The Craziest Week Of My Life…A Death, Job Change and a Marriage Proposal

October 16, 2013


Life's Journey


Yup, you read that right- September has been a wee bit insane for me- this post has sat in the queue for well over a week, but before everyone Googles what crisis line to refer me to, I’m doing fine.  I did though, want to relay everything that’s happened since I’ve gotten a few “Hey, where are you?” messages from folks that have noticed my lack of regular blog posts and sporadic tweets. I think it was time to let folks know what’s been going on in my life- rarely do I go this personal on the blog, so if you’d rather just tune this one out, I don’t blame you.

On Tuesday, the 23rd, I got an early morning call that my mother passed away in her sleep and was discovered by my step father.

My mother’s passing was an odd experience.  Mom and I hadn’t even seen each other for 6 years, she moved to Arkansas with my step father and due to some personal choices she’s made through the years, she surrounded herself with the choices she made.  I left my mother’s home when I was 16 to go live with my paternal grandmother because my mom’s drinking had compounded my already turbulent and angsty teen years leaving me feeling hopeless, trapped and depressed.

When I was 15 years old, I had no idea why things at home were so rough.  I didn’t really understand if my home life was normal, but I was starting to realize it didn’t feel right or normal. Ours was a problem that had no name.  I emailed an online advice website- something like,, and I described the situation.  I had lived the reality of my mom’s two sides- the mom I knew and loved during work hours and the one who showed up on weekends, and I thought it was normal.

I told this anonymous councilor about my situation and the weight it was putting on me- I was starting to get depressed, my grades were awful and I couldn’t sleep at night.  I was concerned about my mom and asked what I could do to fix a situation I didn’t fully understand.

It wasn’t until I got a response a few days later, where something clicked into place- “Honey, your mom sounds like an alcoholic.”  I will never in my life forget that moment, when I heard that word used to describe my mother.  My mom’s behavior was always described in whispers and gossip, never directly.  Finally, our problem had a name- my mom was an alcoholic.  I stared at the screen and tears poured down my face- I was shocked, ashamed and scared, but finally, the silent problem had a name.

Even at 15, I knew this was a problem I couldn’t fix alone.  I loved my mom and step father, but even those early years, before I would grow to understand alcoholism as an adult, I realized that they had made their choices and I was powerless to change the situation unless they wanted to talk about it.  It was a bitter pill to swallow, but I made the choice to leave and hoped that somehow it would send a message.  Now I know, it didn’t.

When she and my stepfather decided to leave California and move to another state, I knew that I would only come visit if we could ever have the conversation about what drove us apart.  I wanted to approach the situation as an adult and talk about the “problem that had no name” that plagued us for so long, but that conversation never came.  Six years passed without addressing this situation.  I knew I would always come to help if they ever needed it, but that call never came- I got a different phone call, and now, that chapter has closed.

When I got the call that my mother had passed away, I was at work, and I just began to cry.  It was like a long chapter had finally closed and it was an odd sense of closure. I prayed my mother found the peace in the afterlife she had not found in life.  Despite all that happened, I love my mom and stepdad and harbor no anger.  I do wish that things had been different and there hadn’t been such distance between us, both emotional and geographical,  but I sincerely hope that she understood that my choices in life were not meant to hurt her. We both had made our own choices, and there  is no shame in accepting how things developed.

We are both adults, she chose to build walls, and I learned to accept them.  Could things have been different? Maybe.  But I stand in my truth and couldn’t hide her choices from my heart, it hurt too damn much and I was road weary from years of living under the shadow of a problem that had no name for a little girl who didn’t know any different.

As an adult, I stood in my truth, and sadly the day we could stand together within it will never come.  I wish her peace and send everyone in my family so much love- I really struggled whether to blog about this and rewrote the post several times since talking about it is hard, but necessary.  Even after 11 years after leaving her home, I still struggle to call it what it was.

My mother, at her core, was a good woman, calling her an alcoholic sometimes makes me feel so mean- but it was a disease that hid the beautiful person she was and put so much distance between us.  I can’t live my life sugar coating the years we lost because this problem was so central in our lives, overshadowing all else.

Blogging about it is I suppose my one way to finally put this to rest.  I never got the chance to talk to my mom about this- to her and to those around her, that life was “normal.” It was something we didn’t talk about. In fact, we all seemed to go out of our way to pretend, on our rare phone calls, to pretend like everything was great between us.  She had a lot of pain in her life, and I wish we could have addressed it with therapy instead of symptoms, but that ship has sailed.

I’m 27 years old, and I have known this problem for over 11 years, yet I still struggle to stand up and say “No, this was not normal. I love you so much, but I couldn’t support that way of life,” and put a label to our experience beyond my silent actions.  She’s gone now, that’s a closed chapter we all have to live with.  I’m doing okay, and I pray each night that somewhere, she is too.


Okay, so that was a doozy….and now, more….

So, onto the fact I quit my job…if you’re even still reading at this point- I took a few days off of work to grapple with my mother’s death.  I sat at home and took a ton of concerned calls (thank you) and accepted flower deliveries (thank you again) and sat in pug fur covered yoga pants to watch tv and just vegetate.  When my Gram died in 2008, I went into hyperdrive in college to take on a second major, join a sorority and apply for graduate school- but this death just left me completely out of ammunition.  I literally just sat there for days and waited for the sobs to come back.

I returned to work on Monday and decided it was time to put in my notice.  I have my reasons for this departure, and wish my awesome team mates nothing but the best.  My last day will be coming up soon so for now, I think it’ll be time to process everything that’s happened, get my projects caught up, relaunch a few endeavors and sustain myself on the blog. I will be looking for a new social media gig, but for right now, I’ll sustain myself with the blog, freelance gigs and the stack of unfinished projects around the house.    The pugs will be very happy to have me work from home for a bit and I know the right opportunity will present itself soon!


And..yet another transition…

TARDIS Ring Box Proposal Doctor Who Proposal

If a death and leaving my job wasn’t enough to make my head explode, my boyfriend popped the question a day after I put in my notice.  Apparently, he had planned the proposal for October 12th, but during dinner, he decided that plans are stupid (ha!) and he was going to seal this deal that very night.

We had our dinner and went for a drive to “get frozen yogurt.”  He was acting adorably squirrelly and since we had designed the ring together and I knew it had been completed, on the drive over, I refrained from my normal question batterings and just let him drive.

We ended up downtown, at the exact spot where Route 66 formally begins and he got down on one knee, pulled out a TARDIS ring box and asked me to marry him.  There also may have been a Taco Bell “will you marry me?” sauce packet involved…but that will be officially included as a side note.  Classy.


There will be more on wedding madness later, but for now- I wanted to update y’all on why the blog posts have been sporadic the last two weeks and to let you know I’m okay.

Frugality teaches you to be grateful for what you have.  It teaches you to be honest and live authentically, owning up to whatever blessings or shortfalls you have.  I’ve had two years of practice living frugally and it’s more than just a way to save money on groceries, it’s a way to combat life’s ups and downs.

I count my blessings, even the blessings that feel like hardships.  I make no attempt to hide my history or “keep up with the Joneses” in all that I do- both financially and personally.  I feel lucky that I have such great people in my life, a family I love and appreciate, a career that gets me excited and a fiancé that understands my nerdy side.  

This blog I write isn’t about clipping coupons- it’s about being authentic and feeling grateful- frugality helps you achieve your financial and your personal goals.  Living authentically with your money means you can translate it to all arenas of your life.  Count your pennies, count your blessings.


You rock.  Chat soon. 🙂



29 comments so far.

29 responses to “The Craziest Week Of My Life…A Death, Job Change and a Marriage Proposal”

  1. I’m so glad you shared all this – you’ve been on my mind and I appreciate the insight you gave us into how you are doing.
    The next chapter of your life is going to be phenomenal. I can’t wait to watch it!

  2. desi says:

    You are so inspirational. If anyone could handle all those situations with grace and class, it’s you. Love and hugs – can’t wait to see what your next adventure holds!

  3. Brandy says:

    My father was an alcoholic. He drank when my brother and I were kids but we didn’t know it. (I was 5) My mom left him and took us with her to Florida. He got sober and we moved back (without mom of course- they divorced) Fast forward to when I hit 16 and he started drinking again. It was awful. My brother and I both pretty much moved out and it was really hard. I dropped out of high school because I was working to pay bills in the house. He passed away when I was 19. We all knew it was going to come to that and nothing we said or did made any difference. It sucked because we were super close to him. I’m sorry about your mom.

    Congrats on the engagement!! That’s so exciting! Wedding planning can get stressful at times but try not to let every little detail get you all worked up. It will be a beautiful day regardless. I was married in Disney and there were little things that went wrong but of course I was the only one that noticed! It happens. Enjoy your engagemnt!

  4. Rebecca Jo says:

    What an emotional ride you’ve been on lately!!! Sending you well wishes, hugs & healing in your loss…

    It was brave to share your story, because there is no shame in any of it… & there is probably someone out there afraid of the same thing, so glad you were able to be a voice someone else may need to hear.
    I’m sure the loss is still hard & tough. Your mom is always still your mom.

    Congrats on the engagement & Good luck on the job hunt!

  5. Shannyn, I’m not sure there are words here, other than, this is beautiful and honest, and here are some hugs over the internet.

  6. Lindsey Ross says:

    There will never be enough words to describe how truly amazing you are and the impression you have left in my life.
    You know I love you!
    I look forward to the next chapter in your life! It’s going to full of exciting adventures! 🙂

  7. Michelle says:

    Wow so many changes. I’m so sorry about your mother. Let me know if you want to talk at all, I’m open 🙂

    Congrats on the proposal! What a beautiful ring.

  8. liz says:

    I love the ring- it’s gorgeous. I can’t imagine trying to process all of the emotions you must be going through all at once. Hang in there.

  9. lawanda says:

    Shannyn, you are my hero. You spoke so candidly about such personal struggles. Thank you! Congrats on the proposal, that ring is beautiful! My condolences about your mom. It seems like you have a strong circle of support now.

  10. em says:

    Wow that is one emotional rollercoaster hun. I hope that sharing has somehow been a little theraputic for you in things with your mom.
    I can’t ever imagine how difficult that relationship has been for you and how hard it has been to deal with now she’s gone but I hope you can find some peace in it all. Also know that no matter how far away any of us may be I know that all of your readers and fellow bloggers will always be here beside you.

    I absolutely adore that Tardis proposal it’s the cutest thing. I actually love how he didn’t do it the preplanned way and did it more off the cuff instead that’s sometimes better and more personal I think. The ring is beautiful too. Huge congratulations to you both I wish you so much happiness for your future together 🙂


  11. Tara says:

    Ups and downs! I am so happy your emotional month ended on a high note; congratulations on your engagement! Wedding planning is so fun (I just wish Pinterest had been around when I got married, haha!).

  12. Courtney says:

    You are one of the strongest people out there in the blogging world. I’m so sorry to hear about this hard emotional roller coaster. I wish the very best for you and secondly Congratulations!! Things will get better 🙂

  13. Dear Debt says:

    What a wild ride! When it rains, it pours! I’m sorry for your loss, but am excited for you new life, career path and pending nuptials.

  14. GIgi says:

    Wow, you have really been through quite a lot of emotions! I haven’t spoken with my Mother in over 10 years and I’ve often thought of how I will feel when she passes and I imagine it will be a lot like you did/do. I think I will mourn for what I wish things could have been and hopefully will have closure – and that’s what I wish for you. Lots of good thoughts & peaceful wishes to you.

    On the job front – you are so clearly talented, you will no doubt run with, and make a success of, your next opportunities.

    Finally – congrats on your engagement – your ring is absolutely stunning and I can’t wait to read all the wedding prep posts!! What an exciting time for you – wishing a lifetime of happiness for you & your fiancé!

  15. Janine says:

    Oh my what a crazy week. I’m really sorry to hear about you mom , that must be incredibly difficult to deal with. Congrats on putting in your notice and getting engaged! I’m so happy for you, I guess starting that wedding fund before you were engaged wasn’t such a bad idea afterall 😉

    Excited to hear more about your wedding planning! I hope you take a break and relax a little. You definitely deserve some “you” time.

    Let me know there’s anything I can do to help!

  16. What a roller coaster. Wishing you so much goodness in this new chapter of every aspect of your life!

  17. Ashley says:

    You are so strong. I worked with children that have come from situations like that, and you are an inspiration. I wish the best for you, and thank you so much for sharing something so personal.

  18. moneystepper says:

    Wow – what an emotional post. You’ve shown great strength and positivity and I can’t wait to hear more about the wedding plans.

  19. catherine says:

    Im so sorry for your loss but 100% understand what you meam when you say you have closure. I can totally relate-we have very similar relationships with our moms.

    Huge congrats om the engagment. Here’s to happy planning!

  20. Wow! What a week.

    So sorry for your loss. Hugs.

    BUT, many congratulations on your engagement!

  21. Wow! What a week.

    So sorry for your loss. Hugs.

    BUT, many congratulations on your engagement!

  22. Wow. That does sound like a crazy week. Highs and lows all over the place. It sounds like your childhood made you grow up fast and that you have handled all of the challenges in your life with grace. <3

  23. Amanda says:

    Wow, that is a lot to go through in a month. I don’t know if I could handle all that! By the way… TARDIS ring box?!?! I totally want to marry you both for that 🙂

  24. Sharon Siqueiros says:

    sweetie, you rock!!! thanks for sharing with all of us….you’re a lovely,honest sharing woman and really respect that. I’m sorry for your losses, but that being said, I’m truly happy for you and your fiance!!!
    Best wishes <3


  25. Elena Vo says:

    That’s quite a bit to handle at once…. <3

  26. You are beautiful, inside and out. You have so much love to be able to write this post, and I am sorry for your loss. But what you shared was so poignant and I thought, wow, you have really forgiven her and that takes so much to do honestly. Your proposal also sounded pretty amazing, so congratulations as well! I am looking forward to some wedding posts…

  27. Amanda says:

    I’m so sorry about your mother. You have had one heck of a week! Both good and bad! Congratulations on your wedding! And the Doctor Who box is just awesome!

  28. That’s a lot to handle in a month…both great news and sad news. We sound like we have similar moms, although my mom had dodged death several times. But I’ve come to accept what is. I’m still though very sorry to hear of her passing. But a huge congratulations on getting engaged, and best of luck with the job search or just going it on your own.

  29. V says:

    A closing of one chapter and the beginner of many new chapters. Congratulations on moving forward


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