Sunday, December 29, 2019

Carrying on

Daddy's family always held Christmas either the weekend before or the weekend after December 25. When they heard about Alyssa's death, they offered to reschedule our Christmas celebration. I declined.

We spent a lot of time crying during Christmas and the days after. I wanted to see everyone and talk/think about something other than the black cloud hanging over all of us. We drove to the family Christmas ready to have some fun. We had a fun dinner and the kids opened presents. We told stories and laughed and enjoyed ourselves. 

The reality is that life does go on. It hurts in ways I never thought possible, but we have to get up and move forward every day. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

The worst Christmas ever

We were scheduled to pick-up Grammie at 2:30 p.m. Uncle Steve told me over and over again not to be early. We were having dinner at 3:00 p.m. and he would be busy getting things ready.

I was getting ready when the phone rang about 1:00 p.m. Zack said, "We need you here. Can you come right away? Alyssa is gone." I thought or said, "Gone where?" Zack sounded a bit frustrated and said, "Come over right away. We need you."

I talked to the girls for a minute and grabbed my purse. Daddy was a few houses away with Holly. I walked quickly to him, trying to understand what Zack was saying. I said to Daddy, "I think Alyssa died."

As I drove to Steve's I called Zack who said, "The Chicago Police Department was here." I knew then that Alyssa really was dead. 

We gathered at Steve's. We were all in shock. It just couldn't be real, but it was. At 23 years old, Alyssa had overdosed. Her pain was over, but ours was just beginning.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Riding High

The brunette twin missed her IEA team's first shows because she had high school golf matches. We could have skipped one or two, of course, but she also didn't feel like she was ready.

We looked at the schedule and realized that her barn was hosting two IEA competitions in January. After reading about competitions, we also realized that the brunette twin would be busy helping with horses and doing other things to keep the teams on track.

The brunette twin looked at the IEA schedule and found a December show not too far from us. We talked to her coach, who sent in the proper paperwork with a proxy coach request.

The morning of the competition, the brunette twin was so nervous. She could hardly breath as we walked into the office to register. I told the office person that we had never participated before. She was incredibly helpful throughout the day. 

The brunette twin thought she was only competing in a flat class. We discovered she was also jumping when we registered. We had plenty of time to watch other classes compete so we understood the competition's rhythm by the time the brunette twin mounted her horse.

I never worry about the brunette twin when she's on a horse. She's such a natural rider that being on a horse is her natural posture. In her first competition, she nearly made it through the jumping course when she pulled her horse back from the last jump. On her second attempt, she cleared the cross rails easily. I asked her what happened and she said that she thought her horse was going to fast. If she jumped it the first time, she was going to fly over the horse because there was very little room after the horse jumped. I was really impressed. In the split second between the two cross rail jumps, she assessed the situation and decided to make a second attempt rather than risking harm.

She placed fourth in the jumping class. I have to imagine that she would have placed higher if she hadn't made the second attempt. It was a good start to her competition career.

For her flat class, the brunette twin placed sixth. She was quite happy with her first competition. It was a great experience from start to finish. Now she was ready for the two day competition at her barn.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Pass the keys

Overheard at our house...

Dad: "I'll drop off the brunette twin about 6:00 p.m. She can call when she needs a ride home."

Mom:  "Or, we could give her the car keys and let her drive herself."

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Not even half baked

The girls eat cold pop tarts. I don't know where we went wrong, but we certainly missed teaching them an important life lesson. Cold pop tarts? It's hard to believe they have lived in this house for 16 years.