One week ago today I found out Carly was gone. I was on the phone with my mom, reading an article someone had sent me about the search for her. At 9:29pm, it refreshed and said that her body had been found.

Today was the first day since then that I haven’t cried. Well. I’ve teared up. But I haven’t cried hard. I am so blessed to have the support group of friends and family that surround me in my day to day life and help me feel okay with every thing that we go through that is difficult or seems impossible to understand.

Right now I am so thankful to be coaching volleyball. It gets me through a whole day of teaching to know I can go run around and hit balls really hard and shout and that someone will inevitably trip and fall and we’ll have a good laugh. I have the sweetest girls you have ever met on my team, and they hug me and look at me with the soulful, “I’ll cry if you cry” eyes. and they make me little cards that say things like “I love you the most and I am praying for you and for your friend Carly I bet she was awesome” and “I hope God covers you in His all-surpassing comfort and peace.”

My happy place for this season of my life, even before Carly’s passing, has been on the court with my team. I have loved every minute of coaching. Watching them grow together, watching their skill set improve, seeing their drive, I get this proud Mama Bear glow when they play their best. This has been the happiest I have felt in the two years I’ve been teaching.

A few of my regular students that I’m  really close with are hovering around me like little puppies, alternately trying to entertain me by sharing the “who likes who” stories I love, dressing up in my drama costumes, or just invading my personal space because they’re not very sure what to do. I took one today by the shoulders and said “I know you’re worried about me. I love you for that. Please go back to your desk and work on homework, because you’re driving me nuts.”

I think something about them being at an age where everything that happens to you seems like the end of the world and the most tragic thing that ever happens really makes them sensitive to my moods and feelings whenever I ride through a rough patch in my life. Some of them can just look at me and know that I’m going to need a kleenex and my water bottle filled within two minutes, and I probably need a hug and maybe we could google for a picture of a cute puppy for you to look at, Miss Weight? That always cheers you up. Do you need a hug?

After a death of a loved one…which seems to be happening quite a bit lately in the lives of people close to me…there seems to be some really hard days immediately, then it gets a little better. You go back to your normal life, you laugh easily, you go grocery shopping and clean the house. It feels okay. Then one too many persons asks how you are, if you’re okay, rubs your shoulders in just the right way, offers you a coffee, mentions something that triggers something that all of a sudden puts you right back over the edge again. I see the pictures everyone is putting up on facebook and wish I knew where all my yearbooks and photo albums had gotten lost to in the divorces and remarriages and moves of my past. I want to remember what Carly wrote in my yearbook and find notes we passed that I know I kept all in a box somewhere. I randomly remembered a pair of Winnie the Pooh earrings I brought her back from Disneyland in seventh grade, and a poem we wrote about America in junior year history class, looking in a dictionary to see if “unfurled” was really a word.

we will carry carly in our heart of hearts. its 11:11pm. I’m making a wish that you know how much I love you.