Death & Appreciation

I don’t ask this often but please share this.  Death & Appreciation.  Both extremely difficult topics for me to write about.  Death, because I’m not very good at dealing with it.  Appreciation, because I feel like most people don’t have any appreciation in life and it makes me feel bitter about it.

I woke up this morning knowing it was going to be a long day ahead of me.  I wanted to keep sleeping, to not deal with today.  Yesterday brought 12 hours of work, followed by laundry, dishes and dinner, taking the garbage out, and than more work.  I stayed up till almost 2am, and finished watching the last episode of Season 1 of Revenge (great show by the way).  Back to today, waking up, I woke up feeling mentally and physically, and in a way, unappreciated.  So why was I not looking forward to today?  I had a full day of work (busy time for quarter close at my job), I wanted to make sure to get home on time for the family Bears time, and I had a funeral to attend during the day.  Unfortunately, I felt as though there wasn’t enough time in the day to get everything done, especially on 5 hours of sleep.  As I looked ahead to the day, I couldn’t help but feel down.  Than something happened… something great.

My wife, Mrs. Z, text me a picture of all the things she appreciates about me.  It’s like she read my mind and knew exactly what I needed.  All the things I read made my heart feel happy.  I felt appreciated.  I felt loved.  I felt as though I could take on the world at this point.  To get a note, email, text of all the things you love and/or appreciate about your significant other when you least expect it, is amazing!  It really turned my day upside down.  However, I still had a funeral to attend to.  This person was like a grandpa to me (he was my grandfather’s sister husband), who actually invited my mom, me, and my grandparents (my immediate family) to the states from Kiev, Ukraine.  I knew him well and respect him and found out the other night, he passed away at the age of 85.  Now, my opinion is that if you live until 85, you should be grateful.  Now I know that you should be appreciative as well.

Attending this funeral this afternoon was difficult.  I cried as I hugged his daughter (my aunt), I cried as I hugged his son (who I don’t see often but know him well enough), I cried as his granddaughter gave a speech about him, and I cried as the casket was lowered.  And as I looked over at my grandfather, I thought to myself how impossible it will be to deal with his death, and tears just began rolling down my face uncontrollably.

As I made it through that, I made my way back to work and have continued grinding it out until just now.  I’m waiting for a report to get done, and will pack it up to make it just in time for the Bears game.  After all of today, here is what you all need to know.  Things I’m learning that I never thought I would.

I learned today one reason to get married is to have a support system 24-7.  My wife comforted me, she was loving, and that means everything to me.  Death comes so fast, yet it seems that day may never come.  Everyday here on Earth needs to be appreciated because tomorrow, death may come get you.  So don’t waste your time with bullshit (sorry for the language), instead of complaining, being unhappy, criticizing, judging, being lazy – go do something with yourself.  Go serve some sort of purpose in this world.  Each of us are born so insignificant and die insignificant.  We are remembered by some and soon forgotten through generations.  But we have an option to make a difference, to enjoy life, to appreciate things.  I consider myself a positive, energetic person but I feel like I have more and I’m wasting it.  It’s time to make a difference.

I want to spend more time writing.  I want to spread my word.  I want to provide advice.  I want to help people.  I want to give people energy, positivity, love.  I’m not sure how I’m going to do this yet, but I believe this is what I’m meant for and with the support of Mrs. Z now, knowing she got my back no matter what, I will get there.  I will make a difference.  I will appreciate and when death comes for me, I will be ready and know that I did all I can here.

I don’t ask this often but as I mentioned at the top, please share this.  This post is for Alexander… I love you and respect you.  Your memory lives on with me forever.

Max 10.10.2013

Sacrifice

I never knew and I don’t think most people know what sacrifice actually means. I think it’s something I learned over time. According to Websters, there are multiple definitions – “an act of offering to a deity something precious”, “something given up or lost”, “surrender of something for the sake of something else.”

People often hear other say I sacrificed everything, but do people actually know what it means? If you review the definitions above, there are different meanings. I think sacrifice needs to be felt. You need to felt it in your heart. When something sacrificed, I think one knows it. I know what sacrifice means. I know what it means for me. I didn’t know what sacrifice meant when I was in high school even though I might have used the word. I didn’t know what it meant in college. I learned what the word meant once I had kids and today I was reminded of what it means and I think it’s important that people know what it means without misrepresenting the word.

I learned what sacrifice means when I had Ava, and than Zoey. My two daughters mean the world to me. When I say that, I mean I am willing to sacrifice anything for them. I want to provide them the best opportunity for happiness. Notice that I said happiness. Some would say I want to make sure they go to college, or get married to someone that could provide for them, or I want my children to be successful. None of that matters to me. My goal is to give my best attempt to make sure they are happy. I want both of them to be positive and have a optimistic view for life. I want them to be generous, caring, loving, and have the values I instill them to be happy which I will do. If there is one goal in life I CANT fail in, it’s making sure I accomplish this for my girls.

My dad didn’t teach any of this. What did he teach me? He taught me that if I touch his toy model cars, I get beat up by him to make sure I know that I’m not allowed to smash his cars together. Last time I saw my dad, I was 7 – a little over 20 years ago. I remember saying goodbye to him at a train station, I may even have saw a tear on his face. I was moving to the United States from Ukraine with my mom, grandpa and grandma. He was staying behind. I always thought back… was this him making a sacrifice for me? Was he doing this because he knew I would be better off without him? I look back now and will never truly know what was going through his head. What I do know though?

No matter what the situation, no matter how I feel, no matter what obstacles are in my way – I will NEVER do that my daughters. They are my everything. I have and will continue to sacrifice everything that is me and anything I have to make sure they find happiness. Let’s look at an example of the smallest sacrifice I have made, and this is my opinion of small sacrifice which some can think is big.

I worked with elementary school children for over 5 years through high school and college. A teacher is something I always dreamed of being. Molding young minds into little adults. To be able to teach them, give them dreams and goals, to watch them grow – watching them grow up would amazing and fulfilling. Instead of this, I got an accounting degree and am currently a financial analyst for a publicly traded company. Previous to this, I worked for a CPA firm preparing tax returns and doing accounting work for small businesses. So from teaching children, I went to making sure we hit sales targets and preparing various reports to management. Could it be worse? Absolutely, it can always be worse. But is this what I dreamed of my life being? No. Do I have an option now to go back to school and get my education certificate and become a teacher? Yes, absolutely. Will I? No. Why? Sacrifice.

Financially, my family cannot afford to this. I need to make sure my kiddos are fed, and not only fed, but fed organic (free of GMOs) to live longer and healthier lives. They need a roof over their heads in a good neighborhood so they don’t get mixed up with the wrong crowd and not making the good choices. I need to make sure they wear good warm clothes. They need great medical facilities around them, just in case. They need good schools around them. I want to make sure they have all the tools surrounding them, besides me, that will give them the best chance at life. Does everyone have the option to feed their kids organic? No. Do Moms or Dads lose jobs and thus can’t even provide the basic necessities for kids? Yes. Trust me, I understand that not every situation is ideal. I understand that not all people have opportunities or given opportunities. What I do understand is that I came here when I was 8. I couldn’t speak English and I had nothing. My mom had nothing. I had no Dad to teach me what Dads are supposed to teach. Am I doing what I want? No. Am I able to provide for my kiddos? Absolutely.

Sacrifices are made every single day for them. Small sacrifices, big sacrifices, and in between. Now that I think about it, are they even sacrifices or is it just the unconditional love I have for them that makes me do whatever I need to to make sure they are taken care of?

08.31.13 – Max

Happy Last Month of August.