"once you choose hope, anything is possible"

Saturday, December 28, 2013

what is this master plan anyways?

I didn't know it was possible to physically feel a heart break. I also didn't know that the pain of someone you love hurting was far greater than any pain I would ever come to know on my own. I have learned a lot in the last three years, but nothing could have possibly prepared me for the lessons I learned last night when my best friend told me that his mom lost her battle with cancer, and had passed to be in a better place without pain and suffering. We were states away and I swear with those words I felt the hole ripping through my chest. 

This year my hatred for cancer grew to heights I didn't think it would ever take. This year instead of feeling all the pain that comes with someone you know having this disease firsthand, I knew it all secondhand. This year instead of trying to convince myself that everything was going to be okay, I had to listen to my best friend lose hope and admit to me that he didn't think his mom was going to make it. That hatred and that pain far surpasses anything I have ever felt in my life, and it is something I wish so desperately I could take away. My heart aches for him. Part of me wants this pain I am feeling to go away so badly, but the bigger part of me wants to be able to feel all of his pain for him so that he doesn't have to. I want to be able to go back in time and fix it all for him. I want to be able to hold him together like my family did for me as I fell to pieces in the kitchen last night. I think that's the worst part of all of this. I know there's not a damn thing I can do to make things any better, and if there is one thing I hate more than cancer, its feeling helpless.

My whole life I have heard people tell me that God has this master plan for us, and every hardship we encounter is just preparing us for what God has in store. The last three years have been a real test of faith for me, but this week is by far the biggest one. It's so hard to leave it all up to Him when I want so badly to be able to fix it on my own. I've never been a very trusting person, and trusting someone else to care for the people I love isn't an easy task, even if it is God. I know everything is going to be okay. I am hopeful, and faithful, and I know my friend's mom is in a better place where she is no longer in pain. I know my friend is the strongest human being I know and that he has all the support he needs to get through this. I know that even though I can't see a reason behind all of this right now, there has got to be something. 

I always feel as if I need to find the answers right away. I think that has a lot to do with why I stopped writing for so long, because I was looking for the answers. The truth is, right now I don't have any answers. I know all of these things but I am really struggling to let all these truths I know become bigger than the pain I feel. I know I can't take the pain away from him, but I don't know how to trust God enough to understand that he is still going to get through this. I don't know how to make this aching in my chest go away when I know that his never will. So until I figure this all out, if I even ever do, I will continue to pray and look for the little glimpses of hope in a life that really doesn't make sense to me anymore. For those of you reading that are religious in any way please light candle or say a prayer for a family who lost a mother too soon and a young man who had to grow up far too fast. 

I know I'll see you again - this side or the other

Saturday, December 14, 2013

my year of love.

If I could choose one word to describe my year it would be love; finding my way back to love, learning to love myself, choosing to walk away from love, discovering the unconditional love that surrounds me everyday. 2013 was a year full of a lot of ups and downs for me, but through it all, love, in so many different forms, flowed constantly and kept me steady.  

I began the new year on the heels of a year full of healing. 2012 was about finding my way back to the happy go lucky, carefree teenager I was before my freshman year in college. Throughout the year I realized that even if I couldn’t go back, I was finding a new way to deal with it all and finding a new version of myself. My goal for 2013 was to take that healing, take the new Kelsey, and fall back in love with my life. Stop surviving, and start living. I went back to Marquette for my second semester of my sophomore year and things started falling back into place for me. I threw myself into dance, my sorority, being a college student and slowly the days stopped seeming endless. Everyone used to tell me that one day you would wake up and just start feeling better. I called bullshit every single time, until I did. I just woke up one day and realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I had a bad day, which in retrospect is really incredible because there was a long period of time where the dark days far surpassed the good ones. I woke up and I realized that the “new Kelsey” was someone that was so loved, and in turn found a way to love myself again, all the broken pieces included. Slowly loving life and loving myself didn’t seem like such a task, it came easy. And with that loving someone else came easy too.

As cheesy and stereotypical as it sounds, my summer was one filled with the magic of love. I got to spend the summer with my high school sweetheart, my best friend, my first love, and my other half. I spent the entire summer and beginning of my junior year filling in all the broken pieces of my heart with new memories with him. Meeting his family, going on amazing adventures, planning our futures, reminiscing on our past – we crammed it all into an amazing six months. Most of all though, he taught me to believe again; believe that love exists, that it has the power to heal, to change your life for the better and to make you question how you ever survived without it. I got to spend my year in that kind of love, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world. As summer turned to fall and we went back to our respective schools and lives, we both learned the harsh lesson that even the most magical love doesn’t always stand the tests of time and distance, but it doesn’t take away anything from the impact his love had on my life.

By the time the calendar hit November, love had already taken over 2013 and changed pretty much everything. The last couple months I have been pleasantly surprised time and time again when I realize how much love surrounds me everyday. I always knew I had an incredible family who loved me unconditionally, but this year I got to live with my best friends and witness their unconditional love. I took an opportunity and changed pretty much everything I had planned for my future, and when I expected everyone to tell me how crazy I was, I was met only with kindness and support. 

Who knew that in a span of 365 days love could consume my life so much? Falling back in love with my life was definitely not an easy process, but the results are unlike anything I could have imagined. It is such an incredible feeling to read my writing from this time last year and see how much things have changed, in a good way. So here’s to the last 365 days, 12 months, 52 weeks, 529600 minutes. Thanks to the people that have filled my life with so much love and taught me to love in a much better way. I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store. 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

because the sun keeps rising

A little over a year ago, I wrote my first blog post in the hopes that sharing my story would be the first step in healing my very broken heart. I remember writing, and backspacing, and crying, and really having no idea how to convey everything that I was feeling, but I also remember knowing that I had to keep writing, because with each story I told, each post I published, I was taking control of everything that was happening and somehow figuring it all out. My first post was titled "the sun will rise again." Whenever anything bad happened, most people would respond by telling me that tomorrow is a new day, that things would get better. It sounds like good advice, but it's also really hard to take when it seems impossible to get through the next hour- let alone an entire day. Either way though, I knew deep down that things would get better. I would wake up the next morning and little by little things would start looking up, they had to. Sadly in Milwaukee the sun does not shine a whole lot, but it always rises whether or not I see it. The clouds of depression and grief ruined a lot of really sunny days for me, but I knew that one day things would be better. and I held on to that when I couldn't find anything else to hold on to. 

It's kinda surreal to sit in my dorm room a year later and think about everything that happened last year. In a lot of ways it feels like just yesterday, but in others it feels like a lifetime ago. It is so hard to admit sometimes. I love Marquette and my life in Milwaukee, and it is difficult to think about how bad things were freshman year. I wanted so desperately to be a normal college student who moved in on the first day freshman year and had the time of her life, never looking back. Even still I don't know how I let things get so bad, how I let grief get the best of me over and over again. Somehow I made it though. The sun kept rising, and slowly things really did get better and better like everyone told me they would.

I'd like to say I am 100%, but I know I still have a long way to go. I also know that I have incredible people and opportunities in my life, and I have a long list of angels to thank for that, for guiding me along the right path, and for keeping me strong even when I didn't want to be. There are a lot of things I still need to figure out, a lot of unknowns and a lot of growing left to do. But I do know that next year will be better, I know that the sun will keep rising, and I now know that I am strong enough to get through my darkest days.

 In the last year I have spent a lot of days hoping for a better tomorrow, I am happy to say that I think I have finally found it. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

because cancer sucks

Anyone who knows me even a little bit, knows that I love my sleep. So the typical all nighter that seem so inherent to the college lifestyle is something I know I would never be able to accomplish. I have tried on several occasions (especially during finals week) to stay up and finish all my work, but no matter how much I have to get done, around 130am I am done. I am physically incapable of pulling an all nighter.. except for one night of the year, the night of Relay for Life. I don't care how tired I am, how much I value my sleep, or how much caffeine I have to ingest to help me stay awake, I somehow manage to walk all through the night because cancer sucks. It's as simple as that.

I remember when I was younger and my older sisters used to participate in Relay for Life with their high schools, and I was always so jealous they got to go spend an entire night with their friends while I had to stay at home. And then my older sister, Alyson, went to college and being the incredible woman that she is, took it upon herself to become a co-chair and plan the event herself. All the while, I never really understood how important this event was, why my sisters went back every year, or why Alyson was so passionate about making her Relay the best possible...until I participated last year.

For those have not heard of Relay For Life, it is an event sponsored by the American Cancer Society in which participants dedicate their entire night (cancer never sleeps so neither should we), to walking around a track and raising money to fight back against a disease that affects so many people. Relay and the American Cancer Society celebrate those battles against cancer that have been won, remember those that we have lost, and fight back against the cancer that is affecting people now and will affect people in the future. To try to explain the emotions that are encompassed inside the gymnasium on the night of Relay is almost impossible. It is this indescribable mix of joy, sorrow, and hope that has changed my view on a lot of things, especially this disease I have come to hate with every fiber of my being.

Cancer sucks, bad. It has affected too many people I love, and forced me to say goodbye before I was ready too many times. Cancer has made me see the strongest people I know brought to tears, and it has opened my eyes to this whole different world filled with sorrow and desperation. But it has also introduced me to the American Cancer Society and enough hope that makes the world of many cancer patients and families go round. It brought me to Relay for Life and it taught me never to take anything for granted. It showed me that life is too short, and that bad things happen to good people no matter how much I wish they didn't. Cancer made me realize how naive I was and snapped me right out of my blissful ignorance which sucked, a lot. But the American Cancer Society came into my life and filled all the little cracks in my seemingly broken heart. I watched the survivors walk the first lap of last year's Relay and I realized that there is something so beautiful coming from this really awful thing. There is a hope that not even cancer can take away and Relay for Life showed me that.

 I learned so much last year through my participation in Relay for Life, but most of all it taught me how lucky I am. Lucky that I am healthy, lucky that I have an incredible support system to help me through a night that was really difficult for me, and lucky that even though I had to say goodbye to my friends too soon, it wasn't before they changed my life in the best way possible. I am lucky to have known them, to have been touched by their beauty, and to have been introduced to this organization. Cancer sucks, but little by little the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life is making it suck just a little but less. I cannot wait to see what this years Relay for Life has in store for me and my team, and I can't wait to be back in that gymnasium surrounded by that indescribable sorrow, joy, and hope. 

It's not too late to join a team, donate, or simply pray for those affected and those walking :) http://main.acsevents.org/goto/kelseyhau

Thursday, March 28, 2013

home is wherever I'm with you

There is something to be said about knowing where you came from, where you grew up, where you feel a sense of belonging. Moving around a few times when I was growing up was both a blessing and a curse, but never once did I feel like it hindered me in any way. Sure when my dad told me I would be moving my junior year in high school I threw a fit that ended somewhere with “I am not going,” but in the end, I always sort of loved moving. Getting to go to a new place where no one knows you and completely getting a fresh start is something that people barely get to experience once in their lives, and I was fortunate enough to get it several times. Consequently I probably learned to avoid my problems and run from most of issues, but I cherished getting to reinvent myself with each new school I attended, forgetting those things that I didn’t want to share anymore and holding on to the characteristics that I loved about myself and wanted others to see most.

When my parents told me I was moving to Texas, I (in my typical dramatic fashion) thought my whole world was ending. Little did I know that I would come to absolutely adore the “middle of nowhere, piece of crap” town that I so maturely called Fairview when we first decided to live there and that the thought of leaving it behind, much like I left so many other cities behind, is a little bit heartbreaking these days. Leaving Phoenix I told myself I would never find another home. I loved my high school, my friends, my life in Ahwatukee, and I strongly believed that it would always be home for me to return to. And now three years later I can’t even imagine going back there. Returning to Arizona for Easter break is exciting, but not because I am going “home.” I am ecstatic to see my grandparents and Aunt’s family because it has been far too long, but when it comes to the actual physical place of Phoenix, I really have no ties anymore. I can’t even picture myself as a student here, even though it really wasn’t that long ago. I know that is how it is supposed to go. I grew up, I moved on and that’s normal… people move on. But I’d be lying if I said it didn’t absolutely terrify me, especially with the upcoming move away from Texas.

 I never want to forget who I was in Texas. I never want to forget the people I loved, the people that came into my life and changed every single bit of me and who I am. I know I am equipped with so many memories, some so vivid it feels like just yesterday I was experiencing all of them, but I also know that at one point in my life I felt that way about Arizona, and with that probably about New Jersey as well.  I’m scared that one day I will wake up and when someone asks me where I’m from my go to answer isn’t going to be Dallas. And I am scared that I won’t feel that sense of belonging, of being from somewhere and being able to call it home again. Once again I am faced with all these conflicting emotions about moving and getting a fresh start because I know there are a lot of things that I would love to escape from Texas. It would be so nice to be able to walk into a new kitchen and not be struck by the vivid memory of me sitting on the kitchen counter crying to my mom as I told her that Anna passed away. I would love to be able to drive into my garage and not think about the night before I left for Marquette, saying goodbye to my best friend and other half, and knowing that him and I would never share the same relationship no matter how hard we tried. There are so many bad memories scattered all throughout town and constantly waiting to pull me back to that moment in time that I would love to not to have to be constantly reminded of. But what if by not having those constant reminders, I forget who I have become because of all the things I have been through? I like to think that I am a better person because I knew Anna, because I loved Kyle, and because of everything that happened in Texas, and I don’t want time or distance to change that.

  Hopefully in time I figure out how to hold onto memories without letting them run my life, but still allowing them to continue to help make me a better person. I am going to miss Texas with every part of me, but I know there are better things out there for my family and for myself.  Deep down, I know Philadelphia is going to be a wonderful new adventure for the Haus and that everything is gong to work out. I know that because I can look around at my family and we are all living proof. We’ve done this before and it is going to be no different this time. Just because I can’t pinpoint one specific place where I grew up and there may not be one house that I can say was home, I know I have been incredibly blessed because my family was the only home I ever needed. Together we have been able to figure it out before and there is really no question that we will be able to do it again no matter how scared or sad we are. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

finding myself

"not until we are completely lost do we begin to find ourselves" -Henry David Thoreau 

Once again I have completely failed about posting in a timely manner, and I apologize. Truthfully the last few months have proven to be incredibly difficult for me, and I couldn't find much "hope" to write about. As time continues to pass, I was beginning to grow increasingly frustrated with how much I was still struggling in my life. After my train wreck of a freshman year, I got so wrapped up in just surviving and making it through the day, that I realized it had been a really long time since I had truly enjoyed my day, loved my life. And thats a hard realization to have when it is has been over a year and you still can't seem to find the strength to get through the week. Lucky for me, I have an amazing support system that held me up when I didn't have the strength on my own, but even still the last couple months haven't been my most optimistic and hopeful. Needless to say, I saved everyone a lot of really depressing posts by choosing simply not to write.

That being said, I am ecstatic to be back and ready to blog again. After spending time at home for the holidays, I realized (with the help of old friends) how much of myself I had lost by trying so hard to be "strong" like everyone believed I was. Then coming back to Marquette for second semester, I knew I had to make some serious changes to the way I was handling things. I wanted to start enjoying my time in college and stop simply willing myself to survive the 14 hours the elapsed between the time I woke up and the time I was able to crawl back into bed again. I'm not perfect, and I still have a very long way to come, but I firmly believe that I am on the right track, to finding the love and happiness that I know I can eventually have back in my life.

The semester has been a dream come true for me. I have been so blessed to get to see a lot of my family, which doesn't happen often. They have already been to Milwaukee two weekends, and next weekend I will meet them in NYC for an entire week. Add that to my amazing friends who gave me a birthday that I will remember forever, and I know that I have finally found the perfect people to share my life with. Lord knows we have had our ups and downs, but when it comes right down to it. They are the only ones who have stood by my side through everything, no questions asked and no ultimatums given. They have loved me unconditionally and I could not ask for a better support system.

I have so many amazing opportunities coming up in my life, interviews for incredible internships, dancing for a team I love in the Women's Big East Tournament and then cheering on our men in New York City. I am sad it has taken me so long to finally realize how much I have going for me, how much I have to be so happy about, but I know things are going to be changing in the next weeks... hopefully for the better. Thank you all for bearing with me as I try to work through the grief and the sadness. Thank you for continuing to read and for checking back daily to see if I have posted again. If anything has come from all of this, I think I have truly found myself, the self I am supposed to be and through it all I never lost hope. Even on the worst nights, I knew this day would finally come. A day when I could finally say I am okay, and truly mean it. It may have taken me a lot longer than I ever expected, but I think I have finally made it to a solid place where I can firmly believe that everything is going to be alright. :)

Once again my "you're-gonna-get-through-this" song... now in acoustic version!