Where to begin? It's been a long, rough three months or so, and I'm just now starting to get back on track but a lot has occurred and it's only fair that I catch up first before I continue with 'real life'.
We've been immersed in RENT at South Bend Civic Theatre since we auditioned the week before Memorial Day. Yeah, that's right, Memorial Day. Back in May. This is August. So when I ask myself, where did the summer go? I have to be honest and say that I donated it to Jonathon Larson. But it was with my whole heart. The experience itself is not exactly what I wanted. In close quarters and five to six nights a week, personalities can run rampant and people are not always who you think they are. I made some really good friends, and I also had an unknown person steal $40+ cash from my wallet. I laughed really hard offstage, I cried really hard onstage. I spent the summer with my husband, but I spent the summer without my kids. The show was beautiful and ugly at the same time. And now that the onstage tragedy is over, there's a real life tragedy awaiting.
My cousin Johnny, The Fighting Toad, finally succumbed to cancer early Sunday morning. He was 44. His family is devastated. The viewing is today from 2-8 and the funeral is tomorrow. I was blessed enough to get coverage at work for both my husband and I so we can attend the funeral. As awful as I feel right now, it's nothing compared to what his wife, his sons, his parents are feeling. Three things I can't imagine: losing my husband, the love of my life -- losing any of my children -- losing my Dad. I know that eventually I'll have to go through at least one of those things in this lifetime, but the thought of all of them just send me into a state of emotional pain that I don't even want to dwell on. A state which Pam, Jake, Quinn, John, and Ginger are all living in right now. Please read Johnny's story at www.thefightingtoad.blogspot.com and live your life as though your days are shorter than you think they are. Love deeper, laugh harder, cry more, let life touch you, and try to touch the heart of everyone you encounter.
We are taking a hiatus from theatre for awhile. Our oldest son, Zachary, is going to be a senior this year and then our son Michael is going to be one the following year. We want to be able to spend as much time with our kids as possible, see everything they are in, help them prepare for college, buy cars, save money, take SAT/ACTs, apply, work, etc. Plus, this last show was rewarding but exhausting. Other than A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, I can't remember a time when I've been so physically and emotionally exhausted. At one point during the rehearsal process I called my mom on the way home from work and just started sobbing for no good reason... or every reason combined... and she talked me through it like only she can do.
My cousin Charlene is graduating from Army Boot Camp tomorrow. Today is family day, so my parents are there with her. I'm not sure what her next step is from here, but I miss her so much already. My parents basically "adopted" Charlene when she was younger, and she's kind of an amalgamation of sister and cousin to me. She missed our family reunion, which we hadn't had in eight years. I wish she could've been there, but I support her with what she is doing and I am very proud of her.
My sister Savannah and I are back together for derby tonight! After we go to the viewing for Johnny, we're going to free skate and then derby so I can get back in the loop of things. Savannah is incredible. She is so spirited and we have an absolute blast together. She will be starting schooling again soon and she was very supportive of me during my hiatus for RENT. I miss spending time with her, and I'm glad to be going back to it!
Speaking of siblings, my older sister Jen and my brother and his wife, Mike and Stef, came to see my show. I don't think my sister has ever seen a production I've been in, and it's been years since Mike and Stef have gotten to do so -- it meant so much to me that they came. Our family is getting closer than it has been in years. Since Grandpa passed away, and through this ordeal with our cousin, and everything else that has been going on in each of our lives collectively, I personally feel that family is the most important thing on this Earth and I am so happy, so grateful to God, that we're all taking steps to be closer.
Believe it or not, I've actually finished a couple of books! (You thought I totally forgot why I was blogging in the first place, didn't you?) Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg was absolutely phenomenal. It sheds light historically on the things that Jesus said while he was here on Earth. The way in which we read it is completely different sometimes from the way a 1st Century Jew would have taken things. It gives a great history and I learned a lot about current and historic Jewish culture, religion, etc. I'm also re-reading the New Testament right now (though it doesn't count towards my books for the year because I've already read it a few times before) but after reading this book, it definitely sheds new light.
I also received an audiobook in the mail from my friend Danny, which was a novella by Stephen King, The Colorado Kid. He said they were making it into a series, or miniseries, but it wasn't that great. The book itself, however, was. And the narrator was spectacular. I love listening to good narrators as you might know by reading my previous blogs. This one had the Maine accent down so well he could use it for two different characters! The book was sort of an 'art of storytelling' kind of story. Not typical Stephen King. Usually I am overburdened by his descriptive manner, but in this case, he toned it down and changed it a bit, and I really enjoyed it.
Now it's time to say goodbye to the computer. I've finally caught up with everything I need to do on the internets. (Haha!) I have some severe cleaning and organizing to do around this place, and some other projects I need to take care of. Thanks for bearing with me during my hiatus. I'll probably be on here more often, but not everyday. I have to be realistic.
Until next time, pray for Johnny's family and have a meaningful day.