Thursday, January 31, 2013

12 Seconds.

I'm trying to pull myself together as I type this.  Trying to wipe the tears away from my eyes so I can see the screen clearly.

I heard Richard laugh tonight.  Last night I said I was missing his laugh, and tonight I heard it.  I heard him laugh!

I try to replay it in my mind a lot, but eventually it gets hard to hold on to.  It gets hard to imagine it as real.  Tonight, for whatever reason, I was scrolling through all the pictures in my phone.  Looking at numerous pictures of my dog and my {fat} cat, with pictures of Rich and I scattered amongst them.  And there it was.  A video.  A video of he and I posing for a picture and then finally realizing my phone was on the recording feature instead of the camera.  A 12 second video.  12 seconds of my beautiful boy alive.

And he was laughing!  It was the Saturday before Christmas.  We were at Santa's Village with my family and we were posing for a picture in the fake snow.  As we took our spots and smiled, snow flew into Richard's nose.  This happened as soon as my mom hit the button to take the picture, but instead {thank the sweet Lord} ended up recording a video.  As she hit record, he started to laugh.  A good, solid, deep Richard laugh.  He wipes at his nose and you see us assume our positions again, smiling intently and starting to wonder what is taking so long.  Then you hear my sister-in-law say, "Oh you're recording!"  We laugh, I tuck my face into his shoulder as if I am embarrassed and he says, "Ha!  You got me picking my nose!"

12 seconds.  I've been crying ever since I discovered it.  It makes me happy, sad, nostalgic and heartbroken all at once.  It makes me acutely aware of the hole that's been left in my heart.  But how grateful am I for that short, sweet video.  Of Richard alive and happy.

I am not comfortable sharing it with the blogger world yet.  I'd like to keep it as a private gift for now.  I'd like to show it to his mom and sister if they want to see it.  Maybe someday I'll post it.  But until then - I'll post a picture of that laugh. 

At my friend, Katie Smyr's wedding.  I was probably squeezing him tight, telling him to smile "normal."

And in the meantime...can someone bring me a tissue?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Just Be on Time.

I love telling the story of how Rich and I met.  It all started with Zumba.  Right?  I mean, of course it did.

When I moved back home about a year ago, I left behind a wonderful group of friends at the University of Alabama Rec Center, where I was fortunate to have the opportunity to teach a Zumba class every week.  Once I moved home and got settled, I set out to find a gym to teach at.  I went to Bender's Gym in Madison, my last gym of the day, where I just popped in to see a manager.  No manager was there, but a staff member let me fill out an application to pass along, and I went on my merry way.

That same night I got a phone call from a Rich Gaiser, looking to set up an interview for this Zumba gig.  I found him charming on the phone as he asked me about myself, what my occupation was, etc.  I found myself turning on a little flirtatious tone, feeling kind of weird about it, because I literally assumed this man was 40 years old (due to his deep voice) and married (due to his charm and assumed age).  I also pictured him to be extremely tall and balding.  Don't ask me...this is just what I was picturing.  So we set up a time for me to come in to meet him and the group fitness coordinator.  "Just dress casual.  And just be on time. on time."

Yes sir. 

So I arrive two days later, to meet this assumed 40-year-old, baldish man.  I call him, as instructed, because I could not get into the gym without a pass code.  As I walk up to the glass window, cell phone to ear, he answers.

"Hi, it's Katie.  I'm here."
"Okay, I'm over here to your right."
Then picture me peering into the window, eyes cupped around my eyes to block out the glare from the sun, looking around the gym for someone to let me in.
" your right."
Picture me continuing to peer into the glass.  Like an idiot.
"Haha, no.  Out here to your right."
I finally turn to my right, to see this cutie walking toward me from down the breezeway.  He was NOT 40, he was NOT balding...and well he wasn't exactly extremely tall either.  But taller than me :)

He laughed.  I giggled.  I probably flipped my hair.  I was attracted.  And apparently so was he.

He let me in and had me sit at a table as he went to grab the group fitness coordinator.  I sat down with the two of them and answered questions about myself.  He asked me legitimate interview questions like, "tell me something you believe in and why."  I won't lie - I was this serious?  It's just Zumba, dude.  He later told me that I was the only instructor that he's ever interviewed.  Because he thought I was cute and he wanted to figure out if I was single.  I still don't know if I believe him, but I'll take it. **UPDATE: Emily, the group fitness coordinator, confirms that I was the only instructor he ever interviewed.  Thanks for making me smile, Em :)**

I'd say that then the rest is history.  But it's not, really.  He interviewed me in late April and we did not start dating until July.  I didn't even come back to the gym (minus a little dance audition I had to do.  And not for him.  Get your mind out of the gutter.) until June as that is when my time with Bender's started.  It took a lot of social media interacting.  Then a lot of coming to the gym early to hang out with him in the office.  Then him asking me if I wanted to go to a dinosaur expedition at the VBC (duh, of course I did), and then cancelling on me.  And then me finally telling him that we needed some face time because I had a lot of questions for him.  And then finally getting coffee.  Then getting to the coffee place an hour before they closed, only to move to a bench outside and talk for another 2 and a half hours about nothing.  That.  That is when the rest became history.

I miss him everyday.  I missed him especially tonight when I went to a yoga class and there was a man there walking around in the tiniest shorts I'd ever witnessed in public.  They were as close to boxer briefs as you can get without them actually being boxer briefs.  It was awkward.  He would have thought it was funny.  And he would have been proud of me for even going to yoga because I always complain about being sore after Zumba and he always told me I needed to stretch more.

I think back to how he told me to "just be on time," more than once.  And I can't help but smile and think about how he was brought into my life at the perfect time.  At a time when my heart needed saving and my mind needed opening.  God's timing is always perfect.

Missing his laugh and his love tonight.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Text Message for a Rainy Day.

"Been exhausted all day but can't seem to stay asleep.  So I've been praying and reading my Bible.  And making a gratitude list.  I want to thank you for being you.  I've never been this happy in life.  Even with life being full of ups and downs right now.  You're so strong and compassionate.  Your beauty overwhelms me sometimes and your desire to gain the most from life is invigorating.  God radiates through you and I'm ecstatic with knowing I get to be a part in such a journey.  You are the love of my life and I sometimes forget to convey that message.  I love you. :)"

-text message from Richard Gaiser, December 2nd, 2012

Are you serious?  How lucky am I that I got to experience love like this, even for a short time?  This text message moved me so much that I took a screen shot of it to save for rainy days.  What a sweet, romantic soul that boyfriend of mine was.  I thank God every single day that He was brought into my life.  We only knew each other for eight months and dated for six.  And those six months were beautiful, challenging and rewarding all rolled into one.  They were real.  They were sincere.  They were hard.  They were good.

Today was hard, but it ended well.  I am so grateful for the beautiful friends I have in my life for I would not make it through without them.  Going to bed, focusing on the positive and thanking the Lord for what he allowed me to see through my relationship with Richard.  I am also giggling to myself a little because he would probably be mortified to know I have shared such a text message.  But can a girl not share that?

Missing my wishing-to-stay-under-the-radar kind of boy. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

Moment by Moment.


Tonight I cried into my cheese dip at my favorite Mexican restaurant.  I sobbed and wailed a little, trying to keep my voice down and doing my best to stifle the full blown sniffle fit that was on the verge of happening.  Tonight was a two hour dinner with one of my favorite friends.  One of my friends that I can throw anything out on the table to and she will not be shaken.  We challenge each other without disagreeing and we tear subjects apart until we are both slightly blinded by exhaustion.  Tonight was especially wonderful and sad and refreshing and tiring.

The main question that everyone wants to ask is, of course, "how are you doing?"  My newest response has been that I am literally taking each day moment by moment.  I can't even take things day by day right now as my days are roller coasters.  In some moments I have a lot of energy.  And when I have energy I want to do stuff.  And when I do stuff I feel productive.  And this is one of the feelings I thrive off of.  But then, just like that, a thought or a feeling can bog me down.  Death does weird things to people.  It causes some people to go crazy, I know.  It's hard to deal with the pain.

There have been some interesting/sketchy situations that have happened since Richard's death.  People that I don't even know calling members of my family, in an attempt to dig for information.  People feeling so entitled to know what happened that they make their own assumptions and say things that don't even make sense.  These instances have been few and far between, but they are there and sometimes it takes everything that I have not to fixate on them.  I find these things to be incredibly hurtful and disrespectful.  And all I want to do is talk to him about these things.  He would sit down with me and let me cry into his shoulder and let me tell him how frustrated I am and how this is so hard and how I don't know if I can handle it.  He would calmly tell me that it does not matter what people think or assume.  That everything is going to be okay.  He always let me talk things out with him.  He was incredibly calm with me.  We balanced out well because I can be quite a tornado of emotion sometimes.  He said he loved that about me.  He also told me that I had a calming effect on him.  I always found this to be humorous since I very rarely feel like I am a calming source.  

It was with him that, for the first time ever with a boy, I did not feel that I needed to hide my feelings - good or bad.  It was with him that I realized boyfriends and girlfriends can sit down and discuss situations without having to fight or argue!  We could just sift through our feelings until we were blue in the face and things made sense again.  Then one of us would throw our arms up in the air, positioned in the shape of an "O", and smile.  That was my thing that I started with him.  "Come get in my hoop," I would say.  I'd throw my "hoop" over his head and we would hug.

I just want him to be here right now to talk things through.  But instead I find myself basically living in the few t-shirts I have of his.  Literally only taking them off to shower.  I find myself staring at his spare toothbrush, sitting in my porcelain cup by the sink, as I brush my teeth - wondering when I will have the courage to throw it away. 

Rawr.  Miss you babe.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

And the process begins.

It has been two weeks, two days, 7 hours and 20 minutes (give or take) since I found out I had lost my boyfriend forever.  And by forever, I mean...forever.  This was not a break-up.  It was not a difference of feelings or emotions or opinions ripping two people apart.  It was death.  Death by a cruel and aggressive disease that does not discriminate against anyone.

Death is such a complicated and mysterious concept.  It is hard to wrap your mind around and is difficult to fully swallow.  Like a big, ol' horse pill.  Even bigger than the nasty protein pills that my precious, fitness-loving boy loved to consume.  And because of this, everyone deals with death and loss very differently.  I have not yet figured out how I will fully deal with it, but right now I can tell you it's a lot of chocolate consumption, a lot of crying and a lot of reminiscing with friends and family. 

Because my Richard was such a lover of the written word and of emotional expression through writing, it seems fitting to work through my processing his death through the same way.  These posts may be light and fluffy on some days and they may be dark and dreary on others.  I am attempting to embrace my feelings.  Letting the sorrow come as it must.  Even crying in public restaurants if I feel so compelled.  I am finding myself clinging to the good things as if they may slip through my fingers, falling down a drain, never to be seen again.  I think that my process will be a lot of private journal-ing, as well as public blogging.  We shall see where it takes us. 

Life is very short, friends.  We never know when the end is near.  However, one thing I am certain of, and the one thing I find peace in is that the good Lord called our Richard home.  He had finished the task that God put him on this earth to complete.  It was his turn to go home.  Now we must figure out how to move forward without his physical presence. 

It's going to be a bitch.