I had a tough day today.
I drove 3.5 hours to Oklahoma City. In that drive, thoughts of her influence on me flooded my mind and my memories of her. As I gazed into the beautiful prairies and open fields, I cracked open my window.
In that moment, the wind's whisper of Sue's contagious laughter would fill the air. I remembered how it was her who dragged me into a Best Buy in Woodland Hills to buy the first music gadget ever to play amazing music, known as the iPod. Those were the times.
This lady would later take me under her wing and show me her ropes. I learned a great deal from her.
The best memories I have of our time together was personal time. We both had similar personalities which we would often talk about and exchange perspective on. However, we had a mutual adoration for fine wine. Specifically red. Sue was awesome! I cannot share enough stories as they flood my mind with such abundance. She had an uncanny ability to spill wine on you. Especially if you were wearing tan pants. Guaranteed.
She was always so self conscious of her hair. She would experiment with hairstyles and such. She always looked great.
The best trait of Mullins, as I called her. Was her genuineness. She was one of a kind, real, vulnerable. An all around class act lady.
I reflected on this a lot. It is so true that the person that leaves the biggest mark on you is not the one that talks to you the most, or the one who shares the most wisdom with you....it's definitely one that is marked with how they made you feel.
That is it. She made me feel special. She cared.
How I would have loved to share this journey we are living with her. She would have been proud. We are slowingly but surely progressing thanks to the prayer warriors and angels we have gained as advocates upstairs. And now Sue being one of them to be sure to rile up the troops in our favor.
She leaves a 19 year old son and husband. I replay in my head her sheer joy of when she had her little one. I hurt for them. My heart is heavy is sorrow for a life cut too short. I am angry at her early departure. How could it happen to the good ones all the time. She has such a zest for life. A love for her family. But all I am left with is accepting the fact that it was her turn. We are all going there. But it still doesn't excuse the fact that I am left with a void inside. She still had so much more to give. It's just heartbreaking.
My only solace is that everything happens for a reason. She was much needed upstairs. In the meantime, I raise my glass and toast to her legacy and soul.
I wrote this and posted on facebook, knowing that Sue would be checking her facebook from heaven:
As I continue to mourn the loss of my dearest Sue Mullins this week, I can't help but be grateful and so happy for her crossing and impacting my life's path. But I'm also very angry. I'm angry at the fact that she is gone, angry that these sudden departures shouldn't happen to people who like Sue were always such a ray of sunshine in everything she did, met, or touched. I'm angry that I won't get those random calls just asking to see how I'm doing, or asking my opinion on things related to life or work - our mutual love and passion for the brand we work on. I'm pissed that I won't have a partner in crime to solve the world's issues or strategic marketing banter over a glass of wine. I'm ticked off nobody will ever spill a glass of wine on me with the grace and endearing love as she did. I do not like the fact that I will never hear her medical advice of "zycam and airborne" for everything just as vaporub was a cure-all for my grandmother.
I had a long emotional and introspective four-hour drive to Oklahoma City this week. In that drive, I thought of her the entire way. My heart sank thinking that as the dawn was waking in the horizon, it would be Sue's first sunrise in heaven. But it would be the first sunset in the lives she touched. It would be the first full day of her eternal peaceful slumber.
Just like in this powerful video by Jason Silva, I gazed to the distance and into the prairies and beautiful countryside so full of life and energy and light. Of course Sue was there. She had crept into my life with self-entitled permission, why would it be different in Mother Nature's splendor. Her life's light may have dimmed, but her free spirit and soul now lit the brightest stars in our universe. Her energy now fueled the life of these beautiful multi-colored trees, it now energized the bird's flight with her effervescent giggles.
The Texan and Oklahoman countryside may not have been her beloved big blue mountain Montana skies where she will be laid to rest next week, but it embodied her spirit nonetheless. Her goodbye set for the day before Thanksgiving Day. A fitting tribute for a person that gave so much and those of us left to be thankful for her stay. I cracked open my window to breathe, smell and listen to the crisp morning dawn waking up. I heard a whisper filtering through. It was the whisper of her contagious laughter coming through. A firm but endearing "Máximo" calling out my name. The laughter from a person whom cried with me when it was needed as she knew all too well the crosses we all bear, a soul that nurtured without ask or permission. A gentle lady whom drove me to buy my first iPod ever and was to make me an Apple fan forever. So many memories that I'm left with bittersweet remorse. There are people who come into your life and make it better, I wish she had not for she left without a goodbye and a pain too hard to shake. Her magic touch was not in what she ever said, it was in how she always made me feel.
I hurt for her husband Tom and her son Tyler. No words to say the loss they have. While I have expressed my support of prayer to them, I will not tell them I'm sorry either, as I do not know the loss of a mother or spouse as they learn to cope with what seems a life's joke. A loss like this I internalize with the passing of my brother, father and grandparents, you never really accept; as acceptance really never seems to seep through - one with time just learns to live with that loss. I rage at knowing how they've been robbed of such beautiful memories along the way. Tyler's graduation from her alma mater, Tom's adventures and retirement wishes. Her stern advise to my wife and I for what is to come along our way. I will also not tell Tyler and Tom to be strong. That is just wrong. They need to feel, mourn, and cry their tremendous loss. That vulnerability is important in this time of pain for strength will only numb the pain and curb the healing. Time alone will bring that strength. Godspeed gentlemen, my heart is with you two as I was lucky to have been touched and made a better person by your lady - Tyler John Mullins and Thomas Mullins. My only gift of comfort is the memories I shared. I'm sure of one thing though, Tiny is running around in doggy heaven wagging her tail barking with joy to see momma back. It is ironic that she expressed Tiny's departure two months ago by saying "Our loving and loyal Tiny is no longer with us. She was a furry bundle of unconditional devotion and will leave a hole in our hearts." If you only knew that your little one gave what she learned from you.
As I turn back to the prairies and see her spirit dance, I also catch a glimpse of her joyful soul up high in the clear blue skies. Her head tilts right with a gleaming smile piercing me through her bright blue eyes and her favorite circle of life diamond pendant she often proudly wore. She tells me things will be all right, grabs me towards her with a huge bear-tight embrace as only she could do, and whispers a soft yet joyous "I'm so glad and so happy for you and Alicia!" As I'm taking her love, I abruptly open my eyes in flowing tears, completely startled realizing she had come for one more visit into my dreams from her Big Sky Country, or the big blue Montana skies...