The WORST Day There Is

How do you get through the worst day of your life? How do you continue to get through it when during every major holiday, his birthday, family birthday’s, family gatherings, and basically every day you think of him? Just how?

These are the things I think about frequently, especially today. Today marks the 3 year anniversary of the passing of my brother Jay. So today seems like a good day to share his story with the internet, and anyone who reads it. In April 2010, a few months before Jay turned 16, my brother was sick on and off for about a month. He would go to bed fine and wake up feeling awful. The doctors didn’t even know what was wrong with him. On April 26, 2010 I got a call while I was at work from my parents saying that they were taking Jay to Hershey. The doctors saw something and needed him to receive more blood tests, but at a hospital that had the resources to conduct them. April 27 – the day my brother Jay was official diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. April 28 – The day I found out that Jay had cancer, I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone yet because my other brothers didn’t know, nor did the rest of our friends and extended family. I can without a doubt say that Thursday, April 29 was one of the harder days I’ve had for the pure reason that I felt like I was in a foggy haze for the entirety of the day.

April 29 – my dad tells my brothers about Jay’s cancer. At that point I had already cried a lot, and was like okay I’m good. I can sit here and hear dad tell the boys about Jay and I’ll be okay. That day was the first time I had ever visibly seen my dad cry. And that is something that I just can’t handle, and I lost it. That day changed our lives forever. It made the horrid reality of what was happening even more real, but it also started bringing us closer together.

Jay got his plan for treatment — 6 months of chemo and the cancer should be gone. Okay, 6 months. I’ve heard of worse things – let’s do this. Jay was int he hospital for the next month getting some treatment. It was really tough to see how fast he lost his hair and his weight from the chemo. It was even tougher to see him just laying on the couch not being able to do things. The day I graduated from high school (a month after his diagnoses) was the first time Jay got to come home. That was probably the best graduation present I could have ever received. I was so happy! Although, he was home – it was still tough. Jay was suffering from a bunch of side effects. He vomited a lot and had trouble swallowing. The chemo caused him to have sores all up and down his throat and in his mouth. I specifically remember him spiking a fever and not doing well one of the first few nights he was home, and my parents telling him that they had to go to Hershey. Jay cried. (I mean if I was him I probably would’ve cried too). He didn’t want to go back into the hospital when he had just gotten home from it. Unfortunately, they did go back to the hospital.

Over the next 6 months Jay was in and out of the hospital. Because of his side effects the duration of his treatment just kept getting dragged out. He wasn’t handling chemo well during some of the doses, and that pushed back the next chemo treatment. There was a weekend in October that I came home from school to visit. Looking back now, I am so happy that I went home that weekend – since it was the last time I spoke to Jay. That was a great weekend. He was having some good days. He went to the high school football game (even if only for half of the game – it was still a giant step). He got his permit. Like I said, it was a good weekend.

About a week later Jay started to have some weird symptoms. Weird in the fact that his nerves were being effected, and he could only move about half of his face. Obviously my parents were concerned. They took Jay back to Hershey. It was then that we found out that the cancer had spread – but this time it was in his brain fluid, which explains why his nerves were affected. Slowly, Jay stopped being able to move basically all parts of his body. 

A month later, on November 19, Jay’s lung collapsed. Within the past year, I learned that Jay almost died that day. His heart stopped, and the doctors had to restart it. He was put on a ventilator and taken into the pediatric ICU. I came home for Thanksgiving break that day. It was quite honestly one of the worst Thanksgivings I’ve ever had. My parents spent days at the hospital. I spent a large portion of the break at the hospital as well. I’ll never forget what he looked like. There were tubes coming out of him, and things would randomly beep. All he could do was move his head in a yes or no fashion, and kind of flop his right arm back and forth. The nurses would come in and stretch his legs out, since he couldn’t move them on his own. Little did I know – November 27 was the last day that I would see him.

The last day of finals for my fall semester came. I got a call during my final from my dad saying that I needed to call him back. I did. It was at that moment, walking across campus back to my dorm room at 7 o’clock at night in December that I found out that my little brother Jay, at 16 years old, died of cancer. December 15. This is without a doubt the WORST day of my life. People say it gets easier, but they lied. It never gets any easier.

Although I’d give anything to have my brother back, I’ve learned so much from him. Life is short – make the most of it. The most important thing I’ve learned is that family is everything. Jay brought us all together. He made my brothers and I so much closer without even trying to.

He’s is everything I aspire to be, and my inspiration for so many aspects of my daily life. It’s difficult, but I like sharing Jay’s story. If there’s one thing I want to be able to do with my life it is to inspire people, and Jay does that for so many people. 

Rest easy Jay. I love you and miss you so incredibly much. Thank you for being a constant inspiration in my life. xoxo

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Story Of My Life Song Review

SOML single album artwork – I do not take any credit for this. All rights go to Modest Management and One Direction

In honor of Music Wednesday, I have decided to do another song review off of the newest One Direction album Midnight Memories.

The second single to come off the album and make a splash was none other than the amazing Story Of My Life. Following their first single off the album (Best Song Ever see my review of that song here), it was a nice change of pace with a deeper, not necessarily realized, meaning. SOML has a slower pace to it. Pair it with acoustic guitar, with softer drum beats and it’s absolutely amazing. The vocals and harmonies are something different compared to the not so easily heard harmonies in BSE.

Now let’s talk about the video (then we’ll get to what I think it means). This video had more of an emotional appeal to it. It brought out the boys softer side due to their families being involved in the music video. I thought that was a nice touch to bring out the meaning of the song. If you haven’t clicked on the first link and seen the video the premise is that the boys recreated childhood pictures. They wore the same clothing (or at least types of clothing), had the same people, and did the exact same poses. I’ve seen pictures like this done all over Pinterest, but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen it done in a music video.

The whole video really brings out the meaning of the song. Some people say SOML is about a girl, others it’s about growing up and falling apart or something (yes I did just make that up). To me, this song is about how even when you aren’t there, life keeps going on. You can see it when Louis and his grandparents recreate their picture. He may not be around, and his life story is continuing, but that doesn’t mean that everything else is changing around it. And those moments that the boys do get to spend with their families and close friends during their times off, it feels like time is frozen because they’re trying to snapshot those moments and make them last forever.

This song speaks volumes to me. I’m in college, not spending a ton of time with my family. But that doesn’t mean their lives don’t continue on. It makes you appreciate all the moments you do get to spend with them, even if it’s only for a short period of time.

How do you identify with this song?

50 Fashion Rules To Break Right Now

I loved this post a lot! If you’re into fashion I highly recommend reading this post! Fashion is something that you can make unique to who you are and what you like. Society has given us fashion rules to follow, and well after reading this, the biggest rule I’ve found is that wear what you like and what you think looks good on you. Don’t let society tell you what to wear and how to wear it! Gather inspiration from everything and put together your own specific style!

Enjoy!

StyleCaster

Your mama always told you never to wear black with brown or white after Labor Day—but fashion rules are meant to be broken, right?

We’re giving you permission to break all 50 of these old school rules.

50. Red and pink clash

Somewhere along the way, these two shades got a bad reputation, but when paired purposefully, they can actually look quite modern and eye-catching. To break this fashion rule, keep the red true, and add any shade of pink, from pastel to fuchsia.

49. Don’t wear white after labor day

Lame! As countless designers have proved during the past few seasons, white isn’t only appropriate when the weather gets cold, but also amazingly fresh and modern-feeling. One thing to keep in mind when tackling the white-in-winter trend: It’s all about the fabric. Lighter textiles such as white cotton, linen, canvas, and seersucker will surely look out of place during the chilly months of fall and…

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My Best Song Ever Review

“And we danced all night to the best song ever”

If you’ve ever listened to this song, you will know that these are the words that grace the chorus of One Direction’s summer 2013 single Best Song Ever. As an avid directioner, I was super excited to listen to this song, and then see the video that would accompany it in the following weeks of the single. Now let’s break the song down a little bit:

First off, I love the music behind it. Maybe it has something to do with growing up listening to The Who with my dad. But the beginnings of the song and the verses, at least for me, resemble Baba  O’Reily by The Who – like a variation on it. (If you have no clue what I’m talking about, you should check it out!). I love how the verses have a rock feel to them. It was something unexpected coming off their second album, which still had a pop feel to it.

Now we get to my favorite part about this song. It’s poking fun at all stereotypical, cookie cutter, pop, boy band. In a way, that includes them; when you finally hear a new song and go to describe it to your friends the only words you can think of are “it’s the best song ever”. Again, I think they were poking fun, which just makes it better.

Can we take a moment to appreciate the musical artistry during the harmonies? It’s hard to hear on the recording of the song, but if you’ve ever heard this song live (or on an award show like I did) the harmonies during the word “ever”. It’s amazing! It really shows the guys ability to song, and harmonize. It really shows off their talents.

Overall, I loved this song, although not my favorite on the album. It was an important stepping stone to show that they don’t want to be and are NOT like other boy bands. There’s something different about them. And this song was a nice segue into the rest of the album.

Monday’s and Material Matters

It’s Monday, and I am not having any of it.

Case of the Monday’s

 

That meme is literally how I feel about today. Here I am sitting on my couch, in my living room, drinking a beer, and enjoying an episode of Sex and the City. I’m not thinking about that assignment that I need to turn in by 5 pm today, or the giant display board that I need to make for Wednesday. I am still in break mode. While we’re on the subject of breaks, Thanksgiving just happened.

Thanksgiving – the holiday with the best food. The one where people give thanks for everything they have, then go out and shop for everything they want (which is actually kind of weird). After looking up the origin of Black Friday, I have learned that it has been going on since the 19th century (financial crisis of 1869 is the association). My question is, why is it such a big deal? Why does our culture place such a large importance on material possessions? Although, I am not immune to this it is something that floats across my mind.

So I ask you to consider the good things in your life: your health, shelter, food, water, clothing. Everything else (material items: phones, computers, etc.) are just extras and we don’t need them to survive.