Well... in Ireland we stumbled upon a guy that was carving Gaelic words into stone, which could then be strung into jewellry. He had a pretty stone that translated into 'hope' that I couldn't take my eyes off of, and I ultimately picked it up. After everything that my dear friend Carolyn had been through the last year, it seemed right to bring home.
What I didn't know then is that her cancer had metastasized and that when I arrived back in the states, I would receive the note from her confirming this. The feeling of sitting in the airport reading the news was heartbreaking and unforgettable. To this day, I can remember the feeling. So this 'hope' stone had even more meaning than when I originally picked it up.
She deserved everything good in the world, and instead, she had to fight the world. So any subsequent trip, I made it my mission to always find something meaningful to bring back for Carolyn. I will admit, it was a borderline obsession. But seeing her face light up with even the smallest gift was enough for me.
Earlier this year we returned to Ireland for the first time since our honeymoon, and as if my mind enjoys playing tricks on me, it still searches for that perfect gift. In a gift shop, I found it. A pretty green bead bracelet that just screamed Carolyn. I pick it up as if I'm going to buy it, but then I am forced back into reality that she's not here for me to gift to anymore. I put down the bracelet, and with tears in my eyes, I leave the shop.
Walking back to our hotel, we are passing the Ma'Penny bridge which we'd seen a dozen times now, but tonight it was different. Tonight, there was a beautiful green light shining. Carolyn knew I needed her, and so she popped down to say Hi. She always had a knack for being exactly where I needed her to be.
A couple of weeks ago, we were in Spain for an extended weekend, and just like before, my mind instantly was on the lookout for the perfect gift. I stumbled into a store that sold only items made from cork - which is grown locally and so I decided to look around. There I found a cute bracelet with green beads and an owl charm which seems simple and random, but if you only knew our history...
You'd know that for years Carolyn would buy me gifts with owls... Necklaces, key chains, measuring spoons, etc. She was so mad at me when she found out Kevin's favourite animal was actually an owl, not mine. From that point on, we laughed about it and I'll cherish that forever (and all my owl gifts!).
I can't explain why, but instead of being sad, I was led to buy the bracelet. Well not just one... I bought three. One for me, and one for Carolyn's sister and mom. Carolyn began bonding us as family long before any of us knew we would no longer have her on Earth, and I'm so grateful for that. We don't speak every day or see each other often, but I know her entire family is here (and vice versa) whenever I need to feel a little piece of Carolyn again. So I bought the bracelets and put them in the mail. Just to remind her sister and mom that I'm always thinking about them.
Carolyn changed my life. I still cry because I miss her, and I'm pretty sure I always will. But I also smile every time I see a bright green light or a big chocolate cake, cause I know she is smiling too.