Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Your Life is Sad

Guess which week kicked me in the hiney and then turned around, laughed and offered me a poopy sandwich? 

Yeah, this last one. 

You might have noticed it in my facebook posts on Tuesday;  my requests for prayers, thoughts, love,  good juju…..

And the same request on Wednesday. 



You can unfriend me, really. Last week was a big dose of reality pie. 

Without the Cool Whip. 

That was my second food analogy. I might need a snack. 

On Thursday, work friends and I piled into a car a drove to lunch. I monopolized the conversation with the following: 

– My lovely friend with Stage 4 breast cancer in the ICU fighting with cancer for every breath

– My lovely friend, Maria with her son in the ICU

– New friends who have moved to Colorado because they have lost two mito children in the last 6 months. Their third child, also with mito needs a medical marijuana called “Charlotte’s Web” to control her seizures. They lived in Georgia and are moving here to get the medication their daughter needs that is illegal in their home state. 

This is what I post on Facebook! 

Because it is my life.

We got out of the car and a friend declared she was not riding with us on the way home. 

Because these stories are sad. Heck- these stories are frickin’ devastating. And I tell them like I’m ordering a sandwich. 

Huh, another food reference. 

And I thought. ‘Am I that sad? Is my life that sad? Am I immune to what makes the normal person sad?’ Have I become a crab with a hard shell, beady eyes and a threatening claw? 

Perhaps…… I really like crab. 

Here is what I realized in the last week….You can have sad circumstances- you can have ass-tastic, my-god-is-this-my-life circumstance but that does not make you a sad person and that does not give you a sad life. 

On the contrary. 

It’s the point when you know the charade is over, you have nothing to hide, your life is so unperfect you have no choice but to call the tribe together- admit your brokenness, admit that you are so terrified by the unfairness of life, that your only choice is to share it. Ask other people to help with the load, the grief, the sadness. 

And the beauty is when they pick up the load and help you carry. And when so many people pick up the load, it is not a load at all, it can fit in your pocket, or maybe a cute handbag. 

I do have a cute handbag.  

We cannot carry our burdens alone. Life abiet amazing, is too hard to go alone. This week was sad and worrisome and beautiful and hopeful

and human. 

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Another post about Bath Salts

Aren’t there days you wish you could bathe in? 

Let the scent soak into your skin? 

Someone passes by and says, “Wow, what is that great smell?” 

And you would say, “Oh that was Thursday. It was an amazing day. Doesn’t it smell scrumptious?” 

And as you were typing or doing everyday things, you would catch a whiff and hold your palm to your nose……inhale…..ahh Thursday. Thursday was a good day. 

Today is Thursday. And I am trying to bottle the scent of this great, great day. 

My company gave $150,000 dollars to our Children’s Hospital today. 

Last time I checked, $150,000 was a lot of money. 

Rumor has it, this is one of many gifts

Perhaps today needs to be put into those baths salts I never use…..I would use this one. It feels fabulous….. dare I say giddy?  

My parent company doesn’t live here. They live in Dallas. But they are very involved in Dallas Children’s and heard about the money we raised for the Courage Classic. They decided they should be involved in Children’s Colorado too. 

I think I work for a mighty fine company. And how great is it to say that in a world of corporate angst???? I work for a mighty fine company. 

Here I am with our CEO and his amazing assistant. Both of whom have brought this gift to fruition. 

Here are a couple of us pre-check presentation

And touring the new Multi-Disciplinary Clinic- where a majority of money is going. 

Wait….let me post the check again

That’s a pretty check. That check is a beautiful, beautiful thing. 

So many things have brought this about. Some people say it’s my passion for this place but passion only goes so far. I have been so fortunate to meet so many devoted, giving, generous people along the way. 

And today, to be surrounded by the people I love, the doctors of Children’s, those who loved Samantha, the Leaders of my company…it was a good day. 

My mama put it best tonight-  

What an amazing and humbling chain of events set in motion by one courageous little girl. A truly awe inspiring day at Children’s Hospital

And then she saw two shooting stars and named one Jack and one Samantha…..

Amazed, humbled, extraordinarily grateful. Are there words? No, no words. 

I’m going to draw a big hot bath full of Thursday- hoping this love and gratitude soak into my pores. Hoping next week I can inhale the scent in my palm and think….ahh….Thursday. 

On another note- you members of this crazy tribe…. NONE OF THIS would be possible without you. My cup runneth. I would like to make a bath salt called Crazy Tribe. I would soak in the fabulousness of you all. 

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Oh Me. Oh My. Oh Life

I mentioned in my last post that a lot of what we did this summer, we could not have done with Samantha….

Well, we could have organized around Samantha; nurses, Grandparents and the like. But truth be told, some of the things we did this summer, we couldn’t have done with kiddos in tow. 

Which is where we are in our life. 

And thank goodness for those who help us to embrace this choice. 

In July our friends asked us if we would like to hike from Aspen to Crested Butte and back. It’s not a huge hike but it does involve some coordination; mailing of undies and a toothbrush, some work on the quads, And still, at the summit my dogs were barkin’. 

Not a bad view, eh? 

It was also our ten year anniversary. Happy ten years to us! 

I look old. 

And puckered. 

Hubs looks tired. 

But myyyyy goodness. Look at where we are……

The week before,  the world lost Robin Williams which really made me sad. I saw ‘Dead Poets Society’ my senior year in High School and it changed me- seriously. 

I devoured that movie. I went once with friends and then went again alone, just me and my notebook to copy down all of the quotes I loved. 

Here is what I realized….

  • It is dark in a movie theater and hard to write down quotes
  • If I had paid attention in English class, I would have known where to find these quotes
But no matter, I left with Carpe….carpe diem….to seize the day. I loved it. I wanted to learn Latin, get a blazer with a crest, attend boarding school, move to the East Coast and wear plaid. Most importantly, I wanted to make my life extraordinary. 

And so I became an English major and I wrote. I took a creative writing class and told the teacher I couldn’t write anything because nothing had happened to me yet. 

Silly girl.

And so this weekend we hiked in this beauty and I thought, as I seem to do quite often, of our fragile place in this world….and ironically, one quote kept repeating in my head.

‘Oh me, oh my, oh life!’

To be in this place, with Hubs and our great friends. 

‘Oh me, oh my, oh life!’

Hiking with our healthy bodies- which sounds so simple but we know so many whose bodies don’t do what they need to. I sang praises to my feed-a-village thighs. 

‘O me! O Life! Of the the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless….of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” 

Answer. That you are here- that life exists….that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. 

We hiked to Crested Butte, slept, ate a great meal, basked in good company, a beautiful place and hiked back to Aspen. It was a great weekend. A weekend where you just felt happy to be here. 

And honestly? Grateful that we can be happy….
Oh Me, Oh My, Oh Life. 

I am off to find my blazer with a crest. 

Oh and go vote! Contribute your verse. 

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief

Bath Salts

It has been a long, long time since I have visited this page. 

I have thought about this page and what I would like to say but something kept me from saying it. And maybe I know reasons why. 

I do know I have missed this page and thought about putting my words here quite often.

I trained for a half marathon this Fall. This training was significant for me. I have not run in a long event since I got married. I USED to run a lot, which is funny in itself because I am not the svelte, lean runner type. I liken myself more to a Clydesdale……I’m a trotter. 

One Sunday I went for a ten mile training trot. I returned tired and sweaty and decided to take a bath. I SHOULD have taken the cleanse-your-muscles, tough as heck ice bath but I don’t like ice baths. I know they are better for recovery but I didn’t want to recover faster. I preferred a slow, lactic acid inducing recovery brought on by a steaming hot bubble bath and a glass of wine. 

So I did just that. 

When drawing my bath, I pulled out 20 different bath salts and 32 aroma therapy candles. I have bath salts in the shape of Santa Claus, hearts, stars, sea shells and the traditional circles. I smiled because I don’t buy bath salts. These bath salts have been given to me by those who care- those who love me. Those who think I need to take a soak.

Which brings me to two conclusions……

1. You find me stinky- which is very accurate at times. Sometimes, during a workout I think ‘what is that smell????’ and I realize it’s me and I’m foul and that’s just awesome. 

2. You think I should relax more. And I thank you. And I should. We all should. Baths with wine, Santa head bath salts and aroma therapy candles are pretty great. And you do smell great after. And I love that you have given me these lovely gifts of calm. 

You are good friends. And I come to that conclusion quite often…’re kind of amazing. And you indulge me with this blog page. 

I haven’t written the last three months for lack of content, on the contrary, Hubs and I have had a great summer and I am so grateful for you all who have made it great.  

I struggle in my posts because so much of what we have done this summer, we could have never done in our previous life with Samantha. 

Is it guilt? Is it moving forward? Is it navigating our new life? I don’t know. I DO know that not an hour goes by that I don’t think of her, not in a sad way, but in a way. She is just as part of my life just as the sun and the moon.

And now I try to incorporate her into our lives like I do the sun and the moon. She is there, she is constant, not always causing attention but sometimes, when she does, it is so vibrant, it causes the entire world to look up in awe.   

So here we are- three months since my last post, four years into our journey, bath salts, 13.2 miles and a good life with an under-current of grief. 

Where do we go from here? Absolutely no idea. But I do smell mighty pretty. 

Nitty Gritty Dirty Grief


July, you mixed bag of mixed emotions…..You torrential rain storm on a sunny day……

You combination pizza with loaded with yummy extra mushrooms and a side of crap.

You super cute dress, that’s super on sale but only comes in a size two.

Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you July.  You are the scariest emotional roller coaster known to the Schichtel Household. 

And I rode Space Mountain….


July starts with the celebration of Jack, which we have become pretty good about. This year we got bone-in pork chops and a great bottle of red. Hubs and I sat around the table, gnawing on a pork chop bone, drinking wine and talking about the life that was Jack.

We are also training during this time, which is good. I can rationalize anything as long as I can ride it out.  

We also hit $50,000 during this time for our Summits for Samantha ride.

Here we are almost at the top of the roller coaster ride….the chains are still clinking, I grip the sidebars a little tighter… and I think wow we are really stinkin high…..and it begins….

Second week of July is the Triple Bypass….120 miles of riding, 3 mountain passes….whoo! whoo! Give me another loop da loop.

Third week is the Courage Classic AND Samantha’s birthday. AND we raised $100,000 AND we had 65 riders AND it really was the best weekend ever. 

It’s the third loop da loop…the one where I am so jacked up I’m laughing hysterically…wondering if I’m  laughing or crying but it really doesn’t matter because I’m strapped in and all you can do is enjoy the ride. 

side note: the pic above is my yin and yang in July. One part of me says I’m Queen of the World! The other part says Don’t throw up…don’t throw up

And it’s a good ride, a fun ride and then there is that dark tunnel.

Why does every roller coaster have a dark tunnel?

And then it stops….with a jerk. Kinda bounces my head back against the seat. And it’s time to get off.

But wait, there is one more ride, one more anniversary, the day we lost Samantha.

And that’s when I decide I’ve have had one corn dog too many, that funnel cake isn’t sitting right….and throw up in the garbage can next to the fun house.

Why do they call it the fun house? It’s not fun. Clowns are not fun. Those creepy mirrored rooms? 



Oh yes, this says hours of fun…hours and do I deal with those creepy emotional clowns in July? Oh me oh my oh. 

That final loop da’ loop is always going to kick my ass. And it’s good to have a group of friends to curse that stupid roller coaster with….and someone to hold my hair, while I throw up next to the creepy fun house clown.

Adios you crazy July. Until next year.