summer break + raise a glass

photo(26)

Happy Sunday! I hope the beginning of your summer is amazing. Ok, it’s not officially summer yet, but I love summer so much that it begins on Memorial Day weekend for me. I still maintain in my heart the grade school excitement of a summer break. Everything just feels a little more festive and relaxed in the summer.

This summer is going to be different for me though. On April 26th, I lost my stepmother to ovarian cancer. She fought it for an astounding 10 years. Her name was Charlotte and she was 56.

She had an enormous will to live. Where others would have tired of the endless surgeries, treatments, fatigue, nausea and countless other tests of will and given up, she still managed to keep a smile on her face. That was what I loved most about Charlotte — she always smiled and laughed and people couldn’t help but smile and laugh when they were around her. Her joy and sense of humor were intoxicating.

Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Dr. Seuss

I try to remember that perfect quote. When I feel like part of myself is missing now, I remember how much love and laughter she brought into my life. I remember how many amazing memories we shared together. Her life was a gift to me and so many others.

charlotte

She absolutely loved the Outer Banks of North Carolina and even had a favorite house that she and my dad would get during every trip they made. This photo was taken in May 2012 (as well as the beach pic at the top) during the last beach trip my fiancé John and I were both able to make with them.

Every chance she got to escape to the beach and do some surf fishing, she took it – summer or fall, rain or shine. She loved fishing during the day and grilling up a delicious meal {usually her big catch} later the same night. She loved her family more than anything – her kids and her adorable grandchildren gave her so much happiness. She had pure passion for the simple joys of life and it was fantastic.

Sharing my memories with you is an important step in healing. It’s taken me a while to start opening up, but I think this is helpful to me, as well as anyone who has experienced loss.

I’m going to take time this summer to find some clarity. I’m also going to find happiness again. I’m a happy person, but right now I’m still recovering. I’m still not 100% here and that is totally fine and normal. This process is different for everyone and I’m still figuring out my best path.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope to be back in the fall with some delicious new treats and I hope you have an absolutely amazing summer!

I just have one final request for you. When you think of it, please raise a glass for Charlotte. Have a toast and find a way to laugh together with friends, family, loved ones. Take a moment to reflect on what I always perceived to be her philosophy on life – a little something like this: Smile and the whole world smiles with you. Cry and you cry alone. Or sometimes this: If you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. She always found the humor in every situation and that is something I want to carry with me forever.

Big hugs. ♥♥♥c

{p.s., check out this inspirational and motivational website Marc and Angel Hack Life. It’s a huge help in my daily life and has been especially helpful lately.}

Remember to appreciate everything beautiful around you …

… and to keep smiling.

3 thoughts on “summer break + raise a glass

Add yours

  1. Writing it down, spelling it out, is part of healing and I’m happy to have learned about your relationship with Charlotte. What a great picture of her smile. I love the two video songs you posted. Louis reminds me so much of my father. The good memories always stay with you!

  2. Chan! I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. What a beautiful photo of Charlotte. I can tell just from that one image that she was a beautiful person with a big heart, let alone your lovely write-up. I hope the summer is rejuvenating for you, and that you do get back to 100%, even if it is a “new normal” as they say.

    Cheers to Charlotte, and cheers to you! :)

    Love that Seuss quote, btw.

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