And Until We Meet Again, May God Hold You In The Palm Of His Hand

And Until We Meet Again, May God Hold You In The Palm Of His Hand

When you lose someone, everything seems black; but if you try hard enough, you might find gold.
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May the road rise up to meet you.

May the wind always be at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

and rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of His hand


Three years ago on Labor Day, I struggled to finish my summer reading, "A Lesson Before Dying."

Three years ago on Labor Day, my sister and parents had another dreaded college talk.

Three years ago on Labor Day, my uncle Steve, amazing husband and father of two, collapsed and died.

September 3, 2012: For the first time, I experienced true shock, heartbreak and a total realignment of everything I previously believed.

I come from a big, Irish family that's always loud and always laughing until you get call on a gorgeous summer day that one of you is gone unexpectedly, never coming back. An amazing part of human memory is that we remember things of great pain. I remember this entire day, and the few that followed. I remember my mom getting the call, getting the news, my world changing. I remember having to going with my sister and cousin to pick up my other cousin at soccer and tell him the news. I remember seeing my aunt who had just lost her husband, sitting on my grandparents' steps, having to call other family and friends, reliving the pain over and over. My grandpa, in tears, at a loss for what to do and what to say. Worst of all, I remember the cries and screams of my two little cousins who had just learned their daddy was gone forever.

But then there’s another amazing part of human memory, remembering the good things. I remember the way me and the older cousins rallied around each other; growing up together, we could communicate with just a look. I remember going to field hockey practice that night, not stable enough to practice, but just being embraced by my coaches and teammates. I remember going to my grandparents house Tuesday and Wednesday nights with my whole family, technically to plan services, but really to laugh and reminisce. I remember my whole team, old friends, and my cousin’s entire football team coming to the wake to show their support. I remember the whole church singing “This Little Light of Mine” at the funeral, with my younger cousins smiling and holding candles, then later our family releasing balloons to this tune in the cemetery, still smiling, knowing Steve was watching. On what should’ve been the most painful day, I remember two after-parties filled with friends, family, music, food and of course, laughter.

That was one of the things my uncle Steve did best, laugh and make people laugh. He also loved to watch sports, play guitar and listen to Irish music. Most of all, he loved his family. And we love him. I miss him everyday. I miss him for me because he was a great time, always fun to play with and talk to. I miss him for my aunt, she lost her best friend, but she gets up everyday and carries on as an incredible mother. I miss him for my cousins. At 18 years old, I remember how much I loved my dad at six years old, and how my love for him has only grown with me. My heart breaks to think that they’ll live more of their lives without him, than with him.

October 15, 2015: My uncle Steve would’ve turned 50 years old.

I miss him. But I also know losing him made me realize how damn lucky I am to have such an amazing family. Through all the chaos, we’re there for each other in our darkest and happiest times to lean on and support. I thank God every day for blessing me with such strong role models to lead me, and I pray to Steve everyday to continue to bless and watch over us. If I could wish him back tomorrow, I’d do anything to make it possible. But I can’t. I do know, though, that one day our entire, crazy family will be together once again.

And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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