Say It. Do It.

I've been traveling a lot lately and as you've read previously, everybody has been telling me about how they wish they could do it too. Unfortunately, only one person has reached out to me and said 'hell yea, I'm making it happen' and actually done it. This individual took living the dream a step further and she took her sweet baby angel Frenchie named Fletcher, i.e. @fletchy_the_frenchie on a Southwest road trip. I can't give her enough 'yassss queen!' I am all about taking the ones you love with you wherever you can regardless, if it's a human or a four-legged fur baby from heaven.

Anyway, I had a conversation with a lady about a month ago when I got back from my road trip and we talked about how badly she and her husband needed a vacation, just the two of them. I'm sure all you parents out there love your kids and they're great, but you really NEED to get away as a couple at least once a year, even if it's just for a weekend. Laugh, drink, explore-all the great things Charley and I get to enjoy since we don't have kids (although Charley doesn't drink so it's just me unabashedly showering in gin and Bordeaux).

This lady and I outlined a trip itinerary based on the time she had available with her husband. We talked about potential countries and activities, travel times, and even air fare. By the end of the conversation, we were both feeling pretty pumped. I was so proud of her for finally making this happen for she and her husband.  Travel is rejuvenating! If I don't get out of my daily life bubble every few months, I get a little stir crazy and the risk of me swiping right on the checkout bar on Expedia app gets real high.

Anyway, I found out a few days ago that they had decided on Thailand for this summer. And then her husband died. Unexpectedly and without warning. These people are probably not even 40 years old and she is the sweetest lady ever. Go pour yourself a glass of wine. I know. This is the saddest thing ever and I can't stop thinking about it. She was so excited. They were going to do something for themselves after years of living for their kids (and other people, I'm sure). One of the last things I said to her was that it was awesome they were doing this because 'if you don't do it now, when will you? You might not ever have the chance.' This is the kind of thing that happens in horrific movies that I usually refuse to watch because I don't actively seek sadness. It's not fair. I wish that only bad things happened to bad people. I wish that they could have gone on their trip. I wish this never happened.

Please understand that I am not writing this to share someone else's misery. I am writing this to make you realize that one day, 'some day' won't happen. Obviously make sure you have a place to live and clothes on your back and food in your belly, but make happiness a priority. Stop postponing joy. If you really enjoy riding bikes, do it every chance you get. If you love your dog and want to see the world, pop that sweet baby in the car and go. If you have dreamed of seeing another part of the world, book the plane ticket. Most importantly, if you love someone, tell them as much as you can. Hug them. Cook for them. Make them understand.

I don't have much experience with death. The only truly important person to me that has ever died was my Gran. She died when I was between my first and second year at Tech. She had started to deteriorate after a pacemaker battery replacement surgery a year prior but it was much quicker than we would have thought. I called her every day of my life for as long as I can remember. Even if we just talked about what she'd watched on Court TV (she was dark like me), we talked and we always wrapped our calls with 'I love you.' A few weeks before she died, Charley met her for the first and only time. We drove down to Naples and she wanted to take us to lunch. She'd had my mom take her to get a whole new outfit and shoes to meet Charley. She'd given up on driving herself at this point and having always creeped on who I was dating, I guess she knew he was special. When we got to lunch, she didn't have much of an appetite-something she didn't want me to notice. It's something I tried to ignore. She kept sneaking Charley her food so I wouldn't worry about her. She also kept dropping food. She had gotten very tiny and found it difficult to manage on her own. She got embarrassed when she spilled down the front of her new outfit.

It was in the next minute that I knew I'd marry Charley one day. He picked up his plate and dumped it down his own shirt. I looked at the two of them covered in sauce and shrimp and couldn't help but tear up, as I am now writing this. I also couldn't help but laugh. He did this to make her feel better and said 'it's the piece of garbage plates, Gran. Don't worry about it.' He blamed the plates at Tommy Bahama and made a mess of himself to make her not feel alone-so she wasn't embarrassed. He showed empathy and in that one action, love. She died two weeks later. When she died, other people felt a lot of grief and remorse about it. I won't say that I wasn't sad. I still cry when I think about how much I would love to play the piano with her one more time or grab a sausage biscuit and a McDonald's coffee (no idea why but she loved how strong their coffee was) and drive around Naples and look at houses and talk. But I do not feel grief and remorse because I have no regrets about our relationship. We couldn't have had a better one. She knew that I loved her more than anything in this world. And that's what matters. Make the most of every single minute you have in this world and let people know how much they mean to you.

Grief is not something I do. I imagine those I've lost doing what they love. I imagine she's watching plenty of Court TV in heaven. That up there, O.J. is guilty and everybody gets to throw lit matches at him. Gran always said he was guilty. I imagine she finally learned how to swim. And is drinking all the black coffee and virgin piña coladas she can get. And revving the engine of the Mercedes she always wanted...right through the pearly gates "just to get the carbon out." She always was a wild one.

Yesterday was my fourth wedding anniversary with Charley and marked six years of us being together. We've had some amazing times together and we've also wanted to drown each other in the river. But we love each other.

Sorry if this was an emotional roller coaster for you as a reader. I myself am about to go pour myself a phat glass of wine but this is something I felt I needed to write about.

As you can understand, Sonia, and her family could use some financial help going forward. A gofundme which is geared towards a trust for the kids was set up on their behalf. With her permission, I have included her name in this post and the link to the gofundme here. If you can give, please do so, any little bit helps.

I promise, more upbeat posts coming soon but for now, find joy in today, with the people you love, no matter where they are.


  1. Love you mama. Take the trip, tell the feels, empty your pockets and open your eyes.

  2. Loved this post. Truth is, you never know who's watching and being inspired. You and your gma had such a special relationship and you and Charlie... #relationshipgoals
    -fletchy the frenchie

  3. Rachel,
    Just found your blog today. Very proud to have known you as a freshman in one of my classes in hs... You've grown quite a bit and have your own voice to articulate it with... Keep it up.


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