It seems that this year I have really come into my own. I have truly stood up for myself and the things that I believe in and as a result have once again let people go from my life or have improved relationships with others. Doesn't that seem odd as a 39 year old mom of 3 I am just now coming into my own? I have finally had the courage to speak publicly about my sister. I think my biggest fear dates back to 15 years ago when my parents and I went to a Compassionate Friends convention and I was asked to read a poem I had written for my sister to everyone at the convention. I pretty much cried thru the entire poem. My emotions were very raw as it had only been 5 years since Meg had died. My fear with speaking was that I did not want people to see a weak side of me. But, I have realized that is what makes my experience so real and maybe something that some people can't handle or don't want to be a part of.
The opportunity was one that I just stumbled upon. I was talking to some of the Irish Dance mom's on St. Patrick's day and my friend, Leah, commented about how moved she was by my sister's story on my blog. One of the mom's, Janine, wanted to know the story so I gave a brief explanation. She then said would you come speak for me. I was a little taken aback, because I had never thought I could speak. This is just my low self esteem on speaking or acting in the public. I thought about and said sure I think I could do this. She explained that she teaches a mandatory class for our county for 1st DUI offenders. Of course we all know that these are probably not really 1st time offenders, just 1st time caught...
Anyway, from there I started writing my speech. I had never in the 20 years since my sis died actually wrote "the story" of what our family went thru. No one had ever really heard what it was like for us in our community. A great amount of tears came with writing my speech, but it was good tears. Ones that I probably had held back for many years. I was able to take my anger and put it to use in a positive way. I then gave my speech to Chad to read. I couldn't even read it to him, because of how vulnerable I felt. It took me many times reading it on my own before I was able to read it out loud. I gave the speech to my friend and we setup the 1st class I would come to speak for.
It was an amazing feeling telling the story to these individuals. I walked away feeling like so much weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Over a year ago I had contacted the local high school where we live and asked about coming to talk. But they had said they did not have a need for something like that. It was a heart breaking. But, when this opportunity arose I decided to send that individual my speech. I did not hear back from that individual so then another friend told me to contact the principal and assistant principal. And that is what I did. They were totally on board to have me come in. They put me with the individual that runs the Promisemaker group. This is a group where the kids promise to stay away from drugs and alcohol. She and I talked in May and we setup to have me be their speaker for the open house meeting they have right after school starts. So, on September 18th I will speak to a room full of kids that were my sister's age and their parents. It will take a lot of strength for me to be able to do this because I think the story of Meg will hit home with the parents and teens. Or at least I hope it will. I am also meeting on October 11th with our counties DA department and one of the judges to talk about me joining their Victims Impact Panel board. This would be the chance to give my speech to 2nd time (or greater) DUI offenders who have to attend this panel.
I know my family and friends have supported me thru this process and cheered me on. I could not do this if I did not have the encouragement from all of you. For that I am very grateful of what 2011 has brought me already. I look forward to continuing to share Meg's story and have made it my mission to tell it.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Can you believe summer is so close to being over? It really feels like it has flown by. I know for me I am ready for the kids to go back to school. The past couple weeks have been a bit rough with the fighting going on. I guess they have had a wee bit too much together time. :)
This past weekend was a very busy one down by my parents house. We had our annual Pontow kids birthday party with all of my family. Originally this has been scheduled for June but the Mt. Prospect tornado hit and my folks were without power for many days... It was a great night on Friday with all of the cousins playing together. I don't think we could have asked for more perfect weather that night. And we all got to enjoy yummy catering from my all time favorite place, Portillo's! Take a look at the photo album to the right of all of the great pics from the party.
The party time was not over after Friday night. We then celebrated my cousin Mike and his beautifully pregnant wife, Stef's, baby shower. We are all so very excited for them. They are going to be AMAZING parents and that little baby is going to be so loved! Ally has told her godfather lots of names that she thinks would work for the baby. And every time Ally sees Stef she rubs her belly and kisses it. So, sweet to see her like that.
We ended the weekend by having a cousin outing to see Cars 2. The kids had a blast and yes we took up an entire row at the movie theatre. Next movie we will all see together is the Muppet Movie in November. My Aunt Eileen really got us kids hooked on the Muppets when we were kids, so we look forward to all going to see this one and even Aunt Eileen will go with. :)