Bittersweet

First of all, thank you all so much for the hundreds of wonderful comments and emails regarding our Big News: it was really so touching to hear so many lovely things from people we've never met but feel sure we would totally have a blast hanging out with were you to ever come over with a six-pack on a Saturday night. Also, I'm really sorry I seem to have made so many people cry. I hope you were all wearing waterproof mascara, at least. Particularly the boys.

We landed in San Francisco around 7:15pm on Sunday night, which was irritating because we were supposed to land in San Francisco around 4:30pm on Sunday afternoon. We lost three hours, however, just sitting on the runway at Heathrow while the engineers ran around trying to fix some---pah!---electrical problem with the plane. I know, hardly seems important, does it?

(That was a joke, by the way. I never know if jetlag humor comes through. I have been up since 5:30am and my brain is addled. Please just nod and smile.)

I have a zillion things to tell you right now, Internet, like about the rest of our time in Rome and how nauseatingly loved-up and giggly we were on our first day as an engaged couple. I want to tell you about how great it was to see my Fake Nephew, Freddie, in London, and to talk weddings with my best friend Anna, who I've known for 21 years, which is the longest I've known anyone not related to me by blood. I want to tell you about evenings at the pub with my university friends and how we always seem to pick up right where we left off. I want to tell you about the beautiful wedding we went to on Saturday, where I stole at least seventeen ideas from the bride and didn't feel nearly as self-conscious as I thought I would in my vintage hat.

But we came back to some sad news in San Francisco and---together with unpacking, readjusting, catching up, making plans, fighting the jetlag, and preparing for my mother and sister's arrival tomorrow---I'm having something of a hard time focusing and getting everything done. One of the other writers on my team at work---we're a close-knit group, just the five of us---died very suddenly and unexpectedly while we were away. She was 28.

I'm not quite sure how to deal with this---such tragedy in the midst of such joy---so things are a little strange around here at the moment. I feel odd, celebrating my happiness when something so horrible has just happened. The show must go on, I know, but it feels weird for it to go on without her. I guess I like to think that she's hanging out with Heath Ledger, both my grandpas, and my old cat Oscar now. And that they're all looking after her.

1
Carroll
Oct 21, 2008

Oh, Holly! How very sad (and strange) to be dealing with such a thing on the heels of your glorious excitement. That video clip is just the sweetest thing ever. I've watched it three times now and am sure will run through a few more any time I need to put a big grin on my face. It will be such fun to have your mum and sister there while the engagement is still so new. I'm very sorry it's tinged now with the feelings you'll have to deal with at work. How sad for her friends and her family. Big hugs (both happy and sad ones) to you for all of the above from right down here in Cupertino!

2
Caroline
Oct 21, 2008

Welcome home and congratulations on your engagement. I can't wait to hear the rest of your stories (Paul Harvey-style!). I'm sorry for the concomitant loss and sadness in your life. May every day we all have be full of vivaciousness and joy, even if it's just a simple appreciation of being alive.

3
Willow
Oct 21, 2008

oh my gosh! i just dont even know what to say....
i recall the times in my life when i was so incredibly happy i was radiating and then to have something so tragic occur in the midst.... there is never a right way to feel. sadly, also, in the face of exhaustion.
i would assume, though, that any friend of yours would want you to go on being happy and ridiculous in your fiancedom.... while you remember them with fondness.
be well....

4
Georgia
Oct 21, 2008

Even though I didn't know her, I'm so sorry to hear the sad news about your friend. I hope the coming week is filled with chocolate ice cream, red wine, and happy moments with your mom and sis.

5
Kelley
Oct 21, 2008

Oh, that's hard. I'm so sorry. I hope your time as a newly engaged couple plus the family visit tomorrow will cheer you up.

6
edj
Oct 21, 2008

It's hard to have a situation like this. I wish you grace in dealing with the tragedy and joy in your engagement.
(Also, weird, because I was so happy to read your engagement story as a bright spot just after getting truly horrible news of the death of a daughter of some close friends. I felt a bit of that joy/tragedy conflict myself. What is UP?)

7
Dynamita
Oct 21, 2008

I don't think it is wrong to celebrate your engagement. Happiness is a string of happy moments, and one should milk them for all they're worth. I am sure your colleague would urge you to savour this happiness. After all, you don't get to experience an engagement that often.

Lurker here, but I, too, was one of the many who read about your big news with wide eyes and tears! So lovely. Congratulations! Also, so sorry to hear about your co-worker, who sounded more like your friend. That's so sad. Best wishes to you.

9
angela
Oct 21, 2008

So sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. You and her family and friends are in my prayers.

10
sizzle
Oct 21, 2008

Leave it to life to keep us in balance. I'm so sorry for your loss.

11
Sheryl
Oct 21, 2008

Oh, I'm so sorry Holly. Gosh, so young! Must be so hard at work right now.

12
rebecca Faulkner
Oct 21, 2008

I swear, the stars are aligned weirdly right now. In the midst of friends announcing their engagements, I have had TWO friends die in the past 2 weeks. So strange and sad.

13
Maya
Oct 21, 2008

I understand the whole happiness/sadness factor. I battled infertility, only to become pregnant with twins after a round of IVF. 2 months after I found out, my grandmother passed away. It was VERY hard. You have happiness at a time of sadness. That's how life is.

14
Raven
Oct 21, 2008

What an awful thing to come home to and it always seems so much harder to bear when it's someone so young. I'm sorry for the loss Holly. *HUG*

15
Kristen
Oct 21, 2008

I wish I didn't understand how you feel, but I do. Earlier this year, my father-in-law passed away in his sleep from a heart attack -- he wasn't even aware that he had heart problems. We had just celebrated his daughter's birthday days before, and I had gotten the job of my dreams. That was in February, and we've had a million wonderful things happen to us -- new jobs, beautiful new home, fabulous trips -- but every time we get really happy, we're reminded of the tragedy, too. I'm so sorry you've lost a friend, but you're totally right -- she's absolutely hanging out with Heath. Maybe my father-in-law, too. He's cool people. Hang in there, and don't feel guilty about celebrating your happiness. Most likely, she's celebrating for you up there.

16
She Likes Purple
Oct 21, 2008

Holly, I'm so sorry for such awful news to return to, and, yes, for it to be unexpected and to someone so young. I hope you can enjoy this time despite the tragedy.

17
nicole
Oct 21, 2008

I am so sorry to hear! It's always so hard, but especially so when someone is so young. Good thoughts sent your way.

18
Debbie
Oct 21, 2008

Holly, I know the sadness you feel. My husband died suddenly over the summer at the age of 40. I was and still am heartbroken. We have 2 daughters who are 8 and 4 and I find myself with feelings of guilt for us to be having happy, fun, silly times now. We miss him, long for him, but we are still here and we are living happy lives like I know he would want.

I know your friend would want you to be happy and I know she is happy for you too!

19
Melanie Avila
Oct 21, 2008

Holly, like the other commenters said, it's ok to be happy about your engagement. You know better than any of us how your friend would react, but I'm sure she'd want you to be happy. I'd hate to think something happening to me would diminish the joy in my loved ones' lives.

Take the time to grieve your loss and just try to get through the days and weeks ahead. It'll all start to make sense soon.

20
Cat
Oct 21, 2008

Thinking of you

21
Gretchen
Oct 21, 2008

Oh my. Such sad news for coming home. The Heath Ledger idea almost makes it bearable, though. I imagine everyone at work is a bit of a zombie right now. At least you get to be the zombie with the beautiful diamond.

22
Karen
Oct 21, 2008

So sorry to hear about this -- thoughts are with you and your co-workers.

23
Zoo
Oct 21, 2008

Oh I'm so sorry for your loss. :( I know how hard it is to try to enjoy something so magical while dealing with such a tragedy. I don't have any wise words, but you'll be in my thoughts. <3

24
Jen
Oct 21, 2008

oh man, how bittersweet things must seem for you right now. It is tough to know how to handle happiness when something so tragic happens. I'll be thinking about you *hugs*

25
Nic
Oct 21, 2008

I'm so sorry for your loss. We lost one of our coworkers quite suddenly last year in our office of six. It's been incredibly difficult. Don't feel guilty about celebrating. It is all a part of life. You have something in your life worth celebrating, you also have something worth mourning. It's okay to attend to both right now.

26
sensiblysassy
Oct 21, 2008

oh Holly I am so sorry to hear about that. Bittersweet indeed.

27
Tami A.
Oct 21, 2008

Oh Holly, I'm so sorry for your loss, what a terrible situation in the middle of such happiness. I was in the same situation a few years ago. My first son was born and we found out a few minutes later that his aunt and uncle got in a car accident and his uncle died at the scene. I hope you can find comfort and peace.

28
whoorl
Oct 21, 2008

I'm so sorry, Holly. Thinking of you...

29
Amanda
Oct 21, 2008

I hope you have an ok week. It sounds like times are a little tough right now, but just keep her family in your thoughts and know that she is hanging out with cool peeps like Heath Ledger and James Dean and Paul newman. Lucky gal :)

30
Mandee
Oct 21, 2008

I'm so sorry, Holly.

31
Suzy in DC
Oct 21, 2008

I just wanted to say congrats on your engagement, your last post was so sweet, and what a great place to get engaged! I read your blog often and have commented a few times. I wanted to comment to say that a similar thing happened to us, the weekend after we returned from our honeymoon, a very close "couple" friend of ours (the guy) suddenly died while at work on a Saturday afternoon. He was 26. It was so sad and tragic, and it was really hard to deal with having just come off of the wedding/honeymoon bliss...I can really relate. Anyway, take care...

32
emily
Oct 21, 2008

Oh, how sad. One thing that's positive (I guess?) is that these situations always make how fortunate you are hit you across the face like a two-ton, jagged brick.

Take care!

33
Angella
Oct 21, 2008

Oh, that's so sad, Holly. And hard on your emotions from one moment to the next, I am sure.

Still happy for you and Sean and look forward to more details :)

34
Sheila
Oct 21, 2008

I'm sure it will be a comfort to have your mom and sister here as you simultaneously celebrate and mourn. My sympathies.

35
Houseofjules
Oct 21, 2008

Oh Holly, I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. I lost one of my best friends this summer to brain cancer. She was 35. It's not easy, and I still have days when things just feel off because she's not here... but luckily you have a great support system at home AND work, and you'll all get each other through it. Lean on each other.
Much love & light,
Jules
House of Jules

36
Carolyn
Oct 21, 2008

Holly, so sorry to hear about your friend. That must have been very shocking for all of you, as well as her family.
peace

37
Sam
Oct 21, 2008

Oh, Holly, what a strange mix of joy and sadness. Your life is rich and full and please celebrate it, even in the midst of a loss. I'm sorry to hear about your friend, wishing all who love her much comfort and peace.

38
Gwen
Oct 22, 2008

I'm sorry, Holly, that's horrible and so unsettling and sad. And yet, so exactly the ridiculous way life is, the good and bad all mixed up together with little apparent order.

39
Liv
Oct 22, 2008

Maybe your joy is God's way of reminding us that even in tragedy, beautiful things can still happen, and life can and will go on. And it's ok. It's ok to feel lost one minute and found the next.

Best wishes dealing with the sorrow. And congratulations on the engagement.

40
Jemima
Oct 22, 2008

I heard about your friend, and the entire story is just so utterly, utterly sad. I know her family must just be feeling terrible right now, and it's so hard to feel happy and bubbly and romantic when you know others are hurting so badly. It's okay to be happy though. Life goes on, and your joy doesn't diminish her importance one bit. I'm sure everyone feels like your news is like breath of fresh air.

41
Anne in SC
Oct 22, 2008

I'm not quite sure what to say except that I'm sorry.
And I ditto all the commenters.

42
Kat
Oct 22, 2008

Finding the middle ground between your well-deserved joy and the sadness from your loss, is difficult at best. I don't see how you can help but teeter-totter between happiness and sadness. And there probably isn't anything that any of us can say to make you feel better about such circumstances. One thing that I am willing to bet on though is that your friend would be very happy for you and the wonderful days that lie ahead. Enjoy them, both for yourself and for your friend. I'm sorry for your loss.

43
E
Oct 22, 2008

Holly, I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. That's never easy, and I hope things calm down soon.

44
Maggie Mason
Oct 23, 2008

I'm so sorry to hear this. These things are especially difficult when the person you care for is so young. For me, when a death is so unexpected, it intensifies the grief. My condolences.

45
Jen
Oct 23, 2008

I'm so sorry, Holly. I've never commented before, but I know this feeling of utter joy followed by such grief very well myself. I hope that you are able to honor and remember your friend, and still enjoy this time and excitment in your life to the fullest.

46
Diane
Oct 23, 2008

Congratulations again and I am so sorry for your loss of a colleague. I hope you are able to think of your friend and know that she would have been thrilled for your happiness right now.

In fact, I think that she, Heath, your grandpas and Oscar are all raising a glass of bubbly to you and Sean and wishing you decades of joy!

47
Sarah Marie
Oct 23, 2008

Gosh, what bad news. I bet your family visiting will help. That is my hope, anyway. Take care.

48
Anna
Oct 24, 2008

There is always sadness in some part of the world - the only difference here is that it happened close to you. That's not to belittle how incredibly tragic it is that your coworker passed away - I'm just trying to say that if the occurrence of tragedy should keep us from celebrating happy moments, then we'd never celebrate at all. So don't feel guilty that you are floating on your very own pink cloud right now, enjoy it for all that it is worth. Your coworker and everyone else who cares for you would want nothing else.

49
Kristabella
Oct 28, 2008

I am so sorry Holly about your co-worker. How tragic.