To My Grandpa Who’s in Heaven

Dear Grandpa, 
As May 8th approaches, my emotions begin to get a little heavier with each passing day. My heart starts to ache a little more. And as you fill my mind with countless memories, I begin to hold each one closer to this aching heart of mine. They say time heals wounds, but 3 years hasn’t been enough time to heal the wound of my broken heart after you left. 

I cannot be mad at you for leaving us so soon. What you’re seeing in Heaven is much better than what you were feeling down here; I’m absolutely sure of it. I’m truly unable to express how much I miss you. The English dictionary provides words for my use, but I just can’t seem to put them together in a way that shows that kind of emotion. 

You played such a vital role in the life of my sister and I, as well as Brennan and Mary Brantley. Your strong Christian faith and the life you lived as a God-fearing man taught me a lot about this world. It taught me a lot about who I should strive to be. Your love for this country and the pride you had in your service for this country taught me a true American should love this land, as well as stand up for it when the time calls. Your undying love for Grandma for 53 years taught me to never settle for love because a love like that is not something you can settle for. 

The most heart wrenching fact about death is that you will never be able to physically see, hear, or touch that person again in this lifetime. Once someone leaves their life on Earth behind to enter those beautiful gates of Heaven, you will not experience their presence again until you too have entered those same gates. That’s one of the hardest realizations I’ve had to come to over the past 3 years, and I’m not sure I’m there yet. I still say, “I’m going to Grandma and Grandpa’s.” I know you’re not going to physically be there, but I also know you wouldn’t miss a visit from me for anything. 

I really just want you to know a few things. I sleep with your bear nearly every night. Your knives are in my room. The shells we picked up from the guns they shot off at your funeral are neatly placed on my desk. There’s a picture of me and you where everyone can see it. But most of all, I want you to know I graduate college soon. I actually just picked up my cap and gown, and I wish more than anything I could tell you all about it. I wish more than anything I could see your face light up as I tell you I got a 92 on my FACS 497 test last week. One thing you were always concerned about was my education, and I will be forever thankful for that. 

I placed a letter in your hand the day of your funeral, but I don’t doubt I should say it again. So thank you, Grandpa. Thank you for making me the person I am today. Thank you for making me strive to do better in life (even if you did have to bribe me 🙂 ). Thank you for being a role model of hard work for my dad as he was growing up. Thank you for raising my dad to be the best dad in the world. Thank you for being an example of a genuine man. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for always taking pictures. Thank you for being the same man on Sunday morning that you were on Saturday night. Thank you for serving this country with pride. Thank you for all the stories and life lessons. Thank you for loving all 4 of us grandchildren unconditionally. Thank you for everything. I can never say thank you enough for teaching me, loving me, pushing me, or spoiling me, but I will always try. 

I can only hope Heaven is as beautiful as you pictured. One day I will see it for myself, but until then, keep your arms wrapped around us. God will keep us strong and safe down here, and he will keep you pain free and forever young up there. Take pictures, so you can show us what we missed. I cannot wait to see you again. 

I miss you more than I could ever say.

I love you.

Chelsey Rae☀️

P.S. 

I still smell my money when grandma gives it to me. Sometimes I just have a little glimmer of hope that you held onto it for days just so I would be happy. 

May 8th, 2013 ❤️

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I Can’t Love You

I don’t like to gamble, but if there’s one person

I am willing to bet on, it’s myself. -Beyoncé

It’s not that I am turning down the idea of someone loving me to the end of the Earth. It’s not that I don’t want to feel a love like that. It’s not that I will let you down by not giving it my all. It’s the simple fact that I need to take the time to love myself first. It’s the fact that in order to allow someone to love me that much, I need to love myself that much first.

One thing I have always been told is, “Live for yourself. Make yourself happy.” Those two sentences stick with me every single day. If I cannot make myself happy, then how could I possibly make someone else happy? I am not doubting my ability to care about someone; I am actually doubting my ability to add another person to my life in a way that could change mine forever.

I want to be able to get through a day without having to lean on someone. I want to be able to get up and go whenever I wish. I want to be able to drive for hours while listening to music that brings back a flood of memories without having to tell someone why I won’t be answering the phone for a while. I want to be able to sit by myself on the edge of the water somewhere without having to say a word. I want to be able to be comfortable being on my own in all of my endeavors before I add another person.

Some might say it’s selfish to think this way, but I say it’s the best way to find out who you want to be. I’m not lost. I’m making sure I have a clear mind before I start the journey to the rest of my life. “The rest of my life” meaning my career and my life outside of Bowling Green, Kentucky. If I choose to move away, I don’t want to leave someone behind. I don’t want to worry about what is going on in that town they’re in. I don’t want to worry if I made the right decision to get up and get on with my life.

I want to make every decision for myself. I want to make sure I am happy, so I can one day give you the best of me. I want to feel secure in the life I choose for myself. I want to love myself unconditionally every time I look in the mirror. I want to be who God intended for me to be because I know she’s out there somewhere; I just have to find her.

I really don’t want to sound selfish. Selfish is not my intention right now. I can only hope you understand and want the best for me too. One person you can always count on is yourself, and I have to be there for myself right now. It’s not that I won’t ever love you. It’s not that I am choosing someone else over you. It’s not that I don’t wish I could. It’s the simple fact that I can’t love you right now. I am trying to love myself.

Rae

The House that Built Me

Phi Mu Delta Tau//1553 Chestnut Street//Bowling Green, KY

As I drive down Chestnut Street I can’t help but to look out my window as I pass that exact spot. It catches my attention every single time. The pink door actually catches my attention, but the memories behind that door hold my attention for a few moments longer. And every time I think to myself, “I owe this chapter more than I could ever possibly give.”

Two years ago I met Phi Mu. Two years ago I walked behind that pink door for the first time not knowing what to expect. Two years ago my life changed forever when I accepted the bid of a lifetime. Two years ago Phi Mu began to love me more than I thought was possible.

When I joined Phi Mu in Spring 2014, my life needed a little more guidance. After battling an eating disorder for a year and a half, I was starting to lose sight of who I was again. The Phi Mu bond is something I truly needed in order to make it out of this place alive.

Through many phone calls, girls nights, and cry sessions, I was convinced to stick by her side and never let go. Of course she would do the same for me. Phi Mu did exactly that. She never let me slip from her hands, and she encouraged my every step.

During Fall 2014 recruitment, I was the Preference Day testimony. That was a moment I feared the entire summer before. The day of came around, and I wasn’t sure I could even make it to the last day of recruitment. There was no way I could share the story of what made me who I am with all of these girls along with several girls I didn’t know.

I made it through my testimony all 3 times, and the emotion that carried through the room from one sister to the next was an emotion I’ll never feel unless I’m standing with them. In that exact moment sisterhood became an emotion, and I could feel it stronger than I could feel the tears running down my face.

I am a senior in this chapter, and my life as an active member is coming to a close. But one thing I know for sure is this chapter of Phi Mu built me stronger than I thought I could be. They have believed in my power and strength to overcome anything, and they believe I am enough. This chapter, this house, this sisterhood has built a foundation for my heart and my soul to lean on as I grow with every new page I turn in this book of life.

I have had the opportunity to watch these ladies overcome obstacles in this chapter, and it has made this sisterhood as strong and courageous as a lion. I wouldn’t want to watch any other group of ladies grow.

If someone ever asked me, “What is Phi Mu Delta Tau to you?” I could answer with one sentence, and I have faith that sentence is all I would need. I would simply say, “It’s the house that built me.”

So Delta Tau… You built me. You built me into something I never thought I could be. You gave me strength when I was running on empty. You gave me my life back while giving me a different life to live.

I can’t thank you enough.

LIOB (forever and always)

Craewhite 🌞