one year

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my father's death. Not really sure what emotions I should really be feeling.

It's no surprise to those who truly know me that my father and I had a strained and difficult relationship. That only got harder as the years went by.

I miss him. But I don't.
I love him. But I don't.
I hate him. I hate him!
But I don't. I really don't.

He hurt me.
But he was my dad.
He loved me.
I think. I hope.
I don't care.
But I do. I really do.

Was he proud of me?
I don't care. But I do.
Did he regret the things he did?
I don't care. But I do.
Did he love me?
I don't care. But I do...

I do care. I care.

Was my life the same as his?
Was my life shaped by his?
Am I who I am because of him?
Am I who I am in spite of him?

I don't know. I don't know anything.
He thought he knew everything.
Did he even know me?
Did I really give him the chance to?
Did he care to?
Did he deserve to?
Did he ever really care at all?

What I do know... is that he's gone.
And I will never know.
I will never know if we could have someday reconciled.
I will never know if he cared.
I will never know.

I do know that I am incredibly appreciative of those who have supported me unconditionally, not just at the time of his death but also at the time of his life.
My life. Our lives. Our lives intertwined.
All of our lives intertwined.

This bereavement basket from my aunts is the same as the day it was received, albeit a little less plentiful.... but isn't that just the way of things?
Of everything?

Each day I look at it and wonder.
About all the things I said.
About all the things I left unsaid.
About everything. Every day.


my heart won't work if you say goodbye

It's been a full year since you left this world. And not a single moment goes by that I don't think of you. Today I spent the day with your family and the friends you considered family.

There were laughs. There were tears. There were deviled eggs!

It was a day I know you would have enjoyed every second of. You would have played with all the kids. You would have been the most amazing Uncle Chris that you were born to be. You would have let them win croquet. You would have moaned in delight over all the fooood. You would have talked with your parents about anything and everything in between. You would have chatted with Ben about their move and his new job and told him how happy you were for him and Jess, expecting their third child. You would have talked sports with the Francoeur's. You would have thrown your arm around your sister as you belly laughed at your nephew's jokes. You would have walked down to the lake teasing Boylan the whole way for drinking White Claws like a sissy. You would have had to hold your stomach and tears of laughter as Courtney told the story of John thinking his dentist was his gastroenterologist. You would have sat back and relaxed with Jamie, living her best lake life. You would have quoted Rocky with us. But only I-IV, because V is the worst and everyone knows it. You would have sang along with me to some of your favorite songs. You would have fought me for Mary Ann's eggs. You would have wiped the sweat from your face as you shook your head in disappointment with the heat. You would have told me not to cry while you pushed my hair back behind my monkey ears, telling me "Oh no baby pleeease! You are far too fine to look so sad!". You would have made every second better for everyone there.... you should have been there. It's not fair that you couldn't. It's not right that you weren't.

Every day that I spend without you is another day of torture. But sometimes there are days like today where I spend them with people who understand what life is like without you. Who understand that even though life must go on, time still sometimes stops. Time sometimes forgets that you're no longer with us. Time sometimes holds in place just long enough to hear you laugh. Just long enough to hear you sing. Just long enough for me to dance ridiculously for a moment before realizing you're not beside me. Before realizing you never will be again.

At least I can say I know that you knew how much we loved you. You knew because we told you again and again. Even though 19 years doesn't seem like enough, at least we have those years of memories and laughter and love. And we're not left wishing we could have said more.

I told you how much I loved you. You knew that I meant it. You knew that every moment of time we shared were the best moments of our lives. You were everything to me. We loved each other. And I will always love you... forever. Even though you're gone.

I wrote this for you and read it at your Celebration of Life last year. Every line is full of truth, nostalgia, agony, and love.

Chris and I met and became friends over my obsessive love for Nine Inch Nails and Blue Fruitopia in 1999. In the following years, he would grab me a Beachside Blast at the school store and deliver it to me across the hall in Culinary and I would sneak him a frozen cookie from the walk-in. Over the last 19 years, we have known him as Twinkie, Twinks, Twizzlepop, Hamel, Hamz, Hamdiggy, Hameltoe, Hamchin, Hambone, Fartface, Humphrey Brofart, Papa and Chris. But to be honest, I've always truly known him as my brother. He was always more than just a friend. He was my brother.

He was the kindest, most genuine person I have ever known. He was always there for me whenever I needed. Whether it was to help me move, or to educate me on various trees. Thanks to Chris, I will forever be able to recognize the specific characteristics of a Norway Spruce. He was always there to make me laugh until I cried. To give me a ride home and help me break into my house while the alarm was going off because I forgot my keys. To quote movies with me for hours on end. To play Indian Hot challenge with me at Taste of India Sunday Buffet. To create fictitious holidays just for any excuse to celebrate in the basement in our pajamas. To teach me how to properly blow my nose, because apparently I had been doing it wrong for 22 years! To be my human shield at the Gwar show and help me dodge the fake blood. Then make me Baby Spinny Pizza after the show on the Pizza Pizzaz. To sit and chat with me at Unos, where we spent basically the entire first half of our twenties. To rub my back after making me stand in the Worcester parking garage "tailgating". To share rip tickets at the Moose Lodge. To gladly be the meat in a Sardinha Sandwich when cuddling in bed with my sister and me. To hunt wabbits with me in the basement while tripping over my Pluto slippers. To listen as I annoyingly rambled on about life, love, and everything in between.

He would always tell me, "Nik, just chiiillll", whenever I would get riled up over insignificant things. Which was basically everything. Or to offer a shoulder when I cried.

I never thought I would miss him more than I did back when he was traveling in the forest service. He would be gone for weeks at a time, and the heartache I felt then just seems so silly now. Because I never thought I would miss him for the rest of my life. I took our friendship for granted, because I always thought we would have more time. I
always thought we would be those creepy old weirdos playing Parcheesi at the retirement home until we went out with a bang - together.

When I got my degree, my advisor asked me excitedly what I would be doing to celebrate. She laughed when I told her I was going to go play Parcheesi with my best friend and his mom in their basement. She thought I was joking. But that was my absolute favorite thing to do with my absolute favorite person.

Some of my best memories took place there, with Chris. If you were ever lucky enough to have been one of the people to have spent time with him in the basement, then you know exactly what I mean. Because you have your own set of memories with Chris down there. Listening to records, playing games, quoting movies for hours on end, airdrumming to every single song, stabbing the chair arm with your knife while he looked at you with crazy eyes: "Shawn- WHAT are you trying to accomplish with that knife?!", cuddling under the blankets, years of unsuccessfully trying to stifle our laughter because Rog was sleeping upstairs, playing a 10+ year Black Jack game that never ends because nobody’s really keeping score, singing and dancing and just simply enjoying each other. Whatever those memories you have are, I know that if Chris was in them, they were good ones.

His smile and his laugh lit up every single room he entered. He was so strong and so brave fighting this battle and he was a jokester til the very end. Even when faced with the end of his life, he still managed to laugh and to make us laugh too. I know that besides walking in the woods, that laughing and making others laugh is what brought him true joy most. I am so thankful for knowing Chris and I count myself extremely lucky for having had him in my life for so many years. He was my Soul Sista, my chin rest, my baby bird, my friend, and my brother.

Music was such a big part of Chris’s life, and something that we always shared together. We always sang and we always danced together. Recently, I found an old video of us singing and dancing to one of our favorite Mutemath songs. He loved this song, and the lyrics are so fitting:

You don't have to try
Running from each other
I read your eyes
You don't have to bother
Maybe we'll survive
If we don't discover
One life ties to another

I'd rather die
holding one another
Your hand in mine
It's easy and it's not for
understanding why
The world is out of color
One life ties to another

Cause the world won't turn
If the sun won't rise

And the stars won't burn
In a broken sky

And the wind won't surf
If the ocean's dry

And my heart won't work
If you say goodbye
  • Current Music
    Mutemath - Goodbye

No more songs.

8 years ago. I remember this night like it was yesterday. The four of us would get together almost every single night.
But this one was different. Maybe it was the calm of the snow that had just begun to fall. Or maybe it was the conglomerate realization of our deep affection for one another. That night we all hugged constantly. We said I love you over and over. We meant it.

We went to the Moose Lodge and made extra bets on rip tickets. Gambling on gambling. Gambling squared. G2 Money. Chris was the only one who won money that night. Betting with me that Katie would lose. She did. And so did I.

Afterwards, we walked to the Brickhouse (where this picture was taken). We talked and joked and sang with each other for a while and then began to part ways.

In the parking lot, we all kissed and hugged and said I love you, but none of us wanted to leave.. we stood there in silence for a moment. Not sure what to do or why we all felt like our hearts were breaking. Matty broke the silence, "Alright, well we'll see you keds back at Niksters in a few minutes then. K. Thanks. Bye", and ran to the car before anyone could protest.

We convoyed to my apartment, where we stayed up all night talking and laughing and sometimes crying. But always loving unconditionally. Matty and I made some crazy concoction for midnight snacks with whatever I had left in the fridge. Katie hugged me from behind at the stove and I called her Sam. Chris rolled his eyes back and moaned and sighed in delight, as he always did when sampling our succulent sustenances.

This was just one of so so so many nights just like it. Sometimes there would be others with us, but usually it was just the four of us. Every night. I'm not sure why this night specifically stands out from the rest. Maybe it's the amount of love that poured out of us that night. Or maybe it's just that there happens to be a picture, so the memories are triggered more easily. Maybe it's my own realization that there will never be any more like it. Ever.

Matty left this world in April 2015. I made a promise to him that I would blog more. But I don't. Because it always makes me think about him. And sometimes it's just too hard to. But I saw this picture this morning and felt I had to. And it made me think of how he loved when I started sentences with conjunctions. Because even if it was wrong, it felt so right.

Chris died this past July.
My heart is broken. The past six and a half months have been the hardest moments of my life. I know he's gone, but I still can't accept it. I still can't imagine my life moving forward without him.

I remember the day we met. I was walking to computer class in 1999. Chris said "Nice shirt", to me as he walked passed. I turned and said "Thanks". And that was it. But later that day he came up to me and we talked about NIN... the shirt I was wearing. We were friends ever since.
I remember the years and years of moments big and small.
I remember the day he died. And the months and days that led up to it. Daily trips to Mass General just to hold his hand and kiss his face. Locking eyes in a few moments of silence. Saying we love each other.
The night before he died, we sat together while I scratched his back, and he started to sing. I kissed him through my salty tears and thanked him for all the years we shared. He told me it would be okay. He said, "Don't worry. I've got this".
The next day, he was too weak to speak, but he would squeeze our hands and he knew we were there. The nurse asked us to leave the room for a moment so they could turn him, but when we came back in he was gone. I ran to his bed and plopped on top of him. His last breath brushed against my cheek and through my hair. I shot up thinking the nurses were wrong. I looked at his face and realized no, I was wrong. He was gone. I fell to my knees and wailed. And wailed.

I knew he was dying. I knew he would go anytime. I knew in my mind it would happen soon, but my heart never accepted it or prepared for the moment.

I'm stuck there. We have 19 years of laughter, songs, and joy. But I have yet to smile at one memory. I can't get passed the fact that he's gone. There will be no happy ending. No more memories. No more songs.
  • Current Music
    Death Cab for Cutie


Welp. It's been almost a year again. Whyyyy can't I keep this going?!? So much for the challenge helping me keep this up to date. I'm about half way done the 30 day challenge and it's only taken me about a year and a half to get this far. Pathetic.
More on that later.

The mother of all updates & Blog Challenge Day 11

As suspected, I only made it to 10 entries before falling off the updating cliff. I’m so bad at these. That’s why I had to give myself that leeway of posting whenever I get to it instead of 30 blogs in 30 days. Pssht.

Okay, List time!! YAAAY!
Things I’ve been doing instead of writing:
-being summertime lazy
-bike riding
-not running-stupid foot
-flip flops every day!
-making cakes!
-going to weddings and showers and parties… SUMMER!

-GETTING ENGAGED!!! Yep. Mike & I are getting MARRIED!!! Crazy. I’m stupid happy. I’m so lucky to have such an amazing, caring, dedicated, loving man that wants to spend the rest of his life with my silly ass. I seriously can’t wait to be his wife.

It was the sweetest and silliest proposal of all time. He makes me smile so damn much.

Here’s a pic of my gorgeous ring. It’s absolutely impossible to capture its true beauty. It’s alexandrite that will only photograph purple, but it’s constantly changing…. Not really but absolutely different in each different light. It’s different every time I look at it. Right now it’s turquoise with flecks of purple… if I step outside it will be beaming bright turquoise.

Aaahhhhh I’m getting married!! Eeeeeee

Aaannnnyyyways enough of that! Haha

Here we go. 3 effing months later…. I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna do this. I’m gonna do this.
I made a promise to Matty that I would do this. I’m gonna do this. I will finish this.

Day 11 – Put your iPod on shuffle and write 10 songs that pop up.
1. Of Monsters And Men – Mountain Sound
2. The Limousines – Fine Art
3. The 1975 – Chocolate
4. Jacobi Wichita – Belly Up
5. Neon Trees – Everybody Talks
6. Reggie And The Full Effect – What the Hell is Contempt
7. X Ambassadors – Litost
8. Georgia Satellites – Keep Your Hands To Yourself
9. Bush – A Tendency to Start Fires
10. Horse The Band – Manateen

Yessss – Perfect ending with Horse the Band! & The fact that Georgia Satellites was in there is hilarious to me. I love that song. Ahaha I’m actually a little sad that other crazy randoms didn’t pop up.

Okiieee That is all.


just like a dream, silver and green, we live in between

Some days are easier than others.
Days like today are harder than most.
I can’t seem to keep my eyes dry.
I keep hearing your voice, seeing your face.
These waves keep coming. I can’t keep my footing.
It doesn’t get better. It doesn’t go away.
It does get easier though….. but when?

The other day Mike and I were telling each other super offensive jokes. I was crying from laughing so hard and I said “I love that you’re one of like five people I could actually say these things to.” Then it hit me again. “Four now.” And instantly my tears of laughter and joy turned back to sadness and loss. I imagine the waves will slow and steady eventually, as they have after past losses. But this just seems different. A constant storm of wild emotions.

Recently we were playing trivia and doing super poorly, which is odd for us. I didn’t care, I was laughing it off. I was showing Mike an old picture and telling him the story of that day. Smiling at the memory. Then the trivia host announced the scores. We got 7th place, with 77 points. That’s not a coincidence. I don’t care what anybody else thinks. I lost it. I couldn’t handle it. Lately being in public has not been the easiest of tasks. My emotions are so up and down and uncontrollable.

I miss you. It still doesn’t seem real that I’ll never see you again.

  • Current Music
    Blondfire - Waves

Day 10 – Discuss your first love and your first kiss.

What a perfect entry for a #tbt

My first love was my high school sweetheart, Ryan. We share an unbreakable bond that will last forever. Although we were just kids, and love and commitment means something completely different when you’re 16 than it does when you’re 30; we did love each other very much. We went through some really difficult and devastating times together. Normal teenage issues and fears, the death of a few friends (one of them being his sister Casey), family struggles and ultimately the calamitous end of our relationship. Luckily after some time passed we were able to remain friends and 14 years after our breakup he is still very close to my heart and considered highly as one of my lifelong friends. We see each other semi-often. Mike thinks he’s great (because he is) and it is never weird or awkward in any way. Our relationship was so long ago, we don’t even see each other in that respect anymore. We’re simply just friends. And I will always love him that way. Forever and always infinity times infinity plus two.

My first kiss is a story that many may find strange… because of our ages. I know that it sounds crazy, but it’s true. I guess they really do do things differently down south. Haha.
Jimmy lived next door. He was 6 and I was 4. We hid behind my shed and he showed me how to french kiss. After the first time, we realized how fun it was and would often meet behind the shed during games of hide and seek or just when no one else was around. Maybe that’s why I’m so good at it. I started like 10 years early. Haha!! I can only imagine the freakout that our parents would’ve had, had they known. Glad we dodged that one. Behind the shed must’ve been a great hiding place. In 1992, my family moved to New Hampshire and I didn’t see or speak to him for many years. Then 18 years later, like a damn Oprah story we reconnected via FB. He lived only about an hour away in Massachusetts. We casually saw each other for a while, but it didn’t work out for a few reasons. However, we also still remain friendly. He is an amazing man with a great soul. He is smart and extremely talented and creative. I would like to think all that kissing we did when we were kids had something to do with it. Haha. ;)

This is us :)

Day 09 – Discuss your hobbies/talents.

As I mentioned in a previous entry, music is a big hobby/talent of mine. Most would view it as a talent… I really just view it as a hobby though. I have zero interest in it ever becoming more than that. I used to play shows/open for bands when I was younger, but I haven’t done that in years. Occasionally I will sing karaoke or do an open mic night, but that’s just for fun.

Recently I discovered I have a little talent in drawing. I haven’t explored or practiced it much, but I think I will more in the future. I’m not amazing or anything, but I think it’s pretty impressive what I can do with zero training. I did take an art class in high school, but all I remember from that was painting a lighthouse and making baskets. I have also done two of those paint night “classes”, which was super fun but not really informative in any way. My sister is an amazingly talented artist. When I was drawing a portrait and pieces just didn’t seem right, I sent her a picture of it and she gave me tips via text to make it better…. That’s the extent of my drawing training. Maybe in the future I will take a class or something. I don’t know. Maybe.

I’ll do your taxes. You don’t even have to pay me. I enjoy it. I’ll pay you! I know, I’m a weirdo. Thanks. Now give me your papers! I’ll organize and reconcile all of your finances and bills… for FREE! AAHH! I’m not really sure if that’s a talent….. I’m smart, good with numbers and super fast on the keyboard… soooo yes?

I can hacky sack like nobody’s business. Haha. Truly. I can go on for hours.

I can also whack a baseball pretty damn far….

Day 08 – A moment you felt the most satisfied with your life.

(Two in one day again! Go me!!)

Often after we have just finished up dinner and are snuggling on the couch just watching TV in each other’s arms I have that moment of deep satisfaction with my life. I have everything I need and want. Great friends and a loving (crazy) family. The absolute love of my life by my side. What more could I ask for?

Sunday mornings are pretty excellent too. We stay in bed until our stomachs can’t take it. He puts on a pot of coffee then chops strawberries to put in my yogurt while I make him an omelet or French toast. It really is deeply satisfying to work as a team and do things for each other for no reason other than to make the other smile. Even if it is a simple little thing like making breakfast for each other, or cleaning out and filling the to-go coffee filter for me every morning so all I have to do is push a button.

Obviously not only am I satisfied with my life, I’m deeply satisfied with our coffee machine. Hahha it is the best. To-go during the week and full pots on the weekends. Coffee is love ;)

Day 07 – Your zodiac sign and if you think it fits your personality.

I’m a Libra. Although I don’t believe that people can be explained in 12 broad categories (Sun Signs), I do believe that zodiacs can and do have something to do with personality traits. That being said, what most people rely on for zodiac and horoscope is merely their Sun sign. When putting together a chart of where and when you were born and where all of the planets, sun and moon were at the exact moment you were born can get really interesting. Whether it’s accurate and true or not, I don’t know. But it is interesting. I’ve done it for a few people, not just myself. It always turns out to be way more detailed and accurate than just their sun signs. Pretty cool.

I personally think genetics and environment have way more to do with how you and your personality grow and change than the zodiac does. However, I am pretty much a “textbook” Libra. Haha
This is a tad long, but oddly accurate. .. .

Libra The Scales

Traditional Libra Traits:
Diplomatic and urbane
Romantic and charming
Easygoing and sociable
Idealistic and peaceable

Libra On the dark side....
Indecisive and changeable
Gullible and easily infuenced
Flirtatious and self-indulgent

Libra is the only inanimate sign of the zodiac, all the others representing either humans or animals. Many modern astrologers regard it as the most desirable of zodiacal types because it represents the zenith of the year, the high point of the seasons, when the harvest of all the hard work of the spring is reaped.

There is a mellowness and sense of relaxation in the air as mankind enjoys the last of the summer sun and the fruits of his toil. Librans too are among the most civilized of the twelve zodiacal characters and are often good looking. They have elegance, charm and good taste, are naturally kind, very gentle, and lovers of beauty, harmony (both in music and social living) and the pleasures that these bring.

They have good critical faculty and are able to stand back and look impartially at matters which call for an impartial judgment to be made on them. But they do not tolerate argument from anyone who challenges their opinions, for once they have reached a conclusion, its truth seems to them self-evident; and among their faults is an impatience of criticism and a greed for approval. But their characters are on the whole balanced, diplomatic and even tempered.

Librans are sensitive to the needs of others and have the gift, sometimes to an almost psychic extent, of understanding the emotional needs of their companions and meeting them with their own innate optimism - they are the kind of people of whom it is said, "They always make you feel better for having been with them." They are very social human beings. They loathe cruelty, viciousness and vulgarity and detest conflict between people, so they do their best to cooperate and compromise with everyone around them, and their ideal for their own circle and for society as a whole is unity.

Their cast of mind is artistic rather than intellectual, though they are usually too moderate and well balanced to be avant garde in any artistic endeavor. They have good perception and observation and their critical ability, with which they are able to view their own efforts as well as those of others, gives their work integrity.

In their personal relationships they show understanding of the other person's point of view, trying to resolve any differences by compromise, and are often willing to allow claims against themselves to be settled to their own disadvantage rather than spoil a relationship. They like the opposite sex to the extent of promiscuity sometimes, and may indulge in romanticism bordering on sentimentality.

Their marriages, however, stand a good chance of success because they are frequently the union of "true minds". The Libran's continuing kindness toward his or her partner mollifies any hurt the latter may feel if the two have had a tiff. Nor can the Libran's spouse often complain that he or she is not understood, for the Libran is usually the most empathetic of all the zodiacal types and the most ready to tolerate the beloved's failings.

The negative Libran character may show frivolity, flirtatiousness and shallowness. It can be changeable and indecisive, impatient of routine, colorlessly conventional and timid, easygoing to the point of inertia, seldom angry when circumstances demand a show of annoyance at least; and yet Librans can shock everyone around them with sudden storms of rage. Their love of pleasure may lead them into extravagance; Libran men can degenerate into reckless gamblers, and Libran women extravagant, jealous and careless about money sometimes squander their wealth and talents in their overenthusiasm for causes which they espouse. Both sexes can become great gossipers. A characteristic of the type is an insatiable curiosity that tempts them to enquire into every social scandal in their circle.

In their work the description "lazy Libra" which is sometimes given is actually more alliterative than true. Librans can be surprisingly energetic, though it is true that they dislike coarse, dirty work. Although some are modestly content, others are extremely ambitious. With their dislike of extremes they make good diplomats but perhaps poor party politicians, for they are moderate in their opinions and able to see other points of view. They can succeed as administrators, lawyers (they have a strong sense of justice, which cynics might say could handicap them in a legal career), antique dealers, civil servants and bankers, for they are trustworthy in handling other people's money. Some Librans are gifted in fashion designing or in devising new cosmetics; others may find success as artists, composers, critics, writers, interior decorators, welfare workers or valuers, and they have an ability in the management of all sorts of public entertainment. Some work philanthropically for humanity with great self-disciple and significant results. Libran financiers sometimes make good speculators, for they have the optimism and ability to recover from financial crashes.