Friday, February 15, 2013

My little brother TY

Unlike what other family and friends who love and know CJ have wrote, I have not tried to write this over and over. I have done the exact opposite by purposefully ignoring the idea of this for a long time. I have not sat at the computer for days on end trying to figure out the perfect way to write down everything I cherish so much about my brother CJ. I feel childish and stupid for doing this, but I was scared. Scared to remember, scared to cry, scared it wont help, scared to make my sister cry, and scared especially because it makes this awful tragedy all too real again. I still don’t want to accept its real. I still don’t want to hear my sister cry. But I need to write this, for one I told my sister I would and I need to stop being a terrible brother, and two because I really want everyone to know how much I love my sister Keri and her amazing husband CJ. I love you both so much!
As I have internalized everything starting from the accident one year ago I remember and feel a lot of things. The first and most overwhelming feeling is sad; I Miss CJ! Everyday! I miss Keri and CJ together! The way they smiled at each other, the way CJ laughed at my sisters insanity, the way he would say “that a babe” about every burp or tiny accomplishment Keri would flaunt, the way he openly loved my sister. I miss it all! I miss it because I looked up to it. Being the youngest I have always looked up to my sisters and my brother. They have all been so important in my life and I love them all so much. Keri and CJ was different for me though because unlike the older siblings marriages, their relationship started and developed when I was old enough to understand and appreciate it. Their relationship is the blue print for me of what the perfect couple is and what it should always be, and I want to have that! Everytime I saw them together I was envious of what they had. It was never the toys or clothes they had, (although CJ did have great taste in clothes and shoes and loved to dress fancy and loved to spoil keri in the same way) it was always the laugh they shared that I wanted. They both laughed and had so much fun together all the time. One of my favorite times with them was when we got to play tennis together. I don’t want to brag but me Keri and CJ were clearly the best three in the family when it came to tennis. We three all secretly agreed on this fact but never told the others. I remember one specific time when it was just us three playing tennis and we played this game they made up called points. Id like to say my favorite part was winning, but the thing I remember most is the crazy insane laugh both of them had when they played each other. It always started with Keri trying to hit it super hard back at CJ, and CJ returning it just as hard back at her. The hits would get progressively harder and louder. Then as the rally would continue they both would start to have a crazy/evil laugh filled with excitement and hint of nervous. Neither one of them wanted to lose and both were afraid to be the one to mess up. I miss that laugh, but I will always remember it. Even when they tried to fight over something they laughed together. I can remember another time when I went shopping with Keri, and she decided to buy a new IPAD case because she didn’t like the one they already had. She was so excited to show CJ her new purchase and was the first thing she showed him when she walked in the door. CJ started out rationally by explaining they didn’t need it and at the same time argued that the case they had already was better than the one she just bought. Keri argued that the ipad would fall out and her new better case would hold it in. As the playful bickering continued it once again turned into crazy insane laughing at each other, and ended with CJ winning and Keri jumping on him. They laughed even when they disagreed. I cannot remember one time where they both didn’t laugh and smile at or with each other. I will always smile and have great joy when I remember Keri and CJ, especially their crazy, insane, sometimes slightly evil, and always loving laugh. I will always strive to find that laugh with someone so I can be as happy as them. But I am still sad today, sad because I miss CJ and sad for my sister Keri.
The second emotion I feel as I think back is enormous gratitude. I am so grateful for everything CJ has done for my sister Keri, my family, and me. This is a tough one for me to put down because I feel my words will not really show how truly grateful I am that CJ married my sister Keri and that I can call him by brother. First I’m grateful because he married my weird one of a kind sister. They were soul mates from the beginning. They lived in a weird world together off on their own and they both loved it so much. Not only did he marry her though, he made her happier than any other person in the world. I could see it in her smile. My sister has always been the unsaid spoiled child in our family, and when she married CJ the spoiling continued and grew. He did anything and everything for Keri and did it all with a smile. I don’t think anything made him happier than the act and process of making Keri happy. I used to always say that Keri was living in a fantasy bubble because she got whatever she wanted whenever she wanted. I loved skyping my sister and hearing about her daily problems consisting of what show to watch on Netflix next or how she was worried because her and CJ would eat out every meal. It was funny because even her problems couldn’t hide that she was so happy all the time. I loved seeing her smile and laugh when we skyped. I also loved how I don’t think I ever once talked to CJ over skype, and that’s because he was always in the background studying and working hard. I am so grateful for his hard work. No matter what the job was, CJ worked harder and studied harder than anyone I knew so he could be the best. I don’t know much about his job, partly because I never really understood the conversations we had about it because he was way to smart for me, but I do know that CJ was the best. I am so grateful that he worked so hard to be the best man he could be, because my sister Keri deserves the best. I am also so eternally grateful for the impact CJ has had in my life. He has been the best role model I could ever have. He has shown me how to work hard, how to play harder, and most importantly how to live the gospel. A year ago when the accident happened, I was not going to church. I never really thought about being mormon for the rest of my life even though I had grown up in the church. I didn’t really care about it. I did know that CJ loved living the gospel everyday, and although I didn’t think about it at the time, I took notice of his true love for the gospel. The days following the accident were the worst days of my life, but amongst the tragedy my heart was softened and open to the feelings of the spirit. In the following weeks I poured my heart out in prayer to my heavenly father asking for guidance. I know without a doubt CJ touched my heart in those moments of prayer. And in those moments I knew that CJ lives once again with Jesus Christ. I knew that CJ wanted me to be better than I was, and I knew that CJ loved me enough to push me to become the person I am today. Today I am preparing to go on a mission to Milan Italy! I wish I could share this excitement with him, I know he is so happy for me. Through CJs amazing example of his life here on earth I know how to live the gospel. I will live the gospel for the rest of my life. I am so eternally grateful for CJ. I am grateful for the knowledge I have of eternal families. I love my brother CJ so much and look forward to the day when I get to be side by side with him once again, living and loving the gospel together.
The last thing I feel and remember about CJ is love. I love CJ. I love my family. I love my sister Keri. CJ too shared these common loves with me. I want to explain why I feel love is so important when I remember CJ through a couple stories. The first reminds me how much CJ loves his family. I was with my family visiting Keri for her graduation. After the graduation CJ invited us over to his moms house. The first thing I remember was that as soon as we walked in CJ hugged his mom. He loves his mom with all his heart. It was clear to me as im sure it was to everyone else that CJ has an amazing ability to love, especially his family. The next thing I remember is how instantly the get together became a sports competition. CJ was the ring leader and got everyone, from the smallest nephew to the oldest brother, and started a basketball game. CJ tried hard, as he did with everything, to win, but even more impressive was how excited he got for when anyone else scored. If anyone else got anywhere close to doing something impressive CJ would show his excitement for you. He has an amazing ability to make those around him feel so loved by him, and I think the reason is because he earnestly loved each and every family member with all his heart. I can still picture CJ picking up his little nephew Milo and running around with him after he scored a basket. The excitement and love he has for his family is beyond measurable. I miss seeing his love for others in person. I miss feeling his love towards me and my family. I know his love continues towards each of his family members everyday.
The last story of love is particularly special to me. Its not how I remember CJ loving me or my family, but how I will always remember him loving my sweet sister Keri. The one thing I loved immediately when I heard of CJ was that he was an avid golfer. I love golf and I was so excited to have a new friend to play with. I was also kind of nervous because I had heard rumors that CJ was really good, like really good. So knowing this, the first time meeting CJ I wanted to play golf to see if the rumors were true. Being CJ he was already way ahead of me, within the first couple hours of meeting him CJ he had already set up a tee time for the following morning. So the next morning just me and CJ drove to the golf course together. When we got their he scrambled ahead of me quickly and paid for me golf before I even had a chance to. That’s just how CJ did things, he wanted everyone to be happy. So with high expectations and all we teed off the first hole. CJs very first drive was awful! Hit it way left and barely stayed in bounce. I didnt have a much better drive, but still I was not impressed so far, the legend of CJ was not so great. I also remember vividly chipping in on the first hole to make par while CJ struggled for Bogey. I remember that CJ was kinda frustrated and didn’t realize I chipped in, and thought it was funny because it wasn’t the usual way to start off a golf round. The next couple holes were both funny and awkward to me. Funny because CJ was continuing to play terrible. The first 5 holes he hooked his drive really bad left. I thought it was funny, but it was also kinda awkward because I didn’t know at the time, but CJ is extremely competitive. And when he doesn’t play how he wants to he gets extremely frustrated. After every tee shot he would scream with frustration and then walk to his ball practicing his swing because he could not figure it out. This continued until the 6th hole when upon arriving on the tee box his phone rang. I didn’t think he was gonna pick it up because he was still just so mad at himself and everything. Once he picked up his phone I immediately knew who it was. Now up to this point I was still not sure how much CJ really loved my sister, they weren’t married yet and he could just be some guy for all I knew. That all changed when he picked up the phone. “Hey babe” is all it took for CJ to change frustration around. I can still intensely picture the smile CJ had as he talked to my sister keri on the golf course that day. Im not sure what he talked about, I do know that he laughed at keri over the phone in the way only CJ could, he smiled more than he had all day while on the phone, and that he ended his phone call by saying I love you. In that moment I knew that CJ loved my sister more than anything else. Keri and only Keri is the one thing that could make CJ smile that way. I saw an angry, yelling, and frustrated  CJ go from mad to smiling with one phone call. He loved Keri so much that even angry super competitive CJ couldn’t be mad at the sound of her voice. That is the first time I saw CJs love for my sister Keri. I will always keep that moment close to my heart. I am still amazed today, especially as I got to know CJ more, that he was able to love one person so much. I cherish the time I spent golfing with CJ, he beat me I think every time, but I still loved it. But more than that I admire his ability to love my sister as only he could. I know that CJ is Keris soul mate. I know that his love for her is deeper than I will ever know. And I also know that CJ today, just as he did on that golf course, smiles and loves keri more and more with each passing moment.
I am sad everyday that CJ passed away, it doesn’t seem fair. I am also grateful for his impact that he has had on my family and me personally. And more than anything I love CJ and will miss him dearly until we meet again.
So Keri and everyone else who loves CJ, be sad because we miss him just as he misses and is sad for us. Be grateful for the time we had with such an amazing friend, brother, son, and husband. And love everyone around you just as CJ did everyday of his life.
 I love you. I miss you. I AM GOING ON A MISSION!!!! I know your just as exited for me as I am. And I know we will meet again.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

365 days without you

Valentines day, a day we never liked, and we always said we loved each other every day; we didn't need a day to make it extra special Last valentines day I remember waking up to CJ giving me a kiss and saying " happy valentines day!". The night before we were just taking about how we would just hang out together at home, no big plans, and I told him all I needed was him and I was perfect. I thought about maybe cutting our sandwiches in a heart shape and surprise him, since I brought him lunch every day to work. I got up and went to the bathroom half asleep and as I was walking back to bed, with my eyes half open, CJ laid a good one one me and said "did you know I love you?' He was extra awake and spunky. I heard him get ready and watched him shave in the mirror of the bathroom. He was my handsome babe. He got ready and then out the door he went, just like any other day… but it was the last time I told my CJ I love him. Living only three block from work, CJ biked to work because he loved riding his bike and it was a sunny day. I wish I could go back and change it all… I have so many flash backs of this day.. and this horrible nightmare I wish I was dreaming.  It has been 365 days… the longest days of my life. The HARDEST days of my life. I want it to go away and I want US back. I love my CJ… more than words can describe.

One Year. It is unreal to me. How can he be gone? He still feels so alive in my heart….

I miss laughing with him, he always made me laugh. I miss the way he looked at me.. like I was the only person in the world to him. I loved it. When we would be in a group of people, and somehow, I would find him in the room and he would just be grinning at me, with "that grin" where I felt so much LOVE from him. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world to be loved by that cute guy across the room, that he was mine. I miss just him driving the car and holding his hand. I loved holding his hand, he had good looking hands. I am not just saying that because I love everything about him.. but he really had some great hands. He could have been a hand model. I miss the text saying "good morning lover butt" in the mornings when he knew I would just be waking up. I miss bringing him lunch, I loved waiting for him at our picnic table right outside his work… I would just wait until I saw that big smile walking out the doors. He would act all professional, until he got outside and would give me his crazy face and I would always get butterflies waiting for my handsome. I miss our "freakin weekends"! Every friday at about 4:55 I would get a text saying "its the freakin weekend" and how he wanted to take me on a cute date. We lived for the weekends because they were days we could be with each other EVERY SECOND! How on saturdays we slept hard!! I never used to sleep in late, but CJ taught me how to sleep in, and I loved it because I would wake up to my best friend. I loved how we could just lay there for hours together, not wanting to move, and being totally ok with it. I miss going to play tennis with my buddy, we were playing like 3-4 times a week…and I haven't even had the courage yet to play with our fancy rackets CJ bought us. My mind goes back to our last weekend together. How I spent every second with him doing our favorites together. I could go on for pages and pages of what I miss… I miss so much. What I miss most is that CJ took care of me, how I knew no matter what I did, he would laugh and tell me its ok.  How life used to be so happy and full… I knew what I wanted most.. to be a mom. How we would talk about how we would be that mom and dad dancing in the kitchen to our techno music… how we were going to be the cool parents. I miss seeing CJ light up with kids. How he loved talking about how he would be that dad that coached his boys after work, how he was going to be such a good dad. THIS is what breaks me the most. How it was taken away, and now I don't know what my purpose is. I have never prayed so hard in my life to my Heavenly Father for comfort…There is. CJ and I will be that mom and dad dancing together with our kids. We will be able to have our family… it is such a comfort to know that the promises we made in the temple will continue and we will have that chance. I love how in the scriptures is says "whatsoever is sealed on earth will be sealed in heaven.." That is a promise, and our Heavenly Father keeps his promises

 I have a lot of hard, down days… some days where I think I can't make it, some days (more like moments) I think I can.. and in one second I am a wreck. The only thing that is constant is that I LOVE HIM. I am so blessed to have him. I am so blessed to have amazing families. They have been with me every step of this journey, we are all in it together, and I am so grateful for the support they have given me. I truly don't know how people go through this would without family and the eternal perspective that the gospel gives us. Our friends have been there for me too. They come pick me up and take me out… even when I don't want to, but they want to get me out. They make me smile when I don't want to. CJ's friends have been checking in on me and taking me out too because they know CJ wouldn't want me to sit in bed all day… I am one of the boys now, and they have all just taken me under their arms. I can't describe how thankful I am for mine and CJ's family. I cannot express how much Love I have for them and for our friends… They have lifted me up. Even complete strangers have reached out to me and have been praying for me, those emails have gotten me through the day… I am so loved, and I feel it.

I am not trying to win the favorite aunt award, but my little Chunk, Brooklynn is a true little angel to me. She is so close to the spirt, and knows when "kewi" is having a hard time. She is CJ's little girlfriend and I know he tells her to give me extra love. I love all my nieces and nephews… SO MUCH. Chunk has just really been my little buddy. Sometimes when I bring her up to my room she will just say CJ and go give his picture a kiss. Then when we leave my room she says bye-bye CJ and blows him a kiss. I know she feels him close. That is why I love little kids because they are so more aware of the spirit, the veil is so much thinner, and I hold on to them and try to soak that in. Even bailey girl, I just see her sitting right in front of a picture of CJ, just looking at him. When I have been at my lowest, Brooklynn sat next to me and patted my back (she isn't even two years old) I think she just laid on me because that was the closest she could get to me, and wouldn't leave my side. ALL my family.. ALL my nieces and nephews, I love so much... CJ did too.

I have met amazing girls. Beautiful girls, who are in the same situation as I am, who have lost their husbands too. How their strength has really helped me. How I am not the only one… my heart breaks for all of us. I wish no one had to feel this pain, but it is so comforting to talk to them, they get it. People have been placed in my path, and I am so grateful for them. I know we meet people for a reason, and I have made some of the most amazing friends. Eternal friends that will continue. I know their husbands watch over us, and their husbands have helped my CJ too. They are with us… and will be until we come home to them.

I look back on this year… and with tears, I can say I did it, even when I didn't want to go on. I have loved my CJ 

every single second of every day… and I feel our love growing stronger each day. I am so grateful that I LOVE

 YOU were the last words we said to each other. I am so grateful I am married to my CJ for ETERNITY…I just

 wish this chapter of our love story didn't come so soon. We just barely started it. I wouldn't trade it for anything…

CJ is worth it. I really believe that we were made for each other. soul-mates. Even though our first chapter is short, 

it is filled to the brim, and it is the happiest chapter, and will be the happiest until I return to my CJ.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Feb 13

All day today I would text CJ, you miss me? He always responded with "HARD". I loved text bombing him, and calling him over and over... even though I knew he was at work. It made me smile because I could totally see CJ looking at his phone shaking his head laughing at me, his crazy wife, it made me happy. I wish I brought him lunch, but I didn't, I was with my sister Toni and we had the girls; Bailey and Brooklynn (lil chunk). So I called him on lunch break to see if he was fed, he walked across the street to this Armenian food, I forget the name, he liked it. I went there one lunch with him to try it out.. CJ always loved his ethnic food.. I soon did too once we started dating.

Finally, CJ was off of work and we were going to take the girls, meet Kaci and Brian, and go eat at Cafe Rio. I texted CJ we were passing our exit, and he was on his way. We went and sat in the corner... waiting for everyone to get there. I sat so I could see the door, to know when CJ would walk up. I saw him park and walk up to the door. He was wearing his DARDEN sweatshirt, is great sweatpants, blue converse, and his Boston Red Sox hat... with the biggest smile. He saw me before he walked through the doors, and we just looked at each other laughing.. all the way till I got up to give him the biggest hug and kiss. He was ready to eat. We waited in line.. Brian ordered extra pork, CJ was totally pumped for that order, we got our chips and queso (our go to), and Diet coke for me.. Coke Zero for my babe.  We just ate. Bailey wanted to sit next to uncle "chee j" and little Brooklynn would not keep her eyes off of her boyfriend, Uncle CJ. I always told CJ she was his little girlfriend. I can just see her and here little teeth popping though with that huge smile looking and laughing at CJ. After we were in the parking lot, switching the car seats to Brian's car. CJ just took that little chunk and started to spin her towards me.. making her laugh. I loved watching him hold her, he loved kids, and it always melted my heart. Once we had to buckle the girls up.. Bailey had to unbuckle and come around to give her Uncle CJ one more hug. We walked to our car, ready to go home together. I loved driving in the car with CJ. He loved jamming out to his new songs. Tonight, he was on his techno kick. We listened to Rhianna- we found love and our favorite of all Let me think about it- Ida Corr. I just remember rocking out.. CJ was doing some serious chest pumps.. and getting a little swirvy on the freeway.. we had to collect ourselves a little to get it together.

(this is Brooklynn looking at CJ)

We parked and on the ride up in elevator... CJ just broke it down.. hoping that there was a camera in the elevator and that the people watching would get a kick. I loved it when CJ got into his slutty girl dance mode. I just watch and laugh.. it encouraged him to get more crazy. We walked though our doors and every time we did, we laughed because we still had boxes out.. we never really unpacked. We called it our Benjamin Button life... we ate in the kitchen and slept/watched shows in our bed. Simple and happy. CJ had to study a little bit before we could watch our Downton Abbey together. CJ watched it the night before but loved it so much and was so excited for me to see what happened, we watched it again. We just talked in bed for a long time. Talked about how we didnt want to do anything for Valentines day.. I told him I just wanted to be with him, and I would be happy. That is all we wanted to do.

We read our scriptures, said our prayers together, and kissed each other good night. I went to bed happy every night because I was next to my dream boat. My CJ.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Feb 12

Today.. we pressed the snooze on the alarm to get ready for church. Waking up was always a struggle for us, 9am church didn't help, and we would always rush to get ready. CJ always claimed he could get ready faster than I could. I always won. He always did his fancy tie, cuff links, tie the shoes, belt.. he had a lot going on. Today he wore his wedding suit to church. I loved it when he wore that suit, he looked so HANDSOME in it.. always reminded me of when we got married. We were late to church, the usual, but this sunday was extra crowded because there was a missionary speaking, so we did the walk of shame to the front row, right in the center. I was so nervous all Sunday because I had to teach my lesson.. CJ just held my hand and said he would come teach it for me. I almost took him up on it. In church we played the word game on our hand (usually wrote on the back, but we were front row, people were watching). We made up our own "hand squeeze" language.. where we would squeeze each others hand and have a conversation. It always ended with 3 squeezes and one HARD... translation I LOVE YOU... HARD. We would always see who could squeeze the hardest and make is not noticeable in our facial expressions, my whole body would get into it. and we both would start to laugh. We did this the entire sacrament. Sunday school came next.. I sat there and listened, trying to focus on the lesson and stressing about teaching the next hour. The next thing I know, CJ is making a comment and I just remember holding his hand and thinking to myself.. yup, thats my husband. I loved it when he made comments, because he had so much scripture knowledge, his comments were always so powerful. After Sunday school, CJ walked me to the Young Women room and gave me a little pep talk and a kiss for good luck. I did it, I taught the lesson. I was nervous and sweaty.. and I only taught 5 girls.. I just always get so nervous. I was so grateful for CJ and all his notes.. I still have them, and look at them. The lesson was about keeping the spirit with us. When I was done.. I just opened the door to find CJ, and there he was waiting for me in the hall. Leaning against the wall with that little smirk on his face... He brought so much peace and calmness to my madness... I told him about how I was nervous, but I think I did ok... he just laughed at me, told me I did fine. I always remember holding his hand, I love holding his hand, it was sunny and we walked to our car together hand in hand. Then we were a bit beasty... and changed quickly to the topic of what we were going to eat as soon as we got home. We were good eaters. We didn't even bother to change out of our church clothes.. we walked into the kitchen and started pulling out all the snacks we could find.. in the middle of the raiding the kitchen.. CJ just stopped me.. and kissed me, and told me from the bottom of his heart how much he loved me. He melted my heart... while I was stuffing my face, he still loved me through all my craziness. I remember it all very clear. CJ told me he loved me.. so much, and I am so grateful to be sealed to the most amazing man, and be loved by him.

That night... one of my most proud moments of CJ is when he called me and told me that he cooked a rice a toni box.... the family size box, and ate the ENTIRE THING! First of all, CJ could eat.. so that part didn't surprise me as much. MY CJ cooked! All by himself! I was laughing so hard. I then asked if he did the dishes? His response: No, I just put them in the pile and saved them for later. We loved saving the dishes for later...

oh life.. Like it was yesterday. I just know how much love I always felt from my sweet husband. How we always made each other laugh, how every moment... I miss. I love my CJ more than words can express.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Feb 11

We slept in today, slept in hard. Went and played tennis for couple hours, CJ won points, our game we made up. We went for a bike ride and got my racquet restrung across the street at the sports authority. After, we went and rode on the bike path to get lunch at TOGO's.. We watched basketball inside, that new guy was a big deal.. On our way home we just laughed and tried to get home fast because it started to rain on us. Hung out.. I watched CJ study and bugged him to play. Our usual Saturday activity. Got ready for our date! CJ and I went to Laguna and watched the most amazing sunset and I remember standing behind him, so he blocked the wind, and just loved being close to him. We held hands and walked the board walk and came to a pizza place for dinner. I loved date night with my babe. Came home and watched a movie.. Our Benjamin button life. An entire day with CJ.. A perfect day. I felt so much love and happiness with my husband. He is so good to me. #ilovemycj the days get closer and my heart is so full of love for you.
CJ told me to smile.. I don't do self portraits. We stood there and watched all these high school kids posing for a group pictures for a dance. CJ tried to stand behind me to block the wind, but I quickly switched spots and got right up behind him. I put my head on his shoulder and we watched the sunset, our favorite, go down. We went and got pizza and diet coke. Coke Zero for my CJ. We walked back to our car hand in hand and were excited to just go home and watch a movie together.

After our show, I was stressed because I had to teach my first lesson in Young Women's, and I get nervous. CJ stayed up with me till like 2am.. going over bullet points, helping me find scriptures, and references to used for my lesson. He was so excited for me.. he said he would come teach it for me if I wanted him to, bless his heart, he was always so good to me; my spiritual giant. I loved how he just lit up and was always so ready to help me.

kissed each other good night and said i love you.. every night and every morning.