Sunday, October 12, 2014

Warm Fuzzies

So this year marked the 40th anniversary of me being alive.  To commemorate that day I decided I was going to have a party to ring in the end of my 4th decade.  Working almost 20 years in funeral services has taught me a lot, but mainly that life is short so enjoy it as best you can, don't sweat the small stuff and most importantly, create memories with those people that mean the most and affect you the best.  So I took the bull by the horns and I ensured that happened.

I wanted to keep it fairly simple overall so as not to make it a stressful project.  My only must haves were a hall, a candy table, a 'photo booth', and a Holly play list of music.  Though in typical Holly
fashion, about an hour before the party was set to begin there was a small fire brewing at the hall.  No literally, a small fire!  For those of you that truly know me you know of my history with fires and my understandable fear of them.   My awesome photographer for the night, and friend, Dave (Lucky73 Photography) came to my rescue and squashed that threat.  

So many of my friends graced me with the privilege of their company that evening and I will be forever grateful.  A few of them came from far away too!  There were definitely many missed faces, but the night was still so wonderful for me.  It was full of so many cherished friends and family.

At one point in the evening, I took a moment to just stand there and take it all in.  And, I thought to myself, "This is living.  This is what it's all about.  Being surrounded by people I love and by people who clearly appreciate me.  This is it."

So while I thought for sure the party would be the highlight of this years birthday celebrations, and it most certainly was, Eric surprised me with a little project of his own.   He included in the envelope with the invitations I sent out a letter requesting people to submit their own memories of me.  What an incredibly awesome surprise!  While it would have been totally amazing to get one from everyone, he did get a fair amount of returns.  And I loved reading every one of them!

I think the thing I found most interesting about reading other people's memories of me was just how differently I remembered the same situation.  Or, I won't lie...NOT remembering it right away.
Eventually I remembered them all, but I have always thought I had a memory like a steel trap, but I've forgotten more things than I know and it was so incredible to be reminded of these great times.

Here's a small sampling of what some people said in their memories:
"We decided to throw caution to the wind and make the journey without a guarantee of success.  In the spirit of youth, we scrounged together what little money we had, hit the road and hoped for the best, as we often did in those days.

"She makes you laugh.  She listens.  She helps plot against the people who are messing with you.  She is a constant."

"I know I can count on her to always be straight up and I value our rare 'girls nights'.  I count Holly among one of my few true friends."

"You were a dancing queen when you could barely walk."

"I am awed by the compassion you have for others.  You are teaching your sons to be caring and considerate as well."

"We have come to know you as a happy, outgoing and extremely confident person who surprises us in many different ways on a regular basis.  Your devotion and dedication to your family, your friends and the clients you work with is remarkable."   

"We don't talk every day and have even gone a few years without speaking, but when I needed her she was there for me, when her father passed away she knows I was there for her.  Every time we see each other it's like we just saw each other yesterday and we take right off from there."

"Out of all the people in my life, you were the one person that could always keep me in check.  Never taking my shit and calling me on it.  Sometimes I would get pissed but deep down inside I truly respected you for it.  This all carried over to my adult life and is probably one of the reasons I am who I am today."

"After my relationship broke down, Holly was always ready with a listening ear, a helpful suggestion, a laugh, and a reality check when I needed it.  She seemed to know when to share her own experience and when to just listen.  She was able to balance her friendship with my ex at the same time.  She never took sides."

I seriously have the best friends and family ever.  I'm going to keep my stack of memories in envelopes...sort of like a stack of love letters from my friends and family.  Thank you so very much to those that took a moment out of their day to share their thoughts and memories with me.  I've kept them private.  Even Eric hasn't truly read them.  I'm humbled and honoured and I feel the same way about all of you.  This has been the most absolute best birthday ever.  Thank you to everyone who contributed in some way.  I love you all.  My heart is full.  

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