As I sit in the retail space in complete darkness, except for the light from my laptop, I reflect on my journey that’s ending, my journey that’s beginning, and my dad. Talk about a heart and brain overload. My heart is heavy with sadness, my brain is trying to put pieces together and trying to calm a heart that is broken.
It may be hard for you all to believe, but I am struggling for the words to write what I am feeling. I am feeling so many emotions right now that I cannot control my crying or sadness. This weekend is the four-year anniversary of my dad’s death (Sunday, April 8). On top of that I have been watching fixtures, furniture and décor from the store (my childhood dream) going out the door and I’ve turned into an emotional wreck.
I keep trying to smile and move on. Which has been the advice of many. However, those who give me that advice do not understand why the store closing is breaking my heart. While they are sad the store is closing, they go on with their daily lives of work, kids, errands, etc. I, on the other hand, have no job, I lost all my money in this retail store, I’m going from living on my own to living with my sister (which I am grateful to have her welcome me into her home), I’m moving yet again (second move in less than a year), and I am literally watching the dream/vision I had in my head at 12 years old die/fade away slowly each day. Yes, I am going to continue the business just a different way, but I was living out a dream that not many get to do, then watch it fail.
To add salt to the broken heart I have, I can’t help but remember my dad’s last days on this earth four years ago. The memories of him in the emergency room for eight hours before they found a room to admit him to the hospital. The memories of my mom during those days and her face when we left the hospital. The memory of her and I going back into my dad’s room the night he died to tell him we loved him a couple hours before he left this earth. Those memories are burned into my mind.
My dad was a good man. He was not perfect, but then again no one is. He was a great father. He made my mom happy. He made us kids happy. He made his nieces and nephews and their kids happy. He was a good hearted man, patient, loving, funny, and he smiled a lot. I continue to work at being more like him every day.
As I’ve said before, I will be ok. I know everything happens for a reason and while I am slowing understanding the reasons, it doesn’t make the rawness of this part of the dream dying and the rawness of four years later still thinking about my dad’s final days on this earth any easier.
I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery since I left my ex in September 2012. The first couple years were trying to acclimate myself to being single, living alone, and rediscovering friends and family left behind during my marriage. Then losing my dad (and a month later my aunt) in 2014 set me into an emotional breakdown.
When I decided to leave Western Pennsylvania at the end of 2014, it was to find myself. Not just who I am, but the spiritual me along the way. While I’m still on that journey, I have found myself and actually like what I have found for the most part. I needed to take this journey on my own and the only way to do that was to leave the only area I’ve lived in all my life and leave my friends and family.
This journey has not always been easy, but then life itself is not easy. I have had bouts with depression, loneliness, sadness, and PTSD during the journey. Luckily, friends and family have helped me along the way. I plan on writing a book about what all I learned in hopes that it will inspire and help others.
A couple things to note if you are thinking about taking a self-discovery journey like I did. First, you have to want to discover the good, the bad and the ugly about your inner self. If you cannot handle learning about yourself, don’t even take the journey.
Second, you need to be willing to change. Yep, when you discover the bad and the ugly about yourself, you need to acknowledge and fix it to make the journey worthwhile. Some of the fixes may take longer than the journey but each step to improve yourself is a step forward to a better you. Every day I’m working on fixing my bad and ugly inner me.
Third, while you need time away from family and friends, don’t forget about them. Check in with them so they know you are ok and that you still love them. If you don’t it will affect your relationships. I was bad at this one for the first half of the journey. I’ve gotten better with this over the past year, but still need to improve even with the new journey.
Lastly, enjoy the journey. You need to embrace everything that you encounter. You have to realize that the experiences along the way will change you and teach you. Even the bad experiences teach you things that you needed to learn.
Had my dad and aunt not passed away in April and May 2014 respectively, I would not have taken this journey. I would not have the guardian angels watching over me every day and pointing me in the direction I need to go. I know that my dad is with me every day. I would not have realized a childhood dream, even though its ending. I would not have met the people along the way who have changed my life and the spiritual guides who have helped me and will continue to do so. I would not have learned about myself, my strengths and weaknesses.
Life should not be taken lightly, you never know when you will take your last breath or when someone close to you will. Appreciate all you have including the people in your life.
Those of you who regularly read my blogs have noticed I keep quoting songs. Music is a big part of my life and sanity. I’m going to quote another one. It’s from George Strait (my favorite singer), his Twang album, the song is “The Breath You Take” (writers of the song: Dean Dillon, Jessie Jo Dillon, Casey Beathard). Since my dad passed away this song always makes me cry but the message is something we all need to pay attention to. This is the chorus of the song:
Life’s not the breathes you take
The breathing in and out
That gets you through the day
Ain’t what it’s all about
You just might miss the point
If you don’t slow down the pace
Life’s not the breathes you take
But the moments that take your breath away
I know that I need to slow down my pace and pay more attention to the moments. Hopefully I will on my next journey. Hug a loved one today and let them know you love them. Don’t wait until it’s too late.