February 4, 2010

Seventeen.....

Edit: Thank you everyone from the bottom of my heart. Your messages brought me such comfort and hope. It's nice to know that people care. Nice people like you. Now.....my husband came home from work tonight and said he read my blog post today. He then said, *You know you're only 40 right? I said , *I am?* I totally thought I was 41 until he did the math for me. I'm still a young chicklet.
(Brent, Jeff, Craig....Senior Photos)

Today is a day of reflection for me. 25 years ago today my wonderful, sweet, funny brother Jeff died in a car accident along with his best friend Brent. Jeff was 17 and a senior. I was 15 and a sophomore. Jeff will always be 17 to me. That funny, always smiling, athletic, good looking, ornery boy. I am now 41 and I will never be 17 again. As the years roll past, I keep getting older and the memories of our younger years together fade away. I keep our memories alive though through our photos and telling the girls stories about Jeff. But it's not the same. It will never ever be the same. I miss you Jeff.

So today, I don't have a cute card to share with you. I don't want you to feel sad for me. I would like to encourage you to live for today. Be the best you can be. Be the better person. Forgive if you need to. Say I'm sorry. Love and laugh more. Don't be so serious. Be a good friend or mother or father or sister or brother. Do something nice. Stop worrying about what you can't change. Change what you can. Tell someone you appreciate them. Say I love you. Play with your kids. Call your mother. Send a card. Live for the moment. Eat chocolate. Do the right thing. Step away from the computer. Get off the phone. Visit your grandparents. Make time for someone else. Listen. Appreciate what you have. Take care of yourself. Take more photos. Update your scrapbooks. Slide down a slipper slide. Make every day count.

You might not be here tomorrow. You might not get another chance. Make all the wonderful moments of your life turn into precious memories. Thanks for visiting today, you all hold a very special place in my life.

Michelle

103 comments:

Priscilla Heistad said...

My prayers are with you. Thank you for sharing your talent and your heart every day!

Lisa said...

Thank you for the message today - we do need to slow down and realize how precious life really is and we never know how much time we have.

Josie said...

Thoughts, prayers, anf a big hug today to you and your family...celebrate Jeff and the memories you have. Thanx for sharing. Such an important message to tuck deep into our hearts and reflect on often!! ~J~

Tracey McNeely said...

Thank you for sharing with us today something so incredibly personal. An unforseen loss is so shocking. Also thank you for the message which is so true. Hugs to you today Michelle.

Barb Moyer said...

Thank you for sharing your story and for the reminder that we can't take life for granted - or the ones we love. God Bless!!!!

Stephanie said...

Ah, Mish....forever inspiring, no matter what you say or do! Thank you!

Jennifer K said...

A wonderful post reminding us to live. We only get one shot at life and we never know when it's our turn to go. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family today, Mish.

Wendi said...

You inspire my creativity every day and today you have inpired me to be a better person. Thank you!

denise said...

yes, life is precious. we do need to remember to make each day count. may your day be filled with extra special memories and thoughts of your brother.

Debra said...

Oh Goodness....thank you, Mish for the wake up call.Hugs to you today:)

Susan T said...

Thanks for reminding me what it is all about. My daughter is 17 and very precious to me. You are a great inspiration and just as important to me so I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart to let you know how special you are. I am really sorry about your loss but it has made you who you has blessed me. Thank you for helping to me to take the time to do something for someone else. THANK YOU! xoxox

Barbara said...

Praying for the Lord's Blessings upon you xox

Chris Simon said...

Big hugs, Mish. I lost my baby brother six years ago - he was 32. Not a single day goes by that I don't think of him. It's so easy to forget how quickly everything can change.

Patti J said...

Thanks for your wonderful message. We all need to be reminded often of the really important things that are right in front of us. My prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family today. Thank you for sharing this part of you with us.

wanda50 said...

Mish...You hold a very special place in my heart and life as well Mish. Even though I don't know you personally...I feel like I have known you all my life. My online friends are some of my BFF's. I sometimes don't know how I could make it through the day without each and every one of you. Your message today was a gentle reminder of just how precious life is to me and my loved ones. You had a wonderful way of summing it all up just right. God has blessed you with amazing talent and I thank Him for placing you in my life from across the miles and for giving you the heart to share with all of us. You inspire each of us more than you know. Enjoy your day...The 19th will be here before you know it. Hugs and Prayers and Thanks for the memories...

Tami McBeain (tmarie) said...

What a beautiful reflection in honor of Jeff. We all get so caught up in life and often forget what living is all about, taking time to be that better person and to tell the ones around us how much they mean to us.

Sue a/k/a MOUSEMOM40 said...

Well said! I think it's wonderful that you're using this experience to encourage others. Hugs to you!

IamDerby said...

Great message today. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother, what a terrific way you have chosen to honor his memory.

Dinah Soar said...

Losing your brother is a loss you can never recover, yet with strength and grace you continue on, and your inner beauty is revealed in your daily life and displayed in your paper crafting. Thank you for sharing and making us a part of your life.

Anonymous said...

OMG - he looks like my athletic, wonderful younger brother when he was 17 - he is also now 41 years old. May God bless you and keep you - your post reminds us of what is important. Gotta go hug my kids, and log off this computer. Hugs and prayers to you.

Anonymous said...

Well said Mish. Thanks so much for sharing your life with us. I'm taking your advise and getting off the computer and enjoying TODAY!

Janet - WI

Tina Holliday said...

Thank you for the message. As I type I have tears in my eyes because it makes me think of my two little boys and what you said is exactly how I try to live everyday because the people in my life that I love more than anything are so important to me and when they or myself are gone I want them to know I loved them everyday. You inspire me everyday to creat wonderful things to share with those that I love - thank you for that.

mochamama said...

A BIG HUG COMING YOUR WAY! Thank you for sharing a piece of your heart. I really needed to read this today!

Andrea said...

God bless you Mish and your family. I don't know the pain that you must have gone through and must still feel when you miss your brother - but I hope that the thoughts of seeing him again one day in Heaven make it bearable for you. I miss my brother too - although he didn't die - between the ages of 18 and 20 we lost the person we knew as Jason. He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and will never be that same lighthearted WONDERFUL boy that he was then. So every once in a while I grieve for him in a way that is probably similar to you. But I am lucky enough to still have a part of him here - so I will enjoy him and love him as much and as often as I can. Thank you for reminding me of that today.

patriciad said...

Wise words, Mich. If I could reach thru my computer screen I'd give you a big ole hug. <3

patriciad said...

Oh rats, I didn't mean to spell your name wrong, Mish! (Note to self: remember to "preview")

Anonymous said...

I said an extra special prayer for your brother and you today Michelle.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. So many days pass us by where we just rush from one thing to the next. I am going to try to do some of the things you listed in your post today!
Blessings,
Amy

Tammie said...

I am touched...your words are profound.

Nadine said...

A big {{{hug}}} from me to you.

Joan in UK said...

Thanks.......it's all I can think to say.

Katherine said...

I'm so sorry to hear you have such a life story to look back onto. It's such a tribute to your brother that you share him with so many people. And so much, how his loss has provided you with the momentum to live your life to the fullest.

Thank you for reminding all of us to stop and be thankful.

Mel said...

What a wonderful message. I love reading your blog.

Sheila said...

XOXO'S TODAY AND EVERYDAY! Thanks for sharing.

Donna K said...

Everyday I check your post right away. You are so generous with your talent and your heart. What a nice way to honor your brother - just keeping him in your thoughts and in your life. Life is so full of blessings and tragedies. I will think of you and your brother today.

Cathy Weber said...

I know you don't want anyone to feel sad for you. I think we all do, but today I am going to call my mom, cook with my daughter, watch one of my husbands political commentator shows with him and really be grateful for all that I have. As always, you are an inspiration to me and I will be thinking of you today.

Isabel Z said...

Thank you for reminding us about what is truly important in our lives. In honor of your brother Jeff I will take the time to celebrate life with my family today. Hugs and prayers for you and your family.

Charmaine said...

Hugs to you today. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with us daily. Spending the day with my little nephew...he's 2...we're going to watercolor :)

Charmaine

Kathy (krolski) said...

Thanks for this thoughtful message today. You are so right. Life is precious and we always need to remember that. Sending you prayers and hugs.

Kelli B said...

Hugs to you- you have an angel watching over you and I know that his memories live on thru you. God Bless you always, and thanks for sharing your talent but also your life w/ us.

MaGoooo said...

LOVE YOU Mishie!

Anonymous said...

And you in ours. God bless.

Renee V. said...

Just sending you a {{{hug}}}. I'm thinking of you...

Edie said...

What a wonderful sentiment you posted today.
I so wish no one else in the world felt what I felt - but you said it.

Losing a brother all too early makes them forever that age in your head.
It's been almost 7 years since I lost my brother. He was 33.
Like you I'm 41 and will always wonder how he would have aged...

All the best to you on this day!

Lan said...

Hugs, and thanks for wonderful reminder of how we should live everyday!

Jenn in GA said...

such a lovely tribute and admonition to us...thanks for sharing

Shirlann said...

What a lovely way to honor your brother...a heartfelt message for all to remember! Hugs to you..

Lisa and Penny said...

Such an incredibly inspiring post Mish! You are so right--live for today! Thanks for sharing your story ;-)

Karin said...

Dear Mish, I was very touched by your story. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Thank you that you wanted to share this story with us. It has put me thinking. I enjoy your blog every day but never leave a comment because my English is not very good. I am Dutch. Yet today I wanted to leave a comment. Maybe I should do that more often.

resmith said...

Thank you for sharing your story today! As I read this I thought of my sister I lost 28 years ago. She will always be in my heart and thoughts.
Hugs and prayer to you today and always.
I so love your blog and thank you for sharing your wonderful talent with all of us.
Hugs,
Liz

BethieJ said...

Sending my prayers your way... and Thank you for the perfect words to hear today.. and SHARING YOUR TALENT with us all!!!

Avril Tanner said...

Your post I am sure certainly hit home to a lot of us! Very Wise words of Wisdom! It is amazing what we can learn to take for granted sometimes and your post has certainly spoken to my heart today! I hope you can continue to vividly remember these moments! You are in my thoughts... and thanks for such wonder heartspoken advice!

sarahw said...

Sending big hugs your way! It is nice to be in a place where you can reflect and smile at memories. :)

I realize this may not be the most appropriate place to post this but I wanted to thank you for your post on Valentine's bookmarks. My son Reid and I had a blast making them. If you would like to check them out it is on my blog today. sarahw-stampinwithsarah.blogspot.com Thank you so much for such a great project.

Victoria H said...

My daughter has been home from school for 3 days because of snow and now a 4th day because she is sick and as much as some are ready for them to be out of their hair...I love every stuffy congested moment with her. You remind us that time is precious and all too short.

I am going upstairs to snuggle with her and probably eat some ice cream!

Hugs...

Anonymous said...

Thanks Michelle. You inspire us all. Hugs to you.
AOK.

Anonymous said...

What a sweet way to tribute to your brother. Remember he is always with you. I am sure he is extremely proud of you. At a young age you know what is most important in life. Bless you.

Sandy said...

Hey Mish,

Your brother Jeff was so good-looking and that was so nice to hear your words. I, too, lost my brother when he was 16 and I was 15. I'm 46 now and he is always 16 to me in my head and heart! I sure wish he were here with us. He was murdered on the first night of his first job and my mother and daddy will never ever be the same because of all the what if's...what if he had not let him take a job?? that kind of thing. Anyway, the person who did this is in prison for life without parole and we have all learned to forgive him...because without forgiveness we cannot know God like we should and also causes bitterness in your heart forever.

Julia Aston said...

Very well said Mish. So sorry for your loss.

Miss Mike said...

Mish...my thoughts and prayers are with you today. How tragic to lose a sibling and his friend so young. You are right, we never know when we won't be here tomorrow. Thank you for the inspiration to go forward today thinking of those around me and making a difference in someone elses day. (and mine) You are a awesome woman! Thanks for sharing your story and your heart with us!

MelissaAnn said...

Thanks for the heart warming words and the simple reminder that most of us forget. Live..Love..Laugh for today. You got me to stop and breath...love to you and your family.

scrapfancy said...

Wonderful words to live by and more people need to do this. Thank you for sharing a personal memory. Live, Laugh and Love.

LeslieM said...

Oh Michelle - I feel your pain like you lost your brother yesterday I am sending you a big hug. Your words are so true - if only we could live by them with out having to lose someone we are close to in order to learn the lesson. Take care.

Jane said...

You're wonderful!! Thank you for sharing this....I'll be thinking of you and your brother today.

Michelle said...

Michelle,
Your post touched me deeply. Our family is undergoing an extremely difficult time right now and forgivness seems so very far away and almost unattainable. But you are right, life is too short. As I cannot control the behavior of others I choose to take care of what I can and live for today. Blessings to you as you walk down memory lane today.

Michelle

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all your lovely thoughts, Mish. Memories of those that we loved who have left us become true treasures.

JenniferCR said...

Thank you so much for sharing Jeff with us today. He must be so proud of his little sister! These were just the words that I needed to be reminded of today. So again, thank you again for sharing a very special piece of your heart with all of us today.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing, and a big hug coming your way to help you make it through this difficult day. I lost my mom to cancer several years ago, and the thing that makes it more bearable for me it knowing that I will someday see her again. Won't that day be fun when we get to see all of our families and friends that have gone before us? Love, Kathy

debbies said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate your brother and his friend. HUGS

Jenn said...

I recently lost my (only) brother - he was 26 - so I understand how you feel. The loss of someone so young, and with so much potential, is devastating, but it does make you want to take advantage of every single second of every single day. Thanks for the reminder.

Staci Lynch said...

Thank you for your special thoughts. I know that with each passing year it does not get any easier to heal a loss but I do pray that one thing age does for us is learning how to cope a little more with lifes trails and hurts. I needed to read your words today and remember that so much of life that we think is SO important is really not at all. I hope you can smile today at the memories you have.

Troy Louise said...

Thank you for your beautiful message. I was 11 when my 18 year old brother lost his life. 44 years later, he lives on in my heart. A big warm hug to you.

MicheyMoo said...

I don't 'know' you and might never 'meet' you, but just wanted to let you know you've touched my heart as I start my day.

Loved ones are so, so precious, whether they are with us for our lifetime.....or just a few moments of it. Thanks for the reminder to stop and love and enjoy every moment we are given.

Praying for you and your family today Mish.

Michey xxx

CardShark said...

Thank you Mish for sharing such a personal story. My youngest sister lost her husband this year unexpectedly. It came as a real shock to us all. He was 47. Everything you said is so true. We caught up in our everyday lives and forget that it could be our last. Thanks for the reminders. My prayers are with you friend.

Anonymous said...

Mish, your big heart is one of the things I love about you. You are so right--life is far too short. Perhaps we can't avoid the loss of someone dear, but we can avoid the regrets that come with missed opportunities to tell them how much they mean to us. I'm sure your sweet reminder today will prevent many such regrets. Hugs and God bless.

Tammy Nichols said...

I understand, Brett Ford, 1980-2000, beautiful cousin, sister, friend. Killed by a drunk driver. I understand your pain, and my prayers are with you today. God Bless you and your heart.

quilter said...

Thank you for the message, we are going to my brother-in-laws funeral tomorrow and he wanted so much to live to see his grandchildren grow up. So we are realizing the briefness of our time on earth, and how precious the time together. Hugs to you.

Michele said...

Michelle,

I enjoy checking your blog daily and have never left a post, but today your story hit so close to home ... in June 1981 my brother Jeff was killed in a car crash. He was 26 and I was 24. In July 1983 when I was 26 I gave birth to my first child, a son, who I named Ryan Jeffrey.

Michele (with one "L")

Susan said...

Just had to tell you 'thank you' for your wonderful words today. We will probably lose my husband's brother to leukemia this week. My heart goes out to you knowing you feel this same pain. We hope in the Lord.

rebecca said...

Prayers to you....6 years ago on Feb 11th, my beautiful 17 yr old niece was killed in an accident. Here is a poem that brings me great comfort...The road we're on is twisted Lord, the end defies the view. Teach us to take each step in faith, and leave the rest to You.
Maybe Jeff and my Lydia can share a dance today!

Michele Swanberg said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful message with us today and reminding us to take time to enjoy the moment and cherish the ones we love while we have them with us.

christy compton hall said...

I'm crying so hard right now. That was beautiful. Even though it was 26 years ago, his spirit is still with you every day. Someday you will be back in his shining presence and it will be a joyous reunion.

Heidi said...

What a wonderful message. Hugs to you!

Marla said...

Hi Michelle..I know how you feel. I lost my brother 9 years this May. I miss him so much. My thoughts and prayers go out to you. *Hugs*
Marla

Nancy said...

I had a bad day today too, I lost my nephew, like my son in September and out of the blue today that song by Creed came on at work..."With arms wide open" played at his funeral.......altho he is always in my thoughts it all came to the suface again in a tearful moment. Thanks for sharing.. You are so right...live now cause we never know....he was 40.

Melissa said...

Thank you for sharing your talent with all of us. Thanks for your post today as a reminder to make the most of what life has to offer.

Kristie said...

Thanks for sharing something so personal, your advice just hit the spot with me. I will heed it and make a few cards and send them out to those I love! Thanks!

Diana said...

Very well said.

Marica said...

Michelle, I have also lost a brother, and it has been 16 years. He was also two years older than me, and I miss him so very much. My brother was 24 when he died. I have also recently lost a 16 year old bonus son.

Thanks for your post today. Thanks for putting such a heartbreak so beautifuly into words.

miriamdaniels@sbcglobal.net said...

Thank you for sharing with us and reminding us to enjoy every moment. I've recently received a medical diagnosis I never imagined. Thank you for the inspirational words. And YES, you are a young chickadee. :)

My prayers are with you,
Miriam

Jenny said...

Life is precious! Thanks for sharing! Blessings to you! :)

The Wired Angel said...

Yes Chicklet.. life is fleeting! I, like you, lost my brother through the most stupid accident. For my family, our lives were never the same. I wish we had the courage and fortitude that you and your family had/have. This was 40+ years ago.. and my siblings still are healing to this day. We didn't have the support systems available now. My prayers and very special thoughts are with you.. sweet little chicklet!! I love every little creative thing you do. Sending hugs, Peggy

Lyndsay said...

Thank you for sharing this - I nearly lost my brother at a similar time. Luckily for me he survived but your post did cause me to reflect on what could have been and how lucky I am. Sending you a huge hug xx

Jo R. said...

Mish, you made me cry with your beautiful sentiments, and I hugged my kids just a little bit tighter tonight. Thanks for sharing. Love & hugs,
Jo

Julie said...

Michelle I love your blog, read it everyday you are so inspirational. Your message today made me really stop and think - Im going to print it out, pin it up and read it often. Thank you for making us stop and smell the roses. Thinking of you. Juliex

Cheryl (aka CherylQuilts) said...

What a beautiful post, Michelle! Thank you for sharing your heart with us, as well as your talent. You are so precious to so many. May God continue to bring to your mind such cherished memories of your dear brother. He'll always be in your heart! Happy birthday! Hugs, Cheryl

Paper Is Cheaper Than Therapy said...

Hi Michelle, I lost my only sibling, coincidentally also named Jeff, in a tragic work-related accident just over 20 years ago. He was only 27. I still miss him terribly. I understand that feeling. Blessings to you! ~ Cindy

Mary Sara P. said...

I want to say that you inspire people every day with your creativity, your enthusiasm and generosity of spirit. Thank you for sharing your ideas and work that helps spark my creativity as well. Thank you for reminding us to stop and enjoy life and the journey that it takes us on.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding us about what's important-it was a very inspirational post...

Chrisd said...

Thinking of you and the family. Jeff would be so proud of his sister and is...Hugs from Michigan

Anonymous said...

Wow Mish! I started reading your blog post like any other day and as I slowly read through it the chills/goose bumps got bigger and bigger! Thank you for writing it! You are so right, we all get drawn in to the everyday hustles and bustles of life and sometimes forget the most important things in life! Just to stop and enjoy, laugh, love, smell and just have fun living! My Dad passed away 4 years ago on the 5th of Feb. I miss him dearly. I will keep your words close to my heart as they are soooo true! Sending prayers your way! Hugs, Cheryl

Casmiles said...

Your note was so powerful. It's just the reminder that I (and probably so many others) needed to hear regarding life and how we need to live it. It's been a year since I lost one of my sisters to cancer and in my heart, I know she'd be giving the same encouragement you gave in your note. Thank you for sharing your life with us, and for reminding us to remember the good times, and live new ones each day.

Anonymous said...

Michelle... that sure is an eye opener... I'm 41 also and my first grandchild was born last week.. and once I say that beautiful little baby I was so proud to be called "grandma" at first I wasn't sure when my daut. told me she was prego...but now it has turned into something wonderful... my thoughts and prayers are with you on this anniversary day...

{pam} said...

OMG . . . totally LOL right now . . . when i reached my forties is the same time i started forgetting how old i am. i continually have to do the math otherwise i make myself older!!! YIKES!!!

my condolences on your brother!!!

Anonymous said...

Michelle, I just read your post about your brother and wanted you to know that I'm praying for you. I've lost 2 siblings and although they weren't as young as your brother they were young in their lives. My sister was 47 and my brother was 52. Every year, while not as painful as the first, still makes me sad and thoughtful. I wish you peace during this anniversary.

Maureen
moheron@msn.com

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