The Most Difficult Story I Have Ever Told.

justin12

 

Update- Monday April 27, 2015.

I was hoping I would get a few more years before I would have to write this, alas God had other plans.

I had the distinct priviledge of witnessing my brother take his final breath on Thursday, April 23rd, at 11:45 pm.

After our family trip to Gatlinburg, he seemed to be feeling worse. I made the decision to come and stay with my family and visit with him on April 17th. When I arrived  it was obvious he wasn’t well, but I still felt hope.

As the days went by, the difference day to day was astounding, and soul crushing.  He hadn’t eaten in in two weeks because of a neck tumor blocking his esophagus. Drinking was difficult for the same reason. He would take sips, which would result in very painful coughing fits that would sometimes last several minutes.

He was always thirsty, always in pain. He didn’t feel hungry, that urge had left him weeks ago.

Many family members and friends came, and showered him with love. My sisters laid by his side, rubbing his feet and legs. Helping him drink, wiping his face. We spent hours watching “Dirty Jobs,” because that what he wanted. ( I really didn’t mind, since I have a bit of a crush on Mike Rowe.)

Except to bathe and eat, my mom rarely left his side. The entire week, I can count the number of times she left him on one hand. She was his constant companion. She was his giver of pain relief in the form of medicine, the giver of love in the form of leg massages and quiet words. When she wept, she wept quietly so he couldn’t hear. I have never seen so much capacity to love.

On that night, she was completely spent. I was asked to stay with my Aunt, who was also giving her precious time and love to help my mom. The plan was to let my mom sleep in an adjoining room, and my Aunt and I would stay in the room with Justin. My brother was very attached to my mom, there were many times he called out for her, and she wanted to be close in case he needed her.

I arrived to Justin’s house around 10:30. I had spent a few hours with my Dad. We watched “Hot Fuzz” and laughed and laughed. The previous afternoon had been very stressful, so I took a break. I think it prepared me for what was to come.

My Dad dropped me off and went back home. We began getting settled in for bed. My Aunt Joy gave him a dose of his medicine, but he was still restless. I was laying on the bed next to him, thinking to myself…

My Brother isn’t going to be with us when I wake up in the morning…

Aunt Joy got down on her knees at the foot of the bed, and prayed, for what seemed like a very long time. I felt no comfort in this. I wish I did, but I just didn’t.

Aunt Joy laid on the floor next to the bed. We had started out sharing the bed, but she told me she wanted me to sleep next to “your baby brother.”

I laid next to him for a few more minutes. Watching him grimace in pain. I asked him if he needed anything.

He said he was thirsty.

I asked him what he wanted.

He said it didn’t matter.

I was dreading giving him that drink, because everytime he drank, he coughed, and it hurt him. I hated watching him cough and choke. I hated watching him in pain, but there was no hesitation. I got out of bed, and I grabbed a bottle of 7-up that was sitting on the shelf.

I went over to him, and gave him a towel, that he put down on his chest. This was his routine, because he would dribble whatever he was drinking due to his Bells Palsy.

I opened his drink, and handed it to him. He hesitated for a second, so he could get his strength to lift the bottle.

He took a drink of the 7-Up, and handed the bottle back to me.

He didn’t choke. He didn’t cough.

He laid back, relaxed and I watched his eyes open wide. He was looking at something. Intently.

Then I realized.

He was gone.

It was almost instant. It was almost as if he was waiting for that last drink.

My brother, who had been talking to me, moving around, and put his own towel down on this chest only seconds before, was gone.

The next few minutes were a blur. I grabbed my Aunt, I grabbed my Mom, I grabbed my sister in-law who was asleep on the couch.

I made a phone call to my sobbing sister. I called my husband and I couldn’t even speak.

At one point I collapsed onto the floor, because my legs wouldn’t hold me.

Family came. Friends came. Everyone he loved was with him until the funeral home came and took him.

I am crushed. My heart feels a void that can never be filled. I feel immense guilt for being the one who was with him when he passed. I feel such priviledge for being the one who was with him when he passed. I feel like I robbed my parents of a moment that should have been theirs.

The thing I feel the most?

I wasn’t ready.hands

 

 

 

 

Monthly Sub Monday-Bijoux Box!

*This was sent to me for review. My opinion is entirely my own.*

This box has quickly become one of my favorites. The jewelry is gorgeous and high quality. I put it on, and it makes me feel pretty.

This months theme was “Summer Stripes.”

Let’s check it out!11272216_422320941280772_1049122994_n

Pearls and Stripes Strand-

We adore Summer’s bold stripes and nautical prints, the shopping seasom isn’t complete without at least one. Navy Stripes and June’s birthstone, the pearl, makes this a perfect warm weather piece. So sun for a 4th of July party!11328844_422315501281316_1423853124_n
This one is long, and substantial! The stationed beads are heavy and solid. It would look SO cute with a white tee and jean shorts!11280315_422315427947990_1810087172_nIt’s nautical without being too much. It’s really cute!

Opal Deco Drops-

Feminine and versatile opal stones are making a resurgence in a very big way. We are excited to offer these beautiful deco inspired crystal drops. Their opalescent shimmer is perfectly paired with all of your summer whites.

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These earrings are just flat out beautiful. I kinda wish they were on wire instead, but I love the style. I love the “opal” stones and the art deco style.11281820_422320947947438_308561547_nYou can see from the photo that they are a nice sized earring, and would really stand out with your hair in an updo!

Puka Shell Pendant-

Found on the beaches of Hawaii, puka shells are a quintessential symbol of summer. We’ve added to the chain, a light blue crystal drop reminiscent of the ocean.This is a great versatile layering piece. Try it with the Pave Bar Pendant from the February box or the Pave Convertible necklace from the May box.

11422745_422315414614658_1238472030_nThis necklace has a long chain, perfect for layering.

11414507_422315364614663_120256421_nThe little crystal is so cute, and it floats on the chain. The puka shell is sweet too. This piece will be going with me to the beach next month!

 

Once again, “Your Bijoux Box” has sent me a box of gorgeous things that are truly high quality and lovely.

Interested in checking it out? Click here!

Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Mask- Review

 

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I love face masks. I love that feeling you get when you slather it on, and your pores tighten and you just think to yourself- “BE GONE ZITS!”

I got the Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Mask to try, and I was super anxious to try it.

“Moroccan Ghassoul Clay Mask – A weekly mask with natural and organic clay from deep inside the Ancient Atlas Mountains of Morocco are the perfect skin treatment for cleaning, detoxifying, toning and rejuvenating. A facial mask treatment made from Ghassoul clay can be relaxing and give your skin a new healthy glow. Ghassoul clay’s most impressive properties in skin improvement are its capacity of absorption and adsorption due to its high level of ion exchange. Ghassoul is a mineral rich, light brown clay that blends extremely well with water making its application to the face and skin a smooth and delightful experience. Use on skin and hair – it even makes for a fabulous shampoo; mix a small amount of powder in your favorite shampoo – wash and rinse. Super cleansing!”VI6fWGoLSfOtfllz3Nrq_brandbacker_ghassoul-
I really enjoyed this product as a face mask. I felt like using it in my hair was a bit harsh, but on my face, heaven! It left my skin feeling soft and super exfoliated. My pores on my nose looked smaller, because all of the junk was cleaned out. It was easy to mix and apply, and easy to rinse once dried. This is awesome for “me time,” when I climb in the tub and just veg.

Zakia’s Morocco is giving away a $50 gift card towards their products for one of my readers. To enter- click the link below.

https://promosimple.com/ps/711d

I think this is a great, simple mask and I love the fact that it is in powder form, for easy storage and mixability. Give it a try!

http://www.zakiasmorocco.com/

Pet Gift Box- Review

*This was sent to me for review. My opinion is my own.*

If you haven’t read my past posts about this one, you can go here.

I’m just gonna dive right in!may cat  box

I am seriously loving this box. My pets are loving the snacks and toys and I am loving all the neat little gadget that I have never seen before. This months box was different than last months, in that it had a military theme.11272286_420486891464177_1664007143_nThis month was Stella and the kitties turn again! I know I have already said this, but I LOVE the personalization!11291962_421048398074693_1232788476_nJustin Kitty LOVES this furry catnip filled toy!

MSRP- $3.99

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Check out this sweet little magnet. What a sweet way to show the world how much you love your pet!

MSRP- $5.99

11280610_420486868130846_1815995488_n
This can of kitty caviar has been a huge hit. I swear the cats know the sound of the cap opening and come running!

MSRP- $8.99

11310973_420486854797514_1873798515_nJustin kitty also loves this soft fleece blanket! He snuggles up to it and sleeps!

MSRP-$14.99

 

11303632_420486794797520_153190381_nLast but not least, the biggest hit of the box, is the catnip ball. I didn’t get a photo of it, because my daughter nabbed it before I could stop her, and needless to say, it didn’t last very long when the kitties got it. It reminded me of a kitty cat jawbreaker!

MSRP- $3.99

11119954_420486801464186_1648595107_nCan you see why I love this box so much? They include lots of fun stuff, but still provides snacks that are good for our babies!

Interested in check it out? Interested in joining? Click here.

Use code “Stella” for 25% off your first box! DO IT!

 

Monthly Sub Monday- Scent Trunk

*This was sent for me to review.My opinion is my own*

Perfume wearers, I have found a monthly sub service for you.

Scent Trunk offers scent samples for men and women monthly.

“The Core of Scent Trunk: We help people find their perfect scent. Completing a scent profile survey helps us hand-pick fragrances.  Niche perfumes are more experiential and unique. Style is expression and expressing your style through fragrance is just another layer to your personal style.  Rating and reviewing scents help us make better boxes. 

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?

Fragrances
The fragrances we sent you are from luxury perfume houses with brands that have spanned for centuries to small, up and coming indie brands who hand-pour each sample. We love niche and hand-picked them based on your scent profile.

How to try on fragrances: There are so many do’s and don’t in trying on fragrance out there. If you’re new to fragrance, I would suggest spraying the fragrance on a piece of clean, white paper — not the cards. (We’re adding scent strips to our next shipment of boxes!) Top notes are the first scents you will smell when you spray it. As the fragrance wears, you’ll start smelling the middle and base notes. Don’t let the top notes scare you off. Give the fragrance another chance!

When you’re ready to wear the fragrance, check out this video on how to apply: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8AQZlu_54g

Obviously, scent is personal and different biochemistry will reflect how certain notes smell on you.

Sample Sizes

Confused on the sample sizes? Keep in mind that the samples are a reflection of the full size bottles. For example an Amouage bottle retails for $275+. So a fragrance sample might sell for $15. Feel free to compare ‘value’ for each sample by researching the brand’s full size cost. 

Here’s a lesson from our Scent School… The fragrance oil is what makes a scent rich, and long-lasting.  Different fragrances have different amounts of oil and this affects its longevity.  Here are the different types of fragrances and the amount of oil in them. Eau Fraiche 3% or less, Eau de Cologne 2-5%, Eau de Toilette 4-10%, Eau de Parfum 8-15%, Soie de Parfum 14-18% and Parfum 15%-25%. A good rule of thumb, the smaller the vial the less you’ll need to apply. The higher the fragrance concentration, the less an individual needs to apply. We also have a blog that teaches how to wear fragrance.

Cards
You’ll also find cards with brief explanations on the fragrances we sent you. These cards are an important part of the Scent Trunk experience. We want to teach people about fragrance. Sizes of samples range from 1ml to 3ml. 

The Shop
Many of the brands we get samples from also provide us with full size bottle from our shop. This partnerships allows the brands to acquire new customers. Our hope is that as customers find their perfect scent, they’ll purchase a full size when they’re ready. 

 

Price: $15 US for monthly (3 scents/box, or $20 per season (4 scents/box) 

Shipping: US & Canada

Cost of shipping: Always free, we only ship by standard mail.”

I recieved three scents: Pauline, Darcy, and Panda by Zoologist.

 

Darcy is a very strong fragrance. This seems like it could almost be unisex to me. It has top notes of citruses, lemon and orange. The base notes are patchouli, woody,musk and sweet. The bottom notes are rose and jasmin. the full size is $295. The bottle is stunning!Darcy1Panda by Zoologist is much less potent, it is actually very nice. It has top notes of Bamboo, Buddha’s Hand Citron, Green Tea, Mandarin, Sichuan Pepper, Zisu Leaves. The base notes are of Bourbon, Cedar, Damp Moss, Fresh Musk*, Haitian Vetiver, Pemou Root, Sandalwood. The bottle is adorable. 15731549908_660250b08eOf course it has a Panda! Full size for this one is $125.

Last,but not least is Pauline, by Rance 1795. I really like this one too. It is described as having Top notes of luminous and sparkling zest of Sicilian orange, accompanied with exotic ylang ylang and cotton blossom. the mid note is intoxicating and floral, composed of white Grasse rose, wild violet and Indian patchouli, while a base closes with Lebanese cedar, Siamese benzoin and tonka beans.nd.13451This bottle is beautiful too!

The samples were packed in an adorable little velvet bag!
11355572_424500454396154_423218714_nThey are generous samples, and the perfect way to get a feel of each scent, and to try varieties you may not have tried before! Its really cool!

 

If you are interested in giving it a go- check out the link below. I think it is really fun and a great way to experience new things!

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