GISH #49: #LettersOfGratitude

Dear Best Soul Sister Friend,

So! I volun-made my family sign up for this crazy insane 24 stay-at-home challenge where we do some pretty random things…..just for fun.

I mean….we are going to pass the time anyways, might as well spread some cheer and laughter and have an adventure while the clock ticks by in this insane period of our lives we are living in.

It began 18hrs ago and oh. My. Goodness. This is something you would have love to participate in! This is just a mini version of a week long one in the summer that I want to sign up for and do together!

But that will have to wait….

There are 54 “tasks”. And over the past 18hrs, with only a 3hr and 26min snooze, I have finally arrived to one of my final tasks.

I purposely left this one for when the world, and chaos, around me – is still.

I wanted to fulfill this task with a little more attention and give my words the ability to flow uninhibited.

With each of these tasks, one of the commandments is not to share what we are doing outside of our GISH teams. It maybe that was just on social media?

I dont know….but every time I wanted to share the insanity that is my family and what crazy thing we have come up with next…the first person I instantly thought of sending a quick pic to, was you.

But I didn’t know if that was allowed, so I didnt. But let me tell you what! I wanted to!!!!

I knew it would bring you laughter and silly tears.

But instead, this is what you get! So hah!

#49. “Write a letter of gratitude to someone in your past who shaped your present for the better or made you who you are in a positive way, then share it with them if you can and post it publicly (if you’re comfortable) tagged #LettersOfGratitude. Send us a pic of your letter and a link to your post.”

Without further ado, I am about to impart some gratitude on you like you have never seen before.

(Side note: this is such a great idea, this whole sharing gratitude to those in our life, that I will never take another day, another moment, another belly laughing session, for granted)

Settle in my bestie as I crack my knuckles and tell you a little story about how you changed my life forever.

You came in to my life like a wrecking ball I didn’t know I needed.

We have only known eachother for a few years. But in those few years, you completely destroyed, repurposed, and rebuilt me to be the person I am today.

You coached me thru how to dye my hair at home.

You showed me how to cook meals so big, you could feed a football team.

You taught me how to just keep swimming when I couldn’t hold my breath.

You demonstrated the need to have humans in your life you getchu, who care intensely for you, who would drop anything and run to your side.

We met at work. You arrived a couple years after me so I inevitably, and probably begrudgingly, had to help the new girl.

I was at a point in my life where life, well, it just sucked.

I mean..I was 30ish and had zero clue what a friendship looked like. Let alone, a friendship as intense as ours. Where we just – clicked. Where everything felt right and easy.

I didnt know how to look at a dark, thunderous cloud, and see the silver lining.

And I definitely didnt understand this whole idea of self care.

Knowing my past self, I was probably mad at the world and everyone that breathed within a mile radius of me.

But you, with your never ending sneezes, your positivity, your go-getter attitude, your spirit for never quitting, you came into my life and firmly planted yourself whether I wanted you to or not.

I honestly dont remember what the first part of our relationship looked like.

But I do remember how I felt. How YOU, made me feel.

You made me feel like I was unstoppable. That I was capable of anything.

You held my hand as I began to believe in myself.

You stood by my side (oftentimes just they text) as I struggled.

More often than not, you brought your personal ladder that I swear somehow fit in your Mary Poppins-esque bag, and you would climb down in to the hole I dug to just be with me.

You taught me how to find boundaries with a human I desperately needed to find.

You showed me how to love unconditionally a husband who was having a hard time with our transitioning daughter.

Oh and that yurt trip!!!!!! I know it was supposed to be a girls trip where we drink mimosas and put our feet up on the firepit. But thank you for not being mad at me for turning it into “Kelly, the scout leader, who should have been prepared but totally procrastinated” trip….

Psshhhh you know our hilarious time traveling hike to a water fall still makes you bust up laughing.

Not to mention those two kids that kept coming over and telling us every. Single. Detail. Of. Their. Life. As if they had zero clue what stranger danger was while their family rocked out to Elvis Pressely after dark around the campfire pit.

But that is just who your spirit is. Kids, animals, humans, are attracted to you because you have this way with life that we all want to understand. (P.s. I am glad that kid wasnt allergic to bacon…..or was it eggs?)

Eh. Whatever it was, those 48hrs still bring me a chuckle.

Oh oh oh oh. Remember when we were headed to that hike in the middle of what seemed like BFE and the paved road suddenly ENDED???

“Wait………did that sign just say ‘end of paved road'”? I asked you with a silent gasp to hide my feelings of oh shit what did I just get us in to….

“Uhhhh yea……wait….have you never been on this road before? I thought you came here before!” You asked me, shocked bc my confidence in the unknown, that you taught me, actually worked….

Man. I could go on and on. Like the plastic wrapped hot pocket I heated up. Or my 1 missing eyeglass glass. Or your face after your dental appointment that one day……….

Those are all moments and memories I call on quite frequently. Especially when I need a source of laughter.

Life isnt all rainbows and cobblers and timepieces and fluffy animals, all the time.

You shared with me your inner most deepest, darkest thoughts.

You trusted me with your pain and your cries.

You made me laugh so hard, tears would roll down my face and my 6 pack abs (hey! They are there….under all that fluff….) couldnt take another laughing session.

You talked me thru some of my darkest moments.

You are the first person I turn to when I see something funny. Or am angry with my husband, or really anybody.

You are the first person I know I can count on to be there for me. For whatever I need – laughter, hair dying techniques, how to deal with my own children, pet advice, migraine tips.

You are my best soul sister friend.

And this 24hr adventure has taught me that it is one thing to thank people and acknowledge those that have helped shape us.

But it is another thing altogether to explicitly tell someone what they truly mean to them.

Words speak volumes. In whatever format they come.

You taught me that.

But written words have a sense of permanence that make the world seem a little more tangible.

A little more – Real.

I want to share this so badly with you. Over the phone. Or face to face when this the stay-at-home orders have been lifted.

But I cant.

And as the tears are beginning to flow, I don’t know how to end this letter of gratitude. I dont want it to end. I want that phone call to not be real.

You see, well, I am sure you are around here somewhere, but you see, a short hour after my crazy family and I kicked off this 24hr adventure, I received a call I never saw coming.

A call that completely shattered my life in unimaginable ways. A call that has made me feel alllll the feels.

Even a pain so deep I now understand how people pass away from Broken Heart Syndrome.

For 24hrs, I have to keep this pain from my littles, your nieces that you loved with your entire being.

This is a pain, I am fiercely trying to not feel.

I know. I know. You’d remind me of my own advice- breathe. And my inner Toria voice is gently reminding me that I am feeling this intense pain bc of what we meant to eachother. But I know that you know that you still have a hard time believing in breathing.

I got the call. And my world, my soul, my being, shattered into infinitesimal pieces.

But, I am going to take my own advice and morph it with yours:

Always Keep Fighting. Never Give Up. Just Keep Swimming.

I hear your voice saying “it’s ok. Slow down. We got this. Let’s figure something else out.”

Calm, cool, collected like a cucumber, you always were. You always did know EXACTLY the right thing to say.

So, thank you. For awakening a spirit inside of me that was just waiting for the right human to come along and light.

Thank you for the memories we made that I am going to hold on for a lifetime and pass down to your nieces and their kids.

Thank you for being real. For being you.

You will always have a place on my shoulder as I hike thru the woods, and continue to adventure on.

I am not ready to finish this. I am not ready for this to be real.

So, to whoever reads this, let this be a lesson in showing appreciation and gratitude and love and laughter – IN THE MOMENT.

You never know what your next moment will bring.

But before you go – promise me, promise my best soul sister friend, that you will do your best, and Just Keep Swimming.

Because sometimes, that is all you can do to get you thru.

Adventure On!

Yours truly,

– your best soul sister friend

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