Show up

Does anyone like attending funerals?


That’s what I thought.

No one likes funerals. But ever since my brother passed away a few years ago, I basically avoid them at all costs.

However, that clearly poses a conflict every so often. You see, in my family, we were raised that no matter how difficult the situation, you show up and pay your respects. And although that’s easier said than done, it’s something we take seriously.

While i’m hesitant and protective over what I expose myself to, my sisters have stepped up to the plate more than their fair share. But this week the tables turned on me when I found out a childhood friend’s dad passed away and the services were coming up.

Immediately I thought, “I’ll send a card. I’ll make a donation. I’ll reach out, but I just can’t attend the funeral. It’s too much.”

Physically I wanted to be there. Mentally I wasn’t ready.

But when my twin sister wasn’t able to make it, I knew it was my turn to step up like she has so many times before.

Because my childhood friends are my family. They always have been. They always will be. My hometown is special and that’s how we were raised.

So I went.

And I’m so glad I did.

Because even though I fought back tears during the service and then let them out on my drive home, it was important to be there.

And here’s why.

First of all, you can’t avoid funerals forever. Death is a part of life (as my Dad has so wisely taught me).

But more importantly, sometimes you need to put your own shit aside in order to show up for the people who matter.

It’s important to be there for your friends, your family, and your community.

It’s important to pay your respects.

It’s important to honor those who have passed.

Because after all, those who are no longer living teach us how lucky we are to be alive.

And that’s worth showing up for.



Just us girls

Late last week, I watched my Facebook newsfeed flood with posts about National Sibling Day. With the recent passing of my brother, it inevitably triggered an overwhelming sadness that was difficult for me to shake.

Yet as I scrolled through one picture after the other, I realized I was being a total jerk, because I still have two siblings who are alive and well right here, right now. My two sisters mean the world to me, and while I tell them I love them every day, let this be a testament to two of the strongest women I know.

Me, Emily, Mary. Easter 2013. Sorry you look like hell, Em 😉

Mary is my older sister, and the oldest kid in our family. Most who know me recognize Mary because she’s the mother to my feisty, hilarious, gorgeous niece, Alice. Next to my own mother, I truly believe that Mary is the most incredible mother on the entire planet. She has sacrificed more for Alice than the majority of people will ever know or understand. But what’s important to realize is that there is so much more to Mary than just her incredible skills as a mother. 

Mary has an unfailing loyalty to family. Without her, I would not be as close to my relatives who live out of state. She is a driving force behind the planning of our family reunions, always making sure that the only thing separating the bond between us all is a few extra miles on a map.

Family reunion in Myrtle Beach 2011
Family reunion in Myrtle Beach 2011

Mary is also the reason why cheerleading is such an instrumental part of my life. As I grew up, I watched her make up choreography in our backyard, had her as my coach when I was just a little girl, and admired her unbridled passion each and every time she performed. I now go to Mary for advice about my own team that I coach and trust her input above all else. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the influences and impact that Mary has had on me.

Mary supporting me at my first competition as a coach!
Mary supporting me at my first competition as a coach!

Emily is my twin sister and honest to God, my better half. Being a twin is the most secure feeling in the world. Emily knows what I’m feeling and thinking before I do, never hesitates to knock me in the head with good ol’ common sense and reassure me that if I just chill out for a second (easier said than done), everything will take the course it’s supposed to.

My number one fan
Can you tell we’re fraternal?

On our most recent birthday, I wrote a post dedicated entirely to Em. As i’m sure most of you reading this who have siblings understand, it’s nearly impossible to encapsulate your family relationships into words. My birthday post to her gets pretty close, though. I encourage you to take a walk down memory lane with me. Emily is one tough betch, I’ll tell ya that much. I grow into a better person each and every day because of what I learn as I admire my beautiful twin sister.

Emily (left) and myself

The older I get, the more I respect and admire the absolute hell out of my sisters. They are beautiful on the inside and out, each have their own strengths and weaknesses, and will fight until their dying day to do what’s best for our family. We pick each other back up after we fall, kick each other in the ass (sometimes quite literally) when we need it, always forgive, and love without casting judgement.

I may live the rest of my life with an irreversible sadness that my brother left me too soon, but I’m also going to live the rest of my life knowing that I have two sisters who I am proud to call my friends. That is something I’ll make sure they know without a shadow of a doubt until my dying day. Love you hooligans.

Just us girls ❤