Posted on
I apologize for the lack of posting this year. A few events in my life have happened recently that didn't allow me to be as active as I hoped, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. This has easily been the most challenging semester of my life. I am embarrassed with my school performance and attendance this semester. I am normally near a 4.0 student, and I am debating dropping a few classes to keep my good GPA.

A few weeks ago I had a pretty significant arm surgery due to an injury that put me down and out for a good week or so. I got a bladder infection from the surgery, so that definitely didn't help things. As soon as I started to feel better I got an awful cold/flu. I missed quite a bit of school so I'm stressed to say the least. Luckily, I finally got my stitches out this past Monday and it's healing very well.

A week ago today I experienced one of the worst tragedies of my life. One of my life-long best friends, Tom aka "Stambo",  passed away of a gunshot wound while hunting with his dad. He was only a month younger than me when he died. The incident is still under investigation, but at this time it is being ruled an accidental death. A horrible, tragic, untimely, accidental death. Tom was easily the nicest guy I have ever had the pleasure of knowing or meeting in my life. There was such a genuine pureness about him that made him so easy to love and be around. He looked you in the eye during conversation, he cared about what you had to say. I don't really know whether it was his deep voice or his friendly demeanor, or maybe a gift he had that we couldn't see, but he had such a calming effect on any room he was in.

When I moved out to Colorado in 2009 we stayed just as good of friends. In fact, in ways we became better friends. We talked all the time, and he came out to visit often. This last time he really talked about wanting to move out. My boyfriend got him a job interview and we had a lot planned for this winter. He was excited to go to Dew Tour for his first time, he even made a reservation to fulfill a long-time dream of going heliskiing in Telluride for this February, only a week before he passed.

Tom was my third close friend that I lost this year. I was really strong when Sarah and Blake passed. Of course I was devastated, but I held back the tears, for the most part anyway. While their time here was too short, they both had the chance to accomplish a lot of things they aspired to. It's always difficult to hear of a friend passing well before their time, but Tom's death hit me particularly hard. When I heard of Tom's passing the tears instantly began to flow. I cried for 7 hours straight, and started crying when I woke up the next morning. Tom had so much planned for just this winter alone. There were so many places we talked about going that he never got to see. There are so many things we talked about doing that he never got to do.

On top of that, Tom's passing has left a pretty big void in my heart that will be empty for a long time. He was passionate about cars. He spent years building his Celica, which was admired by the local car community in Wisconsin. Whenever I had a car problem or question he was the first one to call. I remember one time I was nailing him with frantic questions when I had a car glitch, he finally sighed and said in his calmest voice "Ali, it's somewhat difficult to diagnose a car when you are 2,000 miles from it." I busted out laughing and asked him, "Well why aren't you here then?!"

Sam, Me, and Tom pretending to be tourists at the Maroon Bells this September.
Sam and Tom enjoying the view on Independence Pass this past September.
Tom working on his Celica... The love of his life.

Through all the tragedy I can say there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. And I am so thankful that my light has been by my side this whole semester. I met the love of my life and my soulmate this summer. We just got back from Thanksgiving in Wisconsin yesterday where he was able to meet my whole family. They loved him, which makes me ecstatic. I'm having a hard time getting motivated for school right now. I feel very behind in two classes and somewhat overwhelmed in the others. I may have to drop one or two, but I can't be hard on myself considering what the last few months have brought me. And in the end I know I have my rock by my side, and I know I'll come out smarter and stronger in the end. Life is very unpredictable.

 See What I See | Copyright © 2011