Thursday, October 27, 2011

BEAUtiful Mess {opens her world}

Meet Stephanie. I'm sure a lot of already know this happy-go-lucky blogger and some of you do not... but now you do. No excuses.  Stephanie is the "CEO" of her adorable blog BEAUtiful Mess

 Today, she is here to share a very touching story that I'm sure will move all of you as it did me. You may have a new outlook on the words Live each day as if it's your last, because unfortuatley Stephanie learned it the most difficult way.
Topic Choice: A Life Changing Experience
Oh hai! For those of you who don't know me, I'm Stephanie...a twenty somethin' newlywed from Texas and CEO of BEAUtiful Mess. (Yes-I just called myself a "CEO")

I'm a health nut who is OB-sessed with weddings, college football, vodka, lip balm and anything pink. Beau is the husband and was actually the inspiration behind my blog title (BEAUtiful Mess-get it?) Anyways-he's a social butterfly who loves to hunt. He's got mad skills when it comes to slow pitch softball and I can honestly say he was put on this earth for me to marry. :)

Nice to meet ya!

When Jessica asked me to guest post about something inspirational, I knew there was only one thing I would be writing may be a leeeetle lengthy but I hope you all find it inspiring and can learn a lesson (or two!) from it...


To say my world completely changed within the blink of an
eye 33 months ago would be an understatement.

Back in college, I bartended at a little bar in my hometown. I was a busy girl who never came home so instead, my parents would come sit up at the bar while I worked so I would be able to visit with them a little bit. It was a busy Friday night and we were getting ready for Joe Nichols to take the stage. Beau was on his way to come visit me, too, since it was his birthday (& because I snuck him free booze every chance I got). I remember
it being rainy. My dad was supposed to go hunting that weekend but for some odd reason, opted to stay home instead and come see me at work. It was pretty early in the night, maybe around 9pm or so when all of a sudden, my world came crashing down.
One second, I was telling my dad all about mine and Beau’s upcoming cruise we were going on and how well I was doing in school and the next, I was on the phone with 911
Dad collapsed.
Never in my life would I have thought I would have to actually use that 3-digit telephone number they taught us about in elementary school…and I definitely didn’t think I would be dialing it for my own dad. That was the last time I saw him. To save you all (& myself) from reliving any more heartache than what I’ve already dealt with, dad had a massive heart attack and passed away within the blink of an eye.  
I remember thinking this was some kind of cruel joke.
The doctors were all wrong. There was no way this was possible. This was just a dream. How was I supposed to wrap my mind around all this? He hadn't been sick. He was fine
Wait. My dad died.
He was only 48. Not old enough to lose his life. How could
this be? I was only 21. Not old enough to lose my daddy.
I was his little girl.
He was going to walk me down the aisle one day.
He and my mom had been married for 24 years. What would she do without him?
What about my baby brother?
Dad would never get to see him graduate high school or congratulate him for getting his acceptance letter to Texas.
The thoughts ran and ran and ran through my little mind as the days passed. Any and everything you could think of...I thought of it. This was, by far, the absolute worst day of my life…our lives…and although I've grown tremendously from it, I would never wish it upon my worst enemy.
Although I felt this way, I knew I had to be strong. I knew that mom would need me. And although he didn’t know it at the time, my brother would need me too.It was my senior year of college. I was taking 21 hours,
bartending every single weekend, working 2 internships throughout the week and had my heart set on making the Dean’s List and graduating with honors...all while dealing with the loss of my beloved father.  But how would I even stand to go to class with all this weighing on my mind? How was I supposed to function after such a loss? How would my mom go on without her rock? Without the supporter of the family? She only worked part time to pay for shopping and traveling…how would she pay the bills? How could she live by herself once my brother and I were both completely out of the house?

At first-yes. Looking back-no. I talked about it, a lot. I cried even more. I thought about him, and still do, a ton…which is why I can sit here and write about it without shedding a tear. How did I make it through the rest of school? How did my mom move on? And the question every girl wants to know…how did I get through my wedding day without him there...he was supposed to see me in that dress…and walk me down that aisle…and have that father/daughter dance we were supposed to share.
I had no choice-I got humble. I soon realized that every single thing in our lives happens for a reason. Every person we meet comes into our life for a reason and the events that we deal with on an every day basis, happen for a reason.  I stopped judging people. I realized that each and every person in this world has a story and you can’t go around passing judgments when you have no idea what that person has been through. You literally have no idea. I can definitely say I now know the true meaning of  “Live each day like it’s your last”.
Sure-it would have been really easy to just get mad, ask God “Why me?” and just give it all up. But I couldn’t. Dad wouldn’t have wanted that. He wouldn’t have wanted me to drop out of school. He wouldn’t have wanted my mom to quit living her life. He wouldn’t have wanted my brother to not go to Texas just so he could stay home and take care of mom. And we knew that. So every day, from then on out, I knew I had to live my life for my dad. I knew I had to do what would make him the most proud…what he would have wanted to see me do or accomplish…and what would make him the happiest. So of course I went on with school. I not only made the Dean’s List but I also graduated with high honors. (Not to toot my own horn but it wasn’t easy so I have to give myself I finished my 2 internships. I got my first props every once in a while.) “big girl” job before I even graduated college and I realized that that would have made my dad proud.
On my wedding day, I wore his wedding band pinned to the
inside my boot (I'm from Texas, y'all!), I laid rose petals in his honor, and my uncle (his brother) delivered a memory reading during our ceremony.

My brother…the sweetheart of our little family. He keeps us all sane when mom and I start going off the deep end. He saw me in that white dress, took my by the hand and walked me down that aisle on my wedding day. He even picked out a perfect song for us to dance to during our brother/sister dance where we laughed, we cried and we shared the happiest of memories during that dance. We both knew that’s not what was in “our plans” but it was in “His plans” and we have accepted it.

My mom…she’s healing. It would have been so easy for her to
crawl into hole and never see the light of day ever again like many widows do but she knew dad wouldn’t have wanted that for her. She started working full time and eventually even started dating
Weird-right? My mom? Dating?
It was weird. And it was hard. But I also knew that she was too young (only 46) to live by herself for the rest of her life so I had to be open to it. She’s been dating for about 2 years now and although I cannot officially say “She’s found the one!”…it’s so enlightening to see her so gitty over a first date, or a sweet text message or about just staying in on a Saturday night to watch movies.

 Me & mom on my bachelorette cruise

So-we’re still recovering from all this. We fully understand our lives will never be the exact same but we also know that this is what was written in the plans for us and our family. And we’re okay with this. Sure-the holidays, Father's day and his birthday are exceptionally difficult but rather than just moping around feeling sorry for ourselves, we always remember dad.
He still has a stocking that gets hung every year and we typically go to dinner on his birthday. He looks out for us each and every day and I always know that when things get tough, he’ll have his eye out for me. Even though he is not here physically, I still see him, his baby blue eyes and that big sweet smile that could light up any room.
There’s not a day or minute in my life that I don’t think about my dad and what an amazing father he was to my brother and me…what an exceptional husband he was to our mom and how he has made so many memories in ours and so many other people’s lives.  I am grateful for the 21 years I did share with my father as some people don't even have that privilege.
I am grateful for spending countless weekends on  the field with him as my softball coach...even though he was always the toughest on me. :) I am grateful for the marriage he and my mom shared as it is definitely something I strive for in my own marriage. I am grateful for his big heart and the kindness he always portrayed.
While some people may view death as "negative" and this has been an extremely difficult life experience...the death of my father has taught me so incredibly much. Things that I didn't know were even possible for me to know. Things that can't be physically taught or learned by anything other than life experience. And for that, I am forever grateful.
Dad and my chihuahua (Tini) 
these two were insperable
So if there's one thing, anything, you can take from me...remember to make sure your loved ones always know how much you love them,  never let a day go by without realizing how fortunate you are and remember, no matter how hard life my seem sometimes, know that everything always happens for a reason.

Phew-sorry to get so sappy on y'all guys! It's rare for me to write something so serious so I really hope you all see this as uplifting as it was for me to write about it.
And don't be a stranger! I'd love to meetcha so stop on over to my little slice of the world wide web and introduce yourselves, k? k!



Thank you Stephanie  for being the first one to commit to writing your deeper side. I truly enjoyed it, though it was tough reading. You are a strong woman. Thank you for opening up and letting us see your inner emotions on life, love, & family.

 Interested in sharing a guest on Stilettos & a fishingpole?
 choose your topic & then leave a comment with your current email address
and I'll let set you up! Until next time...


Amanda said...

Thank you for sharing your story- so sweet & touching. Reminders to appreciate everyday and love our loved ones a little more area always good.

Amanda said...

Wow! That blew me away! I'm so glad that other people, and especially Stephanie, are sharing their stories of significant and sudden loss. It's amazing how many people go through this and can become stronger and better because of it. Thanks for sharing!

shay said...

hi - new reader over here. i hopped over from stephanie's blog... and wow, what a great inspiring story... def teared up over it, thanks so much for sharing!

Young and Fabulous said...

Wow Steph. I just love you..and your strength to deal with such a hard time like this. This literally made me cry and it made my heart SO happy to hear you wore his band in your boot. He is ALWAYS with you and will always and I think the fact that your brother walked you down the aisle is amazing amazing. Love you so much girl and thank you so much for sharing this story with us though I know it must be hard to. XOXOXOXO

Katie said...

I really enjoyed reading this softer side of you Stephy. We can relate so much on this level and I feel for you, I really do. It's like reading my own writing, except for the details, and that it was my Mom instead of your Dad. It has changed us and I believe for the better :) Love you lady to the moooon.

PS-new reader. love your blog!


Ashley said...

Amazing post, definitely made me tear up! Love both of your blogs.

Kristen @ All In My Twenties said...

OMG IM crying at my desk. I will never forget that day for as long as I live. You have become such a strong person and I am SO proud of the woman and best friend you are!! I will never forget your Daddy!! I love him and you so much! XOXOX

Maura said...

Steph your strength is amazing! This story definitely made me tear up but you have an amazing outlook and i love that you are living every single day! i know your dad is proud of you girl! thank you so much for sharing this!!

Ali said...

Wow!! I'm kind of speechless. My dad & I aren't really close and I long for that relationship so to have a dad who I was so close to just die right in front of me would be horrific. I cannot even imagine. Thanks for the inspiration today, to be a better, nicer person. This truly touched me

Ashley said...

Great message, sad story, but you are right, life is soo precious!Everyday life teaches a lesson. I think your Dad would be soo proud of you!!

Brooke said...

Wow, thank you for this post. It was beautiful.

the girl in the red shoes said...

Stephanie, you are such an amazing person! Your post brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for the reminder to hug my loved ones tight every time I see them. Sending a huge hug your way today too!

Michelle P said...

Lovely post. I lost my dad 3 years ago, when I was 18, after a 6 month battle with cancer. I feel your pain.

Southern in the City said...

Oh my gosh. I am in a meeting at work reading this and literally started crying and had to stop! I guess I shouldn't read blogs during meetings. I have to come back and read afterwards! But from what I did read, you are such a strong person and I thank you for reminding us all to be grateful for the ones around us and to treat every day like it might be the last. Everyone needs a reminder every once and a while. Thank you so much for sharing!

Hilary said...

Thank you so much for this post, it was sweet and touching and inspirational. That was absolutely amazing, thank you again.

Blogging with the Bryan's said...

Stephanie! What a beautiful post. I've only met your mom and dad once at the DZ house while they were holding your doggie. What a sweet couple and I know he is super proud of you and your accomplishments.

Anonymous said...

This is such an amazing post.

I truly know your heart was lifted with smiles from your dad just by your sharing this.

Prayers girl!

Shalyn said...

Ahhhh I'm bawling at work right now! This is such an amazing post. It makes me want to call my Mom right now and just tell her how much I love her. Thanks for sharing Steph! You're def. an inspiration!

Stephanie said...

Is it appropriate to comment on my own guest post? Because I am...I HAVE to.

Y'all...are ALL too flippin' sweet! Thank you ALL for such kind words and thoughts! You have NO idea what this all means to me!

Life is precious! Live it up, girls! xoxo

Shayna Embry said...

Stephanie, thank you so much for sharing! I'm a reader of your blogg & skipped over to read your post. I too have been through such a loss in my life except it was my mom who passed & it was sort of expected. Either way it's never easy. I've been having a tough time the last couple of weeks with the holidays coming up & my birthday & this helped me to read your story! Thanks again & I look forward to reading more from this blog!


Meg O. said...

This is absolutely touching. Steph, you are such a strong young woman with a big heart. Thank you for sharing your story. I agree with Amanda - it reminds us to appreciate every day with our loved ones

Bryant Graphics said...

Oh Steph! What an amazing post! Thanks for sharing your tough story. You are such a strong and amazing chicka-dee! So happy to call you my friend!

Raquel said...

Omg this brought so many tears to my eyes. Fortunately I've never lost a loved one close to me, so I don't know how it feels, but I can only imagine. This truly makes me so grateful for the people I have in my lives, and from now on they will ALWAYS know how much I truly appreciate them and love them

Erin said...

This is such a touching and amazing post! Definately a huge reminder of how quickly things can change!

Mrs. Pancakes said...

Oh wow...what a touching story. sorry for your loss and it sounds like your brother and uncle made your wedding day so very special!

J and A said...

Amazing. What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing.

carriekinsella said...

I am sitting here on my bed crying my eyes out! what a touching story and you are SO right, everything in life happens for a reason and you handled your loss with such maturity and grace. I honestly don't know how you did it, i think i would have hid under a rock for months, but that experience made you stronger and in shaped you in ways that would never have been possible had that not happened. I am going through a few rough moments of my own right now and your post really made me stop and think and to turn my less-than-ideal situation into something better.

thank you for opening up to everyone, very courageous of you!

I am now following your blog! xoxo

Vicki said...

Stephanie: Oh my goodness. I bawled. I mean outright bawled myself into the ugly cry reading this post ... you (and your family) seem like the strongest group of people! Thanks for sharing this story and I'm gonna pop on over to your blog now!!! <3

Lauren said...

I was so sad reading this. I'm so sorry. It makes you remember how important life really is, thanks for sharing Stephanie. I'm your newest follower! Your blog is adorable!

natasha {schue love} said...

Wow...I am just in tears over this post. I can't even begin to imagine what it is like to lose a father and at such a young age. Stephanie is such an inspiration to me...I'm so glad she shared this story with all of us today.

Tiffany said...

Oh Stephanie, your story was beautiful and tragic and so inspiring. Your dad must be so proud of all three of you!


Cassie said...

Wow. This was really deep and moving! You are such a strong girl. Thanks for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

I must say that I didn't make it all the way through this post. I lost my mom in April and am getting married next October. I've saved this post in hopes that one day I can read through it.

Thank you for sharing

Anonymous said...

I'm crying at work. My coworker better not come back any time soon or he's going to find a hot mess. Thank you SO much for sharing. Your family is so strong! Your dad is so proud of y'all, I'm sure.

JMB said...

I am going to beat you little girl { I am crying} but I want to hug your neck too! :) Reading this makes me want to go home after work and love on both my parents. I want to share one of my favorite verses that I have come to love with you, We may never understand his wisdom but we simply have to trust his will, trust in his timing, rely on his promises, wait for his answers, believe in his miracles, and relax in his presence {James 4:8} For his promises are like the stars, the darker the night the brighter they shine ;) You are now on my list of strongest girlfriends I know! {NOT that you weren't BEFORE ;)} xoxoxoxoxo God love ya Stephy!!

Carolyn said...

OMG. SO SWEET! Steph is an absolute doll, and I know her dad would be so proud of the woman she has become!!

Brittany said...

wow, that brought tears to my eyes. It's definitely true that this moment is the only one we have for sure. Thanks for sharing that, Stephanie.

Kels said...

This post was so amazing! It took me awhile to read it because I was crying! Thank you for sharing such an amazing and loving post! xoxo

ImarriedAtexan said...

Thank you for sharing. I lost my father in my early 20's too. So your story really hit home.

Sean said...

My cousin forwarded this link to me. I lost my beloved father on August 30 to a heart attack. It's been a difficult blow to overcome!! My life will never be the same... Thanks for sharing your story. : )

Lindsay said...

Steph you made me cry! I can't even begin to imagine what you, your mom, and your brother went through. You are such an inspiration for handling it so well and looking on the bright side. I definitely don't think I would have handled it with such grace. You're right. Everything happens for a reason. God does not give us things we can't handle. Thanks for sharing!

Lea Liz said...

WOW, what an amazing/inspirational story. That is a fear know I have, of losing a loved one so young. Thank you for sharing this with us... you are one strong girl!!!

Nikki said...

Wow! Life is so precious and sometimes we get caught up in the day to day routine and forget just how precious each day is. Thank you for sharing this story and reminding me that life is short and can change in a second so live each day to the fullest.

This Ordinary, Everyday Life said...

Such a moving story, I def. teared up a little

dottie said...

What a great post! This definitely makes you think of how you view things. Thank you for sharing. You are truly someone to admire.

Steph@ Living The Young Life said...

aw.. this makes me sad... my dad died in his is his forties also with a heart attack so i know how you feel.. i'm so sorry for your loss..:(

Regan said...

I have never been so touched in my entire life. Your story is my biggest fear. My dad had a heart attack at 42, and lived through it. I was 5, and although then I didn't know how serious it was... now that I'm 20 I do understand how serious it is, and him having another one is my biggest fear. Thank you so much for your story!

Rebecca said...

such an amazing story...way to make me cry during work!! haha

brlracincwgrl said...

Such an amazing story and an amazing lady! Thank you for sharing your story, Stephanie. I lost my father to cancer a few years ago, and it was all very sudden. Something I'm thankful for, because he didn't suffer but still wasn't easy.

Anonymous said...
Preventive Measures