Friday, June 20, 2014

The Look...

I see a motorcyclist riding down the road. Sometimes I simply hope they stay safe, reminded how unprotected a cyclist is. Other times a "vision" of Austin comes to mind. It's as though I can see him on that bike, enjoying the ride.

I see a construction worker walking by. Sometimes I simply think about the hard work they do, in the freezing snow, cold rain, or blustering heat, and am thankful for their work. Other times an Austin image comes to mind. I can visualize Austin walking with the workers, chatting it up and laughing.

I see young men, in their early to mid twenty's, relaxing, hanging out. Sometimes I smile, thinking about the adult life they're beginning, just starting to figure out what it means to be an adult. Other times Austin comes to mind, so vividly that I can hear his voice as I eavesdrop on the conversation - not to hear what they're saying, but more to hear their voices, ones that remind me of Austin.

Why is it that at times something reminds me so clearly of Austin, while other times it's just a fleeting thought?

It's "THE LOOK" that gets me. There are just some times when a person's looks, mannerisms, voice, and style say "Austin". If you're with me when I see it, you'll know it. I can't stop watching the person. You'll see a warm smile on my lips and distant look in my eyes. If you could see inside me, you'd observe my throat tighten slightly and hear the quiet sigh inside my chest.

This happened yesterday, while waiting in line for a Starbuck's coffee at the NYS Thruway stop. There were two young men, a little over 6-feet tall, in line in front of me, dressed in work jeans, boots, and t-shirts the bright color construction workers sometimes wear. They kept waiting and waiting for one of the guy's coffees. He finally quietly said something to the employee, who kindly stated she was waiting for him to pay. He chuckled when he realized his error, paid for and picked up the coffee, then proceeded over to his buddy laughing about what he had done. Everything about him reminded me of Austin - the joking-good-naturedness, the walk, the construction attire, the chuckle.

As they walked away I wanted to say, "Wait, can you stay just a little longer. I enjoy watching you." But if I had said that they would have thought I was a crazy lady. So I just quietly watched them leave and thought of Austin.

If you knew Austin, you know "the look" I'm talking about. The "Austin Look!" If you didn't, I'm sorry you missed the opportunity, but you can catch a glimpse from the pictures, which capture a small part of "The Look!"

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

300 Feet

Did you know...
300 feet = 100 yards = 91.44 meters = 0.09144 kilometers = 0.0568182 miles?
If you're traveling at a speed of 60-70 mph it would take you a minimum of 3 seconds to stop?

Every time my GPS shows 300 feet to my exit or turn I begin counting, trying to figure out if I'm traveling 60-70 mph how long it would take me to stop if something came to an abrupt stop just 300 feet ahead of me. If my calculations are correct, based on statistics below, I would have 3-4 seconds to stop.

Why this obsession with 300 feet?

Because the maximum distance Austin had to stop between the time the truck he hit came into his sight range and the point of impact was 300 feet. Therefore he had 3 seconds or less to avoid collision, assuming he saw the truck the second he crested the hill, that he wasn't looking down for a second or off to the side. 

So, just like I will never look at a picture of Austin in the shirt from my last posting the same, I will never look at 300 feet on my GPS the same way again either.

And now, you will never look signs for 300 feet the same way again either...

What are your triggers for Austin memories?

And in case you're wondering how do I know this information...I looked it up:

SpeedDistance to StopFeet per SecondCar lengths
20 mph12m 40ft29.4 ft/sec4
30 mph23m 75ft44.1 ft/sec6
40 mph36m 120ft58.8 ft/sec10
50 mph53m 175ft73.5 ft/sec14
60 mph73m 240ft88.2 ft/sec20
70 mph96m 315ft102.9 ft/sec26
Table from

The average reaction time from seeing an emergency situation to actually placing your foot on the brake pedal is 0.7 seconds At 30mph, 44 feet per second, you will have travelled 30 feet before you even take action, and a further 45 feet before the brakes bring the car to a halt.  (According to

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Austin Shirt

Austin at his uncle's wedding
Austin was a very easy kid when he was younger when it came to wearing clothes. He pretty much wore what ever I pulled out for him. Then came the teen years where it was jeans, wind pants, and t-shirts. Trying to get him to wear anything "dressed up" was like pulling teeth. He liked his comfort clothes!

Four years ago I once again had to pick out his clothes. This time for his funeral. My husband and I looked through his clothes and immediately picked out jeans, sandals and agreed on the same shirt. At the time I didn't know why we picked the shirt we did. It was simply Austin. One thing I did need to do was find a long sleeve shirt to go under his "dress shirt" because his arms were scraped up. Who ever knew it would be so difficult to find a blank long sleeve shirt. But eventually it was found.

Over the months after Austin died, as I was looking through pictures, a realization came to me. Almost every picture of Austin "dressed up" he was wearing the shirt we had buried him in. That's why the shirt screamed "Austin".

Austin at a friend's wedding

Now, all of a sudden, I had wished we had kept the shirt with the other items of Austin's I am saving. I wished I had it as a memory. But there was nothing I could do about it now.

Austin at his electrical trade awards ceremony (with his grandpa)

Last year, as I was going through some of Austin's things, I stumbled upon a little "pocket" that had a little bit of thread, a button, and a very small safety pin. It looked familiar. Why did it look so familiar? Then is occurred to me. It had come with the "Austin shirt," the one we had buried him in. I did, after all, have a little bit of the shirt. That's all I needed. I put it in a small snack-sized ziplock bag and placed it in the inside pocket of my purse. Every time I reach into that pocket for my lipstick I feel the bag and smile - it's a bit of Austin.

The Austin shirt "pocket"

A couple weeks ago I was getting ready for work. The shirt I put on was a v-neck created by the two pieces of fabric crossing over each other. It was early in the morning and I must have been a little sleepy still because I could have sworn there was a pin holding the fabric together. But, on my way to work I realized there was no pin. I searched through the car, through my purse, and inside my wallet for a small safety pin, only to find none. Ugh! I knew I was going to be self conscious all day. Then a light went on. The little "pocket" of Austin's that I carry around in my purse had a small safety pin. Austin saved the day!

It's in the little things that I find Austin's memories and smile!

Monday, June 2, 2014

It's Been A While...

It's been a while since I last posted. It's not that I have nothing to say. In fact, I have a lot to say. There's a lot going through my mind, many ideas and thoughts that I have wanted to sit down and put on "paper", but I haven't done it.

Sometimes I get an idea, a memory, an inspiration, and it flows out of my mind down to my fingers and onto the "page". Very little effort needs to be put into making it make sense. Then other times I have lots upstairs, but that's where it stays - in my head. That's where I have been lately.

Part of the "block" is that some of my thoughts have come around significant times of our nation remembering others we have lost as a country or city. I don't want to take away from those events and memories. When Memorial Day or the anniversaries of the Boston Bombings and 9/11 are remembered my mind does think about everyone who has been lost through these events (or those who have been injured and lives have been changed), but it also goes to personal events that occurred during these same times. But, I don't feel that is the time to write about them.

Another part is that I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me. My life is full of life. I find myself laughing and smiling most of the time, all while my mind carries Austin with me. When I share these Austin moments and memories it's not to get sympathy, but rather to keep Austin alive through these memories. It's to let people know that life is good, in spite of missing pieces of the puzzle. It is to show others who are suffering their own loss at this time, who can't see any sun behind the stormy clouds, that "every storm runs out of rain." That even though right now it may seem impossible to imagine any brightness, it is there, waiting for them. It may take time, longer than desired, but light will peak out from behind the clouds. Sometimes for a split second, other times for much longer.

And still another reason is that I sometimes feel like a broken record, as if I have already shared the things that are churning in my mind.

I will try to post some of my thoughts soon, when I can get the ideas to come together in a sensible form. In the meantime, treasure the memories you have of your loved ones - after all, memories are priceless!

If you're going through a rough time right now, remember (as Gary Allan sings), "Every storm runs out of rain... Every dark night turns into day..."