Showing posts with label Loss. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Loss. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The Lord Giveth....a DNA story with a happy beginning

A picture from the first day we met in
person, with the heart rock she gifted me
I've been wanting to write about this for a few months now. I've had to give myself some time to wrap my head around it all first. It's not anything I really expected to happen, but maybe in the back of my mind I hoped for it without allowing myself to dwell on it.

Most everyone who's been here knows that I lost my little sister 4 years ago. It's been a struggle since then to be an only child. Lonely. Funny to say that, you wouldn't think it, since I have such a large family with my husband and children. But it's true. I lost the person who grew up with me. Someone I spoke to often, even when we didn't always agree. National sibling day on social media only made it worse,  and holidays were a sore reminder of what was missing.

I knew that there was a possibility of having other siblings out there from my biological father. I didn't know him well. Visitation stopped when I was 4, likely because he was a severe alcoholic and ended up homeless now and then. I met him once when I was 11, while in foster-care, when he came to court to help my mom try to regain custody of me. The visit lasted maybe an hour, and I vaguely remember he mentioned 2 younger sisters. I didn't have any other information though. I did try to track him down once I was an adult, but wasn't successful and he passed away in 2005, which stopped me finding out anymore. I figured that door was closed permanently.

Our father in about 1980
Fast-forward to this past summer, when on a whim, I decided to jump on the DNA testing bandwagon with my husband for Amazon Prime Day and ordered tests for each of us from both Ancestry DNA and from 23andme. Once the tests came, I figured I'd learn some health info on the 23andme and maybe track down some relatives and learn about my heritage. Ancestry.com didn't pan out on tracking anyone who knew my father down, and that was the one I pinned most of my hopes on, since it was the one I'd heard most about.

By the end of August, I finally got my results from 23andme. There, at the top of my DNA relatives, caught my attention and made me catch my breath. Half Sibling. I don't know how long I stared at it before it fully registered. WHAT?! Was this real? Could this be real? A sister. I had a sister. Her name was right there. Dayna. It gave her last name too, and it wasn't a common one.

I don't know how other people would've handled this, but I did the most stalker-y thing I've ever done and looked her up on Facebook. There was only one person who came up with her name, and she lived in the same state as me! I went through pictures, looked for a resemblance, looked at her family members, pictures of her life, and then when that checked out as being a normal, non-psycho looking person, I sent her a message on 23andme.com and I waited. And I waited. And I waited. A few days later, when talking to my aunt about my discovery, and my hurt and embarrassment that I hadn't gotten a response, she encouraged me to send a message on Facebook, saying maybe my newfound sibling hadn't seen my message. So I gathered up my courage, set aside my pride and did exactly that.

"I hope this isn't uncomfortable or weird, but I'm wondering if you're the same Dayna..... who came up on my 23andme DNA relation match. I won't bother you again, but if you're open to a conversation, I'm here. πŸ™‚"

And then I waited some more. I got a response the next day:

Dayna.... accepted your request.
Dayna Kinzel
That's me πŸ™‚
Who are your parents?
Nellie
(Information removed for privacy)
Dayna Kinzel
Omg!!
Seriously!
We are sisters!!!
Are you serious?
Nellie
I am very serious
Dayna Kinzel

Nellie








We spent a lot of time over the next several days messaging, then talking on the phone and then eventually setting up a visit. I was excited, terrified, hopeful, fearful.....We learned we'd grown up in much the same way. Both of us had been in foster-care. Both had difficult childhoods we'd overcome. Both were married with children. The more we learned, the more we wanted to know. And we very quickly came to love one another.

She's better at expressing her emotions, I think. I can do that in writing, but when my emotions are that caught up and strong, I have a harder time, due to fear of being hurt. But when she went with me to a procedure I had in September, the anesthesia took out my inhibitions and opened the floodgates as I came out of it.

I woke up crying and apparently told her how happy I was that I wasn't alone anymore and how much I loved her, as well as how excited I was to be an aunt to her children and how scared I was they wouldn't like me. I did this all while clutching her hand.......Yeah....I put it all out there. Which she said she loved and appreciated because it made her feel more secure that she wasn't the only one invested.

Dayna knew of my existence, though didn't know my name or much else. She had more time getting to know our father, though not a whole lot. She took the test before I did, hoping that after 10 years of searching, hoping and waiting, that something might turn up. She said she lost hope after a while of getting nowhere and finally set it aside. Until the day I messaged her.

First family gathering together for one of my daughter's birthdays
We want to find out more together, and maybe there's a possibility of us finding the other siblings out there. She says she's pretty sure we have 2 brothers and one other sister. But we don't have much info to go off of, and they haven't come up on the DNA tests we took.

We've spent time with our families together, gone to each other's children's birthday's, started a new Christmas tradition in painting ornaments together, and even had Christmas dinner together! I'm overwhelmed with gratitude for this major blessing in my life. I have wonderful friends, and amazing family. But to have a sister, to have that relationship possible again after I thought it was gone forever.....I'm so humbled. I'm so looking forward to building this relationship with her and her family. We've had a great beginning and I'm hopeful of our future!



Thursday, February 26, 2015

It's About to Get Real

I know it's been a really long time since I've written. I've been trying to get my life back on track, which, I'll be honest, hasn't been easy. I was really shaken with the death of my sister in July, 2013. I thought I was doing okay, but a year later, when the fog cleared from my mind (that's the best way I can describe it), I realized I'd been on autopilot for that whole time.

When I "woke up" I could see how much I'd been missing in what was happening around me. It's hard for me to admit publicly that I wasn't holding things together as well as I wanted to believe I was. I believed I was broken. I thought I would never again feel okay, but I did my best to fake it because I had a family to take care of, and they needed me to be okay.

I pulled back from the world. I stayed home most of the time because that was easiest. I wanted my family to be home with me too, which really, wasn't fair to them, but they complied quite easily most of the time. They were and are the most important part of my life (outside of God) and I wanted the comfort they gave me. Unfortunately, they weren't getting the full part of me at home either though. Really, when you're on auto-pilot, you miss a lot. I missed a lot.

When that fog cleared, and I suddenly felt more aware, alert to what was happening in the world around me, I was ecstatic! I wasn't broken! I could be happy again! I felt hope again! The pain is still there, and always will be. I love my sister. I miss her. But I can see that I still have so much to be thankful for in my life. And I know my sister is in a better place.



That suddenly clarity wasn't all sunshine, rainbows and unicorns though. I realized how far I'd let things go around me. My preschooler had been coloring on the furniture, the walls, you name it. And while I knew it was happening, and took the things from her when I caught her, I did little to prevent it further and rarely cleaned it up. My once relatively clean and organized home (as clean as it can be with 8 people living here!) was the most cluttered, disorganized, out of sorts as I've ever let anything get (let's just say I once was OCD about the shape of my house, and while having so many kids relaxed me, I was still very much into keeping things in the kind of order that wouldn't make everyone completely insane, but was very comfortable and wouldn't scare away company! Haha!) I won't even get started on the shape of my yard! Ugh!

Besides the shape of my house, more importantly, there was also the emotional well-being of my children I needed to address, and the relationship with my husband. They got use to the new me (foggier, reclusive, less active....well, you get the gist of it).  They didn't want to burden me with their problems. And now that I was awake and wanted to jump back in, that took some adjusting to get back on track. It also took some convincing that I could handle whatever they threw at me! Something they'd never doubted before this tragedy.

It hasn't been easy to jump back into being social either. A lot of times I feel really awkward in a group, but I never regret getting out there. Being a recluse for that long is a hard habit to break though! I'm working on it....

Grief is a strange thing. I'd thought I could get through it in the same ways I've had to before. I'm not a stranger to loss. I've lost a lot, as so many have, really. But the hardest loss was my baby sister. That went beyond any pain I'd felt ever. I'd heard it would take time, but when days, weeks, months passed and I wasn't able to bounce back the way I'd been able to in the past, and eventually I was sure I never would. Oh ye of little faith......

Ultimately it was God who woke me up. I recognize His hand in so many things that made me keep going. He didn't go easy on me, He knew what I needed to get through this and He never abandoned me, even though at times I thought for sure He had. He knew I had to keep moving to move forward, and I was a resistant, stubborn,
pain in the butt at times, I'm sure!

I'm having such life-changing, faith-affirming revelations as a result of the trials of the last two years. One of those is that these are the things that make us who we are. These are the things that draw us closer together. These are the things we learn most from and help us grow.

So while I can't promise to be here daily, I can say I will try to do better. Writing has always be therapeutic for me, and I've always loved sharing what I learn in life, so there are two great reasons to be here!

Friday, January 17, 2014

What Happened to Honesty in Business?

Maybe I'm naΓ―ve to think that it ever existed, but I'm sure there must've been a time when people didn't try to cheat each other--when they actually did what they were supposed to do and didn't try to hide a mistake when they made one. I've had multiple bad experiences throughout my life with unscrupulous people, but I've still, somehow against all odds, managed to stay optimistic.

I loath dishonesty in people. I try to live by the motto: Treat others the way you want to be treated. I'm not going to say that I'm perfect. Certainly, I'm not. But I work hard to be a good person. I teach my children the same thing. And most days, I guess I think most people are trying just as hard. But this past week, well, I'm losing faith fast!

We took our SUV into Les Schwab a few months ago for flat repair. We waited quite a while, about half an hour longer than they said it'd be, and then when they gave us our keys back, they said it was on the house. We were pleasantly surprised and figured it was because of the long wait. We thanked them and they said to just keep them in mind when we were in the market for new tires (which were getting close. These are the only words exchanged.

This is what the stem looked like with their cover.


This is what we found under that cover. The stem is broken.
A few weeks later we started losing air in the tires again, so Tony went to fill them up with his air compressor. One of the stems was broken on a tire that Les Schwab had repaired, it had been covered by one of their valve covers and we'd never noticed. Tony was unable to put air in it because part of the stem is broken off.. He told me to call them about it, to see if they'd fix it. I should have, but I didn't.

Why didn't I call? Well, I've been working on getting out of bed in the morning. Putting one foot in front of the other. Keeping my children fed. Working hard to not about what I lost. Trying not to cry daily. Tying to keep track of appointments. Trying to focus and concentrate, because for whatever reason, my brain feels all out of whack.

Basically, it's taken everything in me to just do the basics. Everything extra has gone out the window. I'm working on it. Trying to get better. I think I've improved because my daughter Ashlyn said to me last week, "Mom, what happened?" I asked what did she mean. She said, "You look happy again." I was stunned. I didn't know what to say. I felt awful that she'd noticed I wasn't feeling myself before. I thought I'd done better at trying to be normal.

Anyway, I didn't call. I didn't want to deal with it. I thought it wouldn't be a big deal anyway, since we were soon getting new tires. Well, turns out it's a big deal after all, because that stem has a sensor in it and that sensor runs from $60-$80! We just found this out on Saturday. So I girded up my loins (I can say that, right?) and told Tony we needed to go in there and talk to them about this. Thus began my disillusionment with this business.

The technician had put it in the notes that the stem was already broken before we brought it in and that they'd talked to us about this before we left the store. Really? When? No such discussion took place. They "repaired" our flat, gave it to us for "free" and sent us on our way with a smile.
This is what the covers look like on all our other tires.
It's also what our cover looked like before our visit.

This is what the stems look like on all our other tires.

It's their cap on the stem. My husband had filled it before we even went in there, so we KNOW it wasn't broken then and that it had been our valve cap on there beforehand. A few weeks later, boom! It's broken underneath their cap, instead of the one that is identical to all our other caps on our other 3 tires (I wonder what they did with our cap? I'm guessing they didn't put it back on because it wouldn't fit on after he broke it....). When we showed the manager our stem, he said he couldn't believe they would let us out of the shop like that--with a broken stem and the cap shoved on there like that. He said he would talk to his tech and get back to us on Monday.

Well, Monday came and went. Tuesday came and went. Wednes....well, you get my point. So I called them today and asked what the decision was going to be. He said his tech insists it was already broken or that it was more severely broken after we left the shop over the last few months. He said that if it had happened at the shop, they wouldn't have let us leave like that. Well, they did! The cap should prove it, if nothing else. It's their cap!

Our ownership in this mess is that should have checked the work before we left the premises. Also, we should've brought it to their attention when we caught it. I can't keep letting my emotions get in the way of my responsibilities. I'll admit those mistakes. Had they said that the length of time was the reason for not replacing it, I'd have had to accept that. But this was an outright lie!

I told the manager that I understood that he didn't know us personally, and he wasn't there when this all occurred, so he has no reason to trust us. But I told him, "I know that we don't lie. I know that we're honest people. And I KNOW 100% that when we brought our car to you, our stem wasn't broken." He offered to give us the part at cost. I have to accept that. It's better than nothing. But it still gets to me. I'm not upset at the manager really. But that technician....well, that's another story. I hope he learns the value of honesty. I won't hold my breath.

I guess the best we can get out of this is that we know to not take our business there anymore.....

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Working to Move on

My main purpose of starting this blog was to help people, and yes, to journal my family's journey as we go along. I still want to do this, and I hope that sharing what's been going on in my life now has been okay. This was a shock to me (understatement!) and writing is how I vent.

Anyway, I will always love my little sister and I'll miss her until the day we meet again. I don't want to drag anyone down with that. I just wanted to share her with you. She was an amazing person.

On a different note, we've had some other things going on during all of this. We've taken advantage of our Pass of all Passes a week ago for the first time this summer and I have some concerns about how it's going. It's our third year with the pass and I'm not sure I like it as much as we used to.

I'm thinking they've oversold them. To say the venues are crowded doesn't begin to paint an accurate picture. We're going to try going on a weeknight and see if that's any better. Also, a heads up on the Sandy Seven Peaks Fun Center location: it's for bowling only, and they really should change the name to reflect that. Not only that, but they charge $3.50 shoe rental, so it's not quite free with your pass (which is only valid Mon-Thurs).

There's some other things I wanted to share, but am gathering more info before I do. So hopefully I won't fall off the horse again and will be better about updating here. The kids go back to school in less than two weeks and I can't decide if that's going to give me more or less time! :)

My Tribute at Melanie's Funeral

I've been asked several times if I spoke at my sister's funeral. I did. It was the best way I could think to honor her, to share her with those who didn't know her like I did. Some of what I said I'd written here, after I first found out we'd lost her. But over the week before her funeral, I thought of more I wanted to say. Here it is for those who wanted to know what I said:

Writing this talk was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to write. I wanted to get it just right because I want to do Melanie justice. It’s hard to describe her to those who don’t know her. She was a very diverse and complicated person. She was the type of person who made you realize that you should never judge a book by its cover, because she never fit in to any of the stereotypes.

I keep seeing her as a child. We were always together. She was my little tag-a-long. Sometimes it drove me crazy, but many times in the turmoil of our young lives, having Melanie with me was such a comfort. Things were certainly never boring with her there, she was so excited and curious about life. She was always a spit-fire too, with beautiful curls that got her complimented as a “little Shirley Temple” more than once.




I couldn’t help but be protective of her. We never knew what she was going to do next, she kept everyone on their toes and she loved to shock and surprise us—including the time she asked me to close my eyes, put out my hand for a surprise, and when I opened my eyes---behold! It was a spider! Yeah, those were good times!

We sometimes fought like siblings do. Some of those fights resembled a Junior WWF match. But Heaven forbid anyone else hurt one or the other of us. I remember a time when she was being bullied at school in the first grade. I yelled at the kids who were being mean to her and threatened them of what would happen if they touched her (since I felt invincible at a whole two years older than her). I recall saying something along the lines of, “No one can hit her but me!” To which Melanie yelled out, “yeah!” Then realizing what she’d just agreed to, she turned to me, shaking her head a little, “what?”



She had my back too. And in those times in our lives where we were both scared or hurt, we knew we could count on each other to be there. Life took us different directions, as we reacted differently to the trials of our lives. But our love for each other never changed, even as we changed in our adulthood.

When our father died, she never really got over that. She was always Daddy’s girl and I can still see her as a little girl, playing that song by Red Sovine over and over again. She would sing along to the chorus, “Daddy’s girl, Daddy’s girl, I’m the center of Daddy’s world….” She tried to find and hold on to the things that reminded her of him. She was ecstatic when she got into contact with his two older children, Kristy and Ron. Family really was important to her.



What you saw when you looked at Melanie was a woman with several tattoos, piercings (when she had them in) and extremely curly—sometimes frizzy hair (compliments of our beautiful mother). Sometimes it was even streaked with her favorite color, purple—it all depended on her mood at the time. She was unconventional and liked to dress to please herself, whether that be a comfortable pair of sweats, Betty Boop pajamas while shopping at Walmart, a costume for a Harry Potter party or some crazy Goth get-up. She even had a favorite cape she would put on for special occasions. She just didn't care what people thought.


What you didn't see when you looked at her, unless you took the time to get to know her: She was extremely generous. She'd give you the clothes off her back—literally. And the amazing thing about her generosity is that she didn't expect anything in return. She loved unconditionally, and I’m not saying that just because it sounds good. It didn’t matter what you did, once she loved you, it was forever. She forgave, even when someone did what most would consider unforgivable, and she didn't hold a grudge either. I've never known anyone who did that as freely as her. Never. And I'm sure I never will again.

She was there for whoever needed her, and did whatever was necessary to get to the place she felt most needed. She stayed with me in the hospital after my first daughter was born, because I was afraid to be alone and my husband needed to be home with our son. And if you’ve slept in a hospital sofa-bed, you know that night she spent there with me was not a comfortable one. But she never complained to me about it. She seemed happy to be there and was the perfect loving aunt.

Melanie loved her animals like they were her children, even more so when she learned she would never have any kids of her own. She sobbed when she lost one of her beloved pets and even asked to bury her oldest companion in my backyard because while her housing status was often up in the air, she knew we were planning to stay put and she wanted her Cocoa Baby to be where she could visit. She would let herself be homeless rather than go to a place that she couldn’t take her pets with her. Chicko and Princess had a wonderful mother in Melanie.

She loved my children like they were her children, and just a few days before she died, she was the only one who thought to call my 3 year old to personally wish her a Happy Birthday. And my kids love her too. Aunt Melanie is the “cool one,” or the “fun one.” She’d come over just to introduce them to a new game.

I had to be extra careful about telling her anything my kids liked or were interested in, because she would take money she didn't have to spare and spend it on something she knew they would enjoy. She did the same thing for me. I would scold her for it, but it never did any good because she'd just do it again anyway. It was her way of telling us she loved us. Truly, thinking back on her life over the years, I’d say the only person she could have shown more love to was herself.

While I like to think I know a lot about my sister, there were things about her I didn’t know until recently. I didn’t know she kept meticulous notes on just about anything-whether that be a household to-do list, a grocery list, things she wanted to remember to tell someone or, even, as I found out when going through her things this past week, a list of scriptures to look up, learn more about, or determine the meaning of. I didn’t know she kept a journal, or that she kept a book of sayings to read everyday with her husband. I didn’t know she’d talked about what she wanted done with certain things when she died. I didn’t think to ask her those things because I thought we still had time.

I guess I’ll have to wait until after this life to learn more. I don't know how I'm going to do without her. Thirty-two years was not enough. Not nearly enough. But I'm so glad I got to have her as my sister. She’s no longer in pain and that’s a good thing. She’s with our Heavenly Father and with Daddy. I have no doubt he was there to greet her when she to passed to the other side. So rest in peace, Baby Sister. We’ll be a forever family and I’ll see you again someday.

My Sister's Obituary

Melanie and Mike the day they were married.
I thought about posting the link to my sister's obituary before, but decided I would just cut and paste it here instead when I felt ready. It was changed by someone before it was published. I wasn't happy about those changes, though they were minor and no one would have known but Melanie and her husband.

What were the changes? Spelling. I'm the first to admit that I'm not always perfect at catching my mistakes when writing something, but two of the changes made were not mistakes.

My sister was given a nickname by her husband that she really liked. It made her feel special, which she totally was. He called her Sweetpea. They spelled it as one word and she even made a profile on Facebook with it spelled that way. So I honored that when writing about her, because it belonged to her.

The other change was what bothered me most, though I got over it. They changed the spelling of her dog's name. The reason that most bothered me is because I have a memory of Melanie attached to this. The proper spelling to the common world for her little Chihuahua is "Chico." When she stayed with us for a while about a year ago, I saw his dog tag. Knowing what his name was, I laughed and said, "Mel, did you know that you've got his name spelled wrong? It says 'Chicko' here." She got a bit defensive, and said it didn't matter how it was spelled to other people. She knew his name and it was the way it was supposed to be. I couldn't argue with that. Look at how people change the spellings for names and other things all the time to suit themselves.

To confirm though, I asked her husband before writing her obituary how he wanted me to spell their little one's name. He confirmed what I already suspected. So that's the way I did it. It got changed. Honestly, during those days leading up to the funeral I was probably looking for a fight to let off some of the steam I had brewing in me. Thank heavens I didn't let it loose though. I'd have regretted it, especially since the targets would have been those who did the most to help during this extremely difficult time.

So here it is:

Melanie Sue Anderson Adams, 32, of Logan, passed away unexpectedly in her sleep on July 20, 2013. She was born in Brigham City, Utah on June 7, 1981 to Julie Ann Vasquez (living) and Ron Alvin Anderson (deceased). She was married to Michael Jeffery Adams (living) on August 2, 2008 in Logan.
Melanie, known fondly as “Sweatpea,” enjoyed playing video games, reading, spending time with those she loved and writing poetry, which she hoped to one day see published in a book. She had a big, beautiful and generous heart and would give her last dollar, even if it meant she went without.  She didn't expect anything in return. She loved unconditionally, in every sense of what that word means.
Before her passing Melanie was working on getting her high school diploma and also preparing to go to the temple with her husband to be sealed for time and eternity.
Melanie was preceded in death by her step-father, DeVerl Anderson; her grandmother, Artheta Anderson; grandfather, Vern Anderson and great-grandmother, Nellie Campbell.
She is survived by her sisters, Nellie (Tony) Butler and Kristy Anderson; her brother, Ron Alvin Anderson, Jr; her grandmother Judith Vasquez and several nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. Also surviving are her two dogs, Chicko and Princess, whom she loved like they were her children.

Anyway, Melanie knows that I honored her wishes and did it the way she would have done, and I told her husband the original way I had it too. That's all that matters. For those who want to see her tribute wall, here's the link: Melanie Sue Adams Obituary

Monday, July 22, 2013

Let's be honest, I'm not Okay

I've been getting that question a lot: Are you okay? How are you feeling? Or some other variation. I understand the mentality behind it. And I myself am guilty of asking questions like that after someone has gone through a tragedy of some kind. I know what people want to hear when they ask it, and I try to give them that answer.

Last night, after helping to go through my sisters things, to help her husband clear out their motel room, I was asked that question. I tried to give the stock answer and it came out on a sob. That's because it was a lie. I'm not okay.

I just lost my baby sister. It wasn't something I saw coming. It wasn't something I was even remotely prepared for. I'd worried for her, sure. I couldn't help that. But I didn't expect to wake up in the morning and find two missed calls from her husband that came at 2 am, and have things spiral from there.

We were going to take the kids to Seven Peaks, to finally use those passes we bought months ago for the first time. We got up early and was I was giving instructions to my kids when I noticed that the phone by my teenager's bed said it had voicemail. I thought that was strange, since I knew I had checked it before going to bed. I was surprised to see the time stamps on the Caller ID. Who would call at that time?

The message was from my sister's husband saying it was important to call him back as soon as possible. Twenty minutes later he'd left another message saying the same thing. That was odd and unlike him. I wondered if my sister was in the hospital. She'd been having terrible pain, especially in her back, and had just been diagnosed with a degenerative condition. I tried to call him back, but got no answer. So I tried her number, no response. I sent her a facebook message. Nothing. I called my mother, also no answer. So I called my Grandma. She said she'd also missed two calls just after 3 am.

It left me feeling unsettled, and I tried again to call her husband, but still got no answer. After talking about it with my husband, we decided to continue with our plans, but to keep trying to reach someone to find out what was going on. So we made breakfast, joked with the kids during meal time, cleaned up and then started to get everyone dressed. Between this time, I continued to try to reach someone to find out why we got those 2 am calls.

We were nearly ready to go, when one of my daughters brought me the phone and said I'd missed a call from my sister's husband. So I finished pulling my hair back and dialed his number. I don't even remember what his first words were. All I remember is that somewhere in there were the words, "Mel passed away last night."

I doubled over. No way!!!! I'd heard wrong. What?! No! No! No! No! And since that moment, I have not been okay. I keep seeing flashes of her. Remembering the good times. Agonizing over the bad ones. Thinking of how wrong this is--how unfair.

And then I still have to function. I have a husband and six children. My children need me. There are things that they need done for them. Band stuff for my son. Soccer stuff for one of my daughters. Appointments. Paperwork. Registration stuff....But I'm barely able to form a thought that doesn't have to do with my sister and what I have to do to prepare for her funeral--how to get through this day, the next day, this week....

Much needs to be done. Of my family, I'm the one most capable of doing this. Melanie's husband has the full support of his family and they're very willing to do everything--but this was MY sister. I can't let them take all the responsibility. She was MY sister--my only sister. I have to be there for her. I have to.

On top of this, I worry. What will this do to my grandma, who is already in very poor health? But most of all, what will this do to my mom? To lose her child--her baby. As it is, my mother's life is difficult, to say the least. But this...This is beyond difficult. There are no words strong enough to describe it. Right now though, she's handling it. She's surrounding herself with my sister's things, and trying to be strong for me, as I am for her.

So, to sum it up: No, I'm not okay right now. But I have my family with me, some very good friends and I have my Heavenly Father, and with them I will get through this and one day I will be okay again. I'm not sure how long it will take, or what steps will get me there, but second by second, I'll get there.