The Third Year of Grief: Putting the Pieces Back Together

Jennifer Mullinax and her dad at Oklahoma State game.3 years. 1,095 days. 8,760 hours. 15,768,00 minutes. This is how long I’ve missed him. Give or take a few minutes. When people told me it would get easier as time passed, I thought they were referring to the loss. That the loss would feel less immense. That his absence would be less painful. I misunderstood. It’s not the loss that gets easier. I miss him today just as much as I did the moment he was gone. Not being able to pick up the phone and call him, his absence when I go home, never being able to hug him or hear him say “love you kiddo” sucks just as much today as it did from day one. What gets easier is dealing with it.

If I could sum up the first year of grief, I would say it was the year of survival. It was damaging and difficult. Every “first” without him was like a punch in the gut, like having a wound reopened. I didn’t always handle the loss in the smartest or healthiest way. I survived the year but I wouldn’t say I came out of it whole. The second year could be summed up, for me, as the year of coping or acceptance. It was in the second year that I began to truly understand that he was gone. Permanently. I learned how to better manage my grief, how to balance joy and sorrow, how to deal with the guilt of the living. I learned how to live in a world without him. A world I’d never known, imagined or wanted to live in. Continue reading

Rain. Rain. Go Away.

I was joking in my last post when I said that I might talk about the weather next. But then again, at the time, I wasn’t expecting the weather to go full throttle on the crazy lever…

Turns out there really can be too much of a good thing. A month ago the state of Texas was desperate for rain. After a four year drought, lake and river levels were extremely low, reservoirs were drying up, aquifers were depleting, the Trinity River in Dallas was basically non-existent, people were praying for rain. Now, not so much. The Texas drought is over, many prayers answered and wishes granted. Four years of drought was brought to an end after just four weeks of rain. It came at a heavy price though. Death and destruction. What began as a mild inconvenience, with people complaining about not getting a proper “patio season” and having to “leave work later than normal to avoid getting soaked on the way to the parking lot”, quickly escalated to a state of disaster. The rain. Just. Kept. Coming. It was relentless. I heard one reporter refer to it as “biblical” and “apocalyptic.” In total, enough rain fell during the month of May to cover the entire state of Texas in 8 inches of water. Texas is a gigantic state. Continue reading

Let’s Face It… I’m A Terrible Blogger.

It’s been nearly a year since my last blog post. Yikes. That’s pretty unacceptable. After all, what’s the point of having a blog if you don’t use it? When I first started this blog, 2 years ago, I imagined it would be a place where I could share all of my creative DIY projects, document my fun adventures, air my frustrations, share my joy and write about things that mattered to me. Therein lies my problem, writing about things that matter to me. By starting a blog where I poured my feelings into some posts about the fairly heavy things happening in my life, I created a situation where everything else I started to write about seemed trivial in comparison.

It’s not that I forgot about this blog or have been “too busy” to write. Quite the opposite in fact, I think about it often. I’ve logged in and drafted dozens of posts in the past year but I haven’t published a single one of them. Instead my thought process goes a little something like this… I think to myself, who cares about this? Why would anyone want to read about how I built a headboard or turned a dress into a skirt? About my thoughts on age and the judgement people place on themselves and others based on this one simple number? About the amazing four days I spent in Cabo with some of my best gal pals? About how I loathe lists of things people should or shouldn’t do, places they should or shouldn’t go, things they should or shouldn’t say, clothes they should or shouldn’t wear? Who cares about these things when there is war in the world, when there are starving children, when there is death and love to write and read about? This post is boring or too opinionated or seems braggadocios.The internet is already so saturated with pointless and useless information, why would I want to contribute to that? How can I post this stupid blog post right after the one I posted about my dad? Then I delete my draft and log out. Only to repeat the same process the next time I get the urge to write.

So, I’m a terrible blogger. That’s a fact. I’m going to try to be better because I really enjoy writing and do want to create a space where I feel free to express myself and will be able to reflect on my journeys and my growth many years down the road. I will always want everything I write about to be true to who I am, to come from my heart, my brain or my soul but the writings can’t always be so emotion filled, nor would I want them to be. Maybe I’ll write my next post about baking, the weather, beauty products, sports or the one and only time I went to see a psychic. Whatever it is, I hope I hit the publish button instead of the delete button.

Grief and the Pursuit of Happiness: Two Years Without My Father

Jennfier Mullinax hugging her dadTime is a funny thing. Often there seems to not be enough of it and as I get older the years seem to fly by faster and faster. When I was younger, when the years seemed to last forever, I remember “old” people telling me this would happen. I didn’t believe them. Hindsight is 20/20.

It’s been two years since my Dad passed away, suddenly and unexpectedly. Sometimes that day feels like yesterday and sometimes it feels like a lifetime ago. That’s the other thing I find odd about time. It seems to fluctuate. Kind of like you can travel thru it… with the onset of a memory or through the notes of a song… you can be transported.  Not physically of course. I hope you know what I mean.  Continue reading

This Little Mug of Mine…

VDay MugI’ve always enjoyed Valentine’s Day. I’ve never seen it as a day exclusive to celebrating romantic love but as a day to celebrate love in all forms. It’s a day to let people know that they are loved and appreciated! Who wouldn’t enjoy a day dedicated to celebrating love and connections, family and friends, the intangible emotions that make the world a better place. Here’s one of my favorite Valentine’s Day memories…

9 years ago. February 14, 2005. I had been living in Dallas for approximately 1 month. I knew very few people in town and I wasn’t dating anyone. I was at work watching deliveries arrive for my co-workers. I wasn’t expecting a delivery with my name. I was happily taking part in the delicious office deliveries from vendors and sharing in the joy my co-workers received from their personal deliveries. (Sidenote: The only thing I love more than giving gifts is watching people receive them, even when I’m not the gift giver.)

So, imagine my surprise when, toward the end of the day, a beautiful bouquet of flowers arrived for me in this sweetheart mug. Here’s the best part, they weren’t from my parents or my grandparents. They weren’t from a friend or a lover. They weren’t from anyone ‘obligated’ to send me a Valentine. They were from one of my brothers. Who, at the time, was a broke college student. They were so completely unexpected. I was overwhelmed by the love I felt at that moment… I’m even getting a little teary eyed as I type this. He wanted to let me know, on my first Valentine’s away from my friends and family, in a new city, on my own for the first time in my life, that I was loved and that someone was thinking of me, even if they were far away. To this day, it’s the best Valentine’s gift I’ve ever received. It’s also the gift that keeps on giving. As you can see, this mug is well worn after 9 years. Every time I use it I think about my brother and that day. I’m not sure I’ve ever told him how much that gift meant and continues to mean to me. I’m actually pretty sure there are no words to properly convey how I felt in that moment and how I feel every time I relive it.  The best gifts are always the unexpected and totally unnecessary ones. If you have a chance to do something like this for someone you love, I highly suggest you do. This little mug of mine is more than a mug to me. It’s a reminder, on good days and bad, that someone loves me and that love is the best gift of all. Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!

Cheers To The Freakin Weekend

I have a serious love for weekends. But who doesn’t. Am I right?

Last weekend was an absolute blast. To kick off the weekend we had a lunch in honor of my friend Charla’s retirement. Sure. I have friends of retirement age… if the ripe old age of 29 counts. I guess technically it can’t be considered retirement but since she has decided to stay at home with sweet Baby P it’s like mommy retirement! Anyway, her awesome husband Jon organized a surprise lunch with her closest girlfriends to celebrate her last day. We had some yummy Mexican food and discussed all of the adventures she and Baby P are going to embark upon in the coming weeks. It was a glorious Friday afternoon and a great way to start the weekend.

Friday night Val, Lindsay, Meg and I attended the America’s Most Wanted concert featuring 2 Chainz, T.I. and Lil Wayne. Continue reading