Have You Been Diverted to Gander?

The tale-tell ding of an incoming text message followed by these words: DL 1100/Apr 15 from EWR is cancelled. You’re rebooked: DL 2805/Apr 16 at 6:00 a.m. Login to Delta.com to make flight changes. Well, there you have it – an extra day in New York City. We had just enjoyed a wonderful weekend in NYC so another day was like a little gift. Life throws a curve ball and we are prepared to make the most of it.

Around 3:00 a.m. on April 16th as we were waking to prepare for an early flight home, another tell-tale ding – DL 2805/Apr 16 from EWR is cancelled. You’re rebooked: DL 2805/Apr 17 at 6:00 am. Log in to Delta.com to make flight changes. Hmmm . . . another day didn’t feel quite like a gift. Now, we were starting to feel a little anxious about when we’d make it home. There are schedules and obligations that must me kept.

Ironically, the cancellations and rebookings fit neatly within an unexpected theme that was starting to emerge for the weekend. Handling life’s disappointments – small and large. (I’m starting to see a pattern here.) Read more

Are We There Yet?

If I was behind the wheel on a road trip, it typically meant that I was headed either to a concert (usually One Direction) or a horse show. This also meant that Brooke was in tow. Road trips with Brooke were very much unlike the ones I’ve taken with her older sister. Trips with Megan generally comprise of short talks with music filling the gap. There were no gaps with Brooke. A background of music was overlaid with non-stop chatter.

What if I get nervous and throw up in the ring? Did I tell you about so-and-so? What if it rains and my saddle gets wet? Who’s my favorite this concert – Zayne or Harry? But what about Niall? What if the hotel smells? What if I can’t sell these tickets for better ones? Where are we going to see One D next summer? How much longer? Are we there yet?

These little journeys were peppered with little worries. Life’s journey is bigger and infused with bigger worries. Read more

Why are we hiding?

Most of you reading this will likely think of Halloween at the mention of masks, but where I’m from . . . “throw me something, Mistah.” (Or “Sistah,”) rules the day. For those unfamiliar with Mardi Gras, it is truly the greatest party on earth. From January 6th until Fat Tuesday (the day before Ash Wednesday) each year, the streets of New Orleans and the surrounding communities host parades and street parties. Families gather in the same spot along a parade route where they’ve gathered for years. Much fried chicken, po-boys, king cake, and beer is consumed.

The parades aren’t your typical ones where beauty queens wave from an open convertible. Yes, there will be a “royal court” on display, but there’s so much more. The bands are better. The floats come in elaborate (and often satirical) themes.

The riders are in costume. Masks are an essential part of their costumes often looking much like those cheap, plastic masks that are sold with children’s Halloween costumes. The masks add to the mystery of the parade so much so that most local ordinances require riders to be masked while on the floats. Parade-goers often join in the fun with their own extravagant costumes and masks.

Traditionally, masks were worn by during Mardi Gras to allow revelers to escape social judgment. No matter your social status – all are equal behind the mask. Our modern-day “masks” serve the same purpose. Not the masks worn by revelers; rather the ones that we don each morning. Those thin veneers that we never leave home without. Those facades that help us face the world. The smiles that say, “stay away.” Even when pain presses against our broken hearts, we create picture-perfect lives on social media. Snippets on Snapchat. Isolated updates on Instagram. Pithy posts on FaceBook. The perfect life tweeted in 142 characters or less. The lives we think we should have. The lives that we think will convince others of “nothing to see here.” Read more

Why Have You Forsaken Me?

My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?

Good Friday 2017 was a fairly typical day – except that my youngest daughter had been taken from us just about four weeks prior. I stood in my kitchen chopping vegetables and let my mind wander with the warm breeze that was traipsing through the open doors. And, it hit me.

Let me back up for just a second. Faith, at least for me, has always come with nagging questions. Certain questions have bugged me for as long as I can remember – like – Why did God send his son, Jesus, not merely to die on our behalf but to endure untold suffering in doing so? Why didn’t God come and sacrifice Himself? And other questions have been renewed over the last year – like – what kind of God causes me so much suffering? What kind of God abandons me in my darkest hour? Where is this God when I’ve been kicked in the gut – again? Read more

Gone . . . but not forgotten

On March 22, 2017 we laid Brooke to rest. It was a day that I didn’t want to begin; yet, I didn’t want to see it end either. The fear was that the end of that day would signal the countdown to the day when no one would remember our Brooke. Over the past year, this momma’s fear has been put to rest. Our family has been blessed time and time again with sweet reminders of how Brooke touched so many lives during her short trip on earth.a69of372.jpg

The Christmas before the accident, our girls were trying to decide what to give my husband. He suggested that they make a donation to a charity instead of buying him a gift. Brooke chose St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Brooke LOVES children!!! So, it made perfect sense to adopt St. Jude for others to give back in lieu of flowers. And, you gave – generously. Thank you!

In June of each year, Professional Women of St. Tammany (“PWST”) awards scholarships to women of the parish. As a long-term member of the group, I’ve had the honor of sitting on the scholarship committee in past years. Tears filled my eyes as I read the applications and the stories about the women of our parish applying for scholarships in order to pursue their dreams. PWST designated one of those scholarships as the “Brooke E. Posey Memorial Scholarship.” Each year, one young lady from St. Tammany will receive a leg up on her dream in the name of our Brooke. Thank you!

Last summer marked the First Annual Swim-a-Thon in Brooke’s name. As a member of the Southern Yacht Club’s swim team from about age five, the 2017 season was to mark her final season before heading off to college. The team honored her during the season with t-shirts and swim caps that read “Swim for Brooke” and “Determination of a Champion, Spirit of a Seagull.” The team donated the proceeds from the event to St. Jude. Thank you!

But there’s more. Brooke was not only an accomplished swimmer but she was a truly gifted equestrian. Each year in October, GB Horse Shows holds an annual Halloween Show at Serenity Farms in Folsom, Louisiana. Brooke always looked forward to the show – not so much for the riding but for the costume class where the horse and rider presented themselves in carefully chosen coordinating costumes. The show sponsored #JumpforBrooke, again raising donations for St. Jude. Thank you!

Around the same time, a fellow “show mom,” Kristie Cato, started a non-profit – #RideforBrooke. Every pony rider’s dream, Brooke’s included, is to go to “Pony Finals.” Brooke never made it as a competitor – she simply outgrew ponies due to her height before she had a chance. In 2013, however, Brooke, her Aunt Kathy, and I made the trip to Pony Finals as spectators. Even if you don’t ride horses, Kentucky Horse Park and the events hosted there are spectacular. (If you are ever near Lexington, you should stop and see it.) The #RideforBrooke foundation is raising donations and will make its first awards later this year. Pony riders will have a source to help offset the costs of attending Pony Finals all because the girls that once competed with and against Brooke want to help others realize a dream that Brooke held so dear. Thank you!

Many of the local equestrians belong to the Gulf Coast Hunter Jumper Association. Throughout the competition year, the riders accumulate points toward year-end awards. At the end of the 2017 show year, GCHJA added a Junior Sportsmanship award in Brooke’s memory. Each year the junior riders will vote on the rider who best exhibits the spirit of sportsmanship that Brooke brought to the ring when she competed. Thank you!

IMG_1160Brooke’s accident occurred as she was headed to Week VI of the Gulf Coast Classic, a six-week horse show that takes place in Gulfport every February/March. To honor Brooke, the show company and her trainers organized a benefit breakfast during the Hunter Derby on March 16, 2018 (the first anniversary of the accident). The breakfast was sponsored by Chick-Fil-A (Gulfport, MS), P.J.’s Coffee (New Orleans), Newk’s Eatery, Old Rail Brewing Co. (Mandeville, LA), Gulf Coast Hunter Jumper Association, Port City Café & Bakery, Aertker Sporthorses (Folsom, LA), Fox Ridge Farm (Folsom, LA), Bienvenue Acres (Gulfport, MS), and Southern Flavor Catering and Events. Silent Auction items were sponsored by Aertker Sporthorses (Folsom, LA), Alison Hartwell Photography, Beje Wholesale Diamonds and Fine Jewelry (Metairie, LA), Bienvenue Acres (Gulfport, MS), Cambridge Stables (Lafayette, LA), Classic Company, Core Feed & Garden (Folsom, LA), Designs 4 U, Farm House, Fazzio’s Feed & Garden (Gulfport, MS), Fox Ridge Farm (Folsom, LA), Mesha Steib (Baton Rouge, LA), Showtime Jump Company (Zionsville, IN), Tractor Supply, and Wojack Sporthorses (Folsom, LA). Had the weather cooperated, attendees would have had an opportunity to dunk some of their “favorite” trainers at the dunking booth. (Maybe next year…) Thank you!

To wrap up this year of transition, Hope House (Children’s Advocacy Center in Covington, Louisiana) planted a Japanese Maple near the walkway where people enter the building. There is a stone at the base of the tree that bears a simple cross and reads “In Loving Memory Brooke Erin Posey 1999-2017.” Thank you!IMG_1299

Brooke’s time on this earth was short – only 17 years. When we are knee-deep in raising children, we often don’t stop to think about the little dash that represents all of the years in between because for most of us there isn’t a dash – there are ellipses. There is still time to mold, to guide, and to form a legacy – at least that is what we believe. When that belief is shattered, you get an opportunity to reflect not only how your child or loved one affected others but whether you are living a life that creates honor and glory (and by “you” in this case, I mean “me”). What will my “dash” look like?

I am truly humbled by the ways Brooke has been and continues to be remembered. “Thank you” does not begin to express how touched we are.  By helping others in Brooke’s name, you have given our family a priceless gift. Brooke may be gone from this world, but she is not forgotten.DSC_0378

 

SDG

No More Carbs in Heaven

Time flies . . . especially when things are ordinary. This time last year started out pretty ordinary.  Monday just seemed like a typical Monday after a horse show weekend. Brooke was usually exhausted from the weekend and used that as an extra excuse for a nap (as if she really needed one). Frankly, I don’t recall too much about that Monday. But when I look back at my texts with Brooke, I’m reminded that Monday (March 13, 2017) was “National Napping Day.” Perfect! That sounds exactly like a typical Monday.

Tuesday was one of those days that I would have recalled vaguely as time passed, but I can only pinpoint it with accuracy because of the events that unfolded later in the week.  Graduation was still a couple of months away, but Brooke had found a few dresses that she wanted to check out. (If you knew Brooke personally, then you are keenly aware of her powers of persuasion.) So, we went shopping that afternoon. It was a fun shopping trip. No drama. We visited with the girls in the shop who are also friends. We found a cute dress and then headed to the grocery to pick up dinner. Read more

Does the “Beginning” Ever End?

One of the things “they” say after losing a child is that the second year is worse. No way. I had endured “second years” after my brother, my dad, and others passed away. The first year is by far the worse. That settles it.

Fast forward 355 days or so and I can begin to see what “they” might be talking about.

I barely know what the next step is. I’ve spent nearly a year dutifully marking off each morbid milestone – One month – check; Two months – check; Brooke’s birthday – check; Start of a Fall semester with no Brooke – check; Halloween Horse Show – check; Thanksgiving – check; More birthdays – check; Christmas and New Year’s – check; Megan’s birthday – check; Mardi Gras – check; Gulfport horse show – check; and so much more. Yet, here I sit with the realization that – it doesn’t end. This is just the beginning.

The reality that Brooke is gone – it must seem fairly obvious, but the mind is a tricky thing. The mind gauges just how much reality the heart and body can endure at once. Even when we are sure of “reality,” the mind is there acting as a gatekeeper. Filtering out the bits that are too much for the moment. Saving them for a sunny day. Doling out reality in measured doses.

As the heart and body begin to bear the weight of reality, the mind piles on a little more until eventually the full load comes to bear.

If someone handed you and load and told you that you’d have to carry a 500-pound weight every day for the rest of your life, you’d protest that it is impossible. But if someone handed you just a few pounds here and a few there until 500 pounds was sitting square on your shoulders, it would be different. That’s what losing a child is like. That’s the nature of tragedy. Read more