Thursday, February 23, 2012

Roller Coaster of Life

I’m really not a big fan of roller coasters and have spent most of my life avoiding them to the best of my abilities, with a few exceptions along the way.  

Life, on the other hand, has decided to send me on the biggest roller coaster ride of my life to this point, including one of the biggest drops I’ve ever experienced.

The drop? On Monday, February 13th 2012, my grandmother passed away of a massive heart attack.  She was healthy for a 90 year old and this was certainly unexpected.  She was happy up until the end and that helps to deal with the whole situation.

This is the first time I’ve experienced the loss of someone so close to me and it’s been devastating.  My wonderful friends and family have been a great support and help throughout the process and for that I am truly grateful.  Being there for my father during this horrible time has helped with perspective.

Something very unexpected has come along to help in the process.  It comes in the form of things that happened to or around me in the days prior and the days following my grandmother’s death.  That is where the upward climbs in the roller coaster ride happen.

Most of you know that Chris Phillips is my favourite Ottawa Senators player and has been for a very long time.  Some of you might even be sick of me when it comes to that.

Chris played in his 1000th game on February 9th, 2012.  A game in which he not only scored a goal, but he scored 2 goals.  His FIRST two goals of the season.  This sent me on an unimaginable high as a fan of his, and quite frankly, I turned into a teenager while celebrating the goals. The Sens won that game, but that’s no surprise to Sens fans as the Sens seem to win more often than not when Phillips scores.

I didn’t think anything could top that, and then I got a call from my favourite PA Announcer, Stuntman Stu, on the morning of February 10th, 2012 telling me that I was invited to meet Chris at the unveiling of a mural the Ottawa Senators put up in his honour on the concourse.  I was able to get Chris to sign a picture I had taken the night before during his 1000th game, and also get a picture taken with him.  Did I say anything to him?  Nope.  That doesn’t matter though because it was one of the happiest, proudest moments for me as a Sens fan.

The next day was a game played in Chris’ honour where players wore jerseys with his name on it during the warm up, his teammates and team gave him gifts and he was able to thank his friends, family and fans for the support.  The Sens weren’t able to repeat the previous game’s performance and lost, but it was still a special day for me as a Phillips fan.  

I must have taken over 700 pictures between the 3 days.

Unfortunately, on February 13th, I got the call that my grandma had died and so was plummeted to the bottom of the roller coaster at an astounding speed.  The next few days were the worst of my life.  The Sens were away that week so I didn’t have any hockey games to go to and watching them on TV wasn’t an option for me at that time.

On Monday, February 20th, all “official” things surrounding my grandmother had been done (funeral on the 17th of February) What was and is still left over is the grieving process.  I have to learn to deal with not having my grandma around anymore and knowing that I won’t see her again.  One day at a time.

That day, the Ottawa Senators were playing the Islanders at 1pm.  I sat down and watched the game on TV (which I don’t usually do because I hate watching hockey on tv.  I’ve been spoiled by my season tickets).  I watched as the Ottawa Senators won over the NY Islanders and Chris Phillips scored his 3rd goal of the season.  WOW…3 goals in 5 games!! Through everything, that made me so very happy.

I went back to work on Wednesday February 22nd, and noticed an email from someone on the Ottawa Senators Staff sent to me on February 17th.  I had been chosen to be the season seat holder of the game for that night’s game against the Washington Capitals.  I’d have to be on the big screen and they would say a little something about me and give me a gift.  

I was shocked that I’d be chosen for something like that…and so soon after…I just couldn’t believe it.  I was of course very happy and emailed him back agreeing to be a part of it.  

That night, I was put up on the big screen while Stuntman Stu read a little “blurb” about me.  I showed off my Chris Phillips jersey proudly and the Ottawa Senators gave me a $500 gift certificate to Napoli’s Café.  How amazing is that??  I can’t wait to take my family there for dinner someday very soon.  Apart from having to be on the giant screen, it was really fun.

I returned to my seat and not very long after, Chris Phillips scored his 4th goal of the season.  How much better could this day get?   I was again turned into a teenager while celebrating the goal.  The Sens won the game of course which made the evening perfect for me.  So awesome!!

No one knows why things happen when the do.  I believe right now though that everything happened perfectly in order to help me deal with the most devastating event of my life.  The loss of my grandmother.  It might sound corny to some, but how else to explain everything falling into place at the exact right moments.

I’m just so thankful for everything.  I don’t know if I truly deserved all the good things that have happened to me recently, but I do know that I will always appreciate it tremendously.   These are two weeks I will never forget…
Je t’aimes Grand-maman!!

EDIT: Tonight, I met Chris and was actually able to talk to him a little.  I'm sure I sounded like a crazy, babbling fan, but it was nice to be able to tell him just how big a fan I am.  More on this on a later post :)  This just adds to the roller coaster and I am so grateful I was able to experience it all.

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