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

 

 

 

 

Beth Bender Beauty- Smoky Eye and Cats Eye Liner Stencil- Review

*This was purchased by me for my own use. My opinion is my own*

I suck at cat eyeliner. My dream is to do it perfectly one day. Actually I suck at doing eyeliner in general, but I love the look of the winged liner and SO want to perfect it.

I saw this handy dandy kit online somewhere, and it promised to make it easy and perfect. How did it hold up? Did I achieve my dream?

 

From Beth Bender website:

What our eye makeup stencils do:

– Acheive perfect eyeliner such as winged, cat eye, or a simple liner along the lash line in seconds

– Can be used with most eye makeup formula’s

– Create sultry smokey eyes and classic cat eyeliner styles like a pro

– Easy to use, reusable, fits any eye shape

About our Eyeliner & Eye Makeup Stencils:

Our eye makeup & eyeliner stencils can be used for creating numerous eye makeup styles, like a simple line along the eyelid, a classic cat-eye or sultry smokey eye, and a trendy winged eyeliner look in any thickness all in just seconds. The only eye makeup tool that allows you to achieve endless eye styles without the help of a professional makeup artist.

 What else you need to know:

These one-of-a-kind eyeliner and eyeshadow makeup stencils are flexible and designed to fit any eye shape and eye size. They can be used with most eye makeup products to create the look you desire day or night. And the best part, you can do them yourself with PRO results.

I have to admit, the packaging for the kit is super cute. It comes in a little branded velvety bag.11910901_454765668036299_1615137432_nThey include 2 stencils, and 2 instructional cards.11944901_454765631369636_1148478508_n 11930657_454765638036302_782241385_n 11940259_454765644702968_801032404_nNow I didn’t even try the smoky look, because I can do that myself, and I didn’t buy the kit for that, but I digress.

So did I achieve my dream? Did I get the perfect cats eye liner?

Nope, nope and NoPe.

The stencils were slightly stiff and would barely lay flush against my eye. I would try to position it according to the instructions and it would literally hit my eyeball. Try to hold this thing on my eye and apply the eyeliner was like trying to wrestle a greased pig and and run a 50 yard dash. It was almost impossible. I couldn’t get it to lay flat, and when I got it CLOSE, and started to fill in, it would slip out of place and was just a big mess.

Now, it could have and probably was user error, but honestly I just think it is a terrible product.

So yeah, not a long review, and more negative than I like to be, but dang. It just wasn’t good.

Beauty Blog Coalition Roundup!

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Monthly Sub Monday- Yuzen Box

 

 

 

 

 

*This was purchased by me for my own enjoyment. My opinion is my own.*

 

I love the Yuzen box SO MUCH! Every quarter they send the BEST seasonal goodies that are almost always organic or 100% natural. This box was amazing. I got so many great things and with their usual gorgeous packaging!11853787_449679608544905_771055610_n

 

Africa OrganicsAFRICA ORGANICS Marula haircare products leave hair feeling soft and hydrated, never greasy. Marula oil, trusted in Africa for centuries, is rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants.
Why we chose it! Cruelty-free • Gluten-free • No GMOs, parabens, petroleum, sulfates, or synthetic fragrances or colors • Ethically and locally sourced • Sustainably packaged.

11844090_449676901878509_139734470_nThis shampoo is full sized and it makes my hair so happy! It smells good too!

CowgirlCOWGIRL Extreme Antioxidant Serum helps calm skin and defends it against harmful free radicals that can accelerate aging. The nourishing botanicals, vitamins, and essential oils soothe even the most sensitive irritated skin.
Why we chose it! No parabens, petroleum, sulfates, or formaldehyde • No artificial fragrance or colors • Sustainably packaged • Environmentally responsible manufacturing.

11857514_449676838545182_1558595627_nI like this serum because my skin feels soft, but not oily. I like to use it at night before bed. Great stuff!

 

Eco LipsECO LIPS Organic Lip Scrub treats rough, dry lips with a sweet sugar mixture that gently exfoliates and polishes, resulting in smooth, hydrated, kissable lips. Lip-smacking flavors feature organic coconut, olive, and jojoba oils that condition, protect, and taste great!
Why we chose it! USDA certified organic • Gluten-free • No sulfates, parabens, petroleum, or synthetic fragrances • Cruelty-free • Ethically sourced • Supports indigenous communities.

11846359_449676788545187_2130746196_nLet’s be honest here. Who doesn’t love a good lip scrub? Its sweet, makes your lips feel good and you can lick your lips and not worry about dying! This stuff is yummy and works great!

 

Glee GumGLEE Gum is the #1 healthy alternative to synthetic chewing gum, and a better way to freshen your breath. It’s made with sustainably harvested rainforest chicle, and the sugar-free varieties contain xylitol, never aspartame.
Why we chose it! All-natural ingredients • Fair-trade certified • Cruelty-free • No GMOs or synthetic flavors/ colors • Sustainably packaged.

11844134_449676505211882_745578987_n

 

Love the packaging. It is cute and retro, and happy looking. The gum itself reminds me of chiclets. I just wish the flavor was a bit stronger and lasted a bit longer.

Nubian HeritageNUBIAN HERITAGE Indian Hemp & Haitian Vetiver Body Wash with neem oil is a soothing, moisturizing, softening cleanser formulated from traditional African recipes. Its naturally aromatic formula harnesses the protective and restorative properties of hemp seed oil.
Why we chose it! Organic ingredients • Gluten-free • Cruelty-free • No GMOs, parabens, petroleum, sulfates, or synthetic fragrances or colors • Recyclable packaging • Shea butter is ethically sourced from women’s co-ops in Northern Ghana.

 

11853816_449676438545222_2007524511_nI love yummy smelling body washes and this is definitely one of them. It lathers like a mofo and your skin feels SO good after.

 

Red FlowerRED FLOWER aromatherapy products help you create ritual and beauty in your life.Lymphatic Phytopower Sea Cleanser and Masque uses rich marine ingredients to gently cleanse the face.Arctic Berry Cloud Milk Cream hydrates face and body with concentrated antioxidants, encouraging complete and radiant rebirth.
Why we chose it! USDA-certified organic • Gluten-free • Cruelty-free • Vegan • No parabens, petroleum, sulfates, or synthetic fragrances or colors • Locally sourced • Sustainably packaged.

11846086_449676301878569_1610470395_nThis cleanser is really nice. My face felt so soft and happy after I used it. This is something I can definitely see myself purchasing in the future!

 

Interested in Yuzen box? Check it out here! https://www.yuzenbox.com/

Body Brilliance Liquid Spray Deodorant-Review

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

Listen up, stinky people, there’s a new deodorant in town. And it is good.

From Amazon.com:

“The 100% Natural Secret to Smelling Fresh All Day (Or Night) Without Threatening Your Health With The Dangerous Chemicals Found in Most Antiperspirant Deodorants

The Best and Most Effective Natural Spray Deodorant for Men, Women and Kids.

– Exclusive Resort Spa Quality | Premium Professional Grade Deodorant – Finally Available For You
– Really Works! Hours of antibacterial protection
– Safe for all skin types
– Spray is invisible on your skin and clothingMasterfully blended with seaweed algae extracts, ammonium alum – the liquid form of the “deodorant stone” and essential oils that all work together to kill bacteria that cause foul sweat odor.

– Our formulation of seaweed and algae extracts, mineral salts, and essential oils is designed to kill bacterium that cause body odor.
– Allows the body to perform the way it was intended. Perspiring is a natural bodily function and is a way for our bodies to cool and detoxify.
– You will love its aromatherapy scent! Exclusive essential oil mix includes: lavandin, patchouli, spanish sage, tea tree leaf, cajeput, lemon peel & pine needle.Backed by a Lifetime, No Hassle No Questions Asked Guarantee”

 
11721346_443853852460814_2068370682_nThis deodorant is fantastic. I had a real struggle for awhile with finding a deodorant that works for me. I have been using mixtures of my own, Lush deodorant bars, and this one. I spray it on in the morning, let it dry, and B.O. isn’t even a worry. Even in the Memphis heat and humidity, my pits were peachy. They had an almost lavendar scent. Very earthy and fresh.

 

The only thing I don’t like about it, is that it takes a good 5 mins to dry. I feel like I am fanning my pits forever. It is totally worth it though, to have nice smelling pits all day, and even into the next.

I highly recommend natural deodorants, for your health alone. If you don’t mind a bit of drying time, this is a great place to start.

 

 

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