Have I Told You Today I Love You?

Living out my dad's dream to dream.

#family

Adoring this photo of Dad & the kids. Taken in Omaha, Nebraska - circa 1991.
{The fourth kid is our dear family friend, Emily Roberts. Sadly, not Grace.}

Adoring this photo of Dad & the kids. Taken in Omaha, Nebraska - circa 1991.

{The fourth kid is our dear family friend, Emily Roberts. Sadly, not Grace.}

I love this story of a beautiful father / daughter pair in Canada.

Sweet, heartbreaking, endearing & inspiring. {Full film here.}

Thinking of Dad extra lots today. And all the other great dads out there. Especially the Korean dads that wear Baby Bjorn kid carriers to E-Mart.

{video via A Cup of Jo}

In case anyone ever doubted the amazingness that is Papa - here’s hard evidence of his hilariousness, singing ability & overall perfection as a human.

Thanks to Matty for posting on YouTube!! Love you all.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Kayzie, what can I say? We love you. You’re amazing. You’re so strong. You’re so beautiful. You’re one of the hardest working people we know. You’re one of the most genuine, funniest and kindest people to grace this planet. 

We, your four kids, are in awe of you daily and continue to be inspired. I mean, you renovated your entire kitchen, basically by yourself. You slate-tiled almost every walking surface of the house. You made your granddaughters a Fairy Garden until 11:30pm one night {I still don’t even know what that is…}. You took us on an amazing trip to San Diego where we had an insanely good time & the most unforgettable {read: expensive} brunch of our lives. You raised us to the love the Jayhawks. 

You accept each of us for who we are, never pressuring us to change. You listen to us ramble on about finals, crazy students, long work hours & scary future stuff. You laugh with & at us and let us do the same to you. Our Skype dates are often the highlight of my week. My siblings are my best friends because of you.

And you were with Dad as he took his last breaths. If that isn’t love, sacrifice and commitment, I don’t know what is. You are our whole life, Mom.

Anna, Sam, Grace & I love you to the moon & back. Always have, always will.

PS - You said no gifts but we couldn’t completely follow that request. So we each made a small donation to The V Foundation, in your honor. We thought it was the most appropriate way to show just how much you mean to us.

PPS - Three ridiculous & unnecessary “Mom” songs via YouTube below because, ya know, why not? These things are important.

Mama - Spice Girls

Hey Mama - Kanye West

Mamma Mia - Abba

xoxo.

My beautiful sister with her beyond beautiful babies. 

Happy Mother’s Day, Anna!! Love you so, so much. Thanks for producing two of the most precious, hilarious, gorgeous, lovable & rediculous children in the history of the world. Pure love.

Beautiful image that reminds me of these two gorgeous girls - Claire & Stella.

Last night, they released balloons to Heaven for Bo. Too sweet for words.

Beautiful image that reminds me of these two gorgeous girls - Claire & Stella.

Last night, they released balloons to Heaven for Bo. Too sweet for words.

One Year

We made it. We made it to one year. We survived 365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months. Today marks one year since the early morning last April when Dad lost his long battle with cancer. I truly, honestly, genuinely, ignorantly, passionately & selfishly cannot believe the Earth has continued spinning without him here.

It’s strange to “celebrate” this milestone without the rest of the Findlays. They are 5,600 miles away in Kansas City {and Colorado} while I sit here in a Korean office, fighting back sad tears & sentimental laughs as I think about the man I knew for 24 years. The man who raised me to do something as strange as move to Korea to teach a bunch of kids that rarely understand me.

The past 2+ months in Korea have been a complete sensory overload - I’ve been overwhelmed, fascinated, curious, annoyed, inquisitive, confused & yearning to learn more. With my brain so preoccupied, I’ve admittedly not thought of Dad as much, only speaking of him to a few new friends, as I closely guard my feelings. 

Being in Korea, or really any new place, you are completely stripped of your identity. No one really knows you or your family or where you come from or how you handle things or what you’ve been through. 

And, actually, it’s kind of exciting - you can mold into a new {hopefully improved} version of yourself.

But, often, I find myself feeling like a fraud. After Dad died, he was such a central part of my thoughts while home. I would see something, reminding me of him. I’d read a quote and immediately think of putting it on the blog as it was something he would have said. I would hear a song and be taken back to a random road trip. Now, he’s not part of that daily conversation.

Back home, everyone knew. Here, almost no one does. I don’t have that stamp of “be gentle, her dad just died” on my forehead. Part of me loves that freedom of their ignorance. The other part wants to scream it out daily. And what that has taught me is we all have our own inner struggles. The other 20+ people in my office also have their own version of tragedy they don’t disclose. And realizing that brings on this wave of, strangely enough, relief. Relief that we’re all in this thing of life together. It may be unspoken, and I may often feel like I have nothing in common with so many people I encounter here, but when it comes down to it, we’re all living a life of humanity with very human emotions.

What I do know, and have slowly learned, is there isn’t a “right” way to go about moving on from death. I made the decision to move to Asia just four months after he died. Looking back, seems awfully quick. But at the time, it felt like an eternity had passed without him there to bounce ideas off of, gain encouragement from. It was this big decision, the first, without him. Felt strange. And living here still feels that way. Doing this without his knowledge is quite literally foreign.

Moving on is the theme here. Moving on from the overall pain, sadness & confusion while still taking time to recognize the impact he had our lives.

Because if I think too much or too hard about the fact that he’s no longer living, the realization is far too much to bear. So, rather, let’s focus on the happy times. The smiles, laughs & stories that made Dad who he really was.

Here are a few favorites: Dad’s Three Questions, Quirky sayings, Last email, Five Nice Things, Advice, Pitch ArticleTime-only, Home VideosKaratePiano Lessons, MexicoAlpacasCrested Butte, & Costa Rica. Plus some great pictures.

Also, Two MonthsThree MonthsFour MonthsFive Months, Six Months, Eight Months, Nine Months & Ten Months.

Lastly, I want to thank everyone for their above & beyond support this past year. The entire Findlay family is so, so incredibly grateful. We love you all.

Please, if you have any Jayme stories or tidbits, would love to hear them! xoxo.

Sibling love.

So lucky to have these two crazies in my life.

In Korea, it’s common to have a smaller family due to population control {apartments are small, cars are small, university is expensive, etc.}. Most of my students have just one brother or sister. A few are only children. And a very small handful are one of three kids.

When I tell them I have two sisters and a brother, they are usually surprised. One time I showed them a picture from a hike we all did in Colorado last summer {eight of us - the Heinritz family included}, and they were pretty shocked. Then, when I mention my siblings are my best friends, it floors them even more. 

Thinking of Dad today.

Easter Sunday will now always remind us of Dad. An anniversary we wish we didn’t have to remember.

All the way from Korea, I am still missing him like crazy.

Anna said she’s planning to watch The Masters because that’s what Dad would have done today. Mom, Sam & Grace will be watching together, too. And I’ll just have to catch the golf highlights at espn.com.

Wishing I could be home to see everyone. Love you all!

{Easter 2010.}

Quite possibly the most adorable two-year-old on the planet - Avery Jane. She is my cousin Amanda’s daughter. They decided to take a quick trip to Wea, Kansas last week to visit the place where both Dad & Mama are buried.
Thanks for visiting & sending, Amanda. xoxo.

Quite possibly the most adorable two-year-old on the planet - Avery Jane. She is my cousin Amanda’s daughter. They decided to take a quick trip to Wea, Kansas last week to visit the place where both Dad & Mama are buried.

Thanks for visiting & sending, Amanda. xoxo.

Cousin Matt Documenting his Final Four Weekend with Papa via Twitter

Loving every part of this. Well done, Matty.

Jayhawk Thoughts

I was planning on writing some sort of profound post about this year’s team and how emotionally invested I feel because of the timing with everything that happened with Dad {example: read this}. But I just couldn’t bring myself to make it eloquent enough to let others read it. 

I will say, though, this team has brought our family so much the past few years - especially this one. It sounds silly, I know. But our family comes together for KU basketball games. I got to go to at least 10 games at Allen Fieldhouse this year, when I was home for three months {in between New York and Korea}. I got to see people I hadn’t seen in at least few years during our family’s halftime gatherings. I got to spend time with Papa on the drives up to Lawrence. I got to have dinners with Sam and Grace before the games. I tweeted with cousins about the games. And Mom, having just lost her husband, went to almost every home game to see the boys play. This year, more than ever, the Jayhawks were a welcomed distraction that brought us joy.

And since being in Korea, I have felt much more connected to the people at home through KU basketball. It is constantly a topic of conversation via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. And the fact that they made it to the Championship Game means I got to stay connected that much longer.

Will I continue to speak to my family now that the season is over? Of course. But the KU team continuing to play just made me feel that much closer to home. And the fact that the Jayhawk fanbase handled the last loss with so much class makes me that much more proud to be part of this far-reaching community of fans.

I will miss seeing this team play, but I think there are like 190 days until Late Night so hope this off-season goes by quickly!

Thanks to my beautiful cousin, Amanda, for posting this on Twitter. Love it.

Thanks to my beautiful cousin, Amanda, for posting this on Twitter. Love it.

Ten Months

I overlooked the fact that last Saturday was the 10-month mark of Dad’s death. It’s both hard to believe it has been that long while I still feel like it was so much longer since that day last April.

Not much to say except I still miss him daily - wishing I could just call to tell him about everything going on in Korea. He would bask in hearing about the stories and also love that I am enjoying it so far.

He’d want to know about my students, co-workers, the food, the city, the people, the landscape. He’d want to know everything. We would probably have some great, encouraging email chains going, too.

Mom has been great to talk to since I’ve arrived. She lets me ramble on about all the little things that go on. And I’ve sent her plenty of emails, chronicling stuff that happens daily. Will be fun to look back back and read just how I felt during my first week in Korea.

From a young age, I have very vivid memories of my older sister, Anna, forcing me to a learn dances in our living room that she had choreographed to the entire Bodyguard soundtrack. It was our family’s first CD, and we played it over & over until it eventually stopped working. And let’s he honest, I loved every minute of it.